The countdown to Christmas begins!

Well today is the start of advent, how will you start counting down the days? We can’t believe that December is actually here. We have been talking about Christmas since September when the Christmas stock arrived and now we are panicking that there really aren’t many days left. Arghhhhh

Have you done all your Christmas shopping yet? Fret not if you haven’t even started. Crafty Monkey is open Monday to Friday from 10am until 5pm and Saturday 9.30am-5.30pm where you can come and purchase a gift voucher, make a bear, buy bear outfits, make silver print jewellery or paint pottery. There really is something for everyone.

2013-11-20 18.10.20.jpgMums, why not book in for the little one and we can take an impression of their hand and foot print and you can take a leaflet home to pass to Dad or the Grandparents who can give us a call to order your special jewellery piece. Easy peasy for them and you get a perfect present too!2013-11-15 19.54.46.jpg

We are open on a Thursday evening until 9pm (by appointment) for adults only to come and paint in a relaxing atmostphere. We have mellow and calm tunes on the stereo and there are no kiddies so you can come along, chill out and get away from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas craziness and paint something either for you or as a present. Our Christmas range isn’t just for kids you know, after all you do need a nice dish for your peanuts don’t you! We sell hot drinks to keep you warm from the winter chill or you could always bring a tipple with you and your pals for a little Christmas get together. Perfect we say!

See you soon!

Talk like a Pirate Day – 19th September

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Ah me hearties, at Crafty Monkey we love the theme of Pirates and Princesses so when we found out that 19th September is talk like a pirate day, our timbers were certainly shivered!

We always have in stock a range of pirate pottery pieces to paint, which range from skulls to parrots to actual pirates, arrrrr matey, or you could pick a mug or a plate and paint a pirate theme onto it! We can always arrange for a pirate and princess themed party. Or if build a bear is your thing then you could treat your build a bear to a pirate outfits!

Also coincidentally,  I will be hosting a Birthday party soon which will be pirate themed so pin the eye patch on the pirate, walk the plank, pass the booty among other piratey games with the winners being able to take a dip in the treasure chest.  In order to get into the spirit I will certainly be brushing up my pirate accent (currently my pirate accent is somewhere in the middle of a farmers accent and an Irish accent!) and I’ve found a great little pirate talk translator tool which I will be making the most of!Pirate Plate

So why not release the inner pirate in you and what better excuse than on talk like a pirate day aye!

For more information on talk like a pirate day visit their website.

You Can be as Dotty as Us!

You may or may not know (probably not!) that today is International Dot Day. You’ll probably be thinking that there’s not much that you can do to acknowledge such a peculiar celebration, but you’d be wrong because at Crafty Monkey, we’re dotty every day!

Popping dots on pottery makes for an excellent way to embellish your piece and can be a wonderful finishing touch to personalised hand and foot prints.P1040975.JPGP1050655

Or it’s possible to decorate your entire piece with dots to form patterns and pictures (also known as Pointillism). image(1)dot

Getting dotty on pottery couldn’t be easier! All you need to do is find a paintbrush with a nice round end (as in, the opposite end to the brush part!), dip the end in pottery paint and press it onto the pottery surface. Voila! Quick, easy and super effective!

Why not pop along to give it a try?

Twit Twoo!

Owls for some reason always remind me of Autumn time, as well of course of being wise old things, so are relevant this time of year as new school years have just started and we are heading into Autumn.

At Crafty Monkey we have a large range of owl related pottery. There really are some lovely pieces in the way of ornaments, plant pot holders and cookie jars. If you haven’t seen them you’ll have to pop in as they are very popular and we know you will fall in love with them as much as we did.

Before and after our owl pottery has been painted and fired.

Teddy Bears Day – 9th September

The 9th of September is Teddy Bears Day, did you know that? We didn’t until we saw it on the internet. How exciting! We are a bit late in knowing about it this year but hopefully next year we will remember and maybe our bears could have a party!

Where did the Teddy Bear come from? We did a google search and found out the following:

During the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt was in office as President of the United States. He was a hunter. While hunting in Mississippi in 1902, he refused to shoot a small bear. The Washington Post picked up on this story, and made a cartoon of the event. Toy store owners, Morris and Rose Michtom, wrote to President Roosevelt for permission to call their stuffed animals “Teddy Bears”. Teddy bears became wildly popular. Their company went on to become the Ideal Toy Company, one of the largest toy companies in the world. (source)

Important Notice: Teddy Bear Day is NOT an official holiday. Your teddy bear does not get the day off. He still has to do his job and be loveable and cuddlesome.

What we would love to know is who has Built a Bear at Crafty Monkey. We would love you to share a picture of Charlie, our Crafty Monkey to our Facebook page so we can see what they are up to!

Happy 6th Birthday to us!!!

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We can’t quite believe that it’s our 6th birthday and we’re feeling ever so grown up!

In terms of birthday gifts, we’re fairly low maintenance. We don’t require new bikes or musical princess castles. We don’t even want a cake*. All we want is to see the happy smiley faces of our lovely customers who continue to visit and support Crafty Monkey. Without you lot, we obviously wouldn’t be here celebrating our 6th birthday and we’re sending you lots of love (even though it’s our birthday and it should be the other way round, but we’re selfless like that!)

Big thanks to you all…please come by and say hello and wish us many happy returns of the day!

Love from all of the Crafty Monkeys XXX

*This is a fib- we do want cake. Please bring us cake…

 

 

How To Make a Clay Imprint

Ever wondered about the process involved in making our splendid clay imprints? If you’ve had clay imprints done at Crafty Monkey, or indeed anywhere else, then you’ll be aware that it can be up to four weeks before they’re ready for collection. Read our step by step guide to find out why!

 

STEP 1

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First of all, gather your equipment. For the first part of the process, you will need:

a. A happy baby

b. Clay

In fact, it’s not essential that the baby is happy, any baby will do. By the time we’ve pressed their little hand and feet into clay, we can quite often transform ‘happy baby’ into ‘utterly bewildered’ baby, but that’s just part and parcel of the imprint fun…

STEP 2

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Cut a lovely piece of earthenware clay with a wire cutter. It needs to be about 2cm thick and around 20cm squared, depending on the size of the child’s hands and feet. Roll it out beautifully, taking care to watch out for pesky air bubbles and general bits of fluff that may fly out of nowhere onto the clay.

STEP 3

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Hold baby in a peculiar ‘Superman’ type position and get those little hands and feet pushed into the clay, taking care to roll up sleeves and trouser legs beforehand. You need to press quite hard to get a decent imprint and although it may look like you’re torturing the poor child, it doesn’t hurt them as they’re being pushed into a soft surface (honest!)

STEP 4

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Check for any imperfections and smooth them out with a little water on your finger if required. Cut the clay into a shape. Most of our imprints are cut into a rectangle with rounded edges, but some people prefer a wavy or square shape. Use a sharp craft knife and finish by wetting your finger and running it around the edges to smooth down any bumpy bits. If the piece isn’t to be framed, then pop two holes in the top using the end of a paint brush so that it can be hung on the wall with ribbon or wire.

STEP 6

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Leave the clay to air dry on a flat surface for around 10-14 days. You can do other things during this time as it doesn’t need watching or petting, it just gets on with its own thing.

STEP 7

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When the clay has lightened and is completely dry, pop it carefully into a kiln and cook it!

STEP 8

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Anytime after it’s been removed from the kiln, it’s time to get on with painting it with pottery paint. This is the real fun bit and you wrestle with trying to get rid of brush strokes and get the colour even all over the prints! It’s a good idea to use two coats of watered down paint and then use a wet, very soft brush to get rid of any brush marks and even out the colour. Do this approximately a million times until it finally looks splendid. Decorate with a sponge border or whatever you require. Use a pottery paint pen to write the name and age and anything else you may want on there.

STEP 9

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Glaze the piece with specialist bisque glaze and pop back into the kiln for the second round of cooking!

STEP 10

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If the imprint is to be framed, then choose a lovely deep set box frame. Cut a piece of thick card and stick the imprint to it using specialist strong glue. When it’s dry, clean the glass of the frame and pop the imprint in and close the frame catches. It’s essential at this point that you undo the frame and do it back up again at least ten times owing to various bits of fluff and streaks on the inside of the glass.

STEP 11

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Pop your finished piece onto the wall, prepare to astound your visitors and lap up all the compliments about your amazing work of art!

See our blog post on clay imprints and plaster outprints.