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Sunday 22 February 2015

How To Host A Crafternoon

Although I'm a crafter, most of my friends aren't! Some have never been to my craft night or have no interest in being creative. They don't understand what I'm talking about when I say I'm running a craft workshop or working at a craft event...so for once, rather than bringing crafts to strangers at the public workshops I run, I decided to introduce 'making' to my friends by holding a Crafternoon around mine. Here's what happened...
I couldn't entertain without laying on a spread. Cooking for others is a good excuse to try dishes that I can't normally make for myself (i.e. an entire cheesecake) so I took it as an opportunity to make food I wanted to eat! Although I'm vegetarian, I lean mainly to vegan food so I took the high risk decision to cook a vegan starters and main for friends who are all meat eaters. As I prefer my food to have a healthy edge I tend to cook with lots of herbs and spices...but no salt. I don't add salt to anything so I'm used to the taste but I'm fully aware that most people do, so I was slightly nervous about whether my guests would be able to eat what I gave them. Thankfully there was nothing to worry about. Although shocked to discover there was no salt, there were lots of comments about how good the flavour was...phew!
I served individual Aloo Chaats for starters... 
...followed by a Root Veg Kitchuri with roasted fennel and butternut squash with a beetroot and soya bean salad.
Dessert was a delicious Spiced Mandarin Cheesecake (a recipe of Dipna Anand). 
 This contained dairy - the Philadephia cream cheese filling was fused with ground cardamom and star anise which gave the cheesecake a lovely fragrant and warming flavour. 

My idea of fun anyway! I opted for an easy and effective makeover project, one I recently ran at The Damn Good Curry Supper Club to decorate candle holders...
Guests all took the task seriously, there was some proper concentration going on but it was also a good way to meet each other.

The making took place on arrival before starters arrived and was then finished off after the dessert - in between there was lots of girlie banter. 
Deciding on a guestlist was hard, I wrote down a huge list of people I hadn't seen in ages - should I focus on besties, should I invite boys and if so, which ones, but in the end I realised what I actually wanted to do was spend time with 'recent' friends I've made and get to know them better, so I only invited girls who I met over the last few months up to around two years. 
After lunch I took them on a trip to my local area. Greenwich is one of the most beautiful places in London but it is a trek to get there so I didn't want them to leave without showing them why I love where I live so much. Despite the chilly weather I insisted they all wrap up warm and then we wondered through Greenwich park to see the river views before a quick tour of The Queen's Gallery and a hot chocolate stop to warm up again.

It took me two days to do the washing up afterwards (I loathe washing up!) but it was worth it. Sunday Crafternoon was a success, one of my guests even blogged about it herself which you can check out here

I suspect it will be a few months (if not a year!) before I have a chance to do any more entertaining again so I was pleased to have some nice pics to remember the occasion.

Thinking of hosting a crafternoon around yours?
Here are my tips:

This was my timing:
12pm-1pm Arrive & get crafting
1pm-3pm Lunch, chatter & finish crafting
3pm-5pm Sunday stroll and hot chocolate stop off
  • Keep the project simple (stay away from special techniques that not everyone will know)
  • Plan out a menu and do as much prep as you can the night before
  • Make it easy by sticking with a manageble number of guests
  • Don't be afraid to ask guests to bring a dish if you can't prepare everything yourself
  • Don't worry too much about how clean and tidy your home is, the truth is most guests won't notice as they will be too busy enjoying themselves
  • Prep as much of the food ahead of time so you're not hiding away in the kitchen, but can be there to help with the making
  • Don't stress - just enjoy it, even when things aren't going to plan it's fine, no one will notice! Just keep cool and craft!

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