Tag : the-crafty-lass

Feel the fear… And, do it anyway!

What are you afraid of?

 

When I was considering becoming self-employed, honestly – the main thing stopping me – was I was scared of doing my accounts. The admin, the paperwork. The every single receipt keeping. The checking every single thing. The worry.

I am an organised person – I am actually (believe it or not!) despite the craftiness quite a ‘numbers’ person! I have worked in previous ‘lives’ as a forecaster, in buying, merchandising – accounts! But really, I am the ‘creative’ one. 

However, being self-employed – you wear EVERY hat. 

And actually – it isn’t that bad…

I have learnt that what I was ‘afraid of’ – was actually getting it all done… and now that I am here doing just that – the fear has shifted – and it is of getting anything WRONG. I am scared of the taxman.

Really? I am literally the most goody two shoes, most accurate accounts keeping person ever. To the penny! However, it is also the fear of the unknown. Based on this: recognise where your skills are and allocate accordingly! You CANNOT do it all – hence – why I have both a bookkeeper AND an accountant to double check, verify, account, check again and then submit everything for me.

I do understand, based on your own personal circumstances that sometimes, this isn’t always possible, and/or affordable. BUT – side note, whatever I pay for this, I am pretty sure (120% – DO!) I ‘save’ in a) my time, b) knowledge and accurate research, and c) understanding of the ‘rules’.

 

In our recent CLICHE workshop, I asked a question at the start of the class about fear: What is your greatest fear?

Overwhelmingly a word kept reoccurring: FAILURE. 

But what does ‘failure’ actually mean?

FAILURE

  1. lack of success.
    “an economic policy that is doomed to failure”
  2. the neglect or omission of expected or required action.
    “their failure to comply with the basic rules”

 

But – who sets the standards? 

I can take a wild guess it is… YOU.

 

I am by FAR my worst critique. I may FEEL I have failed, but I am often WRONG. (That is also hard to admit!)

So, I am over my fear of accounts – now, I have to agree with my ‘CLICHE‘ attendees – I too, am afraid of not succeeding. But, have I already got there? It depends on your mindset, outlook, perspective.

To some, I have already achieved. That, I (kind of) agree with. To some, I am nearly there! To some, maybe I will never get there (the nay-sayers – we ignore those!)

 

Well, I don’t know where this journey is taking me, and us (‘us’ – the business, ‘us’ – my family, and ‘us’ – you and my crafty ‘family’) but whatever the destination, it is indeed ‘somewhere’! How hard that climb is, or how exciting, and/or difficult it is yet to become… I am not sure – but I need to be mindful to not set ‘boundaries’. I need to set the bar HIGH and recognise that even if you don’t get ‘there’ – that putting yourself out there, and being in the process of it all is achievement in itself.

 

Also a reminder that: ask me my ‘dream’ a few years ago, THIS IS IT. I just need to remember that. And – I am sure, you need to be reminded too on your own journeys.

 

I have also learnt, that despite the fear – being self employed is HARD. There is no ‘rock up in the day job with guaranteed income’. There is no ‘boss’ telling you want to do. There is no set plan.

On the opposite side, there is no ‘boss’ telling you what you HAVE to do. Yes, there is no set plan – but you make that plan. It is YOURS to decide and do! Need a day off? No problem! I am sure your ‘boss’ can agree it…

However, if you need extra support, please do remember to TALK. You might think you are too busy to ‘chat’ – but you know that not everyone can mind read. Tell your friends, your family – tell them your life plans, your worries, your fears. They may already know, they may not – and want to get involved! – or, have a new ideas to help! A wonderful old BT advert slogan: It’s good to talk.

 

So, what are you afraid of?

Feel the fear and do it anyway…

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

Good things never came from comfort zones.

Rewind to 4 years ago. I WANTED to go self-employed – but there was no way I could.

Me? Go self employed?

Me, do my own accounts? Submit tax returns? Me, build my own website? Haha. Uhuh. OK. Not me.

 

I waited a while.

 

Fast forward to present day. Yes. OK… All that and more.

 

I never believed I could be self employed. I was scared. I didn’t know how to do everything. I didn’t know how to wear all the hats, and be everything for everyone. BUT – IT IS NOT AS SCARY AS I THOUGHT!

Being made redundant on maternity leave certainly focused the mind as to what I (and we) wanted out of life. I have mentioned before on this blog that I started to look at houses as a maternity leave activity… Each day, I would work out how to leave the house with a (then) 3 month old and a (huge) multitude of items – and go and view ‘properties’. Most of them, I sort of KNEW that they were not right from Day 1. They were just that – ‘properties’ not ‘homes’.

Why did I go and view them then? Well I WANTED to convince myself (and The Husband) that they WERE.

But, they weren’t.

UNTIL – this one came up – and it was a no brainer. If I could have signed the contract on viewing the particulars, I would have done. My dancing from foot to foot whilst the estate agent was there, didn’t really help with the ‘play it cool’ attitude I ‘should’ have had. (In reality, I cried when the estate agent when to ‘check on some paperwork’ whilst we looked around for the 3rd time.) It had a studio opportunity on site, what wasn’t to love? It was scary, but – the right decision.

 

With this in mind – last weekend, I stepped (even further) outside of my comfort zone. We held our latest workshop – but this time, not craft, but: CLICHE. Crafty Lass Inspirational Career Help and Education. And, the first thing that I mentioned (apart from the standard and ‘yawn’ health and safety, fire safety, personal injury safety, GDPR, safety safety introduction got-to-be-done – that is now the norm) – was to do a LIFE PLAN. 

Don’t think about what CAREER you would like, think about what LIFE you would like.

What career you would like is all well and good, but how does that fit in with everything else? Will that career give you personal satisfaction? Will you be able to have breakfast with your little one? Will you be able to do something for YOU – like exercise, or see your besties for a glass of vino, will you be on the road all the time, will you have to travel alot? If you like driving, and you like travel – GREAT! But, that’s the point – it needs to be what works for YOU. What you personally want. You do work to LIVE, not live to work.

Around the time I started to get fed up, and pretty angry, and not a nice person to live with to be honest in my 9-5 – The Husband made me stop and write a LIFE PLAN. Why do I want to leave my job – what are the negatives, just WHY do you want things to change? What is it about the job – is it the hours? The money? The circumstances and location? Or, is it none of those and actually, you aren’t just fed up of office politics – you are ready for the next step.

It was a real turning and focal point in my life as to how I thought, and how I approached what I wanted.

I kept thinking I needed to move from job to job, that the next big exciting opportunity would be ‘it’. But, being honest – it never would. For ME, I NEEDED to go self employed. As although the risks are obviously higher – in regards to income, in regards to working long hours, in regards to being all the different departments on an hourly/daily/weekly basis – I am my own boss. I can do it in whatever order I want. In what time scale I want. And, it is so far – exciting. Those long hours and effort are paying off!

I am super super lucky to have both a financially, and emotionally supportive husband and family – as at times it has been hard and ‘wobbly’ – but just like me, we can all see the greater plan. The ambition. The passion. The focus – and sheer determination that this WILL WORK. 

And, I think that’s it in a nutshell. BELIEVE. You need to truly believe that no matter what, it will work. Yes, you need to (MAJORLY) consider finances, legality, is there a gap in the market, branding, your dedication to the ‘brand’ at all times – but, as a note:

My ‘job’ never feels like work. EVER.

I HATE doing my accounts.  But, only as I need to dedicate 100% time and focus to it, when I could be doing something MUCH more crafty and fun like making my Christmas craft demos, or responding to an exciting journalist opportunity! OR (and that’s the work life balance ratio I am only just getting a handle on) I could be doing some water play with our little one, or actually going for a well deserved pedicure, but – when the accounts are done, I feel relaxed, super charged – I CAN DO THIS.

Recently, with a big studio turn around and clear-out, I found the original ‘Life Plan’ goals. 

And, without sounding ‘smug’ – this blog is not what this is about – this is about showing that you CAN do it too… Anyway, I had achieved 90% of them. And, without going in to particulars – what I would like to share is interestingly, as I am a forward thinker – I didn’t see it as ‘that’s done then’… the plans have grown, and changed. I read it as a new challenge, and that I should actually REDO the Life Plan again. And, visit it regularly if ANY aspect of life isn’t working. 

So – write EVERYTHING you would like from life. From the more frivolous things such as go on holiday once a year, to be able to shop in Waitrose, or maybe an Eco and Ethogical ideal – that you would like to buy sustainable clothing, or not use electricity as much. Remember, these aren’t the be all and end all things for everyone – it is what YOU want from every single aspect in life. Maybe you want to just have a 10 minute maximum commute, or to ‘work in the food, or entertainment industry’. Whatever those dreams, whatever those little acorns – oak trees will grow.

But here is the difficult part, pick FIVE. Just five. And focus… 

What I think is humbling and reassuring is – EVERY SINGLE business had to start from somewhere. Someone decided to take that plunge. And, what worked for them.

A GREAT example is ‘Jeff Bezos’ – and you ‘may’ have heard of his business: Amazon.

He started in his parents garage; selling books. He wanted to expand. He thought there was a 70% chance the business would fail. He was wrong.

Now, I don’t have the same ambitions as Mr Bezos – I don’t envisage (yet… hey! dreams change!) to being an international company and brand – but it is certainly inspiring to know that it started small, dreamt big, went HUGE (and certainly successful!)

Anyway, CLICHE – yes, holding craft workshops: I am 100% comfortable in. I KNOW how long things take to make, I KNOW what the costs are, the margins – why I am able to make money on what I do. BUT – CLICHE became, and is – a different ball game. 

I need to tell, and explain how and what I did. And most importantly – what I have LEARNT.

It was pretty ‘free-flowing’ with the writing of the course content – as it comes naturally to what I ‘do’.

I think, little details to the class made a huge difference (fingers crossed) – every attendee received a personalised motivational (and hand calligraphed (is that a word?!)) card to point them in their own direction. They all had one of the (very exciting!) new, The Crafty Lass notebooks and pencils to use in the workshop. 

We initially, at a very early stage of the class, learnt about each and every CLICHE attendee – and what THEY wanted to achieve – and actually, what their greatest fears were of NOT getting there. 

We came together as a group of self employed, want to be self employed, on maternity leave, about to quit my job (or, I have actually already quit my job) and about to be retired people – who all had the same purpose: to DREAM BIG.

It was an inspiring group of ladies. I set this class up to try and help, and inspire other people to achieve their own dreams (if I can do it, so can you!) but I left feeling that for myself. To see other people’s ideas and ambitions laid out on the table – openly, honestly, this is who I am. It was motivational in its self and hugely humbling and emotional to have people be that honest.

We went on to discuss the branding, social media, financial, legal, press, marketing, networking aspects of self employment. Along with balancing life, dealing with negativity and the all round support required to establish (and run) your own business.

The time flew by.

I genuinely believe we could have been there all day. I know how long it takes to make a ‘wreath’ or craft up ‘XZY’ exactly – but this, with all it’s discussion points…. took longer than I anticipated. That’s not to say it was a ‘badly planned’ workshop – far from it (I think!), part of the reason I set this up was so that small businesses could support, and interact with each other in a relaxed environment. It just meant after the tea and (triple chocolate shortbread) biscuits – we all needed to have a ‘working’ break. Just as you do when self employed! 

Time disappeared. Tea and biscuits were consumed. And, it worked.

Aside from all the thank you emails, Facebook messages, Instagram comments and beautiful pictures. People were actually onwards and upwards inspired…. Yay!

I have set up a ‘CLICHE’ Facebook group for the attendees – so firstly that we could all easily interact with each other, but also support and help if and when needed. In the few short days since we held the class – people have been chucking out stuff from wardrobes to make space for their dream plans, designing logos, setting up social media accounts, and have started to move out of their ‘comfort zones’. Big, thumbs, up. 

And, it’s amazing to see everything developing! Already! Please do keep me (and us) informed ladies! 😀 

The next CLICHE workshop is on Saturday 22nd September – and please do book your space should you wish to attend to avoid disappointment. As you may have gathered from the above – it is a structured (yet very relaxed) format to discuss through some ideas and learn about what you would like to achieve.

 

But, I am on with stepping out of my comfort zone again. I am dreaming, and aiming bigger. I really think the CLICHE course content could be across a whole day. With lunch. Guest speakers. Inspire more people.

Dream Big. Good things never came from comfort zones.

 

And don’t forget… Don’t Quit Your Day Dream!

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

DREAM BIG. worry less.

I am blown away. Absolutely, to the point of tears today.

The amount of messages I have been receiving from friends, old friends, people I have only met once – people who I have NEVER met – telling me I am inspiring. I find it bonkers! 

 

“It is genuinely refreshing to see someone making their dreams happen.”

 

“You’ve reassured a lot of people who are also trying to juggle everything.”

 

“I have just read your blog post and couldn’t agree more! Congratulations on all the wonderful things going on for you and for being a self employed super mum!”

 

“I read and feel exhausted and inspired by your success – keep going for all us who are still dreaming!”

 

“…how do you fit it all in, you are a real superwoman! I am in the first year of my business and you’ve got me thinking about thinking out of the box a little more!”

 

“Well done Mrs – Inspirational – TICK”

 

“I know we’ve only met once, but I just wanted to say I’m always blown away by how you’re living your dream! You are really inspiring so thanks for all your crafty lass sharing.”

 

It’s great to see someone working on their dream, juggling being a mum (and no sleep – I can still relate to this sadly! 😂), and living their life to the full. And encouraging others to do the same. What we want from life looks different for all of us but we should all attempt to live our fullest version.”

 

This is just a small selection. You can see why I got a bit teary today. I told little man that mummy wasn’t really crying – she was really happy – people were reading what she was writing, and it made them, and her happy. He didn’t quite get it and offered me his ‘racing car’ and ‘gingerbread man’ – honoured indeed.

I am just writing about, and sharing what I do in my life. Doing a few crafty things, being a wife, a mummy. And the honest answer to the most common question? I don’t know how I get it all done.

However – I would like to be realistic with you. It is not all glitter and paper roses…!

I am a confident person. I am confident of The Crafty Lass and where it is going and the vision for the future. I know the price of a workshop – and why it is that price, how to calculate margins. Confident in what I am teaching. I can walk into a room of 100 people and not be phased by talking to them. Design my own website. Design my own product. Approach editors of magazines… But:

I am a natural born worrier. I worry about lots of (often insignificant stuff) from what I look like (don’t we all?) and what people think of me, of The Crafty Lass. I worry that I will never get it all achieved. Worry about things like Google rankings. And, if what I am pitching to the crafty world… is right. What if I am wrong? Worry that I won’t live up to expectations (usually my own – too high!). I worry. But, it means – often, I CARE.

When I feel overwhelmed – and a bit ‘wobbly’ (not just in the growing older, had a baby and drink too much wine, eat too many crisps scenario) …which recently with the major different avenues the business is taking it happens more than you think (wine and wobbly!) – I talk! The Husband would say too much (!) but, saying some of what I need to get achieved in X amount of time – makes it suddenly feel achievable. I am CONSTANTLY writing lists. And re-writing lists. Crossing stuff off, and re-evaluating what next… Planning what needs to get done across the day, week, month… year.

And, when for whatever reason, I just can’t talk to The Husband, family, friends – sometimes, it is good to get an external view point. And, although a week behind, in honour of #mentalhealthawarenessweek and – with a comment yesterday:

“Isn’t it refreshing to see honesty rather than the often B******T we see on Instagram?”

I see a Life Coach.

What’s one of those? Well – it is in effect, a ‘counsellor’ – but whatever the ‘label’ – she just listens. And advises. She ‘directs’ my train of thought. She makes me feel light when I leave. She makes me feel that I am actually superwoman. Thank you Donna – you are an amazing lady – who I genuinely think needs a medal listening to some of minutiae worries! 

Anyway… it also helps that I am usually up from 5.30am onwards with little man. I do always feel a bit smug when I’ve put the washing on, dishwasher is on, dinner is cooked and I have managed to send a business email, maybe even a flower or something or other made, and am often dressed, make-up on way and my second cup of tea by 7.15 am… It means I don’t have to feel ‘guilty’ if later in the day I indulge some R&R…

By the way – despite what I feel like when leaving my life coach appointments, and what I have been told by several people in the last few days – I am NOT superwoman… One thing that DOES get me through the day when required is a ‘nana nap’. As I indicated on my previous blog post – that seemed to hit home with lots of people – I am tired. 

I do seem to (very oddly) thrive on little sleep, but recently… not so much. I am tired.

When little man naps? I often do too. Well, sometimes… (ha!) Sometimes I indulge in watching First Dates. Or, having a cup of tea and a cheeky (large, needed) slice of cake. Or, when really needed… doing more crafty things! But, recently – there have been more snuggles and snoozes than anything else.

Our little man, loves to be held when he sleeps. And I, no matter what we ‘should’ be doing as parents – allow it! He doesn’t sleep in the day for long – never has done – and there will be a day, not so far away – when he would love nothing LESS than to snuggle into mummy’s arms for a cuddle and a sleep. So, I indulge me him when he wants. And I do try and sleep too. Or, usually check emails… (with one eye on First Dates!)

Sleep or no sleep – it is the down time and re-connect part of the day.

I would also like to point out:

The Crafty Lass Instagram feed is my brand. Our brand. It is everything we are doing, everything we want it to be, and more. It doesn’t show the down days, or the hard days. Of course not! To build a brand, you need to portray a strong vision – that every single day is happy, and obviously for us: crafty. And – mostly – they are! Perhaps, sharing this blog post goes against this strong vision – but equally, I am an honest person. And people KNOW that there are things going on behind that one single snapshot of your day – you choose to share what you want people to see.

There are days where little man’s temperature is sky high and you are transferred to hospital as the doctors can’t help you any more (last week… worry ahoy! He’s fine.) There are days where you are just low, for no reason. There are days where you feel like you are losing your mind as you hear the nursery rhymes go round and round and round. There are big, sad life events. There are days where a delivery doesn’t arrive and you absolutely NEED it for a workshop – and you suddenly have to drive to Hobbycraft to buy things last minute that you shouldn’t really need to. The days when HE JUST WON’T SLEEP. BUT NEEDS TO. (Why do they do that?)

I say this because as much as the social media feeds ARE my life, there are no lies or faded edges, but I ‘choose’ what to show.

Yes, I do work hard. And long, long hours. (But, it doesn’t feel like work!) And I would agree – I do have the patience of a saint (2,500 hand cut paper petals anyone?!) But most of all, I have support from family, friends, and mentally – my ‘Life Coach’. And – your messages!

I am determined. If I want something to happen? I will make it happen. Even if it takes years. Speaking to Kirstie? I god damn made sure if she came to my tent, she would know The Crafty Lass. She would know I made those flowers. Annoying – maybe? Driven – yes.

As this vision gets bigger, the dream changes, the ideas get grander – it is exciting that you are all joining me on this journey. 

Your messages – please keep them coming. They make me worry less. They make me feel like it is all working, and worth it. I didn’t set out to inspire people, but I am delighted that I am apparently doing just that.

Thank you… and remember, DREAM BIG. worry less.

Categories: Business, General Craft

Life. Got. Busy.

So, blogging used to be a thing.

In fact – I should start that sentence again. It used to be THE thing.

This business started out as a blog, (and I quote) with the aim as…

” a design, craft and things to be inspired by website and blog – but the long term plan is to sell graphic design prints, greeting cards, and ultimately hold creative ‘Craft Workshops’ on how to make lots of lovely things! So, watch this space – exciting times ahead!”

And – to quote from my first ever blog post:

“The aim of this blog is to post inspirational thoughts, design, craft, pictures. To look at seasonal ideas, things I am thinking about, doing, dreaming of… Long term, I would love it to be more than just dreaming and minus the 9-5 day job.”

At the end of March 2018, it was 3 years ago that I made these announcements. I announced to the social media world, my friends and family that I had quit my job to start a blog called ‘The Crafty Lass’. And so here we are…

I am certainly minus the 9-5: it is great being self employed – you get to choose what 18 hours a day you work! 

With holding workshops on evening and weekends, making commissions, paperwork, accounts, PR, marketing (you get the idea) in the week… And, we have gained a sleepless 19 month old along this crafty journey too! There is certainly no concept of ‘time’. I quite often ask The Husband what day it is – when it is clearly Saturday as we sit and watch the F1 ‘quali’ and/or the footie scores come in (sporty household!) or, forget that it is ‘Monday’ tomorrow (no Sunday night blues here…)

Anyway, ironically, this ONE blog post has so far taken 3 days to get to this point!*

*Edit. I now started this over ONE MONTH ago (!)

There were ’21’ blog posts in March 2015. There were ‘0’ in March 2018.

So… TIME. What’s that?

In a huge contrast to the earlier blog posts – where I knew what I needed to achieve in the day – like write a blog post, perhaps a mooch into town, meet Mrs XYZ for a coffee, have a meander around Waitrose whilst trying to figure out how I was going to sort out this ‘craft business malarkey’. Ironically all that mooching and planning, plus a dog and the aforementioned 19 month old, means I now have NO TIME AT ALL. Well, no spare time anyway. Things have escalated slightly… There is a to do list as long as my arm – from work out how to make a realistic ranunculus paper flower, to (just!) do a ‘stock take’, update GDPR regulations on my website, work on those (several) press and event commissions, work out where my car keys are, just where is the missing yellow stacking cup for little man, what are we going to have for dinner… No meandering around Waitrose aimlessly now. 

I don’t see my friends, I rarely see The Husband – let alone a ‘proper’ social life. (The Little Crafty Man has more of a social life than me, that is for sure!) I can just about arrange to have a date every week with the online Tesco delivery man… 

This isn’t a ‘oh, woah is me, poor Paula’ post. This is just a genuine honest view that self employment – although amazing… my gosh it is busy wearing all those hats! And, that for anyone that is close to me, and actually bothering to read this – I am sorry if I have gone wayward in responding to texts, to calls – I do care!

Since those early blog posts 3 years ago, I am surely – living the dream? Well, a HUGE part of me is. My life has gone in directions I never knew possible, and the small (and big!) things I ultimately wanted to achieve – are happening. The dynamic of the business has changed. I miss blogging – but surely it is better be so busy going that you have no time to blog about what you are doing!

I am discovering that dreams change. They adapt, they get BIGGER!

In the past few months, I have wanted to blog about the exciting things we have been up to – but as you may have guessed, I have had no time to do this… so to wrap up everything in a neat summary:

We have featured in several local and national press articles: Prima Magazine, The Women’s Institute national magazine – WI Life, Mother & Baby, on the Telegraph website to name a few… National Press? Tick!

We have featured as a craft tutor at The Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire – teaching workshops to lots of lovely crafters… Big ambition achieved there. Tick!

And, as part of this – I was commissioned to make the ‘Super Theatre Main Stage’ display – 132 handmade paper flowers flowers, approximately over 2,500 petals (it took around 47 hours of flower making…) Never imagined this, but – hey, pretty exciting! 

Oh, and actually met, had a conversation with (and my flowers were complimented by) Kirstie Allsopp. HUGE unexpected – Tick! #fan #triedtoremaincalm #failed

I am working on product designs with several companies… Tick!

Last night we hosted a ‘charity’ craft night – with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Society – we were knitting Twiddlemuffs! What are they? Check out one of our previous blog posts (yes, I actually managed to post something on this!) BBC Radio Northampton were in attendance to film and record the event – and this will shortly appear on their social media and on the radio!

I am working with the WI on several exciting crafty developments… 

I have become a ‘judge’ for a local flower festival… Really fun, and great to be a part of… 

I have 3 photoshoots booked for press in the next 3 months… 

I have been approached to ‘speak’ at various local events and teach crafts to various groups…

I have set up a new ‘career’ workshop called CLICHE (Crafty Lass Inspirational Career Help & Education) to help other people who want to just quit their 9-5 and take the self employment plunge… 

BIG NEWS – if I didn’t have enough to be thinking about – I am writing TWO (why not?) books…

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick!

It is all just happening… the cogs are turning, daily developments. It is exciting, it is KNACKERING!

With these time heavy developments I am slowly learning that there does need to be a balance to all of this – I cannot function on 200% level without a stop. Especially when Little Man still rarely sleeps all night…

And so, there will be a break (hoorah!) in the Summer. August is OFF – to allow NO workshops and LOTS more mooching. But…

Knowing what I am like – I categorically CANNOT guarantee I won’t ‘work’ in that time ‘off’ – I actually already have lots of lovely things craft related planned in – as I am already thinking that would be a perfect time to make all my ‘Christmas’ demos! Yes – I cannot wait for The Crafty Lass Christmas in August!

However, it will be a nice to do: to just ‘sit’ and ‘craft’ (if little person will let me…) and make things at my own leisure… as we also have some VERY exciting news for later this Autumn, Winter and in 2019 – so, we need to get ready for that! (Watch this space!) August will be some down time, a moment to stop – reflect – sleep – have some well needed family time. Oh, and to make festive sparkly things!!!!!!

But, thank you – if you’ve got this far… for your own time, your support, your bookings. The Crafty Lass is going from strength to strength and I couldn’t have done it without you!

Right… back to my to do list! But remember – Don’t quit your day dream…

Categories: Business, Charity, Christmas, General Craft, Places to Go & Things to See, Radio

Charity Knitting Night!

On Tuesday 22nd May – as part of Dementia Awareness Week, The Crafty Lass is holding a charity knitting night where we are knitting Twiddlemuffs…
 
What are they?! They sound funny… however, they are actually very important for Dementia sufferers. These are knitted hand ‘muffs’ that have various things attached to ‘twiddle’ with – like buttons, pompoms etc. They provide comfort and stimulation. They are also very much needed and very simple to make – if you know how…!
 
This event has now sold out – BUT – we have had SO MANY kind donations, that we are looking to hold ANOTHER event in the future too!
 
Just to clarify… we asked for some “small donations” of wool to help with the event… and the generosity of some people is INCREDIBLE.
 
We have had MANY donations – thank you to ALL of you! But, in particular, I would like to mention a local lady – Sarah Jayne Adams – who donated THREE BIN LINERS FULL of wool, and many many many already made items. Some of these, are not all for Dementia sufferers – but they are of importance, brilliantly handmade and will be well utilised by our local NHS hospitals who we are donating everything to.
 
From all the donations, we currently have:
– Near to (approx!) 300 balls of wool…
– 12 Twiddlemuffs
– 2 Twiddlebags
– 3 Twiddlecushions
– 2 Twiddlebooks
– FORTY FIVE Twiddleblankets
 
AND
 
– FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY (Yes, 550!) Newborn baby hats!
 
Once our charity knitting night is over on Tuesday, we will be giving everything that is made away to local hospitals/homes and planning the next event…!
 
BBC Radio Northampton are going to be in attendance on Tuesday evening too, to chat to us crafters and work out what and why and how we are making everything! 
 
For more information on Alzheimers, Dementia, Twiddlemuffs and Dementia Awareness week, please visit:
 
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/
https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/dementia-action-week
 

Categories: Business, Charity, General Craft, Radio, Workshops

Are you getting married…?

Are you getting married? 💕
Are you looking for some ‘different’ flowers? 🌷
Well how about making them yourself and keeping them afterwards too! 💕
 
The Crafty Lass® craft workshops across the next couple of months can teach you a variety of different techniques in both fabric and paper. For further information please visit the various dates and links as below…
 
Bespoke bridal 1-1 craft workshop sessions and commissions can also be arranged, please get in touch for further information.
 
FABRIC FLOWERS
Saturday 17th February (not many spaces remaining on this one, book now to avoid disappointment!)
 
Saturday 24th March
 
Sunday 29th April
 
PAPER FLOWERS
Saturday 7th April
 
Bank Holiday Monday 7th May
 

Categories: General Craft, Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings, Workshops

Charity Craft Night – Knit a ‘Twiddlemuff’!

Twiddlemuffs.

No, we hadn’t heard of them either…

They sound funny… however, they are actually very important for Dementia sufferers. These are knitted hand ‘muffs’ that have various things attached to ‘twiddle’ with – like buttons, pompoms etc. They provide comfort and stimulation. They are also very much needed and very simple to make – if you know how…!

Can you knit? Would you be willing to come along to an evening of craft knowing you were giving away your beautiful make? Then The Crafty Lass® needs you!

In recognition of Dementia Awareness Week (Monday 21 May – Sunday 27 May 2018) – we are hosting a charity craft night! All materials, the pattern and refreshments will be provided* – we will spend a couple of hours together chatting, talking the pattern through and crafting… you will take everything away with you to complete your make (as unlikely to finish in the one evening) and then once you have made your Twiddlemuff (ideally within the week) return this to The Crafty Lass® and we will send these off to the Heart of England NHS trust for use with Dementia patients.

Tickets are charged at a nominal fee to reserve your space, but all monies received will be donated to The Alzheimers Society.

For further information and to book your space, please visit:

Charity Craft Night – Knit a ‘Twiddlemuff’!

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

‘Art’ AND ‘Numbers’ – and one very important ‘Number’ indeed…

A quiet lass, is a busy lass…

I often think, I NEED to be blogging more. But – the point of a blog (for this crafty lass anyway) is to support and share what I am up to for the business. And, if I am doing too many business related exciting things to have time to dedicate to it, surely a bit of quietness on the blogging front is ok!

Tonight: it’s Friday – another week over (although exciting workshops tomorrow!!) but I need to (and will) take a long deep breath out, and a long glass of wine in (and Fish and Chips from our local pub who have started to do takeaway (winning!)) Life – is crazy. One minute I am trying to explain to a well meaning 1 year old that putting his bath toys into the toilet isn’t the best of ideas, the next I am chatting to editors of National magazines about the benefits on mental health and well being that craft can bring to your soul…

January, so far – from a business perspective has been EPIC. Sleep, from a toddler perspective, hasn’t – but those awake in the small hours is plenty of brain time to get thinking about the next idea and challenge and it looks like the future is certainly going to bring many, many of those… My brain is buzzing!

As ‘a creative’, I got told when I was younger – by a ‘memorable’ career “advisor” (! – I would highly recommend to him now that if he is still doing this, that he should change jobs, and I hope for many other young’uns that he did just that) that as a career – “you either do ‘Art’ or ‘Numbers’. (NEVER Both.)” I will refer to ‘him’ forthwith as “Mr Never Both Man”… I ignored him. But, it did also resonate with me. What if he was right? – Could you do both successfully?

Years later – when I had left University from studying Printed Textile Design (Art) but instead of going into a studio based role (too many lugging portfolios all over the country for interviews offering just £10-11K per annum!) was considering going into fashion ‘Buying’ (more ‘Numbers’ but yet an element of ‘Art’ (and more than £10k pay!)) and I wanted some more advice about how to approach it, and I just wasn’t sure. I went to a (brilliant) Government support and advice service in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey – with an open mind. I knew I didn’t want to a) work for pittance and b) just ‘draw’. I wanted to be creative, yet understand business. I filled out one of their generic questionnaires – LOADS of questions and at the end, it would tell you what you ‘should become’… 

I answered what felt like 250,000 questions, some that repeated and double backed on themselves, I was asked to sit and wait whilst they processed the results. And, was then called in…

This new – and clearly better than said previous – Career Advisor said, “You are showing to have both a ‘Logical’, and ‘Creative’ aspect to your brain. I would advise that you go into a career that combines both – so you are able to stimulate your passion for creativity – yet challenge your analytical and structured side to not become bored.” (Or basically, to translate… Art AND Numbers). Bingo! And actually ‘Buying’ was a great match. But he also said – “Perhaps in years to come you could look into running your own creative business? That would certainly fit with the results.” At that moment, I laughed – ‘no way could I run my own business’ – but I did think maybe he WAS right and perhaps it would be something for the future. Who knew he was very right indeed.

I DID go into Buying – and yes, I worked with both ‘Art’ and ‘Numbers’ – it could actually be a successful and fulfilling combination! 

So, Mr Never Both Man – and here is me now, in my life full of creativity and ‘Art’. But certainly lots and lots of Numbers: Accountancy meetings, Solicitor meetings, Buying meetings, Forecasting meetings, Sales meetings, Projections, Planning and lots of Excel spreadsheets… essentially about ‘Art’!

At present, here are just some of the numbers that are interesting me the most, and what I am thinking about at 3am…

  • ONE, One year old: a challenge certainly, but one that makes me happy every day… (especially if he sleeps well at night!)
  • ONE, Husband: also a challenge daily, but also one that makes me happy every day (especially if he helps with the chores (which he does most of the time actually, he’s a good’un!) and provides wine. He does put up with craft projects all over the house, even though I have a craft studio 10m away…
  • ONE, MAJOR Christmas project, with (so far) lots of positive feedback and exciting ideas… 
  • TWO, Craft party bookings in the diary…
  • TWO, Speaker and craft demonstration bookings in the diary with the WI…
  • THREE ‘Guest’ Feature blog appearances for The Crafty Lass with other companies coming soon…
  • THREE, National magazine interviews lined up…. P.S. THREE???
  • NINE, more sessions of our weekly Sketchbook Creativity Class to come for this term, a first for The Crafty Lass to be running artistic workshops of this kind.
  • ELEVEN more workshops in the diary at The Crafty Lass Old Grain Store across the next few months …with more to certainly come!
  • FIFTEEN (!) Workshops at the Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall in May and the planning of such…

There are lots more – but here, finally – there is one number, that I wanted to write this blog post about. It may mean nothing to you, but it is pretty important to me, and The Crafty Lass:

  • 00003256180

What on earth does that mean? 

Well – it strictly isn’t just that number; it actually looks like this:

UK00003256180

And refers to the Intellectual Property Office. It is a UK Trademark Number.

Yes, The Crafty Lass – sorry, that should be “The Crafty Lass®” – is now a Registered Trademark across six different classes. It has taken 7 months, multiple hours of correspondence and lengthy phonecalls. 

And now, it is done. I’ve even got a certificate.

Not sure Mr Never Both Man would have predicted that, hey? I am not sure the younger me would have done either…

Categories: Business

The Crafty Lass – Reflections of a BusyBusyBusy Crafty Year!

Well, it’s Christmas weekend… Not quite sure how we suddenly got to this point of the year… it has absolutely flown by – but boy has it been busy!
 
Within the last 12 months – we have seen such a change to our lives – little man has gone from the tiny, cuddly little newborn… (sigh) to now over 1 year old, and at the point of walking (so close!) We moved house in late Spring – no mean feat with said such little person! We spent the Summer settling in, Autumn setting up the new studio in the Old Grain Store – and then launched such studio in Winter for the Christmas workshops here in Lower Boddington, Northamptonshire! The Crafty Lass Old Grain Store… #CLOGS
 
And… it went surprisingly well! We had bookings for a start (!) – and quite a few bookings too – including some ‘sell outs’ which, when ‘starting out’ – you just don’t know how it’s going to go, do you? The first person who walked through the door for the very first new workshop:
 
“Oooooh, it’s a crafter’s dream!”
 
High praise indeed… and exciting to know other people share the vision! Although I have been running workshops for over 2 years now – suddenly having a dedicated studio to teach from, it has felt like a new launch, a new business again – it’s reinvigorated me certainly – so so so many ideas for the future! Lots of avenues to explore, new crafts to be tried and things to be made. I am just ever so grateful – and thank you to everyone who attended one of the workshops this Christmas – it has made me have great hope for The Crafty Lass!
 
Someone who I have met a handful of times, and has become a lovely friend – they came along to one of our The Crafty Lass workshops and her quote was:
 
“What you’ve achieved is astonishing! Especially to do all that alongside being sleep deprived, many people would’ve given up a long time ago, but your passion and drive has really resulted in something that you should be so so proud of.”
 
That really made me stop – and really think, and actually it is those words that inspired writing this blog post. That we should stop and look at not what we HAVEN’T achieved but what we HAVE.
 
I am definitely not usually one to ever fully congratulate myself – I never stop and say ‘well done missus, you actually have done quite a lot you know,’ – I am usually too busy on to the next item on the to do list. When you are in the midst of it, adrenaline filled, busybusybusy – you don’t do you? You just get on with it. However, perhaps it is time to stop and reflect. As we come to the end of the calendar year, it is a chance to not just look to the future, with all our hopes, plans and dreams – but it is also a chance to reflect back on what has been achieved.
 
I’m a list writer: always writing and updating what needs to get done. Crossing things off – but always adding to it with a whole load of the new things that we need to crack on with. Usually very long, meandering lists with everything from the little things – “buy milk”, to slightly larger and more complex “arrange Kirstie Allsopp Fair workshop structure” (exciting for 2018!)… but I know in myself which needs to be done in which order. And it does ALL need to be done – it’s just deciding on which day to pick which battles. Especially when factoring in little man’s needs and much much sleep deprivation!
 
Whether I have managed to get things accomplished or not – I usually find myself quite often focusing more on what hasn’t yet been done – rather than all the things with a big tick next to them. Granted, the lists system helps me focus and rethink what is next to be completed, but perhaps I (we all) should take more time to say “well done, look at what you did today/this week/month/year…”
 
The Husband surprised me with the most beautiful card last night. We were swapping the traditional Christmas cards, and just when I thought we were done, out comes this additional card to his ‘Crafty Lass’. It has a little goat on the front, that has climbed a mountain, and it says ‘You Made It’. I cried. (Of course!) He has told me how proud is of how far The Crafty Lass has come, in a short space of time – and that he will be there for me – through the highs and no doubt lows that running your own business comes with. (He’s a keeper!) And, to him – my parents, family, friends – if I can make them and if I allow myself to stop and think – myself – proud – then I am happy!
 
We all have things going on, some small, some exciting adventures, some really emotional and challenging situations – but we have all achieved this year and we should all say well done. And if you can’t see it that way, and can’t say that to yourself – I am telling you! WELL DONE, for all and whatever the achievements! Happy Christmas, Happy Crafty New Year and I look forward to all that 2018 has to bring! I hope to see you soon.
 
Enjoy!
 
Make. Create. Inspire.
 
 
 

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

NEW for 2018! The Crafty Lass does… Sketchbook Creativity Class including ‘Bind Your Own Sketchbook’!

An exciting and creative new event here at The Crafty Lass… Why not try something new for 2018? #NewYearNewSkill

Tuesday evenings: 19.15 – 21.15  The Crafty Lass – Sketchbook Creativity Class including ‘Bind Your Own Sketchbook’.

Come and enjoy a chance for some weekly social creativity out of your busybusybusy day at ‘The Crafty Lass’ Old Grain Store workshop studio! #CLOGS

Meet like-minded people and turn everyday items into extraordinary subjects of pattern, light and colour – looking at things in a new way… Then bind your own sketchbook!

  • Each class there will be a new surprise subject – for example such as ‘Afternoon Tea’, ‘Water’, ‘The Sewing Box’ or ‘Metals’ – and a themed display for which to draw inspiration from.
  • We will focus on a specific medium each week such as paints, charcoal, inks and even ‘ordinary’ biros and highlighters, papers and fabrics for collage – but everything will always be available for you should you decide this style isn’t for you or you want to incorporate something new! Perhaps you’d like to add in a splash of colour, or purely draw in pencil.
  • The papers we will be working on are from ‘Homeward Bound Books’ – they will be A5 in size and include various boards including handmade Indian paper, coloured, cream, different textured and kraft brown paper to further explore what works best as a base for each theme and medium.
  • One of the most exciting aspects to this course – is each A5 piece of paper will have holes pre-added for binding – and the final week of this course will be a chance to reflect – looking back at our drawings, deciding in which order you would like them to go – and most crafty, learning how to bind them together into a beautiful sketchbook to treasure as a keepsake of the classes. There will be spare paper to additionally add in to the book and continue the inspiration on post The Crafty Lass Creativity term.
  • There will be no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to represent the items on display – a chance to get expressive and creative! You can focus on one precise drawing for the 2 hour session, or perhaps make 10 expressive doodles – you can draw one item from the display, or everything in it and more – you can do whatever you like!
  • If lacking for ideas and inspiration – The Crafty Lass will guide you through with hints and tips to produce some exciting and interesting artwork.
  • Feel free to move around the studio – or swap seats with another person to gain a new perspective or different angle.
  • There will be a chance to take photos of the display each week should you wish to continue your inspiration and drawing beyond the class.
  • Each class will include refreshments.*

Make. Create. Inspire.

 

 

 

 

 

Please note this is a 10 week course.

DATES:

TUESDAY 23RD JANUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 30TH JANUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 6TH FEBRUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESD AY 13TH FEBRUARY 19.15-21.15 
TUESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 27TH FEBRUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 6TH MARCH 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 13TH MARCH 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 20TH MARCH 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 27TH MARCH 19.15-21.15 SKETCHBOOK BINDING CLASS

£135.00, only £13.50 per two hour session!

If you are unexpectedly unable to attend one of the weekly sessions after booking the 10 week course – we will happily refund you the £13.50 weekly charge up to a maximum of 2 out of the 10 sessions. Or, you can choose to allocate the credit to another The Crafty Lass workshop.

If for whatever reason we are not at full capacity (maximum 8 to a class) – and you would like to join us for a one off session – this would be £15.00 per week of attendance – however, please note this cannot be guaranteed and will not include the binding of the sketchbook class. We would advise booking the full term to gain the most out of the creative experience. Please get in touch if you would like to attend as a one off booking and we can advise if there is any space available.

Tickets can be purchased online via PayPal only.

Workshop ticket bookings are subject to our T&Cs.

*Please advise if you have any dietary requirements and we will do our best to accommodate.

TO BOOK TICKETS – please CLICK HERE!

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

The Crafty Lass does… Gift Vouchers!

✂️ Do you know someone crafty?
✂️ Would they like to come along to a The Crafty Lass workshop?
✂️ Do you still need to buy a Christmas present…?

✂⭐EXCITING NEWS⭐✂

The Crafty Lass now sells gift vouchers! What a good idea for a crafty Christmas present?

Vouchers can be bought in denominations of £5.00 and can be used against any of The Crafty Lass workshops*.

Vouchers will be personalised for the recipient – you can even include a little message! A PDF copy will be sent to you via email after purchase for you to print or send on to your crafty loved one and they will be valid for 1 year from purchase.

The 2018 The Crafty Lass workshop calendar is going to start being released VERY soon for our workshops held here in The Old Grain Store workshop studio in Lower Boddington, Northamptonshire… but will be initially including: Valentine’s, Mothers Day and Easter events, Paper Flowers including Paper Roses, Peonies, Origami, Decoupage, Sewing Fabric Flower Corsages, Basic Introduction to Needle Felting, Spring Wreaths to name just a few of the exciting workshops on offer… with LOTS more to come.

The crafty recipient(s) would need to contact The Crafty Lass directly for redemption prior to ticket purchase of a workshop booking with their unique crafty code.

Please get in touch to purchase your gift voucher now!

*Excluding 3rd party, external branded events.

 

Categories: Birthday, Business, Christmas, Crafty Kids, Easter, General Craft, House & Home, Places to Go & Things to See, The Crafty Lass does..., Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings, Workshops

The Crafty Lass does… The UK Blog Awards!

🌟 The Crafty Lass is excited to announce that our blog is in the UK Blog Awards 2018 – it would be wonderful if you could take a minute of your time to vote! 🌟
Voting is open from today (Monday 4th December) until 22nd December.

https://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2018/entries/crafty-lass

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

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