in praise of slow!

Thank-you to: Matt Hunsberger
Danbury, CT

‘Even small steps in the right direction can add up and make a big difference in the long run. As long as you keep working toward your dreams and goals, even if it’s just a few minutes each day, you can achieve them.’

Have been feeling pretty disappointed in myself for the slow down in blogging!

Three children and the UK school Summer holidays are not conducive to writing!

I always have plans, ideas, targets spinning around my head…perhaps too many to focus upon and too many to realistically achieve!

By now I should have cleared out every cupboard in my house (3 out of 10 done!). I should also have been swimming and played tennis with my boys each week, produced a monthly meal plan, organised a back to school crafternoon and have a business plan for my vintage craft parties in place… I nearly forgot, I have to make 38 fabric diary covers for my boys’ school!

I am slow! I know I am slow, but I do need to achieve. I keep researching, researching, looking for suppliers for eco cutlery, for paper lanterns, for vintage china, the list goes on. I love the process but then when I get to the end of the day I do not feel that I have achieved very much at all.

The plan for the vintage craft parties is clear in my head, but I have not committed it to paper…big mistake!

I need to decide on my basic format and work on that…the quest for perfection means I am getting no-where fast! ( or in fact no-where slowly!).

Next week my boys are at sport’s camp from 10-3pm and I am planning to focus only on my work during this time; no washing, cooking, ironing, shopping, cleaning etc during these hours, just as if my kitchen table was in an office.

I want progress by the end of the week ( although Friday is my birthday, so perhaps a four day week is in order!)

Underlying my slowness is my fundamental difficulty with decision making…a life-time’s affliction ( could this be genetic, my eldest son suffers in the same way!).

Give me a date and a target and I am there, without this structure I play to my strengths and do research and ponder the merits of this and that.

Slow is positive if moving forward, but my slow sends me round and round in circles; if someone knocked on my door and asked me to plan and set up a party for 10 next weekend I could do it. However that is not going to happen and I need to make it happen…fast!

Thank-you for reading.

things to do?

Things to do

Thank-you to :

pizzazzerie.com

When I woke this morning I had plans to write a to do list for the weekend. The focus was to be my blog. To learn new things, to join new communities,  to follow new blogs…etc, etc, etc.

Well. after spending two hours on Facebook to set up a fan page and upload my picture I was done. I managed both tasks, but for something so simple it was so time consuming.

After finally realising that I needed to ‘add a page’ to promote the remakery as a separate entity from myself (I think this was what I needed to do, please correct me if I am wrong?!), I then had to subject myself to the task of uploading my personal photo.

I had previously created an image I was happy with via Gravator, and so aimed to upload this to Facebook.

Too simple…I found that this could not be done and so uploaded a photo that included my children (not my aim at all).

Facebook would not let me crop my photo, so I used pic monkey (my saviour). This has worked to a certain extent and I am happy with the final picture (no children), but I can’t seem to get rid of the original photo (with children) which is still displayed.

The problem is that I don’t understand how Facebook pages work…something definitely to work on!

This makes me feel a real failure, I have set up a blog, know how to use twitter but still struggle with Facebook…

Whilst searching for a pretty things to do list I came across this image below:

Thank-you to:

 prettypinktulips.com

This has now become the inspiration for my weekend to do list. The boys will on holiday from July 20th and I need a structure to ensure we make the most of our time together.

I am going to produce something similar to an advent calendar to enable me to plan a variety of activities and to create some memories of our time together.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions that have worked for you…my boys are five, and pretty much up for anything!

Thank-you for reading and have a good weekend.

reflections + revelations of a {very} new blogger

chick-hatching.jpg (448×298)

After posting 15 times over the last two weeks I am still feeling very out of my depth!

I believe that I have  a clear focus for my blog…I still do, but am struggling to convey that. At the moment I have more ideas than I know what to do with.

I want to be consistent, to be real and to be relevant. I want to build a {very} small business. I want to improve my blog’s appearence, I want to be part of Facebook, to be part of twitter, to be supportive of the blogging community.

I have just begun and yet I compare myself with very experienced bloggers.

To help myself with a reality check, today I looked at some of my favourite bloggers; I looked at what they posted in the first few weeks of starting their blogs.

If you haven’t done this already, then I urge you to do it NOW. It is a revelation; the best begin in much the same way as we all do. Tentative posts covering a variety of areas and often relying on the beautiful images of others…feeling their way into the job!

I am in no position to point directly at anyone’s first efforts; I looked at very successful blogs and wondered how they started. They did not begin with perfect, polished  posts. They began at the beginning and worked hard to develop their style and substance.

I am also trying to find time to read and comment on other people’s blogs; I have quickly realised that this is a way of getting your blog ‘out there’. I have discovered new to me blogs as a consequence of others liking and commenting on my posts, obviously this works both ways.

I was left wondering which blogs to comment upon; I follow many of the ‘big’ blogs but never feel confident enough to comment. After reading the following I may change my mind!

The Diva blogs are not necessarily any better than anyone else’s. Consider they just got to the senior playground first. Mingle with these bloggers, talk to them, comment on what they have to say. Let your blog stand shoulder to shoulder with them on the blogging red carpet. As I tell my children, quoting from Anthony Robbins, “People’s lives are a direct reflection of the expectations of their peer group.”

Staying solely in blog circles with low expectations or without the same aims, will affect the quality expectations you have for your blog. Aim higher!

And when we become fearful about moving forward (because more exposure will mean we are open to more scrutiny), remember – to avoid criticism we must say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.

http://www.hermelness.com/good-bloggers-common

Food for thought!

There are many, many articles offering advice for new bloggers, this one stuck with me! It seemed to pinpoint my fears and turn them into positives.

From http://bloggingwithamy.com/new-blogger-tips/

tips for new bloggers

1. You’re awesome

I mean that. Diving in to this blogging thing is no small feat. Be proud of yourself for becoming more technologically astute. I mean, how many other people do you know in real life who are starting blogs? See? You’re ahead.

2. There is a huge learning curve

We’ve all experienced it. It’s not just you, I promise. Take it slow. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I know it’s exciting at first, but when you start to feel a bit stumped, take a break and come back later. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself nutso. (Ask me how I know.)

3. Google is your (best) friend

I’m bummed I can’t help all of you who email me with questions. But honestly? A lot of the time, I just google an answer for you anyway. That’s my little secret. :) Do it enough an you’ll eventually become a googling ninja and then you can figure out just about anything. (And here’s what I do when I get errors and warnings.)

4. As a new blogger, you’ve got (at least) one advantage

Now don’t take this the wrong way.  I know we all want to be a lot further down the road than we are.  But you are where you are, so embrace it. Don’t get caught up in having everything “just so” or making sure everything is “just right.” One of the greatest things about starting a blog is that you can make all kinds of mistakes and it doesn’t matter because no one is reading it yet anyway. Sure, you could focus on the fact that you don’t have a lot of followers at the beginning. Or you could focus on the fact that you have a lot of freedom. It’s all about perspective.

However, when I consider what I wish to achieve in the blogging world ( as in the real world) the following summarizes  my overiding purpose:

be that girl...

http://imgfave.com/view/1091791

Thank-you for reading and have a good weekend.

liberty and linen

As promised yesterday I am sharing images of the final stages of my diary covers.

Above is the finished product from the front, below is the inside view

On the whole I am fairly pleased with the finished result; I am always happy with a Liberty and linen fabric combination!

I used the tutorial from http://bloomandblossom.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/journal-cover-tutorial.html.

I found the instructions and images very clear and easy to follow…although I was very slow!

The only thing I changed was the seam allowances; I just find it so difficult to sew .25 inch (6mm) seam so I increased it to .5 inches (12mm)

I am certainly going to have to speed up (hugely) if I am to make 38 of these.

I guess setting up a ‘production line’ would be the best option, and making a template so that I do not have to measure everything 38 times!

I am also thinking of making the covers in one piece and adding a fabric embellishment to the front, rather than this construction which uses two pieces of linen and one piece of cotton. This would save time and would also be more forgiving of errors!

I hope my very important person likes them; I delivered them to his office today…time will tell!

Tomorrow is the third session of the remakery sewing club. We will be making needle books…I am determined to take some photos this week, I haven’t found time in the last two sessions.

a book {cover} deal!

Image credits:

  1.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/86972051
  2. http://www.jcrafts.com/eg/shop/shohin.asp?Shocd=W03262&PageNo=1&bunrui1=12&bunrui2=14
  3. http://www.etsy.com/listing/33364874/fabric-alphabet-book

As mentioned last week a very important person asked me if I might be interested in a book {cover} deal!

The Headteacher at my little boys’ school (very important person!) approached me with a request to make slip covers for the staff diaries!

Somewhere mid conversation I remembered to ask ‘how many?’  Ours is a small one form entry school, I expected the number to be about 15.  I remained calm as the Headteacher replied ’38’.

The temptation was to say ‘oh my goodness no you need somebody much better than me’, instead I found myself suggesting that I make up a sample for inspection.

Since then I have been researching fabrics and styles; I had a pretty clear idea of what I thought would make the perfect cover.

It had to be hard wearing (being lugged around to and from school for an academic year would take a toll), it had to appeal to male and female members of staff, it had to be cost effective ( the question of budget is one that has not yet been discussed!), and I wanted it to be distinctive enough to say ‘handmade’ but not ‘homemade’!

Image credits:

  1. http://www.etsy.com/listing/83123605/
  2. Sincere apologies, I have mislaid the source for this second image; I will keep searching and update post.
  3. http://messyjessecrafts.blogspot.co.uk/2009_08_01_archive.html

As can be seen from the images that I gathered, linen with an accent of some sort is clearly my thing.

The tutorial and inspiration that I finally settled upon is from:

http://bloomandblossom.blogspot.co.nz/2009/02/journal-cover-tutorial.html

Tomorrow I will be posting about my version…a sneak peek :

Thank-you for reading.

haberdashery love

‘Our food is served on mismatched vintage dishes

Our coffee bowls are stacked higgledy-piggledy on the espresso machine.

Our wall is decorated with a mosaic of victorian fireplace tiles.’

Just looking at this photograph engulfs me with joy. It reminds me of Moomah creative cafe in NYC http://www.moomah.com ( subject of my heart’s desire on pinterest!)

The Haberdashery  (http://www.the-haberdashery.com) is ‘an eatery and coffee house’.  It is located in Crouch End, London and I feel so lucky to live within walking distance.

I remember watching progress when the building was first being prepared for its’ current use.

p1000119.jpg (3648×2736)

The signage outside proudly advertised that ‘The Haberdashery‘ would be opening soon. At that point I was giddy with the prospect of a real haberdashery store in my neighbourhood…what bliss.

Soon afterwards it was clear that this haberdashery was to be a coffee-house, and I admit to being so very disappointed!

How wrong could I be. Soon after it opened it 2010 I became a regular.

It has a rustic, vintage, retro feel to it. Tea-sets, teapots and some handmade items are for sale and form part of the eclectic decor; cosy and inviting.

The Haberdashery is populated by mums after the early morning school run, actors (James McAvoy is a regular!), and by Crouch End workers. It really is a ‘local’ for locals and for visitors who come to escape the high street coffee chains.

Homemade muffins are baked in clay flower pots; charming and quirky. Earlier this week I tried the carrot and orange muffins…moist and scrummy.

I recently bought a pretty pink tea-set; I went back three days in a row to keep my eye on it ( I find decisions difficult, and I admit to dreaming about this tea-set!).

The tea-set is now safely home with me, ready to be used for the launch of The Remakery crafty vintage tea parties.

I will photograph it as soon as it actually stops raining long enough to unpack it and position it in natural light; September perhaps?

Whilst on the subject of (lack of) Summer, The Haberdashery has a cosy, bunting decorated back garden. A real sun-trap (as I recall from last Summer), and an escape from the bustle of Crouch End.

Lunches are wholesome and, as with the muffins, perfect washed down with pudding bowl servings of coffee.

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As if it needs anything else to recommend it, The Haberdashery runs weekly (first Friday of the month) Barboot Sales.

In the words of The Haberdashery:

On the first Friday of each month from 7:30 to 10:30pm, the Haberdashery turns into a colourful and kaleidoscopic bazaar with community artists, craftspeople and vintage sellers.

Vintage Clothing, Vintage Jewellery, Crafts, Bric a Brac, Antiques, Kitchenalia, Handbags, Vinyls, Flea Market, Vintage Haberdashery, Art, Jumble and much more…

Cocktails served in vintage tea cups, Live Music and a Garden full of Candles and Fairy Lights…

barboot vintage market

http://www.gocitygirl.com/en/GOFashion/?userId=156&entryId=6226

 

22 Middle Lane
Crouch End, N8 London
0208 3428098

Have a good weekend and thank-you for reading.

thrift and find

I love thrifting! The thrill of the unknown…the possibilty of finding something pretty, something useful, something unexpected, something joyful.

I love the variety. There is a whole new collection every few days: no waiting for weeks for new stock.  A buzz everytime.

Today’s little haul was quite a mixture..a a bit of this and a bit of that.

The ‘Make do and Mend’ book is from 1943; a beautiful pink cover and really evocative images.

Two sample pots of Farrow and Ball paint! Such yummy colours and perfect for prettifying some old wooden boxes.

My eyes were immediately on stalks when I spied this Liberty print skirt! Sadly it is a girl’s skirt, and no match for my waist, but the fabric potential is delightful.

Finally three pretty Pyrex bowls to add to my collection…always a joy to find.

Not quite sure how the carrot and orange muffin made it into my basket; I figured that it would make a good photo prop before consumption! Scrummy.

Thank-you for reading.