Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Another introduction

Hi, I'm Pearl and I'll be joining Summer in posting on the blog.

Just like Summer I moved to Bath recently with my family from London. I have a 10 month old - Arthur, who has just learnt to crawl so every waking moment is now spent guiding him away from the mortal peril he seems to seek out.

I'm teaching myself to sew (its slow progress). I think I got my sewing machine in 2008. After trying and failing to thread it using the very helpful manual (written by and for professional seamstresses it seems) it went in the cupboard until about 11 months ago when in the gap between leaving work and having Arthur I finally had some time and no excuse to procrastinate anymore. After a few swear words and an entire afternoon, during which I managed to spill a full cup of tea on the thing (and the manual, forever ruining it) I finally threaded it thanks to youtube. Trial and error and so far I've made a few cushions that I'm really pleased with.

I'm hoping that having this blog will spur me on to actually start and finish a few more projects (I can't seem to stop buying fabric - but I'm not complaining about that!).
Here's hoping to share some of my projects with you and see some of yours... (our craft night is nearly ready to be confirmed!).


Monday, June 27, 2011

Enjoying creativity even when it's packaged with necessity

I (finally) got a subscription to BBC GoodFood magazine as a mother's day gift this year and I can always count on it to reignite my can-do, will-do, will-enjoy resolve to keep feeding my family. I've just torn through and drooled over it the last hour during Liam's nap!

I've heard a lot of mums confess that it's all the extra washing that gets to them. Laundry is the chore they just can't keep up with. For me, it's all the extra cooking. Between menu planning, list making, grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning the kitchen - it can feel like a full time job with the family as a part-time second gig.

I do enjoy cooking, mostly just because I enjoy eating well, but I am easily bored and do not really like cooking the same things over and over again which makes it a difficult task to keep up with. I am sadly not someone with any skill at just throwing something together. I tried it one night and it didn't go over well with anyone, so it's essential that I constantly be trolling for recipe inspiration to guide me.

I quite enjoy following recipes. I love that someone else has done the dirty work of trial and error and I get to just do it one time and enjoy the perfection (that's the hope anyway). I also like the organisation of a good recipe - everything laid out in simple easy to follow steps in an exact order for efficiently economising your time. Yes, this is a bit telling of my personality and interestingly enough cooking is where I first began to regain my creative self.

My husband and I were apart for a few months when moving from America to Ireland and during this time I had the unique opportunity to live with, now good friends, Kit and Amy. Kit is an amazing professional chef and Amy is no pushover in the kitchen with her blueberry lemon cake, red velvet cupcakes and gazpacho being unrivaled! Mmm!

I had the good fortune of being able to accompany Kit in the kitchen most nights for cooking supper. The kitchen was literally the central room in their house, it's where most our time was spent and it was where very, very good things came from.

I've tried to take that way of life with me and enjoy and explore in the kitchen as much as possible. I want to raise a family on home cooking (a more distinct decision when you're from the 'fast food nation'). This can look like a chore and a necessity or it can be one of those small, daily outlets for creativity if chosen to see it that way.

For me at the moment, seeing cooking as something creative doesn't have to be big or fancy - we don't have nightly feasts - it just has to be good, it has to bring enjoyment and it has to be genuinely appreciated.

Sometimes we overlook our own creativity just because it's packaged with necessity. I say, take a minute and pat yourself on the back for the last lovely meal you made and then go indulge in hunting down a new yummy recipe to enjoy! (The pictures above are two winners I made recently!)

From the kitchen this time,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Celebrating summer and strawberries!

Don't miss these days! These strawberry picking days. Time is beautifully lost in our youth. So unaware we are and rightfully so. Those should be the happy, carefree days. But then, ever special still, time is more carefully tended as we age. It becomes precious and full. We learn to value it and to fill it with things that matter... things again that make us happy - when we learn what happiness truly is. People we love, small beauties, good conversations, learning. In it's purest form happiness is nothing that can be bought and yet it is still lost on me constantly.

In the summer time it's happy little bare feet dancing in the grass. Little girls picking flowers for their pockets to share with daddy at the days end. Using your picnic blanket as much as you can. Even rain falling to tend to our earth and all it gives us.  Strawberry picking. (I haven't gone yet, but it's in the diary and I genuinely can't wait!)

It's fitting that such a sweet treat be the inspiration for our summer crafts. If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet, let's get going! If you need a gentle nudge or are just constantly pressed for time, set some aside and join in the strawberry festivities going on.

Scrapiana Vintage Strawberry Workshops (as featured in Mollie Makes magazine issue two) are in full bloom this July at The Makery, New Oriel Hall and Millie Moon Haberdashery. The details for dates, times, locations and booking your place can all be found over at Scrapiana's site.

Need help getting through the rest of your craft wish list and turned down pages of inspiration in Mollie Makes? Help is on the way. We're nearly ready to offer a date for your diary for the launch of our craft nights. Nothing helps move along our projects like dedicated time and nothing makes it easier to take that  time than making it a girls night! We can't wait to come together and get started! More news to follow very soon...

O the things we will make,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We like what Mollie Makes

You can't watch this happy little number without wanting to recreate it with your own carefree jaunt through Bath's city centre with the mag peeping out of your bag (just to make onlookers ooze with envy) and ending up at The Makery for a leisurely afternoon of your favourite crafts. It's an ideal day really, but I should stop - we're mums, we don't get much of our own time for days like these. There's dreaming though.

I can't imagine there's a creative soul in the UK who has not discovered the new Mollie Makes magazine because it seems everyone is talking about it, but if you're new to the scene spare yourself the frustration and just go subscribe. Now. I promise you'll like it.

It is in such high demand I think the store associates are snatching up every copy before they hit the stands and selling them on ebay at a marked up price. Of course I'm not serious, just exaggerating the difficulty of actually getting your hands on a copy. It's well worth the effort, but for us with too little time and energy it's just best to treat yourself and become a subscriber.

Here's hoping you'll enjoy a good cuppa' and quiet flip through sooner rather than later.

Yours in stitches,

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pinterest! A virtual pinboard for your interests

There are not many techie things that I get too excited about, but I am so excited about Pinterest that I think it warrants it's own post. A tip from one mum to another, if you haven't discovered this yet I feel it's my duty to share it with you.

There is no better and no easier way to 'save' (as we have known it) anything you come across on the internet. My desktop is cluttered with layers on top of each other of screen grabs and saved pdf's and url's from internet browsing. It's more work than it's worth sometimes just to keep all of those organised so that you can actually find that bit of inspiration or how-to when you need it. Let go of that old habit for good and get on Pinterest! It saves the link for you and pins it as an image that you can organise however you like with everything as easy to find as flipping through a photo album.

Plus there's the added bonus of being able to look through everyone else's pinboards and gain ideas for your own. It has become my new 'google.' For instance, Liam will be celebrating his first birthday 23rd July and I'm wanting ideas for a little celebration. I typed in 'first birthday' in pinterest and, look no further, I've got more creative ideas in one location than I'll ever need to make it a special occasion.

I could go on and on about why I love Pinterest, but honestly your time is better spent setting up your own board. Whether you want to curate and show off your sense of style in any given area or, like me, just use it to organise things for a someday list, the ideas for putting it to good use are vast. Go check it out and pin for yourself.

When ever is a guilty pleasure also a creative organisational tool!


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beginnings start in all sorts of ways

We don't want to mislead anyone, we are only novices. Yes, new and inexperienced that's right. So why have they started a craft community if they don't know what they're doing?

Well, because we believe there is supreme importance (especially for mums) in exploring and finding your own creative outlet(s) and because the journey of doing so is more fun shared in a community with others on the same path. Hopefully this won't discourage experienced crafters in Bath from hanging out with us. We need you to lead the way.

We want to encourage all mums with any interest at all in crafty things, whether those interests come with any experience or not.  We want to create a fun space to finally make time and get crafty - even if just for a little bit each month, week or day.

There are so many beautiful blogs, done by wonderfully creative and talented people. Maybe this will become one with time and experience, but this blog is for the fans of those. The mums that read those blogs and think to themselves man I wish I could do that or I want to do that someday. So we're starting out as a craft fan club for wannabe's. Everyone is welcome. We'll ewe and ahh at your talents or comiserate with beginner mishaps.

We hope to see you soon at one of the open craft nights and see you back here on the blog for the days in between for encouragement on our way.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

All threaded up and no way to sew

Tonight was my first night out and my first girls night since being in Bath. Thank you Pearl for sharing your evening with me!

Her husband was out of town so we decided to have a sewing night together. I packed my sewing machine into my shopper bag on wheels (also referred to as the granny bag by my husband) and packed ingredients for pizza making and was out the door just after 7, as excited as a school girl on her first day. I find it can actually be difficult to take real time out for ourselves as mums.

My project for the evening was a picnic blanket I've been talking about sewing for a month or so now. I found a few great tutorials online with my favourite one being Amy Butler's. It will make you want to make a picnic blanket too. Other tutorials I found helpful are at Sew Mama Sew!, Cherry Menlove and Someday Crafts. Pearl was working on a lovely dressing gown with beautiful Liberty Clair-Aude fabric. Gorgeous!

Enjoying our glass of wine and sewing machine fully out of the bag and materials ready to go, only then did I realise that I've not brought my power chord. How's that for a beginners mistake! I felt absolutely ridiculous. To think I'd rolled my sewing machine all the way to her house with no power supply. We got a good laugh at it, though, and it seemed like one of those moments we'll look back on with more experience and confidence later and laugh still remembering when.

I did manage to do all the necessary pinning and cutting, which was plenty of work, so my productivity was not totally lost with my stupidity. Hopefully this is not a mistake I repeat when we're able to host our first Bath Craft Community night for mums.

Hoping your Friday night was lovely,

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fabric Sale! 10 June 2011

Walcot Woolies is having a fabric sale Friday, 10th June starting at 10:00 a.m. Walcot Woolies is in 104 Walcot Street. It is the studio workshop for the beautiful shop Up to Seven, in The Podium. Up to Seven has handmade baby and children's clothes. Inspiring to browse and even better to buy!

Stock up on fabric supplies and then head over to the Cafe at St Michael's where we can spread out comfortably with buggies and babies and have a mummy meet up. St Michael's is on Broad Street, just across from The Podium. The cafe is just in the front door on the ground floor. There are a few stairs leading up to it, but it's very convenient to use the lift to help yourself up with no fuss at all.

Hope to see you on the 10th!

A brief introduction

Me and Liam about Bath

Hello, I'm Summer. I'm a new-ish mum and a new-ish resident to Bath. I say new-ish because although it can feel new, the days really do add up quickly and all of a sudden it's probably been too long to still be telling yourself 'your new.' Truth be told, Liam is my first child and he will be 11 months the 23rd of June, and I moved to Bath at the end of December 2010. What do you think, am I still new at either of these or is it time to quit fooling myself and actually get on with it?

We moved to Bath following the career ambitions of my husband, Jason, who is currently the Features Editor for Future Publishing's EDGE Magazine. Lucky him, lucky me! I still have to pinch myself sometimes since it feels far too dreamy to actually live in Bath. For this and for many other reasons, I'm still so glad I said 'yes' to him seven years ago.

Bath is such a wonderful place to have a family and especially to be a new mum. There is so much on for mums and babies and the friendliness of strangers in those circles is so natural and so welcoming. It's my hope that the Bath Craft Community becomes another extension of this for mums in Bath. With craftiness being the initial common ground and community being the hoped for outcome.

Home-making, crafting, sewing, anything creative is all the rage right now and this blog is an attempt to localise a pool of conversations, ideas and inspiration for us mums in Bath who are into this. So, the blog will hopefully become a resource, a conversation, a living collection of all things creative that the Bath circle of mums are into at the moment.

The other current aim of the Bath Craft Community is to host a monthly evening where we can leave the kids tucked in at home, prioritise our own creative time and come together for a good cuppa', conversation and dedicated time to work on a craft of our choice. It's the 'I've been wanting to ____(fill in the blank)____' time that will be more fun and more rewarding shared with good company.

So, come back often or sign up for automatic emails of posts to keep in the loop and keep an ear and eye out for our first open craft night.

Yours in stitches,