Tag: patchwork story

Patchwork Story: Lucy’s 40th Birthday Trip to Sweden

Lucy was about to celebrate her 40th birthday and wanted to mark the occasion by doing something super special. Her husband asked her about the one gift she would appreciate the most, and she decided it would be a trip to Sweden. So Simon set up a patchwork and asked her friends to crowdfund her adventure. We asked Lucy all about it.

So why did you decide on a trip to Sweden?

Last year one of my best friends recently moved back home to Sweden to be nearer her family. We only met four years ago through work but we instantly got on and she became like a sister to me! We got really used to seeing each other regularly so it was weird and sad when she moved away. It was nice to have such a great pen pal (she sends the best parcels in the world) and I was glad she was nearer her family but I missed seeing her terribly. I don’t have a very big income and don’t often travel abroad so when my husband asked me what I really wanted, I dropped a very big hint that I’d love to go to Stockholm to have some proper time with her!

Did you peek at your patchwork before the trip?

I mentioned a few of the places Lina was planning to take me but my husband kept it all a surprise. Every so often in the lead up to my birthday I saw Simon check his emails and make the sort of noise that can only mean ‘wow your friends are being really generous!’ – but I was very disciplined and didn’t let him show me!

How did Simon show you your birthday patchwork?

On the morning of my actual birthday in cold rainy January we went for a bracing walk along my favourite pier. Afterwards we stopped in a cosy cafe for a hot chocolate and he presented the finished patchwork to me as we sat getting warm. I was absolutely overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity and lovely messages, plus the sweet activities and day trips my friends had chosen to treat me to. I just burst into tears, I was so touched! There’s no way I would be able to afford such a fun trip with proper spending money. I was so excited.

So how was the trip?

It was AMAZING! Five whole days with my lovely Lina in a beautiful city, loads of delicious food, museums, galleries and lovely sunny days out. It was such a treat to have money to spend without worrying if I could afford it. I really can’t think of a better 40th birthday present. The trouble is, now I am desperate to go back again!


Hooray! Thanks so much for sharing your Patchwork story with us Lucy.

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our birthday gift templates or create one from scratch.

Bloom & Wild Flower Delivery – The Perfect Gift for Far Away Friends.

Flower delivery gift

Since Tammy left London for the countryside her friends miss her. Badly. 

No more spontaneous sunny days in the park, afternoon visits to cuddle babies, or late nights out on the town. 

There are upsides – weekends in the country for long walks, roaring fires, red wine evenings and late mornings drinking tea on the sofa. But these trips need organising in advance and don’t happen as often as everyone would like. 

And then there’s birthdays. Even worse, weekday-birthdays. 

With no chance of popping around with cake and bubbles the girls wanted to make sure Tammy still felt loved from far away. So they used Patchwork to chip in towards a flower delivery and chose a lovely big bouquet to be delivered to her door. 

Tammy says: “What a beautiful, gorgeous treat to receive from my lovely friends. I was gutted not to be able to see them on my birthday so it was such a special way to feel loved and an amazing surprise. The flowers were so beautiful.”

With Bloom & Wild delivering flowers across the UK by post you only need to order 24 hours in advance to ensure your seasonal blooms are delivered through the letter box without a hitch. Just customise this flower delivery Patchwork so friends can chip in towards a beautiful bunch. Then gift the patchwork to your friend on the same day as the flower delivery, so they can see everyone’s messages and send their love and thanks.

A Kids’ Party with a Back to the Future Theme

Patchwork founder Olivia’s son turned ten this month. To celebrate she wanted to throw him a really special party with all his family and friends. Although Manu knew about the party, what he didn’t know was that it was going to be a Back to the Future themed party – an obsession that he’s inherited from his 1980s parents. 

So when did Manu’s love of Back to the Future start?

Early. Manu chose his first red ‘life preserver’ at age four, started guitar lessons on a mini red electric at the age of five, owned a skateboard by six, went to the Secret Cinema screening of Back to the Future at eight and still watches the film at least once a month, reciting every line by heart. So, a Back to the Future themed party seemed like the perfect way to celebrate Manu’s past and future.

How did you go about organising the party?

Once I’d fixed the date and booked the local Scouts hall the real challenge was searching the country to track down an original Back to the Future DeLorean to drive Manu to the venue in style. 

From that point on it was simple. The Scout hall, a 1950s prefab, was the perfect Hill Valley School hall and although I knew it was going to take a lot of work to recreate the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, with Patchwork it was easy to share the plan and ask everyone to help.  

Manu's Back to the Future themed party patchwork

Manu’s Back to the Future themed party patchwork

What response did you get from your party patchwork?

Within days of sending out the patchwork invite I had 50 people coming, a local ‘Marvin Berry’ band booked, badges being made, a projector screen and speakers promised, 100 balloons ordered, eight cakes being baked, a banner, two signs and a Flux Capacitor being made.

How did you keep it all a secret?

It was easy to keep the Back to the Future theme a secret from Manu until the day of the party. Getting dressed in his skinny jeans, checked shirt, denim jacket and red gilet was normal for Manu. But he did start to get a bit suspicious when his dad produced an 1980s Walkman and a brand new pair of white Nikes with a red tick.

With everyone waiting at the venue it was up to Manu’s dad to get him there. As they left home Manu said ‘I feel like Marty’, and at that exact moment the DeLorean pulled up and opened its doors, blaring out the Back to the Future theme tune!

Back to the Future themed party

How did Manu feel riding a time machine through Brockley?

This was the only Universal Studios DeLorean time machine in the UK and the one used for the 25 anniversary promotional tour, complete with Flux Capacitor. So Manu was speechless. As were the people who saw it driving (at 5 miles an hour over the speed bumps) through the streets of Brockley.

Back to the Future themed party

How did you transform the party venue into the Enchantment Under the Sea dance?

I spent Friday night with girlfriends painting the giant banner and two wooden signs. And we arrived at the venue on Sunday morning with a handful of helpers to decorate the hall, blow up balloons, set the tables, fill party bags and get the band set up. So when Manu arrived the scene was set and everyone was outside the hall dressed in 1985 or 1955 outfits to welcome him. 

Back to the Future themed party

What did Manu think when he arrived at the Back to the Future themed party?

Manu McFly tried his best to play it cool as he stepped out of his time machine to whoops and cheers from the crowd, but he couldn’t hide his surprise and delight. His joy reached new heights when he stepped inside the hall and the band started playing ‘Power of Love’.

He said “The best bit of the party was riding in the DeLorean, seeing all my friends, eating all the cakes and the Flux Capacitor that Eric made me. The funniest thing was seeing Grandad dressed as Doc and the most embarrassing bit was when the band played Earth Angel and mum tried to make me dance.”

Back to the Future themed party

Back to the Future themed party

We know that you’re the biggest Back to the Future fan really. So what was your favourite bit?

I am. I loved feeling everyone’s excitement as we saw the DeLorean drive up and seeing Manu’s face as he got out of the Time Machine! It was so fun stepping into 1955 as we entered the hall, seeing all our efforts come together and hearing the AMAZING band. We’d made mini clock tower fairy cakes but seeing the incredible sea-themed creations, the Jail Bird Joey cake and the huge red guitar cake that everyone else had made was amazing. And of course Patchwork made it all so easy. I could keep track of all the things people were helping to fund, make and do and contact everyone about the things they’d pledged to do and send updates to everyone along the way. 

After an evening of dancing I could also show Manu the patchwork so he could see how everyone helped to make it happen and read everyone’s messages so he could send his own thank yous. It was a massive success, made super easy with Patchwork. Now I’m just looking for another excuse to plan a big party!

Back to the Future themed party

YAY. Best party ever. If this has inspired you to plan a party with patchwork, check out our party patchworks for inspiration, or create your own from scratch.

Sophie’s Handbag – Funded by Friends

Sophie-Rose is a musician and songwriter in the band Paradisia, and has just turned 27. In the months leading up to her birthday she fell in love. With a bag. So she decided to patchwork it, asking her friends to chip in and make her handbag dreams a reality. Sophie tells us all about the new love of her life and why Patchwork worked for her.

Tell us about this dream handbag..

I decided to fund a Céline trio zip bag, the most practical, beautifully constructed handbag a girl could ask for! I’m not into labels in a big way. I like to mix high street pieces with vintage finds but when it comes to coats, bags and shoes I like to invest. These are the things you wear everyday. So it’s important they are made of quality materials, well crafted and made to last. The Céline bag is all of these things. It’s not too blingy, it’s not an obvious statement or too fashion-y. It’s a classic. So it’ll last me through the seasons and as trends come and go. 


Why did you decide to fund one big gift rather than ask for lots of little ones?

I’ve got all the little things I need. If I want a new book, t-shirt or mascara I can go and buy myself one. But on an artist’s income it’s not so easy to afford those investment pieces that I daydream about. I’d been saving up, but my birthday meant I could use Patchwork to ask family and friends to help me reach my target. I think as you get older you fixate on those long lasting, timeless possessions you can keep forever and then eventually hand over to your children. This is very much the case with my Céline!

What did your family and friends think of your request?

They loved the idea! My sister actually made the Patchwork and collected the cash so I didn’t know until my birthday who had contributed and whether I’d really be able to get the bag. It was the best thing when she turned up on my doorstep on the morning of my birthday. She’d been to Céline to buy the bag and had wrapped it up with a card and everyone’s messages. And I was (and still am) just so happy with it. Every time I look down at my bag I am reminded of my lovely friends and family and their generous offering, I made sure the patchwork ranged from £10 – £200 so all my friends could afford to give something. Then I sent everyone photos of me and my bag to say thanks for the BEST GIFT EVER. And a few of my friends are now making their own patchworks for Christmas!

Thank you for chatting to us about your beautiful bag Sophie! And a big belated happy birthday from Team Patchwork.

If this has inspired you to fund a bag for a loved one, you can customise our template handbag patchwork here, or browse our birthday gift ideas. Or create a patchwork from scratch now.

Anna & Her Patchwork Puppy

When Anna was diagnosed with a serious brain virus, her friends rallied around her. They wanted to help her in any way they could. So her friend Catherine decided to make her a patchwork.

Hi Anna. Tell us about what Catherine organised for you..

My friends knew that I had always wanted a British Bulldog and I suppose it seemed like the perfect timing as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to work again in the near future and would be spending a lot of time rehabilitating, learning to walk again and trying to increase my stamina levels.


How did you feel when your friends told you what they’d done?

It was such an incredible surprise and completely unexpected. I remember arranging to meet my friends in a pub one evening, I thought maybe there was a quiz or something.

Catherine presented me with an envelope with a card inside with pictures of my friends on it and inside was the message that they had all donated to getting Quincy (my Bulldog) I cried (obviously) It was definitely one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me.

How did Quincy help your recovery?

Through having Quincy, I would get up and out everyday, walking in the park and also, as silly as it may sound, having constant company during the day would keep my mind occupied, I’m sure without him, my rehab would have taken longer.

He’s my best bud and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank my friends enough for giving him to me.


Catherine says:

“Anna is massively loved by everyone in our friendship group and it was very scary for us when she suddenly became so ill. Clubbing together to get Quince was a way for us to express our love and relief that Anna had recovered and to give her a new pal to encourage her in getting even better.”


Thank you so much Anna & Catherine for sharing your lovely patchwork story with us. It had the whole of Team Patchwork in tears. Hooray for friends, and hooray for Quincy. We’re so pleased to be a small part of this story.

If you want to create a patchwork of your own, go here. Or browse our readymade patchworks for inspiration.

Nadine & Bethany: An American Honeymoon

Nadine and Bethany started out as pen-pals, and after a few (love) letters they became childhood sweethearts. Twelve years on and they’re still together, after Bethany moved from Nottingham to London to be with Nadine. We’ll let Nadine tell you all about their engagement, wedding day and patchworked-honeymoon.

How did you two get engaged?

Our engagement was very low key with no grand proposal. It was our 10th anniversary and over breakfast Bethany presented me with a ring, which I mistakenly assumed was an anniversary present. As I was running late for work I rushed off and the penny only dropped when I got home that evening!

What kind of wedding did you plan?

From the outset we wanted our wedding to feel like one big party. The most important thing for us was for our guests to have fun and feel relaxed.

We stumbled across our amazing venue and instantly knew it was the one. As a deconsecrated chapel, it has the sacredness, without the formality, of a church. It’s such a beautiful space we knew we’d need very little décor other than candles and flowers to make it look amazing – so that helped sell it to us too!



We did lots of DIY for the wedding, from designing the invitations and hand-stamping paper cups to arranging the flowers and making the homemade syrup for welcome cocktails. We had a lot of young kids at the wedding, so we made our own party bags to keep them busy – complete with toys, a homemade wedding day activity and colouring book. It made the whole day feel much more personal knowing that we’d added all these little touches ourselves and remembering how much work we’d put in.

What was your first dance?

Al Green’s rendition of The Beatles’ ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’

What was the highlight of your day?

We chose to mingle with our guests before the ceremony so it was lovely seeing people arrive, particularly those who had travelled to the wedding from further afield. After the ceremony we had a few moments together to take it all in and the venue organisers sweetly brought us gin & tonics that were very welcome!



Why did you choose Patchwork for your gift registry?

We knew that we didn’t want to have a traditional wedding gift list as we have lived together for a long time and didn’t really need bales of towels. We thought Patchwork was a great concept.

One of the best things about Patchwork was that it was possible to have a range of different things people could fund at different prices. This meant that people were able to contribute even if they didn’t have as much to give.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We chose to fund our dream honeymoon trip to New York and Miami. Neither of us had been to New York and both really wanted to go. We knew our time in NYC would be pretty busy exploring the city so we added a few days of pure poolside relaxation in Miami at the end.

For our New York accommodation we chose a cool Brooklyn brownstone Airbnb and then stayed at the beautiful art deco Raleigh hotel in Miami.


How did you feel setting off on your travels?

We headed off on our honeymoon just 2 days after the wedding so it was lovely to ride through on the wedding bliss knowing all our guests had made the trip possible.

People really appreciated being able to choose what their contribution was going towards and see what we planned to get up to while we were away. It also meant there were no envelopes with cash/cheques to worry about on the day! We also really liked that there was an area for friends/family to add messages which were lovely to read.


Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

Definitely, New York is an amazing city and we would love to go back. Miami was also a wonderful place to visit, especially if you like Art Deco architecture, white sand beaches and Cuban food!

Thank you Nadine & Bethany, and a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own gift registry, check out our customisable templates here, or create your own from scratch.

Tom’s Crowdfunded Laptop

When Ginny’s son Tom decided he really needed a new top-of-the-range MacBook Pro to help with his A-levels, she was a little bit panicked. Desperately wanting to help him get it, but having just had a very expensive few months, Ginny wasn’t sure what to do. Luckily, her daughter Katie had an idea.

What did you decide to fund and why?

It was Tom’s 18th birthday and he was in his final year. He was studying art and really needed a new computer to do his work on, but we weren’t sure we could shell out for it. His big sister Katie suggested we ‘crowdfunded’ a MacBook for him using Patchwork, we liked the look of the website, so we thought we’d give it a go. We made a patchwork from images of his recent art work and suggested to friends and family that they contribute for his 18th. Bingo! Within a month he had enough money for the MacBook and lots of compliments about his work.


What did everyone think about the patchwork?

All of our friends and family thought it was a very inspired, creative and interesting way to raise funds and it worked perfectly.

How did Tom feel when you gave him his gift?

Tom was over the moon with his gift, and now has one of his paintings shortlisted for the A-level Royal Academy summer exhibition.


Fantastic, thanks Ginny for telling us all about Tom and his artwork. If If this has inspired you to arrange a group-gift for a special birthday, just customise one of our readymade patchworks, or create your own from scratch.

Akua’s Crowdfunded Tattoo

Akua decided to bypass surprise presents this year and instead ask her friends and family to chip in for something she really wanted. It was a big birthday after all, she was turning 40. If you can’t get what you want at 40, when can you? Akua didn’t want bath bombs, jewellery or vouchers, she wanted a tattoo. She told us all about it.

Tell us more about your patchwork?

When my 40th Birthday was approaching I knew I wanted to do something memorable, so I hosted a party and suggested a unique present that my friends and family could contribute to. A tattoo.

Why a tattoo?

I had always wanted one but up til now I’d done nothing to fulfill the dream. I found a great tattoo parlour in New Cross Gate who were fantastic in explaining what the process (I was a little nervous) and I booked the session. The design was no problem, as I had a very clear idea for this. Tattoos are so expressive. I felt this would be a wonderful way to include my friends & family in not only celebrating my birthday but me as well.


Why did you decide to organise a group gift?

The group gift meant that each contribution could be small. I divided the image of my tattoo putting a price to each letter. There were no massive expectations and no issues of affordability. Some friends surprised me by buying more than one letter.

What did your friends think?

When I created my patchwork I illustrated it with random graphics spelling out the words that would be in my tattoo, this made a design that was a little more out there than I had in mind! My friends and family enjoyed the novelty and there was even a bit of competition over the availability of letters. I stirred some curiosity and there were lots of comments about being brave as well as “Are you sure?”

Thank you for telling us all about your birthday present, Akua. If you’re brave enough to friend-fund your next tattoo, just customise our readymade tattoo patchwork here. Or get some inspiration for other great gifts by browsing our readymade patchworks here.

Ismay’s Hen Do: Planning Made Easy

Our very own Ismay is getting married this summer. We’re excited. When it came to her hen do, she of course insisted that her ‘maids used Patchwork, and the results looked incredible. We asked her Maid of Honour Naomi all about the do.


What kind of hen do did you plan?

We planned a lovely beach weekend getaway. We wanted a beautiful house where we could all spend quality time together, with the beach close by to go on a long walk to clear out any fluffy hungover heads. The general theme was a pretty Mexican fiesta, as that’s where the bride and groom are going on their honeymoon, and we knew the decorations would look great and not be too cheesy, as this isn’t our bride’s taste at all! Ismay has a real eye for design so getting the right house was important.


Where did you get all of your ideas?

Myself and the other two bridesmaids are luckily all very creative so a lot of the ideas came from ourselves, with a bit of Pinterest thrown in. I split the main jobs between the three of us so we weren’t overlapping and then asked all the girls to help with certain tasks, be it filming the groom answering ‘Mr and Mrs’ questions, making decorations, making a drinking game, writing a quiz round or taking beautiful photos to treasure whilst we were there. This way everybody had a hand in making a really special weekend for the bride-to-be.


How did Patchwork help with the process?

Being able to see all the elements of what goes into a hen do laid out on the patchwork helped the girls see what their money was going towards, and seeing that other people had offered to make or do something really spurred everyone on to get involved in making the whole weekend amazing! It also helped hugely with the money side of things – even though we’re a very close group of friends, nagging for money can be tricky, and keeping track of who’s paid what is a nightmare. Patchwork made the whole thing really easy and left me guilt-free and totally organised.


Ismay says “I was completely overwhelmed by the beauty of my hen do! Everything had been planned to total perfection, I felt like I was in a little dream world for the weekend. Realising that every single one of my girls had made or done something was really special. I felt very loved indeed.”

Hooray, so glad we could help take some of the hassle out of planning this amazing hen weekend. If you’re looking for more hen do inspiration check out our readymade hen do patchworks, or create your own from scratch.

Vera’s Birthday Bike

Vera knew exactly what she wanted for her 12th birthday – a shiny new bike. And she knew exactly how to ask for it. She made a patchwork and sent it out to her family, who all chipped in towards the new wheels she was dreaming of. We asked her all about it.

Hi Vera, what did you decide to make a patchwork for and why?
I wanted to make a patchwork for a bike. I always had different bikes when I was little but I kept getting too big for them so always had to hand them down to my cousins and friends. Now that I’m 12 I want a proper bike that I wont grow out of too quickly. One that I can ride to school and everywhere!


Who chipped in towards your birthday present?
Now I’m 12 I’ve got my own phone and my own email. So once I’d made my patchwork on my phone I sent out an email to all my family asking them to help buy me a bit of my bike. It was exciting in the two weeks before my birthday because when they bought bits of my patchwork I could see all their messages popping up and check how much money they had given me on my phone.

How was your birthday?
Great. I was so happy and excited. On the day of my party I went to Waterloo with my Mum, Dad and little brother to pick up the bike. First of all I thought I wanted a red one but when I saw the shiny blue one in the shop I loved it more. We had to wait for the man in the shop to build it and so we went to the cafe. Then I rode it all the way along the river and took it on the train and then rode it home.

vera-messagesHow did you feel when you got your present from everyone?
When everyone arrived at the party my bike was there waiting in the garden. It wasn’t a surprise for me because I knew I wanted it so much. But it was definitely a nice surprise for all my family to see me riding my bike. Luckily it was a sunny day so we had cake in the garden and I rode around and around. My aunt and cousins live abroad at the moment so they couldn’t come to the party but they can see photos of me on my bike, which we are turning into postcards to say thank you to everyone. I haven’t ridden my bike to school yet as I need a lock but I like riding it around Brockley and showing all my friends.

Thank you Vera! We’re so glad we could help you get your special bike.

If you’re inspired to chip in for a bike, you can customise our birthday bike patchwork here. You can also browse our readymade patchworks for more gift inspiration, or create a patchwork from scratch.

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