I'm quite a crafty person ... but have found that crafty stuff in general is quite limited in the UK and a little pricey. You really have to be dedicated to either hunt down somewhere to buy resources or have a large amount of disposable income in order to afford it.
I was quite dedicated but didn't have a lot of extra cash ... so once I'd found some great shops, I was only able to touch and 'long for' the goodies ... and treat myself to a little something once in a blue moon!
Moving to small town America, I was really pleased to find that being crafty is second nature to a lot of people and it is really easy and relatively cheap to pursue a myriad of crafty pastimes ... be it, scrapbooking, knitting, flower arranging, mosaics, quilting, decoupage ... the list goes on.
In fact, my husband gets a little concerned when my eyes open wide with enthusiasm every time I come within 5 miles of a prospective craft shop (especially when I have a money off coupon or two!) ... as he knows it will inevitably end up with a painstaking shop for him as I deliberate over what exactly it is I want to buy or what new skill I want to pursue.
Over the last few years, one thing I have often thought I would love to learn was quilting. Where we live in Ohio is just 20 minutes drive from Holmes County ... home to one of the biggest Amish population in the States ... and big quilters. So I figured it would be the perfect better time and place than to learn.
In town there is a quilting shop (recently relocated and renamed but still as good!) Mercantile on Main ... and so not long after we had arrived in Coshocton I went in and put my name down for a beginners quilting class. For more about that, see 'How to make an American Quilt'.
I was hooked from the get go ... and am now just disappointed that I don't have the spare time to do as much of it as I would like, with two little munckins using up all of my time and energy. Typical isn't it ... now I have the resources and it's more affordable ... I don't have the time!
A year after I took my class I completed my first quilt (see below) which I love and am very proud of. I didn't even use a pattern, it just evolved as I it went on. Already I have two more projects on the go and loads of ideas for more.
Being back in the UK at the moment, I've noticed that slowly and surely there are more crafty shops and opportunities popping up all over the place. It does still tend to be more expensive ... but at least it's becoming more available.