Our Event Manager Norma Smallwood (of Norma Jean Vintage fame) has launched her new jewellery range Arsenic & Old Lace. This venture showcases her own silver jewellery designs, inspired by the landscape, flora and fauna of Northern Ireland, as well as redesigned vintage jewellery pieces, and a gorgeous collection of old Irish linens and lace.
You can find out more by visiting Arsenic & Old Lace on Facebook and Instagram. You will also be able to see Norma's beautiful creations when she exhibits at The Belfast Cathedral Wedding Fair on Saturday 10th March.
We hope all our readers have enjoyed a wonderful Easter break. We're back at work early as we have The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair less than 3 weeks away and we have lots of news about our fantastic exhibitors to share before then! In today's MEET THE WEDDING SUPPLIER post we are delighted to introduce you to the lovely John and Annie from Rose Cottage Events. We caught up with them recently to chat about all things wedding, so why not make yourself a cup of tea and sit down to find out what goes on behind the scenes at Rose Cottage HQ?
So John and Annie, tell us a little about your background and how your business started?
We are a small family run business who had initially, for some years, been doing this type of service free of charge for friends and family. It was in early 2015 when we decided to give it a go as a small business. Since going live in September 2015 we have grown steadily, and have had fabulous feedback from our clientele. We are "Event Planners" which means we do more than just weddings. We can cater for any event.
What products or services do you offer that are suitable for weddings?
Our products, where possible are the real thing...the majority of our props are originals, some dating from late 1800's to early 1900's. We can cater from room dressing right down to the finer little details. Some of our props can be hired as a gift for the bride and groom for their special day, for example one of our gorgeous postboxes. We also have our personalised, handmade, bespoke items, which can be purchased from our new online shop, which should be going live for Monday 10th April 2017. The shop will be accessed via our website www.rosecottageevents.com Brides, or guests, can browse for a lovely gift for themselves, a friend or a family member.
Is Rose Cottage Events only available locally or do you travel across Ireland?
We cover the island both North and South of Ireland and have travelled to the Republic of Ireland on a number of occasions, with more bookings being taken for 2017/18.
Where does your inspiration for your styling ideas come from?
Our inspiration usually comes from our our own imagination and creativity. We have a knack of looking at something and seeing what it can become…for example a piece of wood fallen from our trees.
Do you have any wedding planning tips for brides and grooms?
Our wedding tips for any bride would be this.....Make your wedding day your own, don't let others take over your dream...its ok having help and advice or throwing ideas about to get a clear picture of what you are looking for, but don't let anyone take over to the point that its their day instead of yours. But do allocate little jobs to the bridal party so you're not over-stressed trying to do everything yourself. Our other main tip would be.. too many brides end up so nervous and stressed on their special day that it passes them by with no real memory of it....so after all the hustle and bustle getting to and arriving for your special day, take a moment, a couple of deep breaths and look around you, physically make your eyes and mind take everything in around you, so you don't miss out on the beauty of your special day, and how it has all come together....and enjoy it to the full xx
"We at Rose Cottage Events, endeavour to help create your dreams with our ideas and to inspire you, while you still hold the reins."
For more information please visit the Rose Cottage Events website where the Online Shop is now open. You can also follow Rose Cottage Events on Facebook.
And great news for one lucky bride and groom visiting The Vintage & Handmade Wedding Fair at Belfast Cathedral on Saturday 6th May - Rose Cottage Events have included free hire of one of their vintage postboxes as part of our fantastic prize package bundle!
In today's MEET THE MAKER post we are delighted to be introducing you to the lovely ladies at Camran Crafts - creators of melt-in-the-mouth, scrumptious, artisan marshmallows. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of tasting these delicious confections then you will be in for a treat if you visit our event this weekend as they will be exhibiting at The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair at Belfast Castle on Sunday 2nd April. This week we caught up with the lovely ladies for a bit of a chat about all things marshmallow, so why not make yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to enjoy what goes on behind the scenes at Camran Crafts..........
So ladies, we have long been big fans of yours but could you tell us your background and how Camran Crafts started?
We started the business after our children expressed an interest in marshmallows, but did not like the texture or the artificial taste of shop purchased ones. After lots of research and little piles of 'not quite there' mallows, the camran mallow was born! Our children have additional needs so are very, very particular. We were able to produce an all natural, gluten, fat and dairy free mallow that melted in the mouth and they loved it. The business was then developed to not only have an opportunity to share these amazing little bites of confectionery but to raise awareness and funding for Autism related projects.
How would you describe your business and what you do?
Our business is fun! We are so fortunate to be in the position to do what we do. Our customers love telling us what flavour combinations they would like us to make and revel in giving us wee challenges to rise to. The texture of our mallows is so very different and one of the biggest smiles we give is when someone says "well I wasn't expecting that... I don't even like marshmallows... can I take a bag of those and those please"!
We hear you have recently been nominated for some awards???
Our Strawberry & Champagne mallow made the finals of Blas Na Eireann and our Orange, Mango and Gin earnt us the title of Small Producer of the Year from the Irish Food and Drinks Quality Awards team. .... humbling and honoured on both accounts. Our true award though are our customers - we love them and really enjoy the time they spend to come and talk to us and share their stories whilst having a mallow sampling journey.
Where does the inspiration for your flavours come from?
We are well known for mallows and alcohol.... particularly whiskey or gin! Necessity or Fun??? - we will let you decide! The children inspire a lot of the flavours (without the booze!), they are young enough to not be tainted by thinking that savoury is savoury and you don't mix sweet with it... so they have great ideas. Not all of them work, but we have a go at most of them. Alongside our customers, this wee country has so much to offer and inspires us all the time. Our Whiskey & Chocolate mallow is made with that lovely north coast nectar and chocolate from Wee ChoCo which has gorgeous fruit undertones to complement the honey and vanilla in the whiskey. With plenty of Cider companies around and gorgeous apples grown here we have been inspired to produce an apple and candied chilli mallow. The chilli doesn't provide a kick in the mallow, it warms the apple and creates a more intense taste sensation. Sometimes we genuinely just blurt out flavours whilst having coffee and see what happens. We did say it was fun!
What are your plans for the future?
To remain happy and slightly sane. We will be going through a rebranding exercise in 2017 and our packaging is being redesigned. We have a few collaborations planned throughout the year too so keep an eye out for those.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all the Frock Fair customers and events team. The locations of these events are first class and we truly have an amazing time exhibiting. They are so well organised and the customers are always so kind and considerate that you hardly feel like you are working at all!
For more information on these delectable treats you can visit the Camran Crafts website and also follow them on Facebook.
You can also catch Camran Crafts at Belfast Castle this Sunday where they will be exhibiting as part of The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair.
COMPETITION ALERT!! One lucky person will also soon be able to win some delicious Carmran artisan mallows as part of our April Prize Package this Sunday 2nd April at Belfast Castle!
In today's MEET THE MAKER post we are delighted to be introducing you to Rosemary McCartney - the creative genius behind Simply Spun. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of seeing her work then you will be in for a treat if you visit our next event as she will be exhibiting at The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair at Belfast Castle on Sunday 2nd April. But for now, why not make yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to enjoy what goes on behind the scenes at Simply Spun..........
So Rosemary, how did Simply Spun begin?
My Mum taught me to knit and sew as a child. As part of my job at the Ulster Folk Museum I learned to weave and spin. Work and family commitments meant that it was not till I left the Museum in 2009 that I started to think about producing work for sale. My other love is teaching and I believe that our traditional crafts/skills still have a place today and should be passed on to others.
So in 2010 Simply Spun was set up. At first it was just spinning yarns to produce knit wear to sell at craft fairs. Then I got a loom with the help of an Individual Artist grant from the Arts Council NI / National Lottery. This meant I could combine yarn spinning and weaving to make a shawl which was displayed at the RDS Dublin show. A different shawl was also displayed the following year. So I have now added woven scarves to my range.
And where do you get inspiration for your designs?
I get my inspiration for ideas and colours from my love of nature, the outdoors, walking and gardening and because of this I use natural materials in my work.
What is next for Simply Spun?
In the last eighteen months I have been weaving tapestry pictures. My next project idea is for a woven piece that can by displayed in the garden for my entry in an upcoming competition.
Rosemary also undertakes commissions and welcomes enquires for weaving and spinning lessons, demonstrations or group workshops. For more information visit Simply Spun on Facebook.
You can also catch Rosemary at Belfast Castle this Sunday where she will be exhibiting as part of The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair.
COMPETITION ALERT!! One lucky person will also soon be able to win a beautiful pair of Simply Spun handmade wrist warmers as part of our April Prize Package on Sunday 2nd April at Belfast Castle!
In today's MEET THE MAKER post we are delighted to be introducing you to Frances McCready - the creative genius behind The Beagle and The Blackbird. Frances began exhibiting with us back in 2016 and we are in awe of her talents and magical creations. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of seeing her work then you will be in for a treat if you visit our next event as she will be exhibiting at The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair at Belfast Castle on Sunday 2nd April. But for now, why not make yourself a nice cup of tea and sit down to enjoy what goes on behind the scenes at The Beagle and The Blackbird..........
So Frances, where does your business name The Beagle and The Blackbird come from?
The Beagle is sadly no longer with me but the Blackbird visits my workshop each day looking to be fed and he sometimes sits awhile, he's just lovely, a real wee friend.
How would you describe your creative business and what materials do you like to work with?
I work with wool fibres, that's unspun wool, most of which is undyed Jacob and transform it in to quirky, recognisable creatures full of personality, character and fun. There is a special magic when each piece is finished and a little face is looking back at me. In needlefelting there is no shortcut and even the tiniest item takes many hours to complete and what you have is a totally unique friendly little creature guaranteed to make you smile.
What influences your designs at the moment?
I am currently working on a range of miniatures that are just too too cute. Influences for me are wildlife books and programmes, Beatrix Potter and of course my favourite The Animals of Farthing Wood, mixing the real with the imagined.
Frances and her Beagle and the Blackbird creations will be appearing with Frock Around The Clock at the following events:
2nd April - The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair
16th September - The Spectacular Autumn Vintage & Handmade Fair
COMPETITION ALERT!! One lucky person will also soon be able to win a beautiful needlefelted sleeping mouse in his own cosy box as show below as part of our April Prize Package on Sunday 2nd April at Belfast Castle!
For more information visit The Beagle and the Blackbird on Facebook.
Karen, how would you describe your creative business?
I have been making resin jewellery for just under a year and I generally incorporate flowers, feathers and shells, although over Winter I have included a bit of diamanté bling - who doesn't like a bit of bling?!
What influences your designs at the moment?
I love, while out for walks, finding a little piece of nature that I can take home and transform into a beautiful piece of jewellery, thereby permanently preserving the natural beauty that constantly surrounds us. My two young children are great at helping with this and, when we walk along the coastal path, are the best feather and flower-finders ever!
What plans do you have for the future?
I am currently looking forward to the warmer weather and the myriad of beautiful flowers it will bring with it, so my pieces can capture the blossoming and new beginnings of Spring.
Karen and her Blue Feather Jewellery creations will be appearing with Frock Around The Clock at the following events:
4th March - The Marvellous March Vintage & Handmade Fair
2nd April - The Spring Into Summer Vintage & Handmade Fair
COMPETITION ALERT!! One lucky person will also soon be able to win the beautiful dried rosebud necklace on an 18" sterling silver chain shown below as part of our April Prize Package - more details on this will be coming soon!
To see more of Karen's beautiful creations please visit Blue Feather Jewellery on Facebook.
Love is in the air! In honour of Valentine's Day we have picked out some of our favourite love themed creations from just a few of the fabulous exhibitors who will be taking part in The Marvellous March Vintage & Handmade Fair at Belfast Cathedral on Saturday 4th March.........
We love this glorious sunrise view of Blackhead Lighthouse in County Antrim, captured by our friends at Tandem Photography. What a fabulous view for their first photograph of 2017 and we look forward to seeing much more from them when they appear at Stitch & Craft Fest on Sunday 5th February!
And carrying on with the sunshine theme, here are just a few more bright offerings from some of the other wonderful exhibitors who will also be taking part in our first event of 2017.
Happy New Year to all our readers and followers! We're back to sharing news on our blog now after a break over the festive season and are excited about all the fantastic events we have coming up in the first part of 2017. Kicking off the event calendar for this year is Stitch & Craft Fest which will be returning to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Shaw's Bridge, Belfast on Sunday 5th February. We will have lots of news on this over the next few weeks but for now we would just like to introduce you to a few creative folks who are either new to our fairs for 2017 or who joined us towards the end of 2016............
We are looking forward to getting our Christmas shopping off to a great start this Sunday at The Wonderful Winter Vintage & Handmade Fair! With 50 fabulous exhibitors taking part we are going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to unique and beautiful gifts. These are just a few of our favourite handmade finds this week from some of the sellers who will be there............