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… Learning to Crochet!

Driving through the rolling green hills of the British countryside, beautiful unspoilt views, an exciting morning of crafting ahead – no matter the worries on your mind – you can’t help but allow a sudden and overwhelming sense of calm.

This, is how I felt last Saturday. I was driving up to TOFT in Dunchurch, Warwickshire – a lovely alpaca farm with a learn-to-crochet workshop space, cafe and all manner of lovely-must-be-bought things at the shop.

I’ve been able to knit from a fairly young age – nothing too exciting – just the basic ‘knit’ and ‘pearl’ stitches. I have never followed a pattern, and I have always only made scarves, as simple as you can get – cast on X amount of stitches and basically just keep going until either your creation is complete, or the ball of yarn runs out (and I do still freak out slightly when I have to change to a new one!) However, crochet is just not something I had ever experienced. I owned a lovely little crocheted toy called ‘Dolly’ as a child (it was my comforter) and carried it with me EVERYWHERE. There are a few family ‘horror’ stories of temporarily losing Dolly in the park or not having her before sleep – it was apparently a serious and would need to be urgently rectified issue! I also own a lovely crochet blanket that my Aunt made for me before I was even born… I still use it now in the winter and so really, with lovely associations of this craft – why I hadn’t ever tried to crochet before now is beyond me.

I saw ‘TOFT‘ at a recent craft trade show, and was so enchanted by their ‘Edward’s Menagerie‘ range, designed by Kerry Lord – a hugely adorable and characterful selection of crocheted toy animal kits. At the time, as much as I could recognise that they were beautiful – I didn’t feel the need to learn how to do it and to make a toy. Now that I am expecting a baby – that is as good as excuse as any to get crafting one of these lovely creations!

TOFT do offer the kits for sale directly off their website, and there are a good selection of helpful video tutorials to get you going – but, as a complete novice – I knew I would need more than a little hand holding to walk and talk me through how to get it to not look like a lumpy fluffy mess! Luckily, they offer workshops on site too – hence my scenic drive to their beautiful location.

I have to say, I am almost slightly (ok, lets admit it, very) jealous of the stunning crafting area. Rustic farm-esque buildings, large, light areas just ready for teaching in – containing lots of like minded crochet wannabees all there to either stock up and buy the beautiful yarns on offer, or to learn, or to just sit and while away the time in the little cafe serving decent coffee and scrummy cakes. I. Must. Work. Very. Hard. And. Save. Lots. To. Have. A. The. Crafty. Lass. Farm. It is certainly going on the big life ambition bucket list.

I was even lucky enough to be there on a day that a tiny little new-born alpaca entered the world. Awwww. 😀

Anyway, back to the crocheting… We all chose the colour of our yarn, took our places and were ready to begin. I chose a fairly dark-ish grey tone and I was making ‘Bridget The Elephant‘. I was warned by our tutor Emma, that darker colours could be slightly more difficult to work with (just as harder to see the defined stitches) and I confidently and naively, definitely wanting that specific colour said – ‘don’t worry, I will be fine’. Ha! Famous last words hey?? It wasn’t that bad – but I certainly can confirm she was right.

It was a small group, which was lovely to have almost 1-1 tuition at stages, and Emma was very thorough and patient. At times, when I thought I had lost the plot – counting, forgetting which stitch I was on, recounting, ripping it up and starting again – but she patiently went through the same questions and answers again and again. ‘Is it here I put the needle?’, ‘Is that 2 stitches in this part’, ‘have I done 10 or 12 now?’. So thank you, Emma. There was a sudden lightbulb ‘AHA!’ moment when suddenly everything clicked into place and then, once I had eventually got it, and understood what on earth I was doing – I got going in to an almost magical trance like status – wanting to just carry on crocheting for as long as I possibly could. I even moved on to the side, and carried on while the next group had come along started. However, as time eventually does, it disappeared – and I had to down tools and be on with my day. I started to frantically plan in the car on the way home – when could I next do some crochet? Like an addict – I would need to get my next ‘fix’ in somehow – I think learning a new skill has that effect on you. I know how to do this – ‘look at me, I can make something from nothing!’ feeling. Plus, as an added bonus – I just love the fact the end product will end up being given to my little boy. I wonder if Bridget The Elephant will be the ‘new Dolly’ of his life.

So far, in the time I have managed to sit down and continue to crochet – I have made two legs, and an ear – just another 2 legs, another ear, the body and tail to go. Then, to stuff, sew together, add some eyes and et voila – one toy!

The problem is, once it is made – what do I do then? Now what will I make?? Well, the beauty with that – is now I know HOW to do it – there are patterns a plenty. Both at TOFT, but also from everywhere else – homeware, clothes… but in reality – I think I want to make some more of the Edward’s Menageries. Bridget will need some friends! I will need to make a whole zoo of animals!

If you are looking to try something different, or are a seasoned crocheter and want to just try something new – I would highly recommend a day out to visit TOFT. Either to attend the workshops, or just admire the beautiful scenery and scoff a cake or two!!

However, a word of warning – crochet can get addictive!

 

 

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

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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