All Counties Craft Challenge – GO!

April 4, 2016 — 24 Comments

The day finally came for the first in the All Counties Craft challenge workshops and I was at last on the road!

First stop – Cornwall.

I genuinely had my doubts that this day would come but am unbelievably grateful for all of the help and support from everyone that has made this possible.

Many thanks in particular to Create and Craft TV for sponsoring this fund raising challenge and to all those that have contributed so far.

It’s definitely the wind in my sails, I can tell you.

Anyway, I am pleased to say that the Cornwall workshop went well and (as far as I am aware) and everyone went home happy.

If you have a mo I’d love to tell you about it.

Now, due to the lack of success with finding a suitable van so far, alternate plans had to be made for transport and accommodation so I hired a car and booked a hotel. Oddly this was actually cheaper and MUCH more convenient than getting a train, but that’s for my spreadsheet, rather than an interesting blog post. Lol.

After a quick pit stop to pick up some extra supplies (mostly biscuits) I hit the road and zoomed (at a safe and legal pace) my way down to Cornwall on Friday. It was a pleasant drive with only minimal roadwork disruptions – much better than I thought I would get considering I was using mostly motorways.

Being that it was so uneventful there isn’t really much more to say about the drive. Not even a grumble. How un-British!

Arrival at the hotel was a bit of a surprise and a delight.

You may think, ‘Why the surprise?’

Well, I booked this on Late Rooms website an hour before I set off, so I hadn’t really had much time to check it out online before heading off. I basically went for a pot luck bargain.

I knew what it was called and where it was. That was about it. It was therefore a surprise that I was to be staying in a castle right by the coast!

All Counties Craft Workshop - Cornwall


Get me being lord of the manor! lol.

It was even more delightful when I found out that the hotel was a big advocate of art and music.

In fact, the art even made it’s way into the car park.

All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 1 All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 2

Can you imagine driving around in that! Fab eh?!

Anyway, as it was blowing a gale and lashing it down I swiftly minced my way into the hotel and was greeted by a warm and friendly team who checked me in and showed me to my room.

There was plenty of other art to see on the way up to the second floor.

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All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 7

In fact, as I found out on Sunday, all of this art is from one talented man called Ted Stourton. Ted is a very prolific artist and his work adorned practically every wall in the hotel as well as being sold around the world.

When we got to my room I had another surprise, I’d even got a sea-facing room!

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Only the cliffs and some weird mysterious ruins between me and the North Atlantic Ocean – which I could hear crashing against the rocks. *happy sigh*

It was late when I arrived so I grabbed some dinner in the bar.

All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 5

Not exactly ‘local’ but certainly delish!!! :P

After dinner I relaxed in the lounge area (mostly to use the free wifi as I wasn’t getting a phone signal – it’s been a while since I’ve been this “rural” and I missed the internet!!)

All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 22

While I was there I suddenly felt very lucky that the Premier Inn and the Best Western hotels were fully booked (and more expensive).

Sitting by a log fire in a quite area of the hotel certainly had the effect of calming me down; I was totally nervous about what to expect in the morning. This would be my first full on workshop – eeek!

Thankfully the chill out time helped me get off to sleep despite the giant gale whistling around the eves.

Morning came around very quickly and it was time to meet the lovely ladies that had booked their places on the first in the All Counties Craft workshops!

I set off from the hotel and drove around winding country lanes and rolling hills eventually ending up at our venue, Kingswood Farm.

This is a working farm and as it was Spring so I had to dodge the excitable lambs and their protective mothers.

All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 20

*coughs politely* “Excuse me please sheepies. Need to get past, there’s crafting to be done!”

Anyway, having got lost on a single lane road that only goes to one place (yes, I can achieve this) I did arrive in good time to set up.

The view that greeted me was another corker, even if the weather was a little grey and wet.

All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 8

I was starting to come to the conclusion that Cornwall was beautiful no matter what part of it you were in.

Before the guests arrived I got to meet Karen (from Total Papercrafts) who had kindly help arrange this workshop, Karen’s husband and Nikki who would be helping with the food and drink (which was lush!).

I also got to meet the owners of the farm on whose property the workshop would be taking place and who had kindly let me have the use of the converted barn for free.

Oh, for anyone that has not met Karen yet, here she is in all of her fabulous smiley-ness! :)

All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 24

Anyway, look at me waffling on for hours about everything but the workshop.

As the ladies arrived it was nice to see a few familiar faces and also to meet some new ones.

To be honest though, I was still petrified! Eeeek!

Thankfully Karen did an introduction and then handed things over to me. Good job really or I may have still been stammering away.

The project that I had in mind for this workshop was a hope chest. A nice idea I thought for keeping little mementos or trinkets in.

The concept was that I would help the group construct the MDF project, and guide them through covering it with their choice of paper and then they would decorate it in any manner they chose.

We got started and before long I felt right at home as there was craft bits everywhere and everyone was happily working along at their own pace and chatting with their table-neighbours.

After all of the making, after the delicious soup and the afternoon cream tea (which caused some friction between the Devon/Cornwall residents about whether it’s jam first or cream first – thankfully no fist fights) the day came far too quickly to an end.

We did a little parade of the boxes and I must say, I was totally impressed with all of the different results that the group achieved … just stunning!

Fab aren’t they?!

Anyway, tidying up commenced but before I headed back to the hotel there was one more lady that I met that I wanted to bring home with me.

Meet Nell …

All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 26

‘What’s Going On?’


All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 27

‘It’s Quite Cozy Here.’


All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 25

‘Think I’ll Just Have A Nap.’


With a deep sigh I had to hand her back, get in the car and head back to the hotel – I think that she was less bothered than I was, lol.

Nell has a career as a working girl on the farm. All the best in your future career Nell :)

Right, that’s about it for this post. It just leaves me to say a HUGE thank you to Karen and her team; also to the fabulous group of ladies that chose to join me on the start of this tour and of course to the owners of Kingswood Farm for the use of their building.

So, that was me done. There was just one traditional thing left that I had to do. Whenever I am by the coast it is a rule that I have to sample the local fish and chips – so I did!

All Counties Craft - Cornwall - 23

Verdict – stunning!

Now, you may or may not know that is an ongoing thing for me over the next twelve months so, if you are interested in contributing then you can do so via –


… or, if you would like to join me on a future workshop, you can see an itinerary here.

Many thanks for reading and I hope your tea hasn’t gone cold.

I’ll chat to you again soon.

J :)


24 responses to All Counties Craft Challenge – GO!


    Ohhh John! I loved this post from the moment I began reading right the way to the last word. The photo’s are brilliant and really helped me to ‘see’ what you were talking about.

    The CAR!!! Oh my goodness! I would have wanted to drive that around a little, just so I could see everyone’s reactions. It’s a fabulous work of art.

    The workshop looked lots of fun, and such a wonderful place to be able to work in. Everyone seemed to have plenty of room to spread out and work,which is so important when crafting. (Give a crafter a space and she/he’ll fill it in no time! lol)

    All the way through reading I kept saying to myself …. “no one ever comes to Dorset. Everyone goes to Cornwall, but Dorset is the forgotten bridesmaid at the wedding!”…. and then I looked at your ‘itinerary’ and saw that you actually are planning to come to Dorset, soon it would seem like, but the details were still to be confirmed. Do you have any details on this yet John? I’d be very interested to hear them.

    In the meantime … sending love and wishing you a blessed day ~ Cobs. x



    Glad you and everyone had a great time.your looking well john



    I had a great time at this workshop. Thank you John. And yes Cornwall is beautiful what ever the weather and very different depending on where you are. I hope that you enjoy the rest of your year. Best wishes



    There are those who dream and stay in the dream and those who dream and make it reality and you are one of those, you are also opening doors for those in your classes to open their dreams , a new world of new friends , learning new things ,new loveliness and all thanks to you and the crafting family So happy for you xx



    so glad it went well for you John :-) the first one is always the hardest. Looks like you all had a fabulous time! wee Nell is adorable and the castle is amazing! Hope to see you soon, keep on crafting xx



    Thank you John for a very lovely day on Saturday. I thought it was great – beautiful venue, smiley Karen, fab food, great project and most especially your crafty expertise. Good luck with your future events. I am sure they will go well. x



    congratulations John, looks to be the start of something good xx



    Hi John, so glad your first workshop went really well. I was pleased to see a photograph of you with a very young crafter!
    I have looked at the dates for future workshops – when in August and where will the Derbyshire one be held?
    Stephanie (Mrs Tattered Lace) organises Linen and Lace workshops in the Church Hall of North Wingfield Parish Church – just a suggestion, if you haven’t found anywhere yet. There is a kitchen and I know someone who could provide a buffet. Tea, coffee and biccies on tap!
    I wish you luck for the rest of the programme of workshops, they sound great.


    Alison Turner April 4, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you for fabulous day John! Will look forward to reading about your next adventure. Hope all goes well x



    Hi Myself and a friend have paid for places on the Sheena Douglas workshop at the Manor Hotel on 30 April, but we have not received any details eg times, equipment needed and in fact what we will be doing. Please can you look into this Regards Margaret Fletcher

    Sent from my iPad




      Nothing has been sent out yet Margaret as full details are to be confirmed. Please don’t worry, you will receive more information nearer to the time.



      Hi Margaret, Thanks for asking the question about the venue at the Manor Hotel, I have booked in as well so look forward to meeting you and your friend on the 30th. I have just read about John’s first workshop in Cornwall and I can imagine it was the time for a dose of diazepam, but it looks like John’s talent soon outweighed any nerves when you see the beautiful hope chests that they all produced. There were a lot of talented ladies at this event, I only hope I can keep up to their standard. Look forward to meeting you in three weeks. Congratulations and best wishes go out to John for achieving something that a lot so us only dream about. So come on all you ladies who may be reading this, put your hand in your purse and donate or attend one of John’s classes.
      See you soon Margaret,
      Joan Gregory



    sounds like a cracking way to start your adventure – it will have to go some to live up to it.



    Hi John, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog, but you didn’t tell us the name of the lovely Hotel where you stayed? The view from your window reminds me of when my DH and I visited the home of the legendary King Arthur, we had to climb like little mountain goats up the side of a steep cliff, and over a very narrow rickety bridge, but it was great fun, and a good visit to an old ruin lol.
    I’m so glad your first workshop went well, the chests look wonderful and so neat too. Nell is absolutely gorgeous, I think I would want to take her home too.
    Best of luck for your next trip.
    Love and Light
    Sioux x



    Hiya John,

    Congratulations John, the first of anything is always a big deal and I’m very jealous as I’d love to go to Cornwall one day! Great success on the hotel front too, what a stunning place… Views, art… It had everything.

    I’m really impressed by the ladies’ projects. All those chests are stunning. I have a hope chest of sorts, it’s a wooden box my brother made me in his woodwork class at school about 15 years ago. I keep some very special things in it. It’s nice to have a special place to keep these things.

    I’m really proud of you, one down… :-)

    Hugs, T x



    John, is that box a template? Might you sell it as a download to the poor folks who can’t get to a workshop please?



    So glad your first workshop went well and that you managed to get some decent food into you too!



    Wow what an introduction to your All Counties Craft Challenge – GO! workshops whew thats a title!
    You should be so very proud of what you have started and all the crafty lives you will touch on your journeys. The projects looked ab fab! and the ladies looked like they loved every moment
    Safe travelling and crafting and heres to loads of cash to be raised on the journey
    Well Done! Cheers! chin chin to the next one x


    Alison Starling April 4, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    What a lovely read John It brought a tear to my eye best wishes for your continued adventures


    Carole Morgan April 4, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Glad your first event went so well. Congratulations! Cornwall is a wonderful place with some stunning views. Quite like to revisit!

    Happy crafting


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