There are many things I am extremely excited about shopping for for my new house (keys on Thursday, bitchez! and if you’re thinking “good, she’s been going on about this forever”, imagine how we feel); and there are some things that I’ve had to be dragged to, kicking and screaming. The biggest ones have been carpets/flooring, and curtains/blinds. Try as I might, and despite almost a decade in rented flats where we have had little to no control over them, I have found it impossible to feign enthusiasm for either.
That’s why I can’t help thinking of whoever it was that sat in a little office at Hillary’s Blinds, tasked with coming up with a way to make people care about their product, who hit upon the idea of craft was an absolute genius. After forty years in the business, Hillary’s have put together a gorgeous selection of coloured and patterned fabrics to suit every room in the home – fabrics so gorgeous, in fact, that they just cried out to be played with and transformed into something else. Last year, the company even ran its first Craft Competition, sending out samples of fabric to bloggers who competed to come up with the most creative use of them – a competition which, if rumours are to be believed, could be running again in the near future (keep an eye on the Hillary’s blog for details…)
But on this drizzly Sunday afternoon, an intrepid group of Scottish bloggers assembled by our pals at Joe Blogs (hosts of the best blogger events in the UK) were thinking decidedly smaller scale. And so it was that we huddled close in the top room at the Butterfly and Pig to get our craft on with some of Hillary’s Blinds’ latest fabrics – under the expert tuition of bespoke craft party/workshop gurus The Crafty Hen.
Our hosts promised that they would start us off easy with a reusable notebook cover, although my corner of the room (which included the lovely Morag, whose blog I have been reading for ages but who I got to hang out with for the first time; Sinead from Wee and Twee; This Northern Gal Kelly; the gorgeous gals behind Wardrobe Conversations and my beloved Miss “Yes You Can Sit With Us, I Saved You A Bloody Seat” West End Girl, who was once again lumped with having to take pictures of me) quickly established our need for a swear box on the table. Still, every crafter worth her salt has a few callouses to her name! I selected a floral fabric in blue and white that reminded me of vintage china, which I finished off with a grey-white ribbon and the most beautiful button in the Crafty Hen’s toolbox. By the later stages of our first project, most of us had given up hand-stitching in favour of a glue gun – but our embellishments looked no less professional for it, thanks to our expert tutors.
Given that we were at one of Glasgow’s finest cake emporiums (and believe me, I’m an expert) there was little chance of us moving on to round two without a pause for refreshments. Everything on the Butterfly and Pig’s cake menu that day looked incredible, so I feel no shame in admitting that I went for the white chocolate and pear cake that was first on the list.
For round two, glue guns were banned as we were handed a paper pattern from which to cut and stitch together fabric that we would then stuff to form a bird. Or, at least, that was the idea. I think we all took a little too long over our cakes and catch-ups to leave ourselves enough time for what was a fairly fiendish project – one that quickly separated those with a bit of sewing savvy from the rest of us amateurs!
I picked contrasting fabrics in predominantly pink and green for my bird’s body and belly and tried to sew them together neatly, like a friend of mine taught me many moons ago. Neat work takes time though when you have neither a gift nor muscle memory for sewing, which was why I ended up with ten minutes to go performing some of the scrappiest finishing stitches I have ever seen in my life just to have a finished bird to take home (with two mischievous cats, one wants to give them as few opportunities as possible to wreak havoc with your handiwork). It was International Women’s Day, and I hope my crafting companions forgave me for thinking aloud that it was a good thing I could work to earn money to buy my own socks, rather than stitch up my old ones.
So did #HillarysCrafternoon change my mind about blinds? We’ll see on Friday, I suppose; but in the meantime I got to have a fun afternoon with some fantastic people, and I’m keener than ever to get some space set up in my new home for projects I can take a little more time over…