So here we are again….. back in lockdown and staying at home to stay safe.
Kim and I hope you all managed to enjoy the Christmas festivities as best you could and now that we are into a new year with new vaccines available you are able to feel some positivity despite entering another lockdown!
I was lucky enough to receive plenty of crafting goodies and even some storage for my new craft room so I have been keeping myself busy creating lots of different projects. I also made some mini albums which I included with Christmas gifts but completely forgot to take any photos! I know, I’m rubbish….. I even made myself a mini and completed it with photos and it suddenly dawned on me that I tend to give away the majority of the albums I make! Do you find that many of your creative projects are destined for other people?
It was whilst I was doodling in my journal and colouring (that’s the photo….) that I suddenly thought about doing a post as I know we’ve been rather quiet. Kim’s been showing me up by demonstrating her baking talents (which I totally miss being able to taste test) alongside her creative genius and I thoroughly enjoyed her daily drawings throughout December so I thought I would share some of what I’ve been up to during January as we plod through Lockdown Part 3 – sounds like the title of a thriller…..
Although we have no date as yet for when we can start to run workshops again we still intend to offer a click and collect service so if you’re running short of supplies check out our shop and just let us know what you’re after and we’ll see how we can help.
The only positive thing to emerge from the 2020 lockdown was the time to reflect and create. Did you try out a new hobby, a craft skill? Was there something you wanted to learn but struggled in isolation?
Jane and I missed the social aspects of our workshops and struggled in 2020. Not for the finance side, as we only ever wanted to cover our studio rent, materials and expenses, we never planned on working a profit and being highflying business executives!
This coming year we are going back to our workshops roots, setting up our creative learning space with a range or regular group sessions around a particular creative theme. We will be running group learning sessions in creating Powertex sculptures and art. There will be papercraft sessions ranging from scrapbooking, mini-book and card making. There will be textile sessions teaching sewing, crochet, needle felting. All equipment is provided in the sessions so you can get to try our ideas and tools before you commit to buy your own. As always there is expert advice and training on hand, including guest tutors.
So if there is something you wished you could have a go and learn in 2021, make a resolution to come and visit us in February and book onto one of our creative learning sessions. Stay safe and we look forward to seeing our previous and new customers in 2021.
This is gonna be a long one so grab a cuppa and a mince pie….
I know I’ve been rather quiet for a number of weeks, probably since just before Lockdown Mark II, but I have been busy. Admittedly very little crafting has been achieved….. but….. I have decorated two of my bedrooms!
I always promised myself that when my daughter left home I would move my craft room from the smallest of the bedrooms into what was her room (she picked the biggest bedroom when we original moved in). So, after remembering how much I hate painting ceilings and walls but love wallpapering, I now have two newly decorated rooms, complete with new carpets! Meanwhile, I had to accept that I’m definitely not as young as I try to kid myself….. I was knackered when I finished! I still need to finish faffing about putting stash and art work into their final places but I am happy with the result!
So, what’s been happening with Do Creative I hear you say???? Well, Kim was planning another adventure in their motorhome to enjoy some winter sunshine in Spain but literally a couple of days before they were due to depart we went into lockdown so their plans have been put on hold.
Kim has been creating some fabulous pieces of artwork in between cooking and sorting kitchen cupboards out (Martha Stewart eat your heart out!) and then she has been busy on the technology side putting our Powertex supplies in our online shop. She is doing a sterling job!
Our wonderful customers are still supporting us and placing orders and we’ve started to have enquiries about family workshops next year which is so encouraging! Past experience has taught us that attendance at planned workshops during December is very low due to Christmas preparations and also in January, when money always seems to be a bit on the short side for all of us after our festive spending, so we’ll be planning to put together some sort of schedule from February’ish. Of course this is dependent on the government restrictions at the time…….
We love it when customers get in touch and share what they’re up to! As crafters we all appreciate how being creative has a positive impact on our mental health and often seeing others’ creations sparks our inspiration.
On that note, I would like to share a WIP (that’s Work In Progress…) that one of our customers shared with us and is happy for us to share here. It seems very fitting as I’m hearing that lots of people have been putting up their decorations slightly early this year….. Becky also promised to share a photo of her fabulous Christmas tree when it’s all finished. Cannot wait to see the finished result – it will have fabulous colour and texture I’m sure!
If anyone else would like to share their projects please feel free to post photos on our FB page.
So many of our lovely regular customers have not managed to get to our studio or workshops with the virus outbreak . Messages back and forth about wanting stock orders has been time consuming. As I have lots of available time at the moment, I am in the process of loading up the art supplies onto the website. You can then browse at your leisure at home (hopefully with a glass of something chilled). I have finally figured out how to make the web store show local collection if you want to Click and Collect your order, otherwise posting is still available.
Recently we have had a few kit orders which the buyer wanted to post elsewhere as a gift for a loved one. Just remember to let us know its a gift and we will add gift wrapping and a card with your personlised message free of charge. Its an ideal Christmas gift.
In addition, we have not been able to attend any craft fairs this year, so we have quite a stock of small stocking filler items and art works available for sale. Please pop back and have a look once they have been loaded into out Handmade Art category. Each piece is unique and will not be replicated. Support a small independent business this Christmas and shop local.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve really struggled with technology. My network at home just wouldn’t play nicely! I got soooo frustrated not being able to print Kim’s fabulous designs to finish our album as the network just wouldn’t stay connected to the printer. Next my personal emails just wouldn’t synch with Outlook on my laptop. Then, my NOW TV box refused to play, and just to add another layer of frustration I’ve spent far too much times on support calls with my software provider for my family history application as it refused to integrate with Ancestry (which has been working fine for a number of years…..)
I then started to feel somewhat under the weather (non-COVID related, I hasten to add) and with a couple of close friends experiencing really challenging times I just felt like hibernating until 2020 was over….
So, I decided to start my week looking at those issues over which I had at least some control. Here I am, some 6 hours later and I think my network is performing better (though it will never be perfect); my NOW TV box is happily streaming; Outlook is sorted (or so it appears) and I’ve completed a back-up of my family history, ran an update, applied a patch and that too is now integrating with Ancestry! Okay, so I still have some housework to do but I definitely feel I’ve had an achieving day.
Kim is still away so I have some time to spend on our collaborative album, though not feeling creative at the moment….. that too shall pass! Especially as I have a private booking at the studio tomorrow and then it’s Ladies Night on Thursday so feeling optimistic for the rest of the week.
The last few months have been extremely hard for most people with the international Covid restrictions. It has been especially hard for us here as all our workshops had to be cancelled and out income stopped, unfortunately, our rent didn’t stop at the same time. Of course the time out did mean we could concentrate on other aspects of the business.
We may not ever go back to ‘normal’ workshops so we dabbled with trying to create ‘virtual’ workshops online. We soon discovered lots of pitfalls in this as well as a major deficit in our skill set and out existing website and technology.
But then along came our local saviours which is why we want to offer a huge shout out and thanks to BloomInArt, The Annexe, the Wharton trust, Community Organisers, Mortal Fools Training, and not least The Arts Council England.
We were delighted to be supported with by BloomInArt and the Arts Council England Emergency funding to support and develop our own practice and work with BloomInArt to test new remote routes to engagement exploring community organising principles, community arts and social action.
This support received not only provided us with excellent digital delivery and facilitation training delivered by Mortal Fools. we also had an Introduction to Community Organising for our local community, linking with other artists and creatives in Hartlepool.
The funding grant from the Arts Council England helped us to purchase and build a more robust website where we could integrate our online training and video tuition which could be purchased via the website.
So a big thank you to Emma and Rachel from BloomInArt for organising it all.
So many people have asked for classes to be made available for those who cannot attend one of our workshops. Whether they want to give the gift of a class to a family member or friend who lives elsewhere; or whether the person is not yet comfortable with going out into the world at the moment.
Our Online classes can be purchased through the website as a video embedded tutorial, which incorporates a range of learning styles to suit everyone; including, written instructions, clear photographs and hands on video tutorials. A full list of items required for the class is included,
We are also introducing mini kits into the web shop. We already have the large Powertex starter kit but are introducing a smaller mini starter kit which will work alongside our online classes.
Each class will have a ‘Project’ kit available to buy with most of the items required to complete the project.
These are physical goods which will be mailed out to you. The online class will be a virtual experience, accessed securely via the website with your unique customer code.
We are just finishing off the editing and will let you know once they are available, with a special ‘early bird’ price offer, so keep watching.
I am sure those who have been diligently isolating at home have stayed safe . Luckily for us, we have not had the Covid imact our loved ones, we hope you had similar experiance so far.
Our Studio has been thoroughly cleaned and items replaced. All stock has been renewed and sorted. We are slowly introducing smaller limited workshops in July; mostly for distinct ‘family bubbles’ as private workshops. If your family bubble would like to book a workshop, please get in touch.
Our regular events will start up in August with the first ladies night. Unfortunately we will be restricting numbers again to those first booked on the limited places.
Hopefully you will all find the new website workshop purchasing easy to use, as this calculates the available spaces.
We have used the time to develop new workshops for you, so subscribe to the newsletter and be first to find out what is available.
Thank you all for continuing to support our little local business through this difficult time.
Just when I thought I had solved the task of updating the website design; I was send a snippy email from my hosting company stating the new design was taking up too much server resources and was negatively impacting on mine and other websites. I mean, I knew the original website was based on an old one I had server space since 2007 and had served me for various uses and had a number of different installations on it. The thought of unpicking all that history was just a bit too much for me to tackle, especially with my lockdown brain needing not only gin but chocolate to work as well.
So apologies for anyone trying to access what I thought was fixed, its going to take me a bit longer to rebuild from scratch the website, source the graphics and also upload all workshops again.