What a festive, and almost magical weekend of Christmas fabric wreaths making!
Saturday truly started the Christmas season for me – holding craft workshops at the brilliant Claydon Christmas Tree Farm. Until earlier this year, I hadn’t ever heard of this place – despite living in the local area for a few years now! However, I am so glad I now know… Absolutely stunning Christmas trees (British grown) – all very lush, and such variety! Real reindeer – who live on the farm all year round, and are part of the family there! There is a beautiful Christmas decorations shop full of every Christmassy thing you could imagine, a lovely little cafe with delightful bakes, cakes, teas/coffees… Santa himself is even due to visit there soon! Coming up in the next few weeks – I will be there at the following times for FREE Christmas craft ‘drop-in’ sessions…
Saturday 5th December 12-2pm – ‘Origami Stars’ and ‘Christmas Card’ making!
Sunday 6th December 12-2pm – ‘Reindeer Christmas Crackers’!
Saturday 12th December 12-2pm – ‘3D Paper Christmas Tree’ and ‘Christmas Card’ making!
Sunday 13th December 12-2pm – ‘Reindeer Christmas Crackers’!
The workshops were so much fun! Everyone had a choice of fabric colours – and it never fails to amaze me that you give people the same fabrics, and yet their wreaths still always turn out different!
Some people had brought along little decorations to add into their designs – like dried pinecones, little ceramic toadstools, fake berries… just lovely to see the inspiring ideas!
It was cold, boy was it cold in the big beautiful barn – but we had plenty of tea, mince pies and festive spirit to keep us warm!
Sunday, it was the turn of the Brackley Christmas Craft and Food Fair at Brackley Town Football Club. The cold, rain and almost gale like conditions at time seemed to deter some of the punters – but we still had a steady turn out especially in the morning – and I always think at these kind of things – of course you want hundreds of people and lots of sales – but it is also about meeting like minded people – and was lovely to speak to all the other stall holders. I even picked up a few little pressies for Christmas myself! We were making wreaths on our stall (I had a lovely helper Elf with me on Sunday!) and I was also selling make your own wreaths kits – with the fabric, frames, baubles for people to take away and make their lovely wreath at home! I am looking forward to seeing the photos of their finished results!
Hopefully see you soon at Claydon Christmas Tree Farm!
How exciting! The Craft Channel interviewed me this week, to learn all about The Crafty Lass, and how I set the business up! 🙂
You can read all about it here, on The Craft Channel’s blog!
Everyone loves a bargain right? Well The Crafty Lass is celebrating Black Friday by offering 25% off ALL greeting cards (not just Christmas!)
All you need to do is simply use code TCLBF15 at the checkout! Code expires Sunday 29th November.
Get your order in while you can!
I love Christmas. I am sure I will say that more than once over the next few weeks, but it really is my favourite time of year. I even like the wintery weather! Apart from the obvious – ‘big day’ – I love the build up to Christmas, perhaps even more than the main event. The planning, the little surprises, the Christmas concerts and carols, the food shopping, making, baking and eating! And of course – crafting! 😉
As a child (and still as an adult) I absolutely love advent calendars – every single day opening up the little door to see what was behind and knowing 1 day less till Christmas! I wasn’t even that bothered about the chocolate, I am more a savoury than sweet girl, but of course I still always ate it! That weird ‘advent calendar chocolate’ that tastes bit like plastic, you know it is rubbish – but you eat it anyway!
You can of course get ‘luxury’ calendars – that are filled with the highest end of beautiful Belgian chocolate, or even different little gifts, and on this slant – how about making your OWN and choosing your own little delights to put inside! I did this a couple of years ago for The Husband – all together now – awwww – I put a little chocolate in each one, and also a task for the day! Like, “Learn how to say Merry Christmas in 5 different languages” or “Lets make mince pies tonight!”. I know, too cute. It was certainly fun to put together, and although The Husband doesn’t like Christmas as much as me – he isn’t a bah humbug scrooge – but he certainly isn’t like Elf from the movie like me – he did really love it. Who wouldn’t love 24 little parcels to be opened up!?
On that note… here are my Top 15 advent calendar ideas! Normally I only do a ‘Top 5’ but there were so many inspirational ideas out there, I had to share them with you!
1. The Crafty Lass on the Craft Channel
Well of course I am going to say that 😉
This year I have already made mine… and it will be featured on The Craft Channel next week…make sure you check it out in our Weekend Wonder promotion shows – just some clever little way of turning some ordinary packaging into some fun advent ideas! 😀 latest schedule can be found on www.thecraftchannel.tv
2. Advent in a Jar
3. Advent Street
4. Advent Baubles
5. Envelope Advent
6. Painted Advent
This is certainly a different and contemporary idea – painting jars in colour coordinated paints and popping little gifts inside. Beautiful!
7. Advent ‘Cake’
8. Santa’s Beard Advent!
Great idea for the kiddiwinks here – turning santa’s beard into a calendar! Give him a ‘shave’ every day to reduce the length of his beard! 🙂
9. Elf Advent
10. Clothes Peg Advent
Not just for hanging up the washing – turn clothes pegs into your new advent calendar! Simply tie little gifts up with ribbon and hang on!
11. Punch Board Advent
12. Santa’s Present Sack Advent
This is really beautiful. Love the cute little Santas holding their present sacks, ready for you to fill with a little chocolate or gift – lovely.
13. Cushion Advent
A different homeware idea – making an advent cushion! Tuck little gifts behind each number space 🙂
14. Advent Bunting
15. Embroidery Hoop Advent
A really clever idea using embroidery hoops to create a little wall display idea as little fabric pockets! Fun!
So today, on a Sunday – on a day I normally reserve for not traipsing across the country, racking up extra mileage in my little Smarty – a day I normally associate with crafting in my little office, food shopping and the general chores (the boring stuff!) to try and get ahead for the week…not this week – this week I had much more exciting plans.
I went whizzing down to Odiham, Hampshire – to listen to Jay Archer Floral Design‘s Motivational Business Talk at her Flower School – and boy was it worth it. Yes – she is a florist, and so yes – different to my business model – but there were so many similarities. So many things she said resonated with me and made me think – yes, I want to be like that – yes, I want to try that – yes, I will put that on my ever growing to-do list – basically, yes – I want to be like you! (Yes, I presume I have some sort of creative led can-we-be-friends-girlie-crush!)
Girlie crushes aside – Jay is genuinely such a talented lady – her rustic, vintage, relaxed floral displays are stunning. You can see why she is being nominated for and winning awards put it that way! From the first moment I met her at WIBG (Women In Business Group) I felt she emanated being very relaxed (apart from a few nerves at the start of her talk then, and today – but nerves are good, they show you care!) very self-assured in a ‘I know my business is the best it can be’ way – but not in a cocky way – just a fresh, very open, and very brilliant business woman way. She has grown her business from almost nothing – nothing except an incredible amount of spirit, passion and ideas. With support from her equally lovely husband who I met briefly today – he wasn’t there at the workshop to hold her hand – he was there as someone who was also genuinely interested to listen to what Jay had to say! 🙂
She talked very openly about her struggles to get the business going, her strict make it or break it 18 month deadline – her visions, her dreams, but also importantly the reality of being a young, self-employed business woman – and how much work really goes into it. From the 4am flower market starts, the midnight wedding clear downs, to the working through the night for an 8.30am ceremony – however, as I am starting to learn – all those hours aren’t a true hardship when you simply love what you are doing! It is no longer work, it is purely what you simply ‘do’.
Jay Archer Floral Design recently opened her Flower School – and I won’t be personally attending the practical courses, simply as I don’t wish to become a florist! However, if you are – then I would say it is a must do for either start-ups or already existing florists who want to learn – something new, or simply refresh your ideas – it would be well worth a trip!
I think the best thing about this workshop was, and is with her other workshops – is just how open and honest Jay is with other florists – about costings, about how to make sure you set the right margins, the social media, the PR, the marketing, the everything really. Embracing the competition – not shunning them away.
“Peace and Love”!
Whether I have a new girlie crush, or whether I feel like we are kindred spirits – I feel that I have the same vision as Jay – but in The Crafty Lass. After today, I feel empowered, ready to take on the world and all it holds for the future. I have already started brainstorming ‘big plans’ for The Crafty Lass – some are perhaps pipe dreams, some perhaps not – but if the last 12 weeks with has taught me anything – sending one tweet to The Craft Channel and now in the buying team and presenting on it – is “Dreams Don’t Work Unless You Do.”
Today, I will take away a few things – apart from the new found ideas, visions and dreams I have whizzing around my multiple-tabs-open brain, are just to be confident, have a strong vision of you and your own branding “You are your own business card”, and to always remember… “Fake it til you make it babe!”.
Thanks Jay. x
Today is the start of The Craft Channel’s new FOWO (For One Week Only) promotion – a fantastic crystal card kit, a very therapeutic craft – almost like ‘painting by numbers’ except more crystal glueing by numbers and letters…Some amazing designs and good value too!
As part of the FOWO programme myself and Katy John look at all manner of card creations including some simply amazing pop-up cards – you can actually decorate a 3D Christmas tree and send in the post! Some laser cut greeting cards that you can ‘bling up’ with glitters and gems to your hearts content… and lastly (but not leastly (is that a word?!)!) – The Crafty Lass greeting cards also feature in this programme! A new addition of 650 self adhesive gemstones in vibrant pinks, turquoises and blues are also included to personalise them for yourself and add some glittery bling! And of course, colour coordinating envelopes too.
I really like this idea – that you don’t have to take a greeting card at face value – if you like a design, but think it needs something extra – just jazz it up with some additional decoration! Now of course, I am going to say this – but I think The Crafty Lass Christmas cards, are lovely just as they are – but I do also like them with a few gemstones here and there to make extra EXTRA special.
The FOWO programme is airing at multiple times across the week – please check out our latest schedule on the below channels. Enjoy!
SKY 261 & 660
FREESAT 402 & 808
Remember, remember the 5th of November! There is nothing quite like Bonfire Night is there? The roaring fire in sharp contrast to the cold night air, delicious treats of candy floss, toffee apples, hot chocolate… and of course the actual fireworks display! It doesn’t matter what age you are – a riot of colour across the sky, the noise, the smell, a complete assault on your senses – it doesn’t fail to bring a smile to your face! It got me thinking of various crafty ways we could celebrate the occasion – mostly in food instead of traditional ‘craft’ ! So here they are – check out my Top 5… Bonfire Night Crafts!
1. Bonfire Cupcakes
What fun! Totally love these cupcakes made to look like the bonfire! Certainly is up there on my wish list to make this weekend!
2. Firework Artwork
A great way to get the kiddiwinks creative! A simple, but effective firework painting idea – using a toilet roll as a stamp, colourful paint and some black paper! You could even add cut out stars, glitter… go mad, have fun! 🙂
3. Toffee Apples
As a kid – around this time of year, it was a real treat to get a toffee apple! I associate them with Saturday mornings with my Dad when he took me to gymnastics classes. Crazy where some foodie memories take you… This recipe from BBC Good Food shows us how to make them at home!
4. Hot Chocolate Spoons
These look seriously amazing… I can just imagine these being super delicious, warming, comforting… a naughty treat to warm you up on a cold evening! As the Kitchen Alchemist blog post says, they would be a great handmade Christmas present! Mmmm….
This (wannabee) Yorkshire Crafty Lass couldn’t do a Bonfire Night post without the mention of Parkin! You can’t really go wrong with syrupy molasses, oatmeal and ginger… Delicious all year round but traditionally eaten on Bonfire night, get in my face… 🙂