Category

Crafts

Ullacombe Farm Christmas Fair – Bovey Tracey

Ullacombe Farm Christmas Fair saw then end of our run of Christmas Fairs for 2016.
After a disappointing day at The Big Sheep the day before I was feeling a little more hopeful about Ullacombe.
Mum and I packed up the car yet again and headed on our way to Bovey Tracey, we were meeting Laura from Handsome Hound Bandanas there and hoping to set up together.
On arriving we noticed the drop in temperature, it was absolutely freezing! We had dressed for the weather but I think you can always have more layers, something which I wish I had added to!
We parked up and went in search of our pitch. We were located in the outside barn/shed which was also the location of the big man himself Father Christmas and his Reindeer!
We set up our table and carefully arranged all of our goodies on display. We warmed ourselves with coffee and soon the farm started to turn in to a bustling hive of activity. Despite being technically outside in the freezing cold I think we had a good spot, we were in good company with lots of other lovely stalls and the main barn across the way had even more stand so a huge choice for people to browse.

I had never been to Ullacombe Farm before but had been recommended it by Laura from Handsome Hound Bandanas. It was a beautiful place with an amazing coffee shop/restaurant, with cakes on display that would make even the person on the strictest pre-crimbo diet crumble! There is a lovely outdoor play area for the younger ones and fields with different animals in, my favourite were the Alpacas!


The day soon went by and it seemed to get busier and busier, friends popped in to say hello which was lovely and made the day go even quicker. We watched as the queue for Father Christmas grew and delighted children left with big grins on their faces after their meet and greet with him and his elves.


Soon the light started to fade as the evening drew in and we were forced to start packing up as it was starting to get quite dark in the unlit barn. We packed away our crafts for the last time this year and loaded them in to our cars. We went and found Lucy the organiser of the day and thanked her for a lovely day, she did an amazing job!

We will definitely be back at the farm over Christmas to enjoy one of their amazing looking cakes, perhaps after we have worked up an appetite on a moorland walk beforehand. I even managed to purchase a lovely Christmas Tree before leaving – hoorah!

Unique Boutique Christmas Market – Exeter Phoenix

You know Christmas is on it’s way when all the Christmas markets start popping up here, there and everywhere! Mum and I have been meaning to give a Christmas market a go for a little while now. We are both quite crafty people and this year I have been particularly busy sewing together lots of felt Christmas decorations, Robins, Gingerbread Men and Puddings. I have been making these for friends and family for a couple of years and thought this year I would have a go at selling them.

With a few bits and pieces put together for our stall we loaded up my brothers van on Saturday morning (he’d kindly offered to give us a lift so we didn’t have to faff about trying to find a parking space in town for the day, thanks Bro) and headed on our way to the Exeter Phoenix Centre just off of Gandy Street. We unloaded our boxes and headed up the stone staircase to set up for our day of craft madness!

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We arrived inside to a calm but busy Phoenix centre. After locating our pitch we went in search of a table and started setting up. Mum and I were squeezed in between two lovely ladies – to our right we had Gilly who was a Potter and a stunning one at that, she is a member of Crackpots, a small group of potters from Middevon, you can find some of her work here.

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To our left we had another lovely lady Lisa, who makes very pretty things cut from paper, you can find some of her work here. I bought a lovely card from her stall for Christmas.

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With our stand soon set up we were in great company for the day. Mum was selling her Pebble Pictures and me my decorations and some hama bead cards.

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The doors opened at 10am and it soon started filling up. There was a steady flow of people throughout most of the day which we were very pleased about. It was quite a varied crowd, some older faces and younger faces, all enjoyed what the market had to offer.

When wandered round I was amazed by the talent of some of the other stall holders. These were a couple of my favourites –

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We were entertained by different musicians on the stage behind us throughout the day and mince pies and treats were given out to the stall holders.

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The day seemed to be at an end before we knew it and people started to slowly dismantle their thoughtfully put together stalls. We thoroughly enjoyed our day at the market and sold several of our pieces making it even better. We enjoyed chatting to all the different people we met throughout the day and felt in very good company with lots of like minded people. I bought several little bits and pieces from a few different stands and am now wishing I picked up a few more bits, it’s not often you see such lovely hand crafted things all together in one place.

This years market was the last of the Unique Boutique Markets and having only done this one I will be sad not to see it again next year. Thanks to Eleanor for all her hard work in putting it together, it really was a great day had by all and will be sorely missed next year.

 

Christmas is coming!

So a few years a go now (I don’t know where the time goes?) inspired by something I had seen on Pinterest my little craft obsession began…
I raided the sewing box my Aunty gave me as a wedding present, bought some felt from my local  The Range and found some cotton wool for stuffing and started making Felt Christmas decorations.
I started off making Gingerbread Men and wondered what else I could try my hand at, after a quick search I soon found lots of lovely ideas and added Christmas Puddings and Robins to the collection (there would be many more designs if I had more time, but perhaps these will come next year!).
I originally made just a few for our Christmas Tree and a couple for family and friends. Word soon got out and I found myself with requests form work colleagues other friends and so it went on from there.
I got myself a little more organised and this year have decided to try my hand at a few Christmas Craft Fairs. It was thanks to my friend Laura from Handsome Hound Bandanas who got me thinking about it. She lovingly hand makes dog bandanas and has been to several shows this year selling them, rather successfully, you might have seen her out and about over the summer.
After a little search on google we both found some local fairs and booked a few up, I will give you a few dates for your diary a little later on.

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It got me thinking what else I could add to my range to fill up my stall a little bit and after a bit of searching I found some fun little cards. These are made out of Hama Beads with little letters attached, they are fun to make and actually quite therapeutic! Again I only have a couple of designs at the moment because that is all my time will allow, but do keep an eye out for other designs hopefully coming soon.

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Here are some dates for your diaries –

I will be at the 26th November and 4th December fair with my Mum who is also a very crafty lady, she will be selling her Pebble Pictures, you can find her on Facebook by searching for @homemadepebblepictures and I will be with Laura from Handsome Hound Bandanas on the 3rd and 4th December. So come and find us and buy some of your Christmas Presents/Decorations locally this year! Failing that my lovely husband has set me up a shiny new shop in which you can purchase all of my goodies online. You can find them all in the shop section of my blog, on the top far right.

Hope to see you soon x

Emma Bridgewater Tour – Stoke-on-Trent

If you read my Edinburgh post you will have seen that we were making a stop off at Stoke On Trent on our way home. This was for two reasons, firstly so we didn’t have to drive over eight hours in one go to get home and secondly (and most importantly) it was to make a stop a the Emma Bridgewater Factory! As you can imagine Dave was delighted at the idea! I however was very excited, if any of you know me well enough you will know I have an unhealthy obsession with pretty mugs so the trip was something I was very excited about.
We arrived in Stoke On Trent just before the rush hour traffic, good timing on our part and rocked up to our Premier Inn which we managed to find with ease.
We checked in and chucked our bags in our room, it seemed that we were staying in the hottest hotel ever, it was really hot outside and I assume the hotel was really well insulated, meaning we were melting! Rather than sweating it out in the sauna of our room we had quick showers and headed out the door for dinner. We ended up in the Intu Potteries Shopping Centre, there were several restaurants located upstairs on the terrace. We chose to eat in Pizza Express, it was nothing to shout about but we did have a 40% off voucher so it didn’t really matter, after a week of eating out we were craving a home cooked meal!
After a rather warm nights sleep we woke up and got ready to leave for the Emma Bridgewater Factory, it was a few minutes up the road and we were booked on the 10.00am tour. I booked our tickets online for £2.50, if you spend over £12.95 (easily done) you can redeem your voucher against your purchase, even better!
We were one of the first to arrive, whilst waiting for the others in our party to arrive we had a little look around the Seconds Store, but not too closely, I wanted to save it for the end.

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Once our party had grown a little more in size we were asked to put on our tour lanyards and went on our way. The tour was to last about an hour, we were told we were aloud to take photos but would be told when we couldn’t as we would be taken to a room where staff were working on the new Christmas range which hadn’t been released yet. We went outside and walked down the long, historic factory driveway and taken through a side door.

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From here I don’t really remember all the processes so I can’t go into too much detail (you’ll just have to do the tour yourself 🙂 ), I did however take a lot of pictures so maybe that might help!
We were taken into the first part of the factory where they make all of the moulds, the moulds don’t last too long so new ones are needed, they are made using blocks which I believe are reused to make new moulds. From here the moulds are filled to make which ever piece is being made and so it goes on from here. 35,000 pieces of pottery are made each week if I remember rightly (maybe don’t quote me on that) so you can imagine how big the factory is and how it needs to be run smoothly.

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We moved on into another part of the factory where they make the different types of plates and cake stands etc. There is a man in there who is the only one in the factory who knows how to do this job. He also has a machine called Betsy that he uses to shape the plates, the machine is so old they no longer make them. She is starting to break down every now and the and parts are becoming very hard to come by!

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I have always thought Emma Bridgewater Pottery to be on the pricey side but having seen how much love and attention goes into making each piece I can now understand why. There are a team of people who’s job is to solely make stamps for different designs, we were told that the spotty pieces, that have made the brand so famous, are the worst because they need to cut a perfect circle for each of the stamps, which are all done by hand, it’s amazing to watch! We weren’t aloud to take photos in this part so I can’t show you how amazing it was I’m afraid.

We carried on through the factory, getting towards the end of the tour. Our tour guide was very informative, she was training another lady to be a tour guide too who was also very good, it was her first week but she seemed very clued up, I’d imagine it’s hard to memorise all the facts, figures and processes but she was doing a great job. We were soon at the end of the tour and left to our own devices. The factory has two shops, one for firsts and one for seconds, we had a good look around the firsts shop and then had a cup of tea and cake. The coffee shop was full of lovely pieces and even had an Emma Bridgewater Aga!

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After we filled ourselves with tea we made our way to the seconds shop to fill our basket! You can’t go to the Emma Bridgewater factory and leave without a basket full of goodies! It was so hard to choose what to buy without maxing ourselves out, there was so much to choose from! Eventually we decided on what we wanted and I left smiling and Dave left quivering at our bank balance.

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We had a brilliant time on the tour and even Dave, who wasn’t massively looking forward to it, said it was very interesting and enjoyed it too.  We left back down the long driveway and carefully stored our purchases in the car before our trip back home to Devon.

All that’s left for me to say is – Thanks for having us Emma Bridgewater!

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Wedding Bouquet

A friend of mine is getting married in the next few months (yes another wedding!) and sadly she was let down by her florist. This got me thinking, with no disrespect to florists what so ever, I wonder how hard it is to make a bouquet…

That evening on my way home from work I picked up some florist tape, pins and ribbon from The Range and popped into my local Tesco to see what flowers they had. I was very lucky to find three bunches that complimented each other well, Roses, Lisianthus and Alstroemeria, all in different shades of pinks.

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I found a little tutorial online and set to work. First of all I stripped all of the leaves from the stems and picked out two fairly big roses and some alstroemeria, I wrapped these tight with some florist tape (it’s strange stuff, I didn’t think it was sticky, like it was a bit old, but as soon as your start wrapping it round it sticks together very well).

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This was now my base and I could start placing other flowers in, basically you just need to keep adding to it and wrapping with florist tape. I kept my stems long as I didn’t know how short I wanted them to be so I cut them as I went and then trimmed them down even more at the end, more of that to come later.

I just used my eye and went with what I thought looked best, I wasn’t going for a perfect bouquet as I quite like the messy garden/country style bouquets, this is also what my friend was after with her wedding bouquet.

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After placing all the flowers together and wrapping them in the tape I then trimmed the bottom of the bouquet to make the stems shorter so that I could wrap my ribbon around them. However I soon realised that I hadn’t really started taping the stems high enough as I had to use quite a lot of ribbon and it looked a bit odd (also my pins were too long, hence them poking out a bit in the photo). If I was to make another bouquet, or if you happen to give it a try, I would suggest taping higher up the stems and pulling it quite tight, the flower stems seem quite resilient so don’t be afraid to squeeze them in and then you can use a little less ribbon and it makes for a bit more of a stumpy bouquet.

I was really pleased with the end result, despite it needing a few tweaks and it being my first attempt! I also really enjoyed making it and it didn’t take me that long to do (1hr and 30mins at the most)… and the best part it only cost £9.50!!

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