Tag : inspiration
Tag : inspiration
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
Having studied Art & Design – specialising in textiles for A-Level, BTEC Foundation in Art & Design – specialising in Textiles and then going on to specialise in Printed Textile Design at University – you’d think my go to medium of choice, would always be fabric. Of course, I would never turn my back on the beautiful warps and weft of material but it is sometimes nice to try something new.
I have made many flowers out of fabric before – making HUNDREDS of hand cut petals for our wedding. Sewing these into large ruffled flowers that adorned the tables, the chairs, the corsages – and have since held several flower corsage craft workshops teaching people how to make these.
It was only fairly recently that I started to explore making flowers out of a new material – paper.
Paper, with all its varying weights, styles and colours provides incredible flexibility to create texture where perhaps fabric cannot to the same degree. Paper, when you fold it, it often stays where you put it – you can roll it up, cut it up – without fraying, it can be stretched to create shape (in crepe paper certainly) it can be crumpled up to create folds and definitions. It can be delicate (tissue) and strong (card). It provides a whole wealth of inspiration and ideas. Of course there are delicate silks and structured chords and denims to explore with fabric, but paper somehow feels more tactile, more instantaneous texture. I have always been more focused on the graphic design ON the fabric – colour, the pattern, the print of the fabric, not necessarily the texture.
Colours – I’ve always been inspired by nature and the amazing palletes it brings. What could be more invigorating than looking at the colours of a glorious sandy beach against cool blues of the sea? Or, the remarkable russets, greens, golds and oranges of an Autumnal tree? Or the pastels, brights of a floral summer garden?
Using real flowers as the most obvious starting point, when making paper flowers – I like to try and recreate the styles and shapes and as close to nature as possible… but equally it is quite nice to give a nod to – that the recreation IS paper. For example, peonies – I’ve been known to hand paint crepe paper to specific shades of pink to replicate the imperfect colouring in nature of real peony petals. I have been told that people didn’t realise that it was paper, they looked THAT real! (Mission accomplished!) However, with daisies – I tend to cut the paper into little straight strips. Thus giving square edged petals – they look like daisies, but just not quite.
Flowers can of course, be built into extraordinary displays and bouquets – and what a choice! From tiny little delicate ‘baby’s breath’ to huge ruffly roses and sunny sunflowers. Often interspersed with foliage and leaves building up layer upon layer of colours and textures.
As beautiful and striking as real flowers can be – they do not – very sadly – last.
However, fabric and paper – very happily – does.
I have been honoured to be asked to make various paper flower commissions – primarily for people’s weddings – and most recently, I had a very romantic request – for a first ‘paper’ anniversary gift, to replicate his wife’s wedding bouquet, so that she could keep it! (He’s a keeper!)
Using a wedding photograph as inspiration and lots of secret messages between myself and the groom to make sure it was just right, after weeks of paper folding and making – he gave her his thoughtful gift within the last week. I’m really glad to say she loved it. (Mega brownie points for hubby, right?) Yay!
Looking forward to 2018, I plan to launch paper flower craft workshops for people to come and learn how to make them… in the meantime, if you – or someone you know would like a paper flower commission – please do get in touch!
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!
Oh… the ‘C’ word. The one that no one wants to mention. Well, not until at least December is here anyway.
Me? I LOVE Christmas. I love the cold weather, the roaring fires, the indulgence and fun and high spirits. Normally, I am prepping WELL ahead of December. Usually there is a handmade advent calendar, and table decorations and handmade crackers on the go. Wreaths are being designed and made, shopping lists written, Christmas cards written, recipes being organised. This year? No. I have done very, VERY little. It’s not for want of trying – I just can’t believe the magical festive season is nearly upon us! The arrival of the (brilliant) John Lewis advert was a shock. What do you MEAN it’s nearly Christmas??
I do have a great excuse though… I have been so focused on our new little one, and even just what day of the week it is, that well, Christmas, and planning for it has gone slightly off plan. My days – that would normally around this time of year – be filled with planning the perfect mince pie recipe or working out just how many gold baubles does a girl need for the new colour schemed tree? Have been swapped for planning the perfect nights eat and sleep routine and counting how many nappies in a day. Times, have, changed.
I’ve got some of the priorities sorted anyway – Santa knows what bubba would like under the tree and even our little doggie has his gifts all sorted! Our dog even has a (rawhide) advent calendar himself this year… and a dog BEER. Yes, you read that right. I am one of those people that buys the naff Christmas items at the Pets at Home till. Apparently it is not really ‘beer’ – pretty sure it is chicken flavoured water or ‘moisture’ as the label attractively lists on the ingredients! The Husband was NOT impressed at first when I showed him – ‘What gave you been buying now?!’ – however, I think he is secretly excited to have a beer with his four legged pal on the ‘big day’. Talking of The Husband – he does NOT have any presents… yet, and there is a general shopping list in the go… I just need to action it, and perhaps work out how to get the pram and car seat adapters to actually fit together and man up and attack the shops. Or, just crack on with 3am online shopping. God bless the internet!
So, my new focus instead of Christmas and all the wonderful things it brings (mulled wine, aforementioned presents, and our lovely family – in that order! 😉 ) is our little man.
He is now 6 weeks old. Amazing. But, where has that time gone??
We have just been treated to his wonderful first smile, and as most babies at this developmental stage – he just LOVES lights! So, we need to get our Christmas tree up ASAP and I plan to simply COVER it with lights – he will be mesmerised. And, I am sure this will bring plenty more delightful smiles. They literally make my heart melt, and me cry. Bloody hormones!
Anyway, enough about me and – if unlike me, you have time to start making anything (there is no doubt I will… I can’t NOT have a crafty Christmas, I’m The Crafty Lass!) here are my top 10 Christmas crafty links for you to try, with a little something for everyone! And, if I don’t manage to post again before – have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
How about this for a simple, but very effective craft! All you need is ribbon, and plenty of baubles to make a bauble garland! Beautiful.
2. Wrapping Paper!
How about making your own wrapping paper? I usually spend time (far too long) picking out the right one to go with the ribbons and colour scheme I have chosen for this year… but perhaps, as shopwalkinlove.com shows us – all we need is some plain papers, pens, some inspiration and to have fun with it! This is certainly going to be on my to do list this year 🙂
3. Table Decor!
A very clever idea for lovely place cards – mini ‘wreaths’ made from cranberries and greenery! You could even try this with beads and ribbons if you wanted to make them reusable for next year – but, nothing screams Christmas more than a cranberry or two! 🙂
4. Advent Calendar Ideas!
I’m going to put this out there – I HATE advent calendar chocolate… Now you can get seriously luxurious calendars and they don’t all taste like plastic like they did when I was a kid (please note a Hotel Chocolat advent would be lovely, thanks Husband) – but why not countdown to the big day with doing something different everyday? Here is the ‘Ultimate Advent Activity List‘ to give you plenty of festive ideas to get into the holiday spirit!
5. Kids Crafts!
Just how cute are these clothes peg snowmen! Something you can make together and you could even use them to hold up any Christmas cards received!
Love crochet? How about making these amazing elf slippers!
7. Sweet Eats!
Give everyone a surprise and a smile with their after dinner coffee – and why not turn normal ‘Malteasers’ into mini Christmas puds?! Simply pipe on melted white chocolate, and decorate with small coloured icing/toppings. Clever!
8. A Different Tree!
9. Peanut Garland!
A really lovely idea for (believe it or not!) decorating PEANUTS into little characters! Paint, glue – let your imagination go wild! These could hang above the fireplace, on the tree – anywhere you want to make that little bit festive in the home! 🙂 You could even drape these around the table as part of your table decor on the big day.
10. Santa Logs!
Get creative with your garden decor and jazz up some logs into Santa! Simply cut into shape, paint and add to your doorstop to welcome all your visitors! 🙂
So what exactly is ‘inspiration‘? And, what is YOUR inspiration?
Big, open questions – and where I suspect there are many, MANY different answers.
Some people are inspired by nature, or photography, or music, or colour, poetry, their family, their own personal desires and wishes etc. The list goes on.
The dictionary defines inspiration as:
- the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
- a sudden brilliant or timely idea.
For me, it does come along in many different forms, at many different times – and sometimes, not at all. Sometimes it is for things and ideas you would expect yourself to focus on, and somedays not.
I often use Pinterest to start my inspiration for whatever the current project or theme is. Other times I listen to calming chillout music, or will be already crafting up a project – and new ideas will start popping into my head – one, after the other – like a domino effect. Almost as if inspiration breeds inspiration. Other times it will be the middle of the night – a multi-tabbed brain frantically writing down ideas at 4am and my pen can’t keep up with my the words and thoughts and designs tumbling out of my brain.
However – there are days where I totally lack inspiration AND its sister key word – motivation. Sometimes, I will have just ‘lost my mojo’. But, who doesn’t? And, I am learning that that is OK. Because inspiration shouldn’t be there ALL the time, it needs to strike – in a moment of glorious ‘aha!’, ‘lightbulb moments’, a sudden glimmer of ‘what if…’ genius, thought provoking brilliance. And THEN, you need motivation to take over to drive the thoughts into reality. Ideas are nothing without execution.
Now approaching 32 weeks pregnant – I do have inspiration and motivation – but for DIFFERENT things than ‘normal’, of which I am not used to.
The Crafty Lass used to be my sole focus. Of course yes, there is The Husband, our lovely doggie Patch, our great friends and family, work at The Craft Channel… But the late at night googling, the jotting notes in the diary, the Pinterest boards being created – were all totally craft related. Even before The Crafty Lass – for our wedding (the last M.L.P – Major Life Project) this was hugely craft focused! Prior to pregnancy, I would be inspired with hundreds of craft ideas, design ideas, imagery, product ideas, The Crafty Lass is going to take over the world ideas. They are still there, but recently – being honest, are dampened down and pushed aside by the new priorities of finish the nursery, making sure my hospital bag is on with being packed, booking antenatal classes, and that we have bought and researched everything we require. Motivation for (and the actual need) to sleep lots! Motivation and inspiration for a different, new and exciting kind of future. There are certainly crafty nursery-based inspirations (of course there are!) – there is the crochet Elephant, the knitted comforter, the pompom rug, the handmade mobile, the tags and bunting and… I could go on!
When I first started to spend more time looking at buggies rather than how to create paper flowers, or researching car seats instead of yarn types – I felt guilty. Absolutely no doubt about it. And, being honest – I even visited my lovely Life Coach – to question – ‘where has my mojo gone?’ And ‘why am I no longer focusing on the business as 110% as I was before?’ She comforted me, reassured me, encouraged me and yes, motivated me – thank you – and told me what I already knew. And, although it has taken me a while to understand – it’s natural to have a new shift in focus. It’s a big step in life, and actually these moments are precious, and need to be treasured. It sounds absolutely bleedin’ obvious now I am writing it down! Of course I knew that – but it is nice to be reminded when you feel the balance is wrong. Emotions aren’t always that straight forward are they? When you work hard at University, you work hard in lots of different places and types of business – finding and drawing your own life path – you spend so long developing and focusing on your career, for that focus to suddenly wane, for me it is a new and different concept. You cannot FORCE inspiration in a certain direction. You CAN make motivation happen. And, stuff will get done. The Crafty Lass commissions will be made. Future business proposals will be written. Those end of year financials will FINALLY be submitted. Just in what priority order? And does it matter in what order, as long as it all gets done. There is the internal battle of where the inspiration and motivation should be focused towards. However, IT IS OK to currently not be as driven in a certain direction than I once was.
I’m learning that when inspiration does strike – you need to write those ideas down, you need to bottle them up, start that Pinterest board, fire up the computer and get on with designing the next creations – before it’s too late – before the moment has gone. Motivation wise – I suppose everything needs to be balanced. Inspiration strikes whenever, in whatever direction it likes. You might NEED to do something, but do you WANT to, are you INSPIRED to do it? Of course, sometimes we all have to try and focus on what we NEED to do, not just on what we WANT to – whether we like it or not. The world would be an amazing place wouldn’t it, if we could just all do what we want, rather than need!
Once I accepted this new phase in inspirational focus, and the guilt shifted away – actually, the ideas came flooding back, and I now have TWO The Crafty Lass notebooks on the go, sketches being made, new Pinterest boards being created and some exciting business ideas in the pipeline. (Watch this space!) I am just learning it is about BALANCE. It is ok to work hard AND then have a well deserved and needed 2 hour nap – and then, perhaps continue with your crochet for little bubba’s new toy. Perhaps before, my focus was actually too much in The Crafty Lass favour – and this new stage is the ‘correct’ (if there is a right and wrong) balance for the future.
A totally different concept – but the lessons behind it are the same:
I have just started maternity leave, deliberately early – to focus on getting organised – for the baby, for The Crafty Lass – to get ready (will we ever be ready?) – but to also have some selfish ‘me’ and ‘just us’ time before our world dramatically changes for a new chapter. (SERIOUS NESTING PHASE ALERT.)
So, for those of you who might be in the same position – try not to be too hard on yourself when your inspiration and focus changes and wanes sometimes. As long as you still have that deep, underground fire in your belly, and the ideas are there – just bubbling away under the surface (with brief glittery shows of ‘look I am here!’) – they won’t go away. That natural instinct to Make, Create, Inspire – it is still there. It just might be postponed for a little while.
And, that is OK.
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.