By Rachael Smith
Significant life events such as a wedding, a new baby or a special anniversary often inspire people to learn a new craft or return to an old hobby in order to create something special to mark the occasion. I've put together 5 creative ideas for celebrating special moments and rites of passage...
My brother and sister-in-law are due to have their first baby in just a few weeks and I’ve been knitting like crazy to make a blanket to give to my niece when she arrives.
Now, I’m not a natural knitter and the process of making a blanket has been more difficult than I anticipated, however I’ve persevered.
I want to be able to give the baby blanket as a present and be able to say, 'I made that especially for you’.
This urge to make a blanket was inspired by my Mother-in-law, who made each of my children their own knitted blankets when they were born. I always loved having something special to snuggle them up in when they were out and about in their pram. And even though those baby blankets are too small to use now, they’re safely stored away in our memory boxes ready for grandchildren in the future.
My fellow CraftCourses team members also have fond memories of handmade gifts and decorations to celebrate special events.
Between us we have pretty much tried everything!
From wedding venues decorated with bunting stitched from old clothes, lace offcuts and even crocheted triangles to beautifully decorated, personalised birthday cakes.
Not to mention quilts constructed from outgrown baby clothes, felted toys and room decorations and even heirloom tailormade christening gowns passed down through the generations.
If you’ve got a big celebration coming up and you’re feeling inspired to make something yourself, then check out our list of ideas below for inspiration.
1. Knit, crochet or sew your own blanket or keepsake teddy
Learn the basics of knitting or crochet and create your very own baby blanket to be cherished by your newest family member.
Once you’ve mastered the basic stitches of crochet you might decide to move on to making more complicated projects such as Amigurumi, the Japanese art of crocheting small, stuffed creatures, such as teddy bears or a favourite animal.
Adorable! My favourite so far is a large puffin.
If you prefer sewing you could hand stitch a one-of-a-kind collectable teddy bear for your newest addition.
Boos Bears in Cumbria have a weekend workshop where you get to choose from a range of beautiful materials such as mohair, ultra suede and cashmere in an array of colours, lengths and textures.
You’ll cut out your pattern, sew, stuff and join the parts and then finish with the bears head, ears, eyes and hand stitched smile to make something completely unique and made with love.
When it comes to making a unique toy to be treasured forever there are lots of great options. Take a look at all of the toy making and automata workshops on the CraftCourses site for inspiration.
2. Silverclay keepsakes
Create a lasting memento of tiny baby hands and feet by making your own piece of fingerprint jewellery. You can create pendants to be used on necklaces, bracelets, and earrings or even use silver clay to make keyrings and wall art plaques.
This craft isn’t limited to just babies either – let your imagination run wild!
You could cast your new puppy’s nose or paw, cast a button from your wedding dress, take a fingerprint of an older child or do a double fingerprint of you and your fiance or spouse to mark an engagement, wedding or anniversary.
Creating a life drawing or painting of a loved one carries way more sentiment, feeling and personality than a standard photograph.
It will take patience and time but could be the perfect gift for a number of occasions or something to keep yourself to mark a significant time in your life. The subject too could vary: from children, grandchildren, a partner, couple or even a beloved pet!
We have lots of life drawing and portraiture classes taking place across the country where both complete beginners and experienced artists are welcomed and taught techniques such as form, structure and line.
You’ll be given lots of advice and tips to create your own piece of art that will hold special memories.
4. Jewellery making
Jewellery is a great way to mark a special occasion and even better if you design and make your own, either for yourself or as a special gift.
Even attending a jewellery making workshop with family or friends could create special keepsakes to remind you of the quality time spent together. They make wonderful Mother's Day and hallmark birthday activities!
It is increasingly popular for engaged couples to opt to make their own wedding bands. It means that they are completely personal, exactly what they desire and have extra significance. Many even engrave significant dates or wording on the rings.
You can spend the day together designing and then making your own rings at one of the many workshops held across the country.
5. The Gift of Time... (best of all?)
Giving someone the gift of your time and company is always special. Making special memories whilst learning new skills and creating something to take home and treasure is a wonderful way to spend time with loved ones.
You could spend a day or weekend on a workshop together, it might even turn into a new passion or hobby for life!
There are lots of options on our website so you can pick a craft that you are all interested in. Pick from a huge range including floristry, blacksmithing, glass fusing, ceramics and cookery – there’s something for everyone's tastes and abilities.