Tag : the-crafty-lass-old-grain-store

The Journey

People keep asking me, what is next?

There are lots of exciting things happening, but the one thing about this journey - it is all about putting yourself out there, and seeing what happens. Saying 'yes' to things perhaps I wouldn't normally do... and also learning when you actually can say 'no'. There IS such a thing as tooooooo busy. So in answer to that question, who knows what is next - anything could happen! You just got to keep going and put yourself out there...

I have always tried to please everyone - and not always myself within that. I always do things for other people, even if it is to the detriment of my own time and happiness... and actually, being self employed, with a busy family life and within that 'managing' a (nearly!) 2 year old MAKES you decisively choose! I would LOVE to do it all... but you just can't.

Although, obviously, being in my nature - I sometimes (often) think it CAN all be achieved. I set myself too high standards and then get annoyed when I 'fail'.

I am often 'plagued' by 'mum guilt' - am I too busy? Am I doing 'enough'? Am I working too hard?! The answer of course to all of these, is - yes. BUT - in reality, he comes first over all else! He is clothed, fed, healthy (most of the time - teething is officially the devil's work) has a fantastic imagination, loves 'self play' and books - and is a happy, normal, cheeky, boundary testing little person who rules our whole world. But, within all of that - I hope that when he is old enough to understand why Mummy (and Daddy!) work ALOT, is firstly - our bills and life need to be paid, but part of it is to make him (and ourselves, of course!) PROUD!

British people don't DO proud. We say thank you for a compliment occasionally, normally with a slight little smile - not really wanting to accept open and honest praise. However, in the recent weeks with so many exciting things happening - I have had to just accept it and take it all in! I have been absolutely overwhelmed with the emails, Instagram messages, Facebook comments, even a lady stopping me in the street to say 'well done' - she is in the WI...

So, for those of you who don't know - as of yesterday I officially graced the cover of the Women's Institute national magazine, WI LIFE. This goes out to just under a quarter of a million members! And, in addition to that, there is an additional 3 page interview inside that includes some glorious photos by Jenny Stewart with the fantastic words by Eleanor Wilson. How she turned my likely nonsensical answers into a coherent and factual account I have no idea, but for that I am grateful. Upon first reading, her words truly made me shed a tear. LOTS of tears! Maybe that emotion was proudness? I am British - I wouldn't know!

With all these exciting things happening, workshops and a gorgeous toddler to capture on 'film' - I am constantly taking photos. ALL THE TIME. The Husband does get 'quite' annoyed. He even refers to me as #InstagramGeneration. #OLD?!

Anyway, the point being I am also CONSTANTLY fighting with my phone for storage space. This sounds like a boring quandary to be writing about - but it had to get sorted and has actually brought about something very interesting indeed.

I don't know about you, but in addition to taking lots of photos, I do often also scroll back through the 'feed' to see all the moments and treasure them! However, maybe only for a month or two - nothing further back than that unless I am desperately seeking a specific moment in time, or a particularly 'special' shot to include with a blog post or Instagram story!

Today - while having a 'I am DONE with this phone, it is UNUSABLE with such little storage space' (due for renewal soon - YAY!) with basically bulk transferring old photos to a back up... I discovered some absolute GEMS of pictures.

These are the studio BEFORE we bought our house! I couldn't believe it! These represent the moment I basically told The Husband come hell or high water we WERE moving here! I had a vision. it was covered in cobwebs, dust, piles of wood and various household paraphernalia - but it would be a STUDIO.

Well, the rest is history as they say... but it was a reminder that we have achieved SO MUCH in 12 months! It was this time last year we were wondering if we would be able to even get Christmas workshops out... NOW we are already majority SOLD OUT on our advertised festive workshops...

Maybe I am, just a little bit, proud.

 

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

NEW – THE CRAFTY LASS CHRISTMAS WORKSHOPS!

You might be thinking – it’s August.

You might be thinking – it’s too HOT for Winter?!

You might be thinking – what craft workshops are available at The Crafty Lass for Christmas?!

 

Well – the dates are HERE! Tickets are not yet live for booking – but it doesn’t mean you can’t get the dates in the diary… Ticket prices, full details and the ability to reserve your space will be available in the next few weeks!

In addition to our existing workshops, these are the NEW workshop dates to added. Other workshops are likely to be updated, and please note these are subject to change. BUT, we have been pretty much been planning Christmas 2018… since January 2018 (!) – to get things into The Crafty Lass calendar is a whole other logistical and admin nightmare completely! BUT you don’t care about that – what are the dates?! And – what are the crafts on offer…?! Well here goes..

 

Saturday 22nd September – Lampshade Making! (PM) (Christmas or ‘non’ Christmas!)

Sunday 28th October – Decoupage and decorate a ‘Pumpkin’! (End of Half Term: Available for Crafters aged 10+) (AM)

Sunday 4th November – Christmas Cards and Gift Wrap Wood Block Printing (PM)

Sunday 11th November – ONLINE WORKSHOP – Felt Mistletoe Brooch (YES – ONLINE – It does not matter where you live, this will be LIVE via the power of Social Media…) (TBC)

Saturday 17th November – Baby’s First Christmas Wood Block Printing (AM)

Sunday 18th November – Christmas Hessian Sack Wood Block Printing (PM)

Saturday 24th November – Fabric Rag Christmas Wreaths or Fabric Rag Christmas Tinsel (AM)

Sunday 25th November – Evergreen Christmas Wreaths (PM)

Wednesday 28th November – Evergreen Christmas Wreaths (EVE)

Saturday 1st December – Evergreen Christmas Wreaths (AM)

Sunday 2nd December – Fabric Rag Christmas Wreaths or Fabric Rag Christmas Tinsel (AM)

Saturday 8th December – Christmas Napkins and Table Mats Wood Block Printing (AM)

Sunday 9th December – Christmas Tea Towels and Aprons Wood Block Printing (PM)

Tuesday 11th December – Decorate your own Christmas Jumper! (EVE)

And, don’t forget – our The Crafty Lass Introduction to The Crafty Christmas – our six-week Crafty term on a Tuesday evening!

Once these final pages are up and live for booking – don’t you worry – you WILL be notified! 

Please check back soon for further updates and information.

Happy Christmas! 

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

I don’t like rollercoasters.

I don’t like rollercoasters. In fact I hate them!

I am that one that will gladly wait at the finish with the coats and bags.

I just don’t see the point of them! WHY would you allow yourself to be transported through the air by metal and engineering to feel sick and full of adrenaline?! Perhaps for exactly that reason… Strange. The Husband LOVES rollercoasters. And he MADE me go on one once at Alton Towers to show him I was deadly serious how much I hated them. He learnt his lesson and I will never go on one again! Side note – why did I go to Alton Towers if I hate rollercoasters… I actually have NO IDEA. WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY! I did get to see my friends of course, but mainly whilst holding all their stuff…

However, The Crafty Lass is certainly on a rollercoaster right now. But this one I will gladly stay on for the ride. So far it’s been a lovely and pleasant journey – with quite a few more highs than lows. This rollercoaster I am staying firmly ON.

In the last two weeks since my last blog post, we have finally been able to announce several pieces of very exciting news! 

Firstly, I am becoming an official tutor at The Women’s Institute college – Denman, in Marcham near Abingdon. There are selected dates now live on their website to book in for 2019 and I will be teaching paper flower making, wood block printing and lampshade making! Denman college is the most beautiful quintessentially British building and I feel honoured to be able to teach there and for the WI. The courses are often residential and so the ‘higher’ price point – isn’t just for me teaching! It includes your accommodation and your (delicious!) food and drink too. A craft retreat – what more could you want?!

Additionally and unexpectedly we have also WON the former ‘Dragon’ Theo Paphitis’ SBS (Small Business Sunday) competition! Well I say ‘unexpectedly’… I had been entering The Crafty Lass ‘on and off’ for about 3 years with a weekly ‘tweet’ pitch so I certainly hoped to win one day – but, it still came as a shock to be selected! So… just what is SBS? And what does that actually mean?! The SBS website explains it probably a lot better than I can, so see all about it HERE should you so wish to know more!

Press wise – on the back of the SBS win, we featured in the local paper: The Banbury Guardian, and on their website. We are also going to have a brief Autumnal ‘crafty mention’ in Mother & Baby magazine in their September issue. And, if you are a WI member – keep your eyes peeled for an exciting feature in the October edition of WI LIFE magazine. This time, not about how to make anything – but all on The Crafty Lass! We also have some guest blog posts coming up featuring on the lovely Craft Cotton Co blog

Today – was a VERY exciting day. Today, we shared that I have been working on my own The Crafty Lass craft products over the last YEAR! And, it is now all happening in collaboration with the brilliant company – Craft BuddyThe first product will certainly be an ADVENTure… in fact it will be The Crafty Lass ADVENTure!

Yes – that IS a CRAFT ADVENT CALENDAR! If you would like to know about this in regards to this – please visit www.thecraftylass.com/thecraftylassadventure to sign up to our mailing list for the latest news and updates.

All these things have been shared within just the last 2 weeks… and, in addition to this believe it or not, there are also several other projects bubbling away under the surface that I am yet able to reveal… so watch this space!

This rollercoaster isn’t over yet…

#TheCraftyLassADVENTure

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

Good things never came from comfort zones.

Rewind to 4 years ago. I WANTED to go self-employed – but there was no way I could.

Me? Go self employed?

Me, do my own accounts? Submit tax returns? Me, build my own website? Haha. Uhuh. OK. Not me.

 

I waited a while.

 

Fast forward to present day. Yes. OK… All that and more.

 

I never believed I could be self employed. I was scared. I didn’t know how to do everything. I didn’t know how to wear all the hats, and be everything for everyone. BUT – IT IS NOT AS SCARY AS I THOUGHT!

Being made redundant on maternity leave certainly focused the mind as to what I (and we) wanted out of life. I have mentioned before on this blog that I started to look at houses as a maternity leave activity… Each day, I would work out how to leave the house with a (then) 3 month old and a (huge) multitude of items – and go and view ‘properties’. Most of them, I sort of KNEW that they were not right from Day 1. They were just that – ‘properties’ not ‘homes’.

Why did I go and view them then? Well I WANTED to convince myself (and The Husband) that they WERE.

But, they weren’t.

UNTIL – this one came up – and it was a no brainer. If I could have signed the contract on viewing the particulars, I would have done. My dancing from foot to foot whilst the estate agent was there, didn’t really help with the ‘play it cool’ attitude I ‘should’ have had. (In reality, I cried when the estate agent when to ‘check on some paperwork’ whilst we looked around for the 3rd time.) It had a studio opportunity on site, what wasn’t to love? It was scary, but – the right decision.

 

With this in mind – last weekend, I stepped (even further) outside of my comfort zone. We held our latest workshop – but this time, not craft, but: CLICHE. Crafty Lass Inspirational Career Help and Education. And, the first thing that I mentioned (apart from the standard and ‘yawn’ health and safety, fire safety, personal injury safety, GDPR, safety safety introduction got-to-be-done – that is now the norm) – was to do a LIFE PLAN. 

Don’t think about what CAREER you would like, think about what LIFE you would like.

What career you would like is all well and good, but how does that fit in with everything else? Will that career give you personal satisfaction? Will you be able to have breakfast with your little one? Will you be able to do something for YOU – like exercise, or see your besties for a glass of vino, will you be on the road all the time, will you have to travel alot? If you like driving, and you like travel – GREAT! But, that’s the point – it needs to be what works for YOU. What you personally want. You do work to LIVE, not live to work.

Around the time I started to get fed up, and pretty angry, and not a nice person to live with to be honest in my 9-5 – The Husband made me stop and write a LIFE PLAN. Why do I want to leave my job – what are the negatives, just WHY do you want things to change? What is it about the job – is it the hours? The money? The circumstances and location? Or, is it none of those and actually, you aren’t just fed up of office politics – you are ready for the next step.

It was a real turning and focal point in my life as to how I thought, and how I approached what I wanted.

I kept thinking I needed to move from job to job, that the next big exciting opportunity would be ‘it’. But, being honest – it never would. For ME, I NEEDED to go self employed. As although the risks are obviously higher – in regards to income, in regards to working long hours, in regards to being all the different departments on an hourly/daily/weekly basis – I am my own boss. I can do it in whatever order I want. In what time scale I want. And, it is so far – exciting. Those long hours and effort are paying off!

I am super super lucky to have both a financially, and emotionally supportive husband and family – as at times it has been hard and ‘wobbly’ – but just like me, we can all see the greater plan. The ambition. The passion. The focus – and sheer determination that this WILL WORK. 

And, I think that’s it in a nutshell. BELIEVE. You need to truly believe that no matter what, it will work. Yes, you need to (MAJORLY) consider finances, legality, is there a gap in the market, branding, your dedication to the ‘brand’ at all times – but, as a note:

My ‘job’ never feels like work. EVER.

I HATE doing my accounts.  But, only as I need to dedicate 100% time and focus to it, when I could be doing something MUCH more crafty and fun like making my Christmas craft demos, or responding to an exciting journalist opportunity! OR (and that’s the work life balance ratio I am only just getting a handle on) I could be doing some water play with our little one, or actually going for a well deserved pedicure, but – when the accounts are done, I feel relaxed, super charged – I CAN DO THIS.

Recently, with a big studio turn around and clear-out, I found the original ‘Life Plan’ goals. 

And, without sounding ‘smug’ – this blog is not what this is about – this is about showing that you CAN do it too… Anyway, I had achieved 90% of them. And, without going in to particulars – what I would like to share is interestingly, as I am a forward thinker – I didn’t see it as ‘that’s done then’… the plans have grown, and changed. I read it as a new challenge, and that I should actually REDO the Life Plan again. And, visit it regularly if ANY aspect of life isn’t working. 

So – write EVERYTHING you would like from life. From the more frivolous things such as go on holiday once a year, to be able to shop in Waitrose, or maybe an Eco and Ethogical ideal – that you would like to buy sustainable clothing, or not use electricity as much. Remember, these aren’t the be all and end all things for everyone – it is what YOU want from every single aspect in life. Maybe you want to just have a 10 minute maximum commute, or to ‘work in the food, or entertainment industry’. Whatever those dreams, whatever those little acorns – oak trees will grow.

But here is the difficult part, pick FIVE. Just five. And focus… 

What I think is humbling and reassuring is – EVERY SINGLE business had to start from somewhere. Someone decided to take that plunge. And, what worked for them.

A GREAT example is ‘Jeff Bezos’ – and you ‘may’ have heard of his business: Amazon.

He started in his parents garage; selling books. He wanted to expand. He thought there was a 70% chance the business would fail. He was wrong.

Now, I don’t have the same ambitions as Mr Bezos – I don’t envisage (yet… hey! dreams change!) to being an international company and brand – but it is certainly inspiring to know that it started small, dreamt big, went HUGE (and certainly successful!)

Anyway, CLICHE – yes, holding craft workshops: I am 100% comfortable in. I KNOW how long things take to make, I KNOW what the costs are, the margins – why I am able to make money on what I do. BUT – CLICHE became, and is – a different ball game. 

I need to tell, and explain how and what I did. And most importantly – what I have LEARNT.

It was pretty ‘free-flowing’ with the writing of the course content – as it comes naturally to what I ‘do’.

I think, little details to the class made a huge difference (fingers crossed) – every attendee received a personalised motivational (and hand calligraphed (is that a word?!)) card to point them in their own direction. They all had one of the (very exciting!) new, The Crafty Lass notebooks and pencils to use in the workshop. 

We initially, at a very early stage of the class, learnt about each and every CLICHE attendee – and what THEY wanted to achieve – and actually, what their greatest fears were of NOT getting there. 

We came together as a group of self employed, want to be self employed, on maternity leave, about to quit my job (or, I have actually already quit my job) and about to be retired people – who all had the same purpose: to DREAM BIG.

It was an inspiring group of ladies. I set this class up to try and help, and inspire other people to achieve their own dreams (if I can do it, so can you!) but I left feeling that for myself. To see other people’s ideas and ambitions laid out on the table – openly, honestly, this is who I am. It was motivational in its self and hugely humbling and emotional to have people be that honest.

We went on to discuss the branding, social media, financial, legal, press, marketing, networking aspects of self employment. Along with balancing life, dealing with negativity and the all round support required to establish (and run) your own business.

The time flew by.

I genuinely believe we could have been there all day. I know how long it takes to make a ‘wreath’ or craft up ‘XZY’ exactly – but this, with all it’s discussion points…. took longer than I anticipated. That’s not to say it was a ‘badly planned’ workshop – far from it (I think!), part of the reason I set this up was so that small businesses could support, and interact with each other in a relaxed environment. It just meant after the tea and (triple chocolate shortbread) biscuits – we all needed to have a ‘working’ break. Just as you do when self employed! 

Time disappeared. Tea and biscuits were consumed. And, it worked.

Aside from all the thank you emails, Facebook messages, Instagram comments and beautiful pictures. People were actually onwards and upwards inspired…. Yay!

I have set up a ‘CLICHE’ Facebook group for the attendees – so firstly that we could all easily interact with each other, but also support and help if and when needed. In the few short days since we held the class – people have been chucking out stuff from wardrobes to make space for their dream plans, designing logos, setting up social media accounts, and have started to move out of their ‘comfort zones’. Big, thumbs, up. 

And, it’s amazing to see everything developing! Already! Please do keep me (and us) informed ladies! 😀 

The next CLICHE workshop is on Saturday 22nd September – and please do book your space should you wish to attend to avoid disappointment. As you may have gathered from the above – it is a structured (yet very relaxed) format to discuss through some ideas and learn about what you would like to achieve.

 

But, I am on with stepping out of my comfort zone again. I am dreaming, and aiming bigger. I really think the CLICHE course content could be across a whole day. With lunch. Guest speakers. Inspire more people.

Dream Big. Good things never came from comfort zones.

 

And don’t forget… Don’t Quit Your Day Dream!

Categories: Business, General Craft, Workshops

‘Art’ AND ‘Numbers’ – and one very important ‘Number’ indeed…

A quiet lass, is a busy lass…

I often think, I NEED to be blogging more. But – the point of a blog (for this crafty lass anyway) is to support and share what I am up to for the business. And, if I am doing too many business related exciting things to have time to dedicate to it, surely a bit of quietness on the blogging front is ok!

Tonight: it’s Friday – another week over (although exciting workshops tomorrow!!) but I need to (and will) take a long deep breath out, and a long glass of wine in (and Fish and Chips from our local pub who have started to do takeaway (winning!)) Life – is crazy. One minute I am trying to explain to a well meaning 1 year old that putting his bath toys into the toilet isn’t the best of ideas, the next I am chatting to editors of National magazines about the benefits on mental health and well being that craft can bring to your soul…

January, so far – from a business perspective has been EPIC. Sleep, from a toddler perspective, hasn’t – but those awake in the small hours is plenty of brain time to get thinking about the next idea and challenge and it looks like the future is certainly going to bring many, many of those… My brain is buzzing!

As ‘a creative’, I got told when I was younger – by a ‘memorable’ career “advisor” (! – I would highly recommend to him now that if he is still doing this, that he should change jobs, and I hope for many other young’uns that he did just that) that as a career – “you either do ‘Art’ or ‘Numbers’. (NEVER Both.)” I will refer to ‘him’ forthwith as “Mr Never Both Man”… I ignored him. But, it did also resonate with me. What if he was right? – Could you do both successfully?

Years later – when I had left University from studying Printed Textile Design (Art) but instead of going into a studio based role (too many lugging portfolios all over the country for interviews offering just £10-11K per annum!) was considering going into fashion ‘Buying’ (more ‘Numbers’ but yet an element of ‘Art’ (and more than £10k pay!)) and I wanted some more advice about how to approach it, and I just wasn’t sure. I went to a (brilliant) Government support and advice service in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey – with an open mind. I knew I didn’t want to a) work for pittance and b) just ‘draw’. I wanted to be creative, yet understand business. I filled out one of their generic questionnaires – LOADS of questions and at the end, it would tell you what you ‘should become’… 

I answered what felt like 250,000 questions, some that repeated and double backed on themselves, I was asked to sit and wait whilst they processed the results. And, was then called in…

This new – and clearly better than said previous – Career Advisor said, “You are showing to have both a ‘Logical’, and ‘Creative’ aspect to your brain. I would advise that you go into a career that combines both – so you are able to stimulate your passion for creativity – yet challenge your analytical and structured side to not become bored.” (Or basically, to translate… Art AND Numbers). Bingo! And actually ‘Buying’ was a great match. But he also said – “Perhaps in years to come you could look into running your own creative business? That would certainly fit with the results.” At that moment, I laughed – ‘no way could I run my own business’ – but I did think maybe he WAS right and perhaps it would be something for the future. Who knew he was very right indeed.

I DID go into Buying – and yes, I worked with both ‘Art’ and ‘Numbers’ – it could actually be a successful and fulfilling combination! 

So, Mr Never Both Man – and here is me now, in my life full of creativity and ‘Art’. But certainly lots and lots of Numbers: Accountancy meetings, Solicitor meetings, Buying meetings, Forecasting meetings, Sales meetings, Projections, Planning and lots of Excel spreadsheets… essentially about ‘Art’!

At present, here are just some of the numbers that are interesting me the most, and what I am thinking about at 3am…

  • ONE, One year old: a challenge certainly, but one that makes me happy every day… (especially if he sleeps well at night!)
  • ONE, Husband: also a challenge daily, but also one that makes me happy every day (especially if he helps with the chores (which he does most of the time actually, he’s a good’un!) and provides wine. He does put up with craft projects all over the house, even though I have a craft studio 10m away…
  • ONE, MAJOR Christmas project, with (so far) lots of positive feedback and exciting ideas… 
  • TWO, Craft party bookings in the diary…
  • TWO, Speaker and craft demonstration bookings in the diary with the WI…
  • THREE ‘Guest’ Feature blog appearances for The Crafty Lass with other companies coming soon…
  • THREE, National magazine interviews lined up…. P.S. THREE???
  • NINE, more sessions of our weekly Sketchbook Creativity Class to come for this term, a first for The Crafty Lass to be running artistic workshops of this kind.
  • ELEVEN more workshops in the diary at The Crafty Lass Old Grain Store across the next few months …with more to certainly come!
  • FIFTEEN (!) Workshops at the Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall in May and the planning of such…

There are lots more – but here, finally – there is one number, that I wanted to write this blog post about. It may mean nothing to you, but it is pretty important to me, and The Crafty Lass:

  • 00003256180

What on earth does that mean? 

Well – it strictly isn’t just that number; it actually looks like this:

UK00003256180

And refers to the Intellectual Property Office. It is a UK Trademark Number.

Yes, The Crafty Lass – sorry, that should be “The Crafty Lass®” – is now a Registered Trademark across six different classes. It has taken 7 months, multiple hours of correspondence and lengthy phonecalls. 

And now, it is done. I’ve even got a certificate.

Not sure Mr Never Both Man would have predicted that, hey? I am not sure the younger me would have done either…

Categories: Business

The Crafty Lass does… The UK Blog Awards!

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

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

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

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