Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas Craft Amnesty - next meeting on Saturday 29th December

Yes, our next scheduled meeting date is slap bang in the middle of the Christmas holidays, so we're going to treat it as an opportunity to provide a bit of respite, a bit of refuge, for all of our WI ladies. We'll be holding a 'Craft Amnesty', which means you can bring in any of your unfinished craft projects, and work away on them happily in good company, away from the chores and demands of home. Or maybe you're thinking "Unfinished projects? But I'm practically perfect in every way, I always finish my projects!" Or maybe you just don't have any crafts on the go - right now, or possibly ever?! Well, fear not because we will provide some prepared activities / ideas (and some materials and equipment), so if you don't even have the time to think about what to bring, you can just turn up and join in.

We will also, as usual, be bringing lots of edible goodies to share, so overall you can expect a very relaxed, friendly, chatty affair. We're not planning a 'formal' WI meet with an agenda this time (it will be business as usual again at our January meeting), but such a sociable afternoon will provide a good opportunity for all of us to talk about what we will be doing as a group in the new year. (We will also be keeping you posted on here in forthcoming weeks, as we develop our 2013 programme of workshops and activities.)

Please add a comment below to let us know if you'll be able to join us on December 29th.

Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

We're official!! Plus a look at our Christmas wreath making - Saturday 24th November

Hello! It's time (actually way past time) we updated you on what exactly went down at our last meeting. It was, in fact, a momentous day because it was the day that we became.... wait for it... an official branch of the Women's Institute! To mark the occasion, here is a picture of the very moment that our President, Debbie (El Presidente as I like to call her), signed our copy of the constitution.

(A big thank you to Ann Jopson for the pic.)
Phew... certain words come to mind. Momentous. We. Were. There. etc. Hang on a minute, is that Maureen nodding off on the right?!!

I'm joking! It was another lovely meeting, and we were a bit excited and giddy because now we're 'real', and people can actually officially join us. This excitement was nicely topped off by our Christmas wreath making workshop.

Jayne kindly shared some ideas and techniques for making wreaths using fabrics, ribbons, paper and Christmas decorations.

Whilst Tif also shared some tips for making wreaths using foliage.

Everyone seemed to become completely absorbed in making their wreaths. It was fab, a very enjoyable, creative afternoon.

I'll leave you with a peek at the fruits of our labour. While you're looking at them, just imagine that the music from the Gallery in Take Hart is playing... (if you're old enough to remember it!)

That wraps it up. Thank you to everyone who came, we do hope you enjoyed it. Thank you to Jayne and Tif for their creative efforts in leading the workshop, thank you to everyone who provided masses of foliage, materials, decorations and bits and bobs, thank you to everyone who joined in the mass clean-up (yes, it was good, but wow, the mess afterwards!) and a final thank you to Helena Harrington and Edith Cheesbrough for coming along and welcoming us officially into the WI.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year xx

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Deck the halls... Christmas wreath making on Saturday 24th November 2012

Hello to all you budding Darling Roses! If this is the first time you've visited our blog, you're very welcome. We're going to tell you all about our next meeting and the crafty workshop to follow it, and it would be really nice if you would confirm if you'll be coming along using the 'Leave a comment...' link at the bottom of this post. Please do! That way we can use this blog to communicate with you all, and it will really help us to plan for our meetings and workshops.

On Saturday 24th November we will be officially inaugurated as a WI branch (hurrah!!) and that means we will all be able to join the Women's Institute on the day. The annual membership costs £33, and it will run until the end of 2013, so starting our group at this time of year means that we're all getting some extra free meetings in 2012 - bargain!

We're very excited about our Christmas wreath making workshop that will follow the meeting. A couple of our committee members, Jayne and Tiff, will be sharing their artistic talents and demonstrating some options using greenery, or the more permanent fabric-based type. We'll have lots of materials laid out if you fancy trying out your own ideas as well. We will be supplying the wreath bases, floristry wire and other basic equipment needed, and the workshop will cost £5 (as with all of our workshops, we're trying to keep the charge minimal to cover materials and hall hire).

Anything we're all able to bring along to prettify our wreaths would be a great help. In terms of greenery, we've already got offers to bring in holly, ivy etc... but if you have greenery to spare please bring it in! Any foliage with berries would be spectacular (does anyone have the elusive mistletoe?!), pine cones, anything in your garden that would look good on a wreath basically... use your imagination!

In terms of the fabric wreaths, if you have anything suitable please bring ribbons / pretty fabric strips, felt, baubles (big or small), other Christmas decorations... again, anything that you think will look good.

When you leave your comment below, you can also tell us now if you'd prefer to make a foliage or fabric-based option, if you have a strong preference. We've had to order wreath bases already, so please be aware it will be first come first served (i.e. there will be a limited number of mossed bases available for green wreaths).

(Which reminds me, as blog author - can I bag a green one now please?!)

Finally, we will be having a shared lunch again, between the meeting and the workshop. As a guide, we'd say whatever you decide to bring along to share, it's enough to bring about as much as you'd normally eat yourself, plus a little bit extra.

So, a short final recap:
  1. Please let us know if you're coming by leaving a comment here.
  2. If you know what you'd like to do now - foliage or fabric - also let us know here (first come, first served, but don't worry, there will be more wreath bases than people so everyone will be able to do something on the day!)
  3. Please bring along whatever you can add to our supplies - greenery, ribbons, baubles etc
  4. If you'll be handling greenery, bring your garden gloves to protect your little mitts!
Bye for now x

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Meeting and vintage teacup candle making – Saturday 27th October

Hello! We’re back, to tell you all about our second meeting, and what fun we had with a few old saucepans and half a ton of wax (!). As promised, we kicked off proceedings with more of a formal meeting this time. We were joined by Helena Harrington, the Chairman of our local WI Federation, and Edith Cheesbrough, the WI representative who’s been guiding us through the membership process. Helena kindly talked us through a brief history of the Women’s Institute, what the WI is all about now, and also what our members will gain access to when they join. Helena and Edith then popped to the kitchen for a cuppa, whilst we had a chat as a group about the things that are most important for us to agree right now, as a newbie WI branch:

  1. What’s our name?
  2. What will we do?
  3. What about lunch?! (you may scoff – sorry about the pun – but our meetings start on Saturdays at 11am, so yes we do have to talk about lunch!)
The founding committee members have already been using a working title for our group, and this was our chance to unveil it:

Darling Roses WI (ta da!)

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed it’s also the title of this site! We had a chat about the merits of going with a more ‘whimsical’ name (such as Darling Roses) or the more traditional route of naming the branch after the area we meet in (for us, that's Moortown in Leeds), and the consensus in the group was that something a bit more expressive and unique will suit us much better. So, to cut a long story short, Darling Roses it is! The few of us who’ve been living with the name for a little while, whilst working on setting up this group, have grown to love it and we’re sure you all will too. It does make us sound quite lovely, if you think about it… (and we’re sure we can live up to that, come on!)

We also talked about our ideas for future workshops, fundraising and campaigning, which we’ll post more about as we develop our ideas and agree firm plans. With the formalities out of the way, we were able to confirm to Helena and Edith our name and our firm intention of being a WI branch, which means… we will be inaugurated officially at our next meeting on November 24th! Phew. Again, look out for more on this next meeting in a post coming soon – along with details of the crafty, creative workshop that will follow the meeting, making Christmas wreaths.

But let’s not forget our candle making. It was a nice choice as our first proper workshop, something that was very simple and cost-effective to arrange, easy for everyone to take part in, and we all got to take home some nice gifts (possibly for ourselves!) that we were very pleased with…
Debbie (our President) explaining proper use of our specialist equipment!

Facial steaming was included in the price.

 And now for the tricky bit, "sshh, I'm concentrating!"

By mid-afternoon, lovely candles covered every surface.

These two got all fancy with some bows (the rest of us who didn't think of that were a tad jealous!)

So, there you have it, and a lovely time was had by all. Next month we'll be creating some Christmas cheer, learning how to make beautiful Christmas wreaths using greenery or fabrics. We'll keep you posted on all the details.

Be back soon x

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Our first meet and greet - Saturday 22nd September

Well, here we are. A fledgling, newly hatched Women’s Institute group – well, not quite official yet, but we soon will be! (More on the next steps to ‘officialness’ later.)

We’re the Darling Roses WI, and we will be meeting on a Saturday at the end of each month at St John’s Church Hall in Moortown, Leeds. We’re aiming to provide all the wonderful benefits associated with Women’s Institute membership – being part of a friendly, supportive and lively group, that also just happens to provide lots of opportunities to try new things, what could be better?! But we’re also aiming to forge our own unique identity as a group and believe that we have something really exciting and special to offer.

For starters, we’ll be meeting at weekends, something which no other local group does, and it will afford us the luxury of lots of time to provide both a regular WI meeting and a more in-depth workshop activity after every meeting. We have lots of ideas on what we’d like to do already, and will also be encouraging the input of all of our new and prospective members, but first things first, let's talk about our September meeting.

When we first contacted the Women’s Institute, and tentatively suggested that maybe little old us could start a WI branch of our own, they talked us through the process, and explained that first of all we had to hold a meeting to establish interest in our group – not really an official meeting you understand, more of an informal ‘meet and greet’ that we could advertise and then find out exactly what sort of interest there was locally.

So, we found a lovely venue, we spread the word, we organised some nice, crafty activities for people to be able to dip into on the day, and then of course we baked and baked and baked in readiness (how many cakes?!), and then it was the morning of Saturday 22nd September. It was time. We felt excited, of course, but also just a little bit sick (and I don’t mean from all the cakes). What if no-one came? What if it was a complete unmitigated disaster??

Well, of course it wasn’t! (Just trying to ramp up the tension there…) No fewer than 23 ladies came along, and with us four founding members (Debbie, Jayne, Kate and Andrea) that makes 27 potential members already. Yes, we’re pleased! We sampled the cakes and drank the coffee and tea pots dry, we tried a bit of knitting or crochet or sewing or painting or whatever we fancied, and we chatted about what we can all do as a group as we go forward. Now for a peek at what we did…

Some of us sewed roses from ribbon and fabric scraps, and a few of us produced beautifully painted roses on fabric.

A shout out has to go to Kate for serving at the hatch! (We'll get her a nice tabard for next time)

And of course it was all very sociable too!

So there you go, that's our first little gathering already behind us, we can scarcely believe it. Now it's onwards and upwards to our next meeting on Saturday 27th October, same time (11am), same place (St John's Church Hall). We will be having more of a formal meeting this time to introduce ourselves and have a group discussion about our aims and plans, and also to hear a little more about the WI on a national level from Helena Harrington (the Chairman of the West Yorkshire Federation) and Edith Cheesbrough (the WI representative who has been very helpfully guiding us through the membership process). We will be having a 'vote' (just a show of hands really!) to confirm our intentions of becoming a bona fide WI branch, and then Helena will return to our November 24th meeting to officially inaugurate us (yippeee!!!) To get back to October though, after our meeting we'll be having a shared lunch (how civilised!), and then we'll be having a lovely crafty workshop, making candles from vintage tea cups. There will be a charge for the workshop which we will keep to a minimum to cover costs (£5 or under).

Come back soon and we'll tell you all about it. Bye for now!