Lest We Forget

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Back in late 2019, I was asked if I would design something to celebrate VE Day, which was to be celebrated in May 2020, and then to teach it in several workshops. I was humbled and excited to be approached about coming up with a design to remember such an important occasion. 

I knew that I had to include the soldier and the well-known saying – Lest we forget – that we associate with Remembrance. I wanted to have poppies and also to bring Inktense colouring into the design. So, my design came to be.

So, fast forward to March 2020 and the world came to a complete standstill with the COVID-19 which meant that all planned workshops had to be cancelled. This was a difficult decision, but the world was going on an unknown journey and no one knew what would be the conclusion to it all. I know many thought it would be gone within a couple of months and life would go back to normal. Many would not have thought that we would still be in this semi lockdown and ‘new’ normal in October. 

Strangely enough, we can apply this to our current situation; So many people have died from this virus, many that should not have lost their lives. I believe that we should not forget those that have gone because of this virus.

But back to the design; With the workshops being cancelled, I had to think of other ways the design could be available to those that wanted to make it. So, the idea of kits came about and it has proved so popular, more than I could ever have envisioned. I have created two types of kits – uncoloured one, for those that want to do their own colouring with the Inktense pencils and a coloured one, for those that are not able to do the colouring. The coloured kits are hand painted by me and each one is unique, no two are the same.  

This panel would be lovely to hang on display every year to commemorate the fallen or even at any time. We are coming up to Remembrance Day, which would be great to have this panel ready for then. So why not get a kit and do one up for yourself or a friend so they can remember the fallen. 

Autumn and my Woolly Acorns

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Well, its time for my second post. The team that is helping me or trying very hard to get me into a routine of creating interesting articles. Now, you all know me and I would rather be crafting and being creative than sitting at my computer. Below is my second attempt at writing a blog. 

Autumn is finally here; the nights are drawing in and, as summer fades away into memory the autumn colours are coming out. I love autumn with the leaves on the trees changing into gorgeous golden colours. And, the best part is the harvest of apples, blackberries and other autumn produce. 

Being able to bring autumn indoors is such a special treat, there is nothing that says autumn more than a collection of pumpkins, apples, berries and acorns. 

Woolly Acorns

I like quirky and unusual decorations to have indoors, ones that create conversations. For me, woolly acorns fit that bill. They are cute and different but are easy to make. They look great set in a vintage china dish or a rustic bowl. 

The woollen fabric that creates the acorns fits in well with the natural acorn caps. 

 I have created these woollen acorns into kits which includes the template, photo tutorial, stuffing, acorn caps and fabric to make 20 woollen acorns. The fabric in the kits are a mixture of colours and textures, so each kit is entirely different. I have limited kits, and once they are gone, there is no more. So why not grab a kit and have some fun creating your own woollen acorns. They are easy enough for children to make. 

Where did it all begin

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A New Start

So, where did it all begin? Well, after all of the discussion on Facebook, my new site is finally live. On reflection, this has been a difficult few months. The fantastic team that has helped me with the site and the shop have kept me focussed, and I can admit that it is not easy. Within the current Covid-19 restrictions, they have built kits, fed me, bullied me, tidied my stock room and kept my dream alive. They do not want to be named as they feel this site is about Nifty Needles, my family and me. I hope over the next few months they may change their minds and I can introduce them to you all.

Go Live

On the last weekend of testing the site, we made the decision that we were ready to go live. This decision meant no more work on the site. Feeling drained, and with time on my hands, I started to think about the journey that has taken me to where I am now. In this, my first real Blog Post, I would like to share some of my thoughts and feelings.

The Past

Going back a few years, I was in a very stressful job with no job satisfaction, office politics and no prospect for promotion. I am sure some of you know what I was experiencing. I was also a single mum with a young daughter with autism. Now, I know being a single mum is not easy, but getting time off for childcare and appointments was a significant issue.

Crafting

OK, that is enough about that. So, crafting then. I have always enjoyed crafting; actually, all arts and crafts in general. The satisfaction we get when using our hands to produce a piece of artwork or craftwork is addictive in the best possible way. What is even better is being able to pass on those skills to other people. I was fortunate that my mother was a dressmaker. When I was seven years old, she taught me cross-stitch and how to use a sewing machine. I started knitting and crocheting when I was twelve years old.

More Crafting

You may be surprised to hear that I do not have a particular craft that I love above all others. Over time this may have led to a surplus of unfinished projects that I am always just about to finish. I do know that I am not the only person in this situation. If I had to pick something, it might be needlework and applique on quilts over machine pieced quilts. I am not overly fond of foundation paper piecing. I must admit I am not too fond of sewing up seams in knitted garments; for that reason, I taught myself top-down knitting. Finally, I do prefer knitting over crochet.

The Present

So, this is where I am now. I love that I earn a living from doing what I enjoy. Crafting is a great stress reliever, and I want to share this with others. I like to encourage mental wellbeing by running classes and workshops. Taking the journey into designing and writing patterns was a leap of trust in my ability, but one I have enjoyed. The biggest compliment I can receive is somebody buying one of my designs and making it up.

Maybe The Future

If you have read this far, thank you. Please take time to look at the whole site. I will welcome feedback and suggestions for improvements.

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