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Bettys Sewing Box

It’s Pants – Positive Pants..

By | News

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to write something witty😳 I have started a few but failed to complete and then the days went on and the news was out of date..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

Re-opening 🙏🏻

By | News

Evening Everybody!
t’s late again but I thought I must send this email to you because Betty’s is gradually coming out of lockdown… hurrah!!

We open properly to the public this coming Tuesday and will be having a soft opening for a few weeks, so staff and customers feel comfortable about the arrangements. If all goes well we’ll be back to our regular opening times soon.

Opening hours until the end of June: Tuesday – Friday 10am – 4pm.

Here are a few rules we’d ask you to observe:

  • Please use the hand sanitiser before coming into the shop.
  • We will be wearing masks to protect you and we ask that you do too.
  • Please respect social distancing and keep 2m away from others.
  • Only 2 people in the shop at any  one time.
  • Please avoid coming in with other family members as far as possible. We have made seating available outside.
  • Please avoid touching the products and ask the staff to get items out for you.
  • Please pay by card.

 

We’ll still be taking orders over the phone and Sophie has now uploaded lots of our new stock to the online shop so please use that facility.  I still have our ‘Click and Collect’ system, and I can easily leave items for you to collect.

I hope this all makes sense and as usual I thank you for you’re support. I’ve really missed  you all, and look forward to seeing you soon.

Keep safe
Annie

 

A Quarantini For Me Please.. (Preferably After Breakfast)

By | News

Pew.. what a scorcher!

Hello everybody! I hope you’re well, enjoying the weather, staying healthy and hopefully doing some crafting. Being creative has helped me so much over the years, it’s ‘mindfulness’ and meditation for us arty types. The lockdown has challenged us all, I have days when I feel motivated and positive -then others when I’d happily drink gin for breakfast. Going to the shop most days has been a huge help and a few visitors has been a happy distraction – it’s good to see you, and hear from you too.

Well ‘mask-gate’ hit Betty’s after I floated the idea in my last email that I could possibly make a few… we had a huge response, the poor website broke, I had to recruit the help of my lockdown buddies Lulu, Jake and Sophie-Rose and Bettys’ Elves, Myra and Rachel, also came to the rescue! We’ve posted masks all over the country so you little beauties have been sharing the email for which I’m so grateful. I’ve had conversations with people from Stroud, Brighton, Essex, Stornaway was probably the furthest North! Thank you all of you for continuing to support Betty’s, it’s really offered us an unexpected income stream during these uncertain times, now I’m on first name terms with the post ladies and I’ve been able to to donate a portion to our local Ashbourne charity Carline.

Our push to make PPE continues, as sewers reach burn out (or, in Cathy Reavy’s case, her sewing machine has!) new sewers come onboard and I absolutely know it’s been going to the right places – Care-homes and Hospices. We’ve helped GPs, Dentists lots of local frontline workers. Sewers all over the area have worked so hard it’s been great to be part of such a positive and useful group.
TAKE care and be safe
Annie

Lockdown News

By | News

I really hope this finds you all well coping with lockdown and quarantine or if you’re  a key worker – my heartfelt thanks to you – you really are awe-inspiring. These are such strange times, making us reflect on our lives, re-evaluating what’s important.. oh and I’ve learned a ‘tictoc’ dance..

I must admit that I went into a bit of a tail spin when all this happened, having worked so hard to build up the business, focus on the workshops for 2020, enlisting some ‘Heavy weight’ artists to teach us new and diverse courses .. well it just seemed like everything was going to collapse overnight🥺
Then Sarah Pollard contacted me about making scrubs and aprons, and I was quickly jolted out of my reverie, doing something really positive – collecting duvet covers and sheets, and then, bizarrely here we are displaying our items in Young Ideas shop window – Du-vet to Gucci in a few weeks!
So many sewers from our community have got involved it’s been an amazing response and judging by the mountains of bed linen there must be many tidy airing cupboards! As I type this we’re up to 2000 plus items.

I think the Universe is teaching us all a few lessons.

If there are any local sewers who’d like to take part email me, or look for ‘Coverall Gowns for Careworkers’ on Facebook.

Some bittersweet news..
I’m sorry to tell I you the sad news that our lovely colleague and friend, June, has lost her husband to cancer. Many of you will know June through the Knit and Natter group as well as being the Betty’s Quilting aficionado. David was only diagnosed 4 months ago. I’m sure you’ll all join me in sending her our love and prayers at this time.
We loose a member of our Betty’s family and then we gain one: the after school sewing teacher, Donna, has had her baby. Nancy was born on April 14th and we’re all thrilled, Mum and baby are doing well despite the current situation!   The after school youngsters are busy making a collaborative surprise for her (hard to organise something ‘collaborative’ during this time of social distancing will keep you posted!)

Many of you have been so understanding over postponed workshops and courses. We’re  working on new dates, but until we know when it’s safe to resume normal life I’m not in a position to advertise them again, I promise they’ll be on, I’m also researching more artists and honing my own skills too.

So I think that’s everything for the time being – PLEASE stay safe, stay in and stay in touch!

Much Love

Annie x

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