Tag : handmade

The Crafty Lass reports into new ‘Boss’!

I have had many a different role in my career to date… From envelope stuffing and data entry on oil drilling (random I know!) to pot washer and waitressing… shop assistant, accounts, chocolate forecasting… from working in womenswear fashion buying and merchandising, to number crunching on predicting foodie sales for a national supermarket, guest demonstrating on shopping TV and most recently as a Craft Buyer – and importantly, realising my actual long term career dream – and setting up my own craft workshops business – ‘The Crafty Lass’.

I wouldn’t perhaps class ‘motherhood’ as a job – but I would certainly class it as a role – and work! I have (strangely or not) always loved working (born on a Saturday – “Saturday’s child works hard for a living”?) and it is a novelty to me being on maternity leave. It isn’t really a year long holiday – but it does sometimes feel that way (!) – it is definitely play dates, new things to see, learn, try and do – and plenty of tea and cake. I don’t have an Easter four day ‘weekend’ off from ‘work’ – but I do have a lovely four days together as a family. I am simply – loving – this new stage in our life – the good, and the bad! What I am losing in sleep – I am gaining in daily new adventures and discoveries.

However, I am often coming up with new business ideas and directions for The Crafty Lass once this holiday Maternity leave is over – and with some exciting plans on the horizon – it also got me thinking, just for a bit of fun – if being a ‘Parent’ was advertised as a ‘job’ what would the description say? And… would I apply? I’m sure I would…

 

Job Title:

  • Carer, Chef, Cleaner, Nurse, Chauffeur, Event Planner, Photographer, Teacher, Stylist and Entertainer.

(referred to herewith as ‘The Parent’)

 

Reports to:

  • Child

(referred to herewith as ‘The Boss’)

 

Hours:

  • Full-Time Long Term Contract. Please note you will be required to be on call 24 hours a day, and available at very short notice.

 

Description and Responsibilities:

  • Primary role of The Parent is to ensure The Boss is ‘happy’ by any means necessary.
  • Target of ‘happiness’ measured by a distinct lack of ‘grouchiness’.
  • You must be able to work out what The Boss is saying and requiring, often via ‘instinct’. This cannot be taught, but it will be something you ‘just know’.

Please note sometimes you may not ‘just know’ – so you will need to be inventive, ask everyone you know questions, be prepared to search Google umpteen times and try various ideas and activities.

  • In addition to generally caring, changing and feeding – happiness is often achieved by (but is strictly not limited to) cuddles, playing with toys, singing, jigging, pulling funny faces, repetitively saying ‘boo!’ and dancing around like a crazy person.

Please note that within each 24 hr period, how the overall happiness target is achieved will need to adjust and will often dramatically change. What The Boss may love today – may not work tomorrow – so you will need to show adaptability and ability to think on your feet whatever the circumstances.

  • You will need to demonstrate a high ability to multi-task and must be able to accept – and be prepared for a change of plans at a moment’s notice.
  • Must be able to determine and structure when it is The Boss’ ‘Nap’ and ‘Bed’ Time.

To achieve this, you must be potentially willing to:

  • Gently rock The Boss from side to side continuously, for what feels like hours, no matter tired you are, or how big and heavy they become.
  • Read the same bed time story from yesterday (and the day before) as if you’ve never read it before. With different and varying character voices.
  • Sing the same song over and over (and over).

Please note –  that song will be stuck in your head for days.

  • On occasion, go for a walk or drive, for no reason other than to induce sleep.

You must:

  • NEVER run out of batteries of The Boss’ toy that sings sleep inducing lullabies.
  • NEVER lose The Boss’ favourite toy and/or ‘comforter’.
  • Be able to always locate said toy and/or ‘comforter’ at ‘Nap’ and ‘Bed’ Time.

Please note: if The Boss ever ‘fights’ sleep – please ignore these demands and continue as above. If required – ‘Nap’ and ‘Bed’ Time will often lead to a general ‘happiness’ achievement across a 24 hr period – for both The Parent and The Boss. (see ‘Breaks’ in Benefits and Pay below.)

  • Must wash, dress and style The Boss, and be prepared to accept that they will have more outfits than you, and ultimately – look (a lot) cooler than yourself.
  • You must be willing to get excited about seemingly mundane things like cardboard boxes – especially when they reject a new toy that came within said ‘cardboard box’.
  • You must be willing and able to organise, pack and carry around a hundred and one items with you every day to cover anything and everything The Boss may require.

 

Notes for the successful candidate:

– You must be able to ‘function’ within the role at all times – despite having to complete various other tasks in life and being on call 24/7 (see ‘Hours’ above.)

– You will need to cope with changes in acceptable conversation topics. You will likely no longer talk about anything other than The Boss. You must also be willing to discuss anything and everything at any given moment – nothing is out of bounds.

For example: topics such as ‘poo colour’, ‘poo consistency’ and ‘poo amount’ are acceptable across the dinner table discussions.

– You will more than likely require an upgrade to an almost indefinite storage capacity for your photographic device to cope with the high amounts of photos taken of The Boss.

Please note you are likely to often share a lot of The Boss photos with the world – perhaps via social media. Other people may love this and others will get bored, but please continue to share at whatever level you feel is appropriate in The Parent role.

– You may need to adjust your own sleeping patterns – sleep when The Boss sleeps if required.

– You will have a budget – however you do need to be prepared to make considerable purchases to undertake the role.

Please note – just when you think you have bought everything you need, The Boss may undertake a ‘growth spurt’ and require a completely new wardrobe, overnight.

Please also note a lot of what you purchase may not actually be necessary, liked or required. See note on ‘cardboard box’ above.

 

Please also note no formal training will be included with the role and it does NOT include a manual.

 

Benefits and Pay:

  • Breaks: You are entitled to daily breaks however you will need to be flexible on this. Your breaks usually need to fit around the (sometimes non-existent) ’Nap’ and ‘Bed’ Time (see notes above).

Please note you will have to be prepared to drink cold cups of tea if necessary.

  • Holidays: you are entitled some holidays. Requests for such will need to be considered on a case by case basis – however, you will still be required to be on call (see ‘Hours’ above).
  • Promotions: When you are ready you may report to more than one of ‘The Boss’.
  • Pay: You won’t be on any numerical remuneration. However, you will get paid in unlimited unconditional love, smiles and giggles.

 

This job description is not exhaustive, but it is exhausting. We understand that this is a highly challenging role that will require a patient and loving candidate to fulfil. However, it promises – above all – to be extremely rewarding and heart meltingly brilliant.

In fact – it guarantees to be the best job you will have ever done and will ever do.

Categories: Business, General Craft

Top 5… Valentine’s Crafts 2017!

So it is nearly February 2017… seriously – where do the days and weeks and months go? One minute I was writing a blog post about welcoming our little one into the world and now he is just over 3 months old and nearly doubled in birth weight! 

I always seem to start blog posts about where time is going – but it really does fly by when you are having fun! Valentine’s this year will mark one whole year since we welcomed our four legged friend, Patch into our ever expanding and busy household – and nearly a year to the day we discovered we were expecting our little bubba! Crazy. As you can imagine, I’ve not been really thinking about craft recently… I’ve not exactly had time! However, I have been back designing (when I can!) and I have a few projects on the longer term horizon – but, mainly I’ve just playing with our new little buddy and making sure to keep him happy (and alive!) for the day!! 

I know it can be commercial, but I think there is something lovely about Valentine’s Day – The Husband always says he can say I Love You any day of the year (awww) but – I think it is a nice excuse to just show someone you care. And of course – to get crafty and make something! That will mean far more than any shop bought gift… (Well, unless it includes diamonds…!?!) Anyway, here are my top 5 Valentine’s Day crafts to get you inspired to make something for your beloved!

 

1. Valentine’s Party Poppers!

Who says that crackers have to be just for Christmas?? This clever idea for Valentine’s photo party poppers would be fun to make and to give as a cute gift! 🙂 

 

2. No Sew Cushion!

A very simple but effective idea, that will brighten your home and say I Love You all year round! 

 

3. Heart Pretzels!

These are MEGA cute, and look really simple to make! Mmmmm tasty! And what’s not to love about chocolate pretzels?!

 

4. Heart bunting!

Who doesn’t love a bit of bunting?? A lovely tutorial here for some rustic heart decor!

 

5. Strawberry Roses!

Love roses? Love strawberries? Why not have both with this tutorial for an elegant fruity crafty idea!

 

Enjoy! x

Categories: Top 5, Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff

The Crafty Lass does… Wedding commission!

Going back to the beginning of 2016, The Crafty Lass was asked to make something special for a couple’s beautiful wedding – I was honoured to have been allowed to make something for their big day! After discussions on colours, themes, styles – we decided on making some paper peonies in pinks and creams – and some bunting for various areas of the big occasion to attach to some lovely vintage wicker baskets.

I had quite a few months to get everything made and ready, but I was keen to get started! To make sure everything looked as realistic as possible – I mean, in nature – flower petals are not all exactly the same colour – I set about hand painting special florist’s crepe paper with come watered down paints and inks to allow a soft blended effect in both pinks and white-creams. It gave the crepe paper a lovely, deeper wrinkled surface that I think enhanced the lovely texture of this material. Due to the folds and crevices within the crepe – it allows you to really mould and sculpt – so that at first glance, they can resemble real petals. Well, that was intention, anyway!

Once painted, dried, and the petals all cut out, moulded – they were ready for bringing all together into the flowers. I opted to use florists wire, florists crepe and a hot glue gun for the delicate operation! It was a case of gently building them up into multiple layers, before adding on some ‘leaves’ and et voila! Paper peonies… 🙂

Next up – the bunting. ‘Favours’ (for the guests to collect from the designated area), ‘Cards’ (for guests to leave their lovely greetings to the happy couple) and ‘Blankets’ (as it can be cold in Britain, even in Summer!!) in a navy blue and cream theme. With the bunting attached on to the wicker baskets with the flowers – there was a lovely vintage, soft feel to everything. I shouldn’t blow my own trumpet, but I think they turned out great! 🙂

I really enjoyed making these and I wish the happy couple all the happiness in the world! 🙂

If you’d like something for your special day, please do get in touch!

Categories: General Craft, The Crafty Lass does..., Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings

The Crafty Lass does… Commissions!

Looking for a way to personalise your wedding with some unique handcrafted decor and favours? Looking for a special personalised gift? A new baby celebration? Throwing a party with a difference?

If you have an idea, want something creative, have an event you would like to make extra special – see if The Crafty Lass can be of help. 🙂

  • Wedding Commissions
  • Wedding Favours
  • Personalised Handmade Paper Bunting
  • Handcrafted Paper Flowers
  • Birthday Commissions
  • Events and Party Decor

Please contact for further information and pricing.

Categories: Birthday, Business, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does..., Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings

The Emma Bridgewater Factory

IMAG0483Yesterday was a bit of a ‘road trip’! One of my closest and dearest friends had her birthday recently – and as she is also very creative, and we mentioned AGES ago about doing something like pottery making, or decorating – my gift to her was to visit the brilliant, and iconic Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent. We were booked in for both a factory tour to see the makers and creators in all their skillful glory… and then to go and decorate our very own pieces in their studio. Exciting!

It was a horrible drive up – the weather was typically Britishly grey, rainy, horrid visibility – but when we pulled up at the factory the clouds were on the turn – with blue skies and glorious sunshine just around the corner. A sign that our day was about to be on the up!

Despite the horrid journey, we did arrive quite a bit earlier than planned. But – this actually was a genius move – plenty more time to spend in the factory shop! Winning.

 

Although marked as ‘Seconds’ you sometimes struggled to work out exactly why it was just that – and ‘Seconds’ – the odd mark here and there that perhaps was ‘out of spec’ but nothing that didn’t stop each piece certainly being a delightful piece of exquisitely handmade piece of pottery here at the very factory in Stoke. Bargains galore – I really did have to reign in my desire and the true definition between ‘want’ and ‘need’… Beautiful mugs normally £19.95 – instead… £11.90 for two anyone?? A true sign of the high quality standards that the factory obviously strives towards.

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They are very proud of the fact they are in Stoke – and, that everything is made on site – and so they should be! They are one of the largest employers in the area – around 185 people – and it is just so exciting to see such an industry still in good old Great Britain.

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Although I knew they were made in Stoke, and yes perhaps hand decorated – I had no idea, that Every. Single. Piece. is TOTALLY handmade. Hand moulded, hand finished, hand checked, hand well – everything – from beginning to end – each mug, bowl, tureen is completely hand created. And, due to that – on the finishing at least, one will never be exactly the same as the next. Each very talented painter – will of course, have to keep to a certain spec, but it will always be their own. Our delightful factory tour guide ‘Julie’ explained that some people that collect Emma Bridgewater pottery – will ONLY collect certain artists pieces. What a compliment! You may be thinking – but how do they know!? Well, underneath each item, the artists leave their little ‘mark’ – usually their initials, and in the romantic eyes – it gives credence to the artist – which, of course it does – but, also it is a part of the quality control system – but either way it certainly shows it was hand created by a person, and not a machine!

 

IMAG0492Next we headed over the cafe for some well earned (ok, not really – but well desired) tea and scrumptious-moist-really-not-needed carrot cake. What a place! With (as expected!) everything served on in house wares – a now famous ‘polka-dot design’ adorned Aga in the middle, the walls covered with quirky posters and shelf upon shelf of mugs, plates… Just lovely! A fun, relaxed environment akin to the branding and designs of the Bridgewater pottery.IMAG0502

 

We didn’t actually have long, so we wolfed down our treats – and headed on over to the decorating studio.

 

We knew we were doing this – but it wasn’t until we were actually inside that we thought about a) what we wanted to decorate and b) what we wanted to decorate it with! Blank pieces started from as little as £6.00 and luckily there were a wide selection of stamps and paint colours – so it wasn’t long before we were inspired and raring to go!

Those girls in the factory are really so talented – they make it look ‘easy’… I had grand viIMAG0490sions of all sorts of complicated designs – but in the end settled for some lovely and very ‘The Crafty Lass’ hearts and stars in a repeat pattern around the edges of the iconic Bridgewater mug – in green and pink too, of course.

I love those mugs – we were bought the also iconic ‘Mr & Mrs’ mugs when we got married – and although they have a special meaning of course – they are such lovely mugs to drink from. Heavy, but still actually useable. Thick and solid, but still somehow delicate. It’s crazy – but my morning cuppa of Yorkshire tea, always tastes better in that mug than any other.

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Anyway – back to the decorating – we soon learnt that the paint dries very quickly, and that’s quite handy – as if you make a mistake, you can sandpaper it back off! We were fortunate that the scheduled groups after us – weren’t so large, and so with plenty of space – we managed to hang around longer than the normal allocated time. We were so absorbed in our new found love of pottery painting – we hung around in the studio for 2.5 hours…! And due to that – not only did I complete two IMAG0500mugs – one for myself, and one for The Husband but also a ‘Crafty Lass’ inspired matching plate with my now well used ‘Make. Create. Inspire.’ “catchphrase”! I have delightful and rose-tinted visions of my morning tea and toast with them to literally inspire me onwards in my The Crafty Lass days. The only deadline that curtailed us short of moving in and staying there all day and night and decorating pretty much everything – was that the cafe stopped serving lunch at 3.30pm… so we managed to put the paintbrushes down, pack-up, pay and get over there for some more delicious food. (A pesto, mozzarella and tomato toastie and a Ham, Cheese and Piccalilli bloomer – both with salad and plenty of homemade coleslaw incase you were wondering. Delicious!)

The final pieces need to be glazed, fired, cooled – and so they will be sent on to us in just a few weeks time. I cannot wait for the knock on the door the day that parcel arrives!!!

 

A final mooch around the shop to buy more items that I probably don’t need, but feel that my kitchen is greatly improved by – before back in the car, and off home. A long day – but happy, content and I actually feel like we had a therapeutic, creative and world-away from the day to day stuff – just, put simply – a truly lovely day trip out with my dear friend.

I left feeling inspired. Emma Bridgewater started the company simply because she couldn’t find the right present for her mum. Spotted a gap in the market – and et voila! They now produce 1.2 million pieces of pottery every year.
If you hadn’t already guessed by my above review – I would highly recommend a visit here to anyone. So, if you are ever Stoke way, or fancy a bit of a road trip – head on up there! Your bank balance won’t thank me for the recommendation, but your soul and kitchen certainly will.

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Categories: Birthday, Crafty Kids, General Craft, House & Home, Places to Go & Things to See

The Crafty Lass does… Nautical Cake Topper!

Inspired by my recent blog post on the birthday cake topper I made for my dad’s birthday – someone saw this and asked me to make another nautical themed version!

Their daughter Nadine is apparently mad on boats and sailing… So, this is just what she got! 🙂 All handcrafted out of paper and card – a yacht, with personalised ‘Nadine’ bunting, a little anchor, the ‘ferocious’ sea – and a little seagull keeping watch at the top too!

If you’d like a personal, handmade, different cake topper – then please get in touch! 🙂

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

The Crafty Lass does… Vintage Floral Wedding Bunting!

One of my most recent projects was to create this vintage florals inspired, romantic bunting for some friends getting married. What started out with just some ‘plain’ bunting in their pastels colour scheme, quickly escalated into little daisies, peonies, roses – all fashioned from just ‘normal paper’, and some wall paper off cuts! Massively inspired by a lovely how to guide by Debee Ruiz in The Handmade Fair guide book, it really got me thinking how I could create some of my own lovely flowers and add them to the bunting.

I had an awful lot of fun making it – time just seem to stand still (a good few hours and no lunch passed by when I got stuck in!) I seem to be fascinated creating little petals and shapes out of what almost looks like nothing! Curling the paper up, making the little centres, making them look as real as possible…Even better that it is to celebrate a beautiful wedding.

 

I am pretty sure this won’t be the last set of paper florals you see on this blog… I have grand visions of a whole wall covered in these – no specific event in mind!! – but I think it would look amazing! I’d love to decorate giant letters covered in them too… We’ll see what the future brings!

 

If you would like your own personalised floral bunting, please get in touch! 🙂

Categories: General Craft, The Crafty Lass does..., Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings

The Crafty Lass does… Personalised Wedding Bunting!

Congratulations to our dear friends Matt and Karen who got married recently. 🙂

As a wedding gift, I decided to make them some personalised bunting – in the colour scheme of their big day, and also made out of maps with special locations to them!

The maps were ‘old’ – some torn, some with covers missing – so I felt like I was upcycling them into a new, and special item for them to be cherished rather than recycled or worse – just binned.

So, in colours of Navy, Cream and Silver – I set about making some ‘M and K’ letters, silver hearts and a cream rose centerpiece – which now hangs on their mantelpiece at home!

Congrats again – I hope you had a lovely day! 🙂

 

Please click on the photos to browse through the gallery 🙂

Categories: House & Home, The Crafty Lass does..., Weddings

The Crafty Lass does… Fabric Flower Corsage Workshop Part II!

Fabric Flower Corsage WorkshopTuesday 21st July was the second lovely creative workshop at the John Lewis Partnership – Waitrose Craft Club.

Everyone decided to go for the ‘spiky’ look with the ‘dandelion’ shape… but with lots of different fabric colour choices, ribbons, buttons and trimmings everyone’s turned out all very different and of course all very lovely! One of the attendees was planning to wear to an upcoming wedding as a handmade accessory – tailoring the colours to a planned outfit! Another added it to her lovely tan leather bag as a new bag charm. 🙂

Some had lace, some had long ribbons, some ribbon ‘leaves’, some without – but I think you’ll agree – they all look fabulous!

 

Please click the photos to browse through the gallery. 🙂

Categories: General Craft, Workshops

The Crafty Lass does… Easter biscuits!

Looking to do something for Easter that is fun, cheap to make, relatively easy, and you get to eat it at the end?!

Why not make Mary Berry’s ‘Easter Biscuits‘? Here is my attempt… Mmmmmm tasty 🙂

Top tip! – always allow the icing to dry thoroughly, otherwise it won’t set properly and you’ll end up with squashed bunny rabbits and chickadees! (Speaking from experience here…)

 

 

Categories: Easter, Sweet Tooth Scrumptious Stuff!, The Crafty Lass does...

Top 5… Craft Events for 2015

There are hundreds of craft fairs and events running up and down our country, all throughout the year – with independent producers selling their individual, creative and interesting wares. From local fairs in your village hall, to internationally recognised events at huge venues – there will never be a time when you can’t find a different gift for your loved one, try a new skill – or find a new interest! Keep up to date with what’s on in your neck of the woods with ukcraftfairs.com. From looking around to source what exciting events are coming up – here, in my humble opinion – are the events not to be missed this year!

 

1. Further to my post about Kirstie Allsopp hosting the The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace (18th-20th September 2015) – there has also been a new announcement – that she will also be doing a Handmade Christmas Fair, to be held in Manchester 20th-22nd November 2015. Kirstie? Craft? Christmas? Sounds epic! Keep up to date with future information on Kirstie’s Facebook site here.

 

2. A bit closer in time – (only the week after next!) is the Renegade Craft Fair, April 11th and 12th 2015 at the Old Truman Brewery, London. What a brilliant venue (I actually did my final London textile design degree show here!) – and right bang smack in the middle of Brick Lane – make sure you browse a whole multitude of vintage clothing stores while you are in the area, and treat yourself to a good curry too! Brick Lane is renowned for good Indian restaurant, after restaurant, after restaurant…! Getting back to the very exciting fair – there will be over 100 independent crafty makers and bakers with goodies for sale, DIY workshops, installations – AND is free to attend – bonus!

 

3. Outlaw – ‘Celebrating the Handmade and Artisan’ – at The Passenger Shed, Bristol on 2nd and 3rd May 2015, also looks really, and simply – amazing. They have ‘taster workshops’, a ‘demo theatre’, ‘over 80 artisan makers’, a ‘supplier zone’ (ready for you to buy all the things you need to make your own lovely things.) This one’s got the lot! Bristol is such a vibrant, exciting city (it was the venue for my own hen do…!) with good bars, restaurants, shops, and with it being a Bank Holiday weekend – why not make a little trip away out of it?

 

4. Just up the road, in another of our wonderful cities in the UK – is the Creative Crafts Show 23rd-26th April 2015 at the The Bath & West Showground, Bath.”The show provides the perfect opportunity to gather inspiration, pick up some new materials and exchange ideas and tips to try at home. All types of crafts are catered for at the Show including paper craft, beading, ribbon craft and embroidery. There is something to suit any expert or beginner with a wonderful variety of workshops.” Sounds like it’s got it all!

 

5. Finally, going back to the Christmas theme (it is NEVER too early to start planning I reckon!) I couldn’t miss out the wonderful, and in my opinion – BEST – city of the North – Harrogate. The Country Living Christmas Fair from 3rd-6th December 2015. Tickets go on sale in May – and I think it has everything you could ever want from a Christmas fair! Craft Workshops, Food Theatre and literally hundreds of exhibitors. No excuses not to buy some nice presents this year!

 

So, get the dates in the your diary and get crafty! 🙂

Categories: Christmas, General Craft, Places to Go & Things to See, Top 5

The Crafty Lass does… Cushions!

The John Lewis remnant bin, is literally one of the most exciting places on earth. Fact.

You never know what you might find! Yesterday, I stumbled across two ex-display childrens curtains, in bright and beautiful stripes. At £10 each – absolute bargain. It would be more than that for the original fabric alone!

I have now spent my Sunday afternoon turning some of the fabric into a new cushion for our lounge. The ‘How To Make a Cushion‘ guide from IKEA – is really easy to follow, and it really didn’t take long at all to go from cutting out the fabric, to et voila, a brand-spankily-delightful-and-new cushion.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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