Keep memories alive with Fusions Craft

Round & About

History

Discover millions of creative and crafty ways to share your life stories for future generations

In the time of the most advanced technology on record, the most money humankind has ever had, and more ways to get entertained you could possibly wish for, the strange truth is that the levels of stress, depression, and anxiety are also the highest they’ve ever been.

According to studies, children doing GCSEs today experience the same levels of stress as veterans in the times of the Vietnam war. How did it happen exactly that as we’re moving faster and faster toward the next thing exclusively designed to make us happy, we often feel like the most important thing is missing?

How does today’s lifestyle affect our mental health and what psychological benefits can art provide? Is it true that art cleanses your soul? And if it does, could it make you feel so much better you’ll actually feel the difference?

According to the world-renowned scientist Mikhailo Csikszentmihalyi, the feeling of flow created by intensely crafting (for example, writing, scrapbooking, working with clay) can cardinally change your life, infusing it with never before seen clarity, passion, purpose, and quantifiable changes in happiness. Don’t take our word for it though!

Although it can feel like modern technologies have taken over our lives to the point where our phones are controlling how we feel, how much time we spend with our family, and who watches our every move, you’ll find that there is one simple solution that includes a surprisingly old technology.

Have you ever felt that visceral emotion brought back by music or perfume or place when you remember your loved ones? Memories could very well be the most important thing in our lives, and it would be a great shame for them to fade with time.

As a family business, we know there’s nothing more important than family. With Fusions Craft, you can discover a panacea to stress, frustration, and a way of stopping the frenetic rat race and slowing downtime to a halt so you can spend it in a truly Buddhist fashion, inspecting scrapbooks you created.

In the days to come, the next generations will cherish these and learn about you with tender wonder. It’s one thing to hear about your grandma’s life story, but it’s entirely different to see the photos and feel the smell of the ink.

Fusions Craft specializes in the almost lost art of keeping your memories alive. Starting off as a small hobby, the craft unfolded and grew like a flower leaning toward the sun; soon it became a family business that specializes in scrapbooking supplies: if you need
• Paper & Card,
• Scrapbooking paper,
• Stencils,
• Embossing powder and Moulds
• and tons of other supplies you can possibly think of, you’re in the right place.

Why Fusions Craft?

Fusions craft is about so much more than photo albums. We provide you with every tool you can think of so you can produce nothing less than works of art to tell the most amazing stories, like so:

With stencils, moulds, flowers, embellishments, stamps, sprays, and much, much more, you can discover the magic of artistry that can be taken with you anywhere.

Learn of a million different ways of decorating the pages of your love stories, family sagas, photos of children and travels, adventures, tales of forest fires and heroic doctors, life wisdom learned from the darkest nights, indescribable beauty and courage and faith – with items that best reflect the emotions that will now, thanks to your contribution, will never be lost to the world.

2020 may have been called the most difficult year in history, but it also saw humans at undoubtedly their best: we saved animals in burning forests, spent more time with our family and loved ones, cried together, got saved by governments we criticized so much, stoically battled the virus and died like heroes, gave each other masks, and helped strangers.

Fusions Craft is your chance to let those who will come after know how we stood together even though we were forced to be apart. Create postcards, panels, decorate boxes, build mesmerizing scrapbooks with photos of your loved ones, adventures, your stories, unique moments caught on camera, and all those things you’d be heart-broken to forget. Now you never will.

It’s up to you what you want to remember. You could choose to remember this year as the toughest on record. Or you can keep documentary proof that along with everything that happened in 2020, it actually didn’t make us less human but instead much more. How will you remember this year?

Fusions Craft isn’t just a shop. It’s a place where you will write history.

Our Website: fusionscraft.com

Read our tips on creating a locldown time capsule

Wartime spirit

Round & About

History

Friday 8th May 2020 marks 75 years since Germany’s formal surrender to mark the end of the Second World War.

Millions of us should have been celebrating this historic day with parties and community events, mimicking the sprit and jubilation experienced on VE Day.

Sadly, the social restrictions brought about by the coronavirus have forced these to be abandoned for the time being but it is hoped they can be moved to 15th and 16th ~August when VE Day will be commemorated alongside VJ Day.

But while we can’t celebrate with family and friends or with our neighbours having a street party, English Heritage is encouraging everyone to mark the anniversary with their own VE Day entertainment at home and have produced a special VE Day at Home pack.

There are ideas for 1940s recipes – try making carrot scones and ginger beer; learn to dance the Lindy Hop – 1940s dress optional – and a playlist to help you plan as well as popular songs from the era, White Cliffs of Dover and Lambeth Walk.

While swing dance may not be for everyone, one thing we can all do is to raise a glass and join the nation’s toast to say thank you to the men and women who played their part in the war. At 3pm on the bank holiday, Friday 8th, wherever you are and whether it’s with a glass of something or a cup of tea say thank you to honour our nation’s heroes and those of today too. Find out more at www.veday75.org

Did you know...

It wasn’t the end of the Second World War – VE Day marked the formal end of war in Europe, but pockets of German resistance continued fighting for a week or so more

Celerations started early – 9th May 1945 was the date originally agreed by the Allies as VE Day but news of the surrender was leaked and so, late on 7th May, a BBC radio news flash announced the next day would be a national holiday

Pubs stayed open late – licensing hours were extended so people could properly toast the end of the war, and dance halls remained open beyond usual closing hours to accommodate buoyant revellers

It wasn’t a surprise – surrender was not unexpected and had been anticipated for some time in Britain. The term VE Day had been mooted as early as September 1944 and a team of bell ringers were on standby at St Paul’s Cathedral ready for the celebrations, once the news arrived

For further information, contact Citizens Advice helpline on 0300 330 9042

For all of English Heritages tips and ideas and to download their material visit their site

Jane Austen’s House

Round & About

History

Photo: The Watsons rehearsal_Samuel West_Laura Wade © Manuel Harlan

Jane Austen’s House in Chawton has two new ambassadors for 2020 alongside its new  displays and events to celebrate nature and the outdoors.

Actor and theatre director Samuel West and Olivier award-winning playwright and screenwriter Laura Wade will jointly take on the role of ambassadors.

Laura’s play The Watsons, an adaptation of Austen’s unfinished story and directed by West, is set to make its West End debut in May and are delighted to have taken on the role.

The pair spent a morning in rehearsals at the house with the cast and Laura said: “We already feel like we have a connection to the Museum and are very proud to be associated with such an important and resonant place – it means a great deal to us.”

This year will also see the house and garden reflecting Jane and her characters’ love of nature and the outdoors. A first edition of Pride and Prejudice will take pride of place in the Reading Room, celebrating Lizzie’s walk through muddy fields to visit her ill sister at Netherfield, together with a pair of Regency ladies’ walking boots and a pair of pattens, worn by ladies to keep their feet dry.

The bakehouse will feature a new chalkboard for children to record the wildlife they spot in the garden, encouraging them to keep an eye open for  birds, bees, insects and even hedgehogs and bats.

A spring flowers workshop will be held on 3rd May and a series of guided walks over the Easter and May bank holidays.

Collections manager Sophie Reynolds said: “Nature is not always the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Jane Austen, but we know from her letters that Jane was a keen walker and enjoyed the countryside. It is this love for the outdoors that she instilled in her heroines that we are celebrating through our events programme, items in our collection and by encouraging visitors to fully enjoy the House’s beautiful cottage garden.”

Jane Austen’s House re-opens to the public tomorrow (1st February).

More info

For more information about the events

Reading gaol hug

Round & About

History

A mass hug is taking place at Reading gaol tomorrow (Sunday 13th) to show some love in a bid to save the historic site and it couldn’t be more timely.

It was revealed on Wednesday that the Ministry of Justice has put the building up for sale with interest expected from housing developers but many in the town want it used as an arts venue.

Campaigners have been working to save the gaol and a petition from Reading East MP Matt Rodda reached more than 6,000 signatures.

The hug is set to take place at 2pm with the idea being participants will hold hands and surround the prison with a “mass hug”.

There is interest from many groups in Reading including the Civic Society which wants to see the prison, where Oscar Wilde was locked up, used as a cultural hub for the town.

Theatre and Arts Reading wants to see the gaol feature performance space, an art gallery, a digital hub, maker space and a museum giving people the opportunity to meet for arts, crafts and cultural activities.

Artist Sally Castle has produced a new logo for the campaign which has been reproduced on T-shirts with many people expected to wear them today.

Register

If you want to join the hug you need to register, it’s free but organisers need an idea of the numbers

Westgate archaeology

Karen Neville

History

Archaeology and history trail unveiled at Westgate Oxford

A brand new interactive archaeological and history trail has been unveiled to the public at Westgate Oxford, showcasing artefacts uncovered during the excavation of the centre site – the largest exposure of medieval buildings yet seen in the city.

Items uncovered relate to the Franciscan Friary that previously existed on the site – founded in 1224 and dissolved in the 1530s.
The trail which has been created in partnership with Oxford Archaeology, comprises of several illustrated totems in and around Westgate Oxford.

Each details information and items of national historic significance uncovered during the 2015/16 archaeological excavation, including:
– The vanished suburb of St Ebbe’s
– Original pavement from the Franciscan Friary
– Art inspired by Franciscan friar Roger Bacon

Locals and tourists alike can interact with the trail and find out more information about the dig by scanning the QR codes on the totems in the centre, or by visiting the Westgate Oxford website from their smartphone. For those wishing to take part in the trail, printed maps are available at the Guest Experience Desk.

The trail also signposts history buffs to other locations of importance within the city including the Weston Library, the Bates Collection at St Aldates Church, the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford Castle Quarter, and more.

We never could’ve imagined so many treasures would be unearthed from beneath our feet.

General manager at Westgate Oxford, Brendan Hattam said they were excited to see the opening of the trail. He added: “It’s the culmination of many years’ work alongside Oxford Archaeology, starting with the ground-breaking in 2015. We never could’ve imagined so many treasures would be unearthed from beneath our feet.

“We’ve found medieval handbags and shoes, and now our shopping centre sits on the same site – it’s incredible to think about what existed here before.

“The trail will be an incredible educational resource for both Oxford locals and visitors alike, and its interactive nature appeals to all ages. We’re very proud to be a part of the rich history of Oxford.”

The Westgate Oxford archaeology and history trail is running now.

Find out more information

The search for King Henry I

Round & About

History

Reading Borough Council needs volunteers to take on role of costumed historical characters 

Do you have what it takes to be Henry I or Jane Austen?

Reading Museum is once again on the search for outgoing volunteers interested in taking on the role of costumed historical characters in the Abbey Quarter over the summer. 

The museum is keen to recruit male volunteers to take on the role of medieval monks as well as looking for Tudor women, a Georgian school pupil and someone to take on the leading roles of Jane Austen and King Henry I. 

They are also trying to find people to play supporting roles and get involved behind the scenes as wardrobe assistants to the historical characters. 

The volunteer recruitment drive follows on from the successful debut of the historical characters last year, where King Henry I, Empress Matilda, Queen Elizabeth and a medieval laundress, among others, helped bring the history of the Abbey Quarter to life at its reopening in June. 

Reading Museum Costumed Interpreters 

The role of ‘costumed interpreter’ involves interacting with visitors to the Abbey Quarter, to help bring the rich history of the area alive. 

By role playing the characters, volunteers will help people understand and empathise with the lives of the people who lived, visited or worked in the Abbey Quarter. 

Volunteers will be given replica period costumes to wear, as well advice on how to carry out research into their character and learn fact-based historical information to share with the public. 

No experience of drama is necessary, although the role is suited to enthusiastic, outgoing and friendly people, who like working as a team, are happy to wear a costume, stay in character and interact positively with members of the public. 

The role would involve a flexible commitment over some Saturdays and on the occasional weekday. 

Jen Woodhams, who volunteer interprets as Empress Matilda, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to do something completely out of the ordinary. I like the fact you can do as much or as little as you can to fit it in around your everyday life. I find the research side fascinating as you get to understand so much about the period your character comes from. I also love the way the museum encourages you to develop the role independently as it gives you a great deal of creative scope. The best part is engaging people and bringing Reading’s history to life for them and of course, it is immense fun dressing up in such a lovely costume!” 

View an interview with Jen below

Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, said: “Our historical characters were extremely well received by visitors to the Abbey Quarter last year, and we are keen to expand on this success again. 

“This is a great opportunity for people to get involved in the Abbey Quarter and really help us bring history to life. If you think you could share your love of history with our visitors, this volunteer opportunity has the potential to offer loads of fun and a great experience.” 

  To find out more about the volunteer roles on offer visit www.readingmuseum.org.uk

Live & Direct

Liz Nicholls

History

Historian, broadcaster and TV presenter Dan Snow tells us more about his upcoming History Guy tour…

Q:What will you be talking about in your show? “A large chunk will be about local history, with direct relevance to the place we’re in…”

Q: Do people want to recount their personal histories, too? “Yes, they often want to tell me all about their family or the part their family played in history, such as a soldier in the First World War. A huge number of people tell me stories about their ancestors. They’ll say something like ‘My father was the first black RAF pilot’. Listening to them, you realise how many firsts there are.”

Q: Is your hope that you can captivate audiences with your infectious enthusiasm? “Yes! History is not all about dead kings, old libraries and dust: it’s everything! It’s your parents’ eyes meeting across a crowded room and why we are who we are and why we are speaking English and why it’s acceptable for women and men to mingle together. I hope people walk out of the theatre saying that they had a really good time. I also hope they leave having thought deeply about the past of their town, their country and their world. I just love this country – there is so much character and history here. Wherever you go in Britain, there are so many stories.”

Q: What do you think are the benefits of studying history? “It’s very good for your mental health to go to these places. When I went to Odiham Castle recently it was a beautiful sunlit morning – not a bad way to spend 20 minutes. Being a historian is a lovely job, but we can all do it at any time.”

Q: Tell us about your channel, History Hit TV. “Life is very exciting at the moment. Our podcasts have a million listeners. I love doing the podcast because of its simplicity and speed.”

Q: What you do in your spare time? “We go on holiday and visit historic sites! The kids are more manageable when you’re doing stuff with them. Having them around the house in winter is brutal. Looking around Winchester or Basingstoke is great fun. Walking around the Roman walls of Chester is a really good day out. You’re a better parent if you take your children to these historic places; it makes better citizens. We’re also on the water all the time. I often row with the kids near our house.”

Q: Did you inherit your love of history from your family? “Yes. My dad is fantastic on the heritage side. I inherited that from him. He has relentless energy. Also, my Welsh grandma, Nain, was a huge storyteller. She taught me to give history a human element and to bring it alive. I hope my history is real and vivid because of her.”

Enjoy Dan Snow: An Evening with “The History Guy” at The Swan in High Wycombe on Thursday, 7th July. For tickets, visit www.wycombeswan.co.uk or call 01494 512 000.