First Wedding Anniversary – PAPER!

I was taken away for a surprise weekend this weekend – it led to a new craft, a new set of inspirations and a reconfirmed realisation I definitely married the right man!

So, one whole year since our big day. And this year… all I knew was I had to pack a bag, and be ready to leave at 7am on Saturday morning. He accidentally let slip we were off to Manchester… But apart from that, I had absolutely no idea. I had a 3 hour car journey to ponder what surprises might be ahead…

Manchester. Football? I do like football…but maybe not for our anniversary. The new BBC studios…Maybe to see something being filmed? No, maybe not… Perhaps a gig?? Then if so, why leaving SO early?! This had better be worth it.

And, wow. It WAS. It was such a good surprise! 

We walked into quite possibly, THE BEST shop ever called Fred Aldous in the Northern Quarter of the city centre. Lines and lines of blank notebooks with quirky and original covers just waiting to be purchased and ideas scribbled in, a fantastic array of unusual and brilliant greeting cards, lovely picture frames, books, gifts (and lots more!) I could have been there for hours! THEN we went downstairs… This place is MASSIVE and has EVERYTHING a Crafty Lass could EVER want or need. You name it, I BET they have it. Paper, metal, fabric, beads, paints…

I was intrigued – why are we in here?? ‘Perhaps,’ I thought, ‘we are here for a general mooch around before going on somewhere else.’ That’s when I noticed the sign.

Ministry of Craft – Classes here today!

He had booked us on Clear Cut: Beginners Paper Cutting course – in honour of my love of craft and for the first wedding anniversary traditionally being ‘paper’! (All together now… Awwww!)

I absolutely love the artist Rob Ryan – and all his ‘cut-out’ style designs – but personally paper cutting is not something I had ever considered to do myself before. However, I soon discovered it is such a therapeutic and beautiful thing to do. It’s both simple to get started and achieve – starting with only paper (of course!), a pencil, a sharp scalpel and a cutting mat. However, it is also sometimes more difficult than it first appears! Making sure your design all connects together properly, making sure any font is correct (you have to put the design on to paper backwards so it all appears correct once cut out and turned over!)…and curvy lines take abit of practice – but our brilliant tutor Jes Panesar was there to talk us through everything. The example works she brought with her from her portfolio were so beautiful it didn’t take long for us to be inspired and to come up with our own ideas.  She let us be ambitious but importantly to also understand when to reign those ideas in to ensure that the final design would actually work. So we spent abit of time planning, and sketching – ultimately, this is the longest part of the process – there was plenty of tea and biscuits to keep us going! The class was a reasonably small group – which allowed for plenty 1-1 time with Jes, and once we had everything to paper, we just… began cutting!

My husband says he isn’t the most creative person – but I think actually, he really is, and his cut out of a racing car (I know – stereotypical!) turned out to be really amazing! (I think you’ll agree!) Backing the design with colours too to give it real definition. My lovey-dovey flower garden, with our initials and wedding date seemed appropriate for the occasion, but I am also really happy with the final result. The three hours absolutely flew past – I could have spent all day there to be honest!

So, thank you Jes for passing on a new skill – I am looking for ways to use this new found love into future projects! I am also working out how to get back to the Ministry of Craft in the (hopefully near!) future. I’d highly recommend attending a class to anyone wanting to try out something new!

PS The rest of the surprise weekend – was equally as good – with some time looking around such a vibrant and exciting city – with plenty of good food…and good wine. We even had a little boogie and a night cap in an appropriately named bar – The Crafty Pig!

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