Thursday, 10 September 2009

Blog switch

As I'm embarking on my Make Your Way Around Britain trip in just a couple of weeks time, I thought it might be sensible to start a blog dedicated to the trip itself. So I've decided to switch blogs from now until the end of October, as I doubt I'll have time to do both justice. SO PLEASE STAY WITH ME AND JOIN ME ON MY TRIP! I'll be making ends meet by "making stuff" rifling through markets, visiting charity shops, meeting makers and visiting quirky places and projects along the way. It's all going to be about Make Do And Mend - and you can just click HERE to see what I'm up to. Please come along for the ride!


Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Creature comforts

I know the world doesn't need more cat pictures - but the world gets given lots of things it doesn't need but can add to its overall level of happiness. This cat pops in sometimes from next door, and every time he does, it cheers me up. Hope he cheers you up today if you need it.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Make Your Way Around Britain

Ok - I'm getting itchy feet. It's time to hit the road Jack, and that's just what I plan to do in October, when I'm going to try and travel the length of the country by making stuff. Hats, bags, belts, lavender bags - I'm going to turn my hand to everything in order to literally make my way around the UK. The plan is to visit areas of the UK with a rich textile history or a quirky craft and then to try and create a series of objects linked to the area to actually sell - so it might be suspenders inspired by Nottingham's lace heritage or customised berets based on Luton's hating history. I'll be hoping to make some money each time I set up shop, to enable me to move onto the next place. I'll be concentrating on textiles, but if I find other intersting bits and bobs along the route I might incorporate those into my designs too, and I'm not ruling out baking a few biscuits either! The question is - how should I travel? Over the last few months, I've been checking out the options - campervans, cars, different prices, different countries, different looks. So now I'm putting it up for the vote. What do you think of this motor?

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Berlin fleamarket

You guessed it - another city another fleamarket....this one a mix of old and new, food and fun, a hippy, dippy, happening vibe that feels uniquely Berlin. I highly recommend it for chilling out and people watching. In terms of bargains, I bought a rose spattered tablecloth for 2 euros and after a spot of bartering, a little Eiffel Tower for another 2 euros. That's right - when in Germany, take home a bit of new European! There's great food on offer, from coconut milk served straight from the shell, to freshly-made Turkish spinach/cheese wraps and German beers, there are so many flavours to enjoy. Savour it all and mooch away the day. Musicians stroll up, tune up and draw the crowds. There are tightrope trippers and hippy collectives, pop-up picnics and dancing dandies. Check out Berlin's alternative artscene by reading this excellent article in The Guardian/Observer. Lots of options off the beaten track.


Wilkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome! Last weekend - The Mobile Millinery went abroad for the first time. Am stopped at airport security on the way to Germany as my box of buttons sets off the metal detector. I'm told to wait as my rucksack is unpacked. Feel like drugs smuggler, but in fact am only a bead mule. Am released from interrogation by really rather friendly lady who relaxes into a smile once she sees my stash. With the help of my fabulous facilitator and friend Katharina, who speaks maybe six languages fluently, we put on the event at The Bilderbuch Cafe in West Berlin - and it's a triumph! Ten interesting women, all of whom speak excellent English(unlike my non-existent German) join us for the afternoon - and I lose myself in another world for a while. A couple of my clients sport fabulous 40's hair-do's, another, a 40's style dress that she's sewn herself from a vintage pattern. They all love the retro techniques I show them for designing their own little headpieces, and the results are great. I thoroughly enjoy my Berlin millinery moment - and hope very much to come back soon. There's such an exciting feeling in this city. It's the sense of history, creativity and forward thinking that perhaps sets it apart. A bit like New York, there's a buzz in the air. It rubs off like the "shining from shook foil" as Gerard Manley-Hopkins would say.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

I beg your pardon....

On a beautiful summer's day there are few places I'd rather be than The Rose Garden in Greenwich Park, London. The names of the blooms alone are enough to inspire a thousand different poems, stories or pieces of music. The colours combined with the perfume make me want to twirl around and shout out loud! I breathe them all in and close my eyes. I really hope that beauty can sink into your Soul....I inhale and I make wishes. I often think about which of these roses I'd have in my Wedding Bouquet (yes, SHE who despises such tradition!). I'm amazed how it changes from visit to visit - will it be the vanilla white ICECREAM or the heady scent of ROSEMARY HARKNESS? Today Rosemary wins me over - a plethora of blossoms spilling over with pink, apricot and lemon yellow. I'd marry in an instant for that!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Haven't camped since girl guides - not a great experience. Soaking tents, grumpy teens, hard ground, and ants. However, for some reason I've recently been tempted into giving it another go. I found this fantastic Cath Kidston tent on Ebay for £40, and somehow the flowers persuaded me out to play! I realised pretty quickly though that I'm a fair weather camper- if I'd felt the slightest speck of an approaching shower I'd have done a runner! As it was, the sun shone all day - and that feeling of waking up, unzipping the door(?) and filling your lungs with fresh air is unbeatable. You do of course get roused from slumber pretty early when you're in the great outdoors...even my freebie Virgin eye-mask couldn't stop the dawn from prodding me in the back at a very unsociable hour. Ouch! But still it was worth it. Oh - and next time - I'll remember to bring a torch. Maybe camping without light isn't very sensible. Now my next big decision is whether to buy a potty; vintage china or practical plastic...which shall it be? Suggestions on a postcard please....