38 degrees in the shade…summer 2022

By | News

So proud of Sophie-Rose!

Oh err Missus ..
what a scorcher!
Afternoon Everybody ..
from the garden swing today, as I’m enjoying some Sunday solitude in the garden at Calton. It’s been a busy few weeks in the Gardiner -Smith crib with Sophie returning from University (not willing to brag but … with a FIRST CLASS DEGREE in Fine Art !!)
Anyway the dreaded covid hit me again – so it was a week in bed, fortunately we have  great people at #teambettys and there were no haberdashery emergencies… wait! what am I saying!? Helen was left to deal with Promgate – lots of blushing would be Prom Queens having left their dresses to be altered to the last minute – and all wanting them NOW! Helen frantically doing the alterations while Jo and June “ Oh yes we can do that no problem..” calmly booked them in!  I notice on my return Helen has imported a fan to sit by her sewing machine🤬 You’ll also see some revamped Alteration charges because as you all know (I know I’m preaching to the converted) let’s face it,  people who bring items to altered to the shop don’t actually want to subscribe to my email!Then another bridal emergency hit yesterday morning which (to cut a long unpicking story short) found us all trying to zip a poor bridesmaid into her dress even Ryan from the kitchen was required to lend some masculine muscle.. oh dear poor Lydia picked the short straw with her dress being faulty on many counts.. but she took it in good part even though the wedding planner was ashen faced with her walkie talkie at the ready and the clock ticking by!ahh ‘First World Problems’ at Betty’s I hear you cry – and they really are ..talking of which – some of you will know that I’m gradually phasing out Liberty Tana Lawn from the shop – I know I bend the ear of any customer asking about the Liberty but despite its beauty the company don’t make it easy for small independents like Betty’s to stock their fabric. In fact if anything they make it as hard as possible, demanding huge orders and placing extra charges on smaller bolts. Their prices are high and there is little incentive to keep it. So while I’ll still stock the Liberty Cotton, Tana Lawn will not come back (that’s not to say I haven’t got any left there are still plenty of bolts). However I’m getting more and more of the Pima Lawn which in my opinion is as nice, and half the price!So forgive me for this stream of consciousness email.. hopefully you’ll all be enjoying the sunshine, and taking care wherever you are in the world! Have a great summer and come visit soon
From your slightly sun-drenched chum


Bunting Bloodbath at Betty’s

By | News

Hello Everybody!
Here I am back in the Super King American bed.. not a chocolate in sight as I’m still on the sugar free health kick.. my night runs (no not those!) have progressed to park runs at Ashbourne on a Saturday, thought I’d be incognito but quite a few Bettys customers also go and merrily shout “Hi Annie” as they power past me!
Anyway I thought I must squeeze an email out to you before the bank holiday – I keep promising to do one… especially as I have added quite a few new people to the Bettys Gang!
It’s been a busy few months  – ‘Bunting Gate’ this last few weeks, with the shop and tearoom now resembling a  permanent Jubilee street party – we’ve churned our many metres of bunting as well as making loads of make your own packs, not to mention the after school club making at least 30 metres between them!
Inspired by the Sewing Bee we have loads of beautiful new fabric in the shop – my new cheaper alternative to Liberty Lawn keeps growing with lots of great prints- just as beautiful and silky, absolutely no difference (except the far more affordable price). Also lots of new dress patterns from Stylarc and The Assembly Line, some great designs to choose from. Jacqui and I went to see Esme Young in Derby, such an inspirational Lady, still designing and teaching fashion at 73.
Have a great holiday weekend and enjoy the Jubilee🔻🇬🇧🔻🇬🇧
From your patriotic chum



By | News

Hello Everybody .. still here in the Super king American Bed not a Lindor ball in sight – no chocolate has passed my lips for at least 16 hours my New Year diet has started already. It’s been a funny old Christmas in the Gardiner-Smith household, the new covid variant sent everyone into a tail spin – news reports were awful so I think most people were sensibly staying at home and Betty’s was a bit quiet for a few days before we closed – not the usual last minute shopping spree (think I spent more in Bill & Edna and the Tearoom than anywhere else) .. Lulu tested positive and we trooped off for a PCR, thankfully I was negative but Lulu, with little more than a cough was positive, so we decided Jake with his asthma shouldnt come home for Christmas – first time we’ve not been together .. took him 20 minutes to book a romantic cabin in a forest with his girlfriend 🙄
I’ve  been spending the afternoon planning courses for the new year, being careful again and limiting numbers. Jacqui will be running another beginners sewing course and I thought I would start a monthl free machine embroidery morning for you guys who have learned the technique and want to take it to another level. Jacqui will also be teaching the Cleo Dress in a day.
As I write this Jools is on with his Hootenanny (lost its sparkle when I discovered it was  recorded in October)  and 2022 has started.. oh and I’ve already broken into the chocolate.

Thank you for continuing to support Betty’s and I hope and pray you will have a safe and happy 2022 🙏🏻

Your (almost) choc free chum

Annie x

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
 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


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


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.


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

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.