Tag : crafting

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 – Reflections of a BusyBusyBusy Crafty Year!

Well, it’s Christmas weekend… Not quite sure how we suddenly got to this point of the year… it has absolutely flown by – but boy has it been busy!
 
Within the last 12 months – we have seen such a change to our lives – little man has gone from the tiny, cuddly little newborn… (sigh) to now over 1 year old, and at the point of walking (so close!) We moved house in late Spring – no mean feat with said such little person! We spent the Summer settling in, Autumn setting up the new studio in the Old Grain Store – and then launched such studio in Winter for the Christmas workshops here in Lower Boddington, Northamptonshire! The Crafty Lass Old Grain Store… #CLOGS
 
And… it went surprisingly well! We had bookings for a start (!) – and quite a few bookings too – including some ‘sell outs’ which, when ‘starting out’ – you just don’t know how it’s going to go, do you? The first person who walked through the door for the very first new workshop:
 
“Oooooh, it’s a crafter’s dream!”
 
High praise indeed… and exciting to know other people share the vision! Although I have been running workshops for over 2 years now – suddenly having a dedicated studio to teach from, it has felt like a new launch, a new business again – it’s reinvigorated me certainly – so so so many ideas for the future! Lots of avenues to explore, new crafts to be tried and things to be made. I am just ever so grateful – and thank you to everyone who attended one of the workshops this Christmas – it has made me have great hope for The Crafty Lass!
 
Someone who I have met a handful of times, and has become a lovely friend – they came along to one of our The Crafty Lass workshops and her quote was:
 
“What you’ve achieved is astonishing! Especially to do all that alongside being sleep deprived, many people would’ve given up a long time ago, but your passion and drive has really resulted in something that you should be so so proud of.”
 
That really made me stop – and really think, and actually it is those words that inspired writing this blog post. That we should stop and look at not what we HAVEN’T achieved but what we HAVE.
 
I am definitely not usually one to ever fully congratulate myself – I never stop and say ‘well done missus, you actually have done quite a lot you know,’ – I am usually too busy on to the next item on the to do list. When you are in the midst of it, adrenaline filled, busybusybusy – you don’t do you? You just get on with it. However, perhaps it is time to stop and reflect. As we come to the end of the calendar year, it is a chance to not just look to the future, with all our hopes, plans and dreams – but it is also a chance to reflect back on what has been achieved.
 
I’m a list writer: always writing and updating what needs to get done. Crossing things off – but always adding to it with a whole load of the new things that we need to crack on with. Usually very long, meandering lists with everything from the little things – “buy milk”, to slightly larger and more complex “arrange Kirstie Allsopp Fair workshop structure” (exciting for 2018!)… but I know in myself which needs to be done in which order. And it does ALL need to be done – it’s just deciding on which day to pick which battles. Especially when factoring in little man’s needs and much much sleep deprivation!
 
Whether I have managed to get things accomplished or not – I usually find myself quite often focusing more on what hasn’t yet been done – rather than all the things with a big tick next to them. Granted, the lists system helps me focus and rethink what is next to be completed, but perhaps I (we all) should take more time to say “well done, look at what you did today/this week/month/year…”
 
The Husband surprised me with the most beautiful card last night. We were swapping the traditional Christmas cards, and just when I thought we were done, out comes this additional card to his ‘Crafty Lass’. It has a little goat on the front, that has climbed a mountain, and it says ‘You Made It’. I cried. (Of course!) He has told me how proud is of how far The Crafty Lass has come, in a short space of time – and that he will be there for me – through the highs and no doubt lows that running your own business comes with. (He’s a keeper!) And, to him – my parents, family, friends – if I can make them and if I allow myself to stop and think – myself – proud – then I am happy!
 
We all have things going on, some small, some exciting adventures, some really emotional and challenging situations – but we have all achieved this year and we should all say well done. And if you can’t see it that way, and can’t say that to yourself – I am telling you! WELL DONE, for all and whatever the achievements! Happy Christmas, Happy Crafty New Year and I look forward to all that 2018 has to bring! I hope to see you soon.
 
Enjoy!
 
Make. Create. Inspire.
 
 
 

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

More than ‘just’ a piece of furniture…

table
ˈteɪb(ə)l/
noun

A piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface for eating, writing, or working at.
 
Except, it’s not that simple is it – a table, in a house context – for me anyway, is the heart of the home. Our dining table, for instance – we bought it BEFORE we bought our first house. We were lucky in that the shop were able to store it for an indefinite timeline and deliver once we moved in! However, we were then only viewing houses based on whether the table would fit! 
 
Tables are where news is shared, you work on them – studying for a lifelong dream, sit and chat round them, play games, where our little one will eventually draw pictures and do homework, where I cut fabric!
That table is where I shared the news to The Husband that we were finally expecting a baby. It is where we then told grandparents-to-be that I was carrying their grandchild. It was full of cakes and games and generous gifts for our Baby Shower. It’s hosted dinner parties, Christmas, my 30th birthday where The Husband cooked me a particularly amazing 3 course meal! But also, the general day to day chitter chatter – daily meals and chats and debriefs and winding down of the day. So many memories around what is essentially ‘just’ a piece of furniture!
 
So, it was particularly important for me with the new craft workshops space, to make sure the main table would be just right. I looked at many, MANY tables – at the usual John Lewis, IKEA, various online places – until I found RCC furniture that could actually make me whatever I wanted! I obviously needed to ensure practically it could fit around 8 people, with extra generous room for crafting space. I also wanted an industrial style look to fit with the rest of the workspace styling. RCC was perfect – reclaimed wood, steel frames and legs – and really helpful and responsive to messages, and with a large gallery for inspiration it was easy to send them links to existing commissions to advise exactly the look I wanted. I ended up ordering the main table, a desk and another worktop for additional potential crafting space in the room! 
 
In went the order, and knowing it was being made bespoke, just for me – I knew there would be quite a wait… My very first enquiry to them was sent on 2nd June… and delivery yesterday on 1st September! However, it was totally worth the wait! 
 
The delivery man must have thought I was a nutcase (knew?) – jumping up and down, squealing and generally being impatient and trying to get into his van to have a closer look!! Eventually, we got the table(s) out, and I did actually cry. I explained to him that he wasn’t just delivering furniture, but a small part of my dream to reality. I told him what I am doing and aiming to teach – and he politely seemed to love the ideas. He even stayed to wax the tables and buff them out to show off the grain for me. Great!
 
When the van pulled away, and I was stood admiring the beautiful, BEAUTIFUL, tables – suddenly, it wasn’t a garage, a storeroom, an unloved ignored room – it is a workspace, a room ready to make new memories. Just imagine what amazing things people will achieve around that table, the things they will make, the many cups of tea that will be drunk!
 
We even sat and had dinner in there last night! I mean, why not?! It was great to just sit around and imagine. We planned some more details of how everything will be laid out and with a few more things to be ordered, delivered and installed – but we are not far off it being ready! The website is being updated to allow for workshops to be advertised, and tickets to be sold – and then, I can finally and very excitedly – press the button and the craft workshops will be a go go.
 
Very, nearly, there!



 Watch this space. 🙂
 

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

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