Have you got a cuppa? It could be a long one, I am not much of a writer so apologies if I jump around a bit, but I fear writing this blog may become a sort of outlet for my jumbled head of thoughts.
I've always been creative, I loved anything arty as a child and I struggled academically at school, so felt that being creative was something that you couldn't get wrong. However I wasn't an artist either, I was turned down from doing GCSE Art at school as I my drawing skills weren't good enough (according to that particular teacher), so I turned to design and technology which then gravitated into a BTEC art foundation and a BA hons degree in furniture design at Loughborough Uni where I loved every single second. However my world was turned upside down in my second year as I lost the one person who had my back and believed I could do anything.
I don't really talk about losing my mum as I've just come to realise that I never actually grieved I just picked myself up and kept going with my life and its only now that I'm allowing myself to grieve that monumental lost. What on earth has this got to do with Tea and crochet well I've just had a lightbulb moment as I write this and well, Tea and Crochet comes from my mum. I have a crochet blanket which sits in my office that she made and we nicknamed the "sick blanket" it has all its end sticking out and it is the most hideous colours but it will never leave my side as she made it and I actually remember being curled up next to her when she was making it. I remember the sound of her voice the smell of her perfume and feeling safe. I think this is where my love of crochet started, with her, she didn't teach me, I wasn't interested back then but I do wish she had. But those memories are ingrained and I love the fact that something i own now can bring back those feelings and emotions. I firmly believe that crochet is made with love, regards of what you are making and it that it can stand the test of time.
So obviously years pasted and I finally taught myself when I had my first baby, just after my husband and I relocated from the midlands to the south coast. We moved whilst I was heavily pregnant, we had no friends no family and this brand new bundle arrived two weeks later. Getting used to motherhood on my own with just my husband is the second hardest thing I've ever done. It was lonely, isolating and I remember feeling so afraid of others as I was in the minority of breastfeeding mums in my area. Due to relocating we made a joint decision that I would be a stay at home mum, as I had no job to return to and child care wasn't feasible on a wage that I would earn. So once little one settled I found my evenings & nap times were bland and with the husband out at work or socials I turned back to being creative, and found learning a new skill focused my thoughts and quietened my mind from the mum guilt and other exhausting thoughts. Now this was about 11 years ago now, and it took another 2/3 years for me to really get into crocheting, I started with the usual granny square blankets and then I found instagram and got involved in some "crochet alongs" where I learned a great deal. At this point I started my own blog called Tea Crochet and Me, which was mainly a diary of items I made.
Fast forward to 2 years later and we had another little boy and as they grew the more I found that hats and accessories were more and more garish and character based on the highstreet. So I started making my own I then I started an Etsy shop at this point only making baby blankets this helped me become a little less dependent on my husband. However it wasn't until my youngest was born 5 years ago that I started to make bonnets and animals hats.
Max (my youngest) was never without a mama made hat he was referred to as "max with the bunny ears" round the school playground and it wasn't until one friend took it upon herself to advertise me around her small business that I got a little confidence and took quite a few orders locally. However my main big break was a local photographer using my makes in her photos and then my instagram account took off. From there my little hobby that got me through a difficult period in my life was now naturally and organically growing into a small business.
The past few years have been amazing and this hobby is now my business which is my full time job. I feel lucky but more recently feel worthy that I deserve this I've worked hard and I continue to do so. Every item I sell is made by my hands, and I love it, I love that others love it and choose me to wrap their little precious ones in my makes.
Ok ok I feel I need to stop there as this is quite a heavy first blog post and far more intimate than I planned and even imaged writing. Please let me know if you've been through similar and what helped you, or even if anything resonates with you that i've written about. Motherhood and running a business is hard, challenging and yet worth every second.
Talk soon Lou xx