Monday, 22 November 2010


This is one of the many vital questions buzzing round my head this week.
A blushing? An anticipation? A nervousness?
And the reason for this wondering on my part is that its been all about the brides for the last couple of weekends in Flaming Nora land.
Not one but two Hen do's, and a whole heap of fascinators, a frivolity of fascinators?
Certainly an excitement of Hen's.
Both in the same location

both making the same thing

but both so very very different.

The first, Hannah's, was full of larger than life characters, laughter, glitz, paper roses and prosecco.
Nana was a joy to work with, and made me laugh so much.

This reminds me of the Bill Wither's song "Grandma's hands"
She couldn't even thread a needle you know.
Or so she kept telling anyone who would listen, but I knew different.
Every one can be creative, they just don't know it yet!
The Aunties fretted that what they made wouldn't go with their sari's but made beautiful things

And every one else really entered in to the spirit of the occasion and made some wonderfully overstated little numbers.

At the second, Rachel's, much prosecco was also drunk, though light on the flowers and heavy on the feathers and veiling.

Right at the beginning one of the Hen's asked me if I had any photos of things people had made in previous workshops.
I rather enjoyed the worried look on her face when I explained that I didn't ever bring pictures along as that would stifle their creativity and they would end up making copies of the things they saw.
The look of disbelief was total, but thankfully they all decided to trust me and equally
thankfully I was proven right.
Just look this selection of what they created.

If you are interested there are lots more photos of both the events on flickr, just click the link on the right.
I thankfully had my glamourous assistant Hayley with me at both workshops, or I think we would all still be there now finishing off the creations.
I start the workshops by introducing myself and the glamourous one and then go on to say a little bit about what we are doing.

I got as far as "... and we are here to help you make your fascinators" when there was a squeal and clapping of hands from the bride to be on Saturday. It was at this point we realised Rachel had no idea what the days activities were going to be and had thought they had come in to the shop because it looked an interesting place to have a root about in before going on somewhere else!
Any way I just wanted to say
Thank you Hannah.
Thank you Rachel.
Thank you Nana.
Thank you Aunties and
Thank you Hens.
I have had two great weekends with you all.
Good luck for your winter weddings.
Love Nora x

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Yes people thats right we are talking caterpillar's here.
Very hungry caterpillars to be precise.

Last Wednesday was a cold and clear morning is this sleepy sunny corner of south London.
Who knew what was about to happen?
I thought I knew it all.
Ruth knew most of it.
The blonde bombshell and about 20 odd other little ones had an inkling.
Not so long ago I had an idea, a little idea, a germ of an idea.
It grew, as these things do very very quickly, and became a big fat idea.
I put it to Ruth who runs Tot Spot our local play group, she loved it, lots of mum's offered to make cakes and the lovely Caroline volunteered to face paint.
For some time I have been becoming increasingly interested in the idea of getting really young children to sew.
The youngest I have ever had in one of my classes was only 3.
But then back in september I ran a drop in session as part of the Bermondsey St festival. At which lots of mums turned up with under 3's in tow. I was so surprised at what they achieved, It was an avenue just screaming to be explored by Nora, so I did.

Who doesn't love Eric Carle and his beautiful books?
One evening while reading "The very hungry caterpillar" to the blonde one I realised the solution to my ponderings and musings.
Fast forward to last Wednesday.
The Tot Spot butterfly and caterpillar morning arrived.

The children came dressed up

Had their faces painted

and sewed.

We made caterpillars out of pompoms and oggly googly eyes.

Which the children then used to help tell the story.
Ah yes the story!
That was my favourite bit.
I had rehearsed it on my two darlings, I had planned it, I had worked out what I wanted to have happen when and how.
But I now realise how naive I was!
It started according to plan

but then the children picked it up and made it their own.
Brilliant, a huge gaggle of pre schoolers all crowding in trying to get the closest

shouting out the loudest

waving their caterpillars the highest

eating the most apples, pears, plumbs and strawberries.

And then
And then
And then.

The cocoon.

And then
And then
And then

the butterfly

emerging from the cocoon

(So hard so difficult, all that nibbling wasn't getting any where.
But there were so many willing helpers.)

and flying away.

Hopefully the kids learnt a little bit about sewing,
and I defiantly learnt a lot about children, sewing and story telling.
Such fun.
Love Nora xx

Saturday, 13 November 2010


The last two weeks have been all about note books.
Not one but two decorative journal workshops here and here.
As the Flaming Nora Autumn programme is coming to an end I am starting to breath a sigh of relief. Its been great fun, but quite hard work, especially as my day jobs (costume maker, teacher, mother) have been somewhat mental and all consuming.
Now I only have two Hen parties, a christmas garland workshop, a kids christmas sewing workshop and a "get to know your sewing machine" workshop to organise. Not much eh?
If you are interested in any of the above check out the swanky new and improved autumn schedule button on the right. New and swanky due to the non steam driven computer prowess of my little baby brother, who happens to have somehow become a very sensible grown up computer wizzy wizzer.

But back to the journals,
at Bermondsey Fayre we drank wine, ate cheese

and made these.

Where as at the Earl Ferrers we drank beer and large gin and tonics and made these.







Sorry about the tenney tiny quality of the pictures,
but it is due to my own technical ineptitude.
I forgot to take my camera to the workshop, so the lovely Wendy took the pics for me on her phone, but when she emailed them they were very small.
And being me rather than my wanna be Viking baby Bro it looks like they are staying teeny tiny for a while.

I had such a great time with the journals, but then my first ever job was as a Saturday girl at Rymans. There is something about stationary that is just so irresistible. We all decided they would make the perfect hand made christmas present, so much so that I have decided to spread the note book love a little and will be posting a how to tutorial next week.
It will be my first tutorial and i'm rather excited about it.
I will be back soon with a tale about
a very hungry caterpillar and a room full of very excited children.
Oh and the tutorial.
Wishing you a relaxing weekend.
Love Nora xx