Welcome to my blog! I am Nan, the human component of this blog. B.A.G.S. (a.k.a. AINE) is my pug. This blog will notate musings, muses and British inspired goodies with an American twist. I own The Portobello Road Shoppe located at theportobellord.etsy.com. My specialties are: sewing, stitching, paper crafting and felting. Oh, and the occasional nummy brownies.
So I know my blog is mostly about Aine, my anglophile ways as well as all the crafting I do but I thought I would take a quick diversion from all that good stuff and fill you in on a blog post I did for work. Mantras rule my life - it is like having my own personal rule set. What are your life mantras? Xoxo Nan
There is one thing I have learned in my 14 years at the company: sometimes, life doesn’t always go to plan, no matter how many goals you make. I think that might be the hardest thing for us to grasp at our company– basically learning from an unexpected event. Believe it or not, those unexpected events, became some of my best coaching moments.
I am sure you all have heard of the 7 stages of grief? Well sometimes I believe that there are stages of learning from an unexpected event. One has to learn from an unexpected even in order to a) grow and b) move to your new goals. This can happen in your personal and /or your professional life. Also note, the 7 stages of grief do not go in order! Sometimes we get so goal orientated we want each step to move in order – but unfortunately – grief – and learning from an unexpected event – likes to take it’s time.
So here are just five of my personal coaching “mantras” with dealing with unexpected events or next chapters if you will:
1. Keep your commitments– Life has to move on. Two months before I married, my Dad died unexpectedly. I was going to postpone the wedding(basically stop everything and lie in a foetal position) but my very wise sister said – “You know? You have to keep to your commitments. Life has to move on. Anyways, Dad will be there!” So I went about keeping my commitments. Getting the wedding in gear even though I felt like I rather just not. I was married in February and it started to snow on my wedding day. I thought, oh great. For a Bride, this could be a tragedy. But I said – you know what? I had two months of keeping to wedding commitments, a little “snow” was not going to deter me! During the wedding, when our vows were being exchanged the sunlight suddenly burst through the windows of the church. To this day I believe that sunshine was my Dad rewarding me. Maybe it is a coping mechanism – but you know? That sun melted all the snow and we had a lovely day. I learned that keeping commitments even though you’d rather not, will be rewarding, even if you don’t see it at that time.
2. First day of change is the hardest. Every day after that, it does get a little bit better. Flash forward to 2004/2005. I swear this was a horrid year for me. I had the trifecta of bad stuff happen to me(hubby passed away/I survived a nasty condition/loss of beloved pet). Yes. That year was hell. Believe me, I didn’t want to make my commitments. The change was so fast and furious, I did want to roll up in a ball. But I recalled my sisters consul: keep your commitments, life has to move on. Everything you lost will be there, but you have to go forward. I learned something new after struggling to make my first commitment post my husband’s death: The first day of the bad news is the hardest day. HOWEVER every day after that gets a little bit better. And it did. Believe it or not.
3. Cake or Death. I am sure you all know who Eddie Izzard is? I know he is not the most politically correct comedian and my reference to this skit may not be what he meant, but this is what I gleaned from it: YOU do have choices even in the face of an unexpected event. Sometimes we think that there is only one answer, really there are many. Knowing that you have a choice, is sometimes a comfort.
4. Making Lemons into Lemonade. Okay, so maybe the choices are not the most ideal. You could go straight to the fetal position but you have to move through it. This is where strategy comes in. How do you make the lemons into something you can live with? This is where I brainstorm on a piece of paper and put it down for a bit and then revisit it. Sometimes you may not know how to make the lemons into lemonade so you have to let it sit. At this time, I also reach out to mentors and people wiser than me to ask for their opinion and feedback.
5. Ferris Bueller was right.: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” That is so true. Life is way to short. You have to make your life fulfilled. That means you have to force yourself to have a work life balance. I do this by scheduling in time for my hobbies and family and focusing on them 100%. It is like my brain has gone on a mini vacation. I am more refreshed when I get back to work and focused on Monday. Heck. I never knew my hobby could get me into CNN, BBC and USA Today. If I didn’t force myself to have that work life balance? I wouldn’t have had the year that I have had.
Life changes on a daily basis. So learning how to work through the “unexpected” or next chapters of our lives both personally and professionally will become second nature to you all. Please know this is not a “look at me!” type of coaching moment, I just want to relate some advice that was provided to me to help you all work through any changes or unexpected events that comes your way.
I read Craft all the time. What is your Craft 5,4,3,2,1? Mine is below!
One Project You Are Particularly Proud Of:
1. My needle felted royal wedding pin cushion ring.
Who knew two obessions -anglophile(lover of all things English or British -btw there is NO SUCH THING as a Britophile!) and needle felting - could collade into a wonderful mashup of goodness? This was probably the quickest needle felted project I have ever done. I needed a pin cushion, I needed it now and oh wait - Prince William just got engaged to Kate and she has Princess Diana's ring?! SWEET! ta daaaaa!
Yep, there is a reason why there is a little CNN in the left corner. It made it to CNN.*squee* And than the interviews came in for USA Today and BBC and BBC again. Who knew a fascination with craft and royalty could bring this much fun? I still have to pinch myself, I sincerely never thought I would get this much attention. Definately the highlight of my summer.
Two Mistakes You've Made In the Past
1. Stay true to what you like to do. Don't cave to the popularity of another craft. This is the hardest thing to figure out when you are Crafter - what the heck do you like to do? It is especially hard when you like a lot of different crafts. It took me a bit, but realizing that I could focus on one piece of the collective pie -could actually free your mind a bit. And it did... which shocked me. lol.
2. Remember *why* you went to this craft. Yes -I would love it if my wee little shoppe could be the next big thing - but you know? The organic growth of my shoppe is okay. I am a super Type A person, so to not be all Type A about my craft was like *whoa*. But than I remembered WHY I went to sewing, multi-media, card making, crocheting and finally needle felting - the process of creating kept me sane. It was the balance in my work and my life. Any success from this was a bonus and even more appreciated when it happened!
Three Things That Make Your Work Unique
1. Did I mention I am a Anglophile? LOL I create British Inspired goodies with an American Accent; as I say in my Shoppe. Even though I do adore and will claim that I am Anglophile to the day I die, I love my country too. And I love especially the differences between the UK and the US. It is the nuances not only in the language but between our two cultures that I find facinating. It is those little bitty details that inspire me to create pincushions in the shape of Tardis's or Georgie,the Tea Party Baby Elephant.
2.Geek. *points to the above tardis pin cushion reference* - Need I say more? Who else would want a Doctor Who inspired pincushion except a geek like me.
3.Humor. I made a cat with a fez once. This is before the 11th Doctor Who and his infamous Fez. Yep. My humor is kinda quirky. And if you know about the Doctor Who Fez reference? You my friend, are a geeky fun person like me! YEA! Go us!
Four Tools You Love To Use
1.Needle Felting Thimble. Never felt without it. I have worn it out and I need a new one. It has saved me from buying stock in band aides. For reals.
2. Franny my dressform. Franny is named after my Grandma, Fran -an amazing seamstress. My Grandma is no longer with us but Franny helps me out anytime I need sewing help ;)
3. My artbox/sewing box. It basically keeps my needle felting tools organized. If not - ugh.
4. My iPad. Besides being the BEST INVENTION EVER, you never know when inspiration strikes - hence having my iPad ready - always helps me sketch things out before I forget the idea.
1.PUGS. Especially my little Aine. I mean, will you look at her cuteness? How could one not be inspired?!
2. Illustrators Gemma Correll and Nikki Schulmann. You have seen me go on and on about Gemma's work. I mean - her tea towel was part of the 2am welcoming committee at my Royal Wedding Party.
Nikki - I dont think my blog readers have heard me mention her. My husband and I received her calendars and we fell in love with her illustrations. For my birthday one year, Joe(my late hubby) got me all of Nikki Schulmann illustrations he could find. Than all of a sudden it seemed like she disappeared off the net. I am so happy to hear that she is back on the net - this time doing quilts! Her mastery of detail and colors is amazing. Her prints hang in my studio and inspire me all.the.time.
3. Antiques and Antiques Roadshow. I would love to be one of the Keno's assistants. Just saying. But no - it is the crafting around a particular antique that I adore. Like my latest obsession with Automata. When you see something like this, anything is possiable.
4. History(ALL countries history I am interested in -from their clothing to why they became amazing at xyz) and architecture. Or in this case,
an architecture of a hat. LOL
5. My family and friends. Who else lets me needle felt their dogs decked out in Cub gear?
Btw everyone - this is S&P named after my sister and brother-in-law that just turned a big bday and oh btw part2 - they are both CPAs. Get it? S&P - S&P 500? Oh and did I mention they are die hard Cub fans?
So there you have it! Welcome to the world of Me. Please tell me what your Craft 5,4,3,2,1 is! xoxo Nan and Aine
In honor of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge being in the USA - I give you...*drumroll* a recording of my first BBC Wales interview! *hazzah!!*
This is the first of two BBC Wales interviews that I did for the Royal Wedding. The second one I am still uploading. I want to thank BBC Wales so much for this opportunity and for sending me the interviews! Btw - this is copyrighted by BBC - I have not edited the interview and they own all rights to this interview. The pictures added are from my party and some of the fun felting items I made for the wedding. ENJOY! As soon as I get the other one up -I will post it! Again thank you BBC! Nan and Aine.
Today is a special day for many reasons Here are just a few reasons why I love this day so much. Of course, mostly it is related to British Traditions... Forth of June Founder of Eton-George III's (yes, that George that lost the Colonies) Birthday is June 4. This is one of the biggest celebrations on the school calendar. boys traditionally dress up and row down the river. Here or here:
Recipe! Strawberry Rhubarb Eton Mess 2 lbs strawberries, hulled and halved 1 lb rhubarb, trimmed and chopped 1/4 cup honey or 1/3 cup sugar 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream 1 Tbsp powdered sugar 1/2 tsp vanilla
a few meringues, packaged or made from a recipe
In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, rhubarb and honey; bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the rhubarb is soft and the mixture thickens. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled.
When you’re ready to assemble the Eton mess, whip the cream with powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff. Coarsely crumble some meringues into the bottom of individual glasses or small dishes. Top with layers of fruit, then cream, and another round of meringue-fruit-cream, in whatever order you like. If you like, garnish each with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately. Serves 8.
Crazy busy but I have to tell you all of some exciting happenings!
1. I am raising a(making a felted)PUG ARMY as my bestie T calls it. So excited about this! One I am particularly excited about for pug rescue. I hope I can find the proper items to make it work. Who knew a little hobby of mine and love of pugs would mesh together so well?! *squee*
2. BBC Radio contacted me and they are sending me the recordings of my interviews! As soon as I get them - i will figure out how to post them!
3. OMG I got this AMAZING package from edwoodpugz that will get a proper video showing because pictures cant do the lovely package justice! *flails* IT ROCKS!
4. My Adobe Illustrator class is FANTASTIC! I can't wait to get the software!