Tag : the-crafty-lass

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

A Day in the Life of The Crafty Lass – The Photoshoot!

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – Mark Lord is a photographic genius!

I first met Mark when we asked him to do the photography for our wedding nearly three years ago – we were immediately struck and taken by his very natural, fun and unobtrusive style of photography. He has an amazing ability of capturing people’s spirit – perfect timing, magical moments and memories to cherish for a lifetime. That teamed with his love of vintage styling, black and white photography make for classical, just simply beautiful photos!

I recently had the pleasure of working with Mark for a fantastic photoshoot – a day in life of The Crafty Lass! I hope you will love the photos as much as me!

To see the full selected shoot please visit my Facebook page HERE – but a little sneak preview below just for you…!

Enjoy!

Copyright - Mark Lord Copyright - Mark Lord Copyright - Mark Lord Copyright - Mark Lord Copyright - Mark Lord Copyright - Mark Lord Copyright - Mark Lord

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

Top 5… Valentine’s Crafts 2017!

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

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

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

 

1. Valentine’s Party Poppers!

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

 

2. No Sew Cushion!

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

 

3. Heart Pretzels!

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

 

4. Heart bunting!

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

 

5. Strawberry Roses!

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

 

Enjoy! x

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

The Crafty Lass does… Christmas wreath!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

Top 10… Christmas Crafts!

Oh… the ‘C’ word. The one that no one wants to mention. Well, not until at least December is here anyway.

Me? I LOVE Christmas. I love the cold weather, the roaring fires, the indulgence and fun and high spirits. Normally, I am prepping WELL ahead of December. Usually there is a handmade advent calendar, and table decorations and handmade crackers on the go. Wreaths are being designed and made, shopping lists written, Christmas cards written, recipes being organised. This year? No. I have done very, VERY little. It’s not for want of trying – I just can’t believe the magical festive season is nearly upon us! The arrival of the (brilliant) John Lewis advert was a shock. What do you MEAN it’s nearly Christmas??

I do have a great excuse though… I have been so focused on our new little one, and even just what day of the week it is, that well, Christmas, and planning for it has gone slightly off plan. My days – that would normally around this time of year – be filled with planning the perfect mince pie recipe or working out just how many gold baubles does a girl need for the new colour schemed tree? Have been swapped for planning the perfect nights eat and sleep routine and counting how many nappies in a day. Times, have, changed.

I’ve got some of the priorities sorted anyway – Santa knows what bubba would like under the tree and even our little doggie has his gifts all sorted! Our dog even has a (rawhide) advent calendar himself this year… and a dog BEER. Yes, you read that right. I am one of those people that buys the naff Christmas items at the Pets at Home till. Apparently it is not really ‘beer’ – pretty sure it is chicken flavoured water or ‘moisture’ as the label attractively lists on the ingredients! The Husband was NOT impressed at first when I showed him – ‘What gave you been buying now?!’ – however, I think he is secretly excited to have a beer with his four legged pal on the ‘big day’. Talking of The Husband – he does NOT have any presents… yet, and there is a general shopping list in the go… I just need to action it, and perhaps work out how to get the pram and car seat adapters to actually fit together and man up and attack the shops. Or, just crack on with 3am online shopping. God bless the internet!

So, my new focus instead of Christmas and all the wonderful things it brings (mulled wine, aforementioned presents, and our lovely family – in that order! 😉 ) is our little man.

He is now 6 weeks old. Amazing. But, where has that time gone??
We have just been treated to his wonderful first smile, and as most babies at this developmental stage – he just LOVES lights! So, we need to get our Christmas tree up ASAP and I plan to simply COVER it with lights – he will be mesmerised. And, I am sure this will bring plenty more delightful smiles. They literally make my heart melt, and me cry. Bloody hormones!

Anyway, enough about me and – if unlike me, you have time to start making anything (there is no doubt I will… I can’t NOT have a crafty Christmas, I’m The Crafty Lass!) here are my top 10 Christmas crafty links for you to try, with a little something for everyone! And, if I don’t manage to post again before – have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

 

1. Decorations!

How about this for a simple, but very effective craft! All you need is ribbon, and plenty of baubles to make a bauble garland! Beautiful.

 

2. Wrapping Paper!

How about making your own wrapping paper? I usually spend time (far too long) picking out the right one to go with the ribbons and colour scheme I have chosen for this year… but perhaps, as shopwalkinlove.com shows us – all we need is some plain papers, pens, some inspiration and to have fun with it! This is certainly going to be on my to do list this year 🙂

 

3. Table Decor!

A very clever idea for lovely place cards – mini ‘wreaths’ made from cranberries and greenery! You could even try this with beads and ribbons if you wanted to make them reusable for next year – but, nothing screams Christmas more than a cranberry or two! 🙂

 

4. Advent Calendar Ideas!

I’m going to put this out there – I HATE advent calendar chocolate… Now you can get seriously luxurious calendars and they don’t all taste like plastic like they did when I was a kid (please note a Hotel Chocolat advent would be lovely, thanks Husband) – but why not countdown to the big day with doing something different everyday? Here is the ‘Ultimate Advent Activity List‘ to give you plenty of festive ideas to get into the holiday spirit!

 

5. Kids Crafts!

Just how cute are these clothes peg snowmen! Something you can make together and you could even use them to hold up any Christmas cards received!

 

6. Crochet!

Love crochet? How about making these amazing elf slippers!

 

7. Sweet Eats!

Give everyone a surprise and a smile with their after dinner coffee – and why not turn normal ‘Malteasers’ into mini Christmas puds?! Simply pipe on melted white chocolate, and decorate with small coloured icing/toppings. Clever!

 

8. A Different Tree!

If you don’t fancy the traditional fir tree – why not make one out of cardboard? Yes, you read that right – cardboard! This clever link shows you how to make a ‘stackable’ tree!

 

9. Peanut Garland!

A really lovely idea for (believe it or not!) decorating PEANUTS into little characters! Paint, glue – let your imagination go wild! These could hang above the fireplace, on the tree – anywhere you want to make that little bit festive in the home! 🙂 You could even drape these around the table as part of your table decor on the big day.

 

10. Santa Logs!

Get creative with your garden decor and jazz up some logs into Santa! Simply cut into shape, paint and add to your doorstop to welcome all your visitors! 🙂

 

Enjoy!

Categories: Christmas, Crafty Kids, General Craft, Top 5

The Crafty Lass does… Motherhood!

Firstly, thank you for all your love and well wishes, our beautiful bubba arrived over three weeks ago now, and we are doing remarkably well. But… THREE WEEKS??!
It already feels that our new little boss has been here forever. But it also feels like HOW have we ALREADY got to 3 weeks since he was welcomed in to the world? How is he nearly one month old?
Everyone tells you it goes fast, well ain’t that the truth… It’s gone, in the blink of an eye. Crazy times, before we know it he will be treating the house as a hotel and asking to borrow the car!

I am trying to just take it all in, the days and nights merging into one constant stream of feeding, sleeping, nappy changing, repeating… He is changing already too, each day bringing something new – his eyelashes being that little bit longer, his eyes that little bit brighter and open longer. It is an amazing and fascinating journey. Mummy meltdown moment today as he suddenly no longer fits into his first babygros! Eek!

I recently asked the question when does the ‘staring and crying because I can’t believe he is here and so amazing stage’ stop? I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t think it does! Yes, there is no doubt an element of hormone induced rose tinted glasses in this – but, in a few weeks we will see those ‘it’s just wind’ grimaces merge in to a real smile, we’ve got crawling, walking, talking… Milestones that will bring such joy and excitement. Lots to learn and discover together. There are the other important milestones too – like being able to sleep longer than four hours in a row, to be able to have a conversation with The Husband that doesn’t revolve around shades of poo colour or to be able to pee/shower sans baby again! Time will inevitably bring all of this and more, but for now I wouldn’t rush this for the world. A delicate balancing act of wanting him to grow up – big, strong, and experience life – in contrast for him to stay this warm, tiny, beautiful bundle of joy that is most content snuggled into mummy’s arms.

In terms of business and The Crafty Lass, my brain hasn’t COMPLETELY switched off. I’m not going to lie, watching back to back episodes of ‘First Dates’ with a little bundle of cuteness for company is pretty lovely – but there are lots of ideas for the future! The 3am Pinterest sessions aren’t for nothing! But, right now I am certainly enjoying mastering some new craft skills in the job role of ‘Mummy’. My new boss is a bit hardcore – very demanding. He expects me to be wide awake at all hours and be completely intuitive and understand his needs without him saying anything (weirdly, as a new mummy, you just do, don’t you – how does that sixth sense kick in?!) Anyway, I am becoming a dab hand at the art and craft of changing the nappy of a flailing screaming octopus at two in the morning. I am enjoying the creative aspect of choosing just which cute little outfit can we put him in to today and have certainly upped the multi tasking stakes – I am now able to feed him, eat my own breakfast, watch TV AND apply my makeup AT THE SAME TIME. Certainly personal skills to add to the CV! My cuppa tea now goes cold, the bags under my eyes are getting bigger, our washing machine is wondering what on earth has happened with its new daily usage routine and I’m having to learn to eat one handed, but I just wouldn’t change it for the world.

In terms of projects made throughout pregnancy, the clouds and stars mobile now proudly hanging in the nursery, does prove to be a source of fascination for bubba at changing time. The yet to be used crochet elephants are here ready and waiting for their little buddy-to-be, to be chewed, sorry – played with. The cloud Pom Pom rug, is sadly yet to be finished BUT it will get done…
I will try and update this blog as often as I can with REAL craft updates and new projects, but in the meantime you may just be treated to a few personal indulgences of new mum and baby updates, as for now, in reality that is all I am currently thinking, dreaming, focusing on. Our own little new mum and baby bubble, where he is simply the best thing I have ever made.

Categories: Business, Crafty Kids, The Crafty Bump

The Crafty Lass does… The Nursery!

So, the cot is built. The car seat has been bought (and fully test run in the car) and finally – the nursery is done! The jobs are being crossed off the list (or highlighted as complete on my spreadsheet – such a geek!)

This. Just. Got. Real.

I will be 37 weeks pregnant on Sunday – I cannot believe where time has gone! Part of me feels like I have been pregnant forever – another part of me feels like it was only 2 minutes ago I was able to see that line on the test and finally experience that sensation of, oh WOW – we are going to be parents…! Either way – 37 weeks and onwards is considered ‘term’, and I feel like I am now playing the waiting game… Every little twinge, every niggle – ‘is this it?’ ‘is this what it is like?’ (pretty sure I will know when it is!!!) I am ready… Well, I think I am ready. I am not sure you can ever be 100% prepared – but I am excited to know we will meet our little boy within the next 5 weeks (they don’t really let you go beyond 42 weeks)… Eeeeeek!

Being The Crafty Lass that I am, it was of course important to me to have a creative and crafty nursery. Pretty sure that our little one won’t know/care til a little bit older – but a happy mummy = happy baby, right?

I have had a Pinterest (secret!) board for the bubba for years now, way before a kiddiwink was even on the agenda – slowly adding to it whenever I saw something inspirational or creative for a new baby or their room, or any useful suggestions. So much so, with so much inspiration, when it came round to actually deciding on a ‘theme’ – it was a little harder than I thought. So many pinned and exciting ideas, only one room!

It really helped knowing we are having a little boy. I don’t want to specifically ‘gender stereotype’ but equally it steered us in a direction that felt more suited to our future son to be… Adventure!

However, I also think our theme could be tailored to a little girls room… as I could be quite a tom boy growing up when I wanted to be! And, once the main painting had been done, and various ‘boy’ items bought – I also convinced myself it could still be a girls room, should the unexpected happen…

Early on, no matter how many times I have heard it is a boy from the sonographers when in an ultrasound scan, there was always the – but, ‘what if you are wrong!!’ Pretty sure (again gender stereotyping…) I would have added in some bright pinks – but I would also have added in the phrase – somewhere hand painted on to the wall – “Leave her sleep, for when she wakes, she will move mountains”. Contingency plans right there…

We did however – have a recent very late scan, and there is no doubting really – that he is a lovely little boy – which allayed any ‘what ifs’!

 

The Theme – Adventure

So, an ‘adventure’ theme… Colours started out with mainly greys, with the additions of bright greens, yellow, turquoise, orange. There is an overall colour scheme that focuses around these, but – it is quite relaxed really – nothing HAS to match – just lots of fun and brightness!

Mainly, it focuses around a hand painted mountains scene wall mural! There are clouds – a handmade painted mobile, a ‘grass’ (basically a green and fluffy!) IKEA rug. Some beautiful BABY ‘bunting’ handmade by our lovely friend, Verena. Thank you! An upcycled bit of furniture, some homemade ‘tags’ for the baby clothes, a hand painted piece of artwork… and LOTS of other ‘necessary’ baby paraphernalia you collect along the way! There is a ‘globe’ for him to study when he is older and dream of the far away places he may visit. The Husband had a globe when he was little, that he also used to look at – and now, he is a ‘dab-hand’ at geography – you definitely want him in your pub quiz team for the geography round!

It isn’t the largest room, but really I suppose it doesn’t need to be at this stage. (It used to be the main The Crafty Lass office!!!) I really wanted the room to feel like a view point – a ‘scene’, somewhere both calming and inspiring – yet vibrant and exciting – and hopefully the colours, the eclectic mix of both bright and graphic, crafty and handmade, upcycled and new brings this all together.

The Nursery! The Nursery! The Nursery - Squirrel! The Nursery - Mountains, The Cot! The Nursery - The Cot!
The Nursery - The BookshelvesThe Nursery - The BookshelvesThe Nursery - Mountains!The Mountains

Believe it or not, the mountains – I freehand painted straight on to the walls, I didn’t have a set ‘plan’! I had done a bit of ‘Pinteresting’ to gather some inspiration of other people’s mountain-esque nursery’s – but also looking at mountain and hills photography. I then personalised by just ‘freestyling’ how I thought it should be… Even to the point that the green hills were a later addition! And all the better for it I think – it would have been ‘too grey’ otherwise, if that’s such a thing! Grey appears to be my favourite colour – but perhaps a bit wrong to have many (say near to fifty) shades of grey (!) in a nursery… Most of the paint is ‘matt’, with the lighter grey a ‘silk’ finish to add depth and a bit of a sheen in the background. The largest mountain, we do now actually refer to as ‘Everest’ and I think it was important to try and get the right ‘balance’ of height, depth and perspective to the mountains and foreground hills.

 

The Mobile

I was determined to make my own mobile. There are so many beautiful ones out there, but I just wanted to personalise it, and work out how to hang it – and now to see it gently twisting and floating in the breeze above the cot, it makes me happy! (Picture the scene on ‘The Great British Bake Off’ where the camera shot pans out to see the contestant longingly staring at their creation… I think in other words (and don’t always say this word!) I am proud of it… it became a labour of love! Hand painting each piece  – the clouds in just normal household emulsion in whites and greys, and I have added some glitter on top of some of them – clouds with a silver lining – to reflect in the light and glimmer in the glow of the newly bought ‘nightlight’ and the sunshine in the day. The yellow hoops, and the turquoise hot air balloons are basic acrylic that you can pick up from any art store. The hot air balloons, I have added on some buttons – reminiscent and a nod towards the film ‘UP‘. (If you haven’t seen it, you absolutely must!) Our wedding theme had little touches of this film, and it felt nice to try and incorporate this into the nursery somehow too.

The base MDF shapes started life as part Becky Seddon from The Craft Channel’s ‘Amongst The Clouds’ MDF shapes, part ’embroidery hoop’ for the top main support – and then the addition of some other larger clouds that were simply picked up from eBay.

Each piece is delicately tied on to the hoops using threads from my grandmother’s sewing basket – which is just so lovely to feel she is a part of this too – and using strong ‘girl guide learnt’ secure knots to try and make sure nothing can fall off!

Everything is then held together with some ribbons in grey and turquoise and supported by a mobile cot arm from Sigikid – a little birdie aloft watching over everything!

The Cloud Mobile Close UpThe Cloud Mobile

The Cloud Mobile with Hot Air Balloons

The Organisation…

I know for an absolute FACT this organisation won’t last. No matter how hard I try! Each pull out fabric box – has a label – one for blankets and bedding, one for toys, and one for all the different sized baby clothes we have either bought or been very lucky to have been given already. Ask me in 3 months when I am just shoving them into wherever they will fit! But for now, a tidy room, a tidy mind…

The MDF tags I again just picked up on eBay – and have started out by painted them in blackboard chalkpaint. I have then personalised each one with some wipeable chalk pens – so in the future, I can adjust accordingly to whatever will now be stored in the boxes (or ideally like to be!)

The TagsThe Tags

The TagsAdventure Is Out There!

This is the one phrase that I really do associate with the film ‘UP‘ and I wanted to try and paint a picture, or a quote that would sum this up.

The base for this – actually came out of our loft! The previous tenants had left an old bit of wardrobe up there, and instead of just tipping it like we planned – I set about turning it into a new piece of art:

The same as the organisation tags, I have started out with a base of chalkboard black paint, and then painted the quote with Uniball chalk paint marker pens.

The font and layout inspiration came from Momo Digital on Etsy – I cannot claim that as my own – but I did freehand draw this on to the board, and added my own personal touches of the arrows, flowers, leaves and stars.

Without wanting to sound too disney-fied – I hope it will inspire our little boy to know what a wonderful place the world can be, that he needs to go out there and grab adventure with both hands!
Adventure Is Out There! Adventure Is Out There! Adventure Is Out There!

 

All in all, I am happy with the finished result. Obviously, I would like to point out I did generally consult The Husband on all colours/purchases/ideas… but sometimes, I just got on with it… However – when the mountains were complete, after two days of full painting – the best reaction I have had to date was himself – coming home from work, and excitedly but sadly saying “But, I want it to be MY room!” 🙂

It may not be to everyone’s taste – it is quite bold! Some of the ideas I pinned/researched were far more delicate – with silvers, whites and creams. Or lovely ranges of traditional baby blues. Who knows, I may tire of this in a while – but for now, I do really love it. It makes my heart sing, and it is my calming place that I sometimes – in the last few weeks, I just go in to and ‘sit’. Contemplating, dreaming, planning – just as I hope our little boy will do too.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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… Baby Shower Crafts!

Baby showers. When did they become the ‘normal’, ‘done’ thing?

I was recently commissioned to make a baby shower corsage for a lovely mummy-to-be to wear, and about to enter my 30th week of pregnancy – I have been asked not ‘if’ I am having a baby shower, but WHEN am I having my baby shower?

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am all for any social occasion excuse – and, I really like the idea of meeting up with some of my nearest and dearest too. AND of course there will be cake. Any excuse for cake right?

I imagine I will end up organising/doing something to mark the occasion – just maybe not so many of the games. Or presents! People always feel obliged to have to get you a present – and of course, I love presents (who doesn’t right?) but it shouldn’t be compulsory? Anyway, that’s just my opinion…

From a craft perspective in relation to ‘Baby Showers’ – there are literally hundreds and thousands of fun and interesting ways to make and create – have a look on places like Pinterest, Etsy etc. However, here are my Top 5… Baby Shower Crafts to get you inspired!

1. Melons at the ready

Seriously, how cute is this! And healthy too! A way to get your five a day and to balance out the cake calories 😉

 

2. Talking of cake

You may have noticed I have mentioned several times that cake is compulsory (every celebration needs tea and sponge delicacy of some description…) This isn’t a recipe or tutorial to follow, but these from ‘Sweetness‘ had to be selected for inspiration – the sheer beauty of those cupcakes! 😀 Just how beautiful are those little building blocks! If cupcakes aren’t really your thing – this ‘ombre cake’ from Glorious Treats also looks amazing!

 

3. What will baby look like?

A really simple, but fun idea to ‘guess’ what baby will look like. Photos of mum and dad, scissors, glue and et voila!

 

4. Ready to POP!

What a fun thing to serve at a baby shower! Popcorn, in cute little bags with these ‘Ready To Pop’ labels from Artesenias on Etsy. You could go the whole hog – serve ‘Pop’ (lemonade etc), Popping Candy, Popcorn chicken, Popsicles…

 

5. Cheers!

What better way to serve drinks… than in baby bottles! You could do this gender themed and pink for girlies – as per Katis Get Away Blog or really, whatever you like! Cheers!

 

Enjoy! x

Categories: General Craft, Top 5

The Crafty Lass does… Wedding commission!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Crafty Lass does… Pinterest!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can check out The Crafty Lass on Pinterest HERE 🙂

What projects have you been inspired to make from Pinterest?

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

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