Amsterdam, beautiful city of arts and crafts

Written by Vicky on April 29, 2008 – 5:13 pm -

I’m biased, I love Amsterdam anyway but visiting again recently for our honeymoon and getting a chance to look around the shops made me realise what a crafty city it is.

Scenes from Amsterdam

Of course, there are art galleries everywhere, large and small, which could provide me with years of endless entertainment but there are also crafts, antiques and vintage shops.

Just on the street of our hotel there was a lovely little shop which sold kitsch fabrics that you wouldn’t see in shops here, then there was the patchwork shop and bead shop and on it goes.

If you love to rummage through antiques there are no end of little boutiques with lovely window displays just calling you to go in. Here’s an example of one we found on the last day…

Antique shop in Amsterdam

Chocolatier in BrusselsWe also stayed in Brussels and in my ignorance I hadn’t realised that it was known for lace making, like Nottingham. In fact Belgium used to export lace to England.

What I did know is that Belgium makes fine chocolate and beer and now having tried it I can say its definitely true. I know its not strictly craft related but here is a photo of one of the really pretty chocolatier shops in the city. Yum!


Posted in Lace making, shopping, Travel | 3 Comments »

Wedding crafts

Written by Vicky on April 27, 2008 – 11:09 am -

It feels like such a long time since I posted anything on here and I’ve really missed it. The thing is that I’ve been tied up with the whole getting married and honeymoon malarkey. Now I’m back to reality (well kind of) I thought I’d share some of the crafty things that went into mine and Jez’s wedding.

I’m not going to waffle on for ages because I already did that over at Green Girls Global in my ‘Hand-made, eco wedding’ post but this is just a quickie to show some of the hand-made things we had.

Cotton wedding buntingCotton bunting
Of course there was the cotton bunting, miles and miles and miles of it! I love it so much though that I had to have a little bit hanging up in the house. In fact its still there! I’ve already talked about that though in ‘I heart bunting‘.

Table places and favours
Some things seem like a really good idea until you actually have to do them and the favours were a bit like that. My bright idea was to make origami boxes and then put in each of them a spring bulb. Although the boxes are very easy to make, they took ages (about 55 of them) – here’s the box making tutorial. Then, to cut a long story short, when I went to put the bulbs in them I found that despite keeping them cold, dark and dry all winter they had gone soft and spongy and apparently you just can’t buy spring flowering bulbs in the spring. Anyway, dad came to the rescue with some bulbs from his own garden (even better) but then I had to re-make the little labels that went with the boxes because they originally said to plant them in the autumn! It all worked out well in the end though.

Wedding table places and favours

The lollipop name places were something I’d been wanting to do for a long time. I’m very lucky to have some extremely talented and creative friends and my friend Lydia (a graphic designer) designed a motif for me which I could use on the invitations, table places, menus & thank you cards.

The motif was a maypole, because the reception venue was on Maypole Green, and things that remind you of springtime. So I took elements from the motif to make little labels for each name place and printed out all of the cards and menus at home.

Cakes and flowers
Jez’s mum, another creative lady, made our wedding cake and chocolate cupcakes and she and I spent a weekend cutting out all of the little sugar flowers, hearts and butterflies for them.

Wedding cake

Decorated plantpot with Busy LizziesOn the same weekend we painted and decorated plantpots with more butterflies, hearts and flowers. The plantpots were filled with Impatiens or Busy Lizzies and I had quite surreal afternoon two days before the wedding sat in my kitchen surrounded by white flowers with the imminence of the wedding sinking in.

The outfit
Now, I know that Claire is too modest to say anything about this but it is so beautiful I have to show you. Originally with my dress I was going to wear a bolero but when I put it on it just didn’t look right. So, I decided to have a shawl instead. Having everything in white (well ivory) felt a bit strange so I wanted to add a bit of colour and I thought that embroidered spring flowers on the edges of the shawl would look really pretty. The only embroidery I’ve done before is a picture of Garfield when I was about 10 years old so I wasn’t sure how far this past experience take me in making something for my wedding 20-odd years on.

To my great relief Claire offered to do this for me and I had no doubt at all that she would do a fantastic job. There is so much detail in the leaves and flowers and the tiny beads add lovely highlights. Everyone commented on the day at how gorgeous the shawl looked and how talented Claire is and I definitely agree with them!

Embroidered shawl by Claire

Embroidery detail

Garter made by ClaireClaire also surprised me a few days before with a garter that she’d made all in our wedding colours. Is there no end to this lady’s skill?! Thank you Claire, I love them both x

Well, I said I wouldn’t waffle on and then I did but it was fun to look back on all the preparation and creativeness that went into our wedding.

Looking forward to yours next Claire!


Posted in Bunting, Embroidery, Fabric | 4 Comments »