One whole year of business - Where has the year gone!
My little business is a few days away from being a whole year old. Can you believe it! Its been a surprisingly calm first year with lots of pattern designing and creative events being held.
On a daily basis I fight with my to do list and wish for more time but when I reflect back on what I have achieved throughout the year I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. I have designed and launched four patterns which are available to download on Etsy and I have oodles of designs in process (too many to count!) some of which will be available for free on my blog later this year. On top of all of this I have met some amazing people at my crochet clinics and workshops and love the creative community I am part of.
Connections and collaborations with other local businesses and online buddies have been super exciting and I look forward to building on these over the coming months.
As of 11th September my world will change considerably. My baby girl starts school! As she grows and we conker each leap and turn we, I feel, will move towards a calmer, more organised life. I see September as a time for us to regroup. As the girls minds develop and they explore who they are I struggle to keep them entertained, tantrums often run high... and that's just me! The juggle of home, day job, business and my beautiful family often gets muddled and this is why I hold September so high up on a pedestal.
Our working day will be shorter, giving us a more relaxed pace to play, laugh and simply be together. I currently work in the evenings on my business when the girls have gone to bed and most days we're on the go from 6am and they don't settle until after 7pm. Starting work between 8-8.30pm in the evening isn't as productive has I'd like.
So, as of September we will all experience change. I have rejigged my hours at the day job so I can do the school run and, wait for it, I will get a full day, well five hours, on a Friday to spend purely on business! Oh my word, this is going to be bliss. I will be able to keep on top of blogging, write up patterns as I create them, plan events and workshops, and generally share my journey with you more frequently. Eeek, So excited! I hope that this dedicated time will help to separate business and home. I often feel guilty. Its not uncommon for me to get distracted thinking about whats on my to do list whilst I'm with the girls or feel sad that I miss out on fun activities as I take time away to do business, like today. That's to plan anyway! Wish us luck as we start our next adventure!
It's Party Time!
I launched my creative business back in August last year and as part of my business plan I wanted to offer a monthly event to support my students. September 2016 saw the birth of Crochet Clinic.
Crochet Clinic is a place for like minded people to come together, share their crochet journey and explore new techniques and ideas. Its predominantly a social event but if anyone is interested in learning to crochet its a great place to come and see what its all about. Find our more about Crochet Clinic here.
To celebrate our first year I am hosting a special Birthday Crochet Clinic on Wednesday 6th September. There will be cake, tasty treats, music and an vibrant party feel. Regulars, followers, newbies, friends and family alike please join me for a relaxed, anything goes Crochet Clinic. Bring your craft or just yourselves, take part or drink and eat the night away, whatever you choose, I'll see you there! For more information, check out the Facebook event here.
It's Giveaway Time!
Not only will there be a party to celebrate my first year but I am also running an Instagram Giveaway, right now! I have teamed up with a couple of my fave creatives to host the giveaway alowing one lucky winner the chance to get their hands on these wonderful prizes.
To be in with a chance of winning, head over to Instagram and follow these three simple rules; follow me, like the giveaway photo and tag a friend, simple! The competition will close Fri 25th August 2017 at 7pm GMT. Don't miss out - Go do it now! The winners will be drawn at random and announced Sat 26th August.
You're the best - Thanks guys!
Thank you so much for all your support this year, you're the best. As always, please leave me a comment and say hi. It's you guys that keep me going, my community, my friends and family, your my team.
Ta-ra for now duckies
What does community mean to you? Do you have a creative tribe? Where in the world are you? I'm a Nottingham girl born and bred and I love the diversity of creativity that the city has to offer, from colourful illustrators and makers to wacky yarn shop owners (Eleanor, thats you!!) Nottingham's creative community is growing at a speedy rate and it excites me that I can be part of it.
" Be part of something bigger than yourself "
For so long I have plodded along in my own creative bubble, too introverted to get myself out there and mingle. However, since my launch back in August last year I feel I have stepped out of my bubble and built up exciting new relationships with some super talented folk. I now feel part of a tribe.
Last weekend Nottingham exploded! It's In Nottingham, Bulwell Arts Festival, as well as so many more hosted a range of events throughout Nottingham and I was lucky enough to attend a few of them. Here's my journey around my wonderfully creative city.
Nottingham Independents Festival hosted by It's In Nottingham
Saturday 8th July saw a jam packed day of family fun. My beautiful family and I hopped on the tram and headed for the city centre to visit many of the fabulous independent businesses in Nottingham and celebrate the Its In Nottingham Independents Festival with them.
Throughout the day there was free entertainment on stage at Trinity Square, Pelham Square, Middle Pavement and Carlton Street, as well as street parties held at Trinity Walk, Flying Horse Walk, St James’s Street and Cobden Chambers. Lots to see and do.
We began our adventure at Trinity Square, where Peppa and Daddy Pig made guest appearances, a not to be missed event for a certain three year old! We danced, listened to stories and giggled before strolling down the best dressed street in town, Trinity Walk.
We chatted to lots of folk, popped into Knit Nottingham (of course), sampled cake and juice at Ilas Little Tea Shoppe, hunted for prizes and so much more.
It was then time to go see the lions. The girls did their ritual stroke of the famous left lion before we headed for St James Street.
The street has changed somewhat over the years and now houses some of my favourite places. The Malt Cross is a must visit if you're after somewhere relaxed to eat and drink, its brilliant for families and with access to the shop next door, Handmade Nottingham, its a treat not to be missed.
Handmade Nottingham is a wonderful treasure trove of a shop. Owned and run by the equally wonderful Rhea Clements who has put her heart and sole into creating a beautiful shop that showcases the best selection of local designers and makers.
On the day I got to see my super talented buddy Jo Want from Hello Sunshine who was busy painting away these fabulous watercolour portraits. There wasn't much time to stop and catch up as this lady had people lining up to have their mugs painted.
Next up we popped into Dukki Gifts to say hi to Heidi. Its the first time I've been into the shop and met Heidi even though I have Insta stalked the shop since its opening back in 2014 and have many a products which have been gifted to me. I just love everything about this quirky little shop, great gifts, homewares and the best souvenirs in town... not to mention the best shop colour choice ever! (#TealLove)
" Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much " - Helen Keller
Often I nip off and do businessy, creative type stuff on my own, well, because its just easier. But I'm so glad I could share all of this with my three favourite people on Saturday. My girls are growing up so fast and both are taking an interest in what mummy's up to. Biggest little loves to draw and Smallest little is always in my yarn basket so being able to share the creative side of Nottingham with them is so exciting.
Bulwell Arts Festival Family Fun Day at The Bulwell Academy
Bulwell Arts Festival is in its fourth year and each year it just gets better and better. 8 days of family fun, music, poetry, art, crafts, workshops, its an event not to be missed. If this is the first time you're hearing about it, then head over to Facebook and check out the amazing list of events that have just taken place.
The Bulwell Academy host a Family Fun Day each year to kick off a week long creative programme of events. This years event was something to talk about! The space was filled with colour, energy and oodles of happy, excited faces. There was 'have-a-go' craft tables, craft stalls, food, dancing, a bouncy castle, Super Sparkle Party entertainers, you name it, they had it. But by far, for me (the big kid) the best bit was when Hunter the dinosaur rocked up! Boom!
We left Daddy (Mr Towriess) at home and the girls and I absorbed the carnival atmosphere, danced, played and mingled with so many fantastic families. We even helped out Granddad (my dad) on his art stall.
I'm so proud of this man. He has turned his passion to paint into a business. Using art as therapy Art by Phil Hearn creates a magnificent and diverse range of art, demonstrates techniques, teaches master classes, kids workshops and has more recently converted his garage and outbuilding into a home studio and gallery space. If you're free between 16th - 23rd July, Art by Phil Hearn will be hosting an open studio event showcasing a selection of Bulwell's Artistic finest. Do pop by and have a look, it's well worth a visit.
Earlier this year I was invited to work with Bulwell Arts Festival on a graphic design project. I worked closely with the organisation team and produced an exciting events brochure, posters, banners and social media artwork, all within the space of a couple of weeks. I have since been invited to join the team officially ready for next years event. The programme of events and number of collaborators increases massively each year and I am super excited about being involved, transforming the brand and creating an impactful range of marketing collateral that will well and truly put Bulwell and Bulwell Arts Festival on the map!
" When I came here, I was looking for a community.
Then I realised I was helping to create one. "
Bulwell Arts Festival Eco Art on the Garden hosted by Bulwell Forest Garden
As part of the Bulwell Arts Festival the Bulwell Forest Garden host a fantastic Eco Art on the Garden event which this year I got to be a part of. I have visited the garden for many family events over the yeas so when I was asked to run a creative workshop I jumped at the chance.
Bulwell Forest Garden is a community garden run by volunteers and includes food growing, wildlife areas, a community orchard and outdoor kitchen. Its a wonderful place to visit and is open to everyone. To find out more head over to their website.
This fabulous Eco Art event took place on Sunday 9th July and the weather was glorious. The best weather for a day spent outdoors being creative.
I rocked up with all my creative bits and bobs, which included yarns, ribbons, textured threads, recycled cardboard tubes, paper plates and whatever else I thought might make an interesting adornment for my dream catcher workshop.
Here I am at the beginning of the day with my well organised, neat and tidy corner.... it didn't stay that way for long!
Families piled in and made themselves comfortable under the gazebo for a relaxed 'make and take' creative session. There was something for everyone and people came and went as they pleased. Some stayed for hours and made more than one dream catcher and others had a go and then moved on to other areas of the garden for more eco friendly activities.
I was blown away by the array of work produced throughout the day and how each and every child (and parent) took time to consider colours and decoration. Some coloured in paper plates, some wrapped yarn around tubes, some even replicated Pokemon symbols by threading yarn through holes in paper plates.
I loved that my family and friends could join me, have ago and enjoy such a wonderful, free, local event. Without the community I have become a part of, most of which had come from play groups and childrens church activities like Messy Church (thanks girls), I may not have even known about this ever growing creative community right here on my doorstep, in Bulwell or be friends with such an amazing bunch of people.
" The best way to multiply your happiness is to share it with others. "
The community gardens are amazing but I hear so many people say that they didn't even know they existed. A little secret hideaway I'm so pleased to know about and share with you today.
Knowlegde is power, community is strength and positive attitude is everything.
- Lance Armstrong
I'm so proud of my community and the tribe I'm now a part of. As a work from home business it's easy to feel isolated. To be a part of these wonderful events, be in the presence of such warmhearted, creative people, local families and fellow artists and makers makes me proud to be a Bulwellian, a Notts girl and I'm here to shout about this amazing community.
Did you pop along to any of these events, or take part in something similar elsewhere? I would love to hear from you and enhance my community further. You, yes you, reading this, you're part of my community. Its you that keeps me going and helps me be a better designer and teacher. It's you that I want to share all of this with. Thanks for taking the time to read this epic post, until the ext time, terrar for now me duck!
I've only gone and taken part in my very first vlog!
Eleanor from Knit Nottingham invited me along to her wonderful yarn shop in the centre of Nottingham to make a guest appearance in her Vlog a Day April. I was super excited that she'd asked me, albeit a little daunted about speaking in front of the camera unrehearsed! Either way a great opportunity not to be missed.
Ay Up Duck!
After seeing my Ay Up Duck Cushion all over Instagram and Facebook Eleanor had fallen in love! She approached me back in January as she was super eager to stock the pattern in her shop. I have been selling my patterns for a few months over on Etsy but this was my first pattern to be developed into a printed version, how very exciting!
Eleanor and I have been chatting for months, planning and plotting our exciting collaboration and now my Ay Up Duck Cushion crochet pattern is printed and will be available to purchase exclusively from Knit Nottingham this May. Never fear, if you can't wait that long, you can purchase a downloadable copy over in my Etsy shop right now... go, go get your copy right now and hook up your duck!
Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day
Join me and Eleanor and all of her fabulous customers on Saturday 6th May at Knit Nottingham to celebrate Love Your Local Yarn Shop Day. There will be an open house in the shop, bring your crochet and knitting, have a giggle, drink tea (or bring a bottle and sip wine later on in the day!) eat cake and relax surrounded by a bunch of fellow creatives. Don't forget to bring your pennies too as there will be new yarns (AND PATTERNS!!) available as well as Eleanor's full stock range. And if you're lucky, I may even sign a pattern or two! What's not to love, right?! Get it in your diary.
" Knit Nottingham is an award winning, independent yarn shop in the heart of Nottingham. Founded in 2010 by Eleanor Burke, LLB escapee seeking refuge in her sticks and string. Since then, she's built up the most amazing, positive, affirming and conscientious little business, right in the heart of Nottingham.
As the only (and therefore best!) local and independent yarn shop in Nottingham City Centre, Knit Nottingham like to be involved in all things crafty and social! They organise regular pub meets, knit and crochet alongs and a number of shop parties each year. Knit Nottingham was based on Mansfield Road for five years, but earlier this year they found the perfect place to move to on Trinity Walk, right in the heart of Nottingham! "
If you haven't stopped by Knit Nottingham yet then its a must visit when you're next in Nottingham.
Please do let me know how I did in my first ever vlog. I bloody enjoyed it and would love to have a go myself one day.... I'll add it to that humongous to do list!! Oooo I wonder what you'd like to hear me talk about? Answers on a postcard please!
Hi, I'm April.
Crochet designer and tutor based in Nottingham.