My Craft Day at Kirsty Allsopp’s The Handmade Fair

I love craft. It’s in my blood: my mum always has at least five cross stitch pictures on the go at any one time, as well as patchwork, knitting or any number of other projects. My dad calls craft ‘tatting’ for some reason. He doesn’t get it, but I do. Handmade things are just so special, I think they have a bit of a magical quality to them.

I have a cupboard full of my own crafts and crafting materials, which include paper cutting, lino printing, embroidery, cross stitch, painting, drawing, washi tape, and of course the inevitable mending pile. I rarely get the time to use them, but they’re there, ready and waiting for me.

I subscribe to Mollie Makes magazine, and although I rarely have the time to actually attempt the projects, I love looking at them! I spotted an advert for the Handmade Fair in one of the magazines, and just had to go. I found a few other willing wannabe crafters and we planned a lovely girls’ day out. It did not disappoint.The Handmade Fair Roundup by PinksCharming.com

Our first Skills Workshop was making paper pompoms in the Papercraft marquee with the lovely Juliet Carr, so a nice relaxed start to the day.

Pom pom making tutorial with Juliet Carr at The Handmade Fair

Juliet showed us what to do on the big screen behind her, and talked us through the steps with her Madonna-style head set.

We had time to make the corsage-style pompom below, and a round one to hang up, and also took home the rest of the two sheets of tissue paper, so we could make some at home.

Then it was time for breakfast, and we thought we’d start off healthily with some yummy porridge.

A pot of porridge and a cup of tea

Dairy-free porridge, made with coconut milk, garnished with brown sugar and flaked almonds. Delicious. Especially with a nice cup of Earl Grey.

There were loads of food trucks to choose from, so we planned out what we’d have for dinner too, as we had a walk around.

We had to be careful that we didn’t just sit around eating all day – spoilt for choice springs to mind!

Next on the agenda was looking around some of the amazing stalls and stands. Some were offering free workshops, but we already had quite a crammed schedule, so we didn’t go to any of them. There were two huge marquees called “Shopping Villages” both full of tempting goodies to buy, from books to prints, materials to jewellery, handmade toiletries to children’s clothes… pretty much anything you could wish for as a crafter!One of the Shopping Village marquees at The Handmade Fair

Here are just a few of my favourites… I could have spent THOUSANDS!

Soon enough, it was time for our Grand Make with The Arty Crafty Place! This was block printing, which took place in another large marquee.

Block printing workshop at The Handmade Fair

The lady taking the class on stage, with the big screen so we could see what she was doing.

Block printing materials at The Handmade Fair

We each got a couple of wooden printing blocks to borrow, with a card and envelope, some gift tags, and some brown paper to practice on.

There were saucers with aubergine, white and gold acrylic paint, each with a sponge to dab the paint onto the stamp. It is pretty much like potato printing, but the wooden stamps were works of art in their own right. The blocks are hand carved in Jaipur, and fair trade. It’s best to print onto paper or card when it was over a piece of foam, so each of us had a foam mat at our place, to make sure we got nice crisp prints. I borrowed a chevron Christmas tree stamp from the lady opposite me, as although I did like the one at my space, I prefer something a big simpler.

Block printing at The Handmade Fair

My finished prints, on the foam board.

It was fun, but a bit of a rush – before we knew where we were, they were asking us to finish! This is a really fun, simple craft, and I could imagine Ava loving it.

Next on the the agenda was our Super Theatre session with Sof McVeigh and my girl-crush Kirsty Allsopp in the big top. This was really fun, and interesting, watching them make handmade natural beauty products out of lavender and oil, amongst other easily available ingredients.

Sop McVeigh and Kirsty Allsopp at The Handmade Fair

Sof and Kirsty have apparently been friends for years, and they have a great rapport.

I love natural beauty, so took loads of notes on my iPhone. We have lots of lavender bushes in our garden so when I get some time (ha ha) I hope to make some myself.

After a bit more shopping, it was time for our last Skills Workshop, and the one I had been looking forward to most! It was lino printing with textile designer Zeena Shah. I have been Instagram-stalking her for a while now, and have one of her beautiful printed birds. It was great to meet her and find out she was just as lovely as she seems.

Zeena Shah's lino printing workshop at The Handmade Fair

Zeena giving us the low down on lino printing.

Each place setting had a small piece of easy-cut lino, a cutting tool and some red and green and metallic ink pads. Zeena suggested we carve some simple shapes to make Christmas cards, and reminded us to carve away the negative space, so that we were left with a positive print. I started off with a simple heart and star, to get my hand in, as it’s been a long time since I did any lino carving. I was having so much fun I forgot to take any pictures, sorry. Carving away the soft lino is really addictive, I actually  enjoy that more than making the prints themselves! After making my Christmassy shapes, I went a bit off brief, and attempted a flamingo. I didn’t get a chance to finish it in the workshop, but I had all the tools at home so finished it the next day.

Flamingo lino print by Becky Pink

I bought the pink ink from one of the stands in the Shopping Village.

After all of this, we were pretty shattered, having spent the whole day there. But we went home feeling really inspired and excited. There is a Christmas version of The Handmade Fair in Manchester in November, so I am very tempted to go to that one too!

Now for a few extra pointers if you’re thinking of going next year – as if you need any more persuading!

The toilets were really good. I know this is a random thing to talk about, but I don’t like going to festivals because of the horrid loos. The ones at The Handmade Fair were good though, a bit like you’d get at a marquee wedding.  A bit tiny, but clean, with plenty of loo roll and soap.

We saw quite a few people with small children and newborns. They all looked like they were having fun, but personally I was glad I’d left my girls with Ryan for the day, so I could relax and concentrate. If I I’d taken Ava and Thea, I think I would have been really stressed out in case they broke something! The Shopping Villages were really packed, so I wouldn’t have fancied taking the girls in there, especially not with a pushchair. But when they are older, I will definitely take them as I think they would love it!

So do you like the look of it? Will I see you there next year? I hope so!

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41 Comments

  1. 21st October 2015 / 10:44 am

    Ahh this looks absolutely amazing. I would love to go to something like this. How fun to get inspired and help make crafty things. Looks great. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again this week for another great round of #sharewithme

    • 21st October 2015 / 12:51 pm

      Thanks Jenny, it was brilliant, I can’t wait for the next one! Xx

  2. 16th October 2015 / 6:13 pm

    Great post, I also spent a busy day at the Handmade Fair (and blogged about it too) and took advantage of all that was on offer by attending various workshops, its lovely to see what other people got up to and to hear that they had as good a day as I did, I will certainly be returning x

    • 16th October 2015 / 10:37 pm

      Ah great I’m glad you had a good time too, are you going to the Manchester one? I am and can’t wait! Xx

      • 16th October 2015 / 11:04 pm

        Unfortunately I’m not going to the Christmas Fair but would’ve loved to, just can’t manage it this year, hope you have a good time x

  3. 9th October 2015 / 11:02 pm

    That looked like a good day out, what an interesting event! Thank for sharing! #KCAKOLS

    • 9th October 2015 / 11:14 pm

      Thanks Nick, we all had a brilliant time! X

  4. 9th October 2015 / 10:40 pm

    Ohh Becky, this fair looks fantastic!! What a wonderful day full of lots of different things to do! It sounds like you have been in heaven. I’m really bad at crafting. I don’t have that talent but I love looking at them and I love using them to decorate my house. I love Kirsty Allsopp. She is so lovely!! I would’ve loved to meet her! Great post!! Thank you so much lovely for linking up with me at #KCACOLS!! I would be so happy if you join me again on Sunday! 🙂 x

    • 9th October 2015 / 11:13 pm

      Thanks Franca, we had a lovely time and my friend isn’t ever so crafty but still really enjoyed it. Thanks for hosting lovely xx

  5. 9th October 2015 / 2:19 pm

    Aargh!! I was invited to this — and I’ve been invited to the Manchester one at Christmas but I can’t go!! SO annoying — this kind of thing is totally up my street!! Love it 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up to #HomeEtc

    • 9th October 2015 / 2:59 pm

      Oh sorry you couldn’t go, you would have loved it! There’s always next year though! Xx

  6. 6th October 2015 / 8:01 pm

    Looks fantastic! You made some lovely things, I love the flamingo! And you got to see the lady herself! Thanks so much for linking up again and sharing. Jess x #HomeEtc

    • 6th October 2015 / 8:39 pm

      Thanks Jess, I really was in my element! A lovely day out and I learned new skills to boot. Becky xx

  7. 4th October 2015 / 8:56 pm

    This is right up my street. I love crafts, I’m not great but I do enjoy. Love the Christmas card prints that’s something I’d like to try out this year with the kids x #KCACOLS

    • 4th October 2015 / 9:04 pm

      Thanks Hannah, it’s such a satisfying craft as it’s nice and quick xx

  8. 3rd October 2015 / 9:33 am

    Oh I’m so jealous! Sounds like my perfect day out (especially all the food trucks!). I have a couple of Kirstie’s books which are collecting dust on the shelves, may have to dig them out later. 🙂 #MakingHome

    • 3rd October 2015 / 10:55 am

      Good idea Adele, I have a few too, lovely autumn reading ☺️

  9. 2nd October 2015 / 7:19 pm

    Looks like a fab day out for you, not ideal for kids I think. This type of things also interest me, I love succulent plants too, have loads of them at home. Thanks for sharing! #MakingHome

    • 2nd October 2015 / 7:46 pm

      I just had so much fun, I couldn’t recommend it more! The thing I love about succulents is that they are a bit easier to keep alive, as I am not green fingered at all! Xx

  10. 2nd October 2015 / 5:08 pm

    Oh wow this looks like a fun day and something that I would really enjoy! I love crafts, I’m not very good at them but I love attempting them!

    #MakingHome

    • 2nd October 2015 / 5:33 pm

      Oh then you would enjoy it, I would say it’s suitable for all abilities from first timers to experts xx

  11. 2nd October 2015 / 12:26 pm

    *looks into the fair in November* The day looks amazing and I’m gutted to have missed it. Thanks for telling everyone on the #MakingHome link up.

    • 2nd October 2015 / 1:20 pm

      I’m going to the November one – just booked my ticket and I’m so excited! You should definitely go xx

  12. 1st October 2015 / 10:27 am

    This looks like an event that I’d certainly feel at home at. I’ve got a few of her books but have yet to go to her Handmade Fair. I love all sorts of craft and your pictures are a delightful. They have truly captured the craft techniques perfectly. #HomeEtc

  13. newmummyblogcom
    1st October 2015 / 7:56 am

    Ooooooh how fab! It looks like the most amazing day, I’m so jealous! Your flamingo was brilliant! I’m off to google it all now… I so want to go next year (doubt I could do Manchester) x #brilliantblogposts

  14. 30th September 2015 / 10:31 pm

    What a great day out, looked like lots of fun and you look like you learned a lot too. I’d love to have a try at some Christmas paper printing this year. #brilliantblogposts

  15. 30th September 2015 / 10:13 pm

    This sounds like an amazing day out. My inner crafter is clapping her hands wanting to go. I love your flamingo and I’m glad you could finish it when you got home.

    Sally @ Life Loving

    Just FYI, I’ve just launched a new linkie at my blog called Life Loving Linkie. I love a bit of crafting as other will, I hope you’ll link up.

    • 1st October 2015 / 1:51 pm

      Thanks Sally, you should go to the next one, you won’t regret it! I’m looking forward to the Christmas one in Manchester, I booked last night. I’ll look you up for your linkie, thanks for letting me know! Xx

  16. 30th September 2015 / 8:55 pm

    Now I’m not a bit crafty but love anything like this and I do always buy lots of supplies but then forget how to use them ha! The loos are a very important point to make because they might have persuaded me to have a look at the Manchester one. Thank you for sharing x

    • 1st October 2015 / 1:49 pm

      Thanks Lisa, I just booked my ticket for the Manchester one and am so excited! For me a day out is made or broken by the standard of the loos and the food, so I thought it was important to mention for other people like us! Xx

  17. 30th September 2015 / 8:37 pm

    Wow, this looks amazing and right up my street! I love trying different crafts too and also have a subscription to Mollie Makes – though these days it only gets a quick flick through when I have a moment, not the poring over it deserves! I think your flamingo is brilliant and would look great on white gift tags. I have done a bit of lino cutting in the past, last year I printed gift wrap and bags for Christmas, great fun! #HomeEtc

    • 1st October 2015 / 1:48 pm

      Thank you I’m glad you like the flamingo! You’re right it would be good for tags, great idea thanks! I have huge stashes of Mollie Makes waiting for me to look at them properly, and I was so tempted to get the special Christmas one, but held off (for now!) one day we will find the time!! Xx

  18. 30th September 2015 / 6:46 pm

    Looks a great day out – I love your flamingo! Glad its not just me who decides about lunch while eating breakfast lol #BrilliantBlogPosts

    • 30th September 2015 / 7:15 pm

      Thanks Sarah, there were so many options, I didn’t want to miss out on anything delicious! Xx

  19. 30th September 2015 / 6:04 pm

    Wow that looks a fab fun (and a little bit exhausting) day out! I love Kirstie’s stuff and what’s she’s doing for crafts. I’ll have to look out for this – where was it? – manchester’s a bit far for me though *runs off to search google* #homeetc

  20. 30th September 2015 / 12:39 pm

    Looks like such a fun packed day, gutted I missed it but looking forward to the Christmas one in Manchester.
    Love Gem x x

    • 30th September 2015 / 2:38 pm

      It was so brilliant Gem, I am already looking forward to next year! The Manchester one looks brilliant too xx

  21. 28th September 2015 / 2:35 pm

    Looks like a wonderful day and how exciting seeing Tv peeps haha you made some fab stuff and the food trucks do look tasty!

    I like to try crafts occasionally but Im not amazing and lack the patience needed. I love that your dad calls it tatting hahahha TAT is my fave word! x

    • 28th September 2015 / 2:38 pm

      Thanks Mary, it was a really friendly atmosphere – it was really supportive, just a great feeling of fun and creativity! A great chance to try something new too! My poor dad despairs of all our ‘creative mess’! xx

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