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…

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Housewarming For The Kiln

Housewarming for the kiln

It seems that everybody’s on the move at the moment. Chances are that you know somebody who has recently moved or is about to move. But what do you get your loved ones for a house warming gift? Many people are already set up and simply moving from one home to another and have everything they need already. There are only so many sets of decorative glasses that you can fit in the cupboard!

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That’s why we’re lucky enough to see a whole plethora of ‘New Home’ based creations at Crafty Monkey! The lovely thing about DIY gifts is that you can create fantastic bespoke pieces to give your family and friends something that’s above and beyond what they’d usually expect to receive.

Many people like to paint plates and personalise their own ‘New Home’ design, which is great to pop on the wall for all to admire. However if you’re looking for a simpler gift, then we have plenty of bits and pieces that can be simply embellished by your own hand. From oil burners, soap dispensers, vases and pots in all shapes and sizes; we’ve got all the cute adornments for every mantelpiece and beyond!

We also paint commission orders, so if you don’t wish to do it yourself- pop along and chat to us and we’ll do the work for you.

Happy House Warming! hand and foot prints tree

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!

Time to re-group

Time to regroup

 

It’s a well-known thing that women are the more organised of the sexes, right? I’m sure we’ve all heard the joke about the nativity…

 What would have happened if it had been three wise women instead of three wise men who visited Jesus?

They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole and brought practical gifts.

Perhaps that’s why, at Crafty Monkey we are inundated with bookings from groups of mums who are getting their Christmas gifts organised en masse.

These wise ladies know that if they book in with us as a group of six or more, they not only save on the studio fee, but they get to get a catch up with the other mums and sort all their Christmas gifts out in one fell swoop!

And we love having groups of mums and babies in as the studio fills up with laughter and love and makes us feel ultra-Christmassy!!!

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If you want to get those little hand and footprints turned into robins and reindeers

 for the grandparents’ Christmas plates- or make a mark on some extra special baubles to treasure forever- round up your ladies and call us to get booked in!

And despite our little joke- dads are also welcome…

 

Check out our website for ideas of what you can make. 

 

Socks for Father’s Day…Again?

Socks for Father’s Day…Again?

Everyone who’s ever had a brother, dad, grandad, boyfriend or husband will know the difficulties we face when trying to find a perfect gift for a man. Unlike ladies, who are generally happy with all sorts of items that look or smell nice; our male counterparts tend not to appreciate the same vast array of pretty bits and pieces. So how do you go about attempting to conjure up an idea which reaches beyond something more original than socks for the tenth year running?

Fear not as this is where Crafty Monkey dons its superhero mask and cape and swoops in to save the day!  Not only do we have the good grace to stock some ‘manly’ bits of pottery such as beer tankards, king sized mugs and footballs cups- we have a whole bunch of plain pottery which is crying out to be personalised especially for daddy! 

Over the last few years, we’ve helped all manner of little ones and mums create a gift for daddy. You’d be surprised what you can do with a hand and footprint! If dad has a favourite hobby/sport/food- we can pretty much incorporate your little one’s print into some relevant work of art on a plate, plaque or whatever takes your fancy. You may have already seen our ‘Daddy’s Little Cookie Monster’ plate which proved very popular last Father’s Day!

Pop in or give us a ring for a chat and we’ll help you create the perfect gift for a daddy that deserves it!

Round up the Mums for Fathers Day!

Did you know that if you come along to Crafty Monkey in a group of at least six mums and tots, you’ll all get a free studio fee? Lots of people take advantage of this offer and we’ve had many NCT groups and gatherings of friends who all have children and want to come and get Crafty together while saving money.

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There are two occasions in the year when this offer is especially popular to get making special gifts– Father’s Day and Christmas. If you don’t fancy tackling the Christmas list just yet, then why not come along and make something lovely for the daddies? And don’t forget to make a giant mug or a beer tankard for the grandads (especially if it’s their first Father’s Day as a grandparent!)

There’s loads to choose from and we’re experts at getting those clenched fists and wriggly little toes onto pottery! If you have slightly older children- they may want to paint Daddy a mug or a plate all by themselves.

If you want to take advantage of this great offer then round up your pals. agree a date and then give us a call to book your group in on 01480219222