All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Getting Crafty In Essex

May 22, 2016 — 20 Comments

Hello my blog chums. How on earth are you? Well, I hope.

Now, in my last post I left things on a little cliffhanger, so in traditional style I should recap what that was…

I shared two pictures and posed a couple of questions.

These were the pictures …

All Counties Craft Challenge

All Counties Craft Challenge

Very odd eh?

What could I have been making?

Well, I was preparing for the workshop day at That’s Crafty in Romford, Essex.

Laura (Holland) invited me down some time ago and we have been discussing possible things to make and, to be honest, until a couple of days before the workshop, I didn’t really know.

I did however decide that we were going to use MDF projects and that, unlike previous workshops, we were going to create the papers that we decorated them with.

Marbling was the technique of choice.

How does this relate to the odd looking production line in Maisy’s kitchen? Well, it was the preparation of the floater powder. The water that the powder is sprinkled onto needed to be near boiling so I was using my whistling kettle for that. The saucepan as a mixing bowl and the petrol can (clean and unused) as a holder for just over 4 litres of the stuff.

I guess that this should now explain the strange liquid too. This was the first steps of my experiments to see what effects I could share with the group.

So, secret revealed, I should continue the story!

So, I had already premixed the paints into the fabby glass dropper bottles (1 part water to 1 part paint) – the little pots in the kit make up a lot of paint!

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Decanting a couple of pipettes worth, doesn’t look a lot, but these little monkeys really did go a long way!

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Some of it did end up at the bottom of the floater liquid though … oh, sorry for the fag packet shot again!

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

The diary? That was to give me a stable and level surface for the tray to sit on – I was on a slight slant – these are some of the challenges to crafting in a motorhome!

That and trying to pee at an angle but I won’t go into that, lol!

Anyway, here were some of my experiments.

First, a single colour.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Followed swiftly but a multi colour (with just a couple of drops of each).

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

And then an all out, five colours and multiple layers combed with an afro comb …

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Boom! Love it – now hurry up a dry!



Hmmm, being baldish I didn’t really have a need for a hair dryer … heat gun? Not plugged into the mains so the three pin socket won’t power up…

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Ok, think I am going to have to stop literally watching paint dry and start thinking about how to use it.

Here’s a little tip, just for you. I something doodle directly onto what I am covering to make sure the layout works.

So that I don’t forget I also then take a quick snapshot to refer back to. It doesn’t always turn out the way I originally doodled, but its a thought if ever you are unsure.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Ok, papers still drying.

I therefore chose to paint the MDF a dark purple so that if any bits showed up, they would blend with the background.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Paper still not dry.

Time for lunch!

I rustled up a chunkey monkey burger. No monkeys harmed, sadly a bit of a pig though. I added some ‘green’ as I remembered I was supposed to be eating healthily.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

While I was munching on a bun, Mr Squirel was nibbling away at his nuts.

Don’t let his cuteness fool you though – there were warnings at the campsite entrance advising, “If you leave food in your awning or tent, the squirels will eat your awning or tent”.

How hungry are these swift little furballs to eat a whole tent or awning?!

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

The paper did finally dry after the sun had set – no exaggeration – and I applied it to the MDF shape with some PVA (in the workshop we used Mod Podge).

I also inked the edges with a gold pigment ink.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Maisy has some UV lighting or something in the ceiling . hence the purple cast on the photo.

The central flower was created from an off cut of the marbled paper and the others were die cuts that I coloured to coordinate with the rest of the design.

As you can see I did change the design. This was because I thought all of the extra flowers would cover the marbled paper that was sooooo beautiful!

Project one finished and it was off to bed.

Here is what I had created.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

In the morning I was up with the larks and out of the gates by 8. Through the Dartford toll and into Romford by 0835 – it’s getting military style!

Popping my head into the shop I suspected something was up when I saw a wanted poster…

*pops glasses on*, oh, it was advertising the workshop! lol.
All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

I met Laura Holland, who did not want her photo taken at that time of day, but I was a little cheeky and selfied her … almost getting the hang of this selfie thing.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

And before you know it, workroom was set, lovely ladies had arrived and we were off!

It was a nice mixed group with some that hadn’t been to workshops before, some who had, some who hadn’t marbled before and some who had.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Oh! I skipped ahead a bit. I forgot to show you the mound of marled papers that the ladies made before we started work on some of the other projects that we did that day (all courtesy of That’s Crafty and the lovely Laura).

Here they be!

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

There was a bit of heat gun action going on to avoid the wait that I had had.

Sometimes double heat gun action in a wind screen wiper fashion – very innovative!

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Before I knew it the day was over.

Most of the class had things to finish at home – we were a little ambicious in trying to get three projects done, but I think that it gave value for money.

Here are some of the ladies with their creations.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

I couldn’t find Lesley when I took this photo, I think that she had gone for a browse around the That’s crafty shop (which is amazing by the way) but she’s the one far right in the next image.

Trying to make sure that Maisy gets a look in on workshop days so I hope that the group shot is going to become something of a tradition, unless I have to park miles away, in which case – get over it Maisy.

Here are the Essex posse!!

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

And here is me running away from them…

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

And in case you wanted to say hi to Laura Holland if you visit the That’s Crafty store in Romford, she’s the one on the far left, as helpfully pointed out by the rest of the group.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Oh, and thanks to Helen for capturing this gloriously candid moment of me looking like a stern grandpa. Lol!

Right, who’s been naughty …

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Anyway, with Essex now ‘done’ I slid back into the driving seat of my little Maisy and headed out onto the road.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

I had forgotten to plan where I was going to stay overnight but luckily South Mimms services has overnight parking – and Starbucks and Burger King – so I decided to rest up there and figure out the next destination in the morning.

All Counties Craft Challenge Essex

Ok. That about somes up this one.

Thanks for reading and again, many thanks to everyone that attended and helped make it a lovely day, and of course for helping to get this roadshow off the ground and raise awareness and money for Mind.

As always, if you would like to join me on a workshop as I potter about the UK, please do check out the itinerary page or, if you can’t make it, you can still support the challenge and help me raise that £20k target by donating whatever you can afford on my Just Giving page.

Thanks for reading, thanks for the words of encouragement, I’ve definitely been needing them lately.

Right, onto SUFFOLK!

Bye for now …

J :)

20 responses to All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Getting Crafty In Essex


    Looks like you had a fun day waiting to read the next installment xx



    Looks like a good day and the results are amazing. Can’t wait until you come to Derbyshire and what you will have thought up for the workshop – I am booked in already!



    Morning John ,just looking at your itinerary ,you have a workshop in burton which is only five miles from my home wondered if that would help ,also seeing as we are in the heart of the country there is the rosliston forestry centre or the bee hive to rest Maisie and yourself the bee hive is the best for breakfasts x



    P.S. Where did you get those great little dropper bottles?
    Sioux x



    Well done John, looks like you are having fun – love the flutterby – rather like the monkey burger too. Love Kleshnaxxxx



    Wow that looks like it was a great workshop. Gorgeous items produced, and everywhere looking so neat and tidy. How do you do that???
    Great work John
    L&L Sioux x



    cannot get out but I would like to donate to you for mind



    Had a great time nice to meet you, and thanks to Thats Crafty for hosting my fave rate shop, but please don’t tell my hubby I was shopping while you were taking a pic of my peace box lol xxxx



    Terrific work by the That’s Crafty attendees. Those marbled papers were just yummy. Tempted by some marbling inks now…!
    Hugs, T x



    Thanks for a lovely day John :) Although my tray and box still need a bit of work, I have fixed the problems I had and now am happy with them. My butterfly is finished :) x


    Katie-Louise sweetlove May 22, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    You are doing great John. The workshop looked great fun.
    Those must be some really hungry squirrels!
    Thanks for all your updates – such a great read.
    See you sometime next month for my 1-2-1 (Worcestershire area) how can I sort out a good day diary wise with you please? I have appointments etc to do in the week so it’s essential.



    Lov’in the marbling, that looks kinda groovy.



    You are making it so interesting, and so much fun, I am enjoying it even though I can’t be there. All the best. x



    Excellent work John keep on doing your thing. It’s so wonderful to see someone talented as you putting others ahead of yourself. I live in America and throughly enjoy your posts.



    It all looked lovely and it looked like you all had fun.
    Thanks John for showing us.


    Alison Starling May 22, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Well done John keep on trucking x


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