Yay! I am so glad you’re here!
Welcome to my Heart Handmade UK.
You’ve stumbled across my little virtual home, where I share my favourite finds from the internet, craft tutorials, home decor information, blogging tutorials and Pinterest strategies to boot!
If you have a question for me, get in touch!
Grab a cup of tea and let’s get comfy shall we?
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Claire and I’m a crafty soul who uses this blog to share the very best and most inspiring projects and articles possible!
After discovering the craft world by accident, while I was studying at university, I kind of fell down the rabbit hole (so to speak) and I’ve absolutely LOVED learning as much as I possibly can about the craft projects I’m undertaking and the new skills awaiting.
This blog is for women who want to be inspired and be part of a little community of crafters and craft bloggers**!
**You don’t have to have a blog to join us but if you want one you should check out our sister site with this tutorial how to create a blog in less than 5 minutes.
I want to get them excited and get the creative juices flowing. So many women struggle to get everything done and make gorgeous handcrafted items, which is why, as a disabled woman with chronic conditions & limited energy puts me in a unique position to help women make more time to get it all done and create gorgeous home decor projects without the pressure of needing to be perfect. What our readers love most is the easily digestible tutorials and round up posts that are easy to make.
Just knowing that I’ve inspired and motivated somebody to make a great craft project or take the leap to start their own craft blog is a wonderful connection and definitely, one to cherish.
I discovered the craft world back in 2007 through mixed media, art journaling and then scrapbooking. Thanks to Flickr (the Pinterest of its day for inspiration quests) I was led into this creative haven and I’ve loved every minute of it.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with me my name is Claire (Why hello there) and I am the editor of Heart Handmade UK. I started HHM UK in 2009 when I was forced out of work by an illness that has basically left me housebound (I won’t get bogged down in specifics here but read on).
Heart Handmade UK gave me something to focus on and something that could keep me sane(ish) but also be done from bed. Way back in 2009, when I was finishing my degree in Visual Imagery and working full time I became very ill with a severe infection for a few weeks in April.
I returned to work in early may and remember that I started to feel a bit different.
Strange sensations would consume me, and altogether I felt rather odd.
A sick feeling.
A rush of heat.
As my brain would try to engage, I could just hear my name in the distance, over and over again.
That’s my boss.
“Why am I dreaming about my boss?”
“Wait. I’m not dreaming.”
I could feel the bright light penetrating my eyelids and searing pain on the back of my head.
“Ah, crap. I’ve fainted in work. You idiot you should be resting.”
But I hadn’t fainted.
It was a seizure, and I hit my head in the stock room of our little camera store.
An ambulance was called, and I spent the next few hours in the hospital.
At first with my friend, who was very pleased to be released from work for an hour or two before my family could make the journey up to the city to take care of me.
I was given the once over and had some tests ordered, and I was given the all clear.
“Eh. Wha? Does that happen normally?”
I was told to see my GP, and that was it.
That had happened four or five times before my manager at work told me not to return until I was fixed.
I saw my GP who ordered tests, tests and more tests.
After seeing a neurologist, I was told I need an MRI for my brain.
That was terrifying and the waiting time was six weeks.
My parents dipped into their savings, and we got a private appointment.
Much panic ensued for a few days, but thankfully it was also clear.
At the same time, my tolerance for people and expending energy depleted rapidly, and I became refined to my bed.
For a very long time.
My brain was still active for about half an hour a day, almost.
Then it was like the sleepy fog would fill my head and I was useless.
At times I was too tired to eat, even if my food had been cut up for me.
I just didn’t have the energy to chew.
There were times and are still times when my body is so exhausted that I can’t speak, but I can still type.
It was at that time I became addicted to Flickr, the pinterest of its day.
I had always loved photography and the process of keeping an artistic style journal.
Adding my photos to groups and connecting with people gave me the inspiration to blog but at the time I had no idea what to blog about.
I took a blogging course, and Heart Handmade was born in March 2010.
Of course, blogging has changed a lot over seven years, and we are in a new eta (which I will cover later on).
I loved blogging.
It was something I could do from bed without having to exert much energy.
For the past seven years, it has been purely a hobby because there was no guarantee I would be able to keep up and create something wonderful.
Over the years, I saw specialist after specialist, and it took about 14 months before I was given a diagnosis of Myalgic Encephalitis.
M.E for short.
Eight years on, after seeing a new specialist and having more tests I was told it had been a ms diagnosis and I was suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
“EDS-hypermobile type (EDS-HT), also known as hypermobile EDS or EDS type III, is often thought to be the same as or very similar to another condition called ‘Joint hypermobility syndrome’.
People with EDS-HT may have:
- joint hypermobility
- loose, unstable joints that dislocate easily
- joint pain and clicking joints
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- skin that bruises easily
- digestive problems, such as heartburn and constipation
- dizziness and an increased heart rate after standing up
- problems with internal organs, such as mitral valve prolapse or organ prolapse”
Fun times right?!
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m happy with my calm life.
When I received the first diagnosis the doctors told me
“you’ll have it one year and you will be able to get better”.
The next year I heard
“some people have it for two years”.
Then I did my own research.
I read that people can have m.e for decades and I decided to do everything I possibly could to get better.
That meant drinking smoothies that looked like swamp water, full of all the nutrients possible.
I became vegan, which alleviated some symptoms and definitely helped.
Small amounts of physio that I could manage without too much pain.
I kept telling myself that
“by 2016 you will be totally fine, and you can become a pro blogger! “.
Fast forward to 2016, and I saw more specialists and told me that I would have this condition forever.
For now at least.
Until medical research catches up and figures out how to cure me.
It was at that moment that Mindy Kaling was ringing in my ears with her famous quote:
“Why the fuck not me?”
And I became a full time craft blogger.
Luckily my GP is fantastic and has done everything in her power to give me a great quality of life.
My family are also marvellous and I have a lot of support around me.
I’m also incredibly lucky that my now husband is the best carer in the entire world.
He deserves an award for coping with me!
I take medication every day, and at the moment everything is harmonious, and because I’m a bit of a Type A personality, I’m super organised.
Being super organised and motivated is enough for me to keep showing up and getting stuff done.
“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” —James N. Watkins.
It wasn’t until late 2009, after taking several creative journaling classes online and filling about 8 art journals and sketchbooks that I decided that I should start a blog to connect with my fellow classmates and surround myself with people who can help me anytime I need it and constantly inspire me.
It worked 😉 In march 2010, heart handmade uk was born.
I went through various blog designs and colour schemes, but it wasn’t until 2012 that I realised I actually had a favourite colour palette.
Since that EUREKA moment, everything in my life has centred around that one palette.
I’m so glad I discovered the crafting world, it has brought me so much joy!
I always feel a great sense of pride when I complete a project without messing it up.
I’ve definitely had my fair share of craft fails!
I find crafting and making things a very intuitive process. I like to use tutorials but I treat most as loose guidelines and I’ve a tendency to wing it! If I ever get stuck, I end up heading straight to Pinterest to help me find a tutorial. Speaking of which, if you’re stuck on any project, get in touch with me and we can figure something out!
Some Random Facts:
So, we have established that I love pastels.. well, I love cats more than I love pastels so I’m sure you draw your own ‘she’s a crazy cat lady’ conclusions. I’d steal your cat and smooch it if I got too close.
I can’t be trusted near chocolate, so I’ll never make a cocoa farmer.
I feel most inspired when I’m meditating, which is precisely the wrong time! I’m trying to get my brain to shut up “oh you could make this, and then you could do this…” shh.
As I said at the beginning, I am seriously glad you’re here! Go make some more tea and stay for a while.
If you would like to work with me, please visit this page. I’m looking forward to ‘meeting’ you!