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The first ever Schoolhouse day that we did. And I think it may have worked…

The first ever Schoolhouse day that we did. And I think it may have worked…

So Saturday July 5th was our first schoolhouse event and I think I can safely say it was a BIG success. So what that now my back is bent in two, and I’m going to be eating salmon and salad for the next month, so what we tripped the electricity in the school 3 times with too much sewing?
Who knew moving our WHOLE shop to the school and back in one weekend was actually possible? When I say WHOLE shop I seriously do mean that I think nothing was left behind… oh no, actually we have these little wooden cotton reels which hang around because no one wants them, I left those behind. Who knew we had so much fabric. Mum said to me before we got there: we can line up the bolts down one side of the corridor, there’ll be plenty of space. Ha ha, no way – it went up both sides of the corridor and only just. I’m gonna count them as I put them back, just out of interest, last time I (well, Shanice, on behalf of me) counted it was 400 bolts, and obviously we’ve used some and bought a LOT but I think it’ll be interesting. Just as I finish counting there’ll be another delivery to add to it. Actually, I bet there will, we’re expecting Kokka and Lecien in any time soon…oh help, it never ends…
Anyway, rather than just rambling I will try and put this in some kind of order so it may make sense!
Friday night: 5 o’clock and we have access to the school. Van loads of fabric arrives, as well as everything else in the shop, stacks of paper, loads of fiddly bits, and practically every button in our range…whew! I bet I have more buttons than anyone else you know, I am willing to place serious money on this bet.

So my first job, while Fiona is starting to unpack buttons and Lizzie is laying out fabric, is to figure out what class is happening in which class room, layout the tables, set up the classes as much as possible to be ready for the teachers to arrive. First classroom fine, second fine, third yes, fourth… oh. The tables are kind of mini. What? This is a juniour school right? Small, but not mini.. Ok, small I can cope with, a bit of jiggling about, yes, fourth classroom, tick. Classroom fine.
Meanwhile, Fiona is still unpacking buttons, Lizzie is laying out fabric..
Fifth classroom, wait- these tables are mini-er than mini, they are teeny weeny and the chairs come up to my ankle. Hmmm…. Back to classroom number one, squeeze in a second class in the space. This carried on until I found space for all nine classes, phew, for a moment there I was panicking. Oh yes, all this while remembering to draw ultra specific maps as to how the classrooms were laid out when I got there and where each table, chair, piece of paper, book, pen pot, shoe bag etc went.While all this is going on the tutors who are staying overnight, Kim Reygate and Jane Gill arrive with Corinne. Fiona is STILL unpacking buttons, Lizzie is STILL laying out fabric.
Hours – HOURS later the job is done and it’s time to go home for bed with a pit stop for fish and chips. Mum took the going home for fish part a bit literally and spent a further few hours cooking salmon.Saturday morning: 5am, I wake, mind buzzing about all the things I still need to do. Wait until 6, get up, dressed, head on down to school.
Now, I said to mum a few weeks ago that my lovely friend Lizzie had offered to help us out for the day and that she would be good in the kitchen, you could just tell her what to do and she’d get on and do it. Somewhere in the intervening weeks mum translated this as ‘Lizzie is a caterer’ and put her in charge. Obviously there was a lot of helpers about, but it is very typical of mum that you say ‘oh, I like making this’ and suddenly you are teaching a class in it, or in Amanda Fowlers case, ‘look what I made for the first time today’ and suddenly she’s teaching it at Schoolhouse! Anyway, with brilliant help from the likes of Bobbie, Sue, Corinne, Charlotte and anyone else I may have accidentally forgotten (it is sunday night and my brain is frazzled) the cooking was brilliantly sorted by someone other than me or mum because at that point we would have been no help at all!Anyway, while all this was going on, Schoolhouse was beginning! People started turning up at about 9am, and at 9.30 we had assembly in the hall, where we met the teachers and what they were teaching, which was as follows (at this point I would dearly love to say I took a picture of finished projects but I forgot, so if anyone has pictures of what they made, please post them here cos I would love to see them)
1. Mandy Shaw, made a lovely heart shaped pincushion out of linen and beautiful red ribbons, from her new book, Quilt Yourself Gorgeous, available here
2. Jane Randall, our Moda fabric rep, teaching her first ever class (and taking to it like a duck to water) made a quilt block using 5″ charm squares3. Sue Allan, a textile artist who makes FANTABULOUS things was embroidering covered buttons with liberty fabrics. (By the way she will be coming in later in the year to make sock monkeys and also a luverly purse that I am definitely sitting in on – this is not just fabric craft this is ART)
4. Debs from Delish Designs making a cute little scrapbook album with cd covers and the new Delish Bistro range of papers (bistro is delish naturally)
5. Kim Reygate doing her thing with stamps and a resist method which I would describe if I could only get my head round it, all I can say is that EVERYONE’s finished product (at least those I saw) looked incredible.

6. Jane Gill making lifelike flowers out of paper – she is a floral punchcraft expert and I don’t know how she does it but the results are spookily realistic.
7. Amanda Fowler – making the felted flower brooch she showed us one day in February (see above comment re mum)
8. Sandy Bower – another one mum took out of her comfort zone – usually she does folded paper things or quilts – today she beaded little card toppers in the shape of bees, butterflies and damselflies
9. Noonie Fleming using our very own mini buttons making the cutest little button and bead dangly earrings.


People could pick 5 of the above to do throughout the day, and certainly if it were me deciding which to do I wouldn’t have a clue, I’d want to do them all (obviously I want doesn’t get, I couldn’t do any of them).We also had grandma running a tombola – she used to do this at my infant school fetes – every ticket won a prize, people had donated a lot of prizes too –

and it all went to the aim of the day – an oxfam unwrapped schoolhouse!
After lesson 1 we had breaktime, with coffee and biscuits, mainly for me as by then I needed sustenance, but I think maybe other people appreciated it too.
Class 2 followed, and then the amazing feat (which I claim no praise for) which was the lunch. Salmon, quiche, cold meats, boiled new potatoes, many many salads, followed by strawberries and cream and lemon cheesecake. Actually I will claim credit for the cheesecake, although the recipe was my old flatmate Chris’, which if you know him you’ll find hilarious.
Then the long haul through classes 3 and 4, which was deservedly followed by afternoon tea: cakes and tea, what crafter doesn’t love a lovely cuppa? Especially out of my great grandma’s teacups? Well, not all of them were my great grandmas (some of them were my grandmas).
Then class 5 and it’s all over. Except for taking bookings for the next one, on 31st January 2009, of course!
Actually, not all over for us, we have to pack up. Thanks to Helen and Susi for staying after to help us!
Sunday morning, we still have the bulk of the clearing to do but we have promised ourselves a little lie in until 9. At 8 we get a call from Fiona – she’s left the coffee pots she borrowed from church at the school, and they need them for before their sunday morning service! So the lie in is cancelled, and we head off to school again.
And this is almost the biggest thanks – it’s obviously not, but it feels HUGE – it was supposed to be just me and mum clearing up today, but one by one we had Grandma, John, Nick, Charlotte, and Fiona and Mark all turn up to help. A tear comes to my eye with gratitude for this – my bones ache and mum looks a wee bit tired ( I am being nice because she has just come sat beside me) and the help was ENORMOUS – I wasn’t going to be able to lift boxes of fabric today. Even with all that help we didn’t finish until 7pm.
So that’s it – apart from here I am now when I should be in bed but I am writing to you all…
So one last time thanks to Grandma, Corinne, Lizzie, Charlotte, Becky, Sue, Bobbie, Fiona, Hannah, Michael, Mandy, Noonie, Sue, Sandy, Debs, Jane G, Jane R, Amanda, Kim, John G, John C, Nick, Pete & Mark we wouldn’t have managed without you


And thanks to all of you for coming, we really wouldn’t have managed without you either…

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