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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Handmade Fair 2016 – our schedule!

Craft lovers will be delighted to learn that tickets for The Handmade Fair are now on sale for September 2016! Having gone from strength to strength, Kirstie Allsopp’s three-day fair is back for its third consecutive year between 16-18th September on The Green at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey.

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I’ve gone along with my sister for the last two years, and it is invariably always a fun day out. You can read about my experiences at the inaugural event in 2014 here, and also at last year’s event here.

Picnic benches

As with previous years, your ticket price (£32) grants you access to 1x Grand Makes, 1x Skill Workshop, and 1x Super Theatre session, and additional Skills workshops (spanning Accessories, Celebrations, Home & Garden, and Upcycling) can be purchased on the day (subject to availability). You can also roam the shopping tents that are not to be missed – especially if you’re a sucker for crafts like me.

The Handmade Fair Shopping Tent Shelley Makes

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Easy DIY Origami Easter Bunnies

This time last year I found a tutorial to make some really easy (yet excessively cute) DIY origami Easter bunnies. They were filled with chocolate mini eggs and given to friends, family and neighbours.

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You can find the DIY tutorial over at Oh So Very Pretty. The initial design is by someone called Jacky Chan, and Leyla Torres has done a helpful YouTube video if you’re a visual learner like me!

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Blogtacular 2016 (& embracing my blogging fears)

Blogtacular 2016 logoIn case you missed it, tickets to Blogtacular 2016 are now on sale! Blogtacular is an amazing event for creative bloggers to meet, share and inspire one another. The event, hosted in London in June, features a range of keynote speakers and workshops to help you become a better blogger.

I’ve been looking forward to Blogtacular since January, when I set my 2016 blogging resolutions, and have been joining the weekly #blogtacular Twitter chats in anticipation ever since. Blogtacular chats are a little different to other chats in that they are geared towards sharing expertise and best practice.

Learning from Blogtacular 2015

This morning I came across a blog post by XOMISSE who attended last year’s conference, and discovered the 2015 keynote speech by Grace Bonney from Design Sponge, one of the most famous interiors and lifestyle blogs on the web. I started watching, and was immediately enthralled.


Grace’s talk was all about ’embracing fear’ – as the online landscape endlessly evolves, we have to constantly face our fears to learn or try new things, to help us stay on top of the wave. The talk really struck a cord, especially as, not long ago, I joined a Blogtacular chat on the topic of bravery.

In her talk, Grace describes her 5-step process to overcoming fears. The first step is to ‘Acknowledge’ the fear, which she calls the ‘private therapy moment’. The key is to identify the things that scare you (for example that you don’t think your content on Instagram is good enough), and air them.

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All fears are valid, and by acknowledging them, you can start to do something about them. During her talk, Grace encourages the audience to write down three things that they’re afraid of. As I continue on my blogging journey, I thought it was about time that I started to air some of my fears, as I’m sure that I’m not alone, and by talking about them, hopefully I can start to better forge my blog’s future.

So, here goes…

Fear #1: Content: What is my blog’s USP, and what do readers want?

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