Tag : bump

The Crafty Lass does… Maternity Leave!

How is it May? MIDDLE of May.

Christmas, Januuuuuuuuuuuuuary.

FebruaryMarchApril. MAY.

And so that’s it, I am on Maternity Leave as of the end of today. The last 36 weeks in particular have been super speedy – part of me feels like I’ve been expecting a baby forever, part of me thinks – how is he nearly here… 

I have been on proper nesting mode for weeks, months now – I get really agitated if things go out of place! That combined with a toddler, a dog, and us timing some pre-baby building works in our home, it has at times become a crazy, cluttered very much a NOT-so-nesting-friendly-space… you can imagine! But, the works we had done were very much worth it, the dust has settled – and now things can try and go back to a semi-Marie-Kondo-style zen zone. (Apart from the toddler ‘stuff’ – how can such a little person create such craziness?!) 

So the house is returning to ‘normality’. The hospital bags are packed. The checklists are getting ticked off. I think everything is ready. Well, as ready as it can be.

Expect one thing.

Me… Am I ready?

In reality – I am not sure you can ever be fully ready. But I do think I am partly still in disbelief that inside my ever expanding belly is a human. An actual person. A tiny, perfect little being that is growing, developing every single day. It is a miracle that I do not take for granted.

I think the disconnect between bump and an actual real baby is completely normal. Well, I felt the same with my first pregnancy – of course I KNEW I was having a BABY – my belly wasn’t JUST biscuits – but the reality still seemed a shock when he arrived kicking and screaming into the world! This time I question, how on earth will I be able to love another human as much as our little man? For all the hard nights of no sleep, of worry when they are poorly, or day to day life struggles – parenting can be incredibly hard, but it is still an utter joy to be cherished. 

I saw this quote on Facebook the other week during World Maternal Mental Health Week – on Amy Davis Yoga – it stuck out to me as it is firstly by one of my all time favourites – Nigella Lawson – and secondly, because it just sums it up nicely…

Talking of ‘social media’ – I recently posted myself that I was feeling ‘wobbly’ as the pregnancy hormones had well and truly hit – and it was a simple thing that I realised with upcoming nursery days, the weekends, a bank holiday and various amazing family help planned in to the diary – that there were only a few days left of just me and little man. Obviously, there isn’t – there will always be times when it is ‘just us’ – but it is the end of era. Things will be different. Good, amazing, incredible different of course, but different all the same. It turns out – I am not alone; my ‘wobbles’ are normal – and I feel reassured that the new amazing, will be just that: amazing. Hard maybe, but it’ll be fine in one way or another!

Being someone who is constantly on the go, always working on several projects, writing lists, continually thinking about The Crafty Lass – it is strange with maternity leave to be firstly told to STOP and second of all listen to that and actually rest. It’s just strange. I’ve generally been well throughout the pregnancy, but as we near the final stages, I am just super tired. I have had a nasty cold too – but a daily conversation in our house is all about being told off for ‘doing too much’. I quite often don’t think I have been doing too much – but often forget that actually just looking after a toddler, reorganising the house, the nesting stuff that continues on and on, life, fitting in all our maternity appointments (we are consultant led and have appointments most weeks in some way or another) and in addition to still finishing final commissions, some crafty projects, press and social media requests, paperwork – it isn’t just ‘nothing’. So, I am now conceding that finally, maybe sometimes a proper sit down with a cup of tea, tv, biscuits, maybe even a cheeky nap is a good thing – while I can…

This blog was never intended to be just self associated ‘heart on sleeve’ writings – so if you’ve got this far – thank you for reading! Selfishly it has, and some recent other blog posts too, been nice to be openly ‘chat’ about what is going on in both the business, but also life. I think with any small business, it is important to be transparent. And, the ethos of The Crafty Lass workshops is about obviously learning new skills, making some beautiful things – but also about social interaction,  meeting like minded people, sort of a target on ‘craft mindfulness’. Some of the conversations that are had in The Old Grain Store – well, what goes in the craft room, stays in the craft room… but, it is often heart warming to know people can chat openly, make new connections, feel comfortable talking about how craft makes them FEEL, and the challenges people are working their way through. I suppose this blog post is an opportunity to be open and honest about myself! Yes, I cannot wait for this new chapter of our lives, but I am partly sad that I won’t be on full The Crafty Lass mode for a while…

But don’t worry, The Crafty Lass isn’t stopping, it is just having a little ‘mini-break’. My husband likened it to a car on a Winter’s day: the engine is still running, the car won’t ice up – the key is in the ignition and you can just decide when to jump in and take it on a new journey… 

On maternity leave there are a certain amount of ‘keep in touch days’ I can be involved in – ’10’ to be precise, and that’s great as it gives me a ‘limit’. A finite amount of days to allocate to ‘work’. We all know that as much as I am looking forward to baby cuddles, all the craziness that comes with ‘learning’ about a new little person and being ‘just’ a mum for a while – if an opportunity comes along, I am likely to want to say ‘yes’ to whatever it is – and maybe I will be able to, maybe actually – I won’t – but I will just need to take everything in to consideration.

There are already some things planned in, some exciting press opportunities that are already completed and ready for publishing, I have my mind thinking on future grand plans like the books I am writing and some new workshop ideas. The next major event I am working towards is the very exciting The Handmade Festival as a Kirstie ‘expert’ teaching ‘Get Creative with Air Dry Clay’ in September at Hampton Court Palace. Such an amazing opportunity and it will be a fantastic few days! Make sure you book your ticket and your workshop spaces before they sell out!  

I have already been asked about Christmas workshops this year and the answer is… ‘I don’t know’! I would like to think, and hope there will be some workshops, but I will have to just see how I feel at that point and how things are going… Maybe not a great business model to not have a real longer term plan – but that is how it is for now and I am lucky to have that flexibility. It is certainly ‘watch this space’…  

If you follow The Crafty Lass Instagram and Facebook pages you will have likely noticed things have ‘slowed’ recently apart from a few crafty projects here and there: things for the baby, things for the home, but also things for our little man – that try and en-capture memories. There will likely be a few more crafty things that pop up from time to time – but get ready for #babyspam! 

So for now, it’s adieu and you will be sure to know when the crafty baby arrives… 

See you ‘soon’, whenever that might be. The car is ready and waiting.

The Crafty Lass x

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

The Crafty Lass does… Biggest project of her life!

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! 🙂

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Categories: Business, General Craft

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