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!