All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Three Service Stations, Two Workshops And One Load Of Rain

Good morro good travel companions – how are you? Well, I hope.

Life has treated me well this week, despite the fairly shambolic weather.

Got that weekly cuppa ready? Ok, here goes …


This week kicked off with my arrival in Wales which, even in dreary weather was actually quite inspiring.


I can see me using this view as inspiration for a future project …

Anyway, not a huge amount of playtime this week however whilst sitting in a rainy car park in Barry I did make a start on these paper mache unicorns, giving them a couple of coats of gesso each.


Had to quickly dry them and add them to the work in progress basket (a genuine and real thing) and get the Tuesday workshop ready.

The workshop took place at the award winning shop, Dandie Crafts in Pontypridd – my first visit to Wales as part of this challenge :)

Debbie and Ailsa were on hand to see that the day went well. They even made sure to include Mandy-Jane, who was on holiday.


The workshop that was requested was ‘techniques for using dies’.

I happily demonstrated a range of ways to use dies in styles that you would not ordinarily expect. I don’t have any photos of ‘finished projects’ as we were just doing techniques so here are a bunch of shots of the ladies having a good old play.

I will however try and do some blog posts in the future.

Now, the day had started out quite nicely weather-wise however during the day the rain had gotten steadily heavier and heavier so when it came to do the group shot with Maisy, we decided it would be best to try and do that from indoors.

With the view of Maisy only being available from one angle and the desire to get everyone in, I suggested that the ladies all lined up on one side and then I’d kneel on the table and stick my thumb in shot – assuming you’d only see my head and arm.

The crafty elf, Ailsa, got a wee bit cheeky with the angle though and got a little more of me than expected – I.e. all of me with my bum in the air! Lol!


At least no one will forget that shot ;)

Anyway, workshop over and time to move on.

As I didn’t have anywhere set to stay where I was and the next workshop being a few hours drive away I thought that I would take advantage of the rainy weather and cover some of that distance before bed.

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A couple of hours on the M4 later and I was sitting having a coffee at south Mimms services.

Entering a minor blue funk …


Wasn’t expecting that so decided to grab coffee and sleep there overnight and finish the drive in the morning.

I awoke as fresh as you can do under the circumstances, washed and hit the road.

If they had been open, and if I’d known what lay ahead, I would have driven there the night before!

Why? Look at this lot!!!


This is HQ of Stamp Addicts and also home to Saturday’s workshop. I was here to browse and shop – I mean pick up stamps for the workshop, yes, that!

After going through the checkout with my purchases – d’oh! – I grabbed the demo stamps and headed off to park up for a couple of nights and get sorted.

Here’s a photo of my organised and neat prep …


Hehe, yup ‘orrrrganiiizzed’.

But wait! Where are the foodie shots John? Well, my dear reader I’ve just been a nibblin’ this week so not much to share. I did however make a right blooming delicious ‘toasted’ cheese sandwich with doorstep slices of both fresh bread and mature cheese.

All were cooked on a low heat for a while, having pre buttered the outside of the bread so that it didn’t burn too fast.



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Friday came around quickly which meant two things.

First, I am behind on workshop prep and second I had to move on from where I had previously parked.

My views this week have been made up mostly of service station car parks so I didn’t see any reason to change this but on the way between two car parks I did fit in a little shop ‘n’ dash run at IKEA as I needed a new towel and a picture frame.

If you’ve ever shopped at IKEA, you know that that isn’t how it works.

First I joined the queue for a filter coffee, which took waaaay to long.

Then, things just kept falling into my basket! I am proud of myself however as I resisted temptation BIG TIME! They had floral fabric on sale down from £5 per metre to £1.50 per metre, meaning that a 30 metre bolt would have been £45 !!

*starts to hyperventilate*


Oddly, the guy in front must have got my shopping habit as he took eight bolts!

Anyway, I only ended up with some storage for food, a laundry basket, twenty picture frames, bathroom gadgets, kitchen tools, towel and various oddly named sweets so I think I got away lightly, lol!!!


Well, listen, the second workshop of the week arrived and as I mentioned, it was at the Stamp Addicts store in Kempston.

Vikki got a shot as Maisy and I arrived …


I had three projects prepared for today’s group, each using a set of stamps that the group got to take home.

Here are the examples that were created.

More mess, hehe ;)

Anyway, the group quickly settled down to business …

Much coffee was drunk, many biscuits eaten and much creativity happened. As always though things had to draw to a close and, while the rain showers held off, get outside and do the photo thing with Maisy – say cheese!


Ok, that’s about it for this week.

Don’t forget, I will be rattling collection tins at the Crafting Live event in Doncaster next weekend so if you have a piggy bank or a loose change jar and you are planning to come to the event, please do hunt me down.

Sadly Maisy isn’t allowed indoors at this event so she’ll be out front if anyone wants to say hi to her too or get a cheeky photo

Right, I had best be off. Doncaster awaits!

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Catch you again next time.

J :)

10 thoughts on “All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Three Service Stations, Two Workshops And One Load Of Rain

  1. Hi John I was one of the lucky ladies to meet you and do the workshop in wales-wet as ever. I had a thoroughly enjoyable day learning some new techniques and revisiting ones that I had completely forgotten with dies.
    It was good to craft with the other ladies as I tend to craft alone- my choice as I’m quite shy! Anyway if any of you lot out there are thinking of doing the county challenge with John and in aid of Mind don’t hesitate What ever you get to craft with will be fun and for an excellent cause. John thank you for putting me at ease. Well done for doing this mammoth challenge.
    Hope your blue funk has blown over – your achievement is a-maising!


  2. Hi there, greetings from Basingstoke. Wish you could have visited us here. I would have made you a prize winning cake. No-one comes to see us here. Jan


  3. Hi John hope the sun is shining in your world now as well as around you. Love reading about your adventures as always, they cheer me up….especially as it’s very cold here, even the car told me there could be ice on the roads…not what you expect in sunny Australia. But a good chuckle and some happy faces soon brought the sun out again for me too. Keep on doing what you do because you are bringing a lot of happiness to those who you reach out to … the nicest way of course…and those you write to through your lovely blog. X


  4. You cheered me up and also showed me we are not alone ‘blue funk’ only someone else who has them can appreciate how you feel. One day on top of the world the next not so good. The flower cards look lovely. All the best with the rest of your journey. I think what you are doing is great. sy


  5. I do enjoy your e mails, I live in NZ but my family came from Wales and I remember Barry Island etc, lovely people. What was that lovely stamp you used???

    The shop looked amazing.
    on the weekend I went to an enormous craft show scrapbooking and all things paper craft SENZ. I was so excited it was like being in a sweet shop.x

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi John

    This week’s diary has arrived at a great time… in desperate need of a diversion as bed rest is the order of today and I can do with the distraction! Much happier now after a good giggle and a timely reminder of how beautiful Wales is. My brother and I did a weekend there about 10 years ago. Beautiful scenery and beautiful people. They couldn’t do enough to assist with the chair, wherever we went help was offered. Have sworn I’ll get back one day as I remember looking over what to me seemed a mountain (we don’t do hills here in Suffolk) with the little sheep looking like they were defying gravity and me being blown away by the beauty of it all. Ahem, reminiscence over and back to your week. I’m glad both workshops went well, the finished items from the stamping are lovely. Two beautifully stocked craft shops, no surprised you got excited! I’d have been on that bolt of fabric in Ikea like a shot so well done for resisting. It’s a good thing you did or Maisy will end up with a trailer come September, how will you resist all those goodies at Doncaster?!

    By the way, everyone who’s off to Doncaster do have a brilliant time.

    Glad you managed that naughty blue cloud. It happens to us all to a greater or lesser extent. Your proactive way of dealing with things as they arrive will help and encourage a lot of people. Also sensible as it’s never advisable to drive long distance if you’re distracted by how you feel. Plus, never forget that Maisy has got your back :-) as have we all.

    Well, I need to crane myself into my chair, it’s a beautiful evening so I’m off to get a (soft) drink and have a look in the garden. Take care of yourself and Maisy, hope you’re set for a dry and sunny week of travelling. Can’t wait to hear all about Doncaster as I’ve never been able to attend a major show. Might just have to have a little online retail therapy to make up for it!

    Sending you big hugs and best wishes. Have a great week,

    T x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You can never tell when a blue funk will hit. Sending you supporting hugs. My bad days can swoop in in the middle of a good one and knock me sideways.

    Liked by 1 person

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