Tracy and I have been talking about our first public event pretty much right from the beginning of our joint Studio adventure. For quite a few weeks/months it was just private chitter chatter between the two of us. Exchanges of ideas, an imagining of what it might be like. Then towards the beginning of May we finally decided to set the date, and suddenly it became very real. Eight weeks to prepare.
During those eight weeks, we began to pull the studio together ready for public viewing. We envisaged a central table with chairs around for visitors to sit and drink/natter/crochet/knit, and we both desperately needed some much needed storage for all our creative gubbins. Other than furniture and some extra prettifying and organising at my end, I honestly didn't have a great deal to do to prepare. I had decided (between me and myself) that I would not be selling anything, and I was more than happy with that. Tracy on the other hand worked exceptionally hard, producing a truly breathtaking collection of handmade goodies to sell on the day.
As the date grew closer, we both began to feel slightly nervous. Very, very excited, but also yes, a little nervous. On Friday morning (the day before), it was business as usual for us at the café. Every Friday morning we host a wonderful session where woolly types can gather for a bit of social creativity. We knit, crochet and stitch, with gorgeous coffee and delicious home baking to help us along. It's one of the best bits of my entire week and I look forward to it hugely.
When the morning was over, Tracy and I went straight upstairs to the studio to begin the final preparations. As part of our Open Studio plans, we had decided to throw a bit of a party for all our friends on Friday night. A kind of a sneak preview if you like. So on Friday afternoon we were suddenly caught up in a flurry of last minute activity. It was a weeny bit frantic!
But somehow it all worked out. We went at lunch time to buy armfuls of fresh flowers to fill vases, jugs and glass bottles. I just fell in love with these big blowzy peonies, they looked and smelt soooo beautiful. Tracy took care of the flower arranging and did a terrific job, and I went off to secure some liquid refreshment.......
....a dozen bottles of fizz ready to welcome our friends to our creative space.
She had prepared a mouthwatering spread of food, including (on the far right) a joint of marinated and slow roasted pulled pork. Ohh mmmmmmmmmmm it was The. Most. Delicious. Thing. Ever. Ever. Later on, this lot was joined by a large dish of oven baked Cornish Brie with flavoured oils and fresh thyme. All gooey and oozy and just perfect for dipping in the (huge) variety of breads on offer.
I don't know if you can read the café menu chalked up there on the board, but it tells a story of two ladies who are truly passionate about honest, tasty home cooked food. They serve a mouthwatering selection of paninis and sandwiches, as well as scrummy baked cheeses, inspiring salads and gorgeous homemade soups. They make much of it themselves, including all the chutneys, sauces and dressings, it really is a wonderful place to eat.
Just before anyone arrived, I took a little time by myself to just try and collect myself together and appreciate The Moment. The early evening light was beautiful. Time felt a little as if it were standing still. And I felt like I was holding my breath.
A glass of chilled fizz helped. Slurp, and breeeeeathe. The peonies had begun to unfurl their papery petals (they had been in fat ready buds when we bought them at lunchtime) and I swooned over them more than once.
This is a lovely little room, directly next door to our studio at the front of the building. Up until the middle of last week it had remained undecorated and unused, and it was really sweet to witness it come to life. The café ladies had done a fantastic job decorating it and styling it for us to use for the weekend and it provided much needed extra space for people to sit and chat when our studio was packed out.
My little painted shelf made it onto the wall after much angst. I really wanted it to be in this exact position, cos as you can see, the light is divine here. But these old walls, they don't take kindly to being bashed into with screws. They protest. We got there in the end though. Pheww.
In my old white pudding basin I've replaced the spring hyacinth with a summer geranium and the simplicity of it makes me smile every time I clap eyes on it.
Sigh. I am recalling The Moment my friends. The moment when our sweet little room suddenly became filled with our friends on Friday night. The hugs and kisses, the cards and flowers, the exclamations and congratulations. The happiness and enjoyment. It was SUCH a happy time.
Eventually, the party moved itself away from the studio and downstairs into the café where it cranked into full swing. Everyone really enjoyed the food (it was amazing), the wine flowed and the music volume lifted up a notch. There was much dancing and singing, a huge amount of laughter and a little bit of falling down. Oh such fun! It was a great night. I think I fell into bed just after midnight.
The next morning, Tracy and I were at the studio about an hour before our official opening to get ourselves ready.
Would you like to come in?
I thought I should give you a little tour around the room, starting with the wall to the right of my desk.......ready?
Yeah, I know. Isn't it just?! I'm anticipating that the lower shelves will eventually be taken up with more wool, so for the moment it looks a bit higgledypiggledy at the bottom. But the rest (Drops wool and cotton yarn from the Wool Warehouse) is pretty lush eh?
Moving around now, this is my little sitting corner by the back window. Actually, more accurately, it is Little B's sitting corner. He loves this chair and happily kicks off his shoes to make himself at home here.
My little end of the studio is pretty small really, but I am hugely happy with it. I love having shelves above my table, and I love my table too (my very first eBay purchase for the studio). It's a beautiful place to work. Above my window, you can see I did eventually manage to make the decorative pelmet thingy with the little cotton circles (from this post). It turned out really well and I will give it it's own Ta-dah moment in a separate post soon I think.
Moving round a little bit more, there's my magnetic inspiration board and the mandala flowers which I decided to display on the wall for the time being. I brought down an old dining chair from home to pile with some of my blankets and my blooming flower cushion, but I miss them very much here in the Attic so will be bringing them home again soon.
Her Patchwork Angels were a new design this Spring and are proving very popular, as are her gorgeous little patchwork bun tin pincushions (more pictures of them in this post).
Moving round a bit, you can now see the large table that we managed to put in the centre of the room, with it's collection of begged, borrowed, thrifted and upcycled chairs around it. Actually, we borrowed the table too (thanks Nicky!) and on Saturday it was absolutely wonderful (really wonderful!) to see people sat round it drinking coffee, chatting and crocheting. The old clock on the wall was a bargain thrifted find, just like the majority of things in our studio.
We've moved past the front window now, and this is Tracy's corner next to the old fireplace. Usually her table is chockablock full of work in progress, and a real wonderful creative sight. But on Saturday it was a delightfully busy wrapping and packing station. The blackboard painted onto the wall was rather a spontaneous last minute decision and maybe needs a bit more thought, but we wanted to try and give an idea of our future plans for this lovely room. It was always our intention to one day open it up for workshops, and we are slowly beginning to formulate ideas for this. It's all rather unbelievably exciting and lovely!
So this was our studio on Saturday, in the quiet of the early morning before we opened our door. It was quite a weird feeling, kind of a nervous waiting game. We did not really know what to expect, but honestly we need not have worried. I think I can honestly say it was a complete, wholehearted success. To say we were kept busy is an understatement. We were absolutely rushed off our feet, and the room was mostly full to the rafters for every moment that we were open. There was one quiet lull in the mid afternoon when I suddenly realised that I had been talking and drinking coffee for four straight hours and desperately needed a wee, a sit down, some fresh air and something to eat. So I took five minutes out to go to the loo and sit outside to eat a banana. And then on it went throughout the afternoon.
It's difficult to describe what it was like for me on that day. It was overwhelming, exhilerating, shattering. I loved meeting so many of you who read my blog, loved hearing your stories, chatting about yarn, creativity, colour and all the things we love and share. I felt humbled that so many of you had made such journeys to come to our corner of the world, gosh you CAME such MILES to see us! Tracy and I were hugely flattered and delighted by the sheer amount of joy, happiness, inspiration and feel-good that seemed to be radiating off the walls when the room was full of you all! The compliments were tremendous. The appreciation and gratitude was incredible. I felt as if we didn't really deserve it, but all the same, it was still rather wonderful to soak it all up.
But I think what I liked best of all was the feeling of friendship. It was the best, best feeling being surrounded by such friendship.
THANK YOU, a gazillion times over. I feel like I want to cry (again), but I shan't. I shall just feel full to the brim with gratitude and thanks for this wonderful blogging world that I am a part of.
Sniffle, smile, hugging myself.
ps.. I would LOVE to hear from those of you who came, to hear your memories and thoughts from the day. I hope I didn't witter too much at you? I kind of got so that my mouth would not stay closed. I think I flapped my arms a lot. I think I felt a bit weird posing for photos. I think I said Thank You a lot. I LOVE that so many of you came! THankYoU! Flap flap, big grin!!
Edit to add :: just realised that Tracy and I have been writing our posts at the exact same time, and her beautifully written review can be found here with lots more lovely photos.Enjoy! xxxxxxxxxxxxxx