Tag : christmas
Tag : christmas
‘Twas the night before Craftmas
‘Twas the night before Craftmas, when all thro’ the workshop,
Not a crafter was crafting; could hear a pin-drop;
The scissors were placed by The Crafty Lass with care,
In hopes that the morning soon would be there;
The ribbons were nestled all snug in their draws,
With visions of crafters soon through the doors…
The chores for the day completed and done,
We’d just settled down – our evening had begun.
When suddenly there arose such a crafty vision,
I sprang from the sofa to put it in to fruition!
Away to the studio I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of ‘The Old Grain Store’,
Brought a luster of glitter I couldn’t ignore;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But my papers, my baubles, my fabrics – oh dear!
– It might be quite late – but I can be quick,
And whip up some projects in a momentry tick.
More rapid than eagles the ideas they did came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now, POMPOMS! Now, PAPER! Now, BUTTONS and BOBBINS!
On, CROCHET! On, FABRIC! On, SEQUINS and RIBBONS!
To the top of the studio! To the top of the wall!
Now Craft away! Craft away! Craft away all!”
Things to be sewn, fabric to dye,
Sketching and gluing, and cutting; Oh my!
So up to the small hours, the time it just flew,
With my mind full of designs—and making them too!
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the drive,
The laughter and chatter – the crafters arrive!
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the lane, they came with a bound:
So full of plans, to make and create,
So happy and eager – they just couldn’t wait;
A bundle of thoughts were flung in the air,
To try and inspire with fun and with flair,
Their eyes—how they twinkled! Their excitement: how merry,
To make paper flowers, or crochet, ideas – so many!
With fabrics and ribbons drawn up in a bow,
Perhaps bunting in colours or as white as the snow;
And so I can teach them – my thoughts to bequeath,
And show them how to make a beautiful wreath.
So with plenty of tea, and cake in our belly
We crafted and laugh’d, full of chatter and glee:
“Just time out to relax, time for oneself,
Learning new things – inspiring myself”
Techniques and teachings, on boldly we tread,
Cotton and crepe, yarn, lace, and thread.
We spoke not a word, concentrated on craftwork,
We’d made lovely stockings; and sewn up patchwork,
And crocheted some toys – counting the rows,
And layering papers, they’d finished their rose.
They sprung to their cars, it was time for dismissal,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:
But I heard them exclaim, as they drove out of sight—
Happy Crafting to all, and to all a good night.
This isn’t an Oscar acceptance speech – but it does kind of feel like it. I am sure that to win an Oscar – is the culmination of a dream for that person, and for this to be actually happening – feels like a dream into reality for me…
So, on with the ‘thanks’…
First of all I would like to thank… Patch The Crafty Dog. Yes, this might sound a strange one to start with – having all those friends and family who have been the upmost of supportive – however, without Patch we wouldn’t be living here today.
Living in an Edwardian open plan, characterful, small (maybe not small, maybe too much stuff) end terrace was fun when it was just me and The Husband – but when you add to the mix a bouncy and excitable Parsons Russell Terrier and a baby (and all the baby paraphernalia) and an ever expanding amount of craft and business related materials… it was time to move. However, I think we would have just about coped if it has just been the four of us (The Husband, myself, bubba and The Craft) but to add a soon to be (at that point – now actively is) crawling little one in combination with our adorable four legged friend – I might have gone crazy (gone?). So, we started to look at moving – and here we are, with a lovely house in the glorious Northamptonshire countryside and The Old Granary Studio to boot…
Secondly, I would like to thank Freddie, our little shiny, happy, smiley star. He is potentially the most patient baby I have ever had the pleasure of meeting (I *may* be biased) – he is as happy and contented play with ribbons in his walker and watch mummy arrange things prettily in the new studio, as he is anywhere else. Without his happiness and patience, I am not sure I would have been able to progress as quickly as I have done. He also seems to like sleeping between around 7pm and 1am (not so much after that…) however it has allowed many an evening since moving in to try and refocus, eat, more craft, reorganise, repeat.
Thirdly, and most obvious for an ‘Oscar’ speech, I would like to thank my Mum and Dad. They are always there. When I call sounding stressed and needing a rant – they listen. When I don’t call them, they know I am ok… (just busy) and they just accept that when I do talk to them I mostly update them on things like buttons, and beads, and fabric and what I am making with all of them… Even when we went away recently for a short break together – we had nice evenings in… with me sat making paper flowers whilst we relaxed away the evening…
Fourthly, my mother and father in law. They have welcomed me into their lives as a close knit (good craft pun right there) member of the family, and have also always believed in me. I remember when I first told my Mother-In-Law – that I was quitting my job, and going to take over the world of craft – just how excited, and happy, and supportive she was. “This is going to go in so many directions”, she said. I am not sure we both thought becoming a Craft Buyer for a shopping channel, becoming a TV demonstrator, moving house – and to have our own studio was part of the plan – but perhaps fate has intervened… Anyway – thank you – as always – for both being there. x
Next – my friends and family. I feel like I have spent the last few months in a crafting bubble. I can’t see that changing any time soon… but – if I don’t reply to your messages, or don’t call you, or cancel on you, or have to work when I should be out eating cake, thank you for ‘getting it’ and just being excited for me. I do care!
Lastly, and of course – as expected, I would like to thank the real Boss. The Husband. The one who truly ‘gets it’. He puts up with me taking over our house with various crafting stuff. And quite often is heard exclaiming – “what is this, and what are you making now?!” He is the one who listens when I am so busy and overwhelmed I need a hug – he is the one who I would ring and ask for anything. “Perhaps, darling, you could build me a bespoke unit out of scaffolding boards?” He is the one I want to share my highs with, my lows with. This moment with. I don’t think words can thank him enough to be honest. Crikey O’ Reilley – going for the totes emosh stuff today!
However, as I pause for thought – I am thanking everyone… without having actually ‘achieved’ anything! I mean, I say that – I am pretty sure keeping our son happy and alive (and me also happy and alive… sleep deprived, but alive) whilst simultaneously running a business and setting up a studio is a pretty good achievement. But – I need people through the door! A craft studio is nothing without its crafters – and to me, that is the most important thing.
I originally set up The Crafty Lass as I am passionate about craft, and that I wanted everyone else to be too. I want to get everyone else Making, Creating and Inspiring. Craft can act as a therapy, it can be a little piece of calming haven in our crazy, sometimes nasty modern world. There are too many horrible things on The News – I have had a fair few horrible things arise recently with friends and family – that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. (You know who you are if you’re reading this and I Love You.) And sometimes, I do think – why am I worrying about a shade of pink on a ribbon. Does it matter? No – it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life – but providing a little craft ‘nest’ – a little slice of ‘crafting heaven’, ‘peace’ and a focus – does. I would like people to come along to workshops – to learn a new skill. To meet like minded people. To feel uplifted and energised and relaxed. Make. Create. Inspire.
So – with my heart on my sleeve, and ambitions getting achieved – what next? Well, there are PLENTY of new and exciting things in the pipeline for this Crafty Lass (would you expect anything less?) however right now – I need YOU! If you would like to come along – have a nice, sociable, crafty time – then please check our WORKSHOPS page and see if you’d like to book and come along to something! Tell your friends, your colleagues, your family, your milkman! “Did you know The Crafty Lass now has a dedicated (FAB!) crafting studio? She is proud to serve a proper brew (Yorkshire Tea, of course – what else would a ‘Lass’ serve!), she’ll more than likely serve you a good slab of cake too…. it’s also based in the beautiful countryside! (Crafting heaven…) Basically, amazing… you get the idea. Go forth, tell all. Craft! (…and book tickets!)
Oh… the ‘C’ word. The one that no one wants to mention. Well, not until at least December is here anyway.
Me? I LOVE Christmas. I love the cold weather, the roaring fires, the indulgence and fun and high spirits. Normally, I am prepping WELL ahead of December. Usually there is a handmade advent calendar, and table decorations and handmade crackers on the go. Wreaths are being designed and made, shopping lists written, Christmas cards written, recipes being organised. This year? No. I have done very, VERY little. It’s not for want of trying – I just can’t believe the magical festive season is nearly upon us! The arrival of the (brilliant) John Lewis advert was a shock. What do you MEAN it’s nearly Christmas??
I do have a great excuse though… I have been so focused on our new little one, and even just what day of the week it is, that well, Christmas, and planning for it has gone slightly off plan. My days – that would normally around this time of year – be filled with planning the perfect mince pie recipe or working out just how many gold baubles does a girl need for the new colour schemed tree? Have been swapped for planning the perfect nights eat and sleep routine and counting how many nappies in a day. Times, have, changed.
I’ve got some of the priorities sorted anyway – Santa knows what bubba would like under the tree and even our little doggie has his gifts all sorted! Our dog even has a (rawhide) advent calendar himself this year… and a dog BEER. Yes, you read that right. I am one of those people that buys the naff Christmas items at the Pets at Home till. Apparently it is not really ‘beer’ – pretty sure it is chicken flavoured water or ‘moisture’ as the label attractively lists on the ingredients! The Husband was NOT impressed at first when I showed him – ‘What gave you been buying now?!’ – however, I think he is secretly excited to have a beer with his four legged pal on the ‘big day’. Talking of The Husband – he does NOT have any presents… yet, and there is a general shopping list in the go… I just need to action it, and perhaps work out how to get the pram and car seat adapters to actually fit together and man up and attack the shops. Or, just crack on with 3am online shopping. God bless the internet!
So, my new focus instead of Christmas and all the wonderful things it brings (mulled wine, aforementioned presents, and our lovely family – in that order! 😉 ) is our little man.
He is now 6 weeks old. Amazing. But, where has that time gone??
We have just been treated to his wonderful first smile, and as most babies at this developmental stage – he just LOVES lights! So, we need to get our Christmas tree up ASAP and I plan to simply COVER it with lights – he will be mesmerised. And, I am sure this will bring plenty more delightful smiles. They literally make my heart melt, and me cry. Bloody hormones!
Anyway, enough about me and – if unlike me, you have time to start making anything (there is no doubt I will… I can’t NOT have a crafty Christmas, I’m The Crafty Lass!) here are my top 10 Christmas crafty links for you to try, with a little something for everyone! And, if I don’t manage to post again before – have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
How about this for a simple, but very effective craft! All you need is ribbon, and plenty of baubles to make a bauble garland! Beautiful.
2. Wrapping Paper!
How about making your own wrapping paper? I usually spend time (far too long) picking out the right one to go with the ribbons and colour scheme I have chosen for this year… but perhaps, as shopwalkinlove.com shows us – all we need is some plain papers, pens, some inspiration and to have fun with it! This is certainly going to be on my to do list this year 🙂
3. Table Decor!
A very clever idea for lovely place cards – mini ‘wreaths’ made from cranberries and greenery! You could even try this with beads and ribbons if you wanted to make them reusable for next year – but, nothing screams Christmas more than a cranberry or two! 🙂
4. Advent Calendar Ideas!
I’m going to put this out there – I HATE advent calendar chocolate… Now you can get seriously luxurious calendars and they don’t all taste like plastic like they did when I was a kid (please note a Hotel Chocolat advent would be lovely, thanks Husband) – but why not countdown to the big day with doing something different everyday? Here is the ‘Ultimate Advent Activity List‘ to give you plenty of festive ideas to get into the holiday spirit!
5. Kids Crafts!
Just how cute are these clothes peg snowmen! Something you can make together and you could even use them to hold up any Christmas cards received!
Love crochet? How about making these amazing elf slippers!
7. Sweet Eats!
Give everyone a surprise and a smile with their after dinner coffee – and why not turn normal ‘Malteasers’ into mini Christmas puds?! Simply pipe on melted white chocolate, and decorate with small coloured icing/toppings. Clever!
8. A Different Tree!
9. Peanut Garland!
A really lovely idea for (believe it or not!) decorating PEANUTS into little characters! Paint, glue – let your imagination go wild! These could hang above the fireplace, on the tree – anywhere you want to make that little bit festive in the home! 🙂 You could even drape these around the table as part of your table decor on the big day.
10. Santa Logs!
Get creative with your garden decor and jazz up some logs into Santa! Simply cut into shape, paint and add to your doorstop to welcome all your visitors! 🙂
Starting on Wednesday at the Waitrose Head Office in Bracknell, where 19 of us were not only making our fabric wreaths – we were singing along to some festive carols and music, there were mince pies, Cadbury’s roses… it certainly felt like Christmas!
With so many of us, and all nattering away, tearing up the fabric, and methodically and therapeutically knotting onto our wreath bases – at times it felt like we were in some sort of factory production line! 😉
The event was even filmed for the Waitrose Advent Calendar (a daily internal video highlighting what partners at Waitrose have been up to!) and, I have been lucky enough to be allowed to also use the video in this blog post. Check out here how we got on!
Thursday evening, I was at the John Lewis Head Office at London Victoria – where there were 8 of us making wreaths – and I actually also made mine tonight too! 🙂
It always amazes me, that each person starts out with very similar fabric selections – but the range and array of the results – are all so different and individual! We had ‘Italian flag’ wreaths where they blocked out colours, we had pastels only, very ‘natural’ holly-style looking wreaths, all stripes, all plain – amazing! Have a look through the photos below for all the different versions! 🙂
I had a really important moment over the last two days – with the magical mood, festive music, and lots of people enjoying themselves…it felt like – this is it! I am really doing it – The Crafty Lass workshops are really happening. Of course, I have done other workshops pre-these, but perhaps it was just the festive atmosphere, lot of smiley and happy faces – it just felt very special and I can’t wait for 2016 and all the craft workshops of the future!
If you would like a The Crafty Lass workshop in your place of work (or at home, or in a local venue!) please do get in touch!
One of the most special times for me at Christmas, is the decorating of the tree.
As a child – I really used to love the magic of it all – it meant if we are putting the tree up, the big day must be nearly here! Untangling the lights, looking over each bauble, the handmade decorations made and collected over the years, placing each one carefully on the branches! Mum and dad always kept everything as well – even now, I am sure they have some pinecones wrapped up in some red wool that I made as a toddler at nursery…clearly very crafty from a young age!
I love putting the tree up – but NEVER the taking down. Poor Mum used to always get that job, and Dad to put everything back into the loft.
For the last few years, we actually have had a potted tree – and yes, the same one! – we bought it one early December from the side of the road for only £15 (I haggled the seller down from £25!)… We took it home, prettied it up, and then come the New Year – we just put it in the garden to see what would happen. At some point later in the summer, I noticed – it was GROWING – new sprouts had appeared, so we thought let’s see if it will make it til Winter… Sure enough, it did – and as a special treat for us not having to buy a new one – we even bought it a new lovely ceramic pot! Now part of the family of course – it even had a name…Ned! We didn’t think it would surely get to the following Christmas but sure enough – it did – and it survived for 4 years!
However, last year – either it decided to be naughty, or we were very unloving parents and didn’t look after it well enough, but… well, it had 1000’s of bugs growing on it, that we didn’t know about until they were all over the floor in our house. I tried to remain calm, but they were EVERYWHERE – and that was it – poor Ned – banished to the garden on Christmas Eve! Naughty Ned.
Having held a few lovely craft workshops at Claydon Christmas Tree Farm this year, I was determined to get a nice shiny and new, and certainly real one… there were so many to choose from! Part of me wanted to get a HUGE tree (for our not so huge house, so that wouldn’t have really worked) but another part of me wanted to get a potted one and try and keep this one again for a few years. As much as I wanted loads and loads of lovely huge branches to decorate, we went with a lovely small potted one. And yes, this one also has a name – Buddy!
Every year, I try and keep a ‘theme’ to the decorating – and I always think I will try something new – but invariably, I always end up with ‘Skandi’ type Christmas with reds, whites and a few golds, just continually adding to the collection every year. However, this year – I have finally done something different – new year, new start – and gone with some lovely naturals – greys, whites, and some beautiful gold birdies and large gold stars. When I went to put the tree up this week – I realised we didn’t have our normal lights – they also went into the great Christmas tree sky with Ned as they were COVERED in sap, and bugs (eww, gross!) so although I could have waited, gone out and bought some more – I didn’t of course, it had to be decorated straight away! – and so I managed to dig out some actually ‘Moroccan’ themed ones from a few parties back…which actually kind of work – so, there aren’t as many lights as normal, but Buddy looks beautiful (even if I do say so myself!). I keep referring to ‘I’ and ‘Me’ in all of this – it is of course mine, AND ‘The Husband’s – and although he doesn’t like Christmas perhaps as much as me – he is just happy that I am happy, and having a potted tree in our living room does seem to make me happy!
On that note – when you actually stop to think about it…why do we bring in a living tree into our front rooms, shove it in a corner and adorn it with lights and baubles?! There is some great history on it it all – here at www.history.com and also, all the different traditions of it all – all around the world.
This isn’t my last blog post before the year is it out, I am sure – but wherever you are, and whether your tree is real, or fake, and whether you like neutrals or reds, or crazy multicoloured, or anything and everything in between – I hope you have a magical and crafty Christmas and a creative New Year!
What 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!
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!
Everyone loves a bargain right? Well The Crafty Lass is celebrating Black Friday by offering 25% off ALL greeting cards (not just Christmas!)
All you need to do is simply use code TCLBF15 at the checkout! Code expires Sunday 29th November.
Get your order in while you can!
I love Christmas. I am sure I will say that more than once over the next few weeks, but it really is my favourite time of year. I even like the wintery weather! Apart from the obvious – ‘big day’ – I love the build up to Christmas, perhaps even more than the main event. The planning, the little surprises, the Christmas concerts and carols, the food shopping, making, baking and eating! And of course – crafting! 😉
As a child (and still as an adult) I absolutely love advent calendars – every single day opening up the little door to see what was behind and knowing 1 day less till Christmas! I wasn’t even that bothered about the chocolate, I am more a savoury than sweet girl, but of course I still always ate it! That weird ‘advent calendar chocolate’ that tastes bit like plastic, you know it is rubbish – but you eat it anyway!
You can of course get ‘luxury’ calendars – that are filled with the highest end of beautiful Belgian chocolate, or even different little gifts, and on this slant – how about making your OWN and choosing your own little delights to put inside! I did this a couple of years ago for The Husband – all together now – awwww – I put a little chocolate in each one, and also a task for the day! Like, “Learn how to say Merry Christmas in 5 different languages” or “Lets make mince pies tonight!”. I know, too cute. It was certainly fun to put together, and although The Husband doesn’t like Christmas as much as me – he isn’t a bah humbug scrooge – but he certainly isn’t like Elf from the movie like me – he did really love it. Who wouldn’t love 24 little parcels to be opened up!?
On that note… here are my Top 15 advent calendar ideas! Normally I only do a ‘Top 5’ but there were so many inspirational ideas out there, I had to share them with you!
1. The Crafty Lass on the Craft Channel
Well of course I am going to say that 😉
This year I have already made mine… and it will be featured on The Craft Channel next week…make sure you check it out in our Weekend Wonder promotion shows – just some clever little way of turning some ordinary packaging into some fun advent ideas! 😀 latest schedule can be found on www.thecraftchannel.tv
2. Advent in a Jar
3. Advent Street
4. Advent Baubles
5. Envelope Advent
6. Painted Advent
This is certainly a different and contemporary idea – painting jars in colour coordinated paints and popping little gifts inside. Beautiful!
7. Advent ‘Cake’
8. Santa’s Beard Advent!
Great idea for the kiddiwinks here – turning santa’s beard into a calendar! Give him a ‘shave’ every day to reduce the length of his beard! 🙂
9. Elf Advent
10. Clothes Peg Advent
Not just for hanging up the washing – turn clothes pegs into your new advent calendar! Simply tie little gifts up with ribbon and hang on!
11. Punch Board Advent
12. Santa’s Present Sack Advent
This is really beautiful. Love the cute little Santas holding their present sacks, ready for you to fill with a little chocolate or gift – lovely.
13. Cushion Advent
A different homeware idea – making an advent cushion! Tuck little gifts behind each number space 🙂
14. Advent Bunting
15. Embroidery Hoop Advent
A really clever idea using embroidery hoops to create a little wall display idea as little fabric pockets! Fun!
Today is the start of The Craft Channel’s new FOWO (For One Week Only) promotion – a fantastic crystal card kit, a very therapeutic craft – almost like ‘painting by numbers’ except more crystal glueing by numbers and letters…Some amazing designs and good value too!
As part of the FOWO programme myself and Katy John look at all manner of card creations including some simply amazing pop-up cards – you can actually decorate a 3D Christmas tree and send in the post! Some laser cut greeting cards that you can ‘bling up’ with glitters and gems to your hearts content… and lastly (but not leastly (is that a word?!)!) – The Crafty Lass greeting cards also feature in this programme! A new addition of 650 self adhesive gemstones in vibrant pinks, turquoises and blues are also included to personalise them for yourself and add some glittery bling! And of course, colour coordinating envelopes too.
I really like this idea – that you don’t have to take a greeting card at face value – if you like a design, but think it needs something extra – just jazz it up with some additional decoration! Now of course, I am going to say this – but I think The Crafty Lass Christmas cards, are lovely just as they are – but I do also like them with a few gemstones here and there to make extra EXTRA special.
The FOWO programme is airing at multiple times across the week – please check out our latest schedule on the below channels. Enjoy!
SKY 261 & 660
FREESAT 402 & 808
Ho ho ho! Meeeerry Christmas!
Ok, it is only October… however, why not get ahead and get your The Crafty Lass ‘Graphic Brights’ Christmas Cards…on sale via my Etsy shop NOW!
All cards printed on thick, luxurious ‘Omnia’ board.
**Special price for Christmas!**
Cards only £1.80 each (normally £2.20)
Multipack of 6 (1 of each design) only £9.50… therefore only £1.58 per card!