Then I’m off on my way to the train station, handily only 10 minutes from my house, pick up my Metro (bit obsessed with Rush-Hour Crush) and get the rickety old Chester train to the delightful town of Stockport in Manchester, where the Crafty offices are based. I always stop off at the local Co-op on the way in to pick up something to munch on – at the moment I’m on a bit of a health kick, so stock up on bananas and apples, although invariably I forget to eat them because I’m too busy chowing down Maltesers and cake. We’re a very cakey office – I’m in charge of the charity baking rota, so there’re copious amounts of chocolatey goodness in the kitchen every two weeks, which we sell to raise money for the Wellspring, a resource centre for homeless people in Stockport.
Once actually in work, the very first thing I do is check my emails. I live in fear of my inbox as I get over 100 emails a day, from people doing projects for us to interesting bits and bobs from PR folk, so I always keep an eagle eye on it in case I miss something amazing. From then on, every day is different – which is one of the main reasons I love my job (that and all the cake...). On PDF days, when the magazine gets sent to the printers, it’s a little crazy as I’m busy working with our art editor to make sure there are no mistakes, all pictures are perfect, the copy’s right (which can be tricky when dealing with very long knitting patterns!), all illustrations are in, font colours are complementary across the issue, adverts are in the best, most relevant places, and all credits given to those who’ve contributed to the magazine.
On non-PDF days, I can generally be found planning out coming issues alongside our brilliant editorial assistant and then commissioning out all the copy. I like to work closely with the designers who do makes for Crafty as they’re artists in their own right and it’s much more fun to take an idea to them and then develop it together, rather than just say “here’s what I’d like you to do”. Of course, not everything comes back as I pictured it in my head and that’s when I sometimes have to do some emergency crafting. The turnaround time between issues is quite tight – about two to three weeks – so if something isn’t quite as I’d imagined it in my head I won’t always have time to send it back to the designer for them to fix. There’s nothing quite like the panic of having to make a beautiful skirt out of a scarf in just a few hours! Of course, it isn’t always as manic as that and I like to do a couple of projects in each issue, because I love making and often feel these days that I don’t really have the time to do it just for myself. I used to run an arts and crafts blog but have had to give that up because I simply don’t have the time, which I’m quite sad about as I loved doing it and I met so many interesting people because of it.
One thing I do get to do every day – and it’s something I love doing as it’s just so much fun – is updating the Facebook and Twitter pages for Crafty. Hunting down amazing images to upload on the Facebook page is great and I love it when people leave fun comments or like a post. We like to play games over on Facebook as well, so I’ll get people to find the cat hidden in a picture, play Where’s Wally or run caption competitions. Twitter’s great as well, as it means I can really chat to people who love Crafty as much as I do!
One of the highlights of my day, however, is when the post arrives and there’s a project in it with my name on it. I love getting mail and commissioning out loads of amazing things means that it’s basically Christmas every day. And then once everything’s in and accounted for I get to head out of the office with the art editor and go out on fun and funky photo shoots involving knitted chickens, pop art embroidery, cow cushions and God only knows what else.
And let’s not forget writing. Putting pen to paper is something I’ve always been passionate about (my mother always regales people with embarrassing tales of me writing short stories about talking pheasants at the age of six... very much in my Dick King Smith phase) and I love to do as much writing for Crafty as time permits. So a lot of my time is taken up with interviewing interesting folk about their lives, transcribing said interviews (the worst part of my job – or journalism, I reckon!) and writing them up in feature form. Coming up with the seeds of a feature idea in my mind, doing the interview, writing the article and then seeing it appear as an article in a magazine is a pleasure I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of.
Once my working day is done at around 17:30, I head off to Stockport train station once again (typically in the rain, since this is Manchester after all) and figure out on the 15-minute journey home whether or not I’m too knackered for the gym. After a long, tortured inward argument, the answer is invariably yes, so I pop off home instead feeling ever-so slightly guilty about being lazy, cook some dinner (loving baked potatoes at the moment), stick on How I Met Your Mother and fall asleep with my fork in my mouth. I may always be tired and I may always be rushing around like a crazy person and I may never be off the clock but I’ve always wanted a job that I love – and by Jove, I think I’ve got it!"
In the mood for more Days in the Life? Read on!