I am one of those infuriating people who have 'been there, done that & got the T-shirt to prove it' - with a work background as diverse as my crafting interests. I can turn my hand to all sorts of different crafts at a basic level, from soap & candle making to the beautiful art of knots, otherwise known as macramé, knitting to making soft furnishings, beading to baking & home decor.
But my working life began in the ‘rag trade’, since then I have been everything from a chambermaid in Bournemouth in the early 80's to a nanny in Toronto, Canada later that decade. I even trained as a croupier in a casino at one point too but finally ended up in London managing bars through much of the 90's & well into the 'noughties', which is where I first caught the bug for teaching!
I returned to the North East of England a week before Christmas in 2005 as a qualified NVQ Assessor - having spent the vast majority of my adult life elsewhere, & within four years had qualified as an Adult Education teacher via more than a dozen computer courses & a myriad of other themes too.
But my first love has always been the world of craft & design so while I was still studying for the teaching qualification I took the opportunity to look around to see where I could establish craft groups in the local community. Initially I volunteered with many charitable organisations, working with special needs & the elderly mainly & then I was 'adopted' by Age Concern (as they were back then) & it proved to be a very good partnership for a time.
Initially they took advantage of my teaching qualification to send me out on the road with the outreach team; I accompanied a team of volunteers armed with laptops, on a mission to educate older people to the benefits of the computer age. I also worked in the computer suite at HQ, alongside their resident tutor, & taught computer skills to people who registered on courses there. But eventually I was able to focus my teaching skills on my love of crafts, & now that is all I teach.
The whole concept of 'The Paper Craft Tutor' stemmed from the work that I was involved with back then.
I launched the original website in January 2009 & it was always intended to be an extension of my group teaching, offering completely original designs; projects, papers, templates etc. not just for those I teach, but for anyone else who wanted to use them.
Fortunately as the site grew so did my confidence in designing on the computer - with the help of some basic design software - I should really invest in a professional package now but then I would have to waste months learning how to use it!
My passions ebb & wane, sometimes I spend weeks exclusively on the computer designing & at other times I am in craft mode & spend weeks at the work bench creating. I no longer teach out in the community but still have my original, though significantly smaller, group twice a month held here in my home.
I still make soap & jewellery, get the sewing machine out to create soft furnishings etc. & even bake a cake occasionally, but my main focus now is this website & the design work it is fuelled by as well as making cards using, what I have to admit has become my obsession, dies.
Anyhow, I would be delighted if you chose to use anything from the site to create your projects, to sell for your charity, or for profit/to replenish your stash. But as I give you all of my work freely, I ask is that you honour my good will & do not print off the sheets themselves to sell, though I am more than happy if you choose to print off multiples to use with your own craft groups.
You may notice that I have created almost everything against a white background - I know it would be far more attractive on a pretty background, but I don’t want to waste your precious inks as they are way too expensive to begin with! But that doesn't stop you from using coloured or patterned paper to print the designs out onto.
Back at the beginning of this journey I asked myself where I would like to be in five years from now, & my answer hasn’t changed with the passage of time.
I would like to think that I will be doing pretty much what I am doing right now, though I still dream of the teaching studio out back in the garden, but in reality that simply just isn’t going to happen. Quite honestly, having never realised that I was searching, I still believe I have finally found my niche in life!
....and I still think that I was always meant to end up right here, right now - no matter what else I did along the way?
Enjoy the site!