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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Monday, 26 July 2010

Summer fun on a Sunday

 On Sunday I was asked to run a fan decorating workshop at the Geffrye Museum's 'Swing into Summer Family Fun Day'. It was an action packed day set in the grounds of the museum on probably the only green grass in London (since everything else looks like hay at the moment!)

This was the most popular design!
 The concept was to take inspiration from retro wallpaper and textile patterns.

Each participant started with a plain fan which is the best craft item I've come across in ages. They are sold in packs of 12 from Baker Ross and create a lot of cool air, as well as being sooooooooooooo versatile, the possibilities for what to do with them are endless and they are appealing to all age groups! (Plus they are only 40p each! Bargain!)

Fan workshop

This was my set up, in just two sessions over 70 children decorated a fan!! As well as the patterned paper there was felt tip pens to draw with, foam stickers, sequins, feathers, card and gems to add bling.

'Swing into summer'

And while I was busy  making sure the sparkles were topped up, around the Geffrye lawns at the front of the museum was a host of activities including a spoken word workshop, origami, willow sculpturing, stories, herb potting and games. Over 670 people joined in the fun.

Dancing outdoors

And of course with the title for the day being 'swing into summer' there was a live 1950s soundtrack from the Ronnie Scott Rejects and dance lessons from the London Swing Dance Society. As one of my colleagues said to me, it was so great so see all ages dancing with each other.

What would you put inside?

My favourite activity though was the starting off of the Geffrye time capsule to be buried this year and dug up in 100 years time!! The contents will be provided be young people 13-24 (so sadly I was too old to add anything!). It's really heavy and the warning sign below says you can't touch it without gloves!

....maybe I should thinking about making my own one?

Monday, 19 July 2010

10p earrings in less than 10 minutes

Kit box
You will need: Two earring findings, two head pins (the long metal sticks), round nosed pliers, wire cutters (not shown!) and a selection of beads.

Introducing the trusty headpins
Head pins are long metal sticks with a circular bottom, which acts like a knot so that your beads don't fall off the end. They easily get bent because they are so thin, start by smoothing or straightening them out as much as possible by easing the round nosed pliers up and down each one. Otherwise you may end up with wonky earrings!

Make them as long as you want!
Now for the fun bit, thread any combination of beads onto the headpin and repeat on two pins so you have an identical pair. Make them as long or as short as you like, just leave 1cm free at the top - you may need to trim the pin using wire cutters according to the length you want.

Get bending!
 This is the most tricky bit but it just takes getting used to, after you've done it once, you will have mastered it! Using the pliers, bend the 1cm end around to create a loop. Hook the earring finding onto the end of the loop and then close the loop by pressing it inwards together with the pliers.


That's it, all done - your new earrings are ready to wear!!
They take less than 10 mins to make (the only slow bit is making sure your loops are rounded evenly but as it's wire it can be bent and unbent as many times as you wish so just keep practising!)

Cost 10p per set......the beads probably don't come to more than 2p, depending on what you use (I used seed beads and faux pearls bought in bulk), the headpins cost 2p each, findings 2p each.
All materials purchased from www.creativebeadcraft.co.uk.

With a crafty project this quick, easy and cheap, you can make a new pair for every hour of the day!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Pakistan's finest fashion label arrives in London

O'nitaa is an exclusive Asian designer fashion store

Last Friday I attended the European launch of Pakistani fashion label Sana Safinaz. Housed exclusively in O'nitaa, near Baker Street, the Spring/Summer collection consists of delicate floaty feminine dresses and designer Sana, one half of the design duo was in store to explain why it's taken them 20 years to launch in the continent and to introduce the stunning garments.

Designer Sana launched the label's first European collection
 Sana and Safinaz are sisters in law and are the biggest household name in Pakistani fashion, setting the trends for the whole country (according to Sana even the UK is 5 years behind their visions.) Their company exists of 450 staff and everything is done inhouse including, designing, dyeing, printing and embroidery. Although their clothes are aimed primarily at Asian women, they cross over to the Western market with ease using thin silks, chiffons, crepe and organze; there is a very English charm about their use of floral patchwork fabrics teamed with pastel colours and lace detailing.

Patchwork and floaty dresses are a signature look
Consisting mainly of dresses, long tops and kaftans, they would fit into a summer wardrobe with ease and the floaty shapes are flattering for all figures. They've conquered their home country and the Middle East so why did they take so long to reach our shores?

Detailed centre panels 
Sana explained it's because they wanted to build up their lines and reputation before they launched rather than coming here as just another label. They chose to be stocked in O'Nitaa first as it's the only designer fashion department store, with garments that compliment theirs. In Pakistan when they launch their new collections, roads are cordoned off and security lined up (think back to the Primark flagship in Bond Street opening with customers getting crushed)...in London, things were more subtle but with designs that are so pretty and appealing it won't be long before they make their impression on these shores. Price wise pieces range from £200-£400 which may sound steep but when you see the clothes in person, they are so stunning - they look as though they are worth so much more. I really recommend popping in and seeing them for yourself, they are gorgeous! As is the whole shop!