All Of a Dither

I am all of a dither, I don’t know what to tell you about first.  Should it be the workshop at Sue Lancaster’s or will it be Hong Kong or the Trade Show at the NEC?

I think I had better start with the pics from the workshop. This photo show some of the hard-working crew who got stuck in to a Bend It Shape It day at stitched up and Fleeced in Sheffield in early February.  They were from diverse backgrounds and very quick on the uptake, so they quickly took on board the ideas I showed them and began to take them in their own directions.

Mike seemed to relish the opportunity to learn something new; he is more used to showing others how to use his  Colourcraft products (brusho, procion dyes , Angelina fibres etc).  Whether they were in to textiles,  jewellery, or papercrafts, they each managed to turn the techniques to their  own advantage.

Sue’s workshop space provided the ideal place in which to be creative as she had all sorts of interesting things all around us to inspire and keep the creative juices flowing. Lunch came and went with everyone working away with sandwich in one hand and heat gun in the other. The end of the day came all too soon, but I think everyone came away with a head full of possibilities. Certainly the conversations around the table involved a lot of discussion about other things to try with Friendly Plastic – colouring mediums and other materials. Hopefully I have managed to convert a few more folk to the Way Of FP (I am an evangelist on this score!).

A week after the class I was winging my way to Hong Kong with my husband to see our eldest son who is doing a years exchange from York University. The first good thing that happened to us was that we got upgraded to Business class – we could not believe our luck. The second good thing was getting to see our son within an hour or so of landing. It was Chinese New Year, we arrived on 14th February which was the very start of the celebrations.


Tom spent the week showing us all over Hong Kong; Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, Lama Island and another lovely little island who’s name I can’t recall right now. We saw the fireworks over the harbour. The above photo is of Kowloon Park which is built on the site of a particularly awful bit of HK real estate.



We took the Star Ferry at 8 o’clock to see the light show go on.


We saw a fabulous Lion Dance which made us laugh and gasp at the character and the athleticism of the Lions. The cafe behind does not offer a suitably Chinese  backdrop!


We experienced the longest escalators I have ever been on (6 floor express) which made me cling on for dear life.


We shuffled and ambled along the pavements amidst the crowds with our necks twisted up to see the strange, and to our eyes alien sights of the illuminated signs. Tom describes the motion of the people (when everyone seems to be on the pavements) as being at the speed of tectonic plates, but with Brownian motion, and I think that sums it up perfectly. There is simply no point in trying to go fast as the sheer number of bodies crowding the pavements makes it nigh on impossible. The space above our heads was nearly as crowded as the streets below.


We tried out all sorts of different foods, although we were not brave enough to go for the things we could not identify (Tom describes some of these as UDOs – Unidentified Dried Objects). Even when we could identify them (having been told what they were), for example dried fish stomach, it was more than we could face to try them out for ourselves. However, I do admire the Chinese in that they do not waste any part of an animal / fish, unlike us wasteful westerners. Our favourite meals were Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese, but it was all quite expensive, so don’t go to Hong Kong and think that everything will be a bargain – it is not. I did buy some good beads though!


Our overwhelming memory of Hong Kong will be the buildings – they were breathtaking in quantity, size and number. It seems impossible that such a small place can house so many people.  The overcrowding leads to the local population being very orderly, they obey the signs, even the ones that tell you where to take a photo!


Amazingly we got upgraded again on our return flight and had to suffer Business Class again – what a trial! We arrived in the UK before 5am on Sunday morning and headed north through the snow which had closed two lanes of the M1 for large stretches. Having got home, I immediately unpacked and had to re-pack to go straight down to the NEC in Birmingham for Stitches the trade show for the craft and creative hobbies industry. I spent Monday and Tuesday demonstrating for the distributor of Friendly Plastic – All About Crafts / Pottery Crafts. This is always good fun but very tiring. I met lots of lovely people who, if they hung around for long enough, became very enthusiastic about Friendly Plastic. If I could not enthuse a few folk with the joys of FP then I would be a very poor demonstrator.

Every time I do a show, it always amazes me that there are so many people out there who know nothing about FP – we need to shout about it a whole lot more. So get out there Everyone and get shouting!