Less than two weeks since I left work and yesterday, I found myself back on the tram to Manchester! No, I haven’t had second thoughts about leaving and I didn’t go to grovel to HR! I went for a night out in the big city – another ex-colleague leaving do!

As I trundled along, I realised how much I actually miss the dedicated time to let my mind wander. It’s nice to have nothing to do other than muse over the day / last couple of weeks and jot down my thoughts.

I love being at home, pottering about the house and garden, updating my website and facebook page and being able to craft. But I think I’m going to have to find some time each week, out of the house, to ponder, reflect and come up with ideas.

So my next task is to find somewhere close to home (I have to factor nursery hours in) with a relaxed yet creative atmosphere! Hmmmmmm…………….Any ideas?

Happy crafting

A lovely surprise

One of the most surprising things that happened in my last week of work was discovering a colleague that crafts!  It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise really, but having worked on projects with Dawn for the past 7 years, it really was a shock to find that not only does she live less than 5 miles away, but she has her own Folksy shop too!

So my last week or so was spent catching up with Dawn and chatting about crafts!  What a lovely few days.  She has a lovely range of crafts on her website.

Today we had a quick catch up and have booked tickets to go to the Creative Crafts Show at Manchester Central. It will be fun to go with a fellow crafter and without little one with me! NOw the diffculty comes in choosing which (if any) workshops to take part in!

I can’t wait……………

Happy crafting

Setting up shop

I managed a few hours of concentrated crafting yesterday, with a view to stocking my Etsy shop.

Paddington Bear suitcase

It’s a difficult decision on what to stock , as I have a box at work and some stock at home listed here and for taking to craft fairs. Do I list the same items or work on a whole new range? I’m not sure at this stage, so I’ve just been adding generally to my stock – not that I’ve had much time to do that as I’ve had some more commissions to work on.

So my work-in-progress looks like this:-
1 pair of pink and yellow bootees
1 pink and yellow toy cat
1 multi-colour toy cat
1 knitted hat
1 set of caravan birthday and Christmas cards

Lots to do and some more time to do it all after this week!

Happy crafting

Yet more commissions

Over the last month or so, my commission requests have soared.  It seems there is a real market for bespoke cards for special people and special occasions.

What’s been really lovely, is the freedom for design. I’ve been given some outline colours or ideas in the brief for each project. It’s great fun taking the brief and putting a design together. I think my favourite ones at the moment have been the wedding cards.

Commission Wedding Card

Personalised Wedding Card

Box wrap for wedding card

I loved using the doilies and the vellum, it’s really fun putting dainty items together!

Happy crafting

Reflections on leaving work

I’m sitting on the tram with my thoughts for company (I’ve finished the current issue of Craftseller), at the end of my penultimate week of permanent employment.  The sun is out, the sky is…. well ok it’s grey, and it’s cold!

How do I feel about this huge lifestyle change that I’m embarking on?  I’m both excited about the prospect of being able to spend more time crafting and being a Mum, but I’m also apprehensive.  This will be the first time in over 20 years that I haven’t had a ‘job’ to go to.  It’s quite a scary thought!

I have so many ides to fill my time though that I’m sure I won’t struggle, in fact I don’t think I’ll have anywhere near enough time to do everything I’d like to.

Today will be a busy day, it’s my last real opportunity to finish off and tie-up loose ends.  I expect to spend the day writing up two end-of-year project reports, answering a few e-mails, contacting HR and clearing out what’s left in my locker (not much).  I’ve been booked by a colleague to help put together a ‘top tip’ leaflet this afternoon, a last effort to try and get any knowledge from my weary brain!

Amongst the legal letters and project reports, will be a lot of friendly chat as usual.  The main topic will probably be about weddings, as my colleague Sue is making the cake and cupcakes for the wedding of the year this weekend.  She makes the most fabulous cakes and the wedding is a vintage lacy theme. I made the card for the happy couple from the Brides’ parents. I can’t wait to see the pictures from the big day.

Personalised Wedding Card

Personalised Wedding Card

I’m feeling a little calmer about today now.  Hopefully I can get out in to Manchester centre to do a little bit of shopping over lunch time.  I have a few small gifts for friends that I need to buy and wrap, and I’d rather leave them at work than have to run the risk of forgetting them next week.

It all seems very final suddenly, only 5 more tram journeys, so I’ll be blogging in the house from then on.  I’ve enjoyed my journeys to work, they’re a great chance to catch up on reading and to jot down thoughts and ideas.  I shall just have to go out for a brew every so often and find an inspiring environment to pen my ramblings in future!

Happy crafting

Spring has sprung

Spring has finally arrived and we have a dry and sunny day!  So, after a much needed lie-in, a bit of garden tidying and lunch outside (!) it’s been a trip to the park for us.  A chance for little one to burn off some pent-up energy and for me to have a relaxing chill out in the sun.

We’re very lucky here in Bury as we have the use of some fabulous parks.  Our largest local park is Clarence Park, about a mile away, with plenty of facilities – playgrounds for toddlers and older children, lido, and loads of open space to run around or just sit and have a picnic.



Today I thought the walk and being out in the fresh air might give me some ideas and inspiration.  Alas, I was disappointed, as the recent freezing temperatures has meant there are very few flowers out in the area at all.  I’m quite upset at the lack of daffodils and crocuses basking in the Spring sunshine.  However, with the playground full of children, there were lots of bright colours flying around and I have visions of swirling patterns of bright primary colours. The thoughts of chalks on paper and inks in water have been filling my head ever since!


I was also struck by the number and kinds of dogs out with their owners.  I’ve been thinking about doing something more with my knitted cats, maybe working on some cats to look a little like my own pet cats, but I’m now thinking about adapting the pattern to make some dogs too – floppy ears? 

Knitted cats

Knitted cats

I’m currently making a new cat and a pair of matching bootees – pink and yellow!  

I hope you’ve enjoyed some sunshine and the eventual arrival of Spring!  I’m hoping that our seeds will start to germinate soon and I think I might have a trip to the garden centre for some primulas to brighten up the garden!


Happy crafting

Easter Entertainment

Easter is over again for another year and I’m left sick of the sight of cake and chocolate!  There’s still snow in the air and I’m seriously starting to wonder if it’s ever going to get above freezing.  Will Spring ever arrive?

Easter cake by Sue Brooks

All this cold weather meant that we’ve been indoors trying to amuse ourselves.  So the Easter weekend was a fairly crafty one.  We’ve been exploring the possibilities of my boxes of embellishments along with the contents of a craft planet goody bag,

Entertaining a pre-school child in the holidays, particularly in the current cold weather, can be a tall order.  But we just about managed by covering the kitchen table with ribbons, buttons, fun foam, felt and stickers.  My daughter raided the box bag for an egg box determined to make a box to keep chocolate eggs safe so she could share them at her friends birthday party!  She spent several hours happily singing along with the radio, sticking wild and wacky embellishments on to the box.

Another crafting day we took inspiration from our last play and language class, and made a lovely bunch of daffodils from fun foam and pipecleaners.  These simple flowers have to be one of the prettiest additions to the home!  And better still, a child can make them as there’s no glue needed.  We cut most of the shapes out by hand but I also experimented using a die-cutting machine and this works just as well, so long as you have some flower shaped dies!  This lovely bunch was split and flowers given to family members on Easter Sunday and they certainly brightened the dinner table.

Fun foam daffodils

Our simplest project was one I used to do as a child.  I’ve always kept things that looked useful and Easter egg boxes prove very useful indeed.  I keep the cut out circles where the egg stands and use them to draw round, making patterns and pictures.  I mentioned this to my daughter who obviously liked the sound of this idea.  She kept the circle from one of her eggs and used it to draw round.  She drew this fabulous caterpiller and then added the ladybird on its back.


This is definitely a technique we shall explore further!  I see birds, cats, rabbits, flowers….. the possibilities are endless and she can make these pictures all by herself without any interference (help) from me.

So the learning from this Easter weekend is to keep bits from Easter egg packaging and egg boxes, and always make sure to have fun foam (in a variety of colours) and pipecleaners on the house.  Hours of fun for a child and parent!

Happy crafting