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Crazy Mary Crafts specialises in textile arts and crafts. I aim to inspire and enable people to develop their creative potential, through community workshops, school visits and craft fairs. Find out more about what I do at www.crazymarycrafts.co.uk (All content and design work included in this blog, including text, photos, etc are © copyright 2010 Mary Halbert. All rights reserved.)
More details of my school & community workshops are also available on the Workshops in Schools website:please click here!

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WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL WATER ORTON…

Today I delivered a commission I’ve been working on for Water Orton church – a bright and cheerful patchwork panel to decorate the church piano:

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CREATIVE DAY AT COLES

A very enjoyable day last Saturday at Coles Sewing Centre in Nottingham using some fantastic, very expensive new Husqvarna sewing machines (eek!) to stitch some beautiful layered ‘Sumptuous Strata’ pieces. A very friendly group of stitchers and a lovely venue… always good to work in a shop with the opportunity for a bit of fabric retail therapy at the end of the day!

HOORAH FOR HIGHAM!

Last night saw Crazy Mary giving a talk to the lovely ladies of Lutterworth Piecemakers and last Tuesday evening I visited Beartown Quilters in Congleton and was given a similarly warm welcome – always good to meet new stitchers. My sewing machine was busy on Easter Monday and as a result Higham-on-the Hill Primary School’s wall-hanging is now complete and ready to deliver to the school next week once the new term is under way… a big one and hard to photograph but looking good though I say so myself:

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HAPPY EASTER FOLKS!

Another busy week – Tuesday found me at Higham-on-the-Hill Primary School in Leicestershire starting off a huge panel celebrating their school values. The smallest school I’ve worked in so far – just 79 pupils – all very welcoming and keen to take part. Lovely to catch up with some old teacher pals too. The 4 classes are named after animals – the Y6 class are wolves:

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I’ll be constructing the piece later this week so expect a picture soon! Since Thursday the British Quilt & Stitch Village at Uttoxeter Racecourse has taken up most of my time – it was great to catch up with all my friends there again – some of us only see each other once a year but it’s so good to find out what everyone’s been up to. Also wonderful to have so many Crazy Mary customers pop by my stall to say hello and have a chat… thank you so much! I launched several new kits and, as usual,  enjoyed running a workshop each day. Next step is to get Crazy Mary Crafts kits up for sale online – expect an announcement later in the year!

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AMAZING ASQUITH AGAIN!

The parents and children at Asquith Primary in Mansfield got back to work this week, cutting, stitching and embellishing like mad … to make all the pieces ready for me to construct this bright and colourful wall hanging to celebrate their Diversity week:

ST MARTIN’S ARE GO!

Tuesday and Wednesday this week saw me back at St Martin’s Primary School working on more of the 18 banners for their school hall. A lovely friendly school, and a great project getting members of the local community involved too. Tie-dying, printing, foiling and crazy patchwork with the pupils on Tuesday, followed by a very busy day’s machining on Wednesday making up 6 more of the banners, with the final 6 with yellow borders and lettering all ready for Geraldine and her gang to finish off. Hopefully they will all be completed before headteacher Mr Shelton leaves at Easter. Can’t wait to see a picture of them all on display!

PERFECT PATCHWORK AT BRILLIANT BANBURY!

Hard to believe just how quickly time has flown , but last weekend it was time for yet another Stitching Sleepover at Banbury House Hotel. This time we tackled a range of patchwork techniques including Seminole, prairie points, curved piecing, speedy triangles… never mind just getting to grips with those pesky quarter-inch seams and perfect corners! As usual a fabulously talented and creative group of stitchers, all keen to try out something new and create something unique. Some lovely colour and fabric combinations led to really clever designs – all completely different and all very Crazy Mary stylee! More pics on the workshops page, but here’s Sue looking rather pleased with herself:

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AMAZING ASQUITH!

Another great day at Asquith Primary School in Mansfield on Monday, kick starting their ‘Diversity’ project by researching the textile traditions of all 12 countries currently represented in their school community. We got busy sketching, designing and printing with pupils and parents in preparation for sewing on day 2 in March:

It was lovely to see my two of my previous projects at the school proudly displayed as well…

WONDERFULLY WOOLLY WI!

Last Thursday evening saw me helping the lovely members of Hopwas WI, near Lichfield, create funky felt flower brooches. I very much enjoyed the beautiful rendition of Jerusalem (the first time I’ve actually heard a WI sing it!) and some rather splendid jam tarts… thank you ladies. Very hard to judge the ‘winners’ as they were all fab:

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BRILLIANT BANNERS!

Crazy Mary started a big project at St Martins CE Primary School near Newbury last week, – cutting, printing, piecing, stitching and embellishing with the whole school to make leaves and letters to form part of a total of 18 banners representing Christian values to decorate their school hall. I had a brilliant time in school working alongside the teachers and children, ably assisted by Geraldine’s gang of helpers over 2 days – a true community project with all ages working together, fantastic! I’ve now made up 5 of the banners in the school colours and one more is under construction. I’m back at St Martins in March to continue with the project but here are the finished banners so far:

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Back in the swing of things now – starting off with a 2 day project at Ridgeway Primary School 12/13th January. Year 1 got very busy drawing, cutting, printing, foiling and gluing to create a wonderful gallery of snowy trees as part of their Winter project. A big thank you to the staff and children, not to mention the whole army of mums, dads and grandparents who came along to join in all the gloriously messy fun:

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I also spent a lovely morning’s private tuition last week in Lichfield at the home of Michelle, a previous Crazy customer,  demystifying the basics of free-machine embroidery in order to help her support her daughter with her A level Art project. Today is a Crazy admin day, sorting final details for the next Stitching Sleepover 4/5 March at Banbury House Hotel, organising school bookings, putting workshop dates in the diary, ordering fabric etc… It’s good to be back!

FEELING FESTIVE AT THE FARM…

Well, it’s that time of year again and that means Crazy Mary’s annual festive Sew Social at the wonderful Dove Farm in Ellastone near Ashbourne. So good so catch up with some familiar faces once again, and to introduce some new ones to the mayhem! Stitching, chat, sparkly Christmas decs (see below!) and Jane’s delicious mince pie tray bake thingy with oodles of cream… what could be more festive than that?  Crazy Mary has no more classes  or school projects now until the New Year, just a few commissions to work on in my beautiful new sewing room. It’s been a fantastic, if very busy, year for me both professionally and personally; here’s wishing everyone who reads this the same for 2017. Merry Christmas everyone!

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HOORAH FOR HURLEY AND MARVELLOUS MOSAICS!

Well, it’s now December and things are getting a bit seasonal… off to my annual Festive Sew Social at Dove Farm up near Ashbourne tomorrow. Last week I returned to lovely Meriden Primary school, bang in the centre of England to work on Roman mosaics with Year 4. A very creative class who all worked amazingly hard – their finished mounted mosaics will go home as calendars for 2017:

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Then a very productive evening with Hurley WI making glittery foiled bauble Christmas cards:

SUPER STITCHING AT STAFFORD!

A fab day with Staffordshire Embroiderers Guild on Saturday making Holly and Ivy mini-runners … a lovely day with a very talented bunch of ladies!

AMAZING ASQUITH!

Just finished putting together the Remembrance wall-hanging created at Asquith Primary last week… here’s a close up, full pic on gallery page:

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LEST WE FORGET…

I spent a great evening giving a talk at Staffordshire Patchwork & Quilters last Thursday; Crazy Mary’s tales of stitching with children ‘Miss I can’t get the string the hole!’ went down well. Then yesterday saw another very enjoyable day at Asquith Primary School in Mansfield working with Years 5 & 6 on a Remembrance project… lots of printing, cutting and stitching of poppies and poetry to commemorate WW1. The wall-hanging is currently ‘work-in-progress’, but here are some of the printed poppies for the border:

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BRILLIANT BANBURY

Yet another fantastic Stitching Sleepover at Banbury House Hotel in Banbury last weekend. As usual an amazingly talented group of ladies who were such fun to be with. We cut, bonded, appliqued, stitched and embellished to our heart’s content creating some gorgeous quilted ‘Teardrop Wreath’ panels. Beautiful… plus excellent food and the superb service which I’ve come to expect from this fantastic venue. Roll on the next one in March! More pics on the workshops page but here’s a taster:

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QUILTING TOGETHER!

A great day last Wednesday with the wonderful ladies of ‘Quilt Together’ in Shepshed playing around with sari-silk and my Moonlit Seedhead designs…

AMAZING ARLEY AND WONDERFUL WREATHS…

Another busy week! It’s always good to be asked back to a school where you’ve worked before – last week I worked with Squirrel Class (Y2) at Arley Primary School near Nuneaton to create a bright and colourful covering for the school piano. We enlarged the class logos and recreated them in fabric collage to produce this rather wonderful panel:

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Then on Saturday I launched this winter’s festive project ‘Teardrop Wreath’ with the  wonderful ladies of Hilton Quilters at Eggington Village Hall near Burton-on-Trent. The first run of a new project is always a learning curve for the tutor as much as for the pupils but I think you’ll agree that it looks  good so far… It’s always lovely to see the difference that different fabrics make to a design. Beautiful!

TERRIFIC TRINITY!

Here are the ladies of Sutton Coldfield’s Trinity Quilters busily getting stuck into some sari-silk and fancy yarns on Wednesday… img_20160928_151416Today I’m busy prepping for a school project this week and the first of Crazy Mary’s ‘Teardrop Wreath’ day workshops next Saturday with Hilton Quilters near Derby… lots to do, my head is full of piano dimensions and quarter-inch seam measurements!

HEDGEROWS AND DOVES!

Crazy Mary spent another day with the wonderful ladies of Victory Hall in Castle Bromwich on 17th September making Spring Hedgerow and Butterflies panels, having  a good old chinwag and a scrummy lunch – lovely to be back there again catching up with everyone:

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Today I’m just back from another project at Our Lady of Peace Primary School in Slough, working with Year 5 to produce a banner for the newly combined infant and junior schools, to coordinate with the piano panel created by the infant children earlier in the year:

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NEW TERM!!

Busy this week getting organised for the new term in schools and preparing for  group bookings over the next few months. I kicked off  with Himley Road Craft Group over in the Black Country on Saturday, who spent a whole day playing around with sari-silk, creating some lovely textured pieces. Thank you ladies for your warm welcome and lovely lunch!

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FABULOUS FoQ!

Just recovering from a fabulous 4 days at the Festival of Quilts at NEC, Birmingham. Very pleased to say that my Quick & Easy classes sold out, my day academy class was very popular and I even gave a lecture – so good to be even bigger part of it all this year. Hear are some highlights… just pop over to the workshops page for more!

BIRTHDAY BASH!

Something a bit different for Crazy Mary on Saturday…  running a class as a birthday gift for a group of friends who had hired me to unravel the wonders of Sari-silk ribbon. A fabulous day near Stafford with Siobhan, Wendy, Janice, Debbie and birthday girl Sue:

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Although the star of the show was probably this lovely lady, still smooth and trouble-free after years of use (!):

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AIMING HIGH AT THREE PEAKS!

Crazy Mary’s last school booking this academic year was at Three Peaks Primary Academy in Tamworth last Friday, working with Y6 to create another amazing  Union Jack representing British Values. Well done everyone for working so hard as you all look forward to the summer hols and secondary school in September…

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A BRILLIANT BEACHBALL AND A LOVELY LUNCH!

It’s getting towards the end of the school term, but Crazy  Mary is still busy! Last week saw the completion of Kingsbury Primary School’s 2106 entry into the International  Festival of Quilts. It was great to go back and work with all my old pupils again, not to mention my fabulous friends among the staff. The theme this year is ‘On The Beach’, and our entry is a giant stitched beach-ball quilt. Here’s a close up:

BALL RIGHT

Wish us luck in this year’s competition! I’m working each day at the Festival this year 11th-14th August, running workshops and even giving a lecture, so wish me luck too…

Yesterday I spent another creative day with the ladies of Victory Hall, Castle Bromwich stitching all sorts of flowery things and eating yet another wonderful ‘bring and share’ lunch and some delicious cakes! Here’s an idea of what some of us got up to stitching-wise:

 

MARVELLOUS MARSTON GREEN, BRILLIANT BUDBROOKE AND COOL COTON GREEN…

A very busy few weeks with school projects with some really fabulous results. First of all, we celebrated the Queen’s 90th birthday with Y6 at Marston Green Junior School by creating some gorgeously twinkly patchwork pictures in red, white and blue:

Then a return visit to Budbrooke Primary School near Warwick to work with Y5 & Y6 on stitching modern British values into a huge Union Jack:

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And last, but not least, an amazing couple of days at Coton Green Primary School in Tamworth where we studied Kandinsky as part of their school Arts Week. the finished wall-hanging is so large that it’s hard to photograph, but this gives you an idea:

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AMAZING ARLEY & BRILLIANT BEACONSIDE!

It’s been a while since I’ blogged’, but I do have an excuse… well several! May was a hugely busy month for Crazy Mary both professionally and personally, what with a the start of a whole new exciting chapter of my life living with boyfriend Ian, a visit to Northern Ireland, a house move and a girly trip to New York… not to mention lots of Crazy Mary school projects this summer term. Before I spend a weekend moving stuff to our new home and painting woodwork, I’ve just about got time to catch up with some admin, so here I am!

I spent a fabulous few days at Arley Primary School just a few miles away creating a British Values Union Jack wall hanging… here’s some work in progress:

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Then just before jetting off to NYC, I worked with Beaconside Primary School near Rubery to create a wall-hanging to celebrate collaboration. Every year group got involved printing, cutting and stitching to make this rather wonderful oak tree with the animals representing their houses:

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QUILT’N @ HILTON…

Thank you to the lovely ladies of the Hilton Quilt Group near Derby who invited me to run a Sumptuous Strata class with them yesterday. We were joined by the village hall cat who showed a keen interest in what we were doing. Beautiful creations from everyone, and a rather delicious lemon drizzle cake!

FABULOUS FELT AND MARVELLOUS MOONLIGHT…

Wow! That was a busy week! A great day back at Chadsgrove special school in Bromsgrove last Wednesday creating a cheerful felted, printed and stitched wall-hanging to display at the Voices & Visions exhibition at Worcester Cathedral. It was brilliant to work with the staff and pupils at the lovely welcoming school once again. After a day on the machine this Monday the finished piece looked rather fabulous:

DSCF8393 Then it was time for Crazy Mary’s annual weekend at Uttoxeter Racecourse for the British Quilt & Stitch Village. So good to see all the textiley friends and acquaintances that I have made over the years that I’ve been taking part – it really feels like family now. And also rather nice that my Moonlit Seed-heads classes sold out! Here’s my stall all set up ready to roll:

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NEW PROGRAMME ON EVENTS PAGE!

Yes, Crazy Mary’s 2016 is now updated and on the Events page so why not take a sneaky peek and see if anything takes your fancy? I’m particularly excited about some new classes at Hoar Park Craft Centre – a lovely venue here in North Warwickshire. Plus Crazy Mary has the biggest presence ever at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August (Check out their website’s workshop programme www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk ) and there’s a gorgeous new ‘Moonlit Seed-heads’ project for the mini-workshops at the British Quilt & Stitch Village at Uttoxeter Racecourse 22-24 April  (www.quiltandstitchvillage.com ).

moonlit seedhead

SUPER SLINFOLD

Just had a relaxing Easter break with friends, so it’s now time to share Crazy Mary’s latest school project from 22nd March, at Slinfold Primary near Horsham in Sussex. Yet another super welcoming, friendly school. The finished wall-hanging was so huge it was difficult to photograph but this should give you an idea:

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OUR LADY OF PEACE

A fabulous school project this week at Our Lady of Peace Infant School in Slough making a musical themed panel for the school piano. A lovely school to work in – thank you to everyone, staff and pupils alike, for making me so welcome and for working so enthusiastically. Here’s what we got up to cutting, printing, stitching, attaching sequins…

 

EVENING ENTHUSIASM!

A quick update before I nip down to Slough for a school project tomorrow… Two lovely nights with local crafting groups – last Thursday making felt flower brooches with Newton Regis W.I. and yesterday demonstrating a quilting project with Sue and Jenny’s quilting group at Hilton near Derby.

The rather splendid cat is Hilton village hall’s rodent control executive and general bookings supervisor!!

TERRIFIC TEST VALLEY!

Wow! A Crazy Mary record this weekend with the lovely ladies of Test Valley Quilters near Andover in Hampshire: 80  stitchers all working away on the same project, Funky Felt Flowers, at once!

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Quite apart from the fabulously friendly welcome that I received and the enthusiasm with which my class and talk were received, the cakes were delicious!!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR…

After a relaxing break over the festive season and TWO holidays (lucky girl!) I’m now back in the real world and have been busy prepping for Crazy Mary’s bookings over the next month or so. Lots to look forward to: another Stitching Sleepover at Banbury House Hotel, some school projects, a day down in Hampshire with Test Valley Quilters this Saturday, not to mention the British Quilt and Stitch Village http://www.quiltandstitchvillage.com/ at Uttoxeter Racecourse  22-24 April:

Looking a little further forward there’s the Festival of quilts at NEC 11-14 August http://www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk/  , where Crazy Mary will be running 5 Quick & Easy classes, a full day workshop and even giving a lecture!

Meanwhile I’ve been putting together lots of my most popular kits to tempt all the lovely ladies I hope to meet at Crazy Mary events over the next month or so. Hopefully later in the year I’ll be opening an Etsy shop to sell them more publically – so watch this space!

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CHRISTMAS COMMISSIONS!

Before I sign off for an extended festive break I thought I’d share a few images of some recent commissions which are now all finished just in time for Christmas. Two cheerful unicorn cushions, a bluebell & butterflies wall-hanging, and two commemorative shirt cushions. Merry Christmas everyone and here’s wishing you a fabulous 2016!

DELICIOUS DOVE FARM!

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Yes, it’s that Dove Farm time of year again – festive stitching fun and Jane’s scrummy mince-pie-strudel-thing! We got busy creating triangular trees, chatting away and enjoying the festive vibes. Definitely my favourite venue www.dovefarm.co.uk  …and it’s always great to see the llamas and alpacas:

alpacas and llamas  More pics of us all stitching  on the workshops page!

WONDERFUL WIRRAL!

A quick trip up the M6 on Saturday saw me at The Wirral and West Cheshire Quilters Guild Area Day. Lots of fabulously positive comments about my talk on stitching with children in the morning, followed by a very enjoyable afternoon creating Silken Strata from sari-silk yarns and ribbons. Thank you so much ladies for being so wonderfully welcoming!

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SUPER SLEEPOVER FOLLOWED BY MARVELLOUS MERIDEN !

After a lovely evening with Mile Oak WI last Thursday making foiled Christmas cards, it was time to pack the car and get ready for Crazy Mary’s Festive Stitching Sleepover at Banbury House Hotel. Another fabulous weekend with a very creative and talented group of stitchers – thank you for all the fantastic feedback ladies. Here’s to the next one on March! More pics on the workshops page…

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sharon Fi

red border

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A day off to recover on Monday, then Year 4 at Meriden CE Primary School got busy printing and stitching to create some brilliant designs inspired by Roman mosaics and tiles:

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WONDERFUL WARWICK!

Last Saturday saw Crazy Mary at The Quilters Den, a fabulous shop in central Warwick with lots of gorgeous fabrics to ogle and spend your money on. We got busy making  quilted Festive Bauble hangings and had a lot of fun. Here’s Mandy getting to grips with a sewing machine for the first time ever: mandy

Next weekend sees the next Crazy Mary Stitching Sleepover at Banbury House Hotel, so I’ve been busy cutting fabric, putting kits together and packing bags  and boxes. Looking forward to another fab weekend of stitchery!

 

SUPER SAPCOTE!
I’ve just spent a super few days working with Sapcote CE Primary School, near Leicester, creating a wall-hanging which the children designed themselves to represent their school values and the progress made by the pupils as they learn and grow together. Here is some work in progress on the beautiful embroidered birds:
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And here’s the finished piece:
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BEAUTIFUL BAUBLES AND MARVELLOUS MAGNA CARTA!
Well, that was a brilliantly busy week! After my day at Victory Hall last Wednesday I had a lovely time with Dell Farm Quilters at Knowle, near Solihull on the Thursday creating Baubles hangings:
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Then on the Friday Year 5 & 6 at Marston Green Junior School got busy with metallic foils, pearlescent paints, lettering stamps and sparkly bits to create their very own 2015 version of the 1215 Magna Carta, 800 years on. Not a stitch of sewing involved this time, to create a rather fab mixed media piece – well done Y5 & 6!
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And last but not least for this little update – many thanks to Jane from Impish Quilters who has sent me this image of her finished Hedgerow panel from my workshop the other week – beautiful!
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RETURN TO VICTORY HALL!
It was great to spend another day today with the wonderful ladies at Victory Hall in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. We cut, layered, stitched and embellished in a festive kind of way, to create some gorgeous embroidered bauble Christmas cards. And we also ate cake and had a generous lunch… So good to be back with one of Crazy Mary’s first workshop groups once again. More pics on the workshops page.
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MARVELLOUS MAM PART 2!
Another fab day at Mum Art Makers today completing the Sari-silk Landscapes which we started two weeks ago. Thank you ladies – it’s so good to see mums being able to get all creative and crafty while their little ones are cared for in a proper crèche on site. There should be more of this sort of thing! It was good to see everyone having a good rummage through the yummy yarns and embellishments:
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LOVELY LINCOLN!
It’s so good to be back at work! First of all, thank you everyone at Cosby Quilters near Leicester, where I demonstrated Embellished Patched Notebooks and Sari-silk Landscapes on Wednesday night. A fabulously friendly group who showed up en-masse, despite the clash with the Great British Bake-off final!
Yesterday I drove over to Lincoln, a truly beautiful city which I have somehow never managed to visit. I spent a very atmospheric hour in the cathedral listening to the organ play as I sat in the choir stalls, and then saw one of the original 800 year-old copies of the Magna Carta in the castle.
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Impish Quilters were brilliant hosts, even providing luxury accommodation with lovely Julia right in the shadow of the castle walls. After an evening sharing some of Crazy Mary’s school quilts, we spent a day creating Spring Hedgerow Quilted Panels today:
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MARVELLOUS MAM!
Today I returned to Upper Tean between Uttoxeter and Cheadle to introduce the wonderfully friendly and arty Mum Art Makers to the wonders of sari-silk. The group is thriving and it was lovely to be invited back again. The ladies are so lucky to have a crèche on site to allow them to get all crafty while their little ones are occupied in the next room. A brilliant idea – there should be more of this kind of thing!
This morning was Part 1 of the course – Part 2 will follow in a fortnight’s time…
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MAGNA CARTA 800 YEARS ON…
This Monday Years 2 and 3 at Shustoke Primary School got busy with the scissors and the printing ink to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta in 1215 with a patchwork oak tree to echo their school logo:
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SO CRAFTY AT SEW ARTY!
Quick update before tea to say what a great day I had at Sew Arty in Kenilworth today, creating quilted Hedgerow panels with a lovely group of stitchers. Crazy Mary is back at Sew Arty for Stitched Caskets 17th October and Embellished Christmas Cards on 6th November. Lots of lovely stuff for sale at Di’s lovely shop – have a look at the shop’s website: www.sewarty.co.uk

HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING…
Well, holidays are over and a good time was had by all… now back to reality! It’s so good to be officially ‘full time’ Crazy Mary. After several years of juggling teaching in school with running Crazy Mary Crafts I’m really excited about developing the business over the next few years and have lots and lots of things on my to-do list. Crazy Mary’s new life kicked off yesterday with a wonderful day with Quorn Country Craft Quilters creating Quilted Baubles hangings and boxes – and even one tablerunner! Sue, who runs the Quorn Country Crafts shop in Loughbrough provided the most amazing lunch:
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But we did do some sewing as well as eating…
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FESTIVAL FUN!
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Here’s a quick round up of the fun Crazy Mary had at the 2015 International Festival of Quilts…
Firstly, my lovely 15 year old god-daughter Emily with her amazing quilt – see above!
Secondly, yours truly with Kingsbury Primary’s prize-winning (third!) quilt:
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Then Crazy Mary’s workshops… Zippy pouches:
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Then… Swirls and sequins:
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And finally…a whole gang of us getting stuck into Silken Strata:
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ROLL UP FOR FoQ!
It’s that time of year again and the Festival of Quilts is nearly upon us! I’m proud to say that my Upcycled Denim Pouches and Swirls & Sequins classes have both sold out, with bookings for Silken Strata (330pm Saturday 8th) to be taken at the show. So if you fancy creating something lovely and textured with sari-silk ribbons and cords, fancy yarns and sparkly bits then you know what to do when you arrive! Have a lovely show and don’t forget to admire Kingsbury Primary School’s quilt and also the gorgeous entry by my talented 15 year old goddaughter Emily Warren…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
I’m about to sign off for a few weeks’ holiday, but before I go I thought I’d share Kingsbury Primary Schools entry into the 2015 Festival of Quilts – hot off the machine! 45 Year 6 pupils embroidered brightly coloured squares to create a brightly coloured quilt fitting this year’s competition theme “Patchwork Magic”. Here’s a close-up (there’s an image of the whole quilt on the Gallery page):
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I’m running some workshops at the Festival of Quilts – do pop to their website to see what’s going on 6-9th August at the NEC, Birmingham. www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk/

Until then I’m having a little break – oh and giving up the day job on Tuesday!! I can’t wait to be Crazy Mary full time…

RAISE THE FLAG FOR MARSTON GREEN JUNIORS!
Just look at this amazing, enormous Union Jack ( er… Union Flag!) we created at Marston Green Junior School this week to celebrate British values:
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Well done Year 6 for all your cutting, stitching and graphic design – I think the end product is brilliant and I can’t wait to see it hanging in MGJS!

SUPER SOUTHWARK!
Another quick trip up the M1 this week to Southwark Primary School in Nottingham – a fabulous school in a brand new building. Year 6 were celebrating the diversity of modern Britain and the importance of working together as a community and a nation:
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BUSY WEEK!
Just a quick update this one as I’m in the midst of a busy few weeks. Firstly, do take a look at the Events page, as it’s been updated with some new autumn workshops at the wonderful Sew Arty in Kenilworth. This Wednesday Years 5 & 6 at Asquith Primary School, Mansfield got busy stitching lots of fabric poppies to mark the centenary of the start of World War 1:
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Then yesterday I spent another lovely day at The Sewing Patch near Uttoxeter, hosting Crazy Mary’s Swirls & Sequins free-machining workshop:
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BRILLIANT BUDBROOKE!
Having completed their dreaded SATs tests, The Year 6 pupils at Budbrooke Primary School near Warwick were very happy to spend a creative day with me, stitching away energetically to make a huge hanging to display in their entrance hall. At morning break time it looked like this:
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And here’s the finished thing… ta’dah!
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FUZZY FELT STRIKES AGAIN!
A big thank you to Classes 11US and 15US at Chadsgrove School, a fabulous special school near Bromsgrove, where I spent last Thursday. We got busy making felt, printing, machine stitching and sewing on buttons to create bunting to decorate a huge hanging which will be displayed in Worcester Cathedral 15th May 3rd June.
Here’s some work in progress:
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Images of the finished piece on the gallery page!

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Wow! That was a busy weekend! Thank you to everyone who popped over to see me at Uttoxeter this weekend. As usual a brilliant show and it was so good to catch up with friends and acquaintances and to get so many positive vibes from everyone. Happy stitching to you all…
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BUSY BUSY!
As the British Quilt & Stitch Village creeps ever closer I’m having a very busy few days getting ready! Quick break from cutting fabric, making up samples, collating kits and printing pattern sheets to update the events page… Here are details of the next two Crazy Mary Stitching Sleepovers at the ever-fabulous Banbury House Hotel:
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ROLL UP, ROLL UP!
Tickets on sale! You can even book Crazy Mary’s workshops in advance…
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T’DAH!
I’m very much looking forward to taking part in the British Quilt and Stitch Village at Uttoxeter Racecourse once again 24th-26th April. Crazy Mary will be running workshops each day creating funky felt flowers, and some groovy new kits will be available for sale on my stall… like this Patchwork Seedhead notebook:
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EGGCELLENT FUN AT WONDERFUL WIDNEY!
Meet Lady Egglizabeth, Princess Layer and Victoria Peckham, Widney Junior School’s very own hens:
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They’re just part of the school’s garden where the children grow all sorts of things such as giant pumkins called Dilys!
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I spent 3 eggcellent days creating a HUGE hanging celebrating the important part the garden plays in the life of the school. Here’s the centre panel – spo tMr Chamberlain’s three ‘ladies’ and the famous pumpkins!
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LOVELY LOSTOCK
Here’s a close-up of the finished Kandinsky Circles wall-hanging which is now on display at Lostock Hall Primary School:
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CRAZY MARY’S ADVENTURE ‘UP NORTH’!
This Wednesday I met the very talented ladies of the Pinfold Textile Group who meet near Nantwich in Cheshire. We spent a very productive day making miniature stitched caskets. Here’s one under construction, in a fabulous red silk:
casket
Then I whizzed a little further up the M6, passed a very comfy night at a Travelodge at Chorley, and then spent an extremely enjoyable day at Lostock Hall Primary School in Preston teaching Year 5 all about Kandinsky and colour theory and stitching splendid circles, which will be transformed into a large wall-hanging:
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A really lovely welcoming school, with very friendly staff and fantastic pupils. No wonder it’s one of these:
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WONDERFUL WI!
I’ve got lots to get ready for a busy week ahead with Pinfold Textile Group near Nantwich and Lostock Hall School in Preston; just time for some pics of what the wonderful ladies of West Midlands Federation of WIs got up to on my Silken Strata workshop this week:
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BACK TO BRILLIANT BANBURY!
Just back from hosting another super Stitching Sleepover at Banbury House Hotel. What a fabulously talented and inspiring group of ladies! We played around with batiks and prints on a gorgeous linen background and got busy with templates, bondaweb, and sewing machines to create cushion panels, bags and quilt tops… Here’s Di looking rightly pleased with her efforts:
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And here’s Penny with her Crazy Circles Cushion:
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Lots more images on the Workshops page…although I forgot to take pics of the food this time I’m afraid! I’m really pleased to have found this fabulous venue and am very much looking forward to the next two Sleepovers at Banbury House 21st/22nd November this year and 12th/13th March next year. Why not join us?

NEW WORKSHOP PROGRAMME!
I’ve just updated Crazy Mary’s Spring 2015 events programme so if you pop over to the Events page you’ll see some of the public classes I’ll be up to over the next few months…

SUPER SILKEN STRATA!
Frantic February continues apace … last week saw a very creative day with the Victory Hall Crafters of Castle Bromwich – the fabulously friendly group that hosted Crazy Mary’s very first ever workshop several years ago. We all got busy with silky fabrics, yarns and threads, not to mention the sari silk ribbons and cords and all those glittery blingy embellishments. Quite a texture-fest:
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Then on Saturday I returned to one of my very favourite venues, Dove Farm near Ashbourne, to make quilted panels – butterflies, hedgerows, holly & ivy. Although I only really go there for Jane’s delicious cakes, obviously!!
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PART TWO!
Part 2 of An Introduction to Free Machine Embroidery at The Sewing Patch went down very well too… What a talented group who really got to grips with dissolvable fabrics. I particularly liked this fabulous flower:
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BACK IN THE SWING…
2015 is now well and truly underway and Crazy Mary is getting back into the swing and looking forward to Spring. January saw me going all crazy with embellished log cabin patchwork at Dell Farm Quilters in Knowle:
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Then the first part of a 2 part free machine embroidery at the Sewing Patch, Uttoxeter learning to ‘draw with the needle’:
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Just catching up with a few things from the end of last year… Here’s the ‘Our School’ wall-hanging I made with The Round House Primary Academy, St Neots, at the end of November. The school is built on the site of an iron age roundhouse – hence the name and the school logo.
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BRILLIANT BANBURY HOUSE!
Well, the new venue for Crazy Mary’s Stitching Sleepovers proved to be a resounding success – thank you to everyone who joined me this weekend, and all the fantastically attentive staff at Banbury House Hotel. We all got busy making our holly & ivy runners whilst enjoying the delicious food and fabulous accommodation. I’m very much looking forward to the next one in the spring, and hope to book some more Sleepovers at the same venue very soon. Here’s a snapshot of our weekend – more on the workshops page!
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GETTING PREPARED TO BE FESTIVE!
Just a quickie as I’ve got lots to get ready for the Stitching Sleepover this weekend… here is Max making her rather lovely Baubles wall hanging at The Making House in Burton-on-Trent last Saturday:
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PROUDLY PERFECT POPPIES!
Commemorating 100 years since the start of WW1 has made this year’s Remembrance Day even more poignant than normal. Last Wednesday I spent a brilliant day working with Y4 & Y5 at Shustoke CE Primary School, North Warwickshire. We beavered away embroidering felt poppies and stitching Suffolk puffs in various shades of red. Here’s the finished hanging:
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MARVELLOUS MOSAICS @ MERIDEN!
This Wednesday found me at Meriden Primary School – bang in the centre of England! A brilliant day with Year 4 creating fabric panels inspired by Roman tiles and mosaics. Each child designed their own Roman tile print block, which was printed onto fabric to form the central motif, surrounded by small felt mosaic ’tiles’ which were beautifully stitched and embellished with buttons and sequins. The individual finished panels were then mounted up so that each pupil had their own masterpiece. Here’s the project in progress:

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INSPIRED WITH INSPIRE!
There are so many talented communities of artists/crafters out there, meeting up and sharing their skills and ideas. I was lucky enough to spend this Thursday with one such group, the wonderful ‘Inspire’ group who meet regularly in Barston near Knowle. We spent the day creating Spring Hedgerow and Butterflies quilted panels. Thank you ladies for a very enjoyable day. Here’s Kate getting stuck in:
Kate

BIG DAY FOR ARLEY PRIMARY!
This is where I’ve been for the last two days:
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You may remember the HUGE hanging produced there in the summer, to mark the opening of the new school created by the merging of the previous infant and junior schools. This time I was working with Years 5 & 6 on two ‘sister’ banners to celebrate the village’s proud coal-mining heritage, and the beautiful North Warwickshire countryside that surrounds the new school. So, in between letting off balloons and meeting the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, we stitched lovely leaves and Suffolk-puff lumps of coal:
puffs
Pop over to the Gallery page to view the finished banners.

CRAZY MARY IS A COVER GIRL!
Yay! Just take a look at the October/November issue of Stitch magazine… Crazy Mary’s ‘Shimmering Shapes’ Christmas card project is all over the front cover and then the whole project can be followed on p 18-20. Fantastic! Many thanks to Kathy Troup the editor.
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Last Wednesday I had a very enjoyable evening with Wombourne Quilters. Here they are getting stuck into some HUGE piles of sari-silk:
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NEW TERM, NEW LIFESTYLE – MORE OF WHAT MAKES CRAZY MARY HAPPY!    
The seasons are turning, summer is sliding into September and Crazy Mary is embracing a new, improved work-crazy-life balance! As many of you know, I lead a weird double life as both Crazy Mary (craft tutor, textiles freak) and also Mrs Halbert (primary school teacher at Kingsbury Primary School). This new term sees the ‘Day-job:Crazy Mary working week ratio’ change from 3:2 to 2:3. Despite this being one of my aims when I set up Crazy Mary Crafts a few years ago, I still can’t really believe it’s actually happening. Many thanks to all the lovely people who have attended my workshops, invited me to run classes for their crafting groups, bought my kits, hired me to work in schools, libraries, published my articles etc so far. I am learning so much, meeting so many fabulous creative people and really, REALLY enjoying being my own boss, making my own decisions and building my own business (those of you with any experience of ‘Planet State Education’ at the moment should have some idea how liberating that is!!).
Watch this space for new developments – but in the meantime why not join me at Whittington Country Fair near Lichfield this Saturday 6th September
http://www.whittingtonandfisherwick.org.uk/Whittington/Attractions.html

CRAZY MARY @ FoQ 2014!
Crazy Mary hits the big time at the 2014 International Festival of Quilts at the NEC – well, a few moments of fame anyway! Very much enjoyed my morning demonstrating free machine embroidery on the Husqvarna Viking stand, followed by a very successful ‘Quick and Easy’ workshop upcycling some denim. Here’s my demo table all set up and ready to rock’n’roll:
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KPS SHINE AGAIN!
‘Highly Commended’ for Kingsbury Primary’s ‘In My Garden’ quilt at the International Festival of Quilts 2014 – fantastic! Here I am looking very pleased yesterday:
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Well done Year 6! I’m back at the NEC again on Sunday demonstrating on the Husqvarna stand from 11 am and running a ‘Quick and Easy’ workshop too at 1pm.See you there…

TIME TO PUT MY FEET UP…
Just back from a brilliant weekend tutoring a fabulously talented group of ladies at my first ‘Keep on Sewing’ retreat at Hillscourt Hotel near Bromsgrove. Here’s Sue getting stuck in on her machine:
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We were frantically busy, experimenting with sari-silk and wool felt on the Friday afternoon, echo-quilting Hedgerow and Butterfly panels on the Saturday and getting all creative with satin, wool yarns and free motion embroidery on Sunday. No sewing time was wasted, with delicious meals and even beauty treatments in between all the stitching. Fun was had by all… can this really be work??! I love my Crazy Mary life!!
Here’s a rather gorgeous free machined posy created by Sue (a different one!):
sue posy
More pics on the workshops page. I’m now off for a couple of weeks’ R & R before I start prepping for my mini-workshops and demonstrations at the International Festival of Quilts at the NEC in August: www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk

TWO DAYS, TWO QUILTS…
Aaaaand relaaax… Well, nearly! All those gorgeous poppies have now been either framed up or attached to Marston Green Junior School’s WW1 wall-hanging:
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And this is Kingsbury Primary’s 2014 entry into this year’s International Festival of Quilts. The theme was ‘In Our Garden’, and the design came from two of the children – isn’t it a brilliant idea? I hope I’ve dome it justice sewing it all together. Here it is all taking shape on Friday:
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LOVELY LADY KATE!
Another quick update… Here’s the central panel created by the Y5 children at Lady Katherine Leveson School near Knowle this week, depicting their school badge:
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The Y4 pupils were equally talented and stitched brilliant frames around the photos which they had sent me before my visit. Take a look at the completed wall-hanging on the gallery page! As you can see, the ‘Suffolk Puff’ WW1 poppies have now been framed up for Marston Green Juniors -just the hanging to finish off later this week…
poppy pics

WONDERFUL WARWICK!
Another busy week! More poppies with Class 6B at Marston Green Juniors on Thursday morning, plus more Suffolk puffs with a group of gifted & talented stitchers in the afternoon. Everything is now all ready and waiting for a day of construction by yours truly in a couple of weeks’ time. I then enjoyed a day as a student myself with the gifted and talented Gillian Travis at the Bramble Patch on Friday, printing and sewing appliqued 1950s flowers – always good to learn something new! Yesterday saw me at the HQ of Warwickshire WI in Warwick, getting to grips with sari-silk once more. Some really lovely interpretations of the landscape theme – isn’t this one fab?
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PERFECT POPPIES AND LOVELY LIBRARIES!
I’m sitting in the garden in the sunshine, finally getting a chance to sit on the cushions I’ve recently made for our garden bench… bucolic blogging? This week saw me at Marston Green Junior School on Thursday getting started on poppy production (big time!!) with Y6, for a panel to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of WW1. Note the rather splendid Suffolk Puffs…
poppies
Then yesterday I nipped (!!) up the M6 to Newcastle-under-Lyme, where I spent the morning at Audley Library followed by the afternoon at Silverdale Library, helping some very creative crafters to create sari-silk landscapes as part of Adult Learning Week… Here is work in progress at Silverdale – we’d polished off the strawberry/clotted cream scones by then!! A big thank you to Farida Mohamedali from Staffordshire Libraries and the two local councils for organising and funding this event.
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AMAZING ARLEY!
Just about time to post a few pics of what I’ve been up to this week. I spent a busy couple of days at the amazing BRAND NEW Arley Primary School near Coventry, working with the children printing, drawing and stitching to put together a huge wall-hanging to celebrate their new status as a Primary School, rather then two separate infant & junior schools. Not many children (or staff!) get the chance to work in a fabulous new building like this:
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Fantastic isn’t it?
The classes are all named after woodland creatures, so the printing produced by KS2 featured lots of lovely beasts/minibeasts like this beautiful butterfly:
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The finished hanging is up on the gallery page so do take a look!
Yesterday saw me at the Sewing Patch near Uttoxeter, with a very creative group of ladies stitching quilted ‘Tropical Butterflies’. Here’s Bron getting stuck in!
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It’s a great shop with a gorgeous selection of fabrics plus Sue and Jenny always on hand with advice – well worth a visit – and a very nice coffee shop/café next door in the garden centre! I’ll be back there in 2015…
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SUMMER’S HERE…??
After a much needed break in amazing Amsterdam:
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I’m now back in the saddle and getting geared up for a busy couple of months. Before I jetted off for my city break I spent another very enjoyable day with Whittington Crafters discovering the joys of free-machine embroidery. It’s always lovely to see so many different interpretations of my original starting point and to watch everyone getting to grips with something new. There are some images of the stitching on the workshops page, but before you pop over there take a look at the lovely lavender growing outside the cricket pavilion where we were all getting busy:
lavender
Gorgeous isn’t it? Why doesn’t mine ever look like that?!
The next few weeks sees me working in several local schools, running a ‘Tropical Butterflies’ workshop at the Sewing Patch Uttoxeter, making Sari-silk Landscapes at Warwickshire WI HQ and at Newcastle-under-Lyme libraries, plus tutoring for the weekend at Hillscourt House Hotel in July, entering the International Festival of Quilts with Kingsbury Primary School and running a mini-workshop at the same show in August. Busy busy – off now to cut some fabric!

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL SHOW!
The British Quilt and Stitch Village at Uttoxeter seems ages ago now, but it’s taken me a few weeks to find the time to update the Crazy Blog about it! Loads of lovely comments, plenty of networking plus lots of interest in my kits and workshops, followed up by a continuing steady stream of bookings for workshops and the November & February Stitching Sleepovers. Here’s the public face of Crazy Mary Crafts all set up to rock’n’roll:
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So many fabulously friendly fabricky people to get to know – some of whom popped into my mini-workshops to create ‘Silken Strata’ from gorgeously textured sari-silk cords and ribbons:
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Later that week I also spent a very enjoyable day with Shenstone Quilters (full marks for delicious cakes ladies – thank you!), working hard all day stitching and quilting Spring Hedgerows… always popular. Here’s one in progress:
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SNEAK PREVIEW OF SLEEPOVER PROJECTS FOR NOVEMBER…
Seems a bit early for holly and ivy, but here are the projects for November’s Sleepover at Banbury House Hotel:
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holly ivy
Full details of prices etc are now on the events page… March 2015’s project si under construction and will be up soon…

CRAZY MARY’S APRIL UPDATE!
So much new stuff going on! Firstly, I can now reveal a fantastic new venue for Crazy Mary’s Stitching Sleepovers: Banbury House Hotel, Banbury. It’s the perfect place to spend a weekend indulging in a bit of creative textile fun! Two Sleepovers have been booked – 22nd/23rd November 2014 and 28th February/1st March 2015. Details about the projects, prices etc very soon….
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Last week I spent another great day with the fabulous ladies of the Derbyshire Federation of WIs learning more free machining skills. There must be something in the air in Derbyshire – so many talented crafty, friendly people! It didn’t take long for even the novices to get to grips with this exciting technique:
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And finally I can reveal that Crazy Mary will be running workshops at a residential weekend hosted by the wonderful Pam Neave of ‘Keep On Sewing’ at Hillscourt Hotel 18th-20th July – another fabulous venue:
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So (or sew?)… quite a lot to shout about at the British Quilt and Stitch Village at Uttoxeter Racecourse 25th-27th April – and still more to get organised! See you there!!
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MARCH @ THE MAKING HOUSE
I can’t believe we’re already half way through March! Saturday saw me at The Making House once again, helping a fab group of stitchers to create natty little denim cases for iPads like this one…
denim
…oh and rummaging about in trays of buttons!
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SPRING IN LEICESTERSHIRE!
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You just can’t beat some well stocked spring planters! Pretty or what?! I’m just back from another successful Stitching Sleepover at the Three Swans Hotel, Market Harborough – sewing, shopping and enjoying some all important me-time with a fabulous group of fellow stitchers. I can’t believe it’s really WORK – rather different ambience from the other portion of my ‘portfolio career’! Thank you to all of you who joined me and for all the lovely comments I’ve received so far. Here’s to the next one…
Meanwhile here are some of the stitched spring flowers at the hotel – one of the ‘Spring Hedgerow’ quilted panels we created:
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And finally – isn’t it weird how a fabric design can bring back memories…? Mum – I know you’re reading this!
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NATTY NOTEBOOKS!
I haven’t run my Embellished Notebooks course for a while now, so it was great to get all crafty making them with with West Midlands FWI – they always look so beautiful and every one ends up different. Thank you ladies!
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FRANTIC FEBRUARY FUN!
Well, half term finally rolled around and Crazy Mary has been having more fabric fun! I spent Monday in Solihull with Florence’s very friendly crafting group creating sari-silk landscapes and beautiful felt blooms:
blooms
Then a trip over to visit the very friendly and welcoming Shropshire Quilters on Tuesday to show off Crazy Mary’s work with children on the Tuesday night, and then (after a very comfy night in Shrewsbury’s Premier Inn) a day making Spring Hedgerow quilted panels on Wednesday at Castle Court quilters near Oswestry www.castlecourtquilter.co.uk. Here’s Marion’s rather brilliant finished design:
marion guy
More pics on the workshops page!
The fun continues later this week when I make embellished notebooks with West Midlands WI on Thursday and the another Stitching Sleepover at Market Harborough’s Three Swans Hotel next weekend…

PERFECT PATCHWORK PART TWO!
Wow! Two Saturdays at The Making House and just look what these girls have learnt (more on the workshops page!):
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PATCHWORK @ THE MAKING HOUSE!
Well, 2014 got off to a flying start yesterday at The Making House in Burton-on Trent, teaching the bsaics of patchwork to a lovely group of ladies who all ended up with pretty much perfectly matched quarter-inch seams -no mean feat! We’re back at the same venue in 2 weeks’ time to learn a few more tricks of the trade. If you fancy joining us do get in touch, as there are a few spaces still available. Beginners upwards, no previous experience necessary – I can even provide the machines if you need to borrow one! And no need to worry about having missed a session, as all the teaching is tailored to your needs…
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SPRING PROGRAMME NOW ONLINE!
Crazy Mary’s Spring 2014 programme is now available for all to see on the Events page – do have a look! Bookings are now being taken for group classes and private workshops, school days etc throughout 2014, so do get in touch if you have a date and/or project in mind! The coming few months will see me beavering away on the development new workshops projects and also some new Crazy Mary Crafts kits, which will be launched at The British Quilt & Stitch Village at Uttoxeter Racecourse 25th-27th April See you there!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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WOW! 2014 already?? Why not learn a new skill to go with the shiny new year?! Learn the basics of patchwork and quilting at the Making House, Buton-on-Trent: http://themakinghouse.bigcartel.com/product/introduction-to-patchwork-and-quilting-2-day-workshop
I’m currently updating my workshop programme, taking group bookings for spring/summer/autumn and also sorting out (slowly!) an e-newsletter, so watch the events page over the next few weeks, or email me via the contacts page.

OVER & OUT FOR THE FESTIVE SEASON! BUT BEFORE I GO…
…aaand reeelaax – well nearly! Only a few more bits to do – post cards, wrap presents, go shopping, do decorating (and I mean painting, not the tree – mad!). But before I sign off for a few weeks here’s the finished anti-bullying quilt which I posted off to Portishead Primary School yesterday – a bit wonky but I couldn’t get it all in shot very easily:
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OVER & OUT & MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

DELIGHTFUL DOVE FARM!
It was great to be back at one of my favourite venues yesterday – Dove Farm, WEllastone, near Ashbourne. Stitching, chat, feastive decorations AND Jane’s delicious mincemeat creation – what more could we want?!
dove farm

TIME TO CHECK BACK IN!
Sorry folks! I haven’t disappeared, honest! But I have been very busy and have also been forced to put my feet up due to a couple of nasty bugs, so I haven’t had time to catch up with updating the blog. But here I am at last, with news of what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks. So, in reverse order (as they say on the telly!) here goes…
Festive preparations back at the Harvest Fields Centre, Sutton Coldfield making Bauble Christmas cards and stitched gift pockets:
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Sensational Sleepover at The Three Swans, Market Harborough… a brilliant group of ladies joined me for an indulgent weekend of fab food:
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and some gorgeous stitching:
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I also recently spent another day at the wonderful Portishead Primary School, near Bristol, helping them to create a wallhanging as part of their anti-bullying week. Here is some work in progress – more pics on the gallery page next weekend once it’s all made up and ready to post back!
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And, last but not least, a lovely Saturday with Stafford Embroiderers’ Guild creating the ever popular Sari-silk Landscapes:
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Next weekend sees me at Dove Farm near Ashbourne for Crazy Mary’s last event of 2014… where has this year gone?!

BRILLIANT BURTON & WONDERFUL WALSALL!
After a lovely weekend away with my girlfriends 😉 , closely followed by two parents’ evenings and a triple dose of extended writing marking at school 😦 , I then spent a fab day at The Making House, Burton-on-Trent creating Folksy Christmas Tree hangings 🙂 :
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Then Saturday with Walsall Patchwork & Quilters at their exhibition and open day! A fabulous show in the church… I’ve never seen anything quite like it! Quite apart from the fantastic quilts, the Pre-Raphaelite frescoes were amazing…
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NICE TO BE BACK AT NUTTS!
Just a quick update – no pics this time I’m afraid! Spent a lovely day at L&M Nutts in Sutton Coldfield yesterday, making little make-up bags. Looking forward to going back there on 14th November to ‘Get Ready for Christmas’! Oh, and I popped over to Centre of England Arts this morning to drop off some bits and bobs to sell. There’s a fantastic exhibition there this weekend of students’ artwork. Plans are afoot for another Crazy Mary course there again in the Spring…watch this space!

BRILLIANT BRUMMIES!
Last Saturday I had a very creative day with Birmingham Embroiderers’ Guild, getting all swirly and sequiny with satin, organza and fancy wool yarns; all pulled together with a bit of free-motion embroidery:
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Thank you ladies – you were all very welcoming, and lunch was lovely!

MAKING STUFF AT THE MAKING HOUSE!
I spent a wonderful day upcycling old jeans at The Making House in Burton-on-Trent on Friday. Fabulous shop, run by amazing Anna Roebuck, who even cooked us all home-made pumpkin soup and green beans – scrummy – all grown by one the ladies on the course. Fab! Anyway, food fantasies aside, we also all enjoyed the sewing and I’m very much looking forward to going back on 18th October to make folksy Christmas trees! Here’s Smita stitching away on her fabulous denim bag (more pics on the workshops page):
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STITCHING LIKE MAD!
Only a few days left of the school hols now, so not much time to catch up on those jobs I promised myself I’d get done before school starts and Crazy Mary is once again relegated to Thurs & Fridays & weekends! I’ve really been enjoying some creative sewing machine time this week, designing & making some new lines for my stall at Whittington Country fair on 7th Sept. What do you think of this patched picture – a bit of a spin-off from my Angie Lewin inspired Spring Hedgerow I feel!
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KPS @ NEC 2013!
Home sweet home – lovely to back after a very relaxing holiday in Scotland. Fab! Now I’m catching up with admin and getting Crazy Mary back in gear for the autumn and for (gulp!) 2014… Lots to do, and it all got off to a lovely textiley start on Sunday with a trip to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC. There was Kingsbury Primary’s ‘Transport in our Village’ quilt proudly hanging for all to see – no prize this year, but soooooo good to be on display internationally again:
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Now all I need to do is prepare for some of my autumn workshops (see the events page!), finalise bookings etc for the Stitching Sleepover in November (JUST ONE PLACE LEFT FOLKS IF ANYONE’S INTERESTED!!), make some Crazy stuff to sell at Whittington Country Fair on Sat 7th Sept and do my homework for Angie Hughes!! Two and a half weeks until school starts and a lot to pack in!! Off I go….

FAMILY FUN AT BURNTWOOD WAKES FESTIVAL 2013!
After last year’s washout it was lovely to be back getting all creative with families at Burntwood’s Wakes again this Saturday. And even nicer to have a very efficient helper with me – my Basque friend’s daughter Maider:
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Here she is getting stuck in making funky foam name-plates:
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And if you don’t know anything about the Basque Country you need to take a look at:
http://tourism.euskadi.net/en/

FoQ HERE WE COME!
It’s that time of year again! Here’s Kingsbury Primary’s entry into the international Festival of Quilts 2013 (NEC 8-11 August). At last my geography degree and my textiles obsession have come together! The theme for the competition is ‘Transport’ – this is ‘Transport in our Village’. A winner? We’ll see… Well done Year 6 and thank you to Mrs Sadler at Kingsbury School (aka the High School!)for letting us all have a go on the machines in your textiles room.
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NUTTS WOKSHOPS GET OFF TO A FLYING START AND MARSTON GREEN JUNIORS GO COLOUR CRAZY!
Just a quick update… Firstly, Crazy Mary’s first two classes at L&M Nutts in Sutton Coldfield have gone down very well, with Embellished Patches Notebooks on 13th July and a Free-machining Day School yesterday – you can see what we got up to on the workshops page. This week I spent the first two of three days back at marvellous Marston Green Junior School again, working with Year 6 on colour theory and looking at the work of Kandinsky. Each Y6 class are creating a panel, using amazing colours in a wild and whacky way:
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TEME VALLEY IS BEAUTIFUL IN MAY!!
I’m about to sign off for a couple of weeks’ break from workshops and a little holiday but, before I go, here’s a pic of a great bit of upcycling from one of the two sessions I ran with Teme Valley Embroiderers’ Guild in Tenbury Wells yesterday. Thank you ladies for being so very welcoming and talented and also for providing me with such a delicious lunch! And the other route home was much quicker!
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IN PRINT AGAIN!
Here it is! Soooo nice to be in print again… Sewing World magazine June 2013 p 30-32 YAY!!!
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Plus – here’s a funky flower brooch created at Dosthill WI, just down the road, on Tuesday night. Loevly to meet you all ladies!
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DYNAMIC DERBY AND SUPER SOLIHULL!
Just a quick post this time – lots to do, not enough time (waht’s new?!). I had a great day up at Derbyshire WI HQ in Derby on Thursday, running an ‘Introduction to Free Machining’ day. A lovely group who really got to grips with this technique, which Kirsty Allsop calls ‘the crack cocaine’ of sewing! Here’s one addict’s work as she got to grips with stitching without those feed dogs up:
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Then yesterday Solihull Embroiderers’ Guild had a busy day creating both Crazy Log Cabin Pictures AND Sari-silk Landscapes! Busy busy! Here they are agonising over which colour silk strips to use:
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More images on the workshops page…

WOW! WHAT A WEEK – AND A BIT!!
Well, I can honestly say that Crazy Mary doesn’t often get weeks like this last one! First up came Tamworth Embroiderers Guild last Wednesday night – a very friendly local group who all got stuck in making Crazy Log Cabin pictires. Here’s one in progress:
twth EG
Then a day setting up my stall at Uttoxeter for the Quilt & Stitch Village on the Thursday (see below!), followed by a fabulous 3 days at the show itself. I met so many fantastic people, re-acquainted myself with lots of Crazy Mary students I hadn’t seen for a while and received lots of lovely comments about my creations, my kits, and my workshop projects. Plus, on top of all that, each of my mini-workshop sessions sold out. I came away feeling all warm and fuzzy, if rather spectacularly tired! Here is one of the Sari-silk Landscapes workshops under way:
working
Then yesterday I spent another fab day with another very friendly local crafting group in Whittington, near Lichfield (thanks for the scrummy biccies ladies!). We crammed two projects into one day making Embellished Notebooks and Sari-silk Landscapes – just look at these:
goodies 2
And somehow I’ve also managed 6 days in school since last Monday – not sure how. Rather glad this is a 3 day weekend though! Next week sees me at Derbyshire WI HQ on Friday and Solihull Embroiderers Guild on Saturday. Crazy Mary is on a roll… YAY!

ALL READY TO ROLL AT THE RACECOURSE…
Just a quickie… here’s the demonstration stand all ready for the public tomorrow at www.quiltandstitchvillage.com
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TA-DAH! BUTTERFLIES AND HEDGEROW DESIGNS UNVEILED FOR 2014’S SLEEPOVER…
Just a quickie today to show off two designs for next year’s Spring Stitching Sleepover – I’m rather proud of these and have particularly enjoyed doing all the echo quilting. There will be a quilted bag/purse option to complement each design – or alternatively you can come along, enjoy the indulgence of it all and bring your own projects to get on with…
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butterflies

LONG TIME NO BLOG POST!!
Well, here I am again! It seems ages since I last posted any news, but that doesn’t mean Crazy Mary has been resting. I’ve been busy organising kits, workshops materials etc for a whole host of group bookings plus next weekend’s trip to the British Quilt & Stitch Village at Uttoxeter Racecourse. I’m runnning a mini sari-silk landscape workshop each day at 11am, plus demonstrating and selling kits at plot 88 in the Staffordshire Stand with the embroidery exhibits. See you there!
British-Quilt-Stitch-Village (640x448)
More news… Crazy Mary’s summer/autumn programme is now up on the events page – some new venues too: several sessions at LM Nutts in Sutton Coldfield, plus the fabulous Making House in Burton-on-Trent, and I’m also back at Dove Farm near Ashbourne. On top of all that a Spring Stitching Sleepover is now booked at the wonderful Three Swans Hotel in Market Harborough in March 2014. More details on the events page, but here’s a quick flyer:
vistaprint flyer
The November Sleepover is proving very popular and there is now only ONE space left, so if you’re interested you better get in quick!!
See? I told you I’d been busy! More news after Uttoxeter…

AND FINALLY…OAK CLASS!
Oak Class (Reception) finally got their chance yesterday to create their class hanging for the school hall. They led me on a tour around school, took photos of their favourite locations and decorated felt leaves. Here’s a close-up:
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MORE FREE MACHINING FUN AT HOBBYCRAFT!
Last Saturday we got busy with soluble fabric and machine applique in Hobbycraft’s Crafting Room – which has undergone a makoever thanks to Lisa of Tigerlily Makes as you can see:
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Lots of pics on the Workshops page, but here’s Aileen’s rather lovely lacy flower:
aileen

CHERRY BLOSSOM AT WOOTTON WAWEN
Last Friday it was Cherry Class’s turn to help me create a wallhanging – the Year 1 children received a helping hand from some Y6 pupils cutting out, serwing buttons on and printing. What do you think of ther efforts? (The finished hanging is on the Gallery page!)
blossom
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BUSY AT TAMWORTH HOBBYCRAFT’S CRAFTING ROOM!
Yesterday it was great to get back together with some of the talented ladies who joined me at Crazy Mary’s Stitching Sleepover in November – we spent a day getting to grips with the basics of free machining in Hobbycraft’s now famous crafting room. Here’s a rather lovely machine-appliqued card:
card
By the way – there is now only ONE space left on the next Sleepover 23/24th November this year – so do get in touch if you’re interested!

BACK AT HARVEST FIELDS AT LAST…!
Hoorah! No adverse weather conditions and finally I made it back to Harvest Fields in Sutton Coldfield for the final session of my ‘Introduction to Free Machining’ course. It was great to catch up with the group after quite a long break – this time we experimented with dissolvable fabrics and creating machine lace designs. I’ll be repeating these courses over 2 days at Hobbycraft Tamworth on 1st & 9th March (fully booked I’m afraid), and I’m hosting the first 2 sessions as a day course at L&M Nutts Sewing Machine Shop on Sat 22nd June (that one’s open for bookings!). Plus I’ll be back at Harvest Fields in the autumn for a series of Festive Stitching workshops making some fab textiley bits and bobs for Christmas! Here’s Pat working on a lovely lacy flower – more pics on the workshops page:
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HAPPILY HANDICRAFTING AT HURLEY!!!
Last night Hurley WI got all creative with me making some sparkly denim greetings cards:
hurley
Meanwhile, yesterday and today I’ve been working on a wedding project for a magazine… more details to follow, but here’s a quick preview:
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Off to the wonderful Bramble Patch on Thursday to enjoy another dose of mixed media learning with the fabulous Angie Hughes (it’s so nice to be a pupil and learn lots of NEW STUFF…); then it’s back to Harvest Fields in Sutton Coldfield on Friday for my delayed free machine embroidery course – part 4. Hopefully no snow this time!

GUESS THE TREE…
Another lovely day at Wootton Wawen yesterday – we’re now on to tree number 5, representing Year 2! Pictures of the finished hangings for this class and Years 3 & 4 are up on the Gallery page – but before you look there can you guess which trees they are from these close-ups…?
CHESTNUT LEAVES
WILLOW FISH
SNOWFLAKE

WOW! ANOTHER BUSY WEEK!
Lots to tell you – not much time, so here goes! Here’s the WOMBATS wall-hanging all ready for the inauguration of the new Water Orton vicar next week:
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Today I spent a very enjoyable day at West Midlands WI HQ, with a fabulous group of ladies creating sari-silk landscapes – more images on the workshops page, but here we are all hard at work:
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…and here’s a lovely landscape:
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NEWS FLASH!! PROGRAMME UPDATED!
Just a quickie before I pop off to do an evening demo with Four Oaks Methodist Church: I’m running 3 classes at L&M Nutt Sewing Machines’ brand new workshop space during June & July… embellished notebooks, sari-silk landscapes and a free machining day school. All up on the events page…

SWIRLS & STITCHES IN SOLIHULL…
I’ve just got back from a lovely day with the Genesis textiles group in Solihull (thank you ladies – and for lunch!!), layering satin, organza and wool to create some rather nice pieces with free machining. Here’s some work in progress (more pics on the workshops page):
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ALL ON DISPLAY IN PORTISHEAD!
Here’s the Portishead hanging I did in November up on display in pride of place in their school hall:
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WONDERFUL WOMBATS!
Fabulous morning at Water Orton with the WOMBATS creating a hanging to welcome the new vicar to the parish… young, not-so-young, male, female – we all got stuck in!!
wombats 1 (more pics on workshops page!)

ROLL UP, ROLL UP FOR UTTOXETER 2013!
Just a quick update – Crazy Mary’s mini-workshops at the Uttoxeter ‘Quilt & Stitch Village 2013’ are online and ready to book on the show’s website: http://www.quiltandstitchvillage.com/workshops This is a lovely stitching show – it used to be at Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent, but is now held at Uttoxeter Racecourse. I had a great time there last year, met lots of fantastic people and ran a couple of mini workshops while I was there. Well this year I’m repeating the experience… why not pop by and say hello? I’ll even have some of my kits for sale again!

GET SET…GO!!
Well, the snow’s gone, the pavements are safe again – even if the roads are a bit flooded in places round here. I made the decision to cancel last Friday’s Harvest Fields session as I knew many people were worried about driving – it’s now going ahead on Friday 22nd Feb instead. I’m now limbering up for a busy couple of weeks – I’ve spent the last few days preparing for workshops with the WOMBATs of Water Orton this Thursday, Fir and Chestnut classes at Wootton Wawen CE Primary School on Friday, a whole day of my ‘Swirls, Stitches & Sequins’ workshop with the fabulous Genesis Textile Group in Solihull next Saturday. Then an evening making Embellished Notebooks at Four Oaks Methodist Church Tuesday 5th Feb, Sari Silk Landscapes with West Midlands FWI Thursday 7th and back to Wootton Wawen for a day with Willow class on Friday 15th… Plus I have a deadline of March 1st for another magazine article (more news in a week or so on that one). BUSY BUSY!! HAPPY HAPPY!!

SLEEPOVER SAMPLES NOW ONLINE!
Well, what a productive few days… I can now officially announce that the project for this year’s Stitching Sleepover will be ‘Quilted Baubles’ – a wallhanging and/or a gift box. This is actually a bit of a collaboration, as the design is based upon the lovely work of an Australian quilter, Emma How, who has very kindly allowed me to use her design as inspiration. Emma regularly published articles in Australian Patchwork & Quilting Magazine, and you can view her gorgeous ‘Winter Baubles’ design on her blog: http://sampaguitaquilts.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/winter-baubles-in-ap.html I have adapted Emma’s beautiful wholecloth quilt to create a smaller applique wallhanging:
sofa
At the Sleepover (23rd/24th November) participants will be be supplied with the materials to make either the hanging or the gift box, and kits for the other option will be available for purchase. More details on the events page! Bookings are now being taken…

IN WITH THE NEW…!
My spring programme is now available for all to see on the events page, so do pop over and take a look! You may notice a slight difference of emphasis this time; there are more workshops and day schools booked through groups and rather fewer classes at individual public venues. Due to the number of group bookings and the increasing popularity of the projects that I offer to schools, I’m having to ration myself somewhat this ‘term’ and have decided to concentrate more on group and school bookings for the first part of 2013. This is good news for me of course, but I’m aware that there is still a demand for local one-off workshops and that some of my regular ‘Crazy Mary-ites’ may be a little disappointed. But hang in there folks – I’m not deserting you! I intend to continue my sessions at Harvest Fields in Sutton Coldfield, and will run more events at my other local venues later in the year. For example, I’m hoping to run an art-inspired free machining course at Centre of England Arts in the autumn and have plans for more workshops at Dove Farm too. If there’s something ‘textiley’ YOU would like to learn to do, either as a one-off or as a series of sessions, please let me know – your comments and feedback will help me design new workshops for the future. And do remember that I’m available for hire to groups if you are part of a crafting circle of club/community group.
One event that is already organised for the autumn is, of course, this year’s Stitching Sleepover! Bookings are already being taken, so here’s a sneaky preview (more information on the projects will be available soon, but, as usual, you are just as welcome to bring your own work along if you’d rather do your own thing!):
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NEARLY THERE…!
Happy New Year everyone! I’m busy struggling with technology (scanner is playing up today!) so unfortunately I’ve been frustrated in my attempts to post Crazy Mary’s Spring 2013 programme online, but hopefully it will be on the Events page in a couple of days time, so watch this space. I’m making a few changes for 2013 but more about that when I’ve worked out what’s plugged in where and why I can’t scan my programme properly… Of course it might just be that a surfeit of mince pies and mulled wine has dulled my brain!

WOW!
Just look at this! it turned out so big that it very difficult to photograph, but I managed with some help. I think this is one of my favourite school quilts – it’s going to be very difficult to let it go when I post it off to Portishead Primary School tomorrow…
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SYCAMORE CLASS ARE GO!
Just a quickie – I had another great day at Wootton Wawen CE Primary school today – this time with the Y6 children of Sycamore class… here’s what we got up to:
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WOOLLY, WHIRLY AND WONDERFUL!
This morning was my last Harvest Fields Centre workshop of 2012 – part 3 of ‘An Introduction to Free Machining’. The skills we’d all learnt over the first two sessions were put to good use layering felt, satin and organza and couching down slubby random-dyed yarns to create some very pretty flowery effects (more pics on the workshops page).
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Here’s to parts 4 & 5 on 25th January and 22nd February…

OH I DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE!
Thanks to the wonderful Workshops in Schools website, yesterday saw me leaving the Midlands for the day and working at a fabulous school with a sea view – well, very nearly – part of a lovely new marina development with yachts right next door! Here is the view from the playground of Portishead Primary School, North Somerset (just outside Bristol):
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I had a great day printing and stitching with children from every class, all contributing towards a wall-hanging to represent the school’s values, as part of an anti-bullying project. Now I have lots of lovely bits and bobs to pull together into a finished piece – all will be revealed in a week or so when it’s ready to post back to Portishead, but here’s a flavour of the day:
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MARVELLOUS, MARVELLOUS MARKET HARBOROUGH!
Wow! What a fantastic time was had by all at the stitching Sleepover last weekend. The fabulous Three Swans Hotel once again did us all proud and we stitched, gossiped, ate, shopped and relaxed in style! I’m in the process of booking the next one in about a year’s time. Lots of images on the workshops page ( there are even some of the stitching!!), plus there is a full album on my Facebook page, but I think these sum up the indulgence we all enjoyed rather well:



Thank you to Sue who brought along her finished panel from the February Sleepover to show off – rather gorgeous, don’t you think?

And if all that doesn’t tempt you to join me next time, maybe this will persuade you (tee hee!):

CRAZY MARY’S FAME TRAVELS FURTHER AFIELD!
Well, two bits of breaking news today – 1) At last I’ve managed to photograph Widney Junior’s wall hanging – the gold lettering was a bit too sparkly for the camera and didn’t photograph very well, so I waited until it was hanging in-situ at the school and then took an arty (!) angled shot:

2) Thanks to the wonderful Workshops in Schools website, I’m off to ‘foreign’ lands on 29th November to spend a day at Portishead Primary School in North Somerset (Bristol). What fun! Let’s hope the M5 is clear that morning…

ANOTHER LOVELY DAY AT DOVE FARM!
Yesterday saw a first for Crazy Mary – the very first cross-stitching lorry driver to attend a workshop session! Here’s his sari-silk landscape work under construction – I’m afraid all my close-ups images turned out blurry, but suffice to say that some beautiful little landscapes emerged from the recycled sari scraps, some featuring rather lovely beaded bullrushes – fab! And (yet again!) Jane’s delicious scones and yummy cake were much praised!

I’m now rushing off to deliver Stan (see below!) and Widney Junior’s quilt (pic to follow…) and will then turn my mind to preparing kits etc for next week’s second Stitching Sleepover at the Three Swans in Market Harborough. I’ve got a fantastic group of stitchers joining me for a weekend of craft, food and general indulgence – can’t wait!!

BREATHING LIFE INTO STAN!
Today’s the day Stan the dragon from Stanville Primary School came to life. Stan will soon be on his way to brighten up the school hall at Stanville in Sheldon (sadly for my Welsh other half, who’s grown rather fond of him and is convinced that Stan is one of his compatriots rather than the true Brummie dragon we all know he is!).

MORE FREE MACHINING FUN!
Part 2 of my ‘Introduction to Free Machining’ course at Harvest Fields Centre this morning saw everbody’s fantastic free machining skills developing nicely, don’t you think…?

WOOTTON WAWEN TREES GET OFF THE GROUND (NOT LITERALLY!)
An exciting project got underway yesterday at Wootton wawen CE Primary School yesterday, when I worked with Year 5 children to create the first of 8 panels to represent their classes, which are named after trees. Birch first… Sycamore next in December. Here’s what we got up to:


TWO DAYS, TWO WORKSHOPS…
Continuing my ‘busy-busy October’ them, yesterday saw me at Gilbert Richards Centre in Earlsdon, Coventry, once more – this time spreading the joy of striped applique motifs:

Then this morning I spent another fabulous few hours with the lovely ladies of Walsall Patchwork & Quilters, making beaded bottle bags & demonstrating Crazy Mary’s famous ‘Jangly Jester bags’:

Er, yes, it’s meant to be wonky; I was trying to be arty!!
This week I’m still all ‘busy-busy October-stylee’ as I’m off to work with Wootton Wawen Primary school making the first of their tree hangings with Birch class on Thursday, and then running part 2 of ‘An Introduction to Free Machine Embroidery’ at Harvest Fields Centre on Friday. How do I manage to also fit in 3 days of being Y6 teacher at Kingsbury Primary? I have no idea!! I think I must be a) superhuman or b) Crazy…!! I love my weird double life; although a break over half term the week after will be much appreciated!

SECOND STITCHING SLEEPOVER IMAGE NOW ONLINE!
Finally… (phew – I’ve been soooo busy!), there’s an image of BOTH the Stitching Sleepover projects on the events page… here they are on this page too! Just 3 places left, so do get in touch if you fancy indulging in a weekend of stitching, excellent accomodation and delicious food 17th/18th November. You know you deserve it!!

GOING CRAZY IN COVENTRY!
Yesterday afternoon saw me at Shire Quilters in Coventry, leading an Embellished Notebooks workshop. It was lovely to make these little books again, as I haven’t done this workshop for a while, and the group was very welcoming and friendly – such a lot of textiley talent so close to home, and quite a few familiar faces! I was particularly impressed by the two vintage 1950s electric Singer machines – here’s one in action:

PS – it’s 50 years since the new Coventry Cathedral was consecrated… a fabulous building that everyone should visit, whatever their religion/lack of it/marginal interest in anything human or spiritual. It’s dedicated to reconciliation – surely one of the the most important and most difficult aspects of human nature..? Go there, sit in the ruins, enjoy the post-war art/craft – I challenge you not to be moved.

WONDERFUL WIDNEY!
Just a quickie… to let you know how things went at Widney Junior School this week. I spent 2 lovely days working with some extremely talented pupils from years 3,4,5 and 6, stitching away like mad, designing lettering (thank you Mr Chamberlain for helping out there!) and generally enjoying myself enormously. I now have a glorious piles of embellished photos, border strips, gilded lettering etc to from which to create a hanging repesenting Widney’s school values. So, expect a pic of that shortly – as usual, here’s some work in progress:


Impressive eh?! Now I’m off to run an Embellished Notebooks workshops with Shire Quilters in Coventry… busy busy!!

MAKING A START ON STAN THE DRAGON!
Well, you can tell that the school term is properly under way now – I’m busy with school bookings and getting those young hands stitching all over the place! Last week saw me working with the wonderful Year 5 pupils at Stanville Primary School, Sheldon (Birmingham) creating a patchwork dragon to celebrate the school’s 75th anniversary. Here’s Stan the dragon himself:

…and here are some of the patchwork pieces in production:


Watch this space and all will be revealed in a week or so!

SORRY – NO PICS!!
Well, two lovely Crazy Mary workshops have happened in the last fortnight, but due to a dodgy camera battery I’m afraid I have no photos to share with you … Firstly I kicked off the autumn term at Gilbert Richards Centre, Coventry, last Friday making ‘Beautiful Blooms’ from wool felt, and then this Friday saw the first session of my 4-part ‘Intoduction to Free Machine Embroidery’ course at Harvest Fields centre, Sutton Coldfield. Of course, if I’d had my wits about me I’d have used my phone to take some pics, but time flew, we were busy enjoying ourselves… suffice to say that everyone created something lovely!! This week I’m off to Stanville Junior School, Sheldon to work with Y5 to create a crazy patchwork version of the school emblem, Stan the dragon; and than next week sees me at Widney Junior School, Solihull getting all creative with fabric, photos and metallic lettering. Photos to follow (I PROMISE!!)… so watch this space!

VICTORY HALL GET CRAFTY AGAIN!
As I said the other day, the Crazy Mary autumn ball is now well and truly rolling… yeasterday I kicked off with a great day in Castle Bromwich with the Victory Hall ladies once more, creating sari-silk landscapes… here’s some work in progress and some finished creations (slightly dodgy photos which don’t really do them justice I’m afraid!) Another lovely relaxed session, not to mention the scones (two types – chese and fruit, freshly baked that morning! Yum!) Thank you ladies!

FEELING FESTIVE? IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT THAT CHRISTMAS CRAFT PROJECT!!
Crazy Mary is definitely back in the saddle again now – getting ready for next week’s workshops and putting samples together for later in the year. How about making your very own festive hanging this year? 100% wool felt, linen thread, a few buttons and a bit of stitching and … Bob’s your uncle! (He really was in my case!). You can learn how to create this gorgeous decoration either at Centre of England Arts Fri 23rd November 130-430pm or at Dove Farm Sat 8th December 11am-3pm. Lots more ‘crazy’ stuff going on – take a look at the events page!

WELL HELLO AGAIN EVERYBODY…
So, the holidays are coming to an end. I feel really rested and ready to roll again after a lovely 2 weeks in Scandinavia and plenty of fun and relaxation here at home. It was brilliant to see Kingsbury’s Diamonds quilt on display at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC – no prizes this time I’m afraid! There’s always next year… I’m now turning my thoughts to the autumn term – it’s good to see workshops booking up already! Also looking forward to the second Crazy Mary Stitching Sleepover – still a few places so do get in touch if you fancy indulging in a bit of quality creative ‘me-time’ with excellent food and accomodation laid on – you know you do!!

SUMMER TERM ENDS AT GILBERT RICHARDS CENTRE… HERE’S TO NEXT TERM!
Yes, the sun is finally shining!! Just in time for a well-earned break… but before I sign off for a few weeks rest, here’s a picture of Pam’s work in progress at my Sari-silk Landscapes workshop yesterday at Gilbert Richards Centre, Coventry:

Don’t forget that Crazy Mary’s autumn/winter programme is online on the events page – do get in touch as I’ll be taking bookings throughout the summer break. There are still a few places left on the Stitching Sleepover at the Three Swans Hotel in November, and I’m looking forward to re-running the popular free-machining sessions at Harvest Fields (already booking up). You’ll also find more classes at both the Gilbert Richards Centre and Dove Farm, plus Centre of England Arts and a couple of new classes at Remember When, a fab new craft/vintage shop in Coleshill.
In the meantime, I’ll let you all know how the Kingsbury Primary School quilt gets on at FoQ at the NEC in August… happy holidays!

GO KPS!!
Yes, it’s that time of year again! Here’s Kingsbury Primary School’s entry into the 2012 International Festival of Quilts – theme: ‘Diamonds’! Catch it ‘live’ at the NEC 16-19th August!

FREE MACHINING PART 2! FAB FLOWERS & CUTE COTTAGES…
Just a quick update this week … busy busy! The second part of ‘An Introduction to Free-Machining’ was very successful this morning over at Harvest Fields. We were all making a panel either with appliqued flowers or a naive cottage design… Can you believe that these stitchers used this technique for the first time just last week? Amazing… well done everyone!

FREE MACHINING: ‘THE CRACK-COCAINE’ OF SEWING!! (ACCORDING TO KIRSTY APPARENTLY!!)
It was great to be back at the Harvest Fields Centre today, hosting the first of my ‘Introduction to free-machining’ classes. A wonderful group of ladies got busy doodling with their machines and making a machine applique motif for a greetings card. We’re all back there next week for part 2, plus I’m running these courses again in the autumn, plus 2 more following on from these. It’s a very addictive skill, and has huge potential – you’ll never stop using the technique once you’ve got to grips with it! Here are some of the very impressive doodles produced this morning:

QE2 HANGING ALL FINISHED!
It took a bit of jiggling about and a lot of piecing and stitching, but at last the Queen has been assembled from all the glorious bits and pieces produced by the pupils of Marston Green Junior School over the last couple of weeks. Here she is in all her glory (and a big well done to the Y3 winner of the ‘draw the Queen’s face’ competition – didn’t she do brilliantly?!):

This week I had lovely time being a pupil myself at the Bramble Patch, Weedon, Northants, learning how to create a quilted landscape with Sheena Norquay, who was brilliant and so talented it made me green with envy! As usual Crazy Mary’s creation was bright and bold and rather surreal – not quite finished yet, but once it is I’ll post a picture. In the meantime I need to crack on with Kingsbury Primary’s 2012 entry into the Feinternational Festival of Quilts… pieces cut, transfer foil bonded, fabric pinned, now it’s up to me to find time on the frantic end-of-term timetable and up to Y6 to get stitching!

AUTUMN PROGRAMME NOW ONLINE!!
Yep, I’ve been a proper little busy bee today! My programme is now all set up and ready to roll through to January 2013.. pop over to the EVENTS page to have a look! Don’t forget I’m taking bookings for my ‘Sew Social Stitching Sleepover’ in November – a few places left so get in quick if you’re up for a self-indulgent weekend of crafting, chat and good food in a lovely venue, the Three Swans Hotel, Market Harborough:

HELLO FOLKS! I’M BACK…!
Yes, here I am again, back after a lovely break and straight into the swing of things. I’m currently working on a project with Marston Green Junior School (Solihull) creating a wall-hanging to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I spent yesterday and last Friday in school, involving all 340-odd children with cutting out, designing, stitching, bonding transfer foils, attaching sequins and even using the sewing machine. Now I need to pull the whole thing together! Here are some images of work in progress:


Today I’m getting to grips with some much needed Crazy Mary admin – the main task being firming up my autumn programme, which will hopefully be going public next week. I’m also very pleased to be attending a course myself at the Bramble Patch next Thursday/Friday with Sheena Norquay: ‘Little Landscapes’. I’m really looking forward to having some purely personal creative time!

SUNNY SUTTON IN MARVELLOUS MAY!
Well, I can’t quite belive it, but it’s pretty much 6 months since January and Crazy Mary is still going strong, although to be fair I’m about to take a break of a week or two for the Jubilee weekend and then a long-awaited girlie reunion of old friends. So, to sign off for a couple of weeks here are some pictures of my first Marvellous May Flowers workshop at Harvest Fields on Friday… Cue the lovely Donja who was treated to the class as a surprise birthday gift by her pal Jenny, only for me to realise that Donja was already a ‘Crazy-ist’ having attended one of my classes up at Dove Farm…:

And here are some of the creations:

ANOTHER BUSY WEEK!
Just a quickie – lots to do! Crazy Mary’s first session at Hobbycraft Tamworth making embellished notebooks went down well on Thursday:

The lovely wicker basket in the background belongs to Jaki who, with Maxine, also came along to my applique pencil case/make-up bag workshop at Gilbert Richards Centre in Earlsdon Coventry on Friday:

Then yesterday I finished off a commission which included this design for a wedding card:

CRAZY MARY HITS WALSALL!
I know, I’d never lived, but today I finally got over to Walsall! After much teasing from loads of my new crafting friends, I’ve finally made it along the A5 to Muckley Corner and down the A461 to spend a lovely morning with Jill and the Walsall Patchwork & Quilters in a fantastically light and airy church hall. Sari silk ribbons were once again transformed into some rather splendid miniature landscapes with some machine stitching and then hand embellishment using Stef Francis space-dyed rayon threads. Another very friendly and welcoming group – I’m very much looking forward to making another visit in October, and have even booked myself in as trader/demonstrator for their exhibition in October 2013!! (Note to self: I’m taking quite a few bookings for next year so really must get a 2013 diary!). Here’s a ‘start here-finish there’ pair of pics… more on the workshops page!

CRAZY MARY GETS ALL ARTY CRAFTY AT TAMWORTH LIBRARY!
Another great local event for me today as I ran a workshop at Tamworth Library for Debbie Rutter and Jill Ireland’s community crafting group – Arty Crafty. We made embellished notebooks (haven’t done those for a while, so it was nice to do them again!). A truly lovely group of ladies – thank you for having me! And a rather splendid room for crafting in, which is always good to know about… anyway, here’s the crowd in question, with their finished notebooks:

M.A.M.PART 2!
It was great to get back to Greatwood Hall, Upper Tean, again today, to carry on with the busy young mums of ‘Mum Art Makers’, creating their Crazy Log Cabin pictures. As usual, each one was different, with a fantastic mix of colours, beads etc setting off the silk fabrics wonderfully. Thank you for having me ladies! Here are two of their clever creations:

SARI-SILK LANDSCAPES AT COEA!
Sari-silk landscapes proved popular again last Friday at Centre of England Arts, nr Meriden. It was lovely to meet some new crafters too . It never ceases to amaze me how each person’s design turns out so completely different, when we are all basically following the same task… beautiful pictures ladies! I’m looking forward to going back to COEA for my next all day project there on Sat 26th May – miniature stitched caskets.

MARVELLOUS MORNING WITH M.A.M.!
Just enjoyed the first of two crafting sessions with Mum Art Makers, Upper Tean nr Stoke – a very lucky group of young mums who have funding to craft away in peace while their youngsters are cared for in a creche in the room next door. There should be more of this kind of thing! I had a lovely couple of hours, getting everyone started on crazy log cabin pictures; back again next week to finish off! Here’s some work in progress:

CRAZY MARY IN PRINT AGAIN!
Yahoo! I’m in the current edition of Making magazine… p 90! Follow this link and scroll down a bit!!
making mag spring 12

NEW PROJECT FOR MAY 25TH AT HARVEST FIELDS CENTRE!
Here (at last!) are Crazy Mary’s Marvellous May Flowers all ready for 25th May at Harvest Fields Centre, Sutton Coldfield. With the weather the way it is, these may well be the only blooms we see all month!! Why don’t you come along and make some with me?

CRITTERS INVADE SUTTON COLDFIELD!
Where did they come from…?!

MORE FUN WITH A DOUBLE DOSE OF FUNKY FLOWERS!
Another busy couple of days – Thursday saw me in Coventry again at the Gilbert Richards Centre making Funky Felt Flowers with a fabulous group – here’s one happy crafter:

Then yesterday I had a local booking with the ladies of Kingsbury Krafters at Piccadilly Community Centre. Here we all are, beavering away at more Funky Felt Flowers, handstitching this time. Thank you for having me ladies!

PHEW! WHAT A FAB WEEKEND!
At last! Time to put up some pictures of my stall at the Uttoxeter show last weekend. It was great meeting so many lovely people and I got loads of very positive comments – I certainly felt that I held my own on this first Crazy Mary foray into the world of real shows. I sold some kits too, and have decided that there is definitely a market for them – I now need to decide what to do about it! My mini-workshops went down well (pictures of those on the workshops page) and I’m getting enquiries already about my workshops and the Stitching Sleepover in November, so I’m really pretty pleased with how it all went! Today I’ve been busy putting stuff together for my Funky Flower workshops at Coventry tomorrow and with Kingsbury Krafters on Saturday. I’ll leave you with a picture of some of my kits at the show…

STALL ALL SET UP! CRAZY MARY IS READY TO ROLL…
Here I am… Do you like the banners?

WIDNEY’S UNITY HANGING COMPLETE! SEE YOU AT UTTOXETER…!
Just a quick post to show off the completed ‘Unity’ hanging all ready for Widney Junior’s new entrance hall… hopefully there’ll soon be a photo of it in-situ, rather than spread out on my living room floor! Off to Uttoxeter to set up tomorrow – just a few little admin things to do today. I’m looking forward to the show, and being on the other side of a stall for a change. My kits are looking good and are all boxed up to display on my demo stand, so let’s see how they go…

WOOTTON’S HANGING DONE, KITS READY FOR UTTOXETER LAUNCH…POINT ME TOWARDS THAT EASTER BREAK!
Wow! I now have some kits ready for launch the weekend after Easter at the Uttoxeter Quilting & Embroidery Show. Let’s see how they go! Had a lovely day at Hobbycraft on Saturday stitching away in full public view and chatting to some great people. Lots of interest and I’ve already taken one private booking as a result – hoorah! This (not very good because I took it on the kitchen table) picture shows the Wootton Wawen wallhanging from last Thursday in its completed state. I’ll try to get a better image soon!

WONDERFUL WIDNEY!
Last Friday I had a great day with the pupils of Widney Junior School, Solihull, printing and stitching pieces for a HUGE wallhanging as part of their arts week. The theme was UNITY and the finished piece will hang in their new entrance hall, which was under construction as we stitched! Construction of the wallhanging itself will take place over Easter – I have all the fabulous bits we made and can’t wait to get started… Meanwhile, here’s some stitching in progress- as Rolf Harris would say – can you see what it is yet??

SYCAMORE CLASS GO BLING!
Today I spent a very enjoyable day with Sycamore class (Y5 & 6) at Wootton Wawen CE Primary School near Stratford-on-Avon using bondaweb, transfer foils, sequins etc to create a wall hanging for the school entrance hall, inspired by ecclesiastical goldwork. The edging still needs hemming, but here is some work in progress…

BUSY WEEK AHEAD!
Blimey! I’m trying to get ahead of myself this weekend – got lots on this week, with another day at the lovely Wootton Wawen Primary School on Thursday, making a wall hanging with Y5/6, and then a day on Friday at Widney Junior School in Solihull helping the whole school to create an Olympic-themed quilt. Alongside this, I’m getting stuff organised for my demos and mini-workshops at the Uttoxeter Quilt & Embroidery show on 13th/14th April. I now have two splendid pop-up banners printed by local Kingsbury printers Broadlee Ltd; plus stock, bags, frames, card to print header cards on etc to put some ‘proper’ kits together for sale at the show. To round off an incredibly hectic week, Crazy Mary will be demonstrating at Hobbycraft Tamworth’s relaunch event next Saturday (31st March). Pop along and see how I make my denim owls and learn lots of interesting ways to use pre-cut felt flowers… See you there!

WALES ARE PLAYING & I’M CATCHING UP WITH ADMIN!
Yes, Wales are playing France – let’s hope they win because a Wales win means a happy hubby!! Meanwhile I’m looking back at my photos of the last 2 days’ workshops and feeling well pleased with how they both went. I’ve just got back from my first Crazy Mary session on home soil here at the Welcome Hall in Kingsbury, where 13 lovely ladies came along to get crafty with me making sari silk pictures. This was a very successful class which I’m be running at other venues too over the summer, so do look at the events page to find out where/when. Here’s some work in progress (thank you Lauren for such a fab smile!):


Yesterday saw me making folksy heart hangings back at the Gilbert Richards Centre in Coventry. This is more of a patchwork/quilty project, whereas the saris-silk landscapes are more of an embroidered design, so it was nice to have a contrast over the 2 days. Also it was fantastic to have Sue and Sandra from Castle Brom along to both sessions, 2 days in a row – a very talented duo!

Now it’s off to rustle up a few stitched notebooks and cards for Hurley WI’s sale next Saturday… Wales seem to be winning, so let’s hope it they keep it up!!

EVEN MORE NEW STUFF ON MY PROGRAMME!
I’ve added even more dates to my programme for the spring/summer terms – take a look at the Events page! There are now regular monthly sessions at the Gilbert Richards Centre in Coventry, plus a new series of classes at Hobbycraft, Tamworth… So if you miss a class at one venue, don’t despair – it’s quite likely you can catch it somewhere else not too far away. I’m taking lots of group bookings too, so it’s all busy busy here at Crazy Mary mission control! Today I ordered 2 pop-up banners from Ian at Broadlee Printers, right near here at Kingsbury Link, in preparation for my demos at Hobbycraft on 31st March and the Uttoxeter Quilt & Embroidery Show on 13th/14th April. Next job, get some kits sorted for the next few workshops and decide how to present them for sale at the show… no rest for the wicked!!

CRAZY MARY RECOVERING FROM 3-DAY CRAFTING BENDER!
Wow! That was busy week… Here we are, in reverse order:
Yesterday (Sat 25th Feb), at Centre of England Arts, Crazy Mary was busy helping to create some rather pretty applique purses using silks, satins and velvets. Here are two fab finished pieces from Jaki and Julie:



On Friday I was busy with a lovely group of crafters (including yet more new faces – great!) at my regular venue in Sutton, this time upcycling denim and using printed cottons to make natty little make-up bags/pencil cases:


And, the day before that Crazy Mary was once again enjoying the convivial ambience of Dove Farm, Ellastone, stitching funky felt flowers and – er- scoffing the wonderful Jane’s delicious scones, jam & cream…

CRAZY LOG CABIN PATCHES PROVE POPULAR IN COVENTRY!
A very successful second showing for Crazy Mary at the Gilbert Richards Centre in Coventry yesterday, with 11 stitchers joining me for some more creative stitchery. Here’s one Crazy Log Cabin patch under construction (more pics on the workshops page)…

CRAZY MARY @ HOBBYCRAFT TAMWORTH – SEE UPDATED EVENTS PAGE!
Exciting news – First of all it’s now only a month until Crazy Mary’s first ever Kingsbury workshop on 17th March at the Welcome Hall. I’m looking forward to running some sessions so close to home, and have already got several people booked on! Here’s what we’ll be making – miniature landscapes using recycled sari-silk fabric:

Secondly… Crazy Mary announces a new collaboration with Hobbycraft at Ventura Park,Tamworth. The store is having a refit and wil be having a re-launch event on Saturday 31st March, where I will be demonstrating and promoting my workshops for the summer term – which will include a new series of events at Hobbycraft itself – have a look at the events page! So at last, the good people of Tamworth will have local access to the wonders of Crazy Mary! It was actually a machine embroidery class at Hobbycraft in Tamworth which set me off on my City & Guilds in Creative Textiles years ago, so it’s nice to get involved there myself. Why not pop along and say hello on 31st March?

SAVE THE DATE!! NEXT STITCHING SLEEPOVER BOOKED!!
More news in the next day or so folks – but there WILL be another Stitching Sleepover, again at the lovely Three Swans Hotel Market Harborough, the weekend 17th/18th November 2012, with a festive folksy theme… Do get in touch if you’d like to express an interest. Full details of rates etc by end of this week…

WOW! SUCCESSFUL STITCHING SLEEPOVER – BUT WHO WERE THE MILL HILL OLD BOYS?!!

Well, what can I say?! Crazy Mary’s first Stitching Sleepover was even more successful than I imagined. Lovely venue, great food, a FABULOUS group of crazy crafters and so many lovely comments from everyone that I’ve booked another one in November (more news soon!). Here are just few snapshots of the weekend, starting with one of us beavering away in the Naseby Suite:

Buffet lunch in the cocktail bar:

Making the patches:


Enjoying a scrummy meal in our rather splendid private dining room:

And some happy faces:


More images on the workshops page, plus in an album on Crazy Mary’s Facebook page

READ ALL ABOUT IT…ONLINE!
There are some brilliant online crafting magazines out there in cyberspace… and Crazy Mary has a whole feature in one this month. Have a look at Creative Crafting p42/43: http://issuu.com/creativecrafting/docs/february_2012/48 – all about my courses at Centre of England Arts near Meriden.

CASKETS CLASS GOES DOWN WELL AT HARVEST FIELDS TODAY!
Another good day for Crazy Mary. My 2012 programme at Harvest Fields in Sutton got off to a good start with the first ‘Mini Pentagonal Caskets’ workshop – as featured in the Sutton Observer, no less! Met some lovely new ladies and very much enjoyed myself. Also I’m hoping to soon be running classes (later in the Spring, fingers crossed) at a rather exciting Tamworth venue – watch this space! Meanwhile here are some caskets under construction – unfortunately the finished article images are totally blurred, but hopefully you can see what we were up to! I’m going on a ‘Photography for Small Businesses’ course in a week or two, so with any luck I won’t be blurry ever again…

STOP PRESS! CRAZY MARY WILL BE AT UTTOXETER QUILTS & EMBROIDERY SHOW 13TH/14TH APRIL!
Hoorah! Exciting news! Crazy Mary will be demonstrating her projects, running a couple of mini-workshops and selling her kits at Uttoxeter 2012!! More news in a week or so. In the meantime to find out more about the show (it was fab last year…) go to: www.mqexhibitions.co.uk
Oh! And while I’m here – my new UPDATED programme is now on the Events page, with the extra new dates for Gilbert Richards Centre in Coventry and more images of upcoming sessions all over the place! For example on 24th Feb at Harvest Fields in Sutton we’ll be making:

NEW DATES ADDED TO PROGRAMME AT GILBERT RICHARDS CENTRE, COVENTRY!
Had a wonderful first session at the Gilbert Richards Centre in Earlsdon yesterday. A very friendly and talented group made some stunning notebooks, and we all thought the class was such a success that I’ve arranged 2 extra sessions – Fri 16th March (Folksy Heart Hanging) and Fri 20th April (Funky Felt Flowers). Each cost £20pp and run from 1-4pm. Here are some of yesterday’s creations:


There’s a pic of the fabulously light and spacious room on the workshops page – it really is a great venue!

OOOH! NEW FABRIC STASH!
I had great fun today spending money at both the Cotton Patch in Hall Green (www.cottonpatch.co.uk), and Oakshott’s warehouse in Gloucester (www.oakshottfabrics.com) So fabulous to be able to spend some hard earned Crazy Mary cash on replenishing my stash in preparation for this year’s workshops. Yippee!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Here’s to 2012! Olympics, leap year, diamond jubilee… and lots more Crazy Marying! I’m looking forward to Crazy Mary’s very first Stitching Sleepover in February, plus the first workshop of my new Spring programme at a new venue next Friday(13th Jan) – the Gilbert Richards Centre in Earlsdon, Coventry. It will be great to meet some new crafting faces making embellished notebooks (always popular!)… Then at the end of the month I’m kicking off the New Year back at the Harvest Fields Centre in Sutton Coldfield making these cute little ‘mini pentagonal caskets’, which are also showing off my Grandma’s beautiful 1920’s Frister & Rossman machine:

In Feb I’m off to Dove Farm again, plus CoEA near Meriden, and in March Crazy Mary is holding her first ever Kingsbury workshop session – it’ll be fab to be so close to home! Take a look at the events page for mre details… and have a fab 2012!

CRAZY MARY IS IN PRINT AGAIN!
Just to round off a fabulous year it was lovely to pick up January 2012’s edition of British Patchwork and Quilting magazine today and find my article about the quilt we made at school for our link school in China. Merry Christmas to all those Crazy Crafters out there and here’s to a thoroughly crafty and crazy 2012!

ALL SET FOR 2012 WITH W.W.W.WORKSHOPSINSCHOOLS.CO.UK!
More details of my school & community workshops are NOW available on the Workshops in Schools website – please click here! This brilliant new website aims to promote creative workshops in schools across the UK. Definitely worth a look and not to be missed if your school is looking for amazing artists, dramatists, musicians etc to inspire your young people…

DOVE FARM GETS FESTIVE!
Well, a year has gone by (almost at least!) and yesterday saw the final Crazy Mary workshop of 2011 – a ‘Sew Social’ where we made slightly smaller versions of the Christams Tree Hangings we created last week at CoEA. Of course, no Sew Social at Dove farm is complete without some gorgeous home made food baked by Jane in the farm kitchen – this time we all enjoyed her delicious crumbly-topped mince-pie slices:

Here we are all busy at work in the Dove Suite seminar room:

And here’s one of my fab new machines, along with a hanging under construction…

THANK YOU EMMA!
Here are two more beautifully stitched cards from my class at Harvest Fields last Friday, courtesy of the wonderful Emma, who has just whizzed these pics over to me. Well done Emma – they’re fab!

FESTIVE WALL HANGINGS & VINTAGE MACHINES AT COEA…
It’s been great to see such a wide variety of sewing machines at my classes this year, from the 1940s Singer at Dove Farm in January, to the all mod-cons computerised machines we lust over. Yesterday at Centre of England Arts I saw what may have to be my favourite – a metallic blue Husqvarna Viking – not sure of the date, but looks not unlike one of those 1950s Kenwood Chefs. Is it, or is it not beautiful?

NEW MACHINES ON ORDER!
Wow! I remember about a year ago saying something like: “Eventually I hope to buy a bank of sewing machines to use in my workshops”. This seemed rather ambitious at the time, and I assumed I’d be searching out second hand ones on Ebay. Well… 2 brand new brand new Janome quilting machines should be arriving here on Wednesday from the ever wonderful Frank Nutt & Co, ready for my class at Dove Farm on Thursday. Hoorah! I feel so proud to be able to invest in machinery for my crazy little business, all funded by own efforts and the enthusiasm and support of my students. A great way to head towards the end of Crazy Mary’s first year…

MORE BEAUTIFULLY STITCHED CARDS!
Another successful ‘Stitched Christmas Card’ class today – this time at the Harvest Fields Centre, Sutton Coldfield. Far too nice to send, we decided!

BUTTONS & BEERMATS!
Ah! The lucky happenstance of finding out that a new local WI meets in a PUB!! Crazy Mary had a fab evening at Hurley’s new WI at The Anchor Inn, Hurley Common last night, persuading the members to get all creative with buttons and die-cut flowers. A perfect combination, don’t you think?!

SPRING PROGRAMME NOW ONLINE & BOOKINGS BEING TAKEN…
Yes, I have now sorted out the details for my Spring programme! Events include 2 more Sew Socials at the lovely Dove Farm near Ashbourne, continuing monthly sessions at Harvest Fields in Sutton Coldfield, one half day and one full day at Centre of England Arts near Meriden; plus classes at 2 new venues: the Welcome Hall in Kingsbury near Tamworth, and the Gilbert Richards Centre in Earlsdon, Coventry. Not forgetting, of course, Crazy Mary’s first ‘Stitching Sleepover’ at the Three Swans Hotel, Market Harborough – there are just TWO places left on this course, so do get in touch pretty swiftly if you are interested! So, what are you waiting for? Hop along to my Events page and take a look…

CRAZY MARY IS FEELING FESTIVE AFTER CHRISTMAS CARDS WORKSHOP AT COEA…
Playing around with beads, sequins, fancy fabric, space-dyed threads and bondaweb got me in a Christmassy mood on Friday at Centre of England Arts, near Meriden. I’m now off to cut fabric ready for my Christmas tree wall-hanging workshop there next Saturday. A whole day stitching with a group of stitch-addicts like myself… I can’t wait!

CHASE SCRAPPERS MAKE EMBELLISHED NOTEBOOKS!
Yesterday Crazy Mary’s famous embellished notebooks found another friendly group of crafters to stitch them into shape! Thank you so much to Chase Scrappers of Cannock (scrapbookers, not a scrapyard!) who made me very welcome at Huntington Community Centre. Why is it that, so often, we choose the kit that matches our outfit…?

WOOTTON WAWEN CE PRIMARY SCHOOL TEXTILE PRINTING DAY
I spent a busy day on Thursday 10th November at Wootton Wawen Primary School again working with Chestnut class (Y3/4) designing and making print blocks representing crosses to create a printed textile panel for their school piano. Here’s work in progress and the finished article ready to attach to the piano:


FLOWERS FOR MUM!
Last Saturday saw Crazy Mary making Funky Felt Flowers with the Sunday Quilters of Richings Park near Heathrow. Here’s one happy participant (thanks Mum!). Lovely group, very nice lunch ladies, thank you!

INTRODUCING EMILY, MY PROJECT RESEARCH ASSISTANT…
Do you know a young crafter who enjoys creating ‘stuff’ from fabric, buttons, beads etc? Look at what Emily (aged just 12!) made using some prototype Crazy Mary children’s craft kits – what do you think? I was well impressed!


BOTTLE BAG FUN AT HARVEST FIELDS!
Yesterday saw Crazy Mary making beaded bottle bags at Harvest Fields – a great group of talented crafters all created snazzy festive bottle bags and ‘jester’ style gift bags using Christmassy fabric (only 8 weeks to go!!) I’ve also reserved the room for my Spring/Summer 2012 programme, so now I need to get working on finalising the schedule! No rest for the wicked…

WOOTON WAWEN CE PRIMARY SCHOOL BANNER HEADED FOR COVENTRY CATHEDRAL CELEBRATION…
On Friday I spent a very enjoyable day at Wooton Wawen CE Primary School, working with groups of very talented KS2 pupils to create a colourful stitched banner to represent their school at a procession at Coventry Cathedral later this term:

HENLEY-IN-ARDEN COMMUNITY QUILT ON DISPLAY!
Remember 12th July – Henly-in-Arden’s cluster day Community Conference? Well, here’s the finished community quilt, soon to be displayed (on rotation!) at the cluster schools:

FUNKY FELT FLOWERS KICK OFF NEW TERM AT HARVEST FIELDS CENTRE…
It was great to get back to the Harvest Fields Centre at Sutton Coldfield again yesterday – this time making Funky Felt Flower cards, picures & brooches:

Here’s a set of fabulous flowers pinned & ready for action:

And meanwhile, here’s looking forward to Crazy Mary’s stitched Christmas card workshops at COEA Meriden (18th Nov) and Harvest Fields (25th Nov):

CENTRE OF ENGLAND ARTS WORKSHOPS GET OFF TO GOOD START!
Friday saw the first Crazy Mary session at CoEA, Meriden, making embellished notebooks. A lovely group of talented crafters in a fantastic setting. I’m very much looking forward to my next few workshop sessions at this fabulous venue. Hats off to the incredible Julie Hyde for setting up this much needed local arts centre.

WELCOME BACK TO CRAZY MARY LAND!
Wow! Deep breath…and relax…! I’m still here folks – just getting to grips with the new school term. Teaching part time at school and ‘Crazy Marying’ part time certainly keeps me busy – and the new school year has definitely kept me occupied the last few weeks. This week sees my first workshop at Centre of England Arts in Meriden – making embellished notebooks on Friday (23rd Sept). I’m really looking forward to working at this new venue and meeting some new local crafters. My new term at Harvest Fields in Sutton Coldfield starts next week (30th Sept) with Funky Felt Flowers – plus bookings are going extremely well so far for my Stitching Sleepover in Market Harborough next February. So… onwards and upwards!

NEW CRAZY MARY CREATIONS ON SALE THIS WEEKEND!
I’m off to Whittington Country Fair again this Saturday (3rd Sept) – a great day out, with a fab craft marquee. I’ve been a busy girl! Here’s a sneaky preview of some new lines I’ll have on my stall:



FREE MACHINE EMBROIDERY WORKSHOPS LAUNCHED!
I’m pleased to announce that after a successful private booking from a lovely group of ladies from ‘Chase Scrappers’ (that’s scrapbookers, not a scrapyard!) in Cannock, I’m adding a range of free machine embroidery workshops to Crazy Mary’s repertoire – from an introductory session to more projects suitable for intermediate and more experienced free-machiners. Ask me for more details! In the meantime, here is a pretty little machine applique patch from Friday’s session, plus Carol and the gang busy getting to grips with this very useful technique:

CRAZY MARY’S FIRST CHILDREN’S WORKSHOP GOES DOWN WELL TODAY AT COEA, MERIDEN!
I currently have very dirty fingernails – two reasons for this! 1- I’ve just picked a whole tubful of blackberries to take over to Hayley’s house for pudding tonight 2- I’ve spent a fun morning printing with some very talented youngsters at Centre of England Arts, Meriden. Here’s Ben with his amazing lizard design:

Very much looking forward to next weeks decorated pencil cases! Now I’m off to scrub my nails…
KPS 2011 QUILT ‘HIGHLY COMMENDED’ BY JUDGES AT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF QUILTS!

Scroll down a bit to see the quilt itself!

MAJOR NEWS! BOOKINGS NOW BEING TAKEN FOR CRAZY MARY’S VERY FIRST SEW SOCIAL SLEEPOVER:
The ‘booking office’ is now officially open for the very first Crazy Mary residential stitching retreat…

BLIMEY, WHERE DID JULY GO…?
Not quite sure where that month went… it’s very nearly August now! Here are some lovely ‘folksy hearts’ created by today’s class at Harvest Fields:

SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SUMMER, BUT CRAZY MARY IS STILL ROLLING ON…
It’s now officially the school holidays, and I am beginning to relax but I’ve still been busy. Last Thursday saw my first private booking at Harvest Fields making embellished notebooks with Jane’s lovely friendly group of stitchers. A fab way to start the hols! Then on Friday I spent a delightful day at Art in Action near Oxford with my old friend Jan who’s visiting from Germany – great to see so much art & creativity in one space! On the Saturday I was running children’s craft sessions at the Burntwood Wakes festival/fun day. This was really lovely family/community event and I had a truly fun time making ‘funky foam notebooks’ with loads of friendly children and their parents:

INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF QUILTS 2011
Well, the end of term looms, and so here it is (at last!) – the Kingsbury Primary School entry 2011… theme ‘All the Fun of the Fair’. So what do you think? It’s now been sent off and will be on display at FoQ at NEC 11th-14th August. Well done Years 5 & 6!

ONE BUSY WEEK IN JULY!
Wow! What a week! Loads on at school – I’m off to the Year 6 leavers play in a few moments, we had the summer fair and open evening on Tuesday… busy busy! Running parallel to that existence is my Crazy Mary life … On Tuesday (having persuaded Clare my class-share partner to swap a day with me on what must have been the busiest day of the school year!! Major feelings of guilt, but she was very generous about it) I spent a great day at Henley-in-Arden High School leading the quilt project which formed part of their Community Conference linking all the schools in their cluster. The pieces will be stitched together during the hols to create a hanging to be shared between the 4 schools. Apart from the stitching, the wonderful drama, music, and thought-provoking presentations, the highlight of the day had to be the ‘community croissants and cakes’! Here are some pics:




Even a broken arm wasn’t a bar to taking part…

Then today I’ve been at Hatton again, running my first Funky Felt Flowers workshop, which went very well, though I say so myself! Here are Nina and Marina getting stuck in:

More images on the workshops page!

RAWLETT SCHOOL TAKE 3!
Crazy Mary’s final mother & daughter craft session at Rawlett saw me helping a lovely group to make denim applique pictures. Here are some pictures of what we got up to:



Plus, here is an image, as promised, of the finished Y6 leavers’ hanging from MGJS:

The week ahead promises to be stupidly busy with both Crazy Mary & school… so keep your eyes peeled for details of what I’m up to in about a week’s time – over and out!

ANOTHER BUSY WEEK!
Wow! Frantic Thursday hits Crazy Mary! This Thursday saw me at Marston Green again during the day working with the very talented class 6E (but without Mr Edge, who was off gallivanting on a residential somewhere in Herefordshire I think…) creating the border pieces and graphic sections for their leavers’ wall hanging. Eventually I will share a picture of the finished article (it does look fab!), but meanwhile here are some images of work in progress:



Then, that very evening I was off Rawletts again, for another Mums and Daughters session, this time making sari silk greetings cards. What a talented group we had… here they are, with some of their beautiful creations:



Not content with such a busy day, Crazy Mary spent Friday constructing Marston Green’s hanging, before getting ready for Norton-juxta-Twycross’s lovely fete the next day – glorious weather, lovely settng, delicious ice cream, friendly folk – what more could you ask for?

FIRST SESSION AT HARVEST FIELD CENTRE!
Another busy week! Thursday night saw Crazy Mary at Rawlett Community Sport College in Tamworth, hosting a Mother and Daughter craft evening – I had full access to their textile department and we made my funky felt flowers. I’m back there next week and the week after for 2 more sessions – sari silk cards and denim applique pictures. Yesterday saw my first workshop at the Harvest Field Centre, just round the corner from Foxhill Crafts. I was very pleased with the venue and we had a very creative group of ladies, making some rather splendid stitched brooches:


MORE SCHOOL PROJECTS!
Today I spent another creative day at Marston Green JS – this time working with the talented stitchers of class 6M on their leavers’ wall-hanging. They were an amazingly arty bunch with fantastic attitudes. More news on this project after my next visit in a couple of weeks time, when I continue the task with class 6E… Meanwhile,here are some of their stitched photos:



And, by the way, the finished Royal Wedding piano panel is now available to view on my Gallery page…

CRAZY MARY TO BE IN PRINT AGAIN!
Fantastic news! Having finally got round to writing up my article about our Kingsbury Primary School ‘quilt for China’ I was very happy to have immediate feedback from Patchwork and Quilting magazine informing me that they are going to publish it! Hoorah! It was a bit traumatic emailing all the images over, but they got to their destination in the end. As soon as I know the publication date I’ll let you know… in the meantime here is a pic of the finished article – now hanging at school and hopefully eventually going out to Liukeng school in Ruyuan province!

NEW DOVE FARM SEW SOCIAL DATES!
Hoorah! Two new dates for Sew Social events at Dove Farm – Thursdays this time for a change – 6th October: Jazzy sari-silk brooches and cards (with tea & cake! See below) and 1st December: Festive Christmas tree wallhanging (with mince pes – image to come…). All dates on the events page…

ROYAL WEDDING COMMEMORATIVE PIANO PANEL
On Friday 27th May I spent another enjoyable day at Marston Green Junior School , helping 12 Year 3 & 4 artists to print and stitch their way towards a new hanging to decorate their piano… all very patriotic in red, white and blue as I’m sure you’ll agree. Hopefully I’ll soon have a picture of it in situ…

A BUSY BUSY WEEK!
Well, it’s the Whitsun bank hol, and I’m wondering where on earth the last 5 months have gone – it’s June in 2 days time! The last week has been hectic, but most enjoyable. A very busy week at school with a trip out to Carding Mill Valley for a geography field trip on Monday, followed by sports day and a lesson obs on Tuesday and leading an inspire parent/pupil workshop on Wed… Before that I’d spent Saturday at a charity do at Polesworth Abbey and Sunday helping Coleshill ladies circle to raise money for Multiple Schlerosis at Shustoke Village Hall – mainly eating and buying cake:
Then I spent another lovely session at Pollyanna Patchwork in Eccleshall, making crazy log-cabin patched pictures with a fab group of ladies. Here’s a busy corner…

Then on Friday I was back at Marston Green Junior School working with 12 pupils from Years 3 and 4 printing and stitching a panel to liven up their piano (pictures in next update!). While I was there I took some images of the completed Four seasons panels, but it was hard to do them justice due to their long thin shape – maybe once they’re framed I’ll have more luck.. here are my attempts any way, can you guess which season from these chopped pictures…?

MARSTON GREEN JUNIOR SCHOOL UPDATE…
Last Thursday I spent another fab morning stitching with the gifted and talented Y5 and Y6 pupils at Marston Green Junior… we’ve now finished the panels – more pictures once they’re framed – in the meantime here is some work in progress:

FAB WEEKEND OF WORKSHOP SESSIONS!
Am I happy in Crazy Mary land or am I happy….? My last day at Foxhill Crafts saw (as usual!) a talented group of ladies all creating something lovely – this time some striped applique hearts. This was my last session at this venue – I’m moving these classes to a new venue just round the corner at the fabulous shiny new Harvest Fields Centre (www.harvestfieldscentre.org.uk) starting on 24th June, when we’ll be making jazzy stitched and beaded brooches. Just have a look at the events page for the whole summer/autumn Crazy Mary programme there.

Then, yesterday saw another lovely day at Dove Farm enjoying a crafty cream tea. We made cute little quilted make-up bags and savoured Jane’s delicious scones, cream and jostaberry (still a mystery super-fruit!) jam, plus Denstone Hall’s lemon cake…mmm!

CRAZY JACK!
Well, I’ve been having a lovely Easter break – the weather was fab and we spent a few days down in Devon with friends, where I played around with some zingy dotty fabric and made a very crazy Union Jack cushion with Emily, my god-daughter. I was so pleased with it that I’ve made onother one with some other bits of bright jazzy stuff for a ‘lucky-dip’ at the party I’m off to on Friday…
NEW WORKSHOP PROGRAMME ONLINE!
My updated summer-autumn workshop programme is now online on my events page. I’m expecting to add more autumn dates over the summer, so keep checking it out! One major improvement is the new venue to replace Foxhill Crafts in Sutton – the Harvest Fields Centre. I’ve booked a lovely bright, modern room in this spanking new centre just 2 minutes drive from Foxhill Crafts – more space, refreshments available and indoor toilets!! I’m really looking forward to getting started there on 24th June… Plus my new collaboration with Julie Hyde from Centre of England Arts at Meriden is a great opportunity to get crafty with Crazy Mary if you’re in the Solihull-Meriden-Coventry-Knowle area. Images of new workshop projects will be available very soon…
Have a look a www.coea.co.uk for more information about this great new artspace for the Midlands.

WOW – WHAT A WEEK! EASTER UPDATE… NOW THAT I’VE GOT A MOMENT…
Well, my first term as ‘part time teacher/part time craft-tutor-type-person’ has flown by – finally school has broken up for the Easter break. I can’t believe where that time has gone…! This week has been very busy, with Crazy Mary demonstrating at Tigerlily Makes’ charity day for St Giles Hospice last Saturday:

We made a good stash of money for the hospice and it was great meeting lots of lovely craft-minded people – and having a go at spinning on a real wheel (quite hard, I think I’ll stick to my sewing machine!) Here’s a peek inside Lisa’s gorgeous boutique – for more images of me at work go to her blog at http://www.tigerlilymakes.co.uk

Then the very next day I was over at Hatton Country World selling my wares and advertising my workshops. A busy day, with lots of interest leading to more bookings for yesterday’s workshop at Hatton making my notebooks once again. It was especially lovely to have Nina, Diane and Marina with me (who have got to know me through foxhill), plus the ever-delightful Sarah and Ellie , and also the charming and very talented Aimee, who found my stall at Hatton and was officially my first unaccompanied under-18 participant. Here are Sarah and Ellie with their books – very well done ladies!

Finally, to bring the week to a suitably ‘fabricky’ end, I’ve spent today at Uttoxeter Racecourse enjoying the Quilting and Embroidery show there, feeling inspired, networking a bit and spending far too much money!! Here’s my new friend Alison of Pollyanna Patchwork in Eccleshall with her stall, which looked fab… and her chocolate cake was very nice too!

Lots more jobs to do over Easter, the most important being getting my new summer/autumn workshop schedule up on the events page. It’ll be there very soon…

CRAZY MARY’S FIRST SCHOOL BOOKING!
Yesterday saw my first school booking – a fabric collage project at Marston Green School, Solihull. I’m working with 12 ‘gifted and talented artists’ from Years 5 and 6, designing and creating 4 stitched panels to represent the seasons, which will be permanently displayed in their y6 corridor. I’m back in May to complete the project, and I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until then to see the finished masterpieces, but in the meantime, this is what we started off with:

So – watch this space! We tested our pieced and half-stitched creations out on several teachers, and all of them recognised which season was which – hoorah!

HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY MUM!
I spent this Saturday celebrating both Christmas (it was a present to Mum…) and Mothers’ Day back ‘home’ at the ‘Congo Hall’ in Richings Park enjoying a tasty lunch and an afternoon’s stitching with Mum’s quilting group. Thank you ladies – I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Here’s Mum with the machine which got me started (yes, that’s why I’m a Bernina girl!) and her finished notebook… plus her delicious choccie cake!

POLLYANNA PATCHWORK SESSIONS GET OFF TO A FLYING START!
My first session hosted by Pollyanna Patchwork at Eccleshall, near Stafford, went really well – a lovely group of ladies – all very talented and keen to create! I had a fantastic session making my embellished notebooks with them all – more pics on the workshops page…

BUSY BUSY! SPRING IS GOING WELL FOR CRAZY MARY!
I’m so enjoying my new fusion craft tutor/school teacher lifestyle, I just don’t know why I didn’t do it years ago! I’m busy building up new relationships with yet more local crafting venues where I can ply my Crazy Mary workshop-tutor trade, and meeting such lovely people along the way. Last week I arranged a whole autumn programme at Centre of England Arts near Meriden. Today I had another fab morning stitching away with the Foxhill crowd, incuding one lady who’d come all the way from Derby, having found me on the web – fantastic! Next week I’m running my first session for Pollyanna Patchwork at Eccleshall, nr Stafford – really looking forward to that one and meeting some more creative folks… Then I’ve got my very first school booking at Marston Green Junior School – it’s all go!!! I’ve also completed a business start-up course through the fabulous WiRE organisation at Harper Adams University, so I’ve got even more goals to challenge myself to achieve…
Here’s a quick image of one of today’s happy handicrafters at Foxhill crafts (more on the workshops page!)Would you believe that Emma, the lady stitching this panel so beautifully, is a structural engineer? What do scaffolding and sewing have in common I wonder? (Answers on a postcard please!)

STITCHED GREETINGS CARDS AT CASTLE BROM!
We all had a lovely day creating some very pretty stitched cards…beads, sequins, lace, silk and satin… what more could girls want? The tables got a bit untidy as we worked, and there was plenty of cake to keep us all going…!



CRAZY MARY NAME-PLATES HANDCRAFTED TO ORDER!
Will Browning is the next lucky person to have had a Crazy Mary name-plate personally handcrafted for him! Here it is… to see more go to my gallery page!
Plus, if you’d like to see what we all got up to at my latest Foxhill workshop take a look at my workshops page too…

FEBRUARY UPDATE!
Well, Feb half term is here already… where did those two months go?!! Crazy Mary is sooo enjoying her new life and is extremely busy right now! I now have a full workshop programme at 5 different venues around this bit of the Midlands (please go to the events page for more details!) , and I’ve started taking bookings for school art days. I’m busy planning workshops for various groups who are keen to hire my services as a craft tutor, which is very exciting, as well as taking new commissions for gifts, cards etc.

More and more ideas and opportunities are coming my way, which is fab – I’m particularly interested in developing craft kits as I’ve had loads of really positive feedback at my workshops. Something I’m definitely going to look into later in the year, so watch this space! I’m also hoping to run more Sew Social events with locally sourced food a bit closer to home, so I’m on the hunt for a suitable venue…

So, half term? Well, work actually, but it doesn’t feel like it! I’ve been preparing kits for this Friday’s make-up bag workshop at Foxhill, plus my visit to Castle Bromwich Community Church on 19th March. I’ve also finished designing the projects for my session at Tigerlily Makes later this spring – how do you like my fabulously flowery felt cushions for example? There are more lovely images on Tigerlily’s website: Click here !

FAB JANUARY WORKSHOPS AT FOXHILL AND DOVE FARM – NEW PICS!
Go to my workshops page to see more!

SPRING 2011 WORKSHOP PROGRAMME !
Crazy Mary’s workshop programme is now ready for the world to see on my Events page – so go there now and take a sneaky peek! There are workshops, Sew Socials (yes- those are the ones with food!) and even a masterclass for you to enjoy, at a range of venues including Foxhill Crafts (Mitchells Centre Sutton Coldfield), Hatton Country World (near Warwick), Pollyanna Patchwork (Eccleshall, near Stafford) and the the ever-lovely Dove Farm (Ellastone, nr Ashbourne), plus some fabulously felty workshops at Tigerlily Makes, the felt-making boutique (near Lichfield). Places are booking up fast , with the first three full already… so go on, come and spend some time with me creating something lovely in friendly company!

HERE’S TO 2011!
HAPPY 2011! At last, Crazy Mary is live… part time craftsperson/tutor, part time teacher. It feels fantastic to be finally ‘living the dream’. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last year as I’ve got myself organised and tested out ideas. Crazy Mary ‘Mission Control’ has been buzzing with bookings for workshops and new contacts from lots of lovely crafty people. The only way is up!!

SPRING 2011 WORKSHOP PROGRAMME, MITCHELLS CENTRE, SUTTON COLDFIELD
Crazy Mary is running half day workshops at Foxhill Crafts, Mitchells Centre, Weeford Rd Sutton Coldfield B75 6NA on Fridays 28th January, 25th Feb, 25th March & 6th May. 10:30am -1:30pm (you’re welcome to arrive from 10am onward & browse in the shop…). Go to my events page for more details!

CRAZY MARY’S FLYERS ARRIVE… IT’S ALL SEEMING VERY REAL NOW!
Thanks to the hard work of Leeann & Barry Smith of W3 Webdesign, down in South Wales, and Quattroprint, I’m now in possession of my 2 sets of Crazy Mary promotional material – flyers for schools and crafty-types. They look fab – and came all the way from Poland, which is a bit weird…but they’ve done agood job!

CRAZY MARY HAS ONLY 3 MORE WEEKS OF FULL TIME SCHOOL – HOORAH BUT SCARY TOO!
I’ve been really busy and now have lots of orders and stuff to do… enjoyed last weekend at Maxstoke and yesterday at Castle Brom/Kingsbury Methodist Church (thanks to hubby!). Website now paid for… and workshops arranged for last Friday of month at Mitchells Craft centre January – April 2011 (more details soon!). School busy, and lots of other stuff to do, so I’m thriving on the excitement of it all!! Go Crazy Me!

CRAZY MARY’S FUNKY FELT FLOWERS ON SALE AT CLOTHES SHOW LIVE!

Go to the ‘TigerLily Makes’ stall at the NEC Clothes Show lLive 3rd-8th December and take a sneaky peek! Why not buy one of Lisa’a lovely feltmaking kits and treat yourself to a funky flower brooch at the same time! All real wool felt from Nepal and (according to my supplier) fairly traded too!
By the way, my sale at Castle Bromwich Community Church went down well last week, helping to raise lots of money for their good causes. Here’s a picture courtesy of Margaret, their leading lady:

NOVEMBER NEWS!
Crazy Mary will be at Maxstoke Craft Fair on Sunday 21st November, plus (cunningly disguised as her glamorous assistant Mr Crazy Mary) at Kingsbury Methodist Church Fair on Sat 27th November. I couldn’t resist doing the really local one, although I’m busy myself at my Jangly Bottle Bag workshop in Castle Brom… Be gentle with him folks!! And I sooo hope Wales win the rugby later that afternoon! The other BIG news is that my Funky Felt Flowers (proper wool felt from Nepal, very tactile) will be on sale at the NEC Clothes Show 2nd -5th December, courtesy of the lovely (and super-talented) Lisa Olson of Tigerlily Makes, who will have some on her stall alongside her wonderful felt bags, accessories and kits. I’ll post a photo asap…

CRAZY MARY HALF TERM UPDATE!
Crazy Mary has had a busy half term with lots of emailing/phoning round to organise stuff – I’m getting busier and busier as January approaches – more and more excited too, but the next half term at school is going to be frantic with so much going on both in and out of school. Still, it’ll all help to keep me out of trouble! Had a lovely day yesterday at Hurley Village Hall Craft Fair – great to catch up with some local crafters & small businesses that I know (so much talent round here!). Crazy Mary has certainly moved on since her last pitch there in 2008. I’m now in the happy (?) situation of having to turn craft fairs down in the run up to Christmas – just not enough time to keep stock levels up while I’m still full time in the classroom. Making loads of contacts though, which is fab… Also well on the way with organising local Kingsbury support for our wallhanging for China… should be good!

CRAZY MARY IS IN PRINT!
The last few weeks really have been hectic for Crazy Mary… workshops, demos, website launch… and now she has her first magazine article published! HOORAH! It tells the story of Wootten Wawen’s Baptistry Wallhanging and it really does loook fab. Pages 64-66 of the November edition of British Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. Plus (hopefully!) a bit about me on their fancy new updated website http://www.panqmagazine.com.

WEBSITE GOES LIVE!
Yes! Crazy Mary is online..hoorah! Go to http://www.crazymarycrafts.co.uk

DOVE FARM SEW SOCIAL WAS FAB!
Thank you to all the lovely ladies who joined me at Dove Farm yesterday – I really hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. It was great to get crafting in such friendly company and Nicola’s scones and HUGE cake were totally scrummy! The next Crazy Mary Dove Farm Sew Social is booked for 29th January – more details in a week or so… In the meantime here are some pics:

SEPTEMBER NEWS!
Fantastic news! Crazy Mary’s website will hopefully go online next week… and watch out for my article in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine’s November edition – due out mid-October (and I’ll be on their website too!) It’s all go… and we’re all set for my Sew Social on Saturday – can’t wait to meet my ‘students’…

WHITTINGTON CRAFT FAIR…
Thank you to everyone who visited Crazy Mary’s stall at Whittington Country Fair yesterday – we had a lovely day and did very well, it was great to see so many local craftspeople selling so many gorgeous things! A great way to end the summer hols. Lots of visitors signed up expressing an interest in my workshops, so I look forward to meeting some you again in the not so distant future… Don’t forget to sign up for the CREAM TEA SOCIAL on Sat 2nd October – join me to create an embellished notebook and greetings card (plus the cream tea!!) at Dove Farm. Contact me via the contact page to book or to get more details…

OFFICIAL FESTIVAL OF QUILTS PICTURE…
Here I am with a charming chap from Brother sewing machines awarding Kingsbury Primary School our second prize, which will be displayed in Birmingham Library next March:

BANK HOLIDAY FUN!
Well, only a week left of school hols, loads of Crazy Mary stuff going on, plus quite a bit of school work too – I’m most definitely BUSY!!! I visited the lovely Lisa Olson of Tigerlily Makes at Heart of the Country Shopping Village (Swinfen, Lichfield) today – had a fab chat about how
we can collaborate in the not-too-distant future with some embroidery/felt workshops. Lisa sells fetmaking equipment, runs fantastic feltmaking workshops and sells her amazing bags and other felt creations. Visit http://www.tigerlilymakes.co.uk to find out more! While we were chatting, two lovely ladies came in the shop with a lovely woolly dog ( a real one you understand, not the felted variety). Which got us thinking about felt for dogs – here’s today’s cute (if rather blurry) pic of Socks modelling the Funky Flowers which I’m demonstrating at Kingsbury Library this Wednesday 1st Sept:
I’m pretty much ready for Whittington Fair next weekend – Lisa will be there too on her stall. It was a fab day last year, so why not pop along? More details on my events page…

KINGSBURY PRIMARY SCHOOL ARE WINNERS AGAIN!
Yes! This year we won second prize! Well done everyone! As soon as I receive the official photo I’ll post it here… We won another sewing machine, so craft club can look forward to using that for out community wallhanging for China. Fab! Oh, by the way, there’s a new project coming up on my ‘Have-a-go’ page today… why not create a funky flower? If you want ot buy a kit (£1.50 – £1 to KPS) to make either of the items on the page, then pop along to Kingsbury Library on Wed 1st Sept for my free demo…

Hello! At last! Only 7 more get ups until the summer hols…can’t wait! School is frantic but fun (leavers’ disco, end of year play, open evening, bla bla!)… however Crazy Mary is even more frantic & fun right now…! The 2010 Kingsbury Primary School Festival of Quilts entry is now complete – all the year 5 & 6 pupils are dead proud of it and so am I! The theme this year was ‘Cityscapes’, so we chose good old Brum as our inspiration and took 5 children into the city centre to take some rather groovy arty photos which we later transferred to fabric and embellished with stitches, adding some rather lovely lettering and border patterns. What do you think? No idea whether we’ll win, but it’ll just be nice to see our work hanging at the NEC again – 19th – 22nd August!

Crazy Mary has also arranged to hold a free craft demo at Kingsbury Library (courtesy of our lovely librarian Julie…) on Wednesday 1st September – come along to learn how to make a ‘Jazzy Stripes’ card and a ‘Funky Flower’ brooch – completely free of charge! If you feel inspired (and hopefully you will!) you can even buy a mini-kit to make your own at home – £1.50 each – all profits (£1 per kit) to Kingsbury Primary School. Just turn up at the library any time between 10m and 5pm…

Well, here I am again! School reports all written, and finally a bit of Crazy Mary time at last! Had a great time at Clifton Campville Fair a few weeks ago – made lots of new contacts and it was lovely to hear so many nice comments about my work. I’ve booked my first ‘Sew Social’ Workshop at Dove Farm for 2nd Oct (more details in a mo!) – now I just need to promote it and find some crafters to attend it! The next ‘Sew Local’ event is next weekend – 3rd July – at Castle Brom – I’ll get some pics up asap afterwards… And my ‘Have a go’ page will have a activity for you to try out yourself by the time England have finished losing to Germany (well, it looks that way at the minute!) So what’s all this ‘Sew Social/Sew Local’ stuff then? Well…As you know, I’m setting up textile craft workshops in the local area and I am keen to encourage people to learn something new in a relaxed, friendly, social setting with like-minded creative types…
I’m currently establishing two different ranges of workshops: ‘Sew Social’ and ‘Sew Local’.
‘Sew Social’ events will be held around this part of the Midlands and will consist of day and half day workshops which have a lively social twist, such as locally sourced cream teas, lunches etc.
‘Sew Local’ workshops are available to local community groups, clubs, societies, friendship groups etc, and can be held either at your own venue or in a local hall or meeting room. These workshops might be 1 hour/2 hour/half day/full day. I will be organising some of these starting in the autumn, but please do contact me if you are interesting in arranging one before then.
My first ‘Sew Social’ workshop is on Saturday 2nd October 2010 12 noon – 4pm
£20 including all materials, plus cream tea (scones, jam, cream, tea/coffee)
Where? Dove Farm, Mill Lane, off Dove St, Ellastone, Ashbourne DE6 2GY
It would be lovely to have you join me!
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Crazy Mary Crafts specialises in textile arts and crafts. I aim to inspire and enable people to develop their creative potential, through community workshops, school visits and craft fairs. Follow me as I journey towards ‘going live’ as a business in January 2011…

Loads has been happening in the world of Crazy Mary over the last few months – things are really hotting up!
There is now a website under construction (www.crazymarycrafts.co.uk) , and a logo too – all thanks to Leeann and Barry of W3 Web design in Pembrokeshire. I have stalls booked at various local craft fairs over the next few months ( see the events page on the Facebook site!) and I’m now fully insured to lead workshops etc. I’m looking into holding workshops in Retirement complexes, and have another one booked at Castle Bromwich Community Church on 3rd July. I’ve also visited the lovely Jane at Dove Farm in Derbyshire and hope to hold a slightly different style workshop there later in the year. Meanwhile school starts after the whitsun break tomorrow, which means that the next NEC Festival of Quilts entry will soon be under construction too. Plus Crazy Mary has an international order for a baby name plate from Hong Kong – thanks Jon! Busy, busy, busy… buzzing with ideas… hope to get a project up on the ‘Have a Go’ page just as soon as I’ve finished writing my reports…
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Crazy Mary Crafts specialises in textile arts and crafts. I aim to inspire and enable people to develop their creative potential, through community workshops, school visits and craft fairs. Follow me as I journey towards ‘going live’ as a business in January 2011…

Thanks to my fabulous friend Catherine’s even more fabulous (well, at least AS fabulous!) chap Henri, Crazy Mary’s blog is now live! HOORAH! This is the step 2 on my way to being a real business ( step 1 was having a Crazy Mary Crafts Facebook page, step 3 will probably be a website… but you’ll find out first here on this very page!)Discover more about Crazy Mary herself on my ‘About me’ page, marvel at some of her craft creations in the ‘Gallery’ , and (in a few weeks time) have a go at one of her fab little projects on the ‘Have a go’ page.
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Crazy Mary Crafts

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Crazy Mary Crafts specialises in textile arts and crafts.

I aim to inspire and enable people to develop their creative potential, through community workshops, school visits and craft fairs. Follow me as I journey towards ‘going live’ as a business in January 2011…

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