About Me

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Hi there & welcome to Annie's Place. A place inspired by and named after my late Grandmother Annie. Somewhere I can be creative, and share my love for all things handmade. I like nothing better than sitting with hook & yarn, crafting something home spun & completely unique, or rustling up some yummy baked goodies. I live in a town with a beautiful embankment, situated on the River Great Ouse. You may know me as CosyKitty on Ravelry. Why not stop a while.....?!!

Saturday 20 May 2017

Handmade Fair Ragley Hall & Stratford Upon Avon

So this time last week I was driving west from home to visit The Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire. The opening day of the event was pretty soggy to say the least. From what I'd seen on social media Kirstie Allsopp was handing out rain ponchos to visitors.

Well I was happy to trade Kirstie for some sun on the Saturday. Although it would've been nice to have met her, considering she was pretty instrumental in encouraging me to pick up a hook and yarn some 7 years ago.

The setting was absolutely stunning. Acres and acres of beautiful grounds. Not sure £6 (on the day) to park was entirely fair. If it had been a free event then perhaps parking charges would've been justified. After all, the recent WI Fair and Country Living Fair both staged at Alexandra Palace in London offered free parking. Ho hum....

Once inside the enclosure, we took a mooch around. As the sun was shining we decided to do a circuit of the outside first, just in case a shower took hold later. 

There was a central marquee housing the market place, and several others that were on the perimeter. A couple were only accessible to VIP ticket holders. Sadly no VIP status for me, so could only guess what was going on inside. Mostly workshops and Q&A's with the crafty invited guest speakers. 

There were lots of food stalls as you would expect. I thought The Hippy Chippy was a funky little number......

Brown & Drury
The Pip House

The lure of the market place soon took hold, so we headed inside. I didn't really take many pics as I browsed the stalls. I know I've said this before, and I don't mean to sound like a broken record but you can normally get a vibe from the stall holder as to whether they mind you taking a few snap shots. 

Some stall holders give you the impression that if you're not buying, then move aside, and certainly no pics. Have any of you felt like that?? I appreciate smiles and chat don't pay for the costs incurred by these small businesses to exhibit at these fairs, but I do think you have to strike a balance. 

I did get a lovely shot of Gail Drury of Brown & Drury. She was lovely and smiley and chatty. Couldn't be nicer. Her collection of handmade luxurious scented candles and diffusers, were beautifully displayed. She had a rustic bag filled with scented fir cones for prospective customers to have a sniff at. Let me tell you they were divine. A clever idea I thought.

Daisy Glass
Yummy Little Cakes

Another very approachable stall holder was Mr Daisy Glass. I call him that because I don't know his name. When I asked if he would mind me taking a photo of the lovely glassware on the stall, he was quick to point out that it was his wife Sally's beautiful work and not his. Obviously didn't want to take the credit for the stunning pieces of contemporary handmade glass work on display. I thought that was very sweet.

After we'd had our fill of the fair, we headed into Stratford Upon Avon to do a bit of sight seeing. Never been there before, and what a lovely picturesque place it is.  Spotted a beautifully restored old bus, apparently built in 1950, taken out of service in 1964, lovingly brought back to life around 2012. Isn't she gorgeous??

The day ended with a lovely meal with friends, and a saunter along the riverside with an ice-cream.

I'm listing a few of the other traders at the Handmade Fair 
that I was impressed with here if you fancy a gander....

x x x x

*this is NOT a sponsored post

Friday 12 May 2017

Country Living Spring Fair 2017 - Alexandra Palace

It's been a couple of weeks since I attended the Country Living Spring Fair, and I've been meaning to share with you some snippets of my day. There never seems to be enough hours in the day recently, do you feel like that sometimes?

Since Mum passed away I've been trying to keep as busy as I can, and fill my days with things that make me happy. One thing that makes me very happy is being able to spend time around like minded people, who share similar interests. Those types of people were in abundance at this years Country Living Spring Fair, so I felt very at home.

Dangly Hearts

I confess to getting there very late on the final day of the four day event, big mistake. I really thought I'd have plenty of time, but yet again I underestimated how much time I'd need to fully appreciate & enjoy all the beautifully presented stands. Anyhoo, I did my usual and started at one end of the vast main hall and took a wander up and down each aisle. 

At every turn there was another stall to tempt me. I took a few minutes to have a good look, usually stopping to have a chat to the owner before asking if they would mind if I took a photo. I don't like to assume it's ok, so I always ask. Not everyone's happy for you to just snap away, so I think it's always polite to ask.

Dangly Hearts

One such lovely stall holder was Dangly Hearts. Isn't that a gorgeous display of their wares pictured above?!! Beautifully presented handmade textile gifts and homewares, using various embroidery techniques. Just lovely. 

The Gin Trailer

Because time was limited I didn't focus too much on the food and drinks stalls, although there were a lot to see. I just had to get a photo of the converted horse box trailer selling Gin. So cute.

Rustique Interiors

Now where do I start with this absolutely stunning selection of products from Rustique Interiors. I had the pleasure of chatting with the artist responsible for creating this exquisite work, Carey Naughton. 

All the place mats, coasters, cards, framed pictures, cushions, beautifully printed from original patchwork, applique and machine embroidered pieces.  I was completely enamoured by everything on this stand, and told Carey I would be dropping very large hints to all my family and friends when it comes to gift ideas for my birthday, Christmas etc. 

There was a specific print that I kept being drawn back to, but didn't have the funds to buy there and then. But it's still very much in my mind's eye, and I'm determined it will find a home with me some day soon. The Scots connection was a definite draw too. My father is Scottish, and I'm very very proud of my heritage.

There were several home sets around the venue, that were staged with lots of lovely items. I loved the bedroom set pictured above. Very calming, just how a space for sleeping should be. A subdued colour palette, soft & restrained, a sanctuary for relaxation. 

Oscar & French
Fen &Co

In my other life, I'd be one of those women that effortlessly wafts around, hair loosely tied up, fresh faced, freckled rosy cheeks (I've got the freckles so that's a plus I suppose), wearing her linen apron, baking, tending to her veggie patch in her cottage garden. Not quite Stepford Wives status, but not far off......you get the picture? I do covet such a lifestyle, but know life's not like that (for most of us).

You may be thinking where's Sharron going with this? Well here's the thing. You see; I was completely seduced by the Linen Aprons on offer from Oscar and French at the Fair, especially in the Sea Foam Green colourway.  Linen's their thing, and boy do they do it well..!! There were a fair few cushions on their stand that could find their happy place in my home that's for sure.

And d'ya know what? I didn't realise they are a 'local to me' company based just a few miles away in Clophill, Bedfordshire. Happy coincidence. We're practically neighbours....

I was also struck by some lovely handmade jewellery from Ria at Fen & Co. Nature inspired, incredibly unique pieces, with a vintage vibe.

Damson Tree Pottery

I made a little last minute purchase from the lovely smiley lady in the pic up there. That's Marieanne from Damson Tree Pottery. Her ceramics are wonderfully colourful, and many feature imprints of flora which make them very tactile. The bespoke tiles she creates are amazing. Such love and attention to detail goes into each one. 

I bought one of her Water Lily Pad necklaces. It's in the shape of a lily pad, fired in a spring green glaze with a cutesy daisy sitting proud on the surface. I've had some very nice comments whilst wearing it. Very happy with my purchase I have to say....

There were too many rails of gorgeous garments to count at the fair. In every hue, all floaty and feminine. Although a makeshift dressing area, behind a curtain at the back of a packed stand isn't always the ideal place to be trying things on. Not for me anyway. Still, it's the best that could be done given the layout of the exhibition. 

There were many stands that I didn't get snaps of, but were impressed with, so I thought I'd link to some of my favourites here if you'd like to have a nose.....

Off to The Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall tomorrow. 
Back soon with more tales, till then....x x x

*this is NOT a sponsored post
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