The Handmade Fair 2015

The Handmade Fair is back for 2015! From the 18-20 September, Kirstie Allsopp and the UK’s best creatives will be taking over Hampton Court Palace following the success of last year’s fair.  You can read all about my experience here.

The-Handmade-Fair-2015This year I am proud to announce that I am an official supporter of the fair and I have a ticket offer for you to snap up your chance to attend.

The Handmade Fair is a fully interactive event with hands-on workshops, entertaining interviews, ‘make and takes’, and all the shopping and fabulous food you can manage. Last year the duck wraps and veggie curry were big hits!


I am hoping to bump into Jamie aka Mr X Stitch, my colleagues at Sizzix and of course squeeze in a bit of shopping at Peach Blossom for craft party supplies!

Kirstie-Allsopp-Handmade-Fair-2014Last year Kirstie joined in on the crafts and workshops. For 2015, there are VIP experiences available again, so you can grab a glass of bubbly with Kirstie and indulge in an afternoon tea experience.

VIP-Experience-Handmade-Fair-2014 Annie-Sloan-Kirstie-AllsoppI’ll be at the fair on Sunday, so give me a shout if you are planning to go and we can meet up to share the crafty fun! Tea-At-The-Handmade-FairAlthough forgive me as I may be jet lagged!
I am planning to vlog my day at the fair so keep an eye on my YouTube channel if you can’t go along and want to see what happens! I will probably share some live broadcasts on Periscope too. Find me there as Claireabellemakes.

Handmade-Fair-Craft-StallsSo I mentioned a ticket offer didn’t I? You can grab tickets from The Handmade Fair website and use the codes below for some discounts.

CLAIRE27               £27 Full Experience offer (usually £29)

CLAIRE12               £12 Entry Only (usually £15)

Did you know there is also Christmas Fair this year? Taking place at Manchester Central from 20-22 November, The Handmade Christmas Fair will include all things crafty as well as all things Christmassy! Find out more here. I LOVE Christmas crafting so I reckon it will be ace.



 *All photos in this post are courtesy of The Handmade Fair.

The Handmade Fair 2014

Last Sunday I had the wonderful pleasure of attending the inaugural Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace in London. I jumped on the hideously early 6.30am train from Cambridge with a few close crafty pals to join thousands of fellow creatives in the most beautiful setting on a sunny day.

I was invited to attend as press, but decided on sharing the day with friends instead and I’m so glad I did (my friends are barmy and delightful in equal measures).


Kirstie Allsopp opened the fair each day and could be spotted in different talks and sessions or speeding around on a bunting adorned golf buggy with huge pom pom headbands and shoe clips. I may steal the idea and start a travelling craft party around Cambridge…

World Pomination was in full swing as you entered the fair with the world record attempt for the longest pom pom chain still progressing.


As soon as I walked in I met a blog reader (hello Sheree!) and caught up with Zoe Jade of Ladybird Likes in the Mollie Makes tent.

The fair was really well laid out with tents for shopping, workshops and talks. The food and drink section was blimmin’ awesome, but more on this later.


If the fair runs again, I think they could give each person a map as you had to buy a £5 programme or talk to volunteers for directions. Maybe they could have emailed them out to attendees to print themselves.


The decorations made for a Pinterest worthy event. Lots of bunting, balloons and garlands. The Handmade Fair team had worked really hard.


My ‘full experience’ ticket (£29) included talks, craft workshops and shopping so I decided on gift wrapping with Jane Means (who is hilarious by the way), calligraphy and an Etsy talk with Kirstie and Matt Doris. You could also pay extra for more workshops on the day.


Jane Means gave tips for making your Christmas gifts look luxurious on a charity shop budget. She scours pound shops for supplies to compliment her ribbons.


A friend visited Poppy Chancellor’s paper cutting workshop and made this beautiful tree.


My attempts at calligraphy were not so beautiful, but I have a day school to attend soon, so I hope to improve!


Now, the food and drink vendors made the fair for me. EPIC DUCK WRAPS. If you ate one you will understand. There were also some great veggie options too.


There was alcoholic iced tea (with vodka and a shot of gin!)….


…..and a Prosecco van and tea rooms dotted around.


The shopping section of the fair was substantial with a good balance of yarn, fabric and treaty stalls such as Lush who also had a spa. I could have done with a few more paper crafting stalls, but I’m not complaining.

It was a crafters dream with a Hobbycraft shopping tent too and lots of show discounts. I managed to find Kate with her stall for The Homemakery and discovered Multi Pom who sell tools for making up to 20 pom poms at once!



I came away with some Wool and the Gang yarn and some new knitting needles. I also got a calligraphy book and some handmade marshmallows which are to die for. There were some great handmade sellers in attendance too, especially in the Etsy and Mollie Makes tents.


All in all, a fabulous day. It reminded me of the amazing community we have and how crafters will strike up conversations with anyone. Everyone we encountered was super friendly and it was fab to see some bloggy pals in real life too as well as spotting Sewing Bee contestants.

I hope they made enough money to put the fair on again next year! Did you attend? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.



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Win Tickets To The Handmade Fair

Craft events are right up my street. As soon as my crafty pals and I heard about The Handmade Fair, we immediately booked our tickets and planned a road trip from Cambridge.


The fair takes place at Hampton Court Palace from 19-21 September and gives attendees the opportunity to try a hands on craft workshop, listen to the grand masters of handmade products in the demo theatre, enjoy great food in the palace gardens and buy beautiful products from the handpicked sellers including my pal Kate from The Homemakery.

I can’t wait!

At a pre-event for the fair, I got the chance to ask Kirstie Allsopp why she wanted such an event to take place. Kirstie wants to promote the craft community and to show people that ‘everyone has a craft they can do’.


The wonderful folks at The Handmade Fair have been kind enough to offer a lucky Claireabellemakes reader a pair of shopping tickets to the fair on 21st!

All you need to do is enter on the widget below – UK entrants only please. Any workshops and talks will need to be booked separately, or you can just spend the day craft shopping your heart out and soaking up the atmosphere!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lastly, a little shout out to all of you who have completed my Reader Survey. It has been so useful, thank you! And a big hello to any lovely new followers! There is still time to complete the survey and enter to win a craft goodie box here.



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Papercutting At The V&A

Last week I had a lovely invitation from the folks behind The Handmade Fair to spend an afternoon papercutting with Kirstie Allsopp and Poppy Chancellor and the V&A.


I escaped from the day job and hopped on the train to London knowing I would need some pocket money for the V&A shop too.


Poppy is a fabulous artist. She showed us some great tips for papercutting (press hard and mark all the ‘negative’ space on your design first) and was patient and utterly lovely when we shared our first, slightly wobbly attempts.

We worked on some paper cut bunting that Poppy had designed.


A bit rough around the edges, but here are my bunting flags! I’d love to know in the comments if any of you have tried papercutting.


Delicious cakes were provided by The Hummingbird bakery and I was very pleased to learn that a cake break was a scheduled part of the crafternoon.


Camomile tea and a vanilla cupcake for me.


Around 50 people made buunting flags which were strung into a colourful display at the end of the afternoon.


Super pretty eh?! The bunting project was a nod to the V&A Wedding Dress exhibition. I will definitely be giving paper cutting another go as it was very therapeutic, although I had to concentrate hard.


There was a short Q&A with Kirstie after the craft session. I asked her what she wanted people to get from attending The Handmade Fair. She said a sense of community and achivement – like when you bring something you have made home from school, as we don’t often get that feeling as an adult.

What I found most inspiring was that she said she wanted to be a platform for talented designers (such as Poppy) to thrive and grow.


I met some fabulous ladies at this event (Hello Laura, Claire, Lindsey and Michele!) and it was a great example of the wonders of our creative community. Here’s a super video of the day.

Are you going to The Handmade Fair this year? I’ll be there on the Sunday so give me a shout if you are as I’d love to see some of you.

After the event I rushed back to Cambridge to meet some alpacas. More on this tomorrow!

This weekend I also continued the paper crafts theme and went to a bookbinding workshop in Cambridge. We learnt the Japanese stab binding technique. I think I’ll use my book for calligraphy practice.





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