Tag : blog

Good things never came from comfort zones.

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

Me? Go self employed?

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

 

I waited a while.

 

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

 

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

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

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

But, they weren’t.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My ‘job’ never feels like work. EVER.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The time flew by.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Dream Big. Good things never came from comfort zones.

 

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

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

The Crafty Lass does… The UK Blog Awards!

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

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

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

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! ūüôā 

 

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… 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

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

Getting to know The Crafty Lass!

How exciting! The Craft Channel interviewed me this week, to learn all about The Crafty Lass, and how I set the business up! ūüôā

You can read all about it here, on The Craft Channel’s blog!

Categories: Business, TV

Top 5… Autumn Crafts!

Wow, what a week! The Crafty Lass is busy, busy, busy… you might have guessed by the very severe lack of blog posts over the last few weeks! Sometimes I wish there was two of me – not sure my husband would like twice the nagging, but I would certainly get a lot more done (both chores and crafts!!!)

For those of you who don’t know – I actually started a new job this week in addition to The Crafty Lass. I joined The Craft Channel buying team (very exciting) and potential for ‘on air’ demonstrations (VERY exciting!)

Anyway – just want to put this out there: I LOVE AUTUMN. I think it may actually be my favourite season. The cold nights drawing in – suddenly allowed to have multiple accessories – the woolly hats, my beloved mittens that come out year after year, boots, patterned tights, I do own about 100 scarfs (no joke)… Anyway enough about my wardrobe. It’s not just an egotistical fashion drive – it’s the glorious colours in nature, the warming winter food, large glasses of red wine and cups of hot chocolate – the knowledge that it will soon be Halloween, bonfire night and then CHRISTMAS.

My new (did I mention exciting?) role, does however have one down side… a drive to London. However, I have decided that actually, it is only a ‘downside’ if you think of it that way. I can chat to friends and family (handsfree of course), listen to audio books, and look at the wonderful scenery! As much as yes – it is long – and something that for me, will certainly take some time to get used to – it has certainly made me think – wow, our countryside is BEAUTIFUL. I am fortunate that the majority of the commute is straight down the M40 – with lovely rolling green hills, villages and towns passing me by as I whizz down the motorway in my little (“SMARTy Pants”) Smart car – otherwise knows as my Pocket Rocket… “ROCKY”!

The sky this week, can only be described as EPIC. Not sure if the ‘blood moon’ has had anything to do with it – but the sun has somehow been ‘yellower’, the clouds vibrant in brushstrokes of oranges and reds across the sky. Combined with low lying mist, and the fact I have been seeing both sunrise, and sunset on the motorway – the days are certainly getting shorter…it made me think AUTUMN IS ON IT’S WAY!

Anyway, enough about me, my new love for driving to London and Autumn – here are my Top 5… Autumn Crafts!

 

1. Leaf Placecards

Wow – just how stunningly effective are these! Leaf ‘placecards’ – gold ‘dipped’ and covered in beautiful calligraphy… It sounds time consuming, but worth the extra effort! You’ll not see your Autumnal walk in the park in the same way again…!

 

2. Glitter Leaves

Sticking to the ‘leaf’ theme – you can’t go wrong with a bit of glitter… ALOT of glitter. Such an effective garland! The guide advises to use artificial leaves – however, I am sure you could use ‘real’ ones, if you allow them to be pressed/dried out beforehand.

 

3. Pine Cone Garland

This is so beautiful – it would look fantastic at Christmas on your tree, or hanging on the mantelpiece. I already have a small hoard of pinecones from last Autumn in the loft… (you never know when they will come in handy!!) So this is certainly a craft that I will be trying!

 

4. Stick Crown

A craft for your little ones here – they’ll have so much fun making this crown with you! You can go on a lovely woodland walk, collect twigs and et voila a new fancy dress accessory!

 

5. Ombre Pinecones

What a fun craft! You have to agree – they look pretty beautiful painted! This would be lovely coordinated with another place setting idea here – where you simply saw them almost in half and add in your name card. Almost makes we wish we’d got married in Autumn and not Spring!

 

Have fun!

Categories: Business, General Craft, Top 5

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