Tag : blog

The Crafty Lass does… Quick Make: Bottle Gift Bag!

With the call for more ways to reuse and upcycle - here is a fun and simple make for a little gift bag. You could use any fabrics you like, and of course this wouldn't have to be just for Christmas. You could even use something like an old shirt to turn it from unwanted clothing into something useful and reusable!

You could easily adjust the dimensions to wrap any present - but the measurements below are for a standard wine bottle. I decided to leave the bottle neck on show, but you could make it a little bit higher if you wanted to conceal it.

Ingredients:

Fabric

Thread

Ribbon

Tools:

Tape Measure

Sewing Machine

Scissors

Pins

Method

MEASURE

Measure out a rectangle of fabric - the dimensions for this one I made to fit a standard wine bottle are 32cm x 29cm.

SEW

Turn the top edge down by 1cm and stitch into place to secure the seam. I have used a decorative stitch for this, but you could use whatever you like!

SEW

Fold the fabric in half with the right sides together and sew in a simple straight stitch down the height, pivot and sew along the bottom using a 1cm seam allowance. Secure your threads in simple knots.

TURN OUT

Turn your bag out the right way, place bottle inside and tie up with a ribbon and a now. Et voila! One bottle bag! 🙂

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

The Crafty Lass does… Santa Hats Tutorial!

I know (and I say this a lot to myself, and here on this blog about various things) why would I want to MAKE one, when I could BUY one? Because, I am crafty. Mad too, I think. But also - for the sheer personal satisfaction.

To be honest, I was given this beautiful feathers fabric by the Craft Cotton Co, and inspiration just 'came' to me - 'I know that would make an amazing, and different Santa hat!' So, I decided to give it a try. And, then I got a little bit addicted to making them - so I now have one for Mummy, one for Freddie and one for Rupert. Daddy wants no part in this crafty hat situation! Bah humbug - but, what he doesn't know is I am likely to make one for him anyway... does he have a choice?! Not really...

I thought it would be hard... but I promise you, it is a very simple make! The thing that takes the longest is working out the sizes. So, a little bit of maths to get you started - but then you'll be away! And, soon you'll be addicted to making them like me...

Santa Hats Tutorial

Ingredients

Fabric

Faux Fur

Faux Fur Pompom or Pompom of choice

Thread

 

Tools

Tape Measure

Pencil

Sewing Machine

Iron

Needles

Pins

Method

MEASURE - Fabric

First, take the measurement of your wearer's head right around the circumference on their forehead. Now, we are going to measure out two triangles. We need to work out how big to make them to match the circumference. I will give you our measurements and examples below so you can see the workings out!

  • Mummy's (Adult)

My head circumference is 59cm. I increased this by 2cm to 61cm to allow a bit of 'wiggle room'.

Width: To work out how long the 'bottom' of the two triangles I would be cutting I divided this by 2 this = 30.5cm.

Then, I added 3cm to this for seam allowances = 33.5cm. Mark either end of this 33.5cm on your fabric ready for the next bit.

Height: Now you want to find the 'middle' of this which is 16.75cm. Mark this point on your fabric and then go as high as you would like the hat to be - I decided on 40cm. Mark this point on your fabric. Now create your triangle back down to either end of your original points with diagonal lines to create your triangle. That sounds very complicated, but is the sort of thing that it will be easier when you are just giving it a go, I promise!

It worked out that each diagonal line worked out to be 43.5cm long for reference.

  • Freddie's (Toddler)

Freddie's head circumference is 51cm. Increased this by 2cm to 53cm for the wiggle room part.

Width: 53/2 = 26.5cm. Plus 3cm for seam allowances = 29.5cm. This is for the bottom part and width of the triangle.

Height: Halfway point of this = 14.75cm, from here I then marked this at 38cm high. Then I created the diagonal lines back down which = 40cm.

  • Rupert's (Baby)

Rupert's head circumference is 45cm. Increased this by 2cm to 47cm for the wiggle room part.

Width: 47/2 = 23.5cm. Plus 3cm for seam allowances = 26.5cm. This is for the bottom part and width of the triangle.

Height: Halfway point of this = 13.25cm, from here I then marked this at 29cm high. Then I created the diagonal lines back down which = 32cm.

MEASURE - Fur

The fur needs to be cut in a long rectangle long enough to go all the way around your head in one go.

  • Mummy (Adult)

Width: I started out with a measurement of 59cm for my head circumference, we then upped that to 61cm for wiggle room. Then, we need to add 2cm for seam allowances = 63cm.

Height: I decided to base this on what I thought 'looked right'. Whatever measurement you would like the fur to be, double this as we will be folding the fur in half (this creates a nice fluffy edge on the head!) I decided 8cm of fur would look nice so I doubled this to 16cm. Then, we need to add 2cm for seam allowances = 18cm.

So I cut 1 x rectangle 63cm by 18cm of fur. Please note the direction of the fur - you will need to make sure it is pointing 'down' (not across) along the your width of the rectangle.

  • Freddie's (Toddler)

With Freddie's head circumference being 51cm and we upped that to 53cm for wiggle room, the rectangle I cut was:

55cm (including the 2cm of seam allowances) x 18cm.

  • Rupert's (Baby)

With Rupert's head circumference being 45cm and we upped that to 47cm for wiggle room, the rectangle I cut was:

49cm (including the 2cm of seam allowances) x 16cm.

CUT

Once you've cut your 2 triangles out of your fabric, place them right sides together before pinning around the edge to secure.

Fold your fur in half so that the two shorter edges meet with the fur on the inside and pin to secure.

SEW - Fabric

Sew up one of the diagonal fabric triangle edges using a 1cm seam allowance to the point of your hat, pivot and then sew back down the other side of the diagonal edge of your triangles.

 

SEW - Fur

Sew along the edge using a 1cm seam allowance to create a circle of fur.

ASSEMBLE - Pin

Fold your fur in half width ways so you have fur outwards on both sides of the circle of fur.

Turn your fabric 'hat' out the right way, and push the top point as far as you can.

Press with an iron to remove any creases.

Place the hat inside the circle of fur with the edges of both the hat, and the two edges of fur together. Pin in place to secure.

ASSEMBLE - Sew

Using a 1cm seam allowance, sew the three layers together. I would have expected to need to use a 'special' sewing machine needle for this, but I used my 'normal' one, and it was absolutely fine!

Note: Where the two triangle seams meet - there will be a 'dip' of a triangle that doesn't quite fit with the seam allowance on your fur part - which you may have noticed when pinning together - don't worry, we can trim that off in a bit!

TRIM 

Secure your threads and trim off the triangle bits just mentioned.

POMPOM

Hand sew your pompom on to the tip of the hat. Top-tip: make sure to not push your needle all the way through the faux faur pompom - needles are sharp, and the faux pompom is white!!!! #needlesaresharp #redspoldgesarenotagoodlook

Categories: Christmas, Crafty Kids, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… Halloween!

I know, I think I'm crazy sometimes too. I could have just bought a costume... But I WANTED to make one. Little Freddie has suddenly become very interested in Mummy's sewing machine - and thinks it is magic that I can take fabric and turn into something 'for you'. How perfect then, to make him a little 'wizard' outfit for Halloween!

CLOAK

Ingredients:

Fabric

Ribbon

Thread

Tools:

Sewing Machine

Scissors

Iron and Ironing Board (optional)

Method:

  1. Choose your fabrics! I have used a crushed stretch velvet for one side of this cloak and a fine netting with shiny stars on for the other. But, you could of course do both sides the same! Both of my chosen fabrics are by Visage Textiles from Hobbycraft.
  2. Measure. In terms of what to measure and cut out: the basic shape is a large rectangle. You will need one in each fabric (or the same fabric if you plan on doing the same on both sides.) You would need to adjust the size based on who you are making this for - but I measured the height of Freddie down to his mid-calf length and then used the full width of the material to give you a guide. You may want yours to be longer, narrower etc - but that gives you an idea! Just enough to go around the shoulders and down to the ground.
  3. Assemble. Lay out your two fabric rectangles right sides together and pin around the edge to secure into place.
  4. Ribbons.  I have used two strands of ribbon as the ties at the front of the cloak. Start by finding the mid point across one of the longer edges of your rectangle. Then, working outwards from this mid point insert the ribbons equally apart and pin to secure so that they are sandwiched inside your two fabrics. For Freddie's cloak they are about 20cms apart. It will need to just be enough of a gap for the wearer's neck.
  5. Sew - construct. In a simple straight stitch, sew all the way around the edge allowing a 1cm seam allowance. Leave a small gap for turning out the right way along one of the edges.
  6. Turn out. Turn out the correct way and if required, press with an iron.
  7. Sew - decoration. Sew around all four edges to secure everything in to place - I have chosen to use a decorative stitch for this, but it is completely up to you!
  8. Ribbon edge. As an optional extra finish I have folded the two edges of ribbons over and also stitched them down - this was purely as the ribbon I chose to use (a satin ribbon) was fraying alot, your ribbon may not need to be sewn down.

Et voila - one cloak! If you decide to give this a go, and need further help or ideas, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Drop me a message on any of The Crafty Lass social media.

HAT

Ingredients:

Fabric

Interlining/strong Interfacing Fabric

Thread

Tools:

Sewing Machine

Scissors

Method:

The main concept of how to make this hat - was from this 'MakerFreak' video: "10 Minute Harry Potter Wizard Hat"... It did take me longer than 10 mins! But, in time if you were making quite a few of these I can understand how it is a very quick make indeed. This tutorial also only shows how to put fabric on the outside of the hat - I decided to line my one also. So, follow the video as far as the final stage, but I also separately made a slightly smaller triangle (this will make sense once you watch the video!) for the inside and then before sewing around the bottom edge to secure, I pinned everything into position tucking all raw edges neatly inside.

The other thing to note is that for this to match Freddie's cloak; I layered up the fabrics: The crushed velvet with starry netting over the top for the outside in a double layer. Then it is the interfacing as the main structure, and just the crushed velvet on the inside. Again, I have chosen to do a decorative stitch around the bottom of the hat just to make it look extra special - but it doesn't alter the make if you wanted to just do something plainer!

PERSONALISED BUCKET

Ingredients:

Bucket

Cricut Holographic Vinyl

Cricut Transfer Tape (Optional)

Tools:

Cricut Maker Machine

Method:

Using the Cricut 'Design Space' app I have simply made some star shapes and then font for 'Freddie's Treats'. Using the holographic foil setting on the Cricut Maker* the shapes and text has been 'kiss cut' out and I simply added on to a plain small black bucket. A simple make - yet I think it is effective - and Freddie loves he has his own personalised sweetie container for Halloween!

*The Cricut Maker was gifted but all opinions expressed are my own.

 

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

The Crafty Lass does… World Book Day!

Sometimes, I get an idea in my head – and that’s it, the idea HAS to be done. It doesn’t matter whether that is going to take me all day and all night (and then all day and all night again) to complete whatever hair brained challenge I have set myself, or whether it is something with a long-term plan – it will go on ‘the list’.

The husband does laugh, as he is aiming to be ‘paperless’ – using apps to write lists, schedule and remember tasks, whereas I HAVE to have my notebook. And it is currently an Anthropologie notebook that says ‘the best is yet to come’ and, my bright, happiness bringing, lime green Lamy fountain pen. So specific! However, writing everything down in that notebook that needs to be done that day, week, month, year – it makes me focus! I cross off what has been achieved and I remember what I need to be doing next. Heaven forbid if it ever got lost!

My ‘crazy’ crafty ideas often surface at about 2am when up resettling our little man whilst trying to stay awake in the bit once he is asleep, but I cannot leave the room. The trouble is, I then can’t stop thinking about it – so I drift off again at 3am still wondering about things like ‘but how would I make that?’ or ‘I wonder if Hobbycraft sell X, Y, and Z’ – ‘maybe I could get there tomorrow somehow…’

That is precisely what happened with World Book Day.

A simple poster spotted at nursery – a reminder to come as your favourite book character on Thursday 7th March - World Book Day!

Well, challenge accepted.

First I was thinking, what do we already have that could be worn and fit in to one of his many favourite book themes? Or, could maybe be slightly tweaked? Then, out of nowhere came the idea that I could try and replicate The Very Hungry Caterpillar Butterfly… Well, once it was in my head – there was no going back. I had set myself my own high standard challenge and I HAD to make it. I started to think about all the colourful fabrics we had in the studio and how I could incorporate lots of prints and patterns to try and match the beautiful and eclectic drawings in the Eric Carle iconic children’s book.

In the morning, I measured our little man to see if I could then make the wings to his ‘full height’, like the illustrations. I raided the remnants bin, and started to cut the shapes out. Effectively, trying to 'draw' with fabric.

It soon became apparent I had set myself quite a task to cut and applique on all the different shapes, colours and patterns, but I was enjoying myself… and isn’t that kind of the point with craft?!

As the day and then evening wore on, the first wing began to take shape – and I could see how big it was going to be! I started to wonder if the wings really could be worn by a toddler… As much as they would match his height – maybe they would be just a pain for him to carry round? (That’s if I could even get him to put them on!)

Evening 1 = 1 wing completed. One to go…

The beauty of the amazing artwork in The Very Hungry Caterpillar – is they are so unique, and the two sides of the butterfly don’t match! So, I could be creative with what fabrics to pick and choose for each side.

Evening 2 = 2nd wing. Done!

Once the wings were now initially made, the next challenge was how to make them into something that could actually be worn. I thought about ribbons to pull around the shoulders. But, they would likely slip off the shoulders. So then, maybe attaching them to an outfit could work? But as I wanted them to be worn by either toddler, or likely adult, it needed to be something flexible.

The next day, off to Hobbycraft we went... elastic! – I suddenly thought about how fairy wings are assembled – and decided I would make a central panel to attach the wings to, and some elastic loops to swiftly enable the wings to be taken on and off as and when pleased!

I also found some Vilene fabric interfacing. Normally used for things like curtain pelmets – but it was perfect! This could be attached to the fabric wings to make them stiff, and essentially make the design stick out like actual wings! I also picked up some really bright blue felt – lovely and soft, and a nice plain contrast to the rather crazy ‘front’, to put on the back behind this new interfacing.

Evening 3. I lay out the fabric wings on to the interfacing and backing felt, then sewed around the edge and then basically just trimmed to the shapes required!

Evening 4. The final evening (also note, the night before World Book Day so it had to get finished come hell or high water!) I made a small and simple rectangular panel out of some coordinating fabric, with elastic loops tucked inside to allow the arms to go through. I also used some more of the interfacing inside to make this panel nice and strong – before simply sewing the edges of the wings on to it. DONE!

It really isn’t my ‘finest’ of sewing – most of the fabrics have ‘raw’ edges, and there are places where it could be improved – but does it really matter? It hopefully looks like the book, it will hopefully bring little man some joy - and importantly, I really did enjoy making them!

I then did honestly proceed to wear them round the house for about an hour – for no reason other than because I could! Within this hour, I also tried to work out what I could do if he wouldn’t wear the wings. I mean, in all honesty – no secret about it, I would love to wear them for nursery drop off – but it would actually mean he didn’t have a costume! And, I am not sure the point of all of this, is for the Mummy and Daddy's to be dressed up, but the kiddiwinks not!!!

Aha – well, I found his green trousers, and we definitely have a green stripey top. Perfect for a little caterpillar.  AND THEN – I remembered  (and then very handily FOUND!) that we were given a Very Hungry Caterpillar hand knitted hat for when he was a baby. Would it fit?! Unlikely but I could give it a go if needed in the morning…

World Book Day.

I asked little man to try on the wings – he looked at me like I was crazy but did let me put them on him. What he actually wanted to do was take them off and look at all the colours! He looked so lovely with these huge colourful prints emerging from his beautiful tiny body. But, within 5 minutes – they were off. I put them on, and he laughed – so, if it made him smile – that I suppose was worth it in all reality – who cares who wore them. He was happy.

Into the green 'outfit' for him, and by some crazy knitted-stretchy miracle, the found Very Hungry Caterpillar baby hat did indeed (just!) fit!

So, we rocked up to nursery with him as a caterpillar, and me as the butterfly. It kind of worked! #teamwork

I left the wings at nursery for staff to use for the day if they wanted, and apparently lots of the children liked all the colours and textures on them! 🙂

So, that is it for this year, World Book Day – done! It has been crossed off 'the list'.

The trouble is, I have now set a precedent. What will I make next year?!

In the meantime, at the point of collecting him from his day at nursery, the World Book Day costume sign had come down – and a new one put up in it’s place.

'Dress as a Disney character – Friday 15th March!'

I had best get my thinking cap on…

World Book Day - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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

Good things never came from comfort zones.

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

Me? Go self employed?

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

 

I waited a while.

 

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

 

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

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

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

But, they weren’t.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My ‘job’ never feels like work. EVER.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The time flew by.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Dream Big. Good things never came from comfort zones.

 

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

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

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! 🙂 

 

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! 🙂

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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