Tag : studio

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

A wreath is for life, not just for Christmas…

Autumn.

For some, this is purely just the long, grey transition from the warm and bright Summer days into our dreary, cold, drab - and of late, very snowy Winters here in the UK.

For, me - it is the 'calm before the storm'... and I actually really love this season. I've talked before on this blog about my love for 'September', as it feels like a fresh start - a new term. Autumn actually officially starts this year on Sunday 23rd September 2018 - much later than I realised! As it already feels like we are there. The leaves are changing. It is starting to feel 'fresh' in the morning. Starbucks are even on with their Pumpkin Spiced Lattes!

Living in the glorious Northamptonshire countryside, and with a little man who loves a daily little jaunt around the village - you can see it. I love watching the leaves change from lush green to vibrant palettes of reds, yellows, russets and orange. You can just feel that Summer is starting to say goodbye for another year.

We are starting to gear up and say hello for our Christmas workshops here at The Crafty Lass - with our first 'private' wreath workshop booking being on October 7th - so just around the corner...! I have even started my Christmas shopping believe it or not... #organised. Working on Christmas 'all year round' pretty much - always planning the following year workshops at any given time - you might think I am bored of all the festivity... nope - I love it. And I hope that, that 'love' and 'passion' for 'the most wonderful time of the year' really shows in our workshops!!

I really love Autumn... as it signifies we are nearly there! It is nearly Christmas. We are allowed to wear big cosy jumpers. And scarves! (I own too many scarves so the cold weather means an excuse to wear them!) We start to eat all the yummy things in life - stews, roasts, crumble, pie. Syrup sponge! Red wine! To be honest, I eat (and drink!) most of these all year round, but somehow Autumn just signifies MORE of these yummy, scrummy things.

That is also why I particularly love 'Advent'. I love the whole excitement and build up to the very 'big day' every year. When I was a child, I would LOVE opening my little advent calendar door. One more chocolate to devour, and one more door down until Christmas Day.

Advent however, is no longer JUST about chocolate. You can get beauty advent calendars. Beer. Cheese! Well, I know what sort of calendar I would want...

You may have seen on our blog, or social media particularly - but The Crafty Lass, in collaboration with Craft Buddy are very excitedly launching a CRAFT advent calendar this year! A little box of craftiness every day to be opened and enjoyed across 24 days... We can shortly reveal exactly how and when and where you will be able to get your hands one! Where will the journey take you? #TheCraftyLassADVENTure

Anyway, this wasn't really meant to go on a tangent to Christmas (but I love it, so it does generally tend to appear often!) there will be plenty of time for that later...

When I joined the WI (this isn't another tangent, this is integral to the whole point of this post!) I hoped to become more involved in the community - I hoped to meet some lovely ladies, and make some new friends. I hoped to learn a few new things... All of this so far as been achieved, and more! There has been lots of lovely food, there has been plenty of tea and cake, chats, social occasions with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Oh, and the odd WI Life magazine front cover...(!)

This month's meeting was to try something completely new to me: Willow weaving!

I currently have a very large, and beautiful hand crafted willow wreath sat in the studio - and every year I think I MUST do something with this - it is lovely. And, how was it made?! Little did I know, we would get to make our own.

The tuition was held by the engaging and thoroughly knowledgeable Deborah Jones. She explained the hows and whys of the wood, and just how we could create a simple and beautiful wreath design before we were quickly off and giving it a go!

How quickly the wood transforms into a circular and flowing wreath is amazing! The wood bending naturally round into a circular shape - a bit like 'sewing with wood' is certainly how you could describe it. Flowing back and forth, wrapping the wood round and round and round. And the smell, was beautiful! Almost like Christmas 'pine' but more Autumnal and smokey. If that didn't make us feel ready for this beautiful season, I am not sure what would!

I have always admired 'non' Christmas wreaths. Wreaths that go with every season, a new theme and idea every month - but, I had never quite got the full inspiration and ideas (and time?) to do something about it. However, Deborah's class last night really got me thinking.

So, wreath complete, and inspired - off we went on an Autumn 'forage' today with our daily morning walk. Some beautiful fallen leaves, dried cow parsley and grasses. Berries and poppy heads. Things that actually, I wouldn't have maybe given a second glance to - but would have looked lovely all together just simply shoved in a vase! However, they had another purpose... I wanted to create an 'Autumn Wreath' using the newly acquired handmade willow base.

I tripped off to Hobbycraft too for an 'Autumnal' craft hunt (amongst lots of other ideas!) and purchased the 'pink pepperberries' in the display for the final finish - but everything else is simply either from my garden, next door neighbours garden (I did ask!) and some local hedgerows... attached with floristry gold binding wire, hessian twine and a couple of dabs of a hot glue gun for extra 'security'...

It may not last long, it may need 'refreshing' soon - but, that's ok. As, I will soon be planning one with Ivy, and Holly and 'Glitter' and much more 'Christmassy' 'traditional' wreath things... but for now, I have a daily reminder on my front door - it is certainly, and/or very nearly 'Autumn'. And, isn't that a lovely thing.

 

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

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

The Emma Bridgewater Factory

IMAG0483Yesterday was a bit of a ‘road trip’! One of my closest and dearest friends had her birthday recently – and as she is also very creative, and we mentioned AGES ago about doing something like pottery making, or decorating – my gift to her was to visit the brilliant, and iconic Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent. We were booked in for both a factory tour to see the makers and creators in all their skillful glory… and then to go and decorate our very own pieces in their studio. Exciting!

It was a horrible drive up – the weather was typically Britishly grey, rainy, horrid visibility – but when we pulled up at the factory the clouds were on the turn – with blue skies and glorious sunshine just around the corner. A sign that our day was about to be on the up!

Despite the horrid journey, we did arrive quite a bit earlier than planned. But – this actually was a genius move – plenty more time to spend in the factory shop! Winning.

 

Although marked as ‘Seconds’ you sometimes struggled to work out exactly why it was just that – and ‘Seconds’ – the odd mark here and there that perhaps was ‘out of spec’ but nothing that didn’t stop each piece certainly being a delightful piece of exquisitely handmade piece of pottery here at the very factory in Stoke. Bargains galore – I really did have to reign in my desire and the true definition between ‘want’ and ‘need’… Beautiful mugs normally £19.95 – instead… £11.90 for two anyone?? A true sign of the high quality standards that the factory obviously strives towards.

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They are very proud of the fact they are in Stoke – and, that everything is made on site – and so they should be! They are one of the largest employers in the area – around 185 people – and it is just so exciting to see such an industry still in good old Great Britain.

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Although I knew they were made in Stoke, and yes perhaps hand decorated – I had no idea, that Every. Single. Piece. is TOTALLY handmade. Hand moulded, hand finished, hand checked, hand well – everything – from beginning to end – each mug, bowl, tureen is completely hand created. And, due to that – on the finishing at least, one will never be exactly the same as the next. Each very talented painter – will of course, have to keep to a certain spec, but it will always be their own. Our delightful factory tour guide ‘Julie’ explained that some people that collect Emma Bridgewater pottery – will ONLY collect certain artists pieces. What a compliment! You may be thinking – but how do they know!? Well, underneath each item, the artists leave their little ‘mark’ – usually their initials, and in the romantic eyes – it gives credence to the artist – which, of course it does – but, also it is a part of the quality control system – but either way it certainly shows it was hand created by a person, and not a machine!

 

IMAG0492Next we headed over the cafe for some well earned (ok, not really – but well desired) tea and scrumptious-moist-really-not-needed carrot cake. What a place! With (as expected!) everything served on in house wares – a now famous ‘polka-dot design’ adorned Aga in the middle, the walls covered with quirky posters and shelf upon shelf of mugs, plates… Just lovely! A fun, relaxed environment akin to the branding and designs of the Bridgewater pottery.IMAG0502

 

We didn’t actually have long, so we wolfed down our treats – and headed on over to the decorating studio.

 

We knew we were doing this – but it wasn’t until we were actually inside that we thought about a) what we wanted to decorate and b) what we wanted to decorate it with! Blank pieces started from as little as £6.00 and luckily there were a wide selection of stamps and paint colours – so it wasn’t long before we were inspired and raring to go!

Those girls in the factory are really so talented – they make it look ‘easy’… I had grand viIMAG0490sions of all sorts of complicated designs – but in the end settled for some lovely and very ‘The Crafty Lass’ hearts and stars in a repeat pattern around the edges of the iconic Bridgewater mug – in green and pink too, of course.

I love those mugs – we were bought the also iconic ‘Mr & Mrs’ mugs when we got married – and although they have a special meaning of course – they are such lovely mugs to drink from. Heavy, but still actually useable. Thick and solid, but still somehow delicate. It’s crazy – but my morning cuppa of Yorkshire tea, always tastes better in that mug than any other.

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Anyway – back to the decorating – we soon learnt that the paint dries very quickly, and that’s quite handy – as if you make a mistake, you can sandpaper it back off! We were fortunate that the scheduled groups after us – weren’t so large, and so with plenty of space – we managed to hang around longer than the normal allocated time. We were so absorbed in our new found love of pottery painting – we hung around in the studio for 2.5 hours…! And due to that – not only did I complete two IMAG0500mugs – one for myself, and one for The Husband but also a ‘Crafty Lass’ inspired matching plate with my now well used ‘Make. Create. Inspire.’ “catchphrase”! I have delightful and rose-tinted visions of my morning tea and toast with them to literally inspire me onwards in my The Crafty Lass days. The only deadline that curtailed us short of moving in and staying there all day and night and decorating pretty much everything – was that the cafe stopped serving lunch at 3.30pm… so we managed to put the paintbrushes down, pack-up, pay and get over there for some more delicious food. (A pesto, mozzarella and tomato toastie and a Ham, Cheese and Piccalilli bloomer – both with salad and plenty of homemade coleslaw incase you were wondering. Delicious!)

The final pieces need to be glazed, fired, cooled – and so they will be sent on to us in just a few weeks time. I cannot wait for the knock on the door the day that parcel arrives!!!

 

A final mooch around the shop to buy more items that I probably don’t need, but feel that my kitchen is greatly improved by – before back in the car, and off home. A long day – but happy, content and I actually feel like we had a therapeutic, creative and world-away from the day to day stuff – just, put simply – a truly lovely day trip out with my dear friend.

I left feeling inspired. Emma Bridgewater started the company simply because she couldn’t find the right present for her mum. Spotted a gap in the market – and et voila! They now produce 1.2 million pieces of pottery every year.
If you hadn’t already guessed by my above review – I would highly recommend a visit here to anyone. So, if you are ever Stoke way, or fancy a bit of a road trip – head on up there! Your bank balance won’t thank me for the recommendation, but your soul and kitchen certainly will.

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Categories: Birthday, Crafty Kids, General Craft, House & Home, Places to Go & Things to See

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