Tag : design

The Crafty Lass does… COLOUR! The ‘ultimate’ handpainted playroom!

40 paint tester pots

63 triangles

5 rolls of Frog Tape

3 months of painting(!!!)

100000s of brushstrokes

1 determined Crafty Lass

1 happy boy…

 

When we moved into this new home, one of the (many) selling points, was a little room just off the hallway next to the kitchen – destined to be a playroom.  It was the first room we started to decorate – and at one point I thought it might be the last too…

We wanted it to be fun, vibrant, a real ‘playtime’ room. Basically somewhere he could enjoy, make a mess – and realistically also, somewhere all the toys could be shoved at the end of the day!!

Of course, there were many Pinterest ideas – I looked into a ‘zoo’ theme, and had visions of animals all over the walls. And dinosaurs with a similar concept – but nothing quite seemed to grab my full inspiration. Until I saw THIS image – even with the title ‘How to Create the Ultimate Playroom’ – perfect! – designed by Minneapolis interior designer Lucy Interior Design. When closer inspected – it turns out it was wallpaper… but I thought perhaps I could paint it?? God knows why… I thought it would be FUN! And it was – well the first few triangles were anyway…

With a little (let’s be realistic, alot) of help from The Husband working out angles, measurements, borrowing his spirit level/metal ruler/tape measure – we soon worked out how I would get it all to fit on the wall space. Now it was up to me to draw it all out and inspired by my new colourful go to Pinterest inspiration – and also our ‘Baby Sensory‘ classes that we attend every week – it was off to B&Q for a many a tester pot picking, and sketching out how it would work!

I LOVE colour – bright, unabashed colourful prints were my go to in my Printed Textile Design degree, and more importantly for this project – babies also love colour and pattern! We just knew it was the right choice.

Once the triangles had been drawn on to the wall, which actually took quite some time! It was ‘simply’ (ha!) a case of taping up each one, painting, allowing to dry, re-coat (each triangle took 3-4 coats!), remove tape, move to the next triangle/repeat… Hence, why this process has taken 3 months! Well, that and juggling life and many other craft projects/decorating projects/setting up the new craft workshops space… 

Now that it is done, and not wanting to blow my own trumpet – I cannot stop staring at it! I of course, can see areas that aren’t just quite 100% perfect – but in reality, who else is going to notice?? I had to draw a line (haha) under it somewhere – so it is finally, and colourfully, DONE. End of story! No more ‘I managed to paint 9 triangles today!’ conversations – now just to enjoy it. I think you can tell – of course I did this for our little one – but yes, I am also in there alot playing with him every day, and it makes MY spirits lift too!

I feel this is a style that will grow with him – it will suit him at all ages. It has taken longer than expected, there were times when I wish I hadn’t started – but equally it was a great challenge! And, would I do it again? Absolutely! Will he thank me for the countless hours working out angles, painting, pondering which colour should go where? Probably not – but at least he has somewhere he knows he can have FUN!

 

Do you have a playroom? Or somewhere you’ve painted a wall mural? I would love to see!

Categories: General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass Etsy store!

The Crafty Lass Etsy store took a small break over the last few months whilst I am on maternity leave – and while I am still enjoying some amazing time with my ever growing lovely little one (check The Crafty Lass Instagram account for lots of photos!! #babyspam) – the Etsy store has now reopened!

 

etsy.com/uk/shop/TheCraftyLassDoes

 

To celebrate, there is currently a 20% discount* on all purchases over ¬£5.00 – simply use the code REOPEN17 at the checkout! ūüôā The perfect place for your Valentine’s Day cards (it may still be January, but it’ll be here before you know it!!)

And keep checking back – as there will be some exciting new designs coming very soon…!

The Crafty Lass - Everyday Love - L15-C01 Centred Scatter

 

*Expires 14/02/2017

Categories: Birthday, Business, Easter, General Craft, Stationery, Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings

The Crafty Lass does… Pinterest!

Isn’t Pinterest amazing. That is just one of those facts of life.

Seriously – what did we actually do without it before it existed?! I can while away hours (literally) exploring and searching for new ideas on whatever I happen to be thinking of at that moment in time.

If you’ve never used it (A – Why not?? and B – I am obviously recommending that you do!) and you¬†want a place to visually document ideas, suggestions, dreams and new projects – put¬†simply, an online search engine kind of mood board – this is the place for you. A online, creative, inspirational dream. And no, I am not being paid by them to write this!!

At this time of writing, I have nearly 6,000 pins… which at first glance, seems a huge amount. You’re thinking – perhaps you are a Pinterestaholic – but in reality that is small fry in comparison to some of the accounts I ‘follow’! It is a mood board, but also a social media tool. It can of course, also be an advertising medium for lots of companies to drive you to ‘click through’ the images, on to their websites to ‘buy the dream’. However, as long as you aren’t buying EVERYTHING you pin (wouldn’t that be great!) it is a useful and creatively satisfying tool. You can keep up to date with what people and companies are looking it, being inspired by, (advertising!), or pick up tips and tricks for generally winning at life. I have ‘boards’ for foodie delights¬†–¬†from savoury-health-inspired-detox recipes to over-the-top indulgently sticky cakes and probably will never get around to but would love to make recipes. I have ‘boards’ for holiday destinations I would love to go to, for style inspiration, for the house and home, the garden, for things that make me smile and for all manner of crafting inspirations (of course!)

Apart from it being¬†a useful tool for bookmarking things to remember – I think what I love about it most – is it is a place to visually indulge in your wildest dreams. Yes – alongside that useful and must make ‘best shortbread in the world’ recipe – you can dream, you can visually ‘bucket list’ your life. I will have that ¬£100k glass extension to our next house, I will drive that Aston Martin, I will¬†visit that tropical island and I WILL¬†with a bit of effort look that good in a red bikini…

‘Secret’ boards are the ultimate indulgence. A place for only you to see. It was simply the BEST tool for wedding planning – a place to document, fine tune and make decisions. A place to keep all our exciting plans under wraps before the big day. A ‘THE dress’ board, a ‘Bridesmaids’ board, a ‘Ceremony’ board… You get the idea!

I don’t mind (now) saying that I have had a secret ‘baby’ board for about 3 years… No one needed to know that in addition to all the NON-secret pins about ‘how to make paper flowers’ and ‘oooh, that beef stirfry looks good’ I was also saving ‘100 exciting and new nursery ideas’, ‘breast feeding advice for new mums’ and ‘top children names for 2016’. It was my little go to for future and very hopeful plans. It was my lovely treat – and being honest, at times – after the days, weeks and months ticking by – actually sometimes NOT such a happy-to-see board – but above all, my little secret place to document my thoughts.

Now that I am in the extremely lucky and happy position to be expecting a little bubba – I can finally look back through those 100’s of pins. Ready to use the advice, and ready to pick and choose which projects I am actually going to put into action! (There is quite obviously about 90% craft related baby projects…!) So far, I am inspired by (and have actually started!) a pom-pom yarn rug, knitting a lovely little soft and cosy blanket, a mobile, a cushion idea, some artwork and designery poster plans… I have umpteen nursery inspirations… I think with all the will in the world, and the no-doubt-expectations to have a ‘creative’ nursery (!) …the ideas are obviously there – but whether I get round to finishing them all – who knows – but at least I have been able to indulge in my dreams, I am being inspired and being of course, being crafty!

You can check out The Crafty Lass on Pinterest HERE¬†ūüôā

What projects have you been inspired to make from Pinterest?

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

The Crafty Lass does… Jewellery making!

It’s certainly been a crazy few days in our little nation.

And, amongst all this craziness – it is calming and restorative to return to think about crafting.

The calm before the politics storm – last Thursday 23rd June – I had a wonderful trip out to ‘Nude Jewellery’ in Reigate to meet the lovely Nikki in her small, but perfectly formed studio. And, actually more importantly (sorry Nikki) to meet her very little, and very cute bundle of fluff puppy, Gizmo – who also came along for the day. Heart meltingly¬†beautiful!

The day didn’t start well. I hadn’t slept too well, but actually – as I was up early (5.30am early) I thought I would make sure to leave in PLENTY of time to get down to Reigate. Google maps estimated around 2 hours – and watching the morning news with my brekkie and morning cuppa – it was saying how bad the weather had been/still was, and to allow extra time for your journey. With my early start I was envisaging getting there serene and ready to nip into one of the lovely little boutique type cafes on the high street for a chill, and an early snack (cake basically), before on with my lovely day. ¬†So, 3 hours should be enough – right? Wrong.

I can honestly say, it was quite possibly the most stressful drive I have ever done in my quite little-driving-experienced life. The weather was as bad as the BBC had advised – which meant traffic accidents and slow-going areas a-go-go. I was diverted off the M25 by my sat-nav to go literally around all of the houses, small villages and towns across South-West London and Surrey borders. The diversion, I can handle – you almost start to feel like you are making progress – but, I couldn’t handle it almost being just as bad traffic on this new route too involving the SatNav changing its mind approximately every 5 mins, so – on to the M25, no – actually go this way, oh no hang on¬†– I reckon try¬†the M25… Basically, the traffic was so bad everywhere it couldn’t make up it’s mind – it didn’t really matter which way I went! I also couldn’t handle being nearly 6 months pregnant and being stuck in traffic… eventually one Esso garage later me pleading with their staff to let me use their facilities later, semi-calm was restored¬†– but it was touch and go for a while!

Four hours and twenty minutes, very late for the course, later – I did eventually get there. Oh, and then trying to park in a multi-storey I somehow manage to also graze one of The Husband’s car alloys. You can imagine I might have been abit tired, weary and stressed. A few (several) choice words may have been muttered.

However, who could fail to be calmed by then making something beautiful and a cute puppy dog?? All was ok in the world.

When I left my full time employment role back in October of last year, I was very kindly given a gift of going on a silver jewellery making workshop. I was all ready to schedule in going as soon as possible! However, Christmas, one studio move for Nikki, and various other life related plans later – we didn’t manage to get anything firmly into the diary until this date in June!¬†So, although late – we quickly got going, and Nikki very nicely let me know, not to worry about time and that we would still get everything required taught, practiced and made.

We started with a piece of brass to practice with and a little saw – gently cutting out lines – starting out straight, then wavy, before progressing on to zig-zags – which is harder than you’d imagine as you have to very gently turn the saw and the metal at the same time whilst still cutting! The saw blades for the metal are ever so delicate – and no surprise for a beginner – I broke several of them. However, I soon learnt how to re-attach the new blades and¬†the gentle techniques required to implement your ideas.

Now for the fun part – what did we want to make? I was given a small square of silver, and needed to think about designs, the size, whether a pendant, a necklace, a brooch… A few sketches and idea changes later, I settled on making some little cloud earrings, and a lightning bolt pendant! The weather was certainly apt… I liked the idea of a ‘silver lining’ cloud.

The design ready РI drew around the square of silver on to paper to give me an idea of how I would lay everything out, drew in my shapes so I had a visual point of reference, before then replicating the same on to the actual silver. Drawing on to the silver with a pencil Рjust provided a gentle marked shape to cut towards Рwhich we followed up with a permanent marker for extra guidance. Now we were ready to go!

Starting with my new found gentle cutting techniques, it didn’t take long before I was well on the way to everything being ready for the next stage – filing the errors I had made!! It isn’t that simple to cut in EXACTLY straight lines, or exactly on the pen lines (unless you are Nikki of course, an experienced jewellery maker!) Luckily, I had followed Nikki’s advice, and in most cases had managed to cut outside the lines to allow a bit of wiggle room and adjust accordingly with the file. Eventually ready and semi-happy with the finish, we now needed to solder on some jump rings/earring backs.

Nikki – blowtorch and solder at the ready – did the first earring, and I followed up with the second. Gently heating up the metal/solder until a glowing orange and everything was seemingly-magically-stuck together. Next into a cooling liquid to bring back to a temperature we could actually handle, and a quick ‘wiggle check’ – e.g. – has it worked, can I move the earring back? Nope, all good. They then moved into some acid to ‘clean’.

As the lightning bolt was abit fiddly to attach the jump ring to (due to the ‘pointy’ nature of the design) Nikki kindly and expertly took over attaching that for me. I used the opportunity to nip out for a quick break and finally into one of the lovely high street cafes for some lunch. No cake surprisingly, but a lovely bagel with avocado, mozzarella and sun blush tomatoes – delicious! Anyway, it was a quick pit stop before back to the studio as time was cracking on…

The cloud earrings were out of the acid, and now ready for polishing. A few filing adjustments to still be made, and a quick use of the ‘buffing stick’ (basically a wooden triangular shaped stick with the equivalent of fine sand paper on) – it was ready. However, I decided that the ‘brushed’ look enhanced the cloud design – and maybe it didn’t need to be polished to a shiny silver? Whilst Nikki still worked on the lightning bolt – I continued to buff in little circle shapes on to the clouds, and the more I did this, the more and more I loved and actually became very proud of them! Nikki then provided the earring ‘butterfly’ backs, and a lovely little box to keep them in. Dare I say it, all packaged up – they perhaps even looked professional?? Well, maybe not if you study them too closely… they’re not perfect – but I would actually wear them and be excited to say ‘I made these’. I suppose the whole point of the course had succeeded 🙂

Time had inevitably ticked away, and with more to be done to the pendant (it was now sat in the acid, cleaning) we decided that Nikki would kindly finish this for me and post on to me when cleaned, buffed, and polished up. The bolt will look great with a shiny finish! A lovely contrast to the matt finished clouds.

A quick goodbye to Nikki and Gizmo – and back to the car-park to the scuffed-alloys car, and a hope for being home within a shorter time than on the way here. I’d reached a lovely point in the day where despite the horrid journey, I had actually learnt something, achieved something and left with something beautiful (to me)…

The journey back did not go to plan.

The weather had improved, but the roads – had not. Two huge diversions, eventually stopping off via a friends house for a rest stop, a well-needed cuppa (and finally!) some gratefully received and well-earned cake, a chat and a Google searching-BBC traffic checking plan of action for the rest of my journey.

Just under FOUR hours later, and stopping to make the EU Referendum vote – I was home.

The Husband, despite the aforementioned car issue, had even kindly planned dinner (a delightful idea of and delicious Indian takeaway!) and again after another stressful journey, calm was temporarily and briefly restored.

Thank you Nikki for a great experience, and one I will cherish. Thank you to everyone who contributed to buy me the gift as a leaving present – it was a well thought out and brilliant choice!

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

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 ¬£1.29 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 ‚Äď 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. ūüôā

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

Enjoy!

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

Top 5… Creatively biscuity things!

Is biscuity even a word?? Either way – Friday 29th May 2015 was apparently ‘National Biscuit Day‘… in fact – every day in our house is ‘biscuit day’. My personal absolute favourites are chocolate hobnobs, with a glass of milk or a cup of Yorkshire tea… Mmmmmm.

According to an article on the Telegraph, I am not alone in my biscuit loving:

“Research to mark National Biscuit Day on Friday revealed that the average Brit enjoys at least two biscuits a day.”

To celebrate biscuits and all their lovely happiness making delight, here are my top 5 all things creatively biscuity!

 

1. Family Favourites Tea Towel.

I always think it is nice to have fun tea towels in the kitchen, to give you something to smile about while you are having to do the drying up! And, you couldn’t need much more than this lovely ‘Family Favourites’ tea towel from Charlotte Farmer. It doesn’t have hobnobs on, but with such beautiful design and delicate drawings, I can forgive…!

 

2. Biscuit Cushions.

Continuing on the house and home theme these, are simply beautiful. What could be better than fantastically giant over-sized biscuit cushions for your house from Nikki McWilliams!

 

3. Biscuit Pocket Mug.

We all need somewhere to keep our beloved biccies – and so what could be better than this ‘biscuit pocket mug‘!

 

4.Button Biscuits.

Now this, I want to try. Beautiful lemon button biscuits from ‘A Normal Mum’.¬†Fun, crafty and a simple to bake and make recipe!

 

5. Biscuiteers.

If baking isn’t your thing, more the actual eating part – take a look at Biscuiteers – their range and creativity never fails to amaze me. Absolutely stunningly beautiful biscuits, hand piped to perfection!

 

Right, I am off to put the kettle on for a cuppa and biscuit or three!

Categories: House & Home, Sweet Tooth Scrumptious Stuff!, Top 5

The Crafty Lass does… Birthday Invitations Commission!

I recently received a delightful commission for a ‘zoo-themed’ toddler’s birthday invitations…I had a LOT of fun with this one – who wouldn’t love spending time designing and creating some cheeky little meerkats and monkeys on Illustrator!

It has really inspired me to think about future invitation design ideas, and even a new range of children’s birthday¬†cards! ūüôā

I hope you all like the design just as much as I had fun creating them! I became so attached to them I even started to name the animals… ūüėČ

 

Jacob InvitePS – I’ve changed a few of the details, for obvious reasons! ūüėČ

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

Top 5… Inspirational Days Out!

We all need to get inspired by something, whether it be the clouds across a morning sky, a flower that has blossomed in your garden, a visit to a gallery, or even day-to-day chores and activities. Whatever the inspiration behind our art, design and craft – here are my top 5 events that could inspire your next project. Think colour, think nature, think photography, think over a hundred hot-air balloons…

 

1. <a href="http://www.nhm click this.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/sensational-butterflies.html” target=”_blank”>Sensational Butterflies

This annual event returns to the London Natural History Museum, with hundreds of free flying butterflies in their tropical butterfly house. Think of all those patterns and colours – just beautiful. On now til September 13th 2015, and at only ¬£5.90 a ticket for adults, children and concessions – and with entry to the main museum free, you can’t go wrong!

 

2. Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea

A bit of a cop-out putting two exhibitions from the same location, but with another outstanding and inspiring exhibition at the world famous and stunningly beautiful London Natural History Museum, it explains why reefs are just so important, and what is being done to look after them. “Virtual reef dive, see live sea coral and fish in our aquarium and enjoy spectacular underwater photography.” Get inspired by “250 strange and beautiful specimens” of coral. Tickets to the exhibition are ¬£10 per adult – children and concessions are only ¬£4.50 – and again, as before, admission to the main museum is absolutely free.

 

3. Bristol International Balloon Fiesta

Our wedding was¬†inspired by the film ‘Up‘, and with all those ballooons, I have always wanted to go and see this magical fiesta in Bristol,¬†6th-9th August 2015. An absolute riot of colour across the sky to provide unlimited colour inspiration. The best thing about this is, entrance is absolutely FREE! (You have to just pay a fee to park). I am sadly, already busy when this is on¬†– but it is going on my bucket list, maybe next year! Why don’t you get this one into your diary?

 

4. 2015 Sony World Photography Awards 

Love photography? This exhibition at Somerset House showcases the Winners, the Shortlisters across all disciplines from the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. You can’t help but want to pick up your camera, get out and take as many snaps of our beautiful world as you can!¬†Full details of the competition can be found HERE at the World Photography Organisation. On display from April 24th – 10th May 2015, tickets are ¬£8.50 for ‘Anytime Entry’, and only ¬£6.50 for ‘Weekday Entry’. Other concessions are available.

 

5. Kew Gardens

I absolutely LOVE Kew Gardens, and I also love the chef Raymond Blanc, so the BBC programme Kew On A Plate was a match made in heaven for me. However, you can now go and view the Kew On A Plate garden! Get inspired by their bountiful produce and gardens, with their walking tours, daily until May 22nd 2015. Included in the entry price to the main gardens, tickets are ¬£16 for an adult, and children under 16 are FREE when accompanied by an adult. Other concessions are available. While you are there this spring, make sure you take a lovely wander down the ‘Cherry Walk’ – lots of lovely pink and delightful blossoms! There is so much to see and do at Kew – take your sketchpad, your camera, and some good walking shoes!

 

All prices and dates are correct at time of this blog post.

 

Categories: Places to Go & Things to See, Top 5

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