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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Momtaz's NEW BLOG is www.craftandtravel.com

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Halloween in Gotham City

I recently had the chance the star in my ultimate fantasy photoshoot... so I opted for living out my fantasy to the extreme..being Batgirl for the night.
I was contacted by Ian Macaulay, earlier this year, his hobby is photographing Redheads.
He finds them in all sorts of places, on the street, word of mouth, through friends or online like how me stumbled on my scarlet locks!
We met up for a tea in town and immediately I knew that this was my chance to get on my Batgirl gear and tackle some criminals.
We discussed various options, from me with a motorbike (or Batbike) to standing on the top of a tall building but in the end this alley way off Oxford Street with the BT Tower in the background was the chosen spot.
The photoshoot took place at midnight, in cold wet conditions, beside a drain so it was all very Gotham City like.
I developed a whole new appreciation for models doing this shoot as I had to keep completely still for the lighting to work and was in agony kneeling down!
Firstly Ian photographed me, and then his assistant lit up each wall in order to get the comic book style colouring. I was blown away by their creativity and commitment to making my dream shoot become real.

For me the other challenge was finding my outfit, rather than the classic purple and yellow Batgirl I opted for the darker femme fatale...a tight pvc bodysuit and I made gauntlets and a cape to match.
Not sure what I am going to do with my portrait yet. Ian suggested I blow it up and cover a wall in my flat like a proper poster girl!
But think I'll just share it here for now!

You can see Ian's other Redhead photoshoots here - www.ianshootsredheads.com.
And if you're a Redhead and fancy being photographed, get in touch with him!

Happy Halloween

Thursday 18 October 2012

#IMAPiece: The Craftivist Jigsaw Project for Save The Children

I stitched this on Tuesday night. 
People often ask me why I'm so positive and it's because this is my motto. 
Every single person on the planet has dreams, ambitions and hopes...and holding on to them is what makes life pleasurable. 
No matter how big or small, every second we put into thinking we shouldn't give up, is a second towards 'achieving.'
The Craftivist Jigsaw Project is also about not giving up...its aim is to support Save The Children's Race Against Hunger Campaign to put an end to the fact that millions of people, including children still go to bed hungry every night : (
The charity have invited 4 of the UK's leading Crafty ambassadors to front the campaign which is asking crafters all over the country to stitch a piece of a fabric jigsaw to show that they are 'A Piece' of the change that will make the world a better place.

Next year is the G8 Summit and Save The Children and The Campaign are asking world leaders to put eradicating hunger at the top of their list. Their method is to present thousands of stitched jigsaw pieces to show that UK Crafters care, and want to make a difference. 
Every single person can get involved. All you need to do is download a template of the jigsaw, stitch on your message and send it to The Craftivists where Sarah will collate them.
There are NO EXCUSES not to do this as the closing date is March so it's the perfect Christmas crafting activity.

Next month Sarah, Jamie, Lauren and Hilary as going to Indonesia with Save The Children to experience some of their projects and report back. This may sound bizarre, but like celebs often go on charity trips, bloggers too can have a positive impact on spreading awareness of campaigns and while they are away they'll be keeping blogs and diaries of their discoveries, inspiring us back home to get involved.

The launch of the campaign took place at a special Save The Children charity shop in Primrose Hill and was attended by a host of bloggers (including mysefl!)
We were all given a pack to help us create a piece of the jigsaw.
Inside were fabric, instructions, a needle and thread.
I stitched my message at the event but will glitter it up at home (obviously!) before giving it to The Craftivists.

I have never liked being told what to do and I dislike it when people insist on what you should and shouldn't do. But this campaign is different.
It's the first time the UK Craft Community have been given an actual voice - it takes us seriously, appreciates us as people whose opinions matters - not just mad hobbyists!
That's why I think it's an opportunity we should not miss out on.
You don't need to spend any money - you just need to stitch a jigsaw piece or two, either on your own or with friends.
The satisfaction afterwards is something you can really be proud of.
Find out more about how to get involved:
Deadly Knitshade (Lauren O'Farrell)'s blog
Hilary Pullen's blog
Mr X Stitch (Jamie Chalmers) blog:
Sarah Corbett (The Craftivists) (you can download the jigsaw template from this link.)

Monday 15 October 2012

101+ Things To Do With Glitter Book Launch

The photos from my book launch are finally up!  
(All images taken by Swani.com)

Wednesday 10 October 2012

101+ Things To Do With Glitter Book Launch, Blogs & Publicity

My new book 101+ Things To Do With Glitter is published on 23rd October, and was launched in style on September 25th at The Hackney Attic as part of a super sparkling Glitter Festival. Around 100 people got sprinkled in shimmer as they made bow ties crafted hair accessories, tried their hand at scrapbooking and had glitter make overs. There were glittering prizes, an exhibition, special guests, live music and even twinkling drinks. 
I have some amazing photographs of the event taken by SwaniDotCom...but as he took over 300, I'm still sorting through them!! 
I will post a link soon.
In the mean time, here are some blogs of the event and some other glitter publicity worth checking out! 
 Asian City
There's an exclusive extract of the book in the current issue of Asian City newspaper.
View it online. (got to page 25)

Jennifer Grace
Came all the way from Devon to enjoy the night.
Here's her account: JennifersJumbles

Perri Lewis
Got together with one of the speakers Deadlyknitshade and did some scrapbooking.
Here's what she made: Make and Do With Perri.

Kareem Short
Was the first girl to win a raffles prize (6 of the 8 went to boys!)
Here's what she got up to. Tea and Blankets

Victoria Bell aka Plum
Invited me to speak about glitter at The Dalston Darlings WI
She wrote about what happened.
And she interviewed me too.

The Asian World
Interviewed me and called me the Asian Kristy Allsopp, though I expect they meant Kirsty!
Read it online here. (page 19)

Meera Sharma did a pre-launch article and then came along and interviewed me on the night

I also took some glitter into the BBC Asian Nework Studio and got DJ Nihal to make a glitter keyring for his wife in my own version of Ready Steady Make (based on the TV show Ready Steady Cook where you have 20 minutes to cook something) though this time it was 'make something', live on air, and I also chatted about crafts on Hayes FM.

Still to come an article in Eastern Eye newspaper and the book will also be appearing in Bliss Magazine's Christmas Gift suggestions!

Thank you to everyone who's written about more book or are going to! Please send me a link so I can share it too!

Friday 5 October 2012

My Vintage Shopping Spree At Old Spitalfields Market

Three weeks ago I won a £200 shopping spree at the new Pop Up Vintage Fair, which is held at Old Spitalfields Market, London, on the 3rd Saturday of the month.
All I had to do was send a Tweet and answer the question: Why do I love Vintage?
Mine had something to do with the fact each piece is full of stories...and that it looks good on me! I was given a challenge - to spend all £200 in one day on what can only be described as one of the most exciting days of my life!!! I felt like a VIP the moment I arrived, until I left laden down with shopping four hours later.
First stall to catch my eye was the incredible Spark Of Vintage. The owner Nadine  (pictured) blings up vintage bags & hats with Swarovski crystals. The second I laid eyes on this case (which has the words 'Sexy Women') painted on the top, it was love at first sight and it was my first snap up of the day for £30.
I did four circuits o the market before deciding what I wanted to try on. Thankfully, unlike some markets there was a curtained changing room. The patterns on these two dresses were gorgeous but sadly they didn't fit me - vintage clothes can sometimes be made for tiny frames : (
So I opted for this fabulous felted fascinator instead (£3)
An incredible pleated collar jacket (£38) from Gin Lane Vintage
A seriously cute sweater (£20)
A fabulous printed dress that I wore last weekend (£20)
 This amazing Harris Tweed satchel (£30)

and a hippy chic printed cotton top (£12)...I know I know. I've had 3 different hairdos in the last 3 weeks....I can't explain it other than my hair has it's own life. It does what it wants when it wants!

The market also has a fabulous collection of homewares and collectables. This huge pink crocheted blanket was bought from Rare and Racy who sold the most stunning vintage cups and saucers but sadly I didn't need any. So I stuck to this prety blanket; a steal at just £10.
I've always wanted an ice-cube pineapple - it's the ultimate in kitschyness. So I decided to give this one (£18) a home after eyeing it up for a good couple of hours. I lost their card but I know these two ladies go around to fairs in a camper van selling cool stuff so look out for them!
This lady was lovely and from her stall I also bought a long red St Michaels button up top/jacket which I haven't worn yet hence the lack of pictures, a snuggly woolley hat and a couple of metres of stunning retro print fabric which she pointed out, I could make a couple of cushions from.
Vintage vixens won't just be spoilt for choice by the impressive range of fashion, accessories, jewellery, collectables and homewares at Pop Up Vintage. They can also get their hair done by Candy Pout. Perfect if you've got a night out ahead. Sadly my hair is too short at the mo for up-dos.
Here are my buys laid out at home, I spent every last penny and have been using nearly all of what I bought (minus the red belted dress and the fabric but that will happen soon.) I can't stop wearing my new patterned dress and have worn the jacket twice at two glamorous events, my book launch and my guest appearance at a WI meeting earlier this week.
So glad I found it, it's fitted into my life perfectly.
Here are the Need To Know dates for your diary. 

Old Spitalfields is amazing enough as it is, and regularly hosts special events. 
Pop Up Vintage Fairs is one of them. 

I know there's alot of vintage markets & fairs in the capital and it's hard knowing which ones to go to but here's why I liked this one in particular:

1. Location: Spitalfields is buzzing on a Saturday so it's not just Pop Up Vintage you can enjoy - there's all the other stalls and shops and Brick Lane is mere minutes away which makes for a perfect weekend trip.

2. Size: It's a comfortable size - sometimes vintage markets are so huge halls they feel too overwhelming. This one is compact and is not just about clothes. It's the perfect intro to Vintage for newbies.

3. Choice: Despite the size there's a good collection of stalls covering clothes, jewellery and homeware. I did feel that there was too much emphasis on garments from the 1980s rather than true vintage but I guess that was bound to happen sooner or later.

4. Stall holders: They were genuinely friendly, chatty and open to talking about their products. I didn't see a single sign which said 'No Photos' which I always find so ridiculous and off putting. In that sense it's great for bloggers!

5. Prices: I know I had vouchers so I was lucky, but it was a very affordable market - lots of brooches for £5 and plenty of bargains £10 or under. Shopping is far more pleasurable knowing you're not breaking the bank. Oh and it's free entry too!


On a different note it's been so nice blogging again! It's been over a month since my last post but this year as has been a tough one where time has been concerned. I finished one book and am gearing up to hand the next one in.
I miss blogging so much but several things had to go and blogging was one of them. So it's been an extra pleasure doing this one : )