Fill your Stockings with Christmas Crafts

 

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We are so lucky to have a fabulous collection of local crafters fill up some of the nooks and crannies in our shop, and what better time to take a closer look at them than just before Christmas! With just over a week left, there’s still plenty of time to take some extra care with your presents and buy some unique, handmade gifts that will make the recipient feel even more special on Christmas morning.

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R&R
Richardson & Richardson have been with us for ages, providing the people of Ashford with their amazing laser cut jewellery and cards. For anyone with a passion for anything sci-fi, geeky or just plain out there, we have a fantastic selection of their amazing designs. Featuring pieces inspired by the likes of Harry Potter, David Bowie’s Labyrinth, and Jurassic Park, you can get necklaces, earrings and broochs, which will no doubt gladden the heart of some of your film fan friends or relatives. Similar themes also include unicorns, Christmas crackers, woodland animals, knitting, gothic scenes, and your favourite tipples all transformed into funky jewellery. Prices range from £10.00 – £20.00.

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R.J. Laurenson
Beautiful ceramic pieces inspired by the British countryside, Rachele has transformed her passion for hares, horses, butterflies and stags into gorgeously coloured tableware. Each piece has been layered with different prints of leaves, colour and animal designs creating an intricate and unique pattern. She has created coasters, trivets, over sized cups and saucers, as well as hanging hearts in both big and small. Prices range from £3.00 – £30.00.

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POLLEN
The creator of POLLEN may well have moved to Australia, but she’s still supplying us with her amazing coloured wooden necklaces. Bright, beautiful and funky, these coloured beads come in a range of sizes and arrangements, and make for some seriously striking jewellery. Treat someone you know who likes things a little different from the norm. Prices range from £16.00 – £20.00.

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Rosanna Clare
Rosanna Clare works with recycled leather and wood to create yet more intriguing crafts: trinket trays, tasseled keyrings, purses, sketchbook covers, earrings, necklaces, rings and cufflinks are all part of her range. Using bright colours and simple designs, Rosanna makes the most of her materials to bring out the best in them. Treat yourself or the man in your life to something stylish and creative. Prices range from £8.00 – £18.00.

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HairyHand
Funky designs on t shirts and hoodies, for both kids and adults, HairyHand brings his humorous, tongue in cheek style to Emporia. Bag yourself one of these limited edition graphic pieces for anyone you know that appreciates witty designs on their fashion.

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And if you’re looking for crafty stocking fillers, don’t forget our gorgeous range of fabrics can be presented in the very dainty packages of fat quarter bundles; plus we’ve got embroidery threads, pompom makers, wool needles, sewing scissors, hand sewing needles, rotary cutters, mats, rulers and our brand new sewing baskets if you know someone who would love to receive some crafty equipment under the tree.

There’s still plenty of shopping time left to get sorted before the big day itself, and don’t forget we’re open late on Thursday 22nd December for the Christmas Market which is happening right next door in Park Mall – come and see us during the day or between 5pm – 7pm next week.

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Kits for Christmas

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Exciting news for those looking for crafty Christmas gifts this year as we launched not one, but three craft kit gift sets! Two from Emporia and one from Lotte Jamieson Crafts – take a look at these lovelies and then tell us you’re not inspired to give the gift of craft? Clair has expanded on her fabulous reversible and Amelie dress patterns, by presenting them in these fabulous sewing kits. Featuring the pattern itself and some exclusive fabric, which you can’t buy off the shelves of Emporia, you can give the gift of sewing to someone this festive season.

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The reversible dress kit comes with two beautiful fabrics that complement each other fabulously – a lilac heart print, and a blue flower and leaf print that features white, lilac and pale pink accents. Super simple and ideal as a first make for beginners, the kit will certainly make for a very happy Christmas morning for many aspiring sewers.

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The Amelie kit comes in a beautiful minty green featuring simple flower designs, and we think it makes the perfect transition from winter into spring. As the Amelie is little more complex than the reversible, we recommend giving this as a gift to sewers who know their stuff. And who know’s they might even have time to get on their sewing machine and having it finished by the time the Queen’s speech comes on!

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The Christmas gift kits are just for sewing fans this year – Lotte Jamieson Crafts has launched a beginner’s knitting kit just in time for the chilly festive season.

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Perfect for those who want to get to grips with making something a bit more on trend than your average scarf, the Irvine Cowl kit contains an easy to read pattern (featuring three different versions ranging from super duper easy to the enthusiastic beginner), knitting needles, 200g of Lotte Jamieson Merino wool and a branded tote bag which can be used as a knitting bag.

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All you have to do is choose the colour of the wool from the range of 12 luscious hues in the shop and you could be giving a newbie knitter the gift of their dreams under the Christmas tree!

The Emporia Patterns Dress Kits are £35.00 each and the Lotte Jamieson Knitting Kits are £26.00 each. All three patterns are also available to purchase individually.

For more information or two see the gift kits for yourself, pop into the shop – we are open 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday, with late night opening until 7pm on Thursdays between now and Christmas. We will be closing at 2pm on Christmas Eve.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts and a Happy New Year!

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Right, there are approximately 36 hours until Christmas Day dawns so if you’ve not got all your Christmas gifts done now is the time for a little constructive panic shopping. But fear not, we’ve got a few little extras hidden up our crafty sleeves, so if you need to bung a few extras into someone’s stocking or drop a couple of hints for the stressed out shoppers around you, read on …

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Our beautiful gift bags are perfect for quick fix presents – made from a range of gorgeous and funky fabrics, and full of lovely goodies, these will make someone very happy on Christmas morning. Choose from Wonder Woman, large bird prints, geometric florals, Star Wars or colour blocked butterflies; we’ve filled them with matching wool and super chunky knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn, magazines and rotary cutters, merino wool and pattern books, but you’re welcome to fill a bag with as much or as little as you like.

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Magazines are always a good bet and if you love sewing or patchwork, these babies will sort you right out. Pretty Patches comes crammed with masses of projects for all skill levels, and will certainly keep crafty types occupied over the holiday period; Love Sewing is the ideal magazine for those that want to get creative with their clothing over Christmas as it comes with a free paper pattern and instructions in the magazine itself for a whole load of other makes for you and your loved ones.

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Our new sewing kits in large and small are cute and full of useful stuff: scissors, pin cushions, needles and thimbles. Just right for those that need a bit more organisation in their lives.

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Feel like giving a small girl an extra treat? Bag a reversible dress for anyone from the age of one to six from our range of fabulous fabrics – Bat Girl and festive gnomes are just two of our favourites.

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Want to give a loved one a handmade gift but really don’t have the time? Grab a cable knit headband in a funky colour and give someone the gift of warm ears for Christmas.

Really can’t decide what to get? A fat quarter bundle is always a good answer – have a rummage through our massive selection and mix and match for yourself, or choose a pre-matched selection if you are in a real rush.

So all that’s left to say now is we hope, whatever presents you manage to get or make, that you have a very merry Christmas and a super happy New Year! See you in 2016!

Wishing for a Crafty Christmas?

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Yes ladies and gents, it’s that time of year once again. Hold onto your hats, safely stow your sewing kit and put yourself in the brace position, as we take a headlong dive into festivity!

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There’s now only six weeks to go until Christmas Day and despite the lights not being switched on and not all of the shops playing Mariah Carey on repeat as yet, we know that across the town people will be waking up, aware of a sneaking suspicion that it is indeed the halfway point of November, which can only mean that December itself is creeping ever closer and that they should really start getting on with buying, planning, prepping, making, etc for the big day itself.

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But if you think we’re now going to start suggesting what you could buy for your mum/dad/grandma/nephew/dog then you are sadly mistaken; quite the opposite in fact. We think this is the ideal time to get a little bit selfish and start thinking about what you want to find under your Christmas tree, so with no further ado let us introduce the Emporia Christmas Wist List!

This handy little piece of paper allows you to tell your confused and dithering loved ones precisely what it is you would like for Christmas, whether it’s 2.75 metres of Michael Miller Wee Wonder or a simple bundle of fat quarters from the plains section. Many of us crafty types spend hours cooing over lovely prints and amazing materials throughout the year, never quite able to justify spending the money on them just for the sake of it – so rather than put your energy into hinting or simply willing your other half or your sister to magically know what it is you would like to be indulged with, you can leave a specific list with very specific instructions with us at the shop, so nothing is left to chance.

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Simply pop into the shop, take a browse along the shelves and make your mind up about what you would like, then grab a Wish List from the counter and we’ll help you fill it out with enough detail so that your friends and family can shop for you, safe in the knowledge that you do actually want half a metre of each unicorn print fabric we possess. Write your name at the top, and bob’s your uncle – or Emporia is your Father Christmas if you prefer!

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You can also cater for a variety of budgets too – a couple of fat quarters will only set someone back five or six pounds, or a crochet hook is less than £3.00; but if someone wants to really go over the top they could fill a gift bag with a selection of beautiful fabrics, luxury wools as well as extras like rotary cutters, fabric rulers, knitting needles, stitch holders and cutting mats.

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And it’s not just for the fabrics and the wool, you can also fill out a form requesting one of the beautiful items made by our super talented crafters. Choose from Liberty print birds by Polka Dot Sundays, ceramic designs from R. J. Laurenson, Star Wars print t shirts from Fink Clothing, headscarves from Aye Aye or any of the other clever and creative gifts we have in store. This might be a little more work for your relatives as they might need to contact the crafters themselves or get something made to order if we’ve sold out, but we’re sure they can cope – and the sooner they do it the better, to ensure the makers have enough time to complete your gift. But there’s also the room to be a little more vague too – if you love all the P O L L E N necklaces and really can’t decide which one you would prefer, then let your gift buyer do the deciding. It’s up to you to be as demanding or as subtle as you please!

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So now you can start shopping for other people complete with that lovely warm feeling from knowing that you’ve got some gorgeous gifts coming your way. Yes, Christmas is about giving, but it’s also about being a little self indulgent too. Enjoy!

Pluckley Quilt and Craft Show

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Following our wonderfully successful Emporia Craft & Vintage Market which took place last week, we are upping sticks and moving out to Pluckley for the weekend. We’re grabbing a whole load of our wonderful fabrics, plenty of buttons and some seriously useful quilting equipment and shipping ourselves off to the Village Hall where we will join a whole load of other crafty types for some patchwork fun.

Clair will be running an Emporia stall at the Pluckley Quilt and Craft show which takes place over both Saturday and Sunday in the village, giving people a little further out from Ashford the chance to see some of our beautiful fabrics close up. Alongside all the Michael Miller, Riley Blake, Makower and Copenhagen Print Factory gorgeousness we will have for sale at the show, Clair will also be selling our fantastic cutting mats and rotary cutters, which no patchwork maker should ever be without. Making life so much easier (and quicker) when it comes to cutting fabric, these babies are simply the best way to get hundreds of quilting pieces all the same size.

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Buttons and beautiful embroidery cottons will also be available on our stall, and several lucky customers will be given 10% off vouchers to use in the shop, so if you can’t see what you want on the day of the show, you can head into Ashford on Monday and see our full range.

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One of the fabric collections we know will get a special mention in Pluckley is the Downton Abbey range. Inspired by the iTV series which has just made a return to our screens (hurray for Granny Grantham and her one liners!) these fabrics come in a range of subtle blues and greens, with vintage style patterns. Perfect for adding a little Downton glamour to your wardrobe (Lady Sybil’s blouses?) or transforming your bedroom into a proper ladie’s boudoir (Lady Mary’s curtains?) these gorgeous gems will be on sale at the Pluckley Craft Show from the Emporia Fabric and Craft stand all weekend.

The Pluckley Quilt and Craft Show takes place from 10.30am – 5pm Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September 2014 at Pluckley Village Hall. Entrance is £4.00 which includes a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake. 

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And in other news … Those of you who have fallen in love with our Poppykin owls and the Natsy Batsy bear will be delighted to know that we have more of both in stock right now. Colourful, patchwork sleepy owls have been joined by a wide awake button-eyed owl, alongside some heavy-bottomed doorstop owls in stripes. Joining the owls on the Emporia shelves just in time for autumn are these beautiful brand new bears – available in bright pink with white flowers, and duck egg blue with pink roses.  Perfect for brightening up any room, sofa or bed, these lovelies are in stock now and waiting to be taken to a caring home!

Summer Holiday Craft Inspiration

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How’s your summer holiday going? Getting plenty of time to relax and chill out, or is it just as crazy as usual? We hope you’ve managed to get some time for a bit of sewing or crafting, as there’s nothing better than having a quiet moment by yourself or in a group to feel inspired and get creative when you need a break. Despite having loads of projects lined and ready to go, (and several uncompleted ones shoved to the back of the cupboard – shhh) we still like to seek out new and exciting inspirational things to get us thinking. If you are feeling in need of a little crafty inspiration or feel like heading out and about this summer, we have put together a list of workshops, exhibitions, fairs and courses in and around Ashford that will get your creative juices fizzing with excitement. So check out the links below and be prepared to get your craft on:

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Craft Club Ashford

Taking place on Tuesday evenings from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, the lovely Melissa from Aye Aye, along with several other crafty types, will take you through a workshop involving various different disciplines all on a theme – currently everyone is working on a collaborative project based around the idea of Water. Whether you have never attempted any kind of craft before or are a real magnet for any kind of creativity, this is a fun and friendly workshop session that will have you getting to grips with new crafts and exploring old skills in equal measure. Melissa says, “We skill share, so we all help each other develop in different areas. The idea is that everyone has some talent and we pass that on to each other through projects,  so we help each other as a group and explore together.” Located above Caffe Nero, the Craft Club is free to attend.

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The Centre for Creative Enterprise

The CCE is a great place for crafters – full of local artists’ wares and inspirational people. If you are a crafty type or want to be one, this is the place to come to learn new skills or find out how to set up your own business. Combining networking and hot-desking with art and crafts workshops, the CCE truly brings together the creative and the corporate in the best way possible. New courses start up again in September, with a porcelain jewellery making course kicking off the new season on Saturday 20th.

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Kippy’s

Speaking of ceramics, Kippy’s is one of Ashford’s best kept secrets when it comes to drop in crafts. If you fancy decorating plates, cups, piggy banks or a variety of other pottery goodies, you can pop in and have a go, and then wait a couple of days for your item to get its turn in the kiln. Once it’s out and glazed, it’s yours to collect. An easy and simple craft for anyone with any arty skill or even none at all, its something you can do with the kids too. Prices start from pocket money level (£6.00) and go up according to the size and complexity of the original ceramic design, meaning it won’t break the bank as holiday entertainment.

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Things We Do in Bed Quilt Exhibition

Curated by the historical fiction novelist Tracey Chevalier, this exhibition of quilting takes place at the gorgeous Georgian mansion that is Danson House in Bexleyheath. Running until the end of October this year, this show makes for a fascinating day out for anyone with a passion for sewing. Find inspiration in quilts new and old, and see what kind of bed quilt your grandmother would have made for friend’s wedding or for a new baby. Ranging from huge celebratory pieces from the 1700s up to present day artworks by the likes of Turner prize winner Grayson Perry, this show is a must see for anyone who is thinking about venturing into the world of quilting but needs a bit of a shove in the right direction.  Entrance to the exhibition is free alongside a ticket to Danson House – £8.00 for adults, £6.00 for children.

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Hastings Town and Country Show

Taking place this weekend, 16th – 17th August, Alexandra Park hosts the annual Hasting Town and Country Show. Giving you the chance to make your own arts and crafts, as well as buy things from local makers, you can also indulge yourself with delicious locally produced food and specialties from farms in the area. All this plus birds of prey and working dogs shows, and plenty of other farm inspired entertainment, so there is loads to get interested in on both days of the show. Tickets are £5.00 for grownups and £2.00 for children.

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Adult Education Courses

And if all that wasn’t enough inspiration for you, there are vast amounts of craft courses taking place throughout the year at various locations around Ashford. Pottery, lacemaking, silversmithing, bakery, woodwork and metalwork, upholstery and embroidery are just some of the subjects you can tackle on these courses. Lasting either a few weekends or an entire year, you can learn fantastic skills that will develop your own crafty knowledge and could even lead to you thinking about a new career – how much more inspirational can you get? Day and weekend courses run throughout the year, and new termly courses start up in September. Prices start from around £15.00 for a one off session.

STOP PRESS!
Emporia Market is back! Yes, the market is finally coming back to Ashford and bringing with it all the crafty and vintage loveliness that you have come to expect. Taking place over the weekend of Friday 19th and Saturday 20th September 2014, the market will be crammed full of all kinds of delicious crafts from the usual suspects, including Lil’ Tea Tank, Aye Aye, Richardson and Richardson, plus loads more. Come and find us in Park Mall and give us a big old hug – we’ve missed you!

Feeling Felty

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This week we are feeling decidedly felt, so we thought we would share with you some of the felt decorations that are on sale in the shop. Made by the lovely Jacquie, these delightful designs have been gracing the shop walls and cupboards for quite a while now, and selling regularly to customers who fall in love with her quirky, homemade styles and folksy designs. Ranging from dinky little felt birds on sticks to large hanging cushions, the felt creations are all embroidered and decorated with buttons and ribbons, in bright colours and soft pastels. Perfect for giving as gifts or to brighten up your home, our favourite designs are the fabulous flowers.

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Funky patterned flowers and funny little birds on sticks are ideal for putting just about anywhere around the house to brighten up a dull corner. We’ve got ours in vintage jugs and flower pots on the window sill. Or you could add one to your pen holder for a spot of crafty brightness at work.

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These hearts are simply gorgeous, and perfect for giving to someone you love. We think the wreath of mini white hearts would make an ideal wedding gift, or how about the dinky little hearts with beads for a new baby. Hang them on your kitchen cupboards or on the drawers of your bedroom to remind you of the ones you love.

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The quirky little felt houses have a real Scandinavian vibe we think and would make a fantastic house warming present for anyone who has just moved home – students off to university come September would certainly appreciate a little homely warmth to take with them to their halls of residence. Or these cheery hanging cushions in vibrant colours would do the trick too. Covered with beading and embroidered with happy words, they are just right for hanging off bedposts or on wardrobes to inspire you first thing in the morning.

Are you a fan of felt? Would you like us to stock felts in the shop? Maybe you like to make Christmas decorations with it or other little crafty bits and bobs – the fabulous thing about felt is that it doesn’t need hemming, so it’s perfect for quick makes. If you are a felty crafter and would like to see various colours of felt on the shevles of Emporia, let us know! Leave a comment below or pop into the shop and tell us in person – we always love a visitor – and if enough people tell us they need it in their lives, we’ll get it in!