Tag : new-year

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 – Reflections of a BusyBusyBusy Crafty Year!

Well, it’s Christmas weekend… Not quite sure how we suddenly got to this point of the year… it has absolutely flown by – but boy has it been busy!
 
Within the last 12 months – we have seen such a change to our lives – little man has gone from the tiny, cuddly little newborn… (sigh) to now over 1 year old, and at the point of walking (so close!) We moved house in late Spring – no mean feat with said such little person! We spent the Summer settling in, Autumn setting up the new studio in the Old Grain Store – and then launched such studio in Winter for the Christmas workshops here in Lower Boddington, Northamptonshire! The Crafty Lass Old Grain Store… #CLOGS
 
And… it went surprisingly well! We had bookings for a start (!) – and quite a few bookings too – including some ‘sell outs’ which, when ‘starting out’ – you just don’t know how it’s going to go, do you? The first person who walked through the door for the very first new workshop:
 
“Oooooh, it’s a crafter’s dream!”
 
High praise indeed… and exciting to know other people share the vision! Although I have been running workshops for over 2 years now – suddenly having a dedicated studio to teach from, it has felt like a new launch, a new business again – it’s reinvigorated me certainly – so so so many ideas for the future! Lots of avenues to explore, new crafts to be tried and things to be made. I am just ever so grateful – and thank you to everyone who attended one of the workshops this Christmas – it has made me have great hope for The Crafty Lass!
 
Someone who I have met a handful of times, and has become a lovely friend – they came along to one of our The Crafty Lass workshops and her quote was:
 
“What you’ve achieved is astonishing! Especially to do all that alongside being sleep deprived, many people would’ve given up a long time ago, but your passion and drive has really resulted in something that you should be so so proud of.”
 
That really made me stop – and really think, and actually it is those words that inspired writing this blog post. That we should stop and look at not what we HAVEN’T achieved but what we HAVE.
 
I am definitely not usually one to ever fully congratulate myself – I never stop and say ‘well done missus, you actually have done quite a lot you know,’ – I am usually too busy on to the next item on the to do list. When you are in the midst of it, adrenaline filled, busybusybusy – you don’t do you? You just get on with it. However, perhaps it is time to stop and reflect. As we come to the end of the calendar year, it is a chance to not just look to the future, with all our hopes, plans and dreams – but it is also a chance to reflect back on what has been achieved.
 
I’m a list writer: always writing and updating what needs to get done. Crossing things off – but always adding to it with a whole load of the new things that we need to crack on with. Usually very long, meandering lists with everything from the little things – “buy milk”, to slightly larger and more complex “arrange Kirstie Allsopp Fair workshop structure” (exciting for 2018!)… but I know in myself which needs to be done in which order. And it does ALL need to be done – it’s just deciding on which day to pick which battles. Especially when factoring in little man’s needs and much much sleep deprivation!
 
Whether I have managed to get things accomplished or not – I usually find myself quite often focusing more on what hasn’t yet been done – rather than all the things with a big tick next to them. Granted, the lists system helps me focus and rethink what is next to be completed, but perhaps I (we all) should take more time to say “well done, look at what you did today/this week/month/year…”
 
The Husband surprised me with the most beautiful card last night. We were swapping the traditional Christmas cards, and just when I thought we were done, out comes this additional card to his ‘Crafty Lass’. It has a little goat on the front, that has climbed a mountain, and it says ‘You Made It’. I cried. (Of course!) He has told me how proud is of how far The Crafty Lass has come, in a short space of time – and that he will be there for me – through the highs and no doubt lows that running your own business comes with. (He’s a keeper!) And, to him – my parents, family, friends – if I can make them and if I allow myself to stop and think – myself – proud – then I am happy!
 
We all have things going on, some small, some exciting adventures, some really emotional and challenging situations – but we have all achieved this year and we should all say well done. And if you can’t see it that way, and can’t say that to yourself – I am telling you! WELL DONE, for all and whatever the achievements! Happy Christmas, Happy Crafty New Year and I look forward to all that 2018 has to bring! I hope to see you soon.
 
Enjoy!
 
Make. Create. Inspire.
 
 
 

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

NEW for 2018! The Crafty Lass does… Sketchbook Creativity Class including ‘Bind Your Own Sketchbook’!

An exciting and creative new event here at The Crafty Lass… Why not try something new for 2018? #NewYearNewSkill

Tuesday evenings: 19.15 – 21.15  The Crafty Lass – Sketchbook Creativity Class including ‘Bind Your Own Sketchbook’.

Come and enjoy a chance for some weekly social creativity out of your busybusybusy day at ‘The Crafty Lass’ Old Grain Store workshop studio! #CLOGS

Meet like-minded people and turn everyday items into extraordinary subjects of pattern, light and colour – looking at things in a new way… Then bind your own sketchbook!

  • Each class there will be a new surprise subject – for example such as ‘Afternoon Tea’, ‘Water’, ‘The Sewing Box’ or ‘Metals’ – and a themed display for which to draw inspiration from.
  • We will focus on a specific medium each week such as paints, charcoal, inks and even ‘ordinary’ biros and highlighters, papers and fabrics for collage – but everything will always be available for you should you decide this style isn’t for you or you want to incorporate something new! Perhaps you’d like to add in a splash of colour, or purely draw in pencil.
  • The papers we will be working on are from ‘Homeward Bound Books’ – they will be A5 in size and include various boards including handmade Indian paper, coloured, cream, different textured and kraft brown paper to further explore what works best as a base for each theme and medium.
  • One of the most exciting aspects to this course – is each A5 piece of paper will have holes pre-added for binding – and the final week of this course will be a chance to reflect – looking back at our drawings, deciding in which order you would like them to go – and most crafty, learning how to bind them together into a beautiful sketchbook to treasure as a keepsake of the classes. There will be spare paper to additionally add in to the book and continue the inspiration on post The Crafty Lass Creativity term.
  • There will be no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to represent the items on display – a chance to get expressive and creative! You can focus on one precise drawing for the 2 hour session, or perhaps make 10 expressive doodles – you can draw one item from the display, or everything in it and more – you can do whatever you like!
  • If lacking for ideas and inspiration – The Crafty Lass will guide you through with hints and tips to produce some exciting and interesting artwork.
  • Feel free to move around the studio – or swap seats with another person to gain a new perspective or different angle.
  • There will be a chance to take photos of the display each week should you wish to continue your inspiration and drawing beyond the class.
  • Each class will include refreshments.*

Make. Create. Inspire.

 

 

 

 

 

Please note this is a 10 week course.

DATES:

TUESDAY 23RD JANUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 30TH JANUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 6TH FEBRUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESD AY 13TH FEBRUARY 19.15-21.15 
TUESDAY 20TH FEBRUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 27TH FEBRUARY 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 6TH MARCH 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 13TH MARCH 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 20TH MARCH 19.15-21.15
TUESDAY 27TH MARCH 19.15-21.15 SKETCHBOOK BINDING CLASS

£135.00, only £13.50 per two hour session!

If you are unexpectedly unable to attend one of the weekly sessions after booking the 10 week course – we will happily refund you the £13.50 weekly charge up to a maximum of 2 out of the 10 sessions. Or, you can choose to allocate the credit to another The Crafty Lass workshop.

If for whatever reason we are not at full capacity (maximum 8 to a class) – and you would like to join us for a one off session – this would be £15.00 per week of attendance – however, please note this cannot be guaranteed and will not include the binding of the sketchbook class. We would advise booking the full term to gain the most out of the creative experience. Please get in touch if you would like to attend as a one off booking and we can advise if there is any space available.

Tickets can be purchased online via PayPal only.

Workshop ticket bookings are subject to our T&Cs.

*Please advise if you have any dietary requirements and we will do our best to accommodate.

TO BOOK TICKETS – please CLICK HERE!

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

The Crafty Lass does… Gift Vouchers!

✂️ Do you know someone crafty?
✂️ Would they like to come along to a The Crafty Lass workshop?
✂️ Do you still need to buy a Christmas present…?

✂⭐EXCITING NEWS⭐✂

The Crafty Lass now sells gift vouchers! What a good idea for a crafty Christmas present?

Vouchers can be bought in denominations of £5.00 and can be used against any of The Crafty Lass workshops*.

Vouchers will be personalised for the recipient – you can even include a little message! A PDF copy will be sent to you via email after purchase for you to print or send on to your crafty loved one and they will be valid for 1 year from purchase.

The 2018 The Crafty Lass workshop calendar is going to start being released VERY soon for our workshops held here in The Old Grain Store workshop studio in Lower Boddington, Northamptonshire… but will be initially including: Valentine’s, Mothers Day and Easter events, Paper Flowers including Paper Roses, Peonies, Origami, Decoupage, Sewing Fabric Flower Corsages, Basic Introduction to Needle Felting, Spring Wreaths to name just a few of the exciting workshops on offer… with LOTS more to come.

The crafty recipient(s) would need to contact The Crafty Lass directly for redemption prior to ticket purchase of a workshop booking with their unique crafty code.

Please get in touch to purchase your gift voucher now!

*Excluding 3rd party, external branded events.

 

Categories: Birthday, Business, Christmas, Crafty Kids, Easter, General Craft, House & Home, Places to Go & Things to See, The Crafty Lass does..., Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings, Workshops

Top 5… Back to school crafts 2016!

It’s been a whole year since I did a blog post with exactly the same title – and I started that with the below:

“Well, it’s that time again – where exactly has the Summer gone? To be honest, we haven’t had much of an actual ‘Summer’ have we? It’s the 27th August and I am sat here writing this with a hot cup of tea, wearing a warm and cosy woolly jumper looking out on to a grey sky!”

Well, this year – it’s 1st September, and actually it does feel a little like Autumn today with a fresh and crisp start – but we certainly have had some lovely hot sunshine recently! However, the statement of ‘where has the Summer gone?’ still stands. In fact – where has that whole year gone?! Time is absolutely flying by! I don’t think it helps that this year, I am counting down in weeks (and days!) to a very important date (my due date!) – but, it still doesn’t explain why time just disappears. Time flies when you are having fun, right?

As I felt last year, and do every year – I LOVE this month – it definitely feels like the start of a ‘new year’. January – the more traditional associations with a new year – it’s always colder, drearier, damper, the nights draw in even earlier. Christmas – the best time of year for me – has been and gone, and the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Don’t get me wrong, I still do feel full of possibilities and ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ in January, but September somehow seems to beat it. A new school year, a new start. We still have Christmas and the surprises of the festive period to come, we have the colder nights with warming stews, roaring fires and cosy nights indoors to look forward to. And from a personal perspective, as have already mentioned in this, and in several previous blogs – a new baby to look forward to for ourselves!

I have found a few more exciting craft ideas that you could make for the start of a new term – why not try your hand at one of the below ideas!

 

1. Book Covers

When I was at school, you always had to cover your books. Do you still have to do this now…? Generally just to protect them from damage being flung around in your bags, from the inevitable lunch box leaks but also, really I used to just love how pretty they used to look all covered and matching! I used to use old wallpaper for a hardy, but (probably didn’t realise then!) in fact a very stylish look! This tutorial goes one step further with a lovely fabric cover design. So clever!

 

2. Washi Tape Pencils and Notebooks

A very simple, but oh so effective way to update your stationery with Washi tape! Washi tapes are available in countless of colours and patterns so pick one you like and just get sticking! I personally LOVE the broad range of designs available from Joe and Flo on Etsy!

 

3. New Bag?

How about making your own PE kit bag! A very simple and quick sewing project that will have you your very own handmade drawstring bag in no time!

 

4. Handmade Pencil Case

A handmade neon-painted pencil case, what could be better? I love the colours and lining that ‘Dear Handmade Life‘ have used here – but you could pick and choose whatever suits you! Why not even coordinate with your book covers, washi tape pencils and new PE bag as above! A really great step-by-step tutorial including photos for each stage which hand holds you through the project. I wish I needed a new one (I already have 3 on the go at the minute!!) otherwise this would be straight to the top of my ever growing makes list!

 

5. Lunchbox Printables

Not really a ‘craft’, but thought these were really sweet! What a lovely way to make your little kiddiwink (or other half, or whoever you want!) smile by popping these into their lunchbox. They are free to print –  or, if you don’t want to use these specific ones, why not make your own?

They will either think you are cute, or crazy – but they are certainly a fun way to make someone’s day!

 

Enjoy!

Make. Create. Inspire.

 

Categories: Crafty Kids, General Craft, Top 5

The Crafty Lass does… Spring Wreaths!

They’re not just for Christmas you know…!

“Step into Spring with the Crafty Lass!

Join Paula, as she shows us how to make these beautiful wreaths.

Guaranteed to brighten the darkest day.”

This Thursday 14th January, you can tune in at midday on Sky 679 or watch online at www.thecraftchannel.tv to see ‘The Crafty Lass Spring Wreaths’ show – lots of flowers, butterflies, beautiful pastel papers, ribbons…  something to brighten this dreary January!

 

Enjoy! x

Categories: General Craft, House & Home, TV

The Crafty Lass does… Talk at Women In Business Group!

I am very excited to announce that on Thursday 25th February 2016 – I have been asked to do a talk at The Women In Business Group!

The location is TBC – but likely to be in/around the Basingstoke area… get the date in your diary!

“Paula will be talking to us about how she went from quitting her standard 9-5 job, to both running her own business and working on The Craft Channel. She will also provide us with a brief, fun craft workshop/demonstration.”

Once full details are confirmed, I will let you know so that you can book your tickets! 🙂

To read more about it, please go to the WIBG website:

http://www.wibg.org.uk/event/the-crafty-lass-find-your-creative-flair/

wibg

 

 

Categories: Business, The Crafty Lass does...

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