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I'm Heather McGarrigle and this is my blog - a colourful celebration of culture, crafting and creativity in Northern Ireland and beyond.

Books, bands, boot sales and bazaars!

Well it's been ten days (nearly eleven, actually) since my first post, so settle down with a cup of tea, 'cos this is a long 'un. I promise I *will* learn the art of brevity and post more often than twice a fortnight, so bear with me while I find my blog legs!

Whanau - l-r: Mark, Ashley, Polly, Nathan, David.

One of the most exciting things that's happened over the past ten days has been the debut album launch of my sister Polly's band, Whanau. She's one of the vocalists and songwriters and I've been doing a bit of amateur PR work for the band in the run-up to the launch; managed to get a great wee write up in the Ulster Star, see it here. They had the launch on the Belfast Barge in Lanyon Quay and I have been looking forward to it for months. Normally when you anticipate something so much, it can be a bit of a let down, but wow... the combination of this fabulous, unique venue (we were below deck, in a little Black Box-esque hall filled with candelit tables), the enthusiastic, capacity crowd of 100 who sang along to every song and the superb performances from the support acts, Miller and the Roots Collective and singer songwriter John Marshall - as well as Whanau themselves, obviously - made it a night I can only describe as magical. The Lisburn launch takes place this Thursday in Molly's Parlour on Castle Street, which we're all looking forward to just as much! More details on the band's Facebook at www.facebook.com/whanauofficial

As well as that, my dear friend and local film critic Andrew Moore has just brought his 'baby' into the world - his debut novel, the darkly delightful children's novel The Unseen Chronicles of Amelia Black, under his pen-name AGR Moore. A year-and-a-half in the creation, this is something else I have been looking forward to for months on end, as Andy drip-fed me snippets of the story and sneak peeks of the stunning illustrations by the unbelievably talented Gillian Reid. We met up last week to put the press release together but despite not yet unleashing the PR juggernaut, he's already had dozens of sales purely through the Twitter-vine, which I'm delighted by. The e-book is on sale here for the well-below-its-true-value price of £2.30, so I recommend you invest now. (NB: It's a Kindle book yes, but you DO NOT need a Kindle to download the book, it's available on a whole host of other smart devices, including your plain ol' PC) Looking forward to this weekend... I'm tired just thinking about it, but in a good way! Far too many fun things happening for me to get to them all, but I can at least give them all a plug here and give you lovely people a chance to enjoy them. First up, one thing I'm definitely doing is a car boot sale. I did one last week at Trinity Methodist Church in Lisburn and made a tidy little profit of £10. Not likely to impress Sir Alan any time soon, but bear in mind I showed up an hour late at 11, pitched up on the very outskirts of the sale and made 90% of my sales in the last ten minutes before we all packed up at 12!

Plus, I managed to sell a painting I did myself a few years ago (pictured - but was sold mounted in a basic card mount) of the cathedral in Lisburn. My first foray into watercolours and my first sale of one of my own paintings, so I was chuffed. I'm going to be at the Lisburn Rugby Club sale tomorrow (on time, honest!) with boxes and boxes of bargain treasure (*cough* tat from my ma's attic *cough*), so feel free to come down and say hello if you're lucky enough to be in Lis Vegas! I'll be the chick by the blue Fiesta with a half-made friendship bracelet safety-pinned to her jean leg...

Getting ready for It's Music to My Ears

After that, I'll be heading to Wallace Park for a cool music event, being organised by friends of mine, called It's Music to My Ears. Black Cat Entertainment and Molly's Parlour have teamed up with the Leisure Services department of Lisburn Council to bring a great afternoon of music to the city. Miller and the Roots Collective, Kyle Suckling and Silhouette will each be playing a set between 2pm and 4pm at the Bandstand. There will also be a couple of drum circles taking place, with audience members encouraged to participate - I'm really looking forward to seeing that but don't think I'll be brave enough to take part, despite harbouring aspirations of becoming a drummer! It's part of a series of events the council is holding every weekend throughout the month to celebrate the newly refurbished park - check out the full list of events here. Then, I'm heading back to Belfast for a chat with the lovely David and Sean of Belfast baking venture Baking Bar, but I'm keeping tight-lipped about that, as I plan to blog about them at a later date (and hopefully in fewer than 2,000 words...). It's also a packed weekend for Craft Month. Sadly, my busy Saturday means I'll be missing Crafty Belfast's morning and afternoon teas, but get along to this if you can - it looks like so much fun. If I've any energy left at all this weekend, I would like to get along to Craft Fest at Castle Ward and an old favourite of mine, the Black Market at the Black Box. The Patchwork Quill is a shamelessly selective blog, so these are simply the events that have caught my eye for this weekend - head over to Craft NI for the full itinerary. And, I'm done, at last! If you made it through to the end, well done. Go and reward yourself with another cup of tea :)

Just...sew!

Just...sew!

And so it begins....

And so it begins....