Tag : family

Life. Got. Busy.

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…

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

The Crafty Lass does… Northamptonshire Day!

Although having been a resident of Northamptonshire for several years now – I was sadly, actually unaware until last month that there was such a thing as both a special ‘Northamptonshire Flag’ – and also a special county ‘Northamptonshire Day‘ on 25th October… Did you know? BBC Radio Northampton have also been holding a wonderful event over the last few years, on a weekend as near to 25th as possible, since 2014 when the flag and county day became established. The event highlights and celebrates all things fantastic about our wonderful county – the heritage, the producers, the things to do and see, the crafters…

When the opportunity arose to be a part of this special day for 2017 – this time to be held at Holdenby House on Sunday 22nd October – I jumped at the chance! And boy, was that a good decision! The day was simply brilliant – and made me proud to be part of such a vibrant community. There were foodie delights, beautifully made crafts and decorations, beers and ales, simply stunning falconry displays, archery, balloon modelling, face painting – even ferret cuddles and racing!! We were fortunate with the weather being on our side – an unexpectedly cold but crisp day of blue skies, sunshine – and some crazy winds thanks to Storm Brian, but none the less the people poured in for a day of fun, heritage, history and merriment! With approximately 2,000 people coming in through the door – I was lucky enough to meet some amazingly interesting people, make new friends and understand a small slice of just what our county has to offer!

The Crafty Lass stand was demonstrating making fabric tinsel and wreaths – ahead of the upcoming Christmas craft workshops – and also briefly appeared both live on BBC Radio Northampton with Carson Wishart and for a short stint in the ‘Talk Tent’ discussing just how important craft is – and how it can be a therapeutic opportunity to relax out of our busy working lives.

A particular shout out and thank you to the wonderful Elke Pollard who I met today and loved my craft demonstrations of fabric tinsel so much she bought the demo make to wear as a scarf! What a trendsetter!

Thank you to everyone who came along, watched the demonstrations, bought from The Crafty Lass (our greeting cards and some beautiful fabric fat quarters were for sale!) and were excited about coming along to the craft workshops! Also to all the other lovely producers and traders who I met today. Finally, a MASSIVE thank you to BBC Radio Northampton and Holdenby House – what a fantastic event you put on! See you next year!

Categories: Business, Places to Go & Things to See, Radio, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… A celebration of the discarded babygro!

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??

 

  1. Shove them in the loft (just in case they are needed for later…??)
  2. Or, give on as hand me downs? – especially as most of them had been worn for what felt like all of just 5 minutes and in great condition!
  3. Give some to charity?
  4. Or – how about doing all the above but also craftily repurposing some of them?

 

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!

I will of course, as always, take photos when it is done and share on the socialstratosphere – here, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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!! 

Enjoy. x

Categories: Birthday, Business, Crafty Kids, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does..., Workshops

The Crafty Lass reports into new ‘Boss’!

I have had many a different role in my career to date… From envelope stuffing and data entry on oil drilling (random I know!) to pot washer and waitressing… shop assistant, accounts, chocolate forecasting… from working in womenswear fashion buying and merchandising, to number crunching on predicting foodie sales for a national supermarket, guest demonstrating on shopping TV and most recently as a Craft Buyer – and importantly, realising my actual long term career dream – and setting up my own craft workshops business – ‘The Crafty Lass’.

I wouldn’t perhaps class ‘motherhood’ as a job – but I would certainly class it as a role – and work! I have (strangely or not) always loved working (born on a Saturday – “Saturday’s child works hard for a living”?) and it is a novelty to me being on maternity leave. It isn’t really a year long holiday – but it does sometimes feel that way (!) – it is definitely play dates, new things to see, learn, try and do – and plenty of tea and cake. I don’t have an Easter four day ‘weekend’ off from ‘work’ – but I do have a lovely four days together as a family. I am simply – loving – this new stage in our life – the good, and the bad! What I am losing in sleep – I am gaining in daily new adventures and discoveries.

However, I am often coming up with new business ideas and directions for The Crafty Lass once this holiday Maternity leave is over – and with some exciting plans on the horizon – it also got me thinking, just for a bit of fun – if being a ‘Parent’ was advertised as a ‘job’ what would the description say? And… would I apply? I’m sure I would…

 

Job Title:

  • Carer, Chef, Cleaner, Nurse, Chauffeur, Event Planner, Photographer, Teacher, Stylist and Entertainer.

(referred to herewith as ‘The Parent’)

 

Reports to:

  • Child

(referred to herewith as ‘The Boss’)

 

Hours:

  • Full-Time Long Term Contract. Please note you will be required to be on call 24 hours a day, and available at very short notice.

 

Description and Responsibilities:

  • Primary role of The Parent is to ensure The Boss is ‘happy’ by any means necessary.
  • Target of ‘happiness’ measured by a distinct lack of ‘grouchiness’.
  • You must be able to work out what The Boss is saying and requiring, often via ‘instinct’. This cannot be taught, but it will be something you ‘just know’.

Please note sometimes you may not ‘just know’ – so you will need to be inventive, ask everyone you know questions, be prepared to search Google umpteen times and try various ideas and activities.

  • In addition to generally caring, changing and feeding – happiness is often achieved by (but is strictly not limited to) cuddles, playing with toys, singing, jigging, pulling funny faces, repetitively saying ‘boo!’ and dancing around like a crazy person.

Please note that within each 24 hr period, how the overall happiness target is achieved will need to adjust and will often dramatically change. What The Boss may love today – may not work tomorrow – so you will need to show adaptability and ability to think on your feet whatever the circumstances.

  • You will need to demonstrate a high ability to multi-task and must be able to accept – and be prepared for a change of plans at a moment’s notice.
  • Must be able to determine and structure when it is The Boss’ ‘Nap’ and ‘Bed’ Time.

To achieve this, you must be potentially willing to:

  • Gently rock The Boss from side to side continuously, for what feels like hours, no matter tired you are, or how big and heavy they become.
  • Read the same bed time story from yesterday (and the day before) as if you’ve never read it before. With different and varying character voices.
  • Sing the same song over and over (and over).

Please note –  that song will be stuck in your head for days.

  • On occasion, go for a walk or drive, for no reason other than to induce sleep.

You must:

  • NEVER run out of batteries of The Boss’ toy that sings sleep inducing lullabies.
  • NEVER lose The Boss’ favourite toy and/or ‘comforter’.
  • Be able to always locate said toy and/or ‘comforter’ at ‘Nap’ and ‘Bed’ Time.

Please note: if The Boss ever ‘fights’ sleep – please ignore these demands and continue as above. If required – ‘Nap’ and ‘Bed’ Time will often lead to a general ‘happiness’ achievement across a 24 hr period – for both The Parent and The Boss. (see ‘Breaks’ in Benefits and Pay below.)

  • Must wash, dress and style The Boss, and be prepared to accept that they will have more outfits than you, and ultimately – look (a lot) cooler than yourself.
  • You must be willing to get excited about seemingly mundane things like cardboard boxes – especially when they reject a new toy that came within said ‘cardboard box’.
  • You must be willing and able to organise, pack and carry around a hundred and one items with you every day to cover anything and everything The Boss may require.

 

Notes for the successful candidate:

– You must be able to ‘function’ within the role at all times – despite having to complete various other tasks in life and being on call 24/7 (see ‘Hours’ above.)

– You will need to cope with changes in acceptable conversation topics. You will likely no longer talk about anything other than The Boss. You must also be willing to discuss anything and everything at any given moment – nothing is out of bounds.

For example: topics such as ‘poo colour’, ‘poo consistency’ and ‘poo amount’ are acceptable across the dinner table discussions.

– You will more than likely require an upgrade to an almost indefinite storage capacity for your photographic device to cope with the high amounts of photos taken of The Boss.

Please note you are likely to often share a lot of The Boss photos with the world – perhaps via social media. Other people may love this and others will get bored, but please continue to share at whatever level you feel is appropriate in The Parent role.

– You may need to adjust your own sleeping patterns – sleep when The Boss sleeps if required.

– You will have a budget – however you do need to be prepared to make considerable purchases to undertake the role.

Please note – just when you think you have bought everything you need, The Boss may undertake a ‘growth spurt’ and require a completely new wardrobe, overnight.

Please also note a lot of what you purchase may not actually be necessary, liked or required. See note on ‘cardboard box’ above.

 

Please also note no formal training will be included with the role and it does NOT include a manual.

 

Benefits and Pay:

  • Breaks: You are entitled to daily breaks however you will need to be flexible on this. Your breaks usually need to fit around the (sometimes non-existent) ’Nap’ and ‘Bed’ Time (see notes above).

Please note you will have to be prepared to drink cold cups of tea if necessary.

  • Holidays: you are entitled some holidays. Requests for such will need to be considered on a case by case basis – however, you will still be required to be on call (see ‘Hours’ above).
  • Promotions: When you are ready you may report to more than one of ‘The Boss’.
  • Pay: You won’t be on any numerical remuneration. However, you will get paid in unlimited unconditional love, smiles and giggles.

 

This job description is not exhaustive, but it is exhausting. We understand that this is a highly challenging role that will require a patient and loving candidate to fulfil. However, it promises – above all – to be extremely rewarding and heart meltingly brilliant.

In fact – it guarantees to be the best job you will have ever done and will ever do.

Categories: Business, General Craft

The Crafty Lass does… Motherhood!

Firstly, thank you for all your love and well wishes, our beautiful bubba arrived over three weeks ago now, and we are doing remarkably well. But… THREE WEEKS??!
It already feels that our new little boss has been here forever. But it also feels like HOW have we ALREADY got to 3 weeks since he was welcomed in to the world? How is he nearly one month old?
Everyone tells you it goes fast, well ain’t that the truth… It’s gone, in the blink of an eye. Crazy times, before we know it he will be treating the house as a hotel and asking to borrow the car!

I am trying to just take it all in, the days and nights merging into one constant stream of feeding, sleeping, nappy changing, repeating… He is changing already too, each day bringing something new – his eyelashes being that little bit longer, his eyes that little bit brighter and open longer. It is an amazing and fascinating journey. Mummy meltdown moment today as he suddenly no longer fits into his first babygros! Eek!

I recently asked the question when does the ‘staring and crying because I can’t believe he is here and so amazing stage’ stop? I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t think it does! Yes, there is no doubt an element of hormone induced rose tinted glasses in this – but, in a few weeks we will see those ‘it’s just wind’ grimaces merge in to a real smile, we’ve got crawling, walking, talking… Milestones that will bring such joy and excitement. Lots to learn and discover together. There are the other important milestones too – like being able to sleep longer than four hours in a row, to be able to have a conversation with The Husband that doesn’t revolve around shades of poo colour or to be able to pee/shower sans baby again! Time will inevitably bring all of this and more, but for now I wouldn’t rush this for the world. A delicate balancing act of wanting him to grow up – big, strong, and experience life – in contrast for him to stay this warm, tiny, beautiful bundle of joy that is most content snuggled into mummy’s arms.

In terms of business and The Crafty Lass, my brain hasn’t COMPLETELY switched off. I’m not going to lie, watching back to back episodes of ‘First Dates’ with a little bundle of cuteness for company is pretty lovely – but there are lots of ideas for the future! The 3am Pinterest sessions aren’t for nothing! But, right now I am certainly enjoying mastering some new craft skills in the job role of ‘Mummy’. My new boss is a bit hardcore – very demanding. He expects me to be wide awake at all hours and be completely intuitive and understand his needs without him saying anything (weirdly, as a new mummy, you just do, don’t you – how does that sixth sense kick in?!) Anyway, I am becoming a dab hand at the art and craft of changing the nappy of a flailing screaming octopus at two in the morning. I am enjoying the creative aspect of choosing just which cute little outfit can we put him in to today and have certainly upped the multi tasking stakes – I am now able to feed him, eat my own breakfast, watch TV AND apply my makeup AT THE SAME TIME. Certainly personal skills to add to the CV! My cuppa tea now goes cold, the bags under my eyes are getting bigger, our washing machine is wondering what on earth has happened with its new daily usage routine and I’m having to learn to eat one handed, but I just wouldn’t change it for the world.

In terms of projects made throughout pregnancy, the clouds and stars mobile now proudly hanging in the nursery, does prove to be a source of fascination for bubba at changing time. The yet to be used crochet elephants are here ready and waiting for their little buddy-to-be, to be chewed, sorry – played with. The cloud Pom Pom rug, is sadly yet to be finished BUT it will get done…
I will try and update this blog as often as I can with REAL craft updates and new projects, but in the meantime you may just be treated to a few personal indulgences of new mum and baby updates, as for now, in reality that is all I am currently thinking, dreaming, focusing on. Our own little new mum and baby bubble, where he is simply the best thing I have ever made.

Categories: Business, Crafty Kids, The Crafty Bump

Top 5… Summer Crafts for Kids (and Adults!)

Well, it finally looks like we might actually get a proper summer this year…we even had the hottest July day on record last week! And, with the school holidays just around the corner – I have scoured the internet for some great crafts to get stuck into – that take advantage of the glorious weather and the great outdoors. Here are my Top 5…Summer Crafts for Kids (and Adults!)

1. Giant Paper Pinwheels

A simple, but very effective crafty activity – making some paper pinwheels! Mix and match endless colour combinations, to then have hours of fun watching them twirling in the summer breeze. The template is included and as the link suggests:

“– Invite your kids to paint, stamp, draw on the craft paper to add a gorgeous individual art patterns to each pinwheel. – Layer rows of washi tape or duct tape on the craft paper to add your contrast side.”

 

2. Suncatchers

Now THIS is effective! Making your own ‘suncatcher’ out of melted beads! Imagine how beautiful these would look hanging in the garden to catch the light! Or, make lots of small ones and turn into a mobile to hang up in a window. You could even go one step further with stringing the beads on to thread, before arranging and melting to spell out words or shapes!

 

3. Secret messages!

Not entirely a ‘craft’ but certainly some good fun in the sun! How about writing your own secret messages in ‘invisible ink’ (lemon juice!) Just hold up to the sunlight when you are ready to ‘reveal’ your message or artwork. 🙂

 

4. Let’s go fly a kite!

This does take some time and patience – but look how fabulous these homemade kites look! Lots of fun making it, and then all you need is a lovely windy day to then also have lots of fun flying it! A real whole family project to get involved in.

 

5. Go Hawaiian!

Make yourself a homemade Luau! That’s a flower garland before you ask… 😉 All you need, is some crepe paper and thread! Et voila, one lovely garland. Just add a trip to the beach or a paddling pool, some c/mocktails and you could close your eyes and pretend you are actually in Hawaii!

 

Happy crafting!

 

Categories: Crafty Kids, General Craft, Top 5

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