Look within the flower

The last few weeks have been very busy with Basketball commitments but social media has helped me keep in touch with people and what is going on in the creative/craft world.


Here in the UK we have four days to celebrate the silver jubilee of our monarch.  This for me means time to rest, craft and get advertising my networking event “Look within the flower”.  I think collaborations are so important and so I want to share this through networking.  


I do feel blessed to have such opportunities in my life and with my new event I have been blessed that Rebecca from The Creative Careers Coach is going to talk about collaborations.  The blessings continue onto the venue Six Eight Kafe in Birmingham City Centre, who make amazing tea and coffee.


So if you are available on 13th June 2012 from 6pm do buy yourself a ticket and get networking, you never know who you can help and who can help you.

 
If you haven’t visited my website please do so it will give some background to how the name of the business evolved. 

 

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The power of social media

Many moons ago when I was first told about Facebook I never imagined the impact social media would have on me and my crafting.


I think it has a justifiable place in society but some people share too much information on themselves.  They also hide behind social media to be horrible to others.


Over two years ago I joined Twitter and I haven’t looked back.  I have been very blessed.  I started making a sock yarn blanket and tweeted if anyone had any spare yarn to contribute to the insanity that is a sock yarn blanket. A lovely lady from the South East sent me some yarn, just because I asked.  I also met a lady based in Liverpool at a yarn show in Birmingham.


There has been lots of information I have gathered from Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook over the years and been able gain some valuable opportunities.
I wanted to learn more about starting a business and what it entails.  Also I wanted to keep up with what is going on in the world of crafting, Basketball and keep in touch with people.


I happened across @Bhamsbc on Twitter, they were advertising business development courses which were free.  So I made further enquiries and I was signed up for 6 weeks. The Birmingham Small Business Centre are a collective of small business owners who are inspirational. They have had good and bad times in business and are not afraid to share their knowledge and experiences.
Through this course I have met some lovely small business owners who I am keeping in contact with via social media.


I have also managed to reach people all over the world who, are interested in what I am making, saying and feeling. I can’t always see why people want to follow me but I think that’s due to a lack of confidence, but over 800 followers don’t see that.

 

 

A colourful year – Part 2

At the beginning of last month I wrote about a colour challenge.  Below is my April project a yellow cushion cover.  I didn’t use a pattern, just used my creativity and made it up.


 
I am really happy with the finished item and it’s really comfortable.  
 
As it’s Bank holiday Monday I have been inspired to start May’s colour challenge, which is lime green.
 
I have decided to cover some beads with fabric.  The fabric was given to me by my mum who goes to sewing classes and when I asked for scraps this was amongst them.
Then after having a Twitter conversation with a friend I found a tutorial on how to cover beads.
 
I have cut my strips and managed to cover one bead so far, only nine more to go.
 
 

Friday 13th – unlucky for some

I don’t think I am particularly superstitious.  Yesterday was Friday 13th April and whilst at the day job I found out historically Fridays and the number 13 were not linked.  They both seen as unlucky in their own right.


As for me, I have been blessed and lucky by the crafting situations that have taken place so far in 2012.  When talking via social media I have been able to get back in touch with an ex colleague. She is really nice and has become an avid knitter.  So when I posted some of my beaded stitch markers she loved them.





Back to Friday 13th, my ex colleague has become my first online customer.  It has also put my website worries to rest.  I don’t think I have mentioned that I am building the site myself, learning html along the way.  So I would say that was lucky.





I had a good night out with some lovely people and met some new people.  A bloke who makes his own gluten free pasta was my highlight oh, and the birthday girl liked her gift.  I think I have been lucky to meet some really nice like minded who share being creative.

A Good Friday

Happy holidays everyone.


I arranged to meet up with a crafting friend and go to a little knitting shop in North London called Nest.



My friend had told me about this shop before Christmas and fell in love with it instantly.  The shop stocks lots of beautiful yarns like Malabrigo, Rico, Drops, and Natural Dye Studio.  They stock many other brands with something to suit everyone’s pocket.


I didn’t realise it was a knitting group day so we decided we would gatecrash or attend.  I’ve had my heart set on some Drops Alpaca Silk for a project I want to start and got the colour I wanted, hooray.  I also got some red bias binding and Eucalan.



Then some of the regulars started arrive and everyone was nice.  I even got some compliments about my Holden Shawlette. I have been very good and only took my socks to knit. Again people liked the yarn I used for my socks.



Sometimes you can forget there are nice people and retailers in the world but Amy and her husband are lovely, friendly people.  They also serve lovely tea and cake.  I would recommend this shop to any discerning yarn buyers to visit.



A colourful year

Three weeks ago I read another blog entitled Mellow Yellow by a really nice lady who designs beautiful sock patterns.  As I replied to Coop knit’s tweet I never imagined how important colour would become this year. 


Some of the nice people who I knit with came up with the idea of “The year of colour”.  Originally it was supposed to be just the craft of knitting but has now become multi crafts where each month a new handmade item will be created in that month’s colour.

April’s colour is yellow and some lovely yellow yarn has been purchased and cast on.  Wanting to be different I decided to make a sewn item or a piece of jewellery, then a light bulb came on in my head. I looked through my stash of yarn, beads & material and remembered the mass of yellow material I bought over ten years ago and just can’t throw away.  This purse has a small amount of my yellow material to line it.

Saol Photography


I had already started piecing together some Amy Butler material squares that I had won on Ebay.

The idea was to frame the squares with yellow material and then cut another piece to then make a cushion.  Tonight I have managed to get the first half of the April yellow cushion put together.


I will blog once the cushion is finished and hopefully I will be able to share that talents of the people who spend their time with me. As I yawn and think about going to sleep I remember my sexy vesty tank top.  This was the first adult garment I ever finished knitting & it fits me.




A Different Weekend

During September and May of every year for more years than I can remember I would spend my weekends officiating Basketball games.  This has led to me being selected to officiate at the Paralympics in my home town of London, I am so honoured, excited and nervous.  So when I get asked what I am doing at the weekend my answer is usually “Basketball”.


Not this weekend, I was lucky enough to win two tickets to the Fashion Embroidery & Stitch, Hobbycrafts, and Sewing for Pleasure shows at the NEC courtesy of Making Magazine on Facebook.



I posted on my Facebook page if anyone wanted to come with me & the lovely PaisleyImmy came back first. After tweeting our excitement off we went to the NEC.


These shows are like a crafters sweetshop and the two of us were extremely excited big kids.  After attending a Business Development Workshop at the Birmingham Small Business Centre, I got organised and wrote a list of the stands I wanted to visit and specific items I needed. Some of my friends and creative peers will be proud to know I stuck to my lists.


I got some lovely fabric and beads and have already made a pair of earrings and a necklace.


I have made this necklace for myself and the earrings are for a friend.  I will be getting some more of these beads as I think they are pretty and each one is not the exactly the same.

The fabric is for some project bags

 

The Russian dolls fabric wasn’t from the shows but from Fibre Flurry in Hall Green.  As the weather this weekend has been glorious I thought I would get outside to top up my vitamin D and take some photos of my show stash.

I Went to the Peace Gardens
I hopefully took some good pictures as a fantastic photographer told me lighting is so important.  The Peace Gardens are a little haven in the middle of Birmingham and have given me some lovely backdrops to capture my creativity.


Happy Mothers Day

This morning I’m sat at the side of a Basketball court thinking of my mum and all the mothers I know across the world. I have rung my mum who has opened her card and gift and with great excitement. She then proceeded to ask me did I make the card to which I told her yes. She loved the card and wants to take it to her sewing class to show it off. “If people like it will you make some more? They will pay you!”. Too right they will was what I was thinking along with my mum has just entered into my marketing and sales plan without even being asked.

I was more excited by what I’d put in a little white gift box. She opened it whilst I waited on the phone and yet more excitement came from her. “They are lovely, I will wear them to church this morning.” Then she realised the earrings were made from a bracelet she wanted me to fix for her. She did ask where the bracelet was. I told her the earrings were just a taster and the bracelet was on it’s way. When I told a crafting friend what I planned to do they said “That is like giving someone the top half of a finger and not the rest of the hand. ”
Upcycling is really taking off and thats how I see this Mothers day gift to be.

As I watch two women’s teams play Basketball I think to myself which of them will become mothers or masters of industry or both? Back to the knitting, Happy Mothers Day.

Knitting Therapy

Yesterday was Brum Knit Night at Cafe Blend.  It takes place every second and fourth Wednesday of the month.

I have been really grateful for this and the MAC meet-up, especially over the last three weeks.  The others that attend are unique, friendly, funny and talented.  They have also been my focus group when asking crafters their opinion on building my website etc.  They also amuse me when I go on about Basketball & have lived through my Olympic/Paralympic journey.

I always get an honest answer when I ask something craft or non-craft related and that is really appreciated.  One of my knitting resolutions this year is to knit and complete a pair of adult socks.  I thought I was making progress with the sock I had started on numerous occasions oh, how wrong was I?

As you can see in this picture above, it looks like a sock but can you spot the error?  Yes there is no gusset in it and I couldn’t work out what was missing until the experience of Brum Knit Night pointed it out.

I have managed to complete a pair of socks, they just don’t fit or the baby they were made for.  So the adult sock was frogged, there is something therapeutic about ripping all those stitches out but also sad.  But I am trying not to dwell on things that are sad which sometimes is easier said than done.

Again the experience of Brum Knit Night made suggestions of what kind of sock I could knit, toe-up, cuff-down, patterned and I settled with a plain sock.  This will be an excellent travelling project and hope it will grow as I hope I will when writing these blogs.

This is my first blog in two years, so thanks for reading this.



Wake up and smell the coffee

 

After a week of being overwhelmed I have taken a day off. This has been down to mainly positive things happening, BTW I don't like the smell of coffee!

Lets start at the beginning where I went off to Fibre Flurry with knitting pals from London. We went off to Kings Norton and my lack of direction came into force and we missed the bus stop, luckily pigeon and the gang were understanding. Once we got inside this lovely 
building there was so much to look at, touch and buy. I had one thing to buy and that was yarn for a hat for my mum. I was given specific colour choices of cream, navy or grey my mum doesn't do black partly for cultural reasons and it's relationship with death. I finally came away with a silk/merino grey sparkly skein from Fyberspates. I also got some other stuff from Fyberspates and will more than likely buy from them again. 
 
I also broke my Knitpro cherry and got my first double pointed needles, this meant or was just a good excuse to buy some sock yarn. I got this from Martina who I've been following on twitter and am using her sock pattern, how weird? I got to meet other tweeters and Ravelry people, everyone was friendly as well as kind about my knitting. 
After a day of yarn (some fabric) we went off to Stitch Perfect you guessed it a yarn shop in the Custard factory. The owner Alice is really nice and accommodating, she liked my beaded stitch markers so I might be able to sell them through her shop. Along with my project bags OMG people like what I'm making and doing!
 
 

As the week went on I got lots of great feedback on the "poppybead identity", I can't thank Luke enough for his illustrations which are delicate and beautiful.  Then Mr F has been ever so helpful regarding the setting up of my website. There is many a pint with your name on:-).  By the end of the week I was totally overwhelmed the kindness of others, this has made me wake up and smell the coffee. To know not everyone you come across is going to like you but appreciate the ones who do.

A few mentions Kenda, Socrates, Plato, Liz, Anne-Marie from Neros.  Jose, Al and Terry.   Luke, Steve, A Crafty Beer, Debs, Pam & Emma.