All the fun of the Handmade Fair

As a special treat last weekend I went to The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court with a lovely friend of mine. For those who don’t know, the Handmade Fair was launched in 2014 by Kistie Allsopp (of Location, Location, Location fame) and it’s aim was to be a crafty marketplace with learning and hands on experience at the heart of the day. With a ‘Full Experience’ ticket you can attend Skills Workshops, Q&A sessions and ‘Grand Makes’ where you try your hand at new techniques with 300 other people, as well as lots of shopping! 

The Fair is decorated with bunting and pom-poms, and lots of cute vintage vans sell food and hot drinks, as well as this super cute pink van at the Hobbycraft tent.

We treated ourselves to a cup of tea at the Mollie Makes cafe when we arrived as it was freezing cold! I was pretty excited that the tables had colouring pencils and postcards to colour in as I’m alway envious of the colouring packs my kids get if we eat out. 

The shopping tents were big and very busy. Some stalls were so busy we didn’t really get to see them, and it was also quite difficult to get your bearings and make sure you didn’t miss anything. There was a good range of stalls, ranging from jewellery, to children’s clothes, and a wide variety of stalls selling stuff to make your own things from. I was slightly disappointed by the range of yarns available- unfortunately the yarns available were ones I already have. The fabric stalls however were fabulous and I came home with an even longer wish list than I already have…

We had booked Full Experience tickets and our first event was a Mollie Makes Mash Up, where two celebrities of the craft world are pitted against each other to create, in this case, a lampshade, against the clock and whilst being asked questions from the audience and the editor of Mollie Makes magazine! We saw Matt Chapple who won the 2015 Great British Sewing Bee compete with Zeena Shah, printer, illustrator and very talented crafty lady. I must admit I wasn’t amazed by the end products, but it was quite entertaining watching them do it! 

Our second event was a skills workshop with Annie Sloan of Chalk Paint fame. We were shown how to Lino print onto a wooden picture frame using chalk paint. Mine was a bit of a disaster, I must admit! I liked the technique and was impressed by the paint ( it really does go on any surface) but I made my Lino print too complicated for a picture frame. I have brought my Lino home and I’ll have another go on something else I think. 

Our final workshop was much more up my street. We were shown how to make flowers using faux leather (or pleather… Ugh! I don’t like that word!) by Christine Leech of Sew Yeah . As the workshop was sponsored by Velcro, the idea was to use Velcro to fasten the flowers to a headband. I ran out of time to make the head band, and, as I’m not sure how much use a head band would get, I have used the flowers to decorate the front of an IKEA storage box. 

I bought a few nice bits and bobs, a couple of kits and some lovely sweatshirt fabric. I got to speak to Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons and was given a cute ‘I made it’ badge as I was wearing a Bettine Dress. I also got to meet a fellow Folksy seller and Instagrammer, Rachel Seymour, who produces inspirational cards and stationery. It was lovely to meet her in person! 

All in all it was a great day out. The weather was pretty chilly which just meant we had to drink lots of hot chocolate and eat cheesy chips and a lemon crepe- what a shame! There’s lots to see and do, and the atmosphere is very friendly and cheerful. Stall holders are keen to chat and give advice, even if you might not buy from them, and I took home lots of business cards. I’d recommend going! 

Teresa X (sorry, that was a really long post!)


Embroidery and Craft Fair Preparation


I’m in full swing with craft fair preparations at Shirley Rainbow HQ- I’m having a stall at The Bird in Borrowed Feathers Mini Market, at Cobden Chambers, in Nottingham city centre. It’s on the 24-25 October 2015, and I will be there on Saturday 24th October, from 11 am until 5 pm!

BIBF Market Poster

I’m busy preparing lots of products to take as well as making a name sign, display cards and display boards ( well my husband actually made them!). It feels like I still have a lot to do but I’m really looking forward to it.

Little Street Embroidery by Shirley Rainbow

This is one of the products I’m planning to take, I’ve called it Little Street; it’s a hand embroidered and appliquΓ©d hoop art, inspired by one of the streets near my house. I made it entirely by hand, starting with a sketch, from which I created templates and cut the felt out by hand. Everything is hand stitched into place using a variety of embroidery stitches.


If you are in the Nottingham are it would be lovely to see you at the Mini Market, there is going to be 16 stalls per day, with different craft people and products each day, hopefully something for everyone!

Teresa X