Amazing array of crafted items from recycled materials

Recycling (1)-w500-h500Sue Drage amazed members this week with her vast range of items made from recycled items.  It was ingenious what could be made from items such as old bottles, plastic bags, drinks cans, sweet wrappers, magazines, old t shirts, paper clips, CDs, egg boxes and ties.

Sue has developed these crafty skills in recent years, making items for her own use, others to sell and has also been asked to go into schools to work with children.  She even knits using old plastic carrier bags as ‘yarn.’    Her most bizarre request has been to make a spacesuit for a chicken!

Sue utilises her card making skills as well as her knowledge of origami.  Tools include a hot glue gun, PVA glue, clear nail varnish, sellotape and cling film.

Thanks, too, to Sue’s husband, Richard, for coming along to help set up her display.

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Bags, jars, bird feeder and cases from clear plastic bottles.

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Tote bags made from drinks cartons (left) and crisp packets (right)

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Decorative ‘shoes’ modelled on real shoes – layers of cling film, sellotape plus decorations. Bracelet from folded paper (no glue).

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Sue’s favourite bag made from flattened drinks cans



“The Origin of Sayings – I didn’t know that!”.

Jill_Guest_speaker-w500-h500Earlier this summer, Jill Collinge gave a fascinating talk entitled “The Origin of Sayings – I didn’t know that!”.  Fiona Thompson, MHWI committee member attended, and has the following to say:

Jill gave a very interesting and fact-filled talk all about the origin of sayings. Here are a few of the highlights:

This old saying probably comes from a Medieval law which stated that peasants could use branches of trees for fire wood if they could reach them with their shepherds crook or their billhook.

humble pieHUMBLE PIE
The expression to eat humble pie was once to eat umble pie. The umbles were the intestines or less appetizing parts of an animal and servants and other lower class people ate them. So if a deer was killed the rich ate venison and those of low status ate umble pie. In time it became corrupted to eat humble pie and came to mean to debase yourself or act with humility.

This phrase comes from the fact that in the 18th and 19th centuries hat makers treated hats with mercury. Inhaling mercury vapor could cause mental illness.

In the Middle Ages knights who fought at tournaments wore a token of their lady on their sleeves. Today if you make your feelings obvious to everybody you wear your heart on your sleeve.

Originates from the village of Stony Stratford in Buckinghamshire. In the village were two inns, The Cock and The Bull, which were staging posts on the London to Birmingham stagecoach route. It is said that news and anecdotes were exchanged both by passengers and coachmen seeking to impress travellers with their knowledge of current affairs. Inevitably, stories became embellished in the telling and retelling and the two establishments vied to furnish the most outlandish tales. These became known as Cock and Bull stories.

Leicester Hedgehog Rescue

Colleen Powell, founder of Leicester Hedgehog Rescue, enthralled members last night with a very amusing account of how she has grown to love hedgehogs and set up the rescue service.

Hedgehogs have been around for many thousands of years.  Today’s modern environment is still proving a challenge to these small creatures as they struggle to adapt.   I was going to list some facts that Colleen shared with us but have just stumbled across this link to some fascinating hedgehog characteristics that you may wish to check out.

Colleen delighted members by bringing along a hedgehog that is used to humans.

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She also brought along some hedgehog goodies and details of ones to sponsor.

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Monthly news from MHWI

A few items from last week’s monthly meeting:

  • New and existing members can join/rejoin for 2014 – £34.70.  To the Membership Secretary, Patsy, by the January meeting, very latest.
  • Badminton group meetings Mondays, 9 to 10 am, in the sports hall at the MH Leisure Centre.  Do join us or contact us.

December’s meeting – Christmas social

  • Raffle tickets for the Christmas draw – do keep selling these right up to December’s meeting on the 18th.  Return counterfoils and money to Patsy (Committee) at December’s meeting.
  • Please bring a plate of nibbles to share.  If you want to share a bottle of wine with friends, then bring this together with some glasses.  There will be fun and games on the night too – do join us!
  • Lyn Taylor from Harborough Distillery will be attending the December monthly meeting.  She will be letting us taste her produce and it will also be on sale at a reduced price – ideal for last minute Christmas presents.

Other bits and bobs

  • Would you like to volunteer to welcome ‘newbies/be a hostess at future meetings?  it can be unsettling to come into a new group and to have someone welcome new people/introduce them to others in the group, wold make the world of difference.  Please see one of the committee if you are able to help us out with this or Contact Us.
  • Latest County news is available.  Hard copy is on the display table each month.  To share, please as we only have 2 copies.  however, if you do wish to have your own copy, please Valerie (Treasure on the committee) – they cost £3.08 +p&p for the year.
  • Brand new Facebook page – please go and have a look at and add things on to it:

Busy beadmakers

Market Harborough WI members worked busily all evening, trying their hand at beadmaking.  They made a long, pendant style necklace or a keyring/handbag charm.  Andrea Greenaway, from Leicestershire Craft Centre, was the visiting speaker.  She shared beautiful, colourful samples of her work based on crafts that are taught at the Centre in High Street, Market Harborough.

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Andrea Greenaway, Leicestershire Craft Centre

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Andrea passed around two delightful necklaces that she had learned how to make herself recently whilst attending silversmithing courses (I hope I have the techniques right!).

She then demonstrated the art of simple beadmaking (or so we thought).  She showed us how to take a long piece of thick thread, fold it into four and then knot it to form your own tailor made necklace or to tie it to a keyring.  Then came the real challenge!  Having chosen our selected beads, which came in a huge variety of colours, sizes and textures, we had to thread the signature bead – not too difficult, as these tended to come with large holes.  So far, so good.  However, then we faced some real challenges for the evening, namely the ability to see small holes, licking the end of your thread to get a point and trying to get it through the holes in the beads.  Not so easy, as the hole sizes varied greatly, so, very quickly, carefully chosen, colour coded patterns were abandoned!  However, lots of good humour plus the encouragement of fellow WI members, and most people successfully produced their first piece of beadwork.  They proudly display their handiwork below.

Other samples of members’ handiwork:

Thank you, Andrea, for sharing your skills and patiently helping and encouraging us as we took our first, tentative steps.  Another excellent evening!

Bowdens Charity evening

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A question for you?  What is a ‘feoffee?’  (see foot of post for definition?)
Jim Jacobs, Steward, gave members a fascinating insight into the history of this well known local Charity, together with a chance to see lots of pictures of projects and buildings that it has helped to fund in Market Harborough.
The Charity, based in St Mary’ s Road, was formed in 1994 when 3 local charities came together and is now valued at £15.9m.  Jim took us right back to the 1500s and the Enclosures Act (yes, remember that from school?) and up to the present time, where the Charity is now accountable to the Charities’ Commission.
Well known buildings and landmarks in the town that the Bowdens Charity has supported include the Old Grammar School (see slide in the picture above), Joules and adjacent jewellers, the cricket field, Scotland End flats, St Stephen’s allotments and those opposite Protheroes, the land between the Grand Union Canal and Forest Gate Motors plus the site of an old quarry that is now home to an abundance of wildlife and fauna.
Other funding opportunities include responding to applications from local families with little disposable income for grants (a sign of the recession), as well as funding for local musicians, uniforms for sports teams and the current refurbishment of the Harborough Museum and Library.  Challenges for the future will include the ‘big society’, school academies and looking after the people of the town.
Feoffees?   Dating back to the Crusades, they were tenants of land who paid no rent but if their owner went on a Crusade they would insist the tenants left!  Derived from ‘fief’ or ‘fee’.

Market Harborough and the Bowden’s Charity – July’s monthly meeting

market_harborough_grammar_school1.jpgJim Jacobs will be the visiting speaker at the July monthly meeting.  Jim will be telling us about the invaluable work of the Market Harborough and The Bowdens Charity, the largest in the area.    This includes taking on responsibility for that famous local landmark, the Old Grammar School, that forms the basis of the Market Harborough WI logo.

The Charity dates back to 1570 and earlier.  Today it is the amalgamation of 2 local charities in 1994.  Importantly, it funds many local initiatives through amateur sport, arts, relief in need, community, education and the environment.  Organisations can apply to it for support.   So, join us on Wednesday 24 July at the Congregational Church Hall, Bowden Lane, Market Harborough to find out about the work it has been doing.