Tagged: Mollie Makes

Aug 03

All vintaged out

Barley, upcycling workshops curator

Mollie Makes... vintage strawberries

Heavens to Betsy! What a busy time we had at the big Vintage Festival in London! I haven’t been this exhausted in a long while, but it was worth it. Having packed everything up carefully for the courier Thursday, it was a relief on Friday to discover that it had all arrived intact, including the old family Singer featured here.

Vintage strawberry-making

Darling Buds to darling berries

Highlights: meeting the particularly wonderful crafting community on the upcycling workshops floor, especially curator Barley Massey of Fabrications, the Seaside Sisters, and Caroline from the Shoreditch Sisters WI; meeting so many of the Future Publishing craft publications team too, including the lovely Lyndsey (who seemed very familiar, and it took me a little while to figure out why);  seeing Wayne Hemingway in the flesh, from afar; being spoken to – very, very briefly – by TV’s Linda Barker (you know, the salt to Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen’s interior design pepper in the ’90s) from a-near [She is astonishingly tall and Amazonian, btw, and I felt just like a hobbit next her]; soaking up the fabulous swing music on the Saturday, especially the Czech orchestra whose name escapes me; seeing so many gorgeously turned-out vintage guys & dolls. There were more Horrockses frocks than you could shake a stick at.

2 vintage strawberries!

A pair of vintage strawberries!

In terms of strawberry-making, it was absolutely crammed and we ended up having to turn people away from the Mollie Makes table. We were filling large strawberries with lavender, and smaller ones with sharpening grit. For authenticity, I brought along lots of red satin: the preferred fabric for strawberry emeries of old. Some stunning strawberries were made, my favourite being the one below – tiny and delicate. You can see a selection over here on Flickr.

Possibly my most gratifying moment was when two guys (accompanying their strawberry-making girlfriends) embarked on extravagant red satin numbers themselves, and (even more gorgeously) one tutored the other because I was fully engrossed with workshoppers on the other side of the table. How brilliant! They both made very creditable strawberries, and both claimed to have enjoyed the experience, though I can’t see either of them volunteering to make a second one any time soon. But maybe it goes to prove that strawberry emeries reach the parts other craft projects cannot reach.

Truly beautiful vintage strawberry

Delicious tiny satin strawberry created by a former doll-maker.

I had a brief opportunity to explore the market outside, which was free entry to all. It was great to clap eyes on my It’s Darling! friend, Catherine Stokes, selling her china tea sets. And I got very excited by the Furniture Divasreupholstered chairs, especially the ones using melted-down kiddy-wellies to line the seats. They looked just like abstract oil paintings! So very cool.

Welly chair

Welly chair by Furniture Divas

Welly seat

Welly chair by Furniture Divas

Now I’m catching up on all the jobs I’ve been ignoring lately while riding the strawberry wave with Mollie Makes. If you’re waiting for something from me (an invoice/an article/payment/a submission/a response to a request to run a teaching workshop etc) now might be a good time to shoot me a quick email as I’m relatively footloose and fancy-free! Catch me while you can.

Vintage strawberries!

Happy strawberry-makers

Oh, and something exciting happened just before I headed home Saturday. But that will have to wait until tomorrow…

 

 

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Jul 26

Vintage Strawberries to Vintage Southbank

I’m super-excited (and not a little awed) to be taking vintage-strawberry-making to Vintage Festival 2011 on the Southbank this weekend, helping to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. I cordially invite you to join me and the Mollie Makes team for a FREE crafternoon in the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall! You’ll need to pay to get into the main festival, but there’s no extra charge for the workshop (Yay!). Choose to make strawberries with me on Friday 29th or Saturday 30th July, or join Sara Sinaguglia, apple-cosy crocheter extraordinaire, on Sunday 31st. Just sign up for a workshop when you arrive. Spaces are limited, so don’t delay!

More details are here on the Mollie Makes blog. In the spirit of post-war Make Do & Mend, I’ll be taking along lots of vintage fabric scraps and upcycled elements (vintage beads, buttons, bows and threads) as well as some new. I’m currently packing frantically, including bubble-wrapping my prop sewing machine Winifred, a 1933 hand-cranking Singer (which we sadly won’t be using as she has a tendency to misbehave when it comes to stitch tension, but she looks fabulous). Yes, the workshop will be hand-sew only, but I’ll part-prep the strawberries for you so that you can spend a lot of time embellishing them and making them your own (the fun part).

Winifred, a 1933 hand-crank Singer

Coming to the Southbank this weekend...

I’ve been recalling the last time I had a work engagement on the Southbank. It was more than 20 years ago (an era which would now be considered vintage, at least on Etsy). In those days I was a publisher’s publicist, opening the Twiglets and pouring the cheapest possible plonk (in the great publishing tradition) for a Terry Pratchett book launch at the BFI. We used to have the invitations produced (glorified photocopies, really) at a printer’s around the corner from work, and not many more than a hundred would have been ordered. To my eternal shame, I subsequently used some of the priceless leftovers as patchwork backing papers. Aherm. Will posterity judge me harshly for such upcycling of irreplaceable vintage Pratchett ephemera? Perhaps you’d better not answer that. Are you carrying any ‘really-shouldn’t-have-destroyed-that’ upcycling regrets? Please share them cathartically in the comments below and make me feel better about my act of literary memorabilicide.

Upcycled Pratchett invitations

A memento of my last SE1 work engagement

And I didn’t even finish the patchwork! the layers of guilt are piling up…

Anyway, check out the film above and let the festival’s originator, Wayne Hemingway, walk you through the various attractions. Things crafty and upcycled are mentioned 4 minutes 10 seconds in. Hope to see you there, if you can sandwich me in some time between Tracey Emin and the Avenger-thon! Now, where did I put those cat’s-eye spectacles…?

 

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Jul 19

Vintage strawberry needle-cushion grit

It’s a bit of a mouthful, but that’s what it’s called. If you want to make the Scrapiana strawberries (as featured in Mollie Makes magazine), then this is what you’ll need. It should be enough for several, if used judiciously. And you can buy it right now over at my Etsy store!

Strawberry emery

Now available on Etsy!

Grit

True grit

 

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Jul 12

It’s Darling! Summer Spectacular

It's Darling! summer fair 2011

 

 

It's Darling! summer fair flyer back

I’ll be at the It’s Darling! vintage & artisan fair again this summer on Saturday 16th July, bringing my specially selected batch of Scrapiana vintage haberdashery, textiles, handmade items etc. Oh, and lots and lots of strawberry emery grit, just in case you’ve got a yearning to make your own vintage strawberry needle-cushions (as featured in Mollie Makes magazine). Last summer’s It’s Darling! event was the very first of its kind, and the fair is really going from strength  to strength. I hope I’ll be sitting next to the lovely Faith Caton-Barber again (and her glorious bespoke wearable Something Fabulous creations). I’ll be featuring Faith in greater depth on the blog very soon.

If you’re planning a day (or even a weekend in Bath), don’t forget that there’s a new exhibition of film costumes (Dressing the Stars) opening at the Fashion Museum, Marilyn’s costumes are still on show at the American Museum, and the Roman Baths are open till late (10pm in July and August – last entry 9pm). Hope to see you on Saturday!

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Jul 10

Yet more strawberries

The Mollie Makes strawberry-makers are still doing their stuff, I’m delighted to say. Here are a few recent additions to the Flickr group:

Tweed strawberries

Tweed strawberries by Fabric Mountain

 

Lavender strawberries

Lavender strawberries by Fabric Mountain

lavender strawberry

Lavender strawberry by Evajeanie

Tower of Strawberries by Judemate

Tower of Strawberries by Judemate

 

Strawberry pincushions. Home-made, felt & all by my fair hands!

Home-felted strawberries by Pensham

If you get your hands on a copy of issue 2 of the magazine (it’s just now becoming available in the US and in Australia – I think) and are inspired to have a go at the strawberries, do share images of your creations. I’m getting such a buzz out of seeing what everyone’s made. Those tweed ones at the top in particular made my heart skip a beat. Keep ‘em coming!

And if you happen to be in Bath and are at a loose end this Wednesday 13th July, I still have a few spaces on my Vintage Strawberry Workshop in Larkhall (discounted for my Facebook page likers).

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Jul 07

Larkhall strawberry workshops special offer

I’m told that I have many wonderful qualities. However, organising last-minute summer crafting workshops appears not to be one of them. It was a bit of Herculean task, I’m now realising. Let’s just say that the bookings haven’t flooded in as hoped and I’m left with the prospect of being almost alone at two workshops over the next week or so. I’m fine once I have my punters (we just fly along, rattling out strawberries like billy-o) but the bookings element has beaten me, fair and square.

As featured in Mollie Makes

A desperate remedy is required and mine is to slash the price of my New Oriel Hall (Larkhall, Bath) workshops on Saturday 9th and Wednesday 13th July to anyone who has liked my my Facebook page. Just go click ‘like’ and then send me an email (eirlysATscrapianDOTcom) with 50% LIKE workshop discount as the subject line and your name/phone number in the email. Don’t forget to specify which morning session you’d prefer to attend and I’ll get back to you ASAP to confirm. Wow! It’s that simple! Who-da thunk it would be so easy?

You might want to make a daytrip of it, do strawberries in the morning and shop or visit one of the city’s museums (the Roman Baths — shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Art Fund Prizethe Fashion Museum, the American Museum, for example) in the afternoon. The Roman Baths are also open late through July and August (last entry 9pm for 10pm closing) and are quite magical in the fading light.

I will not be doing short-notice workshops again (lesson learned) but will announce some autumn ideas very, very soon to give everyone time to sort out their diaries and make proper plans. Crafting treats really should not be rushed.

PS If you’re in Bath on 24th July, I’m scheduled to be strawberrying at the very  luscious The Makery in Walcot (complete with cream tea spectacular!). And I’ll soon be able to reveal an exciting London strawberry gig at the end of the month too: a must for vintage fans.

 

 

 

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Jun 23

Thanks for the emeries

‘The Strawberry Emery is nothing new, but it is so very useful and easy of construction, there is no reason why every needleworker should not possess one. Woolen goods represent the fuzzy nature of the strawberry better than silk or …’

- Home Needlework Magazine, Volume 4, 1902.

Tantalizingly, that’s all I can make out of it on Google books, though I’m grateful for that glimpse (who knew that ‘fuzzy’ was such an old word?). As proof of the relatively long history of strawberry emeries, even from the Edwardian vantage point, here’s an earlier reference from 1852 when they were already well established (pick it up from near the bottom of the first column, at ‘Knitted Berries and Fruit’):

From Godey’s Magazine & Lady’s Book, Volume 45, 1852.

And in the same volume was this which I felt compelled to share.

Still my beating heart! How lingerie has changed, even if the content of crafting magazines doesn’t appear to have altered as much as one might have thought! I don’t expect to be seeing sheet music (a staple in Victorian women’s magazines) in Mollie Makes any time soon though. I love that the strawberry emery has such a long history and is now (I hope) enjoying a well-deserved resurgence in popularity. Do you think we can do the same for the saucy little sick-room cap?

 

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Jun 21

More strawberries

More strawberries are appearing on the Mollie Makes Strawberries Flickr group pool.

scrumptious little strawberry

Homespun charm from Simply by Emma

Strawberry pincushion

Becky Button's symphony in red and green satin

Strawberry pincushion

Becky Button's super little satin offering

They are really wonderful in their endless variety and I take my hat off to you all.

Don’t forget, you can come along and make your own strawberries with me at one of my Vintage Strawberry Workshops next month. Just click the ‘Classes’ tab or Ooh.com button over on the right there.

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Jun 15

First of the strawberry crop

And so it begins. People are already getting their teeth into strawberry-making, following my how-to in Mollie Makes.

Mollie_makes_2_P6120007

Claire Leggett's strawberries

Mollie_makes_2_100_3625

Claire lays out her materials

Molliemakes strawberries

Tiffanywinnie's strawberrries

steampunk strawberry

Apryl Lowe's steampunk interpretation, with watch parts and key

Aren’t they delightful? Everyone is making the project their own, which is a really lovely feeling. Feedback is that the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and that the strawberries are fast to make. The only problem is that once you’ve finished one, you want to make another. And another. Do hop over and see what Claire and Apryl have to say about making theirs.

Hardcore strawberry-o-philes can keep track of new berries as they appear over at the strawberry patch, aka the Mollie Makes Strawberries Flickr group pool. If you get round to making one, do upload an image over there. It’ll make my day.

And if you’d like the chance to create some of these in a workshop environment, Scrapiana Vintage Strawberry Classes are coming soon, at least, to a small part of the West Country near me (just Bath and Frome so far, though if you have a craft boutique elsewhere and fancy booking me, do get in touch!). It’s a real bonus to make these in a group, seeing how other people’s berries take shape and nattering while you sew. Workshop numbers are kept small so that you can be properly guided to make a variety of styles, sizes and scales. Look out for a full workshop update here on the blog tomorrow.

 

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Jun 13

scrap of the week #14

I haven’t posted any scraps lately, so here’s a nice one for you.

If you’ve seen this month’s Mollie Makes, you may recognise this fabric.

Strawberry floral

Fabric fit for a strawberry

It’s a lightweight cotton I used for one of my favourite strawberries. This is an unmarked oddment: there’s no text on the selvedge. I used most of it for a dress I made c.1980. The dress pattern was high Laura Ashley (by McCall’s, I think) with square neckline, buttoned leg-o-mutton sleeves, gathered slightly drop-waisted skirt (ending mid-calf length) and sash, though I wore it loose-fitting without. That dress was the first piece of clothing I remember making and actually enjoying wearing. I was so proud of myself, but what was I thinking? Must have watched too much Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables. However, it was comfortable, washable, and easy to wear. I think this fabric has finally found its true destiny in strawberries, though. I love the ruby shade of red. If you happen to have any old Sylko cotton reels, it matches D.46 Ruby very well. On the purplish berry end of the red spectrum.

I may still have that Laura Ashley pattern somewhere, though I can’t immediately lay my hands on it [phew!]. Nor do I have any pictures of myself wearing it [phew again]. A quick trawl of  the Vintage Patterns Wiki hasn’t located the pattern either, so if you think you know the one I mean — and maybe have it still — I’d love to hear from you!

And now I’m making up Vintage Strawberry Kits, some of which will include pieces of this fabric. I can tell you’re excited…

 

 

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