Sunday, 27 April 2014

Crafternoon Cabaret

Every so often I come across something so genius that I can't imagine it didn't already exist. Crafternoon Cabaret is definitely one of these. Along with a healthy "why didn't I think of that?" slap to the head. I mean craft, cabaret, teaching?  This is what I do, just separately. Oh well.

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon at the Crafternoon Cabaret's 1st birthday party. It's a monthly event in the very nice Hospital Club in Covent Garden. Each month has a different crafting theme, this month, in honour of the birthday was fascinators and faux bow ties. I combined the two, making a big bow clip.  I had a little time left over so I made one for Fergus too.

The instruction sheets are informative and clear enough for the beginner crafter without being prescriptive so allowing lots of space for creativity for the more advanced or adventurous.

I went for the afternoon tea option (an extra £10) which was reasonable value but it wasn't the best afternoon tea I've had in central London, even for the price, so I'd probably skip that and have lunch beforehand. It also took up way too much room on our table so I felt I had to finish eating before I could craft which wasn't the most relaxing.

Trying to pack so much into a 2 hour event, I was wary that something would feel like an add on but the balance of craft to cabaret was good. Two 15 (I think) minute slots, one about half an hour in and the other at the end. Allowed plenty of time for me to figure out what I was going to make and make it and take a break to enjoy the acts.

Pistol and Jack

Both acts were high quality. I'd certainly book them.  The first Two Dumb Blondes was great.  Both amazing soprano singers, they were funny and personable and a great fit for the event.  The second, Pistol and Jack were also good but I felt they were slightly uncomfortable playing in daylight.  

The hardcore crafters - 4.20 and showing no sign of going home

Starting at 2pm it's definitely worth the trip into town on a busy Saturday afternoon and is that little bit out if the way that you aren't tripping over tourists or hard core shoppers on your way there.

My only criticism is that the supplies table was a little awkward and the tables very small.  Fine for drinks but crammed for afternoon tea and crafting supplies.

All in all I had a great time and can't wait till next month. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Weekly Drop-In Baby Groups in Walthamstow

I have had enough of looking through all the leaflets and websites to find out what is on for small people and their bigs on any particular day so I have collated them all into one big list.
This was for my own sanity and my baby is only 9 weeks old so only includes things that are in places I think I'd be able to get to (I'm in the Village), are drop in (I'm not feeling able to commit to much at the moment) and things that are free or have a nominal charge (maternity pay sucks). It is by no means comprehensive and is subject to the whims of places that run such sessions so subject to change.

I also have not been to many so cannot comment on the quality of them all. I might drop in some reviews as I go along.

Please comment or contact me if there's anything you think should be added or I'd there are any awesome classes or sessions that you think are worth paying or travelling a bit further for.

TTO stands for term time only so watch out for school holidays if you have no school aged children.

1st and 3rd weeks - 9.15 - 11.15 - Parent and Toddler Drop in - Chapel End Early Years
10 - 11 - Music and Movement (18 months+) - Wood Street Library
10 - 12 - Play Session (Under 5’s) - £2.50 - Toy Library
TTO - 10.15 - 11 - Rhyme Time (Under 5) - £1 - Barclay Centre
10.30 - 11 - Sing and Rhyme (0-3) - Walthamstow Central Library
10.30 - 11.15 - Imagination Library (over 1’s) - Higham Hill Library
TTO - 11 - 11.45 - Wriggly Rhythms - £2 per Family - Salvation Army
TTO - 1 - 2.30 - Messy Play (Under 5) - £1 - Barclay Centre
TTO - 1.15 - 3 - Parent and Toddler Drop-in - £1.50 - Lloyd Park Centre (Educational Psychologist and Dietitian Drop ins check for dates)

9.30 - 11.15 - Stay and Play (Under 5) - £1 - Barclay Centre
9.30 - 11.30 - Welcome Meeting - Woodside Children’s Centre
TTO - 9.30 - 11.30 - Tanz Toddlers - £2.50 - The Limes
TTO - 9.45-11.15 - Childminder and Parent Group(Under 5’s)-£1- St Gabriel’s Church, E17 3JF
TTO - 10 - 11 - Family Fitness - £2.50 per adult - Salvation Army
10 - 12 - Play Session (Under 5’s) - £2.50 - Toy Library
Feb-Aug 10 - 12 - Play Bus (6 months+) - The Drive E17 3BN
TTO - 10 - 12 - You and Your New Baby Drop-in - £1.50 - Lloyd Park Centre
TTO - 10.30 - 11 - Tuesday Tots - Walthamstow Central Library
TTO - 1.15 - 2.15 - New Parents Group (Under 4months) - £1 - Church Hill Children’s Centre
1.30 - 3.30 - Play Session (Under 18 months) - Toy Library
1.15 - 3 - Grow Wild - Outdoor Play Session - Lloyd Park Centre

9.15 - 11.15 - Stay and Play (Under 5’s) - £1 - Woodside Children’s Centre
10 - 10.30 - Sing and Rhyme (0-3) - Walthamstow Central Library
10 - 12 - Play Session (Under 5’s) - £2.50 - Toy Library
TTO - 10.30 - 11.30 - New Parents Group (Under 4 months) - £1 - Barclay Centre
TTO - 10.30 - 12 - Tiny Movers (Under 18 months) - £1 - Barclay Centre
11.30 - 12 - Sing and Rhyme (0-3) - Walthamstow Central Library
TTO - 1.15 - 3 - Parent and Toddler Drop-in - £1.50 - Lloyd Park Centre
1.30 - 3.30 - Play Session (Under 18 months) - £2.50 - Toy Library
5.30 - 7 - Father’s Group (Under 5’s) - £1 - Soul Project

9.15 - 11 - Parent and Toddler - £1.50 - Chapel End Early Years
9.30 - 11.15 - Stay and Play (Under 5) - £1 - Barclay Centre
TTO - 9.30 - 11.30 - Tanz Toddlers - £2.50 - The Limes
9.30 - 11.30 - Parent and Toddler - £1 - Salvation Army
10 - 11.30 - Stay and Play (16months+) - £1 - Church Hill Children’s Centre
10 - 12 - Play Session (Under 5’s) - £2.50 - Toy Library
2nd of the month - 10 - 12.30 - Creative Kids (booking essential) - William Morris Gallery
TTO - 10.30 - 11 - Thursday Tots - Walthamstow Central Library
8 - 9 - Family Fitness - £2.50 - Adults only - Salvation Army

9.15 - 10.45 - Kidoodle Creative Art - £1.50 - Chapel End Early Years
9.15 - 11.15 - Stay and (Messy) Play (Under 5’s) - £1 - Woodside Children’s Centre
10 - 12 - Play Session (Under 5’s) - £2.50 - Toy Library
10.15 - 10.45 - Rhyme Time (Under 5’s) - Wood Street Library
10.30 - 11 - Baby Bounce and Rhyme - Walthamstow Central Library
10.30 - 11.15 - Sing-a-long - Higham Hill Library
11 - 11.30 - Rhyme Time (Under 5’s) - Wood Street Library
1.30 - 3 - Stay and Play (Tiny Movers) (0-18 months) - £1 - Woodside Children’s Centre
1.30 - 3 - Stay and Play (Under 1’s) - £1 - Church Hill Children’s Centre

Last of the Month - 10 - 12 - Dad’s Club - Lloyd Park Centre
TTO - 10.30 - 11 - Saturday Tots - Walthamstow Central Library
10 - 12 - Play Session (Under 5’s) - £2.50 - Toy Library (Monthly German and Spanish speaking sessions)

10.30 - 11 -  Baby Bounce and Rhyme (0-3) - Walthamstow Central Library

Thursday, 3 April 2014

My Most Complicated Project to Date

Meet Fergus! 
My longest work in progress.  Already 10 months in and a whole lifetime to go.
Born on January 31st and totally super cuddly.

Hope to be back soon.

Gratuitous baby pic ;)

Friday, 8 November 2013

Quilt Project Round Up

About a month ago I finished the quilt!!  Woohoo.  We are trying to get it displayed in the local area at the moment.  Fingers crossed folks.

This also ticks off one of my 101 in 1001 challenge tasks - Make a quilt.  Does this count?  I'm sure it must.

 Being in a library, books were the obvious subject choice.

Both singular


and an entire bookshelf.

This is representative of the built up area.  The library is on a main road  so there were lots of buildings outside the window.  This square is a bit more colourful than them though.

A square of liquorice All Sorts fabric inspired a representation of the Waltham Forest council chamber.  I have't been there myself but I've been told it's quite representative, lol.

Lea Bridge Road, where the library is situated goes through Hackney Marshes and there is currently plans to build a camp site on a section of the marshes.  This was not a popular proposal with the group and this beautiful appliqué is both a homage to the marshes and a protest against the campsite.

Sorry, the little protest banner on the bottom of the square has fallen off, I'll sort it out and replace the picture when I have a chance.

The gentleman who made this square is originally from Pakistan, having lead a very interesting life as a diplomat in various countries across the world.  His family settled in East London, as his children had started school whilst he was working here.  He wanted to make something to show that he felt equally Pakistani and British and was proud of both his nations.

If you have not spent much (or any) time in London, you would be forgiven for thinking it a very urban city.  In fact it is but there are so many parks, public gardens and trees on the side of the street that it is also a very green and alive city.

These two very different park scapes, show how important these spaces are to the people who live here.

Finally, another nature related square.  Lea Bridge Road is in fact the road that leads to a bridge over the river Lea.  It's a lesser known river that has been mostly turned into a canal and runs down the east of the city to Regents Canal.

This is the river that I live on and these geese and swans are representing all the geese and swans that live on the river and wake me up in the summer, when I leave my window open, with their squawking.

It's very loud and there are many of them.

I think that covers the story behind all my squares, the ones not in this post can be found here.

I've loved doing this project and hope to get another underway soon.  Do you know a group that's interested in something like this?  Or any completed community quilts out there?  I'd love to see what others have done.

Sharing with some of these lovely people.
 Sunday - twiggstudios Show off Sunday, bedifferentactnormal's show and tell sundayniftythrifty Sundaydiy showoff's Project ParadeFlamingo Toes's Think Pink Linky

Friday, 1 November 2013

A Very Unseasonable Gift

From The Golden Adventures of A Very Dark Horse
I spied this great project months ago and thought it would be perfect for my sun-loving friend Heather.  I tried to make it from an old blanket but it really didn't work well and I put it on the back burner for a while.

October might seem a strange time to pick up a summer project but Heather is off to Australia for a month shortly so it seems a perfect early Christmas gift.

Front view
Here's my version.  I didn't follow the instructions exactly as fleece works a bit differently than towelling.  No fraying!!!  I love working with fleece and hate working with towelling as my poor sewing machine just can't cope with more than one layer of it.

Any hoo...

I chose a purple blanket from Ikea to adapt.  It's a great colour and I know Heather loves purple.  I pulled apart an old cushion to make the pillow part, it's much comfier than the cushion was.

I used this paisley pattern bias binding both for decoration but also support as I was concerned the fleece would stretch if too much was put in the pockets.

The outside pocket is plastic coated cotton and there is a secret inside pocket for phone, kindle, purse etc.

Back View

I think it's one of the prettiest things I've made in a while.  I do hope Heather likes it.  I won't see her for a couple of weeks but I'll be sure to let you know what she thinks.

Sharing with some of these lovely people.
 Sunday - twiggstudios Show off Sunday, bedifferentactnormal's show and tell sundayniftythrifty Sundaydiy showoff's Project ParadeFlamingo Toes's Think Pink Linky

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Dinner at the Ritz

One of the things on my 101 in 1001 list was to have afternoon tea at the Ritz.  My Mum was looking at my list and decided to take me for my birthday.  Thanks Mum.

They have a strict dress code (especially for men) so we all got dressed up and headed down on the tube.

Our booking was at 7.30 so although it was afternoon tea food it was very much dinner time.

Getting excited ....
The dining room was spectacular.  It didn't really feel like a real place.  Almost like some kind of grown up Disney Land.

 And the food divine and unlimited.  I definitely made the most of the yummy cakes. I think the chocolate one on the bottom left there was my favourite.

It was a lovely birthday/Christmas/Wedding anniversary evening out.   

Doesn't Colin look dapper.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Sock Cat Workshop!!

I am doing a How to Make a Sock Cat workshop at the Barbican (it's a humongous theatre and arts complex in the City of London) with Trade School as part of Hack the Barbican.  It's this Thursday at 6.30.

It's quite an event with creative types from all backgrounds and art types doing performances, interactive installations and workshops.  Trade School is a pretty amazing idea.  It's an organisation that aims to share skills and learning through a barter system rather than a money lead one.

This is what they say about themselves.

"Trade School is an open learning space that runs on barter. Anyone can teach something they are skilled at, or passionate about. Pay for class with a barter item (like food, supplies, or advice) that your teacher requests."

If you want to come to the workshop or know someone who might you can sign up on the Trade School website, here.

If you are not able to come to the workshop but would love to make a Sock Cat, you can find my tutorial here.

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