Thursday, 28 February 2013

Fat bottomed girls you make this rockin' world go round

If you follow us on either facebook or twitter, you are probably already aware that our vice president, Sarah Martindale has been selected as a finalist in Miss Plus Size International 2013.

Sarah entered the competition back in November last year. She heard about it on twitter and thought 'why not'. Fast forward to January when she received an email from the pageant organisers inviting her to attend the next stage of the process. She travelled to London on January 26th to meet some of the other few hundred girls and have a nerve-wracking interview with the judges. Fast forward once more to February 12th when the thirty finalists were announced on the Miss Plus Size International website, Sarah was on the list.

The Grand Final of the pageant will be on 23rd November 23rd at The Grand Connaught Rooms in London! As a branch we have supported Sarah from day one in this pageant and it is so important to us that we can go join her in London to support here there too! But here's the thing... it's expensive.


For each of us to travel from Liverpool to the pageant and stay overnight in Central London it's going to cost around £215 per person. We are currently in the process of putting together some fabulous ideas for fundraising over the next few months but in the meantime we are looking to y0u, dear readers, to make donations.   And you can do that here. Our indiegogo page has been set up and at the time of writing has raised £90 towards our total goal of £1000. We would love to raise that goal total on the page. When you donate you're not just helping The Women's Institute - a percentage of the ticket price will also be donated to the pageant's charity partner, MacMillan Cancer Support! Please do consider donating, we are so excited about the prospect of being involved in this pageant supporting healthy body image and body positivity and are desperate to take part down in London! And if you donate £10 or more you can even have your very own knitted lipstick! Don't think you have to donate £10 though, every £1 donated is helpful!

If you can't help financially please share our indiegogo campagain with your friends via facebook, twitter, tumblr, Pinterest, whatever you want! Or you could share Sarah's finalist fan page! Or both! Any and all help you can give will be gratefully received. You can read more about Sarah's journey so far on her blog. Thank you!

The Iron Maidens x

All photos by Emily Holton

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Snake Invasion

As I mentioned in my last blog, we recently got involved with The Liverpool Happy Hookers Crochet Group! They were commissioned by Liverpool City Council to yarnbomb Bold Street with knitted and crochet snakes for Chinese New Year! A few of the ladies from our newly-formed wool craft group, Twisted Stitchers took part and installed their snakes on Sunday 10th February.

Our snakes joined the ranks of forty others to decorate and brighten up Bold Street in preparation for the Chinese New Year parade! All of the snakes were successfully installed on lampposts and bollards up and down the street on Sunday morning.

By Monday evening, all but ONE of the snakes had vanished! Slithered off to find new warm and dry homes, out of the rain. The Happy Hookers would love to know what happened to them so if you have one, please send them a picture of your new friend! You can contact The Happy Hookers via the twitter account @boldstreetsnake

Happy Sunday!
The Iron Maidens x

Monday, 21 January 2013

2013 is off to a flying start

WOW. We are 21 days into this year and already The Iron Maidens have been running ourselves ragged getting our wonderful new branch up and running! In our January meeting we had the lovely Karen MacFarlane pop along to talk us through the brilliance of yarnbombing. She told us about two upcoming events in Liverpool and we were more than keen to get involved. The first event is Chinese New Year, for which Liverpool City Council have asked local crochet group 'The Happy Hookers' to yarnbomb Bold Street with snakes. The second event is in March for the Threshold Festival and Karen's group The Merseyside Yarnstormers will be transforming the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool into a woolly wonderland. The Iron Maidens will be assigned our own lamppost as part of Threshold and are working on ideas and patterns as I type this.

Karen's talk definitely got our creative juices flowing and plenty of our members wanted to learn to crochet there and then. Fortunately our lovely Claire was on hand to start an impromptu crochet class.

We also announced our logo competition! As a unique and creative group of women we feel we deserve a unique and creative logo! This logo will be extra special as four of us will be getting it tattooed onto our flesh for all time. The brave/stupid foursome consists of our President, Sami Score; Vice-President, Sarah Martindale; Events Officer, Gaynor Newman and PR Officer, China Lou. For our members I have set up this thread in our forum where you can submit your entries electronically. For those who want to draw them out on paper, you can bring them to our next meeting and give them to me (Sarah).

Since the meeting we have also decided to start our very own knitting and crochet group, yet to be named. The group will meet every other Tuesday at The Marino Lounge in New Brighton at 7:30pm with the first meeting on Tuesday 29th January. These meetings are free for non-members too! So if you'd like the opportunity to come along and meet some of our ladies and get a feel for what we're about you will be very welcome. Then you can attend our next monthly meeting and sign your life over to us! The meeting will be Wednesday 13th February, 7:30pm at Misty Blues on Manor Road in Liscard.
I think that's everything! Happy January!
The Iron Maidens x

Friday, 18 January 2013

Yarnbombing - The Art of Wool Graffitti


This week we had a fabulous talk given by Karen Macfarlane about Yarn bombing (or sometimes Yarn storming), a sort of wool based graffiti that is popping up with more and more regularity in urban areas. Yarn bombing can be used in various ways to do various things. Whether it is to highlight a current issue, brighten urban or derelict areas, to advertise and enrich events in the area, or just for the hell of it, it has to be the most decorative form of anarchy ever to have come from the crafting world.

Monday, 17 December 2012

A recipe for mincemeat

I always make some kind of homemade edible gifts for family and friends. I think they can be better appreciated than shop bought things and I get to do some baking safe in the knowledge I won't end up eating all of it. This year I've decided to make mince pies (using homemade mincemeat and shop bought pastry - I am USELESS at pastry), persimmon cookies and mulled wine. Tonight, I made a start on the mincemeat for the pies.


  • 175g raisins
  • 110g sultanas
  • 275g currants
  • 110g mixed peel, finely chopped
  • 175g shredded suet (beef or vegetarian)
  • 250g soft dark brown sugar
  • half tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 bramley or cooking apple, cored and finely chopped, no need to peel
  • 4 tbsp brandy
If you don't want to mess about weighing everything out, you can also use mixed dried fruits that you'd find in any supermarket very cheaply. Just make sure it contains all the dried fruit and peel listed and weigh out 670g of it. First, I put all the dried fruit and peel in a large ovenproof bowl and stir it up.

Next I add the nutmeg, mixed spice, and zest and juice from the orange and the lemon. To grate the nutmeg I use a mini grater that I got with a hot chocolate set.

Then I finely chop the apple and chuck that in as well.

Next I stir in the sugar, it tends to clump so work any big lumps loose with my fingers.

Finally I stir in the suet. This time I've used beef suet but I've used the vegetarian kind in the past and it works just as well.

Now I've left it to sit overnight covered with a clean tea towel. This will give it time for all those lovely flavours to infuse into the fruit and the suet!

In the morning I will heat the oven to 110°C (if you have a gas oven you want less than Gas Mark 1, specifically 1/4 if your oven allows), cover the bowl with foil and heat the mincemeat for two and a half hours. This will melt the suet.

Finally, leave the mincemeat to cool, stirring now and again. Once cool, add the brandy and stir again. Now make your mince pies! Or if you're saving it for use another time or to give as gift, spoon it into sterilised jars.
It will keep in the jars for up to a year! x

Saturday, 15 December 2012

We WI-sh you a Merry Christmas! (I know, I know...)

What a month it has been for The Iron Maidens! On Wednesday we signed the papers and officially formed as a branch of The Women's Institute. Now the fun really starts. I don't know about the rest of you but I am absolutely thrilled to be part of a group of such fantastic women. Each and every one of us brings something special and unique to the branch and I can't wait to see what we get up to in the coming months and years. Personally I hope it will involve plenty of ridiculous behaviour and 'No Need for Tweed' tattoo-design cross-stitch samplers.

For those of you who missed our December meeting, don't worry - there wasn't any salt dough anyway. However, we did witness a Christmas miracle in the form of paper crafty bits for card making:

And a chocolate making set! This was rather popular as you may imagine... 

Everyone was encouraged beforehand to bring along their own crafty Christmas projects too, and a few ladies established a Knitters' Corner to keep them busy.


 We also drank rather copious amounts of mulled wine (special mention to Cosi for setting the ball rolling on that one) and ate plenty of cakes and mince pies. There were zillions of Christmas crackers and every one wore their stylish paper hats on pain of death. Our very own Rachel 'Pooki' Lloyd was on hand with her flashy camera (pun intended) to create photographic evidence of our silliness. Credit to her for all the photos in this post. You can see the full album here.

 It was truly wonderful to welcome so many new faces to the group this month, may it continue. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the WI but is worried about it being a little fuddy-duddy or conservative, we may be just what you're looking for. Every woman is welcome, but no tweed allowed. For realsies. I hope you all have an absolutely fantastic Christmas and an even better New Year! 

See you in 2013 x

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Maiden England


We are The Iron Maidens - a brand new, super duper, brightly coloured and alternative branch of The Women's Institute based in Liscard, Merseyside.

Brought together by an 'ageing metaller with a sewing machine and a dream' we have one thing in common: we don't like tweed. Things we DO like include (but are not limited to) Burlesque, Vintage Lifestyle, Steampunk, Tattoos, Roller Derby, Pin-Up Glamour, Gothic, Rockabilly, Punk, Heavy Metal, Crafting, Baking, Learning, Socialising, Helping, Participating, Raising Awareness and Helping in the Community.

We are, to coin a phrase, not all just jam and Jerusalem.


We meet on the second Wednesday of the month at Misty Blue's on Manor Road in Liscard and we welcome any and all women who wish to join us as new members.

Last month we had our very first official meeting, and we were lucky enough to enjoy a vintage glamour inspired hair and make up demonstration from the very talented Betty and Lily of the Vintage Pamper Box. We learned how to create a faux 'Bettie Bang' and victory rolls as well as how to properly apply liquid eyeliner and red lipstick. Remember ladies, blue-toned reds. Finally we learned how to make the most of our eyebrows. It was great fun, very informative and Betty and Lily loved us so much they decided to join and are now members as well.

We also elected our president, the amazing (though vertically challenged) Sami Score.

And formed our committee:

All in all, we had a bloomin' wonderful time and we look forward to our next meeting on December 12th.

We hope to see you there!

The Iron Maidens x

Photos by Pooki Rae