Hobbycraft’s Spring & Easter Craft Preview

Last week, I went along to Drink, Shop & Do near King’s Cross in London to preview Hobbycraft’s new Spring and Easter craft collections. Ever since I started blogging, it’s been an aim of mine to attend a Hobbycraft event, as I do buy a lot of my supplies from there, so I was thrilled to get an invitation.

Hobbycraft Spring Easter Blogger Event_Shelley Makes-3419.jpg

I tagged along after work and was greeted at the door by the Hobbycraft team. They’d split the Drink, Shop & Do floor into various stations so that you could try your hand at different crafts, and learn more about their upcoming range expansions, from sewing supplies, knit craft, Easter craft, and baking.

Sewing Machines

My first stop was the sewing machine station where a helpful seamstress named Amy sat me down at a sewing machine for the first time, and showed me how to do some basic stitches. Some of you might recall that I was bought a sewing machine for Christmas a few years back, and am ashamedly yet to use it, as I wasn’t really sure where to begin, so I was really excited about this opportunity.

hobbycraft-spring-easter-blogger-event_shelley-makes-3498

Amy explained that they offer in-store ‘Sewing Machine Driving Tests‘ where knowledgeable staff help you learn how to get started on your sewing machine. After showing me the basic controls and levers, we had a go on a ‘test sheet’ where the aim of the game was to follow the lines, and try manoeuvring around corners and curves using various stitches. Obviously practice makes perfect, but it was encouraging to hear about the ‘Sewing Surgeries’ that they offer in-store to help you if you get stuck.

Home Baking

Next up I wandered through to the baking section. Now, I love a good cake, but I’ve never really challenged myself to do a huge amount of baking. A lovely lady from Wilton (which is stocked at Hobbycraft) talked me through some of the cakes she’d baked for the event, and how she got some of the desired effects. I was completely mesmerised, and hearing someone talk through the process also made me realise that it is all entirely do-able if you have the ambition, the vision, and the right equipment.

After oo-ing and aah-ing at the gorgeous designs, I was shown how to pipe my own daisy cupcake, which again, was far simpler than I would have imagined. After telling me which new baking products they were most excited about, I was pleased to find said products in my goody bag – a ‘Colour Right’ Performance Colour System, and a Treatology Flavour System – so no excuses now!

Knit Craft

In the very last room I stumbled across the ‘Knit Craft‘ division where some helpful Hobbycraft bods talked me through their range extensions, and gave me a Knit Craft goody bag, complete with gorgeous teal cotton thread, and a shiny 4mm crochet hook. The bag also contained instructions on how to knit and crochet a daisy. You can find tonnes of knitting and crochet project inspiration on their blog.

hobbycraft-spring-easter-blogger-event_shelley-makes-3430-i

Apparently one of their most popular products is called a ‘Caron cake’, which is basically a huge wod of colour-changing yarn, available in a wide range of colours, which means that you can make really impressive colour-changing scarves with very little effort. Sounds good to me! Did you know that they also have their own Instagram and Twitter handle – check them out at @knitcrafthq.

Easter Craft

Last but not least, the whole venue was decorated with cheerful spring and Easter decorations. I love Easter crafting (it’s possibly my second favourite crafting season – second to Christmas). In the past I’ve made DIY origami Easter bunnies and origami Easter bunny baskets, to name a few projects, but I love looking for new inspiration every year, and the Hobbycraft preview didn’t disappoint.

The Easter range is already in-store if you’re as keen as I am, and you can find the latest updates at #HopToHobbycraft. My goody bag contained two mini Easter cross-stitch kits – cute, huh?

Now, I know bloggers and small businesses like to do a ‘year in review’, and Hobbycraft is no exception. Did you know that in 2016 they sold 70,000 sewing machines, 250,000 buttons, half a million reels of thread, and enough fabric to go up Mount Everest 42 times? We really are a crafty bunch!

Thank you to Hobbycraft for inviting me along, and to you guys for reading this far! All of the goodies that you can see in the pictures here are available in-store and online. As for me, I’ve got a few goody bag bits to play with first! Whoopee! Stay tuned for more Easter makes and inspiration coming soon.

IKEA Christmas Tablescaping Workshop

Can you believe that it’s just six more Sundays until Christmas? I don’t know about you, but for me it feels like the months fly by quicker and quicker every year! Still, at least it’s nearly the holidays!

ikea-christmas-43

Earlier this year I was invited to an IKEA tablescaping event with some fellow bloggers to preview IKEA’s Autumn / Winter range, as well as take a sneak-peak at some of IKEA’s scandi-inspired Christmas goodies. I’m a big fan of IKEA, and always try and fit in a visit before Christmas.

The event was held at 19 Greek Street – a modern white event space in Central London. I was thrilled to join some blogger friends – namely Hannah from Crafternoon Cabaret Club, Tasha from Graphique Fantastique, Rosie and Hannah from The New Craft House, and Emma from Emma Jane Palin.

ikea-christmas-51

After an introduction from the IKEA bods who talked us through the four new autumn / winter trends, we were invited to have a leisurely peruse, and get hands-on with our own DIY tablescapes. A credit to the IKEA wares, we soon felt at home, and were all prepared to move in within minutes.

Continue reading

Christmas Maker Markets, London 2017

One of things I love most about winter is the arrival of brand new seasonal maker markets. With Christmas around the corner, it’s the perfect time to buy presents before the panic sets in. Below you’ll find some of my favourite seasonal maker markets in London – pop the dates in your diaries!

BUST London Christmas Craftacular 

BUST Craftacular London.png

When: Sunday 27 November, 11am-5pm

Where: York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PJ

Why: The BUST London Craftacular is back, featuring talented, crafty vendors, pop-up cafes, DJs, and DIY workshops. Entrance is £3, and the first 100 shoppers get a goody bag.

I went to the BUST Summer Craftacular last year with my sister and loved it. As well as browsing the wares from independent makers, you can also take part in fun workshops – last year we did a weaving workshop with Peas & Needles – one of my all-time favourite craft workshops.

Christmas Crafty Fox Market

jonnasaarinenatcraftyfoxmarketphotobyyeshenvenema

When: 3-4 December, 11am – 5pm

Where: Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LQ

Why: The Crafty Fox Market is putting on a host of Christmas markets – this one is in Brixton, and promises the opportunity to support independent designer-makers for a festive shopping experience – with DJs, drinks, food, and an exciting array of craft workshops – more details coming soon.

If you know of any more maker markets not to be missed this winter, please pop them in the comments below. Personally, I can’t wait to start my festive shopping!

All Aboard the Paperchase ‘Back to School’ Bus

Three weeks ago I was delighted to attend my very first Paperchase event! This was actually one of my New Year blogging goals back in January. As a massive stationery fiend, I was chuffed to be invited to explore the brand new ‘Back to School’ range during the Paperchase BTS Press Bus Tour.

Paperchase Back To School Collection 2016 by Shelley Makes (1)

The event was hosted on board a shiny red vintage bus, parked outside Paperchase’s Head Office in London. The bus immediately brought back old school memories, particularly as it was raining outside, and steamed up on the inside! I immediately wanted to draw on the windows, for old times’ sake.

Paperchase Back To School Collection 2016 by Shelley Makes (2)

The Paperchase team had laid out their four new school collections on the seats of both decks for our perusal. This consisted of the adorable Monsterosity range, featuring pixelated dinosaur designs in blue camouflage colours. My favourite item is probably the wooden dinosaur pen pot (£6) in the centre.

Paperchase Back To School Collection 2016 by Shelley Makes (12)

As well as the usual notebooks and pens, the range features a tonne of different back-packs, flasks, lunch boxes, and pencil cases, so you really can send your kids to school with everything they could possibly need. I can’t pretend that I was this cool or organised when I was at school! I wish.

Continue reading

Hampton Court Flower Show: 2016 Highlights

Today is the last day of this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and what a show it has been. I had the pleasure of visiting on Tuesday with my sister, Grandma, and our family friend Andy. You might recognise Kayleigh and Andy from previous flower show posts, as they usually let me tag along.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 by Shelley Makes (26)

We explored Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year, and have been visiting the Hampton Court Flower Show together since 2014, but this was the first year that my Grandma (whose garden is divine) joined us on the venture. We hope she’ll now be a permanent fixture to the RHS Flower Show Gang!

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 by Shelley Makes (14)

There was one real stand-out garden for me – A Dog’s Life Garden by The Dog’s Trust, which was designed to mark the charity’s 125th anniversary. The garden featured a gorgeous colour palette of purples and yellows, with bright origami-style dog figurines dotted around the flower beds.

IMG_2739

The garden also featured a long clear stretch of water, perfect for doggy paddling, as well as tunnels and sniffer tracks for dog’s to explore. The garden wasn’t the only thing that wowed me however, as  The Dog’s Trust had also brought along some of their trusty four-legged friends.

Hampton Court Flower Show 2016 by Shelley Makes (7)

This is Evie, the most adorable (and soft) greyhound that I’ve ever met. I quickly became besotted with Evie, and would have liked to take her home with me there and then. Alas, Evie is already reserved, and my current circumstances wouldn’t really allow me to have a dog, but maybe one day…!

Continue reading

Blogtacular 2016: Lessons from Lisa Congdon

Oh ‘Hi’ there! If you’ve been hanging around the blogosphere lately, you might have spotted a fair few posts about Blogtacular – an annual blogging conference which was held recently in London. This year was my first ever Blogtacular, and I was not disappointed – just check out this crowd…

Blogtacular 2016

This year’s conference was held at 200 Aldergate, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral, opposite the Museum of London. A very kind security guard helpfully beckoned us all inside before we wandered blindly past. Once inside however, and it was clear that we’d reached our destination!

Blogtacular 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and wanted to use this first blog post to share some of the important lessons that I took away from this year’s opening keynote speaker – Lisa Congdon – author, artist and illustrator, who delivered a truly inspiring talk on the realities of blogging.

Blogtacular 2016

Re-evaluate the meaning of “success”

Continue reading

Highlights from the Chelsea Flower Show 2016

The Chelsea Flower Show is one of my favourite annual events – what better excuse to abandon your desk, and head into the sunshine with your pals? This year I went along with my sister and one of her ex-colleagues, Andy. Not only are these guys great ‘bants’ (and they like Pimms), but they also know a thing or two about gardens (being garden designers), so they’re the perfect Chelsea buddies!

Chelsea Flower Show 2016 (115)

I loved a lot of the gardens this year, but there were two clear winners for me. The first, a small Artisan Garden called ‘Together We Can’, was a Silver Gilt medal winner, and was designed for the disability charity Papworth Trust. I really should have filmed this garden because its beauty, aside from its bold use of purple and running water, was in its peaceful and playful water percussion.

Chelsea Flower Show 2016 (64)

My second favourite garden was called The Garden of Potential and it featured huge rugged boulders balanced on top of clean oak beams. I liked the juxtaposition between the ancient weathered boulders, and the ordered composition of the garden. There was also a fun water feature in the form of a level-changing gutter which zig-zagged through the garden, and a fence that tipped over to form a path.

Continue reading