Tag : make-create-inspire

The Crafty Lass does… Quick Make: Bottle Gift Bag!

With the call for more ways to reuse and upcycle - here is a fun and simple make for a little gift bag. You could use any fabrics you like, and of course this wouldn't have to be just for Christmas. You could even use something like an old shirt to turn it from unwanted clothing into something useful and reusable!

You could easily adjust the dimensions to wrap any present - but the measurements below are for a standard wine bottle. I decided to leave the bottle neck on show, but you could make it a little bit higher if you wanted to conceal it.

Ingredients:

Fabric

Thread

Ribbon

Tools:

Tape Measure

Sewing Machine

Scissors

Pins

Method

MEASURE

Measure out a rectangle of fabric - the dimensions for this one I made to fit a standard wine bottle are 32cm x 29cm.

SEW

Turn the top edge down by 1cm and stitch into place to secure the seam. I have used a decorative stitch for this, but you could use whatever you like!

SEW

Fold the fabric in half with the right sides together and sew in a simple straight stitch down the height, pivot and sew along the bottom using a 1cm seam allowance. Secure your threads in simple knots.

TURN OUT

Turn your bag out the right way, place bottle inside and tie up with a ribbon and a now. Et voila! One bottle bag! 🙂

Categories: Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… Santa Hats Tutorial!

I know (and I say this a lot to myself, and here on this blog about various things) why would I want to MAKE one, when I could BUY one? Because, I am crafty. Mad too, I think. But also - for the sheer personal satisfaction.

To be honest, I was given this beautiful feathers fabric by the Craft Cotton Co, and inspiration just 'came' to me - 'I know that would make an amazing, and different Santa hat!' So, I decided to give it a try. And, then I got a little bit addicted to making them - so I now have one for Mummy, one for Freddie and one for Rupert. Daddy wants no part in this crafty hat situation! Bah humbug - but, what he doesn't know is I am likely to make one for him anyway... does he have a choice?! Not really...

I thought it would be hard... but I promise you, it is a very simple make! The thing that takes the longest is working out the sizes. So, a little bit of maths to get you started - but then you'll be away! And, soon you'll be addicted to making them like me...

Santa Hats Tutorial

Ingredients

Fabric

Faux Fur

Faux Fur Pompom or Pompom of choice

Thread

 

Tools

Tape Measure

Pencil

Sewing Machine

Iron

Needles

Pins

Method

MEASURE - Fabric

First, take the measurement of your wearer's head right around the circumference on their forehead. Now, we are going to measure out two triangles. We need to work out how big to make them to match the circumference. I will give you our measurements and examples below so you can see the workings out!

  • Mummy's (Adult)

My head circumference is 59cm. I increased this by 2cm to 61cm to allow a bit of 'wiggle room'.

Width: To work out how long the 'bottom' of the two triangles I would be cutting I divided this by 2 this = 30.5cm.

Then, I added 3cm to this for seam allowances = 33.5cm. Mark either end of this 33.5cm on your fabric ready for the next bit.

Height: Now you want to find the 'middle' of this which is 16.75cm. Mark this point on your fabric and then go as high as you would like the hat to be - I decided on 40cm. Mark this point on your fabric. Now create your triangle back down to either end of your original points with diagonal lines to create your triangle. That sounds very complicated, but is the sort of thing that it will be easier when you are just giving it a go, I promise!

It worked out that each diagonal line worked out to be 43.5cm long for reference.

  • Freddie's (Toddler)

Freddie's head circumference is 51cm. Increased this by 2cm to 53cm for the wiggle room part.

Width: 53/2 = 26.5cm. Plus 3cm for seam allowances = 29.5cm. This is for the bottom part and width of the triangle.

Height: Halfway point of this = 14.75cm, from here I then marked this at 38cm high. Then I created the diagonal lines back down which = 40cm.

  • Rupert's (Baby)

Rupert's head circumference is 45cm. Increased this by 2cm to 47cm for the wiggle room part.

Width: 47/2 = 23.5cm. Plus 3cm for seam allowances = 26.5cm. This is for the bottom part and width of the triangle.

Height: Halfway point of this = 13.25cm, from here I then marked this at 29cm high. Then I created the diagonal lines back down which = 32cm.

MEASURE - Fur

The fur needs to be cut in a long rectangle long enough to go all the way around your head in one go.

  • Mummy (Adult)

Width: I started out with a measurement of 59cm for my head circumference, we then upped that to 61cm for wiggle room. Then, we need to add 2cm for seam allowances = 63cm.

Height: I decided to base this on what I thought 'looked right'. Whatever measurement you would like the fur to be, double this as we will be folding the fur in half (this creates a nice fluffy edge on the head!) I decided 8cm of fur would look nice so I doubled this to 16cm. Then, we need to add 2cm for seam allowances = 18cm.

So I cut 1 x rectangle 63cm by 18cm of fur. Please note the direction of the fur - you will need to make sure it is pointing 'down' (not across) along the your width of the rectangle.

  • Freddie's (Toddler)

With Freddie's head circumference being 51cm and we upped that to 53cm for wiggle room, the rectangle I cut was:

55cm (including the 2cm of seam allowances) x 18cm.

  • Rupert's (Baby)

With Rupert's head circumference being 45cm and we upped that to 47cm for wiggle room, the rectangle I cut was:

49cm (including the 2cm of seam allowances) x 16cm.

CUT

Once you've cut your 2 triangles out of your fabric, place them right sides together before pinning around the edge to secure.

Fold your fur in half so that the two shorter edges meet with the fur on the inside and pin to secure.

SEW - Fabric

Sew up one of the diagonal fabric triangle edges using a 1cm seam allowance to the point of your hat, pivot and then sew back down the other side of the diagonal edge of your triangles.

 

SEW - Fur

Sew along the edge using a 1cm seam allowance to create a circle of fur.

ASSEMBLE - Pin

Fold your fur in half width ways so you have fur outwards on both sides of the circle of fur.

Turn your fabric 'hat' out the right way, and push the top point as far as you can.

Press with an iron to remove any creases.

Place the hat inside the circle of fur with the edges of both the hat, and the two edges of fur together. Pin in place to secure.

ASSEMBLE - Sew

Using a 1cm seam allowance, sew the three layers together. I would have expected to need to use a 'special' sewing machine needle for this, but I used my 'normal' one, and it was absolutely fine!

Note: Where the two triangle seams meet - there will be a 'dip' of a triangle that doesn't quite fit with the seam allowance on your fur part - which you may have noticed when pinning together - don't worry, we can trim that off in a bit!

TRIM 

Secure your threads and trim off the triangle bits just mentioned.

POMPOM

Hand sew your pompom on to the tip of the hat. Top-tip: make sure to not push your needle all the way through the faux faur pompom - needles are sharp, and the faux pompom is white!!!! #needlesaresharp #redspoldgesarenotagoodlook

Categories: Christmas, Crafty Kids, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… Maternity Leave!

How is it May? MIDDLE of May.

Christmas, Januuuuuuuuuuuuuary.

FebruaryMarchApril. MAY.

And so that’s it, I am on Maternity Leave as of the end of today. The last 36 weeks in particular have been super speedy – part of me feels like I’ve been expecting a baby forever, part of me thinks – how is he nearly here… 

I have been on proper nesting mode for weeks, months now – I get really agitated if things go out of place! That combined with a toddler, a dog, and us timing some pre-baby building works in our home, it has at times become a crazy, cluttered very much a NOT-so-nesting-friendly-space… you can imagine! But, the works we had done were very much worth it, the dust has settled – and now things can try and go back to a semi-Marie-Kondo-style zen zone. (Apart from the toddler ‘stuff’ – how can such a little person create such craziness?!) 

So the house is returning to ‘normality’. The hospital bags are packed. The checklists are getting ticked off. I think everything is ready. Well, as ready as it can be.

Expect one thing.

Me… Am I ready?

In reality – I am not sure you can ever be fully ready. But I do think I am partly still in disbelief that inside my ever expanding belly is a human. An actual person. A tiny, perfect little being that is growing, developing every single day. It is a miracle that I do not take for granted.

I think the disconnect between bump and an actual real baby is completely normal. Well, I felt the same with my first pregnancy – of course I KNEW I was having a BABY – my belly wasn’t JUST biscuits – but the reality still seemed a shock when he arrived kicking and screaming into the world! This time I question, how on earth will I be able to love another human as much as our little man? For all the hard nights of no sleep, of worry when they are poorly, or day to day life struggles – parenting can be incredibly hard, but it is still an utter joy to be cherished. 

I saw this quote on Facebook the other week during World Maternal Mental Health Week – on Amy Davis Yoga – it stuck out to me as it is firstly by one of my all time favourites – Nigella Lawson – and secondly, because it just sums it up nicely…

Talking of ‘social media’ – I recently posted myself that I was feeling ‘wobbly’ as the pregnancy hormones had well and truly hit – and it was a simple thing that I realised with upcoming nursery days, the weekends, a bank holiday and various amazing family help planned in to the diary – that there were only a few days left of just me and little man. Obviously, there isn’t – there will always be times when it is ‘just us’ – but it is the end of era. Things will be different. Good, amazing, incredible different of course, but different all the same. It turns out – I am not alone; my ‘wobbles’ are normal – and I feel reassured that the new amazing, will be just that: amazing. Hard maybe, but it’ll be fine in one way or another!

Being someone who is constantly on the go, always working on several projects, writing lists, continually thinking about The Crafty Lass – it is strange with maternity leave to be firstly told to STOP and second of all listen to that and actually rest. It’s just strange. I’ve generally been well throughout the pregnancy, but as we near the final stages, I am just super tired. I have had a nasty cold too – but a daily conversation in our house is all about being told off for ‘doing too much’. I quite often don’t think I have been doing too much – but often forget that actually just looking after a toddler, reorganising the house, the nesting stuff that continues on and on, life, fitting in all our maternity appointments (we are consultant led and have appointments most weeks in some way or another) and in addition to still finishing final commissions, some crafty projects, press and social media requests, paperwork – it isn’t just ‘nothing’. So, I am now conceding that finally, maybe sometimes a proper sit down with a cup of tea, tv, biscuits, maybe even a cheeky nap is a good thing – while I can…

This blog was never intended to be just self associated ‘heart on sleeve’ writings – so if you’ve got this far – thank you for reading! Selfishly it has, and some recent other blog posts too, been nice to be openly ‘chat’ about what is going on in both the business, but also life. I think with any small business, it is important to be transparent. And, the ethos of The Crafty Lass workshops is about obviously learning new skills, making some beautiful things – but also about social interaction,  meeting like minded people, sort of a target on ‘craft mindfulness’. Some of the conversations that are had in The Old Grain Store – well, what goes in the craft room, stays in the craft room… but, it is often heart warming to know people can chat openly, make new connections, feel comfortable talking about how craft makes them FEEL, and the challenges people are working their way through. I suppose this blog post is an opportunity to be open and honest about myself! Yes, I cannot wait for this new chapter of our lives, but I am partly sad that I won’t be on full The Crafty Lass mode for a while…

But don’t worry, The Crafty Lass isn’t stopping, it is just having a little ‘mini-break’. My husband likened it to a car on a Winter’s day: the engine is still running, the car won’t ice up – the key is in the ignition and you can just decide when to jump in and take it on a new journey… 

On maternity leave there are a certain amount of ‘keep in touch days’ I can be involved in – ’10’ to be precise, and that’s great as it gives me a ‘limit’. A finite amount of days to allocate to ‘work’. We all know that as much as I am looking forward to baby cuddles, all the craziness that comes with ‘learning’ about a new little person and being ‘just’ a mum for a while – if an opportunity comes along, I am likely to want to say ‘yes’ to whatever it is – and maybe I will be able to, maybe actually – I won’t – but I will just need to take everything in to consideration.

There are already some things planned in, some exciting press opportunities that are already completed and ready for publishing, I have my mind thinking on future grand plans like the books I am writing and some new workshop ideas. The next major event I am working towards is the very exciting The Handmade Festival as a Kirstie ‘expert’ teaching ‘Get Creative with Air Dry Clay’ in September at Hampton Court Palace. Such an amazing opportunity and it will be a fantastic few days! Make sure you book your ticket and your workshop spaces before they sell out!  

I have already been asked about Christmas workshops this year and the answer is… ‘I don’t know’! I would like to think, and hope there will be some workshops, but I will have to just see how I feel at that point and how things are going… Maybe not a great business model to not have a real longer term plan – but that is how it is for now and I am lucky to have that flexibility. It is certainly ‘watch this space’…  

If you follow The Crafty Lass Instagram and Facebook pages you will have likely noticed things have ‘slowed’ recently apart from a few crafty projects here and there: things for the baby, things for the home, but also things for our little man – that try and en-capture memories. There will likely be a few more crafty things that pop up from time to time – but get ready for #babyspam! 

So for now, it’s adieu and you will be sure to know when the crafty baby arrives… 

See you ‘soon’, whenever that might be. The car is ready and waiting.

The Crafty Lass x

Categories: Business, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does...

Be kind to yourself. It’s January! Stop to eat the biscuits – even if they are broken.

I’m tired. But, it’s January – who isn’t tired in January?

The days are dark, it’s (seriously) cold, I think we are all just trying to make it through, right? Trying to stick to New Year’s resolutions, trying to be ‘good’. In fact; who thought it would be a good idea to make resolutions to in some way change your life, when it is hard going anyway with the dreary days, dark evenings and the knowledge the party season is over?! And, that’s before we even think about the mess our country’s politics is in!

For the first time in years, this year I didn’t actually make any resolutions. I’ve had a bit of a declutter, and I have a bit of a list going on of what I would like to achieve, and how I would like this year to pan out – but nothing to STOP doing, which is a refreshing change! Resolutions are good – if you have the will power and true desire to do whatever it is you are doing. But all too often, very easy to just ‘give up’ and then feel weak and berate yourself as a ‘failure’ when, actually, you are just trying to get on in life, in January of all months! Be kind to yourself.

With that in mind – one thing I think perhaps I – and most of us to be honest – should do, is exactly that as a ‘New Year’s’ resolution: to not be so hard on ourselves. Be kind.

I, in particular set myself high standards. I get these ideas of things that need to be done and have to be achieved – but I need to stop and remind myself that actually no-one else has said that has to happen. I have set the targets, I have set the goal posts – so if it doesn’t work out exactly as I imagined, then maybe I can move the goal posts and actually stop and reflect not on what HASN’T been achieved, but what HAS.

That’s quite hard for me to write – as I quite LIKE getting lots done, I LOVE being almost too busy – but actually, sometimes I do (and you if you are reading this knowing you do too!) need to stop. Watch more TV. Read a magazine. Paint my nails. Time out. And do NOT feel guilty for it either! Time on yourself is time well spent. And, referring back to the first sentence of this blog post. I’m TIRED. And that is partly my own fault!

I am also tired, because I have an all too often sleep thief toddler, who is in the ‘terrible’ twos (they aren’t that terrible ALL the time – sometimes the tantrums can be slightly amusing… although often in hindsight, not at the time while you try to placate a screaming, anger filled little person.) Who knew it needed to be THAT specific spoon, and actually it IS the end of the world if their biscuit breaks in half. I understand that to them it actually is devastating… but sometimes to take a step back and look at the bigger picture to see that while it is a challenge to resolve, this is NORMAL toddler behaviour – learning about what they want, they don’t want and that things aren’t always their own way. Obviously, you tell them it’ll be OK, but they learn that sometimes Mummy cannot just ‘fix’ the biscuit.

I am tired, because in addition to the aforementioned beautiful, challenging, amazing bundle of energy that is our little man – life is happening. The house. The dog. The (attempt at a) social life. Running a business. (Or, trying to!) And, I am growing a whole other human being.

Into the second trimester now, in fact literally approaching half way as I write (time slow down, please?!) I am feeling MUCH better. Christmas was crazy – with all our amazingly busy workshops and events, and actual Christmas to do in addition to morning (all day?) sickness and feeling like a walking zombie for 3 months wasn’t ideal – but, I got through it. Things went well. Classes were booked, people attended and from what I can see – lots of happy crafters!

There, point one of congratulating myself! Well done.

I am winding down now though, I need to start…

When I first found out I was pregnant, of course – we were delighted. But, I did: Panic. What is the business going to do?! How will it sustain over the next year, or two, or five?!

The answer to the above questions are of course, it will be OK. Just like a toddler realises they can still eat the biscuit, just in two halves – it will be OK!

I think in the background of this worry lies the buzz word(s) ‘Imposter Syndrome’. I have heard a lot about this recently and actually, I think we all do feel like this from time to time… Where you question if you are good enough, question if you are essentially a ‘fraud’! Obviously, I am not a fraud in the true sense of the matter – but there is certainly self-doubt at times.

A lot of self-doubt can come from comparison. Believing that what you see on social media is what you get. You’ve (and I’ve) got to remember it is not what you get. It isn’t always real. Or, it IS real – but it isn’t just the photos that are filtered, it is the content too! You certainly don’t see photos on The Crafty Lass Instagram of our little man having a meltdown as he lost ‘his’ leaf on a walk and demanding to sit IN a puddle. Or the days I cannot be bothered to craft – and sit and watch First Dates instead! Obviously, I and anyone else that ‘filters’ their content doesn’t LIE – they just post relevant and appropriate things. I want my feed to be full of colour, and fun and making and creating. As a business, I need to reflect positivity. Not piles of washing and grumps!

I am currently reading Cath Kidston’s ‘COMING UP ROSES – The Story of Growing a Business’ – and for anyone building a business, or a brand – or actually just loves Cath Kidston – I would highly recommend. Very inspiring! There is a quote on the back of the book that really hit a nerve with me:

“When you’re self-taught you always worry that you will be found out.”

That is IT!

I (think I) am more than qualified to be ‘The Crafty Lass’… however, I need to ensure the business grows, expands, onwards and upwards. What if I can’t do that?

After a very successful year, with so many amazing things achieved – the timing of this pregnancy actually couldn’t be better. Although I will need to stop whilst things are on a high – it will be chance to reflect, plan, decide how the business will move forwards, and in what direction.

The husband came up with a brilliant and timely appropriate analogy – that the car was now designed, built and running. And, once the baby arrives, I won’t need to de-ice the car – the engine is still ticking over. And, he is right – the business won’t die a death. People won’t forget – mainly because I won’t let them! And, the business is flexible enough to adapt to the new (likely even more sleep deprived) life we will be boldly treading in. I quit my 9-5 to allow for a flexible life, and I need to ensure I grab that opportunity with both hands and not let it go – as I am forever grateful that although where The Crafty Lass is now has come about due to lots and lots of hours and hard work – and it didn’t happen overnight – but, I am grateful that it can and does work. And, work around family.

People keep asking me about when I will be ‘stopping’. And the answer is I don’t know – and I can’t really see me fully stopping! When you run your own business, you are never truly ‘off duty’. I mean, I literally am The Crafty Lass. OF COURSE I WILL stop! I won’t be writing posts in the labour ward… although saying that, I was induced with our little man and to distract myself from the process, I was crocheting most of the time in hospital! But, seriously – I will stop when the new bundle of joy arrives for a period of time – length of such to be decided there and then, and focus on them and us and little man – they are only very little for such a short time, but I am sure the craftiness will dip in and out of life too.

I do have some big plans for maternity leave – I have already started on a book (well two actually, but one is more of a general idea with a contents page and hundreds of thoughts and images in my brain, and the other is an actual full in the writing stages) and it would be great to make that the project I really get up and running with in the early how have we made a person months. Or, to be kind to myself – if that doesn’t happen as it is more important to sleep, then that’s OK too. All in good time, as the vision and desire to achieve won’t go away.

So, that’s it – ignore the Imposter Syndrome. You ARE good enough. You CAN do whatever you set your mind to, but just do what you can. Stop to take time out for yourself. You are doing GREAT – it is January don’t forget – and we are all in this together! Stop to eat the biscuits – even if they are broken.

x

Categories: Business, General Craft

Feel the Fear…

The Crafty Lass currently features in the BOOTS Health and Beauty magazine for January/February 2019 – in an article all about conquering our fears. What better way to start the New Year with a blog post featuring a little bit more about mine, and what resolutions and steps I took to change this…

Phobias: they are illogical, irrational, frustrating and very real.

It doesn’t matter whether you are frightened of spiders, the dark… or in my case: needles (not the crafty type, thankfully) – it is certainly a really overwhelming, all-consuming emotion that you cannot and will not do the thing you need to face. Well, sometimes you have to – but under much protest!

Admitting you have a phobia to other people, well it did for me anyway – it made me feel weak. I am quite a positive and ‘strong’ person – why would I be frightened of something?

Well… there was an ‘incident’ when I was younger that seemed to be the trigger… What an irony that a craft kit likely caused my phobia! Who knows, the mind is a funny thing sometimes. A large tapestry needle went into my thumb. It was Boxing Day, I got up early as I was so excited to play with my new crafty items from Santa! But, I didn’t quite understand that I shouldn’t be using it unsupervised, and not in the way I was using it… Much to my parents horror when they awoke to my tears! But – I was ok, it wasn’t as bad an injury as perhaps I considered at the time at a young, tender age – was that enough to cause all this stress in my adult life?

When it came to needles, I wasn’t ‘in control’ – I knew my reaction would be to pull away, to scream – in one particular incident I sadly and instinctively hit out at the nurse, as my gut reaction was to get it and her away from me. All that panic and movement ironically would be MORE dangerous and painful and stressful – than if I just let them get on with their job! Sorry Miss Nurse from my school days as a teenager…

Phobias can cause crying, breathing difficulties, panic attacks – and avoidance of the said thing… but sometimes fears need to be faced.

I decided enough was enough. Something needed to give. I didn’t need tests and jabs all the time, but what about holidays, and children? And what better way to face my fear than by helping others.

I had always wanted to ‘give blood’. I was healthy, I had no reason to ‘not’ – except the sitting there giving blood part. Involving needles.

I decided to just sign up – and go for it. If everyone else there could, why couldn’t I? And, if I could sit there for 20 minutes or so with a needle pumping blood out of my arm – surely, I could have inoculations if needed, or blood tests if required – without all the panic and crying and desperation beforehand?

I felt panicky in the build-up that week – I questioned if I was losing my mind. I questioned if I could even go through with it. But there was a big difference in donating blood to a ‘normal’ blood test or inoculation. I was in control. I didn’t HAVE to do this, and even stranger – I WANTED to do this.

And, I did it.

I unbelievably DID IT! I couldn’t believe that I, Paula Milner, had donated blood! And, as a bonus, I got free squash and chocolate biscuits too!

And, I was right – as a result, after donating several more times and from taking back more control – my phobia HAS calmed down. Yes, I don’t LOVE needles now (who does?) I certainly won’t be first in the queue for a tattoo, and sometimes it is still hard to have tests – but you can get a blood test out of me within a few minutes, with only often a few tears afterwards rather than the huge panic before… and actually, usually tears as I did it, I am proud I have just let the nurse do their job without panic! Currently pregnant with all the tests required, feeling like a human pin cushion is becoming regularly common place, so this lack of fear is becoming albeit useful and time saving!

Giving blood is something that doesn’t take long, and is such a needed and worthwhile and needed cause. You’re not allowed to donate whilst pregnant, or have visited certain countries within a certain time frame – so I have had to have a little break on donating since our honeymoon and little man – but it will be on my New Year’s resolution list for 2020!

What phobias do you have? Have you ever attempted to ‘overcome’ them? Would you like to change how you feel? Sometimes, I think you sadly can’t always change how you feel no matter how hard you try – but perhaps, hopefully there might be a way.  

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

The Crafty Lass ADVENTure…

It has certainly been that… what an adventure it has been!

2nd October 2017 – we sold our first ever ticket for The Crafty Lass workshops at the Old Grain Store workshop studio… part of me feels like it was a lot LOT longer ago, and the other part says where has that year gone?!

The moment that someone bought that ticket, the first ticket, took a leap of faith – booked, paid, wanted to come. What a heart soar, what a joyous moment to treasure. 

However – you know what? I feel like that for every. single. booking. Every. Single. One.

For every crafter that wants to come and visit, for every crafter that brings their friend, that recommends us, that leaves full of tea and biscuits and happy with their makes and creates – it makes me so so happy. Our work is done. Well, actually, as every self employed business person knows, the work is NEVER done! 

We are absolutely looking forward to Christmas this year – we have a much wider range of workshops on offer and are ever so grateful to the people who have reserved their spaces. Most classes are amazingly already sold out – which for the 1st October, is some pretty organised crafters! We are actually hosting our first Christmas workshop as a private booking this coming Sunday 7th October for an old dear friend and his family… travelling all the way from Bristol!

The countdown to Christmas is ON!

I love Christmas. I am pretty sure I have said this in every single The Crafty Lass blog post – it always manages to sneak its way in somewhere to my writing…

And, with that love for the festive side of our year – what better way to count down to the big day than with a crafty ADVENTure and a craft advent calendar? 

The Crafty Lass® ADVENTure has been in design stages for approximately two years – so when the opportunity came up to collaborate with such a renowned craft company as Craft Buddy – it was an opportunity not to be missed! The inspiration for the contents of the calendar have come from everything you might need to personalise your Christmas – little details to make gifts, make your home festive, your Christmas table, present wrapping, even decorate your Christmas clothes – and generally get very Christmassy! The main focus includes your ‘classic’ Christmas craft items, but also some beautiful and unusual items to make things extra special. And, one of the most magical and important qualities of the calendar is that it has zero plastic packaging inside!

We are also delighted to be able to announce that the calendar will be for sale on Hochanda

Sky 673, Freeview 85, Freesat 817 & Online
Wednesday 31st October 12noon and 4pm

Eeek!

If you had asked me this time last year – would I be working on my own product designs? And, would I be going back on to Shopping TV to sell said products? I wouldn’t have thought you were mad… but I would be delighted, and I am. 

With the calendar – we hope that you are inspired. We hope that it allows you some little time to get creative each day. Or, maybe you might like to combine items, and save some of them up for bigger crafty makes! Who knows, you can do whatever you like!

We look forward to seeing all the makes and creates… Where will the ADVENTure take you?

#TheCraftyLassADVENTure

#MakeCreateInspire

#ChristmasCLOGS

Categories: Business, Christmas, General Craft, House & Home, TV

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… The UK Blog Awards!

🌟 The Crafty Lass is excited to announce that our blog is in the UK Blog Awards 2018 – it would be wonderful if you could take a minute of your time to vote! 🌟
Voting is open from today (Monday 4th December) until 22nd December.

https://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2018/entries/crafty-lass

Categories: Business, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does...

#TheCraftyLassADVENTure 🌟

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 

x

Categories: Business, Christmas

COMPETITION TIME!

🌟🌟🌟COMPETITION TIME!🌟🌟🌟

 1ST PRIZE – a ‘Handmade Christmas Fabric ‘Rag’ Wreath’ – handmade by The Crafty Lass in traditional ‘holly’ greens, with ‘bauble berries’.

 2ND PRIZE – Materials to make your own ‘Christmas Fabric ‘Rag’ Wreath’ – including 1 x 12″ copper wire wreath, 2 metres of fabrics*, a The Crafty Lass ‘How To Make’ instruction sheet and wired baubles.

 3RD PRIZE – A The Crafty Lass ‘crafty goodie bag’ – including 2 x fabric fat quarters, ribbons, a The Crafty Lass greeting card, a The Crafty Lass badge, some sparkly fabric snowflakes and holly leaves and a selection of Christmas buttons.

 4TH PRIZE – A ‘multipack’ of 6 x The Crafty Lass Christmas greeting cards.

For a chance to win these amazing crafty prizes and full details/t&cs for the competition –  head on over to The Crafty Lass Facebook page…

www.facebook.com/TheCraftyLass

Merry Christmas from The Crafty Lass! x

*You can choose the colours of your fabrics when we contact the winner!

 

Categories: Christmas, General Craft

‘Twas the night before Craftmas

It’s fair to say, as I have stated many a time on this blog, I love Christmas. Not just a little liking. LOVE.
It’s not just about Christmas Day – it’s the build up and magic. It’s the time spent with family, cosy nights indoors, the parties, the decorations, the FOOOOD, and of course the CRAFT – beautiful things we can make and create for loved ones, our friends, our family – and ourselves!
 
One of my favourite days as a child about Christmas, was (and still is actually!) Christmas Eve! It’s finally here – no more waiting, you’re suddenly allowed to eat chocolate whenever you want, you know tomorrow is going to be amazing – fun, food, a special outfit to wear, PRESENTS! I would always rush to be in bed early and a must to be asleep pre midnight! I didn’t want to be a naughty girl and mean Santa wouldn’t visit me… what a goody two shoes… Anyway, as part of the Christmas Eve rituals, I would always, ALWAYS read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ by Clement Clarke Moore (Otherwise known as A Visit From St. Nicholas). I have a special book, given to me as a baby, that has little moving paper parts, flaps you can lift, beautiful illustrations and of course the poem. I would take that book wherever I was on Christmas Eve – even getting my boyfriend, then fiancé, then husband to read it to me each year! Last Christmas Eve was a particularly special one, as I finally got to see The Husband reading that very book to our beautiful newborn son for the first time. Not going to lie, definitely cried!
 
I know it’s only November and for all those bah humbug scrooges out there – yes, it isn’t time to celebrate (yet!) but equally us crafters start early! If we are going to be making things – we need to get ahead, plan and then make! This weekend is the first of the new workshops in our The Crafty Lass Old Grain Store workshop studio (#CLOGS) and it sort of feels like Christmas already to me. The studio tree is being delivered tomorrow, ready for us to decorate, we have handmade fabric tinsel, we have fabric and embroidered ‘baubles’ (you’ll soon see – that’s a whole other blog post!) there are gold stars, Christmas songs, mince pies, lots of wreath and cracker and lantern making materials – and enough festive feelings to shake a (glittery cinnamon!) stick at! Basically, I’ve been planning Christmas since May, and now it is finally here, I am going to festively relish every moment!
 
Inspired by the seasonal excitement and my long standing tradition of reading the poem, I decided to rewrite my favourite classic at 3am last night (teething sleeping on me baby, why ever not – let’s just write a poem?!)
 
Anyway, herewith follow such poem, and if you’d like to see the original, you can see that one right here!
 
Enjoy!
 

‘Twas the night before Craftmas

‘Twas the night before Craftmas, when all thro’ the workshop,
Not a crafter was crafting; could hear a pin-drop;
The scissors were placed by The Crafty Lass with care,
In hopes that the morning soon would be there; 

 

The ribbons were nestled all snug in their draws,
With visions of crafters soon through the doors…
The chores for the day completed and done,
We’d just settled down – our evening had begun.

 

When suddenly there arose such a crafty vision,
I sprang from the sofa to put it in to fruition!
Away to the studio I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

 

The moon on the breast of ‘The Old Grain Store’,
Brought a luster of glitter I couldn’t ignore;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But my papers, my baubles, my fabrics – oh dear!

 

– It might be quite late – but I can be quick,
And whip up some projects in a momentry tick.
More rapid than eagles the ideas they did came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:

 

“Now, POMPOMS! Now, PAPER! Now, BUTTONS and BOBBINS!
On, CROCHET! On, FABRIC! On, SEQUINS and RIBBONS!
To the top of the studio! To the top of the wall!
Now Craft away! Craft away! Craft away all!”

 

Things to be sewn, fabric to dye,
Sketching and gluing, and cutting; Oh my!
So up to the small hours, the time it just flew,
With my mind full of designs‍—‌and making them too!

 

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the drive,
The laughter and chatter – the crafters arrive!
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the lane, they came with a bound:

 

So full of plans, to make and create,
So happy and eager – they just couldn’t wait;
A bundle of thoughts were flung in the air,
To try and inspire with fun and with flair,

 

Their eyes‍—‌how they twinkled! Their excitement: how merry,
To make paper flowers, or crochet, ideas – so many!
With fabrics and ribbons drawn up in a bow,
Perhaps bunting in colours or as white as the snow;

 

And so I can teach them – my thoughts to bequeath,
And show them how to make a beautiful wreath.
So with plenty of tea, and cake in our belly
We crafted and laugh’d, full of chatter and glee:

 

“Just time out to relax, time for oneself,
Learning new things – inspiring myself”
Techniques and teachings, on boldly we tread,
Cotton and crepe, yarn, lace, and thread.

 

We spoke not a word, concentrated on craftwork,
We’d made lovely stockings; and sewn up patchwork,
And crocheted some toys – counting the rows,
And layering papers, they’d finished their rose.

 

They sprung to their cars, it was time for dismissal,
And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle:

 

But I heard them exclaim, as they drove out of sight‍—‌

Happy Crafting to all, and to all a good night.

Categories: Christmas, General Craft, Places to Go & Things to See, Workshops

The Handmade Fair 2018

I hinted the other day on all the usual social media channels – about some VERY super-duper amazingly exciting crafty news… well I am absolutely beyond delighted to be able to announce that…

The Crafty Lass is going to be teaching craft workshops at The Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair next year! 11th-13th May 2018, Ragley Hall, Warwickshire.
Get it booked in the diary NOW!

Full details and further information to follow in the coming weeks and months – but (as you may be able to gather) we are pretty excited!

https://www.thehandmadefair.com/

Categories: Business, General Craft, Places to Go & Things to See, The Crafty Lass does..., Workshops

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