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We have moved!

3 Aug

Hello! Just a quick note to say my blog has now moved over to makethriftlondon.co.uk/blog so everything is in one place and I’m stepping up my blogging game, so you can expect a lot more creative stuff including the return of Mending Monday (once a month), some furniture upcycling posts, sewing tips, crafty DIYs and more. See you over there and thanks for following, Daisy x

A Sewing Time Capsule: Part One

7 Jun

Sewing Time CapsuleIf you follow me on instagram or Facebook you may have seen me post a photo this week of my Jones’ sewing machine. I’ve got a weakness for vintage sewing machines and at last count own 7 vintage or antique metal sewing machines which I have acquired from various places over the last 4 or 5 years. Oops. This Jones Family CS model E was one I spotted a couple of years ago at the Friday Flea market on Portobello Road. A lot of the traders on Friday have stock straight from house clearances and don’t always know exactly what they have, so it really is a goldmine for finding wonderful treasures. This sewing machine was no exception.

When I got it home, I opened the carry case it came in which, I forgot to mention, on the way home popped open and the machine almost fell out! It must weigh about 10kg and so I’m not sure the case is original because its very light and flimsy. Any how, it made it back without damage and when I unpacked it I was thrilled to find at the bottom of the box, a selection of fabrics, a half finished dress and pattern instructions and a few other paper bits. I was very excited and popped everything into a carrier bag and put it in my studio to look at properly later…and then I forgotten about it. If you’ve seen my studio you will understand how easily this can happen. After trying it once, the sewing machine has been sitting on display on the bookshelf in my studio ever since.

I’m pleased to say, my studio has recently undergone a huge clear out (well 3 huge clear outs in the last 6 months) and most recently, we moved everything round so the space make more sense and I’ve started rediscovering all the awesome things I’ve rescued over the years.

So, this brings me back to the box. There was a lot of interest in this sewing machine’s contents on instagram and I knew it would be perfect to document on here. It seems like the previous owner either forgot about it or something happened so they didn’t manage to finish the dress and having found that bag of contents and had a more thorough look, there were many interesting pieces to the puzzle..

Here are the contents in order of photos: A selection of fabrics including some stripy deck chair canvas and some mint green lining, an almost completed Clothkits Style 596 Dress (from a kit) and instructions, a Clothkits reorder form and the original envelope date stamped 28 March 1980 and labels, 2 Simplicity 8623 Girl’s sleeve pattern pieces, 2 newspaper traced bodice pattern pieces, a label from a step pump with instructions (random,) a Smiths Bros Tooting paper bag and perhaps the most interesting and revealing piece of the time capsule: a typed letter which appears to be more of rambling nonsense than actually meant for someone to read but it tells us a lot. Read on below, to find out what it says..

Sewing Time Capsule Contents

Sewing Time Capsule Fabrics

Sewing Time Capsule DressClothkits Pack

Patterns

Stuff

Letter

Letter reads (as typed):

sweet nice darling daughter that is what i amhe knew every thing address glad i haven’t got a roast dinner to do. slave come and have a cup of tea I’ve made its in the kitchen its two oclock and news time on radio two -pause in speech- its got marks all ready yes idont particularly whant the picture in there no. are you going to stick it on with blue tack-this is reported speech on the 7.i0.79 `at1 oclock in the paskes house hold in grove on the old side as has been for the last 12 years and is likely to be for many more years to come except that the number in the house is fluctuating as nicholas has gone to manchester university to study history and economics carol hopefully is leaving next year to teacher training college todo a Bed together with these hands that are typing this nonsense but for now she m st go and study little dorrit by dickens or else she wont be considered even for college-bye for now.

The rest is definitely non-sense. As is the other page.

I’m not quite sure whether this was more of a diary entry or an actual letter to someone documenting the day. Either way, I love that the date and time have been recorded..and it gives us a little insight into life at the time like snapshot on this day.

I’ll share more on the actual sewing machine and dress in part two. I plan to complete the dress..hopefully on the Jones machine..I need to buy some needles for it first. It takes rounded shank needles so I’ll need to find some. I did have a go on it the other day. So I’ll tell you about it in my next post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this small insight into this sewing machine’s story. I love old things because of the history behind them and I’m always fascinated by any details I can find out about the items past or the previous owner(s).

Would you be interested in me documenting more of my finds? Have you found anything with an interesting story to tell?

Thanks for reading,

Daisy x

Craftivism: How you can make a difference through craft

10 Apr

 

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Have you ever thought about crafting for a cause? I first met Sarah Corbett (founder of the Craftivist Collective) a couple of years ago when I attended one of her workshops, purely by chance, at the BUST Craftacular Christmas fair in 2011. I’d never heard of Craftivism and I was immediately drawn in by her passion and enthusiasm and was intrigued about the idea of protesting for a positive change through craft.

You may, yourself, be wondering what Craftivism is. In a nutshell, it simply means ‘activism through craft’. But I prefer the definition below (taken from the Craftivist Collective website.)

Craftivism is a form of ‘slow activism’, a reflective action, which changes the participant as much as it does the world. It is passionate but polite, provocative but patient, drawing people to engage in discussion and debate rather than forcing it down people’s throat. Unlike some of the more traditional, extrovert forms of activism, craftivism is quietly beautiful, it is individual and it is effective.

I’m excited to annouce that Sarah is holding her popular Protest Banner making workshop with us at the Handmade by You Studio at Alfies Antique Market at the end of the month which, will give you the opportunity to meet her yourself and take part in your own little craftivism project. You can find out more about the workshop here.

To give you a little more of an insight into Craftivism, I took the opportunity to ask Sarah a few questions about it.

Why did you start up the Craftivist Collective?

I started the Collective because people around the world wanted to join in my Craftivism projects and wanted support such as our Craftivism kits, products, workshops and other services. 

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How long have you been a Craftivist?

Since August 2008 when I did my first ever Craftivism project. 

Can anyone become a Craftivist?

Absolutely! I learnt how to craft through YouTube and never went to art school, so if I can do it, so can you. Plus all of our projects are accessible to anyone (super-skilled crafters can embellish them with their skills, newbies can do all of our projects) and we have instructional videos and sheets in our kits.Plus we do workshops, talks and joint projects, so there is no excuse! ;p

How can Craftivism make a difference in your local area?

We have different projects to cater for different elements of craftivism: personal reflection on global issues and our role in it, making craftivism pieces to build relationships with influential local people such as politicians and journalists as well as more street art projects for global awareness. For your local area you could make one of our Don’t Blow It hankies to get to know your local MP or Councillor and find out how you can work together on local issues & our Craftivist Footprint kits are a great start to think about what you can do locally and globally to make the world a better place such as think about what you are buying, where you are buying stuff, if you are treating people well in your local area etc. 

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Which Craftivism Campaign that you’ve led had the most impact and how did it make a difference where other forms of activism may not have?

Because we focus on ‘slow activism’ where people can meditate on their personal actions, global issues and how they can be part of the change they wish to see in the world, often it’s hard to see clearly what our successes are but I get emails every day from people saying how beneficial our kits and projects are to engage or re-engage them with fighting for a better world and their role within the world. That’s what keeps me going & inspires me daily. I see our success in helping people understand global injustices better, inspiring them to challenge structures of injustice, making small changes in their every day life that have big repercussions such as buying more ethical products, meeting their local politician & joining a campaign group. 

Personally as a craftivist, craftivism helped me succeed in becoming a better campaigner, engaging with my local MP in a more effective way than I have done in the past without using craft. 

Our work is about supporting and encouraging personal positive changes and how people should have activism threaded through everything they do to be their best selves and help fulfil the world’s potential to be an awesome place for everyone on it and the planet. 

Also craftivism is also a great tool to engage people more deeply in global issues that I don’t think other forms of activism have. As an activist, I always felt that I was asking people to come to activism activities rather than reaching out to people where they are. My mini protest banners were put out to engage people where they were and in a non-threatening, respectful and thought-provoking way, catching the attention of passers-by without forcing our views on them. They are mini because I believe that small and beautiful pieces can often be more powerful than big and brash messages. Nowadays we are all bombarded with information from every angle, what to buy, what to watch and including what to campaign on. We’ve all become pretty good at blocking it all out, ignoring the billboards, putting flyers from our post box in the bin before even looking at them. Shock tactics can pull at the heartstrings for a short time but may only engage us in a transactional way, not a transformative way. How do we engage people in injustice issues when they are not exactly happy messages and sometimes they are even deeply challenging our way of life, suggesting what we do might actually be harming others? 

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Craftivist mini protest banners are hung in a place relevant to the message (such as outside an unethical shop, in a banking district or like this image where gangs hang out] but always off eye level so people don’t feel preached at, feel more excited that they have found this little delicate creation someone has taken time to do but without doing it for fame or fortune. My hope was that people would find them, be provoked by the slogans, facts, questions stitched on them with love, maybe go on the blog for more info on what it’s about and click on the hyperlinks for a campaign action or more info on the issue and share it on social media or in the pub or cafe with their friends. I believe that this valuing of something small and beautiful can help engage some people in a deeper, more long-lasting waythan shouting at people with a giant banner. Link that to our messages being hopeful, positive, provocative and either statements, facts, or questions, never telling people what to do, it all can mean people want to share it and engage with it in their own way and in their own time, and we all know that if a friend shares something (rather than a faceless organisation) the receiver is more likely to connect with it. This has happened and people even ask for prints of the photographs taken to give to their friends and others to engage them in a loving thoughtful way with their role in society. One person asked for a print for her banker friend who then emailed her saying it caused a great conversation between him and his wife on New Year’s Day. 

What manifesto do you live by?

The Craftivist Collective manifesto is: “To expose the scandal of global poverty and human rights injustices through the power of craft and public art.”

I stitched the Dalai Lama’s quote on my phone case as a constant reminder to strive to be the best good global citizen I can be : “If you can, help others. If you can’t do that at least don’t harm them”

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Why should someone come along to your workshop?

It will give you a really good structured overview of how to do effective craftivism, go through the different benefits and how you can use different projects for different purposes. There will be different parts of the workshop to give you a taster of the different ways you can do craftivism. Plus you will get to spend an evening, meeting lovely, like minded people while you craft with a cup of tea and chilled out music 🙂

Make your own Mini Protest Banner with Sarah at her workshop on Tuesday 29th April from 6.30pm in Marylebone. It costs just £18. Book your place here.

To find out more about the Craftivist Collective and their work, please visit http://craftivist-collective.com/

Photo Credits: Use of photos with thanks to the Craftivist Collective and photographers Carl Byron Batson (photo of Sarah Corbett) Robin Prime (Protest Banner) other photographers undisclosed.

 

 

Saying goodbye to 2013 and my goals for 2014

2 Jan

Happy New Year! At the start of the year everyone’s on a bit of a come down from the Christmas festivities as we all return to work. But January is a great time to look at our lives, review the last 12 months and think about what we could do to make the New Year a better one.

I always feel reflective at the end of the year as I think about the highs (and the lows.) I consider what I’ve learnt about myself and what I want to achieve in the coming months.

Whether it’s in your personal life or at work, setting goals (realistic ones) and a couple of long-term goals is a positive way to start the year and it always helps gather some perspective.

As you may know I’ve been super lucky to spend this Christmas in Thailand with my brother, his wife and kids who live in Shanghai. I’m still there now and it was great to wake up on New Year’s Day by the beach in the sunshine. I took a walk along the beach thinking about what I wanted to write in this blog post. There’s something about hearing the waves crashing, looking out across the horizon and breathing in the sea air, that always gives me this feeling of escapism. It’s so calming; I feel relaxed and carefree.

Thailand Thailand Thailand Thailand Thailand

2013 wasn’t an easy year for me but facing my battles with myself helped me overcome the worst of my struggle with depression. My year ended on a high and I can honestly say I haven’t felt this sure about the future and myself maybe ever.

This time last year I was still recovering from depression. But I was on the right track having just started working at Oliver Bonas. I was getting into a routine again; meeting new people every day and being part of a lovely team. It felt good and helped me rebuild my confidence. Talking about my business plans again also helped me realise I still wanted to pursue a career in craft and the encouragement of these new friends I had made gave me a push to get the ball rolling again.

I realised in 2013 that getting better and moving forward isn’t an overnight process and you can’t rush it. I was really hard on myself for not really doing much for my business in the first 6 months of the year and I saw this as not moving forward but actually, it wasn’t what I’d done but more of the change I’d made mentally and emotionally that was actually a great achievement. Putting to much pressure on myself was what drove me to that dark place initially, so taking things slowly helped me in a sense, to ‘repair’ myself, in rebuilding my confidence and learning how to enjoy socialising again. Ultimately, this is what helped me take the scary step to recommence running workshops and begin moving forward with my business plans.

It was a great confidence boost when I was asked by Alice to go into business together. It’s a reassuring feeling when someone else believes in you. Knowing they have enough confidence in you and that they like what you’re doing so much that they want to share and be a part of what you’re trying to achieve, gave me so much self belief. It just takes one person to believe in you to help you believe in yourself. Without Alice taking a leap of faith in me, I’m not sure where my life would have lead at this point. But I’m so glad I said yes and where I am now.

I think this also gave me the confidence to make the life changing decision of breaking up with my fiancé. It’s hard to admit when a relationship you’ve invested 6 plus years into wasn’t going to work out. But I’d known for a long time that we weren’t in a happy place anymore. I just wasn’t confident enough to make the decision we both needed to make. I was so worried about who I’d let down and what people would think. Gaining that confidence in myself, I finally realised that I didn’t have to settle; sometimes things don’t work out and it’s ok to change your mind. Most of all, I believed I deserved to be happy.

Going through this break up made me realise what great friends I have. They were so supportive, met with me, talked things through and really were there for me. You never know how good a friend someone really is until you’re in trouble and I think leaning on my friends this time round really felt good. The people that know you best will always be there for you.

Meeting the guy who has become the love of my life (although I didn’t know it at the time) was a big turning point for me. Being around someone who made me laugh and feel good about myself rather than down in the dumps made me realise what I was missing in my life. How could I marry someone who didn’t make me happy? Sometimes you meet that special person who changes your life when you least expect it. Of course I told myself, “It isn’t the right time. If I wasn’t already in a relationship…” But when you feel down every day and this one special person makes you feel good in a second, you realise that you can’t let them walk away. Next to saying yes to Alice, this was the best decision I’ve made and I haven’t looked back.

My new love

Social media wise, instagram has been my main sharing platform in 2013. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my photos with the instagram community. It’s so lovely to speak to like minded people and I’ve even met a handful of those in real life (and they’re just as lovely.) If you haven’t joined I urge you to give it a try. When you share a common interest there’s loads to talk about and taking photos is such a big part of my life.

Instagram

So, looking ahead to 2014. Some things I loved doing last year and I want to do more:

Waking up early. Sometimes I’m not a morning person but once I get into a routine of waking up early. I love it. Not having to rush around, taking time to have breakfast and chill for a bit puts me in a good mood, ready to start the day.

Getting outside early in the morning. Not because I need to be somewhere but just to enjoy the quiet and some reflective time; even if it’s just in the garden to have breakfast or a walk to the park.

Cycling. To the park, or cycling anywhere but not because I need to be there, just to get out (early mornings are best.)

Cycling to the park

Learning a new craft. Of course I love craft, it’s what I enjoy and what I do and discovering and learning new skills and techniques are what drives my creativity. Experimenting with silver clay in a workshop in Cambridge with Emma and being taught to weave a wreath with Val in a small village close by were two craft highlights for me.

Learning to crotchet. I’ve tried knitting and I find it time consuming and complicated. I love that if you make a mistake in sewing you can just unpick it and start again. Do it in knitting and you could have lost a few hours, or worse, may need to start over. I bought a ‘Learn to Crotchet’ kit from the uber talented crotchet expert Sewfie in November but I couldn’t get on with it. I was meant to bring it with me on holiday but forgot. I’ll try and look at it again when I get back. But I think I learn best from doing and being shown something rather than reading it in a book. Everyone learns differently after all.

Wreath Silver clay bracelet

Writing real letters. I joined envelope club near the end of the year after I’d seen Emily posting on instagram about it. It’s an simple exchange of an envelope with low cost little bits and a letter.  You’re given a different address once a month. I’ve also received a couple of letters/penpal exchanges through people on instagram. I haven’t written as many letters as I would have liked so my goal for 2014 is to write more, get organised and speed up my replies.

Taking time out. Whether it’s to do some craft for me, just going to the park or having a proper day off just doing nothing, I realised I need to give myself time off; real days off or I get stressed and overwhelmed and sometimes this leads to a mini-break down. When you run your own business there’s always an email to reply to, a tweet or a message to answer. I’m going to try and take 2 days off a week where I don’t check my emails or tweets or Facebook and just enjoy time out.

Letting go. I love the phrase, “Change the things you can and let go of the things you can’t.” This is something I’ve tried to do and want to do more. Why dwell on things we can’t change? It makes perfect sense. Just let it go.

Cooking more. I love cooking. When I was depressed I lost all passion. I didn’t cook, I didn’t bake, I didn’t experiment with food. I love food and cooking is a great exercise. Like any craft, you put things together and produce something, which hopefully tastes good and you enjoy at the end of it, which gives a sense of achievement. Iyoub (my boyfriend) loves cooking too, so I’m going to make an effort to make time for us to cook together often.

Sharing my worries. Ok, sometimes I don’t feel like talking about my woes but it really is true, a problem shared is a problem halved. Talking about my depression was instrumental in me getting better and it was other people talking about theirs that reassured me it was ok to talk about my own experience.

Things I didn’t do which I want to try this year:

Be a veggie for a day. I took part in The Exchange by artist Claire Toomey at the Foundling Museum when Marie AKA @ScribbleYoga invited me to go with her. I still haven’t officially had my ‘become a vegetarian for a day’ day yet so this is on my list to do this January.

Read books. Although I started a couple, I didn’t finish reading a single book in 2013. I love reading but it takes me a while to get started and if I miss a few days I struggle to get back into it and often give up. I’m going to make an effort to read more. I have a few books lined up already.

Making all my Christmas presents. I want to make all my presents this year. Tough challenge and one I’ll have to start probably in June but I love a creative challenge and I love giving handmade.

Being more responsible with my expenditure. Some months I spend hardly any money and others I get my bank statement and almost have a mini heart attack. One PayPal purchase here and a lunch and dinner out there; it all adds up. I’m quite a careful spender in that I know how much money I have to spend and don’t go into my overdraft but I know if I track what I spend I could save lots of money. So I’m going to make a point of writing down everything I spend and also not being naughty and spending my own money on business expenses.

Travelling around more of the UK. Most of us immediately think of going overseas when you want to go on holiday (ok we have the great British weather to contend with) but we have so many amazing places in the UK; what’s a bit of wind and rain when you have the great outdoors, museums, landmarks, beautiful coastlines and the countryside? I want to explore our great country. Road trips are so fun and it will be a good challenge to find cheap train fares too!

Camber Sands

Writing happy things down. There were a lot of people last January talking about creating a memory jar. Whenever something happy happens, write it on a bit of paper and put it into a jar. The idea is, at the end of the year you’ll have a jar full of memories you can reminisce. I love this idea. I think I might do it in my diary instead though. Then next year I can look back and think. What nice things happened on this day/week/month last year?

I hope this has helped you reflect on your 2013 and think about your own 2014.

What was your best memory/decision/change in 2013? What are your goals, hopes and dreams for 2014?

Thanks for reading, love Daisy x

Renegade Craft Fair London 2013

17 Nov

So, if you didn’t already know it (where have you been if not?) last weekend, Renegade Craft Fair hit London for their third year in Shoreditch, at Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery.

RCF Wall

Just for those who have had their head in the non-craft clouds; RCF is America’s largest curated indie craft fair and has been going for 10 years since their launch in Chicago in 2003. They now host regular fairs across America spreading the word about the handmade community and providing a platform to display all the beauty it has to offer.

On Saturday 9th November 2013 I was up at 3am doing some last minute bits and bobs and we were loaded and set off at about 7.45am (later than planned) but we arrived in time for our loading slot. The Old Truman Brewery was alive with creatives building their stalls and rushing around to prepare for the doors to open at 11am.

SETUP

Below are a few pics from the people we spotted in the crazy of the set up. Zoe from Ladybird Like’s lovely stall before the magic happened and Kim from Finest Imaginary with her full set up sorted and whom I rushed over and said hello to but totally didn’t snap a pic of..  (thanks for the photo Kim.)

Ladybird Likes set up

Finest Imaginary

Make, Thrift London were lucky enough to be involved in one of a handful of crafty workshops on offer across the 2 days.

In line with the Christmas season and of course handmade, we decided to run a giftwrap printing workshop. Crafters were able to design and carve out their own stamp and then print their design onto brown paper or newspaper to create their own bespoke wrap for all those lovely handmade gifts they picked up. We didn’t want to charge a lot as we knew cash would be better spent on lovely handmade gifts so we offered it at a special bargain price of £6 per person.

Print Workshop

Drawing

Cutting

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Early birds Ellie from Pretty Much Penniless and Erica from I’m Being Erica stopped by to say hello on Saturday morning which was super lovely!! And after a slow start, while people eased into the fair, we were quickly at full capacity and taking bookings for the next hour! It was a bit manic and we definitely weren’t prepared for how busy we actually were but my trusty Make, Thrift Team were there to save the day and help get everyone’s craft onnn. Saturday’s dream team included myself, Anna and Iyoub.

Alongside our printing workshop we were also running a creative photo competition with our neighbours LookLook Photo Booths who were running a free booth across the weekend (a typical feature at Renegade.) The challenge was to turn a single piece of newspaper into an amazing prop, get your photo taken in the booth and upload it to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

The Make, Thrift Saturday Team decided to kick it off with a Movember theme. We of course got LOOKLOOK Kate to snap a few test poses (which actually came out better) and you can see our final print out.

BOOTH

With the help of the glamorous Booth Butler, Kate, people were really getting stuck into it, however, the uploading bit was quite long winded and a bit tempremental so although we had a lot of takers, not many people shared their pics. With this in mind, I have decided to extend the competition until this Sunday (19th Novmber) at Midnight. So if you came along and made a prop, please share your pics on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtags #looklookmakethrift and #renegegadecraftfair to be in with a chance of winning up to 4 places per entry on one of our January series of ‘Thrifty Makes’ workshops. Good luck! And I can’t wait to see more of the entries.  Our full workshop listings for January and a few new Christmas dates will be on the Handmade by You website by the end of the weekend!

Paper Challenge Prop Making

Aside from our workshop, there was a small selection of classes being run throughout the day by designer makers from Mollie Makes, A Alicia and the Amazings. All fab so do check them out!

It was so lovely to meet some of my instagram friends who also came to say hello. Please do remind me on Instagram what your names were as my brain was pretty much on overload over the weekend!

After the madness of day one I was gutted having not had the chance to peruse the vast (100+) stalls and the handmade treasures they had to offer as well as say hello to old friends and meet some of the crafty people I know through Twitter and Instagram. I had planned to join a group of makers for dinner in Brick Lane after the fair on Saturday but we were so shattered we headed home for a curry and a long sleep.

On day 2 we arrived refreshed and had a new assistant, the very crazy and animated Dilly. There were lots more wonderful creations from our workshop attendees. Here are a few of them. One family went with an Apple vs. Android theme which I thought was very creative.

Apple Xmas Wrap Android Robot Wrap Tiger Wrap

Wrap Washing Line

Being the last day, I made it my mission to make time to shop on Sunday and luckily, after a very rammed and busy morning (once again) from about 3pm there the pace slowed so I jumped at this perfect opportunity to go for a wander. I set myself a budget of £50 plus a few items I had already set my heart on before the fair so I headed first to my wonderful crafty friends and Etsy Craft Party hosts of the #SCP earlier in the year, good friends Rachel of Oh No Rachio and Harriet of Hello Harriet.

Hello Harriet and Oh No Rachio

Boy was their stall fancy!! Top points for professionalism and a modern and super clean, uber cool display. These girls know how to put on a show and I actually had to go on my tippy toes to even get a look in because they were soo busy! Pure admiration!!

Hello Harriet

Oh No Rachio Plants

I have followed and been a huge fan of Harriet’s kitty Illustrations for a while and had already decided I wanted some cattoos and a roll of gift wrap. I had also been wanting a phone case for a while but couldn’t decide which one. Then I saw her new designs and fell in love with angry kitty (see pic) and I absolutely love it!!

Hello Harriet Merch

I was also looking for a cacti to home in this little pot I found in a charity shop and I spotted this little guy at the back of Rachel’s awesome display of beautiful succulents. Trust me, I have seen the garden centre that is Rachel’s flat and she is a green fingered godess so you know you are buying quality not like the Homebase* succelents I felt like I was rescuing who had been neglected for weeks with no water (disclaimer* other neglected plants are available at various chain retailers!) Rachel was offering bespoke “while-u-wait” kits where you could choose your own cup (hand drawn on by her) and also your own succulent which she planted up for you there and then! Such a lovely idea and thee best personalised service EVER! They also come with a care leaflet (which sadly I lost in the chaos of the break down!) I have my eye on some custom mini cake stands which she is preparing for me for workshop treats (yes one has become some Rachel!) She also does lots of other awesome merch with her own bespoke writing and messages so do take a look!

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Another lovely craft friend I had to see was Zoe from Ladybird Likes. Once again, I have admired Zoe’s work for some time and I absolutely love everything her creative brain comes up with. I recently met up with her for a catch up over a bubble tea and ordered a bag full of her new pieces so, although I wanted more, I held back and just picked up some Christmas presents I had pre-ordered (sssh.) As per, her stall was gorgeous.

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She is also thee sweetest and most thoughtful friend ever and prepared little goodie bags for all her craft friends. So this was the contents of mine! YOU ROCK ZOE!! Having already kindly given me a pack of her awesome postcards before I shall be gifting these on (or might even add them to a competition prize! WATCH THIS SPACE!!) You can see one of the vintage poloroid necklaces I got in my large order from before which I photographed with my goody bag goodies.

Ladbybird Likes Goody Bag

An instagram friend I also wanted to see was The Fox in the Attic.  After posting a pic on instagram of a new “hello” brooch she had made, as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it to match my Hello Quiet Tiger “hello” brooch. Needless to say, they are now firm friends who chat away (with mainly {solely} hellos) on my collars or cardigans.

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It was super duper lovely to see the wonderfully funny and well turned out Carrie from the Made in the Shade days. I bought a beautiful old Singer from her and Clare when they were closing their shop and we have kept in touch through cyberspace ever since and finally met at the Craftivist Book Launch but only exchanged a few sentences so having the opportunity for a lovely natter and a giggle was ace! Sorry for the lack of photo. I will say she was wearing an amazing pair of retro trainers with neon pink tights and an awesome COS coat!!

Speaking of lovely friends, Natalie from Lens Obscura also popped down to see me and we spotted Davina Drummond (a craft guru we both admire highly-her blog The Making Home is full of amazing family friendly crafts) so of course, we rushed over to introduce ourselves (I say we, it was lead mainly by me) but immediately she was extremely lovely and we got straight into talking shrink plastic (not to mention her Liberty print lined Barbour jacket) and of course I took her over to see the wonderful Viktorija’s And Smile stall re: shrink plastic. Sadly V wasn’t there but we had a little browse of her stall. I am in love with her cute pandas and basically everything!! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my Cyprus souvenir tote bag she painted panda onto and which I now love dearly.

And Smile

Carrie was not the first person to mention a stall called I am Acrylic to me and I took the opportunity on my shopping break to go check out her stall. And wowzer they were not exaggerating! She had thee cutest set up with little miniature people and cactus and super sweet things everywhere. Needless to say I made a couple of purchases! The bird and the cheese. Just what I needed. Fell in love with the cheese board but I’m trying not to buy pretty things without function at the mo (who am I kidding??) Ruth was also super lovely and cut a chain for the cheese to a customer size for me! Another reason to buy handmade direct from the maker..service like nowhere else!

I am Acrylic

Acrylic

Acrylic

Im almost done, I know it has turned into a long one but I wanted to mention one of my favourite stalls run by two brother’s who came all the way from Minesotta in the States. Their brand is called Make Shift Accessories (YEP how cool is that) and they repurpose old rulers and other metal pieces into beautiful modern jewellery. I was soo in love with everything on their stall and after trying on a ruler bangle on Saturday, I went back on Sunday to make a purchase. I was offered a swap and although I did not come prepared for a swap I thought there could be something of interest for them at our stall so Eric came over to browse my things… After offers of typewriters (what was I thinking?!) my large Thermos (again WHAT?) and also the kitty money box (NO WAY!!) He settled on a partial swap with a random Nandos postcard I had in my vast collection, which showed the back of a naked lady with her hands tied with spaghettie and sauce (saucy) and then on the back in teeny writing it said by the way, did you know Nando’s sauces are now available at your local supermarket (or something along those lines.) He loved it (typical man) and gave me £3 off. Score!

Make Sift Accessories

DSC_0474

MakeShift

A final surprise and a definite highlight was a visit from the lovely Emily from Emily Has Glasses. We’ve been friends on Instagram for a while and I’ve always admired and found inspiration in her outfit posts not to mention our mutual appreciation of the old and everything vintage and her awesome cooking skills, so when she mentioned she might pop down, as she was in London on the Sunday, I didn’t get my hopes up as I wasn’t sure if she would or not. So seeing her there in person was so strange after just looking at pics and talking to someone through comments. Sounds odd but I was in awe for a few seconds. It was sooo lovely to finally meet Emily. She lives in Leeds so wouldn’t normally just be able to pop down for a cuppa. We had exchanged envelopes for Envelope Club in September and I made her a little book from some paper she had sent me and it was soo awesome to hear she uses it every day! That’s what crafting for friends is all about. The satisfaction in knowing your work is appreciated. We had a lovely chat and it was so exciting to talk about plans for her to visit again. Here are some bad photos of us Dilly took. I must explain, I have an old thrifted lens on my camera which doesn’t have auto focus so whenever someone else uses it they don’t usually get it down. I struggle as it is.

Emily2 Emily

At almost 6pm, right at the very end, Verity of Made by Loulabelle had a browse of our stall and was very interested in the vintage fabrics I had displayed from Little Teawagon. Sadly they were just used as examples of our workshops and weren’t for sale but it got us talking about what Verity makes and everything sounded so wonderful I went to go and have a look at her stall. Verity makes the most beautiful accessories from Reclaimed vintage fabrics and we are hoping to stock some of her wares and possibly even get her to teach a class at the new studio! Exciting times.

Loulabelle

I also luckily spotted the sheer amazingness that is The Compartment Store which I can only describe as my dream store! All slotted nicely into a custom made trunk. I didn’t realise but Renegade was their debut! They had gorgeous paper materials, handmade books, haberdashery and vintage ephemera all sectioned off with cute labels and an awesome little display. We are hoping to work with them at the studio next year.

The Compartment Store

The Compartment Store

So, to conclude, we had a blast of a time at Renegade this year and can’t wait for next Winter’s fair. Of course, we mustn’t forget that behind the scenes there is a team of crazy, rushing creatives helping put the pieces together to make this huge operation run smoothly for us. And it wouldn’t happen without them. A special mention to Madelon (end on the right below) for her help and support throughout the weekend as well as replies to my crazy emails. She was always happy and enthusiatic about helping with any little detail. The Renegade Team:

RenegadeTEAM DSC_0483 DSC_0477 Team Renegade

Thanks for a great weekend guys…London misses you already.

I hope you enjoyed the fair if you came along. Be sure to share any pics with us on our Facebook page.

Remeber to share your pics and look out for the winner of our #looklookmakethrift creative photo challenge, announced Monday 20th November.

There were so many more awesome makers at the fair. I didn’t even make it round the whole place over the weekend so please check out the RCF London maker’s page here.

Thanks for reading..if you made it this far, I salute you! Shorter posts from now on methinks…total respect to those bloggers who do this for a living. I will stick to craft.

Love Daisy x

P.S. Sorry if I didn’t get to see you or feature you on this post. As you can tell it has taken me a week and I have literally lost the will to live (nearly!)

Car

Had to share a final pic of the epicness that is our skills at ramming everything into the car on the last day as we had made 2 trips (more stuff added on Sunday) so we weren’t sure we would fit it in (or how!) Huge thanks to Iyoub, Anna and Dilly, whom without I could not have survived the weekend. Go Team Make, Thrift!!

Team Make, Thrift

A fresh start…

8 Nov

Well hello there. Gosh it’s been a long time. I think you might need a cuppa and a sit down to prepare you for this post.

I can’t say it’s going to be all that focused but I can tell you that there is a happy ending and lots of exciting news so bare with me and I guarantee it will be worth reading on, I promise.

(Sorry about the absence of visuals..I have too much to do today but will add some later.)

Hello if you’re new to this blog by the way. You might know me from Instagram, Twitter or Facebook but this is my little blog I started 2 years ago when I began the Make, Thrift London journey.

So…at this critical turning point in my life, I have decided to finally revive this blog and see if anyone cares!

I am, at last, ready to share my big life decision which I made just over a week ago. But first, I should probably start with where I’ve been for the past 18 months.

No one likes to talk about DEPRESSION (I said it out loud and the world never ended; see) but the truth is, it affects 1 in 4 of us and it got me pretty hard in 2012.

Shall we start from the beginning…

I made the decision in 2011 to leave uni where I was studying Fashion Design to take a leap and start my own business. I was 25 and saw myself going into a cut throat, consuming industry which went against everything I believed in. So I had a big idea that I wanted to try and make a small change in the world, through craft; to open this wonderful place where people could pop in and craft and drink tea and have a lovely time and meet some nice people.

It was all going well at first, I very nearly got a pop-up shop and then, one bad event or small disappointment after another and I found myself sinking into a dark black hole I nearly didn’t find a way out of. I became very depressed, stopped going out, seeing my friends, crafting and generally not doing any of the things I enjoy in life. It’s a vicious cycle of not feeling like doing anything and then feeling worse because you’re not doing anything and not telling anyone because you’re embarrassed about not doing anything and so, I kept it mainly to myself and confided a small bit in my fiancé. But he was going through a tough time as well and I felt like I needed to be there for him so I think all of that on top of the pressure I put on myself with starting up a small business basically pushed me into the dark place I found myself in.

I was working part-time a few days a week in a job I didn’t enjoy; it was a lonely place, working mainly on my own and doing the job of 3 people but this was my only routine and it got me out of the house. The rest of my week consisted of sitting at home, usually in bed, undressed, mindlessly watching crappy daytime TV and watching my life and the world slip by. I’d go on twitter and see other people doing great things and it made me feel like a failure. When you’re in that place your mind plays tricks with you. You over think things, you see every tiny thing as something huge and it becomes a paranoid, scary place. It’s hard to see a way out and unless you’ve been there I really cannot describe it well enough. I was so down, I wouldn’t even step foot in my studio, the creative hub of my life; the home of the very craft which used to be my solace. But it was too hard to face.

Eventually, I sought help. I hadn’t slept a full night through in about 6 months. My mum was beginning to notice. I went to my GP who was not very objective, and told me the reason I felt this way was because of my fiancé and that I taken all the responsibilty of making him happy because of what he was going through, in sacrafice for my own happiness. But she didn’t know him, or us and I didn’t take any notice of her “advice.” So when she immediately offered me anti-depressants, I declined. I didn’t want to be drugged up at the first signs of feeling down. It had taken me a long time to recognise that depression is what I had. It’s a clinical disease. It’s in our heads but it is a real and serious illness, which I don’t think people take seriously enough. But I didn’t want drugs, I didn’t take them before I was depressed so why would I need them to get back there. I eventually sought councilling and this wasn’t really for me. After being on a waiting list for 2 months I began CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) over the phone once a week. I say it wasn’t for me but in a way it did help me evaluate my thoughts and behaviour and look at how I could see things differently. Although I believe I was already on track to getting better so maybe it was a catalyst in pushing me in the right direction. I do believe, the most influential push at getting better came from people like Ruby Wax and other more outspoken high profile personalities like Frankie Sandford from the Saturday’s speaking out about their experiences which helped me realise that it’s ok to admit that maybe you are depressed and seemingly normal people who have loads going for them still suffer with it.

And the more I faced up to it the more I felt I could tell people. I read about a Thrifty Mrs who suffers with depression too. I always remember her describing it like ‘falling off the conveyor belt of life.’ This is a perfect analogy. It feels exactly like that. You’re taken off this path and suddenly you’re in no man’s land. So it is people like this who spoke out openly, and also a few friends who I won’t name because I haven’t asked them about mentioning them into this post (you know who you are) who helped me realise that it’s quite a common thing to go through and that depression doesn’t have to rule your life. You can get better.

It was a slow process. It didn’t happen over night but my friends were key in helping me get over it and  back to the happy place I’m at right now and be once again, the Daisy I hope you have all come to know (and love??)

You lose confidence when you go through something like that and although you do start feeling better it takes time to realise in yourself that you can do it and get back on that conveyor belt to the path you are destined for. Getting a job at Oliver Bonas this time last year, while having my CBT sessions was also key in getting better. I had worked there as a Christmas temp the previous year and loved it but couldn’t stay on permanently because there were no vacancies, which suited me. So I was so happy when I got a job again as a temp, at a local store, which had just opened and was very easy for me to get to. I had a great Christmas there and meeting customers and getting to know the team boosted my confidence and I stayed on as a permanent part-time team member in the hope that I could revive my plans for my business the rest of the time.

To veer off from me slightly, back in March, Alice Hainsworth of Handmade by You opened a studio called the Handmade by You Studio at the wonderful Alfie’s Antique Market in Marylebone. I have never told Alice this but I was filled with jealousy and envy when she told me her good news. We had been friends for a while through twitter and in my happier days we worked together running a kids workshop at Hyde Bark for the Mayhew Animal Home. We’d kept in touch throughout.

I was jealous because I’d wanted premises for so long and could not see a way to get there but here Alice was opening a little place all on her own. But actually, Alice had worked hard on Handmade by You for two years to get there and she totally deserved it. I wasn’t by any means ready to open a shop-fronted business and she invited me down to see the studio before it opened and oh was it a beautiful vintage haven.

We talked about me running a workshop there and I was excited about doing it but it had been nearly a year since I’d taught a workshop and the fear and anxiety about whether I was good enough held me back. So it wasn’t until July that I finally got my act together and held my first bookbinding workshop there. I had been quietly using Instagram for a while and one of those bookings was from a friend I met on there called Marie AKA @scribbleyoga who was a fellow creative, thrifty crafter and I felt so happy that she wanted to come and craft with me. All together we got 3 bookings plus Alice’s partner Helly and it was such a lovely afternoon. I was getting my craft mojo back and it reminded me how good it felt to teach and help people be creative and watch their creative process and confirmed that this was my calling and what I wanted to do.

We ran another bookbinding session before Alice told me she would sadly be closing the studio but for a happy reason, she was going to have a baby. This was great news but I was sad for her to have to close something she had put so much work into. It looked beautiful and she’d just gotten a feature in Mollie Makes about her journey there.

Alice began making her plans to wind down the space at Alfie’s and then one day I got a text message from her. It just read something along the lines of “can we meet next week, I want to discuss a possible future for Handmade by You and Make, Thrift London.” This got me very excited. I had been thinking for a while about whether taking over Alice’s little studio would be something I could do. And was this her way of asking? We met a week later at Kew Gardens. I had never been, so we had a lovely hour or so looking around the grounds. Then it was time for a cuppa, a slice of cake and down to business. We probably spent a good couple of hours bouncing ideas off each other and talking about exciting things we could do with both our creative minds working together. This was an opportunity I am eternally grateful for. This new partnership gave Alice the time she needed to enjoy her maternity leave and at the same time was a great way to ease into taking the next step for Make, Thrift London. So we decided we would go ahead with her plan to close the studio but instead, just temporarily to allow me time to plan what I wanted to do there and keep the studio open in preparation for her return.

So I’m so pleased to announce, that from January I will be taking over the studio for a couple of months whilst Alice enjoys being a mummy. And we hope you will join us in our new partnership launching at the end of March at the studio when she returns from maternity leave. We don’t have a name for our joint project yet but we will keep our own business names and run our own projects alongside our collaborative ones under the umbrella of the studio and its new name (TBA). We are currently looking for creatives and designer makers to join us at the studio, running workshops of their own and selling their handmade wares. If you are interested please drop me a line daisy (at) handmade-by-you (dot) co (dot) uk. Depending on interest we are thinking of doing an open studio day where you come in and have a cuppa and a chat with us to discuss where you might fit in.

We are super excited for the New Year and the re-launch and hope you’ll join us on this little crafting journey. In the mean time, I have lots of workshops lined up for January and February as well as a January sale (if you are interested in selling off Christmas stock overs do get in touch at the beginning of Jan (studio reopns the 11th January) and a series called Thrifty Makes which will be low cost fun and thrifty craft projects at a special introductory price throughout January. Plus lots more to come in Feb. Watch this space and sign up to our mailing list by visiting www.handmade-by-you.co.uk

And that’s not all, Make, Thrift London will be on tour this November and December at London’s best Christmas fairs and markets so have a look at the events on the website above and I hope to see you there.

In conclusion, the huge decision I made last week was not an easy one. But I do believe it had been long overdue and being depressed prolonged it further. It’s quite a personal subject and still quite raw but I feel I need to talk about it to give closure to those involved.

Last Thursday I broke up with my fiancé. We had been together for over 4 years. We first met 11 years ago. I was nearly 17, he nearly 21. That sounds like a big age gap and it was at the time. But we fell in love, or maybe lust. To this day, I can’t be sure.

 Sadly, he had just come out of a longterm relationship and wasn’t ready to get back into another so after an intense 4 weeks or so he ended things. I was heart broken but only 16 after all and hadn’t really experienced these intense feelings before.

 After 5 years of not speaking we reconnected through facebook and after a long process of seeing each other casually (which spanned about 2 years) he finally told me he was in love with me and this was the start of our 4 year relationship.

 We had a great first year, it wasn’t easy but no relationship is without it’s faults. I was in my first year at uni at the time so was away a lot but we made it work and it was exciting and romantic; just as I imagined. The second year was harder. We decided it would be a good idea for me to move in with him and he has a tiny flat and my art materials and “mess” took over slightly. Saying this we enjoyed spending our time together, and I got to see him more but I wasn’t happy at uni and even though I eventually moved back home to have more space to work, this was when I finally made the decision to leave and where I picked up from at the beginning of this post.

 My depression was a huge part of our relationship breaking down. But he had his own problems and this meant the both of us couldn’t offer each other much support.

 Then, about 2 months ago, I started volunteering at a wonderful social enterprise called Petit Miracles. So called because they take unloved, or overloved furniture and upcycle it into a new piece ready to be loved all over again and help the long term unemployed gain skills to then hopefully go into employment.

 There, I met a guy who I had an instant connection with. We were just friends, but shared the same sense of humour and some how seemed to understand each other.

 The more I got to know him, volunteering there once a week, my feelings towards him grew deeper. He made me feel happy, smile, laugh and enjoy being alive. This made me realise, I hadn’t felt this way about my fiancé in a long time. And though we had tried for a long time to get it back but things hadn’t been the same.

 The closer I got to this new guy, the more I knew the decision I had to make. And it wasn’t that I was leaving my fiancé for this new relationship but that I realised my own relationship hadn’t been a proper one for a while.

 Sure, we knew each other inside out and helped each other; we were companions but the spark, that fire we once had, was gone and I couldn’t see us ever getting it back. We had become different people; he wanted to settle down, while I wanted to spread my wings, travel, grow my business, get out there, try new things and meet new people. It wasn’t an easy realisation to face but a scary step forward that I had to make. And I haven’t looked back.

 Although I didn’t want to get into another relationship straight away I didn’t want to wait because it felt so right and I’m happy to announce that although we’re keeping things low key right now, the new man in my life and I are very happy and enjoying our time together.

 His name is Iyoub and he’ll be helping me with the madness of organising myself for Renegade Craft Fair this weekend and running the craft workshop with me and the rest of team Make, Thrift. So come and say hello, Saturday and Sunday 9&10th November, at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London 11-6pm. It’s free entry, there’s a DJ and a free photo booth from Look Look. Excited to announce we will be running a creative photo competition with the Look Look team. You can find us right next to their booth, stand 49, where we’ll be hosting a stamp making workshop where you will get to carve your own stamp and print some gift wrap, perfect for all the wonderful handmade gifts and wares you’ll find with over 100 curated vendors, I do hope you’ve been saving up!

Huge love and thanks for reading,

Daisy x

#5MinuteThrift – Make, Thrift London’s 48 Hour Competition

19 Mar

Make, Thrift London will be holding workshops at the official relaunch of Portobello’s Arts & Crafts Market in Portobello Square, London, this Saturday (24th March 2012) and to celebrate, we’re teaming up with the organisers to give away 3 prizes of a place on Make, Thrift London’s KEEP CALM AND MAKE A BOOK workshops, for you and a friend (worth £50 each!)

In this 2 hour workshop I’ll teach you traditional bookbinding methods you can do at home yourself and show you how to make use of salvaged scrap papers to make a beautiful, personalised notebook to take home with you.

And that’s not all, everyone who enters our competition will be emailed a 20% off voucher, valid for 3 months on any of our workshops.

All you have to do is tweet @MakeThriftLDN and share your thriftiest tip with us, in our 48 hour competition. I know isn’t a lot of time, which is why we’re hashtagging it #5MinuteThrift. Yep, we don’t want any long winded ideas- 5 minutes is all you’ve got (or less if you can manage!)

Here’s a taster from me showing the kind of thing we’re looking for but feel free to be as adventurous as you like! I’ve shared my tips on using old packaging and newspaper to gift wrap a potted plant (click the link below.)

Daisy’s 5 Minute Thrift video on YouTube

This was the final result using brown paper and then newspaper. Just a very simple idea and I’m sure you can do better!

I’ll feature the best tips from you, right here on my blog and you’ve got ’til 9pm this Weds (21st March) to tweet us your ideas. 3 winners will be announced on Thursday  and invited to Portobello Market in London, this Saturday (24th March) to take part in Make, Thrift London’s bookbinding workshop at either 9.30am, 12.30pm or 3.30pm.

So what are you waiting for? KEEP CALM AND MAKE THRIFT.

Looking forward to hearing and seeing your tips! Good luck!

Love, Daisy x

(Director & Creative of Make, Thrift London)

Rules:

Share your thriftiest tip with us in a quick video link (upload to YouTube) or simply tweet us a photo and short description, just mention us @MakeThriftLDN and use the hashtag #5MinuteThrift. If you’re not on Twitter just share a photo on your facebook wall and tag us in it Make, Thrift London mentioning the #5MinuteThrift hashtag. Alternatively, email us a photo and short description to asititchinteatime (at) gmail (dot) com.

You have until 8.30pm on Wednesday night to tweet, facebook or emaill us.

Our favourite 3 tips will be chosen from all entries and announced on Thursday. If for any reason a winner is uncontactable or cannot attend no alternative will be offered, the prizes are only valid on the date stated and another winner will be chosen from the remaining entries.

Please comment on this post once you have entered, mentioning your twitter or facebook name or let me know if you’ve emailed. Please note, this email address will be used to send you your 20% off voucher.

If you have not received your voucher within 24 hours please email asititchinteatime (at) gmail (dot) com stating so. Please add this address to your safe senders list to avoid it ending up in your junk mail folder.

Winners agree to their name being mentioned as competition winners and photographs to be used for marketing purposes.