So yesterday I made the lovely journey to Newcastle in Co.Down to visit ‘The Craft Loft’ at Annetts childrenswear and nursery. I love Newcastle and although it was raining I was determined not to let it ruin my day as I had a fun filled afternoon ahead! A few weeks prior a lady called Phyllis Annett got in touch with me about a blogger event she was hosting in her craft store, a craft workshop with afternoon tea. It sounded a bit unusual and not something I have ever really blogged about and so I thought why not?! I have dabbled with crafting in the past; a little decoupage and jewellery making and I have always really enjoyed it and actually find it therapeutic so I wasn’t a complete novice but I still knew I had lots to learn! Prior to our arrival Phyllis gave us some options of crafts that we could do and when I seen upcycling a chair listed I jumped at the chance as this is something I have always really liked the idea of but upholstering and using chalk paint has always scared me away.
When I got there I met the lovely Phyllis who honestly couldn’t have been more welcoming! She is so warm and friendly and really adds a special something to the family run store. The Craft Loft above the childreswear department is a little treasure trove full of little craft bits and bobs, some joules homewear and I also spotted some Sass and belle (I love their stuff!). But most importantly the craft loft is a stockist of Annie Sloan chalk paint and fabric. So yesterday we got to grips with learning exactly how to use it and got a flavour of the various different projects that it can be used for.
I wasn’t sure who else was going or how many but there were three other bloggers all of whom I have met at one event or another and so I felt at ease really quickly knowing I was in great company. Phyliss had kindly laid out an apron for each of us and had sourced me a chair to upcycle too!
The first thing to do was select my fabric and paint colour which might sound easy but there is so much choice! I first of all was drawn to the world map print of this Annie Sloan fabric so from here I chose a paint colour to match.
Although everyone was doing a different craft the principle to applying the chalk paint a was the same so Phyllis showed us all how best to use the Annie Sloan brushes in order to get the paint on in the most effective way. I initially was being to neat and delicate with my application but Phyllis showed me that it was better to add more to my brush. Having never worked with this type of paint before I was unaware that you could thin it by simply adding water in order to make it easier to manipulate so every so often when the paint felt thicker and less easy to transfer from brush to chair Phyliss showed me how adding a little water really helped.
With one coat of paint on my chair I could really see it starting to take shape. The other girls were also getting on great with their crafts. After leaving that to dry and applying another coat it was definitely time for tea! One thing I notice about crafting is that you never see the time going in!
Phyllis had set up the most beautiful table full treats; a cake stand of traybakes, a homemade cake as well as homemade scones with cream and jam! We were also privledged enough to useher late mother’s China tea set (another beautiful personal touch). It was the most beautiful set up and such a lovely treat!
I had to steal this photo from the craft loft Instagram as it perfectly summed up our day!
Tea and chats over and it was back to some crafting to finish our masterpieces! Time to wax our pieces, upholster my chair and for the girls to put the final touches to their various different projects.
Phyllis really helped me with the upholstery but I put the final staples in…she was very brave to trust me!
And with that my chair was practically complete! Her husband (another friendly and welcoming asset to the store) helped screw the seat back onto the frame and ta da look at my final product! Delighted!
I really can’t thank Phyllis enough for all of her hard work and kindness! Her enthusiasm for what she does shines through and for that I hope the craft loft goes from strength to strength! Phyllis runs workshops from the craft loft for groups or one to one basis as well as hosting groups out in the community for both children and adults. If you would like any further info don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or follow the craft loft on Instagram @the_craft_loft or tel: tel: 02843722293
The craft loft can be found at 35 Main Street Newcastle above Annetts childrenswear. Definitely go and visit to see it’s quirky interior. You will definitely leave with lots of craft inspo!