Yesterday I completed a pre Christmas ritual. I travelled to the SECC to attend the CL Christmas Fair.
Can you spot Morag?
It was a beautiful day, crisp and clear with strong winter sunshine and the Fair seemed busier than ever which was great to see.
If you've never been before and you like crafty things and Christmas things and giant cakes then you would love it.
It's a mix of established retailers, food and drink producers and my favourite, makers of handmade items. I like handmade stuff, I like making stuff and I find browsing and mooching around the stalls really inspiring and come home with lots of good ideas, most of which will never materialise but I still love it.
This year I took my camera and have photos of some of my favourites to share with you.
Julia Smith Ceramics is a fair favourite of ours. Her designs are very clean and contemporary and incredibly tactile. If you approach a craft fair stall and instantly want to pick something up, I think you're on to a winner, and we oohed and ahhed over the buttons, brooches and I loved the clocks.
This is someone we seem to buy something from every year, Amanda Mercer completely nails vintagey, delicate handmade ceramic pieces and keepsakes. A treasure trove of lovely things awaits.
I think I'm drawn to ceramic makers because of the juxtaposition of lovely yet useful things. We all need jugs, bowls, buttons so why not have beautiful ones?
I loved Louise McLaren's paper cut art. I have such admiration for the skill and patience it must take to produce these works of art. I love the prints of her papercuts on bunting, homewares and the like but the framed papercuts and just exquisite.
The softest yarn in the world, ever? Probably. We found it at the Wear Alpaca stand. I was very lucky to be treated to kit which has the yarn and buttons for a neckwarmer, handwarmers and headband as well as the patterns for a very reasonable price (thanks Morag!) I suspect exposure to alpaca yarn may lead to further purchases however......
The company also uses fleece which is not up to yarn standard in hypoallergenic pillows and duvets which seems like a fantastically sustainable yet luxurious idea.
We also heard a little bit of Cherry Menloves session which prompted us to agree that next year we would be a bit more organised and sign up for some of the workshops which are offered during the fair.
And then it was most definitely time for tea!