Tag : inspire

‘Twas the night before Craftmas

It’s fair to say, as I have stated many a time on this blog, I love Christmas. Not just a little liking. LOVE.
It’s not just about Christmas Day – it’s the build up and magic. It’s the time spent with family, cosy nights indoors, the parties, the decorations, the FOOOOD, and of course the CRAFT – beautiful things we can make and create for loved ones, our friends, our family – and ourselves!
 
One of my favourite days as a child about Christmas, was (and still is actually!) Christmas Eve! It’s finally here – no more waiting, you’re suddenly allowed to eat chocolate whenever you want, you know tomorrow is going to be amazing – fun, food, a special outfit to wear, PRESENTS! I would always rush to be in bed early and a must to be asleep pre midnight! I didn’t want to be a naughty girl and mean Santa wouldn’t visit me… what a goody two shoes… Anyway, as part of the Christmas Eve rituals, I would always, ALWAYS read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore (Otherwise known as A Visit From St. Nicholas). I have a special book, given to me as a baby, that has little moving paper parts, flaps you can lift, beautiful illustrations and of course the poem. I would take that book wherever I was on Christmas Eve – even getting my boyfriend, then fiancé, then husband to read it to me each year! Last Christmas Eve was a particularly special one, as I finally got to see The Husband reading that very book to our beautiful newborn son for the first time. Not going to lie, definitely cried!
 
I know it’s only November and for all those bah humbug scrooges out there – yes, it isn’t time to celebrate (yet!) but equally us crafters start early! If we are going to be making things – we need to get ahead, plan and then make! This weekend is the first of the new workshops in our The Crafty Lass Old Grain Store workshop studio (#CLOGS) and it sort of feels like Christmas already to me. The studio tree is being delivered tomorrow, ready for us to decorate, we have handmade fabric tinsel, we have fabric and embroidered ‘baubles‘ (you’ll soon see – that’s a whole other blog post!) there are gold stars, Christmas songs, mince pies, lots of wreath and cracker and lantern making materials – and enough festive feelings to shake a (glittery cinnamon!) stick at! Basically, I’ve been planning Christmas since May, and now it is finally here, I am going to festively relish every moment!
 
Inspired by the seasonal excitement and my long standing tradition of reading the poem, I decided to rewrite my favourite classic at 3am last night (teething sleeping on me baby, why ever not – let’s just write a poem?!)
 
Anyway, herewith follow such poem, and if you’d like to see the original, you can see that one right here!
 
Enjoy!
 

‘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.

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

The Handmade Fair 2018

I hinted the other day on all the usual social media channels – about some VERY super-duper amazingly exciting crafty news… well I am absolutely beyond delighted to be able to announce that…

The Crafty Lass is going to be teaching craft workshops at The Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair next year! 11th-13th May 2018, Ragley Hall, Warwickshire.
Get it booked in the diary NOW!

Full details and further information to follow in the coming weeks and months – but (as you may be able to gather) we are pretty excited!

https://www.thehandmadefair.com/

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

The Crafty Lass does… Northamptonshire Day!

Although having been a resident of Northamptonshire for several years now – I was sadly, actually unaware until last month that there was such a thing as both a special ‘Northamptonshire Flag’ – and also a special county ‘Northamptonshire Day‘ on 25th October… Did you know? BBC Radio Northampton have also been holding a wonderful event over the last few years, on a weekend as near to 25th as possible, since 2014 when the flag and county day became established. The event highlights and celebrates all things fantastic about our wonderful county – the heritage, the producers, the things to do and see, the crafters…

When the opportunity arose to be a part of this special day for 2017 – this time to be held at Holdenby House on Sunday 22nd October – I jumped at the chance! And boy, was that a good decision! The day was simply brilliant – and made me proud to be part of such a vibrant community. There were foodie delights, beautifully made crafts and decorations, beers and ales, simply stunning falconry displays, archery, balloon modelling, face painting – even ferret cuddles and racing!! We were fortunate with the weather being on our side – an unexpectedly cold but crisp day of blue skies, sunshine – and some crazy winds thanks to Storm Brian, but none the less the people poured in for a day of fun, heritage, history and merriment! With approximately 2,000 people coming in through the door – I was lucky enough to meet some amazingly interesting people, make new friends and understand a small slice of just what our county has to offer!

The Crafty Lass stand was demonstrating making fabric tinsel and wreaths – ahead of the upcoming Christmas craft workshops – and also briefly appeared both live on BBC Radio Northampton with Carson Wishart and for a short stint in the ‘Talk Tent’ discussing just how important craft is – and how it can be a therapeutic opportunity to relax out of our busy working lives.

A particular shout out and thank you to the wonderful Elke Pollard who I met today and loved my craft demonstrations of fabric tinsel so much she bought the demo make to wear as a scarf! What a trendsetter!

Thank you to everyone who came along, watched the demonstrations, bought from The Crafty Lass (our greeting cards and some beautiful fabric fat quarters were for sale!) and were excited about coming along to the craft workshops! Also to all the other lovely producers and traders who I met today. Finally, a MASSIVE thank you to BBC Radio Northampton and Holdenby House – what a fantastic event you put on! See you next year!

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

The Crafty Lass does… ‘Paper’ 1st Anniversary Commission

Having studied Art & Design – specialising in textiles for A-Level, BTEC Foundation in Art & Design – specialising in Textiles and then going on to specialise in Printed Textile Design at University – you’d think my go to medium of choice, would always be fabric. Of course, I would never turn my back on the beautiful warps and weft of material but it is sometimes nice to try something new. 

I have made many flowers out of fabric before – making HUNDREDS of hand cut petals for our wedding. Sewing these into large ruffled flowers that adorned the tables, the chairs, the corsages – and have since held several flower corsage craft workshops teaching people how to make these. 

It was only fairly recently that I started to explore making flowers out of a new material – paper.

Paper, with all its varying weights, styles and colours provides incredible flexibility to create texture where perhaps fabric cannot to the same degree. Paper, when you fold it, it often stays where you put it – you can roll it up, cut it up – without fraying, it can be stretched to create shape (in crepe paper certainly) it can be crumpled up to create folds and definitions. It can be delicate (tissue) and strong (card). It provides a whole wealth of inspiration and ideas. Of course there are delicate silks and structured chords and denims to explore with fabric, but paper somehow feels more tactile, more instantaneous texture. I have always been more focused on the graphic design ON the fabric – colour, the pattern, the print of the fabric, not necessarily the texture.

Colours – I’ve always been inspired by nature and the amazing palletes it brings. What could be more invigorating than looking at the colours of a glorious sandy beach against cool blues of the sea? Or, the remarkable russets, greens, golds and oranges of an Autumnal tree? Or the pastels, brights of a floral summer garden?

Using real flowers as the most obvious starting point, when making paper flowers – I like to try and recreate the styles and shapes and as close to nature as possible… but equally it is quite nice to give a nod to – that the recreation IS paper. For example, peonies – I’ve been known to hand paint crepe paper to specific shades of pink to replicate the imperfect colouring in nature of real peony petals. I have been told that people didn’t realise that it was paper, they looked THAT real! (Mission accomplished!) However, with daisies – I tend to cut the paper into little straight strips. Thus giving square edged petals – they look like daisies, but just not quite. 

Flowers can of course, be built into extraordinary displays and bouquets – and what a choice! From tiny little delicate ‘baby’s breath’ to huge ruffly roses and sunny sunflowers. Often interspersed with foliage and leaves building up layer upon layer of colours and textures.

As beautiful and striking as real flowers can be – they do not – very sadly – last.

However, fabric and paper – very happily – does.

I have been honoured to be asked to make various paper flower commissions – primarily for people’s weddings – and most recently, I had a very romantic request – for a first ‘paper’ anniversary gift, to replicate his wife’s wedding bouquet, so that she could keep it! (He’s a keeper!)

Using a wedding photograph as inspiration and lots of secret messages between myself and the groom to make sure it was just right, after weeks of paper folding and making – he gave her his thoughtful gift within the last week. I’m really glad to say she loved it. (Mega brownie points for hubby, right?) Yay! 

Looking forward to 2018, I plan to launch paper flower craft workshops for people to come and learn how to make them… in the meantime, if you – or someone you know would like a paper flower commission – please do get in touch!

Enjoy!

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

The Crafty Lass does… Pillowcase Cushion Cover!

When it comes to fabrics – I am certainly a bit of a magpie! Particularly if vintage – so they have a bit of history behind them. Or an unusual print or pattern. Or colour, or weave… Who am I kidding – any fabrics that might have a use! I often buy them if I like them, to keep ‘just in case’… (Otherwise known as a classic craft hoarder – much to The Husband’s dismay!)

This time, with a specific project in mind – I was on the look out for some ‘Rose’ fabric – to craft up a present for one of our lovely friend’s little girl’s 1st birthday present. I had kept a sneaky eye out on eBay for anything coming up, and hunted in my normal ‘go-to’ fabric haunts – and I was tempted to go for something such as the Cath Kidston Antique Rose design until, I suddenly, unexpectedly stumbled upon some beautiful vintage roses pillow cases in Brackley Antiques Cellar. Bingo!

I had planned to make a cushion – which may sound a strange first birthday gift – however the bright floral colours, and an idea for potential ribbon details to play with, I am hoping it will be an item loved for years to come in her nursery/future bedroom!

I was already intending to make a simple ‘fold over’ style cushion cover (where the back overlaps) – and my first thought with my new found treasure – was to simply just cut away all the seams of the pillowcase, and then use the fabric as per normal. However, when I started to look at and measure the cases, I realised size wise – it was near as perfect for the cushion inner I had in mind. Wouldn’t it be silly to rip out perfectly already achieved craftmanship, just to redo them all over again?? So, with that in mind – after washing and ironing – I decided to embrace the pillow case as part of the design! Here is how I achieved the final look…

 

  1. Semi ignoring the above, I cut away the end seam to allow me to attach some ribbons for tieing up the case/cushion at the end! (If you see the photos this will make sense!)
  2. Turned the pillowcase inside out.
  3. Pinned said ribbons inside along this newly cut edge, and then re-machine sewed – and the ribbons into place.
  4. Turned the pillowcase back the right way out.
  5. Inserted the cushion inner to check measurements.
  6.  Lined up the ribbons on other edge of pillow case – directly opposite the previously sewed ones and pinned into place.
  7. Removed cushion inner.
  8. Added a simple running stitch along the edge, to sew ribbons on.
  9. Re-added cushion inner.
  10. Folded pillow case back over and tied ribbons together to hold cushion cover together!

Et Voila!

Have you ever upcycled a pillow case into a cushion cover? I would love to see!

Enjoy x

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

The Crafty Lass does… Hope the Whale TOFT crochet workshop – at The Natural History Museum!

So that’s it. I need to join the C.A. also known as Crochet Anonymous as I am officially addicted. Does it exist??

The little one naps? – Crochet. Contentedly jumping in his jumperoo for half an hour? – Surely I can fit in a few rounds of the latest project… Chores are being ignored, sleep is too. The Husband is also not really being spoken to much and usually often with “wait a minute” or “ssh, I’m counting”!

My TOFT #edsanimals collection is slowly expanding… starting out with the lovely Bridget the Elephant last year – and across the last month I have now completed Gregor the T Rex, our Patch the Crafty Dog (adapted from Maximillian the Weimaraner), Boris the Red Squirrel, (and now Blue the Whale Calf) – and with Hank the Dorset Down Sheep, Blake the Orangutan, Douglas the Highland Cow, as many dinosaurs as I can find – and of course ‘Hope the Whale’ in the pipeline…

The thing is, the reason it’s addictive – is it is almost meditative. You focus, you relax and as a bonus – the output once you know the basic stitches is FAST!

When the opportunity to go and crochet TOFT‘s #hopethewhale at the Natural History Museum came along – I jumped at the chance. My only questions of ‘where do I book’ and ‘how do I pay’?
The Natural History Museum, that along with the V&A, and The Science Museum (all of which I frequented yesterday!) in that wonderful area of South Kensington, London – has always been magical to me. Beautiful architecture, every corridor filled with wonder and excitement. As a child particularly at the Natural History Museum – it felt special to be there. Those big archways and the huge, unbelievable dinosaur rising above you…

Well, as I discovered yesterday – the amazement doesn’t stop even when you have become an adult!

Walking into the Hintze Hall to see no longer Dippy the Diplodocus (which I have just discovered is excitedly going ‘on tour’ around the UK!), but the new majestic ‘Hope the Whale‘ – magically suspended in all her glory. Truly breathtaking.
Then, underneath this magical spectacle – were around 40 tables for over 350 other awe inspired crocheters – ready to take on the challenge of a new TOFT pattern!

A true blend of never crocheted before in my life newbies, to resident experts – it was fascinating to see the task ahead being taken on with such patience and gusto! Kerry Lord – founder of TOFT and creative director, announced an extra special surprise that not only would we be crocheting ‘Hope the Whale’ but her lovely calf too. She threw down the gauntlet for the little calf to be completed by the end of the event… I am pretty competitive and so off I went, suddenly back in my crochet meditative state – yarn over and through, yarn over and through…
What Kerry failed to initially mention was this pattern threw in a few unexpected surprises from her usual format – new stitches and techniques that would also need to be mastered! Surprisingly to me however – was that although they actually sounded complicated, they were all just versions from the same theme and easy to follow once explained – we were all quickly off crocheting for a beautiful hour and a half. With plenty of explanations from Kerry herself, and those that needed extra tuition had plenty of support with the full TOFT team on hand… I was so focused, enjoying the moment – that at the end of the workshop I introduced myself to the person I was sitting next to! Who also was undertaking her own personal mission to complete the calf…

As I expected… I didn’t quite finish it on the night – I was too excited to look around and absorb the magical resplendent beauty of ‘Hope’ in the fading evening light.
I chose to try and complete the calf – on the train, on the way home… Many thanks to Angela (my friend and crochet partner in crime) for her skill and patience with this, as of course 11pm was the perfect time to get practicing half treble and treble crochet stitches?? In the end, some sleep and a cup of tea was all it took to refocus and complete the final stitches this morning.

A truly wonderful event – Kerry and TOFT should be thanked and congratulated…! Bravo! My crafty self has certainly thanked me for going, but my bank balance hasn’t… off into London, child free, and let loose with a sense of freedom and my credit card let’s just say I bought a few ‘momentos’ to remember the event… because who doesn’t need whale shaped baking measuring cups??

I am looking forward to the next one already…

Now on to make mumma ‘Hope’ and continue to ignore those chores…

x

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

The Crafty Lass does… A celebration of the discarded babygro!

Babies grow REALLY fast. Everyone tells you – “enjoy it, they won’t be like that for long…”

I heard what people were saying when I first heard this… but I am not sure I really took on board just HOW super mind bogglingly fast time actually disappears… and that some days I think our little one grows before our very eyes. One minute he is wearing that cute little star print vest I love, the next – well, not. I once even thought I had shrunk everything in a wash load – but no no, he really had grown that quickly! Almost overnight…

When he was born, and I had taken approximately 200 first outfits to the hospital in various sizes from very small to very very large ‘just in case’ (we looked pretty much like we were moving house when arriving at the maternity ward, or perhaps maybe a long holiday with 3 cases!!) … he STILL didn’t fit in to any of them. Given the size of my hippopotamus sized bump I was certainly surprised…! Anyway, one of the first jobs for new Daddy was to go out and buy more clothes – turns out we needed very very very small!

Staring at this little bundle of cuteness, who we were suddenly in charge of – and now enclosed in a tiny little babygro on Day 1 – I couldn’t imagine him fitting in to one of the actual ‘going home outfits’ that I’d meticulously and totally unnecessarily planned – let alone all the other what seemed almost ridiculously large items for future months we had at home.

Now, at only (only!) 9 months – he is out of all those wonderful first items – and marching into 9-12 months plus and onwards. So, what to do with all those leftover clothes??

 

  1. Shove them in the loft (just in case they are needed for later…??)
  2. Or, give on as hand me downs? – especially as most of them had been worn for what felt like all of just 5 minutes and in great condition!
  3. Give some to charity?
  4. Or – how about doing all the above but also craftily repurposing some of them?

 

Some of those clothes have memories engrained in them. Little laughter and magical moments woven into the fibre of their cloth. Forever to be captured on camera and shared into the Instagram #babyspam. The sleep suit on his first car journey home, on his first Christmas day, when he first smiled, and rolled over. The first time in a jumperoo, and at a baby sensory class. The special outfit at his first wedding – and the first time he met his grandparents. The list goes on… all those milestones that suddenly happen, you grab your camera and BAM – that’s what he was wearing when ‘that’ happened…

I can’t look at some of those beautiful little items without smiling, crying, remembering and rejoicing! If they are going to be made into something they need to be CUT UP… So they need to made into something that will be used, loved, cherished.

On this note, we are now starting to plan a 1st birthday party, which I cannot quite believe – but what would a party be without decorations? And in particular, BUNTING.

And so… I have spent this evening, going through the no longer used, but still very much loved, clothes – the cute little fabrics – selecting, remembering, and cutting triangles. The triangles won’t match, there will be colours, stripes, prints and patterns galore. It will be fun! And memorable. Personalised – a year in the life of our little man. I’m not going to lie, a few tears have been shed tonight – happy tears – but I repeat – how can he be growing so fast??! 

This craft might take some time, there are plenty of triangles to be cut and sewn, and they won’t be perfect, this bunting will have poppers and seams galore… but what a project!! So enjoyable to plan and make… and so exciting to see the outcome.

I look forward to it being hung, resplendent at his first birthday party!

And if this clever (even if I do say myself) crafty idea – could get any better… my plan is to now do this as time goes on. I will add to it, every year, whenever a new celebration that of course requires bunting is needed – with the next batch of discarded wears so that by the time he is 18 it could no doubt be hung to the moon and back!

I will of course, as always, take photos when it is done and share on the socialstratosphere – here, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Right, I’m off to see what else he can sadly no longer wear, do some more remembering, and to cut triangles…

There are more memories to be made tomorrow, who knows what the day will bring. I hope he is wearing a nice printed outfit!! 

Enjoy. x

Categories: Birthday, Business, Crafty Kids, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does..., Workshops

The Crafty Lass… aims to live The Dream…

It’s June. JUNE.

I’m sure I start every blog post on a comment about time, or very British – the weather, but I seriously do not understand where time goes…

Our little one is approaching 8 months. For those good at maths, that’s two thirds of a whole year, (what??!!) which to me is literally, crazy… time flies when you’re having fun!

Well, my blog posts have certainly been bare, and my Facebook feeds empty – but I have literally been having ‘too much fun’… Well, I have been busy anyway… We have moved house. Which I can tell you, is no mean feat with the compious amounts of furniture and rubbish stuff we own to move, a dog, a baby… (note: we could NOT have done the house move without our wonderful parents physical help on the day… I know they will read this, and very important for the acknowledgement! We made such a great team!!)

 

The Crafty Lass – despite being on a slight back burner due to concentrating on the move, and mainly on our forever growing and developing little man and being on maternity leave – is never far from my thoughts. In fact, at the minute, it feels like it is all I think about. I hinted in my last post, 6 weeks ago, that there are ‘big plans’, and I sort of wondered whether to even say anything back then, let alone now… if you admit out loud your deepest thoughts, your dreams, and plans that are coming to fruition – you are vulnerable, but – you are honest. This house move, was for our family. But, it was also majorly for me, The Crafty Lass. 

 

Now, don’t get me wrong – our new home, is a very long term, family home in the beautiful British countryside – but it has the added benefit of a (majorly-exciting-all-consuming-any-spare-thoughts) OUTBUILDING. Which, is currently in the process of being converted to be able to run said workshops from it… The Crafty Lass, used to be mobile – and still will be – however, it will have a new stable base, a lynch pin, a HOME.

 

Things will take time, things will need to be planned, bought, delivered, practiced – but The Crafty Lass will be expanding its workshops offerings. There is the new house to make a home too, and of course (!) there are various ‘The Crafty Lass’ projects to complete there too. There are blinds to be made, walls to be painted and murals to be designed. There is only one of ‘me’ (thank goodness I am sure ‘The Husband’ thinks…) and my brain is on design and Pinterest overdrive with ideas and ‘vision’ for spaces and the future.

 

I will, of course, keep you informed of anything majorly exciting in regards to workshops… but I hope you will join me on this new journey and adventure of turning our outbuilding into the new The Crafty Lass HQ. And of course, once this seriously starts to get real… I will be singing from the rooftops that I am holding workshops from here, and then I will need your help! Like, Share… Attend?

 

With the most recent happenings in our broken world, nothing speaks stronger to me than – do it. If you want something to happen, just do it – if you can. But, life is far, far too short to hold back. The last eight months with little man, and the changes that have occurred in that short time… I wonder where we, and the world will be in another 8 months time. I am a big believer in fate, and the minute I walked into this house, I just knew. I had to stop myself from crying in front of the estate agent (stiff upper lip and all that…) apart from imagining where our Christmas tree would go (sure fire we need to get this house moment) I could see fabric, passion, sewing, happiness, creativity, the future…

 

So, without being a preacher – if you want something don’t let anyone, or yourself (!) hold you back. Go out, do it, live the dream. I’m not quite there yet, but the day I have people here for a workshop, and they leave creative, inspired and happy… I’ve won. I’ve lived the dream. And, now, the next stage is to MAKE IT HAPPEN. Make, Create, Inspire.

 

What is your dream? Are you actively pursuing it? How does it effect your life? I’d love to hear. xx

 

Enjoy!

Categories: Business, General Craft, House & Home, Workshops

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

The Crafty Lass does… Christmas wreath!

I could have a wreath on my door all year round and with so many ideas and crafty ways to make your own whatever the reason or season, why not! However, certainly when it is Christmas, for me it is a must – and something I look forward to making every year. It provides a festive welcome at the front door, and if anything it certainly screams to the outside world – we are good to go for Christmas in this house!

“The modern Christmas custom of displaying a wreath on the front door of one’s house, is borrowed from ancient Rome’s New Year’s celebrations. Romans wished each other “good health” by exchanging branches of evergreens. They called these gifts strenae after Strenia, the goddess of health. It became the custom to bend these branches into a ring and display them on doorways.”

wp-1480875406464.jpgWhatever your style, whether natural and rustic, or full of glittery baubles, making a Christmas wreath is a lovely way to release your creativity and spend a few peaceful crafty hours making something special – and, I managed to do just that this morning. The little one had a well timed nap and instead of getting on with the chores that needed doing, I ignored the washing up and piles of laundry and decided to get the festive season crafting underway!

With ‘Jamie’s Cracking Christmas‘ for company and using a plain wire wreath as the base, I decided to go for traditional fir – with a modern twist! I added in small sections of real evergreen fir tree – simply attached with some thin wire and hessian twine to secure into place. I’ve kept the ‘direction’ of the fir going in the same way, to provide a flow of the evergreen and appear like one continuous circle. Then, to ‘jazz it up’ a bit – I have added in some glittery leaves, and some hot pink baubles to represent berries – perhaps not everyone’s taste – but I think it looks quite nice to have the combination and contrast of both modern and traditional! You can usually purchase evergreen fir from your local florist, or – if you are lucky (like me on this occasion!) your local Christmas tree seller may just have some spare – and (if you bat your eyelids!) give it to you for free! 🙂 The wreath bases can be bought from retailers online, or again perhaps your local florist may stock them – then, let your imagination go wild with what you want to add on! Cinnamon sticks, pine cones, dried orange slices, or perhaps some other bigger baubles, candy canes, ribbons and bows, glitter… Of course if you are hanging outside the only thing to remember whatever it is, might not fair well in the British winter weather – so don’t expect to get it back in perfect condition!

So, with the wreath done and proudly hanging outside on our front door, I need to crack on with the next very important tradition – the Christmas tree! We bought our (very beautiful) one yesterday (from same aforementioned seller with free fir!) – and it is patiently waiting in the hallway, ready to be adorned. The Husband has been dispatched on his annual mission into the loft to retrieve the well loved boxes of decorations, and we are just awaiting more lights to be bought before we get to make it look all charming and pretty… That is on the ‘to-do’ list for tomorrow. The tree is quite a bit bigger than previous years – basically, I want it to be the biggest and best for our little one’s first Christmas – and I simply hadn’t done the maths and factored in the need for additional lights to be purchased. You can’t have ever enough fairy lights (in my humble opinion!) but pretty sure that the (very!) short ’20’ bulb string we only have – is simply just not enough!! At least ‘200’ bulbs is a bigger and better number…

I would love to see what wreaths you have been making this year, so please send me your photos over on The Crafty Lass Facebook page – it would be great to see your wonderful creations!

Enjoy!

Categories: Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, 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 does… 20% off promotion!

Promotion time! To celebrate the launch of ‘The Crafty Lass’ online Etsy greeting cards shop – there is now a lovely 20% discount off all orders between now and the 30th September!

Simply use this promotional code at the checkout…

INSPIRE0915

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

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