Tag : pregnancy

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

The Crafty Lass does… Motherhood!

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

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

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

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

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

Categories: Business, Crafty Kids, The Crafty Bump

The Crafty Lass does… The Nursery!

So, the cot is built. The car seat has been bought (and fully test run in the car) and finally – the nursery is done! The jobs are being crossed off the list (or highlighted as complete on my spreadsheet – such a geek!)

This. Just. Got. Real.

I will be 37 weeks pregnant on Sunday – I cannot believe where time has gone! Part of me feels like I have been pregnant forever – another part of me feels like it was only 2 minutes ago I was able to see that line on the test and finally experience that sensation of, oh WOW – we are going to be parents…! Either way – 37 weeks and onwards is considered ‘term’, and I feel like I am now playing the waiting game… Every little twinge, every niggle – ‘is this it?’ ‘is this what it is like?’ (pretty sure I will know when it is!!!) I am ready… Well, I think I am ready. I am not sure you can ever be 100% prepared – but I am excited to know we will meet our little boy within the next 5 weeks (they don’t really let you go beyond 42 weeks)… Eeeeeek!

Being The Crafty Lass that I am, it was of course important to me to have a creative and crafty nursery. Pretty sure that our little one won’t know/care til a little bit older – but a happy mummy = happy baby, right?

I have had a Pinterest (secret!) board for the bubba for years now, way before a kiddiwink was even on the agenda – slowly adding to it whenever I saw something inspirational or creative for a new baby or their room, or any useful suggestions. So much so, with so much inspiration, when it came round to actually deciding on a ‘theme’ – it was a little harder than I thought. So many pinned and exciting ideas, only one room!

It really helped knowing we are having a little boy. I don’t want to specifically ‘gender stereotype’ but equally it steered us in a direction that felt more suited to our future son to be… Adventure!

However, I also think our theme could be tailored to a little girls room… as I could be quite a tom boy growing up when I wanted to be! And, once the main painting had been done, and various ‘boy’ items bought – I also convinced myself it could still be a girls room, should the unexpected happen…

Early on, no matter how many times I have heard it is a boy from the sonographers when in an ultrasound scan, there was always the – but, ‘what if you are wrong!!’ Pretty sure (again gender stereotyping…) I would have added in some bright pinks – but I would also have added in the phrase – somewhere hand painted on to the wall – “Leave her sleep, for when she wakes, she will move mountains”. Contingency plans right there…

We did however – have a recent very late scan, and there is no doubting really – that he is a lovely little boy – which allayed any ‘what ifs’!

 

The Theme – Adventure

So, an ‘adventure’ theme… Colours started out with mainly greys, with the additions of bright greens, yellow, turquoise, orange. There is an overall colour scheme that focuses around these, but – it is quite relaxed really – nothing HAS to match – just lots of fun and brightness!

Mainly, it focuses around a hand painted mountains scene wall mural! There are clouds – a handmade painted mobile, a ‘grass’ (basically a green and fluffy!) IKEA rug. Some beautiful BABY ‘bunting’ handmade by our lovely friend, Verena. Thank you! An upcycled bit of furniture, some homemade ‘tags’ for the baby clothes, a hand painted piece of artwork… and LOTS of other ‘necessary’ baby paraphernalia you collect along the way! There is a ‘globe’ for him to study when he is older and dream of the far away places he may visit. The Husband had a globe when he was little, that he also used to look at – and now, he is a ‘dab-hand’ at geography – you definitely want him in your pub quiz team for the geography round!

It isn’t the largest room, but really I suppose it doesn’t need to be at this stage. (It used to be the main The Crafty Lass office!!!) I really wanted the room to feel like a view point – a ‘scene’, somewhere both calming and inspiring – yet vibrant and exciting – and hopefully the colours, the eclectic mix of both bright and graphic, crafty and handmade, upcycled and new brings this all together.

The Nursery! The Nursery! The Nursery - Squirrel! The Nursery - Mountains, The Cot! The Nursery - The Cot!
The Nursery - The BookshelvesThe Nursery - The BookshelvesThe Nursery - Mountains!The Mountains

Believe it or not, the mountains – I freehand painted straight on to the walls, I didn’t have a set ‘plan’! I had done a bit of ‘Pinteresting’ to gather some inspiration of other people’s mountain-esque nursery’s – but also looking at mountain and hills photography. I then personalised by just ‘freestyling’ how I thought it should be… Even to the point that the green hills were a later addition! And all the better for it I think – it would have been ‘too grey’ otherwise, if that’s such a thing! Grey appears to be my favourite colour – but perhaps a bit wrong to have many (say near to fifty) shades of grey (!) in a nursery… Most of the paint is ‘matt’, with the lighter grey a ‘silk’ finish to add depth and a bit of a sheen in the background. The largest mountain, we do now actually refer to as ‘Everest’ and I think it was important to try and get the right ‘balance’ of height, depth and perspective to the mountains and foreground hills.

 

The Mobile

I was determined to make my own mobile. There are so many beautiful ones out there, but I just wanted to personalise it, and work out how to hang it – and now to see it gently twisting and floating in the breeze above the cot, it makes me happy! (Picture the scene on ‘The Great British Bake Off’ where the camera shot pans out to see the contestant longingly staring at their creation… I think in other words (and don’t always say this word!) I am proud of it… it became a labour of love! Hand painting each piece  – the clouds in just normal household emulsion in whites and greys, and I have added some glitter on top of some of them – clouds with a silver lining – to reflect in the light and glimmer in the glow of the newly bought ‘nightlight’ and the sunshine in the day. The yellow hoops, and the turquoise hot air balloons are basic acrylic that you can pick up from any art store. The hot air balloons, I have added on some buttons – reminiscent and a nod towards the film ‘UP‘. (If you haven’t seen it, you absolutely must!) Our wedding theme had little touches of this film, and it felt nice to try and incorporate this into the nursery somehow too.

The base MDF shapes started life as part Becky Seddon from The Craft Channel’s ‘Amongst The Clouds’ MDF shapes, part ’embroidery hoop’ for the top main support – and then the addition of some other larger clouds that were simply picked up from eBay.

Each piece is delicately tied on to the hoops using threads from my grandmother’s sewing basket – which is just so lovely to feel she is a part of this too – and using strong ‘girl guide learnt’ secure knots to try and make sure nothing can fall off!

Everything is then held together with some ribbons in grey and turquoise and supported by a mobile cot arm from Sigikid – a little birdie aloft watching over everything!

The Cloud Mobile Close UpThe Cloud Mobile

The Cloud Mobile with Hot Air Balloons

The Organisation…

I know for an absolute FACT this organisation won’t last. No matter how hard I try! Each pull out fabric box – has a label – one for blankets and bedding, one for toys, and one for all the different sized baby clothes we have either bought or been very lucky to have been given already. Ask me in 3 months when I am just shoving them into wherever they will fit! But for now, a tidy room, a tidy mind…

The MDF tags I again just picked up on eBay – and have started out by painted them in blackboard chalkpaint. I have then personalised each one with some wipeable chalk pens – so in the future, I can adjust accordingly to whatever will now be stored in the boxes (or ideally like to be!)

The TagsThe Tags

The TagsAdventure Is Out There!

This is the one phrase that I really do associate with the film ‘UP‘ and I wanted to try and paint a picture, or a quote that would sum this up.

The base for this – actually came out of our loft! The previous tenants had left an old bit of wardrobe up there, and instead of just tipping it like we planned – I set about turning it into a new piece of art:

The same as the organisation tags, I have started out with a base of chalkboard black paint, and then painted the quote with Uniball chalk paint marker pens.

The font and layout inspiration came from Momo Digital on Etsy – I cannot claim that as my own – but I did freehand draw this on to the board, and added my own personal touches of the arrows, flowers, leaves and stars.

Without wanting to sound too disney-fied – I hope it will inspire our little boy to know what a wonderful place the world can be, that he needs to go out there and grab adventure with both hands!
Adventure Is Out There! Adventure Is Out There! Adventure Is Out There!

 

All in all, I am happy with the finished result. Obviously, I would like to point out I did generally consult The Husband on all colours/purchases/ideas… but sometimes, I just got on with it… However – when the mountains were complete, after two days of full painting – the best reaction I have had to date was himself – coming home from work, and excitedly but sadly saying “But, I want it to be MY room!” 🙂

It may not be to everyone’s taste – it is quite bold! Some of the ideas I pinned/researched were far more delicate – with silvers, whites and creams. Or lovely ranges of traditional baby blues. Who knows, I may tire of this in a while – but for now, I do really love it. It makes my heart sing, and it is my calming place that I sometimes – in the last few weeks, I just go in to and ‘sit’. Contemplating, dreaming, planning – just as I hope our little boy will do too.

 

 

 

 

 

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

A new focus, a new direction, a new chapter. A new inspiration!

So what exactly is ‘inspiration‘? And, what is YOUR inspiration?

Big, open questions – and where I suspect there are many, MANY different answers.

Some people are inspired by nature, or photography, or music, or colour, poetry, their family, their own personal desires and wishes etc. The list goes on.

The dictionary defines inspiration as:

  1. the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
  2. a sudden brilliant or timely idea.

For me, it does come along in many different forms, at many different times – and sometimes, not at all. Sometimes it is for things and ideas you would expect yourself to focus on, and somedays not.

I often use Pinterest to start my inspiration for whatever the current project or theme is. Other times I listen to calming chillout music, or will be already crafting up a project – and new ideas will start popping into my head – one, after the other – like a domino effect. Almost as if inspiration breeds inspiration. Other times it will be the middle of the night – a multi-tabbed brain frantically writing down ideas at 4am and my pen can’t keep up with my the words and thoughts and designs tumbling out of my brain.

However – there are days where I totally lack inspiration AND its sister key word – motivation. Sometimes, I will have just ‘lost my mojo’. But, who doesn’t? And, I am learning that that is OK. Because inspiration shouldn’t be there ALL the time, it needs to strike – in a moment of glorious ‘aha!’, ‘lightbulb moments’, a sudden glimmer of ‘what if…’ genius, thought provoking brilliance. And THEN, you need motivation to take over to drive the thoughts into reality. Ideas are nothing without execution.

Now approaching 32 weeks pregnant – I do have inspiration and motivation – but for DIFFERENT things than ‘normal’, of which I am not used to.

The Crafty Lass used to be my sole focus. Of course yes, there is The Husband, our lovely doggie Patch, our great friends and family, work at The Craft Channel… But the late at night googling, the jotting notes in the diary, the Pinterest boards being created – were all totally craft related. Even before The Crafty Lass – for our wedding (the last M.L.P – Major Life Project) this was hugely craft focused! Prior to pregnancy, I would be inspired with hundreds of craft ideas, design ideas, imagery, product ideas, The Crafty Lass is going to take over the world ideas. They are still there, but recently – being honest, are dampened down and pushed aside by the new priorities of finish the nursery, making sure my hospital bag is on with being packed, booking antenatal classes, and that we have bought and researched everything we require. Motivation for (and the actual need) to sleep lots! Motivation and inspiration for a different, new and exciting kind of future. There are certainly crafty nursery-based inspirations (of course there are!) – there is the crochet Elephant, the knitted comforter, the pompom rug, the handmade mobile, the tags and bunting and… I could go on!

When I first started to spend more time looking at buggies rather than how to create paper flowers, or researching car seats instead of yarn types – I felt guilty. Absolutely no doubt about it. And, being honest – I even visited my lovely Life Coach – to question – ‘where has my mojo gone?’ And ‘why am I no longer focusing on the business as 110% as I was before?’ She comforted me, reassured me, encouraged me and yes, motivated me – thank you – and told me what I already knew. And, although it has taken me a while to understand – it’s natural to have a new shift in focus. It’s a big step in life, and actually these moments are precious, and need to be treasured. It sounds absolutely bleedin’ obvious now I am writing it down! Of course I knew that – but it is nice to be reminded when you feel the balance is wrong. Emotions aren’t always that straight forward are they? When you work hard at University, you work hard in lots of different places and types of business – finding and drawing your own life path – you spend so long developing and focusing on your career, for that focus to suddenly wane, for me it is a new and different concept. You cannot FORCE inspiration in a certain direction. You CAN make motivation happen. And, stuff will get done. The Crafty Lass commissions will be made. Future business proposals will be written. Those end of year financials will FINALLY be submitted. Just in what priority order? And does it matter in what order, as long as it all gets done. There is the internal battle of where the inspiration and motivation should be focused towards. However, IT IS OK to currently not be as driven in a certain direction than I once was.

I’m learning that when inspiration does strike – you need to write those ideas down, you need to bottle them up, start that Pinterest board, fire up the computer and get on with designing the next creations – before it’s too late – before the moment has gone. Motivation wise – I suppose everything needs to be balanced. Inspiration strikes whenever, in whatever direction it likes. You might NEED to do something, but do you WANT to, are you INSPIRED to do it? Of course, sometimes we all have to try and focus on what we NEED to do, not just on what we WANT to – whether we like it or not. The world would be an amazing place wouldn’t it, if we could just all do what we want, rather than need!

Once I accepted this new phase in inspirational focus, and the guilt shifted away – actually, the ideas came flooding back, and I now have TWO The Crafty Lass notebooks on the go, sketches being made, new Pinterest boards being created and some exciting business ideas in the pipeline. (Watch this space!) I am just learning it is about BALANCE. It is ok to work hard AND then have a well deserved and needed 2 hour nap – and then, perhaps continue with your crochet for little bubba’s new toy. Perhaps before, my focus was actually too much in The Crafty Lass favour – and this new stage is the ‘correct’ (if there is a right and wrong) balance for the future.

A totally different concept – but the lessons behind it are the same:

Some days you eat salads and go to the gym, some days you eat cupcakes & refuse to put on pants.

It’s called balance.

Love that!

I have just started maternity leave, deliberately early – to focus on getting organised – for the baby, for The Crafty Lass – to get ready (will we ever be ready?) – but to also have some selfish ‘me’ and ‘just us’ time before our world dramatically changes for a new chapter. (SERIOUS NESTING PHASE ALERT.)

So, for those of you who might be in the same position – try not to be too hard on yourself when your inspiration and focus changes and wanes sometimes. As long as you still have that deep, underground fire in your belly, and the ideas are there – just bubbling away under the surface (with brief glittery shows of ‘look I am here!’) – they won’t go away. That natural instinct to Make, Create, Inspire – it is still there. It just might be postponed for a little while.

And, that is OK.

Categories: Business, General Craft

Top 5… Baby Shower Crafts!

Baby showers. When did they become the ‘normal’, ‘done’ thing?

I was recently commissioned to make a baby shower corsage for a lovely mummy-to-be to wear, and about to enter my 30th week of pregnancy – I have been asked not ‘if’ I am having a baby shower, but WHEN am I having my baby shower?

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am all for any social occasion excuse – and, I really like the idea of meeting up with some of my nearest and dearest too. AND of course there will be cake. Any excuse for cake right?

I imagine I will end up organising/doing something to mark the occasion – just maybe not so many of the games. Or presents! People always feel obliged to have to get you a present – and of course, I love presents (who doesn’t right?) but it shouldn’t be compulsory? Anyway, that’s just my opinion…

From a craft perspective in relation to ‘Baby Showers’ – there are literally hundreds and thousands of fun and interesting ways to make and create – have a look on places like Pinterest, Etsy etc. However, here are my Top 5… Baby Shower Crafts to get you inspired!

1. Melons at the ready

Seriously, how cute is this! And healthy too! A way to get your five a day and to balance out the cake calories 😉

 

2. Talking of cake

You may have noticed I have mentioned several times that cake is compulsory (every celebration needs tea and sponge delicacy of some description…) This isn’t a recipe or tutorial to follow, but these from ‘Sweetness‘ had to be selected for inspiration – the sheer beauty of those cupcakes! 😀 Just how beautiful are those little building blocks! If cupcakes aren’t really your thing – this ‘ombre cake’ from Glorious Treats also looks amazing!

 

3. What will baby look like?

A really simple, but fun idea to ‘guess’ what baby will look like. Photos of mum and dad, scissors, glue and et voila!

 

4. Ready to POP!

What a fun thing to serve at a baby shower! Popcorn, in cute little bags with these ‘Ready To Pop’ labels from Artesenias on Etsy. You could go the whole hog – serve ‘Pop’ (lemonade etc), Popping Candy, Popcorn chicken, Popsicles…

 

5. Cheers!

What better way to serve drinks… than in baby bottles! You could do this gender themed and pink for girlies – as per Katis Get Away Blog or really, whatever you like! Cheers!

 

Enjoy! x

Categories: General Craft, Top 5

The Crafty Lass does… Biggest project of her life!

Where does time go? It is a common question I ask – from one day to the next, one week to the next, suddenly from New Year’s Day we see Valentines and Easter in the shops, suddenly the clocks are springing forward, we are planning summer holidays, it’s BBQs, Autumn, Christmas… And so repeats the cycle.

 

It is already the middle of May. MAY. And, my blog posts have been a little (ahem, severely) lacking of late, which I apologise for, and predominantly relates to the aforementioned ‘biggest project’ of The Crafty Lass’ life in the title, which – I shall come back to.

May means – that one whole and first financial year of The Crafty Lass is complete! I say where does time go, but when I look back – an awful lot has actually happened in that year! When I handed my notice in to my full time employment, it was exciting – but ever so scary – I didn’t quite know where this was going to go, and what the future would hold – except, that it felt right. And so far, it turns out it WAS right. I miss the full time paycheque – but with less money, and more life I feel uplifted and incredibly lucky.

 

So, in that year I’ve gone from full time, to part time employment. I’ve held workshops and events locally, at both the Waitrose and John Lewis head offices, at Hobbycraft, at a Christmas Tree Farm dressed as an elf with real reindeers. I’ve been featured in my first magazine article (Papercraft Inspirations), I’ve been featured on The Guardian’s website as part of their Start Up of the Year competition, I’ve built the website up from scratch, created and sold my The Crafty Lass Greeting Card ranges and as part of this, created an Etsy store, created exciting commissions – from bunting, to fabric buttonholes, to paper flowers, feather painting, cupcake making, graphic designing, party decorations and even a bridesmaid dress into cushions! I’ve met lovely, brilliant people and companies. I’ve learnt that when you are following your dream, everyone wants to help you and are behind you. Which, in fact is incredibly humbling. Importantly, I followed up on a simple tweet about a new Craft Channel – which quickly followed to working in London planning and featuring in my own shows on Sky and working with them part time as a craft buyer…

I don’t simply list all these achievements in a ‘wow, look at me’, ‘aren’t I amazing’ kind of way… I mean, of course – it is nice to reflect, and think – yes I HAVE achieved a lot in just 12 short months. And no, it isn’t just a glorified hobby (which sometimes I wondered if it might end up being) but, I just mean that if you think about what you want, even if it means less money, less sleep, more working hours – you’ll make it work no matter what. I am incredibly lucky to have the emotional, logical and financial support from The Husband – but, at the end of the day it only takes ME, to get out of bed, get out of the pjs, go to the office (across the hallway) and carry on working till midnight if needed. (Although sometimes the getting out of the pjs part is optional!) It has been hard at times, but overall – the right decision.

So now, what is the future for The Crafty Lass? Well, as the title of this blog post suggests, I am about to undertake the biggest project of my life. In a recent, now too long ago post, I discussed my ‘new recruit’, Patch – who over the last 3 months has brought sunshine into our lives. Yes, there was the jumping on to the table (Patch, not me 😉 !) to steal my breakfast resulting in: ‘bacon-sandwich-gate’, there was the rolling in unprintable stuff down the park – 5 minutes before friends arriving – resulting in bath time craziness, there was the let’s eat a WHOLE BAG of doggie treats (very silly error by myself leaving them on the table when out…) resulting in a very happy followed by a temporarily poorly little doggie for an evening… However, these moments have been VERY few and far between. Mainly, it’s cuddles on the sofa, playtime with his beloved tennis balls, learning to understand his language, plenty of ‘walkies!’, watching him snuggle into his (it was mine!!) fluffy blanket… He is simply put – just SO CUTE!!!! There are still things to learn, more skills he needs to develop (like being able to cope and see other doggies!!) However, the home wouldn’t be the same without his four little legs tottering around, ‘helping’ you in the kitchen (I mean watching you intently in case you should happen to drop that roast chicken sort of helping) – he is there for you when you get home, he is part of the family.

So, aside from Patch – there is the little matter of, the pitter-patter of, little, tiny, feet…The Crafty Lass is expecting a baby! In fact today, I am 17 weeks along on this incredible journey. 

Being honest, the lack of recent blog posts speaks volumes – my head in the last few months, normally filled with fabrics and buttons and paper craft ideas has been replaced with scans, appointments, nursery designs, names… I just can’t concentrate! I haven’t been the wellest of bunnies over the last few weeks – but, I am now feeling stronger and ready for the challenges ahead! I am still very much involved in various exciting projects – future workshop plans, expansion projects, ideas for products, more branding, events… BUT from a personal perspective it is the most special time I have ever experienced. Again, it is another scary but exciting time – and just when I handed my notice in ‘I don’t quite know where this is going to go, and what the future will hold – except, that it feels right.’

So, watch this space as whatever happens whether it be work life, or personal – there are clearly exciting times ahead 🙂

The Crafty Lass, Patch and now – Bubba Bump x

 

PS – And yes, I am doing some crazy ‘bumpies’ including the relevant sized fruit or vegetable relative to the ever growing bubba over on Instagram… why not check it out! 🙂

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Categories: Business, General Craft

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