Designing an Inspiring Reading and Listening Space for Rachel Keeling Nursery School – An Update

Work towards creating the listening and reading space at Rachel Keeling has been under way. As usual, I’ve been getting lots done, but forgetting to document it here. Hello Cleo? That’s what blogs are for! I am still struggling with the ‘of the moment’ nature of blogging.

So far I’ve spent three sessions in the nursery creating the printed fabric that will be the canopy over the listening and reading area. Continue Reading →

Handmade & Awesome visit the Craft Hobby and Stitch Show 2014

I’ve come to the Craft Hobby and Stitch Show at the Birmingham NEC. I’m pretty sure the last time I was here, it was 1991 and I came to Lenny Kravitz.

So why am I here? I thought it might be a good research trip. I’ve sort of decided I’m looking for workshop inspiration. Cleo Cobb – Handmade & Awesome will hold 6 or so workshops in 2014. I’m pretty sure what most of those projects will be, but there is always room for new ideas. I am also secretly hoping to find a stand demonstrating a Silhouette Cameo or an equivalent product.

It takes me about three hours to get around the stands Continue Reading →

Designing an Inspiring Reading and Listening Space for Rachel Keeling Nursery School

Last week I got the go-ahead on a very exciting project.

I’ve been meeting with Becky Dolamore, The Deputy Head Teacher at Rachel Keeling Nursery School and Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, one of the school’s Community Governors, to discuss the creation of an inspiring space in the nursery where children can read books, listen to music or audio stories and take time out from the more energetic activities of the nursery.

As soon as Rebekah mentioned the project at the end of last year,  Continue Reading →

Pinterest inferiority complexes, blog honesty and binge watching Netflix

A very late Happy New Year!

It’s almost the end of January and I am still struggling to break into the new year. I can’t shake off the Christmas holiday and so I’m attempting to force my way into it with this reflective post.

There were a few different reasons for starting this blog. One was to capture and document the creative efforts I could make, if any, while caring for my then infant children so that I didn’t blow my brains out. I had my kids fairly close together (there are 19 months between them) and I found early motherhood intense and sometimes very isolating. Keeping track of some tangible parts of the days was really useful to me as. Although it’s often described as “the most important job in the world”, it often seemed like all I managed to do was keep everyone alive.

Another major motivation for sharing my experience of trying to be creative AND a full time mum, was to do some myth busting. Continue Reading →

Christmas Fairs in East London 2013

It’s Christmas Fair time!

I enjoyed getting out and about with my Handmade & Awesome stuff so much last year, so I’m doing it all again and with some extra fairs added.

I’ll be at four fairs this year and all the dates, times and address are below. It would be so great to see you so if you’re about, come and say ‘hello’.

The Eastend W.I. Christmas Market
Tuesday the 3rd of December
7pm – 9.30/10.00pm
St. Margaret’s House Settlement
21 Old Ford Road
London
E2 9PL
This is a women only event with a £4 admission charge for non members

Christmas Baby Shower
Thursday the 5th of December
9.30am – 11.30 am
ELT Baptist Church
Burdett Road
London
E3 4TU
This is a free fair with a kid’s corner and free cake!

Chisenhale Christmas Fair
Friday the 6th of December
3.30pm – 5.30pm
Chisenhale Primary School
Chisenhale Road
London
E3 5QY
Father Christmas will be at this one.

The Bow Winter Craft Market
Saturday the 7th of December
11am – 4pm
St Paul’s Church
St Stephans Road
London
E3 5JL
A debut event, organised by two super duper Tower Hamlets mums.

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Launching Our Kid’s Parties

I have been working my little Pringle socks off!

I’ve been drawing, making, photographing, writing, practicing, testing and finessing. The site has been under construction while I added new pages and made it a bit more fancy. There has been lots of organising and planning too. It’s been a couple of months of flying one moment and intense trouble shooting the next, but….

At last all the elements have come together and I’m excited to announce the news of our first  launch event!

On the 5th of October we are throwing a Kid’s Party to launch our Handmade & Awesome Birthday Parties.

It’s going to be pretty fab!  We will be rolling, cutting, baking and painting salt dough Handmade & Awesome style. The idea is to give folk an opportunity to find out how our parties roll and what’s so special about them.

Tickets are only £5 and if you book a birthday party for your child at our launch, you will receive 10% discount. Happy Days!

Find out all the info here and you can get your little crafty person a ticket here.

Special Event Kid's Craft Party

Poster for Kid’s Craft Party

Log Cabin Patchwork Cushion Cover

I did another project from the “Work In Progress” Box!

I spend an awful lot of energy concentrating on what I haven’t managed to do or what I’m yet to do on my creative to do list. So I’m giving myself a blog pat on the back and doing a cyber victory dance. Woo Yeah! Go me!

This is a cushion cover I have recently completed for my lovely friend Dawn who has just celebrated a big birthday. It was meant for her birthday four years ago, but I obviously need the incentive of a super special birthday to get it all finished for her

The front side of the cushion is a made from a Log Cabin patchwork block. It was the first kind of machine piecing I was shown and although I have not made a whole quilt from these blocks, they do sew up pretty quickly. The back is made from a Burberry scarf (Ironic Chav Chic) and I used buttons from.. actually I have no idea where I got those buttons.

I would really like to make a whole quilt with these blocks, but I’m going to get the “Work In Progress” Box empty first.

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Refocusing the Blog and Superhero Capes

I now have a large box dedicated to Work In Progress. It used to be just a draw, but then I had to get a box, a big box, to get it all in.

I’m pretty sure Work In Progress projects (AKA: shit I’ve lost interest in) is commonplace with the crafter. That’s probably how Hobbycraft stay in business – from the keen bean crafters abandoning their currant work once they’ve caught a magpie glance at shiny new craft materials.

One of the original goals of this blog was to motivate me to get some of these projects back on track and finished. I’m refocusing on this so I don’t have to buy a bigger box

First from the box.
For Flo’s forth birthday she wanted a superhero theme. I am quite keen to keep princesses and everything pink at bay for as long as possible in regard to my girl’s interests. I’m not anti pink and princesses. My feeling is that once pink princesses starts, it lasts for quite a while. So when they say “Superhero/Pirate/Monsters”, I say “Yes”.

Of course I started a Pinterest board to get some inspiration. One idea for party activities that made it to the short list was cape decorating. I thought it would be a good alternative to a party bag as they could take their creations home. I buckled under self-imposed pressure and did party bags too. This turned out to be total overkill, although I didn’t hear any children complain about that. I got my initial template from here. I ended up having to stitch the self-adhesive velcro on at the neck fastening as it was not going stick. Apart from this slight modification, it’s the same thing.

There was a selection of things for each kid to customise their cape. I bought some pre-cut sparkly stars. We cut superhero emblem shapes from felt and we also cut each kid’s initial from the felt too. It was a great idea, but we learned the hard way that GLUE STICK DOES NOT BOND FELT TO ANYTHING! Even the emergency PVA didn’t help. So in the end the kids had to just lay the pieces out where they wanted them, slightly adhered to the cape and mums could be heard vowing to sew them into place when they got home. Well, if they are anything like me, those capes waited a long time.
But I did! Four months after the big day, I did it. Thanks to a little prompting from Flo – “Mummy, why are our capes still in this big box?”

Note 1: Mad props to Malc as he did almost all of the cutting out of capes and felt shapes.
Note 2: The awesome animal coat hook featured in the photograph second from left, is by  All Lovely Stuff

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Selling My Lovely Handmade Things in Real Actual Person.

This blog has been a bit neglected recently. It’s not because I’m not being awesomely productive, I totally am, but trying to make stuff AND write about it takes time and energy that I do not seem to be able to get my hands on.

I shall fill you in.

A couple of months ago I did a doodle of what my market stall might look like if only I had the balls to actually do it. That exercise sent my little mind into overdrive. Seeing it on paper, the idea didn’t seem so unrealistic. Since then I have been trying to cram designing, developing and producing my handmade things into a every spare nook and cranny of time I can find.

My aim is to make enough stock to do some of the small community fairs and markets that I hear about as Christmas approaches. I still have some serious hours to put in, but I am really excited about it all.

In the recent years, friends have mentioned different fairs in the run up to Christmas, asking whether I’d be interested in selling at them. This is the first year I have felt capable of getting it together. We are emerging from the intense baby years as Dolly turned two in August. For me this means things are a bit more flexible, there is a bit more emotional space for me to create and a bit more physical energy to make along side being mum. So here goes. The first market I can be found at is on

Sunday the 2nd of December 2-6pm
The Buzzby Market
Christmas Special
Kentish Town Community Centre
17 Busby Place (off Torriano Ave)
NW5 2SP

Wish me luck.

Making Halloween Decorations and All That Spooky Shit

Since Florence started nursery in September, we are now a slave to the system and have to take our holidays when everyone else does during the school breaks. This half term we went to our usual and fave spot – my dad’s and step-mum’s house in Lyme Regis. It can be a bit difficult to find things to do if the weather is not that nice and it was a bit soggy this visit. But we had loads to keep us occupied – Halloween crafts!

We got properly on it this year as Florence was really taken with the idea of Halloween. Both girls already had their costumes sorted thanks to their Nanna Mazza, but there were still the decorations to sort. So while my dad and my boyfriend tried to out pumpkin each other, we tried some other Halloween orientated projects.

I used Pinterest to collect some ideas for things a two and three year old could make fairly easily. I’ve only just got into using Pinterest and I think it’s pretty wicked. It was a massive help and led me to great craft blogs. I got loads of ideas for future Halloweens when the girls are a bit more canny with their hands and have a longer attention span.

I found these sites for easy craft ideas

Stone Spider

http://www.simpleasthatblog.com

Tissue Paper Pumpkin

http://www.allkidsnetwork.com

Pom Pom Bats (we used polystyrene ball instead of pom poms)

http://www.allkidsnetwork.com

 

Disclaimer: I need to make it clear that although the girls did have a lot of fun making the decorations, I did often find myself on my own gluing pipes cleaners to a stone or similar activity, the girls having lost interest and wondered off to see what Justin was doing on Cbeebies.