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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.

A crafty plan...

A crafty plan...

It's really funny how things in life seem to fall in to place sometimes. As you know, I have dedicated a lot of my blogging time recently to the arts and culture side of things and I have been conscious of the fact I may be neglecting the crafting aspect of it.As it says in the About Me section, this is a patchwork blog - borne of my desire to put making and crafting at the centre of my free time, but also to explore my love of the creativity swirling around in Northern Ireland.

Creative arts, making and innovation are usually at the heart of whatever I'm writing about, even if I'm not as obviously crafting-focused as other sites - be it the Craft Village at last year's Belfast Mela, or handmade treasures spotted on my holidays.

However, my own crafting aspirations are never far from my mind, or from my blogging brain and examples of things I've been planning recently are:

  • Finally kitting out my sewing room/studio in the lovely house my boyfriend Andy and I moved in to in May - I need decent storage and a massive work table, not to mention materials and equipment I still lack.
  • Getting my Singer 99k sewing machine properly serviced at the Singer centre in Belfast and trying once again to get this beautiful thing making clothes - maybe convincing a good family friend who's a sewing whizz to give me a bit of help in exchange for tea and cakes :)
  • Experimenting with my still-in-the-packet, first ever GLUE GUN!!! I have hundreds - LITERALLY hundreds - of customisation project ideas that involve glueing rhinestones, handmade ribbon bows and chains on to various items of clothing and shoeware. And that's just for starters (cue maniacal laughter).
  • Asking friends and family to start an informal knitting circle. This would basically be me asking them to meet me regularly and teach me to knit, really - but calling it a 'knitting circle' makes it sound like I'm not just selfishly asking them to give up their time...

The thing about crafting is, when you're starting pretty much from scratch as I am - it is very expensive, in terms of money as well as time. I don't have all the equipment I need, or really know where to start with a lot of the things I want to do.

Although I'm lucky enough to have friends and family who are pretty proficient in the things I want to do and have offered to help...you know how it is, you don't want to 'put people out' and you're afraid they'll be too nice to tell you when you're taking up too much of their time.

Which is why I haven't been pestering people for free sewing lessons, or asking folks to meet up every week and show me how to knit. People have lives, families, houses, jobs and indeed their own hobbies and interests.

The alternative is tuition, but every time pay day rolls around and I pay my bills and the seemingly endless pile of debts I have accrued, there's just enough to live on. As well as that, I essentially have two jobs, the office by day and journalism by night for at least a couple of weeks of the month (not that I'm complaining about having plenty of work).

So the courses and the workshops keep getting postponed to next month and my studio consists of an unserviced sewing machine languishing in its case, bags of fabric, trimmings and scraps, a knitting bag full of wool balls and shelves of paints, canvases, jewellery making kits, buttons, bits n' bobs and embellishments - all full of potential to be useful, beautiful things, and all gathering dust.

Until now.

Because last night, as predicted in this post, I did indeed go into orbit when I discovered the judges at Blog Awards Ireland have shortlisted me - in the Best Craft Blog category!

So you know what? It is time for me to stop whingeing and start taking action. Crafting has been occupying my mind for long enough, I have to make it occupy some of my (albeit limited) free time too.

I'll be starting this week, with my second Magazine of the Month arriving soon and after that, I will be getting stuck in to one of those projects mentioned above.

I have no expectations of becoming a finalist in the Blog Awards - the other shortlisted blogs are full of seasoned crafters, some professional, and many of them have dedicated their blog solely to the world of the handmade.

However, the judges have put me into the Best Craft Blog category alongside these bloggers - a huge compliment to my existing craft content and I feel freshly motivated to make it even better.

blog awards ireland

REMEMBER! You can vote for my post 'A Fatal Cut' in the Best Blog Post Category. You're allowed to vote once a week, every week from any one computer and the five posts with the least votes get cut every week. Every vote counts, even when voting reopens. Click here and scroll down to The Patchwork Quill if you'd like to vote for me! Thank you! Voting is now closed - thank you for all your votes!

I love it when a plan comes together!

I love it when a plan comes together!

Mela Monday: Gone but not forgotten

Mela Monday: Gone but not forgotten