Friday, 27 May 2016

Having Fun Whilst Learning a New Skill

It was really nice to read about Helen's course in Ireland and so lovely to see ladies enjoying it so much too. I think that courses are a great way to try out something new when you are in two minds as to whether or not you want to take up a hobby. Courses give you the opportunity to try before you invest in a lot of equipment. Let me tell you about my fantastic weekend trying something completely out of my comfort zone, upholstery!!!

I visited The Ministry of Upholstery to do the Weekend Footstool Course  I was both nervous and excited, I was going on my own due to having had to cancel a previous booking with my friend and sister, this was definitely not a knitting or crochet course! I did not have a clue what I was doing!
Fabric almost chosen ( I took them both)

Anthony & Susie immediately made us feel welcome with cups of tea and lively chatter about the day ahead and I met the other ladies who had signed up for the weekend. There are two sizes of footstool and I had it in my mind that I wanted to do the larger of the two and asked to upgrade, but a word of warning you really need to book this ahead of your course date because they are made up especially for the course. I was lucky as Anthony dug one out for me. 
Base Made & Webbing on

Legs Painted

All I had to take was my fabric, but as a crafter I had more than one in mind and struggled a little choosing my main one. This is an important choice as on day one you paint the legs of your footstool and they need to compliment your fabric. Susie has such a good eye for the fabulous Annie Sloane paints which you use that you feel like you are in very safe hands. 
Susie helped me to mix two colours to get the perfect match for my fabric, I was so pleased!
Anthony is quite scary when he crosses the line into the upholstery workshop, he, very rightly, becomes Mr Health and safety and when you do your training on using the compressed air stapler you realise why, if you are not sensible and careful a nasty accident could happen. He is very clear as to what is and is not allowed in the work space. Unfortunately he is not as strict with his music choice and tortured us with Dolly Parton on day two (some liked it, I did not!), seriously though, both he and Susie make learning so much fun and their passion for their subjects shines through.

Truly the crafter I made 2 sets of buttons because I could not choose

The work on day one was really all preparation for day two when my muscles where put to the test with lots of pulling and stretching of fabric and tightening buttons, which by the way we covered ourselves on the most fabulous machine, all in all by the end of day two I was exhausted and definitely needed the G & T which was waiting at home. There were 9 of us on the course and each of us made such different footstools, it was amazing. One of the ladies made the most fabulous pink sparkly footstool for her mum using fabric which she sells online.

The stool on the left was made by another student and the legs were done using silver leaf to compliment her pink sparkly top.

I finally chose my buttons (I got to use both my fabrics after all) and used my muscles to pull them into the footstool. I was so pleased with how my footstool was looking!

My legs are also on and I have used lots of skills to get to this point, all under the eagle eye of Anthony.                             

Everyone had had so much fun making these gorgeous footstools and we were all excited to take our prizes home!!

I was very quick to sit down and put my feet up on my new footstool whilst I pondered what my next upholstery project might be!! Maybe sitting and knitting for a while will help the thought process!

You can see lots of Anthony's work on the BBC program Money for Nothing 
which shows you just how creative you can get! Don't forget to visit the website and take a look at the shop where they stock Annie Sloane paints. 

Finally if you are thinking about doing a course in anything look at it as an investment in yourself, it is great to gain a new skill and have fun into the bargain. Why not start small and learn how to crochet with Helen & I.
Have a great weekend xx

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Ireland workshop

Once again I have had an amazing time out in Ireland holding a jewelry/decorative scarf workshop. I had lovely ladies come along on both days and we had a great time. Glen Gallery Crafts is a shop that is just full to the top with crafts and wool, you name it, they have it. 
I developed this workshop because firstly I love to make decorative things, beading with dangly bits, in fact anything fiddly and secondly I have a new i-cord knitting mill, oh my, it is brilliant !!!

This is the i-cord that comes off the i-cord knitting mill (right), just amazing !

Firstly I got the ladies to make themselves a brooch with 
i-cord and a leather flower and button.

And then they had to use there imagination to think what they would like to make. I gave them all a booklet of knitted and crochet flowers, leaves and necklace bases and they had to make a selection and put it all together. I had made a few ideas before hand for them to have a look at.

I think sometimes when you go on a workshop it gets your creative juices flowing because you are with like minded people. There was a lot of knitting going on as well as chatting and some of the ladies finished their pieces but the main thing is that they enjoyed themselves.

All smiles from the ladies

One lady decided to make flowers and decorate her throw that she had knitted and it looked fantastic.

 Lots of work in progress, I hope they finished the necklace because the colours were beautiful

 Glen Gallery Crafts have such a wide variety of yarns, this is a very small selection of yarns that are on sale. If you are ever in Belfast call into Glen Gallery Crafts, Fenagh Road, Cullybackey, County Antrim. Frances and Marilyn are two lovely ladies who are very happy to help  .

Hopefully I will get to go back but just to remind everyone that if you have 4 to 6 ladies who want to learn to crochet, knit or even do a crochet jewellery workshop, Myself and Sarah are very happy to come to you and teach, please ask for details.
So just to say happy knitting and watch out for our next blog.
Love Helen and Sarah xx