Friday, 13 July 2012

Our new website is LIVE!

After almost 18 months of blogging on 'The Next Stitch' I'm now saying goodbye and moving on over to blog on my fab new website where I will operate my new Haberdashery, Fabric and Yarn shop from.

I started this blog when I decided to work part-time in my previous career as a physiotherapist. I felt like I needed more creativity in my life and I started this blog, really as a log and diary for myself to chart my creative endeavours.

Over time I started to realise that I wanted my career to be centred around my creative passions. At the same time we were at a cross roads of deciding what to do with a property my Husband had bought several years ago. That's we we came up with the idea of turning the property into a Haberdashery shop. Over several months the business idea was developed, planning applications were put in place and a new scheme for the building was designed. 

We have got a lot of work to do the the property bring it back to life again but I just know it will look amazing when its finished! As with any building work these things always seem to take longer then you will think. So in the meantime we have had a fantastic website made and opened up a little online store to spread the word about our exciting new creative venue which is in Moseley Village, Birmingham. 

So head on over to and follow our journey as we renovate this fantastic building and grow our new business! 

Thanks to everyone who has visited and followed me on this blog and I hope you will join as I take a big step and move on up! 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Renovations - part three

It's that time of the week again for another little instalment of how all the renovations are progressing at the new business premises for my Haberdashery, Fabric and Yarn store in Moseley Village, Birmingham. If you missed part 1 and 2 then you can check them out here and here.

It has been more stripping back recently. The stripping seems never ending at times but we are back to brick in quite a lot of places now slowly getting there!

It was a little sad to see the floor up in this room as it would have been a gorgeous floor back in the day. Unfortunately it had wet rot in one corner and dry root throughout most of the other floor joists so it had to go. 

The plaster was really quite damp in this particular corner as the roof at that section has been letting quite a lot of water. You just had to touch the plaster and it would fall off. We started poking it one afternoon and it got a bit addictive!

The plan is to get the scaffolding up around the front within the next few weeks and then roof repairs and the Mock Tudor cladding can be repaired and re-painted. 

The online shop will be opening next Friday (13th July). Our web address will be so be sure to stop by next week and take a look around and the goodies we will have on offer! 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Renovations - part two

Those of you who saw part one of the renovation series will hopefully now have  a good idea of the 'before' look of this amazing building in Moseley Village which is having the transformation of its life as it turns into my new haberdashery, fabric and yarn shop. 

If your local to the area then you might have noticed that things have started to happen over the last few weeks. Its been 6 years since anything substantial was done to the building so its super exciting to finally get things underway! 

Before we get down to some serious building and renovation we've had to strip everything back. It's a long hard job and I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed at times but you have to just keep chipping away at these things. 

To give a bit of context to the building...what you see from the main road only really shows a small bit of the building. Three extensions have been built over the years. The first one was built fairly near the time the original building was erected in 1898 and was a two story wing which made the building a bit like an L shape. The next one, probably built in the 50's or 60's filled that gap in the L shape and the third one extended the whole building straight back. So from the front of the bay window the building extends back about 30 meters. 

The council have granted permission to get rid of the extensions and renovate the original building, of course preserving the original features and characters of the building. Then behind the original building we are building a new house for ourselves. From the main road will look pretty much the same as it does now...just obviously not as tatty! 

So far the floor boards have now been partly lifted off to expose our cellars. The people who built the extensions must have really liked cellars, there are three big rooms down there! 

The other area we tackled this week was the back garden. The garden is...absolutely HUGE! (The building actually only occupies a tiny bit of the entire plot of land) And it was like a jungle! A jungle of 6 years worth of overgrown brambles! We couldn't see the side fence and even now we still haven't made it to the bottom fence. 

Some of the bushes weren't too bad to cut through. Me and Ayaz managed that in a few hours with a hedge trimmer.

This is the view before we started. You could literally not get through. The building that you can see on the left hand side of this picture.....our garden finishes just passed that the far end of it!

 This is after we had cut through a bit and the bushes on the near left of this photo was what we tackled first. 

This was looking back on the slop that leads back up to the house after we had taken down the bushes. 

Next was the brambles. We hired a brush cutter machine (like a strimmer but stronger) for the day and really wanting to get our moneys worth I attacked the brambles with the machine. 

It was such a tough job! I'm defiantly not cut out to be a labourer. I started working about 8.30am and we finally went home about 6.30pm. The next day was a complete write off. I was so exhausted and my arms were aching like mad! I could hardly grip anything! Never again! 
We did manage to chop a lot though. Now we just need to sort out all the piles of chopped up foliage. Plan is to let it wilt down for a few weeks then maybe hire a portable chipper machine to chop it all down. 

This is the view now from the back of the house. Not quite the manicured garden I dream of but its a start and at least you can see the ground now! 

The other thing we have sorted out this week is the front garden. We took down the wall at the front and carefully put it to the side to rebuilt at a later date. We wanted to level off the garden to allow for easier access...and it was falling down anyway. Unfortunately, the sandstone walls were stolen on Monday (18th June)! It's really disappointing. Such a horrible feeling when someone takes something that it yours! 

So now we have put up security fencing with some tarpaulins to make it look a bit neater from the street. Next plan is to get a lovely 'Coming soon' sign made for the front!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

No-sew Fabric covered note book - tutorial

So often I buy fabric just because I love it, I usually don'y buy it for a specific reason or project or anything. I just get it to add to the stash, maybe look at it even now and again.

Maybe you guys have noticed this as well....that sometimes you end up forgetting what you've got. It gets put in a pile with lots of other bits of fabric and seems to loose itself. Which can be exciting when you find it again, but it seems a shame really that you don't get to see it more often.

When I'm making a new project, I always like to have a look through the things I already have and see if there is something I could use. I like using the fabrics I love in making things I know I'll see or use regularly. When I made this purse I used some Liberty fabric that I had had for ages and I love that I get to see it every time I use my purse.

So here is a really quick and simple way to use up some of your favourite fabric so that you get to see a bit of it every day.

I've always got a note book in my hand bag...I'm a bit of a perpetual list maker and also if I have a random idea when I'm out and about or want to note down a new contact, I like to keep a note book handy.

Materials required
A note book to cover (one that doesn't have a plastic coating)
a piece of your chosen fabric that is the same size as the note book plus an 2cm extra all the way round
bondaweb of the same side
Iron (turn off the steam setting!)

2x piece of fabric slightly smaller that the inside cover
honda web in same size as above
small strip of fabric and honda web to make a tie


Follow the pictures or have a read through the instructions below. 

o1. Cut out your fabric so that it is about 2cm larger than the size of your note book. If the fabric has a pattern, consider why part of the pattern will end up on the front of the note book. 

o2. Iron on bondaweb to the back of your fabric

o3. This next bit can be tricky as you need to make sure you don't end up with any wrinkles. Start from the front of the notebook and using the tip of your iron, start in the middle and work outwards gradually, gently coxing the fabric to ensure there are not wrinkles in the fabric as the bondaweb glue is activated by the heat from the iron. Make sure you don't iron the fabric to the ironing board! once you've done the front, move to the back of the note book and start working from the spine of the book, out towards the edges. NB. Switch the steam off on the iron! 

o4. Now notch the corners and the centre of the fabric thats around the edge at the spine. 

o5. To neatly round off your corners first press the two centre notches in towards the corner, again using the tip of your iron. Next press the bottom and side edges. Start right at the edge of the note book and work your way inwards to stop any wrinkles from happening. 

o6. Repeat this process around all the corners so the the inside front and back covers look like the picture o6. 

o7. Optional step - sew a button onto the front of your note book in the middle and about 1.5cm from the edge.

o8. Optional step - make a tie by cutting a strip of fabric (the length of this will depend on the depth of your notebook so just make sure its more than long enough and you can always trim it to size). Press the edges inwards, then iron a strip of bondaweb onto the wrong side of the strip. Finally, peel off the paper part of the bondaweb, fold the strip in half and press to seal it together. 

o9. Optional step - to secure your tie to the back inside cover, press a small square of fabric where you want the tie to sit. Next put your tie in place, double checking that it will be long enough to reach up and over your button on the front. 

1o. To hide the untidy inside covers, cut 2 pieces of fabric slightly smaller than the inside cover. I decided to use some linen and I wanted to make a feature of the raw edges. It shouldn't fray too much as the bondaweb will be holding it in place. Alternatively you could use some scrapbooking paper/card. 
Iron bondaweb on the back of the fabric and then press into place, again, using the tip of your iron and working front he centre outwards to ensure no wrinkles in the fabric. 

You're done!!!!

A lovely little note book, perfect for on the go note taking and you get to see your favourite fabric all the time!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Renovations part one

I thought I'd do a blog post to show you the building where my new haberdashery store and workroom studio business will be in - it doesn't look great now but thats all going to change soon - very soon!

Its a mock Tudor building in the heart of Moseley village, Birmingham, built in 1898, with a stone laid by Mrs Richard Cadbury. It had been used as a boys social club from around the 1920's up until around 2004 and has been a bit...well abandoned since really. After several years of to-ing and fro-ing and months of negotiations and planning, the building is about to have the transformation of its life! 

So here are a few pictures to show give you an idea of the 'before'...

Here she is from the main road...all the windows and doors boarded up.

Imagine...a gorgeous porch here....

The cadbury stone...

This is the entrance hall..still with original Minton floor so we'll need to see what we can do with that. 

The main hall on the ground floor with the massive bay at the front. 

Most of the bay is boarded up at the moment as you can see. It lets a huge amount of light in just now so once we open it up it'll be amazing. 

The stair case is still pretty solid, just needs cleaned up a bit. 

There used to be internal walls in the hall upstairs but once they were stripped back the original ceiling joists were exposed. 

There are lots of bits of the original, and not so original, wall paper too.....

 Hmmm...not sure about this one yet, could look good with a lick of paint and some new handles. 

And thats the tour. Requires quite a bit of imagination at the moment, but I've got a pretty good picture in my head of what it'll be like and its amazing - so can't want for the transformation to be complete and to show you! I'll be keeping you updated on the blog so stay tuned for another renovation instalment. In the mean time I've got lots of exciting creative projects to share with you. 

Monday, 18 June 2012

Our name is changing.....

If your a fellow tweeter you might have noticed that we changed our twitter name a wee while ago now and like wise on Facebook.

The blog however has been a bit behind.....with very good reason! Our new website has been getting created especially just for us and will also be the home to the new blog.

So before the switch happens for real I wanted to announce our new name here and also what we'll look like so you know its still us.....just looking smarter!

We wanted to call our business something that will really stand out and be different. Our heart and souls are going into the business and we want to show that we are really proud of it.

Those of you who are local to Birmingham may have heard of a series of books by Alton Douglas that document how Birmingham looked over the last few hundred years through old photographs. There is one dedicated to Birmingham shops and we noticed that all the traditional shops from the 1800's and early 1900's are all named after their owners. No matter what they were selling be it meat, fish, fruit and veg or clothes all the shops had their owners surname above the door. 

So that's what we decided to do too. My maiden name is Guthrie and my new surname (through marriage;)) is Ghani so we will be called.........dddddddrum roll.....

We want to show our customers that we are proud to put our names on our business and that we have those values of a traditional shop keeper who sources the best products, provides value for money and gives good honest advice and help to make sure every customer is happy and satisfied with the service they receive. 

You might notice this little icon around as well......

And our colours are this lovely mix, shown here in some bunting! 

So welcome to our new business! The finishing touches to the website are getting worked on right now so call back soon to find out where to find us. Follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook for all the updates too!

Thank you :) x x x x 

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Ceramic buttons - from South Africa

I love to embellish my sewing, knitting and crochet projects with special little bits and pieces. It might be some lovely ribbon or a bit of lace (like on this purse), or with a special button or two. Its all these little things that can make the project your doing that bit more personal. 

So, when I spotted the gorgeous range of ceramic buttons from Zimame Trading Co by the Incomparable factory in Johannesburg I knew I had to have some for my new shop! 

Zimame Trading Co is all about supporting artists and craftsmen and women from Southern africa. Many of the women working at the Incomparable factory have been there for many years, earning a fair wage that enables them to feed and clothes their families and send their children to school. 

Here are some of the ladies from the Sunshine Team that make the buttons, completely by hand....

They offer a large range of buttons from novelty ones like ice cream cones and cup cakes to animal themed ones with hens, dogs, cats, horses and birds. They also have really pretty flower and hearts ones too. 

All the buttons are machine washable and dry cleanable. They are also acid free and can be safely used in scrapbooking projects. 

Here are some pictures of just part of the range that we will be offering once the online shop gets up and running. 

One of my favourite lines are these unglazed squares that you can customise with your own design. I stitched out my name on these ones with some embroidery floss but I think little beads would work well too. 

Are there any types of buttons you would really like to see in the shop? Novelty ones? Or more plain ones?