Tag : creative
Tag : creative
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?
- lack of success.“an economic policy that is doomed to failure”
- 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…
A quiet lass, is a busy lass…
I often think, I NEED to be blogging more. But – the point of a blog (for this crafty lass anyway) is to support and share what I am up to for the business. And, if I am doing too many business related exciting things to have time to dedicate to it, surely a bit of quietness on the blogging front is ok!
Tonight: it’s Friday – another week over (although exciting workshops tomorrow!!) but I need to (and will) take a long deep breath out, and a long glass of wine in (and Fish and Chips from our local pub who have started to do takeaway (winning!)) Life – is crazy. One minute I am trying to explain to a well meaning 1 year old that putting his bath toys into the toilet isn’t the best of ideas, the next I am chatting to editors of National magazines about the benefits on mental health and well being that craft can bring to your soul…
January, so far – from a business perspective has been EPIC. Sleep, from a toddler perspective, hasn’t – but those awake in the small hours is plenty of brain time to get thinking about the next idea and challenge and it looks like the future is certainly going to bring many, many of those… My brain is buzzing!
As ‘a creative’, I got told when I was younger – by a ‘memorable’ career “advisor” (! – I would highly recommend to him now that if he is still doing this, that he should change jobs, and I hope for many other young’uns that he did just that) that as a career – “you either do ‘Art’ or ‘Numbers’. (NEVER Both.)” I will refer to ‘him’ forthwith as “Mr Never Both Man”… I ignored him. But, it did also resonate with me. What if he was right? – Could you do both successfully?
Years later – when I had left University from studying Printed Textile Design (Art) but instead of going into a studio based role (too many lugging portfolios all over the country for interviews offering just £10-11K per annum!) was considering going into fashion ‘Buying’ (more ‘Numbers’ but yet an element of ‘Art’ (and more than £10k pay!)) and I wanted some more advice about how to approach it, and I just wasn’t sure. I went to a (brilliant) Government support and advice service in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey – with an open mind. I knew I didn’t want to a) work for pittance and b) just ‘draw’. I wanted to be creative, yet understand business. I filled out one of their generic questionnaires – LOADS of questions and at the end, it would tell you what you ‘should become’…
I answered what felt like 250,000 questions, some that repeated and double backed on themselves, I was asked to sit and wait whilst they processed the results. And, was then called in…
This new – and clearly better than said previous – Career Advisor said, “You are showing to have both a ‘Logical’, and ‘Creative’ aspect to your brain. I would advise that you go into a career that combines both – so you are able to stimulate your passion for creativity – yet challenge your analytical and structured side to not become bored.” (Or basically, to translate… Art AND Numbers). Bingo! And actually ‘Buying’ was a great match. But he also said – “Perhaps in years to come you could look into running your own creative business? That would certainly fit with the results.” At that moment, I laughed – ‘no way could I run my own business’ – but I did think maybe he WAS right and perhaps it would be something for the future. Who knew he was very right indeed.
I DID go into Buying – and yes, I worked with both ‘Art’ and ‘Numbers’ – it could actually be a successful and fulfilling combination!
So, Mr Never Both Man – and here is me now, in my life full of creativity and ‘Art’. But certainly lots and lots of Numbers: Accountancy meetings, Solicitor meetings, Buying meetings, Forecasting meetings, Sales meetings, Projections, Planning and lots of Excel spreadsheets… essentially about ‘Art’!
At present, here are just some of the numbers that are interesting me the most, and what I am thinking about at 3am…
There are lots more – but here, finally – there is one number, that I wanted to write this blog post about. It may mean nothing to you, but it is pretty important to me, and The Crafty Lass:
What on earth does that mean?
Well – it strictly isn’t just that number; it actually looks like this:
And refers to the Intellectual Property Office. It is a UK Trademark Number.
Yes, The Crafty Lass – sorry, that should be “The Crafty Lass®” – is now a Registered Trademark across six different classes. It has taken 7 months, multiple hours of correspondence and lengthy phonecalls.
And now, it is done. I’ve even got a certificate.
Not sure Mr Never Both Man would have predicted that, hey? I am not sure the younger me would have done either…
Today is the start of #TheCraftyLassADVENTure and we would love you to join in too!
Over on The Crafty Lass Facebook page: I am sharing exciting things to make and do for Christmas!
Do you have any fun and favourite makes for the festive season?🌟✂️
Across on The Crafty Lass Instagram page – I will be sharing what inspires me with a new photo everyday.
What inspires you? 🌟✂️
Would love to see your festive makes and what inspires you. Use the tag #TheCraftyLassADVENTure
Babies grow REALLY fast. Everyone tells you – “enjoy it, they won’t be like that for long…”
I heard what people were saying when I first heard this… but I am not sure I really took on board just HOW super mind bogglingly fast time actually disappears… and that some days I think our little one grows before our very eyes. One minute he is wearing that cute little star print vest I love, the next – well, not. I once even thought I had shrunk everything in a wash load – but no no, he really had grown that quickly! Almost overnight…
When he was born, and I had taken approximately 200 first outfits to the hospital in various sizes from very small to very very large ‘just in case’ (we looked pretty much like we were moving house when arriving at the maternity ward, or perhaps maybe a long holiday with 3 cases!!) … he STILL didn’t fit in to any of them. Given the size of my hippopotamus sized bump I was certainly surprised…! Anyway, one of the first jobs for new Daddy was to go out and buy more clothes – turns out we needed very very very small!
Staring at this little bundle of cuteness, who we were suddenly in charge of – and now enclosed in a tiny little babygro on Day 1 – I couldn’t imagine him fitting in to one of the actual ‘going home outfits’ that I’d meticulously and totally unnecessarily planned – let alone all the other what seemed almost ridiculously large items for future months we had at home.
Now, at only (only!) 9 months – he is out of all those wonderful first items – and marching into 9-12 months plus and onwards. So, what to do with all those leftover clothes??
Some of those clothes have memories engrained in them. Little laughter and magical moments woven into the fibre of their cloth. Forever to be captured on camera and shared into the Instagram #babyspam. The sleep suit on his first car journey home, on his first Christmas day, when he first smiled, and rolled over. The first time in a jumperoo, and at a baby sensory class. The special outfit at his first wedding – and the first time he met his grandparents. The list goes on… all those milestones that suddenly happen, you grab your camera and BAM – that’s what he was wearing when ‘that’ happened…
I can’t look at some of those beautiful little items without smiling, crying, remembering and rejoicing! If they are going to be made into something they need to be CUT UP… So they need to made into something that will be used, loved, cherished.
On this note, we are now starting to plan a 1st birthday party, which I cannot quite believe – but what would a party be without decorations? And in particular, BUNTING.
And so… I have spent this evening, going through the no longer used, but still very much loved, clothes – the cute little fabrics – selecting, remembering, and cutting triangles. The triangles won’t match, there will be colours, stripes, prints and patterns galore. It will be fun! And memorable. Personalised – a year in the life of our little man. I’m not going to lie, a few tears have been shed tonight – happy tears – but I repeat – how can he be growing so fast??!
This craft might take some time, there are plenty of triangles to be cut and sewn, and they won’t be perfect, this bunting will have poppers and seams galore… but what a project!! So enjoyable to plan and make… and so exciting to see the outcome.
I look forward to it being hung, resplendent at his first birthday party!
And if this clever (even if I do say myself) crafty idea – could get any better… my plan is to now do this as time goes on. I will add to it, every year, whenever a new celebration that of course requires bunting is needed – with the next batch of discarded wears so that by the time he is 18 it could no doubt be hung to the moon and back!
Right, I’m off to see what else he can sadly no longer wear, do some more remembering, and to cut triangles…
There are more memories to be made tomorrow, who knows what the day will bring. I hope he is wearing a nice printed outfit!!
It’s certainly been a crazy few days in our little nation.
And, amongst all this craziness – it is calming and restorative to return to think about crafting.
The calm before the politics storm – last Thursday 23rd June – I had a wonderful trip out to ‘Nude Jewellery’ in Reigate to meet the lovely Nikki in her small, but perfectly formed studio. And, actually more importantly (sorry Nikki) to meet her very little, and very cute bundle of fluff puppy, Gizmo – who also came along for the day. Heart meltingly beautiful!
The day didn’t start well. I hadn’t slept too well, but actually – as I was up early (5.30am early) I thought I would make sure to leave in PLENTY of time to get down to Reigate. Google maps estimated around 2 hours – and watching the morning news with my brekkie and morning cuppa – it was saying how bad the weather had been/still was, and to allow extra time for your journey. With my early start I was envisaging getting there serene and ready to nip into one of the lovely little boutique type cafes on the high street for a chill, and an early snack (cake basically), before on with my lovely day. So, 3 hours should be enough – right? Wrong.
I can honestly say, it was quite possibly the most stressful drive I have ever done in my quite little-driving-experienced life. The weather was as bad as the BBC had advised – which meant traffic accidents and slow-going areas a-go-go. I was diverted off the M25 by my sat-nav to go literally around all of the houses, small villages and towns across South-West London and Surrey borders. The diversion, I can handle – you almost start to feel like you are making progress – but, I couldn’t handle it almost being just as bad traffic on this new route too involving the SatNav changing its mind approximately every 5 mins, so – on to the M25, no – actually go this way, oh no hang on – I reckon try the M25… Basically, the traffic was so bad everywhere it couldn’t make up it’s mind – it didn’t really matter which way I went! I also couldn’t handle being nearly 6 months pregnant and being stuck in traffic… eventually one Esso garage later me pleading with their staff to let me use their facilities later, semi-calm was restored – but it was touch and go for a while!
Four hours and twenty minutes, very late for the course, later – I did eventually get there. Oh, and then trying to park in a multi-storey I somehow manage to also graze one of The Husband’s car alloys. You can imagine I might have been abit tired, weary and stressed. A few (several) choice words may have been muttered.
However, who could fail to be calmed by then making something beautiful and a cute puppy dog?? All was ok in the world.
When I left my full time employment role back in October of last year, I was very kindly given a gift of going on a silver jewellery making workshop. I was all ready to schedule in going as soon as possible! However, Christmas, one studio move for Nikki, and various other life related plans later – we didn’t manage to get anything firmly into the diary until this date in June! So, although late – we quickly got going, and Nikki very nicely let me know, not to worry about time and that we would still get everything required taught, practiced and made.
We started with a piece of brass to practice with and a little saw – gently cutting out lines – starting out straight, then wavy, before progressing on to zig-zags – which is harder than you’d imagine as you have to very gently turn the saw and the metal at the same time whilst still cutting! The saw blades for the metal are ever so delicate – and no surprise for a beginner – I broke several of them. However, I soon learnt how to re-attach the new blades and the gentle techniques required to implement your ideas.
Now for the fun part – what did we want to make? I was given a small square of silver, and needed to think about designs, the size, whether a pendant, a necklace, a brooch… A few sketches and idea changes later, I settled on making some little cloud earrings, and a lightning bolt pendant! The weather was certainly apt… I liked the idea of a ‘silver lining’ cloud.
The design ready – I drew around the square of silver on to paper to give me an idea of how I would lay everything out, drew in my shapes so I had a visual point of reference, before then replicating the same on to the actual silver. Drawing on to the silver with a pencil – just provided a gentle marked shape to cut towards – which we followed up with a permanent marker for extra guidance. Now we were ready to go!
Starting with my new found gentle cutting techniques, it didn’t take long before I was well on the way to everything being ready for the next stage – filing the errors I had made!! It isn’t that simple to cut in EXACTLY straight lines, or exactly on the pen lines (unless you are Nikki of course, an experienced jewellery maker!) Luckily, I had followed Nikki’s advice, and in most cases had managed to cut outside the lines to allow a bit of wiggle room and adjust accordingly with the file. Eventually ready and semi-happy with the finish, we now needed to solder on some jump rings/earring backs.
Nikki – blowtorch and solder at the ready – did the first earring, and I followed up with the second. Gently heating up the metal/solder until a glowing orange and everything was seemingly-magically-stuck together. Next into a cooling liquid to bring back to a temperature we could actually handle, and a quick ‘wiggle check’ – e.g. – has it worked, can I move the earring back? Nope, all good. They then moved into some acid to ‘clean’.
As the lightning bolt was abit fiddly to attach the jump ring to (due to the ‘pointy’ nature of the design) Nikki kindly and expertly took over attaching that for me. I used the opportunity to nip out for a quick break and finally into one of the lovely high street cafes for some lunch. No cake surprisingly, but a lovely bagel with avocado, mozzarella and sun blush tomatoes – delicious! Anyway, it was a quick pit stop before back to the studio as time was cracking on…
The cloud earrings were out of the acid, and now ready for polishing. A few filing adjustments to still be made, and a quick use of the ‘buffing stick’ (basically a wooden triangular shaped stick with the equivalent of fine sand paper on) – it was ready. However, I decided that the ‘brushed’ look enhanced the cloud design – and maybe it didn’t need to be polished to a shiny silver? Whilst Nikki still worked on the lightning bolt – I continued to buff in little circle shapes on to the clouds, and the more I did this, the more and more I loved and actually became very proud of them! Nikki then provided the earring ‘butterfly’ backs, and a lovely little box to keep them in. Dare I say it, all packaged up – they perhaps even looked professional?? Well, maybe not if you study them too closely… they’re not perfect – but I would actually wear them and be excited to say ‘I made these’. I suppose the whole point of the course had succeeded 🙂
Time had inevitably ticked away, and with more to be done to the pendant (it was now sat in the acid, cleaning) we decided that Nikki would kindly finish this for me and post on to me when cleaned, buffed, and polished up. The bolt will look great with a shiny finish! A lovely contrast to the matt finished clouds.
A quick goodbye to Nikki and Gizmo – and back to the car-park to the scuffed-alloys car, and a hope for being home within a shorter time than on the way here. I’d reached a lovely point in the day where despite the horrid journey, I had actually learnt something, achieved something and left with something beautiful (to me)…
The journey back did not go to plan.
The weather had improved, but the roads – had not. Two huge diversions, eventually stopping off via a friends house for a rest stop, a well-needed cuppa (and finally!) some gratefully received and well-earned cake, a chat and a Google searching-BBC traffic checking plan of action for the rest of my journey.
Just under FOUR hours later, and stopping to make the EU Referendum vote – I was home.
The Husband, despite the aforementioned car issue, had even kindly planned dinner (a delightful idea of and delicious Indian takeaway!) and again after another stressful journey, calm was temporarily and briefly restored.
Thank you Nikki for a great experience, and one I will cherish. Thank you to everyone who contributed to buy me the gift as a leaving present – it was a well thought out and brilliant choice!
Looking for a way to personalise your wedding with some unique handcrafted decor and favours? Looking for a special personalised gift? A new baby celebration? Throwing a party with a difference?
If you have an idea, want something creative, have an event you would like to make extra special – see if The Crafty Lass can be of help. 🙂
Please contact for further information and pricing.
Starting on Wednesday at the Waitrose Head Office in Bracknell, where 19 of us were not only making our fabric wreaths – we were singing along to some festive carols and music, there were mince pies, Cadbury’s roses… it certainly felt like Christmas!
With so many of us, and all nattering away, tearing up the fabric, and methodically and therapeutically knotting onto our wreath bases – at times it felt like we were in some sort of factory production line! 😉
The event was even filmed for the Waitrose Advent Calendar (a daily internal video highlighting what partners at Waitrose have been up to!) and, I have been lucky enough to be allowed to also use the video in this blog post. Check out here how we got on!
Thursday evening, I was at the John Lewis Head Office at London Victoria – where there were 8 of us making wreaths – and I actually also made mine tonight too! 🙂
It always amazes me, that each person starts out with very similar fabric selections – but the range and array of the results – are all so different and individual! We had ‘Italian flag’ wreaths where they blocked out colours, we had pastels only, very ‘natural’ holly-style looking wreaths, all stripes, all plain – amazing! Have a look through the photos below for all the different versions! 🙂
I had a really important moment over the last two days – with the magical mood, festive music, and lots of people enjoying themselves…it felt like – this is it! I am really doing it – The Crafty Lass workshops are really happening. Of course, I have done other workshops pre-these, but perhaps it was just the festive atmosphere, lot of smiley and happy faces – it just felt very special and I can’t wait for 2016 and all the craft workshops of the future!
If you would like a The Crafty Lass workshop in your place of work (or at home, or in a local venue!) please do get in touch!
I am very excited to announce that on Thursday 25th February 2016 – I have been asked to do a talk at The Women In Business Group!
The location is TBC – but likely to be in/around the Basingstoke area… get the date in your diary!
“Paula will be talking to us about how she went from quitting her standard 9-5 job, to both running her own business and working on The Craft Channel. She will also provide us with a brief, fun craft workshop/demonstration.”
Once full details are confirmed, I will let you know so that you can book your tickets! 🙂
To read more about it, please go to the WIBG website:
Well, it’s that time again – where exactly has the Summer gone? To be honest, we haven’t had much of an actual ‘Summer’ have we? It’s the 27th August and I am sat here writing this with a hot cup of tea, wearing a warm and cosy woolly jumper looking out on to a grey sky!
So, it’s back to school time! I always loved the start of a new term – sad, I know – but I loved getting my new uniform all ready, packing up my pencil case with lots of lovely new stationery. (Yes, I am definitely a life-long stationery addict!)
I loved the thought of all the new possibilities and opportunities with the term ahead. And you’d get to see all your friends everyday (albeit in Maths or Science!) Even now I sort of feel like September is the start of a new ‘term’. I do like sunshine, but September means it’s nearly Autumn! I look forward to the colourful leaves, the colder nights bringing with it hearty stews, cosy blankets, hat scarf and boots fashion combos – and then even better – Winter and my favourite time of year – Christmas!
Well, in the meantime while I am apparently wishing what is left of our Summer away – love or loathe school – why not start the new year with some great creative ideas with my Top 5… Back to school crafts!
1. Ombre Notebooks.
Look cooler than cool with your own ‘Ombre Notebooks‘. Simply add spray paint…
2. Milk Bottle Lunchboxes!
This DIY is MEGA cool – reuse and recycling at it’s absolute best. This tutorial talks you through turning a 4 pinter milk jug into a lunchbox! Sounds crazy, but it does actually work and looks pretty nifty too.
3. Felt pencil ‘roll’.
A simple, but very effective – and useful! – creative project. Making a little ‘pencil roll out of felt and ribbon – a lovely and easy craft to make! This link is in Greek – but hopefully ‘Google Translate’ will work it’s magic for you. If not – there are some photos that make it a very helpful and thorough tutorial.
4. Flower topped pencils!
Simply cut out different shaped flowers, punch out a hole, and add on to pencils! This little tutorial shows just how effective this can look!
5. Ribbon page markers!
Never lose your place in a textbook again with these clever ribbon markers. All you need are paper clips and ribbon…!
Make, create, inspire!