Live it: Shooting a Portas Pilot Video

So I mentioned that the town I live and work in, Maidenhead, is bidding to become a Mary Portas    Pilot town, well as part of the bid, they wanted a video, so on Wednesday, Marie from Art on the Street and Steph James, our town manager, called a group of crafty ladies together in our high street and we shot a video... well I stood around and took pictures while the very talented Mac & his daughter Carly Kenny shot a video.

 Marie looking nervous waiting the arrival of the camera crew

My Lovely friend Denise brought along some of her latest art work to show me, she used some of the fabric yoyo's I showed her how to make at the Pop up shop, in her new pieces. They are so cute!
I love it when what we do can inspire people.

We all grouped together to shoot the opening lines 'Living it, Loving it, Making it...Maidenhead' ...sound familiar....???

Marie seemed to be happy, despite spending most of the shoot crouched behind the Enjoy Maidenhead banner to stop it falling over.

 Each of us took a turn to explain to camera why we wanted our town to be chosen.

 Then it was my turn....

I (Sam) was born in Maidenhead, grew up here and after collage came back here to live my life, I can't ever see myself leaving, I Love this town.
Maidenheads Bid is about more than money, we want our community back. We are Lucky to have lots and lots of talent in our town, we believe by using that it will bring people back to our town centre.
Mary Portas herself has been championing British industry of late, we want to be a town that manufactures, we are a town that manufactures, look at all the amazing talent already on display at the Craft Coop events! The chance to be a Portas town would mean that any innovations that work for our town can be used as initiatives in other failing high streets, all over the country. Maidenhead has what it takes to be a High Street shining star with or with out Mary Portas, I cant wait to see what the future holds for my little town.

Living it, Loving it, Making it.
Sammy xxx

and here it is in all its YouTube glory.

Live it. Olympic Torch, Love it. Hunger Games, Make it. Wicked Willow Weaving

Last Thursday I managed to pack quite a lot of random activities in to one day, I was the very epitome of Live it Love it Make it! Just not sure that all in one day is such a good idea, I am still trying to recover.
Anyway, the first of my activities was thanks to the Lovely Maria of Happy Cakes! fame. She invited me to attend a willow weaving workshop in her garden. I have tried many crafts in my time but I have never done anything like this so jumped at the chance, in addition of tea and cake was a big deciding factor. 
I arrived secateurs in hand and was greeted by Maria and a cup of tea. Susan our teacher for the morning, took us through what we were aiming for and let us choose our materials, I went for the shorter dark willow as my base, motivated by size and ability to fit it in the car, I began to whittle the ends in order to spear them in to the ground and be able to weave around them freely.

 Maria and Steph getting their standing willow, whittled and in to place.

A photo by Steph Smith of me beside my willow frame. Do you like my wellies???

When we were all set, Susan showed us the fun part, the weaving,
making sure we had the right technique to get going.
We used green willow and began by bending one strand then weaving alternately in and out, making sure to keep the spacing as even as possible
Not as easy as it sounds...
Never the less, our first layers started to take shape, this is Susan's, you can tell right, super neat and tidy.

Finishing of with a neat tuck in and then on to the middle layer, remembering to pull it in a little tighter to start the inward curve. 
The nicest thing about getting together with a group and doing an activity like this is you get a chance to have a natter as you work, it was really nice to get to chat with some lovely new friends and friends I already knew, like Steph, one of my lovely customers at Sew Crafty and Deborah from Craft Coop.
By this time my obelisk was taking shape, and I was getting jibes about being neat, not some thing I am usually known for.

As we all finished off our second layer it seemed like a good time for a break, and nothing better to keep us going than (the now famous) Lemon drizzle, Yummy Carrot cake and a nice cup of tea. Yes I did have both, it would have been rude not to.
Also I would like to point out I am mega jealous of Maria's crockery collection, everything from Blue and white wear to Cath K! If you need somewhere to store any of it whilst you have your Kitchen done Maria, my house is open :)

After tea, time for top layer and tying off, by this time the garden was looking very impressive, everyone had done such a good job, and everyone had really enjoyed themselves. Even Maria's gorgeous Chickens were impressed!

I uploaded this to Instagram on my way back to work, a cute little collection of the days stages. I'm @SamanthaClaridge if you want to follow me there. I love my obelisk, so much so that I have covered it in Easter goodies and stuck it in the Window at work, and it has been much admired.
Thank you to Susan for teaching us all and thank you to Maria for inviting me to come along, and to all the Ladies for such a nice 'Make it' morning
All of us proud willow weavers posing with our achievements. Lovely I think you will agree.
For the next few hours I had to have my work head on, the Sun was shining so we flung the doors open at the shop whilst I got my head stuck in to customers questions, sales and VAT.

'Living it'
By 6pm it was time to put my community hat on and head to Maidenhead town hall for a meeting about the new parking scheme and the Portas pilot bids and Olympic excitement!
Maidenhead is putting in a bid to become a Mary Portas Pilot Town, Yay! 
And as our train station is an official Olympic arrival venue for the Dorney lake events we also are on the Olympic torch route, quite excited as it will be running right passed the front of our shop!!

By 7.30 my head was full of ideas, but It was time for me to meet up with my friend Verity, to go and watch a preview screening of 'The Hunger Games'
V had recommended the books to me last year on holiday, and I had ended up reading all three in a week. We had both been waiting in anticipation for the first of the movies... and we were not disappointed!

I don't normally share my drawings with many people, but as it is appropriate I thought I would share my pencil drawing of Jennifer Lawrence, starlet of Hunger Games, with our lovely Blog followers.

So it was a busy day, but a great one. 
I wish I could live it, love it and make it every day!

Much Love 
Sammy xxx

Live it: Stitch and Craft with Mr X stitch

Last week H and I popped down to the Stitch and craft show at Olympia. H was there last year work-shopping with the Foundling museum, and I was there to shop, but we both had a chance to be visitors this year... and we had a date with Mr X Stitch, Jamie Chalmers!

We walked the short distance from H's place in The Bush to Olimpia and on the way passed one of the posters commissioned to commemorate Olympias 125th anniversary buy one of my favourite artists right now, the amazingly talented Rob Ryan.

We started on the top floor and were greeted by over 500 quilts made for the Olympic teams PLUS quilted pennants made for each Olympic athlete! This bunting tribute named Flying High by Owl quilters and  this beautiful heart offering were my favourites.

Then there was the Knitted Village, Knitted by members of the public, Stitch and Craft had such success that they have extended the competition and will have an even bigger 'Village' on display at The Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Plaice in the Autumn, get on over to Twisted Threads page and see how you can make an addition to 'Knit the Nation'!

This is H resting her tired feet in what I was told a super comfy chair in the Mollie Makes luxury patchwork yurt! So comfy it very almost came home with us!

These are some pics of the Yurt from Mollie Makes
P.s. check out their blog for great projects and lots of other fun crafty stuff!

We thought it would be rude not to come home with some Linden Lady coconut ice....all I can say is it didn't make it home.
After a bit of paper craft and ribbon buying (seriously you think I would have enough) we headed down stairs for our date with Mr X Stitch. Jamie Had a great collection of not only his own work but lots of pieces from other Cross stitch and embroidery artist, all trying to push the boundaries of yarn crafts. One of my (a bit twisted) favs was  Theo Humphries  who takes ordinary run of the mill tapestries and gives them an often gruesome edge.

This one 'Kanye' from the 'Big Cats in Shades' collection a particular highlight.

He told us he is also exhibiting with some of these great artists at The Knitting and Stitching show In October, as if we needed another reason to go, right!
Jamie was kind enough to sign a copy of the book he curated 'Push Stitchery' for us too!
Oh and we also shared chocolate hobnobs whilst he ate artichoke , Thanks Jamie it was a pleasure.
I will suggest that you all run to Jamie's shop and buy your copy now!! 

We had a great day, topped off by a trip to Paperchase at Westfield on the way home. 

Living it. Loving it. Making it.
Sammy and H xxx

Apologies for My post being a bit on the late side this week, sooo much exciting stuff going on here at Li.Li.Mi Maidenhead HQ this week, can't wait to fill you all in!!