Easter Events and Opening Times

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This week we’re all set to take part in the Ashford town centre Easter Egg hunt, pop on our hand decorated bonnets ready for the parade and then sit back and consume plenty of chocolate – and maybe find some time for a little bit of sewing on the side. How about you?

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If you have small people off school this week then you might be keen to know that we still have spaces on our Easter kid’s classes. Make a rabbit on Monday, sew a drawstring bag on Tuesday, create an applique Easter cushion on Wednesday, sew a simple skirt on Thursday, or decorate an Easter egg hunting bag on Friday – there’s something for everyone in the run up to Easter itself. For full information, times, dates and prices, click on the Classes link at the top of the page and get in touch if you would like to book your little nippers into any of our sessions.

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Emporia is also taking part in the Ashford town centre Easter trail from Monday 10th to Saturday 15th April 2017. All you need to do is pop into the shop, collect your Easter Trail form and then visit the various shops that are taking part to find the relevant letters and write then down on your sheet. Prizes will be handed out from the Love Ashford gazebo from 10.30am to 2.30pm on Saturday 15th April.

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And if you’re in town on that Saturday to collect your Easter treats, then why not take part in the Easter Bonnet Parade too? Kicking off from 2pm at the Love Ashford gazebo, you can really show off your creative skills with a hand made bonnet, decorated just how you like. And there will be prizes for the best ones, so there’s even more opportunity to win Easter chocs!

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Our Easter opening hours will be:
10am – 5pm from Monday 10th to Thursday 13th April
1am – 2pm Good Friday 14th April
10am – 5pm Saturday 15th April
Closed Easter Sunday 16th April
Closed Easter Monday 17th April
Open as normal again from Tuesday 18th April onwards.

We hope you have a fabulous Easter weekend and enjoy plenty of time to eat chocolate and do some relaxing craft!

 

Easter Holiday Kid’s Sewing Classes

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It may seem like half term has only just finished, but the Easter holidays are drawing ever closer – in just over three week’s time, they’ll be off for another two and a bit weeks, meaning you had better come up with some ways of staving off the boredom without simply relying on the electrical babysitters (iPad, Xbox, phone etc) every day. Don’t let them stay glued to the telly all day – get them inspired with some craft! Or, if you have a seriously crafty child on your hands and if you’re already panicking about how you will come up with enough ideas to keep them entertained, then we have the answer – a whole week of sewing workshops for them to get stuck into.

Make a Rabbit – £20.00, 8+
11am – 12pm Monday 10th April 2017
Kick off Easter week with a fabulous rabbit making class! Sew up your very own Easter Rabbit in a choice of spring themed fabrics, adding a tummy and maybe a fluffy tail if you want. A great class for kids with a passion for sewing and making gifts.

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Sew a Drawstring Bag – £20.00, 8+
Tuesday 11th April 2017
Create a drawstring bag to keep your swimming stuff or PE kit in, or maybe to use for sleepovers, as it’s the perfect size for a pair pyjamas and a washbag. Choose from our ever-widening selection of cool and creative fabrics to sew something both pretty and practical. This class is only really suitable if you have used a sewing machine before – if you’re in doubt, please speak to Clair or Charlotte at the shop before booking.

Make an Easter Applique Cushion – £20.00, 8+
11am – 12pm Wednesday 12th April 2017
Create a simple but effective Easter Rabbit themed cushion in this kids’ holiday class. Choose your rabbit fabric, learn how to sew applique style, and then turn your design in a fabulous envelope cushion cover! Excellent for those new to machine sewing and children who have a little more experience.

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Sew a Simple Kids’ Skirt – £20.00, 8+
11am – 12.30pm Thursday 13th April 2017
Learn how to sew your very first garment in this simple skirt class for kids. Choose from any of our funky prints or go for a pretty spring floral to wear over your Easter holidays. This is a great chance for children who have had some experience sewing with a machine to advance their skills and make something personal to them.

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Decorate an Easter Egg Hunt Bag – £10.00, 4+
11am – 1pm Good Friday 14th April 2017
Cut out fabric designs, create pompoms, use your imagination to create a fantastic, colourful bag to keep all your eggs in when you go hunting on Easter Sunday! Suitable for little ones aged four and up, this is a drop in session running for two hours on Good Friday, however places still need to be booked so we know how many children are going to attend.

All kid’s Easter classes run from Monday 9th to Friday 14th April 2017; times vary; all classes must be booked beforehand, with either a 50% deposit or by paying the full class fee; all fabrics and materials are included in the price of the class. 

Please note that there are age restrictions for all of the children’s classes – these must be adhered to apart from in exceptional circumstances – please speak to us if you need clarification on this. 

Interview with Cocoa Belle

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This week we take the time to meet another of our newest crafters, and this time it’s Katie from Cocoa Belle of Folkestone. Just in time for Easter, this talented chocolatier has filled several of our shelves with her imaginative and delicious chocolate based treats. Take a look at her interview to see what it takes to make be in charge of a deliciously creative business.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Katie and I am a chocolatier and run Cocoa Belle, making handmade chocolates in Kent.

How did you get into crafting?
From a young age I was always in the kitchen and reading cookery books, and in 2010 I started a cake making business making celebration and wedding cakes whilst working full time. It was when I was making cakes and sometimes working with chocolate that I fell in love with it. In January 2015 I completed a three month chocolate training programme and shortly after left my day job and set up Cocoa Belle!

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Who and what inspires you to create?
I get my inspiration mainly from what I like to eat or drink and try and work this into my chocolate creations. My other love in life is travel and some of my chocolates are inspired by my adventures abroad. I once tried mango with lime, chilli powder and parmesan cheese – and it worked! One day I will make a chocolate version. I also listen to my customers about what they want and am always willing to give new ideas a try.

Which crafters/artists/designers do you most admire?
None chocolate related, but I really admire people who can paint. I have come across many really talented painters since Cocoa Belle started.

When did you decide to make the leap from making for friends and family to creating your own business?
I made the leap in April 2015 and it was the scariest and most exciting thing I have done. Every day brings a new challenge.

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What five things would you say were essential when you set up your craft business?
Support – Someone needs to be able to give you the confidence in what you’re doing and push you further. Having your own business also takes up a lot of your time. Your friends and family need to support you in every way.

Self-belief – If you don’t believe in yourself, that will come across when you are trying to sell your product.

Passion – I work very long hours at key times of the year and wake up early and stand in the freezing cold and rain every weekend at markets. If it wasn’t for the fact I love what I do, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

Hard Work – Its not just making the product, it’s also creating good packaging, selling, doing the accounts, stock control, marketing, meeting with stockists, and quite often waking up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea.

Confidence – You need to be able to sell your product and to do that you need to talk to people. I often see people at craft fairs who don’t talk to customers at their stall, and so they don’t sell anything despite it being a great product. People like to know about the producer as well as the item.

Name three of your most popular designs.
The Lemon and Lime bar. Most people tell me they are unsure the flavours will work before they try it, but it’s very citrusy and refreshing, and it’s by far my best seller. The Rose Bar – turkish delight in bar without the squidginess – and the Salted Caramel Discs – the sweetness of the chocolate followed by the salt that melts on your tongue – ate also very popular.

If you weren’t a chocolatier, what would you be doing with your time?
I would be doing something creative and most likely with food. Or travelling the world.

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Do you run any workshops or take part in any groups?
I run several workshops for both adults and children. The children’s ones are generally for birthday parties where they make chocolate pizzas. For adults I regularly run chocolate truffle workshops or one to one tuition, as well as hen party chocolate making sessions and corporate workshops.

What’s new with your craft for 2016? Tell us about some of the exciting things we can expect to see from you at the Emporia this year.
I am working on a new range of chocolate bars with more unusual flavours – watch this space for things like salt and pepper, wasabi, and strawberry and pink pepppercorn.

And if you would like to try some of Katie’s amazing chocolate combos for yourself, you can get your hands on her Easter eggs, flavoured bars, and fresh chocolate truffles now. Plus, there will be a special chocolate tasting session taking place at Emporia on Wednesday 23rd March around lunchtime – keep your eyes on our Facebook page for timings – so pop in and try out her amazing flavour combinations and see if you can’t satisfy your Easter egg cravings all in one.

Easter Opening Hours

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Easter weekend is just around the corner, so we thought you should know that the shop will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday, but open as normal on Saturday 19th April 2014. So if you are in need of last minute Easter gifts or fancy a bit of fabric shopping to see you through the bank holiday, pop in, say hello and have a browse of all our lovely stuff.

As next week is all about bunnies, chocolate and having a four day weekend, the blog is taking a little break and attempting to enjoy some spring sunshine and maybe a spot of sewing. We will of course be back in the saddle and ready and eager to go the following week, so don’t go missing us too much. Maybe re-watch the entirety of the Great British Sewing Bee on iPlayer instead – we are sorry to see the end of the series, and can’t believe we have a whole year to wait before Claudia, Patrick, May and another round of crafty sewing enthusiasts are back on are screens. But don’t fret – we have Sewing Bee inspiration for you coming very soon!

Enjoy your Easter break and don’t eat too much chocolate. Alright, do eat too much chocolate, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.