Tag : design
Tag : design
So, blogging used to be a thing.
In fact – I should start that sentence again. It used to be THE thing.
This business started out as a blog, (and I quote) with the aim as…
” a design, craft and things to be inspired by website and blog – but the long term plan is to sell graphic design prints, greeting cards, and ultimately hold creative ‘Craft Workshops’ on how to make lots of lovely things! So, watch this space – exciting times ahead!”
And – to quote from my first ever blog post:
“The aim of this blog is to post inspirational thoughts, design, craft, pictures. To look at seasonal ideas, things I am thinking about, doing, dreaming of… Long term, I would love it to be more than just dreaming and minus the 9-5 day job.”
At the end of March 2018, it was 3 years ago that I made these announcements. I announced to the social media world, my friends and family that I had quit my job to start a blog called ‘The Crafty Lass’. And so here we are…
I am certainly minus the 9-5: it is great being self employed – you get to choose what 18 hours a day you work!
With holding workshops on evening and weekends, making commissions, paperwork, accounts, PR, marketing (you get the idea) in the week… And, we have gained a sleepless 19 month old along this crafty journey too! There is certainly no concept of ‘time’. I quite often ask The Husband what day it is – when it is clearly Saturday as we sit and watch the F1 ‘quali’ and/or the footie scores come in (sporty household!) or, forget that it is ‘Monday’ tomorrow (no Sunday night blues here…)
Anyway, ironically, this ONE blog post has so far taken 3 days to get to this point!*
*Edit. I now started this over ONE MONTH ago (!)
There were ’21’ blog posts in March 2015. There were ‘0’ in March 2018.
So… TIME. What’s that?
In a huge contrast to the earlier blog posts – where I knew what I needed to achieve in the day – like write a blog post, perhaps a mooch into town, meet Mrs XYZ for a coffee, have a meander around Waitrose whilst trying to figure out how I was going to sort out this ‘craft business malarkey’. Ironically all that mooching and planning, plus a dog and the aforementioned 19 month old, means I now have NO TIME AT ALL. Well, no spare time anyway. Things have escalated slightly… There is a to do list as long as my arm – from work out how to make a realistic ranunculus paper flower, to (just!) do a ‘stock take’, update GDPR regulations on my website, work on those (several) press and event commissions, work out where my car keys are, just where is the missing yellow stacking cup for little man, what are we going to have for dinner… No meandering around Waitrose aimlessly now.
I don’t see my friends, I rarely see The Husband – let alone a ‘proper’ social life. (The Little Crafty Man has more of a social life than me, that is for sure!) I can just about arrange to have a date every week with the online Tesco delivery man…
This isn’t a ‘oh, woah is me, poor Paula’ post. This is just a genuine honest view that self employment – although amazing… my gosh it is busy wearing all those hats! And, that for anyone that is close to me, and actually bothering to read this – I am sorry if I have gone wayward in responding to texts, to calls – I do care!
Since those early blog posts 3 years ago, I am surely – living the dream? Well, a HUGE part of me is. My life has gone in directions I never knew possible, and the small (and big!) things I ultimately wanted to achieve – are happening. The dynamic of the business has changed. I miss blogging – but surely it is better be so busy going that you have no time to blog about what you are doing!
I am discovering that dreams change. They adapt, they get BIGGER!
In the past few months, I have wanted to blog about the exciting things we have been up to – but as you may have guessed, I have had no time to do this… so to wrap up everything in a neat summary:
We have featured in several local and national press articles: Prima Magazine, The Women’s Institute national magazine – WI Life, Mother & Baby, on the Telegraph website to name a few… National Press? Tick!
We have featured as a craft tutor at The Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire – teaching workshops to lots of lovely crafters… Big ambition achieved there. Tick!
And, as part of this – I was commissioned to make the ‘Super Theatre Main Stage’ display – 132 handmade paper flowers flowers, approximately over 2,500 petals (it took around 47 hours of flower making…) Never imagined this, but – hey, pretty exciting!
Oh, and actually met, had a conversation with (and my flowers were complimented by) Kirstie Allsopp. HUGE unexpected – Tick! #fan #triedtoremaincalm #failed
I am working on product designs with several companies… Tick!
Last night we hosted a ‘charity’ craft night – with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Society – we were knitting Twiddlemuffs! What are they? Check out one of our previous blog posts (yes, I actually managed to post something on this!) BBC Radio Northampton were in attendance to film and record the event – and this will shortly appear on their social media and on the radio!
I am working with the WI on several exciting crafty developments…
I have become a ‘judge’ for a local flower festival… Really fun, and great to be a part of…
I have 3 photoshoots booked for press in the next 3 months…
I have been approached to ‘speak’ at various local events and teach crafts to various groups…
I have set up a new ‘career’ workshop called CLICHE (Crafty Lass Inspirational Career Help & Education) to help other people who want to just quit their 9-5 and take the self employment plunge…
BIG NEWS – if I didn’t have enough to be thinking about – I am writing TWO (why not?) books…
Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick!
It is all just happening… the cogs are turning, daily developments. It is exciting, it is KNACKERING!
With these time heavy developments I am slowly learning that there does need to be a balance to all of this – I cannot function on 200% level without a stop. Especially when Little Man still rarely sleeps all night…
And so, there will be a break (hoorah!) in the Summer. August is OFF – to allow NO workshops and LOTS more mooching. But…
Knowing what I am like – I categorically CANNOT guarantee I won’t ‘work’ in that time ‘off’ – I actually already have lots of lovely things craft related planned in – as I am already thinking that would be a perfect time to make all my ‘Christmas’ demos! Yes – I cannot wait for The Crafty Lass Christmas in August!
However, it will be a nice to do: to just ‘sit’ and ‘craft’ (if little person will let me…) and make things at my own leisure… as we also have some VERY exciting news for later this Autumn, Winter and in 2019 – so, we need to get ready for that! (Watch this space!) August will be some down time, a moment to stop – reflect – sleep – have some well needed family time. Oh, and to make festive sparkly things!!!!!!
But, thank you – if you’ve got this far… for your own time, your support, your bookings. The Crafty Lass is going from strength to strength and I couldn’t have done it without you!
Right… back to my to do list! But remember – Don’t quit your day dream…
40 paint tester pots
5 rolls of Frog Tape
3 months of painting(!!!)
100000s of brushstrokes
1 determined Crafty Lass
1 happy boy…
When we moved into this new home, one of the (many) selling points, was a little room just off the hallway next to the kitchen – destined to be a playroom. It was the first room we started to decorate – and at one point I thought it might be the last too…
We wanted it to be fun, vibrant, a real ‘playtime’ room. Basically somewhere he could enjoy, make a mess – and realistically also, somewhere all the toys could be shoved at the end of the day!!
Of course, there were many Pinterest ideas – I looked into a ‘zoo’ theme, and had visions of animals all over the walls. And dinosaurs with a similar concept – but nothing quite seemed to grab my full inspiration. Until I saw THIS image – even with the title ‘How to Create the Ultimate Playroom’ – perfect! – designed by Minneapolis interior designer Lucy Interior Design. When closer inspected – it turns out it was wallpaper… but I thought perhaps I could paint it?? God knows why… I thought it would be FUN! And it was – well the first few triangles were anyway…
With a little (let’s be realistic, alot) of help from The Husband working out angles, measurements, borrowing his spirit level/metal ruler/tape measure – we soon worked out how I would get it all to fit on the wall space. Now it was up to me to draw it all out and inspired by my new colourful go to Pinterest inspiration – and also our ‘Baby Sensory‘ classes that we attend every week – it was off to B&Q for a many a tester pot picking, and sketching out how it would work!
I LOVE colour – bright, unabashed colourful prints were my go to in my Printed Textile Design degree, and more importantly for this project – babies also love colour and pattern! We just knew it was the right choice.
Once the triangles had been drawn on to the wall, which actually took quite some time! It was ‘simply’ (ha!) a case of taping up each one, painting, allowing to dry, re-coat (each triangle took 3-4 coats!), remove tape, move to the next triangle/repeat… Hence, why this process has taken 3 months! Well, that and juggling life and many other craft projects/decorating projects/setting up the new craft workshops space…
Now that it is done, and not wanting to blow my own trumpet – I cannot stop staring at it! I of course, can see areas that aren’t just quite 100% perfect – but in reality, who else is going to notice?? I had to draw a line (haha) under it somewhere – so it is finally, and colourfully, DONE. End of story! No more ‘I managed to paint 9 triangles today!’ conversations – now just to enjoy it. I think you can tell – of course I did this for our little one – but yes, I am also in there alot playing with him every day, and it makes MY spirits lift too!
I feel this is a style that will grow with him – it will suit him at all ages. It has taken longer than expected, there were times when I wish I hadn’t started – but equally it was a great challenge! And, would I do it again? Absolutely! Will he thank me for the countless hours working out angles, painting, pondering which colour should go where? Probably not – but at least he has somewhere he knows he can have FUN!
Do you have a playroom? Or somewhere you’ve painted a wall mural? I would love to see!
The Crafty Lass Etsy store took a small break over the last few months whilst I am on maternity leave – and while I am still enjoying some amazing time with my ever growing lovely little one (check The Crafty Lass Instagram account for lots of photos!! #babyspam) – the Etsy store has now reopened!
To celebrate, there is currently a 20% discount* on all purchases over £5.00 – simply use the code REOPEN17 at the checkout! 🙂 The perfect place for your Valentine’s Day cards (it may still be January, but it’ll be here before you know it!!)
And keep checking back – as there will be some exciting new designs coming very soon…!
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!
The moment you have all been waiting for… well, what I have been waiting for pretty much my whole life.
Today is a big day in The Crafty Lass journey.
It has always been my absolute dream to (a) start my own business (b) this be in craft and/or design and finally (c) have my own online shop selling greeting cards.
Greeting cards are a really important thing to me – we all send/give them regularly – and they mean an awful lot! Just how special do you feel when a little brightly coloured envelope lands on your doormat and you know that someone has taken the time and effort to 1. select a card, 2. hand write it and 3. send it to you – maybe for a special occasion, or perhaps just to say ‘hey’, ‘sorry’ or ‘I miss you’. Even better when it is hand delivered! Whatever the reason, whatever the words inside – it is always special to receive a card.
With today’s multitude of ways to communicate – texting, emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp (to name just a few!) – there is still a love and desire to send a REAL bit of post. A hand chosen card, with a lovely little note inside – it means far, FAR more than just sending a quick text message.
The GCA Greeting Card Market Report 2014 reinforces what a huge and successful industry this is with £1.29 billion spent on single cards in the last year – more than tea and coffee put together. More cards are bought per person in the UK than in any other country – 31 per person an astonishing 884 million single greeting cards were bought from retailers of all shapes and sizes in 2013.
For more simply amazing Facts and Figures about the UK card industry, check out the Greeting Card Association’s website!
The Crafty Lass greeting cards are simple, (but effective!) modern designs, all lovingly created (over the last decade!) on Adobe Illustrator, by myself and printed on heavy, white Omnia board within the United Kingdom.
All cards are left blank for your own lovely message – your own words always mean far more!
In addition to my new online store – The Crafty Lass greeting cards are also now stocked at The Old Hall Bookshop, Brackley! Exciting times. 🙂
The Crafty Lass has been busy updating the website and re-designing our logo!
I loved the old logo, with all it’s quirky shapes and components – but, for print and use on mobile/tablets this new one works that little bit better! 🙂
On the website side – we have an updated ‘ABOUT‘ section, and *NEW* ‘FAQ‘ and ‘Workshops‘ pages… some of the content will still need to be updated once the online shop is ready and our workshop list is finalised – but… we think you’ll agree that the website looks GREAT! (Even if I do say so myself 😉 )
I recently received a delightful commission for a ‘zoo-themed’ toddler’s birthday invitations…I had a LOT of fun with this one – who wouldn’t love spending time designing and creating some cheeky little meerkats and monkeys on Illustrator!
It has really inspired me to think about future invitation design ideas, and even a new range of children’s birthday cards! 🙂
I hope you all like the design just as much as I had fun creating them! I became so attached to them I even started to name the animals… 😉
PS – I’ve changed a few of the details, for obvious reasons! 😉
We all need to get inspired by something, whether it be the clouds across a morning sky, a flower that has blossomed in your garden, a visit to a gallery, or even day-to-day chores and activities. Whatever the inspiration behind our art, design and craft – here are my top 5 events that could inspire your next project. Think colour, think nature, think photography, think over a hundred hot-air balloons…
1. <a href="http://www.nhm click this.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/sensational-butterflies.html” target=”_blank”>Sensational Butterflies
This annual event returns to the London Natural History Museum, with hundreds of free flying butterflies in their tropical butterfly house. Think of all those patterns and colours – just beautiful. On now til September 13th 2015, and at only £5.90 a ticket for adults, children and concessions – and with entry to the main museum free, you can’t go wrong!
A bit of a cop-out putting two exhibitions from the same location, but with another outstanding and inspiring exhibition at the world famous and stunningly beautiful London Natural History Museum, it explains why reefs are just so important, and what is being done to look after them. “Virtual reef dive, see live sea coral and fish in our aquarium and enjoy spectacular underwater photography.” Get inspired by “250 strange and beautiful specimens” of coral. Tickets to the exhibition are £10 per adult – children and concessions are only £4.50 – and again, as before, admission to the main museum is absolutely free.
Our wedding was inspired by the film ‘Up‘, and with all those ballooons, I have always wanted to go and see this magical fiesta in Bristol, 6th-9th August 2015. An absolute riot of colour across the sky to provide unlimited colour inspiration. The best thing about this is, entrance is absolutely FREE! (You have to just pay a fee to park). I am sadly, already busy when this is on – but it is going on my bucket list, maybe next year! Why don’t you get this one into your diary?
Love photography? This exhibition at Somerset House showcases the Winners, the Shortlisters across all disciplines from the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. You can’t help but want to pick up your camera, get out and take as many snaps of our beautiful world as you can! Full details of the competition can be found HERE at the World Photography Organisation. On display from April 24th – 10th May 2015, tickets are £8.50 for ‘Anytime Entry’, and only £6.50 for ‘Weekday Entry’. Other concessions are available.
5. Kew Gardens
I absolutely LOVE Kew Gardens, and I also love the chef Raymond Blanc, so the BBC programme Kew On A Plate was a match made in heaven for me. However, you can now go and view the Kew On A Plate garden! Get inspired by their bountiful produce and gardens, with their walking tours, daily until May 22nd 2015. Included in the entry price to the main gardens, tickets are £16 for an adult, and children under 16 are FREE when accompanied by an adult. Other concessions are available. While you are there this spring, make sure you take a lovely wander down the ‘Cherry Walk’ – lots of lovely pink and delightful blossoms! There is so much to see and do at Kew – take your sketchpad, your camera, and some good walking shoes!
All prices and dates are correct at time of this blog post.