#rainbowsforresearch

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Today I’m excited to launch my new fundraising campaign #rainbowsforresearch, raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund as part of Brain Tumour Awareness Month coming up in March. I’ve been working on this in secret for a little while so I’m very excited to tell you all about it!

As some of you may remember from last year, March is Brain Tumour Awareness month, and it all starts on Friday 2 March (just 3 weeks from now) when The Brain Tumour Charity are asking everyone to don a bandana and, this year, to also get baking to help raise funds and awareness and show your support for the charity. (You can read more about the charity’s Big Bandana Bake campaign for 2018 here)

This is a statistic I often quote – brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and under 40s, but in the UK less than 2% of cancer research funding is spent on research into brain tumours. For the 10,600 people diagnosed each year, this isn’t good enough. You can help us change this. The Brain Tumour Charity aims to raise £150k throughout Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March, which could fund a life saving research project for over two years.

I decided to give my fundraising for The Michael Barry Fund a rainbow spin this year, so I’ve come up with products and ideas which all link in with the bandana campaign, but with lots of rainbow colours! And since the aim of the fundraising is to raise money for brain tumour research, I’ve decided to call it #rainbowsforresearch

Why rainbows?

So why choose a rainbow theme? Well, first and foremost, I love colour, as much of it as I can get, and Michael was just the same. You might also have noticed that rainbows are very “on trend” at the moment – over the past year or so the internet has been going wild for anything rainbow themed, and I think it’s such a great expression of colour, creativity and happiness.

Rainbows can also stand for many things, and I love that rainbows are a symbol of hope, which it’s a perfect theme for the fundraising campaign. Setting up The Michael Barry Fund and getting involved with The Brain Tumour Charity have been my beacons of hope since losing Michael. I recently read a quote on Pinterest which summed up exactly what I mean by this, which I have paraphrased slightly below:

When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean that the storm didn’t happen. What it means is that something beautiful has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds

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And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that Michael was a truly colourful character, as you can see from these pictures! Both of which were taken while he was going through chemo. It makes me so proud to see how happy and full of life he was, and that never changed. So all in all, rainbows seemed to be the perfect theme for this year’s fundraising – full of happiness and colour. Just like my Michael.

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Fundraising Products

I’ve put together a new collection of rainbow inspired fundraising products to tie in with the campaign, which are all available to buy now in my pop up online rainbow shop! 100% of the profits from each item will go to Michael’s fund – I have donated all of my time and most of the materials in making these rainbow goodies! All of the items are limited edition and have been made in small runs, and I have priced them affordably to sell so that we can try and raise as much as possible during brain tumour awareness month. So please go and fill your baskets with rainbow goodies, and wear them with me on Friday 2 March!

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My favourite new product is the bandana necklace. I’m a big fan of novelty acrylic jewellery, and I had the idea of making a necklace version of a bandana as a fun new take on the concept. I came up with a simple design based on a bandana tied around your neck, and worked with the lovely folks at Yeah Laser to turn my idea into an amazing acrylic necklace! I’ve made the necklace in a range of colours, including this bright rainbow combo, plus a pastel rainbow version, and red and aqua colour ways to be in keeping with the colours of The Brain Tumour Charity. I’m so happy with how they turned out, and I think they look fab with stripey tops! You can buy the necklaces here.

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I’ve also made a range of wired bandanas (like last year) which you can twist in your hair, in a selection of fun rainbow and cloud themed fabrics! You can buy the bandanas here.

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I stitched up a range of rainbow hued cross stitch embroidery hoop necklaces too, including this slice of rainbow cake – yum! As I mentioned above, The Brain Tumour Charity’s theme for the bandana campaign this year is the Big Bandana Bake, and they are encouraging people to don a bandana and host a bake sale to raise money, so a rainbow cake necklace seemed like the perfect idea! There are a few other rainbow designs to choose from, plus pastel alternatives of each design, which you can buy here.

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I’ve also put together some craft kits so you can make your very own rainbow collar! I thought this might be a fun idea for those of you who love sewing and might want to make something yourself rather than buying a ready made product, and I think the collar is a fun alternative to the bandana. You can buy the craft kits here (and if you’re not much of a sewist, I have popped one ready made version of the collar in the shop here too).

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And to round off the rainbow collection, I whipped up some purses and zip pouches in rainbow themed fabrics, with super pretty iridescent cloud zip charms! I do love a good finishing detail! You can buy the purses here.

I’ll also be continuing to make donations from the rest of my Smile & Make product sales and adding these donations to the #rainbowsforresearch fundraising total. All of my pins and patches are all currently on sale here if you fancy a bargain, and £1 from the sale of each goes to Michael’s fund.

Rainbow Craft Day & Bake Sale

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To kick off brain tumour awareness month and to tie in with the charity’s Big Bandana Bake, Mum and I will be hosting a Rainbow Bake Sale and Craft Day at our workshop in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and we’d love to see you there!

There are two elements to the day. First up, we will be hosting a small rainbow themed bake sale at our workshop, and you can call in anytime from 12pm – 2pm for cake and a chat!

Following on from the bake sale, we’ve put together a rainbowtastic craft session which will run from 2pm to 5pm, and places must be booked in advance. You will have the opportunity to make three fabulous rainbow inspired projects: rainbow bunting embellished with all manner of pretty papercraft, a cloud hanger with colourful raindrops, and an embroidered pennant featuring a colourful house floating away on balloons (just like in the movie Up!). You can find out more details and book your place here.

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Rainbow Raffle

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And finally, I’ve also put together a raffle to win the ultimate handmade rainbow outfit – you could win a Smile & Make handmade rainbow dress and clutch bag, and entry is just £3!

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I’ve been thinking of holding a raffle to win a handmade dress for a while, and it seemed the perfect opportunity to offer the chance to win a rainbow dress as part of #rainbowsforresearch. I first came up with the rainbow dress design last year for a colour walk with In Colourful Company, and it was a big hit! I was asked if I would make the rainbow dress to sell, and I did for a short time, but the design is quite time consuming to sew as the skirt is made up of lots of rainbow panels, so I only ever made a few. But in honour of #rainbowsforresearch and Brain Tumour Awareness Month, for one last time I’m bringing back the rainbow dress, plus a super jazzy rainbow clutch bag to make it a complete rainbow outfit. You can find out more and enter the raffle on the Just Giving page I have set up here.

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That was a bit of an epic post as I wanted to document all of my different fundraising plans in one place, so thank you for reading and sticking with me if you’ve made it this far!!

I should also add that if you’d like to make your own bandana or bandana inspired project to wear on Friday 2 March and support Brain Tumour Awareness Month, you are very welcome to (and very much encouraged!). I shared a few tutorials on the blog as part of the campaign last year to give you some ideas which you can find here and here. And if none of these products take your fancy but you’d still like to make a donation to Michael’s fund, you can do so here, or through Just Giving here.

Lucy x

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DIY Tutorial: Twist Tie Bandana for #WearItOut

In two weeks time on Friday 3 March I’ll be asking you all to grab a bandana and #WearItOut in support of The Brain Tumour Charity (which you can read more about in my last post). This year, the theme of the campaign is to Make your own bandana, Buy one or Use one you already have, so I’ve put together a simple tutorial to encourage you to Make your own wired bandana to wear on the day. I made 30 of these bandanas to sell in my Etsy shop in support of the campaign and they proved to be extremely popular, selling out in less than 12 hours!

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I personally love to wear wired bandanas since I find them easy to style, and much better at staying put in my fine slippy hair. You can just twist the bandana in your hair and you’re ready to roll! If you’d prefer a bandana without a wire, I’ve explained how to adapt the pattern at the end of the post. And if sewing isn’t your thing, I’ll be posting another tutorial to make a very pretty knitted bandana in a few days, put together by my lovely Mum, Bev of Spotty Daisy.

The weather hasn’t been great here and some of the pictures are a little darker than I would like, but hopefully you can still get the idea!

How To Make Your Own Wired Bandana

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Supplies:

  • Fabric of your choice – you will need a piece measuring 88cm x 13cm (see later in the post for tips on how to make the bandana from just a fat quarter, or how to make the bandana reversible)
  • Matching thread
  • Craft wire 2mm thickness – you will need a 95cm piece
  • Washi tape (optional)

Tools:

  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Ruler
  • Fabric marker if you have one, or a pencil will do!
  • Point turner – you can use a knitting needle, or anything with a blunt point

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STEP 1: draw the bandana shape & cut out your fabric. Take your ruler and draw a rectangle measuring 88cm x 13cm on your fabric, using an erasable fabric marker if you have one. Just a pencil will do if not, as the lines you draw will not be seen when the bandana is finished.

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Once you have drawn out the rectangle, you need to taper in the short edges of the rectangle to create a pointed shape at the ends of your bandana. Measure in and mark 3cm from each corner along the long edges of the rectangle. Then mark the halfway point (6.5cm) of each short edge. Using a ruler, join these marks together, as shown below.

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Cut out the rectangle and cut around the pointed edges you have drawn, which should give you a shape as below.

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STEP 2: Fold in half, then pin and stitch the sides. Fold your bandana in half along the longest width, so the right sides of the fabric are facing together. Pin the raw edges together.

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Make sure to leave an opening in the centre of about 6cm so that you can turn your bandana inside out and thread in the wire once you have sewn it. Use 2 pins to mark each side of this gap to remind you to stop sewing here!

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Sew along the raw edges using a 1.5cm seam allowance, and make sure to back tack at the beginning and end of each seam. Start from the pointed edge and sew towards the middle.

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Once you reach the edge of the opening which you have marked with two pins, pivot and sew off the edge of the fabric at 90 degrees as shown below. This will help to keep the opening neatly tucked inside when you turn the bandana the right side out. Repeat from the other pointed edge.

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STEP 3: Trim your seam allowances & turn the right way out. Trim your seam allowances down to about 1 cm. Cut diagonally across the corners, but be careful not to cut too close to the stitching line.

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Turn the bandana the right way out. Use a point turner to poke out the pointed corners and keep them sharp. I use a bamboo point turner, but you can use anything with a blunt point, like a knitting needle. Be gentle and make sure not to poke a hole through the seam!

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STEP 4: Press! Give the bandana a really good press with your iron.

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STEP 5: Make and insert the wire. Take your craft wire and cut a length measuring 95cm. Fold each end in by 5 cm, then twist together as below. This will prevent having a sharp end to the wire which could poke through the fabric and worse, poke you!

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If you have some washi tape to hand, you could cut a strip and wrap it around the edge of the wire as below, just to be extra careful.

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Now carefully insert the wire through the opening. Once the wire is in place, try to grip each end of the wire in each corner of the bandana and give it a good pull to straighten the wire out, as it can get a little twisted as you thread it in through the opening.

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STEP 6: Topstitch the opening. The last step is to sew up the opening you have just inserted the wire through. Use thread in the same colour as your fabric, and stitch close to the edge as shown above. Back tack at the beginning and end of the seam to secure it.

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And ta-da – you have a fabulous new bandana to wear! Now for the final and most important step…

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STEP 7: Wear It Out! On Friday 3 March, wear your handmade bandana proudly in support of The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, take a picture of yourself wearing it and post it to social media using the tag #WearItOut, and text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

Wired Bandana from a Fat Quarter

If you don’t have a wide enough piece of fabric to cut out your bandana, you can easily make one from a fat quarter! My lovely friend Daisy of Make Thrift London recently gifted me a set of fat quarters cut from vintage bedding, which I thought would be perfect for making bandanas.

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To cut a bandana from a fat quarter, you will basically need to cut it in two halves and sew these together along the middle, and the rest of the construction is then the same as above. So, you will need to draw out two rectangles measuring 45.5cm x 13cm, and then taper one end of each rectangle as shown in Step 1 above. This should give you two pointed rectangles as below.

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Pin the two rectangles together along the flat short edge, right sides of the fabric together.

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Sew along this edge using a 1.5cm seam allowance, and back tack at the ends. Then press the seam open as below.

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Now follow on from Step 2 above, and make sure to pay particular attention to Step 7!

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Reversible Wired Bandana

If you’d like to make your bandana more versatile, why not use a different fabric for each side and make it reversible? You’ll need to cut a rectangle measuring 88cm x 8 cm from two different fabrics, as illustrated below.

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Then taper the ends of each rectangle to create a pointed edge by measuring in 3 cm from each corner along the top of each rectangle, then use a ruler to draw a line from this mark to the bottom corner.

Or, if you don’t have wide enough pieces of fabric to hand, you could use 2 fat quarters and cut out 2 rectangles measuring 45.5cm x 8cm from each fabric, as below.

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You’ll then need to taper the ends as below.

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Next, pin the matching rectangles along the straight edges.

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Sew along this edge using a 1.5cm seam allowance, and press open.

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Pin the two rectangles together all along the raw edges, right sides facing. Make sure to leave a gap in the centre of about 6cm so that you can turn your bandana inside out once you have sewn it. Use 2 pins to mark each side of this gap to remind you to stop sewing.

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Sew all around the raw edges using a 1.5cm seam allowance, and make sure to back tack at the beginning and end of the seam. Then, follow on from Step 3 above, and you’ll have a nifty reversible bandana!

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Making a Bandana Without A Wire

If you would prefer to make a bandana without a wire so you can simply tie it in your hair or around your neck, it’s very simple to adapt the instructions above. The main change you will need to make is to cut out a longer piece of fabric, as the bandana will need to be longer so that you can tie a knot to secure it in your hair or around your neck. Ideally, you’ll need to cut a piece of fabric measuring at least 110cm x 13cm. Then follow the instructions as above, but don’t insert the wire!

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To make a non-wired bandana out of a fat quarter, you’ll need to cut two rectangles measuring at least 56.5 x 13cm, and follow the instructions as above, skipping the step where you insert the wire.

Or to make it double sided, you’ll either need to cut a rectangle measuring at least 110 cm x 8 cm from two different fabrics, or cut 2 rectangles each measuring at least 56.5cm x 8cm from two different fabrics, and again follow the instructions as above, skipping the step where you insert the wire.

I look forward to seeing your makes on Friday 3 March! And don’t forget to take a picture of yourself on the day wearing your bandana and post it to social media using the tag #WearItOut, and text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

Hopefully you can follow my explanations above, but do let me know if you need any help! Happy sewing!

Lucy x

#WearItOut

On Friday 3 March, exactly one month today, will you wear a bandana and join me in supporting The Brain Tumour Charity’s #WearItOut campaign? Our united community will come together to raise awareness and vital funds for research into brain tumours – all while rocking a bandana! It’s especially poignant for me this year as the date falls just after the first anniversary of losing Michael, and I’d love it if everyone who knew and loved Michael, or who has come to know our story from my blog or Instagram, will don a bandana and make a stand with me on 3 March.

This is a statistic I often quote, but in the UK less than 2% of cancer research funding is spent on research into brain tumours. For the 10,600 people diagnosed each year, this isn’t good enough. You can help us change this. The Brain Tumour Charity aims to raise £150k throughout Brain Tumour Awareness Month in March, which could fund 600 days of research.

This year, the theme of the campaign is to Make your own bandana, Buy one or Use one you already have, so it couldn’t be easier to join in! I’ve been making a mountain of bandanas which I will be selling in my Etsy shop to support the campaign, and donating 100% of profits to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund. I’ll also be encouraging all of my creative pals to make your own or style up something you already have! Read on for more ideas of how you can get involved later in this post.

Whatever you do, make sure to wear your bandana loud and proud on the 3 March and get people talking about brain tumours. Post a selfie on social media using the hashtag #WearItOut, or wear one to work, to the post office or the supermarket and tell everyone about the campaign! Keep your eye on my Instagram feed as on 3 March I’ll be giving away a few Tip Top prizes for the best bandana pictures you share!

If you choose to make your own bandana or style something you already have, I’d love it if you could make a small donation to support the campaign by texting TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

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To kick things off, with a bit of digging I’ve managed to find an excellent snap of Michael in a bandana to inspire us all. So here he is rocking a bandana at a festival! I think this was taken the summer before I met Michael, so I’m guessing it was at Truck or Reading? Always with his polo shirt buttoned up!

Buy it

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I’ve made a whole batch of fun and colourful bandanas which are now up for sale in my Etsy shop. I’ve made two varieties, either with a wire to easily twist and wear in your hair, or without a wire so you can tie it in your hair, around your neck, on your bag, around the brim of your hat, around your wrist – whatever you can think of! They are a slim design, equivalent to a traditional square bandana which has been rolled up, as I find this easy to style!

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I’ve used bright colours and bold prints, all in crisp 100% cotton, and every bandana is a one off. Each bandana is finished with a woven label reading #WEARITOUT in support of the campaign. I’ve made some in shades of red and turquoise, which are the colours of The Brain Tumour Charity. I even managed to find a beautiful Liberty Tana Lawn in a print named after the Olympic Diver Tom Daley, who is a patron of the Charity, which is available in the Charity’s colours, so I had to use it!

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You could also head to The Brain Tumour Charity’s online shop to buy one of the Charity’s bandanas. There are two designs to choose from!

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Make it

Why not unlock your creative talent and design your own bandana? The possibilities are endless! I’ll be posting tutorials here in the coming weeks for how to make a simple square bandana, or how to make a wired twist tie bandana like the ones I have for sale in my Etsy shop. And I’d love to see how you guys interpret the concept. Basically, as long as it’s something you can tie around your hair or your neck, anything goes in my book! So why not knit your own, crochet something, make one out of pom poms, upcycle an old tea towel or cushion cover? Here’s one I whipped up by making a patchwork out of scraps of fabric from each of the dresses I have made!

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You could take a bandana or scarf you already have and jazz it up, maybe add a fun trim like the pom pom border below, or cover it in glitter! You could even just take a plain bandana, handkerchief or square of fabric, grab a sharpie and use your design skills to doodle something fun!

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And if you’re looking for more inspiration, there are fun tutorials on The Brain Tumour Charity’s website to make the designs below, or you can apply for a free fundraising pack which includes stencils and other ideas of how to make your own!

If you do make your own, don’t forget to share a picture using the hashtag #WearItOut, and text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

Use it

Why not look in the back of your wardrobe and wear a bandana that you already have? It’s the perfect way to get involved this Brain Tumour Awareness Month and look great doing it! If you’re anything like me and have a hoarded collection of vintage scarves, now’s the perfect time to show them off, and I’d love to see how you style yours! I tried styling a quirky lipstick print scarf Michael gave me for Christmas a few years ago.

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If you choose to wear your own, don’t forget to share a picture using the hashtag #WearItOut, and why not text TMBF81 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund, or make a donation here.

I’m really excited about this campaign as it’s so easy to get involved. I can’t wait to see how everyone rocks their bandanas! Thank you for your support!

Lucy x

Blanket of Hugs Raffle

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I am delighted to launch a raffle in aid of The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund to win one of the beautiful #jennysblanketofhugs blankets!

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The Blanket of Hugs measures approximately 1.35m x 1.55m and is made up of handmade squares in a mix of pinks, reds and oranges, all joined together with bright green yarn. The squares are a mix of plain, striped and bobble stitches, decorated with a scattering of handmade flowers, hearts and butterflies. The blanket is finished with a bobble stitched edge and a fabulous giant pom pom in each corner.

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Raffle tickets are only £3 each and can be bought by making a donation on Just Giving. Multiple tickets can be bought by making donations in multiples of £3, e.g. 2 tickets for a donation of £6. The winner will be drawn at 9pm on Wednesday 9 November 2016 and announced on Facebook and Instagram. PLEASE NOTE this raffle is open to UK entrants only. Sorry to any international friends, I’m afraid the blanket is just too big to justify international postage.

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The story behind this blanket is truly wonderful. The Blanket of Hugs is the result of a wonderful appeal to the crochet community to create a blanket of hugs for our friend Jenny, made up of squares (or mini “hugs”!) handmade by people all around the world. The response was so incredible that as well as a blanket for Jenny and her wonderful Mum Amanda, an extra 5 blankets were created, and Jenny selected 5 charities to donate the extra blankets to. I was delighted when Jenny chose Michael’s fund, and we decided to raffle our blanket.

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Jenny’s lovely Mum Amanda is the creator of the fabulous crochet subscription box, Little Box of Crochet. Amanda began her business not only from her love of crochet and creativity but also from personal need, as her beautiful daughter Jenny had recently been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. When Jenny’s cancer returned for a third time, and with so many friends following their story, Amanda and Jenny’s friend Kate (of Just Pootling) wanted to find a way for the crochet community to show their support. Jenny needed a blanket, a blanket of hugs, that she could wrap herself in to feel all the positivity and love that everyone was sending from all corners of the world. And so the idea for #jennysblanketofhugs was born.

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Kate put out a call on Instagram and her blog and was immediately inundated with responses. She set to work choosing yarn in Jenny’s favourite colours and designing three different styles of squares to make up the blanket. People from all around the world wanted to take part and send Jenny their love, and the demand was so high that suppliers quickly started to sell out of yarn in the chosen colours! Over the next few weeks parcels started to arrive from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, France, Germany, America and so many more countries  – literally all the corners of the globe! By the closing date Kate had received over 1,000 squares! To use Kate’s words, it was “TOTALLY AMAZINGLY FABULOUS!”

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After weeks of sorting through all of the squares and pinning them up into blankets (using no less than 3,000 safety pins!), Kate, Amanda, Jenny and a group of 20 crochet friends who volunteered to help arranged a gathering to join all of the squares up into blankets. Our blanket was then finished off by Clare, who added a fabulous bobble trim and huge pom poms on each corner!

So not only is this blanket a work of art, it is more importantly a global expression of love and support. I can’t quite describe how overwhelmingly wonderful the blanket is knowing just how much love and countless hours of work from people all around the world has gone into it. Now you have the opportunity to call it your own and wrap yourself up in hugs, whilst helping to support an incredibly important cause.

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Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killers of children and under 40s yet receive less than 2% of the national spend on cancer research in the UK and so funding for this research is vitally needed. All proceeds from the raffle will be used to fund research into high grade brain tumours in the hope that we might reduce the harm caused by brain tumours, improve survival and one day find a cure.

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I feel incredibly privileged to be part of this and I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to my dear new friends Jenny and Amanda for choosing Michael’s fund to receive one of the blankets, to Kate for organising #jennysblanketofhugs, to everyone who contributed a square, to the fabulous ladies who helped join the blankets together and to Clare for finishing this blanket off so beautifully!

So head over to Just Giving to buy your ticket now! Thank you for your support!

Lucy x

(If you would like to learn more about #jennysblanketof hugs, you can read the full story here or scroll the instagram hashtag here)

Instagram Auction raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund

This is a lot later than planned as there has been so much to photograph and write up, but I’m excited to finally share with you all of the amazing goodies I will be putting up for auction over on Instagram tomorrow, Saturday 16 July, to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund!

Rules

First up, some rules for how the auction will work:

  1. The auction will start from 6pm on Saturday 16 July, and bids are open until 9pm on Sunday 17 July.
  2. All listings will be posted on instagram.com/smileandmakesale
  3. All money raised will go directly to The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund.
  4. To bid on an item, please comment on the picture giving the amount of your bid. No need to include an email address, as I will contact the highest bidders to arrange payment by direct message once the auction has closed.
  5. Opening bids will be £5 for each listing, unless otherwise stated. This is to generate interest and give everyone a chance to bid, but please remember all of the items are worth far more than this, and all of the money will go to The Brain Tumour Charity, so please be generous!
  6. Please bid in increments of £1 – no pennies!
  7. Where the listing is for a bundle of more than one item, you are bidding for all of the items shown.
  8. UK bidders only for this auction – sorry to any international friends!
  9. Postage costs will be added to your final bid, and will be detailed on each listing.
  10. I will send a direct message to the highest bidder after the auction closes to arrange payment. Payment must be made within 24 hours, or I will revert to the next highest bidder.
  11. I will aim to post all items out within 7 days of the auction ending.
  12. And finally, please bid fairly and remember this is all for charity, so be nice to your fellow bidders!

Listings

That’s the serious stuff out of the way, now on to all the lovely goodies!

Clockwise from top left:

  1. Fox brooch by Tatty Devine – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. This fantastic fox brooch in a rare colourway is a fabulous shade of orange, with jet black cabochon eyes. Measures 6.5 cm x 5 cm.
  2. Bespoke hand decorated letters by Spotty Daisy – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. Handmade decorated letters to spell out any name or message up to 6 letters long, perfect for a nursery or bedroom, and can be made for a girl or boy’s name. In your choice of colourway, using a mix of patterned papers and decorations, such as daisies, roses and bows for a girl (as pictured), or boats, hot air balloons, trains, and planes for a boy. Letters measure approx. 10cm high. The letters are made from papier mache and are very lightweight, and will either stand or can also be wall mounted using sticky foam pads (not included).
  3. Flower Market themed Lucky Dip Club box (bottom two images) – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Here’s your chance to grab May’s sold out Lucky Dip Club box! The Flower Market themed box contains a Petal Power Tote Bag, Bloom Embroidered Sew-On patch and Prickly Pear Cactus Enamel Pin (all original illustrations by Sara R Rocha ), Packet of Seeds for Birds & Bees (Handmade by Paper Bea) and a Super Sunflower Happy Prop (Handmade by Hello Sunshine), and of course May’s edition of Girl Planet magazine! All packed up in a perfect pastel mailing box, delivered by unicorns!
  1. Dressmaking bundle by Tilly & The Buttons – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. A bundle of dressmaking goodies including the Coco top & dress pattern, Bettine dress pattern and the brand new Marigold jumpsuit & trousers pattern – make yourself a whole new wardrobe!! Also included in the bundle is a DIY Dressmaker totebag, 2 sewing themed 32mm button badges reading “DIY Dressmaker” and “Sewing Is Good For You”, and an A5 notebook for planning out your next project, which reads “Sewing Schemes / Dressmaking Dreams” and has plain pages. The tote bag is strong and sturdy, made from 100% cotton canvas with long webbing handles, and a clever gusset and landscape style to make it extra roomy and perfect for fabric shopping! Measures 37 cm x 49cm x 10cm.
  2. Set of two Fiesta Shopper bags by Sun Jellies – Opening bid £5, postage £4.95. Meet Frida and Rita, two fabulous retro shoppers with contrasting white handles in vibrant colours inspired by Mexican folkart. Frida is orange and measures 45 x 49 x 16cm. Rita is red and measures 35 x 39 x 14cm. For both bags, the handles clip together, and they stand upright on a flat base. Made from 100% recyclable PVC.
  3. Cloud Collar & Let’s Go Fly a Kite Enamel Pin by Fairytale Collars – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Gorgeous handmade peter pan collar in a special one off twist on the popular cloud design, with a co-ordinating enamel pin. The collar is made out of blue felt with a cloud design featuring a glittery gold sun and multi coloured glittery raindrops, and ties with a rainbow ribbon bow. The pin is hard enamel and features a white cloud with a pastel coloured kite in lilac, lemon, mint green and pink, with matching ribbons on its tail.
  4. Handmade quilted pencil case by Very Berry – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Lovely handmade pencil case by my fellow Spode Studios resident Ali of Very Berry. Modern patchwork design in a variety of gorgeous patterns and colours, with a mustard yellow zip and lined in a contrast fabric. Patchwork design continues on the reverse side of the pencil case. Measures approximately 22cm x 11cm x 3cm. (Stationery not included – shown here for illustrative purposes!!)
  1. Crocodile Acrylic Necklace by Tea Party at the Zoo – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. Meet Mr Crocodile, a fabulous lime green necklace which comes delightfully packaged in a quirky gift box. Crocodile measures approximately 9 cm x 4cm, with a chunky gold chain.
  2. Pretty party bundle by Paper Doily Party Shop – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Beautiful handmade party goodies in perfect pastel shades, for the prettiest tea party you’ll ever see! Including 12 glitter lemon heart cupcake toppers, 12 blue polka dot star cupcake toppers, silver glitter bow confetti sprinkles, multi pastel glitter flower confetti sprinkles and pink glitter circle confetti sprinkles.
  3. Sunflower brooch by Hello Sunshine – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. A jolly sunflower acrylic and wood brooch in a bold and bright design. Laser cut and engraved wood and yellow acrylic, presented on a black plated brooch bar pin, in a branded gift box. Size approx. 45mm x 45mm x 4.5mm.
  4. Caboodle Magazine Subscription Bundle by Caboodle – Opening bid £5, postage £2.50. Subscription bundle of the fabulous independent bi-annual publication Caboodle, offering inspiration, attainable aspiration and information for those with a sense of adventure and a curious spirit. Filled with beautiful photography and illustrations along with exciting editorials and features, Caboodle is fun and colourful, with a sense of humour and optimistic nature. You will be sent the SS16 magazine (Issue 3 – as pictured) now, and will receive the AW16 edition (Issue 4) when it is released later this year, with some extra surprise goodies from the gorgeous Caboodle ladies! Issue 3 includes a whopping 160 pages of exciting features, craft tutorials, recipes, interiors, fashion, beauty and travel, bursting at the seams with fun! Designed to be a beautiful keepsake, to be displayed on bookshelves and read again and again.
  1. Little Box of Baby Crochet – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. Limited edition Little Box of Baby Crochet contains everything you need to make Mama Duck, her little finger puppet duckling and a beautiful garland of Baby Bunting, all in Soft Yellow and Natural yarn. The yarn is hand dyed Baby Alpaca from Eden Cottage Yarns, and the pattern designed by French designer AnisBe. The box includes a 2.5 MM. soft handled hook, the toy stuffing, a sweet handmade baby footprint stitch marker, made by Beth at Korutumi, a gorgeous handmade soap from Jane Maddern of Somerset, which contains natural ingredients and fragrances in a linen pouch and a cup of Pukka Well Woman Tea. Everything you need to put your feet up and spend a few pleasurable hours of crochet. There’s a little baby out there who’s going to love you for it. This all comes in a beautiful box with including extra tissue and sticker in case you want to make the trio then gift them to baby in the box.
  2. July’s Little Box of Crochet – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. July’s edition of the monthly crochet subscription box, Little Box of Crochet. The box contains the pattern and yarn you need to make a small crochet project along with some crochet related treats, this month designed by Christa from @thecuriocraftsroom. Christa’s trademark feather designs are so vibrant and unique! Scroll the #littleboxofcrochet hashtag on Instagram for more sneak peeks of this month’s box.
  1. Colourful tassel necklace and set of yoga hairties by Zeta Emme – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Stunning handmade tassel necklace and matching set of yoga hairties, in an exclusive colour way designed by Zsuzsanna inspired by the colours of my Tip Top product range! Short tassel necklace with gorgeous blue, coral, yellow, turquoise and taupe tassels. Stunning on its own, as well as layered with other necklaces for a bohemian, colourful look. The chain is an etched aluminium chain in gold tone, tassel caps are gold plated. Length of chain 61 cm, length of each tassel 3.5cm, tassels are approx. 5cm apart. Set of 5 super comfy hair bobbles in the same colour palette. They contain no metal, so won’t do any harm to your hair, and ends are sealed to prevent fraying. Adult size, 14cm circumference unstretched.
  2. High as a Kite brooch by No-me Illustration & Design – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Lovely handmade kite brooch in bright neon and copper tones for a lovely sunny day! Based on an original illustration which is then laser cut into birch plywood, hand painted with acrylic and copper leaf and finally varnished. The brooch measures 2cm in width and 8cm in height.
  3. Mega craft kit bundle by The Make Arcade – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. Fabulous bundle of modern craft kits by The Make Arcade. Including: (1) “You Are Brave” modern cross stitch kit, including all you need to stitch up this affirmative message in a 3” wooden hoop. (2) Felt cactus craft kit, including all the bits needed to make a DIY cactus from fabulous wool mix felt in a mini terracotta pot. (3) Watermelon pin cushion kit, including everything you need to stitch up this jazzy felt watermelon to keep track of your pins! And (4) – a colourful rainbow of heart pins to help you with your projects.
  4. 2 Tickets to Kirstie Allsopp’s The Handmade Fair – generously contributed by The Make Arcade. Opening bid £5, postage £1. 2 tickets to The Handmade Fair, which takes place at Hampton Court Palace from 16-18 September. The tickets give you access to the fair for one day only. Please note these tickets are entry only, but can be upgraded to full experience tickets for an extra £15 per ticket if you would like to attend the Super Theatre, Skills Workshop and Grand Make.
  1. Tunnocks Caramel Wafer Cushion by Nikki McWilliams – Opening bid £5, postage £4.95. A cushion inspired by everyone’s favourite wafery treat (and Michael’s extra special favourite). The cushion’s red stripes have been printed onto a beautiful gold-yellow cotton fabric, and then appliqued with it-s ice white cotton “Caramel” diamond. Measuring a generous 21” x 21” in size and backed with a rich red cotton. Fastening with a concealed zip on the reverse, with a removable cushion pad. Made from start to finish in the UK.
  2. Handmade Bowl and Tumbler by Amanda Banham Ceramics – Opening bid £5, postage £4.95. Handmade illustrated stoneware bowl and tumbler. Stoneware ceramic bowl screenprinted with a whimsical illustration and hand painted with mark making. Measuring approx. 17cm diameter and 3cm deep. With a stoneware ceramic tumbler screenprinted with a donkey illustration. Glazed grey on the inside. Measures approx. 9cm diameter and 7cm deep. All presented in an “Amanda Banham Ceramics” hand printed canvas tote bag.
  3. Flair Bundle of Enamel Pins by Punky Pins – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Up your pin game with this fabulous bundle of 5 enamel pins. Peanut Butter pin (approx 2.5cm x 1.5cm), Cute Fox pin (approx 2.5 x 1.5cm), Purple Heart Gem pin (approx. 2cm x 2cm), Doughnut Heart pin (approx 2.5cm x 2.5cm), Crystal Ball pin (approx. 2.5 x 1.5cm). All of the pins come mounted on Punky Pins backing cards. All made from silver toned metal with a butterfly clutch pin.
  4. Another Flair Bundle of Enamel Pins by Punky Pins – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. As above.
  1. Original A3 Sunflower Gouache Painting by And Smile Studio – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. Beautiful original artwork by And Smile Studio in her signature style painted in gouache, created especially for this auction. A lady at the flower market in a fabulous dress, hidden behind a huge bunch of sunflowers, Michael’s favourite flower.
  2. Jewellery Bundle 1 by Ladybird Likes – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. The first of three jewellery bundles! Featuring sparkly silver heart collar clips, and a vintage fashion lady brooch. The pretty collar clips are perfect for adding a quirky twist to any collared shirt or dress or to your cardigan, just pin one heart to each side. Made from laser cut wood and finished with glitter hearts. Vintage fashion lady illustration brooch made by applying a fashion illustration from a vintage sewing pattern on to wood and then laser cut and sealed, and fastens with a brooch back.
  3. Jewellery Bundle 2 by Ladybird Likes – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. The second of three jewellery bundles! Featuring a kitsch kitten brooch, “Live What You Love” keyring and blue bird brooch. Cat brooch made by carefully applying an image of a cute kitten with blue eyes and a matching blue bow on to wood and then laser cutting the piece. The brooch is then varnished for protection, before being attached to a silver coloured brooch back. “Live What You Love” circular keyring, laser cut and engraved in birch laminate to create a little reminder you can carry with you everywhere. And a pretty resin blue bird brooch to complete the bundle!
  4. Jewellery Bundle 3 by Ladybird Likes – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. The third and final lot of three jewellery bundles! Featuring a blue butterfly necklace, an orange and blue butterfly brooch and a pale aqua bird brooch. The butterfly necklace and brooch are made by carefully applying a beautifully detailed vintage butterfly illustration on to wood and then laser cutting the piece, which is then varnished for protection, before being attached to a silver necklace chain / silver coloured brooch back. And a pretty aqua bird brooch to complete the bundle!
  1. Bundle of fabulous art and flair by Samantha Eynon – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Lovely bundle of illustrated goodies to brighten up your home and your outfits! “Boring People Have Tidy Houses” illustration print on matte paper, “Make Your Own Magic” watercolour print on watercolour paper, “You’re Doing OK” 3” woven patch with iron on backing, and limited edition Space Kitty pin based on an original illustration, 30mm wide with a clutch back and a hard glitter enamel.
  2. Liberty print handmade bowtie by Lauren Vickers Made in England – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. Exquisite handmade bowtie by my fellow Spode Studios resident and neighbour Lauren Vickers. This bowtie is called the “Gregory” and is handmade in Betsy Ann Liberty tana lawn cotton. It is a pre-tied bow tie, with an adjustable slider strap to fix most sizes (12-18 inches) and a clip for removal without undoing the bow. Packaged in a vintage style gift box. Perfect for the dapper gent!
  3. £50 gift voucher for Bryony & Co – Opening bid £25. £50 gift voucher to spend at bryonyandco.com. Bryony & Co create unique colourful clothing for women and children with a playful adventurous side, and each dress comes with a story book. Fabulous border prints, colourful patterns, fluffy petticoats and perfect cardis – so much to choose from! My absolute favourite dresses.
  4. Stationery and flair by Stitches & Stars – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. A cheerful bundle of illustrated loveliness by Stitches & Stars. Featuring a “Dream Big!” A6 notebook with brown kraft card cover, “You Look Lovely” 58mm button badge, pack of 4 postcards with motivational typography and set of 6 25mm button badges featuring typography and colourful patterns.
  1. Vintage Cathrineholm Style Coffee Pot Brooch by You Make Me Design – Opening bid £5, postage £3.75. A fun statement brooch in the shape of a vintage Cathrineholm-style enamel coffee pot with lotus pattern. Laser cut layered blue acrylic with hand in-filled painted detail. Base layer is transparent. Measures approximately 57mm x 50mm x 6mm. Packaged in a snazzy You Make Me gift box!
  2. Pretty pastel bundle by Tiny Grey Cat – Opening bid £5, postage £1.50. Gorgeous bundle of pretty pastel illustrated goodies by Tiny Grey Cat. A5 lined paper notebook with sprinkle print cover (inside & out!). Enamel pin inspired by the Polly Pocket aqua green seashell case, in hard enamel, 1 inch diameter with rubber clutch back. And a matching pastel patch inspired by the teeny tiny Polly Pocket doll, 80mm high with an iron-on backing.
  1. Sunshine Flowers & Smiles Floral Print – designed especially for this auction by my very talented friend. Opening bid £5, postage TBC. A digital print based on an original watercolour floral painted border with a mix of colourful flowers, surrounding a hand lettered quote to brighten up your day! Approximately A3 size.
  2. Let Today Be Blooming Lovely Floral Print – designed especially for this auction by my very talented friend. Opening bid £5, postage TBC. A digital print based on an original watercolour floral painted rose border, surrounding a hand lettered quote to brighten up your day! Approximately A3 size – measures 48.2cm X 32.8cm
  3. You Are Blooming Lovely Pastel Watercolour Print – designed especially for this auction by my very talented friend. Opening bid £5, postage TBC. A digital print based on an original watercolour pastel striped backdrop, featuring a hand lettered quote to brighten up your day! Approximately A3 size.
  4. Stand Tall Like a Sunflower Floral Print – designed especially for this auction by my very talented friend. Opening bid £5, postage TBC. A digital print based on an original watercolour floral painted sunflower border, surrounding a hand lettered quote to brighten up your day! Approximately A3 size.

Billy Joel in concert

And finally… 2 tickets to see Billy Joel at Wembley on 10 September 2016– generously donated by the lovely Nancy (aka @avocadofairy). Opening bid £20, postage £2.50. Legendary musician Billy Joel will return to the UK for the first time since 2013 playing one show at Wembley Stadium. Here’s your chance to see him!

***

Can you believe how much awesome stuff there will be up for grabs? So you can treat yourself to something really lovely, whilst helping to raise lots of money for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund.

And now to say a humungous gigantic thank you to everyone who has so kindly contributed to the auction. Over the past month I’ve received a non-stop flow of beautiful parcels, all delightfully wrapped and containing gorgeous quirky goodies. I’ve been blown away by everyone’s generosity, especially since each and every contributor is either an independent business or someone lovely I know, and so any donation they have made is all the more appreciated. Most of all, in arranging this auction I have been constantly reminded just how incredibly lovely and extra specially kind people can be. So thank you and huge hugs to all of you!

See you all tomorrow for the auction!

Lucy x

My First Range of Smile & Make Products – Raising Money for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund

I am so excited to announce my first range of Smile & Make products all raising funds for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund are now live in my Etsy shop. The whole range is inspired by my Michael, the most tip top guy you’d ever meet. I’ll warn you this is a long post as I wanted to explain about the inspiration behind each of the products, and share some of Michael’s original drawings and makes which many of the designs are based on. So grab a cuppa and settle in!

There were a few important motivations behind my designs for this range, which I hope you can see demonstrated in the end products:

  • I wanted it to feel like a collaboration between me and Michael, which is something we had always planned to do (another story for another day). So he is my inspiration for everything I’ve created, and I’ve focused on details he found important, like bright colours, bold graphics, retro style and fun packaging.
  • I’ve tried to create lots of different products in a range of colours hopefully with a wide appeal, so that anyone who knew Michael might be able to find something they can choose featuring his designs and sayings.
  • I’ve also tried to create products which associate well with fundraising for The Brain Tumour Charity: The Michael Barry Fund as at least £1 from the sale of each product, and in most cases much more than this, will be donated to the fund.

On to the products!

Tip Top Like Soda Pop!

The heart of the range is based around Michael’s favourite saying “Tip Top Like Soda Pop”, which from speaking to friends we all think must have been his own original quirky saying! It’s the perfect inspiration as it sums up everything that made Michael who he was – fun, positivity, retro style – and everything I hope The Michael Barry Fund will be in his honour. I want to use the products I’m making to spread a little bit of Michael’s fun and positivity and bring a smile to every customer.

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I also hoped to use some of Michael’s original drawings and designs, and he had been working on a sketch of a soda pop bottle which he wanted to turn into a lino print using a kit he had recently bought. He was still working on his drawings and they were just rough sketches, but I went through his many notebooks and sketchbooks to find all of the elements he had drawn and pieced them together. I decided to use the design to create an enamel pin. As well as being an obvious charity fundraising product and the current trend amongst indie designer makers, pins are also something Michael collected. He always had a pin or badge on his cardigan, hoodie or satchel, and so it seemed fitting. The pin is the product I am most excited about, and I will be donating 100% of the profits from every pin sold to The Michael Barry Fund.

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In addition to the pin, I’ve also designed button badges, a pencil case, red and blue tote bags and retro pennants using the phrase which are all featured below.

I’ve also created a t-shirt campaign on Mercht where you can order a Tip Top t-shirt, which will launch tomorrow using this link. I decided to use Mercht as it gives you the option to choose the colour and size of t-shirt you would like, and I couldn’t really justify the expense of buying t-shirts up front without knowing if they would sell. So, if you’d like to order a t-shirt you’ll need to do it directly with Mercht, but everything else I’ve made is available through my Etsy shop. Hopefully it doesn’t make things too confusing!

On Air

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The next design is based on an “On Air” light box used in radio stations. When we were on holiday in Cornwall last year, we saw one in a vintage shop and Michael loved it but it was rather expensive! So when we got home, he started working on a sketch inspired by it. I decided to use the sketch to create a bold graphic tote bag.

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Go Team!

In the summer of 2012 we went on holiday in Lincolnshire to a vintage caravan and filled our car up with crafty supplies so we could escape to the country and have fun making things and cooking on the campfire for a few days. Michael had an idea of making felt flags inspired by vintage sports pennants, with motivational phrases and fun designs. He sketched out his ideas and cut out all of the felt pieces, but didn’t get any further. He decided to finish them off a few months later when he was recovering from his first round of surgery, feeling fed up at not being able to do much and wanting to keep busy. I remember feeling so incredibly proud of him as I sat watching him hand sewing his pennants together, with just a little bit of guidance from me, only weeks after having brain surgery. Here are the pennants he made, being proudly displayed on our mantle piece at the time:

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He made lots of other designs but I decided to start with recreating this one, partly because of the motivational message and also because it used his favourite colours of yellow and blue as a lifelong Oxford United fan. I’ve created two sets of fabric pennants inspired by the design:

Make a List

Michael was a prolific list maker, and he always liked to start each list with “Make a List” which he would immediately cross out, as there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of crossing something off your to do list so why not start there?! Here’s an example I found in one of his notebooks. Apparently we were buying a lot of paint that day…

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I decided to create a pocket sized notebook for making lists, doodling or jotting down ideas using this as inspiration. I read back through all of Michael’s tweets and Instagram posts for his tips on how to make the everyday a little bit more special and came up with a list, which turned into this design:

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Synths and Drum Machines

As most of you will know, Michael was a big lego fan, and he loved music. Like most boys he loved Lego as a kid, and his passion reignited when he was poorly after getting a few lego inspired gifts for Christmas. It was a huge therapy and distraction for him, and I firmly believe it was part of what kept him strong for so long. As well as normal Lego he loved nano blocks and made a synthesiser using a kit we bought, and then freestyled a few extras in his own design. I decided to turn his designs into a cross stitch, adding “Let’s Dance” since Michael was ALWAYS dancing and was a Bowie fan, so it seemed especially poignant.

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He also liked making things out of Hama beads, I think because the process is not dissimilar to building lego as it requires carefully planning out ordered designs in pixel form. He made some coasters inspired by the iconic 808 drum machine and Juno synth, and again I thought these would translate well as cross stitches, so I stitched them both up and framed them in mini hoops:

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Quirky sayings

As well as “Tip Top Like Soda Pop”, there were a whole host of other sayings Michael used on a daily basis. He was the kind of guy who was always saying something in a fun way to make you smile, and these are the things that stay with me the clearest and help me hear his voice in my head and make me smile countless times a day. Again, I thought these would make fun wall pennants:

Clockwise from top:

  • Does Yogi Bear Like Picnics? – his answer when you asked him a question where the answer was obviously yes, like do you want a burger for lunch (he loved burgers!).
  • Have a Tip Top Day! – A twist on Tip Top Like Soda Pop, and something he often wrote in birthday cards.
  • D’ya Wanna Cwoffee You Schmuck? – after we went to New York on our honeymoon, Michael adopted a New York accent and said this every day as he made his morning coffee. I have no idea if this design will appeal to anyone as it’s a bit out there, but I just wanted to make it!!
  • You & Me Are Perfect Together Like Tea & Cake – this is something he wrote in an anniversary card to me. He was the cutest.
  • Let’s Go To The Seaside Real Soon? – Michael wrote this in a birthday card to me the first summer after we got married. The seaside was always special to us as we loved retro seaside holidays, and Michael proposed on the beach in Broadstairs.
  • Ice Cream is Gonna Save the Day! – this is a lyric from a song which reminds me of when we first got together. I really wanted to do something with ice creams on as for my birthday last year Michael themed all of my presents and basically bought me anything cute he found with ice creams on, and continued to do this for months after – I even found a mug not long ago which he had stashed away. So now I can’t resist anything with an ice cream print!

#GrowSunflowersForMichael

I couldn’t design a range of products without including sunflowers now could I?? So to tie in with the sunflower challenge, I created a button badge:

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And some colourful tote bags in yellow and mint green:

Because sometimes we all need to create our own sunshine.

Well, that’s all for now folks! Congratulations if you’ve made it to the end of this mammoth post! I hope you like the goodies I’ve made, I’ve been working really hard on them all and it’s been hard keeping everything under wraps!

Lucy x

 

 

 

#growsunflowersformichael – June Update

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I’m so happy that so many of you are taking part in the #growsunflowersformichael challenge, and the hashtag is filling up nicely! Thank you to everyone who has joined in and shared pictures! I’ve also created a Facebook page for the challenge here, so if you’re a Facebook person please give it a like and share your pictures there too.

I thought I would share a little round up of everyone’s pictures so far, and also show you some of the beautiful bespoke sunflower gifts I’ve received from my lovely Instagram friends recently. I’ve said it before, but I’m so grateful to have found such a lovely and talented community on Instagram. You’re the best!

First off, here are some progress shots of my sunflowers, which are looking mighty good if I do say so myself!

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Since planting the sunflowers out in the area of the garden we have designated as “Sunflower Parade”, I’m trying to remember to take a picture on my phone each week to track the change in height, and they are certainly starting to shoot up. The 3 in the centre are different giant varieties (Pike’s Peak, Kong and Giant) and they are certainly living up to their name. I’m also growing a couple of red sunflowers which are keeping up with the giant varieties so far, so it’s anyone’s race! They’ve all now graduated from barbecue skewers to proper supports, which in time will have to be upgraded to taller and stockier bamboo sticks.

And here are some of the lovely pictures you’ve all been sharing on the hashtag:

It makes my day each time a new picture pops up on the hashtag, and I’ve also been lucky enough to receive some very special sunflower happy mail over the past few weeks.

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The lovely Emma of Fairytale Collars made me this amazing bespoke sunflower collar. It was such an incredible surprise! The design is so detailed and I love wearing it. I’m a big fan of Emma’s gorgeous collars which have taken Instagram by storm over the past year. It’s always exciting to see when someone comes up with a unique product idea and Emma has created the perfect brand and is constantly coming up with cute new designs, so it was a real privilege to know Emma made this one especially for me. Thank you so much lovely!

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I first discovered Zabby Allen’s super stylish and colourful instagram and blog through Lucky Dip Club. She’s a crafty queen and amongst lots of other things is the editor of the Lucky Dip Club magazine Girl Planet, which is one of my favourite parts of the LDC boxes this year. Zabby recently surprised me with a set of personalised “M & L” sunflower prints, which are beyond perfect. I love the bright retro colours and design, and I know Michael would have loved these too as he was a sucker for a good piece of wall art and had a real appreciation for great design. They are now taking pride of place on the wall in my new studio (which I will share more of soon!) and making me smile every time I look up from my desk. I’m the absolute worst at taking photos of things in frames, so these pictures really don’t do justice to Zabby’s incredible design. Lesson learned – take a picture before framing next time! Thank you so much Zabby!

Thanks for reading and please keep sharing your pictures using #growsunflowersformichael – I love seeing them!

Lucy x