Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Christmas Decoration Workshop

Thank you so much for all your warm wishes for my birthday – it most definitely was one of the best birthdays *ever*!

As I mentioned in my last post, I spent Monday at a Christmas Decoration Workshop with Caroline Zoob, author of The Hand-Stitched Home. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the day, since I knew most of the decorations would be using papercraft techniques, of which I have no real experience. But the workshop did not disappoint!

The day was spent at the beautiful home of a close childhood friend of Caroline’s – it was stunning, straight out of Homes & Gardens magazine. All crisp and white and Farrow & Ball and linen and giant antique mirrors and fresh flowers and marbled tables. (Our hostess obviously doesn’t have young children!) She welcomed us most graciously with hot tea and biscuits and was very kind indeed. I wanted to stay there forever, and I think I probably could have hidden in a nook and managed it...

But I digress. We went to the conservatory, which featured a long table to seat us six crafty souls taking part in the workshop. Zinc buckets held bottles of paint, paintbrushes and pencils, and our workstations had sweet ceramic salt cellar-type pots to hold small amounts of glue, and demure votive-sized tumblers for the paintbrushes (note to self: try finding these to replace the plastic pot lids and Ikea cups you normally use at home).

Also at our workstations were large sheets of Christmas templates and lovely cream cards tied with thin paper string. The most alluring part of this workshop, to me, was the wide range of weathered, sepia-toned papers we were to use for our craft. I have never seen such interesting and beautiful sheets – antique letters written with pen and ink in flourishing handwriting, vintage sheet music tattered at the edges with wear, pastel-toned old maps and pages of antique Parisian fashion catalogues. I was excited but also nervous to be cutting up these lovely little pieces of history!

And cut I did...

A little glue, a little card, a little cutting, and those papers worked their way into beautiful cards, sweet gift tags,

and delicate hanging ornaments.

Caroline coached us throughout, helping us refine our snipping skills, gain confidence with the delicate papers, and brainstorm unique ideas for the templates (I'm thinking vintage wallpapers...). She explained that all of these ideas could also be used with fabrics, which I used to create a jolly Christmas card:

The stockings were made with antique linens, bondaweb and card, then hung on a paper string washing line. I stitched grass with green embroidery floss, and added “Ho Ho Ho” at the top with one strand of red floss.

I’m not sure I’ll be sending this to anyone, I might just frame it for a seasonal wall hanging!

On our departure we were given goodie bags filled with vintage papers to decorate all of our cards and envelopes. All in all, a creative, indulgent day out, complete with a delicious lunch and great conversation with like-minded people. Caroline Zoob was a gracious, kind and inspirational teacher, and luckily she’s planning future craft workshops!

Oh, before I go, remember those busy buzzing sounds emanating from the kitchen on my birthday? I don’t need Paul Hollywood or Mary Berry, I have my own perfect bakers:

I just had to share this photo with you, can you believe my Darling Husband, who has never baked a cake in his life, created this work of art with my Bunny? A rich chocolate cake topped with raspberries and a dark chocolate ribbon. I was utterly gobsmacked!

Happy crafting!
Chrissie x


  1. What a great day crafting away, my friend has wallpapered here stairs and landing with old sheet music and it looks fantastic. That cake is simply marvellous! Jo x

  2. Hi Chrissie
    Oh it sounds like you had such a lovely day - I can't think of anything better than a day totally given over to making things. Everything you made is so unique - I love the little tags.
    And then your beautiful cake to top it all off - I hope you felt well and truly spoilt !
    Kate x

  3. First I have to say WOW WOW WOW the cake is amazing. Bunny, flower and hubby did an amazing job on the cake. It is beautiful.

    So exciting about the workshop too, you made some lovely things, especially the Ho Ho Ho card with the stockings, that would make a lovely Christmassy picture. Glad that you had such a lovely, inspiring and fun day. xx

  4. The workshop sounds like so much fun and the things you made are beautiful! I would love to attend something like that. The cake is outrageous, wow. They really did a great job with it and it sounds totally delicious.

  5. Oh my oh my...what a cake!!! The workshop sounded wonderful...how lovely to spend a whole day crafting and bringing home such treasures. Belated birthday wishes. Sarah xo

  6. OOh, it's all just so loverly! Now that workshop was an excellent way to extend your birthday celebrations, and what beautiful little gems you made, and brought home with you - I especially love your little gift tags. Your cake looks divine and huge congrats to your lovely DH for such a wonderful result to all his noise and activity in the kitchen - he did WELL! Thanks so much for sharing it all with us Chrissie. Hugs, Joy xo

  7. Hello Chrissie
    Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog, lovely to meet you and see your beautiful blog. Happy belated birthday by the way, looks like you had a fabulous day with lots of very appropriate and fun pressies! Lucky you going on a Caroline Zoob workshop, I love using vintage papers and old music sheets for decorating with too. Your tags and birdy card is gorgeous. Well done to your husband and his first baking attempts, my goodness if this is his first then I can only image what he could produce further down the line :o) Hope you enjoy the rest of your week xox Penny

  8. Mouthwatering, all those raspberries, what an amazing cake! Your craft day sounds wonderful, such a thoughtful idea for a present and I love the little birdie :) xx

  9. The workshop looks like so much fun! And that cake.....so impressive. well done all round!

  10. Oh Chrissy what a perfectly lovely time for you and so well deserved. I have always been a big fan of Caroline and am green with envy that you were at one of her courses. I am with you on the house, I would have tried to hide in somewhere - but then it wouldn't be home would it. Your cake is just divine - congrats to your hubby on his first try - fame and stardom may be around the corner for him, who knows. I love your makes Chrissy they are just so lovely and some lucky people will be admiring these soon I am sure. A fabulous post Chrissy, always look forward to reading your blog as you do so much. Have a wonderful day, big hugs to you

  11. Dear Chrissie
    Sounds like a lovely way to spend the day and you made some gorgeous things. Simple ideas, but very effective and beautifully executed. Love the cake too!
    Best wishes

  12. Wow, where to start!! I can't believe darling husband the girls made that cake, you must have been completely blown away. That is one amazing cake!!! It sounds like your day with Caroline Zoob was simply wonderful and the kinda of day I want to have. The cards and tags you made are so beautiful and so clever. I would love to know how you used the bondaweb with the fabric on the cards as I usually use modge podge but never really think that it works well. I really love the gorgeous washing line and the socks, it is such a beautiful card. It really does sound like the best birthday present ever, well done hubby and 10/10!! I hope this is the start of a great year to come for you. xoxo

  13. Firstly, Happy belated Birthday!!!
    Secondly...OMG what a beautiful cake...how sweet of your husband to make that.
    Lastly those cards are just gorgeous. Bet you had a ton of fun making them too

  14. It sounds like you had a fantastic time at the workshop and I love everything you made but especially the little card with stockings, it is gorgeous! I agree that you should pop it in a nice frame. And your birthday cake looks stunning!
    Marianne x

  15. Oh Chrissie, I can't believe I missed your birthday! So sorry :-( So here's a belated happy wish - may your year ahead be filled with love, laughter and many blessings. Your cake is just fab - how clever are your hubby & little Bunny!
    And I am oh-so-envious of your creative day with Caroline Zoob - your makes are just so sweet and lovely.
    Hope you're having a lovely creative week,
    love & hugs, Gilly xxx

  16. Hi Chrissie, Your paper crafts came out so beautifully! Now you have a new crafting expertise to play around with. :) I'm so impressed with your family's baking skills! The cake looks amazing and oh so delicious. The chocolate ribbon detail is so divine!

  17. Belated happy birthday Chrissie! You got some gorgeous presents and as for that husband of yours.....I am so impressed, what a cake!!!
    Your workshop sounded wonderful, nothing quite like a day with like-minded people in lovely surroundings.
    V xxx

  18. First you wow us with your paper skills and then you show us that amazing cake! Wow,wow,wow. I'd say he is a keeper if he made that.

  19. What a lovely way to spend a day. I've long admired Caroline's work, and that cake is amazing! Lucky you :)

  20. wow look at that cake, hidden talents or what!! very impressive. And a lovely workshop day too. very inspiring, Heather x

  21. Wow, it sounds like a day I would have loved. Glad you enjoyed it.

  22. Your cake is amazing, well done Hubby and Bunny. P'raps I should put an order in for me.
    Your day sounds like you had a brilliant time, I especially like your gift tags.
    Sally xxx

  23. love love love all the christmas decorations.

  24. Anonymous9:37 am GMT

    It sounds as if you had an amazing day crafting away, great cake too!

  25. What an AMAZING cake! Are you sure it wasn't Mary Berry in the kitchen with him?
    And I adore your crafts, what a great way to spend a day. Absolutely delightful x

  26. Happy belated birthday, the workshop sounded wonderful, I love your creations. Deb x

  27. Sound like you had a perfect crafty day, you made so lovely things and wow that cake looks amazing.
    Clare xx

  28. Oh wow that cake looks beautiful!! Very professional looking Chrissie...love all the paper decorations you have here!