The Little Gems


In Paekakariki near Wellington, Shelley, Helen, Carmen and Jackie block out their diaries every Tuesday for their Little Gems session – inspiration, craftiness, hot cups of tea and Tim Tams.

The Little Gems are:
Shelley Gardner, soheartfelt: a South African who has only been here a year but loving it!

Helen Heath, showyourwork: crafter, writer, reader, blogger, mother, lover (of chocolate).

Carmen Slater, rosieposie: painter, crafter, book maker, grain farmer’s daughter.

Jackie Haddow: lover of beads – anything sparkly, vintage button collector. Moved from England 18 months ago, where I used to do various crafts (Paper Mache, glass painting).

little gnome man azaleas journal Vintage kimono fabric brooch set

How did you all meet?

Paekakariki is a small village and it didn’t take us long to sniff out the fellow crafters!

Were your crafting sessions an organised thing from the beginning, or did the idea evolve?

Shelley: For me it started with the website Etsy. I loved the concept of a global crafting community. I also found many inspiring blogs which made me feel that there were many like minded people out there. When I discovered friends who got equally excited about op shops, vintage things, paper, glue and any other crafty widgit it made sense to “share the love” on a regular basis. It all started getting ready for the Paekakariki School fair so we decided to meet regularly. Before we knew it – we had signed up for a couple of tables at various crafting events.

What do the Little Gems sessions mean to you?

It’s a safe place for growing confidence, trust, inspiration, self expression, self worth and most importantly – having a good laugh.

Shelley: I remember walking into Helen’s house for the first time for our first get together and thinking “this is me – these are things I love – we speak the same language”. It meant a lot to me, especially coming from a different country with a very different culture.

Helen: It’s so great to be able to bounce ideas around the table over a hot cuppa and support each other through our craft doubts.

Carmen: Once my children went off to school I found the time to be more creative and hanging out with The Little Gems set me off on new craft path.

Jackie: I find it very inspiring, it gives me more confidence to explore all the crafty things I used to love when I was younger.

Do your meetings follow any kind of structure or are they informal?

The most important structural element is that there has to be a packet of Tim Tams.

Between the four of you, what crafts do you cover?

We are game for anything, on any given session there is: sewing, paper craft, bookmaking, jewellery, writing, baking. We’re always up for skill swapping…

I’m interested in hearing more about crafty groups around the country – if you and your crafty friends have regular get-togethers, write and tell me about it. Or if you’re interested in setting up crafting sessions, maybe there’s someone else on Felt who lives in your area. Post a comment below or drop me an email at

One Response to “The Little Gems”

  1. Felt blog says:

    [...] Fair I’m told that The Little Gems and Sonya of copper-red will be out in force at Paekakariki Fair this Sunday, so if you’re in [...]

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