shops

Happy 2017! One of my biggest aims for this year is to be stocked in a few shops in order to spread sales across the year a bit more. And I’ve started the year well, my work’s now stocked in two shops with one more to come very soon.

Stitch-up is a wonderful non-profit organisation run by wonder-woman Jen. Centered around yarn craft Stitch-up run workshops and events, and this Christmas they added a beautiful pop-up shop to their impressive list of activities. Jen has created a lovely bright shop filled with yarn, pompom supplies and hand crafted products from local makers, including me! The shop is due to come to an end next month and I’d hugely recommend dropping by before it closes if you’re able.

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During the busy Christmas fair season I managed to have a chat to Claire, one of the managers of Leeds shop Our Handmade Collective. OHC is absolutely filled with lovely small makers’ work, from children’s clothing to ceramics, prints and cards to jewelry, it really is a treasure trove of gifts. I’m so pleased to have been accepted as part of the shop, and last week I set up my space with brooches and had a little look around – I think I’m going to struggle not to buy things every time I pop in! These are photos of a couple of beautiful displays in the shop and my little section.

 

 

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Cards

This Christmas I’m going to make a huge effort to buy all my gifts from small businesses. This would be very easy if I was just shopping for me, I’ve got a never ending wishlist full of work from the amazing creative folks I see online and at fairs. But I’m really excited about buying gifts for people I care about which have been made with love, and for which the money is going to real people. I thought I’d start blogging about Christmas presents, although I can’t mention any items I’m actually getting in case it ruins the surprise!

I thought I’d start with cards. Cards are such an inexpensive and lovely way to support small businesses – if you feel guilty only spending less than a fiver at a craft fair PLEASE DON’T – every sale really does count and I really rely on lots of little purchases. Plus as products they’re ace. A nice card through the post is the best! As a parent to a four year old I am unfortunately stuck with having to use cards made by her or leaving all our relatives disappointed. This is the cute card she made this year at school, and which they print copies of for us…Processed with VSCO with a8 preset

But for those of you not lucky enough to have a mini in house artist I’ve asked for suggestions of Christmas card designs from my etsy team and have got lots to share! I think you’ll agree there’s something for everyone, so you could buy each person a card which really suits them. Click images to find them on etsy!

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MERRY CHRISTMAS! x

job-less

I handed in my notice at my day job. I’ve been working as a bookseller for many years and it’s really scary, but also way way overdue. It’d be hugely over simplifying the decision to say that I’ve left to pursue self employment, but something had to give and I’d rather quit a job I’ve been hoping to move on from for years rather than give up at craft stuff at a time when I’ve got the potential to have my most successful Christmas ever.

It was starting to really upset me that I feel like my most important job, of mother, was always bottom of my list. I don’t get home until around 6pm on work days and I absolutely hate that I couldn’t make Rose her tea, and was struggling to even practice phonics with her. And then because of orders to fulfill and craft fairs to stock, even when I’m home I’ve had sewing in my hands at almost all times.

At the same time the decision is completely nuts, we were finally starting to be able to put some money aside thanks to my wage slowly going up with my hours, and now I’ve ruined that. I don’t think I’ll make enough from craft stuff beyond Christmas so am very much looking for a new job, but for the moment I hope to be able to really properly throw myself into it. I did a craft fair at the weekend which went really well, and I was blown away by the many many well wishes and congratulations from folks about quitting my job!

I’m really excited about having a job which involves watching Gilmore Girls all day, which at the same time working really hard (of course).

Sullivan and Rose

Sullivan is our cat. We¬†bought Sullivan from a horrible house in Kirkstall, Leeds, from a woman selling cats on Gumtree. I’m obviously morally very opposed to buying pets off Gumtree, even more so having see what can only really be described as a small scale kitchen based kitten factory. It smelt bad. The two mummy cats were so scrawny and the boy cats were coming in and out of an open window. It was basically a cat brothel. Who knows who the kitten’s dad was. But the kittens were all big-eyed cuteys, and we were fairly desperate to get a new cat asap so we gave the awful woman our money and saved Sulli from his hellish cat hostel. Also, the expert kitten seller sold us Sullivan as a girl kitty, which was why he was first called Sylvia. But wide eyed Sylvia grew into a boy and so we tried to find a similar boy name and thus Sullivan was born.

Our desperation to get a new cat was due to our lovely beloved previous cat Panda being killed on a busy road near our new house. I’d loved Panda, he was so much a part of our family. I’d got Panda while living on my own, and he was the kitten of my friend’s amazing two cats, so had come from a wonderful home. Dan and I had just started seeing each other, so we both watched him grow from a teeny cheeky kitten and later, when we moved in together, into the most chilled out cat. I think Panda was only two when he died, but I was incredibly upset by the loss and our house was terribly empty without him. Getting a new cat was very much the right thing to do for us, and a new kitten definitely brought the house back to life.

Sullivan was a great kitten, and is indeed a lovely cat, but he’s never really outgrown the label of Panda replacement. So it makes me very happy that he and Rose love each other very much so that he has his own role in our family, different to that which Panda had. We’re not people who dote on our pet all day long, in fact most of our communication with Sullivan is barked “get off!” “don’t” “go on then!”‘s. Sullivan goes out for most of the day every day, and is very much an independent chap. But we’re still happy to have him around.

After Rose was born Sullivan would worriedly wait outside the bedroom door whenever she was crying. He always loved being around her and never lost his temper with her right through her baby/toddler years. Now that she’s bigger and big enough to take care of herself a bit he’s not quite as hesitant to give her a swipe if she’s being mean to him, which is fair enough really! We live on a quiet little street, but oddly there is a big Sainsbury’s supermarket very nearby at the end of the street and down a little alley. We go there often. And almost every time we do Sullivan will follow Rose, hide in a bush outside while we shop, and then dive out and follow her home again! He also follows us (her) to the allotment, which is also luckily very near our house, and they love nothing more than racing each other home. She can shout at him even louder than we do, but she loves him very much and it’s made for a great set of photos watching their relationship grow as she has.

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hello February

I’m really impressed by how much learning goes on at Rose’s nursery. Every week or two they study something new to learn new skills through. This term is all about getting to grips with rhyming in preparation for phonics. Last week they were reading The Gruffalo so everything was gruffalo themed, which suited Rose as we already regularly go on gruffalo hunts whenever we go for a walk. This week they’ve moved onto The Scarecrows Wedding, which we’ve also read, so they’ve been playing weddings every day. Rose’s teacher emailed me a photo of Rose in a wedding dress marrying her best friend’s cousin Harry. She’s been bringing her wedding theme home with her, improvising veils out of cloths and bouquets out of anything. It’s slotted into her usual princess role play very easily. She rarely refers to Dan as anything other than her prince, and now she also gets to marry him. We visited the allotment yesterday to get a bit of pre-spring digging done, and I offered Rose the top of an overgrown kale plant to use as flowers. This was a grand idea while we were there, but I did come to regret it when Rose insisted on keeping hold of her bunch of kale all afternoon at home, including while we were hiding under a blanket tent. The cabbage-y smell in an enclosed space wasn’t particularly pleasant.

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black and white

I don’t usually look at my photos in black and white, but after being inspired by a few of my favourite instagrammers I’ve had a look at my snaps of our last two weeks without colour. And I like them. Our little moments look somehow special in b&w. I’ll have to try it more often.

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