I think I now know what theme I want for my birthday parties for the rest of forever. Part of H’s wedding anniversary present to me was a ticket to Berylune’s Craft Party, and while not exactly the traditional gift, only when you’re parents to a horde of small children can you truly appreciate how much throwing you out of the house for the evening really does say “I love you”. I’ve been looking forward to it for weeks and last Friday found me out after bedtime, and lining up for a party where it had never seemed more normal to be knitting on a sock while chatting and waiting for a space to make a beaded necklace.
I started the evening making envelopes. It’s addictive. I don’t send much snail mail, nor can I really think of anything terribly useful to do with hundreds of envelopes but after playing around for a bit with templates and paper I can see why you’d want to make them anyway. My first attempt, made from an Ordnance Survey map of “Northern England” was for H; a funny sort of thank you present, an envelope with his childhood home on the front but when we were students back in the days of dubious mobile phone reception we used to write to each other all the time through the holidays and I’d have loved to have sent him a letter with “deliver here” and an X marks the spot on it, just to see if it arrived. Flipping through an old Bunty annual I found the perfect page for my next envelope, a comic strip of a girl falling over wearing heels which was far too close to some of my wobbles in heels to be ignored, and then the final one I made just to see how the concertina template worked out, and then realised that I’d chosen the wrapping paper that matched the tissue paper I used to box up the baby clothes the other week – in my defence it’s a really pretty pattern.
The bar had pompom making and hama beads and a giant colouring in poster and I was having so much fun just sitting and chatting and colouring a castle in rainbow colours that it took me a while to realise that there was an upstairs. Oh wow. Decked out from end to end in triangle bunting and cactus bunting and giant paper garlands and gold balloons, and full of people chatting and people trying out everything you’ve ever seen on Pinterest and wanted to have a go at but never got around to.
The line looked shortest for the rubber stamping so I started there; all the stamps were pre-cut but it was amazing to see how different everyone’s pictures turned out; on one side of me a girl was making patterns in gold stars and on the other an entire mountain took shape, all black ink and thunderous clouds. My imagination conjured up a night sky with three colours of stars, and though I’d thought about clouds or the moon, in the end I stuck to stars, and houses, and trees and I love how it turned out. Kitty is quite determined to claim this as her own so we might have to see about a frame for the girls’ room before too long.
From stamping I tried a little jewellery making; there were so many pretty colours of beads that choosing just nine for a pattern along the pin was all but impossible. Making the necklace itself was actually very easy and I love the way it turned out, I’ve chosen colours that will go with some work clothes so that hopefully I’ll get a chance to actually wear it.
Leather work was completely new to me, but I can see why it would get so addictive; I love the origami of this little purse and I’m seriously tempted to try to replicate it in patchwork using some leftover snaps from making knitted baby bibs; the girls love having little pockets and bags to put tiny treasures in so I suspect that they would happily embrace all failed prototypes.
The little notebook was my next creation; it’s made from marbled card and the gold stripes are all colours of sticky tape. By this point we were starting to get towards the end of the evening and with a hopeful queue around each table there was not exactly a pressure to be quick but certainly a group willingness to make sure we all got a turn, and I actually found it quite fun. When you don’t have too long to overthink things and you just have to let your hands start making it’s the crafty equivalent of just sitting down to write whatever pops into your mind, without feeling like it has to be right or good, and just like the writing exercise it usually means that I end up with something I really like. My notebook is a bit of fun and rather sweet and I have every intention of putting it to use.
By the time I got to doodling a mug I’d seen a fair few absolutely stunning designs being produced throughout the evening. There were some very very talented artists making mugs that evening, especially when you start to draw yourself and realise just how hard it is to make a straight line on a curved surface. I leave most of the drawing to H in our family, but there is one thing that I can draw and get the proportions roughly right: boats.
And so boats it was, perched on top of some unlikely looking waves and a few fish, with just the one lone seagull looking down. I baked it over the weekend so hopefully the pattern will last as long as the mug (which is being very carefully kept away from small children).
And last but by no means least, a little modge podge, a little washi tape, and a silver tipped moon. It’s another make that I’m going to be wrestling back from the children and I’m glad they like it because decorating wooden brooches with washi tape is definitely something we’ll be doing together sometime soon.
And then all that was left was to head home, far later than I have been out of the house in years, to discover that H had somehow quite miraculously managed to persuade all three children to go to sleep without me (a treat in itself) so that I could sit with him, tell him all about the evening, and unpack my amazing goodie bag (and yes that is a chocolate cactus).
Speaking of chocolate, Creightons were making personalised chocolate bars and it seemed only fitting to get one as a better thank you to H than an envelope. I could have put his name on it, but “Go Paint!” seemed a more fitting response to the evening, and an instruction that has been duly followed ever since.