Welcome to the Ex-Official Blog of Writer, Presenter & Crafts Expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain which stopped being active on 31st August 2016.

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Sunday, 24 January 2010

Crafty Elders

This week I started teaching two new classes, both for adults. On Wednesday mornings I am running sessions at The Geffrye Museum for the over 50s Asians Women's group - they are all amazing crafters already, in fact they could be teaching me rather than vice versa! One of the ladies has just become a grandma and she brought in an ultra sweet cardigan and booties that she had knitted, her best friend also knitted the same as a gift for the new arrival......and the most amazing part was that they didn't use patterns but the sizes are perfect. I can only dream that one day, my knitting will be just as good.

The course I am running is connected to the brilliant 'Eco Homes' exhibition currently on at the museum. If you think you've seen in all when it comes to recycling, you haven't! It's a really inspiring collection of recycled objects and information. There is a great section where they have jars of materials and I was amazed to discover the uses that coconut shells and fish scales have! Check it out if you don't believe me, the exhibition is free to get into.

My second class with a younger women's group on Thursday mornings and this week we did some hand embroidery. The night before I crammed lots of stitches - it was a bit like revision, I had mainly forgotten them so had a quick recap of the usual suspects. Luckily for me, most the participants have better memories than me and as soon as their fabric was in a hoop they were of! Results to be shown here soon if I can get my camera to work : (

If you're an older person (i.e. over 50) or know someone who is who fancies getting crafty on Saturday, tell them to come along this Saturday 30th January to a fabulous craft day being held in Northwood, (i've never been there but it's on the London Underground Met Line!), that's my brooches on the right. All info on flier, should be a terrific day : )

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Hmm! Chocolate!

This may look like a piece of jewellery but it is actually a Strawberry and White chocolate lolly from Hotel Chocolat. My sister gave it to me as a present in October but it was so lovely to look at I decided not to eat it and kept it as an ornament instead. Do you ever do that? Just keep things on display when they should be used?

I picked up the lolly today and saw that the 'best before date' was just a few hours away and I remembered a couple of Easters ago I resisted some chocolate animals I was given because they were so sweet to look at. Eventually they went mouldy.

So I made a decision, these two love birds are too pretty to go mouldy so I gobbled the lolly up and it was extremely tasty!!

It's such a beautiful mould and has got me thinking about the craft of chocolate making. I'm not sure if I could do it, I'm far better at crafting with fabric than with edible ingredients.
I think the same sister who got me the lolly question has those genes.

She recently did a chocolate making course and came up with these sensational and scrumptious designs. (And yes I did get to try them and they were lush!) I know they look like mini cakes but they are actually handmade chocolates!

(Ok this picture is here again but blogger is being a pain and having trouble deleting it, still nevermind, it's a good picture!)

While I'm on the subject of the brown stuff, I heard a rumour this week that apparently Cadbury's Creme Eggs are only made once a year, in January, and so the best time to eat them is now when they are at their freshest. Needless to say I have been sucked in my this publicity stunt and also had my first one of the year today. Bliss!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sneak preview: New BBC series on Crafts - starring me!

Ok, so I'm not in this trailer but I'm in the series - honest!
Last year I took two months out to undertake an apprenticeship in Weaving as part of this new craft series on BBC coming next month!!

It's presented by Monty Don (who these days is best known for gardening but back in the 80's was a world famous jewellery designer.)

In the series you'll learn about 6 different crafts and watch three people per episode trying to 'master' the craft in question. This sneaky peak is an insight into the episode on 'thatch,' I applied to be on it but at my interview they said I was far better suited to weaving. We shall see......stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Snowy day reading

It's a wee late, but the Craftzine I edit is finally available online as a lovely full colour pdf. The printed version is black and white comes with a free teabag to keep you warm on a snowy day like today.

I'm pleased to report the zine survived it's first year with four seasonal issues, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

I felt inspired to set it up after attending a 'Zinefest' at The Women's Library.

Zines are independently published, not for profit publications about anything. They are usually photocopied. Back in the day, a lot of people used to write fanzines about their favourite bands and that's how I got into publishing aged 12. I used to review music, and gigs that I had never even attended!!

Over 15 years later, here I am running my own zine. One of the great things about a zine is that there are no rules so they can be as unconventional as you like. I've seen them in all shapes and sizes, including mini ones and fold out leaflets.

Traditionally zines are printed and this one is printed too. In the beginning there was some uproar from contributors about this but I've stuck to what I believe in. Somethings should be kept and flicked through over time and a zine is one of them!

This year I'm looking to change the format in someway to make 'Year 2' a bit more interesting. It's currently A5 and bound by yarn but it would be nice to do something different.

I'm always in need of contributors so if you'd like to send something in for the Spring 201o get in touch and I'll send you the details.

For now, get yourself a cuppa and see what's inside.
Print versions are also still available for £1 from Folksy.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Getting thrifty in a nifty

Last night I started on my quest to make stuff with materials I already have lying around at home. First stop was my overflowing fabric stash. It seemed obvious to get back onto my sewing machine so I whipped up some iPhone sleeves which are now on sale priced £4 in my Folksy store.

It only made a dent in my stash, I still have lots more fabric - shiny, floral, animal print, netting, fleece, felt, denim......this is going to a fun task finding as many uses as I can for them.

In the meantime though maybe I should buy an iphone just to I can use one of my new sleeves!

Monday, 4 January 2010

The Perfect 10

Some people are calling it "Twenty ten", others "Two thousand and ten" and me, I'm sticking with The Perfect 10.

It's going to be the best year ever. I've always liked round, whole numbers, maybe cos I was born in one, 1980, it makes working things out so much more easier.

So anyway, this year I'm turning 30 and I'm busy planning all those things to do while I'm still 20 something.

I can't think of anything too radical but I hope there will be some craft successes amongst it. My plan for this month is to update my 'Folksy store'. I've been neglecting it for a few months, it's in desperate need of lots of lovely new stock. I'm going to root around and only make things from scraps I already have at home, maybe buy the odd thing like velcro which I've run out of, but otherwise I'm aiming to use up what I have and make a bit of pocket money : )

The perfect fit!

Hmm lovely softy felt, thanks Lucy!

First task of the year though was getting my diary sorted. As ever I picked up a plain diary in Poundland and gave it a quick makeover. My lovely friend Lucy recently gave me some handmade felt, the perfect size. I just measured them up, trimmed the sides and attached with double sided sticky tape. The cover just about meets the edges so I can still see the calendars inside. I then blinged up the front with a knitted corsage and some tulip fabric paint. Voila. Let The Perfect 10 begin.