Tuesday, 25 January 2011

10 Minutes on the couch with Miss Libby-Rose

The first and the most important question is who is Miss Libby-Rose?

I am a designer - maker - and all round lover of all things fabulous and crafty (especially if it is pink - like my hair!) 

Where are you based in South London?

6a Greenwich Market, London, SE10 -  

Tell us about your workshops and courses?

My workshops are not only about learning to sew - it is so much more than that! It is about women getting together and learning a new skill in a creative environment where they can be themselves without the pressures of day-to-day life. It is a real 'experience' - all my girls always leave smiling with a project they have made...



What is the price ranges of your courses?

They range from 'free' (video tutorials on my site) -  £25 - £55 - but you can do a personalised soiree for around £150 a day if you want! 

What levels are people do you cater for?

I cater for all - the absolute beginner Beginners Classes to intermediate Intermediate Classes


We love you cute panties, but what do you think is going to be big in 2011?

I don't really do high street / mainstream fashion so what is 'big'; in the outside world is not necessarily in the 'Libby Rose' world - I design fabulous wiggle skirts with matching waistcoats.


 
High Waisted Wiggle Pensil Fishtail Skirt 
Plus other versions of Marilyn Monroe style 'wiggle skirts' - full organza circle skirts - fancy pants - lace tops etc... I take a lot of my inspiration from films of a bygone era - 40's fashion and anything that is beautiful - and fabulous!!!



Have you introduced any new classes for 2011? 

All my intermediate classes are new for 2011 Intermediates Classes
Also the kits for craft to make at home are well under way, cushion making and belt making kits are now up on the site ready to order...   There are going to be more kits to follow – but I am up for doing anything in particular that people would like to learn and I will endeavour to please.


You are a very busy woman, we see that you not only offer workshops and courses but you also make your own collection of clothing, how is this going?

BRILLIANT! I love it - I also sell fabrics and haberdashery - like a kid in a sweet shop I get to be / do all the things I love in a surrounding that I love - who could ask for anything more? (Well Perhaps a garden to grow my herbs and have chickens then it would be perfect!)

My fashion collections are very 'different' so I cater for people that want to stand out from the crowd - celebrate being a woman and be all that they can be by wearing something that not only feels good to wear but is made beautifully by my very own crafty hands! This is also going very well!

If you could describe Miss Libby-Rose in 3 words what would they be and why?

 
Quirky, Fabulous, Pink If you meet me in person you will know why! 


Critics feedback

Love it, love it, love it & I can’t wait for my next Greenwich outing & I may rope in a couple of girlies as well.  If you are looking for a course which I think celebrates femininity, Libby-Rose’s course & workshops personifies this through her individual style. I feel she has a great style and if you can’t make it over to Greenwich, that’s cool she now sells kits to use at home.

Check out Libby-Roses site: Miss Libby-Rose  

Sunday, 23 January 2011

40 things to do in 2011

I need to get positive for 2011, here are the SW 40 things to do in 2011

1.     Master cross-stitching.
2.     Start training for an Oxfam charity hike.
3.     Eat out at local restaurants.
4.     Buy less clothes in 2011, upcycle old ‘I’m running out of space’
5.     Book a 2 week summer European road trip.
6.     Actually read one of the amazing books I’ve brought from Amazon.
7.     Find out more about the boroughs in South London.
8.     Save money!
9.     Redesign the spare room.
10.  Learn to bake black forest Cupcakes.
11.  Loose weight!!
12.  Keep desk clear – ‘an empty desk is an empty mind’
13.  Keep the blog relevant and up to date for you ‘We’re trying, please bear with us’.
14.  Progress from power-walking to jogging.
15.  Make Christmas cards for 2011.
16.  Create fab competitions for our followers.
17.  Try not to let the underground annoy me during rush hour ‘people are so rude’.
18.  Weekends away are always on the menu.
19.  Buy a new laptop I will also accept gifts..
20.  Visit even more craft markets.
21.  Build a lovely talkative craft club community on Facebook.
22.  Actually start to order from my 8 page Amazon wish list.
23.  Master Photoshop.
24.  Use my gym membership.
25.  Learn to cook Macaroons.
26.  Attend more community events.
27.  Tempt the family to come over for more dinners.
28.  Continue to create homemade gifts.
29.  Get the SW website up and running.
30.  Take more photos.
31.  Read more, share more.
32.  Have lots of summer picnics
33.  Try to love thy neighbour.
34.  Spread the craft word through twitter
35.  Start cycling in London….. ‘or not. Still contemplating it!’
36.  Read Time Our more!
37.  Launch the first of the SW Craft Club pop-up community events.
38.  Learn to make Sushi.
39.  WOW! Find some time to sleep.
40.  Pamper, pamper & more pamper.. Bliss!

If you can thing of any more, let us know we’d love to hear them?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Chocolate Making Classes By Guest Blogger Lucie Blue

My good friend treated me to a chocolate workshop afternoon for my Birthday and it was fantastic fun and very tasty indeed!
On arrival the room was set out with 2 large worktops covered in candy heaven; coconut flakes, hundreds and thousands, nuts, marshmallows, digestive biscuits, chocolate flakes etc etc. As well as the fun candy bits we had mixing bowls, plenty of chocolate to melt (milk and dark), cream, thermometers and most importantly...aprons! I made a slight error in wearing white jeans that day not knowing what my Birthday treat was, DO NOT wear anything white as it can get messy!
The workshop began with our tutor telling us about the history of the cocoa bean and how it has become the chocolate we know and love today. Everyone in the room told the group what their favourite chocolate was and it was a nice way to break the ice and get to know everyone taking part.


First on the menu were GIANT chocolate buttons that we could decorate however we like. We all got very carried away with the candy decorations and there were some highly amusing creations in the room once we were done. 




We then went on to enjoy nougat chunks whilst learning more about the art of melting the chocolate down to exactly the right temperature for making truffles. My friend and I went with milk chocolate, saving the dark chocolate for decoration. Melting the chocolate down correctly requires some serious elbow grease when mixing.  We teamed up to see which group could get there bowl to the right temperature the quickest. We were then ready to add the cream to our individual mixes and get rolling with our truffles. This was the messiest part of the workshop that had us all highly amused.





We created all sorts of truffles whilst listening to music and having a good chat and a giggle. Whilst they didn’t look so pretty (the rolling takes some practice), they tasted seriously good!
When there was no more chocolate to play with it was time to get all the mess off our hands (and arms and in some cases the odd splatter on a cheek). We then took our creations out of the fridge and were able to wrap them in cute ribbon tied bags to take home. 

A wonderful creative afternoon with one of life’s tastiest pleasures!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

10 minutes on the Couch with……. Carol Cordrey, founder of the London Ice Sculpture Festival.

I made my way over to Canary Wharf to interview Carol and I must say I do find Canary Wharf a bit of a maze and it was a case of trying to find a needle amongst a mass of skyscrapers. I did at one point think that this lone van, was the nearest I was going to get to any ice and that I may have to call Carol to conduct a telephone interview. 



But thankfully I found I found the location and I found Carol and she not only gave me 10 minutes on the couch, but also a scrummy chocolate brownie (I’m easily bought!) 

What made you start this great festival?

I had a eureka moment whist on a skiing holiday in Switzerland, during day 2 I injured my knee and had to swap my pools for crutches. My husband took pity on me and took me for the day to the next village, Gindelwand, as I was hobbling around, I can across a 3 meter high ice sculpture, a beauty which was captivating, invigorating and exciting and decided there and then that I wanted to bring this concept to the UK. Obviously it is a lot harder as there isn’t any snow or ice in the UK and it took my 2 years to find the Ice Box company, Europe’s leading ice specialists and the owner Philip Hughes, who thankfully shared the same vision as me.
This festival is now in its third year and for the last 2 years it has been held at Canary Wharf, we are a charity and we have receive great support from the Canary Wharf Group and the event has grown year on year.

There is a mention of this being an international event, where is the world have the sculptures travelled from? 

The teams have travelled from France, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Africa and we have a UK team.

Ice sculpting is growing in popularity, could you describe it in 3 words?

I would describe this event as inspirational, exciting and magical.

Is there something to do for the whole family, including children?

This event is for all age groups, free for everyone from any background including families and tourists, especially for the master classes, which are free classes, enabling the public to give ice sculpting a go.

What is the high light this year?

This year the high light of the event is the opportunity for the public to judge the ‘Love London’ competition and by voting it gives them a chance to win a 3 night holiday to the Ice Hotel in the Swedish Lapland, just by voting.

After this, what is next?

Next year will be an even bigger and an even more spectacular event which inspires in the dull months of January, and we hope it helps to promote Canary Wharf as London’s new heart of Art.

Critic’s feedback

I was mesmerised watching the sculptures, blocks of ice being electric sawed, hacked, scraped and smoothed into a beauty taking many different forms and it was sad to think within a few hours it was going to melt into nothing. I loved that the British team, were the only women team in the competition and they we’re flying the flag with honour (yep you can call me bias).  I also loved the African team, there was definitely a ‘Cool Running’ moment for me and they held their own very well, with their penny fathering taking shape for the speed sculpturing, themed ‘Pedal Power’ There were a huge number of photographers there on the day, who would have taken amazing pictures, with their super lens cameras, which I don’t have, but to give you an idea of what to expect, here area few of my best shots.

Competitor from Hungry, making great head way..




Reigning champion from the Netherlands



African team with their Penny Fathing entry

Ice Maidens

UK making headway against the other countries



Ice sculpture is obviously growing in popularity and if you’d like to try it, there is a place in south London who offer master classes, visit Ice Sculpture for more details.



Friday, 14 January 2011

SW Craft Club Christmas Presents - Present 3 Pleasing Pesto

Pleasing Pesto

Before you read this, all of these comments are my own and has not been proven in any way, which means I can now make the statement that this is the ‘Perfect Pesto’. Before making the pesto I spent some time researching the best way to make pesto, i.e. Pestle & mortal or blender and which parmesan and olive oil to use etc.

Ingredients
Fresh basil
Extra Virgin Olive
Pine nuts
Grated parmesan
Garlic cloves
Salt
Pepper
Small jars
Ribbon
Labels
Warning – This is a very expensive gift to make, whilst researching the pesto I worked out there isn’t any ingredient which can be bought cheaply, all have a direct effect on the next, so it is important to by good quality ingredients.
Raw Ingredients
I opted for the pestle & mortal option over the blender which required a lot more elbow grease. It is a really simple recipe - a hand full of pine nuts, a hand full of basil and a handful of parmesan, Simple!
For the mixing you start with crushing the pine nuts with the garlic and when it's mushed into a paste, add the basil, I’ve lost count of how many jars of pesto I actually made, but my aching arm muscles and the below picture tells me that I won’t be making pesto for a very long time.

This will give you an idea of the number of jars I had to fill!!

After adding the basil to the mush, transfer it to a bowl, add the salt and pepper, parmesan and olive oil and mix together, hay pesto you have the SW Christmas ‘Pleasing Pesto’.


Mix with Parmesam & Olive Oil




Finished Jars of Pleasing Pesto


Critics Comments

I can honestly say I was taken back with the positive comments I received about the little hamper of goodies, I did learn a lot, including how to save money on packaging in the future and yes I will be creating personalized gifts for next Christmas. Watch this space! SW

Thursday, 13 January 2011

SW Craft Club Christmas Presents - Present 2 Hot Chocolate Gorgeousness

Hot Chocolaty Gorgeousness

I absolutely loved making these gorgeous hot chocolate gifts, they are great for chocolate lovers, easy for non cooks and great fun to make with the children. I’d recommend this to anyone, maybe customise for a special occasion, I’ll be making them again.

Ingredients
Lolly-pop sticks
Good quality cooking chocolate, milk and white chocolate
Pretty transfer paper
Moulds
Cellophane wrapper
Ribbon

The Chocolaty Gorgeousness on a stick, is a new way to make and enjoy hot chocolate. It is really easy to use, heat up the milk and stir in the chocolate on a stick.

They are easy to make, start by melting the chocolate, which for ease can be done in a microwave and then pour the chocolate into the moulds, I chose mini cupcake moulds, but as along as they are silicone moulds any shape can be used. Sticks can’t be put into the chocolate straight away or they will topple over.




Keep an eye on the chocolate as it sets, after 5-7minutes the chocolate will be set enough to hold the stick upright and continue to set fully, so all sticks together.
Whilst the milk chocolate is setting, melt the white chocolate, ready to be dipped into and lay out the transfer paper (I picked seasonal transfer paper, but there are lots more pretty designs which can be found at Cakes, Cookies & Crafts )



The next part of the process is just as easy, dip your milk chocolate chunks on a stick into the white chocolate and place onto the transfer paper, continue this process until all of the chocolate is used up, when completed leave on the transfer for 15minutes and I think what happens next is just magical…




Look how effective they are, you are left with a lovely Chocolaty Gorgeousness & a pretty edible print on the bottom.
Before we wrapped them into the cellophane and added them to the mini hamper, we obviously had to sample them, Ummmmm I have to say it’s the prefect remedy to a cold wintery day.





This was present number two and it is a great gift to make for all levels of crafts or cookery people.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to check out the final gift tomorrow on the blog…

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

SW Craft Club Christmas Presents - Present 1 Curious Choc-Chip Cookie Mix

With the recession still looming and a huge craft resurgence in the UK I decided back in September that my nearest and dearest were going to receive hand made presents for Christmas this year from yours truly. However having made fudge for my family last year, I felt that this year I really needed to up my game. One small token of my love for them wasn’t going to be enough, Nooo I had to create multiple gifts, three in fact. Why three? Two answers, one to give the recipients a little hamper trio of homemade goodies and secondly, stupidity! The work that’s involved in making these gifts was immense, evenings and weekends, I did enjoy it, but it was a lot of hard work.

Curious Choc-Chip Cookie Mix

The first gift I created was the jar of Curious Choc-Chip Cookie mix.

Ingredients
900g glass jar
Printed labels
Smarties
Plain flour
Caster sugar
Brown sugar
Pinch of salt
Bicarbonate of sofa
Ribbon

 The cookie mix in a jar is a very simple and effective gift and as someone pointed out to me on Christmas day, “Wow this is fab, for those who don’t know how to bake or cook, all of the ingredients are ready and good to go’

Layering the ingredients clearly shows what is in the jar and it is important to compress the ingredients into the jar so they stay put and don’t mix into one big sandy mix! By trial and error and this is my most valuable piece of advice, the smarties should be the last thing put into the jar, because you don’t want the sugar or flour to be poured over the smarties and to cover them all up.

Empy jars, labled up


Seperating smarties into my colour coordination

Being a lover of colour coordination, I spent many a nights separating the smarties into groups of 2 colours, i.e. pink and purple, orange and brown, red and green and finally yellow and blue, maybe this was a little over the top, but at the time I thought it was worth it and after they did look very fetching.


The labels for all three gifts were personalised and for the jar, we printed back labels with the cooking instructions.


Finally the finished article

This is the first of the SW Craft Club home made presents, check out tomorrow’s blog to find out more about gift number 2..

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Millinery Course -Level 1

Having previously studied fashion at university, millinery was not a module which was covered on the course, so I thought I’d give it a go, I have a degree is Fashion, how hard could it be…?

London College of Fashion offer a 9 week level 1 millinery evening course, regrettably it wasn’t based in South London, which meant the night train homes was proving to be a chore towards the end, however the course was great.

I’m not here to promote the course, as a student I found the overall cost of course to be very expensive, as well as the initial course cost there was also the additional materials cost and the equipment list; fabric scissors, tape measure, milliner needles, tailors chalk  and the list goes on…..

On the positive side, I did get a lot from the course, my appreciation for hat making has increased ten fold and whilst I’m not made of money, I now understand why occasion wear hats cost so much and would now be prepared to pay a lot more for one for myself.
The time that goes into making a hat is immense, process after process. Starting with the moulding, stretching and steaming the hat fabric over a block to mould the shape of the hat and this is a 2 part process for the brim and the hat top.

Hat block cupboard

Stretching & pinning over the block
Following the stretching, came 3 maybe 4 classes worth of hand stitching, all around the hat, around the brim, inside the hat, I even found myself stitching on a Sunday just to keep up. 



 We then had to line our hats, sow the base to the top and trim the hat. By the end of the 9 weeks, we have poked, stretched, prodded, glued and sowed together 2 hats one felt and one straw.
I honestly thought I’d walk away with a pretty hat for the races, I didn’t. I walked away with a new founded respect for milliners and 2 unique hats.

Yey 2 finished hats - one felt & one straw hat


The Critics Feedback

Firstly I’d like to mention and say thank you to our fabulous tutor, Chloe Scrivener, she had a mass of millinery knowledge and the patience of a saint and secondly to the bunch of women who attended the course. We didn’t know each other to begin with, but by the end I really looked forward to our weekly catch ups and it made the time fly by. 
I would recommend this course, if you were seriously thinking about taking up millinery as a career, it is an expensive course and there may be cheaper alternatives available if you just fancy trying something new. 

Check out the LCF website for more information London College of Fashion



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