Tag : london
Tag : london
The Crafty Lass… who’s that? Who is she? Oh yes, I remember now – that’s ME. I had almost forgotten.
I was asked in a consultant doctor’s appointment the other day what my job was – seeing as we had only just met and he needed to establish my general day to day ‘activity levels’ this seemed like a sensible question – but without pausing for breath he then followed up with “…Mum?”
Now, seeing as I had an 8-week-old baby with me, this seemed like a sensible presumption. Presumption! My first initial (internal) reaction was – ‘No! I am not JUST a mum.’ But then I bit back at myself and thought ‘Actually, I AM at the minute ‘just’ a Mum.’ And that is a great thing indeed! There is nothing wrong with being ‘just’ a mum. However, that isn’t my JOB title as he was actually asking. I told him I ran my own business, explained about the studio, teaching… I am pretty sure he didn’t actually care want or need to know these details – he wanted to fix a health issue, not learn craft skills! – but I felt like I needed to ‘justify’ myself somehow. I wasn’t annoyed at WHAT he had said – I was more just annoyed that he had automatically presumed anything about me from a 20 second prior introduction. A very stereotypical presumption of a mid-30’s woman and my life.
With that in mind – I am very much enjoying taking some ‘time out’ of my normally hectic crafty world – getting to know our new baby, his quirks, these early days fly fast. However, being honest: my mind is already ready to return to crafty thoughts. Now don’t get me wrong – life is STILL hectic! There is absolutely never a dull moment in our household, there are a million and one things to be done, as with most busy modern day family lives. There is a super intelligent (but often challenging) toddler to stimulate and placate and enjoy. There is a baby who is smiling and trying to laugh and is starting to react to this world around him. There is a dog to be played with, fed, walked. There are the chores. House stuff. The LIFE stuff. But – I suppose understandably – I am still also craving the craft world. But, with what time? I can’t have it both ways… or can I? Projects and ideas and workshops. To re-establish my true identity as BOTH a mum AND ‘The Crafty Lass’. ME.
It’s a funny thing maternity leave – a constant battle between wanting to spend as much time as possible with your baby and new family unit whilst also trying not to feel guilty for wanting to get back to your ‘normal’ life – and all whilst juggling and muddling through the baby brain. A real head fog that has certainly descended into my life in recent weeks and months!
I think the main thing I need to accept is – that I am always too hard on myself. My boss (e.g. me) drives a hard bargain. I expect to be able to achieve everything and some.
I forget that I haven’t just been ‘off’ doing ‘nothing’ – I have grown a whole person. I gave birth to said human. I am now sustaining said human with milk that I am somehow (the human body is amazing) producing. I have battled and overcome Sepsis straight after giving birth. (Yes, for those that didn’t see that on social media – that was a pretty scary time…). I am trying to be a good mum. Trying to be a good wife. Trying to be a good friend. Trying to remember The Crafty Lass. I am trying to muddle through – I am trying. And, being completely honest at times that is very hard! To balance it ALL! Life can be hard. I have always been very honest that what you see on social media isn’t always (totally) what you get: I deliberately choose what I want to put out into the world – and for me, having a positive ‘feed’ is a great reminder that no matter what the daily struggles you face are, there are good days – GREAT days – and so on bad days – tomorrow is another day. (I just sometimes need to remember this.)
I also forget that when I had Freddie and I was on maternity leave the first time around: when he slept – I worked. Sometimes I slept too… “sleep when they sleep”. But, more often than not – I was crafting, planning, moving house and studio, organising, working. Now – when Freddie sleeps, or is at nursery I either NEED to also sleep or I am looking after little Rupert and trying to just… function. TWO kiddiwinks is a TOTAL game changer. When would I have time to do things?! How can I ever get back to fully working?
Well, the fog is slowly starting to clear, time somehow is balancing out and I am discovering that I CAN do things – we are nearly 9 weeks into this new life dynamic, and the brain cogs are starting to turn. I attended the Craft Cotton Co Bloggers event a few weeks ago (I am a guest blogger for them and now have super inspired ideas in the pipeline, I just need to action them!) The Pinterest App has been open. I have checked my emails. I have had enquiries on Christmas workshops. I am putting some ideas into action (watch this space…) and importantly, I am starting to remember what it’s like, I am starting to be Ready with a capital R.
My maternity leave ‘officially’ ends in January 2020, but I am being flexible… who knows what opportunities are around the corner? I have some ‘keep in touch’ days to start dipping my toe into the crafty water with across the next few months. And, it is a good job my brain is starting to get in gear as I have a very exciting and BIG event to be ready for! Go big, or go home? I might as well start with featuring as an ‘Expert’ at Kirstie Allsopp’s The Handmade Festival at Hampton Court Palace in a two weeks’! It’s only teaching 100 people at a time…
But, I am Ready. I am excited. I am Ready to be The Crafty Lass, AND a Mum too. I can do this, I CAN do this, I CAN DO THIS! The fog will clear… (crosses fingers and toes.)
Hereendith my self-motivational blog post. Hope to see you there!
So that’s it. I need to join the C.A. also known as Crochet Anonymous as I am officially addicted. Does it exist??
The little one naps? – Crochet. Contentedly jumping in his jumperoo for half an hour? – Surely I can fit in a few rounds of the latest project… Chores are being ignored, sleep is too. The Husband is also not really being spoken to much and usually often with “wait a minute” or “ssh, I’m counting”!
My TOFT #edsanimals collection is slowly expanding… starting out with the lovely Bridget the Elephant last year – and across the last month I have now completed Gregor the T Rex, our Patch the Crafty Dog (adapted from Maximillian the Weimaraner), Boris the Red Squirrel, (and now Blue the Whale Calf) – and with Hank the Dorset Down Sheep, Blake the Orangutan, Douglas the Highland Cow, as many dinosaurs as I can find – and of course ‘Hope the Whale’ in the pipeline…
The thing is, the reason it’s addictive – is it is almost meditative. You focus, you relax and as a bonus – the output once you know the basic stitches is FAST!
When the opportunity to go and crochet TOFT‘s #hopethewhale at the Natural History Museum came along – I jumped at the chance. My only questions of ‘where do I book’ and ‘how do I pay’?
The Natural History Museum, that along with the V&A, and The Science Museum (all of which I frequented yesterday!) in that wonderful area of South Kensington, London – has always been magical to me. Beautiful architecture, every corridor filled with wonder and excitement. As a child particularly at the Natural History Museum – it felt special to be there. Those big archways and the huge, unbelievable dinosaur rising above you…
Well, as I discovered yesterday – the amazement doesn’t stop even when you have become an adult!
Walking into the Hintze Hall to see no longer Dippy the Diplodocus (which I have just discovered is excitedly going ‘on tour’ around the UK!), but the new majestic ‘Hope the Whale‘ – magically suspended in all her glory. Truly breathtaking.
Then, underneath this magical spectacle – were around 40 tables for over 350 other awe inspired crocheters – ready to take on the challenge of a new TOFT pattern!
A true blend of never crocheted before in my life newbies, to resident experts – it was fascinating to see the task ahead being taken on with such patience and gusto! Kerry Lord – founder of TOFT and creative director, announced an extra special surprise that not only would we be crocheting ‘Hope the Whale’ but her lovely calf too. She threw down the gauntlet for the little calf to be completed by the end of the event… I am pretty competitive and so off I went, suddenly back in my crochet meditative state – yarn over and through, yarn over and through…
What Kerry failed to initially mention was this pattern threw in a few unexpected surprises from her usual format – new stitches and techniques that would also need to be mastered! Surprisingly to me however – was that although they actually sounded complicated, they were all just versions from the same theme and easy to follow once explained – we were all quickly off crocheting for a beautiful hour and a half. With plenty of explanations from Kerry herself, and those that needed extra tuition had plenty of support with the full TOFT team on hand… I was so focused, enjoying the moment – that at the end of the workshop I introduced myself to the person I was sitting next to! Who also was undertaking her own personal mission to complete the calf…
As I expected… I didn’t quite finish it on the night – I was too excited to look around and absorb the magical resplendent beauty of ‘Hope’ in the fading evening light.
I chose to try and complete the calf – on the train, on the way home… Many thanks to Angela (my friend and crochet partner in crime) for her skill and patience with this, as of course 11pm was the perfect time to get practicing half treble and treble crochet stitches?? In the end, some sleep and a cup of tea was all it took to refocus and complete the final stitches this morning.
A truly wonderful event – Kerry and TOFT should be thanked and congratulated…! Bravo! My crafty self has certainly thanked me for going, but my bank balance hasn’t… off into London, child free, and let loose with a sense of freedom and my credit card let’s just say I bought a few ‘momentos’ to remember the event… because who doesn’t need whale shaped baking measuring cups??
I am looking forward to the next one already…
Now on to make mumma ‘Hope’ and continue to ignore those chores…
A very happy and crafty Easter to you!
The last couple of weeks have been full of Easter crafts for The Crafty Lass – especially at the John Lewis and Waitrose head offices with their Craft Club – where I spent a couple of evenings running Introduction to Needle Felting workshops – making some decorative Easter eggs!
A very therapeutic and pretty-simple-when-you-know-how craft – slowly building up layers of 100% wool fleece in a whole myriad of colours, needle felting onto polystyrene egg shapes. We had marbling effects, little flowers, hearts, initials, spots, stripes – we even had a flamingo!! Put simply – just some great evenings of fun, laughter and crafting!
I was hoping for lots of lovely photos to go alongside this blog post (and I do have some!) – but through the wonders of technology (or lack of it, and failing miserably, and user error) – I managed to delete ALL the photos of the Waitrose workshop …That also meant spending approximately an hour of my supposedly lazy Easter Sunday morning trying to fathom how to restore them – and failing. I’ve had to give it up as a bad job, and accept that they are gone. Silver lining – it is a darn good excuse to just eat more chocolate…. not that you need it on Easter Sunday!
Either way, IT issues aside – we had a great time – one quote of the John Lewis evening:
“I have had a horrible day today… but now I am fine”!
After felting their eggs – some people planned to add ribbons to hang them up as pretty decorations, some to simply add to their Easter tables, and some to add to their desk at work to make them smile! 🙂
A successful set of Easter workshops complete for this Crafty Lass. What Easter crafts have you been getting up to?
Don’t forget – if you’d like The Crafty Lass to run a workshop with your team, or at an event – why not get in touch! 🙂
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!
Wow, what a week! The Crafty Lass is busy, busy, busy… you might have guessed by the very severe lack of blog posts over the last few weeks! Sometimes I wish there was two of me – not sure my husband would like twice the nagging, but I would certainly get a lot more done (both chores and crafts!!!)
For those of you who don’t know – I actually started a new job this week in addition to The Crafty Lass. I joined The Craft Channel buying team (very exciting) and potential for ‘on air’ demonstrations (VERY exciting!)
Anyway – just want to put this out there: I LOVE AUTUMN. I think it may actually be my favourite season. The cold nights drawing in – suddenly allowed to have multiple accessories – the woolly hats, my beloved mittens that come out year after year, boots, patterned tights, I do own about 100 scarfs (no joke)… Anyway enough about my wardrobe. It’s not just an egotistical fashion drive – it’s the glorious colours in nature, the warming winter food, large glasses of red wine and cups of hot chocolate – the knowledge that it will soon be Halloween, bonfire night and then CHRISTMAS.
My new (did I mention exciting?) role, does however have one down side… a drive to London. However, I have decided that actually, it is only a ‘downside’ if you think of it that way. I can chat to friends and family (handsfree of course), listen to audio books, and look at the wonderful scenery! As much as yes – it is long – and something that for me, will certainly take some time to get used to – it has certainly made me think – wow, our countryside is BEAUTIFUL. I am fortunate that the majority of the commute is straight down the M40 – with lovely rolling green hills, villages and towns passing me by as I whizz down the motorway in my little (“SMARTy Pants”) Smart car – otherwise knows as my Pocket Rocket… “ROCKY”!
The sky this week, can only be described as EPIC. Not sure if the ‘blood moon’ has had anything to do with it – but the sun has somehow been ‘yellower’, the clouds vibrant in brushstrokes of oranges and reds across the sky. Combined with low lying mist, and the fact I have been seeing both sunrise, and sunset on the motorway – the days are certainly getting shorter…it made me think AUTUMN IS ON IT’S WAY!
Anyway, enough about me, my new love for driving to London and Autumn – here are my Top 5… Autumn Crafts!
1. Leaf Placecards
Wow – just how stunningly effective are these! Leaf ‘placecards’ – gold ‘dipped’ and covered in beautiful calligraphy… It sounds time consuming, but worth the extra effort! You’ll not see your Autumnal walk in the park in the same way again…!
2. Glitter Leaves
Sticking to the ‘leaf’ theme – you can’t go wrong with a bit of glitter… ALOT of glitter. Such an effective garland! The guide advises to use artificial leaves – however, I am sure you could use ‘real’ ones, if you allow them to be pressed/dried out beforehand.
3. Pine Cone Garland
This is so beautiful – it would look fantastic at Christmas on your tree, or hanging on the mantelpiece. I already have a small hoard of pinecones from last Autumn in the loft… (you never know when they will come in handy!!) So this is certainly a craft that I will be trying!
4. Stick Crown
A craft for your little ones here – they’ll have so much fun making this crown with you! You can go on a lovely woodland walk, collect twigs and et voila a new fancy dress accessory!
5. Ombre Pinecones
What a fun craft! You have to agree – they look pretty beautiful painted! This would be lovely coordinated with another place setting idea here – where you simply saw them almost in half and add in your name card. Almost makes we wish we’d got married in Autumn and not Spring!
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.
There are hundreds of craft fairs and events running up and down our country, all throughout the year – with independent producers selling their individual, creative and interesting wares. From local fairs in your village hall, to internationally recognised events at huge venues – there will never be a time when you can’t find a different gift for your loved one, try a new skill – or find a new interest! Keep up to date with what’s on in your neck of the woods with ukcraftfairs.com. From looking around to source what exciting events are coming up – here, in my humble opinion – are the events not to be missed this year!
1. Further to my post about Kirstie Allsopp hosting the The Handmade Fair at Hampton Court Palace (18th-20th September 2015) – there has also been a new announcement – that she will also be doing a Handmade Christmas Fair, to be held in Manchester 20th-22nd November 2015. Kirstie? Craft? Christmas? Sounds epic! Keep up to date with future information on Kirstie’s Facebook site here.
2. A bit closer in time – (only the week after next!) is the Renegade Craft Fair, April 11th and 12th 2015 at the Old Truman Brewery, London. What a brilliant venue (I actually did my final London textile design degree show here!) – and right bang smack in the middle of Brick Lane – make sure you browse a whole multitude of vintage clothing stores while you are in the area, and treat yourself to a good curry too! Brick Lane is renowned for good Indian restaurant, after restaurant, after restaurant…! Getting back to the very exciting fair – there will be over 100 independent crafty makers and bakers with goodies for sale, DIY workshops, installations – AND is free to attend – bonus!
3. Outlaw – ‘Celebrating the Handmade and Artisan’ – at The Passenger Shed, Bristol on 2nd and 3rd May 2015, also looks really, and simply – amazing. They have ‘taster workshops’, a ‘demo theatre’, ‘over 80 artisan makers’, a ‘supplier zone’ (ready for you to buy all the things you need to make your own lovely things.) This one’s got the lot! Bristol is such a vibrant, exciting city (it was the venue for my own hen do…!) with good bars, restaurants, shops, and with it being a Bank Holiday weekend – why not make a little trip away out of it?
4. Just up the road, in another of our wonderful cities in the UK – is the Creative Crafts Show 23rd-26th April 2015 at the The Bath & West Showground, Bath.”The show provides the perfect opportunity to gather inspiration, pick up some new materials and exchange ideas and tips to try at home. All types of crafts are catered for at the Show including paper craft, beading, ribbon craft and embroidery. There is something to suit any expert or beginner with a wonderful variety of workshops.” Sounds like it’s got it all!
5. Finally, going back to the Christmas theme (it is NEVER too early to start planning I reckon!) I couldn’t miss out the wonderful, and in my opinion – BEST – city of the North – Harrogate. The Country Living Christmas Fair from 3rd-6th December 2015. Tickets go on sale in May – and I think it has everything you could ever want from a Christmas fair! Craft Workshops, Food Theatre and literally hundreds of exhibitors. No excuses not to buy some nice presents this year!
So, get the dates in the your diary and get crafty! 🙂