Thursday, 30 April 2015

Hair do's for travelling divas - Antwerp

Here's a simple hair do inspired by plaiting techniques. This is an easy version. Separate a section of hair off in the middle, plait, join with the rest of your hair in an elastic band. Then twist the remainder into a low chignon. Catches the edginess and fashion vibe of Antwerp? I hope so!

Hair do's for travelling divas - London

My friend Iris in Antwerp had a great idea. Given my love of vintage hairstyles - why not style up a look for every place I visit? Well, you know me - I always love a challenge! So let's start with the Mobile Makery English Rose. Victory Rolls and a scattering of blooms celebrate Springtime in London.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Back to work for MJ!

After skipping around Roubaix it was time for me to get crafting in Lille with the friends I was staying with. Melissa, my lovely hostess, had invited her friends and their children to take part in an crafternoon of cutting and sticking (in English and French!). Using old books and maps, we punched out shapes and with the help of my trusty sew-on-the-go Singer, we stitched together some pretty hanging paper decorations. They're really easy to make and look lovely decorating the house. Have a go yourself! It's easy!

You can make really pretty brooches too from the punched paper. Back with card and coat the edges in glitter. Add a safety pin - and hey presto! I'll try and do a little tutorial when I'm back on the road and have got the hang of blogging on the go!

A fortune built on wool - Roubaix

As I mentioned before, Roubaix made it's money from the wool trade. There's a great museum in the old industrial quarter where you can learn all about it - from the development of different types of loom, to the horrific conditions of the workers. My friend Melissa and I were the only two visitors and had a personal guided tour. How DO these French tourist destinations stay open? Merci l'état Français......yes, well....

I've seen looms in operation before in Nottinghamshire but it was still awe-inspiring to learn about the huge leaps in technology that fed the industrial revolution. It's not pretty - but it's gritty realism - and that's sometimes what life's about.


I was thrilled to find that there happened to be an exhibition of the work of Nathalie Lété on at La Piscine. As you can see from the photo below, this artist is just my kind of heroine!

Nathalie Lété, who lives in Paris, trained at the Duperré school of art and since graduating has developed a unique body of work that draws on childhood for its inspiration. You'll see the dreams and nightmares of a little girl played out in ceramics, textiles, paper, wood - anything really. I've read so much about this artist in magazines and was really excited to have the chance to see her work close up. She must have a house that's even more crammed with flea-market finds than me!

She now works freelance for some of the best and most creative names in fashion and interiors: Anthropologie, Astier de Villatte, Issey Miyake, Bourjois etc etc. How does she manage to make a living from essentially doing what I do? Collecting lots of stuff from brocantes and being inspired by it?? I'm definitely doing SOMETHING wrong! 


Roubaix - La Piscine

Whilst staying with my friend Melissa in Lille we went to visit nearby Roubaix which used to be the centre of the wool textile industry in France. A fascinating place, it feels very much like the grand Northern towns in the UK. Once they reverberated with the sound of the looms pounding away in densely packed factories - now they're rather forlorn and neglected-looking. Roubaix has two fascinating museums. One is La Piscine - an incredible art-deco swimming pool which now houses a wonderful art collection. 

In its prime the pool was the place to go for relaxation and recreation - the downside however was that you had to wear rather unbecoming regulation swimming trunks that you hired for your swim!

Ummmm - not really the sort of chaps I was hoping to meet as I make my way around Europe!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

.....and arriving!

My First stop was Lille to stay with friends and run a craft workshop with children. I was given a very warm welcome by the locals - and no, he's not swearing - it's V for victory folks!


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Revamp

I have to say, when Bambi (aka The Mobile Makery) first came home to Deptford, she really didn't cause much of a stir. One look inside at her sickly pink seat covers and I knew I had alot of work to do. I took everything out and set to it, papering the walls with a lick of PVA and the pages of a 1950's sewing book and re-upholstering all the cushions in a range of second-hand fabrics and vintage tea-towels. Then there were the curtains to replace and the floor to spruce up. In fact, pretty much everything needed sorting!

The weeks flew by, but after a while the inside began looking a little bit....well..more MJ! 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Introducing the Mobile Makery

Many of you will already know about my Mobile Makery. She started life as a rather unloved and unspectacular Bedford Bambi Campervan. Almost thirty years old and in need of a bit of love. I went to pick her up from a garage in Southampton about two years ago. Over the course of the following 18 months I completely changed Bambi both inside and out. The goal? To create a Magical Mobile Makery - a craft studio on wheels.