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Friday, 27 April 2018

April Spring Blog

Hi, I'm Hermoine from the BellaCrafts Team, and I'm so glad Spring is in our steps! Welcome back Spring, dear friend, how nice it is to see you again!! Taken from the beautiful poem ‘Spring’ by William Blake...
‘Little boy, Full of joy;
Little girl, Sweet and small;
Cock does crow, So do you;
Merry voice, Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year'

Spring is my absolute favourite. It brings nature back to life; colours slowly start replacing the dull grey /brown hues of winter, the air starts to feel warmer and the days begin to lengthen and I actually feel like I’m coming out of hibernation (and a long love affair with my pj’s). These things in turn give us that little bit more energy and spark of creativity, that urge to make and do!!

It is also the time of year that we start that ‘Spring Clean’ and step outside into that forgotten room, the garden. Like many others I know, and possibly you, I am a fair weather gardener so the task of confronting the now brown leaves on the grass from my willow tree (insulation for the ground I like to think) is always the most dreaded. But, I did it and whilst cleaning the leaves I started to gather small branches that had fallen during the winter months, I’ll make something from those, I thought.

With the most recent burst of sunshine I have been pottering about more and more and what I love so much about this time of year is how my outside becomes a room for us, a beautiful living space to spend the majority of our time in. Oh, and I found a use for those sticks...we decided to make some decorations to hang around the garden, just from things we found in our craft stash, and here is one adding a bit of extra colour to a lilac just about to bloom:

Another of my favourites about spending time outside (apart from the obvious much needed vitamin D /suntan) is planning parties for the upcoming warmer months, whether it’s a last minute picnic, an afternoon tea or a barbecue (although we know these make the rain appear, haha) it’s always a great excuse to gather with friends and loved ones. Oh and there must be bunting, I’ve just hung ours out to add that extra bit of colour to the garden (this fair weather gardener also gets impatient waiting for seeds to germinate).

I have also loved watching my small human welcome in Spring with such delight, 'the fairies will need their garden decorated too Mummy’, well of course they will....

I have had my heart set on this little Toadstool since it first came into BellaCrafts a few months ago so I finally decided to treat myself. It is actually a tea light holder; although it’s not been quite warm enough to enjoy it outside, yet.

The crafts shown here have hopefully inspired you to create that little bit extra for your garden too and they will also be available to make in our upcoming workshops over the summer so keep those crafty eyes open for further dates!!!

At BellaCrafts we're here for you 7 days a week. And if you are missing us during the hours that we are closed, you can always follow us on Facebook to keep up with news from The Barn and check out our Pinterest page for further crafty inspiration! We also love to see your creations so please feel free to share your pictures with us!!

You're welcome to pop in anytime, whether you would like to create, learn a new skill, ask for advice or pick up those materials for that project you’ve wanted to start for months but haven’t yet got around to....we would love to see you!

Well, I feel inspired. I’m off to pick up that crochet hook again! Oh, our Belinda will be running a beginners crochet workshop this Sunday 29th April as a matter of fact. If you would like to join us then please click here for further details:

You’ll be hooked!!!
Hope to see you soon!!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Springing Into Action

It’s March. Spring is on its way! Or at least we think it is? Okay it has been mostly snowing and FREEZING cold, but we can’t help but dream about Spring. Spring is a crafter’s heaven, the pastel colours, the Easter décor, the desire for fresh starts and new craft adventures! As a team we all have notebooks jam packed with workshop ideas  and our own personal craft makes to do lists. The word Spring just makes so many delightful arts and crafts opportunities ‘spring’ to mind! 
Seize the day and ‘spring’ into action by learning new skills and treating yourself to crafty activities with us.
 Our Spring festival is less than 20 days away and we cannot contain our excitement. We host two annual BellaCrafts Festivals each year and our Spring one 23rd, 24th and 25th March is guaranteed to be one of our best yet! As well as a whole host of workshops and demos you’ll be the first to see our new stock, grab a promotion and refreshments are on offer all weekend!

We promise to ensure you are immersed in a craft haven all weekend.
 Here at BellaCrafts we always invite a special guest to show off new ideas and techniques!
Donna Mcghie is our special festival guest and will be here on the 25th to teach Powertex. Donna specialises in Powertex, murals, face painting and sculpture- to name a few. Her work is completely unique.
The team at BellaCrafts had the opportunity to interview Donna, so you can have an exclusive insight into the local artist’s thoughts and feelings about all things arts and crafts, her sentimental motivations and her tips for trying new craft activities. Enjoy!

 BellaCrafts: Have you always had a strong interest in arts and crafts?  
Donna: Yes always.  As a child I had a wall in my bedroom that was my ‘mural wall’ which I was free to paint on in any way I chose to do so.  I’m sure this encouraged my love of working in a large expressive fashion.  I also used to doodle over everything in sight, including my clothes. (I still do this, it is very rare you will see me in a pair of undoodled on jeans) 

BellaCrafts: What artists have inspired you previously?  
Donna: I love really expressive artists like Van Gogh, Frances Bacon and Klimt.  The bigger and bolder the better for me. 

BellaCrafts: What are some of your favourite materials to work with? 
Donna:I love finding stuff that has been discarded and using Powertex to upcycle it.  Old boots are great to rework, along with old bottles and dolls that have been thrown away.  I love a scavenge in that little shed place at the council tip – all sorts of goodies to be found in there 

BellaCrafts:What artistic creation has been your favourite to work on?  
Donna: I think probably my dragon’s head  ‘Kimberley’.  I didn’t really have a plan in mind for her, just went with the flow, and ended up adding all sorts of bling in the form of discarded costume jewellery which I think really enhance her.  She is up for sale, but I have to admit I will be quite sad to say goodbye to her. 

 BellaCrafts: What are your three top tips for trying a new craft activity? 
Donna: One;Don’t worry about getting it wrong – that is how we learn what works  Two; Don’t compare and despair – we all have our own unique style, and that is just as it should be  Three; Do enjoy experimenting – for me, it is as much about enjoying the process as the end result.

BellaCrafts: What can our customers expect from your workshop?  
Donna:To be encouraged to develop their own style. I love to see how people’s personalities shine through in what they make. You will get messy, so do please wear old clothes.  And you will definitely have a lot of fun.The other thing that is very important to me, is that my workshops are Art 4 A Heart Workshops, which means that £5 from each person gets donated to the Papworth Hospital Charity as a way of saying thank you as my husband had a life changing heart transplant in 2016. 

BellaCrafts:What is your favourite thing to make using Powertex?  
Donna: This changes on a regular basis, but I think my favourite thing at the moment is upcycling old boots.  I did a workshop recently where a lady wanted to do a boot in memory of her father, who loved walking.  What she made was absolutely beautiful and I felt really honoured to have played a small part in helping her create such a meaningful tribute to someone she loved very much. 

BellaCrafts: If you could attend any one of our upcoming workshops (apart from your demo) which would you choose and why? 
Donna: I think it would be the silk painting, because of my love of colour.  It would also be something that I could incorporate nicely into some of my Powertex work as well.  

Donna’s Powertex Journal workshop will allow you to learn amazing Powertex techniques to create beautiful textures with fabrics. Donna will talk you through all the basics and is perfect for complete beginners or experienced crafters!

Visit here to book your place:

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Donna as much as we did and we are over joyed and extremely lucky to have her as our upcoming special guest.

Don’t forget to visit our website, or call us:
023 8051 7054 for further details about our Spring Festival, or to book your place before we fill up! Remember if you book onto any of our Spring Festival workshops you will be entered into a free prize draw!

Plus there are loads more workshops coming up for Spring and Easter themes too!
We wish you a happy bright sunny Spring filled with great times crafting.

Much Love 
The BellaCrafts Team

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

We've Got Wedding Fever!

Wow. What a weekend we just loved hosting our open bridal days. So much joy and excitement to be shared! We met some lovely brides and were inspired by their colour choices and themes!
The whole team were in Friday, including our newest recruit Hermoine. We loved every second of setting up our displays and even got our noses into some bridal magazines, doing some very serious research..... not at all getting side tracked by dresses, photo shoots and venues!

We are perfectionists, so Friday evening included various group discussions from invitation display colour schemes to what vase the flowers looked best in etc! What can we say we are creative people so it just has to be perfect! The set up was beautiful.

Bloomin’ Clares, a local florist in Fair Oak was one of the local businesses we had at our open day! Bloomin’ Clares’ aim to create floral magic and they most definitely added a magical touch to our open day. I’m sure you would agree if you attended they smelt and looked INCREDIBLE. We love fresh flowers in our barn and were privileged to showcase her work!

Our team were on hand to inspire, inform and listen! Our services include bespoke jewellery, hand crafted invitations and craft stock a plenty to contribute towards achieving the perfect little touches for your big day! If you are getting married we would be more than happy to help and we love to make everything we design as personal to you as possible.

Among the tea drinking and cake munching we enjoyed sharing our free Make & Take with you brides to be and your trusty bridesmaids. Why not have a go at home following these simple instructions to beautiful paper craft bunting?
Among the tea drinking and cake munching we enjoyed sharing our free Make & Take with you brides to be and your trusty bridesmaids. Why not have a go at home following these simple instructions to beautiful paper craft bunting?
You will need:
·         Letter stickers
·         Patterned Paper or Card – a great way to use up some scraps!
·         A length of ribbon or lace
·         Paint – we chose white chalk paint but any colour would do
·         Pencil, paintbrush, scissors and a hole punch

1.      Use your letter stickers to create a triangle template. We found sticking our letters onto your template paper the best way to create the right size.
2.      Draw round your template onto patterned and cut out your triangles. Make sure you have the right number to spell out your word/words

3.      Punch two holes in the top edge of your triangles to weave your ribbon/lace through  
4.      Apply the stickers to the centre of each triangle, being careful to try and position at the same height on each
5.      Wash the colour over the triangles, being careful to make sure the coverage is even around the edge of the stickers for a crisp finish
6.      Add layers of paint until you can no longer see the pattern through the paint; this may vary depending on your background colour. We ended up applying four coats
7.      Allow to dry completely and then remove your stickers to reveal the beautiful pattern
8.      Weave through your ribbon or lace, allowing plenty at either end to hang
9.      Hang your beautiful bunting for the world to see! Now there’s no stopping you, why not repeat for Valentines, Easter, Christmas, Birthdays and more!

Missed our bridal open day? Do not fear we have another date in the diary!

Come along to our free Bridal Open Day on March 17th and 18th 11.00am-4.00pm. No need to book!

We just can’t wait to get cracking on with working with all you brides to be! We have lots of hen parties to plan, invites to make and jewellery to design. We certainly feel privileged that those who visited chose us to play such an important role in your big day!

                                                See all you crafters and Brides again soon!

                                                                           Happy making

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Spoooooooooky Lantern Countdown

There's just 5 days until Halloween so to help count you down, here are five spooky lantern ideas to get you and the kids into the seasonal spirit! We have some amazing lanterns in store available in both white or orange which are just what you need (trust us) as a fun seasonal activity, they make perfect home décor if you are planning THAT Halloween party too or just a lovely family get together over half term!

We have used five different techniques to use the product to its full crafty potential. Flexible, affordable and fun that’s us at BellaCrafts!

1.  Glittery Scenes!

What you will need:

Lantern, sharpie, lots of glitter (we mean it) and tacky


This is one of the simplest techniques; outline your silhouettes using the tacky glue fine precision nozzle. we chose to do the moon and tree silhouette. Please use our designs as guidance, you could create any spooky silhouette you desire!

Apply pressure to the tacky glue tube to pipe glue into the outlined silhouette.

Simply sprinkle glitter onto the tacky glue shapes,ensure to keep the lantern as level as possible to avoid the weight of the glue moving and leaking, distorting your desired silhouette.

Ensure you cover the glue with plenty of glitter and tap off the excess. As the glue dries you will find the glitter will soak into your silhouette nicely and with the excess shaken off will leave a neatly glittered silhouette and super sparkly spooky scene!

Use a sharpie to add any writing you may want.

2. Hand Painted designs 

What you will need:

Lantern, acrylic paint set and a paintbrush.

The lantern base can be tricky to sketch onto, so if you are feeling brave (go on you can do it!) use acrylic paints to free hand paint a design onto your lantern.

We chose to make a frightening pumpkin design! We blended warm rich oranges and golds, with darker undertones such as green and black to add detail and make the pumpkin lantern come to life!

Top tip for making this lantern make sure you allow the paint you have painted to dry before adding finer details, such as the pumpkins face! This will make it much neater in terms of appearance and easier to work on!

We chose to cover our entire lantern however you could paint simply an edge or just the middle part!

3. Spooky Silhouettes 

What you will need:

Lantern, Black card, scissors, double sided tape.

Cut out your desired silhouettes from black card, ensure detail is minimal, stick to a basic outline of a shape! We chose to do ghosts!

Top tip any minute details will become lost once placing inside the lantern! Simple is best for this one!

We also recommend using the white lanterns as these appear to be slightly sheerer than our orange ones and will look most effective.

Use double sided tape to attach the silhouettes to the inside of the lantern- as simple as this!

Your lantern will cast spooky shadows when lit and there you have it! 

4. Ghouls and Ghosts 

What you will need: Lantern, white tissue paper, double sided tape and googly eyes.

Using some white tissue paper cut it into strips and lay the strips over the lantern. We found using slightly longer strips to hang past the length of the lanterns was the most visually successful in creating a moving ghost shape when the lantern hung!

Attach the strips with the tape at the top of the inner lantern.

Add crazy creepy googly eyes to finalise the design (this is bound to prove popular with the children!)

Spooky effective!

5. Bat Attack Lantern 

What you will need: Black card, sharp scissors and double sided tape.

Choose your Halloween animal, we selected bats as we love the shape of them!

Use pencil to sketch your design onto card – or use an online template if you prefer to cut out the desired shape!

Ensure you cut as neatly as possible to create a defined shape. (Sharp scissors are essential to ensure detail)

Bend in half the silhouettes and attach double sided tape to the middle of the back of the shape. This will allow the silhouettes to be attached to the lantern in a 3d manor, which is particularly eye catching.

Apply the double sided tape along the fold and stick your creepy crawlies all over your lantern. 

SO simple but so effective we adore these Halloween lanterns and cannot wait to have them hanging up in our homes! Happy Halloween everyone and remember all the materials used can be found in our craft shop at the Barn! 

Why not pop in and see ours in store and join in with some of our spooky activities!

Visit for more info! 

Much love


Sunday, 7 August 2016

The New Forest Show

So moving on from a busy weekend we were straight off to set up the New Forest Show on Monday. We loaded up the car with ceramics, paints, fliers and a tent! Yes we decided to camp.... After long days working on a busy stall who needs a comfy bed and a good nights sleep after all?!

Day 1: We began by stacking up the car with everything we could cram in, and when we say cram, we mean cram. Locked and loaded we headed off to the show full of excitement and anticipation.

After missing our turn off, and the excitement slightly dwindled, we arrived over an hour later... not the twenty minute stroll we were expecting! Getting to the kids area at the show was fantastic though. It's huge and full of stalls from hot tubs to horses, arenas, art tents, beautiful gardens and delicious food. We set up the gazebo and unloaded everything we could before setting off to the campsite to put up the tent. Feeling very proud of our Girl Guiding backgrounds we headed back off to the barn to collect the final bits, then back to the show again to do the last bits of setting up and finally back to the tent.

Only slight problem, it was now dark and we had no idea where we had pitched our tent. After trawling round in the dark for what felt like forever we finally found it, set up our first class accommodation and went to brush our teeth, all ready for a good rest. Only thing was, we took the wrong path back to our tent. Once again we were circling around the dark, no idea where we were going or if we would find the tent. We trawled past caravans, tents, campervans and still no sign. By this point it was also cold and we were trying to decide who best to ring if you can’t find your tent, fire men would be good! Eventually back in our tent, day one done and dreams about firemen rescuing us all night long...

Day 2: After a chilly night in the tent we set off early to the show. And what a fantastic day, beautiful sunshine and fun had by all. We were kept well entertained by the dance performances, Crazy M the clown, choirs and more. There were some truly beautiful ceramics painted and there was a lovely atmosphere. Its always great to see families just enjoying time out together and everyone getting creative!

We loved seeing these three!

We wrapped up just after six and headed back to the tent. Loaded up with paint pallets to be washed we made our way down to the Dish Washing station, unfortunately we hadn't quite realised the how late it now was and we were running out of time to get there before the pub stopped serving food! After a long day there is nothing more important than pub grub! So after a quick debate about stashing the pallets in the bush, we headed to the pub with the pallets in hand. Not remotely embarrassing (!), still a lovely meal and then to bed.
Belinda carrying our box of pallets

Day 3: More ceramics. More Crazy M the Clown, more choir singing and most importantly, more sunshine! Another lovely day and it was great to see some of our well known customers around the show too. Belinda was up to her usual antics, posing with a horse, very funny!

Day 4: An earlier start to make sure we could pack away the tent before the show but we were up bright and early ready to go! One of the highlights of the day was heading to take part in the Welly Wanging World Record attempt. After much military style organisation, the welly wanging took place with both young and old taking part. A hilarious end to a fantastic week. After packing up our stand it was finally time to head home. We were really sad to be leaving the show but looking forward to being back in our own beds and all ready for the next happenings! A huge thank you to Aaron Lawford from Sullivan Lawford who let BellaCrafts join him in the fab kids section!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Here, there and everywhere...

This summer we thought we'd let you in on the crazy world that is planning our External Events. Every year we attend school fetes, festivals, country shows, markets, plus team bonding days! We thought we'd give you all a sneak peak into what happens when we get out and about! So here we go with our last weekend of events and do keep your eyes peeled for our next update.

The first weekend of the Summer Holidays really kicked off with a bang. We whizzed off on Friday to offer ceramic painting at the Netley Marsh Show and prepared some beautiful taster crafts for Southampton Uni's Summer party, followed by workshops at Ikea on Sunday.

Our Summer party went off without a hitch, lots of very happy crafters creating decopatch, hand sewn flowers and other projects, though as it usually goes, decopatch being by far the most popular! We think it was a great way to unwind for the end of term.

On the other hand, Victoria, on route to Netley Marsh, had a few hiccups... Having taken a slight detour (I.e. Programing the sat nav to the entirely wrong location and driving 20 minutes in the wrong direction) she arrived at the show to find her old banger had betrayed her and given up on the handbrake. Now any of you who know the Netley Marsh Show will know it takes place on hills and mounds, not the easiest place to find a a completely flat parking spot, but the show must go on! So some time later after a beautiful area prepared for young ceramic painters and novice hook a duckers, the RAC arrived at the show.

Car fixed and the real fun of painting and games could start. Beautiful weather, lovely visitors and marvellous creations, who could ask for a better weekend!

Ikea was a completely different world... with their plush internal offices and creative stations. We were tasked with preparing several upcycled jars - great fun! Then showcased our creations and ran workshops for eager participates. A really enjoyable day and we can't wait to go back.

Check out our next update where will be sharing the gossip about the New Forest Show and our little camping trip....
Til next time crafters!

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Getting Totally Muddy!

So this week we wanted to celebrate one of our team members doing something selfless for charity. Last weekend Victoria ditched her glad rags, threw on some old clothes and got covered head to toe in mud! Yep that's right in her hair, in her ears, not to mention where else...

And why we hear you ask? Well all to raise money for Cancer Research UK in their Pretty Muddy 5k. As many of you know BellaCrafts really embraces being part of the community and all of us love to see how arts and crafts can be a real therapeutic experience for those who may be having a tough time due to their own illness, supporting others at home or having lost someone dear to them. It's amazing to see how quickly people get lost focusing on the tiny flick of their paintbrush or obsessed by placing their sparkly crystals in exactly the right order, suddenly we forget all those issues and worries! And we know we'd definelty prefer to be crafting rather than getting covered in mud!

We met Victoria at the finish line, keeping our distance, as she ran towards us with arms wide for an embrace! Here's what she had to say:
"I had a great time running around getting totally splattered! I've never been much of a runner (or anything remotely sporty to be honest!) but knowing that you are running for a good cause and to make those who have supported you proud, there could be no better motivation. I personally have watched 6 family members and friends go through battles with cancer, some winnng, some sadly defeated and some on-going so it's something that I do feel really strongly about. I'm glad I can do something to give back... Next year 10k!!!"

Take a look and have a giggle as these totally flattering  pictures of our Victoria in her running gear. And for anyone who is having a hard time, whether it be due to illness or anything else, please do feel free to pop into us and just spend an afternoon in good company, with a cuppa wiling away the hours arts and crafts projects.

Check out those legs!

If you entered the Race for Life or Pretty Muddy we'd love to see your photo's too. Leave us a comment below :)