Win tickets to the Country Living Spring Fair 2012!!

Every year there are a few events that I really look forward too. In March this has to be the Country Living Spring Fair. Packed with original artists and inspiring stores it’s a wonderful day out. This year we can even share the excitement as we are giving away 2 free pairs of tickets to the show worth £32 each!

For a touch of Spring and the essence of the country a visit to the Country Living Spring Fair is just the ticket.

The Country Living Magazine Spring Fair at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London from 21 – 25 March 2012, promises a lovely day amongst some of the UK’s leading artisans. Celebrating skilled craftsmanship, delicious food and delicacies, inspired gardening, as well as presenting a wonderful array of accessories for the home, the Country Living Spring Fair heralds all that’s loved about a summer lifestyle. There’s lots of scope for personal pampering too, with clothing for every occasion from a sports day to a picnic; jewellery and silversmithing designs influenced by nature and sensuous handmade soaps and perfumes. Entertaining talks and demonstrations by popular experts are a hands-on opportunity to learn about different crafts and features. There will also be a beautiful spring garden ensuring that there’s plenty to do, plenty to see and plenty to enjoy.

If you are not lucky enough to win you can still book your tickets in advance at the lower price of £11.50 using the special code below, which saves you nearly 25% off the door price.

Special Angel Eden Readers’ ticket offer – special price of £11.50 quoting CLSPRING3.

(As opposed to the ticket price on the door which is £16.00) Tickets must be booked no later than 1pm on the day before the due visit. TELEPHONE: 0844 848 0160

For more information about the show please visit the Country Living Spring Fair website.

How to Enter

Step 1. Leave a comment on this post. Remember to leave me a way to contact you if you win.

Step 2. Do any of the following:

The competition will end at midnight 16th Feb 2012.

Country Living Christmas Fair

Yesterday I took great pleasure in attending the Country Living Christmas Fair at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. I had a wonderful time, discovered some amazing new talent and was generally spoilt rotten. The fair ends on 13th November so there’s still time to get yourself down there. In the meantime, here are my must see stalls!

The fair, much like Country Living Magazine is always a beautiful spectacle before you even begin to start browsing. A giant Christmas Tree glittered away on the second floor, enormous bunting hung from the rooftop and the scent of Cinnamon, Spiced Apple and Mulled Wine seemed to follow you in a dreamy festive haze. After recovering from a slight sensory overload I made my way to this Christmas Cabin, designed by none other than textile extraordinaire Jan Constantine. You may have to fight an overwhelming desire to cross the barrier and spend an afternoon in this festive hideout, but take note as many of the items inside can be found on stalls at the fair.Vintage was a huge theme at this year’s fair, with everything from old milk bottles to bobbins upcycled into lights. So if your house is in need of a few unique and striking accessories make sure you keep your eyes peeled.Next I made a beeline for Mary Kilvert‘s stall. A designer and illustrator whose sheep design textiles and home-wares threaten to make even the most devout minimalist smile, I couldn’t resist her brightly coloured creations. Mary even designs wallpaper covered in quirky houses! Keeping in the festive mood I discovered a designer who was new to me Halinka’s Fairies. Halinka makes decorations that have such movement and skill, you could easily spend hours mesmerised by them. Halinka obviously has a real eye for movement as even her ballet dancers display lifelike turns and twists of their arms and waists.

The fair is not limited to homewares or decorations though. There’s also adorable designers such as  Poppy Children. This stall stands out instantly due to their fabulous dress shapes and fabrics. They even make a few dresses in adult sizes (I can feel a mother daughter promenade coming on).  I challenge any Mother of a girl not to feel an almost uncontrollable urge to buy one of these designs. But how would you pick just one?My feet were rather worse for wear at this point, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically run for one of the cafes situated about the fair. Instead make your way to the food stalls and sample some of the most delicious homemade delicacies.After a good rest and several cups of tea I found my way to the Millstone Mills stall. Not ones to see pepper and salt grinders as mundane; they have taken this most basic of household items and transformed it into a stylish and functional piece that exudes class. If making your own is more to your taste though, there are plenty of stalls selling festive and fun kits. These beautiful traditional mohair toy kits are from Emily’s Ark. I did buy something larger and rather more blue from this stall but I’ll save that for a future post 🙂Unfortunately I can’t feature all of the wonderful stalls at the fair, so if you can make it along do try. Tickets can be purchased on the door, full details including an exhibitor list and floorplan are available on the website here.

I’ll post up some more pics in a few days including some of the wonderful items I brought home.

Sewing For Pleasure, Fashion Embroidery & Stitch & Hobbycrafts!

Yesterday Anne and myself attended Sewing For Pleasure, Fashion Embroidery & Stitch & Hobbycrafts at the NEC in Birmingham. You may remember that we gave away tickets to the show several weeks ago. We had an absolutely wonderful time and thought we’d share our favourite bits with you all. We began by taking a look at Sewing For Pleasure, we then took in a catwalk show followed by Fashion Embroidery & Stitch and then finally Hobbycrafts. I’ll begin by telling you what we bought:

The Nimble ThimbleOne of the first stalls we visited was The Nimble Thimble on stand A11 in Sewing For Pleasure. For any collector this stand was a dream, the makers have taken a relatively ordinary object and turned them into art. I loved the Wind in The Willows Thimbles, but ultimately became smitten with this teeny tiny replica of a Victorian child’s thimble from 1860. It has raised letters around the edge that read ‘For A Good Girl’.

As you might expect we were seduced by many of the fabrics available, but for sheer variety and wonderful customer service we have to mention The Eternal Maker on stand D01 & Fabrics Galore on stand F12 in Sewing For Pleasure. Both these stores amazed us with the amount of choice they had managed to bring.

The Eternal Maker is definitely the stall to stop by if you love Japanese Fabrics, it would be easy to become mesmerized at the wonderful prints and colours. In the end we settled for some fat quarters and Lego style Fabric.

Fabrics Galore on the other hand are a wealth of knowledge on everything fabric related. In a previous blog post we taught you how to make a peg bag using wonderful London Map fabric. Since then many people have asked me where you can buy this, well Fabrics Galore is your place. While their internet site doesn’t currently offer mail order, if you phone them they’ll be more than happy to help. The elusive London Fabric will be coming back in stock in the next couple of weeks. I kept coming back to this stall throughout the day as I just couldn’t resist the wonderful retro prints. They also stocked the fabric I’d made my dress for the day out of.

Who We Spoke To:

Aside from the places mentioned above, we had some wonderful conversations with various exhibitors. We met the lovely Jenna from SewHip Magazine on stand ZF07 in Sewing For Pleasure who has only just joined the company. She told us all about the exciting new ventures coming from KalMedia this year, including a new magazine launch that sounds very exciting called ‘Handmade Living’.

We then made a beeline for Clothkits on stand G04 in Sewing For Pleasure and drooled over the Rob Ryan style skirt kits and Liberty Bias Binding. Here you can see me getting rather excited about the wonderful items on offer.

We then had a well earned sit and watched a Catwalk Show. These showcased the new ranges from Pattern companies such as Simplicity & Butterick and also many students work from around the country. The shows were understandably packed throughout the day, but worth the wait.

We also admired many more people, most notably the up and coming students such as Sarah Charmain Brockbank on stand ZJ08 in Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch whose wonderful textile creations left us very impressed.

Another must see was the amazing creations of Michael Powell on stand G01 in Sewing For Pleasure, while there were plenty of traditional cross stitch stalls, Michael’s kit designs stood out as they were so fresh and unique, I loved his wobbly beachhuts.

There’s also plenty of workshops for the crafty inclined, whether sewing, embroidery or cards are your specialty.

You can also watch a Gok Wan style Fashion Challenge where two teams compete to customize outfits.

Not forgetting the incredibly awe inspiring charity exhibitions and Costume showcases, which I’ll write about in the next few days. If you find yourself at a loose end do visit the show, it’s still running until the 27th March and tickets can be purchased on the door.