The inspiration for my website has got to be Mrs Beatrice Irene Powell, better known as Little Nana to her many grandchildren. She was ‘Little’ because she was five foot nothing and everything about her was tiny except her craft skills and ability to make something out of nothing.
Nana was born in Salford (not a particularly well to do area of Manchester at that time) and she would always insist she was from Cheshire, not Lancashire, as if this was some sort of better address.
My earliest memory of Nana’s home was crawling under her sewing frame to find the treasure of gold threads and wires that had fallen from the elaborate armed services badges she embroidered for a living. She always had hats, pieces of fabric, endless buttons, needles, pincushions and a knitting bag with her latest project on the go. Nana was a milliner in her early career and never lost her interest in sewing, knitting and crochet. She was proud to make her own clothes and had a certain style about her that certainly wasn’t ‘old granny’ but was neat, tidy and pretty.
Nana would take my sister around endless charity shops and jumble sales and like nothing more than a good scavenge for bits and bobs she could add to a garment, a fabric that could become a new skirt, old wool she could re-knit or an item of clothing she could alter and update. Being a young wife during World War II, with a husband reported missing in action and a family to look after by herself, I suppose making do, saving every penny and being skilled with a needle and thread was very much part of everyday life.
From an early age I remember being so impressed by what Little Nana could create, her eye for detail and skilled workmanship, her love of colour both in her craftwork and in her garden as well as her patience to get things made properly with care. It is probably from this little woman that I inherited some of the creative gene and probably not surprising I grew up to enjoy salvaging furniture items to update, dabbling with paint and brushes, sewing my own creations, making my own pots and bringing something to life from discarded scraps. I only wish she was here today to share this new creative adventure with me; I think she would have wanted us all to consider what we throw away, what we can make from nothing very much and turn into something new and beautiful.
Every time I complete a project and smile when I put a new ‘Little Nana’s’ label on it I feel I am sharing a small part of that lovely lady with others. I hope you enjoy exploring Little Nana’s and find your own creative inspiration.