Who is Craftylocks?
June 4th, 2010 by Craftylocks


Just in case you are overloaded with paper crafts for children information and want a different topic – this one is a bit about Sarah Craftylocks. It is not a dramatic, adventurous tale, but it has a happy ending (and start and middle bit too!) and mentions lots of the making stuff that brings me to making this site.

I was born in the mid 1960’s to a rural family. Trips to town were a rare event and involved getting into ‘good’ clothes and then a lengthy trip on a very rough road. I preferred being at home roaming the farm, and making stuff. I was the youngest and when my older siblings were off boarding at secondary school I had lots of time to fill. So I awaited each issue of my mothers ‘Golden Hands’ with as much anticipation as she did. On the back of each issue was a page of things for kids to make. My mother encouraged me by providing crafty materials, the most treasured were the split pins! Oh they were like magic things – the models I could now make out of paper and card, you can make ANYTHING with split pins. golden-hands
As well as making stuff I loved helping my dad on the farm – I had a really handy stock horse, and I was usually more reliable at doing as I was told than the farm dogs. We would muster the stock, sort them in the yards, and then share a cup of tea from the thermos, and the best bit – my dad would share tales of farming. The list of jobs on the farm is too long for here but they are times I treasure, helping my dad get the work done – I slept pretty well too! farm

Eventually it was my time to go to boarding school, which was a very good way for me to learn to get on with other kids my age. But I did miss the farm, the space and the quiet, my family and all the animals and always looked forward to the holidays. From secondary school I went to teachers collage and university. I had wavered a lot between a farming career and teaching, with the farming industry not great at that time I though teaching a safer and more flexible option that had far more painting and making stuff opportunities. I majored in art and had a fabulous time – discovering parties and independence.

I also discovered my best friend and partner ‘Baz’ (also now known as ‘Rob the Rookie‘) just before I finished my exams and headed off teaching – or perhaps he discovered me – it was a long time ago! Even though we had only known each other for a few months we stayed in touch. We had plans to go traveling and while he waited for me to finish my third year teaching he moved to Tauranga to learn to surf. He never mastered surfing, but he learnt some useful things – he enrolled in a farm cadet-ship course and ended up dairy farming. At one stage he was managing a herd of about 600 cows on a farm that carried 1300 cows – one of the biggest in New Zealand then. baz

Eventually I moved in with him and found a new job selling teaching materials. It was fun and I enjoyed answering lots of queries from the teachers about how to use the art materials. To help the teachers, I made a sample book explaining how to use the many materials and they were thrilled and always wanted to keep the book. With that encouragement I started making lots of these sample books and selling them. They were so popular that we decided to have a go at turning the books into a business. So we headed to Christchurch in the south island of NZ to live in the cheap and falling down cottage on the lifestyle block owned by Baz’s parents.

That was the start of many adventures together – looking back we would probably have made a lot of money if we stayed dairy farming, but we have had some great times and love where we are at now so no regrets! Anyway, the book did really well but it was very limited by being hand made. We sold thousands in New Zealand but then had pretty much filled the market. We trialled Australian and American markets, although the American teachers loved them it was too hard logistically to try and market them there. They did OK in Australia but we were too far away to market them properly. So we sort of ran out of steam and money on that adventure. However we had learnt to live on very little and when we both got real jobs and actually got paid we very quickly built up a deposit for half of the lifestyle block that we were living on. We moved into Baz’s parents not quite so falling down house and they built a new house beside the old cottage. sample-book

Baz pursued another career interest of his, programming. I found a job in a great technology company where I have worked for 15 years in a variety of roles. I currently work in a number of different teams related to marketing communications with a lot of fun and very clever people.

For years after, even though they were no longer advertised, some teachers still managed to find us and buy the handmade books. Some one else in the education industry, Tony from FAS (Fine Art Supplies), also managed to track me down. He convinced me to put the ideas into a format that could be printed. So around family life, work, and the lifestyle block, I worked on the book and updated and extended the ideas from the sample format. The print run of the book went really well, but we have more recently moved it to an ebook format – now available via this page.

Around about the time of getting real jobs we had a vote to sort out how we would celebrate our tenth anniversary together – it was unanimous that getting married would be a good party. So to the delight of our parents who by this stage had given up on us making that step, we married in the fabulous garden on my parents farm. A real community effort – the flowers were all done by friends of my mother, the local farmers put up the marquee, another friend of my mothers made the prize winning cake, another did the much reduced catering. It really cemented in my mind how fabulous doing things yourself can be. And of course I made the invites, no-where near as elegant as most folks are, but very much my hand-made style. Even some of our gifts were hand crafted and I thought that they were doubly special because of it.

A few years after the wedding we had babies – first a wakeful boy followed by a curious girl. They are now 13 and 11 and the years have just zoomed by! As a family we have lots of fun with lots of laughter, dancing (well, we call it dancing), art, writing stories, playing games and making stuff. I love that the children do not just stop at an idea we have worked on together, they take it and experiment with it and come back to me with their own interpretations and ideas. So all this making stuff has now led to sharing some of our favorite ideas from over the years, and lots more that I am finding and working on, through this blog.

When we are not making a mess with crafty stuff, I love being in the huge flower garden playing musical plants, or nibbling my way around the extensive vegetable garden and orchard. As I garden I am followed by a very needy Labrador dog who likes to be in constant contact, as well as two cats who flop down where I am gardening for a rub. If the Dexter cattle or the chooks catch sight of me they set up a racket to let me know that they would quite enjoy a wee snack of something or other! So it is never quiet, never lonely and never ever boring around here. We now have so many animals that they are another story, read about them in my Animals article. garden
I hope you and your family enjoy the ideas and articles that I post as much as I enjoy making stuff!
Yours in craftiness,
Sarah Craftylocks
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3 Responses  
gloria writes:
December 10th, 2013 at 8:55 am

well, i have no words… i’m a 37 spanish woman (so my english is not perfect at all), all my live is concerned about children. I love them so i learned about them and work with/for them. My best job is as entertainer in the hotels miniclub and my last goal…survive like a mother 2 years and almost half with breast feeding yet. i was no good on craft, but a entertainer has to do it, so i try and try, searching easy things to do and, i don’t know how, i get love it. the amazing things u can do with recycling!!!
in my search of easy craft and websites and books where talking about it i’ve found lots of it and yours one is one of the best, thanks to pinterest and you, of course, i’ve arrived this site. And in a minute i decide suscribe.
lovely crafts and faster ones, i mean, you start them and finish them in the same afternoon, in an hour maybe. For toddler that is important, so they can learn cause/efect law easily; and for entertainer is a treasure, there are several days u need do one activity and rehealse at the same time and parents like see the thing has worked their child so with this activities i can. thanks again, you’re onmy favorites bar

Craftylocks writes:
June 10th, 2013 at 2:37 am

Thank you:-), I hope you find lots of crafts that you enjoy!

varun bhardwaj writes:
May 25th, 2013 at 3:03 am

indeed , a delightful summary to read. 🙂 also goin thru your craft tips.

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