Tag : birthday
Tag : birthday
Looking for a way to personalise your wedding with some unique handcrafted decor and favours? Looking for a special personalised gift? A new baby celebration? Throwing a party with a difference?
If you have an idea, want something creative, have an event you would like to make extra special – see if The Crafty Lass can be of help. 🙂
Please contact for further information and pricing.
Yesterday was a bit of a ‘road trip’! One of my closest and dearest friends had her birthday recently – and as she is also very creative, and we mentioned AGES ago about doing something like pottery making, or decorating – my gift to her was to visit the brilliant, and iconic Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent. We were booked in for both a factory tour to see the makers and creators in all their skillful glory… and then to go and decorate our very own pieces in their studio. Exciting!
It was a horrible drive up – the weather was typically Britishly grey, rainy, horrid visibility – but when we pulled up at the factory the clouds were on the turn – with blue skies and glorious sunshine just around the corner. A sign that our day was about to be on the up!
Despite the horrid journey, we did arrive quite a bit earlier than planned. But – this actually was a genius move – plenty more time to spend in the factory shop! Winning.
Although marked as ‘Seconds’ you sometimes struggled to work out exactly why it was just that – and ‘Seconds’ – the odd mark here and there that perhaps was ‘out of spec’ but nothing that didn’t stop each piece certainly being a delightful piece of exquisitely handmade piece of pottery here at the very factory in Stoke. Bargains galore – I really did have to reign in my desire and the true definition between ‘want’ and ‘need’… Beautiful mugs normally £19.95 – instead… £11.90 for two anyone?? A true sign of the high quality standards that the factory obviously strives towards.
They are very proud of the fact they are in Stoke – and, that everything is made on site – and so they should be! They are one of the largest employers in the area – around 185 people – and it is just so exciting to see such an industry still in good old Great Britain.
Although I knew they were made in Stoke, and yes perhaps hand decorated – I had no idea, that Every. Single. Piece. is TOTALLY handmade. Hand moulded, hand finished, hand checked, hand well – everything – from beginning to end – each mug, bowl, tureen is completely hand created. And, due to that – on the finishing at least, one will never be exactly the same as the next. Each very talented painter – will of course, have to keep to a certain spec, but it will always be their own. Our delightful factory tour guide ‘Julie’ explained that some people that collect Emma Bridgewater pottery – will ONLY collect certain artists pieces. What a compliment! You may be thinking – but how do they know!? Well, underneath each item, the artists leave their little ‘mark’ – usually their initials, and in the romantic eyes – it gives credence to the artist – which, of course it does – but, also it is a part of the quality control system – but either way it certainly shows it was hand created by a person, and not a machine!
Next we headed over the cafe for some well earned (ok, not really – but well desired) tea and scrumptious-moist-really-not-needed carrot cake. What a place! With (as expected!) everything served on in house wares – a now famous ‘polka-dot design’ adorned Aga in the middle, the walls covered with quirky posters and shelf upon shelf of mugs, plates… Just lovely! A fun, relaxed environment akin to the branding and designs of the Bridgewater pottery.
We didn’t actually have long, so we wolfed down our treats – and headed on over to the decorating studio.
We knew we were doing this – but it wasn’t until we were actually inside that we thought about a) what we wanted to decorate and b) what we wanted to decorate it with! Blank pieces started from as little as £6.00 and luckily there were a wide selection of stamps and paint colours – so it wasn’t long before we were inspired and raring to go!
Those girls in the factory are really so talented – they make it look ‘easy’… I had grand visions of all sorts of complicated designs – but in the end settled for some lovely and very ‘The Crafty Lass’ hearts and stars in a repeat pattern around the edges of the iconic Bridgewater mug – in green and pink too, of course.
I love those mugs – we were bought the also iconic ‘Mr & Mrs’ mugs when we got married – and although they have a special meaning of course – they are such lovely mugs to drink from. Heavy, but still actually useable. Thick and solid, but still somehow delicate. It’s crazy – but my morning cuppa of Yorkshire tea, always tastes better in that mug than any other.
Anyway – back to the decorating – we soon learnt that the paint dries very quickly, and that’s quite handy – as if you make a mistake, you can sandpaper it back off! We were fortunate that the scheduled groups after us – weren’t so large, and so with plenty of space – we managed to hang around longer than the normal allocated time. We were so absorbed in our new found love of pottery painting – we hung around in the studio for 2.5 hours…! And due to that – not only did I complete two mugs – one for myself, and one for The Husband but also a ‘Crafty Lass’ inspired matching plate with my now well used ‘Make. Create. Inspire.’ “catchphrase”! I have delightful and rose-tinted visions of my morning tea and toast with them to literally inspire me onwards in my The Crafty Lass days. The only deadline that curtailed us short of moving in and staying there all day and night and decorating pretty much everything – was that the cafe stopped serving lunch at 3.30pm… so we managed to put the paintbrushes down, pack-up, pay and get over there for some more delicious food. (A pesto, mozzarella and tomato toastie and a Ham, Cheese and Piccalilli bloomer – both with salad and plenty of homemade coleslaw incase you were wondering. Delicious!)
The final pieces need to be glazed, fired, cooled – and so they will be sent on to us in just a few weeks time. I cannot wait for the knock on the door the day that parcel arrives!!!
A final mooch around the shop to buy more items that I probably don’t need, but feel that my kitchen is greatly improved by – before back in the car, and off home. A long day – but happy, content and I actually feel like we had a therapeutic, creative and world-away from the day to day stuff – just, put simply – a truly lovely day trip out with my dear friend.
I left feeling inspired. Emma Bridgewater started the company simply because she couldn’t find the right present for her mum. Spotted a gap in the market – and et voila! They now produce 1.2 million pieces of pottery every year.
If you hadn’t already guessed by my above review – I would highly recommend a visit here to anyone. So, if you are ever Stoke way, or fancy a bit of a road trip – head on up there! Your bank balance won’t thank me for the recommendation, but your soul and kitchen certainly will.
Inspired by my recent blog post on the birthday cake topper I made for my dad’s birthday – someone saw this and asked me to make another nautical themed version!
Their daughter Nadine is apparently mad on boats and sailing… So, this is just what she got! 🙂 All handcrafted out of paper and card – a yacht, with personalised ‘Nadine’ bunting, a little anchor, the ‘ferocious’ sea – and a little seagull keeping watch at the top too!
If you’d like a personal, handmade, different cake topper – then please get in touch! 🙂
It’s been a busy week of celebrating some special birthdays – my dad turned 70 and one of our close friend’s Mark turned 40!
What better way to celebrate than to have some delicious birthday cake…and topped with a The Crafty Lass cake topper!
For my dad’s birthday, we had a wonderful Carrot, Cardamom and Pistachio cake from Cotswold Baking. It was so light and moist – scrumptious… clean plates all round, even after a three course lunch!
For the cake topper, I went with a ‘nautical’ theme – he loves sailing and can’t get enough of the summer sunshine – so a lovely little yacht, floating on the crest of a wave with a big bright yellow sun. Birthday bunting, and a little anchor completed the look. 🙂
For Mark’s 40th, we celebrated with some vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Mark is very into cars – and so using Adobe Illustrator I fashioned some road and speed signs to celebrate Mark’s special day. I am not sure I would be able to re-create the speed signs for commercial sale as the original British road sign designs are Crown copyright. However, for a small friend’s gathering – I am hoping this was ok! The road signs aren’t quite the same – but you get the feel and the idea! The yacht design was entirely my own design and creation 🙂
Happy Birthday Dad and Mark!
If you would like a personalised birthday cake topper handcrafted out of paper and card – why not get in touch! 🙂
What a glorious day yesterday was – the sun shone from morning til late evening – and good job it did too – we were invited to an afternoon tea (and prosecco!) garden party, and so rain wasn’t really part of the agenda…! (We were very lucky as both Friday, and today have been horrid!)
There were scones, plenty of clotted cream and jam, typically British sarnies, cakes… we didn’t leave hungry!
Aside from prosecco, delicious food, music, good company – every good party needs some decorations! And that is precisely where The Crafty Lass stepped in.
The brief was simple… make anything you like! But mainly the colour purple.
So, I set about making personalised bunting “Happy Birthday Amee” and “Time For Tea”, paper roses, tissue paper flowers, a party hat and rosette for The Birthday Girl, little cupcake flags, and heart confetti in hot pinks, purples, naturals and creams. (Alot of crafty fun was had!)
If you are looking for something that little bit special for a celebration – why not get in touch to see if The Crafty Lass can be of help. Or, alternatively – coming soon are the creative workshops where you can come along, be inspired and get involved to make these lovely crafty things for yourself! 🙂 Make. Create. Inspire.
I recently received a delightful commission for a ‘zoo-themed’ toddler’s birthday invitations…I had a LOT of fun with this one – who wouldn’t love spending time designing and creating some cheeky little meerkats and monkeys on Illustrator!
It has really inspired me to think about future invitation design ideas, and even a new range of children’s birthday cards! 🙂
I hope you all like the design just as much as I had fun creating them! I became so attached to them I even started to name the animals… 😉
PS – I’ve changed a few of the details, for obvious reasons! 😉
Well, the official ‘National Stationery Week’ may be over – but in the words of Sarah Millican on Twitter:
So, why not carry on your love for stationery and get creative with a handmade birthday card! All you need for this simple idea is some blank card, some scissors and the ever popular – washi tape! 🙂
It was recently a special birthday in this house, and my husband’s favourite colour is green…Understandably this card may be a little bright for some tastes – but go with whatever colours your recipient would love of course 🙂
A very simple card and craft, but I think with an effective outcome!
– Print out, or draw the ‘3 and 0’, or a letter, or even a short phrase! (backwards if possible so that no opportunity for lines to be seen when on the card) – cut out, turn over and wrap in washi tape!
– Cut out a rectangle of card, in whatever size and shape you would like – and score down the middle so that the card folds nicely in half.
– Cover the front of the card in alternative/contrasting tape to make sure you can see the numbers/font clearly and just trim neatly at the edges.
– I used some Sellotape sticky foam pads to then attach the numbers to the card so that they stood out slightly, but you could just glue straight on.
– ‘Et Voila!’ one personalised, handmade birthday card! 🙂
With the Queen’s birthday yesterday, nearly the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third wedding anniversary, still a V.I.B. (Very Important Baby) to appear sometime soon, AND it being St. George’s day tomorrow – it truly is a spiffingly British few weeks! Here are my top 5 jolly good crafts to make you feel truly patriotic!
1. TEA – UNION JACK MUG
Us Brits love our tea don’t we – according to a recent article, we drink on average 876 cups per year, enough to fill two bath tubs! What could be more exciting than serving your tea in a home decorated Union Jack mug! This pinterest pin advises that you simply decorate a mug with Sharpies and bake at 450 for 35 min…cool in oven, wash and it does not come off!” There are plenty more hints and tips for this craft technique here at Craftaholics Anonymous. (Great website name, might have to join!) Of course, it doesn’t HAVE to be a flag – get creative! 🙂
2. DRAGONS – SOCK PUPPET
With St George’s Day on 23rd April – why not get crafty with the kids AND make use of those annoying odd socks! This ‘No Sew Dragon Sock Puppet‘ from My Little 3 and Me has easy to follow instructions and templates included – perfect to inspire your little one’s imagination!
3. ROSES – PAPER CRAFT
The rose being the national flower of England, why not have a go at creating a giant crepe paper rose with this tutorial from Studio DIY. I personally, am a massive fan of creating flowers out of paper and fabric (see my commissions page!) they last forever, look oh so pretty… what’s not to love. It may take some time to create, but certainly worth the effort!
4. LIONS – CROCHET
Sticking with national symbols theme – this time, the Lion – national animal of England. I have never quite got that – when did you last see a wild Lion in the UK?? Anyway, if crochet is you’re thing… check out this ‘Little Bigfoot’ knitted lion pattern from Amigurumi To Go. Cute!
5. UNION JACK – DRESSER
I know I kind of already covered Union Jacks with the Sharpies mug above, but how could I not include this ‘Painting a Union Jack/British Flag on a dresser tutorial‘ from Meg Made Designs. The instructions are clear, the results look great! Why not give one of your own cupboards a really British makeover?
T.T.F.N, Tally-ho, Toodle-pip!
So, it’s the eve of my 32nd birthday. Uh oh… well, I’ve got cake to console my ever growing age. I know I’m not THAT old… I mentioned in my last post how quickly a year had gone… But where have 32 years gone?! Saying that, my husband pointed out to me recently – I’m probably only just half way to retirement…
So, the tradition in our office is, if it’s your birthday, you bring in the cakes…and this year I have opted for Mint choc chip, and Terry’s Chocolate Orange cupcakes! I originally learnt to ‘properly’ make cupcakes at The Gourmet Cupcake company – an inspiring course that makes fluffy sponge and sugar paste roses seem accessible and easy… and yummy! The Terry’s Chocolate Orange cakes are inspired by a local cupcake superstar… The Wonder Kitchen cakes, always so jealous of her wonderful pink, goodie-laden van at our local Brackley market! The Mint choc Aero cupcakes are just a recipe I have been making for such a long time… A few years ago, in a previous job – I made a double batch for a charity bake sale, and they sold within 10 minutes. I should have made more!
A tradition started by my Mum and Dad when I was only 1 was reinacted tonight, and happens every year – they rang to say “Goodnight 31 year old!”, and tomorrow morning, they will ring me with – not “Happy birthday!”, but – “Good morning 32 year old!”. Love it, love them. Gotta love birthdays, no matter what your age! Right, off to get some beauty sleep – I need it, for all that cake, chips and champagne tomorrow! 😉 (Not sure why the wink smiley, we both know all will be consumed within the next 24 hours!)