February Favourites | Champagne Twist

February was a fun filled, choc-a-block month. And it looks like March with continue the pace. Here is a favourites video, highlighting the events of the 2nd month of 2017 on Champagne Twist.

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Top 5 YouTube Sites of 2016 | Champagne Twist

TECHNOLOGY
Photo Credit ‘Death to Stock’.

These are my top 5 YouTube Sites for 2016 (in no particular order) –

  1. Kristabel Always interesting, and often thought provoking Kristabel’s YouTube channel has given me loads of inspiration during 2016 in the realms of travel, fashion and lifestyle.
  2. Lorraine Pascale My favourite ever chef and one of the most multi talented and inspirational people ever, Pascale proves you can achieve your dreams and eat cake too!
  3. At Home With Nikki If you love anything to do with home decor, you need to check out this youtube channel.  Nikki plus Homes and Gardens to shame.
  4. TED-Ed another highly inspiration and educational resource, Ted-Ed has 100s of videos covering a wide range of subjects – there is something for everyone.
  5. The Resistance with Keith Olbermann – Keith Olbermann is a riot! If like me you were disappointed with the results of the recent US election, check out Olbermann’s posts. If nothing else he will give you hope for 2017.

And as a bonus, why not check out my YouTube channel – Champagne Twist

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What were your favourite YouTube sites of 2016? What YouTuber are you currently excited about? Please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Please subscribe to Champagne Twist for more.

You Can Sit With Us Ldn

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Frankie, Betty magazines - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn

It’s Sunday, it’s freezing, it’s raining, I don’t feel 100%, the transport system is partly closed due to engineering works … again. Why don’t I just spend the day in bed, nice and warm, with my ready supply of cups of hot tea?

Camden Collective, 110 Hampstead Road, London #YouCanSitWithUs - Champagne Twist
Camden Collective, 110 Hampstead Road, London

Because, I would have missed out on a golden opportunity, that being the #YouCanSitWithUsLdn. The inaugural event hosted by Kristabel Plummer of I Want You To Know at the Camden Collective, was a marvellous event where a host of social networkers, bloggers, YouTubers and Instagramers, both newbies and established, came together to talk, share ideas and network about all things primarily relating to blogging.

I managed to have a few words with Kristabel, she said that it was the first time she had ever arranged such an event.  I would never have guessed. A simple concept that was extremely well executed, I left not only impressed by her natural gift as an event organiser, but also empowered. Empowered by the fellow social media dons at the event, their openness and willingness to share their knowledge. Kristabel managed to create a welcoming space for social networkers to come out of their collective shells and share their experiences with virtual strangers. All this on a limited budget (although again, you would never guess), a short time frame and help from her friends. It’s amazing how a good idea can develop into something great, positive and empowering.

At times, for me, it was a little surreal. I was suddenly chatting away to bloggers I’ve been following for years. I felt I knew so much about them, but they knew little about me. Yet they were still interested in what I had to say. Before, they had been people whom I would watch on YouTube, or I would read their adventures in some far flung place on their blogs. The curious thing I quickly realised was that every person in the room, no matter their personal journeys, had at least 3 things in common. 1) They worked hard on their respective social networks, 2) Their are all multi-talented and/or multi-gifted, and 3) They all, without exception, at some point had exactly the same fears and angst as everyone else.  It didn’t matter if they had 1 follower or 1 million followers, making social networking perhaps the great societal leveller.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn group photo set-up
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn group photo set-up - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn Champagne Twist champagnetwist.wordpress.com

I know that I will have to pull my little socks up in terms of my own social network, and I was very nervous when I arrived, attending the event on my own and meeting new people that makes me a little uncomfortable. Some of these women are fierce – their knowledge is vast, and their energy levels are immense. However, I left believing that it is not only possible to achieve the goals I have set for my blog, but I can surpass them. The social network community is very friendly and I was soon made to feel at ease. Blogging offers wonderful opportunities for people who enjoy solitude, but the benefits are 10-fold when you take just a few steps outside your comfort zone.

I could have easily spent the day at home working on my blog, with my ready supply of tea. Instead I spent the day with the caring bloggers support group, surrounded by positive energy, and meeting fabulous people. I think that’s a good swap!

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Betty, Frankie, Umbrella magazines - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – Betty, Frankie, Umbrella magazines

Hopefully, this will be the first of many events, and I for one will place the next event at the top of my agenda. This will certainly go in my end of month favourites video, and is an early strong contender for the best of 2017.

#YouCanSitWithUsLdn - Champagne Twist
#YouCanSitWithUsLdn – plant in blue pot

Did you attend the #YouCanStillWithUs event? What did you think? Please comment below and subscribe for more.

Thanks for reading.

Village Haberdashery – New Location Report

vh-dummy-2Some afternoons start off a little dreary with grey skies, as did last Wednesday when I made a trip to the new Village Haberdashery site. However, the grey skies were soon banished, to be replaced by a rainbow of fabrics, yarn and flowers.

The Village Haberdashery is a sewing and knitting emporium, newly situated in West Hampstead Square. A very short walking distance from West Hampstead Tube, Rail and Thameslink stations, the store is ideally situated for those who live in and around North London.
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The new shopping estate where the store is located is still a bit of a building site, but it’s easy to find, and if you look suitably lost, a skill I have perfected over the years, a nice group of helpful builders are on hand to provide precise directions should you need them. After climbing a flight of stairs, or if you’re more sensible using the lift, you are greeted by a beautiful retro dressmaker’s
mannequin on the first floor, outside the shop front.

 

Follow the sign, where a magical wonderland awaits.

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A unique, and I think better, use of a wheelbarrow. I wonder if I plant my yarn scraps in the garden, will they grow to be huge balls of wool like these ones?

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After seeing this beautiful dress, I was inspired to purchase some of the fabric. Initially, I thought about making a summer skirt with it, but I’ve changed my mind and will instead make a square necked tunic, to show off the beautiful print. The tunic is part of my #2017MakeNine challenge, so please stay tuned.

If there is any fabric leftover, I hope to make a matching Ghislaine hair tie.

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Les Fleurs Rayon by Rifle Paper Co. – Birch Floral in Periwinkle

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Lots of space for sewing and knitting classes, or for a good cup of tea and a natter. In the background, you can see some of the sewing machines set aside for classes.
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Just look at this marvellous wall of wool. Imagine the wonderful array of knitted goodies you could make with this collection of yarn.

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I have often tried to visit the old location, but it was a bit of a trek and difficult for me to get to, however the new location is more ideally situated. The new store is bright and roomy, yet jammed packed with lots of sewing, knitting and paper crafting goodies.  It is quite easy to spend an entire afternoon browsing and chatting to the owner and members of staff. They are welcoming, helpful and ready to offer their expertise should you need it. A home from home. I’m already looking forward to my next visit and adding to my ever increasing stash.

Have you visited the new Village Haberdashery? What do you think? Please add your comments below.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more. Oh, and please check out my seamstress tag YouTube video here 🙂

#2017MakeNine – Sewing and Knitting plans

Hello folks,

I don’t know about you, but I am done with Winter. I’m fed up with the cold, the rain, or as the tube station announcer described the miserable drizzle as, ‘adverse weather conditions’.  Hey, at least it wasn’t the usual, ‘leaves on the line’ or ‘wrong type of snow’ excuse for late running trains.

So today, I’ve turned off the TV and will keep it off, as quite frankly I can’t cope with another day of #FakePresident and his new side kick PM May. I need to recharge my batteries so that I can be more effective for the #Resistance.  Who would have thought that word would be trending 70 years after World War Two. Didn’t our grandparents leave this scene already?

Yesterday, I went to West Hampstead to visit the new Village Haberdashery shop, and then onwards to the Collaborative Store in Marylebone, to test a beauty product which was featured in Vogue and a new-on-the-market tea brand. During my travels I saw no less than 4 famous people – who needs Hollywood? Sewing, knitting, people watching, beauty, clothes and tea; ingredients for a pretty good day. I arrived home exhausted, hence posting today and not yesterday. When my legs ache from a walk-about in the beautiful parts of the the city, it’s another sign of a good day, at least that’s what I’m telling my poor little legs.

I will post more about yesterday’s mini adventures later this week, but today I’m concentrating on a new sewing and knitting challenge for 2017. The concept was originally developed by Lucky Lucille. I didn’t plan on doing another make challenge this year, as I was going to tackle my UFOs pile. But then 2016 happened, and knocked me and my challenges sideways. Having a perfect wardrobe of hand made clothes didn’t seem such a priority, when people were drowning in Mediterranean sea.

I made a vow that 2017 was going to be the year when hope triumphed, and I was going to play my part in making the world a better place. For me to do that, I have to fully embrace my creative side, so #2017MakeNine challenge accepted.

I’ve already technically made 3 items, so it’s nice to know that I’ve already made a positive start. But in the interests of fairness, I will count my Greenery knit set as 1 item, and will embellishment them with some very trendy embroidery by the end of the year.

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So allow me to introduce to you, my sewing and knitting plans for the #2017MakeNine challenge:

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  1. Greenery knit set, with embroidery
  2. Pink pussy protest knitted hat
  3. Black cat knitted hat, with felt and embriodery embellishments
  4. Floral square neck tunic, with rick rack embellishment
  5. Blue gingham dress
  6. Cerise gingham skirt
  7. Cobalt palazzo trousers
  8. Sunshine knitted scarf, with bumble bee embellishment
  9. Balloon print dress

I will soon post a youtube video to showcase my crafting plans with further details, so please stay tuned for that.  By the way, I have designated February as ‘Design Month’, so this list fits in perfectly with what I have in store for you over the shortest month of the year. Cue new graphic!

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I’m pretty excited about this core list of makes, and I know that as the political turmoil waves it’s ugly wand, I will have something to occupy my thoughts when I need hope and light during the dark times.

Are you participating in the #2017MakeNine challenge? What are your sewing and knitting plans? Please share in the comments box below.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more. Continue to go high people.

Resist.

That’s another year over with …

… so now what?

jan-17

Hello,

Today is the 4th day of a new year, and as I prepare to take down the Christmas decorations, I’m reflecting on the year past and wondering what good came of it, if anything.

2016 for me in the great scheme of things, was a huge step backwards in terms of social democracy and political change. I recall as a school student discussing with fellow students that I would never see a Black President of the United States in my lifetime. So imagine my surprise when Barack Obama won the 2008 and 2012 elections. Not only did I live to see this phenomenon, so did my parents and grandparents. We were all given hope that anyone who worked hard enough, and had a good heart could achieve anything – how long could it be before we see a female United States President?

Then 2016 happened. So did BREXIT, then even worse Hillary didn’t win the electoral college. It wasn’t so much that the UK is facing a future outside of the EU, and the US elected Duck a la Orange, it was the fact both political campaigns highlighted what many people suspected but didn’t want to face –  that the UK and US are populated with many ignorant people, who are lead by power hungry, racists and bigots. Playing on our fears, many claims were made including how the the NHS would be saved by leaving the EU. Then within hours of winning, the leader of the BREXIT campaign admitted on live national television that it wasn’t true, and knew it wasn’t true, but didn’t say anything in order to get the votes.

Meanwhile hate crime has increased, with Neo-nazis now given the mandate to intimidate people they deem unworthy of British citizenship. At times it feels like we are living in pre-WW2 Germany.

Then Hillary didn’t win.  I knew deep down that this was a possibility, but everyone around me, maybe in a desperate action of hope kept saying, there was no way the US electorate would vote for a proven racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, non-tax paying, questionable billionaire and proven idiot. Besides, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person ever to run for President!

Oops!

The events of 2016 has proven to me that we are all so out of touch with one another, then the blatantly ovbious results occurs, we are all taken by surprise. Yes, it was great to have a Black President as it represented a move towards equality. But representation is not the same as reality.

This all of course pales into insignificance when we see the war victims of Syria, the suffering of refugees as well as victims of terrorist attacks.

So what has 2016 meant to me?

  • The most qualified woman, can still be beaten to the role by the least qualified man.
  • Racism is still a thing in the 21st century.
  • Sexism is still a thing in the 21st century.
  • White Supremacy is still a thing in the 21st century.
  • We are more concerned about Kim K W, than we are about who is running our countries.
  • Our Parents, Grand Parents and Great Grand Parents worked hard and suffered greatly, and as it turns out, for very little positive societal gain.

I hear the arguments that we should just accept BREXIT and the US Presidency results and carry on. But doing that for me, means accepting that everyone I know and hold dear has lost several hard won for fights. It means that women still won’t be paid the same as their male counterparts, it means that people are in fear of physical and verbal attacks just because they are wearing a different style of dress to their attackers, or speak with an non-British or American accent.  It means that if my brothers want to take time off work to care for their children, they will be seen as less manly. If my sisters wear trouser suits instead of mini skirts, they are seen as inhuman.

While I can list a number of personal highlights, such as hosting my first photography exhibition, expanding my social network platforms and improving my sewing skills, these now seem empty whenever I switch on the TV news. Perhaps I was too hopeful – I thought we were finally moving towards equality, respect and peace.  I thought we were moving away from nuclear war, and towards world peace.  Now the threat of WW3 and social discord is more apparent than ever.

The easy option would be to just give up and hide in a corner.

I can’t do that.

But, sadly, I also know I can’t do much either.  But I can do something, and sometimes that is enough.

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It’s now 2017. I want to move forward, but not in the same direction as BREXIT or Orange-head. I’m still working towards peace, harmony, respect, understanding and love. These are my overall goals for 2017.

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Watch my January resolutions, by clicking on the image above.

What are your goals for 2017? Please comment below.  Thanks for reading.

 

The CT Show – new episode now live

Hello,

Episode 4 of the CT Show, has just gone live on the YouTube Chanel. Please check it out by clicking the picture below.

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Photography Exhibition Highlights

6 months ago, I hosted my first photography exhibition.

Here is a highlights video – I would love to hear your comments. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to head over to my YouTube channel, and subscribe for more videos.

Sherlock – Series 4 Official Teaser Released

*Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 09.44.24

Hello,

As some of you know, I’m a bit of a Sherlock fan and yesterday, I was a very happy bunny because the first series 4 teaser of the show has been released. In fact it was in my last post that I lamented how I had to pace my Sherlock rewatches, and lo and behold the Moff  obviously read my plight and took action a mere few hours later.

So, as I will use just about any excuse to talk about Sherlock, here’s said teaser in case you haven’t seen it yet, or like me, wish to rewatch it for the umpteenth time.

I will post my thoughts about this teaser later today.  Make sure you subscribe to Champagne Twist, to find out more. I have a few theories … the game is on!

See you soon!

*(Sherlock logo sourced from https://youtu.be/qlcWFoNqZHc)

My Great Big Sewing Resolution – The Zebra Skirt

Hello,

mgbsr logo

I have wanted to make a wide, horizontal striped skirt for a very long time. I’ve searched on the internet, in fabric shops both here and abroad, but it took a recent trip to IKEA to finally source the wide striped heavy weight cotton fabric I required for my Zebra skirt.

Zebra Skirt black and white wide stripe pleated skirt by Champagne Twist
Zebra Skirt: black & white wide stripe, pleated skirt by Champagne Twist

OK so it’s really a wide striped skirt, but that doesn’t sound as exciting! Besides, I had a few minor problems with this little number – where do I begin?…

  1. I pre treated the fabric, following the laundry instructions to the letter, and an hour later I pulled out the material from the drum, only to find a powder like substance all over it.  Turned out, the washing machine needed fixing. ARGH!
  2. After getting said machine fixed and the 2nd pre wash, negotiating the UK weather to dry the fabric, various political shenanigans and terrorist attacks, my heart wasn’t really into sewing, so the project was left for a few days.
  3. Got my sewing mojo back, the cutting went well, the pleating worked out first time, and the zip went in perfectly.  I worked on the skirt for 4 hours straight, without a break, and raised my head only to see the hour hand approaching 1 o’clock … AM! Made the sensible decision to go to bed, a decision that I regretted at 10.03am.
  4. 10am, after a refreshing shower, delicious breakfast and an essential cup of tea, I was ready to tackle the skirt. Only, I had forgotten that I didn’t finish the zip ends, then I closed the zip. At 10.03 am a very loud scream was heard far and wide.  Fortunately, I was able to reuse an old zip from another project. But the whole thing put me back an hour, unpicking the old zip and having to manoeuvre a large amount of fabric to machine sew in the new zip.
  5. The waistband was hand finished, and skirt tried on. Oh heck, I’ve lost weight!  But quite frankly I couldn’t be bothered to redo the waistband, so will add a couple of hidden pleats and make a it decorative feature … eventually.

So why the zebra name tag?  Well, the skirt is black and white, Zebra’s make me smile, and after recent world events, anything that raises a smile can’t be a bad thing. But the most important thing to note is … I’ve lost weight!

Self drafted black and white wide strip pleated skirt by Champagnetwist.wordpress.com
The Zebra Skirt by Champagne Twist Champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Details

Fabric: 100% heavy weight cotton

Brand: IKEA

Pattern: Wide black and white horizontal stripes

Design: Self-designed skirt

Garment: Pleated, knee length skirt, with in-seam pockets and invisible back zip closure

Unusually, I machined finished the hem, because the fabric is very difficult to hand sew, as I discovered when I hand finished the waistband. I’m pleased to say that you really can’t see the machine stitching, so I don’t feel so guilty.

I’m now on a mission to complete my UFOs and wear them before the sunshine disappears. On one dress, I just need to complete Hong Kong seams and hem, so that will be up next.

What do you think of my new skirt? Was have you been sewing recently? If you like this, please click the like button, and subscribe for more news from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading, and keep sewing 🙂