Thursday, 22 September 2016

Cake Crafting at a Café 🍓

I think we all have those days where we want nothing more than to get out of the house and escape the stresses of the working week. That's how I felt last Saturday. I woke up to a grey, miserable-looking day, and the sense that, despite the bleak outlook, I really needed to socialise. I mentioned in my previous post that I had a job interview on my birthday. I was most successful, and started at the job on the following Monday. Disappointingly, the days there were nothing like what I'd been led to believe and I couldn't help feeling rather glum after that first tedious, mind-numbing week. I'm one of those people who enjoys being busy and having a sense of, I don't know, purpose each day, and this new role I'm in really doesn't provide that. As far as stop-gaps go, it could be much worse, but regardless, I am already on the lookout for something more fulfilling where my skills aren't going to waste.

On a whim, I decided to go to a meet with the Otome Sewing Bee, a dressmaking and crafting J-fashion meetup group in London. The workshop for the day was felt cake crafting. I quickly grabbed a few of the felt pieces I had in my fabric stash and a couple pairs of scissors on top of my regular day-out necessities, and set off for Putney. 
I somehow managed to get lost while trying to find the Putney Pantry, the café where the meet was to take place, even though I was using Google Maps. The GPS arrow didn't quite seem to know which direction I was facing which threw me off a bit, and caused me to ignore my instincts and wind up down a slightly creepy alleyway. The accidental scenic route was not unwelcome in the end as I enjoyed my little riverside walk. 

Next, I ended up walking right past the café before doubling back on myself and seeing that it was set a little way back from the road. Through the panes of glass at the front I could see someone in an elegant, classic dress and I knew I'd come to the right place. 

Jessica, the organiser of the comm, soon set me up with some patterns and worksheets, and I was amazed by the spread of materials and supplies she'd prepared for everyone. It's been a while since I learnt any new crafts, and I was pretty excited to try out this one.

One of the pictures Jessica took (I took very few myself, which is most uncharacteristic, but I was rather engrossed in what I was doing! I have to make do with editing the colours of this lovely candid instead). I think this might have been a few seconds before my headdress fell off. I do love a rectangle headdress but if you don't keep an eye on them, they like to make escape attempts! As you can see, we had a huge selection of materials to work with, including a rainbow of embroidery threads.

As well as being a pleasant environment for crafting in J-fashion, with lots of super friendly customers asking polite questions and seeming very interested in what we were about, the Putney Pantry also had great food. My order was simple: a cup of loose leaf Earl Grey, and a fruit scone... but my goodness, it was delicious. It was without question the best scone I've ever eaten-- melt-in-your-mouth good! The accompanying clotted cream and jam were absolutely perfect. I spent much of the workshop savouring it!

The meet was only for three hours, and it wasn't until the final one that I realised I'd not really achieved much in the way of anything. At this point I picked up a needle and thread and began frantically trying to stitch together the felt pieces to cover the cylindrical foam I was using as the base of my cake. I tried to mimic the look of the model cake Jessica had made prior to the meet, and didn't seem to be quite getting the same effect when I came to making some felt frosting for the top. Somehow, though, I managed to turn things around and end up with something I actually rather liked!

Here's my cake! I went for a chocolate and strawberry theme. I can't help thinking these would be lovely as Christmas tree decorations, and would like to make some more in festive colours for this very purpose!

After seemingly no time at all, it was after 5 o'clock and the meet was drawing to a close. Before leaving, though, I made sure to get a picture with Reina, who ended up wearing an outfit that coordinated very well with mine!

It was so lovely to have a catch up with her, as we do not meet up very often and mainly find ourselves chatting in passing at large events. Interestingly enough, Reina was the first lolita I ever spoke to in person, back in 2011, which is so surreal to think of! 

Overall, I'm glad I took the initiative and went to a meet at the last minute. Perhaps I could use a bit more spontaneity in my life. I found the crafting to be quite therapeutic, and it was nice to have something specific to do in London. 

Have you done any crafting recently? Been to any nice cafés? I'd love to hear about it! Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time 


  1. Oh wow! This is such a great meetup idea! I would love to do more crafting with other people, but usually there's no room at anyone's place and no-one wants to bring all of the stuff to some cafe etc. Gotta think about how we could make it work in here! ♥

    You have such a cute outfit, very lovely. ♥ I know the problem with the headdress, sometimes there is a tiny comb underneath and with my newest from Soufflesong has actual alligator-clips, which is very nice! You're cake is so cute! The idea of a christmas tree full of such yummy thingies is so pretty! *___*

    I'm happy you got a job, but the fact that it's not what it was supposed to is sad. I know how you feel. I like to have stuff to do and be busy. Hopefully it gets better or you'll get another better job. ^_^

    ~ Frillycakes ~

    1. I have never been to a meet like this before but I really enjoyed it! I think a big part of its success was that the café was super accommodating to our group, and perfectly happy for us to stay there a few hours making things, so long as we ordered a couple of items to eat or drink. I think it also helps if people know that the meet has been well-organised, so having a basic tutorial that even beginners can follow will mean more people are likely to want to get involved! I hope you can figure something out because I think you'd really enjoy doing it! ^_^

      Thank you so much! Yes, those sorts of headdresses are very handy, as you don't have to worry about them flying away if the ribbon comes undone!
      I had never even considered using something like that for festive decorating but after that meet I feel very inspired to do lots of handmade items specially for the Christmas season!

      I'm glad you can understand my frustration! I really like for each day to be different, and to have even small challenges which help me to feel I achieved something. I'm happy to be employed as stability is important, but I am definitely keeping a look out for anything that might be better for me in the long run! Thanks a lot for the supportive words <3

  2. That cake is so adorable! I kind of wish that there were more craft meets at my comm, that'd really help me both get my head round the craft at hand as well as motivate me to actually do some. I have a tendency to get very excited about a project, but then not be able to figure/find out how to do it, so it gets shoved to the side and becomes forgotten pretty quickly.

    Big shame about the new job though. Hopefully you'll find something soon because I can imagine how awful it must be to feel like you've no sense of purpose, but still have to come. I deliver tutorials to 16-18 year olds, so they told me enough about having to do stuff they feel is pointless lol.

    1. Thanks a lot! It was my first time going to one of these meets and it was nice to do something a bit different. Despite having a handmade brand, this sort of crafting isn't something I've done much of before so it was great to be able to learn some new techniques I might be able to use for my products in future!
      It was very helpful that the host provided us all with handouts and patterns, so that even if we didn't finish our crafts during the meet, we'd have no problem continuing once we got home. If you have someone guiding you, you will definitely make it all the way through to completion ^_^

      Thanks for the kind words. It is very disappointing as I had been genuinely looking forward to what I'd been told would be an interesting role! What I'm hoping for right now is to be able to move to a different department within the company at some point, so fingers crossed I can make that happen sometime in the foreseeable future!

  3. What a great idea to do. I have seen a lot crochet cakes, candy and even sushi. I think felt is faster than those.

    1. Crochet is one of those things I always feel a bit daunted by, but hopefully I will take the plunge eventually! In the meantime, I can definitely recommend felt crafts! Once you have a pattern figured out it's very quick to put the pieces together. I think prefer the smooth, less textured-looking finish, too.

    2. I love the look of the amirugumi strawberries, but they are really time consuming small bastards. I have somewhere a really awesome chrochet/knit pumpkin tea cover, but it just happens I suck to knit. The rest is easy.