Tag : make-create-inspire

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… The ‘Oscar’ acceptance speech. (Sort of.)

This isn’t an Oscar acceptance speech – but it does kind of feel like it. I am sure that to win an Oscar – is the culmination of a dream for that person, and for this to be actually happening – feels like a dream into reality for me…

So, on with the ‘thanks’…

First of all I would like to thank… Patch The Crafty Dog. Yes, this might sound a strange one to start with – having all those friends and family who have been the upmost of supportive – however, without Patch we wouldn’t be living here today.

Living in an Edwardian open plan, characterful, small (maybe not small, maybe too much stuff) end terrace was fun when it was just me and The Husband – but when you add to the mix a bouncy and excitable Parsons Russell Terrier and a baby (and all the baby paraphernalia) and an ever expanding amount of craft and business related materials… it was time to move. However, I think we would have just about coped if it has just been the four of us (The Husband, myself, bubba and The Craft) but to add a soon to be (at that point – now actively is) crawling little one in combination with our adorable four legged friend – I might have gone crazy (gone?). So, we started to look at moving – and here we are, with a lovely house in the glorious Northamptonshire countryside and The Old Granary Studio to boot…

Secondly, I would like to thank Freddie, our little shiny, happy, smiley star. He is potentially the most patient baby I have ever had the pleasure of meeting (I *may* be biased) – he is as happy and contented play with ribbons in his walker and watch mummy arrange things prettily in the new studio, as he is anywhere else. Without his happiness and patience, I am not sure I would have been able to progress as quickly as I have done. He also seems to like sleeping between around 7pm and 1am (not so much after that…) however it has allowed many an evening since moving in to try and refocus, eat, more craft, reorganise, repeat.

Thirdly, and most obvious for an ‘Oscar’ speech, I would like to thank my Mum and Dad. They are always there. When I call sounding stressed and needing a rant – they listen. When I don’t call them, they know I am ok… (just busy) and they just accept that when I do talk to them I mostly update them on things like buttons, and beads, and fabric and what I am making with all of them… Even when we went away recently for a short break together – we had nice evenings in… with me sat making paper flowers whilst we relaxed away the evening…

Fourthly, my mother and father in law. They have welcomed me into their lives as a close knit (good craft pun right there) member of the family, and have also always believed in me. I remember when I first told my Mother-In-Law – that I was quitting my job, and going to take over the world of craft – just how excited, and happy, and supportive she was. “This is going to go in so many directions”, she said. I am not sure we both thought becoming a Craft Buyer for a shopping channel, becoming a TV demonstrator, moving house – and to have our own studio was part of the plan – but perhaps fate has intervened… Anyway – thank you – as always – for both being there. x

Next – my friends and family. I feel like I have spent the last few months in a crafting bubble. I can’t see that changing any time soon… but – if I don’t reply to your messages, or don’t call you, or cancel on you, or have to work when I should be out eating cake, thank you for ‘getting it’ and just being excited for me. I do care!

Lastly, and of course – as expected, I would like to thank the real Boss. The Husband. The one who truly ‘gets it’. He puts up with me taking over our house with various crafting stuff. And quite often is heard exclaiming – “what is this, and what are you making now?!” He is the one who listens when I am so busy and overwhelmed I need a hug – he is the one who I would ring and ask for anything. “Perhaps, darling, you could build me a bespoke unit out of scaffolding boards?” He is the one I want to share my highs with, my lows with. This moment with. I don’t think words can thank him enough to be honest. Crikey O’ Reilley – going for the totes emosh stuff today!

However, as I pause for thought – I am thanking everyone… without having actually ‘achieved’ anything! I mean, I say that – I am pretty sure keeping our son happy and alive (and me also happy and alive… sleep deprived, but alive) whilst simultaneously running a business and setting up a studio is a pretty good achievement. But – I need people through the door! A craft studio is nothing without its crafters – and to me, that is the most important thing.

I originally set up The Crafty Lass as I am passionate about craft, and that I wanted everyone else to be too. I want to get everyone else Making, Creating and Inspiring. Craft can act as a therapy, it can be a little piece of calming haven in our crazy, sometimes nasty modern world. There are too many horrible things on The News – I have had a fair few horrible things arise recently with friends and family – that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. (You know who you are if you’re reading this and I Love You.) And sometimes, I do think – why am I worrying about a shade of pink on a ribbon. Does it matter? No – it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of life – but providing a little craft ‘nest’ – a little slice of ‘crafting heaven’, ‘peace’ and a focus – does. I would like people to come along to workshops – to learn a new skill. To meet like minded people. To feel uplifted and energised and relaxed. Make. Create. Inspire.

So – with my heart on my sleeve, and ambitions getting achieved – what next? Well, there are PLENTY of new and exciting things in the pipeline for this Crafty Lass (would you expect anything less?) however right now – I need YOU! If you would like to come along – have a nice, sociable, crafty time – then please check our WORKSHOPS page and see if you’d like to book and come along to something! Tell your friends, your colleagues, your family, your milkman! “Did you know The Crafty Lass now has a dedicated (FAB!) crafting studio? She is proud to serve a proper brew (Yorkshire Tea, of course – what else would a ‘Lass’ serve!), she’ll more than likely serve you a good slab of cake too…. it’s also based in the beautiful countryside! (Crafting heaven…) Basically, amazing… you get the idea. Go forth, tell all. Craft! (…and book tickets!)

Categories: Business, Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does..., 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… 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 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 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… Back to school crafts 2016!

It’s been a whole year since I did a blog post with exactly the same title – and I started that with the below:

“Well, it’s that time again – where exactly has the Summer gone? To be honest, we haven’t had much of an actual ‘Summer’ have we? It’s the 27th August and I am sat here writing this with a hot cup of tea, wearing a warm and cosy woolly jumper looking out on to a grey sky!”

Well, this year – it’s 1st September, and actually it does feel a little like Autumn today with a fresh and crisp start – but we certainly have had some lovely hot sunshine recently! However, the statement of ‘where has the Summer gone?’ still stands. In fact – where has that whole year gone?! Time is absolutely flying by! I don’t think it helps that this year, I am counting down in weeks (and days!) to a very important date (my due date!) – but, it still doesn’t explain why time just disappears. Time flies when you are having fun, right?

As I felt last year, and do every year – I LOVE this month – it definitely feels like the start of a ‘new year’. January – the more traditional associations with a new year – it’s always colder, drearier, damper, the nights draw in even earlier. Christmas – the best time of year for me – has been and gone, and the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Don’t get me wrong, I still do feel full of possibilities and ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ in January, but September somehow seems to beat it. A new school year, a new start. We still have Christmas and the surprises of the festive period to come, we have the colder nights with warming stews, roaring fires and cosy nights indoors to look forward to. And from a personal perspective, as have already mentioned in this, and in several previous blogs – a new baby to look forward to for ourselves!

I have found a few more exciting craft ideas that you could make for the start of a new term – why not try your hand at one of the below ideas!

 

1. Book Covers

When I was at school, you always had to cover your books. Do you still have to do this now…? Generally just to protect them from damage being flung around in your bags, from the inevitable lunch box leaks but also, really I used to just love how pretty they used to look all covered and matching! I used to use old wallpaper for a hardy, but (probably didn’t realise then!) in fact a very stylish look! This tutorial goes one step further with a lovely fabric cover design. So clever!

 

2. Washi Tape Pencils and Notebooks

A very simple, but oh so effective way to update your stationery with Washi tape! Washi tapes are available in countless of colours and patterns so pick one you like and just get sticking! I personally LOVE the broad range of designs available from Joe and Flo on Etsy!

 

3. New Bag?

How about making your own PE kit bag! A very simple and quick sewing project that will have you your very own handmade drawstring bag in no time!

 

4. Handmade Pencil Case

A handmade neon-painted pencil case, what could be better? I love the colours and lining that ‘Dear Handmade Life‘ have used here – but you could pick and choose whatever suits you! Why not even coordinate with your book covers, washi tape pencils and new PE bag as above! A really great step-by-step tutorial including photos for each stage which hand holds you through the project. I wish I needed a new one (I already have 3 on the go at the minute!!) otherwise this would be straight to the top of my ever growing makes list!

 

5. Lunchbox Printables

Not really a ‘craft’, but thought these were really sweet! What a lovely way to make your little kiddiwink (or other half, or whoever you want!) smile by popping these into their lunchbox. They are free to print –  or, if you don’t want to use these specific ones, why not make your own?

They will either think you are cute, or crazy – but they are certainly a fun way to make someone’s day!

 

Enjoy!

Make. Create. Inspire.

 

Categories: Crafty Kids, General Craft, Top 5

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

Top 5… Back to school crafts!

Well, it’s that time again – where exactly has the Summer gone? To be honest, we haven’t had much of an actual ‘Summer’ have we? It’s the 27th August and I am sat here writing this with a hot cup of tea, wearing a warm and cosy woolly jumper looking out on to a grey sky!

So, it’s back to school time! I always loved the start of a new term – sad, I know – but I loved getting my new uniform all ready, packing up my pencil case with lots of lovely new stationery. (Yes, I am definitely a life-long stationery addict!)

I loved the thought of all the new possibilities and opportunities with the term ahead. And you’d get to see all your friends everyday (albeit in Maths or Science!) Even now I sort of feel like September is the start of a new ‘term’. I do like sunshine, but September means it’s nearly Autumn! I look forward to the colourful leaves, the colder nights bringing with it hearty stews, cosy blankets, hat scarf and boots fashion combos – and then even better – Winter and my favourite time of year – Christmas!

Well, in the meantime while I am apparently wishing what is left of our Summer away – love or loathe school – why not start the new year with some great creative ideas with my Top 5… Back to school crafts!

 

1. Ombre Notebooks.

Look cooler than cool with your own ‘Ombre Notebooks‘. Simply add spray paint…

 

2. Milk Bottle Lunchboxes!

This DIY is MEGA cool – reuse and recycling at it’s absolute best. This tutorial talks you through turning a 4 pinter milk jug into a lunchbox! Sounds crazy, but it does actually work and looks pretty nifty too.

 

3. Felt pencil ‘roll’.

A simple, but very effective – and useful! – creative project. Making a little ‘pencil roll out of felt and ribbon – a lovely and easy craft to make! This link is in Greek – but hopefully ‘Google Translate’ will work it’s magic for you. If not – there are some photos that make it a very helpful and thorough tutorial.

 

4. Flower topped pencils!

Simply cut out different shaped flowers, punch out a hole, and add on to pencils! This little tutorial shows just how effective this can look!

 

5. Ribbon page markers!

Never lose your place in a textbook again with these clever ribbon markers. All you need are paper clips and ribbon…!

 

Make, create, inspire!

 

 

Categories: General Craft, Stationery, Top 5

Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2015

I have thrown my hat into the ring and entered the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2015, in the Start-Up and Creative Idea categories… wish me luck! 🙂

Make. Create. Inspire. The Crafty Lass is a startup business that aims to show that making lovely things isn’t difficult! I’ve quit the 9-5 and plan to deliver craft workshops in my local community for kids, teenagers, adults, to show that you can make lovely things for yourself, as gifts, for events – cleverly, inexpensively and beautifully. It’s my aim to make people smile, enjoy a creative experience and be proud of what they achieve. I’d like to enter the Start-Up & Creative Idea Awards.

Categories: Business

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