Tag : brackley

The Crafty Lass does… MUSH!

I love my little one – more than I can describe. You only need to look at my Instagram feed for #babyspam!

However… sometimes – there can be very hard days that don’t always make the Instagram feed and filters! 90% of days are brilliant, but there is the other 10% that don’t quite cut the rose-tinted-glasses mustard…

Watching him heart warmingly giggle as Mummy saying ‘Boo!’ over and over (and over!) again as it is apparently the new best-thing-ever is great… But singing the same song over and over (and OVER!!) just to stop him fighting sleep only for the door to knock, and have to start again – is certainly not!

I am very fortunate to have a very loving, supportive Husband, family and some fantastic friends – but with young kids I think it’s pretty true that you can never have too many local friends – who can drag you out of your comfortable home – get out, get talking, get cake! – and who also know that whilst being a mum is amazing, it’s also bloody hard work, with some really long days and sometimes not enough adult company… Well not any more!

So…Calling all mummies!

The Crafty Lass is helping to promote a new app called MUSH – basically a local mum-friend finder (think Tinder, but for playdates!!)

It’s completely free and connects mums with other local, like-minded mums who have kids the same age for friendship, play-dates, group meet-ups, maybe the odd week-day pub lunch… There’s also a local ‘hub’ for a place to find/set-up events and some (very!) amusing blog posts!

The MUSH mission is to make the lives of mums more sociable and fun by enabling meet-ups with other mums for friendship, fun, solidarity in the face of toddler tantrums and the 3am club, and possibly even a glass of wine!

#mushmums #nomumalone

Download now! 😀 

MUSH

Categories: Business, Crafty Kids, The Crafty Lass does...

A new focus, a new direction, a new chapter. A new inspiration!

So what exactly is ‘inspiration‘? And, what is YOUR inspiration?

Big, open questions – and where I suspect there are many, MANY different answers.

Some people are inspired by nature, or photography, or music, or colour, poetry, their family, their own personal desires and wishes etc. The list goes on.

The dictionary defines inspiration as:

  1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
  2. a sudden brilliant or timely idea.

For me, it does come along in many different forms, at many different times – and sometimes, not at all. Sometimes it is for things and ideas you would expect yourself to focus on, and somedays not.

I often use Pinterest to start my inspiration for whatever the current project or theme is. Other times I listen to calming chillout music, or will be already crafting up a project – and new ideas will start popping into my head – one, after the other – like a domino effect. Almost as if inspiration breeds inspiration. Other times it will be the middle of the night – a multi-tabbed brain frantically writing down ideas at 4am and my pen can’t keep up with my the words and thoughts and designs tumbling out of my brain.

However – there are days where I totally lack inspiration AND its sister key word – motivation. Sometimes, I will have just ‘lost my mojo’. But, who doesn’t? And, I am learning that that is OK. Because inspiration shouldn’t be there ALL the time, it needs to strike – in a moment of glorious ‘aha!’, ‘lightbulb moments’, a sudden glimmer of ‘what if…’ genius, thought provoking brilliance. And THEN, you need motivation to take over to drive the thoughts into reality. Ideas are nothing without execution.

Now approaching 32 weeks pregnant – I do have inspiration and motivation – but for DIFFERENT things than ‘normal’, of which I am not used to.

The Crafty Lass used to be my sole focus. Of course yes, there is The Husband, our lovely doggie Patch, our great friends and family, work at The Craft Channel… But the late at night googling, the jotting notes in the diary, the Pinterest boards being created – were all totally craft related. Even before The Crafty Lass – for our wedding (the last M.L.P – Major Life Project) this was hugely craft focused! Prior to pregnancy, I would be inspired with hundreds of craft ideas, design ideas, imagery, product ideas, The Crafty Lass is going to take over the world ideas. They are still there, but recently – being honest, are dampened down and pushed aside by the new priorities of finish the nursery, making sure my hospital bag is on with being packed, booking antenatal classes, and that we have bought and researched everything we require. Motivation for (and the actual need) to sleep lots! Motivation and inspiration for a different, new and exciting kind of future. There are certainly crafty nursery-based inspirations (of course there are!) – there is the crochet Elephant, the knitted comforter, the pompom rug, the handmade mobile, the tags and bunting and… I could go on!

When I first started to spend more time looking at buggies rather than how to create paper flowers, or researching car seats instead of yarn types – I felt guilty. Absolutely no doubt about it. And, being honest – I even visited my lovely Life Coach – to question – ‘where has my mojo gone?’ And ‘why am I no longer focusing on the business as 110% as I was before?’ She comforted me, reassured me, encouraged me and yes, motivated me – thank you – and told me what I already knew. And, although it has taken me a while to understand – it’s natural to have a new shift in focus. It’s a big step in life, and actually these moments are precious, and need to be treasured. It sounds absolutely bleedin’ obvious now I am writing it down! Of course I knew that – but it is nice to be reminded when you feel the balance is wrong. Emotions aren’t always that straight forward are they? When you work hard at University, you work hard in lots of different places and types of business – finding and drawing your own life path – you spend so long developing and focusing on your career, for that focus to suddenly wane, for me it is a new and different concept. You cannot FORCE inspiration in a certain direction. You CAN make motivation happen. And, stuff will get done. The Crafty Lass commissions will be made. Future business proposals will be written. Those end of year financials will FINALLY be submitted. Just in what priority order? And does it matter in what order, as long as it all gets done. There is the internal battle of where the inspiration and motivation should be focused towards. However, IT IS OK to currently not be as driven in a certain direction than I once was.

I’m learning that when inspiration does strike – you need to write those ideas down, you need to bottle them up, start that Pinterest board, fire up the computer and get on with designing the next creations – before it’s too late – before the moment has gone. Motivation wise – I suppose everything needs to be balanced. Inspiration strikes whenever, in whatever direction it likes. You might NEED to do something, but do you WANT to, are you INSPIRED to do it? Of course, sometimes we all have to try and focus on what we NEED to do, not just on what we WANT to – whether we like it or not. The world would be an amazing place wouldn’t it, if we could just all do what we want, rather than need!

Once I accepted this new phase in inspirational focus, and the guilt shifted away – actually, the ideas came flooding back, and I now have TWO The Crafty Lass notebooks on the go, sketches being made, new Pinterest boards being created and some exciting business ideas in the pipeline. (Watch this space!) I am just learning it is about BALANCE. It is ok to work hard AND then have a well deserved and needed 2 hour nap – and then, perhaps continue with your crochet for little bubba’s new toy. Perhaps before, my focus was actually too much in The Crafty Lass favour – and this new stage is the ‘correct’ (if there is a right and wrong) balance for the future.

A totally different concept – but the lessons behind it are the same:

Some days you eat salads and go to the gym, some days you eat cupcakes & refuse to put on pants.

It’s called balance.

Love that!

I have just started maternity leave, deliberately early – to focus on getting organised – for the baby, for The Crafty Lass – to get ready (will we ever be ready?) – but to also have some selfish ‘me’ and ‘just us’ time before our world dramatically changes for a new chapter. (SERIOUS NESTING PHASE ALERT.)

So, for those of you who might be in the same position – try not to be too hard on yourself when your inspiration and focus changes and wanes sometimes. As long as you still have that deep, underground fire in your belly, and the ideas are there – just bubbling away under the surface (with brief glittery shows of ‘look I am here!’) – they won’t go away. That natural instinct to Make, Create, Inspire – it is still there. It just might be postponed for a little while.

And, that is OK.

Categories: Business, General Craft

The Crafty Lass – New Recruit

Becoming ‘The Crafty Lass’ over the course of the last year – has meant quite a change in scenery for my day to day ‘office’ environment – I am often out and about, but it can also mean being in the house for fairly long periods of time. That may seem like absolute bliss (which, I am not going to lie – of course it can be!) but although I am often busy, and totally absorbed in whatever I am making or planning – it can be quite quiet, no set routine and just – lonely! (Awwww!)

img_20160207_185158.jpg
So, how to fix this…?

 

After much debate – there was only one real solution – we would need the first The Crafty Lass recruit… and it would need four legs!

We advertised for the role at various locations – and were quite flexible on the candidate submissions (of which there were quite a few!)

 

Title: Happiness Administrator

Reports to: The Crafty Lass

Responsibilities:img_20160207_185416.jpg

  • In charge of general routine to the day – to advise and remind The Crafty Lass when it is lunch, dinner and exercise or ‘walkies’ time.
  • Ensure The Crafty Lass does not spend the whole day in front of the computer (see above).
  • Keep The Crafty Lass warm on the sofa, and be willing to administer cuddles where required.
  • Listen to craft project ideas.
  • Support on all general business matters.

Desired Attributes:

  • Playful.
  • Friendly.
  • Happy to sometimes be left for small periods of time.

Ideal Qualifications – but not essential:

  • House Trained

Other:

  • Live in position only.
  • Be willing to relocate if necessary.
  • Be cute.
  • Try not to distract The Crafty Lass with being cute.

 

img_20160207_185133.jpgIt didn’t take long for the recruitment panel (The Crafty Lass and The Husband) to come to a decision. Only one candidate went to final interview stage – his CV and history was a little unknown and sketchy – but they came across generally well and I think you’ve got to go with your gut feel haven’t you?

He arrived on 14th February, Valentine’s Day – ready for his first The Crafty Lass day today. I was actually more nervous than him – to see how he would get on… but, I shouldn’t have worried – so far, I think we are going to be best buds!

 

Now, whether he actually knows and understands his full job role or not, the new recrwp-1455555790646.jpeguit – “Patch”, a Parson Russell Terrier is on Day One. He seems to be settling in well, and completing (and exceeding!) most of the expectations. The only ‘rule’ he is breaking – is this that The Crafty Lass is certainly not getting as much work done, as he is certainly cute-and-very-distracting. He knows the full layout of the ‘office’ now, and where his ‘desk’ is (otherwise known as a grey fluffy blanket on the sofa). We’ve gone through the health and safety – like not to bark at passing strangers through the window whilst simultaneously trying to physically climb through our wooden blinds  – and he (thankfully!!) knows where the toilets are (the garden, NOT inside – we are winning and very proud of that one!!), he knows where the ‘canteen’ is to get his lunch (the kitchen, obviously) and his regular water breaks. He even gets to sleep at the office! (Alright for some!) Gold star for Patch – in fact, he could even be up for employee of the month if he continues on his current trend.

 

wp-1455555773126.jpegIn all seriousness – I’ve been waiting a long time to write this blog post. I always knew we would get a dog – especially if I worked for myself – I grew up with some lovely dogs, and – mainly rescue dogs too – and to be able to give such a lovely little dog, a good home… It’s just fantastic. Patch – was due to be put to sleep, until the charity ‘Hope‘ intervened, which – seeing what a warm, friendly, ‘good’ dog he is, breaks my heart – but I have to be realistic and honest that this sort of thing – whether I like it or not – does happen. He was then taken to the wonderful <a href="https://www januvia 50 mg.bluecross.org.uk” target=”_blank”>Blue Cross – where we had submitted a questionnaire saying that yes, we liked him – and we were ‘matched’. It was like a ‘dating agency’ type affair!

We didn’t know how things would turn out, and of course – we still don’t, it is only day 1 – but as I said before – ‘gut feel’, he is simply brilliant. We shall have to see how it goes – but to be finally sat writing this whilst a snoozing (and snoring!) little bundle of fluff is snuggled up next to me is just so heart warming and makes me an extremely happy proud, and no longer lonely lass. The Crafty Dog!

Categories: Business

Christmas Wreath Workshops!

IMAG0064What a festive, and almost magical weekend of Christmas fabric wreaths making!

Saturday truly started the Christmas season for me – holding craft workshops at the brilliant Claydon Christmas Tree Farm. Until earlier this year, I hadn’t ever heard of this place – despite living in the local area for a few years now! However, I am so glad I now know… Absolutely stunning Christmas trees (British grown) – all very lush, and such variety! Real reindeer – who live on the farm all year round, and are part of the family there! There is a beautiful Christmas decorations shop full of every Christmassy thing you could imagine, a lovely little cafe with delightful bakes, cakes, teas/coffees… Santa himself is even due to visit there soon! Coming up in the next few weeks – I will be there at the following times for FREE Christmas craft ‘drop-in’ sessions…

 

Saturday 5th December 12-2pm – ‘Origami Stars’ and ‘Christmas Card’ making!IMAG0084

Sunday 6th December 12-2pm – ‘Reindeer Christmas Crackers’!

Saturday 12th December 12-2pm – ‘3D Paper Christmas Tree’ and ‘Christmas Card’ making!

Sunday 13th December 12-2pm –  ‘Reindeer Christmas Crackers’!

 

The workshops were so much fun! Everyone had a choice of fabric colours – and it never fails to amaze me that you give people the same fabrics, and yet their wreaths still always turn out different!

Some people had brought along little decorations to add into their designs – like dried pinecones, little ceramic toadstools, fake berries… just lovely to see the inspiring ideas!

It was cold, boy was it cold in the big beautiful barn – but we had plenty of tea, mince pies and festive spirit to keep us warm!

 

Sunday, it was the turn of the Brackley Christmas Craft and Food Fair at Brackley Town Football Club. The cold, rain and almost gale like conditions at time seemed to deter some of the punters – but we still had a steady turn out especially in the morning – and I always think at these kind of things – of course you want hundreds of people and lots of sales – but it is also about meeting like minded people – and was lovely to speak to all the other stall holders. I even picked up a few little pressies for Christmas myself! We were making wreaths on our stall (I had a lovely helper Elf with me on Sunday!) and I was also selling make your own wreaths kits – with the fabric, frames, baubles for people to take away and make their lovely wreath at home! I am looking forward to seeing the photos of their finished results!

 

Hopefully see you soon at Claydon Christmas Tree Farm!

Categories: Christmas, Workshops

The Crafty Lass does… Online Greeting Card SHOP!

The moment you have all been waiting for… well, what I have been waiting for pretty much my whole life.

Today is a big day in The Crafty Lass journey.
It has always been my absolute dream to (a) start my own business (b) this be in craft and/or design and finally (c) have my own online shop selling greeting cards.

Greeting cards are a really important thing to me – we all send/give them regularly – and they mean an awful lot! Just how special do you feel when a little brightly coloured envelope lands on your doormat and you know that someone has taken the time and effort to 1. select a card, 2. hand write it and 3. send it to you – maybe for a special occasion, or perhaps just to say ‘hey’, ‘sorry’ or ‘I miss you’. Even better when it is hand delivered! Whatever the reason, whatever the words inside – it is always special to receive a card.

With today’s multitude of ways to communicate – texting, emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp (to name just a few!) – there is still a love and desire to send a REAL bit of post. A hand chosen card, with a lovely little note inside – it means far, FAR more than just sending a quick text message.

The GCA Greeting Card Market Report 2014 reinforces what a huge and successful industry this is with ÂŁ1.29 billion spent on single cards in the last year – more than tea and coffee put together. More cards are bought per person in the UK than in any other country – 31 per person an astonishing 884 million single greeting cards were bought from retailers of all shapes and sizes in 2013.

For more simply amazing Facts and Figures about the UK card industry, check out the Greeting Card Association’s website!

The Crafty Lass greeting cards are simple, (but effective!) modern designs, all lovingly created (over the last decade!) on Adobe Illustrator, by myself and printed on heavy, white Omnia board within the United Kingdom.

All cards are left blank for your own lovely message – your own words always mean far more!

In addition to my new online store – The Crafty Lass greeting cards are also now stocked at The Old Hall Bookshop, Brackley! Exciting times. 🙂

Check out our full range HERE and our Etsy store HERE.

Enjoy!

Categories: Business, Stationery, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… Children’s ‘Owl’ Decoupage Workshop!

Today was great – in fact it was a ‘hoot’! (Haha! – hoot, get it?)

We had lots of lovely brightly coloured paper, feathers, little shiny gems, googly eyes, plenty of pva glue – and some cute owl photo frames to decorate.

Held at Elaine Marston’s Studio at Turweston, Brackley – across a two hour workshop we spent the time choosing colours, tearing up the paper, and sticking on to our hearts content!

As you will be able to see from the photos every one was different – some with pinks, some with blue, some patterned, some without feathers, some with LOTS! After the owls were complete, as we had a little bit of extra time – we moved on to creating some lovely drawings and collages to go into the frames.

Everyone seemed to have a fun and creative time and with a few little bits of feedback direct from the attendees of ‘Let’s do this every week!’, ‘Can we do decoupage again?!’ and ‘I’ve really enjoyed myself’ – I personally am of course, pleased as punch!

 

From starting out on this creative journey of becoming ‘The Crafty Lass’ as a business – today, the moment a parent walked back in to collect their children – to be met with a ‘Mummy! Look what I have made!’ moment – it was very special, and one that I am certain, I will never become tired of.

A great and rewarding morning’s work! 🙂

If you’d like The Crafty Lass to host a creative party or workshop – why not get in touch. 🙂

Categories: Business, Crafty Kids, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does..., Workshops

Top 5… Nautical Crafts!

Yesterday was the first day I had the pleasure of being a mobile Crafty Lass – meaning, I was not working in my little office in Brackley, Northamptonshire – but a rare visit to the beautiful Isle of Wight. I sat working at a lovely big oak table, with the bright sunshine pouring in through the window and the sounds of seagulls in the not too far distance. I had only been here about an hour – and already had a very English start to my visit with some lovely tea and some sticky ginger cake; in the evening a BBQ, and the promise of a ‘trip out’ somewhere later today. Delightful doesn’t even come close!

The ferry crossing over was lovely, the sun warm and a lovely gentle breeze. For those of you who haven’t been to the Isle of Wight from Lymington to Yarmouth, and for those that have been will know – it’s so peaceful, you can feel all your troubles and worries disappear from the moment the captain of the ship ‘welcomes you aboard’.

So, inspired by my little trip to this island, here are my Top 5…Nautical Crafts!

1. Make a Paper Boat!
An oldie, but a goodie – but, this from ‘Big Dot of Happiness is a lovely tutorial – and with plenty more fun ideas for the same paper craft – from kiddies party hats, to little boats on straws, it is a great one for plenty of nautical themed ideas! 🙂

2. Make ‘Sand Bowls’
Just how beautiful are these? Tel aviv student Leetal Rivlin has created these sand and glue masterpieces – why not give them a go yourself? There is a tutorial as to how to do – here at Serendipitous Discovery. They’d make lovely little jewellery dishes, or filled with some shells as a decorative feature!

3. Rope vases!
What a lovely idea! You start out with a plain glass vase – and basically weave the rope around them – glue, and voila! You can even go one step further by adding some dye to make a colour wash effect. The full tutorial is over here at Style Me Pretty. You could even do this around empty glass jars, or tins to keep the cost down. Lovely!

4. Knot Jewellery!
Another rope craft here – but just how cool do these bracelets look? This tutorial from Etsy takes you through ‘how to’ step by step – looking forward to making this as an accessory!

5. Clay Pot Lighthouse
This is a lovely tutorial how to make a little Clay Pot Lighthouse. This would look lovely in the garden with a little tea light inside. All you need to make this is some clay/terracotta flower pots, glue, paint and some time and patience! 🙂

Categories: General Craft, Top 5

Brackley SEWcial – Fabric Flowers Corsage Workshop!

The Crafty Lass wants to get Brackley SEWcial!

Do you love craft? Do you enjoy (or want to try!) sewing? Fancy meeting local people, or a night with friends? Want to handmake a new accessory?

I am holding a ‘Fabric Flower Corsage Workshop’!

The Green Room, Brackley – Thursday 20th August 6.30-8.30pm.

Tickets are limited and are available for purchase from The Green Room. So book yours now to avoid disappointment! They are ÂŁ17.50 per person and include a glass of prosecco*!

Any questions, feel free to ask! 🙂

*Soft drink alternative available.

150727 Brackley Sewcial Green Room Event

Categories: Places to Go & Things to See, Workshops

The Crafty Lass does… Children’s Decoupage Workshop!

Let me know if you would like to book a space!

150727 The Crafty Lass does... Workshops! Decoupage

Categories: Crafty Kids, General Craft, Places to Go & Things to See, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… The Brackley Community Carnival and The Bake Off!

Well…it rained. And it rained. And it rained. And, Oh! Cleared up a bit!… And then rained. To say it was ‘damp’, would put it mildly.IMAG1970

However, what a wonderful day! The event, although slightly marred by the weather, was brilliant. It was very quintessentially British!

We were very lucky in the ‘Craft and Bake Off’ marquee… it was inside, warm and dry for a start! But, we had the luck to see ‘Titan the Robot’ up close and personal with not one, but two performances – the ‘Pre Hee Men’ paid us an uplifting ‘bake off – cake demanding’ visit, and, we all ‘bonded’ over our love for our crafts and how rubbish an English June could be!

IMAG1958My day started off well, I actually entered the Brackley Bake Off… And WON! Yay, go me… I even had a little prize giving and certificate presentation from The Mayor in the ‘main arena’ later in the day! Marianne’s Cakes and Waitrose and had kindly sponsored the Bake Off and my prize was a lovely selection of baking goodies, and equipment to fuel future bakes! 🙂

I know it is very British to keep talking about the weather, but, in the rain that we had on a SatuIMAG1940rday, in the middle of June – the grit, determination, and smiles that were still ever present from the organisers, the volunteers, the wonderful people all in the soggy but brilliant carnival procession, were just fantastic. One particular volunteer was physically shaking from the wet and cold, but was still happily chatting to me about the map he was trying to show me of the event, what other things that there were to see and do on in the other fields… it just summed it up for me. Just a pure happiness to be IMAG1939there! He, as did everyone – deserved a warm cup of hot chocolate (or perhaps something stronger!) last night! I personally indulged in a well deserved snooze under a warm blanket, and later a celebratory glass of vino with my upbeat and happy to get involved ‘assistant’ and well-loved friend ‘dearest’ Jenny!

There were so many people involved, I would love to mention everyone here – but, I would just like to say it never fails to amaze me just how brilliant Brackley is at these kind of events. I have only lived here for 3 years, but it has very quickly become home and mainly due to such a great and wonderful community spirit! So, a BIG thank you.

PS Despite thIMAG1952e aforementioned (many a time!) weather, I did sell (quite a few actually!) greeting cards, and chatted to many people who were interested in my ‘craft, and creative workshops’! I know I keep saying it – but the cards are coming online SOON… It just takes longer than I thought to get organised… !

PPS I can’t wait for next year’s Brackley Community Carnival AND Bake off (I surely HAVE to enter to challenge as reigning champion…!?) and this time – I plan on packing my sunglasses and sunscreen… (fingers crossed!) 🙂

Categories: Business, Places to Go & Things to See, The Crafty Lass does...

A quiet Crafty Lass is a busy Crafty Lass!

 

Wow, a whole 10 days without a blog post! Where does time go?

Well – there has been ‘The Crafty Lass does…Workshops!’ survey, a bead making class (full blog post on this coming up soon…!), the ‘Artisan Market Night’ at The Green Room, Brackley for the charity ‘People Like Me‘ – then there has been the setting up of the online shop, working on workshop trial crafts, writing tutorial notes, hand making my Father’s Day card, entering Hobbycraft’s ‘June Make of the Month’, entering the Tigerprint latest design competition, about 1000 Pinterest pins, lots of Instagramming, and prep for the Brackley Community Carnival this Saturday 13th June! Oh, and I am also entering the Brackley Bake Off on Saturday too…!

No rest for the wicked! Hope to see you on Saturday at the fair and more blogposts coming soon….!

Categories: Business

The Crafty Lass does… The Brackley Community Carnival AND The Great Brackley Bake Off!

Saturday 13th June 2015 – a date for your diaries – The Brackley Community Carnival!

The Crafty Lass not only has a craft stall in the ‘Craft Marquee’, selling my new greetings card ranges – (soon to be sold online, watch this space!) – I now also have a space in The Great Brackley Bake Off! I had best get practicing my Victoria Sponge…!

The Brackley Community Carnival looks set to be a great day, check out the website for full details of events!

Brackley-Bake-Off-poster

Categories: Business, General Craft, Places to Go & Things to See

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