Etsy UK Brings A Little Magic To London

This weekend saw Etsy UK’s first ever wedding event in London – an interactive, vintage-themed exhibition for those looking for creative ideas for their big day.

Held at Gallery Soho, the intimate setting boasted two floors of gorgeous fashion, stationery, jewellery, home furnishings and craft workshops. There was something for everyone, from Hollywood-siren oppulence in the form of a show-stopping, sequin-covered, gold, vintage gown to the endearing charm of handmade cushions, adorable wedding cake toppers and button-decorated, pastel-coloured bouquets.

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For vintage lovers like myself, it was an intoxicating way to spend my Saturday morning, putting me in a joyful mood for the rest of the day.

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The downstairs showed off a range of wares from Etsy sellers and there was a free hair consultation and styling session for any girl wanting to see which vintage look would be the most flattering at her pending nuptials. Like a magpie, I found myself drawn to the sparkly antique hair pins and rhinestone combs being used to create the beautiful styles. Art deco hair accessories are definitely the most impressive but, let’s face it, if it gleams and sparkles, you can’t go wrong!

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The upper level of the gallery heaved with gushing future brides eager to try their hands at the craft workshops being offered by Parapluie Events. Armed with a fabulous free cocktail from St-Germain – a light, breezy concoction blending the French liqueur, Prosecco and club soda – I got to try my hand at making clay wedding favours and place settings as well as frilly, paper doily pom-poms to use as hanging decorations. The cackling heard from the photo booth provided by LookLook was testimony to how much fun was being had by all the guests.

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The entire session was a blast and I walked away with not just a renewed love for vintage but also the uplifting sense of accomplishment; showing my creations to family and friends triggered a gush of compliments and admiration. Not bad for a mere £5 entry fee!

Parapluie Events are definitely worth booking for hen-dos and parties – get all your bridesmaids to help craft your wedding favours and you’re not only quids-in, you’ve also managed to involve your nearest and dearest to help create the most special day of your life!

Hopefully, Etsy UK will repeat the event next year, perhaps with a few tweaks to help drive more revenue sales. That said, everyone at the event received a fantastic goody bag – which included a special code for 15% off buys on Etsy. Given the wonderful stuff we saw on display, I imagine many will go on to use the generous discount. Etsy UK deserves to do well from this first foray into events – it was awesome fun and the quality of handmade and vintage goods on display were genuinely breathtaking.

To see more pictures and news from the event, social media users can search for #etsywed on Twitter or check out the Facebook page for EtsyUK.

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Channel Your Inner Kid

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Since entering my 30s, I’ve found my desire to paint and draw increase with a passion. Sick of looking at a computer all day, I can’t tell you how good it feels to stop thinking and start doing. Working with my hands has given me a freedom that feels euphoric.

I’ve even started modelling with play-dough, using clay, braiding friendship bracelets and finger painting. I’m loving every second and have even started looking at Arts & Craft courses at local colleges. I dream of gaining a qualification in something like Pottery, Ceramics or Glass Blowing. Quite how I would pursue my skills at home, I don’t know. But I refuse to be put off. It’s not in my nature. At least, it never used to be. I was always admired for my tenacity but then, responsibilities and the weight of life took over and I lost some of my gumption. No more. I want to channel my inner kid and do all the things I enjoy doing.

If someone says ‘No, you can’t do that!’ I’m going to stamp my foot, pout and respond: ‘Why not?’ and then do it anyway. Yes, I have responsibilities. Yes, I shouldn’t be spending any money on my hobbies during the current economic climate. Yes, I should act like a grown up and stick to a corporate career. But… No, I’m not going to do any of that. I’m going to do as I please. I’ve got one life to live and I want it to be in gloriously full colour, as illustrated with paints, chalk, crayons, stained glass and anything else that takes my fancy!

An Artistic Climb Higher

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Spotted this piece of Art being sold at a local shopping mall. It’s not a great photo of what is actually visually striking. If you can’t make out the detail, those little orange and white specks are carefully crafted 3D figures of miniature rock climbers (or construction workers?). That’s real string used for ropes (not merely painted on) and the rock surface is probably crafted from some kind of latex.

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Can I see this hanging in my living room? No. Can I imagine it hanging in the lobby of a funky construction company or adventure tour group? Yes.

Otherwise, look upon it as a motivational message; never stop aspiring to climb higher. If little orange men can do it, so can we 😉

Personalise Your Scent-ter Pieces!

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If you want to make your wedding day truly personal, and keep that vintage feel, think about making your centre-pieces scent-sational by adding your own, handmade candle – complete with your own signature scent featuring all the smells you and your beau love!

I made a vintage tea cup soya candle (pictured above) at The Make Lounge in Islington, London. For a paltry £29 I got to learn not only how to make scented soya candles at home but also how and which essential oils blend well together to create my perfect scent. And they let me choose a vintage tea cup and saucer to my liking, especially for my candle.

The helpful handouts provided on the day – and also by email – mean that I can start making more candles at home.

It’s really quick and fairly cheap to make your own scented candles at home so if you’re on a tight budget for your big day but still want a personal touch, this is definitely worth exploring.

If you’re worried about having a fragrance which may be too overpowering, you can colour your candles instead and leave out the fragranced oils, to still add a personal impact to your centre-pieces or table decorations. Otherwise, opt for delicate scents to blend into a subtle but heavenly perfumed candle.

Alternatively, why not give out mini versions of your handmade scented candles as wedding favours instead? Make them reminders of your day by incorporating scents that feature in your overall wedding theme… Like the fragrance of the main flower in your wedding bouquet or button holes; the flavours of your wedding cake, like vanilla, lemon or chocolate; or you could even opt for reflecting your location so if you’re having a spring wedding, you can add the smell of freshly cut grass!

You only need a few drops of fragranced oils per candle & synthetic oils are stronger and cheaper than many essential oils so buying and mixing a batch for your wedding need not be costly.

I’ve already seen some beautiful vintage cups and saucers in my local charity shops, all priced fairly cheaply (you can even pick up a full tea set with 6 – 8 cups, sugar bowl & tea pot for under £20!). If tea cups aren’t your thing, go for vintage glass bowls or mini vases – anything as long as it’s heat proof!

In case you’re wondering, my scented candle contains a blend of vanilla, geranium and grapefruit oils. I won’t reveal the exact amounts – hey, it’s my signature scent after all – but needless to say it smells heavenly, and reflects me in every way 😉

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