As we are slowly easing in into new normal (and hopefully this will feel like a distant dream soon) we thought it would be good to set the day for our grand re-opening. Are you ready to hear the date? Our Fair style reopening is going to be on 23rd-24th of October, just before half term. The reason for choosing this date is because we believe this is when most of the restrictions will be lifted, but even if not then I think we will still be able to have some of the activities we are planning. Either way, let’s save the date and get ready to celebrate!
So far we have been open for takeaways for a few hours per week and added some seating outside. We have been also been finishing fit out works as well as this wall mural that is coming along very nicely! We are hoping to open for sit down service very soon as well, although we will still be using takeaway boxes etc till after the grand re-opening.
At the opening we hope to have stalls where you can sell your handmade stuff that you created during lockdown. Currently we have JEMAUS amazingly beautiful pottery, but there are plenty of stalls available for the day. If this is something that interests you then please contact us soon!
There are of course many other ways you can involve. We would love to promote or collaborate with small businesses locally. Currently we are thinking (restrictions allow) to have singers performing, face painters or even caricature artists? So if you think you would like to be involved please contact us! The possibilities are endless, you just need to think outside the box ;-).
The other idea we have is to start preparing for being the cafe that we originally wanted to be. Our core goal is to bring community together through various activities such as crafts, gardening or a book club. Wouldn’t be great if you could sign up for various groups at the launch? We imagine it might be like freshers week at Uni. I have some exciting memories when starting university and signing up for groups made this extra special. So if you like to lead a group based on an interest or a hobby we would love to hear from you! Maybe we can keep those ready for when we are good to go and socialise and meet new people in our area once again.
Finally we would like to thank everyone who helped with our community rainbow bunting. It is looking great! It has been moved onto the ceiling already as we started realising that the sun is bleaching them at the windows (oops). If you still want to contribute with the bunting flags we are still accepting them at the cafe (we even have a drop off box for it!).
Hey everyone, hope you are doing well! I thought I will share some of my gardening experience since people have been spending more time on their gardens(which is exciting to hear!) and maybe now it is more topical people might find it interesting.
I have been gardening for quite a few years and what I have realised is that it’s a constant learning process. There will never be a day when I will know it all when it comes to this subject. I thought I will also mention here that we took a very exciting decision last week and decided to even get an allotment for next year (fingers crossed there is some space). Anyways… what I would like to talk to you about this time is about seed collecting and storing.
I started seed collecting last year and I wanted to share straight away about my experiences. However due to us having website problems at that time I ended up holding off this post till now. And what a good timing! Not only that there is more interest in the subject, but also this is a good time to start thinking about seed collection. Also I have now seen what worked, so I can share some feedback here as well. Seed collecting is what makes gardening a little bit cheaper, more sustainable, and more interesting. Have you ever seen a plant that you would like to grow but could not find a seed to buy?
The starting point of seed collection is planning. Why? Because you need to let some plants develop their seed which takes a little time and preparation. So make a list and schedule what month you will be collecting those seeds. I created my list with space where I can mark a cross for each item as I go along.
Of course sometimes seed collection can be spontaneous, especially when you see a beautiful plant or your friend gives you an interesting fruit. Last year I collected lots of flower plants that now I am watching grow. I am also growing lots of Russian black tomatoes that my friend gave me to taste last year. It made crazy loads of tomato plants just from one fruit!
Once you have assembled your list you will have a better idea of the preparation that needs to be done. Look up how to collect seeds from each plant. I ended up watching quite a lot of seed collecting videos last year! Plants like cucumbers and courgettes definitely need a long time till they are ready for seed harvesting. Some veg like lettuce or carrots are harvested before they have a chance to develop any seeds so this maybe another reason why you need to prep and wait. The majority of other fruit and veg seeds are pretty obvious. They just need to be picked and dried. Make sure you dry seeds away from the sun!
After seeds are completely dry you can store them however you like. It’s important that seeds are kept in a dry, cool, and dark place. I used envelopes, but jars or little containers work fine as well.
If you want here we have few printable envelopes just for fun. Hope you like using them!
Using my own seeds has been very satisfying this year. I hardly spent any money so far. I only picked a few things from the shop, such as strawberry seeds for my kids as well as getting seeds to use where some I harvested did not work out. But those were only a few. Cucumber and courgette was was some of them! Probably because I did not allow enough of time before seed harvesting. The seeds that worked out really well are here as follows: tomatoes (all types), beans, pumpkin (got too many now), chamomile, marigolds, poppy, sunflower, nasturtium and still waiting for others. Totally worth trying out!
Since sharing about this exciting project we thought we would give you more information.
For those who have not heard, here is where you can read how our idea came about. Essentially our idea is simple. We want to bring joy to the community and shift focus from being anxious, scared, or bored to a more positive perspective. We hope you can join us and make some triangle flags to be joined together so we can put them in our windows. We hope this will bring smiles to people who passes our cafe while we are on quarantine. The more bunting the larger the smiles and we have plenty of space in our windows!
When we reopen again we are going to use the same bunting to decorate our ceiling. We are planning on a fun fair style celebration with stalls selling handmade goods, fun activities for kids, and much more. So while we wait, we need to prepare for this exciting event. Which is why we would love to see your handmade touch on our opening deco.
The address to either post or drop off your handmade flags is:
5 The Crescent
The flags can be made up from any material, as long as it can be stitched together onto our binding. For more ideas keep on reading! The possibilities are limitless! Although there are two rules to keep it neat:
The flags need to be rainbow coloured. We felt it is essential this project is as cheerful as it can be. Plus, rainbow means hope, and thats what we need right now!
All flags need to be roughly the same size. Each side should be approximately 15cm/6inch long.
Paper is the easiest way to make flags! It also makes a good template for making fabric flags. Paper can be painted, printed, cut, glued, and even stitched! The options are limitless and doesn’t require much skill therefore kids can be involved too!
Fabric flags require slightly more skill and work compared to paper ones. However this is a more traditional material to use for the bunting. The key is to find a good method to finish off the flag edges. Our method is as follows:
Cut out two flags from your chosen fabric, leaving a 1cm seam allowance on two edges
Pin those two flags together leaving “wrong side” out
Stitch the two edges of the flag where you left the seam allowance
Invert the finished flag and iron to press it down
Of course some fabrics do not require such edge finishing (felt for example) and if you use serrated scissors to cut the triangles out then you won’t need to do any stitching.
Finished flags can me embroidered (for embroidery stitch inspiration go here), appliquéd, dyed, and/or printed. Edges can be further decorated with various trims.
Knitted flags are fun and very good for meditation ;-). But seriously, knitting is so much fun! If you don’t know how, I think this is good time to start and this project is quite simple to begin with!
There are many knit stitch patterns out there to create different textures, but we will go with the most basic one, called Garter stitch pattern. All you need to know is a knit stitch with this one!
When knitting you can also play with different colours if you want to create all sorts of patterns. Finished knitted bunting can be embroidered or decorated in other ways (like here with a mini bell)
Crocheted flags can be equally fun. It all depends what you prefer. Some people swear by only knitting, some are totally in love with crochet. I love both! I think crochet is good for lace work or other intricate patterns. For this pattern I will keep it simple. Only double crochet stitch is used here!
row 1: work 22 chain stitches
row 2: dc (double crochet) 22 (stitches)
row 3: dc 20, skipping 1st and 22nd stitch (row 2)
row 4: dc 18, skipping 1st and 20th stitch (row 3)
row 5: dc 16, skipping 1st and 18th stitch (row 4)
row 6: dc 14, skipping 1st and 16th stitch (row 5)
row 7: dc 12, skipping 1st and 14th stitch (row 6)
row 8: dc 10, skipping 1st and 12th stitch (row 7)
row 9: dc 8, skipping 1st and 10th stitch (row 8)
row 10: dc 6, skipping 1st and 8th stitch (row 9)
row 11: dc 4, skipping 1st and 6th stitch (row 10)
row 12: dc 2, skipping 1st and 4th stitch (row 11)
Again, I just wanted mention again, there are so many lacy crochet pattern patterns out there! This triangle stitch pattern is my fave! I even think that it might be unique to me as I never came across anybody doing it! My source was an old book of trims, I just adapted it into a pattern.
All flags you make will be joined into one big bunting using our black binding material. I thought it will blend in well with black ceilings :-).
We really really look forward to your creations (and I am really getting excited about this!). And of course I am very very thankful to everyone who may participate or even consider participating!
Hey everybody! Hope you had a lovely Easter. I was very excited to hear the Queens speech this year: yes indeed, Easter has not been canceled!
A lot of people have been telling me that it is such as shame that our cafe is closed right now. Yes, I know we only opened recently, but we still feel very very lucky because of all the support we have had since then. We are serving a need in the community and that means huge success to us! And I know for some of you these uncertain times are so so hard. I heard lots of sad stories around how some of you are not well, feeling lonely, really bored with monotonous daily routine. I hear you and we really want to help!
When I was in labour with my first (sorry that I am sharing my labour story here), I did not know when my pain would end. It was over several days and I was loosing my hope. I did not know when my suffering would be over and what really helped is to focus on the end. Or more like prepare for the end. The midwife I had by that time (when I was loosing my hope) was very good with shifting that focus. She kept saying “shall we get the bed ready for the baby?” and “should we make sure all the notes are done?”. These were only small, unessential questions. It’s not like it would take a long time to prep the bed for the baby once it arrives. But it really really helped to set my mind on the time when I can just celebrate!
I feel the same applies here. Currently we are in some sort of labour. It does not depend on you, but you are so tired of waiting! Waiting to resume to your normal life! So shall we work together and maybe shift this focus to something more positive? We decided to get ready for our second re-opening, and as a community focused cafe we would like to involve you too! So can you help?
A few weeks ago, Suzannah (one of our team at the cafe) suggested we re open the cafe in craft fair style. “Everyone will be making, so definitely will want a place where they could sell their produce” she said. And I must admit we fell in love with this idea! We elaborated a little, this could be so much more! This could almost be like a fun fair, but indoors! Lots of bunting came to my mind when I tried imagining all this!
So how can you help you may ask? Well, we thought wouldn’t it be lovely if we made gigantic bunting for this event! As it gets made, flag by flag, it could be displayed at the window to hopefully cheer you up as you walk by. Eventually it could cover the whole ceiling!
So the idea right now is for everybody to make up some bunting flags that we could join together to make it longer one as we go along. We have a bit of bunting in already, but would it be not great if every triangle flag is unique and and has a personal touch? Any material is welcome, as long as it is strong enough to be stitched together into a binding. It can be made of paper, fabric, yarn. Whatever suits your craft skill! It can be painted, dyed, embroidered etc to make your mark.
We are new to this idea still, so any suggestions are welcome. There are two rules to begin with so this project works as a one:
The flags need to be rainbow coloured. We felt it is essential this project is as cheerful as it can be. Plus, rainbow means hope, and thats what we need right now!
To keep all uniform we thought it would be good idea to keep all the flags the same size. Each side should be approximately 15cm/6inch long.
As I already mentioned, this is still a new idea and currently we are trying to get all the vibes from you. How do you feel about it? Would it help?
Once we see if this works we will post more details on logistics such as where to post the flags. Also we can then give you some suggestions on how to knit a flag for example or a few embroidery tutorials perhaps.
The first week after closing the cafe doors has been both overwhelming and relaxing at the same time for us. But we finally are getting into a routine! We are learning to work while with kids, to take turns in our responsibilities, work as a team, but most importantly we are learning how to slow down. Which is particularly hard for us as we have too many ideas (translated into jobs) all in one go. So we are kinda glad (although very very sorry to people who has been effected by the epidemic) that we now have an opportunity to pause, revisit the company ethos, finish all the unfinished jobs to do with cafe fit out, and create a better running system for when we reopen.
Meanwhile… I wanted to say that we had a few kids craft workshops planned for Easter and now this is no longer happening we thought to share some DIY ideas here. This basket will come in very useful for an Easter egg hunt either indoors or in your back garden. This craft is more suitable for school age kids, but younger ones can help with cutting the strips and decorating.
To make some woven baskets you will need:
A4 card (can be cereal box cutout, old kids artwork, or anything else from recycling)
glue (can be super glue, PVA, double sided tape, hot glue, or staples)
Begin by cutting the card lengthwise into 2-3cm wide strips.
Glue two strips together to make one long strip for the basket handle.
Arrange 10 strips ready to be woven (inc the long one you just made) as in the pic below.
Weave those strips together to create a bottom part of the basket.
Fold all the ends upwards to create basket walls.
Using more strips weave around into the basket walls. Use glue (we used double sided tape) as needed to make the weave more secure.
Continue viewing 1-2 more rows while adding more of ready cut strips.
Tidy up the ends (except the long strips) by either folding them in or trimming them. Make sure to use more glue to secure edging in straight line.
Finish the basket by glueing two long strips together to make a handle.
This year Christmas is looking a little different to us a family. With the cafe launch in January we are not able to visit any of our family (Joni parents are in Devon and mine are in Lithuania). This means for the first time it is only going to be just four of us at the Christmas dinner (five if you include the cat). I am feeling hopeful as I heard lots of good stuff about celebrating Christmas without big family involved therefore I am planning to make the best out of it!
Christmas preparation is looking also very different this year. Although we don’t always have Christmas tree in, I tend to finish decorating before December. Obviously this is not the case this year! Which is why I decided to make the advent calendar part of our Christmas prep.
Besides that, our advent calendar have to be less wasteful. Last year when I did my origami advent calendar, we had a good chunk of paper wasted . So you can imagine that going with the advent calendar design that can be reused again and again was a big reason why I chose Ikea Moppe solution. After doing some research on different examples I decided to go with something very simple as this can be updated every year. In worst case scenario this can be repainted and used as a craft supply storage!
What took most of my time in preparation was not an actual making of the advent calendar but filling the drawers.
To glue 4 Moppe drawers together all I used PVA and clamps.
I used black marker and white chalk marker to draw windows and doors to imitate a building.
To imitate the roof I decided to go with the cardboard. Making out of wood would have taken me much longer! I lined it with polyester filling which essentially looks like artificial snow.
To attach the roof was a little tricky. I tried duck tape as well as hot glue gun. None of that worked. Eventually I resorted to staple gun (it works every time). Although I expect it made some damage, I think it will be easy to fix with some fillers and sanding. I will definitely try making roof out of wood next year!!
At the end of the day, I am happy with the result! It took me to make in about an hour while filling draws with activities took me more like 3h (oops).
I usually take great pleasure in baking birthday cakes for my kids. However I made Lukas birthday a little differently this year as it was made entirely out of ice-cream! This might be odd for some, but in my childhood ice-cream cake was normal. Besides, don’t you find that kids tend to eat the icing of the cake first? With ice-cream cake the whole cake gets eaten by your little party guests. Trust me! Ice-cream cake is the best! You can thank me later 😉
This ice-cream is super easy to make. I chose this recipe as it does not need churning therefore it can just be frozen in a dome shaped dish. I used a metal mixing bowl, but I would recommend a silicone dome shaped baking mould.
MOON ICE-CREAM CAKE
1l whipping or double cream
2 cans condensed milk (784g)
1 tbsp vanilla essence (optional)
black food colouring (as needed)
1. Whip the cream and add the rest of ingredients into the bowl.
2. Mix to combine, add more of food colouring if necessary.
3. Transfer the mix into the mould if using. Otherwise freeze it in the bowl overnight.
4. To remove the cake out of silicone mould should be easy. But if you froze it in a metal bowl there is a trick you can use for safe removal. Put the bowl upside down and place damp hot cloths on top. Keep swapping cloths for freshly heated ones till ice-cream comes out. With this method the cake came out not in the best shape, but considering it is meant to be a moon like I decided the wobbly lines give an authentic character to it.
Once tidied up, decorated with some authentic craters 😉 , and with space themed candles I think it turned out pretty well!
Another good reason why this cake is good to make for birthdays is because it can be prepped weeks before and decorated with very little to be impressive.
Last month we have celebrated Lukas 4th birthday and we decided to host his party at our home. I always dreamed to host kids parties so I was quite excited about it! The only problem we came across was the lack of space. But then we thought to rely on doing some activities in our back garden. And this is when we learned the lesson, never rely on British weather! Seriously! What were we thinking. All 14 kids and their parents got stranded indoors, because it was pouring all day! That of course would not have happened if we hired a venue. And if you are local to us, we will certainly be hosting kids parties at the cafe once it opens!
I began planning the party two months in advance and because I am very visual I started with a theme. Prior to deciding on the theme I asked Lukas what he would like to have, it was instantly clear that we were having a space themed party (he loves rockets!). It was easy for me then to create the invites as this is an area where I thrive. As usual with my design I made it as visually interactive as I could.
Next up is the cake, I wanted something unusual but certainly moon shaped ;-). I will be sharing how I made this ice-cream cake very soon!
Food? I went with a simple menu! I have been very fortunate to work at a kids cafe in the past and I quickly realised that kids are very simple, they prefer their party food fun and uncomplicated.
Snacks, star shaped sandwiches, pizza, and astronaut food pouches (aka fruit puree baby pouches) were our favourites! We had a separate food platter laid out for adults too.
Besides the food we had party activities! In fact we had a whole party program planned out, which of course was messed up by the bad weather we had on the day. We ended up taking most of messy craft activities indoors.
Luckily kids painted their rockets, but not the walls (phew!).
The moral of our story? Unless you have a mansion or want to host a small party we recommend to hire a venue. At our cafe we will help you to come up with the best decorations for your chosen theme, simple or more experimental menu, activities and more. Check out our shop for more details ;-).
Just because I have not been blogging much about this 2019 goal, that does not mean I have not made progress. Truth to be told I have not been blogging much in general this year, but I detoxed my wardrobe quite a few times in preparation to finding my style and I am very close to completing my goal. I did not have much time to make any clothes however as planned, but I will get into that once our cafe project is under control.
Today I am going to share what I do with clothes that I love, but which either don’t look right or they look too boring. If it is only small fix I don’t rush to throw it away.
By quick fix, I mean like shortening the length or inserting extra pockets for practicality. I will however show you how I do shorten my clothes. I had quite a few tops and dresses that were too long for my liking.
I simply used iron-on adhesive tape to do the hems. Was super quick! However I must warn you! The hems done this way are slightly heavier and not good with clothes that are constantly getting washed. I mean everything needs to be washed sometimes. But I think this method of hemming suits best something like formalwear (where you don’t want to see stitched hem) or coats (that does not get washed that often).
If you still want to try using iron-on adhesive tape then please be aware that I used HeatnBond one. I cut each garment to the length I wanted (plus 3cm extra for the hem folding). Then I simply folded hem once, iron press, folded second time, inserted the tape, and final iron press.
If you are more interested in doing hems the traditional way. By all means, Google it! There are lots of tutorials out there.
Now a little bit about what I do with clothes that need a bit of spicing up ;-). I often use either some sort of embellishment or embroidery. In the past I blogged about how I inserted lace into a neckline and recently I did embroidery on this t-shirt that had a pocket.
To do this embroidery I positioned the pocket in the embroidery hook and then sketched a design on it using pencil. You can use any sort of pencil, but don’t use anything inky or a biro as you may not be able to wash it out. To get you started on embroidery here are a few of my favourite stitches styles I learned over the years.
I often get asked how I am getting on with our current cafe project. “You must be very busy!” they add. I then simply answer that I am just getting on with it. People seem to expect me to be stressed and panicked. But the truth is that I don’t believe panicking is useful or a sign of productiveness (Joni would agree with me on this). I learned to manage my life a different way.
Now if you met any of my old friends they would tell that I never been an organised person. I actually struggle to manage my constantly wandering mind! But in return I have been very passionate about goals and productivity. Over time I learned how to be focused. I tried many methods: I tried filofax, google calendar, and wall calendar. You name it, I tried it! But I came to a conclusion, strict routines never work and tight schedule is a recipe for a disaster.
What really works is writing things down! I am currently reading “Big Dreams Daily Joys” by Elise Blaha Cripe and the way she describes the benefits of writing things down, could not be better said. Elise in her book explains how writing down to do list temporarily clears your mind from thinking about uncompleted tasks. Tasks that are written down are more visual, it creates a bigger picture and makes it easier to see when and how they are going to be completed (basically stops the chaos in your head). Lists also make it easier to collaborate as you can have a shared record of what has been done and what is left to do. Finally, lists saves time! When you find some time you can quickly refer to your to do list and jump to the task without much thinking about what needs to be done to begin with. Another good book on this topic is “The checklist manifesto” by Atul Gawande.
Now about organisational tools. Different types of tools fit different types of people of course. Some people use apps, some love bullet journaling (I tried that!) and then there are some that use wall planners (that is me!). It took me a while to realise, but once I did I started creating wall planners myself. Why? That’s because I could not find a wall planner that fitted my organisational process (in fact there is not much choice out there at all). I will explain later my pros and cons for using a wall planner, but if you are interested to get one for yourself that really works for me then visit our etsy shop.
Now pros and cons. Like everything else in life, wall planners have some good points and bad points. Which is why it is best to weigh both and see what fits best for you as a person.
It is visual. You can see it all out there on a large layout all at the same time. It’s always visible (which is why I keep mine on our fridge), therefore it keeps you focused most of the time. This pro is good for people who work at one location most of the time (like me).
It’s not a distraction! Unlike technology tools on your phone or laptop, wall planners do not overload you with notifications and e-mails.
It’s good for teams (or families). Since wall planners are visible to everyone, they can simply contribute to your planning or even get few tasks done as well. I find it helpful when Joni records evening events on the planner so I know when I can’t go out and need to stay at home to look after our kids.
It won’t let you down. Nope, wall planners are not powered on batteries therefore it won’t die on you when you need to check what time is your meeting. Also it will definitely not get lost. It’s always there on the wall when you need it :-).
it is decorative! A very important pro for me, I love how it looks when it is hung on the wall!
It does not travel with you. Yes, I get it. This must be annoying to anyone who travels a lot for work. But I don’t, so it’s ok! I occasionally get asked on my availability, but then I simply reply “let me check my diary and I will let you know”. Also when I travel I record tasks and events that come up (on my phone, I use a notes app). When I am back, I simply go through the list and transfer everything on my wall planner.
It won’t be automatic. When you get an event confirmation by e-mail it won’t be able to transfer the date onto my wall planner
It won’t call/notify you. Wall planner just don’t have that ability to call you or play a ringtone when you are about to reach a deadline.
So how does my planning process work you may ask. It simply starts with writing down some goals at the beginning of each year (will write a post about this later). These are not wishy washy new years resolutions. These are realistic goals backed up by tasks. These tasks (not very strict at this stage) get transferred onto our monthly planner together with some events as well (if you have any planned).
Eventually after the year starts I start planning more detailed tasks one week ahead. This is where our weekly planner comes in useful! While still keeping an eye on the bigger picture (goals) you can clearly how things plan out through out the week. I just love to take some time on Sundays to plan the week ahead and I tend to create meal list on Mondays since this is when I find its best to do shopping (our local supermarket is almost empty on Monday evenings!)
Finally I have some tricks up my sleeve for success (Ha! You did not see that coming!)
Don’t overcrowd your planner with too many tasks! These have to be all realistically timed. All the events and other external factors need to be considered as well. Nothing is more off putting when uncompleted tasks by the end of the day!
Don’t let the unexpected to throw you out of balance. Because sh** happens! If the task is not completed by the end of the day simply move it forward or cancel it all together (if it is no longer relevant of course). Don’t feel guilty, just move on! It is better to address the task (cancel or reschedule) then get panicked over uncompleted tasks.
Give yourself some rest! If you are feeling tired, clearly you are not going to be your most productive self. Therefore it’s ok to move some tasks to the next day and it’s ok to cancel some. Just take a bath or whatever else you like to do to relax and when tomorrow come it will be much a better day.
Most importantly have fun with planning and share this with someone else who you think needs to hear this. Here are the wall planners again if you are like me and enjoy jotting down the tasks on the wall ;-).