Tagged handmade

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

Yellow and grey for a first wedding anniversary present

2016-03-05 15.25.00
© Lisa Benjamin

Towards the end of last year I created some beautiful paper flowers for Emma, a very thoughtful maid-of-honour who wanted to gift her friend a posy of special flowers for a first wedding anniversary present.

I was delighted to hear from Emma again recently – she was so happy that her first friend was “blown away” by her paper flowers that she decided to commission a similar posy for another friend’s first wedding anniversary present. 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

Crochet Remembrance Day Poppy

Remembrance day poppy for Royal British Legion or Help for Heroes
Handmade crochet poppy for Remmbrance Day. I do not charge for these poppies, but request that you make a suggestion donation of £5 to the Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes or another military charity. Please contact me if you would like one.

It’s that time of year again when a familiar little flower starts appearing on the lapels of newsreaders, politicians, and ordinary people on the street.

The poppy signifies, of course, Remembrance Day – the 11th November – on which we remember the end of World War Two and the servicemen and women of the armed forces who have died in armed conflict.

To mark the occasion this year, I have come up with this original design crochet Remembrance Day poppy. Crafted in soft poppy red merino cotton yarn, with a green merino cotton leaf, this poppy also features a shiny black button crocheted into the centre and a brooch pin to secure to the lapel of your favourite coat or jacket. Read more

Handmade Flowers Instagram

handmade flowers instagram
© HandmadeFlowers.co.uk. All Rights Reserved.

I’ve set up a Handmade Flowers Instagram!

I’m rather late to the party as people have been ‘instagramming’ for years. But, after setting up a Pinterest board for my handmade flowers, I’ve also decided to get on board with Instagram. The main reason is that I’ve finally got round to getting a new mobile phone with a decent camera and a data plan. I can now Instagram to my heart’s content! 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