Tag : the-husband

Life. Got. Busy.

So, blogging used to be a thing.

In fact – I should start that sentence again. It used to be THE thing.

This business started out as a blog, (and I quote) with the aim as…

” a design, craft and things to be inspired by website and blog – but the long term plan is to sell graphic design prints, greeting cards, and ultimately hold creative ‘Craft Workshops’ on how to make lots of lovely things! So, watch this space – exciting times ahead!”

And – to quote from my first ever blog post:

“The aim of this blog is to post inspirational thoughts, design, craft, pictures. To look at seasonal ideas, things I am thinking about, doing, dreaming of… Long term, I would love it to be more than just dreaming and minus the 9-5 day job.”

At the end of March 2018, it was 3 years ago that I made these announcements. I announced to the social media world, my friends and family that I had quit my job to start a blog called ‘The Crafty Lass’. And so here we are…

I am certainly minus the 9-5: it is great being self employed – you get to choose what 18 hours a day you work! 

With holding workshops on evening and weekends, making commissions, paperwork, accounts, PR, marketing (you get the idea) in the week… And, we have gained a sleepless 19 month old along this crafty journey too! There is certainly no concept of ‘time’. I quite often ask The Husband what day it is – when it is clearly Saturday as we sit and watch the F1 ‘quali’ and/or the footie scores come in (sporty household!) or, forget that it is ‘Monday’ tomorrow (no Sunday night blues here…)

Anyway, ironically, this ONE blog post has so far taken 3 days to get to this point!*

*Edit. I now started this over ONE MONTH ago (!)

There were ’21’ blog posts in March 2015. There were ‘0’ in March 2018.

So… TIME. What’s that?

In a huge contrast to the earlier blog posts – where I knew what I needed to achieve in the day – like write a blog post, perhaps a mooch into town, meet Mrs XYZ for a coffee, have a meander around Waitrose whilst trying to figure out how I was going to sort out this ‘craft business malarkey’. Ironically all that mooching and planning, plus a dog and the aforementioned 19 month old, means I now have NO TIME AT ALL. Well, no spare time anyway. Things have escalated slightly… There is a to do list as long as my arm – from work out how to make a realistic ranunculus paper flower, to (just!) do a ‘stock take’, update GDPR regulations on my website, work on those (several) press and event commissions, work out where my car keys are, just where is the missing yellow stacking cup for little man, what are we going to have for dinner… No meandering around Waitrose aimlessly now. 

I don’t see my friends, I rarely see The Husband – let alone a ‘proper’ social life. (The Little Crafty Man has more of a social life than me, that is for sure!) I can just about arrange to have a date every week with the online Tesco delivery man… 

This isn’t a ‘oh, woah is me, poor Paula’ post. This is just a genuine honest view that self employment – although amazing… my gosh it is busy wearing all those hats! And, that for anyone that is close to me, and actually bothering to read this – I am sorry if I have gone wayward in responding to texts, to calls – I do care!

Since those early blog posts 3 years ago, I am surely – living the dream? Well, a HUGE part of me is. My life has gone in directions I never knew possible, and the small (and big!) things I ultimately wanted to achieve – are happening. The dynamic of the business has changed. I miss blogging – but surely it is better be so busy going that you have no time to blog about what you are doing!

I am discovering that dreams change. They adapt, they get BIGGER!

In the past few months, I have wanted to blog about the exciting things we have been up to – but as you may have guessed, I have had no time to do this… so to wrap up everything in a neat summary:

We have featured in several local and national press articles: Prima Magazine, The Women’s Institute national magazine – WI Life, Mother & Baby, on the Telegraph website to name a few… National Press? Tick!

We have featured as a craft tutor at The Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire – teaching workshops to lots of lovely crafters… Big ambition achieved there. Tick!

And, as part of this – I was commissioned to make the ‘Super Theatre Main Stage’ display – 132 handmade paper flowers flowers, approximately over 2,500 petals (it took around 47 hours of flower making…) Never imagined this, but – hey, pretty exciting! 

Oh, and actually met, had a conversation with (and my flowers were complimented by) Kirstie Allsopp. HUGE unexpected – Tick! #fan #triedtoremaincalm #failed

I am working on product designs with several companies… Tick!

Last night we hosted a ‘charity’ craft night – with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Society – we were knitting Twiddlemuffs! What are they? Check out one of our previous blog posts (yes, I actually managed to post something on this!) BBC Radio Northampton were in attendance to film and record the event – and this will shortly appear on their social media and on the radio!

I am working with the WI on several exciting crafty developments… 

I have become a ‘judge’ for a local flower festival… Really fun, and great to be a part of… 

I have 3 photoshoots booked for press in the next 3 months… 

I have been approached to ‘speak’ at various local events and teach crafts to various groups…

I have set up a new ‘career’ workshop called CLICHE (Crafty Lass Inspirational Career Help & Education) to help other people who want to just quit their 9-5 and take the self employment plunge… 

BIG NEWS – if I didn’t have enough to be thinking about – I am writing TWO (why not?) books…

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick!

It is all just happening… the cogs are turning, daily developments. It is exciting, it is KNACKERING!

With these time heavy developments I am slowly learning that there does need to be a balance to all of this – I cannot function on 200% level without a stop. Especially when Little Man still rarely sleeps all night…

And so, there will be a break (hoorah!) in the Summer. August is OFF – to allow NO workshops and LOTS more mooching. But…

Knowing what I am like – I categorically CANNOT guarantee I won’t ‘work’ in that time ‘off’ – I actually already have lots of lovely things craft related planned in – as I am already thinking that would be a perfect time to make all my ‘Christmas’ demos! Yes – I cannot wait for The Crafty Lass Christmas in August!

However, it will be a nice to do: to just ‘sit’ and ‘craft’ (if little person will let me…) and make things at my own leisure… as we also have some VERY exciting news for later this Autumn, Winter and in 2019 – so, we need to get ready for that! (Watch this space!) August will be some down time, a moment to stop – reflect – sleep – have some well needed family time. Oh, and to make festive sparkly things!!!!!!

But, thank you – if you’ve got this far… for your own time, your support, your bookings. The Crafty Lass is going from strength to strength and I couldn’t have done it without you!

Right… back to my to do list! But remember – Don’t quit your day dream…

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

The Crafty Lass does… Hope the Whale TOFT crochet workshop – at The Natural History Museum!

So that’s it. I need to join the C.A. also known as Crochet Anonymous as I am officially addicted. Does it exist??

The little one naps? – Crochet. Contentedly jumping in his jumperoo for half an hour? – Surely I can fit in a few rounds of the latest project… Chores are being ignored, sleep is too. The Husband is also not really being spoken to much and usually often with “wait a minute” or “ssh, I’m counting”!

My TOFT #edsanimals collection is slowly expanding… starting out with the lovely Bridget the Elephant last year – and across the last month I have now completed Gregor the T Rex, our Patch the Crafty Dog (adapted from Maximillian the Weimaraner), Boris the Red Squirrel, (and now Blue the Whale Calf) – and with Hank the Dorset Down Sheep, Blake the Orangutan, Douglas the Highland Cow, as many dinosaurs as I can find – and of course ‘Hope the Whale’ in the pipeline…

The thing is, the reason it’s addictive – is it is almost meditative. You focus, you relax and as a bonus – the output once you know the basic stitches is FAST!

When the opportunity to go and crochet TOFT‘s #hopethewhale at the Natural History Museum came along – I jumped at the chance. My only questions of ‘where do I book’ and ‘how do I pay’?
The Natural History Museum, that along with the V&A, and The Science Museum (all of which I frequented yesterday!) in that wonderful area of South Kensington, London – has always been magical to me. Beautiful architecture, every corridor filled with wonder and excitement. As a child particularly at the Natural History Museum – it felt special to be there. Those big archways and the huge, unbelievable dinosaur rising above you…

Well, as I discovered yesterday – the amazement doesn’t stop even when you have become an adult!

Walking into the Hintze Hall to see no longer Dippy the Diplodocus (which I have just discovered is excitedly going ‘on tour’ around the UK!), but the new majestic ‘Hope the Whale‘ – magically suspended in all her glory. Truly breathtaking.
Then, underneath this magical spectacle – were around 40 tables for over 350 other awe inspired crocheters – ready to take on the challenge of a new TOFT pattern!

A true blend of never crocheted before in my life newbies, to resident experts – it was fascinating to see the task ahead being taken on with such patience and gusto! Kerry Lord – founder of TOFT and creative director, announced an extra special surprise that not only would we be crocheting ‘Hope the Whale’ but her lovely calf too. She threw down the gauntlet for the little calf to be completed by the end of the event… I am pretty competitive and so off I went, suddenly back in my crochet meditative state – yarn over and through, yarn over and through…
What Kerry failed to initially mention was this pattern threw in a few unexpected surprises from her usual format – new stitches and techniques that would also need to be mastered! Surprisingly to me however – was that although they actually sounded complicated, they were all just versions from the same theme and easy to follow once explained – we were all quickly off crocheting for a beautiful hour and a half. With plenty of explanations from Kerry herself, and those that needed extra tuition had plenty of support with the full TOFT team on hand… I was so focused, enjoying the moment – that at the end of the workshop I introduced myself to the person I was sitting next to! Who also was undertaking her own personal mission to complete the calf…

As I expected… I didn’t quite finish it on the night – I was too excited to look around and absorb the magical resplendent beauty of ‘Hope’ in the fading evening light.
I chose to try and complete the calf – on the train, on the way home… Many thanks to Angela (my friend and crochet partner in crime) for her skill and patience with this, as of course 11pm was the perfect time to get practicing half treble and treble crochet stitches?? In the end, some sleep and a cup of tea was all it took to refocus and complete the final stitches this morning.

A truly wonderful event – Kerry and TOFT should be thanked and congratulated…! Bravo! My crafty self has certainly thanked me for going, but my bank balance hasn’t… off into London, child free, and let loose with a sense of freedom and my credit card let’s just say I bought a few ‘momentos’ to remember the event… because who doesn’t need whale shaped baking measuring cups??

I am looking forward to the next one already…

Now on to make mumma ‘Hope’ and continue to ignore those chores…

x

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

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

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

Top 5… Valentine’s Crafts!

I love Valentine’s Day.

Yes, I know it can be commercial, and yes it can sometime’s can also be tacky and yes – just an excuse for you to HAVE to spend more money on your dearest loved one. But, that is kind of the point? I feel I can say I love you to The Husband on any day of the year – and, I do buy him little gifts for random meanings and occasions (and yes, he is lucky, right?) and not just because it’s a ‘special day’. However, I do like that it is a very specific romantic day of the year where, should you desire – tell the person you love, secretly – or not, declare the reasons you’re with that important person in your life, just make someone feel loved and special.

I wouldn’t EVER go to a restaurant for it, or in fact at the weekend’s around then – they cram the tables in, put on a ‘special’ menu, charge over the top, you are sat with everyone trying to have a personal and private moment – and you invariably are sitting so close you can actually hear what the other people are saying. I usually opt for cooking The Husband dinner – and occasionally – him cooking one for me. Gifts? I don’t NEED an extravagantly purchased item to make me know that I am thought about… perhaps just some flowers? Even from the garden… haha! Or just my favourite chocolate bar? Damn – shouldn’t really be writing this! The Husband usually reads the blog… and so with that in mind – of course if he would really like to spontaneously cave into the commerciality (unlikely!) then please do dearest! Those Alex Monroe earrings would be pretty special… 😀

Anyway – one thing I do always feel is important is to give a card. Now I know what you are thinking – well, you would say that – you sell your own greetings card range! But, precisely – that is part of the reason I designed greeting cards in the first place. They aren’t just a bit of paper – they allow you to express your thoughts and emotions inside! (By the way, you can get a special offer at the minute – FREE delivery on all orders on The Crafty Lass greeting cards on our Etsy store with code TCLVAL16!!) Enough of plugging the promo, and back to the real point. I just think that the opportunity to pen a few lines to your other half, your special one, your snugglekins (!) can be a special moment.

I wouldn’t ever expect a blank card to be completed with “Dear Janet, Love John x”… What, that’s IT?? You need to put some effort into it! Maybe I should be grateful of a card at all – and it certainly sounds upon reading that I am a crafty little Valentine’s diva – but I certainly keep my ‘special’ cards in a shoe box for ever more, to be annually, or perhaps decadely reviewed every now and again with an ‘awwww’ and fuzzy feeling moment – so you had best be writing something that little bit more emotive!! For those that already do this – high five. Just take the opportunity whenever you can to just make someone your focus and let them know you care, however that might be.

Whatever your thoughts on the big February 14th, presents or no presents, card or no card, here are some suggestions of cute little crafty ways to make it special. There is a bit of a ‘hearts’ theme going on…

 

1. DIY Heart Card

If you are planning to MAKE a card how about this lovely DIY embroidered card idea!

 

2. Heart Gift Wrap

Craft knifes at the ready! If you are buying a gift for the special someone – what a simple, but ever so effective hearts gift wrapping idea with the red and brown paper. There are two ideas in one here, as they also offer a creative stamping effect too – simply using a pencil eraser!

 

3. Heart Garland

Another gift wrap idea here, but could also be used as a decoration garland afterwards! Cute, again – simple but effective!

 

4. Chocolate Shortbread Heart Cookies

If baking is your thing (you can’t beat a bit of baked goodies to certainly make someone smile) what about this lovely chocolate shortbread and sprinkles idea. There is also a good US measurements converter here at Good To Know. You’re welcome!

 

5. Heart Cheescake

Still on the baking theme – just how amazing does this hearts cheesecake look?? It must be SO satisfying to make that swirl… wow!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Categories: Foodie Delights, General Craft, Sweet Tooth Scrumptious Stuff!, Top 5, Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff

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