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 22 August 2010

Summer crafting highlights

Over the summer months I've been busy spreading the crafty gospel by running an assortment of crafts classes across London for children, young people and adults.

My favourite was the 'boho chic jewellery' course I ran back in July as part of the Greenwich Summer Uni programme which gives young people under 25 the chance to learn new skills for free through a variety of courses.

What I liked about the course is how my students were really inspired by my own work and used my love for bright colours and bling to create their own unique jewellery collections.

The student above became fascinated with acrylic stones and used them to make some amazingly sparkly items! 

Another one of my students who was just 15 created had a natural talent for design and composition and made this beautiful necklace, which I think is so much nicer than a lot of the hand made pieces you get in gallery gift shops.

On closer inspection you can see how she embroidered into each bead to add detail.

This student kept it more simple by adding anything and everything on to ring and earring findings.

On the 'Bollywood Crafts' course my students had the chance to make some of the projects that feature in my book including these gorgeous decorative bowls, handbags, books and photo frames.

One of the fun parts of running the courses was souring the materials. I picked up these rolls of sequin trims for just £1.50 each from Creative Beadcraft - superb value - you get 100m on a roll and if you buy 1m from a haberdashery they normally cost 40p per metre. 

I also ran a textile project over six weeks with mothers from a local school in East London in conjunction with The Women's Library. The project entitled 'My City' was an exploration of each woman's relationship with her local area. 

The best thing about teaching crafts is seeing students produce work they are really proud and getting inspired by their ideas myself! It's been a fantastic summer of crafting but I'm now going to wind down on the teaching front until next year.....come the Autumn, I have some other exciting projects to plan - crafts for my wedding!  

Thursday 12 August 2010

Discovered: boyfriend with crafty genes

I am obviously marrying the right man! He has recently been getting in touch with his crafty side and enrolled on a raku pottery course where he made me two elephants as he knew how much I loved the ones in the Elephant Parade but couldn't afford to get one for me at auction!

Inside they have an amazing sheen, all pearly and magical looking, they join perfectly in the middle to create a whole elephant or can be two separates. 

And for himself he made an amazing pot to keep his porridge oats in. Considering he's not done any clay work since school his talents are truly impressive : )

Monday 9 August 2010

All in one shop!

Yesterday whilst on the way to  friend's afternoon tea party in Bethnal Green, East London, I saw a hand drawn sign that said 'vintage clothes', I followed it down an alleyway to discover a secret retreat which is a bit like someone's house converted into a special 'all in one' shop.
It's part art gallery (current exhibition consists of hanging fabric dolls - pictured), part vintage boutique and upstairs there's a retro 50s coffee shop with sofas and magazines for chillaxing. But that's not all!! There's also a hairdressers offering styling and cuts from £5-£15 - bargain.
A brilliant place to hang out, esp a Sunday afternoon. Exhibitions change regularly - updated on their website.

Well worth a visit, a proper 'hidden gem'! 
Address: Arch 10, Gales Gardens, E2 OEJ. 

Sunday 1 August 2010

What to do with fabric trims!

My swag!
My sister and fellow blogger Tea with Digestives  recently showed off some fabulous trims that she claimed to have bought from £1 a metre in Walthamstow. Intrigued, I went down to the East End market yesterday and discovered a complete treasure trove of sequins, sparkles, rainbow colours, and shelf upon shelf of Indian trims. 
Where to start?
Disguised as a mobile phone repair shop called 'Wool Shop' (although it only sells basic Double Knit yarns), the store on the market is a long corridor of bling! There is soooooooooooooooooooooo much to choose from, you could be there for quite a while!

There are also rows of sequins, crystals, zips, threads and crystallised motifs. 

But what makes this shop so, so amazing, concept aside, is  the price! This sign is totally true! The trims range from 30p per metre to £4.50 for the most spectacular ones, a FRACTION of the price of places like Barnett Lawson Trimming (who as much as I love them, annoying  don't put the price on a lot of their trims and you get a shock at the till) and the overly extortionate VV Rouleaux who for moral reasons (they hike the price up soooooooo much) I will never buy anything from them ever!

As well as sequin encrusted, there are also some gorgeous mirror and machine embroidered choices.

I also bought a selection of jewelled motifs that were £1.50 each.

So now I have all the trims, what to do with them?

Here's my top 10 ways to use fabric trim:

1. Update clothes by sewing trim along the bottom of skirts and trousers, collars and cuffs. 
2. Wrap and glue trims around a wide plastic or wooden bangle to create a fabric covered piece of  jewellery.
3. Decorate the four raised sides of a notice board by gluing trim around it. 
4. Cover a blank canvas in strips of trim to make a piece of modern art. Either use different trims for each strip or create a pattern.
5. Cut off the thin sleeves on a vest top and replace with trim, make them the same length as the original sleeve and sew in place on each side so you can wear your top as before. 
6. Replace a ribbon with a trim on a straw hat. 
7. Tie up presents. 
8. Join strips of trim together with a simple straight stitch on a sewing machine to create a larger square or rectangular piece of fabric and use as one side of a cushion. 
9. Chop up lots of short strips of trim and sew on to the edge of a bag to give it a fringe, especially brings dull cotton shopper to life!
10. Buy a copy of my book 'Bollywood Crafts' it's contains instructions for 20 simple craft projects, most  which all use Indian trims!