Monday, 30 March 2015

Less Bonnet, More Bunny Ears: our Top 5 Easter DIYs

Easter will be upon us this weekend and you might be looking for some last-minute crafty cramming or egg-inspired exploits. 

We pin glorious crafty stuff to our Pinterest boards 24/7 (well, almost) so we've built up a wealth of pins and projects on our EASTER EVERYTHING board over the past few years. Occupy the kids when their fingers are a-buzz from a chocolate-induced sugar high, or take a quiet moment for yourself to create an Easter table centerpiece or a cute bunny-eared gift for your lucky kith and kin. Have yourselves a browse, get lost in the depths of our obsessive tutorial hoarding, or just take 5 minutes to check out our 5 favourite Easter DIYs:

#1 Quirky Hungry Bunny Treat Bags by Lil Blue Boo

#2 Cutest Knitted Bunnies by Clare Garland of Dot Pebbles via Mollie Makes

#3 Pretty Eggshell Votives by Martha Stewart

#4 Charming bunny backpack for the Kiddos by Sew Much A Do

#5 Traditional Eatser Egg Dyeing with botanicals by Krokotak

If you want to get together with other crafters to create something wonderful, or learn a new skill, we've got huge variety of craft courses happening over the Easter break: Lino Printing, Screen Printing, Conquer Your Sewing Machine and Clothing Alterations to name but a few. Carve some time out for yourself to craft with us. Sociable, friendly, half-day or full day crafting courses in the Northern Quarter.

Happy Easter from the Ministry of Craft team!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Party People - Top 5 Hen Party Pit Stops in Manchester

There's a whole ton to do in Manchester if you're planning a hen party. So much so that I fear you may be crushed by the weight of indecision. So here's my top 5 things to do to get your party started...

It's so simple! Bring your girls (and guys, of course!) to your own private crafting session: you can sew personalised wedding bunting, make vintage-chic fascinators, craft tea-party-inspired fimo jewellery or sew up a sassy snap frame purse. You can hold your party within the industrial-chic-pegboard-paradise of our Fred Aldous classrooms, or you can take afternoon tea at Rosy Lee (on the opposite side of Stevenson Square) and craft with us upstairs in the decadent Fitzgerald suite. We're very popular (if we do say so ourselves) so book your date as early as you can to avoid disappointment.

#2 Fred Aldous: visit the Vintage Photo Booths
How many hens can you cram into a photo booth? I genuinely don't know, but I hope we're about to find out. Bring a purse brim-full of pound coins and visit both the black n white and colour vintage photo booths on the ground floor of Fred Aldous. This is a MUST DO for any Manchester hen weekend and you can share your photos using the #FAphotobooth hashtag.

#3 Home Sweet Home
If it's cake you're after (It is. Of course it is.) then take a look at Bake-o-Rama cakes at the delightful Home Sweet Home. If Lady Gaga baked cakes, they would look like this. HSH doesn't take reservations, so speak to them about the best time to go. They do great food, awesome shakes and you can get the cakes to go if they can't squeeze you all in!

#4 Breakout
Something completely different. 'Breakout is a live escape room game located in Manchester. You are locked in a room with friends, family or work colleagues for an hour and have to solve a series of puzzles and mysteries to escape. You will have to search high and low for clues and work together if you want to escape. You have 60 minutes to escape using only your brain...' It gets a 5 star review on Trip Advisor and lots of our hens are doing it!

#5 Ginger's Comfort Emporium
Ginger's started life as a cute pink ice cream van, selling Chorlton Crack (an unbelieveably good salted caramel and peanut butter ice cream) at the local food markets of South Manchester. But the masses demanded greater access to the dreamy creaminess so they opened an ice cream parlour on the first floor of the infamous Afflecks Palace. If you don't mind pushing past the Saturday crowds of teenagers choosing goth jewellery and day-glo rave gear then it's really worth a try. A fabulous place to people watch PLUS you're ideally placed to start a tour of the Northern Quarter's cocktail bars. Now go forth and party!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Book Review & Giveaway - Beanies & Bobble Hats by Fiona Goble

We enjoyed our last book review so much that we badgered CICO Books into sending us some more of their exciting titles. So here, for your enjoyment, is Beanies & Bobble hats by Fiona Goble (published by CICO Books last month, rrp £12.99).

You'd be forgiven for thinking that woolly hats are only for winter, but it's just not so. Here in Manchester it's SO cold and dank that we need a hat most months. But also there's something so cool and kooky about topping your outfit off with a beret or headband, and if you've hand-knitted it yourself then you can really bask in your own glory.

The book has very contemporary styling and is right up my street. Photographs of all the projects are featured in the first half of the book and all the patterns and instructions in the second half. This might seem like a small detail to mention but I found it very pleasurable to browse the glossy photos first and pick a project that I loved before turning to the 'business' section to find out how to make it.  

There are only a couple of projects in there that don't tickle my fancy, and out of 36 that's pretty darn good. There's something in here for everyone: from complete beginners to experienced enthusiasts.

As well as knits for adults there's an excellent kids' section too, cute makes for boys or girls and a Halloween pumpkin hat to boot. The knitted crown is definitely going to go down well in my household. The kids will think it's for them, but actually it'll be for me.

At Ministry of Craft we run a range of knitting and crochet courses, so if you'd like to try your hand at knitting under the tuition of a very capable and patient tutor, take a look at our courses. It might be just the thing you need before going off piste into the world of knittery.

If you'd like to win a copy of Beanies & Bobble Hats then click through to our FB page, like us (if you don't already) and leave a comment on the Beanies & Bobble Hats photo album: tell us who you'd knit a hat for and why. We'll choose our favourite answer on Monday 23rd March. Make sure you enter before midnight on Sunday 22 March to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Best Mother's Day Makes

Mother's day is upon us and there's still time to make something special and unique for your Mum!

We've been scouring Pinterest for our favorite DIY's and here they are:

 DIY Gold Dipped Log Candleholders - lifeovereasy for Etsy

 And if you don't fancy making something yourself why not spend some quality time with your Mum this Mothering Sunday at our Sew Simple: Introduction to Hand Embroidery course.

As well as learning to embroider you'll take home a beautiful Russian doll tea towel and nothing says Mother's day like matching tea towels!

Whatever you do we hope you have a fantastic Mother's day.