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.

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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.

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How to use silkscreens on pottery – a Step by Step Guide

2016-02-1013.21.19.jpgWe’ve produced some lovely items lately using silkscreen and we’re so pleased with the results that we thought we’d be kind enough to share our secrets with you in our step-by-step guide!

Here’s how we made our funky Lambretta plate!

 

STEP 1

Begin by choosing the base colour for your plate. We chose white because we wanted to give our plate a stripy background so used it as a nice light colour for our first application of paint. 2016-02-10 12.53.01.jpg

STEP 2

Using a sponge, cover the plate in three coats of underglaze. You’ll need to work quite quickly as you don’t want the paint to dry out completely just yet.                                                                                                                                                     2016-02-10 12.53.32.jpg

STEP 3

If you’re making a stripy plate like we did, tear up some strips of paper and dunk them in cold water. If you wanted nice neat stripes then you can cut them beautifully, but we liked the idea of having a slightly rougher effect.2016-02-10 13.02.49.jpg

STEP 4

Lay the strips onto the plate to form stripes.2016-02-10 13.04.15.jpg

STEP 5

Using your second choice of colour, dab the underglaze over the plate, again do three coats. You could also brush the paint on, depending on whether you want a mottled or a block colour effect.2016-02-10 13.05.53.jpg

STEP 6

Carefully pull the strips of paper away.2016-02-10 13.11.14.jpg

STEP 7

Time to watch paint dry! Ensure your base coats are completely dry before you attempt the next stage.2016-02-10 13.11.47.jpg

STEP 8

Take your chosen silkscreen (in our case, a Lambretta) and lay it onto the plate, fixing it into place lightly with low tack masking tape. 2016-02-10 13.21.19.jpg

STEP 9

Before using a silkscreen, you need to thicken the underglaze up. You can buy professional thickening agents, but we mixed in cornflour which is just as effective. It needs to be the consistency of toothpaste.2016-02-10 13.23.46.jpg.

STEP 10

Apply your underglaze by dabbing it on with your finger. You can also use small dabbing sponges for this if your prefer. Different colours can be applied to different areas of the silkscreen if you prefer.2016-02-10 13.25.23.jpg

STEP 11

Carefully lift the silkscreen to reveal your design underneath.2016-02-10 13.28.33.jpg

STEP 12

Your plate is now looking fab and is ready to be glazed and fired in the kiln!2016-02-10 13.30.45.jpg

 

Congratulations to the Happy Couple!

Well, chief monkey finally said ‘I do’ a few weeks ago and it was a day to remember with no stone left unturned!
The sun was out and didn’t we know it! It was the hottest day of the year so far at that point and us, as guests in all our finery and heels were clammy before the bride even reached the church.
We waited excitedly in the church for the bride to arrive, using our ‘Wedding passports’ as fans. The wedding had a ‘travel’ theme that ran throughout and our passports were the introduction to the day’s events.
The ceremony was wonderful and Chrissy looked a million dollars. Needless to say, I didn’t as on top of being a bit sticky, I blubbed as soon as she walked down the aisle. A perfect day for a fantastic celebration but not a good day for make-up preservation! A slight show stealer during the ceremony was Coco, Chrissy and Danny’s dog, who, as ring bearer, was looking very glamourous in her little bridesmaid dress!
Following the ceremony and photographs, we made our way to The Priory Centre where we waited by the river for the bride and groom to arrive in style…by speedboat! Our beautiful Raffan Rivers provided the entertainment with her guitar and hauntingly beautiful voice- romance was most definitely in the air!

At our tables, labelled as countries- we found that each of us had been treated to a very special wedding favour. A little box decorated as a map and labelled with homemade clay luggage tags, contained a cute little chocolate with a miniature beach picture! Given the weather, it seemed quite apt! We were soon to learn that many of the finishing touches of the day had been lovingly hand- made by the blushing bride and those lovely little touches made the whole day extra special for the guests.

The wedding breakfast wasn’t your traditional run of the mill meal. Sticking to the theme of the day, we were treated to a number of dishes from around the globe, from Thai to Italian; and an array of wonderful desserts that were so tempting, we were compelled to eat them, despite being stuffed from the main part of the banquet!

The top table had some very special drinking receptacles as Chrissy had painstakingly hand-painted some amazing goblets and wine glasses, especially for the people who had played an important part in the day. The cake topper had also been hand-painted and featured a cute little bride and groom all ready to jet set around the globe!

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As the guests enjoyed the evening’s entertainment, we were given the opportunity to get involved with some mementoes of the special day. In the foyer, amid a huge pile of sweeties, there was a huge signature plate for all the guests to sign (you guessed it- Chrissy had painted it herself!). Another fantastic feature was the ‘Message in a Bottle’ which was a large bottle, decoupaged in map paper by Chrissy. Guests were invited to write advice for the bride and groom and pop it inside the bottle for them to cherish forever.

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With all the special touches that decorated the day, it truly was a day to remember. And after all the hard work that Chrissy put into her travel themed wedding, she really did deserve to climb aboard a plane with her new husband and fly off into the Maldives sunset!

Congratulations, Mr & Mrs Bennett!

Chrissy’s cousin, Lesley, a photographer and guest at the wedding, captured some wonderful images if you’d like to take a peek. You can view them here https://lesleythomasphotography.pixieset.com/

 

Click on Chrissy and Danny’s album and use the password Bennett.

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!

Penguin mania & Frozen Frenzy!

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This year, we’ve noticed a massive growing trend in our customers’ love for creating with penguins! If the children aren’t making a grab for the penguin teddies when they come to Build a Bear, then they’re pulling our pottery penguin items such as bowls, mugs, money boxes and ornaments from the shelves to paint or decorate with the ever popular Foam Clay.

frozen plate

And speaking of inhabitants of chilly climes, it can’t go unmentioned that the fantastic film, ‘Frozen’ is still very much an ongoing theme in Crafty Monkey. Plenty of children have tried their hand at painting their favourite ‘Frozen’ characters onto mugs and plates and we have done several commissions, including an Elsa plate as special gifts for children. Some of our younger customers have even turned up wearing their beautiful Anna and Elsa frocks (don’t worry- they wore aprons!)

Book your table at Crafty Monkey to try your hand at painting some chilly treats as soon as possible…we don’t want you to be left out in the cold…

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?