Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Little mice

Today I have been mostly making these little cuties. We were lucky enough to have a product feature in the Christmas Gift Guide of The Scottish Field, so the orders have been coming in thick and fast for these little guys.

The Studio is looking particularly fetching at the moment, adorned in all it's Christmas finery, especially last week in all the snow we had.

Chrissie was loving her snowy walks, she loves to poke her nose in the snow and throw it about the place. Even though she's a lady in years she loves to act like a pup every now and then!

L x

P.S. Thank you for all the get well soon wishes, I'm feeling a lot better. The last Christmas Fair was over the weekend, it went well, but I was glad to be home!

Monday, December 01, 2008

A sick day...?

In the world of self-employment there doesn't appear to be a clause for compassionate leave or sick leave, it's crap! You've probably guessed, after a couple of tough weeks lately, we are now experiencing the dreaded lurgy in this house, do things ever get any easier....nope, I guessed not.

After a really lovely day listening to the seriously talented Sarah Raven last Wednesday, I came home a shivering wreck and went straight to bed, flu had hit big time. By the end of the week Gregg had it too, fair cancelled on Saturday, but it was our annual Christmas Open Day yesterday and the show just had to go on. Thank you to Nicola and my family for saving our bacon, you're all stars. xxx

So, orders are now being processed again (will I ever catch up with myself again or should I just throw the towel in now...!) and hopefully the nice doctor is going to give me something to fix my throat and horendous cough tomorrow.

I'll hopefully be back in a couple of days feeling a lot better (fingers crossed). Off to have a hot bath and a bottle of whisky to help me sleep ;)

L x

Monday, November 24, 2008

The candles have arrived at last!

You may remember some time ago that I mentioned we were doing a trial run with our own range of scented candles. Well, at last I have them made up and ready to sell, which had been planned for the Country Living Fair, but never mind, now is as good a time as any.
The candle pots are hand thrown with our heart motif hand painted on the front, each one being slightly different as no two pots are ever the same! Filled with Elderflower & Wild Nettle scented soy candle, they have a burn time of approx. 30 hours and then the pot can obviously be used after, I think it would make a lovely little sugar bowl. They are £20 plus £4 P&P.
I have only had a limited number made up and will be selling them at the fairs we're attending over the next couple of weeks and in the shop. If you would like one please e-mail me at
I'm just home from a great evening at the CRUK Christmas Fair in Perth. It was reasonably busy (good sales, needle cases seemed to be the thing of this evening!) so lets hope tomorrow brings a good day.
L x

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Christmas door wreaths

I'm getting there with the gearing up for Christmas in the Studio, it has certainly cheered me up as it's a time of year that I absolutely love. Nicola, my trusty little elf, delivered me a couple of door wreaths this week, one for on the Studio door and one for inside. Given that she was a florist in her previous life, she has taken over the task of making our door wreaths this year! And they are just gorgeous, made traditionally with a mossed ring, they are made up with lots of hedgerow finds and other natural bits and bobs. Just perfect for any discerning front door, and what better way to welcome friends in to your home over the festive period.

In previous years I have done the whole running around like a blue ar**d flee delivering everyones wreaths, this year we are asking that you come and pick them up from the studio, you will be welcomed with mince pies and maybe even some mulled wine, who could refuse an offer like that! Obviously we're only expecting locals to order them...........

They can be made up with a natural hessian ribbon or a red satin ribbon, the choice is yours, and all for just £20. Bit of a bargain really.

L x

P.S. I'm off to a Sarah Raven Christmas Flower arranging day next week so no doubt I'll be helping out with the wreath making over the next couple of weeks!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Back into things.

We are back home and trying to get back to normal, back into the routine of things. Friday was a really hard day, my first on my own with no one to look after, just me, myself and I. And a very messy studio with a huge backlog of orders to be made, put together, and posted out. I'm getting there, slowly. The shop is also back open now and is dressed for Christmas with twinkly lights and lots of festive loveliness.
Thank you to everyone for their thoughful comments, cards and phone calls, it's at times like this that you realise just how important good friends are.
Taking things slowly this week, but missing the buzz of the Country Living Fair, never mind there's always next year. I'm sharing a stall with Katie this weekend at a local Winter Festival so that shall keep me busy.
L x

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sadly Dad passed away last week, we were all with him and he went very peacefully, which is a blessing given what he's been through over the last 6 years. He died in Strathcarron Hospice, an amazing place where the doctors and nurses are like angels. The funeral is on Tuesday so I hope to return home by the end of the week. The Studio will re-open on Saturday 15th November, apologies to anyone who has visited over the last 2 weeks when we have been closed. Some orders will go out today, the rest will be dealt with on my return. I have also had to cancel our stand at the Country Living Christmas Fair Scotland. I've learnt over the last 5 years that sometimes you just know that you can't do everything, and right now being there for my family is more important to me. We will attend some fairs, just not as many as usual.

Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts and words, they really meant a lot during a rather tough week for us all.

Normal blogging shall hopefully resume a week today.

See you all then.

L x

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Unfortunately things have taken a turn for the worse with my Dad, he's not going to be with us for much longer so we are spending as much time as possible with him. I have been at home with my family since Wednesday evening and shall stay for as long as I am needed. Being the oldest of four children is very hard, having to be brave for them is the hardest. My youngest sister is only 16.

With regards to the studio it is closed for the time being and I am unsure as to what fairs we will be attending over the next few weeks. This has made me realise that as much as my business is my baby, my family are so much more important to me, life has totally been put into perspective and I now realise just how precious it really is.

All orders will be dealt with as soon as I get home, whenever that may be.

L x

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Missing in action.....

Gosh, where have the last couple of weeks gone? Well, it's been a bit mad around here of late, what with courses going on, orders coming in, and a nice little break to Edinburgh.

So, what have we been up to? The knitting course was fab, Karen did a great job and we all had a lovely day blethering away to the sound of clacking needles. As usual I forgot to take photos (taking part and playing hostess isn't the easiest you know!) so you can see us in action over on Karen's blog here.

Then we had the needle felting course the following week with Katie, 6 lovely ladies came along to learn how to needle felt and all made a really cute little angel. I have to admit to getting a rather warm fuzzy feeling inside while watching everyone felting away, all quite content (with lots of tea and cake!) and learning a new craft. There is something quite special about promoting crafts and seeing everyone go home rather pleased with their creation from the morning, plus rather sore arms from all the needle jabbing into wool tops!
Gregg and I then took ourselves off to Edinburgh for the night as we were attending these awards. Friends were finalists for a couple of awards and had invited us along to join them, we had a wonderful night with scrumptious food, great company and then a rather plush hotel to return to. We battled George Street in the wind and rain on Saturday and I at last made it to the Cath Kidston shop, believe me, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.
So, back down to earth with a rather large bump this week, back to the sewing as deadlines are looming........
Happy Tuesday.
L x

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Emporium feature

We are in the latest edition (November) of Country Living Magazine, in the Emporium section, our famous dotty door stop gets a lovely little mention. We were last featured nearly two years ago in December, but we weren't "click and buy" then, so it will be interesting to judge the difference in sales. Let's hope lots are doing their Christmas shopping on-line this year!
Ooh, it's all very exciting!
L x

Monday, October 13, 2008

Christmas scents

Much stuffing of Christmas hearts and pillows has been done this weekend, so the herb jar has been hit fairly hard. A mix of cinnamon, cloves and rosemary, with a little clementine essential oil added too. The best bit is definitely bashing up the cinnamon sticks, very good for anger management............

This year our little Christmas hearts are made from locally handloomed linen with an embroidered snowflake in red stitching, and stuffed with said herbs. All we need now is jingle bells playing in the background.............

Happy Monday.

L xx

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Evening walks

Gregg has been off this week, change is in the air and it's all good. I've appreciated him doing the morning routine of dog walking and seeing to the chooks so that I can get on. He's also turned into a bit of a cook this week, right now he's rusting up a little chick pea and chorizo stew, just perfect for a chilly night.

I've enjoyed going out for the evening walk with him and the pooches, a well deserved break from the sewing machine. I've even managed to remember to take the camera with me a few times ;) The trees are just starting to turn, autumnal hues starting to run through the woodlands, just gorgeous from up above. The sun is so much lower in the sky too, catching the grasses with the last golden glow before dissappearing below the horizon.

Little Miss Moss is getting bigger by the day, four and a half months old tomorrow. She loves her walks but is a real fireside dog. Not the easiest to take photos of as she never stops flipping moving!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

L x

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

After the event

Phew, my feet have at last hit the ground today, a full day of uninterupted sewing, probably the first in almost 2 weeks! The Perthshire Open Studios was a huge success, I was amazed at how many visitors we had over the 9 day event, I think from my notes between about 70 and 80 people came along. It was lovely to chat to everyone, I met some really inspirational and interesting folk, and there was an awful lot of studio love going on, I only wish Gregg had been around more to hear everyones comments.

It was really interesting how many people who visited had seen our little article in Homes & Interiors Scotland, so it just goes to show that P.R. does work!

The venue up the road from us at Bamff House was fabulous too, I met a couple of the artists who were exhibiting there, Penelope Anstice and Lulu Washington. Lulu is a total inspiration, her paintings of chickens and ducks were understandably snapped up quickly on the preview evening. She came down to visit us and fell in love with Florence and Felicity our geese, so hopefully they may feature in some of her work soon!

I met this lovely lady too, she came to visit on Sunday and we had a great old chat, Lucy organises the North Fife Open Studio event so it was interesting to hear how they were doing now in their fourth year.

I was also thoroughly delighted when the author of this book compared our setting to that of Enid Blytons, apparently she used to cross the bridge over the burn and into the woods, just like ours outside the studio...... Duncan and his partner Kate came to visit during the POS week and were quite taken with our little bit of heaven here.

Right, I'm off to have some supper and then back out to the workroom, 20 Christmas hearts are a calling.

L xx

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Vintage corner

It's a gorgeous, crisp, cold and sunny morning here, just the type I like. The first of October is always a special day for us, five years ago today I "officially" started up the business and it's also my brothers 21st Birthday today. I think a cake shall have to be made in celebration this evening, or maybe a crumble, perfect for enjoying in front of a toasty fire with a glass of bubbly.

As promised, here are some of the little vintage bits and bobs we've got in the shop just now. I'm a bit of a sucker for old china so it took a lot for me to be able to part with these little lovelies. Gregg talked me into keeping a few of the lovely old glass bottles, so they are lined up on the window sill with flowers in them :)

Aren't those little teacup, saucer and tea plate sets just adorable?

I also found this cute little stool, perfect for display in the shop, and it already had that lovely distressed look, so it all needed was a bit of a clean.

So, off out to the studio now to get on with some more sewing, it's nice and cosy out there as we've got a little radiator timed to come on in the morning as there's nothing worse than going out to a cold workroom!

See you soon,

L xx

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Door wide open, come on in!

Today has been the first day of the Perthshire Open Studios event. People have been dropping in throughout the day, all interested in what we do here, my sewing, the chickens and just country life in general. The eggs that I had for sale sold very quickly! Everyone was fairly local and enjoying the opportunity to see lots of artists at work and have a nosy in their studios and workrooms. Many commented on the fact that they didn't know of all this rich talent within the area and that it was a great chance for them to find places to bring visitors and friends, so fingers crossed they all come back!
I spent yesterday having a bit of a blitz in the workroom and tidying up the shop. I've got some lovely new vintage finds for sale now, I'll show you pictures later in the week. The pictures show our new candles that I'm trialing. Gorgous reusable pots made by Diana up at Glenshee pottery, filled with Elderflower and Wild Nettle candle. I have to say I'm really rather please as the scent is just delicious.
Off to have supper and then sit in front of the fire and do a bit of sewing.
Enjoy your Saturday evening.
L xx

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Frankly my dear, I'm in a bit of a tizz...

I must be mad, with only 7 or 8 weeks sewing time left, I have decided to go for it with the old Country Living Fair up here in Glasgow. I was waiting to see how things were with Dad before I committed to anything that big. *Amazingly* he is hanging on in there.
Never having done anything quite this big before I am now panicking slightly (Spring Fair is one thing, Christmas, I think, will be a whole different ball game up here). So I have bitten the bullet and aquired some help over the coming months, a sweet little elf (called Nicola) is coming to join the sweat shop.
Lets just hope no family dramas happen in the meantime.
Back to the sewing machine, covered notebooks are a calling!
L x

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn Courses

At long last I got the Autumn courses organised last week, details sent out and the website updated, so places are now booking up. I enjoyed the courses that we did over the summer, and from the feedback we've had everyone enjoyed themselves and would like to return, so I have a list of requests for courses next year.
I'm really looking forward to the more craft orientated courses we're doing, needle felting and knitting, both being held in the cottage, sat around the dining room table with the woodburning stove going. I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day, good chat, good food and getting creative.
It's a busy week this week, I'm off to a charity fashion show tonight (a girl is allowed a night off every now and then!). It's for a charity that is very close to my heart, The Sandpiper Trust. The family who have set up the trust are very good family friends and own the estate where I was brought up. So I'm looking forward to hopefuly seeing a few familiar faces this evening and catching up with old friends.
It's madness in the studio just now, trying to get enough stock made for the Perthshire Open Studio event, although it's a bit of a stab in the dark as none of us know how many visitors to expect.......
And then there's all that stock to be made for Chirstmas......?
See you soon,
L x
P.S. Another photo of us on the beach on Sunday. x

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beach Sunday

At last we've had a bit of time to ourselves at the weekend and a trip to the beach. I was starting to have withdrawl symtoms as I hadn't been to the beach since we were in Orkney at the beginning of the year. We packed up and took off this morning to St. Cyrus, a lovely beach on the east coast. The first time Little Miss Moss has seen the waves, she loved it!

I always enjoy discovering another part of our surrounding area, I think that's why I love living here so much, we are tucked away in the depths of East Perthshire, yet within an easy hours drive we can be on the fabulous east coast taking in such totally different scenery.

We also discovered a fabulous junk yard type Aladins cave, thanks to this lovely lady. We came home with a back seat full of goodies...!

Little things that make me smile, lots of honesty boxes at the road sides.

The fire is lit, as are all the candles, so I'm off to sew up 20 little mice.

Happy Sunday evening.

L x

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Photo shoot

Today I went along to a photo shoot for the Perthshire Open Studios event which is happening at the end of the month. Various press were hopefully going to be there so that the event is well publicised around the country. We were told to bring ourselves and a piece of our work with us, so Diana (from Glenshee Pottery) and I headed down to Perth with a bowl and cushion in the back of the car, wondering what on earth we were letting ourselves in for! It was fairly pain free (other than sore cheeks from smiling so much!) and a great chance to meet some of the other artists taking part and see their work. Heather Cumming was there with her wonderful scrap metal sculptures which I'm sure will capture the attention of the media.

If you can make it along to the Open Studios event it promises to be a fantastic opportunity to see some wonderful artists at work. It's on from 27th September until 5th October, the brochure detailing the routes and artists taking part can be downloaded from here.

Here's a picture of the cushion I took along, made a couple of months ago when thoughts of winter were starting to creep in......

Monday, September 15, 2008

Plum harvest

Even though it is a fairly grotty evening tonight, after walking the dogs I just had to go and pick all of the plums from our plum tree. The jewels dangling from the branches were calling to me, plum crumble, plum jam, and I've even found a recipe for plum sorbet with sloe gin, so we shall see how far they go.
You see this is the first year we have had any fruit on our trees so it is quite a momentous occassion. We have watched with envy as our neighbours have harvested plums and apples every year since we moved here! It makes me smile, in the particulars for our house the grassy meadow was described as a paddock/orchard, with a cherry, plum, pear and apple tree planted, all of which were fairly unhealthy looking specimens to say the least. So this years crop was a complete surprise, it just goes to show that even the plum tree at the bottom of the very boggy garden can bare fruit!
Plans are afoot now to plant a cooking apple, eating apple (our current tree is baring one fruit at the moment!) and a cherry. I think we shall purchase them all from here as there are some locally native species available.
Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post, it's great to get your feedback as it's all these little things that can help make a good business a great business.
L x

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A question....?

Today I met up with a friend to have a quick look round our local flower & sundries wholesaler. In general it was a fairly dissappointing trip but I got a couple of basic things that I was needing. Last year my friend made some really cute little ladybird magnets and was swithering whether to make them again this year and the conversation brought me back to something I've been thinking a lot about lately. For all of us who do the whole handmade small business thing, do customers expect to see our range simply growing, with the addition of new items every few months or do they expect to see a clean slate, everything new once or twice a year? Do we continue with the staples that always seem to fly out of the door (even if we are sick to the back teeth of making them??) or do we risk changing everything (fabrics, products, etc) for the sake of "keeping it fresh"?
The reason I ask is that when our little felt covered notebooks were featured in Country Living a couple of Christmases ago we got loads of sales, which was great. I still do covered notebooks but the style has changed and the original ones are no longer on our website. A customer who ordered the original notebooks has re-ordered a couple of times in the last few months. As well as buying the new notebooks, she asked if I could make some of the original felt ones. Now this isn't a problem as I still have the fabrics available but obviously don't have the product in stock so it does mean a special run of just a couple to please the customer. I do believe this is all part of the charm of being a small business that will happily oblige when possible, but at what stage to do you say "sorry I don't make them any more"?
So, a couple of interesting questions there that I'd be really interested to find out what others think, both from a customers point of view and as a small business owner? Answers on a postcard please....only joking, comments or e-mails would be great!
L x

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nooks & Crannies

I was really excited last Thursday when I found the latest edition of Homes & Interiors Scotland in our local newagent. After a riffle through at the counter, I found our lovely little feature in Nooks & Crannies, they've got us right down to a tea, a lovely little write up.
Also featured this month is a little bit in the arts section about the Perthshire Open Studios event and also a fab article on my friend Pennys' super new home that her and her husband have built on the shores of Loch Tay. Penny has the most adorable shop in Aberfeldy, Homer, so it's no wonder her home looks so amazing.
So if you fancy a good read and can get a hold of this magazine ( it's probably only available in Scotland I would imagine??) it's all in the September/October edition.
A big thank you to Gillian for putting the article together for us.
L xx

Just had to show you this....

My two crazy sisters made me this cute little video of Milly as a thank you for her. My sister Nicola is holding Milly and talking, and my youngest sister Zoe (whom Milly was a birthday pressie for!) is doing the filming!

Points of note, check out my sisters groovy ears ;) she really is a crazy cat. "Betty" cleaning in the background is a referral to my mum, we all call her Big Betty ( her Sunday name is Elizabeth) but Big Betty has stuck, and she loves to clean. Unfortunately this gene hasn't been transfered down to me, so I hate it when she comes to visit as I know she has the white gloves on....!!


L xx

P.S. Remember to turn the sound up!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Glorious September

Today has been a beautiful day. While walking the dogs at the back of seven this morning there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The promise of a good dry Autumn day, with just a little nip in the air. I am being inspired by the hedgerows just now, rosehips, rowans, seed heads and the promise of brambles to be picked in a few weeks time. The thought of apple and bramble crumble makes my mouth water......

Some local handloomed linen was washed up today and dried on the line so I'm looking forward to using that some time soon. The sewing list is rather huge at the moment as stock is rediculously low, with Christmas just around the corner I'm starting to panic slightly.....

It's just started raining here so I'm off to sit by the fire and sew up hearts!
Some exciting news for tomorrow, but I'll keep you waiting ;)
L xx

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Gardening Course....

All was going well on Friday night, the baking was done, the note booklets were made and printed and the marque was still up from last weekend.

Then on Saturday morning we woke up to find this........... had been a bit windy during the night..............

Not ones to let anything like this stop us, the marquee was rebuilt, taped together in bits and weighed down with rather large logs!

I prayed for good weather while making the soup that morning and we were blessed!

So much was covered during the day, John kept everyone busy and all went home with lots of goodies. The day was most definitely a success, the sun shone, the food went down well and everyone learnt loads. I just need to twist Johns arm to do it again for me and also find someone to do a garden design course, so that's on the list for next year and I have someone in mind already.......

I'll leave you with more photos of the day, I'm now off to write up and print the leaflet with our next lot of courses, some kind of newsletter ( a new thing for us!) and information on the Perthshire Open Studios as I've got a big mail out to do this week. So much for a quite Sunday night in front of the fire, I shall be glued to the laptop instead, but still in front of the fire :)

Everyone enjoying afternoon tea