Tag : events

The Crafty Lass does… The ‘Oscar’ acceptance speech. (Sort of.)

This isn’t an Oscar acceptance speech – but it does kind of feel like it. I am sure that to win an Oscar – is the culmination of a dream for that person, and for this to be actually happening – feels like a dream into reality for me…

So, on with the ‘thanks’…

First of all I would like to thank… Patch The Crafty Dog. Yes, this might sound a strange one to start with – having all those friends and family who have been the upmost of supportive – however, without Patch we wouldn’t be living here today.

Living in an Edwardian open plan, characterful, small (maybe not small, maybe too much stuff) end terrace was fun when it was just me and The Husband – but when you add to the mix a bouncy and excitable Parsons Russell Terrier and a baby (and all the baby paraphernalia) and an ever expanding amount of craft and business related materials… it was time to move. However, I think we would have just about coped if it has just been the four of us (The Husband, myself, bubba and The Craft) but to add a soon to be (at that point – now actively is) crawling little one in combination with our adorable four legged friend – I might have gone crazy (gone?). So, we started to look at moving – and here we are, with a lovely house in the glorious Northamptonshire countryside and The Old Granary Studio to boot…

Secondly, I would like to thank Freddie, our little shiny, happy, smiley star. He is potentially the most patient baby I have ever had the pleasure of meeting (I *may* be biased) – he is as happy and contented play with ribbons in his walker and watch mummy arrange things prettily in the new studio, as he is anywhere else. Without his happiness and patience, I am not sure I would have been able to progress as quickly as I have done. He also seems to like sleeping between around 7pm and 1am (not so much after that…) however it has allowed many an evening since moving in to try and refocus, eat, more craft, reorganise, repeat.

Thirdly, and most obvious for an ‘Oscar’ speech, I would like to thank my Mum and Dad. They are always there. When I call sounding stressed and needing a rant – they listen. When I don’t call them, they know I am ok… (just busy) and they just accept that when I do talk to them I mostly update them on things like buttons, and beads, and fabric and what I am making with all of them… Even when we went away recently for a short break together – we had nice evenings in… with me sat making paper flowers whilst we relaxed away the evening…

Fourthly, my mother and father in law. They have welcomed me into their lives as a close knit (good craft pun right there) member of the family, and have also always believed in me. I remember when I first told my Mother-In-Law – that I was quitting my job, and going to take over the world of craft – just how excited, and happy, and supportive she was. “This is going to go in so many directions”, she said. I am not sure we both thought becoming a Craft Buyer for a shopping channel, becoming a TV demonstrator, moving house – and to have our own studio was part of the plan – but perhaps fate has intervened… Anyway – thank you – as always – for both being there. x

Next – my friends and family. I feel like I have spent the last few months in a crafting bubble. I can’t see that changing any time soon… but – if I don’t reply to your messages, or don’t call you, or cancel on you, or have to work when I should be out eating cake, thank you for ‘getting it’ and just being excited for me. I do care!

Lastly, and of course – as expected, I would like to thank the real Boss. The Husband. The one who truly ‘gets it’. He puts up with me taking over our house with various crafting stuff. And quite often is heard exclaiming – “what is this, and what are you making now?!” He is the one who listens when I am so busy and overwhelmed I need a hug – he is the one who I would ring and ask for anything. “Perhaps, darling, you could build me a bespoke unit out of scaffolding boards?” He is the one I want to share my highs with, my lows with. This moment with. I don’t think words can thank him enough to be honest. Crikey O’ Reilley – going for the totes emosh stuff today!

However, as I pause for thought – I am thanking everyone… without having actually ‘achieved’ anything! I mean, I say that – I am pretty sure keeping our son happy and alive (and me also happy and alive… sleep deprived, but alive) whilst simultaneously running a business and setting up a studio is a pretty good achievement. But – I need people through the door! A craft studio is nothing without its crafters – and to me, that is the most important thing.

I originally set up The Crafty Lass as I am passionate about craft, and that I wanted everyone else to be too. I want to get everyone else Making, Creating and Inspiring. Craft can act as a therapy, it can be a little piece of calming haven in our crazy, sometimes nasty modern world. There are too many horrible things on The News – I have had a fair few horrible things arise recently with friends and family – that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. (You know who you are if you’re reading this and I Love You.) And sometimes, I do think – why am I worrying about a shade of pink on a ribbon. Does it matter? No – it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life – but providing a little craft ‘nest’ – a little slice of ‘crafting heaven’, ‘peace’ and a focus – does. I would like people to come along to workshops – to learn a new skill. To meet like minded people. To feel uplifted and energised and relaxed. Make. Create. Inspire.

So – with my heart on my sleeve, and ambitions getting achieved – what next? Well, there are PLENTY of new and exciting things in the pipeline for this Crafty Lass (would you expect anything less?) however right now – I need YOU! If you would like to come along – have a nice, sociable, crafty time – then please check our WORKSHOPS page and see if you’d like to book and come along to something! Tell your friends, your colleagues, your family, your milkman! “Did you know The Crafty Lass now has a dedicated (FAB!) crafting studio? She is proud to serve a proper brew (Yorkshire Tea, of course – what else would a ‘Lass’ serve!), she’ll more than likely serve you a good slab of cake too…. it’s also based in the beautiful countryside! (Crafting heaven…) Basically, amazing… you get the idea. Go forth, tell all. Craft! (…and book tickets!)

Categories: Business, Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does..., Workshops

The Crafty Lass does… Workshop planning!

My mind is bursting to the brim full of ideas, my Pinterest page is certainly busy – but what is best? And what is achievable?

A little while ago when I first started to plan for The Crafty Lass, I sent out a little ‘Survey Monkey’ questionnaire for some feedback as to what people would like to learn, to Make, to Create and to be Inspired by. Some of those workshop suggestions are still very relevant, some ideas have developed, but I took all those points on board. It may have been a while since I have been able to action on them – but, it is all there, ready and waiting to be put into place.

The dream and plan is very much more real and actually achievable now… what being a mobile craft workshops business provided in flexibility with location – it was hindered by what I could physically offer by carrying equipment and materials by myself!! With an actual ‘The Craft Space’ workshop plans in full swing – the furniture is being made, the chairs have arrived, the vision is strong for the final finishing touches… but none of it is worth while without the actual workshops, and you…!

I have some great workshop plans already in fruition – but:

What would you like to learn or make? What do you want to try? Or, do you just want to come along for a social crafty gathering with like minded people, for a cuppa and cake?

Sewing? Crochet? Decoupage? Christmas makes? Weddings? Papercraft? …Something entirely different? … I would love to hear from you and your ideas! 

Get in touch. 🙂

Categories: Business, Christmas, Crafty Kids, Easter, General Craft, House & Home, Places to Go & Things to See, Stationery, The Crafty Lass does..., Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings, Workshops

Kirstie Allsopp’s The Handmade Fair

Wow, what an epic day of craftyness, shopping, making, thinking, doing and inspiration!

So, to review the fair – I have my cup of Yorkshire tea in my lovely Emma Bridgewater mug (of course! See later in the post…) and to make sure I don’t miss anything, I am going to try and go through this in a blow-by-blow chronological order… I always knew The Handmade Fair would be a great day out, but I think you aren’t prepared for the sheer number of ideas and things to see and do until you are actually there!

I went full force into booking into pretty much as many different workshops as I could possibly get my hands on. The main ticket included one ‘skills workshop’, one ‘grand make’ and one ‘super theatre’ event… but I additionally booked (on the day) three more workshops – I kind of wish there could have been two of me so I could go to more, but I had to be brutal and pick the ones that really stood out for me. So, here goes:

 

9.30 – The fair opens, with a welcome from Kirstie, great jazz singing and much delight! Then…quick! Book as many workshops with spaces as I can… at only £10 each for around 45 minutes of crafting, often a new skill to be learnt and inspiration to be had I think this is a bargain!

 

IMA9.45 Skills Workshop – Christmas Crackers with Zeena Shah

We started out with lino cutting – picking out our own design, carving it into the lino – and using ink stamps printing on to paper we would use to make the crackers. I wasn’t actually expecting lino printing to be part of this particular workshop – but it was a lovely surprise. I haven’t done it in years and you can get some lovely, quick and fun prints – it has already got me thinking how to incorporate this technique into my own creative workshops – which actually, is kind of the point of this whole fair, right? Getting you thinking in a new way, inspiring you to try new or retry old techniques, and to think how you could use them for yourself! Zeena was great – very clear with what we needed to be doing next – which once we had printed our paper, we rolled up, tied the crackers with some hessian, added a snap and et voila – crackers!

 

11.15 Skills Workshop – Biscuit Icing with Biscuiteers

Not sure about you, but I absolutely LOVE the Biscuiteers designs. Their attention to detail out of icing is just incredible! Take a look at some of their work HERE.

So, when I saw you could go to a workshop on a how to ice with them, it was of course a must! We started out with a beautiful bag and box – containing four delicious butterflies. A great technique demonstration for ‘flood icing’ and creating some fabulous tricks with cocktail sticks to make the icing look like real butterfly wings. Impressive! As we didn’t have access to an oven to dry the icing afterwards, we were just working with the thicker outline style icing which dries alot quicker. It meant we couldn’t try some of the techniques demonstrated – however, it has certainly got me thinking of when can I next have a reason to bake biscuits just to try them out! Perhaps I don’t even need a reason – make them just because I can! We just had some fun piping, getting messy, and admittedly one of the butterflies didn’t make it home… in fact it didn’t make it out of the workshop – they tasted delicious! 😉 The rest were saved for when home and even now I think there is only one left. Art you can eat! Perfect.

 

12.30 Skills Workshop – Wedding Fascinators by HarrietDSC_0278

Starting out with the ‘do’s’ and ‘do-nots’ of birdcage veils – we learnt how to sew the veil in to the ‘correct’ shape (no horn shapes allowed!) Considering it would take Harriet far (far!) more time to create her beautiful fascinators I was surprised to find how quickly we had created something that vaguely did resemble a veil! Then we selected our fascinator base, and sewed our veils into place. Next – and the most fun bit I think – the decoration. There was a lovely selection of buttons, and some ribbons to make into flowers/loops/whatever we wanted really! I didn’t get time to finish this within the allocated slot, but I was allowed to take away the remaining bits and I will certainly be finishing this lovely craft at home. The workshop definitely got me inspired – I plan to make a fascinator for the next wedding invite!

 

Lunchtime! By now, I was certainly ready for a lunch break – and what a great selection of foodie delights. Crepes, posh burgers, pies, ‘pimp my porridge’, fresh smoothies, wood fired pizzas… makes your mouth water! I went for the Soulful Foods truck and their onepot Moroccan Chicken Tagine. I certainly wasn’t disappointed – chunks of chicken, vegetables, apricots and almonds all served with some British spelt and red quinoa! Sounds perhaps very ‘healthy’ but wow, the flavours packed a punch!

 

DSC_02842pm Skills Workshop – Christmas Garlands with Rebecca Moyster, Bon Bon Balloons

This was a riot of colour, bright foil, ribbons, cords, cut out stars, hearts! Rebecca briefly explained what we were going to make, and the majority of the time was dedicated to the actual making part, which was great! We made handmade tinsel, and lovely little festive bunting style garlands. It was a very simple craft – but has got me thinking of ways to incorporate this into my own Christmas tree. Perhaps swapping the foil for fabric, and the cord for hessian for a more natural look. Fabulously festive and fun!

 

4pm Grand Makes – Ric Rac Rose with Jane MeansDSC_0290

Would you believe me if I told you that literally within 3-5 minutes we had created a rose from ric rac ribbon? Well that is exactly what we did – a simple technique that was surprisingly effective. I am thinking to incorporate the one I made into the fascinator from earlier! Jane was so much fun – telling us how to produce a last minute gift and the wrapping all within a few minutes with a speedy envelope technique. Great stuff considering there must have been a hundred people to teach in one make!

 

DSC_02965pm Super Theatre – Kirstie and Emma Bridgewater

The piece de resistance for me, and a great way to finish the fair. I was lucky enough to be sat in the second row, and was a good hour listening to the life and times of Emma Bridgewater. How she set up the company, her full undying love for her Stoke-on-Trent factory, and for buying British.  Some good advice for women in business, some very comical anecdotes of growing the business whilst juggling childcare and life in general. Just lovely and once again, feel inspired – this time to push forward with my pure vision for The Crafty Lass. As Emma said – if you can see it, you’ll get it.

 

 

In between all the making and eating – there were two shopping ‘villages’, an Artisan market place – full of lovely foodie things, a Hobbycraft tent, a Mollie Makes cafe – various other make and do tents – no rest for the crafty!

 

The husband did very well out of the fair too, not only did I get out of his hair for a few days in London, I also purchased some amazing ‘Espresso’ chocolate from Seed and Bean (it was hard to pick which of the many, quite unusual flavours!), an Oatopia Energy Ball made from Raw Cacao and Almonds, AND a delightful ‘Man Cave‘ wooden carved keyring from Betty and Dodge. I had to get some good pressies to make up for the ‘7 days til Handmade Fair’, ‘6 days til Handmade Fair’, ‘5 days…’ ok you get the picture!

All in all, as expected a great – long – day. Top tips for next year: wear comfy shoes! Make sure you take plenty of cash…most places took cards, but a few didn’t. There was an onsite cash machine – but as expected there was a fee – so get organised in advance and nip to the cashpoint before arriving. You certainly will want to book/buy things! And, perhaps consider going on more than one day – to allow you to try/see/make/do more things! I certainly will be going again next year.

Categories: Places to Go & Things to See, Workshops

Top 5… Craft Events for 2015

There are hundreds of craft fairs and events running up and down our country, all throughout the year – with independent producers selling their individual, creative and interesting wares. From local fairs in your village hall, to internationally recognised events at huge venues – there will never be a time when you can’t find a different gift for your loved one, try a new skill – or find a new interest! Keep up to date with what’s on in your neck of the woods with ukcraftfairs.com. From looking around to source what exciting events are coming up – here, in my humble opinion – are the events not to be missed this year!

 

1. Further to my post about Kirstie Allsopp hosting the The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace (18th-20th September 2015) – there has also been a new announcement – that she will also be doing a Handmade Christmas Fair, to be held in Manchester 20th-22nd November 2015. Kirstie? Craft? Christmas? Sounds epic! Keep up to date with future information on Kirstie’s Facebook site here.

 

2. A bit closer in time – (only the week after next!) is the Renegade Craft Fair, April 11th and 12th 2015 at the Old Truman Brewery, London. What a brilliant venue (I actually did my final London textile design degree show here!) – and right bang smack in the middle of Brick Lane – make sure you browse a whole multitude of vintage clothing stores while you are in the area, and treat yourself to a good curry too! Brick Lane is renowned for good Indian restaurant, after restaurant, after restaurant…! Getting back to the very exciting fair – there will be over 100 independent crafty makers and bakers with goodies for sale, DIY workshops, installations – AND is free to attend – bonus!

 

3. Outlaw – ‘Celebrating the Handmade and Artisan’ – at The Passenger Shed, Bristol on 2nd and 3rd May 2015, also looks really, and simply – amazing. They have ‘taster workshops’, a ‘demo theatre’, ‘over 80 artisan makers’, a ‘supplier zone’ (ready for you to buy all the things you need to make your own lovely things.) This one’s got the lot! Bristol is such a vibrant, exciting city (it was the venue for my own hen do…!) with good bars, restaurants, shops, and with it being a Bank Holiday weekend – why not make a little trip away out of it?

 

4. Just up the road, in another of our wonderful cities in the UK – is the Creative Crafts Show 23rd-26th April 2015 at the The Bath & West Showground, Bath.”The show provides the perfect opportunity to gather inspiration, pick up some new materials and exchange ideas and tips to try at home. All types of crafts are catered for at the Show including paper craft, beading, ribbon craft and embroidery. There is something to suit any expert or beginner with a wonderful variety of workshops.” Sounds like it’s got it all!

 

5. Finally, going back to the Christmas theme (it is NEVER too early to start planning I reckon!) I couldn’t miss out the wonderful, and in my opinion – BEST – city of the North – Harrogate. The Country Living Christmas Fair from 3rd-6th December 2015. Tickets go on sale in May – and I think it has everything you could ever want from a Christmas fair! Craft Workshops, Food Theatre and literally hundreds of exhibitors. No excuses not to buy some nice presents this year!

 

So, get the dates in the your diary and get crafty! 🙂

Categories: Christmas, General Craft, Places to Go & Things to See, Top 5

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