Tag : baby
Tag : baby
People presume as I am 'The Crafty Lass', I can do it ALL. Everything - ALL the crafty things. Well... I can't!
I cannot sew a zip. Although I can easily sew on a button, I do not know how to sew a button hole. I think there is a setting on my beloved sewing machine to even do it for me - but I wouldn't know, because I haven't even tried!
I have made 'baby bibs' before, and lots and lots of bunting, tried some fairly complicated makes before like lined Christmas stockings - but just nothing that required a 'pattern'. So, it's a confidence thing. People often ask and presume I can and do make my own clothes - the honest I answer is I would LOVE to - but I don't, as I haven't got a clue where to start! Even the word 'pattern' - eeek, isn't it complicated?! Well, I suppose if I've never tried... how would I know?
Inspired by some of the amazingly talented Craft Cotton Co bloggers I work with and of course, The Great British Sewing Bee, I wanted to give something a go. It would need to be super simple, yet test me!
I decided to make something for 'bump'. As apparently... there is a baby there! I cannot quite get my head around that; that there will be another beautiful little person arriving in the next couple of months. I did the same with Freddie. Yes, I know I am expecting - and yes, I am getting bigger everyday (and it isn't just biscuits) and, yes I know there will be an actual baby, but it is sometimes weirdly hard to connect the two!
So, what to make? I sought advice and suggestions from my fellow bloggers - and from lots of ideas - "baby shorts" and the word "easy" stood out. A few commented that OF COURSE I could do it - so with confidence at a small high on the dressmaking front, I thought would give it a go...
I had a rare morning free whilst little man was at nursery - and although I could have easily done another 101 things like chores, various work related things, or sleep, I thought I would give the shorts a go while it was fresh in my mind. I hunted down a basic pattern - which in hindsight (ha, now knowledgeable?!) I don't think was particularly good as the back is the same size as the front and surely you need it to be slightly larger to, erm - contain that cute little bottom and nappy too?! Anyway - I forged on and decided I would be learning no matter how they turned out.
I had picked out some cute little circus print fabric from Craft Cotton Co from Hobbycraft and actually, although I needed 2 x 'emergency' calls to Bernadette (fellow Craft Cotton Co Blogger) ... I DID IT! And, I really, really enjoyed myself. It WAS easy - IF and only if, you know how. They may not be 'perfect' in that I am sure the inner seams would be better and stronger if I owned and used an overlocker - and I am sure that Patrick from The Great British Sewing Bee would have his tape measure out checking the two leg lengths - and, the print pattern doesn't quite match up on the legs, but - they 'work'! It is a lovely little print design and - with a baby, I am pretty sure he will wear them for 2 seconds flat before requiring a change of clothes anyway!!!
Most importantly, I gave it a go. I did enjoy myself. They do actually look like shorts! I learnt. I learnt how to read a (albeit basic!) pattern. I learnt how to construct a garment together. And, how to insert elastic!
Buoyed by my new found skills, I decided to look for another new challenge. I delved into The Bramble Patch, Weedon and all their lovely fabrics - and inspired: bought some new Makower, Moda, Northcott and Camelot fabric designs (as I needed more fabric, right?) and decided to get stuck into a baby sun hat! This even included something called 'interfacing'!? As our little one is due at the start of Summer - and I had been looking round to buy a cute little mini sun hat anyway, I thought... why not MAKE one!
Once I worked out that the pattern was simpler than it sounded, I was away! I had constructed the whole thing in around 3-4 hours and although I have since realised the hat is for a 6-12 month old baby, and he won't be able to wear it this Summer anyway (!), but again - I have learnt! And, he'll be able to wear it NEXT summer when he is by then, 1. Not that I am wishing time away... And to be honest, I am sure that he COULD wear it this year - he just might look abit daft with it being too big - but it would at least protect his little delicate skin!
So, I am not sure what the next dressmaking challenge will be - but, I am rather partial to a cute little baby dungaree... I just need to find the right pattern and potentially it will include buttonholes so that will be another new skill learnt! Not sure I will be applying for The Great British Sewing Bee yet, but I can just continue to learn, one step at a time. And, I am not sure I will have time for much sewing from June onwards - I think I may be quite baby busy by then!
People keep asking me, what is next?
There are lots of exciting things happening, but the one thing about this journey - it is all about putting yourself out there, and seeing what happens. Saying 'yes' to things perhaps I wouldn't normally do... and also learning when you actually can say 'no'. There IS such a thing as tooooooo busy. So in answer to that question, who knows what is next - anything could happen! You just got to keep going and put yourself out there...
I have always tried to please everyone - and not always myself within that. I always do things for other people, even if it is to the detriment of my own time and happiness... and actually, being self employed, with a busy family life and within that 'managing' a (nearly!) 2 year old MAKES you decisively choose! I would LOVE to do it all... but you just can't.
Although, obviously, being in my nature - I sometimes (often) think it CAN all be achieved. I set myself too high standards and then get annoyed when I 'fail'.
I am often 'plagued' by 'mum guilt' - am I too busy? Am I doing 'enough'? Am I working too hard?! The answer of course to all of these, is - yes. BUT - in reality, he comes first over all else! He is clothed, fed, healthy (most of the time - teething is officially the devil's work) has a fantastic imagination, loves 'self play' and books - and is a happy, normal, cheeky, boundary testing little person who rules our whole world. But, within all of that - I hope that when he is old enough to understand why Mummy (and Daddy!) work ALOT, is firstly - our bills and life need to be paid, but part of it is to make him (and ourselves, of course!) PROUD!
British people don't DO proud. We say thank you for a compliment occasionally, normally with a slight little smile - not really wanting to accept open and honest praise. However, in the recent weeks with so many exciting things happening - I have had to just accept it and take it all in! I have been absolutely overwhelmed with the emails, Instagram messages, Facebook comments, even a lady stopping me in the street to say 'well done' - she is in the WI...
So, for those of you who don't know - as of yesterday I officially graced the cover of the Women's Institute national magazine, WI LIFE. This goes out to just under a quarter of a million members! And, in addition to that, there is an additional 3 page interview inside that includes some glorious photos by Jenny Stewart with the fantastic words by Eleanor Wilson. How she turned my likely nonsensical answers into a coherent and factual account I have no idea, but for that I am grateful. Upon first reading, her words truly made me shed a tear. LOTS of tears! Maybe that emotion was proudness? I am British - I wouldn't know!
With all these exciting things happening, workshops and a gorgeous toddler to capture on 'film' - I am constantly taking photos. ALL THE TIME. The Husband does get 'quite' annoyed. He even refers to me as #InstagramGeneration. #OLD?!
Anyway, the point being I am also CONSTANTLY fighting with my phone for storage space. This sounds like a boring quandary to be writing about - but it had to get sorted and has actually brought about something very interesting indeed.
I don't know about you, but in addition to taking lots of photos, I do often also scroll back through the 'feed' to see all the moments and treasure them! However, maybe only for a month or two - nothing further back than that unless I am desperately seeking a specific moment in time, or a particularly 'special' shot to include with a blog post or Instagram story!
Today - while having a 'I am DONE with this phone, it is UNUSABLE with such little storage space' (due for renewal soon - YAY!) with basically bulk transferring old photos to a back up... I discovered some absolute GEMS of pictures.
These are the studio BEFORE we bought our house! I couldn't believe it! These represent the moment I basically told The Husband come hell or high water we WERE moving here! I had a vision. it was covered in cobwebs, dust, piles of wood and various household paraphernalia - but it would be a STUDIO.
Well, the rest is history as they say... but it was a reminder that we have achieved SO MUCH in 12 months! It was this time last year we were wondering if we would be able to even get Christmas workshops out... NOW we are already majority SOLD OUT on our advertised festive workshops...
Maybe I am, just a little bit, proud.
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…
40 paint tester pots
5 rolls of Frog Tape
3 months of painting(!!!)
100000s of brushstrokes
1 determined Crafty Lass
1 happy boy…
When we moved into this new home, one of the (many) selling points, was a little room just off the hallway next to the kitchen – destined to be a playroom. It was the first room we started to decorate – and at one point I thought it might be the last too…
We wanted it to be fun, vibrant, a real ‘playtime’ room. Basically somewhere he could enjoy, make a mess – and realistically also, somewhere all the toys could be shoved at the end of the day!!
Of course, there were many Pinterest ideas – I looked into a ‘zoo’ theme, and had visions of animals all over the walls. And dinosaurs with a similar concept – but nothing quite seemed to grab my full inspiration. Until I saw THIS image – even with the title ‘How to Create the Ultimate Playroom’ – perfect! – designed by Minneapolis interior designer Lucy Interior Design. When closer inspected – it turns out it was wallpaper… but I thought perhaps I could paint it?? God knows why… I thought it would be FUN! And it was – well the first few triangles were anyway…
With a little (let’s be realistic, alot) of help from The Husband working out angles, measurements, borrowing his spirit level/metal ruler/tape measure – we soon worked out how I would get it all to fit on the wall space. Now it was up to me to draw it all out and inspired by my new colourful go to Pinterest inspiration – and also our ‘Baby Sensory‘ classes that we attend every week – it was off to B&Q for a many a tester pot picking, and sketching out how it would work!
I LOVE colour – bright, unabashed colourful prints were my go to in my Printed Textile Design degree, and more importantly for this project – babies also love colour and pattern! We just knew it was the right choice.
Once the triangles had been drawn on to the wall, which actually took quite some time! It was ‘simply’ (ha!) a case of taping up each one, painting, allowing to dry, re-coat (each triangle took 3-4 coats!), remove tape, move to the next triangle/repeat… Hence, why this process has taken 3 months! Well, that and juggling life and many other craft projects/decorating projects/setting up the new craft workshops space…
Now that it is done, and not wanting to blow my own trumpet – I cannot stop staring at it! I of course, can see areas that aren’t just quite 100% perfect – but in reality, who else is going to notice?? I had to draw a line (haha) under it somewhere – so it is finally, and colourfully, DONE. End of story! No more ‘I managed to paint 9 triangles today!’ conversations – now just to enjoy it. I think you can tell – of course I did this for our little one – but yes, I am also in there alot playing with him every day, and it makes MY spirits lift too!
I feel this is a style that will grow with him – it will suit him at all ages. It has taken longer than expected, there were times when I wish I hadn’t started – but equally it was a great challenge! And, would I do it again? Absolutely! Will he thank me for the countless hours working out angles, painting, pondering which colour should go where? Probably not – but at least he has somewhere he knows he can have FUN!
Do you have a playroom? Or somewhere you’ve painted a wall mural? I would love to see!
Babies grow REALLY fast. Everyone tells you – “enjoy it, they won’t be like that for long…”
I heard what people were saying when I first heard this… but I am not sure I really took on board just HOW super mind bogglingly fast time actually disappears… and that some days I think our little one grows before our very eyes. One minute he is wearing that cute little star print vest I love, the next – well, not. I once even thought I had shrunk everything in a wash load – but no no, he really had grown that quickly! Almost overnight…
When he was born, and I had taken approximately 200 first outfits to the hospital in various sizes from very small to very very large ‘just in case’ (we looked pretty much like we were moving house when arriving at the maternity ward, or perhaps maybe a long holiday with 3 cases!!) … he STILL didn’t fit in to any of them. Given the size of my hippopotamus sized bump I was certainly surprised…! Anyway, one of the first jobs for new Daddy was to go out and buy more clothes – turns out we needed very very very small!
Staring at this little bundle of cuteness, who we were suddenly in charge of – and now enclosed in a tiny little babygro on Day 1 – I couldn’t imagine him fitting in to one of the actual ‘going home outfits’ that I’d meticulously and totally unnecessarily planned – let alone all the other what seemed almost ridiculously large items for future months we had at home.
Now, at only (only!) 9 months – he is out of all those wonderful first items – and marching into 9-12 months plus and onwards. So, what to do with all those leftover clothes??
Some of those clothes have memories engrained in them. Little laughter and magical moments woven into the fibre of their cloth. Forever to be captured on camera and shared into the Instagram #babyspam. The sleep suit on his first car journey home, on his first Christmas day, when he first smiled, and rolled over. The first time in a jumperoo, and at a baby sensory class. The special outfit at his first wedding – and the first time he met his grandparents. The list goes on… all those milestones that suddenly happen, you grab your camera and BAM – that’s what he was wearing when ‘that’ happened…
I can’t look at some of those beautiful little items without smiling, crying, remembering and rejoicing! If they are going to be made into something they need to be CUT UP… So they need to made into something that will be used, loved, cherished.
On this note, we are now starting to plan a 1st birthday party, which I cannot quite believe – but what would a party be without decorations? And in particular, BUNTING.
And so… I have spent this evening, going through the no longer used, but still very much loved, clothes – the cute little fabrics – selecting, remembering, and cutting triangles. The triangles won’t match, there will be colours, stripes, prints and patterns galore. It will be fun! And memorable. Personalised – a year in the life of our little man. I’m not going to lie, a few tears have been shed tonight – happy tears – but I repeat – how can he be growing so fast??!
This craft might take some time, there are plenty of triangles to be cut and sewn, and they won’t be perfect, this bunting will have poppers and seams galore… but what a project!! So enjoyable to plan and make… and so exciting to see the outcome.
I look forward to it being hung, resplendent at his first birthday party!
And if this clever (even if I do say myself) crafty idea – could get any better… my plan is to now do this as time goes on. I will add to it, every year, whenever a new celebration that of course requires bunting is needed – with the next batch of discarded wears so that by the time he is 18 it could no doubt be hung to the moon and back!
Right, I’m off to see what else he can sadly no longer wear, do some more remembering, and to cut triangles…
There are more memories to be made tomorrow, who knows what the day will bring. I hope he is wearing a nice printed outfit!!
I really wish there were two of me. Or, if we are going for ideals – perhaps even three or four…
Right now, there is simply just so, so, (SO) much whizzing round my mind. Multiple, multiple tabs open that often sends my brain in to overdrive. I actually started to write this blog post at precisely 1.45 am (!) – instead of divulging in gentle slumber and taking advantage of the fact my little one was (finally) snoring contentedly, I decided then would be an opportune time to start writing a blog post and plan workshop ideas…
So many crafts, so little time. I have to say though, I’m not complaining – I do actually much prefer having a lot on. I am not someone who thrives on boredom – I need projects, plans and a purpose to get going! I like deadlines, pressure and things to be doing. Right, here goes – to give you just a taste of what is going on inside my (too full) mind…
So obviously my primary role is to be a mother, and a wife, and (try and) find time for a social life… We have just moved house, so there are rooms to be decorated, boxes still to be unpacked, chores to be done, dogs to be walked (although The Husband is a star for this one!), Freddie’s weaning ideas, our dinner to be cooked, eaten… I’ve started a new part time role, working from home – it’s great and of course helps to keep the bills paid
before The Crafty Lass takes over the world… I have crochet to be done, sewing projects on the go, product ideas being designed (!), commissions to be made, various new crafts I would like to try and taste.
Obviously within all of that – the main thing is getting the new ‘craft space’ up and running and those (very exciting) workshops planned. I need to practice, cost, time, prepare. I need to think about how everything will be laid out, and when this will all happen… And sometimes I might relax and sleep…
I recently have a new sewing machine, which doesn’t help with the brain activity – as that in itself is like a dream come true. My old one served me well – it had gone through college, uni, various house projects over the years. I went to get it serviced – and the answer was a big fat crafty NO – it was time to give up the ghost, and send it into haberdashery heaven. I was sad, but being realistic and honest – wahey! – A NEW MACHINE. Without sounding old and past it – wow, hasn’t technology changed?? I can now have the machine thread the needle for me?? And a ‘top-loading bobbin’ – basically, no more faffing around with it… it sews neatly, consistently, basically the best thing I could have done was to finally invest in a new one.
Except – I am now obsessed! So many lovely fabrics to turn into projects – and fun accessories for our boy! Dribble bibs being the starting point… love that a simple splash of fun fabric can update even the most basic of babygros! I wanted to buy him lots of different designed bibs – and then I had a lightbulb moment – why not MAKE them. I am The Crafty Lass afterall…! Yes, they will get messy – but he can look cool and I can have fun with it too!!?
To help with my (ever growing) list of things to do, ideas to be realised and dreams to be achieved, my mum is currently here for a few days. (And, yes, it is simply amazing having her here!) In reality – what I could have done this afternoon, is have a (very well deserved) nap?
But no – I made a ‘tag blanket’ for workshop practice, and for little one…
Again, a simple little sewing project – but it has given much joy today… for both me, and Freddie! Fun nautical inspired prints from ‘The Craft Cotton Company’, different coloured and textured ribbons – great fun! 🙂 Keep your eyes peeled for a craft workshop on how to make them for yourself, coming soon…
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.
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:
- the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
- 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:
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.
Where does time go? It is a common question I ask – from one day to the next, one week to the next, suddenly from New Year’s Day we see Valentines and Easter in the shops, suddenly the clocks are springing forward, we are planning summer holidays, it’s BBQs, Autumn, Christmas… And so repeats the cycle.
It is already the middle of May. MAY. And, my blog posts have been a little (ahem, severely) lacking of late, which I apologise for, and predominantly relates to the aforementioned ‘biggest project’ of The Crafty Lass’ life in the title, which – I shall come back to.
May means – that one whole and first financial year of The Crafty Lass is complete! I say where does time go, but when I look back – an awful lot has actually happened in that year! When I handed my notice in to my full time employment, it was exciting – but ever so scary – I didn’t quite know where this was going to go, and what the future would hold – except, that it felt right. And so far, it turns out it WAS right. I miss the full time paycheque – but with less money, and more life I feel uplifted and incredibly lucky.
So, in that year I’ve gone from full time, to part time employment. I’ve held workshops and events locally, at both the Waitrose and John Lewis head offices, at Hobbycraft, at a Christmas Tree Farm dressed as an elf with real reindeers. I’ve been featured in my first magazine article (Papercraft Inspirations), I’ve been featured on The Guardian’s website as part of their Start Up of the Year competition, I’ve built the website up from scratch, created and sold my The Crafty Lass Greeting Card ranges and as part of this, created an Etsy store, created exciting commissions – from bunting, to fabric buttonholes, to paper flowers, feather painting, cupcake making, graphic designing, party decorations and even a bridesmaid dress into cushions! I’ve met lovely, brilliant people and companies. I’ve learnt that when you are following your dream, everyone wants to help you and are behind you. Which, in fact is incredibly humbling. Importantly, I followed up on a simple tweet about a new Craft Channel – which quickly followed to working in London planning and featuring in my own shows on Sky and working with them part time as a craft buyer…
I don’t simply list all these achievements in a ‘wow, look at me’, ‘aren’t I amazing’ kind of way… I mean, of course – it is nice to reflect, and think – yes I HAVE achieved a lot in just 12 short months. And no, it isn’t just a glorified hobby (which sometimes I wondered if it might end up being) but, I just mean that if you think about what you want, even if it means less money, less sleep, more working hours – you’ll make it work no matter what. I am incredibly lucky to have the emotional, logical and financial support from The Husband – but, at the end of the day it only takes ME, to get out of bed, get out of the pjs, go to the office (across the hallway) and carry on working till midnight if needed. (Although sometimes the getting out of the pjs part is optional!) It has been hard at times, but overall – the right decision.
So now, what is the future for The Crafty Lass? Well, as the title of this blog post suggests, I am about to undertake the biggest project of my life. In a recent, now too long ago post, I discussed my ‘new recruit’, Patch – who over the last 3 months has brought sunshine into our lives. Yes, there was the jumping on to the table (Patch, not me 😉 !) to steal my breakfast resulting in: ‘bacon-sandwich-gate’, there was the rolling in unprintable stuff down the park – 5 minutes before friends arriving – resulting in bath time craziness, there was the let’s eat a WHOLE BAG of doggie treats (very silly error by myself leaving them on the table when out…) resulting in a very happy followed by a temporarily poorly little doggie for an evening… However, these moments have been VERY few and far between. Mainly, it’s cuddles on the sofa, playtime with his beloved tennis balls, learning to understand his language, plenty of ‘walkies!’, watching him snuggle into his (it was mine!!) fluffy blanket… He is simply put – just SO CUTE!!!! There are still things to learn, more skills he needs to develop (like being able to cope and see other doggies!!) However, the home wouldn’t be the same without his four little legs tottering around, ‘helping’ you in the kitchen (I mean watching you intently in case you should happen to drop that roast chicken sort of helping) – he is there for you when you get home, he is part of the family.
So, aside from Patch – there is the little matter of, the pitter-patter of, little, tiny, feet…The Crafty Lass is expecting a baby! In fact today, I am 17 weeks along on this incredible journey.
Being honest, the lack of recent blog posts speaks volumes – my head in the last few months, normally filled with fabrics and buttons and paper craft ideas has been replaced with scans, appointments, nursery designs, names… I just can’t concentrate! I haven’t been the wellest of bunnies over the last few weeks – but, I am now feeling stronger and ready for the challenges ahead! I am still very much involved in various exciting projects – future workshop plans, expansion projects, ideas for products, more branding, events… BUT from a personal perspective it is the most special time I have ever experienced. Again, it is another scary but exciting time – and just when I handed my notice in ‘I don’t quite know where this is going to go, and what the future will hold – except, that it feels right.’
So, watch this space as whatever happens whether it be work life, or personal – there are clearly exciting times ahead 🙂
The Crafty Lass, Patch and now – Bubba Bump x
PS – And yes, I am doing some crazy ‘bumpies’ including the relevant sized fruit or vegetable relative to the ever growing bubba over on Instagram… why not check it out! 🙂
With a V.I.B. (Very Important Baby) on its way within the next week or two – what better way to celebrate than a cup of (Yorkshire) tea and a cupcake (or three)! And so, why not get crafty with some creative baking?
Royal blue, pillarbox red, and brilliant white to represent the gloriously patriotic Union Jack with bunting and flags a-go-go!
I made these cupcakes three years ago now in 2012 for the Queen’s Jubilee – but with the fourth in line to the throne about to be born, I thought it would be a welcome return for some spiffingly British crafty inspiration!
PS – Be warned, too much of the blue icing and it’ll leave your tongue turning blue, so easy on the colouring 😉 !