Nick Roberts, one of our lovely blog ambassadors, has many years of experience in the crafting world and today he gives us the chance to get to know him a little better. We discover where his love for craft began and the handy tips he’s learnt along the way. Here’s what he had to say…
1. Tell us a little about yourself
Hello, I am Nick, I’m 47 years old and I now live in Bulgaria. My house is on the outskirts of a very small village. I am lucky enough to have a fair amount of land which has allowed me to keep chickens, a pig (Fatty) and my lovely cow Grace. It’s a wonderful place to live, the people here are amazing, very friendly and incredibly generous. I have 2 labradors, their names are Ruby and Penny, an African Grey parrot called Millie, my tortoise is called Pebble and I have too many cats! Tiger, Face, Club, Big Ears, Blanca, Badger, Flash, Eyelene, Al, Spider, Mini Tiger to name a few lol.

2. How did you first get into crafts? Can you remember the very first thing you made?
From a very early age I remember my parents always encouraged us to be creative. One thing I always looked forward to was when my Dad got the huge wax pan out. He would fill the bath with cold water, then we would melt all the wax and fill small containers. We’d plunge them into the water, moving and tipping them to create the most wonderful sculptures, and then decorate them to create something unique. We were very lucky to have grown up without the computers or 24 hour TV.
It wasn’t until I had to take an ill health retirement and then losing my Nan that I truly rediscovered my love of craft. I decided I wanted to make the Order of Service myself, this was my first ever large craft project. I kept it fairly simple as you can see, using black ribbon, a dried rose bud, along with a photo on the front. Inside, I used a plain parchment sheet folded along with the service details and another photo on the back. I was extremely proud.

After that my true craft journey started, with a card kit and then another and so on. Very soon I added stamps to the mix and so it quickly became my life and helped me through some tough times. My passion for everything craft related soon snowballed and I wanted the opportunity to try as much as I could. There are so many wonderful crafts to discover and try. When I was retired due to ill health, I treated myself to a pottery wheel and kiln, a definite luxury, but it’s paid for itself over and over, with the amount of pleasure and fun it has given me over the years.

3. When you’re not crafting – what else do you like to do?
This is an incredibly difficult question to answer. I have such a passion for crafting, so much so that it takes up maybe 80% of my time. I love my animals so a lot of time is taken up with them, especially Fatty, Grace and Hope. Also I adore cooking, especially Indian and Chinese. Quick plug here, if you’ve not already got Parveen, The Spice Queen’s cookbook, I would highly recommend it. The recipes are incredibly simple and fairly quick to prepare and cook. Another favourite pass time of mine is gardening. It’s a very small area I have but it’s lovely to sit and enjoy it in the evening, especially with a nice cuppa.

4. What new crafting skill would you love to learn?
Another hard question and one that needs a lot of thinking about. I have tried so many different crafts so my aim is to improve on the ones I enjoy. All of us crafters are learning and improving all of the time and sharing projects is a great way of building on what you already do. I’ve always wanted to try Wood Turning and wood craft in general, especially having watched the shows on Hochanda. I hope that one day I will get the chance. One other craft that has always inspired me is stained glass, it’s something that would be great to have a go at, maybe a smaller kit to test the water so to speak.
5. Have you got any handy tips you could share with our readers?
One thing I realised early on in my crafting journey was not to compare my work to anyone else’s. We are all naturally critical about things we create, it’s something that never goes away, in fact it can get worse as you progress in craft. It’s your creation and if you’re happy with it and more importantly had fun making it, then remember you’re crafting because you enjoy it. I have spoken to a number of people over the years and admired their work, so it comes as a surprise to me when some tell me they no longer do it. The reason given 8 times out of 10 is “It wasn’t as good as so and so’s”.
One other tip. If you see something you love, try it even if you don’t think you can do it. If it’s a finished piece you like, you will do it. This happened to me, when I saw Rowandean on Hochanda. I loved the finished sample but doubted I could do it. I had never tried embroidery before, so I was really proud with the finished piece and now enjoy another new craft.

I hope you have enjoyed my first post and feel that you know me a little better at least. I hope you will join me with my future crafting posts here on Hochanda Blog. For now, take care and Happy Crafting.xx
  1. I have loved reading all this and finding out a little more about you Nick. The photos are lovely and your place as a blog ambassador so well deserved. Look forward to all your posts,hints and tips,Nicola xxx

  2. Jean Phillips says:

    Hi Nick, lovely to read your crafty journey and to see the lovely photos. Love the pottery! You are a great crafting Ambassador and look forward to reading more from you. Jean xxx

  3. Thank you for your lovely comment. I am really glad you enjoyed reading a little more. I am very happy to be on the team and look forward to sharing hints,tips and crafty projects with you. Thanks again.xx

  4. Hi Nick. Lovely to learn a little bit more about you and I look forward to seeing more of your hints and tips and on your own blog. You certainly are busy! Christine xx

  5. Jean. Thank you so much for your welcoming comment. It’s been a pleasure to share a little more with you in this post. Very pleased that you like the photos, I will certainly look forward to sharing more with you over time.xx

  6. Hello Christine, It’s lovely of you to take the time to leave a comment. I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this about me. I am really looking forward to sharing more with you. I am making a list of things I would like to add here. I love sharing with people, I know from experience when I started that it really can help. I’t takes a lot of time but, I will keep going while people are enjoying it. Thanks again.xx

  7. Thank you so much Jacky, Nice to know you enjoyed what I have shared. I’m looking forward to sharing a lot more with you in the future and hope you will join me.xx

  8. Steph Collinson says:

    Lovely to read a bit more about you Nick. Bulgaria must be a tad different to Barnsley!! Room for lots of animals by the sounds of it. I’ll look forward to your hints and tips and seeing what you create as I love all your creations xx

  9. Nicki Rochelle says:

    Hi Nick, it’s been lovely to read about you and your crafty journey! It’s amazing how many people turn to craft due to ill health and become addicted!! Lol the same thing happened to me, although I have always knitted, crocheted and sewn I had not tried anything else, until I tried jewellery making and then papercrafting. I love all the pieces of your work that we have seen on tv. Nicki

  10. Thank you Steph, glad you enjoyed reading a bit about me today. It’s sure is different from Barnsley. It’s wonderful being able to have the animals too, they are very friendly and more like outdoor pets really. I can’t wait to get going and share thing with you.x

  11. Maria Moorhouse says:

    Really lovely to get to know a bit more about you Nick, I love your positivity and eagerness to try new things. I don’t know how you find the time to craft and cook with all your animals to look after- I admire you! X

  12. Nick, I am beyond delighted that you are the brand ambassador for hochanda. I’m a long time admirer of your work ….you are a hugely talented individual & I cannot wait to see what comes next! Welcome,welcome!

  13. Hi Nicki, I am so pleased you enjoyed reading this introduction about me and my Journey. I agree, many people turn to crafting after ill health and it’s very easy to become addicted. I learnt to knit after years of trying and I like it a lot although dont do a great deal, just if I see a pattern of something I would like to have. I couldn’t crochet for toffee, I have tried and tried, I have a lovely kit to make animals and would love to do them, but I am hopeless and cant even get one stitch I am so happy that you like what I share and what goes on television. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment it really means a lot to me to and I love to read

  14. Hi Maria, How lovely to have your comments, I love reading them and it really good of you take the time. I am so pleased that you enjoyed reading a bit about me. I am really touched by what you have said. My handy little India book makes cooking a really nice meal fairly fast, I can make a tasty Jalfrezi in the time it takes the rice to cook. That’s faster than when I used to telephone for a delivery in the UK and I have to Say Parveen’s recipes are very nice (I do make other things too My animals are really important to me and a bonus living here as I have the land for them. Thanks again for your comment. Take care Nick xx

  15. Hi Helen. Thank you so much for commenting on my post, it’s lovely to hear from you and have your thoughts. I am over the moon that you like what I share and humbled at what you have said. Thank you so much, I look forward to sharing more with you over the months to come.xx

  16. Hi Nick it is great to read your story and so lovely to see your house and land. Now when i chat to you about crafting and all the inspiration your crafting gives to us all. But now I can see you sat in your wonderful house surrounded by all your animals . Hugs xxx

  17. Hi Nick, have so much enjoyed reading your blog post, having heard so many emails from Nick in Bulgaria, both on Hochanda & previously elsewhere. You’ve certainly embraced your creative spirit, & made the most of the opportunity provided by your enforced early retirement. I’m delighted for you.

  18. Kathryn Sturrock says:

    Such an interesting read and what a great journey so far!
    I look forward to seeing and reading more from you in the future.

  19. Thank you so much for leaving a comment Janet. I am glad you enjoyed reading a bit more about me and liked the photos. It’s lovely sitting in the garden, especially when the roses are out. When my mojo has gone I get lots of crafting inspiration, sitting with a cuppa. Looking forward to sharing some hints, tips and more craft projects with you.xx

  20. Hi Jenny. I am so pleased to read that you enjoyed my blog post and touched that you sort of know me from mails. Thank you so much for taking the time to write a comment, it really means a lot to me. I hope you will come back and see what I a sharing.xx

  21. How lovely of you to leave a message Kathryn, I am so pleased you found it interesting, knowing a bit more about me in. I am so looking forward to sharing, so I hope you will enjoy the future posts. Thank you again for taking the time to read and comment. Take care Nick xx

  22. I used to be jealous of people with pigs too, it have always been a dream, so being here has made a difference. I love Fatty, she is wonderful and it was amazing when she had her piglets. How nice that you like my pottery and that you are looking forward to seeing more posts. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, it means such a lot to have them. xx

  23. Hi Nick
    Thank you so very much for mentioning us and showing one of our embroideries on your new page. You were one of the very first people to encourage us when we first started with Hochanda and your input has been invaluable. Your enthusiasm has meant a lot to us and we hope to hear from you again in the future.

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