Craft Your Own Christmas
Forgo the hectic high street this holiday season
For those: Who wax lyrical about candles
Try: Alnwick Arts & Crafts Centre
Candles make the festive season seem so cosy and magical, with their flickering flames always evoking special memories of Christmases gone by. So why not bring that sense of comfort and nostalgia into your home this year with an extra-special twist, by dipping a wick yourself and crafting your very own scented candles? During the one-day workshop on offer at Alnwick Arts & Crafts Centre on 14th December, you’ll be given access to a decadent array of sweet-smelling essential oils and all the decorations you’ll need to make a glass jar candle, a decorative candle and a tea light to take home – so you can triumphantly show them off to your friends and family in a blaze of creative glory, just in time for the big day.
8 Bondgate Within, Alnwick NE66 1TD
For those: Galvanised by gingerbread
Try: Wynyard Hall
Christmas is a time for many things, but let’s face it – food is a big part of the festivities. And few culinary creations are as Christmassy as the age-old gingerbread house. While the baking buffs among us may already have this particular recipe down, the slightly more inexperienced (or out of practice) can head along to Wynyard Hall this December – with your little chefs in tow – and get your mixers back in bowls, under the expert guidance of Wynyard’s chefs. Hosted on 14th and 15th December, this heartwarming and tastebud-tingling family activity is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit.
Wynyard Hall, Tees Valley TS22 5NF
For those: Dotty about decorations
Try: National Glass Centre
Bing Crosby said it first: silver bells mean it’s Christmas time in the city (or the country, come to that). But what about golden stars? Or scarlet baubles? Glass angels? Whatever decorations you’re looking for to trim your tree, you’ll be able to make them with your own two hands at the National Glass Centre, in one of their Blow Your Own Christmas Bauble workshops throughout November and December. With no previous experience needed, take to their studios in Sunderland and start glass-blowing in this unique opportunity to work with molten glass at over 1,100 degrees centigrade (sure to get your cheeks rosy), with everything you’ll need to make your designs shine.
Liberty Way, Sunderland SR6 0GL
0191 515 5555
For those: Wowed by wreaths
Try: The Flower Folk
There are few sights more festive than that of a Christmas wreath hanging on a door, promising crackling fires and merry making within. Both relaxing and nostalgic, making your own wreath helps to really put your own stamp on your Christmas decorations, and while there are a number of venues across the North East that offer this particular pursuit, we’d say The Flower Folk is our pick of the bunch. With her professional roots stretching all the way to London, where she ran the floristry department of Botanique Workshop, owner Pip has a natural, relaxed style of floristry with a strong focus on seasonality – meaning she’s perfectly placed to help you create a smart, stylish new talking point for your home this festive season.
20 Brentwood Ave, Newcastle NE2 3DH
0191 281 1800
For those: Proud of painting
Try: Canny Crafty
Be it cocktail evenings or family gatherings, or even the Christmas dinner itself, we’re all likely to either be entertaining or visiting loved ones this holiday season. And whether dressed with earthenware pots or porcelain dishes, your table can become that extra bit festive with a little hand decoration – and that’s where Canny Crafty come in. The family-run business deliver a range of festive Paint Your Own Pottery workshops, and if you’re celebrating baby’s first Christmas, there’s the option to make a special keepsake. Visit their quirky Gosforth studio, where you can enjoy a well-earned brew with a slice of something nice afterwards, or they can come to you if you’re looking to host your own paint-splattered party with a difference.
147–149 Salters Road, Gosforth, Newcastle NE3 1DU
0191 284 5746
For those: Potty about pottery
Try: Just Add Creativity
From teapots to tea light holders, vases to vessels and bowls to baubles, pottery pervades the home all year round, meaning we know one thing, at least, is true: it makes a cracking gift, (although hopefully not literally). Bringing almost a lifetime of ceramist experience to the craft table, Andra at Just Add Creativity offers monthly throwing sessions, weekly hand-building classes and tailored workshops for children and adults, with complexity levels to suit all skill sets. Meaning all that’s really left for you to worry about is whether you’ll have time left to wrap all your amazing, handcrafted creations.
9 Jubilee Road, Gosforth Newcastle NE3 3UR
For those: Fanatical about fabrics
Try: The Quilt Shop
Whatever else we’ll be up to this Christmas, as the colder weather draws in we’ll be looking to draw up the blankets and cosy on down by the fire. And therein lies the inspiration behind this next lot of crafty workshops. With a breathtaking array of fabrics and patterns to peruse at your leisure, The Quilt Shop in Morpeth run a number of classes and relaxing drop-in sessions, including their popular ‘stitch and chat’ sessions. So whether it’s making a party dress for someone special, or stitching up your own cosy quilt ready for Jack Frost, why not sew the seeds of your creativity here? (Spoiler alert – they also have cake).
Unit 4, Grandstand Services, Fairmoor, Morpeth NE61 3JN
For those: Crazy about Christmas Cards
Try: Creative Calligraphy
Cards are one of our favourite things about the holidays. By Christmas Eve, however, they can sometimes become a dime a dozen, finding their way into every corner of the home. But not if you make your festive greetings stand out from the crowd with a little help from Creative Calligraphy. Founder Angela Reed runs calligraphy workshops throughout the region, and while her Christmas lessons may already be sold out, you can get practising for next year nice and early – or give a unique crafty Christmas gift to someone special – with dates for the New Year now released. Standout slots include 1st February at From Loft to Loved in Sedgefield, 15th February at Re-Create Today in Whitley Bay, and 29th February at Creative Artist Studios Northumberland. So wherever you’re based, you’re sure to find a calligraphy course near you.