I’m Lucy, my friends call me Lu. I’ve loved to bake and cook since I was quite young and it runs in the family. My lovely mum is known amongst friends and family for making really good cakes and her roast dinners and curries are to die for! When we moved to Kenya in the 80s, she set up a baking group with some of her mum friends and I have wonderful memories of watching them as they took turns to stir a cake mix, whilst laughing and putting the world to rights! There’s my smashing Aunty, whose impressive repertoire of delicious, mouth watering puddings and cakes always has us snooping around her kitchen looking for these wonderful treats when we visit! And there are tales of my great grandmother baking for royalty.
An African secondary school education didn’t really touch on the creative side of things. It was very academic. I wasn’t encouraged to follow my creative whims and although I baked with my Mum and did a little bit of writing the odd story and poem, I never really got to develop that side of myself. With such beautiful plants, wildlife, sunsets, the ocean and other rich and inspiring scenery in Kenya, it is a pity. But so many of these wondrous images are instilled in my memory and I am making up for lost time now! My mum is English and my lovely and much missed Dad was Kenyan. Growing up with mixed heritage was sometimes difficult. But the experiences of living in both cultures, influences my work today. In fact it feels right to me to reflect this in my craft as much as possible and to find ways to express them not as separate identities but joined together as one. My inspiration comes from this, as well as from my 3 children, family, friends, nature, colour, pattern and other clever crafters out there.
Sewing came much later on in life and when I did learn to sew it was on my mum’s old manual Singer sewing machine. I inherited an electric sewing machine about 10 years ago and during my spare time (ha! What’s that then?), from working as an administrator, I started by making cushion covers and doing the odd alteration. 4 years ago, when having a career break after my third child (by now I was a qualified Homeopath), I taught myself to crochet and tried my hand at crafting a few more things such as Christmas decorations, greetings cards, appliqued t-shirts and jewellery. I quickly became completely enthralled with the many wonderful crafts at my fingertips; the images of beautiful fabrics, ribbons and buttons that I was often gazing upon; and hooked on the feelings of satisfaction, pleasure and pride when I finished a project. I threw my arms wide and welcomed back my creative soul! I realised that I wanted and needed this to be more than a hobby, so I started Loolabug Crafts, my first crafting business, selling my handmade wares, which just about ticked along but without clear direction. My absolute pleasure but flaw in my business approach has been gifting so many of the lovely things I have made to family and friends instead of working on my marketing plan and selling them. But I don’t regret it!
Five years ago, I met Jenny. I was immediately drawn to her kind and calm nature and after a few cuppas together, we realised we had so much in common. From our love of sewing, baking, laughing and getting out of the city into the beautiful British countryside, our take on mothering, friendship and community, to our mixed race backgrounds. We even found out we had been at the same school in Kenya, just not at the same time! I have never met anyone who feels the same way about crafting and baking; who gets excited about duck egg blue thread for instance! We knew we’d work well together and our first project was sewing what we called our Kazuri (swahili word for small and beautiful) dolls: Cute, brown, ragdoll style dollies with lots of black hair. Two Crafty Brownies is our next venture, charting our creative journeys and lives as we try and do the best we possibly can as crafters, mothers, friends, daughters, wives and members of our community. I feel so blessed to have met Jenny and to be sharing the next phase of my creative life with her.