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Archive for the ‘Diane’s Puppets’ Category

Puppets, Puppets, and more Puppets!

Leap Year: A Puppet Making Day

Today was a special day, a day that only comes around once every four years.

So did I propose marriage to my long term partner? Nah! We’re happy as we are thank you very much.

No, I did something much more special : I made 20 , yes TWENTY ‘how to’ videos for the video production company Videojug.

The lovely Duncan came round bright and early at 9am with his camera and lights and we spent the entire day filming and making puppets.

The last puppet was made at 6pm, ten hours later. Phew!

So here I am exhausted , back aching but feeling very satisfied. I’m looking forward to seeing the edited results up on Youtube in a few weeks time. As soon as they are finished I shall give you all the link. But for now, here are photographs of today’s toil.

Puppets

The result of a long but creative day of puppet making

Animal felt finger puppets

Animal felt finger puppets

Paper bag monkey puppets

Cheeky monkey paper bag puppets

Hand made puppets

Cats and dogs and birds

Junk puppet crocodile

Snap! Look what I made from rubbish.

Barn owl hand puppet

Beautiful barn owl puppet

Finger puppets on the farm

Finger puppet animals on the farm

lion puppet hand puppets

Lionel with friends

Scary monster paper plate puppets

Monsters and cats

So, would you have a go at  making a puppet now? Soon you can watch me show you how it’s done.

In a Videojug Puppet Making Frenzy

After having been approached by Videojug,Image the video production company to make a series of how to puppet making videos for Youtube, how could I say no? Anyone who knows me a little or indeed reads this or my Diane gets Crafty blog knows I’m an avid maker. Plus the opportunity to have 20 short professional videos made for me that I could use was just too tempting.

London Kids entertainer and puppet show provider Diane

Me, an expert? Who'd have thunk it?

So I signed up to make a series of 20 short 3minute videos on the most Googled puppet making searches and become Videojug’s expert puppet maker. Gosh. I like that title. I set a date for filming the 20 videos ,worked out my list of makes and got all excited.

Then, like so many other people in the UK I went down with the flu.

Cue lots of days not being able to get out of bed , loss of voice , coughing, spluttering and generally not feeling very well.

Add to this scenario normal work commitments : children’s parties that were booked well in advance. I had to fulfill those despite a barely audible voice and not feeling very well at all. In fact I was faced with one of my busiest periods of booking for a long time. Yey for success, boo for illness and bad timing.

This was my nightmare scenario: having so many opportunities and struggling to live up to them. But I soldiered on. Somehow.

Then I woke up one morning to find my top lip covered in fever blisters where my skin had cracked from the flu and I was facing being filmed just a week later.

I rescheduled and pushed back the filming a week. It’s now due in just a few days time and I’m on my last few puppets. I can’t make most of them completely as it is for demonstration purposes, so I’m in a situation of having to make multiple stages of each puppet so I can do a Blue Peter style ‘here’s one I made earlier’ moment. There are so many restrictions when trying to fit everything into a 3 minute video.

Punch and Judy puppets made by Diane's Puppets

Here's some I made earlier , 20 years ago in fact.

So I’m almost there.

Did I mention getting some terrible 24 hour gastric bug as well ? Oh I forgot that one. My lip is now healed. I’ve stopped being ill and I’ve almost got my voice back, and I’ve four parties to complete before finishing the final 6 makes.

Time is ticking , so what am I doing writing blog posts?

Here is a quick preview of some of my makes:Cat hand puppet made by Diane's Puppets

Dog sock puppet made by Diane's Puppets

Silly sock dog puppet

Mr Punch paper puppet

Mr Punch paper puppet in progress

Judy paper puppet made by Diane's puppets

Judy all finished

Felt finger puppets pig cow

Felt farm fingers

Ballerina finger puppet

Paper ballerina finger puppet

Mouse paper finger puppet

Cute mouse finger puppet

making papier mache puppet heads

The stages in making papier mache puppet heads

Well those are just a taster. Many of the puppets have to be made on camera. So, if you’re looking for a place to find out how to make simple puppets for and with your children or just for you ( puppets are for everyone!) then do come back and see my videos on Videojug.

Coming soon, just for you.

Children’s birthday parties: A Lesson in Trust Building

As a children’s entertainer, I have a unique job requirement: I have to walk into a room full of  small children, none of whom know me, and instantly establish trust and rapport. There is no time to mess around and get it wrong, I’m only at a party for a very limited time. Creating this instant rapport isn’t easy. Children are the worlds best or worst audiences, depending on how you look at it. If you are an optimist like myself, you may agree with me that they are the best audiences as they are unflinchingly honest. They ‘smell’ fear and lack of integrity and will quickly walk away and do something else if you don’t immediately capture their attention. Unlike adult audiences who may politely clap even though they may inwardly criticize, the average 2 or 3 year old audience member will just simply walk off and find something to play with or even worse, cry. I can hear you saying ‘How is that positive?’ . Well, the flip side of that  brutal honest appraisal is that if children like you, they LIKE you. If you manage to capture an audience of young children, it is the most gratifying and satisfying audience to play to /( and in my case)play alongside.

I use many strategies to make my tiny audience members feel at ease. On the surface you will see a grown up woman acting silly. But behind this silliness is a very serious study of how children think and establish trust. It’s all about empathy, I have to put myself in their shoes and try and anticipate how they are feeling and how I would react if I were in their shoes. I ask myself, what would make the three year old me feel comfortable? Then I use that feeling to feed back to the children. It is never the same strategy, all children are different . One thing remains constant though: I will always play alongside the children rather than try and entertain them.

A puppet party

Establishing trust with Fifi the Fairy

Note in this picture I’ve created  a semi circle of chairs for the children to sit on or sit in front of. This creates a cozier setting in  a large space and determines the focus of where to sit/interact. If you like, this is one step of creating a boundary.( The link takes you to my previous post where I talk about how boundaries make small children feel safe). I try and position my chair a good way back from the children to allow them a safe space  and will only approach once I can feel the children relaxing  or if they approach me . This is a clear signal that they are feeling comfortable and are ready to play. The chairs also form a place where mummies and daddies can sit if they want to join in. ( It’s great when you do, believe me!) Sometimes the chairs are used for those children who are really nervous and they produce a space to hang behind. They can get closer if and when they feel more comfortable.

Once trust is established then it is time to play, in this case Sleeping Bunnies.

playing games at a puppet party

See the little bunnies sleeping...

You’ll have to look close to see those lovely bunnies playing the game, they’re all lying down and sleeping with the puppet bunny getting ready to jump up and hop. One little bunny was happy to watch. I would never force any child to do anything against their will, it’s all for fun after all! I find pushing a child to join in really doesn’t help. They will join in in their own good time or like this bunny here, just be perfectly happy watching others play. She did have a cuddle from the puppet bunny afterwards though! It’s the same situation for face-painting: I never pressurise a child to have their face painted, in fact I am very quick to reassure those children who clearly are not comfortable with face painting that I’m not going to ask them because I know they don’t like it.

So the next time you see this silly lady being silly at a party, try and spot the method in the madness. It’s there somewhere!

Thank you to my lovely client Hana for sending me these sweet pictures.

Just to reassure all my clients and future clients out there, I have been police checked and have an advanced CRB through Kids Company and have full Public Liability Insurance.

I discuss trust building in this blog post also: From Freak to Friend in Forty Minutes

A Cuddle from a Tiger Who came to Tea : A Real Life Fairy story

A true fairy story

Once upon a time there was a lady who brought fun and silly antics with her whenever she went out to work. Children's entertainer and puppeteer Diane

Like the seven dwarves in another fairy story she loved her job and would sing and whistle while she worked.

She loved bright colours and would tie a rainbow of ribbons and clip crocheted daisies in her hair. She really was a very happy lady.

One day she left her colourful house, with its angels who lived on the kitchen ceiling

Painted kitchen ceiling Madonna and Angels

The lady's kitchen ceiling

and pink leopards on the walls,

Pink leopard painted walls

Pink leopard walls in the lady's kitchen

and pretty magical mosaic fireplace

colourful mosaic fireplace

Magical fires burned here

stepping out into the cold air with a song in her heart and a bag of face -paints on her shoulder, dragging a pink suitcase full of funny puppets and cheeky characters behind her. The puppets grumbled as they rumbled across the cracked paving, bumpety, bumpety bump. The lady blew magical cold air smoke from her mouth as she ran for the big red bus. Rarrrr! She was breathing fire like a dragon.

Fire breathing dragon puppet

Rarrrrrrr!

The big red bus took her to a nearby land called Clapham . There was a big green park in the centre of this land and in the centre of the park there was a pond. It was so cold that the  ducks were skating on the frozen water. Brrr, their bottoms must’ve been so cold.

The lady trundled her grumbling puppets in her pink suitcase until she came to a door with a magical number painted on it. Bright bouncy balloons bobbed as she knocked on the door.

Ten little children and a  birthday boy called Rory were gathered in the house. Rory was three, what a big boy!

Grumbling no more, the puppets popped out of the pink suitcase one by one and made friends with the little boys and girls and big boy Rory. The funny rabbit Bobby Bunny made everyone giggle with his naughty snoring when he was supposed to be sleeping. He loved giggling with the boys and girls as they hopped together.

White rabbit puppet

Sleeping Bunny Bobby

A funny clucking hen and a mooing cow played a Dingly Dangly game and the lady kicked up her legs and did the Can Can which made the children giggle. A naughty monkey called Twinkle

Cheeky monkey puppet

Twinkle, my very cheeky baby monkey. A dear friend.

played Happy Birthday on the banana to Rory and learned how to say please. A fairy came to visit and sang Happy Birthday to Rory and sprinkled magic wishes on his toes.

Fairy puppet Fifi

Fifi eating her wand

Then tummies rumbled and it was time for tea.

In the kitchen the lady had laid out all her beautiful colours ready to paint the children’s faces. She painted princesses with golden tiaras, flowers and pink and tigers with terrible teeth and wiggly black stripes , all with very sparkly noses .

Tiger face painting

Diane says Rarrrrr!

Batman made sure everyone was safe. All parties need a Superhero, just in case, you never know.

Rory was painted as a tiger and had tiger paws to match. Now his face matched his very lovely name. Rory could roar with the best of tigers. RoAAAAAAR!

After a nice cup of tea the lady felt very happy. She really did love her job. Children around her were smiling and playing and pretending to be tigers and princesses.

Feeling satisfied , the lady went to pack away her cheeky puppets since they had all collapsed in a big exhausted heap after all the excitement of the party.

Rory the tiger came to help.

As the lady put the lion back in the pink suitcase, Rory said: I’d like a cuddle.

The lady asked : A cuddle from whom?

” The lion” answered Rory, who was feeling very brave now he was a 3 year old tiger.

So Rory had a cuddle from a sleeping lion.

The lady went to put back the chicken. She had stopped clucking and her feathers were ruffled and ready for bed.

“I’d like a cuddle” said Rory.

‘From the chicken? ‘asked the lady.

“Yes.”

So Rory cuddled the chicken.

The lady zipped up the suitcase , the puppets had all gone to bed.  Rory the terrible tiger stood still.

” I’d like a cuddle” said Rory the tiger.

” But they’ve all gone to bed! ” said the lady.

” Who do you want a cuddle from?”she asked.

“YOU!” said Rory the tiger.

So the lady went home, skipping and hopping, happy to have been cuddled by a tiger.

As she stepped down from the bus, powdery snow started to fall from the sky.

The lady sighed.

It had been a perfect day.

She unlocked her door and went into her colourful cosy  house to eat a slice of lemon drizzle cake and have a nice cup of tea.

Silent Sunday

Puppet booth show

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls....

Puppet tiger and puppet dragon in puppet show

And the magic tree kept singing.

Beautiful golden puppet tiger and red puppet dragon

Grrrr... Roar!

This is what I did today.

Yes, it was fun.

A Special Puppet Show for a Special Birthday Party

The Pearl Dragon and the little Bird who wanted to fly

 

Dragon puppet for birthday parties

Diane's beautiful and fierce Pearl Dragon

 

Following on from Monday’s post about the Chinese New Year and all things ‘ Dragony’ I thought I’d show you more of the cast of my most enchanting puppet show that I perform at kids birthday parties across London.

The story, written by my very lovely friend and one time side-kick ( pre recession!) Lena Augustinson,

Children's entertainer Diane with Aunty Lena and Fifi the fairy

Here is Aunty Lena and her wonderful hat and myself with Fifi the fairy.

 

tells a timeless story of the impatience of youth.  A small bird is in an outdoor cage hanging from a tree ( a magic singing tree as it happens) somewhere in China. He is owned by Little Girl who tells him that he cannot come out of the cage until his wings grow bigger. Little girl puppet Bird puppet for birthday party puppet shows

Little bird isn’t satisfied with having to wait, so one day he takes an opportunity to escape the cage when Little Girl leaves the cage door open after feeding time.

 

He takes advice from the magic Singing Tree who tells  him to find a magic pearl somewhere on the moon and give it to the Ferocious Pearl Dragon to gain his wish to have big wings. But how was bird to get all the way to the moon?

With the help from the young audiences who instinctively understand and relate to this story, Little Bird manages to find himself on the Golden Moon where his adventure really begins.

Monkey puppet and bird puppet for birthday party puppet shows in London

Little Bird meets the trickster Monkey

Beautiful tiger puppet, golden tiger, tiger puppet for birthday party puppet shows

Beware of the Golden Moon tiger Grrrrrrrrr

As all good stories go, this one ends with a happy ever after and a magical transformation.

 

Want Diane to come to your child’s birthday party? Inquire here or call her on 02078209466 for availability.

The Year of the Dragon

It’s my year, the year of the Dragon!

My Chinese dragon puppet, the beautiful Pearl Dragon.

 

Happy Chinese New Year! I researched how to say this in Chinese and realised it wasn’t as straightforward as the one response. So for accuracies sake , here are the variations in the different Chinese languages;

Xin Nian Kuai Le, 新年快乐
Standard Mandarin (the most widely used Chinese)

Gong Hei Fard Choy, 恭喜发财
Cantonese (Mainly Hong Kong and Macau)

Xing Ni Ju Yi, 新年如意
Teochew/ Hokkien (Mainly in South East Asia and Taiwan)

The safest bet is “Xin Nian Kuai Le”. Even Tibetan understands this.

 

I am very fond of dragons. They’re beautiful, fierce and magical creatures. They’re also a little showy, the natural performers of the mythological world. I’m very proud to be born in the year of the Dragon : 1964. My eldest daughter, also fortuitously was also born in the year of the Dragon 1988. We’re both fairly similar creatures, initially shy in crowds but will dress up ostentatiously and fearlessly and once dressed in our magnificence, we exude confidence and breathe fire.At least that’s how I see it! Who else would have the guts to wear the clothes I wear to work out in public  if not a Dragon?

Birthday party entertainer/face painter and puppeteer Diane of Diane's Puppets

 

I’ve been painting lots of dragons on people’s arms recently as part of what I do as a face and arm painter as part of my kids entertainment services. It’s almost as if I knew my year was coming up ( I didn’t!)

Fire breathing dragon coming to life

I’ve recently remade my skirt for work and the first applique I sewed on was that of a fire breathing dragon.

My fire breathing dragon adorning my skirt.

One of my original puppet shows for children’s parties centres around  a bird’s quest to grow his wings quickly so he can escape his cage. The story takes him all the way to the golden moon where he has to find a pearl to give to the wonderful and awesome Pearl Dragon. I really enjoyed making this fabulous puppet, with her red satin chinese fabric body  and her papier mache horns and wings. She breathes fire like all self-respecting dragons and is strong and fierce but essentially kind and helpful. ( All characteristics that I value in any strong woman!) This visually stunning show also features a golden moon tiger  and a magic singing tree, the sort of story that fires up imaginations like the breath of the dragon herself.

To see further pictures of my show click here.

 

So I wish you all a very Happy New Year , especially to all my fellow dragons out there. Let’s go and breathe our magnificent fire of creativity and make the world a more vibrant and exciting place!

 

 

A Case Of Mistaken Identity…Or Was It?

It’s been a busy few days.

In my job as a children’s party entertainer, puppeteer and face painter, I do get to meet lots of lovely children. Today was no exception.

I spent the morning in  sunny Kensingtonat a lovely party for Eva. She is a delightful little girl with very lovely, caring parents. We spent a good forty five minutes giggling with my puppets, in fact one young boy was laughing so hard he could hardly get his breath. Twinkle the Baby Monkey

Twinkle, my very cheeky baby monkey. A dear friend.

charmed the children with his refusal to say hello and his banana trumpet,  Bobby Bunny

Bobby Bunny puppet for birthday parties

Diane's favourite puppet bunny, Bobby.

played Sleeping Bunnies with 20 or so chuckling children and naughty bunny that he is, snored when he was supposed to be sleeping and kept shouting out Tuna fish! (You have to be there to understand). Trust me, if your sense of humour is like mine, it’s all hilarious.  Fifi the naughty baby fairypuppet

Fairy puppet Fifi from Diane's Puppets

Look at her pretty hair!

got all the words wrong to Twinkle Twinkle and Baa Baa Black Sheep but managed to give lovely twinkle toes wishes to sweet 3 year old Eva and sing Happy Birthday in her own inimitable style. Hilarity was all topped off with a good old jumping on the bed session with Jaffa the Monkey.

During the lunch session, I was on duty face painting. I painted numerous butterflies with twinkly noses , flower fairies, a lion, a tiger , a bunny and a few kittens. Face painting little children is so rewarding. It’s all about that moment when you show them their completed painted faces in the mirror. That magical moment when their faces light up and the smile crinkles across their cheeks, it’s just the best feeling . The last child I painted today was a sweet, shy girl who didn’t put herself forward for face painting immediately. In fact, I wasn’t sure she wanted her face painted, but I was ready to pack up and needed to make sure that she didn’t want to have a go first before I made my way to the next party. After all, no one likes to disappoint children. So I smiled at her and gestured towards my chair, asking her gently if she would like her face painted. She was a little reticent but after  a little cajoling she had her face painted as a very delicate flower fairy.

It was time for the big reveal. I picked up the mirror and held it in front of her face.

There it was, that wonderful smile that made the eyes twinkle.

She ran off to her mummy, clearly very delighted with the result and maybe just a little bit proud of her courage.

” Mummy,Rosie painted my face!” she kept exclaiming, over and over again.

“But that lady’s name is Diane”, said mummy.

“No mummy, Rosie did it” insisted my little flower fairy.

I decided Rosie was a lovely name and accepted it with grace.

At the next party in the afternoon, also in Kensington , after painting rainbow butterflies, spiderman and a host of flower fairies, princesses and notably for the very first time of my 18 years of face painting, a volcano(!) another child referred to me as Rosie to her mummy. I mentioned to this mummy that that was the second time today and did she know why ?

Rosie is on CBeebies. She is a ragdoll character who wears ribbons in her hair.

AAAAAh! So that’s it!

Spot the difference.

This is Rosie

This is me.

 London Kids entertainer and puppet show provider Diane

Rainbow on my head

I know,  I know. Totally indistinguishable.

I love my job. The life of a children’s party entertainer is just full of surprises!

If you’d like “Rosie” ( aka Diane aka me ) to come to your child’s party, just pop over to my website www.dianes-puppets.co.uk to find out more about my party entertainment service.

Diane’s Puppets: Children’s puppet parties to remember with fantastic facepainting and giggles galore.

A New Skirt for the Kids Entertainer and Puppeteer, Diane

2012 and it’s back to business, back to being a London Children’s Entertainer and puppet lady extraordinaire…

Time to brush off the cobwebs of 2011, throw out the old and bring in the new.

I’ve just taken down my Christmas tree, well better late than never. I was loathe to take it down this year as my darling granddaughter Erykah-Rose was totally fascinated by it and did the most marvellous Donald Duck impressions upon spotting the robins that nestled within its’ branches. I put it up rather late too as the life of a Children’s Entertainer in the Festive Season is rather a busy one and your own celebrations tend to have to wait. So the tree overstayed it’s welcome with permission.

Such a cutie!

So that was the old out.  Or was it?

I looked at my skirt that was hanging up, waiting for the next outing at a Children’s birthday party and I saw it with fresh eyes, horrified fresh eyes! My goodness, all my hard work of being a puppeteer/ children’s entertainer and face painter  in 2011 showed in that skirt. Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Evidence of the wear and tear of life as a kids entertainer

Still can’t see it? Let me zoom in for you.

The scars of hard work.

See the patches and tears? That comes from kneeling on the floor.  I do that rather a lot when behind a puppet booth when I’m performing a puppet show at a child’s birthday party. Even before the show starts, I do like to sit on the children’s level, it goes with my child-centred philosophy of playing with children rather than merely performing at children. But all this getting down to floor level  does take its’ toll on my clothes: my shoes have dents in the toes. Strange side effects from my job!

Anyway I digress. It was time to use the lovely sewing machine that  Santa ( well, my lovely partner) had bought me for Christmas. Out with the old skirt, in with the new and improved puppeteer /entertainer skirt.

Ta Da!

So here it is.

As you can see, I’m rather partial to a bit of applique ( who wouldn’t want a fire breathing dragon on their skirt? )

I’m sure over the course of 2012, the skirt will evolve. I’ll add bits and pieces to it, inevitably given my obsession with all things crochet, it will acquire a crochet embellishment or two, but this is the start of the new skirt.

I think it’s rather splendid, don’t you? It sure beats having to power dress for the office! This is my sort of power dressing: dressing with imaginative power, the super power to charge little minds with creative visions and fantastical imaginings.

The skirt is on its’ maiden journey today. I’m off this afternoon to entertain , paint faces and do a puppet show in a traditional style puppet booth for a lovely 4 year old girl’s birthday.  I shall wear my skirt with immense pride!

 

Here’s to a splendidly creative 2012. I’m off to breathe fire into the New Year.

Toodle pip.

 

 

A tale of two Christmasses

So 2011 is drawing to a close. I’ve sung my last Jingle Bells for the year.

The Festive Season for a jobbing Children’s Entertainer can be a very busy time and Xmas usually starts earlier for us than most people. For me it started on the 3rd of December with my very first Nursery Christmas party. About a hundred verses of Jingle Bells later, I’m now packing up my Father Christmas and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer puppet  with the tinsel and the Xmas props. By the time proper Christmas starts it can feel rather rehearsed. I had a few days to prepare my own Xmas, buy presents and put up a tree. I did it in the (St) Nick of time. Christmas this year was pretty special as my darling granddaughter has just turned 18 months and her Christmas experience was wonderful to behold. From her saucer eyes and Donald Duck impressions as she spotted the robins on my Christmas tree to her clear excitement upon opening her presents, her joy was infectious. Christmas really is all about children.

I wish some of  my last clients had signed up for that theory.

My last Christmas party of the year was in Canary Wharf for a very large group of Investment Bankers and their families. For me it was a surreal affair. To be perfectly honest, Canary Wharf gave me goosebumps and not in a good way. It doesn’t feel human.  I’m not really a corporate animal, I’m much more Brighton in spirit than what is expected of someone in Canary wharf and it showed. I almost caused the security to have a heart attack at my raggedy pile of puppet stuff that I brought through the ludicrous glass revolving doors  in shifts ( I have a lot of stuff). Maybe they thought I was an anti capitalist protester ( my ribbons and bright clothes would fit the profile). I hated to disappoint them, but I was simply the Christmas Kids entertainment. No Flying Squad required.

After being asked for ID and being issued with an ID badge, I was shown into the place where I was to perform. I bumbled in with my various bits of wooden stage and equipment, ‘Merry Christmassing’ as I went along. I walked into a room full of children and a magician making balloon animals.  One man was introduced to me as the ‘Santa’ for the day. He was nervous about his impending performance. I  took note of his pink shirt and decided that he would be fine once he got into character. I reassured him that Fifi the Fairy would make sure his entry and time with the children would run smoothly and indeed it did. Fifi the Fairy charmed the children in her inimitable style and had her picture snapped as she chatted with children for quite some time. A good two hours of entertainment  was had by all including a very funny Christmas themed show where Fifi gets to be naughty and steal the star from the top of the tree.

Fifi in her new found freshness

Happy Christmas!

As I packed up , feeling satisfied at the very positive reaction from the children and their parents, one of the female staff said to me:

“Oh thank god you’ve stopped that fairy. Her voice was so annoying. I was about to come and throttle her if she had carried on any more. ”

Merry Christmas.

I smiled . What else could I do? I think that lady banker and I lived on different planets , there was no point in joining in with her debate.

I couldn’t wait to get out of there. As I waited for my cab, I watched the ice skating on the open air rink . It should’ve been festive what with all the Christmas music , fairy lights and Santa hats but there was something missing.

That something I found in bucketloads a few days later in Brixton. It was emotion.

I ran my very first Crochet stall at Brixton Makers Market on Xmas Eve. It was a very lovely experience, albeit a cold one ( in temperature). What the temperature lacked in degrees was more than made up by the warmth of human spirit that I witnessed from my fellow stall holders, the lovely Lisa and Tony who ran the market and the every day Brixton people who embraced my new stall with enthusiasm and pure delight.

People would double take in front of the stall and back track to come and admire my produce. Grown ups were walking past and shouting out compliments, many bought things even though they had already done Xmas shopping but they just had to have something. I was humbled by the reaction. I was so thrilled to have followed my heart and gone with what made me feel happy: bright colours and magical things ( and dogs of course). Clearly my love resonated with others as their reaction showed.

Christmas is about children and the child within us all.

Forget that at your peril.

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