Crafting Groups

Other than perhaps joining the familiar internet crafting groups and blogs, the only experience I’ve ever had of a craft group was when I was a little girl holidaying in Corfu with the family.

Our holidays at that time were as far from today’s Package holiday as could be. We all journeyed to our destination in an entourage of cars laden to the rafters with kids, quilts and salami sandwiches. The cost of flying with Olympic airlines to Corfu in those days were only for the likes of the Onassis family or the Greek orthodox vicar whose flight tickets were often funded by the congregation for his “missionary work”!

We would all arrive at my Aunts and Uncles house in “the village” bearing gifts of fabric, boxes of Milk Tray chocolates and clothes from C&A. This was our payment to them for putting us up and putting up with us for the next three months. It was often discussed on the journey down that we would all have to contribute to the running of the house by doing chores. The adults would help with olive picking, mucking out the donkey and cleaning… for me my chores were riding the donkey down to the corn fields, chasing hens, running away from lizards and cooling off in the brook whilst the ladies did the laundry by beating and bashing sheets against the rocks. Bliss!!!!!!!!!!!!

However, don’t let me paint a perfect Corfiot Greek scene to you for there was an underworld. A world which revolved around the times where the men would slumber into a deep sleep after consuming huge farmhouse lunches washed down with retsina and ouzo. Whilst they slept the women would pick up their sleeping children, tuck their ruffled black skirts into their pants and saunter softly barefooted out of the house directing me and my Mum under cold stares with fingers to lips as warning to keep the siesta time sacred!

We’d meet other women en route often to a pre-determined destination. A place often sheltered from the sun. Would it be a courtyard shaded with by rustic bamboo rafters, a grape-vine shaded pagoda, a cool hay stacked barn .. Or if we were lucky, the summer-house within the orange groves of largest house of the village??? Who knew? These things were often organised within the walls of the local butchers shop, the flour dusted floor of the baker and confirmed under the large almond tree after church.

So where were these women going? Sewing circle silly!!!!! Where did you think we were all going!

Under the shade of overhead balconies you’d find groups of women doing crochet, knitting and making the most wonderful cross stitched projects my big brown eyes have ever seen. In between the gossip and the giggles, homeopathic remedies, recipes and jokes were shared whilst scoffing slabs of sticky rose hip syrup soaked cakes.

Tiny cups of heavy coffee were served and fortunes were told by “reading the coffee dregs”. Marriages were arranged and affairs disclosed…. They were wonderful times where the females for one moment were emancipated from the drudgery of living off the land. They displayed the inner beauty hidden behind their sun scorched wrinkled faces and dusty black clothes by showing off their fantastic creative talent.

Entrepreneurs that Alan Sugar would be pleased to place on his board of directors were within that shaded secret circle. I marvelled at crochet hooks made from lamb shank bones, knitting needles from bits of stick, carved bobbins and spinning wheels from old cart wheels and almond wood… amazing work. Everything was recycled, up cycled and upsold!

I learned a lot from these ladies, besides dress making, quilting, cross stitch, crochet and knitting.

They taught me how to look at the brilliant palate of colour found in nature… brilliant Bougainvillea, fuchsias, dandelions and thistles.
They taught me how close my eyes and how to dream in colour. How to allow those dreams to seep into my daytime hours within the work I created…

And of course they gave me the best relationship tip ever… read carefully and digest ladies.

 A woman’s beauty has nothing to do with the curves or contours of her body..

The most attractive asset a woman could possess is the curve of her smile 


What sewing circle secrets are you prepared to share with me???… Tell us.

H x

Ps… I’ve copied many of these pics from the internet.
Although I’ve tried to give credit and reference to the sites as much as possible if I’ve missed anything out I apologise in advance. They were chosen because they’re beautiful photos not for any commercial gain.


26 thoughts on “Crafting Groups

  1. I was just thinking along similar lines as lenngirl!!! You are a natural story-teller and put us right into your world!! Priceless, for sure, Helen – thank you!

    1. You’re very welcome JoAnn.. they were some of the funniest times spent with some of the most amazing women. And oh how they loved to pinch my chubby cheeks at the time too! 🙂

  2. What a lovely post Helen so interesting and what lovely childhood memories you have. I lived in Syria from 1975 to 1995 and some of the ladies there were very craft orientated too, what struck me at that time was the crochet, if you visited anyone’s home they would have lovely crochet doily’s and embroidered edged table cover’s, even the sheets were edged in crochet. Each family had it’s own secret crochet pattern and would pass it down to daughters and daughters -in-law, sometimes you would see visitors peering at the doily’s trying to figure the pattern while the hostess was busy in the kitchen making little cups of Arabic coffee. Those pastries bring back memories too so sweet but very yummy, usually kept for special visitors and occasions. 🙂

    1. Ohh Linda, what fun you must have had living in Syria. Its a wonderful experience and so many special times for you too I guess… hehehe, I can just imagine them picking up the doiley’s! hahahahh

      We should have a go at edging towels and things.. what d’ya think?
      hugs x

  3. How right lenngirl & JoAnn are Helen 😉 You surely transported me there with you. I was devouring every word whilst itching to see the next picture instalment all at the same time 😀 Nice job hun 😉
    I don’t have any secret circle secrets I’m afraid. Wish I had 🙂
    Mo x

  4. What a wonderful gift you have with words Helen.
    Love your story and if you ever write a book I would buy it and enjoy it. Am afraid I am not good with words.
    What wonderful times you must have had in Corfu as a child.
    I traveled with my parents to many countries in Europe with my younger sister but it was for 2 or 3 weeks.
    Was always glad to get to our destination because I get car sick. Have to keep my eyes on the road ahead of me or I get sick. We always had the roof open of the car a little for fresh air. The worst part was going over very high mountains and s shaped roads. It did not matter if we was going up or down. My Dad made me get out at the top of the Brenner pass and the longer I stayed outside the sicker I got. My Mom often took the back seat so I could sit in front.
    Once we was at our Hotel I started to feel better. It is not just driving but also alleviation sickness. Still have it today unless I drive myself. We loved going to all different countries but had a favorite place in Austria that my parents loved. We always made friends with local people. Have some great memories and think often of the great times we had.

    1. Hi Yoka,

      I too still get car sickness. I cant go on rides at the fair ground either!!

      One of the best holidays I had was in Austria. We went to Elmau skiiing. I made so may friends there and had a wonderful time. The food and the ski was amazing!

      Have a wonderful Sunday my friend.

      All my love x

      1. Rides are out for me too Helen and I also love to snow ski.
        We used to go to Colorado every year . Because we would fly in I was of course elevation sick for 2 1/2 days every year but after that I was feeling great .I enjoyed it so very much till my knee gave out. Am not the only one in the family who has it my older sister has the same thing.
        Finished another lacy scarf in orange and wore it today while volunteering at our synagogue. We sold packed lunches that had been pre purchased . Inside was a Ruben sandwich on rye with pickles ,drink and chips. Made a lot of sandwiches and packed them but it was fun and for a fund raising.
        Hope you had a great Sunday too .
        Love ,


      2. Hi Yoke,

        I’m so pleased you’ve made something for you.. I bet you look lovely in it.

        And I’m pleased to see you had alovely day selling you lovely sandwitches they all sound so tasty.. but tell me whats in a Ruben sandwitch???

        Much love


  5. That was a mistake and I guess my brain is not working well with the pain pills I am taking now. So sorry. We sold Sunday & today corned beef sandwiches with spicy mustard on rye bread with pickle, chips and coke. Am not a meat eater at all. A Ruben sandwich is with sour kraut & pastrami I believe my husband tells me Never had one .
    I don’t eat beef or seafood. Only fish that has fins & scales.
    My favorite is Salmon. Once in a while chicken tenders or turkeybreast . Am mostly vegetarian and happen to love the veggie burgers. Salad is my favorite meal I eat it nearly every day but than with lots of variety.
    Love middle Eastern food a lot and I make Indonesian food too for my husband that is his favorite.
    Still make Koulourakia cookies today. Do you remember those ?
    Also Tiropeta and Baklava but not often.
    Richard is a diabetic so only for a special occasion when it is shared with lots of friends. The last time I made it I found it way too sweet. Have been cutting out sugar & salt for a while now and everything tastes too salty or too sweet.
    Finished my scarf and will start a new one a skinny ruffle one and I also have in mind a multi colored sporty knit scarf in mind. That way I can use up some of that yarn that I found. After that and in between I am still working on the granny squires.
    Hope Alex is doing better and you are able to relax.
    Sending lots of love over the pond to you.
    Love ,

    1. Ohhh, I love the sound of what you cook Yoka!!

      Yes, I normally made koulouria and baklava for Easter but with Alex not being here is was quieter than usual.. thanks for sharing your lovely stories with us.. I’m hungry now!!! xxxxxxxxx

      1. Glad you also make them.
        I was raising my grand daughter for the first 5 years .
        They divorced when she was 6 months old and my daughter wanted me to watch her after she was born. She was so tiny and petite and always sick.
        Gave up my job for her. She and I used to make Koulourakia a lot.
        She loved cooking and baking even had a little play set to use. I would make some Challah dough and give her a piece to play with. That sure was good times together.The best part was after all daytaking care of a hyper child Richard my husband would take her to the park so I could have a break. He spoled her rotten and I did too.

      2. Hi Yoke,

        My son spent alot of time with my mother in law too .. and my niece and nephew too. They always say that they were the best time they ever had.

        So precious time spent with the little ones..

        How are you feeling these days Yoka?

        A thousand hugs xxxxxxxxxxx

  6. Oh, what a lovely story Helen, could just imagine myself there 🙂 I’m back home by the way so will be catching up on everything over the next week. Don’t think I’ve got any sewing secrets though…wish I had lol Big kiss xxx

    1. Thank you Jane.

      Good to see all things are well and that you’re back home in sunny francais!

      Can’t wait to see what you’ve got to show us.. be it soon I hope.

      Lots of hugs .. Helen x

  7. It sure was good times but also very tiring times. Because of Nadia I started to knit again and made one sweater after the other for her. I was getting the Sandra knitting magazine at that time and she would look in it and tell me I want this and that and this one too. It kept me busy but I re- learned a lot of knitting tricks again and it was fun too. You can only read so much we did that too . I take her so she could pick her own books from the library and they had a program for young children with songs,movie and story telling. We painted & crafted also. Nadia called me to wish me a very happy mothers day Sunday and our son send me a beautiful vase with gorgeous roses my favorite flower. Daughter will take me out to eat this week . Our other daughter in Boston called too so I had a great mothers day. Am still very tired from the Graves disease. Was so hoping that it would get better but so far it has not . Learned that it will not get better living with Graves.
    Hope after the surgery I be able to make it to the beach at least . I only live half a mile from the beach. It always made me feel great to walk and run on the beach early in the morning before Sun up I would be on it.
    Long for those days again and will stay having a good outlook.

    Hope you had a nice mothers day too .
    Thanks for asking how I was doing.
    Started a new scarf again for a friend.
    Once in a while I make something for myself. My husband Richard is a Gem I could never have gone through this without him. Try not to tell it too often or it might go to his head.

    Sending lots of hugs and love over the pond Helen for you


    1. Aww my little Yoka.. concentrat on those good times to keep you strong and make your recovery faster.. the sea air is the best on the planet.. just go there and sit for a while as it will relax you.. Thank god we both have good husbands!! A thousand kisses xxxxxxxxxxx

      1. Thanks Helen and that is good advice you gave me.
        Am going to try it qwhen the wind is down.
        You are right sea air is the best that is why we moved here it was doctors orders.
        I thank G-d every day for my wonderful husband.
        He is a real Gem.
        Never would have made it through this without him.
        Any news on Alex is he doing a little better?

        G-d bless you and your loved ones.
        Happy crocheting,

        thousand kisses back to you dear friend.
        xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx etc

      2. Hi Yoka.. lets hope that wind goes away for a few days so that you can enjoy… and yes thanks for the men we have… Alex is still the same.. stable.

        It was really upsetting seeing him yesterday but I much stay strong and so should you my darling xxxx

  8. Hi Helen so sorry to hear that you was upset yesterday when you saw Alex.
    I can only imgaine just a tiny bit how hard it is for you and Richard when visiting him. Both of you are so strong being able to get through this. You want the best for him and some times things does not go well. It must also be heart breaking often that you have to leave him there.
    Take one day at a time like I am doing Helen and if you feel like crying let it go you will feel better afterwards.
    Hope you and Richard soon hear good news that Alex is improving.
    G-d bless you both and in the meantime you are all in my prayers.

    Hugs and lots of kisses,


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