Tag : the-husband
Tag : the-husband
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…
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…
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:
- the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
- 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:
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.
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! 🙂