Advent-ageous

I have always loved a good advent calendar. I still remember the nativity scene one we had when I were a lass and the excitement of opening a door, even though it was the same one we had every year and we carefully folded the door shut ready for the following year when we were done.

There’s even more excitement in the countdown in our house these days, as it’s my eldest’s birthday on Christmas Eve as well!

So we have always made a big thing of the Christmas season, and it’s still my kids’ favourite time of the year. When I spotted a wooden Santa figure with 24 drawers when they were really little, I knew I had to have him, and every year I intend to fill the drawers with something more exciting that chocolates or sweets, but so far have not managed to do so. I also see ideas for advent garlands and envelopes (damn you, Pinterest!) and think “ooh that’s a lovely idea”! and then somehow never manage to get around to putting it into practice.

So this year I am determined to do something different. My youngest and I spent some time in September learning how to make origami stars, and writing positive messages on them for when she had her own stall at Bearwood Crafty Pantry Food Festival. And we have as a family spent a lot of time in 2016 talking about what is right and wrong, what is kind and what is fair, in light of global and local news events. My girls are both turning out to be conscientious global citizens, and have a strong sense of what they believe to be right or fair, I am delighted (and not at all surprised) to see. So I thought perhaps we could combine a little sweet treat each day with a bit of thoughtfulness; by us adults, by them and sometimes requiring some action too. Last year we did a Christmas parcel for Ryan and Wayne, the two homeless men who used to sit outside the car park I use for work, and their dog, Bella. The girls were really into it, and had lots of suggestions for what we might include in it.

So I had a look at what other people had done, like the Padbury family with their random acts of kindness countdown, and also these great ideas in Country Living, and decided to come up with a combination of family treats (like a trip to the German Christmas market in Birmingham, or ice skating), some thoughtful consideration of others (from putting some coins in vending machines or parking meters through to smiling and saying hello to strangers in the street or bringing in cakes for colleagues), and some positive action like helping out the local Foodbank in the run up to Christmas, as well as some quality family time at home watching Christmas films, baking treats and going for walks. My intention is to print these off in long strips on paper and fold them into the origami stars, which would fit perfectly in the little drawers.

origami rainbow-stars

As long as I also put some chocolate in there, I think we should be OK….

It’s a Crafty Pantry Food Festival!

We have some great news to share.

We’re joining forces with our good friends at Bearwood Pantry (two of us Muthas are actually founder members of Bearwood Pantry so that’s how good the friendship is!) to put on a very special event in September. We’re calling this creative collaboration The Crafty Pantry Food Festival – see what we did there?

food festival flyer
Erin Power once again designed our gorgeous flyer

With two successful food festivals behind them, The Pantry are once again inviting local food producers, cake makers, bakers and chefs to set up stalls in and around the Bearwood Baptist Church on Bearwood Road. This time however, the annual Food Festival will have a crafty twist. We’ll be providing craft stalls and childrens’ workshops alongside the tasty treats.

Once again, the Food Festival will be celebrating Bearwood’s diverse community and championing great quality food in all price ranges with a variety of stalls offering cuisine from around the world as well as homegrown local honey producers and jam and chutney makers. Organisations including Bearwood Allotments and Smethwick Foodbank will also be raising awareness of food related issues affecting local people.

Something new for 2016 is travelling book shop ‘How Brave is The Wren’ which stocks beautifully crafted illustrated stories and picture books for the young and young at heart. The Wren’s bespoke caravan shop will be pitching up on Bearwood Road ready to inspire young minds. Indoors the crafts on offer range from jewellery to crochet from some of our favourite makers and even a kids’ corner where talented youngsters will be selling their handmade products (our kids have been badgering us for years to make this happen!)

The Bearwood Crafty Pantry Food Festival takes place in and around Bearwood Road and Bearwood Baptist Church Hall, Rawlings Road, B66 4HA, from 11.00am until 4pm on Saturday 17th September 2016.

We’ll update this site with more info as the big day approaches.

 

 

Tap is back!

pint and wool

It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and new ones at the Midland last night.  I lost count of the number of people who came up and said “thank you so much for bringing the Tapestry back – I’ve really missed it!”

There were, as always, some amazing WIPs on the go, from Jo-ann’s beautifully delicate cross stitch

joann

To Collette’s designs for a future mosaic house number

collette

and Michelle’s detailled wire wrapped pendant, just waiting for a gemstone!

wire wrapped

We introduced our neighbours to the concept of Craftivism, and some of the projects currently underway.  #fortheloveof is a lovely simple project which sees fabric hearts embellished to demonstrate what it is you love, so you can literally wear your heart on your sleeve.

christina

We talked to lots of people about their passions, and gave away lots of handouts to encourage people to look into what the craftivist collective do.  If you want to find out more, check out their website.

craftivism

Our next Tapestry is Monday 26th October – it will be here sooner than you think! Can’t wait!

Return of The Tap

beer crochetWe received a lot of disappointed messages when we announced that we were ending the Bearwood Tapestry monthly meet-ups. So it’s with some excitement that we’re positively giddy to announce the Return of The Tap! And somewhat suitably our new home will be in The Midland, Bearwood’s newest (only?) entrant in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2016.

Come join us Crafty Muthas as we knit and natter, sew and socialise. Bring something you are working on or just come along and chat to others and get inspired by the creative folks in Bearwood over a pint.

When: Last Monday of the month (starting Mon 28th September) from 8pm

Where: The Midland, 526-528 Bearwood Road, Smethwick, West Midlands, B66 4BE

See our Facebook Event for more info. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter to never miss an event.

 

 

 

We’re going on a Bear Hunt…

 

So a few Saturdays ago we all came together and did some communal crafting! It was the culmination of sharing of ideas, inspiration, a box of nails and a bag full of neon wool!

There is a Bear Trail around Bearwood, where people can track down 30 decorated wooden bears between 17th and 31st May. The amazing We Are Bearwood folk successfully bid for some funding to enable this lovely initiative to happen, and they have asked various local groups and organisations to decorate them.

The Crafty Muthas took possession of our bear and shared ideas for a couple of weeks before alighting on our final plan.

 

An evening perusing various fonts and working through my wool stash later and Mr B was dispatched to buy a big box of copper nails from the local hardware store.

box of nails

We all gathered in Jennie’s kitchen with 6 hammers, a shed load of neon chunky wool and some ear defenders (just kidding, but we should’ve!).

paper nailing no words

First we worked nails in around the outside of each letter, then hammered nails around the edge. Next we started with the neon pink and outlined the letters and started taking it out to the edges and criss crossing to fill in the space between.

pink pink complete

Bright orange came next, and luminous yellow really brought the whole thing together.

pink yellow

The last thing to finish it off was to outline the letters and the outer edge of the bear in bright zingy green.  Doesn’t he look smart?!

final bear

The best part of it was the whole experience of doing something creative together (and no alcohol was even consumed!). It’s been so long and we’ve all been so busy with other things lately that it was such a buzz to get together and make such an amazing thing as a group. Total bonus that it looks so awesome too!

jen   as

Today we had the chance  to see it as part of the trail when all the bears went live and wild!

bum   side view

 

The bears were amazing, and I will post again about the trail as my phone battery died half way round! Thankfully Jen’s extra long arms were “on hand” to take a group selfie of some of us in front of our bear, which is situated in …. Nah – go find him! The trail is ace!

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