To celebrate the launch of Kirstie Allsopp’s new Christmas Craft show, we caught up with the craft guru and chatted all about her new show plus an insight into her Christmas preparations.
What was the inspiration behind Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas?
It’s no secret that Christmas is my favourite time of year, so when we made the first show a bit of me thought, this is going to be something special ….Christmas is the perfect vehicle for craft. Having made Homemade Home and Handmade Britain we already new that there was a wealth of very skilled crafts people out there just waiting to be discovered, so the makers really became the inspiration
This will be the 5th series of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas. What do you love most about it?
There are so many highlights for me. Learning a new craft is always a privilege. There’s an incredible team who work tirelessly all year scouring the length and breadth of the country finding new makers. The competitions are a huge part of the show now and the standard is incredibly high, people in their spare time working all year to perfect their craft from tree decorating to cake making all year to perfect their craft from tree decorating to cake making to jumper knitting. Fortunately we have guest judges on now so I don’t have to make the final decision … it’s too hard to choose a winner!
Do you like to craft your own Christmas decorations and gifts?
I really do but lack of time often gets the better of me, so I do what I can. One year I made masses of homemade Baileys as a gift. Honestly it’s the easiest recipe in the world, poured into old fashioned milk bottles and handwritten labels. It keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge – it’s festive and so delicious poured over ice.
What has been you all time favourite handmade Christmas piece?
I’m obsessive about tree decorations, I really go big and don’t hold back on the tinsel. The tree is the main event so you can never go over board, at least not in my house. I love colour themes, multi colour, mono chrome, scandi style there are so many variations. One show we had a huge tree, top to toe in pink, it looked wonderful. Over the years we’ve filmed in Norway, Sweden and Germany I love the markets there. I always come back with a bag full of new decorations. I’m a magpie for that stuff.
What simple tips would give to first time Christmas crafters?
I’ve always said that everyone has a craft they can do, so have a go and above all have fun. Find one or two things that you fancy having a crack at but whatever you do don’t try and make everything or else you’ll end up stressed and bad tempered. Also, have all the right tools to hand, nothing worse than really getting into it only to find that you need a glue gun at the last minute!
The first thing you ever crafted?
This wasn’t the very first thing but it was something that I absolutely loved making – the Felted Christmas Robin. We had the wonderful Jayne Emmerson on the show who taught me everything there is to know about felting. It was like magic seeing the felt form from nothing into a small bird. Plus all that stabbing was a great stress buster!
Apart from the Christmas series what else can we expect from you later in 2018/2019?
Well it seems that people haven’t yet tired of Location, Location, Location and there’s a new series of Love It or List It too. The handmade fair is still going strong, now in it’s fifth year at Hampton Court (14-16 September). Plus 15 Christmas daytime shows and Prime Time. S0 it’s been a little bit busy to say the least!
Last but not least – What is Christmas like in the Allsopp household?
I’ve always been a bit of a planner and my preparations for Christmas kicks off in early October but it’s amazing how quickly it creeps up and suddenly you’ve run out of time, so like most people I end up slightly frazzled by Christmas Eve. By no means do I spend the whole time trying to manically hand craft every aspect of it, so come Christmas Day I try to involve everyone who’s coming by asking them to bring something they love to make. Guests like to feel useful so it’s a win win and believe me no one like a Christmas Martyr!
The day itself is very traditional – presents, lunch, a long walk, games and of course Christmas telly in front of the fire.
It was lovely to chat to Kirstie, you can catch Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas 2018 on 29th November on Channel 4 at 8pm and her daytime show will be on everyday from the 1st to the 15th December on Channel 4 at 5pm.