Thursday, 29 October 2009
Thanks so much Toni. I'm even more of a fan of your blog now than I was before!!
Three and a half years ago I took the plunge and opened one. THE NEST. The name came from a feature that my favourite designer, Tricia Foley, used to do for Country Home magazine. She used to turn a dull room into something beautiful and her own house is stunning. The name of the feature The Nest really epitomised the meaning of home to me.
The reality of running a shop while working full-time with two young children, however, was that it was a lot harder than I had assumed it would be.
My small business had been going for years with me making things which I then sold either to order or at Christmas parties in customers homes. When I first opened the shop my theory was that I would only sell things I loved and which I would have in my own home. I also planned to make a large amount of the shop's stock. The more popular we got the more stock we had to buy which left me with more paperwork and less time to make stuff. I ended up having to fill the shop with stuff I didn't necessarily like that much but that I knew would sell. This was not what I intended for the shop when it all began or even before then when it was just a dream keeping me awake at night. Unfortuntately due to the recession my kind of shop suffered - the first thing people stop buying are little treats and bits and pieces for the home. I fell out of love with the shop because it kind of lost the look I had originally intended for it and because of the amount of work involved in staying afloat to pay other people and not myself. I closed the shop in July and haven't looked back. The decision to close the shop was one I didn't take lightly and was a huge source of stress for me - I think nurofen profits went up in dramatically thanks to me! But I have since learned that it was the right decision. I now have more time to make stuff which is my passion and I am constantly learning new techniques and developing new skills. I also feel that the shop is still alive albeit in my head, and just moving in a new more exciting direction.
I kept many of my customers as I had a large mailing list and used to have shopping evenings leading up to Christmas. Many of these now contact me to order things or call up to the house to see what I have to sell. I am sharing a shopping evening with a friend (who was and still is also a really good customer of mine) this week and have started to book home parties to sell my wares. With my discovery of the blogging world and ETSY a whole world of opportunities has opened up for me - both in terms of me 'meeting' like minded crafters most of whom are so more skilled and talented than me and by the fact that I am getting so much inspiration from you other bloggers. It's amazing how addictive this is. Thank you all x
Recognise the bed? It's now in Lily's room (for the time being)!
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
The only new addition to his room is the Adirondack garden chair. I have seen a gorgeous leather 'flea market' chair but at almost £800 it's way down on my list of things to do with £800! I had bought this chair to use in the garden but we had such a dreadful summer that I never took it out of the box. We then decided to put it in Seth's room until at least next year (probably much longer unless I find a cheaper leather chair).
I made this lampshade years ago. I love maps and anything to do with travel or that inspires you to think of far away places so bought a cheap white lampshade and glued stamps from all over the world on it. I love it and am planning on making one for Ned's room.
Seth did have a huge world map over his cubby hole unit but when I took it down to paint the wall I ripped the bottom of it a bit. I decided to cut the map into three pieces and frame them over cork. I've left the glass out and am going to buy map pins so that Seth can keep a record of all the countries he visits. So far I've only done one map because the frames are out of stock at TKMaxx but as soon as I've made and hung all three I'll post a photo. I think they'll look really cool plus they won't be quite so dominating as a huge map.
We decided a long time ago to put tongue and groove along one wall to break up the expanse of blue. When we were doing it we decided to stop a little way from the top of the wall and put a little shelf along to top to hold Seth's keepsakes. He has jars of left over foreign currency from our holidays abroad (not worth a lot cos we usually need to cash it all back!), baseballs, mementoes from trips and a collection of lead comic book superheroes that my husband collected for him. It's a good way to display his stuff and keeps them out of reach of other kids when they come over and ransack (I mean play in) his room!
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
When Lily was born her bedroom was half the size it is now and could only fit a cot, chair and her armoire - we have much smaller houses in the UK than our American cousins unfortunately. Oh what I could do with more space! I am a fan of closets and built in wardrobes. Unfortunatly Lily's room was too small for a built in so I bought the Laura Ashley armoire (when it was on sale and as it was very late in arriving they gave me more money off so it ended up being quite a bargain). I knew that we could initially used it for her clothes storage and then when we got round to having our house extended it could be used for toys and games. It came with shelves but we took one shelf out and hung a rail off another. I attached fabric to the inside of the chicken wire doors to hide the mess. It looked adorable with her pretty little dresses hanging in such a teeny space. When we extended her room stayed the same width but doubled in length. We had a closet built and the armoire became a game cupboard. Her doll house sits on an old vitorian kitchen table which was cut down to make a small coffee table. I plan on painting this to blend in with her room more....one day!
Her little check nursing chair was given to me by an elderly relative of my husband while I was pregnant with Lily. It had a filthy brown velour cover, treacle coloured stained legs and stank of cigarette smoke. I went to an upholstery class and tore the chair apart down to the springs. I painted the legs in an off white shade, tightened the springs, re-used the horse hair on top, put wadding on top of that then make an upholstered calico fixed cover. I then used the fabric I had ripped off to make a template for the lovely French large check I had chosen for the main cover. This was a real labour of love. I carried the chair to class every week during my pregnancy and came home feeling filthy as I had no idea how dirty a job this was. I fed Lily myself until she was 10 months old and didn't finish the chair til she was 1 so it never got to be a nursing chair. Also the day I brought the chair home she got hold of a pen and drew on the seat. My husband managed to get all the pen out but at that stage I didn't really care - I was just glad it was finished. She now reads and watches TV on the chair and uses it as a playing area for her cuddly toys. I found a little footstool in a junk shop and painted and covered that to match. I wasn't quite so fussy with this so did it in a couple of days.
I had real trouble finding a pretty looking bookcase for her room so had one made. I didn't really want her to have a TV in her room but Father Christmas bought her one last year so what can I say! I'm glad he managed to find a white one so it doesn't dominate her room.
These photos really don't do her room justice. It looks quite simple 'in real life' but these photos make it look cluttered. I may need to search blogs for tips on taking photos next! Or perhaps I should just get more organized and tidy her room a bit more before I take photos!
I think I may have had too many sweets!
Done to death I know, but still amuses me!
Last year's proud winner!
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
The children and I have been busy making our invitations over the last few nights and they have now all been delivered. We downloaded a template from Martha Stewart and printed it off onto card. We wrote the invitation in white gel pen and then added brads for the joints. The children love them - even Seth and his friends who are all 11 and 12 think they are "awesome" so they're not too grown up yet! You can download the template here www.marthastewart.com/article/invitations-to-dread?lnc=0d1a8612fbcee010VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD
We then made our party bags. We used brown craft block bottom bags and digital images from Jan Davis at Digital Antiques on Etsy - link here http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?. On her blog she kindly has free skeleton images with four different skeletons to download and we used these on the front of the bags. I also bought some images of skeleton on tags - when you buy these the images are sent to you by e-mail so you can use them virtually straight away. We hung one big tag on one side of the bag with black organza ribbon and a smaller one on the other side along with a pair of glow in the dark vampire teeth. In each bag we put a couple of gifts (small torch, eye ball, pumpkin, glowing necklaces etc), some really cute bubbles in the shape of pumpkins which were only £1.00 for a pack of 4 at Asda plus a few bags of sweets and chocolates.
I can't wait to give these out. I'd love to receive one!
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
10. I'm not nearly as nuts as I sound - I'm just very honest. I love my babies and my husband and am lucky enough to have a fab baby sister and brother who I am really close to x
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Happy Halloween from Sam and Lily xoxox
Let us know what you think of our works of art!