This summer I decided to do something that I have never done before - enter a handicraft competition.
I am not sure why the time was right this year as I have thought about it on numerous occasions in the past but never found the time or the courage to throw my creations out there for third party scrutiny and judging. So this weekend I took the bull by the horns and submitted three entries in to the Egham Royal Show.
We first visited the Egham Royal Show as a family about four years ago. It always falls on the August Bank Holiday weekend and since then we haven't been around. Knowing that we would be around this year I thought I'd give it a go.
Excuse me while I give an advertisement for the show but it really is a fabulous day out for all of the family. There is something for everyone - even for the hard to please Richardson clan. This year I was able to indulge my love of flowers and handicrafts in the horticulture tent, whilst the boys admired model boats and aeroplanes, not to mention the guns on the Royal Marine Stall. There were classic cars for Giles to dream about and we could all come together to admire the cute piglets in the livestock marquee and the very clever sheep dogs in the dog agility competition.
So this year I decided to enter three items in to three categories:
My vintage inspired hand quilted cushion complete with home made lavender scented cushion pad.
A cross stitch that kept me occupied whilst on hols.
and my 100% designed by me Summer Garden Fabric Wall Art.
I have to say that I am most proud of the wall art. It's an idea that has been forming in my mind for a long time and it was made over the course of a week this August. Just like a real garden, my Summer garden grew before my eyes and I wasn't sure how it would look and come together as a design until the point that I knew it couldn't grow any further.
A number of techniques went in to the design - various fabric flowers, felt flowers, applique and embroidery. I added detailing by including mini-beasts and insects amongst the florals. It was described by the judges as a "great show piece using lots of different techniques", which I consider to be praise indeed. I am delighted to have received second place in the judging of the "other handicraft techniques" category and feel very proud that my hard work and ideas were rewarded in this way.
I learnt a lot from entering the show. It was fascinating to look at the prize winners in the various categories and to try to work out what the judges were looking for. Next year I shall begin to plan my entries much earlier. If I had the chance all over again I would add more quilting to the cushion and I plan to begin a cross-stitch project much earlier so that it can be on a much greater scale - I already have a few ideas forming and can't wait to get going. I think these competitions could become addictive!