As a craft blogger and journalist I was keen to check it out for myself and was lucky enough to be invited along to have a go at each of the arts and craft sessions being put on, so early birds in the morning I donned my crafting cap and headed off to town, looking forward to a day of non-stop creativity.
I was certainly not the only person to have the same idea by any stretch of the imagination. By the end of the day, over 100 people had flocked to Fred's to get their craft on and organiser Sam Sterken was, in her own words, "absolutely exhausted". And that definitely should not come as a surprise, given how many classes were held throughout the day. I began by sitting down to do some upcycled corsage-making, using old stockings, knee socks and tights.
Never having tried anything like this before, I was a little concerned that I would fail abysmally but with Sam there taking me through each simple step, I very quickly ended up with a beautiful little flower that wouldn't have looked out of place at the poshest of weddings.
Here's my first attempt (and it certainly won't be my last - I'll never throw old tights away again!):
As soon as I'd put my wire cutters and florist's tape (great invention) down, I had to hotfoot it over to the Little Paper Cakes station, where owner Anna Sullivan was waiting to show me how to achieve perfect icing and make oh-so-sweet cake decorations out of sugar paste. After fashioning a few flowers and whizzing around my cake with the icing bag, I was the proud owner of one very professional-looking cupcake (although I'm sorry to say that it didn't last much longer than it took for me to snap a photo of it and I wolfed it down in about two mouthfuls).
This is what I came up with:
As you can see, in just half an hour Anna was able to show me how to create something that would probably cost £5 in the shops. Success!
I had only just finished swallowing down the last morsel of cake when I had to rush on over to the purse-making table, run by expert seamstresses Sam Moylan and Alison Leese. While I do own a sewing machine, I wouldn't say I knew my way around it particularly well just yet and am keen to know more, so was excited and concerned in equal measure about tackling the purse. Luckily, Sam and Alison know their stuff and every time I - or anyone else in my session - had a problem they were there in an instant, armed with new bobbins, unpickers and spare scraps of fabric.
As a result, I ended up with this wonderful purse and, even better, the knowledge that I could make another one of these with ease:
As Saturdays go, this was one of the best I've spent in a long time and I know I'm not alone in thinking so. The atmosphere throughout the day was great - if a little hectic (definitely part of the charm) - and every now and again there was a happy laugh as someone finished their little project and was very pleased with the results. No doubt there were at least 100 mothers up and down Manchester who have never been so spoilt in their lives!
Till next time, arts and crafters!
So - who else went along on Saturday? What did you enjoy making the most and - most importantly - did you make your mother's day?