For as long as I can remember I have been involved in some sort of crafting.
When I was little, I used to go to playgroup with lots of other little kiddies the same age – I think I was about two or three then, and we used to paint, play with sand, playdoh, plasticine, etc… next came nursery and then school.
When I was growing up we used to visit each set of grandparents every weekend. Normally I’d go with my Mum to visit her parents where I would spend the day playing with my cousins and learning about the value of friendship, sharing, communicating, etc and general social interaction skills.
On my mum’s side of the family children were very much included in everything and the family life tended to be very centred around the grandchildren… me, my elder cousin Kerry and my younger cousins Gordon and Stuart. I used to either be out and about with my grandparents or out playing with the neighbouors children. We often used to have family days out with my Mum’s parents too… sadly they have both passed away now.
My memories of my paternal grandparents is different though… up until I was twelve I was the only grandchild on this side of the family and from what I can remember there weren’t really any children around when I was visitting my Dad’s Mum and Dad. My memories of my Dad’s Dad are quite vague, as he passed away just a couple of months after my seventh birthday and all I really remember is him being ill 😦
Dad and I used to visit his parents every weekend and from my early years, I can’t really remember much, but after my Grandpa passed away, we would visit Gran every weekend, usually either a Saturday or Sunday evening and she and I would sit together doing some form of crafting.
Gran taught me how to use my aunt’s childhood weaving loom… an old Spears toy which I absolutely loved, though I’ve no idea what happened to it!! I see there are quite a few on Ebay now though!! We also used to draw using my Dad’s childhood Spirograph and Gran taught me to crochet and knit, as well as doing tapestry together and some drawing.
When I was growing up I never really realised how lucky I was to have my Gran sitting down showing me these different crafts and ideas, but looking back now I realise just how much I learned and just how much my little cousins are missing out on as none of them live anywhere near my Gran… one lives in Fort William and the other two live in New Zealand. I guess at the time we take these things for granted but thinking about it now, then I really appreciate how much time my Gran spent with me and how much I learned from her.
At school I was never with the ‘in crowd’ and tended to keep myself to myself, and turned to writing poetry and drawing as a way of expressing how I was feeling… something I still do now. Even now I rarely show anyone what I’ve written though these days I’m a bit more comfortable about sharing my drawings and my artwork now includes watercolour and acrylic painting.
When hubby and I were planning our wedding in 2004, we had a look around at different wedding stationery suppliers and they all seemed very expensive and we couldn’t find anything we really liked, so I decided to have a go at making them myself… which resulted in daytime and evening invitations for our registry office wedding in East Kilbride, daytime and evening invitations for our church blessing in Stoke-on-Trent, table plans, thank you cards, name place cards, wedding favours – it was a bit of a challenge and took me a while to come up with designs I was completely happy with but I loved every minute of it.
After our wedding I had a bit of a break from crafting, the only thing I really did between then and 2006 was the occasional drawing but then in the summer of 2006, I was watching some of the crafty programmes on television and thought “I could do that” and so went out and bought some card, embellishments, stickers, etc and the cardmaking began… looking back some of my early attempts were horrendous, but I can see where and how I have progressed over the last couple of years. Initially, I was only making cards for hubby and I to send to friends and family but then it got to the stage that I had so many cards and nothing to do with them all, so I decided to start donating some to Douglas MacMillan Hospice to sell in their shops to raise much needed funds.
Gradually as time went on and friends and family started to see our cardmaking results, we began getting sales and orders for their cards too so decided to set up our own website as well as selling through Ebay… our website is doing quite well (here) although we no longer sell on Ebay.
In 2007, Gordon went back to a much loved hobby of candle making… again, this started off just as a hobby for our own use and as gifts but then began to expand and his candle range is also available through our website. Being able to share the enthusiasm for crafting and the messy house it involves is fab!! lol.
When my Mum was ill in hospital at the beginning of 2007, she was always telling everyone about the ‘wonderful cards her daughter makes’ and showing people the card that Gord and I had sent to her which helped to keep me motivated cos I felt like I had to keep going to tell Mum about our new ideas… when she passed away on 23rd February 2007, I felt like giving up on everything (including crafting) but then I thought about how proud she was of what I was achieving with my cardmaking and crafting and new that I had to carry on, for Mum’s memory if nothing else.
I continued with making greetings cards but then I wanted to make something special for Mum, some kind of keepsake or memorial card so I started to look about to see what I could find, that’s when I discovered the Glitter Girls’ bookatrix board which I bought and the first ever keepsake card I made was in memory of my Mum and still sits on display in my craft room. When I feel low or unmotivated I always look at that and think of Mum watching over me. Over the last couple of years I have expanded my cardmaking ideas… keepsake cards, decoupage, bought various tools and machines and am always looking for new ideas, but each time I come up with something new, I always think of Mum.
In the last couple of years I have also tried my hand at cross stitch, mosaicing, latch hook design and scrapbooking but I always return to cardmaking which is my first love, though on occasion I do use these other crafts to relax.
Through 2006 and 2007, all of our sales came from Ebay, friends, family and the occasional sale through our website, but at the beginning of 2008, we decided to take the next step and start taking our greetings cards, keepsake cards and candles to craft fairs… we have attended a few events over the last eighteen months and always treat each one as a learning experience… we are always looking at new ways to display our products, new ideas for making our cards/candles and use each of these venues as a way of meeting fellow crafters and showcasing our items to potential customers.
I don’t think we’ll ever stop learning about our chosen crafts as there are so many different ideas and techniques that we have yet to try… in cardmaking alone I am just in the process of learning to use stamps and there are so many techniques to go with them – watercolouring, heat embossing, multi layer stamping, to name just a few. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored!!