Category Archives: Life

Unexplained Absence – Explained!

So you will have noticed that I have not been using the internet for work stuff recently. Well, the reason is two-fold….

Firstly, I have been trying to make changes to my blog/website. The aim was to incorporate everything onto one site, and this is the chosen one. however, it’s not as easy as one might think (well, not as easypeasy as I thought it would be. S I am waiting for the domain name thingy to work – apparently it can take up to 60 days to clear….I’m not really sure why it is so long, all I can tell you is that I am not very good at being kept waiting and its driving me a little bit crazy (more than normal!) So……nothing is happening so far….

Onto the second reason – I am not supposed to be working more than two hours a day at the moment because of my bipolar diagnosis. I had foolishly thought that I would be able to grasp this bipolar thing quite quickly but my case worker has had to remind me that it is only 6 weeks since my ‘manic episode’ and so to take things one day at a time. Now that is something definitely much easier said than done. So, I have been tinkering about with a few little projects, but not really getting much done. The medication I am on has given me creative block – well, I get a few ideas, but actually following through with them is proving problematic, especially trying to use a scalpel with shakey hands (side effect of the bipolar meds).

So, there you go – that’s why I have been somewhat off the radar recently.

Oh, there is one thing I have done – I have signed up for the year to do the monthly market at The Fold in Bransford. I love doing this market as there are so many creative people to chat to. If you are in the area on the fourth Sunday of each month I would love to see you, so pop on down and say hello!

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Happy New Year!

I know it’s a little late, but Happy New Year! Sorry for being so quite over the last month or so….. things got rather sketchy towards the end of last year and I’m just going to come right out and say it….. it ended on an all time low and a bipolar diagnosis. I am heading out the other side now and its all being managed with the right medication, some common sense, and a huge amount of support from the Worcestershire NHS Mental Health Team who are fantastic, along with a huge amount of support from my friends.

So, there you go – that’s why I have been a bit quiet.

I’m slowly getting back into work and have so many great plans for this year. I am signing up to do the monthly market at The Fold in Bransford, fourth Sunday of every month 10am until 2pm – come down and say hello! I have also just finished my first lampshade of the year….. do you like? I’ve gone with a Valentines theme…..am not a huge fan of the day myself, but if you are, and would like to order a lampshade like this, please do get in touch.

heart shade 1 heart shade 2 heart shade 3 heart shade 4

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Tea and hot buttered BOAST!!

So firstly, sorry this post is a bit late out. Normally I am pretty organised and have either written my post well in advance of Monday morning or I at least have it planned out in my head. Unfortunately things have got rather on top of me over the last few weeks (personal nonsense that non of you need to be troubled with, but I’m alright, that’s the main thing).

Anyway, what news do I have for you – well, I am super proud to announce that I have made it into a Christmas Gift Guide!! It is the one that has just come out with the latest issue of Venue. For those of you who are not aware (how could you be?!) Venue is a Bristol publication and is a bit like Time Out – it’s a very cool mag. Wanna see me in there? I will try to upload the photos from my phone – hang on a tic…..

Venue Christmas Gift Guide

Venue Christmas Gift Guide - Kids

And there we have it – fan-flippin-tastic!! See that? I am number 2 in the present list for kids for this Christmas woohoo! Generally I am not one to show off much, but my goodness, tea and hot buttered BOAST – am really rather pleased with myself! Thank you kindly to Supafly Si Fry and the rest of the Venue team for including me.

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Almost November? No way!!

Anyone else totally shocked that it seems to be almost November already? How did that happen?! I suppose I have been super busy, but then I feel like I am always super busy. So what have I been up to?

Well…… I have been undertaking investigations into getting some fabric printed with my designs – firstly so that I can make lampshades with them, but then also to make a whole range of soft furnishing type stuff – and thinking table runners, napkins, cushions, doorstops – what do you think – you like, or no? It has been much harder than I anticipated to be honest – story of the year in many ways! I have narrowed it down to two options – firstly to get someone local to have a stab at it for me – problem is, I am not sure if the fabric is quite right, or alternatively use Spoonflower – an American custom fabric printing company, or a new UK based company – Be Fab Be Creative. The problem with these second options is that I will need to get my head round some kind of digital image programe thing on the computer – photoshop, gimp, that type of thing – I really haven’t a scooby how these things work and it is making my brain hurt just thinking about it! Hmmm…..either that or perhaps pay someone else to sort the images out – ah, now there’s a thought!

I have also recently been approached about a collaborative project with another company – I really need to get back to them today to say YES I would be interested – hard to find the time and head space sometimes though, but as the children are away for a few days with their Dad I should make the most of the peace and quiet.

But back to real life and stuff that is actually happening rather than things whirling round inside my head – I was at The Fold Monthly Market again yesterday. I can;t tell you how happy I am I have found this place! I have never been to a market that is so friendly and helpful – the other stall holders are a fantastically cheery lot, an amazing range of good quality craft work and locally produced foods and drinks (including yummy beer and cider!). So I filled my tum with the most exquisite pastry products, drank soothing sweet tea, and I got these super snuggly gloves – am very pleased with them! (I was a good girl, I managed to stay away from the beer and cider sampling this week!)

And the organisers are a lovely lot – couldn’t be more helpful. I have signed up to do the next ones in November and December – so come and say hello if you get the chance – 10am until 2pm on the 4th Sunday of every month – follow this link for more info …. The Fold Monthly Market And if you are a local designer maker of food producer, it might be worth getting in touch to see if you can grab yourself a pitch – I don’t think there are many spare, but it’s worth a shot!

OK, I think that’s about it for today – sorry, it has been a bit of a rambling one! Am off to find someone interesting for you for my post on Thursday.

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An update

Phew, super  busy! No time to write anything much of interest, so will just let you know what I have been up to, and what I am trying to get on with.

Firstly, am working away on these flamin’ Christmas cards. I have some ideas finalised now and approved by my most important stockist, so need to crack on with getting the final cuts sorted so that I can take them over to the printer and get them set up and ready to go.

Company logo – I have been asked to design a company logo. I was so excited to be asked to do this – what an honour! After extensive talks with the client and a couple of false starts we now have a design that we are both happy with. So a final cut needs to be done, and then off to the printer to get it properly scanned in and set in the right type of format ready for use. Here is the sketch cut…

Apple tree shades – am working on some ideas for a commission to do two light shades – a table lamp and a standard lamp – with an apple theme. I think I am happy with what I have done so far, but will need to check in with the client – I am very lucky that this is not required for a certain date, so have had lots of time to think about it. I am looking forward to communications with the client and finding out if they like the idea as much as I do!

Christening commission – this is a new one, and extra special as it is a present from the godmother to her godson. The client has been fab to work with – I think because we both have similar ideas on what would work!! I have a fair way to go though as I am not happy with the lettering yet, so not ready for a final cut. It is quite a tight deadline though, so I need to pull my finger out and get going.

Christmas cards again – I am designing a Christmas card for a local small business. Very exciting! Due to meet with the client this week to discuss colourways, sizes, and of course my final design. Fingers crossed she likes it and we can press on with getting them to the printers.

So that is where I am at on this sunny September morning. I have a small dog asleep next to me as I type, daughter at school, son at nursery, an almost tidy house…. I better get on with the work then! Hope you all have a smashing week, and don’t forget to look out for an interesting person on the blog on Thursday!

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The Wales

Yes, we are in The Wales, at The Cottage. I am hoping that I will at some point have been able to get to a computer and send this blog post, which was actually written back in July, in preparation for being away. I didn’t want to leave you lovely people with nothing to look at or read, so I thought I would dig out some pics of last summer in Wales and show them to you. Hopefully it wont be too dull for you. And maybe some of them will provide you with some inspiration for your work – they certainly inspire me.

These pictures are all taken around Mid Wales – mostly in the sort of triangle between Welshpool, Llanidloes and Aberdovey.

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No computer!

Well I was all set to write a post this morning about progress on my Christmas cards – but the flamin’ computer upstairs is not connecting to the internet (for two days now) and all the photos are on that computer – not a scooby how to get them over to this one – am sure it is possible with disks and those little thingers that you plug in the side of the computer – ummmm – ummmm – (very long pause) MEMORY STICKS – that’s the thing! But that would require finding the memory stick or some kind of disk, which would mean tidying the office….hmmmm……not so keen on that idea.

So am very sorry to tell you that there are no pictures to look at again :0(
So perhaps I can point you in the direction of some other fantastic blogs that you might enjoy….. here are a few that I have been enjoying recently….

Sue Bulmer

Tickled Pink

Pintester

Whilst you are enjoying those, I shall be doing the usual school holiday stuff – ten tonnes of washing, four times as much cleaning and tidying, arranging playdates, and re-arranging them when I have muddled my dates up, fretting about  not getting any work done, hoping M&S haven’t run out of school uniforms by the time I get there next week, getting ready for the next lot of packing to go on holiday, ‘gently encouraging’ my daughter to write her homework diary each day, and generally needing wine far earlier than normal.

Although….thinking about it….. I have actually done some work stuff – I have been speaking with a new company about them stocking my wares, and possibly some new ideas specially for them, which is all a bit hush hush and rather exciting. And I have finished a lovely commission for a wedding present (which I will show you when a) I can get the computer to work and b) the couple have had the gift. AND doing alot of thinking about another commission, which makes me happy!

Oh, and I guess having lots of fun with the smalls and not having to do the school run or worry about baths or bedtime, or whether there is a clean uniform for the morning, and playing with the new puppy and catching up with friends – ahhh, life is not so bad after all  – glass half full, remember!

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Obligatory Olympics Post

Well, I really didn’t think I would do this as I am not really a sports fan, but here goes – how amazing is the Olympics?! We have been lucky enough to get tickets to two separate games. First up was women’s basketball. We saw The Peoples Republic of Chinaaaaaaaaaa (as the compare kept saying) against Czech Republic. Pretty good match – the Chinese were quite terrifying, and the Czechs were very determined. followed by Russia v. New Zealand – very slick match.

And then on Friday we saw mens Hockey – don’t really know too much about it, but they certainly seemed a lot better than when I played at school, and even with ball boys to roll on new balls instead of everyone waiting whilst the nearest chump wanders off across the pitch to find fetch the lost ball. We saw Australia v. Argentina and Nederlands v. …..um….. (slightly embarrassed here) was it New Zealand?? Anyway, all jolly good!

The olympic park was ay-may-zing! Lots of space, fantastic natural planting scheme, marching bands, genuinely friendly and helpful staff ALL over the place, clean toilets (very important when potty training chimp number two, great timing son!) and no ques anywhere!

Now, you may be wondering why I am writing about the Olympics – well, it is because it has consumed a lot of paper cutting time and so I have no new work to show you – sorry folks .

But…. I have started work today on an exciting commission – a wedding present – so hush, hush, just incase they are reading (probably not, I think they are abroad somewhere, although I guess t’internet travels overseas!!). And also some apple themed lampshades. Hopefully I can bring you more news on these next week.

Oh, and watch out for my next Thursday post – it’s gonna be a good ‘un!

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Honest update

OK, so here goes, am going to be as open and honest as I can………

So, yes, I have set up this business, selling my work. What is it like to do this? Well here are the questions I ask myself all the time…..

Why exactly are you doing this?

I want to be able to make enough money to pay for one half decent holiday a year, cover the cost of having a cleaner (which we don’t yet have!) and allow me to always be there for my children – sports days (when they are not cancelled due to inclement weather) parents evenings, assembly, friends round for tea after school etc.

What makes your work so special – loads of people try to do arty-farty crafty stuff, and a lot of them are way better than you….

Well…. All my work is original, I never copy anyone else’s designs. I like to think my lampshades in particular are more than just an average lampshade as they each contain an original work of art. I think my style is unique – at least, I haven’t come across anyone doing exactly the same thing. And people do seem to be buying my work – and not just people I know either, which is amazing!

So what happens to the rest of life whilst you are busy sorting out this business?

Erm….. well, I have to admit, we really do need a cleaner as it is hard to fit everything in, and something has to give – the main thing that ‘gives’ is the house – I am not the best at cleaning and tidying anyway, and neither are the rest of my little family, so it’s not good really. Enough said. I know I am not spending as much time with my children, husband, family and friends as I could/should/want to but I really hope they all understand why, and that hopefully it isn’t in vain and in a couple of years I might be making a healthier profit, be a bit more organised, and be able to fit it all in a bit better.

And what about your health and sanity?

Yes, yes, I know…. I spend most evenings working on the computer or cutting new work until way past my old standard bedtime of 10pm (now more like midnight before I turn the light out). And every spare moment, and many more moments that aren’t really spare at all, are spent trying to work out social networking stuff, and finding possible retailers, and coming up with new ideas, and pricing structures, and craft fairs, and advertising, and finding other people like me who might be able to help and advise, and working out what my customer wants, and editing images, and updating stock lists, and…… ad infinitum. I am trying to remember to eat and drink appropriate things at appropriate intervals, and trying to read a little before bed each night to switch off.

And is it all worth it, is it actually making you happy?

YESSSSS!!!!! Of course it is!! No point in doing it otherwise, is there?!
Have you got any questions you want me to answer? Let me know, and I will try to be as open and honest as I can (to tell the truth, I am a terrible liar!) Don’t forget though, I am away at the moment with limited access, so don’t be dismayed if I don’t answer immediately!

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Oh help, it’s the summer!

OK, so it isn’t really much of a summer, but being British I am going to hold my head up high, maintain a stiff upper lip, and jolly well enjoy myself – hear that you rain clouds? You can’t bring me down!

I have been looking forward to the summer holidays with mixed feelings. Firstly, it will be lovely to have some time away with my little family, will be great to catch up with friends and extended family, amazing to have days out, fab that I won’t have to do the school run for six weeks and will have my lovely little girl by my side.

But…… how on earth am I going to get any work done? I don’t make enough money from my business to pay for any holiday clubs or childcare, and also I am not sure I would want to take up that opportunity if I did, so I have to find a way to work whilst the children are here. I am lucky that grandparents will help out a little bit (Grannie currently in the garden with the boy picking the goosegogs which enables me to write this!) and also that we have fab neighbours and friends. Also that my children are just about at the age where I can leave them to play together for short bursts of time.

Not sure how to get round the going away thing though. First off we have a week in Devon with Felicity & Andrew on their amazing farm – brilliant fun for all of us, good food, lovely house, a pool, apple orchards to wander round and many farm animals to feed. There is internet connection there, but I can;t really keep nipping into the kitchen to faff about on Twitter etc – would be most rude!!

It will all look something like this….

Then we have our Olympic week – we are lucky enough to have tickets to two events – Womens basketball and Mens hockey, a week apart, and even more lucky that Grannie lives in London so we have somewhere to stay. And again, there is internet connection there, but I will be too busy doing exciting London things with the children.

And at the end of the summer we have two weeks in the cottage in Wales – absolutely no chance of internet connection there – not even a mobile phone signal unless you climb up to the top of the steep track! And I am not sure if Mid Wales has internet cafes!! (If you live near Cefon Coch or Llanfair Caereinion and know of any, please let me know!) Incase you haven’t been to Mid Wales, it looks like this… (I think it might be Happy Valley? Somewhere near there)

So, you will be reading this post on Monday, it having actually been written last Wednesday. I will have nipped into the farmhouse kitchen to quickly ‘publish’ it and tweet /fb the link, and then I will no doubt be off to feed some chickens, chase the children, or chop some wood – you get the idea. So I am sorry this is not as straight and direct as I would like it to be, but at least it is here! And please keep a watch out for posts on a Thursday – I will hopefully have a fully prepared schedule of interesting people for you to meet!

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