Thursday 15 June 2017

Blake House Craft Centre - Essex

Last week my craft ladies and I headed to Blake House Craft Centre. I had visited briefly the weekend before with hubby and Ralphy, but upon seeing how gloriously crafty this place was, I knew I had to return with my crafty girlies so we could savour the vast array of fabrics, yarns and trinkets. It houses a variety of shops in original farmyard buildings and there is a lovely restaurant on site with ample indoor and outdoor seating should you need refreshment and a laze in the sun. It's a great place to take the kids too as there is also a 10 acre maze of ... wait for it ... MAIZE! It was drizzling the day we visited so we didn't visit the maze this time around but I'm sure it would have been amazing! See what I did there? :-) Here is a peek into the delights of Blake House Craft Centre ...

Before we started browsing we needed a caffeine hit so we stopped off for a quick cuppa in Timbers Restaurant before hitting the shops. Afterwards we headed into The old apple shop which is full of home decor, gifts, shabby chic treasures, bits for the garden and plants ...

We then stumbled into the fabulous clothing shop Altered Image ... which sells a selection of secondhand and vintage clothes, including evening wear and wedding dresses. The owner of the shop Sally Attwood has worked in the fashion industry for years (she is also an embroidery designer) so as well buying and selling clothes (if you take your goods into the shop she'll sell them for you and split the profit!) she also works to commission whether it's cushions, bunting or clothing alternations.  

I felt 5 years old again in the enchanting Bijou Dolls House ... I have never seen dolls houses like it - they were extraordinary! and Linda sell every piece of furniture you could imagine including mini Henry the hoovers! Linda (pictured below) makes a lot of miniatures herself and is a member of the Guild of Essex craftsmen - she was making little fairy scenes when we visited. 

My favourite shop had to be And sew on. Housed in an 18th century barn it was fabric heaven! and is by far the best fabric shop I've come across in Hertfordshire and Essex. 

They have a huge selection of fabric in every style you could imagine - for dressmaking, curtain-making, patchwork, as well as selling all the tools you could need. They also offer a bespoke curtain make-up service, sewing machine servicing as well as hosting a variety of sewing workshops! 

I was after some lovely fabric for a patchwork quilt I'm making,  and they didn't disappoint.  They even have another shop opposite that is their 'sale' room. 

My crafty ladies made a bee-line for Sconch - the yarn and fibre shop that has a huge range of patterns, yarns and books ... and a lovely selection it was too. I bought some gorgeous yarn by Erika Knight to make a shawl with and my ladies stocked up on knit patterns and sock yarn (they are all sock mad!) 

Open 6 days a week, Sconch also hold Craft n' cake groups 5 times a week which only cost £3 to attend and they supply the cake! as well as a holding a variety of sewing classes. They've recently taken on a bigger premises and will soon be stocking materials for felting, spinning, weaving, dyeing, cross stitch and tapestry too. 

Aside from the ones I've mentioned there are plenty more shops to visit too - as well as a nail parlour and aromatherapy treatment room too should you fancy a foot-rub on your way round. You'll find a full list of shops on the Blake House website (link below.) We were all worn out after all the shopping, and as the sun had finally made an appearance we bought and ice cream and put our feet up ....

As we chatted and compared purchases we heard a little tweet from above ... right next to us was a little birds nest build onto the side of the restaurant - he and his birdy wife were taking it in turns to bring food home for the babies in the nest! It was such a lovely sight to see, and provided the perfect end to a most perfect crafty day. 

JM & My lovely crafty bunch 


Blake House Craft Centre is open all year round. 
Summer: April - October, 10am-5pm 
Winter: November - March, 10am-4pm
Closed Mondays (except bank holidays)

Timbers Restaurant open 7 days a week, plus evenings Weds - Sat.

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