A few weeks ago, I was invited to an event hosted by Hillarys – a crafternoon. It was an opportunity to come into Manchester city centre, join the brand as well as some other ace bloggers, and learn some crafts. As a working mum, it’s not often I get to indulge in afternoons entirely alone so I decided to give it a go!
I really enjoy little crafty projects like this. Sitting down with a pair of scissors and a glue gun. I’ve just organised a baby shower for my sister and I’ve been crafting away on the decorations. It can be a really calming activity in the evenings after a bonkers busy day with the baby or at the office. I’m pretty introverted and sometimes that can come off as anti-social so I’ve been making a really conscious effort to try new events and push myself out of the house in new ways. I’m glad I went for this reason, but sadly, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting…
The event was at Ziferblat in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. I’ve not been before but you should go. Go now, if it’s open when you read this! What a hidden gem. Unlike other coffee shops, you don’t pay for what you consume. You pay for your time spent there – by the minute in fact. Everything else, you help yourself to. Cakes, drinks, games. It’s a really quirky place and the interior style was so ecclectic. It was as if you’d walked into a charity shop full of unwanted but very extroadinary decorative items. Mis-matched furniture but with unusual art and textures. I liked it a lot.
This event was held in the back room, which just so happened to be a classroom! It reminded me so much of the rooms of my school way back when.
So, to the event itself.
Hillarys hosted, and a company called the Crafty Hen were asked to help with the crafting itself, and together we were going to make jewelry boxes, and Suffolk Puffs, using some of Hillarys latest fabric ranges from their Jewel range.
I was actually quite excited about this. I saw the moodboards around the room. They were dark and grungy – similar to how my lounge has just been decorated (still need to blog this!) The inky blue fabrics displayed gave a real feeling of opulence. That is what I wanted to craft with.
And yet, when I peered over to the table of materials we were to use, I hate to admit that my heart sank a little. The underlying colours of what was available was predominantly beige. I’m sorry if you like beige. Neutrals can be beautiful when worked properly. But this just isn’t to my taste. And sadly, I felt a little disconnected from the get go.
The other accent colours of the fabric were a bright red, and on the other a pastel mint green. They really were both lovely colours in their own right, but for me, a little too old-fashioned. The designs were a little generic with not much standing out on them. I personally thought that this was just a huge oversight because they were surely there to promote new ranges, so where were the fabrics used in the displayed moodboards? The ones that were bang on trend, right up my street and displayed in the catalogues we were handed out at the end of the day?
I think this was my biggest bug bear really because I knew already that I wouldn’t use what we made. I don’t like speaking ill of a company I really like (I’ve bought Hillary’s blinds before and they are excellent. We still have them up in our spare bedroom to this day.), but it was a disappointment for sure.
What I will say is that the Crafty Hen was such a wonderful host. Truly a people person. So bubbly and welcoming and funny. I think if you’re into crafts, I can’t recommend them enough, and even if you’re not, it was entertaining either way.
So we went about making our items. Cutting, stitching, glue gunning. I chatted with other bloggers I’d not met before and it was a really lovely afternoon.
We were given a tote bag at the end of the session, and there was a variety to choose from. There it was, the blue fabric I liked from the imagery! That is genuinely a fabric I would be interested to see on the likes of a roman blind or table runner. It’s gorgeous. It’s heavy duty, not a flimsy piece of cotton. And I wish so much that I could have played around with it in the crafting session. I will say, that the fabrics were terribly good quality. I know we were using them for different reasons that most consumers will be looking at them for, but they were genuinely a thick and heavy duty material, which if you’re going to be using them on the likes of a blind, would be fab for keeping that heat in and the sun out when needed – especially if you’re a pale sun-dodger like me!
I enjoyed the event. I did. And whilst there were aspects that weren’t to my taste, you should check out the #hillaryscrafternoon hashtag to some of the other bloggers and what we made. You never know, it might be right up your street! Thank you to Hillarys and Joe Bloggers for inviting me!