a classy, crafty christmas (in october);

Last year, I got to do something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time:

I got to host Christmas.

It wasn’t a huge do or anything – just Stringer and I, and my mum – but it was still lovely. Present-opening, a real tree, a big dinner, lots of snacks, Doctor Who. And then staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish off the jigsaw that my sister had ordered with both of our faces on it, because she’d stayed out in Dubai over Christmas and she wanted to make sure that I missed her.

When did I realise that Stringer and I would make it as a couple? When I realised how incredibly well our roast-making skills dovetailed. That man roasts a chicken like nobody else I’ve ever known: tender meat in crispy, delicately-flavoured skin. And my potato roasting game is dynamite, if I do say so myself – as is my gravy.

Crafts for Christmas Lumens Pools of Light
Crafts for Christmas Lumens Pools of Light

I wouldn’t normally be wittering on about Christmas in October, but for two things. The first is that we’re only a couple of weeks away from the Crafts for Christmas and Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts shows at Glasgow’s SEC (26th-29th October); and the second is that I recently met up with local entrepreneur Dr Susan O’Connor of Lumens to chat about her etched glass Christmas ornaments. So I’ve gotten into the festive spirit a little earlier than would otherwise have been the case.

Susan is an art historian, architect and glass artist, and her Pools of Light* were designed to fill what she discovered was a gap in the market for seriously stylish Christmas ornaments that are both unique and affordable. Christmas ornaments tend to fall into one of two categories: the mass-produced tack you find in supermarkets and pound shops; and the soulless, pricy ones from high-end department stores. Named for the ‘pools of light’ of the Victorian era, which were reflective small glass baubles often worn as jewellery, Susan’s ornaments combine a modern, minimalistic design with gorgeous patterns inspired by the history of design.

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Crafts for Christmas Lumens Pools of Light
Crafts for Christmas Lumens Pools of Light

Pools of Light come in 80mm and 50mm sizes, and in six different designs. This year, the designs are inspired by the Art Deco movement, but the idea is that each year will showcase a different period in art history and allow you to grow your collection. The 80mm size ornaments can be purchased individually (£6) or as a box of six (£45); while the 50mm size can be purchased as threes (£15) or again as a box of six (£30).

Each of this year’s designs is inspired by the work of one of the great women of the Art Deco movement, and you’ll find a beautifully illustrated card with a brief bio of the featured artist in each box. It’s a lovely touch that makes Pools of Light ideal for gifting, and Susan has said that one of the ideas behind the range is that people will give them as gifts while visiting friends over the festive period. The 80mm size in particular works out about the same as a cheap bottle of wine but will hang on the tree as a memento for many Christmassses to come, so I can easily see myself stocking up on a few of these for exactly that purpose.

Crafts for Christmas Lumens Pools of Light
Crafts for Christmas Lumens Pools of Light

While few of us are likely to dream up a whole new Christmas product range over the next couple of months, the Crafts for Christmas and Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts shows will give you all the inspiration you need if you’d like to bring a more personal touch to your celebrations this year. With over 150 exhibitors between them as well as a series of hands-on workshops, demonstrations, live music and festive food and drink, the twin shows promise everything you need to get ready for the festivities whether you’re the crafting type yourself or simply looking for a one-of-a-kind gift from one of the exhibiting designer-makers.

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Crafts for Christmas exhibitors include makers of handmade soaps, jewellery, candles, textiles and ceramics; wine, cheese and chocolate makers and even The Crusty Pie Company (I can’t see those lasting until Christmas, but I admire their optimism). The same ticket will also get you into the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show for demonstrations in Japanese gift wrapping and silk cocoon jewellery; jewellery, flower arranging and Christmas decoration workshops and all the craft supplies you could want.

Advance tickets cost £9 for adults (children under 16 go free when accompanied by a paying adult), but Last Year’s Girl readers can get two for the price of one by using code GL14 when booking online or by calling 01425 277988. I’m also giving away two tickets – along with a beautiful 80mm Lumens Pools of Light ornament – to really get you in the festive mood. Just follow me on Twitter and retweet the pinned tweet by 11:59pm on Monday, 16th October to enter.

Are you the crafty Christmas type? Or can I expect to see you in John Lewis at 5:30pm on Christmas Eve?

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This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.

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  • These are just beautiful x I would love to be able to invest in Christmas pieces, but after 15 years of constant moving I feel like owning a Christmas tree is something you do only when you’ve truly settled down x
    I hope you’re enjoying your holiday!! x

    • The first flat we rented was fully furnished right down to the Christmas tree! But I’ve ended up getting real ones this past couple of years. Not as good as the real one that Stringer’s mum replanted every year in the back garden – and is now so tall it dwarfs the rest of the garden and she’ll never be able to rescue the lights… x

  • Amy

    I’m so excited for Christmas! It’s never too early. I love these decorations they’re beautiful and would make a great gift. Our tree is jam packed now so I’m having to exercise real bauble shopping restraint which is hard. I always have delusions of grandeur about a crafty Christmas. Cooking a feast and 20392 different festive bakes. Learning how to arrange flowers and covering the house in foliage. Making my own baubles and cards. Yet somehow every year it descends into a hectic rush and nothing gets done. I would love to go to a big craft fayre to get inspired, one year I’m going to actually do all of the above! Albeit probably not this one, I think if I can put the tree up in my sleep deprived state that will do.

    • Our tree is a mish-mash of baubles I have picked up on my travels. Canada’s contribution is a grizzly bear in a red and white scarf. I can’t wait.