Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chickens and fairies

This weekend is our first course, Beginners Guide to Keeping Chickens. I'm getting organised over the next couple of days, but have to admit to being a little bit nervous. It's a mix of adults and children coming along so hopefully that should make it really fun.
A postcard and a cheque arrived in the post the other day from a friend who is sending her husband and little girl along on the course. The little girl had spent part of the summer holidays over at her grandparents in Ireland and when asked what was the best bit of her holiday her reply was feeding the neighbours chickens! So this week when her tooth fell out, there was a note wrapped around the tooth asking the tooth fairy for a chicken rather than pennies, how sweet is that!
So hopefully, by the end of Sunday afternoon she'll be ready to embark on the great hobby of chicken keeping, I'm sure the tooth fairy will oblige!
L x

Monday, August 25, 2008

So how did I do then......?

Well, as usual I left everything to the last minute on Friday, the plan was, after a quick dash to Blairgowrie, I would come home and get on. But hey, when do things ever go to plan in the Hector household?? A big fat puncture on the way home, ensured that I didn't get started until 9pm on Friday night! Needless to say I didn't get to bed until 1am as I was making jam and was back up at 6am to harvest most of the veg, I was determined I tell you!!!!

So, the results, I'll let you have a look for yourself......

Third prize for my carrots, was pretty pleased with that!

Second prize for my peas, was very pleased with that as we hadn't had any peas last week as I was saving them all for a good picking on Friday so that I had the best of the crop to pick from. It was worth the wait as there were 7 or 8 entries, so I was pleased as punch with that result.

First prize for my photography, a picture of a castle. The picture was of Fortar Castle which is up in Glen Isla. I've won first prize for photography before at the Alyth Show so the pressure's on for next year!

And then the most amazing results of all were.......

First prize for my raspberry jam........

....and first prize for my orange marmalade! I was glued to the spot for about 5 minutes staring at the prize cards as I just could not believe it. I think I went back over about three times before I really took it in! To say that I was chuffed is a bit of an understatment, I was grinning like a Cheshire cat all afternoon!

I didn't get anything for my flowers, which ended up all from my own garden as I didn't get to Johns. Anyway, since writing the last post I have since found out that using flowers that aren't grown by yourself isn't the done thing as it's not actually about the arranging it's more about the content, so next year I'll just have to have my own sweet peas on better form!

I also got a third in the crafts section, a very cheeky entry that I put in for the "bag for life" section, really mine was more of a hand bag rather than a shopper, but it's the taking part that counts!

So, all in all it was a pretty amazing day, we took part in the World Bale Rolling Competition and Tug O'War so lots of fun was had. Roll on next year!! xx

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Strathardle Gathering

This weekend is the annual Strathardle Gathering over in Kirkmichael, we've gone for the last couple of years since moving up here and have always had a fantastic day. This year I am entering some of the competitions in the Indutrial Tent. Now, for those in the know this is very competitive, it's the ladies opportunity to fluff up their feathers and show who's Queen of the Kitchen, Garden and Crafts!!!

I am on the Ladies Committee for the Alyth Show, our local agricutural show, and was lucky enough to be able to accompany a judge this year, so picked up quite a few tips here and there.

So, for the next couple of evenings I shall be busy getting my list of entries together, a little bit of baking, some jam making, some flower arranging, picking my veggies and making some bits and pieces for the craft section. I'm not entering loads in each section as I simply don't have the time. It always amazes me how some folk have entries in nearly every section, I take my hat off to them. But then if you're serious about this (which clearly I'm not!) you have to enter loads in order to be in with a chance to win any of the cups as it's all based on points!

I'm really looking forward to entering my veggies, funnily enough, that's the section that I'm entering the most in! I know of a few people who are entering in this section so there's going to be lots of competition this year. One of our neighbours entered for the first time last year and won the cup so the pressure is really on for him this year, good luck Geordie!

In the flower aranging section I'm (hopefully) entering a jug of sweetpeas and a vase of garden flowers. Now, our garden isn't looking the greatest at the moment as I'm still battling with our very wet borders and the rain this year really hasn't helped. So, thanks to John (my gardening guru) I'm hopefully going to be able to get some flowers from his garden tomorrow. We do have some fabulous Dahlia and other bits and pieces so I'm thinking a nice warm coloured arrangement will look really good. One of our other neighbours is the champion of this section so Saturday is going to be an interesting day!

I'll post some pictures once it's all over and let you know how I get on, wish me luck!

L x

Monday, August 18, 2008

Autumn Courses

I have at last got something organised that has been in the pipeline for a while now. On Friday I had a meeting with my friend Nicola Poole-Reeves as she is going to be taking one of our courses over the Autumn/Winter months. Nicola is the type of person that I would love to employ full time. She always knows what to be getting on with, is great with the customers and is just generally lovely to work alongside. With 20 years experience of running her own floristry business under her belt, she certainly knows a thing or two about flowers. Her business was based in Devon, so this allowed her to support many local flower growers by selling their flowers in her shop. She traded that life in two years ago and moved up to Glenshee with her husband, her two passions now being pottery and growing her own flowers and veg, along with doing up their cottage (many of us seem to be in that boat up here!).

So, we have put our heads together and are going to do a day course on Christmas Flower Arranging. She will demonstrate how to make a mossed wreath (which everyone will get to make and take home too), putting together a gift wrapped posy, bulb planting and a table centre decoration. I'd like the emphasis to be on using natural ingredients foraged from the garden and woodlands, so my dog walks are now centred around looking for seed heads and nice greenery to be foraged later on in the year!
We have set the date of * changed to 6th November rather than 27th, sorry!*, so everything should be fresh in your head for making your own the following month. The course costs £50 for the day 10am - 4pm, and includes morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea. Drop me an e-mail( if you'd like more info or to book a place.
I'm also in the process of organising our other courses which will be held in October, day courses in quilting, knitting and needlefelting, again let me know if you are interested as spaces will be limited.
Gosh, it's just all Christmas, Christmas, Christmas at the moment, mad really given that it's August, but then the weather is fairly lousy so it's not really difficult to get into the spirit of it all!
L x

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Product Focus

A part of the business that I really enjoy is working with other makers. I've come across some great folk over the last couple of years, especially since we've moved up here. I like being able to give other makers the opportunity to sell their work in the studio, and working with them to make products exclusively for us.
One lovely lady that I've met is Claire from Barony Crafts. She makes a fantastic (and huge) range of hand made soaps, tioletries and candles. We sell some of Claires soaps in the studio and they go down great with the customers, we've gone for the fairly natural scents like Red Poppy & Ginger, Elderflower & Nettle, Under the Gooseberry Bush and her organic range too. The great thing that sets Claires soap apart from others is that it doesn't go to mush in your hands and lasts more than a couple of washes! She also gave me one of her little hand poured soya wax candles to try, we had it burning in the back porch as that's where the dogs hang out and it certainly got rid of any doggy smells! She has just recently started up a blog about life as a soap maker, so pop over and say hello.
Claire and I are hoping to get together on a little candle and soap project for Christmas so watch this space!
Back to the Christmas samples, you'll maybe get a little peak tomorrow.
L x

Monday, August 11, 2008

Changing times and dropping the "interiors"

Since opening the studio, things have been changing around here. In the run up to the grand opening I found myself saying "yes" to orders, people also opening up new shops and desperate for stock. Really I should have been saying no, concentrating on getting my own stock made for the big weekend. But then, most business folk never like to say no do they. The upshot of it all was that I totally underestimated the time and effort required to pull everything together and as usual the sewing went on the back burner, otherwise there wouldn't have been a studio to open!
In contemplating this and thinking back to when I was tempted to give up wholesale some time ago but was talked out of it, I've realised that I just don't want to do it anymore. It has become a chore and that's not what this game is all about. Don't get me wrong, over the last five years, it has done us so much good, getting our name known and getting us out there, really it's the only way to do it. But now that I have this fantastic space that's just crying out for lots of one-off pieces, a place to experiment with products and get feedback direct from the customer, I can't really throw this opportunity away can I?
I've gone through the figures with the accountant, looked into getting someone to do the sewing, but is that what Primrose Hill is really about, someone else doing it? And at the end of the day, I would still have to have some kind of input, fabric and ingredients ordering, managing it all, that's not what I want to do.
So, the decision has been made, after 5 years of hard slog and being the basis of how the business started up, no more wholesale. It's been a really hard decision to make but it's done now, and I've put it here on paper so to speak, so I'll have to stick by it..! The only outlet I will continue to supply is the Fotheringham Gallery, as they were the first business to support us and they sell our products so well, I want to keep that relationship going. And as it's a gallery it's on a commission basis which is totally different to supplying shops.
We've also learnt over the last couple of months that people seem to think that the word "interiors" means that you make curtains for a living. Now this is something that I used to doing when we lived in Stirling. I had a sewing lady who made up curtains and blinds etc for me, but since moving up here I've kind of gotten out of that side of the business. Again, having thought about going back there I've decided not to, it's just not something that I want to do. So, Primrose Hill Interiors is now just Primrose Hill and we're focusing more on the studio side of the business as you can see here. A little bit of housekeeping has been done and I think it looks a lot better, what do you all think?
So, there we have it, a rather long rambling post for first thing on a Monday morning, you've done well if you've gotten this far! It's good to put these things out there though, people like to follow the story of a business and know the history of it all. I'd be interestd to know what all of you guys think though, have any of you gone through the same changes or thoughts with your businesses, do let me know as it's great to get feedback.
Right, off to tackle a rather large "to do" list.
L x

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hunter Gatherer

Gregg went off out at the crack of dawn this morning to shoot some bunnies. We're having some friends round for a BBQ this evening and the request was for some of Jamie Olivers E.F.R., Essex Fried Rabbit. We've had it before at friends and it is really very tasty. I know it's not everyones cup of tea, but personally I think rabbit is just like chicken, but a lot tastier, a bit more gamey. Unless of course it's your own home reared free range chicken which is just the best. So, at about 7am, just as I was starting to think about getting up, the hunter returned with 3 rabbits, gutted and skinned and ready for cooking, good lad!
For all the vegetarians out there, we're not just going to be feasting on meat, I'm doing lots of salads from the garden too and I'm going to give Sarah Ravens Barbequed New Carrots recipe a go along with some courgettes thrown in as we're growning with them.
Have a good weekend.
L x

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I'm loving the fact that we do things in a bit of on old fashioned way around here, yet to be able to keep up with everyone else we have to be state of the art too.

So, if you pay cash or cheque it gets stored in this lovely old piece of kit,

or if you choose to pay with plastic we can still oblige :)

It also means we can take orders over the phone now so it's another step in the right direction.

Organisation isn't my number one skill but I do get there eventually.

Off to sew in the studio and work on some more Christmas samples, you'll maybe get a sneaky peak later in the week.

L x

Monday, August 04, 2008

Puppy love ;)

I know, I know, just too much puppy love going on here, but I just had to show you this one....

Adorable or what..? x

Back to business tomorrow, I promise, well maybe just one or two photos of Little Miss Moss ;)

L x

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Little Miss Moss. Our latest addition to the menagerie, and so very, very cute. x

Bonding with Chrissie (although not sure if Chrissie feels quite the same!)

Contemplating chewing the welly.....

Chewing one of her many toys

Pooped. x