All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Saltdean, Pam, A Bunch Of Beautiful Boxes and Disappointment In Devon

Hallo All. Well, it seems that I’m doing a workshop twice a week at the moment but this week saw an unexpected exception.

After the business of the Surrey weekend I thought that I was going to get some time to catch up however you all saw what happened with Maisy’s tyre so I’ve been trying to catch up with myself since that incident.

All Counties Challenge Header

Thankfully, I did. Laundry done. Dishes done. Maisy tidied and stuff put away.

All just in time to reach for clean clothes, use dishes and get stuff out. Lol!

Anyway, if we didn’t have this cycle in life it’d be pretty obvious that we did nothing so I guess it’s all good. Keeps me out of trouble too.

Right. Since all of that, anothet workshop has now been and gone. Want to see what happened?

The day started out with a drive over to Saltdean which is on the south coast of England, near Brighton.

The drive took about an hour and a half. Twenty minutes of that crawling just four miles. Inevitably I was proper late, finally getting parked at 0945 for a 1000 start!

Still I guess this tour is called a ‘challenge’.

Anyway, on arrival at St Michaels church hall I met Clair Matthews and her daughter.


Clair runs regular craft classes in Saltdean so if you are in the area, here are more details…

Clair Matthews Saltdean

Clair had kindly arranged the venue for this workshop.

Clair actually got in touch with me following a nudge from a mutual friend who had been to the first AND second Surrey Weekender.

That mutual friend is Pam. Say hi Pam …


A lovely lady who tried to tempt me into her house with bangers and mash – something that would normally win me over however sadly I couldn’t this time around.

Anyway, the workshop was set and ready to receive the 18 lovely ladies that had signed up to this workshop.

For this workshop I had again been given a fairly free brief so had decided to again reach for some of the fab MDF kits from Fernli Designs.

A box with lid, a tray and a mini matchbox.

I was planning to get the group to just cover these in paper however I’m always up for a challenge so offered the choice of several different decorative techniques.

Oh dear. Choices in a craft class aren’t always the best idea as the deliberation over texture and colour can stump the very creative mind as a million variations go through their mind.

Some even hid under tables to escape?!


Thankfully it didn’t stump us all for long and the day progressed and the creativity continued.

Clair, her mum and her daughter treated us to lunch – and what a spread it was!



Went back for seconds too!

More making ensued in the afternoon and it began to develop that everyone had their own unique style and creative strengths

Time to draw things to a close however and say fairwell to the ladies.

Now. The plan after this workshop was to head over to Devon for two days of workshops in Seaton.

Sadly the planned workshops had not generated much interest and so it was with a heavy heart I had to make the decision to postpone my visit to Devon whilst I look for a location that would be more accessible.

At least I hope that was the reason people didn’t sign up because with my issues I am prone to consider the fact that people just weren’t interested in me – but I’ll keep that thought in check for now.

Anyway, on the plus side this does give me a couple of days to catch up with admin and maybe even answer some backed up emails – a miracle some of you may say, lol.

Right, that just about brings us up to date.

Oh, want to see my stunning view for this evening…?


Car park next to a motorway with a spaceship above it.

Next time you think it’s a lovely life on the road – think of this – stunning, right? Lol!

Its only one night and Maisy and I are safe and warm, so I am grateful.

Just before I go, please don’t forget that I am doing this tour in order to raise awareness of mental health issues and to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.

If you would like to contribute and help me reach that £20k target you can do so in three ways.

  • Make a donation on my Just Giving page.
  • Make a donation via the Create & Craft TV website; for an additional P&P charge of £2.99 you will also be sent an official challenge postcard colouring book.
  • Attend a workshop. To find out if there is one coming up near you, please visit the itinerary page on this blog.

Right, many thanks for reading and I will see you again soon.

J :)

13 thoughts on “All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – Saltdean, Pam, A Bunch Of Beautiful Boxes and Disappointment In Devon

  1. Yeah dont think for obe minute its you john think its time of year maybe also due to not much advertising by the person booking it could be lots of things but definitely not you heres hoping in the new year and when the nicer weather arrives we will see you in cornwall for our 1 to 1 luv n stuff

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John I have looked on the Fernli designs website and just cannot find the mini trays or the boxes we used at Thatcham. Can you tell me what heading they were under please.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh! Such a shame that you had to cancel Devon due to the lack of support!, I would highly recommend your workshops! Having never used MDF before I thoroughly enjoyed it!!! Got messy too!! It was such fun and hope you will return soon. You are doing a fab job John and for an amazing cause. Let’s hope you get your target!!


  4. Hi John. Yes the issue with Devon was the location for me. I came to the workshop in Cornwall MDF treasure chest) but this one was just too much of a trek for me from Okehampton. I would say that something on the main routes would be best but I am not sure where would be good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hiya John

    WheelyBad is right. I am sure it was nothing to do with you. The workshop at Thatcham was brilliant. Enjoyed using the Gelli Plate and covering our boxes. Good luck with the rest of the tour. if you should have a workshop in Berkshire again I would love to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hiya John,

    Re Devon, it’s a shame but I’m 100% certain it’s absolutely nothing to do with you. The problem with rural/semi rural areas are the same wherever you go a) smaller population= in this case, less crafter’s, b) the biggest issue of all, travel in recent years has gone from difficult to almost impossible and c) the venues themselves… Trying to find locations that are accessible to people who have mobility issues can be much harder to find. Shop owners and the like popping up posters will only be seen by people who can get to those places in the first place. Take it from a person who in a past life has tried to find all manner of people to take part in all manner of things and indeed then and more recently find groups/activities I can get to and get a wheelchair in. Everyone I came across back then and now blamed the three things I listed above. Local councils, sporting governing bodies, business owners and individuals, it didn’t matter who was trying to organise something, it was usually a matter of luck at to whether you hit the right activity at the right time in the right place. Happy to pass on suggestions on the types of people to contact if it would help.As you know I’m in the east of England so can’t suggest specific people but I can pass on ideas based on how we went about things here.

    The workshop In Saltdean looked brilliant, I adore decorating boxes, MDF and the like. Glad you got your laundry done too… For your own comfort lol!

    Take care of yourself, stay warm xxx

    T x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It was a great day John (and weekend ;) ) Should have made sure I’d brushed my hair before that pic of us was taken …. blown away from the group photo taken outside with Maisy *shock* (a copy of which Darren …. my window cleaner come photographer, come local website owner … will provide, I’ve no doubt – lol!)
    What a shame you had to cancel Devon due to such little support …. and Seaton is a lovely place. Crafter’s need to support local events else they don’t happen and then people aren’t happy because they don’t *sad*

    Liked by 1 person

  8. John, I can see that you had a great day in Saltdean. I was sad that I couldn’t attend this one or the one last week in Surry. So enjoyed the first one 😍 But I am being an ‘international craft smuggler’ in the States. You are doing a great job and hopefully I can attend another of your workshops soon. Xxxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

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