Craft is cool. The rise of knitting and DIY clothing makes our case for us, we think. But if you're a clumsy-fingered dolt - or if you need some inspiration - a little tuition might be necessary. Which is where Homemade London comes in.
New to the pavements of Portman Village (a collection of streets behind Marble Arch), Homemade London offers a series of workshops generally aimed at people of all skill levels. You can make your own balms or tote bags, all using top-notch materials (they have some beautiful Liberty print fabrics). Proprietress Nicola Barron doesn't believe beginners should have to use basic materials, and wants people to create things they will cherish. We went along to the Signature Scent make-your-own-perfume workshop to get a feel for what she's doing.
In a laid-back atmosphere with lovely snacky food and wine, aromatherapist Tanya Moulding takes the small group through the basic structure of perfume - top, middle and base notes - and we talk about smells we like and what scent groups they fall into. Then she gives us drops of various essential oils to smell, ranging from the more obvious - rose otto - to the unusual - cardamom and the horrible sounding, but vanilla-smelling, benzoin. It doesn't feel like learning, but when we come to blend our scents we all find we have a very firm grasp on what we want and how to mix it.
Everyone comes away with two 10ml bottles of personalised perfume - it doesn't get more personalised than when you make it yourself - of which ours are primarily jasmine and cardamom. Yup, Londonist now smells of Arabian coffee and we love it.
Workshops cost £99 and last three hours or so, but you can also hire workspace or a sewing machine by the hour (£10, including refreshments) and short courses will be on offer when they're fully up and running. Or how about a party incorporating one of the workshops for birthdays or hen nights? They'll be rotating the workshops they offer to follow seasons and trends so it's always worth checking in, or even investigating membership.
Homemade London, 21 Seymour Place, W1. Workshops cost £99 each but space is available from £10 an hour. Visit their website for more information.