workshop

Christmas Charity Craft Afternoon

So, this is my crafty weekend: part two! Last weekend as well as making my polymer clay baubles, I also spent the afternoon crafting with a bunch of lovely people over Zoom to raise money for St Christopher’s Hospice. My friend Laura and her mum Ruth run this amazing open house every year to raise money for charity, but of course this year they couldn’t do it in real life so they organised it via Zoom instead. 

The afternoon started at 2pm and ran throughout the afternoon with five workshops taking place, all hosted by different people. The running order was: baking Christmas cookies; calligraphy and wooden tree ornaments; festive origami, beeswax wraps and cocktail making.

I thought that they set the event up really well, with the cost of your ‘ticket’ being the donation to the charity and then you could also order packs of materials for each workshop to be delivered prior to the event. I decided to only attend two of the workshops, calligraphy and origami. 

Included in my pack of materials was:

  • Wooden discs (with pre-drilled holes)
  • Twine
  • Cards and envelopes
  • Calligraphy template
  • Carbon paper
  • Origami paper

In addition to this I needed acrylics paints, a paintbrush, a fineliner, and a metallic pen. The first session was the calligraphy, which was actually a kind of cheat’s calligraphy to achieve the effect of the more modern writing style, but without have to use a pen and ink. Laura ran this workshop and she guided us through the process so well. We began by painting our wooden discs so they would have time to dry, and then she talked us through the writing style, how to create the thick and thin lines with just a normal pen and how to leave a tail on each letter so that the writing looks joined up. We then had a play around with drawing and colouring some little wreaths and decorative motifs and Laura showed us some techniques to create the impression of leaves and pinecones with just a few lines. We also had a go at transferring the text using carbon paper, which is great if you aren’t so confident with the writing style at first. 

I did a design on one of my cards with a wreath and ‘Seasons Greetings’ written in the centre. I was so happy with how it looked aside from the fact that I smudged it because I am 1) left-handed and 2) too impatient to wait for it to dry before rubbing out my guidelines! 

Lastly we moved on to our wooden discs, which we decorated using the variety of skills we had just learnt. I did a couple with words and a couple with just initials and decorated them with little leaves and stars. I absolutely love these and want to order some more discs so I can make them for everybody! They already have pride of place on my tree.

After a half hour break Jenny then led us in the origami where we made little paper Santas. They were super cute! She talked us through each stage of folding and had prepared several pieces of the origami paper with the next lot of folds drawn on them in pen, so we could clearly see where we were meant to be folding. Once we had all made one Santa, Jenny went through the process again a bit faster so we could all follow along and make a second one now we knew what we were doing. Once they had been folded we could then draw on little faces. There were five pieces of paper included, so plenty to practice on, but of course you can use any kind of paper for origami, so you could make a whole army of Santas!

I thoroughly enjoyed the workshops I attended. It was such a lovely atmosphere with Christmas music playing in the background and everyone crafting together. Fingers crossed that next year we can do it in real life again! 

workshop

Embroidered Origami

Another week, another online workshop! I’m really enjoying online workshops, it’s such a lovely way to spend an evening crafting with other crafters, and it provides a real sense of community and support. This week I did an embroidered origami workshop co-hosted but Est of Origami Est (https://origamiest.co.uk/) and Beth of Freckle and Knot (https://www.instagram.com/freckleandknot/). Prior to the workshop they asked what colour we would like to use for the project and then they both posted out the materials we would need to join in.

Included in the parcels were:

  • Patterned paper x3
  • Plain paper x3
  • Ribbon x3
  • Glue
  • Embroidery thread
  • Needle
  • Tracing paper
  • Stitch practice sheet

Once everyone had joined the Zoom session Est showed us how to fold the paper to achieve the diamond shape we were aiming for. Each diamond was made up of a patterned piece and a plain piece of paper. 

When we had folded our diamond halves Beth then took over for the embroidery section of the workshop. We started off using the practice paper to try out the stitches. Some people in the class hadn’t done any embroidery before so Beth demonstrated each stitch. Sewing in paper is quite different to sewing in cloth, mainly because you have to punch the holes through the paper first. Beth showed us a good trick using a roll of washi tape to raise the paper up and avoid lots of holes in the table! Once we were confident sewing on the paper and had completed the test sheet we could then move onto the real thing. We used the tracing paper to draw our designs on, which meant that when we were punching the holes in the patterned paper we could see where the folds were. This helped with positioning the design. Having punched the holes we could then sew our design onto the paper. I used backstitch and lazy daisy stitch for my rain cloud.

After we had finished our embroidery, during which we all had a lovely chat, Est then showed us how to assemble the diamond. First we cut a small slit in the point of the top half, in my case the patterned side, and threaded the ribbon through to create a loop to hang it from. We put a small amount of glue on the inside to hold the ribbon in place and then finally attached the two halves of the diamond together by glueing around the edge and manipulating each side so that it would slot in nicely and line up.

At first I thought this was quite a time consuming craft, but when I moved on to my second and third ones I realised that it’s actually quite quick! I now have lots of ideas about creating baubles for the Christmas tree, even though that’s still quite a long way off! I’m really enjoying these online workshops and hope I can find more to sign up for. Although I’m missing going out and joining in with them in real life, it’s such a great alternative.