Tag : clogs

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… 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...

Feel the Fear…

The Crafty Lass currently features in the BOOTS Health and Beauty magazine for January/February 2019 – in an article all about conquering our fears. What better way to start the New Year with a blog post featuring a little bit more about mine, and what resolutions and steps I took to change this…

Phobias: they are illogical, irrational, frustrating and very real.

It doesn’t matter whether you are frightened of spiders, the dark… or in my case: needles (not the crafty type, thankfully) – it is certainly a really overwhelming, all-consuming emotion that you cannot and will not do the thing you need to face. Well, sometimes you have to – but under much protest!

Admitting you have a phobia to other people, well it did for me anyway – it made me feel weak. I am quite a positive and ‘strong’ person – why would I be frightened of something?

Well… there was an ‘incident’ when I was younger that seemed to be the trigger… What an irony that a craft kit likely caused my phobia! Who knows, the mind is a funny thing sometimes. A large tapestry needle went into my thumb. It was Boxing Day, I got up early as I was so excited to play with my new crafty items from Santa! But, I didn’t quite understand that I shouldn’t be using it unsupervised, and not in the way I was using it… Much to my parents horror when they awoke to my tears! But – I was ok, it wasn’t as bad an injury as perhaps I considered at the time at a young, tender age – was that enough to cause all this stress in my adult life?

When it came to needles, I wasn’t ‘in control’ – I knew my reaction would be to pull away, to scream – in one particular incident I sadly and instinctively hit out at the nurse, as my gut reaction was to get it and her away from me. All that panic and movement ironically would be MORE dangerous and painful and stressful – than if I just let them get on with their job! Sorry Miss Nurse from my school days as a teenager…

Phobias can cause crying, breathing difficulties, panic attacks – and avoidance of the said thing… but sometimes fears need to be faced.

I decided enough was enough. Something needed to give. I didn’t need tests and jabs all the time, but what about holidays, and children? And what better way to face my fear than by helping others.

I had always wanted to ‘give blood’. I was healthy, I had no reason to ‘not’ – except the sitting there giving blood part. Involving needles.

I decided to just sign up – and go for it. If everyone else there could, why couldn’t I? And, if I could sit there for 20 minutes or so with a needle pumping blood out of my arm – surely, I could have inoculations if needed, or blood tests if required – without all the panic and crying and desperation beforehand?

I felt panicky in the build-up that week – I questioned if I was losing my mind. I questioned if I could even go through with it. But there was a big difference in donating blood to a ‘normal’ blood test or inoculation. I was in control. I didn’t HAVE to do this, and even stranger – I WANTED to do this.

And, I did it.

I unbelievably DID IT! I couldn’t believe that I, Paula Milner, had donated blood! And, as a bonus, I got free squash and chocolate biscuits too!

And, I was right – as a result, after donating several more times and from taking back more control – my phobia HAS calmed down. Yes, I don’t LOVE needles now (who does?) I certainly won’t be first in the queue for a tattoo, and sometimes it is still hard to have tests – but you can get a blood test out of me within a few minutes, with only often a few tears afterwards rather than the huge panic before… and actually, usually tears as I did it, I am proud I have just let the nurse do their job without panic! Currently pregnant with all the tests required, feeling like a human pin cushion is becoming regularly common place, so this lack of fear is becoming albeit useful and time saving!

Giving blood is something that doesn’t take long, and is such a needed and worthwhile and needed cause. You’re not allowed to donate whilst pregnant, or have visited certain countries within a certain time frame – so I have had to have a little break on donating since our honeymoon and little man – but it will be on my New Year’s resolution list for 2020!

What phobias do you have? Have you ever attempted to ‘overcome’ them? Would you like to change how you feel? Sometimes, I think you sadly can’t always change how you feel no matter how hard you try – but perhaps, hopefully there might be a way.  

Categories: Business, General Craft, Places to Go & Things to See

The Crafty Lass ADVENTure…

It has certainly been that… what an adventure it has been!

2nd October 2017 – we sold our first ever ticket for The Crafty Lass workshops at the Old Grain Store workshop studio… part of me feels like it was a lot LOT longer ago, and the other part says where has that year gone?!

The moment that someone bought that ticket, the first ticket, took a leap of faith – booked, paid, wanted to come. What a heart soar, what a joyous moment to treasure. 

However – you know what? I feel like that for every. single. booking. Every. Single. One.

For every crafter that wants to come and visit, for every crafter that brings their friend, that recommends us, that leaves full of tea and biscuits and happy with their makes and creates – it makes me so so happy. Our work is done. Well, actually, as every self employed business person knows, the work is NEVER done! 

We are absolutely looking forward to Christmas this year – we have a much wider range of workshops on offer and are ever so grateful to the people who have reserved their spaces. Most classes are amazingly already sold out – which for the 1st October, is some pretty organised crafters! We are actually hosting our first Christmas workshop as a private booking this coming Sunday 7th October for an old dear friend and his family… travelling all the way from Bristol!

The countdown to Christmas is ON!

I love Christmas. I am pretty sure I have said this in every single The Crafty Lass blog post – it always manages to sneak its way in somewhere to my writing…

And, with that love for the festive side of our year – what better way to count down to the big day than with a crafty ADVENTure and a craft advent calendar? 

The Crafty Lass® ADVENTure has been in design stages for approximately two years – so when the opportunity came up to collaborate with such a renowned craft company as Craft Buddy – it was an opportunity not to be missed! The inspiration for the contents of the calendar have come from everything you might need to personalise your Christmas – little details to make gifts, make your home festive, your Christmas table, present wrapping, even decorate your Christmas clothes – and generally get very Christmassy! The main focus includes your ‘classic’ Christmas craft items, but also some beautiful and unusual items to make things extra special. And, one of the most magical and important qualities of the calendar is that it has zero plastic packaging inside!

We are also delighted to be able to announce that the calendar will be for sale on Hochanda

Sky 673, Freeview 85, Freesat 817 & Online
Wednesday 31st October 12noon and 4pm

Eeek!

If you had asked me this time last year – would I be working on my own product designs? And, would I be going back on to Shopping TV to sell said products? I wouldn’t have thought you were mad… but I would be delighted, and I am. 

With the calendar – we hope that you are inspired. We hope that it allows you some little time to get creative each day. Or, maybe you might like to combine items, and save some of them up for bigger crafty makes! Who knows, you can do whatever you like!

We look forward to seeing all the makes and creates… Where will the ADVENTure take you?

#TheCraftyLassADVENTure

#MakeCreateInspire

#ChristmasCLOGS

Categories: Business, Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, TV

A wreath is for life, not just for Christmas…

Autumn.

For some, this is purely just the long, grey transition from the warm and bright Summer days into our dreary, cold, drab - and of late, very snowy Winters here in the UK.

For, me - it is the 'calm before the storm'... and I actually really love this season. I've talked before on this blog about my love for 'September', as it feels like a fresh start - a new term. Autumn actually officially starts this year on Sunday 23rd September 2018 - much later than I realised! As it already feels like we are there. The leaves are changing. It is starting to feel 'fresh' in the morning. Starbucks are even on with their Pumpkin Spiced Lattes!

Living in the glorious Northamptonshire countryside, and with a little man who loves a daily little jaunt around the village - you can see it. I love watching the leaves change from lush green to vibrant palettes of reds, yellows, russets and orange. You can just feel that Summer is starting to say goodbye for another year.

We are starting to gear up and say hello for our Christmas workshops here at The Crafty Lass - with our first 'private' wreath workshop booking being on October 7th - so just around the corner...! I have even started my Christmas shopping believe it or not... #organised. Working on Christmas 'all year round' pretty much - always planning the following year workshops at any given time - you might think I am bored of all the festivity... nope - I love it. And I hope that, that 'love' and 'passion' for 'the most wonderful time of the year' really shows in our workshops!!

I really love Autumn... as it signifies we are nearly there! It is nearly Christmas. We are allowed to wear big cosy jumpers. And scarves! (I own too many scarves so the cold weather means an excuse to wear them!) We start to eat all the yummy things in life - stews, roasts, crumble, pie. Syrup sponge! Red wine! To be honest, I eat (and drink!) most of these all year round, but somehow Autumn just signifies MORE of these yummy, scrummy things.

That is also why I particularly love 'Advent'. I love the whole excitement and build up to the very 'big day' every year. When I was a child, I would LOVE opening my little advent calendar door. One more chocolate to devour, and one more door down until Christmas Day.

Advent however, is no longer JUST about chocolate. You can get beauty advent calendars. Beer. Cheese! Well, I know what sort of calendar I would want...

You may have seen on our blog, or social media particularly - but The Crafty Lass, in collaboration with Craft Buddy are very excitedly launching a CRAFT advent calendar this year! A little box of craftiness every day to be opened and enjoyed across 24 days... We can shortly reveal exactly how and when and where you will be able to get your hands one! Where will the journey take you? #TheCraftyLassADVENTure

Anyway, this wasn't really meant to go on a tangent to Christmas (but I love it, so it does generally tend to appear often!) there will be plenty of time for that later...

When I joined the WI (this isn't another tangent, this is integral to the whole point of this post!) I hoped to become more involved in the community - I hoped to meet some lovely ladies, and make some new friends. I hoped to learn a few new things... All of this so far as been achieved, and more! There has been lots of lovely food, there has been plenty of tea and cake, chats, social occasions with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Oh, and the odd WI Life magazine front cover...(!)

This month's meeting was to try something completely new to me: Willow weaving!

I currently have a very large, and beautiful hand crafted willow wreath sat in the studio - and every year I think I MUST do something with this - it is lovely. And, how was it made?! Little did I know, we would get to make our own.

The tuition was held by the engaging and thoroughly knowledgeable Deborah Jones. She explained the hows and whys of the wood, and just how we could create a simple and beautiful wreath design before we were quickly off and giving it a go!

How quickly the wood transforms into a circular and flowing wreath is amazing! The wood bending naturally round into a circular shape - a bit like 'sewing with wood' is certainly how you could describe it. Flowing back and forth, wrapping the wood round and round and round. And the smell, was beautiful! Almost like Christmas 'pine' but more Autumnal and smokey. If that didn't make us feel ready for this beautiful season, I am not sure what would!

I have always admired 'non' Christmas wreaths. Wreaths that go with every season, a new theme and idea every month - but, I had never quite got the full inspiration and ideas (and time?) to do something about it. However, Deborah's class last night really got me thinking.

So, wreath complete, and inspired - off we went on an Autumn 'forage' today with our daily morning walk. Some beautiful fallen leaves, dried cow parsley and grasses. Berries and poppy heads. Things that actually, I wouldn't have maybe given a second glance to - but would have looked lovely all together just simply shoved in a vase! However, they had another purpose... I wanted to create an 'Autumn Wreath' using the newly acquired handmade willow base.

I tripped off to Hobbycraft too for an 'Autumnal' craft hunt (amongst lots of other ideas!) and purchased the 'pink pepperberries' in the display for the final finish - but everything else is simply either from my garden, next door neighbours garden (I did ask!) and some local hedgerows... attached with floristry gold binding wire, hessian twine and a couple of dabs of a hot glue gun for extra 'security'...

It may not last long, it may need 'refreshing' soon - but, that's ok. As, I will soon be planning one with Ivy, and Holly and 'Glitter' and much more 'Christmassy' 'traditional' wreath things... but for now, I have a daily reminder on my front door - it is certainly, and/or very nearly 'Autumn'. And, isn't that a lovely thing.

 

Categories: Business, Christmas, General Craft, House & Home

The Journey

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.

 

Categories: Business, Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, Places to Go & Things to See, Workshops

The best-laid plans of mice and (craftswo)men.

I am pretty sure that 99% of my blog posts start about how busy I have been. But, it’s true…! That – and/or, I am knackered… And, the year flies by… the featured image is over 15 months ago – what?!

Anyone who tells you that the self-employment route is easy, is LYING! Yes, I am my own boss, yes, I don’t dread Monday’s and yes, I have flexibility to change my day around when required – but – it is never easy.

Today, I woke up to the start of the week – ready for ambition, to get stuff done! I was working by 7am with a cup of tea whilst little man very happily played.  And, I even posted to say ‘Today will be fabulous’. End quote.

Got in the car, ready for lots of tasks to be achieved at 9am. Got to Brackley (a 30 minute car journey via a diversion) for the start of tasks being completed… and my little one was violently ill… 

I am not really one for ‘change’. I had a plan, and this needed to change dramatically due to the circumstances – E.g. cancel everything and return home. BUT – when it is this sort of situation, instinct kicks in. You don’t think of anything else, other than making sure they are OK and happy, and warm and safe and just not – sick. BUT – if this was about answering to a boss, and circumstances made me call my work to apologise for the change of plans – that would be even more of a stressful situation than it was. And, most people – most women and men too, this is just the norm and reality of life. Kids, you cannot plan for them – and absolutely hats off to anyone that has to balance full time work, with their children. My boss was OK about today’s changes… (:me.)

Coming home, and laying in bed with my child – is not the relaxing situation you would envisage. They wriggle. They kick. He doesn’t talk as much as you would hope – so he cannot tell you if he is tired, hungry, thirsty, upset, just wants a specific item – so I opted for cuddles, cartoons, and the hope he would be a normal happy chappy again soon. Which – he was, and is absolutely fine! Great! But, as much as you are super relieved – it now means the day is gone, and the planned work is not achieved. Instead, it is now 9pm and I am ‘working’ – a glass of red in hand and ‘trying’ to work and ‘relax’ at the same time…

On a completely separate note – today I did manage to achieve something different and out of my ‘comfort zone’ – and entered a local Business Women of the Year competition in the area of Business Communicator. Nothing may come of this – and a panel of judges need to check through this, short list the applicants and then the awards ceremony is later in September. Writing the application was actually quite a shock. It is isn’t often I truly ‘stop’ and look at where the last year has taken me, the business, the different achievements and actually life goals ticked off – I *may* have shed a tear! Anyway, having read the criteria – I feel like I do meet the requirements… but, you never know. It is nice for me to have been even asked to enter! Wish me luck! 

Life has generally been quite busy recently and I did originally blog a few weeks and months ago to say August was OFF – but it hasn’t worked out as planned. Now, in reality I am NEVER OFF – even if I have a break, I answer emails and am constantly THINKING about the next steps for the business, but I haven’t even switched off to the level that I anticipated – BUT there is a difference, I am ok with this as everything is very exciting! Products being designed, 1-1 craft workshops being held, awards to enter and plans for Christmas to be put in place! 

20th August… I am already in mega Christmas mode. Some very exciting things ahead, I don’t blame myself for getting caught up in everything when I am ‘meant’ to be on holiday… However, the true countdown is on for Thursday of this week! I don’t need to say much more than: #SpaDay.

It. Is. Needed.

I did think I wouldn’t even take my phone, but who am I kidding?!

But – my phone will certainly be switched off for my 50 minute booked back massage… #GoAwayWhoeverYouAre 

Categories: Business, Crafty Kids, Places to Go & Things to See, Workshops

NEW – THE CRAFTY LASS CHRISTMAS WORKSHOPS!

You might be thinking – it’s August.

You might be thinking – it’s too HOT for Winter?!

You might be thinking – what craft workshops are available at The Crafty Lass for Christmas?!

 

Well – the dates are HERE! Tickets are not yet live for booking – but it doesn’t mean you can’t get the dates in the diary… Ticket prices, full details and the ability to reserve your space will be available in the next few weeks!

In addition to our existing workshops, these are the NEW workshop dates to added. Other workshops are likely to be updated, and please note these are subject to change. BUT, we have been pretty much been planning Christmas 2018… since January 2018 (!) – to get things into The Crafty Lass calendar is a whole other logistical and admin nightmare completely! BUT you don’t care about that – what are the dates?! And – what are the crafts on offer…?! Well here goes..

 

Saturday 22nd September – Lampshade Making! (PM) (Christmas or ‘non’ Christmas!)

Sunday 28th October – Decoupage and decorate a ‘Pumpkin’! (End of Half Term: Available for Crafters aged 10+) (AM)

Sunday 4th November – Christmas Cards and Gift Wrap Wood Block Printing (PM)

Sunday 11th November – ONLINE WORKSHOP – Felt Mistletoe Brooch (YES – ONLINE – It does not matter where you live, this will be LIVE via the power of Social Media…) (TBC)

Saturday 17th November – Baby’s First Christmas Wood Block Printing (AM)

Sunday 18th November – Christmas Hessian Sack Wood Block Printing (PM)

Saturday 24th November – Fabric Rag Christmas Wreaths or Fabric Rag Christmas Tinsel (AM)

Sunday 25th November – Evergreen Christmas Wreaths (PM)

Wednesday 28th November – Evergreen Christmas Wreaths (EVE)

Saturday 1st December – Evergreen Christmas Wreaths (AM)

Sunday 2nd December – Fabric Rag Christmas Wreaths or Fabric Rag Christmas Tinsel (AM)

Saturday 8th December – Christmas Napkins and Table Mats Wood Block Printing (AM)

Sunday 9th December – Christmas Tea Towels and Aprons Wood Block Printing (PM)

Tuesday 11th December – Decorate your own Christmas Jumper! (EVE)

And, don’t forget – our The Crafty Lass Introduction to The Crafty Christmas – our six-week Crafty term on a Tuesday evening!

Once these final pages are up and live for booking – don’t you worry – you WILL be notified! 

Please check back soon for further updates and information.

Happy Christmas! 

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

I don’t like rollercoasters.

I don’t like rollercoasters. In fact I hate them!

I am that one that will gladly wait at the finish with the coats and bags.

I just don’t see the point of them! WHY would you allow yourself to be transported through the air by metal and engineering to feel sick and full of adrenaline?! Perhaps for exactly that reason… Strange. The Husband LOVES rollercoasters. And he MADE me go on one once at Alton Towers to show him I was deadly serious how much I hated them. He learnt his lesson and I will never go on one again! Side note – why did I go to Alton Towers if I hate rollercoasters… I actually have NO IDEA. WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY! I did get to see my friends of course, but mainly whilst holding all their stuff…

However, The Crafty Lass is certainly on a rollercoaster right now. But this one I will gladly stay on for the ride. So far it’s been a lovely and pleasant journey – with quite a few more highs than lows. This rollercoaster I am staying firmly ON.

In the last two weeks since my last blog post, we have finally been able to announce several pieces of very exciting news! 

Firstly, I am becoming an official tutor at The Women’s Institute college – Denman, in Marcham near Abingdon. There are selected dates now live on their website to book in for 2019 and I will be teaching paper flower making, wood block printing and lampshade making! Denman college is the most beautiful quintessentially British building and I feel honoured to be able to teach there and for the WI. The courses are often residential and so the ‘higher’ price point – isn’t just for me teaching! It includes your accommodation and your (delicious!) food and drink too. A craft retreat – what more could you want?!

Additionally and unexpectedly we have also WON the former ‘Dragon’ Theo Paphitis’ SBS (Small Business Sunday) competition! Well I say ‘unexpectedly’… I had been entering The Crafty Lass ‘on and off’ for about 3 years with a weekly ‘tweet’ pitch so I certainly hoped to win one day – but, it still came as a shock to be selected! So… just what is SBS? And what does that actually mean?! The SBS website explains it probably a lot better than I can, so see all about it HERE should you so wish to know more!

Press wise – on the back of the SBS win, we featured in the local paper: The Banbury Guardian, and on their website. We are also going to have a brief Autumnal ‘crafty mention’ in Mother & Baby magazine in their September issue. And, if you are a WI member – keep your eyes peeled for an exciting feature in the October edition of WI LIFE magazine. This time, not about how to make anything – but all on The Crafty Lass! We also have some guest blog posts coming up featuring on the lovely Craft Cotton Co blog

Today – was a VERY exciting day. Today, we shared that I have been working on my own The Crafty Lass craft products over the last YEAR! And, it is now all happening in collaboration with the brilliant company – Craft BuddyThe first product will certainly be an ADVENTure… in fact it will be The Crafty Lass ADVENTure!

Yes – that IS a CRAFT ADVENT CALENDAR! If you would like to know about this in regards to this – please visit www.thecraftylass.com/thecraftylassadventure to sign up to our mailing list for the latest news and updates.

All these things have been shared within just the last 2 weeks… and, in addition to this believe it or not, there are also several other projects bubbling away under the surface that I am yet able to reveal… so watch this space!

This rollercoaster isn’t over yet…

#TheCraftyLassADVENTure

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

Feel the fear… And, do it anyway!

What are you afraid of?

 

When I was considering becoming self-employed, honestly – the main thing stopping me – was I was scared of doing my accounts. The admin, the paperwork. The every single receipt keeping. The checking every single thing. The worry.

I am an organised person – I am actually (believe it or not!) despite the craftiness quite a ‘numbers’ person! I have worked in previous ‘lives’ as a forecaster, in buying, merchandising – accounts! But really, I am the ‘creative’ one. 

However, being self-employed – you wear EVERY hat. 

And actually – it isn’t that bad…

I have learnt that what I was ‘afraid of’ – was actually getting it all done… and now that I am here doing just that – the fear has shifted – and it is of getting anything WRONG. I am scared of the taxman.

Really? I am literally the most goody two shoes, most accurate accounts keeping person ever. To the penny! However, it is also the fear of the unknown. Based on this: recognise where your skills are and allocate accordingly! You CANNOT do it all – hence – why I have both a bookkeeper AND an accountant to double check, verify, account, check again and then submit everything for me.

I do understand, based on your own personal circumstances that sometimes, this isn’t always possible, and/or affordable. BUT – side note, whatever I pay for this, I am pretty sure (120% – DO!) I ‘save’ in a) my time, b) knowledge and accurate research, and c) understanding of the ‘rules’.

 

In our recent CLICHE workshop, I asked a question at the start of the class about fear: What is your greatest fear?

Overwhelmingly a word kept reoccurring: FAILURE. 

But what does ‘failure’ actually mean?

FAILURE

  1. lack of success.
    “an economic policy that is doomed to failure”
  2. the neglect or omission of expected or required action.
    “their failure to comply with the basic rules”

 

But – who sets the standards? 

I can take a wild guess it is… YOU.

 

I am by FAR my worst critique. I may FEEL I have failed, but I am often WRONG. (That is also hard to admit!)

So, I am over my fear of accounts – now, I have to agree with my ‘CLICHE‘ attendees – I too, am afraid of not succeeding. But, have I already got there? It depends on your mindset, outlook, perspective.

To some, I have already achieved. That, I (kind of) agree with. To some, I am nearly there! To some, maybe I will never get there (the nay-sayers – we ignore those!)

 

Well, I don’t know where this journey is taking me, and us (‘us’ – the business, ‘us’ – my family, and ‘us’ – you and my crafty ‘family’) but whatever the destination, it is indeed ‘somewhere’! How hard that climb is, or how exciting, and/or difficult it is yet to become… I am not sure – but I need to be mindful to not set ‘boundaries’. I need to set the bar HIGH and recognise that even if you don’t get ‘there’ – that putting yourself out there, and being in the process of it all is achievement in itself.

 

Also a reminder that: ask me my ‘dream’ a few years ago, THIS IS IT. I just need to remember that. And – I am sure, you need to be reminded too on your own journeys.

 

I have also learnt, that despite the fear – being self employed is HARD. There is no ‘rock up in the day job with guaranteed income’. There is no ‘boss’ telling you want to do. There is no set plan.

On the opposite side, there is no ‘boss’ telling you what you HAVE to do. Yes, there is no set plan – but you make that plan. It is YOURS to decide and do! Need a day off? No problem! I am sure your ‘boss’ can agree it…

However, if you need extra support, please do remember to TALK. You might think you are too busy to ‘chat’ – but you know that not everyone can mind read. Tell your friends, your family – tell them your life plans, your worries, your fears. They may already know, they may not – and want to get involved! – or, have a new ideas to help! A wonderful old BT advert slogan: It’s good to talk.

 

So, what are you afraid of?

Feel the fear and do it anyway…

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

Facebook
Facebook
Pin!
Pin!
Instagram