Tagged flowers

Handmade crochet poppies at Cheltenham Town Hall

Ash Dykes © Jason Aspinall, via Flickr
Ash Dykes © Jason Aspinall, via Flickr

My husband, the in-laws and I recently went to Cheltenham Town Hall to hear a talk by adventurer and explorer Ash Dykes. Ash is a young man from Wales who, in 2014, became the first person to trek – solo and unsupported – across the width of Mongolia. In 2016 he became the first person to walk the length of Madagascar, while at the same time summiting its 8 highest mountains!

We go to see these “Speakers from the Edge” talks quite regularly – they’re so inspirational! Among others, we’ve heard Sir Ranulph Fiennes talk about his mountaineering and polar expeditions, Ed Stafford regale us with tales of his walk along the length of the Amazon River, and TV presenter Ben Fogle telling us all about the adventures he has had both on and off-screen.

It always strikes me just how normal these people are (with perhaps the exception of Ranulph Fiennes who, it must be said, is genuinely a bit bonkers!). There’s often nothing all that special about their upbringing or their every day lives, they just dared to do something different. Although I can’t necessarily see myself bagging an extreme “world first”, I do always come away from these talks full of enthusiasm and renewed commitment to try and make my own life as full as it possibly can be.

In fact, although it sounds a bit mundane, one of the best things I ever did was to quit my job working for “The Man” (well, actually “The Woman”, in my case) to become self-employed. It was very scary, quitting a stable, well-paid job to go it alone, but it wasn’t making me happy – far from it, in fact. I now work as a freelance science writer and editor, and of course make my handmade crochet poppies, flowers, and kusadama paper flowers too!

Anyway, I digress…

© GCHQ 2017
© GCHQ 2017

What does this all have to do with handmade flowers?! Well, while popping to loo at Cheltenham Town Hall, I was stunned to see a beautiful ‘waterfall’ of handmade crochet poppies on display in the lobby!

After a bit of research, I discovered that these handmade fabric and yarn flowers had originally been on display at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which is based on the outskirts of Cheltenham. The display contains over 9000 handmade crochet poppies that were made by GCHQ friends and family, children, teachers and parents from local schools, village “stitch and bitch” groups and local branches of the Women’s Institute (WI).

© GCHQ 2017
© GCHQ 2017

The poppy waterfall, as well as the sale of a further 4000 handmade crochet poppies, has so far raised nearly £20,000 in aid of the Gloucestershire branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL). The RBL supports all generations of the military family to live on to a more hopeful future.

The poppies are only on display until mid-April, so they may have already gone. If you don’t get a chance to go and see them yourself, click here to find out how else you can make a donation to this worthwhile charity.

 

Purple crochet flowers for November wedding buttonholes

A trio of purple crochet flowers on their way to three little men in Derbyshire!

A bride-to-be called Charlotte contacted me back in July with an order for three handmade crochet buttonholes for her wedding. I absolutely loved the sound of her colour scheme – “Cadbury” purple crochet flowers with wooden button centres – gorgeous! Is she a chocolate lover, I wonder? Regardless, I knew I would enjoy making them! Read more

Red crochet wedding buttonholes

2016-01-15 10.39.14A Liverpool-based mother-of-the-bride-to-be contacted me towards the end of last year, asking if I could make the buttonholes for her daughter’s wedding in February. Now that the wedding date has passed, it’s safe to show you the fruits of my labour!

Val was looking for 10 red crocheted buttonholes with blue button centres and green leaves. What a lovely colour combination! I think these look really cheerful, and would certainly brighten up the suit of any member of the wedding party!  Read more

A thoughtful paper wedding anniversary gift

2015-11-29 19.15.51
© Lisa Benjamin

Emma from Somerset was a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding in 2014, and with the couple’s first anniversary coming up towards the end of last year, she contacted me to commission a very special gift.

Traditionally, the first wedding anniversary is celebrated with paper – so what better present than a posy of beautiful handmade paper flowers! Read more

Single paper flowers from maps

© Lisa Benjamin
© Lisa Benjamin

Mandy from Dorset contacted me in early July with a request to make 20 single paper flowers from maps to be used as table decorations for her upcoming wedding – and liked them so much she came back to me to ask for 16 more!

She requested red, white and blue button centres – for some reason I didn’t get any red ones in any of my photos, but I promise they were there!), so there was clearly a bit of a patriotic theme going on – being based in Poole, perhaps ‘English seaside’? Read more

New Handmade Flowers Projects

Gorgeous new Wool Warehouse yarn for new handmade flowers projects
Gorgeous new yarns from Wool Warehouse – I went a bit crazy and ordered one ball in almost every colour :-)

Now that our wedding is well and truly behind us (sigh…), it’s time for me to get serious with this business and start some new handmade flowers projects!

My website is functional at the moment, but not very user-friendly, or well organised, and it doesn’t yet show off the range of my flower-making skills. So, this weekend I am busy working on creating some sample products to display on my website. First project: some crocheted buttonhole samplers.

As you will see from my image gallery, my groom and his his groomsmen all wore handmade crochet buttonholes (or boutonnieres, if you like!) fastened to a pair of braces for a laid back, casual wedding look. Traditionally, buttonholes match the bride’s bouquet, which in turn incorporates the colour(s) of the wedding theme and bridesmaid dress(es). Read more

Paper Flowers for Anna Politkovskaya Memorial

Paper flowers for Anna Politkovskaya memorial
A Russian activist holding an Anna Politkovskaya banner at a public demonstration. © Amnesty Finland, via Flickr (CC-BY 2.0)

Yesterday, October 7th, was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s birthday. It’s also, I discovered, Anna Politkovskaya memorial day.

Anna Politkovskaya was a Ukrainian-born Russian journalist and human rights activist. Between 1996 and 2002, she  worked as a journalist for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, known for its hard-nosed, outspoken investigative journalism. She became particularly renowned for her commentary on the Chechen wars in which she often criticised the Russian government and military forces, accusing them of committing atrocious abuses of human rights against ethnic minority groups and refugees. Read more

New Handmade Flowers Pinterest Board

Handmade flowers pinterest boardDo you use Pinterest? It’s a kind of social bookmarking website. You can create virtual pinboards, onto which you can ‘pin’ images, websites and movie clips of all the interesting things you find on the internet.

Like quite a few other ‘pinners’, I started using Pinterest when I first got engaged and created pinboards to collect images of wedding dresses, hairstyles, decorations and accessories. I also use it to pin recipes, knitting patterns, crochet stitches, crafts and fitness inspiration, but there are a thousand different uses!

You can find me on Pinterest here: http://uk.pinterest.com/lisaamartin82/. I’ll confess that the idea to create a bouquet of handmade flowers for my wedding wasn’t a new idea – it was something I found on Pinterest. Read more

My Handmade Wedding Bouquet – How it all Began

Handmade wedding bouquet made from maps
This handmade wedding bouquet was made from maps, atlases and the pages of travel magazines. © HandmadeFlowers.co.uk. All Rights Reserved.

Seeing the pictures of my handmade wedding bouquet on Facebook, my friend Hannah said:

These are truly amazing!

Then Katherine said:

I NEEEEEED to know how you did this!!! Amazing xxx

Mark said:

Beautiful. Very clever.

And Sara texted me to say:

I thought [your bouquet] was incredible! You should set up your own company making them.

Well, I thought, with encouragement like that perhaps I should give it a go! Read more