All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Parking, Police, Paper Play and Presents. 

Well, MUCH has happened since I last did a full diary update for the All Counties Craft Challenge so you’d best that brew a biggun and find yourself a comfy chair because I’ll be waffling on a fair bit.

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The last time that I wrote I was still in Northern Ireland. I had managed to complete three counties there and had a fourth lined up.

This next workshop took me down to Portadown in County Armagh to meet these two lovelies.


Thelma and Lynne!

The workshop itself was held at the Hungry Monkey restaurant, which was a lovely place with a very friendly team.


Apologies for the grim weather. It had decided to make my last day in Northern Ireland a very wet and grey one.

Not to be beaten by the weather however we got set up and ready for when the ladies arrived.


Gelli plates a go-go!

It didn’t take long for everyone to get settled and stuck in to some messy fun.

I hadn’t picked up on the fact that I had a familiar name in the group until she walked in. Ruth Hamilton Jones was in the house!

Having used some of Ruth’s products in the past and having met her some time ago at the NEC it was lovely to catch up and find out how things were going.

The class progressed with many techniques being explored and experimented with and much laughter taking place.

I think that you can get the gist of how things went from this group selfie … Hehehe!


Smiles weren’t the only thing that I was givien to take away with me though.

Thelma, the lady that had originally invited me to County Armagh (shown below left), had been working on a secret project.

Here she is presenting it to some scruffy oaf.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you a three hundred and sixty degree look around this…

Stunning isn’t it?

Want to know the best thing? Thelma has asked me to put it up for auction to help raise money for the challenge! How generous is that?!

I haven’t quite figured out how to do this yet but it will be happening soon so please do keep checking in regularly.

When I left it was pouring down so to protect the bust I popped it into a clear bag. I’m sure that this is going to raise a few eyebrows!!!


There was one more gift that Northern Ireland had for me before I left.

My first ever parking ticket!! Grrr. Having paid and displayed over and above the going rate it was a tad frustrating but I’ll pay the fine too :/

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So that was this visit to Northern Ireland done. I’ll have to pop back to finish the other counties.

Time to catch the ferry back. An 8pm sailing in gale force winds. Joy?!

Not sure if you can make this out but the car bay door was still open as we left the dock. Apparently this is normal but it was all I could do not to bellow, ‘someone didn’t close the bonnet!’.


I made a little video whilst on the ferry which I shared on Facebook. If you’d like to check it out, please do head over to

The journey, although rocky was over fairly swiftly and it was on to what was going to be a VERY long few days of driving,


I had already decided to make a pitstop at Gretna services. It was a two hour drive in the dark.

As some of you may already have seen, singing can help a long lonely night time journey.

Oddly, my second brush with the law in as many days came in the form of being pulled over about halfway between Cairnryan and Gretna Green.

I was suddenly very glad that I’d moved the head sculpture in a bag to the safety of the storage area!

The officers checked Maisy out, ran my details and were then we were on our way. To be honest, seeing a Motorhome driving around at 11pm is a fairly odd occurrence so it didn’t surprise me that they wanted to check things out. Reassuring to know that Maisy was being kept safe.

Anyway, the next day started very early as I still had the majority of the journey to do.

Why cover all of these miles so quickly?

It was my mums 70th birthday and I wanted to make sure that I got some cheese and pineapple on sticks, erm, I mean to see her cheeky chops.


Would like to have stayed longer however there was more driving to do so it was back into Maisy and off up the A1.

Next stop, Craftsite in Cramlington to meet Wendy Reed.


Wendy took over at Craftsite just over a year ago and has really built things up in store and made it a very welcoming and inspiring place.

Take a look around …

I’m told that Wendy has a thing for shells … walking around the store I noticed a few creations that worked these into designs really well.


The workshoppers soon arrived and we got stuck into making three MDF projects.

It was lovely to be able to get Maisy involved again!

Speaking of Maisy, the lovely Lynda Chapman popped into the workshop to invite me around to meet her Maisie … after getting a little lost, I eventually found them and we got a lovely pic of the two Maisys together.

I also had a nose around Chappers’ craft room!

The last thing for me to let you know about this week is my final workshop in England for a few weeks.

It was to be held at AFE Creations thanks to Julie Craig, seen here ENJOYING the paper cutting part of the workshop. ;)


We had a great time working four papercrafting projects into the day along with some fab cake and lovely lunch!


Time for one last Maisy-side selfie before hitting the road to Scotland.


Phew! What a busy time!

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Don’t forget, there are more workshops being added all of the time. You can find out where on the itinerary.

If you would like to get involved in helping me achieve the £20,000 target for Mind, but you can’t get to a workshop, you can still get involved.

You can donate any amount you like in return for a postcard colouring book through my sponsors, Create and Craft TV

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Or, if you don’t fancy a colouring book, you can make a donation through my Just Giving page.

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In any case, thank you for all of the contributions so far and please do keep sharing and talking about this challenge – it can make a difference to so many people.

Thanks for the catch up.

I’ll see you again soon.

J :)

3 thoughts on “All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Parking, Police, Paper Play and Presents. 

  1. Hiya John

    You’ve had a busy ol’ time, haven’t you?! Lovely to read about all your adventures. I have to say, the sculpture is absolutely fantastic! Blown away by that and hope it makes lots of money, might even bid myself!

    Lovely that you didn’t miss your mums birthday, I’m sure she was super happy to see you.

    Also have to mention Karen’s post… Gave me a good giggle Karen, thank you so much for sharing.

    Deano has just been showing the colouring book on C&C. The girls and guys are regularly bringing it to screen, if I can work out how I will leave a review, 5 stars as I love it, brilliant size for stashing next to the sofa with a pack of pencils to colour in during quiet moments (between man and dog not many of them at the moment lol)

    Big hugs John, take care of yourself and I look forward to the next chapter!

    T x


  2. Hi John

    Do you still need a venue for Leicestershire on December 7th, and are you taking bookings for this date yet? I wrote to you a few weeks ago about a church hall in a stunning location (Oaks in Charnwood) that I have access to, but I’m not sure whether you received the email.

    Keep up the great work!



  3. Hi John lovely to catch up again I really missed seeing you in my in box! Sound like you have been having a few more adventures than planned. Well done in keeping silent on the ferry, unlike me on one plane journey. Our take off was abandoned due to an electrical fault, ground staff were banging on an engine and shrugging their shoulders as if to say we can’t find much wrong! Eventually we were heading down the runway again. As the cabin crew were going through the safety drill I was okay until they said the life jackets were under our seats. After frantically feeling for it and not able to locate the said item my hand was up in the air stating very loudly….according to my hubby…that I didn’t have one. Several minutes later and disowned by my beloved, I was eventually reassured by a number of cabin crew that they had plenty in the overhead lockers in the unlikely event of needing one, to which my dearest added that if we did need it wouldn’t be of any use once we had crossed over the sea. The rest of the flight was a blur mainly as a result of being plied with alcohol by both the cabin crew and my hubby. Just thought I would share that with you. Well done with your challenge, keep up the good work. The world needs more people like you. Karen X


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