All Counties Craft Challenge Diary – The Big Brother Workshop, Fabric A Go Go, Pap-Snapped and Bring On The Burgers

With just under six weeks to go, things are starting to head towards a climax for the All Counties Craft Challenge – you’d think that that would mean a slow wind down with a final few workshops wouldn’t you?

Well, no. Still going bigger and better as each week passes.

Fancy a catch up on this week’s activities?

All Counties Challenge Header

As I mentioned this week saw something bigger and better; it was also totally unique in the UK!

Before I go into that though, let me take you back through a wibbly wobbly blurry time hop to when I bumped into Kim and Debbie at Blythe Services.

Here we are just finishing coffee.


Kim and Debbie run The Fat Quarters in Blackhall Mill, Newcastle upon Tyne.

In between caffeine-laced slurps we got chatting about the challenge and I asked if we could perhaps do a workshop in the shop.

Kim began percolating an idea – the first ever Brother Fabric Masterclass!

I mulled it over a gob full of sausage roll and thought, how fab would that be!? So it was agreed.

A few emails back and forth later and the date was set – well two dates in fact as Kim believed that there would be lots of interest.

The idea for the day would be that our goal was to focus on showing everyone how to follow the journey of fabric from the Scan N Cut machine, prepping and cutting it, through to then using that design to embroider with the Brother embroidery machines.

This was a collaboration between myself, Kim Suleman of The Fat Quarters and Melanie Haigh who is the Regional Account Support & Product Specialist for Brother.

I didn’t really know what to expect as it was the first time this had been done in the UK but thankfully over twenty keen and eager folk signed up to take part so that was the first goal achieved – bums on seats!

Next, find where I was meant to be! Luckily I had popped over earlier in the week to grab some bits to prep the workshop with so I had a good idea.

Someone was waiting for me to arrive … and caught us when we pulled up!


Lol! Curtains twitching were they Kim?

Or was it Debbie? She was close to the window and looking suspiciously angelic…


Hehe, ah well, at least Maisy got her mush in on the act for a change.

We set the workshop up whilst nattering over a brew and rather swiftly the first batch of guinea pigs, I mean workshop attendees, arrived and we were off!


The morning involved me talking through various aspects of using fabric with the Scan N Cut machine from the settings in the machine itself to preparing the fabric to be cut.

The group seemed to have a fun time of it with smiling faces all around …


In the afternoon it was over to Melanie to show the ladies how to take the design that they had cut out and use the Brother Embroidery machines to applique this onto a project.

I tried to get a photo of Melanie in the morning but she was faster than a whippet!


Did manage to get some as she was working away – hehe.

Don’t know about the ladies but I was squealing with delight as the embroidery machine worked away and I let out a gasp of excitement when the finished piece was handed around for all to see.


How cool is that?!

Hang on, there are cakes.


No, no. Not that kind.

This kind …


Magic. That’s what that is.

With the completion of the project, the day was coming to a close and it was time for a craft class selfie …


Phew! Well, time to treck off in Maisy and get some kip.

Motorway services again tonight. Could have gone to a more local caravan site however with various storms predicted I chose to be somewhere that was concreted and connected to a main road.

I think that a lot of people had heard warnings of the storms and were avoiding the motorways as I had this services all to myself!


That face says it all. Lol!

Anyway, day 2 popped up and knocked on the window and it was back off to The Fat Quarters store for more fabric fun!

This group was almost double the size of the previous day so we chose to change the format for the workshop a little with the morning being as it was yesterday and the afternoon being split into three different things – each completing the full story.

Kim had also been doing a raffle to help make a little more money for the challenge and at the end of the day it was time to draw for the prizes!


Congrats to all those that won, but don’t worry about the others as Kim had very generously arranged little goody bags for them too!


Right, time to pack up and move on. More to do and not much time to do it in.

Time for the craft class selfie though. A little giddy at the end of the day though so first, a photo of us taking a selfie …


Then us mucking about taking a selfie …


Finally. The lovely class all behaving photograph for the album.


The generosity of Kim and the ladies was overwhelming. The day generated over £400 to add to the challenge and that brought the total over the 90% to target mark!


Bless them all. Many thanks!

Time to crack on though.

South this time to get ready for the south-western counties at the end of the week.

Was a bit pooped so decided to overnight in a different motorway services on route.

Whilst there Maisy was pap-snapped by Kevin and Angela Monaghan who sent me this photo …


Does look a bit like a pap-snap or secret agent stealth shot doesn’t it?! LOL ;)

People snapping from behind the lace curtains and out of moving cars – I think she’s become a proper mega star now, lol!

Good job she wasn’t doing anything naughty or that would have been right across the front pages wouldn’t it?!

Going to miss her at the end of the challenge :/

Oh, by the way, I have been taking care of myself too. The week did start out with mostly junk food but has moved through to fruit juices and more water – I’m even handcrafting my own burgers to cut out all of the crap from the fast food ones. I’ll never give up burgers, but I can make them more beneficial for my body.

Definitely making a difference to energy levels and mood so it’s got to be a smart move.

Even got myself a self help book – the title really does kinda tell you what it’s about. Enjoying it so far, definitely written in my kind of style, lol!

Right, that just about brings this wee blog post to a close.

Don’t forget, I am putting myself through all of this nonsense in order to raise awareness of mental health issues and also to raise money for Mind, the mental health charity.

If you would like to get involved there are just over 40 days left to do so.

You can get involved in several ways. You can:

  • 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.

Thanks for taking the time to catch up. See you again soon!

J :)

Share Your Thoughts On This Post

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.