Make a Gift Day!

 

family bauble plate

Today is National Make a Gift Day and coincidentally it also happens to be one of our busiest days of the year!

We’ve had a very busy Christmas period as those of you who have been in over the last few months will know! Fingerprint Christmas Bauble

As usual, baubles have been our best sellers with hundreds of hand printed festive beauties having passed through our hard working kiln in the last four weeks alone.

2013-09-26 18.01.49.jpg

But we’ve also seen some other wonderful creations, including mince pie plates, Santa mugs and snow man tea pots. The loveliest thing for us is knowing that around 90% of the painted pottery leaving our studio is on its way to surprise a lucky recipient as a Christmas gift! There are many lucky mums and dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends out there that are about to become owners of super cute baubles where tiny foot prints have been turned into reindeer or plates featuring a Christmas tree made from little hand prints. P1030713.JPG

If you’re stuck for something special for a loved one- then there’s still time to make something at Crafty Monkey and have it ready in time for Christmas day.

 

Booking is essential at this time of year, so don’t forget to call us on 01480219222 to reserve yourself a table.

Ever Wondered What Goes on Behind the Scenes?

A comment that I hear from time to time is ‘You’re nice and quiet in here so you can relax’. It’s a lovely thought and I would love nothing more than to sit at the desk and stare at the side of the church opposite all day (or I could watch some paint dry very easily as I have the resources at my fingertips). The truth is that we’re always busy here at Crafty Monkey.

This time of year, believe it or not, is officially Christmas! Towards the end of September, we have many mums booked in to get their babies’ hand and footprints onto baubles (we love their organisation!) and mums’ group bookings become especially popular. By the end of October, we book our customers in back to back so that we can keep up with demand. We can eat lunch and have a wee in January- until then, we become super-human!

So, what goes on behind the scenes? Lots.

The most obvious thing is the production line. More than half of our customers will ask us to decorate their pieces for them. This means that every day, I have piles of stuff that need some love. Last year, I painted close to a million (give or take) antlers and red noses on footprint reindeers and I have written ‘Happy Christmas’ more times than Santa’s Elves have.

Our kiln is on most days during this period. Loading and unloading is something of a mammoth task and can take a couple of hours each way. It’s a top loading machine, meaning that we use heavy shelves and posts and it’s a bit of a balancing act…not for the faint hearted to say the least!P1070104

We then need to gather people’s orders together and organise them for collection. This is more difficult than it sounds as we have so much stuff constantly rolling in and it can get very hectic. We also struggle for space during Christmas as we are heaving with pottery and can’t fit it all into our usually ample window display space.

Other than that, we are packaging things up to post, dealing with the creation of imprints/outprints, painting commission pieces, receiving mail to be dealt with, ordering stock and battling with huge pallets when it gets delivered, keeping the shelves plentiful, answering the phone as it rings off the hook and attempting some form of tidiness in the studio. And the most time consuming and arduous task of all? Filling the little paint bottles up on the tables. If somebody could invent self-replenishing paint bottles, I’d be all over it!

That’s a brief synopsis of what goes on behind the scenes…there’s actually a lot more happening but I’d be here all day if I listed it all!

So that’s us until December 22nd. The rest of the year is similar but we’re slightly more time rich and we get to eat lunch. If you’d like to pop in and bring us a mince pie, we’d be most grateful. And if you wouldn’t mind liquidising it and feeding it to us intravenously, that’d be great…

Crafty Monkey’s FAQs!

Either by phone or in person, we’re used to being asked a range of questions by customers or passers by. Some aren’t sure that they’ve got what it takes to come in and create and others don’t know what we do in here at all!

Below are a range of questions and answers to help you figure out what it’s all about!

I’ve got no artistic talent, can I come and paint?

Yes of course! We will guide you through and be on hand to assist you. You don’t need artistic talent as we have plenty of pieces (such as ornaments) that simply need the colour adding to them and it’s really easy!

My child is only a year old, is she too young to paint?

As long as your child can sit up and hold a brush- she can paint! It doesn’t matter what the end result is- it’s their very own artwork and you can cherish it forever! If your child is a small baby, come in and make something with their hand and footprints on! We also do other keepsakes to capture your child’s prints, such as Silverprint jewellery and imprints and outprints. P1030377.JPG

What other activities are available at Crafty Monkey?

There’s plenty of fun to be had here! You can build your own bear, have fun with Foam Clay or create with decoupage.  We also run workshops from time to time (keep an eye on our facebook page for details). Adults evenings are on Thursday, by appointment.

Do you have a price list?

We don’t. This is because we have hundreds of different pieces of pottery and they are all priced individually. We often have new ranges of stock too. Everything has its own price and our studio fee is just £4, so it’s easy to come and browse and work out how much you’ll be spending. As a guide price, our average sized mugs start from £11.

Do I need to book an appointment to come in?

We always prefer it if you book. From October to December, booking is essential as it’s incredibly busy. The same goes for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and school holidays. If you’re coming as a group, always ring and check that we have space for you.

How long will it take for my pottery to be ready for collection?

Your pottery will be ready a week after the day you finish it. If you’re in a rush to get it back, we may be able to get it ready within three days for an extra fee of £3.

Can I do something to take away the same day?

Yes, you can do foam clay, build a bear or decoupage and take your creations home the same day! It’s also possible to paint ornaments in acrylic paint (not recommended for young children).

I need a special gift for somebody- can I get a commission piece made?

Yes, give us a call or come and see us and show us your ideas so that we can give you a quote. Alternatively, you can order a gift from our website where you’ll find a range of designs to choose from.

Is my baby too young to have handprints done?

No. We know that some studios have age restrictions, but we don’t! Our youngest customer was three days old…if you can beat that, we’d be happy to accommodate!

My baby won’t open his hand, does that mean I can’t have a print?

No, we have ways and means!

Do you sell refreshments? 

Yes we have hot and cold drinks and a range of small snacks.

Do you have baby changing facilities?

Yes, our bathroom is equipped with a changing station and mat.

Can I have a party at Crafty Monkey?

Yes, we’re party experts! We have a range of party packages for all eventualities- from kiddie’s birthdays to team building outings. Contact us or check our website for more info.

I am astonished that you managed to get my baby’s handprint. Are you magic?

Yes.

Do you sell knitting needles/gold plated buttons/fishing equipment/wallpaper?

No.

Do other babies make this much noise?

Yes. We are immune to it, don’t worry!

 

A Little Help For Santa

Help for santa

Everyone deserves to open a Christmas stocking from Santa- whether they’re 3 or 73; it’s a bit of fun as a Christmas morning starter.

But it’s often difficult for Santa to find gifts to pad it out! That’s where Crafty Monkey can help out! We have all sorts of trinkets and bits here that can be painted up to make the perfect present.

Know a keen gardener? Our little male and female gnomes are insanely cute and will fill a portion of a stocking nicely- they can even be personalised as some of them are holding a little name plaque! Any animal lovers in the family? We have a right menagerie of cute creatures from meerkats to mice! Are there any practical people in need of a thoughtful gift? We have all sorts of stuff that have uses beyond ornamental. Cups, door knobs, spoon rest, gravy boats to name but a few.

So if Santa would like to come and see us (we realise he’s very busy but he’ll enjoy himself!), make sure you ring up and book an appointment as Christmas is incredibly busy and we’d hate not to have space for him!

Call us on 01480219222 to book in or drop by to have a browse and book in. See you soon!

BeFunky Collage;kjn

Christmas is coming!

christmas is coming..

Christmas is upon us once again and our studio is swaying under the bulk of baubles once again. Each year, we think we’ve ordered enough baubles in to see us through the festive period but each year sees an increase in their popularity and we end up placing emergency orders for supplies! Last year this happened twice- the first time being at the start of October as we’d exhausted our stock of a couple of hundred!

As ever, our specialty hand print robins and trees and footprint Rudolphs remained the most popular design for our baubles and the demand rose for our famous ‘mistletoes’ plates and we produced several every day.

Amid the bauble and plate chaos- many other festive pieces found their way into our kiln, including standing snowmen, dancing reindeer and funky tree ornaments.

If you’re thinking of coming along and creating Christmas bits, get in as soon as possible! Call us on 01480219222!

Goodbye Sunshine… Hello Baubles!

Baubles

Well, what an amazing summer break we’ve had…or let me re-phrase that to ‘What an amazing summer, erm…time we’ve had!’

The monkeys in the studio have had very little in the way of ‘break’ time as many of you who have been in recently will have seen! We’re not complaining though, we like to be busy as it stops us from eating sweeties and complaining that we’re bored (does that sound familiar, mums?)

So now that the summer holidays are coming to a close and our kiln has cooked its fair share of ice cream cones and cup-cakes (pottery ones, not real ones, that would have been messy), we shall be getting a well-earned rest as the children go back to school…albeit for about two days until the inevitable Christmas rush starts!

Yes, I can hear your collective sighs as I type this, but I’m afraid it’s true- Christmas at Crafty Monkey starts early as folk clamber to get their little ones’ hand prints on baubles and mugs painted up for Grandad’s Christmas present. Christmas of 2014 surprised us by creeping up as the leaves had barely fallen off the trees, but this year, some baubles have crept into the kiln already…while we’re all still smelling of after-sun!

The old saying that ‘Christmas comes earlier every year’, really does seem to ring true here in the studio as the popularity of handmade pottery gifts rises and rises. So, with that in mind, if you visit us again soon and notice that our shelves are lined with jolly looking Santa plates and snowman cups before you’ve even put your barbeque back in the garage; please don’t be alarmed!

Please remember that although it is often fine to pop in on a whim at quieter periods, the run up to Christmas does get incredibly busy and we hate to have to ask people to either wait or return if there’s no free space. With that in mind, please call us in advance to book in- even if it’s just a few hours before you intend to come and we will do our best to accommodate you. Call Crafty Monkey 01480 219222

Why not show off your Left Handed skills

whats-your-superpower-slide (1)

Today is the day where those of us who are in the ‘left handed minority’ get to have a bit of fun with our right handed friends and family members!

The idea behind ‘International Left Handers Day’ is that right handed folk are asked to spend the day going about their daily tasks using their left hand to perform every action that they would usually use their right hand to carry out; such as cutting with scissors, peeling vegetables or using a mouse with their PC. By the end of the day, the ‘right handed majority’ will have encountered all kinds of inconveniences and difficulties as a left hander, which in turn brings the realisation of how difficult it can be for their left handed friends as they go through life having to adapt to tools and equipment designed for use with the opposite hand!

We’re definitely up for joining in at Crafty Monkey, so we’re going to have a go at painting a design on a plate with our left hands (let’s hope it’s not one of your commissioned pieces 😉 )

We’re all for inclusion at Crafty Monkey, so for those of you reading this that happen to be a left hander- fear not, as you will find that life is made easy for you in our studio. We are fully equipped to accommodate your needs with a selection of left handed paint brushes and left handed bottles of paint…we even stock left handed stuffing for when you Build a Bear…

Happy Left Handers Day!