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Alex’s Things To Do In Exeter

 

Since I am a girl who likes shopping, what I most visited in these days are obviously shops! I am really enjoying all of those little cute shops and locals I can’t find in Italy, in particular in my town. From charity shops (as they are here) to museums, from the fashion cafes to the all-around-the-world restaurants. But I know I can’t spend all of my money on buying clothes: I need to travel – I love traveling – and explore the area around Exeter and this means I must have money for the bus/train ticket.

Also, there are a lot of weird and funny shops, for example “Fantasy World” which is Exeter’s largest stockist of unique costumes; you can dress-up as a medieval or roman person or as a 80’s guy. There are also many barber shops, tattoo and hairdresser salons, nail art salons and jewellery stores, etc. In Exeter you can find whatever you want!

 

 

Most popular cafes in England that aren’t in Italy (or they are so rare) are Costa and Starbucks: Italian students love them too, but, I’m honest, I don’t like their coffee because it’s really different from Italian one. Anyway we like going to these cafes to have a hot drink – maybe with a delicious biscuit – and a chat with friends.

Another local in which I have never eaten before in my homeland is Subway; I sometimes haven’t got my packed lunch so I need something cheap and quick to eat. I have eaten tasty sandwiches a couple of time there for few pounds and I absolutely liked them. Moreover, Subway offers vegan and vegetarian options and it’s good for me since I’m vegetarian.

 

 

One night I discovered The Stable – this is a rooftop bar and lounge club in Guildhall Shopping Centre – and I almost fall in love with this place: good looking, lovely music, nice cocktails, food and drinks, young people and… great beer! I recommend you The Stable if you need a break from the boring week routine and if you love having party with amazing music and beer.

That night I had dinner out with my mates in Bella Italia, an Italian restaurant in Queen Street and we decided to have pizza; honestly, it was a real good pizza! We thought we wouldn’t have eaten this delicious food for a whole month, but we found the right place to satisfy our cravings.

 

 

Have you ever been to RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum)? That is amazing! A fantastic museum and art gallery in Exeter where you can see lots of every-type collections, such as the antiquities with all of its sculptures and archaeological finds or the natural history archives plenty of minerals and (unfortunately for me – I am against animal cruelty) stuffed animals.


 

 

On the last Sunday I had a walk around the city to discover places I have never seen before and I visited the Quay after a relaxing but long walk by the river. This area of Exeter enchanted me, it reminded me vaguely of my dear Venice, and I decided to have a break with a refreshing drink in a lovely bar.

 

 

Obviously in Exeter there are some festivals and community events, such as “Fore Street Flea” on 24th September where you can find stalls, street-food and bargains – the next “Fore Street Flea” will be on 26th November.

 

 

And what about the bowling club and the cinema? There are those too, but I haven’t been there yet: they are my next destination!

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Alex’s Work Experience

 

 

Hi, I’m Alex! I’m a 18 year old girl from the North-East of Italy and I’m in Exeter to do work experience for 4 weeks (from 3th September to 1st October 2017) thanks to a school project I won.

 

 

 

 

I’m staying with a lovely host family near Pinhoe with one of the students from my school – there are 15 of us – and I’m doing a really exciting work experience at Bunyip Craft: I learnt how to make bracelets (in particular, I love the charm bracelets, they are so beautiful) and it’s fun! Bunyip Craft is a wonderful craft shop in Fore Street and I recommend you stop for few minutes in this amazing place, in fact, the first time I came in I was just surprised.

 

 

Exeter is a really nice city and there is a lot to do, for example visiting the famous Cathedral and the city centre with its countless shops or exploring all of its streets, plenty of nice restaurants and locals to relax and have a drink with your friends. I’m also visiting the towns around here, such as Topsham and Torquay, in particular this last one is a very beautiful town on the coast, you must visit this place!

 

 

I went to Torquay with my friends by train and then we walked all the way long to Babbacombe, up and down the hills with their amazing neighborhoods, shops and gardens: we thought we were in the USA because the streets and the environment were so similar to the ones we see in the American films. It took us about one hour – including lunch time – by foot from the beach to the Babbacombe Model Village: we really enjoyed this experience and the little world was super-great, I was speechless in front of that wonderful village with 13,160 mini-people!

 

 

Staying in a place like Exeter is really different from my hometown, which is near the romantic Venice. One is a big modern city (for me) and one is a small town popular for its cathedral, ‘Sanctuary of Our Lady of Miracles’.

 

 

Anyway, I’m enjoying this trip, despite the “crazy” weather, and it’s much better than I thought.

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Pattern Drafting and Skirt Making!

We always love a new sewing challenge so we were very excited to try our hand at pattern drafting. Even though there is a bit of maths… I was able to cope with the help of a calculator and some more maths savvy members of staff…

So we wanted to see how long it would take us to draft a pattern and then make and complete the skirt (as we are running a class on 29th June). It turns out we can do it in a day while also serving customers!

I’ve had a bit of practise making this particular skirt before, so this time it was Lily’s turn. We started by taking her measurements so that we could make the skirt to her exact size. Making your own pattern is a great way to get the perfect fit because, lets face it, nobody ever fits perfectly into the standard shop bought patterns! We then used these measurements to draw the width of the front and back pieces and to place the darts correctly. 

Once we’d got our pattern we had to choose our fabric; It was a tough choice but we settled for this grey, flowery design. We cut out the pattern and got ready to do the fun part, sewing!

The sewing part of this project is fairly easy; it’s just the darts, sides, hem and zip. We took our time though to make sure it was just right. 

So this was the finished product!

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Our Day of Quilting

We were really excited to have Dave in our shop last week to finish off his amazing quilt that he was making for a friend. Quilt-making is a new skill for us but we worked through it together and as you can see, the results are excellent (particularly as it was Dave’s first sewing project).
We had to start by putting the layers of the quilt together with some of our quilt wadding in the middle. As we didn’t have a walking foot for our machine, we decided to use some of our spray glue (£10 in the shop). This turned out to be a godsend as it stopped everything from slipping and turning into a big mess!

Now, we watched A LOT of Youtube videos to get an idea of the best way to attach all the pieces. In the end, we went a bit rogue and used the bottom piece of the quilt to create the edge. We were lucky that Dave had decided to use a flag which was bigger than his sewn quilt pieces so we could just fold it over.

And then for the sewing… we had some real issues with the first machine we used because of the thickness of all of the material. After some (mild) frustration, we switched machines and we were on a roll. We’d got almost all of the way around the quilt without any problems when we noticed it had slipped a little at the end. We were able to adjust our stitching and all was ok but if we were to do it again, we’d be a little bit more liberal with the glue to eliminate the problem.

There was a huge sigh of relief after we’d finished and we could step back and admire Dave’s work!

 

 

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New Party Project: Decorate a Tote Bag!

Hello again!

We’re on a Bunyip mission at the moment to bring you some inspiring new workshop options – we loved hosting the Paper Piecing Patchwork sessions run by Teresa, and we’re brewing some really exciting embroidery ideas up for the next season.

But for now, we’re really pleased to confirm our newest party idea – decorate a tote bag! This was our April Creative Kid’s project last weekend and it was so much fun that we couldn’t resist encouraging more sessions! All of the children who attended went away with awesome bags that they embellished using loads of fabric, felt, pom poms, buttons, ribbons and sequins.

This class would be loads of fun for adults too – we worked on mini tote bags for this session but could easily offer a more standard size tote for a hen do, birthday party or any celebration!

The price for one of these sessions is our normal £10 per person which includes the bag, all of your materials for decorating and refreshments. You can always bring along fizz too if you’re celebrating!

To book a party you can pop into the shop, give us a ring on 01392 437377 or send us an email to info@bunyipbeads.com

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Easter Fun Times in Bunyip

Ever since last summer we’ve been loving putting on extra Kid’s workshops in the school holidays, and we’ve just decided on our Easter sessions!

On Tuesday 4th, Thursday 6th, Tuesday 11th & Thursday 13th of April we’ll be hosting making sessions around our table which will give you time to dabble in a bit of Easter cross stitch, tiny bead bracelet making and of course – decoupage! The workshops will run from 10.30am to 12pm, and still cost just £5 per person.

In the past we’ve run these classes as drop ins but (rather excitingly) they’ve gotten so busy lately that we’re now at the stage where we do need everyone to book! So if you fancy heading in for one of these do get in touch with us before so we can make sure we’ve got your name down – you can come and see us in the shop, give us a ring on 01392 437377 or click here.

We recommend these classes for ages 6 – 16, but it’s very dependant on each individual little one, so if you’ve got a young one you think would love to join in please get in touch!

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Spring 2017: New Stock Heaven

It may be presumptuous to call this ‘Spring’ but my theory is if we all keep saying it then it’ll eventually become true and I can open both the shop doors and generally live our best lives. Deal?

Every year we head out to Birmingham NEC for the ‘biggest craft trade show in Europe,’ Craft, Hobby & Stitch International. This is essentially as mad as it sounds but it does present our best opportunity of the year to peruse the crafty offerings from our main suppliers for the year to come. It also presents the trends for the year and I can sum up 2017 in one perfect, magical word: UNICORNS.

In the last 3 weeks we’ve been over excitedly welcoming the majority of our orders from the show into the shop, which has required mass reorganisation of basically all corners of Bunyip. I’ve snapped a few of my favourite new things to entice you in to see soon – hope you like!

Awesome iron on patches – some of the designs have sold out already! There’s loads to choose from still, including this fairly amazing rollerskate.

This feather trim  is the softest, most wonderful thing to touch and I just need to be sensible and decide what I’m making with it before I buy it all. There’s also a light pink and a black version in stock.

We normally hold off on sewing boxes until a certain festive time of year, but these were so delicious that we just couldn’t stop ourselves.

Our main aim of the show this year was to buy a much bigger range of fabric -and we’ve definitely achieved that! As well as almost 30 new bolts we’ve also got a whole load of new fat quarters in – this colourful range gives me crafty giddiness.

We’ve had to move all of our buttons across the shop since they were bursting out of their previous home! There’s now a wonderful new ranges of wooden, metal and plastic buttons available now – including this ace anchor style.

Last but absolutely not least: cards with shiny unicorns on. Words can not express the joy.

And that’s just scratching the surface of what we have in the shop! There’s plenty more to come too – so stay tuned on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for constant craft updates.

See you soon!

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Thoughts I had Making a Kimono

 Hello!

You may have noticed (because we keep talking about it) that we’re really trying to up our making game in 2017 and my last blog post was all about making up Mattie’s Rob Ryan Clothkits skirt, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

This week I decided to pop open one of the Kimono Clothkits paper patterns that we sell and give that one a go, since it’s been my favourite since they arrived on our doorstep. What follows is part review, part nonsense – enjoy!

One of the main reasons Mattie and I get so reluctant to make anything is that we don’t like using up the beautiful stock that could be sold to someone etc etc, but since we’re trying to go against this instinct I boldly decided to use our most delicious fabric to make this kimono. In for a penny, in for a pound and that.

We call this our William Morris fabric, for obvious reasons, and it does sell at a rather exciting £20 a metre. But, and I know I would say this, it is 100% worth it – it’s the most beautiful colour in real life (we have a yellow version too!) and it’s amazingly light and soft and it just makes me all gooey, ok?

First things first, I traced the pattern out in a size small, basically because I was thrilled to make something in a size small and not have to even worry about it fitting (because it’s a kimono and clearly very loose in all sizes).

This is issue no.1 – I am not a perfectionist and so even while tracing things I get distracted and end up with real wiggly lines that I try to even out during cutting but never really managed to overcome. Important note: this made absolutely no difference to the finished kimono so there.

There’s 3 main pieces, plus 3 facing pieces. It said that the pattern wasn’t suitable for any fabric smaller than 115cm, but this one is 110cm and was fine…I assume because I made it in the smaller size.

Sewing this was pretty straightforward until the facings got involved. You do have to finish a lot of raw edges, and since we’re all still scared of the overlocker (it has blades! run away) I did a standard zig zag stitch…to be honest this was the downside of this make – I got super bored of doing zig zag stitch. It’s necessary but my god it’s dull.

Here’s the facing fun. This forced me to do a lot of standing still, staring at it, sticking my tongue out all deep in thought. I think if I’d cut my pattern/fabric out really neatly this wouldn’t have been so confusing for me but you live and you learn. Basically there were two ways these could have been sewn together and neither way looked like the picture in the instructions so I gambled and just went with one. Luckily it seemed to work out ok so I didn’t really even learn a lesson here.

Sewing the facing to the main piece was v tricky and I did purposeful slow sewing. Once that was done and all ironed to within an inch of its life, you have to top stitch basically all edges of the kimono, which again made me all nervous and sensible for a while.

And here’s the finished piece!

Conclusion: I loved making this, mainly because my eyes got to gaze upon this fabric for a whole day. It was pretty straightforward, but the same as with the skirt pattern I did feel that a certain amount of prior knowledge is assumed even though they’re aimed at beginner’s. It’s nothing you couldn’t figure out with a friend/the internet though.

Thank you for reading this! Hang out with us on facebook, twitter and instagram for first peek at our next make.


 

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Clothkits Pattern Review

 If you haven’t heard of Clothkits before (I had no idea of anything more than the name until about a year ago) here’s a bit of history – they’re a British company that’s been printing awesome sewing kits since 1968 that were hugely popular in the 1980’s. Their speciality is patterns that are printed directly on to fabric, so you don’t have to arse around with too much cutting out. After spotting them at a trade show last year we’ve been selling their paper patterns in the shop – the first patterns we’ve ever liked enough to stock! We’re fussy like that.

A few years ago Mattie acquired one of their fabric patterns, a Rob Ryan printed skirt. It has ever since been living around the back of Bunyip and it’s only now 3 years on that we’ve managed to commit the time to making it!

The first thing we did was trace over the pattern so that we could keep it for next time! Smart. I’m hoping to make a shorter one in our amazing peacock fabric, but considering this took 3 years to start I’m not getting my hopes up until around 2020.

Plus points: obviously I really enjoyed not having to mess about with patterns too much. You just join up the cutting lines to the size you want and voila – cut it out. The fabric the design is printed on was beautifully thick and printed in the UK which obviously fills our hearts with joy. There were also only a few pattern pieces, meaning the whole process didn’t feel too overwhelming and there was less chance of losing any of it.

The whole skirt from cutting to finishing only took us about 2 afternoon sessions in the shop which is pretty good going!

My only criticism of the kit was that some of the instructions were slightly confusing and I had moments of standing looking at the pattern for too long trying to piece together what they were trying to tell me. Considering that the pattern is meant for total beginner’s some of the processes are really brushed over and I think I would have struggled slightly if it had been the first garment I’d ever made. Also the photos they used to demonstrate said instructions were really hard to see! I know it’s hard to take photos of sewing lines but even so…

That being said, we actually stock almost the same pattern in our paper range, so we cracked it open to see if they’d updated it at all and – they have! Instead of photos there’s lovely illustrations, and they’ve changed almost all of the instructions that I had any complaints about. So even though you’ll have to cut the pattern out yourself you may find the process even more enjoyable!

 

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January Inspiration & Making

One of my favourite things about January, a month with a pretty bad rep, is that everything feels new and fresh. It’s a time for cleansing, reevaluating and figuring out where to start now, especially  after being Christmas centric for about 3 months.

Our Bunyip new years resolution for 2017 is to make more, not something you’d think we’d generally be behind on but it’s surprising how much our day to day shop lives can leave us with little time to actually be creative! So this year we’re changing that, allowing ourselves more time to do what we love and take time to put our inspiration into action. This blog is a little look at all the wonderful things we’re feeling motivated by, and the beautiful trends we can’t wait to take ahold of our making in the next few months….enjoy!

Greenery

pantone-greenery

So Pantone’s colour of the year is Greenery, news to which I think I made a dissatisfied grunt about the first time I heard it. However, being the easily influenced person I am, I am already starting to pursue a bit more of this shade into my everyday life & making. You can see the connections between this and the ever growing enthusiasm for plants – I can barely scroll through instagram without seeing many a beautiful botanical scene.

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I had a wonderful time picking out all our green beads and buttons for a magazine project recently, and Mattie’s been working on a fern necklace that’s got us all pretty joyful…

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Embroidery

This is one of those trends that’s almost left the runway shows now but is continuing to dominate the high street. I’ve taken one of our botanical embroidery books home with me so that I can spend my Sunday’s in bed stitching mini cacti on to a plain t-shirt I picked up – so satisfying and really eliminates my Netflix binge guilt.

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Once I’ve finished this project I’d love to start embroidering something sheer, like these ridiculously beautiful dresses that would maybe not look as amazing on a normal human but still make me really gleeful to gaze upon. We’ve recently ordered in a lot more sequins to the shop, so I’m hoping to start using more of these alongside our tiny shiny beads to embellish shirt collars, etc.

embellishment

Mattie grabbed a plain sweatshirt recently that she’s planning to embroider geometric shapes & patterns on to – I can’t wait to see!

Tulle

tulle

Wearing mid length flowing tulle skirts makes me feel so happy and glam and I can’t wait for more of that in 2017. We’ve only recently added tulle to our fabric selection in store and immensely enjoyed making up a no-sew tutu for the window by knotting long strips around a piece of elastic. We’re moving on to proper tutus next and I’d love to really embellish a long sheer skirt…maybe I could adorn it with green beads and combine all these lovely trends into one really intense garment? Yes please.

Thanks for reading! For more crafty beauty and nonsense join us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!