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Bettys Sewing Box

Chilli Chocolate

By | News

Evening everybody!
Well last weekend I actually made food for friends (Paul and Vanessa visiting from London FYI). I cooked my staple Chilli with Chocolate – very nice and Julie helped me out with Lemon Posset for pudding … then Monday the doggy found and ate the remaining bar of dark chocolate and had to rushed to the vet for a serious induced vomiting session.. £250 later  the doggy is as perky as I’ve ever seen her, and now it’s cold and I’m very chilly. I feel, more than ever that life is very cyclical..
So here I am back in the American super king bed – central heating on and cuddled up in the winter weight duvet! I thought I’d better get a summer email out before we hit September.

But so much for the bloomin’ summer – I suppose the sun has been out a few times but certainly no heatwave in the offing despite what my weather app tells me.

Anyway I write this on Thursday evening and Jacqui has just finished a monster sewing course which has run every Thursday in August. With the course being very popular and our need to socially distance, we decided to run two sessions on the same day – until 5pm – who’s idea was that??! if I feel tired – I’m sure Jacqui is already fast asleep!   however her course has been a huge success with everyone making and finishing perfect tote bags, beautifully sewn and lined with funky fabric!  Before she headed for the pub I’ve managed to pin her down (geddit?) and she’s agreed to another beginners sewing course starting end of September for 4 weeks as well as another ‘Stevie’ dress in a day AND her version of a Peaky Blinders tweed hat course – check them all out below.. and THANK YOU so much Jacqui you’re a complete ⭐️

It’s been nice having the youngsters working at the shop and tearoom over the summer,  we’re especially proud of them not least because of the difficult year they’ve all had, but at how well they’ve succeeded, with such amazing exam results!  let’s hope as they return to their various courses life will be a little easier. Well done Sophie, Flora, Ryan, Jasmine and Lucy.. oh and please come back!

I also have to give a shout out to my wing man Nicky who has now moved to Suffolk, and whom I miss terribly, with family still here in Ashbourne she still comes back though so expect to see her occasionally covering for me at Betty’s. Good Luck in your new home Nicky x

So here’s to the last few days of August, I hope you’re all keeping well.

 

From your Chilly Chocolate loving chum

Annie x

 

 

 

Football..er isn’t coming home 😔

By | News

Hello Everybody ..
I’m writing this on a football frenzy sort of day – with the sun showing it’s face at last .. amazing smells permeating from the Tearoom kitchen and the crochet ladies immersed in woolly talk..

So my debut on TV with Lorraine has not gone to my head – feet firmly on the ground but a little video below for you to enjoy!
Betty’s continues to build up with people visiting from far afield – even people from the ‘Shire’ (that’s Gloucestershire the place where I was brung up ).. chatting to people finds me lapsing back into my West Country burr and getting very nostalgic.  Our online business continues to grow and I’m sending parcels as far away as Brazil, USA and Trinidad .. Betty’s goes global!
Recent workshops have been a success, with people enjoying the and mindfulness that crafting brings. Our local Watercolour artist Mary, is planning a regular weekly watercolour course from the Autumn – so If you’re interested please contact her directly  HERE.
… Oh dear England have just lost out to penalties .. but what an amazing championship that has lifted spirits during these tense times.. I still don’t understand the offside rule though🙄
Take up Crafting it’s far less stressful
Love and Blessings

Annie

Morning Campers.. or Caravaners or even Motorhomers.. 

By | News

..yes it’s not escaped my notice that there are quite a few of you who’ve headed off for a cheeky break now that travel restrictions are lifting.. dang it! I was even  mooting the idea of buying a motorhome myself and heading for the hills. However Betty’s is calling me and I can’t tell you how relieved I am to be open again – and feel well again! totally recovered from all the illness of the winter. I’m doing a few challenges such as lands-end to John o’groats, hit 400 miles, and about at Blackpool now. Started a daily early morning walk and chant routine for April which has been a delight with recent dry weather and sunny mornings, lovely to see the spring develop although have met a few other locals who must think I’ve completely lost it as I quickly mute the ‘chant’ button.

So the shop is open now but I have to say it’s still quiet – we’re  still doing online sales and a new Etsy store for our Liberty fabric – you can check it out here (please give me a ‘favourite!) I’ve been sending Betty’s Liberty and a few sewing boxes as far away as Santa Cruz (I look up on google earth make sure it’s going to a good home).

Classes have begun again – very cautiously – with Mary’s watercolour flowers which was a success and after school sewing group has restarted with the children great fun making the ‘Beach Belle’ and my Free Machine Embroidery class which was great. Safety and respect for social distancing has been paramount and so far all has gone well. Numbers are restricted so if you want to have a go please book early!

Julie is gradually sorting out the tearoom after some recent decorating and we have a spare oak drop leaf table up for grabs if anyone would like it.

That’s all the news I can think of.

Have a great weekend.

Your Chanting Chum – Nam Gyoho Renge Kyo

Annie

It’s Pants – Positive Pants..

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Hi Everybody

It’s been ages since I sent one of these missives – a few people have said they’ve missed them – so now I feel pressured to write something witty😳 I have started a few but failed to complete and then the days went on and the news was out of date.. blahdy de blahdy blah.. anyway I am here now,  determined to complete this bloomin’ email… and of course I hope it finds you well –  as the days lengthen and brighten and with the prospect of us coming out of lockdown your spirits are lifting.

I’m afraid as some of you know I got Covid just before Christmas – it Seems like a lifetime ago but it’s impact has lasted several months and I still get the terrible fatigue, but thankfully SO much better now. In the midst of it all I celebrated a big birthday, limped into a new decade and promptly tripped and cracked a few ribs. I eventually left my bed in mid February.  I try to focus on Marie’s pants – Marie possibly one of the nicest people like ..ever .. has hung some positive pants in the kitchen at Betty’s (now I’m worrying about what she is trying to tell us!?)

I’m so thankful to colleagues at the shop who’ve helped keep Betty’s functioning – and you guys too – many of you have continued supporting the business – purchasing your crafty supplies – for which I’m truly grateful. Every few days I take a bag of parcels to the post office and appreciate every sale.

I’ve watched many box sets – fell victim to ‘binge-watching’ and then ‘binge-cheating’  (and now I’ve lost the trust of binge buddy Sophie-Rose😥).  discovered some brilliant podcasts – oh and Zoom Choir- what a hoot!  Zoom fitness too – who’d ever thought a year ago our lives would’ve changed SO much?

I’ve now had my first vaccine and, oh please God let this be the pathway out of this pandemic and the lockdown🙏🏻

We’ve taken the opportunity to restock in the shop, and added loads more fabric, plus we continue to expand our Liberty Tana Lawn with lots of new prints coming through.

I truly hope wherever you are you are keeping well and safe, have a great Mothering Sunday weekend

Your covid -free-but- not -very -witty- chum
Annie x

Marie’s Positivite Pants!

I’ve been Jabbed🙏🏻

‘Lockdown’ to Christmas?

By | News

A note from your SEO Queen .. SEO? I hear you muttering .. well having at last figured out what SEO actually means (it’s your bloomin’ ratings in Google – Search Engine Optimising – keep up!) I then had to figure out how to get Betty’s up there in the ratings.. (well I think there are a bunch of pixies in the sky who decide which website looks best presented – not sure). Anyway today I finally did, I typed  ‘Liberty Betsy blue’ into Google, and there, page 1 of the results  under Liberty of London was good old Betty’s Sewing Box . We’ve arrived everybody! we’ve arrived! Happy Christmas one and all! [as you can see slight hysteria is seeping in] .. who cares if there’s a pandemic? Try it at once. [exit followed by a tipple – see below] 

Hello Everybody –  I hope this finds you well and enjoying the countdown (or should it be the ‘lockdown’?) to Christmas.

Just when I thought the year could not get any worse – it did for me, and as some of you know I lost my lovely Mum. After my last rather bleak email (for which I apologise) I had so many wonderful messages of support from people, which was really appreciated when I was feeling so low). Yes Mum had had a good innings by many standards, and I suppose I’d been letting go of her for a while, but when it happened .. well suffice to say it has hit me hard, the circumstances of Covid preventing me from seeing her properly for a long time.

Not just me having a difficult time in our Betty’s family either, Julie’s mother in law Joyce has passed away, kept independent in her own home until the grand age of 92, but our most sincere sympathy to Nigel, Julie and the family. Decking the halls wasn’t such a good idea for our lovely John either and we send him our love for a speedy recovery after he fell off a ladder, battered and bruised but thankfully home now.

How cruel this pandemic has been, it’s turned us upside down and shaken us all to the core. I hope that despite it all you are keeping your spirits up either with actual spirits ( I find mixing mulled wine and  ginger wine in equal quantities, then warming in the microwave for a minute, works wonders) and keeping in the crafting spirit – or both!

Many of you have visited Betty’s showing photos of your ‘makes’ – knitting, crocheting, quilting, sewing…. it’s lovely to see finished projects, especially using supplies from the shop. I also heard Sophia’s zoom crochet sessions have been a real hit. The best thing to do is something crafty, keep occupied on these dismal evenings .. I’ve randomly been doing a bit of pebble painting, I used to do it as an art therapy exercise with youngsters – it’s been a real delight to get the paints out and give myself some therapy.

Anyway we will close our doors for a few weeks on December 23rd, and reopen on Monday January 4th you can still order from the website, or contact me by email if you’re having a ‘notion’ nightmare or haberdashery horror.. sorry it’s late. I can’t wait for a new year,  new workshops ..  oh and a new decade . for me😭

Merry Christmas – have loads of  ‘bubbles’ – but Only 3 bubbles – keep safe.
Much love
Annie x

After School Sewing group – what a bunch of gorgeous munchkins!

Strange Times.. Sad times

By | News

Dear friends,

I’ve had a little memory of making a Dolly bag with my Mum. I’d been at school (late 60s I was about 8) and we were making these stiff little bags out of some nasty hessian style fabric – it was taking so long because the teacher wouldn’t let us progress past tacking it together. I was eager and went ahead without her permission so got severely reprimanded, she made me unpick my uneven stitches and  I went home crying. That evening I sat with Mum while we made our own, much prettier, Dolly Bag, Mum showing me shortcuts, proper stitching and then we embroidered it with Lazy Daisies. The next day I took it proudly to school showing off my own bag. The teacher was unimpressed and tight lipped and thoroughly burst my bubble…. why am I telling you this? Well my lovely Mum has just passed away.  She was thrilled when I took over Betty’s, and loved to come and look round when I was able to spring her from the Home. Looking through the old patterns and marvelling at the variety of ‘notions’ in the shop was a great pleasure to her, and it was a joy for me to see her so proud.

So here’s to Doreen and Dolly Bags, and all of the Mums out there and daughters who are 8 even though they’re actually 59.

Cherish your loved ones and take care of yourselves.

Annie

In memory of a great ‘Dolly Bag’ maker!
Doreen Gardiner 18/12/30-6/12/20🙏🏻

Stream of what?

By | News

Morning Everybody here I am again with my stream of consciousness blahhhh

..it’s an unofficial duvet day here in Calton and I’m coming to you from the super king American bed, mid morning with a bowl of tomato soup precariously balanced on the laptop. I must stop worrying that someone will find out my dirty secret ..
We’ve just hosted a 2 day workshop this past weekend with visiting artist Emily Jo Gibbs – and it has been amazing! Fantastic to have such a fantastic textile artist teaching her delicate embroidery portraiture techniques and class goers producing some intricate  pieces… photos below!

Hopefully this brings an end to the catch up workshops and people were able to attend the rescheduled classes. We have started a new program of workshops and people who haven’t been able to make rescheduled classes are invited to attend these. For obvious reasons we’re being cautious, limiting numbers and asking participants to wear masks, and observe social distancing.🙏🏻

I’ll shut up about workshops in a mo – but while on the subject –  if people would like to come and have a one to one session, or even get together a few friends for a session – then I’m more than happy to accommodate. The classes I generally take are easy .. angels, advent calendar, embroidery – machine embroidery is popular, and something that can be done easily. Also I would be happy to open up the workroom for an evening a month for people to do their own projects and just pay a nominal fee and use the machines. Email me here if you’d be interested, if there are 6 people I’d definitely do it + may even motivate me to do a project for myself.

Well the shop is bustling again lots of fabric and a NEW delivery of Liberty Tana Lawn (that Nicky is putting out as I speak). Some lovely sparkly fabric which would be fab made up in one of our new patterns! and  loads more Stylecraft wool including some of the new ‘Highland Heather’ plus more colours of the favourite special DK. Remember if you’re being cautious and staying in we’re uploading new stock to the website shop, or feel free to contact us (email, phone, Facebook) and we’ll do our best to help you with all your crafty supplies!

We’ve had a few new Elves join the team at Betty’s, Jam has come as a graduate on an internship, having recently completed her degree in graphics and communication at Falmouth, she’ll be helping with the shop but mainly building Betty’s social media presence and sorting out the pesky SEO (that’s search engine optimisation for all you luddites). Jam’ll also be helping us go online with live and recorded sew alongs – so you may well have me live-streaming into your home (from the super king American bed?) in the comfort of your own home😳  And the lovely Flora has started on Saturdays, come to rescue us and is already making her ‘mark’ producing some beautiful cards ready to sell here in the shop.

I hope this finds you all well on this bright sunny Tuesday – it seems set to be a long winter, but there’s always a warm welcome here for you, remember if you’re completely locked down we can help by supplying you and I can easily get stuff in too.

Much love and have a great week

Annie

Fish Finger butties!

By | News

Here I am in the super king American bed finishing the day with fish finger butties on this dreary wet evening.. is it just me who does admin from the bed? Anyway I managed to squeeze in a few days in Cornwall last week, good to be with the family and enjoy fabulous weather and views, walks and food, though I think that’s my holiday quota used up for a while.

Things at Betty’s are picking up well, with lots of new visitors and our trusty regulars too. The Tearoom seems to be be busy with customers taking advantage of outdoor seating during the recent good weather, remember new tearoom hours are 10-3pm.

We have new stocks of beautiful fabric, great for those of you making masks and also new items from ‘Two Ugly Sisters’ and delicate Liberty ‘makes’ from our friend Alison, plus green pebble cards and gifts to tempt you.

We’ve restarted the workshop program and I’m praying that now everyone who was caught up in the ‘great postponed workshop debacle from lockdown’ have now been rescheduled, reimbursed, rehired or even rehoused (Julie-Anne and Rachel!)  well you get my drift.. it’s been a bit of a mare with me being slightly challenged on the organisational front 😳 So PLEASE contact me here if you feel like you’ve missed out, and I’ll endeavour sort things out.

Anyway our workshops have kicked off, and we are taking COVID-19 guidance seriously, with fewer participants in each class, regular cleaning of machines between users plus haberdashery items and fabrics packaged individually to avoid cross contamination. Kath Perry recently led 3 workshops making her famous appliquéd panels. She would’ve got an ‘outstanding’ from OFSTED, with everything planned to the last minute detail and all students producing amazing work. Sophia Reed’s recent beginners crochet was also a success with attendees enjoying her patient guidance which we all love. It’s been a difficult time for all of us, especially taking these first few steps into this new unknown world, and here in our Betty Bubble we are doing our little bit to make sure people feel safe so we can, hopefully, get back to some sort of normality.

Much excitement in the shop as Jake recently fitted a beautiful new display cabinet – which is stunning andpractical – a link to Jake’s email is below if you would like any bespoke joinery! Contact Jake

So I’ve added the upcoming workshops. You’ll notice Emily Notman is having 4 separate daily workshops at the end of next week, and there are a few spaces on each day. The capacity has been reduced to 6-7 participants for each day (depending if you’re coming with a ‘bubble’ member!) Email or call me or book on the website. I don’t want to go too mad listing too many new workshops in case anything happens..  Have a peruse and see what you think.

In the meantime have a great summer, stay healthy and well, and come and see us soon.

Much love

Annie x

Kalimera Everybody!

By | News

Here I am again in sunny Crete enjoying sun, sand and er.. bazouki (as I write this I can hear the strains of Zorba the Greek!). The batteries needed recharging  and the filters changing, after a busy and uncertain few months – many of us with small business had to find alternatives to keep going,  thankfully we are ok and most of the Ashbourne independents too – largely thanks to you, our loyal customer base 🙏🏻

I hope you’re all keeping well and happy, crafting away and ready to visit Betty’s. The Tearoom is going well. It really has been lovely to be back together in our ‘Betty Bubble‘, and all our lovely staff too.. I love them dearly and the fact I can escape for a week is testament to how fantastic they all are.

So I should have a list of upcoming workshops… as I’ve said before it’s been a bit of a challenge to reinstate workshops, accommodate everyone and make sure refunds were issued – if anyone is still waiting to hear from me please contact me HERE

Sewcial Distancing

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Omg! Can I firstly take a moment to describe the smell of home baking  that is permeating through Betty’s this morning… it’s Ginger cookies with undertones of caramel and golden syrup.. I’m thrilled that the tearoom and sewing box are at last reunited and getting back to some semblance of normality, with Julie  back in the kitchen understanding Landlords and friendly customers who’ve really supported us through  scary and uncertain times.

I’m beginning to plan and rearrange workshops so have added dates, however trying to contact people who’ve previously booked is proving to be challenging – so if you see one you’ve paid for and haven’t been contacted please email or call the shop.

Take care everybody

Annie

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