Painting Presents

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front recently and for this I’m sorry!

As usual, I’ve not been twiddling my thumbs but painting two big projects, one of which being a present for some friends. They had a little boy last August called Ben and I know it’s what you’re supposed to say when friends have children, but he really is gorgeous. When he first came home we took him some name blocks for his new room.

I said on the run up to Christmas I didn’t want to over do the handmade present thing, so we hunted the highstreet and online for the perfect present. This turned out to be a lot more difficult than we first thought.

Quite often I will imagine a present for someone before I’ve seen it. This isn’t wise to do because what you imagine, nine times out of ten doesn’t actually exist and therefore can’t be purchased! Excellent start.

Me and Ed spent many evenings discussing what we could buy and ruling everything out just as quickly as suggesting it. We got side-tracked and started talking about things we had when we were young – favourite toys or games that kept us amused and amazed for hours. Luckily our friends escaped many childhood remembered treasures including a noisy penguin steps and slide game which, oddly enough I was reunited with by my sister!

Another memory was being measured against a door frame and the date being scribbled on to show how much we had grown.

Light bulb moment. A height chart! And what better image for little Ben to be measured against? Big Ben of course. So knowing this very specific present wouldn’t exist, it was off to Homebase to purchase a tall piece of wood and lots of paint.

The actual image took quite a bit of sketching and measuring and even more measuring, but eventually Big Ben was taking shape.

Now it’s with it’s happy new owners and waiting for Ben to grow!

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Spotty Elephants

When I first started Bumbleblue, my only products were painted canvases. I was at uni at the time, and had a part time job in a gorgeous gift shop called the Bay Tree. As well as lovely bits including scented candles, jewellery and cushions, there was a corner filled with the cutest presents and toys for babies and toddlers.

On trips to gift fairs, we were always looking for new products that were a little bit different and special. The Bay Tree was on a small cobbled street away from the main street and all the shops on it were individual boutiques. On one particular trip to the Autumn Fair, we were pottering around all the gorgeous stands when we came accross some a company who made picture canvases for children’s rooms. The idea was perfect – small canvases with a colourful picture that could also be personalised with any childs name.

We both really wanted to like them, however the selection of images they had was quite small. If you had a little boy the only pictures for you (unless you particularly wanted a ballerina called Steve) were a big football or a dog. Also, everything was outlined with glitter. Now, I’m not some sort of anti-glitter, anti-pretty grinch, I do like the occasional sparkle – but this was just glitter overload!

Over a few cups of tea (naturally how all brain activity gets triggered) I started to sketch ideas for what I thought would be cute designs for children’s bedroom artwork. I worked on these for a few weeks, sketching around uni and work. With a few designs and a suplplier of canvases that didnt break the bank, I asked Abi if we could try them in the shop. Abi was a fantastic boss, and very good with the business side of things. She was really encouraging, so with my arty skills and her business mind, soon the little Bumbleblue canvas collection was a reality.

It was such a great feeling knowing that people wanted my artwork to put onto their walls. As well as at the shop, I started taking my canvases to craft fairs, where they proved to be a hit (especially with new mums and grandmas!)

It was only a matter of time before the idea really caught on and very soon after, alot of companies were springing up that offered peronalised art for children (and the excessive use of glitter still annoyed me!) At this point, to carry on being a bit different, I started to introduce the little wooden bits to my collection. My online shops today (Folksy and Misi) just have my wooden items in, and I only take these to the craft fairs I do now. Every once in a while though, I’ll get a canvas order. It’s always nice to go back to them, so when I was asked to paint this for a new baby present, it was quite enjoyable to do.

I do sometimes wonder if I should bring the canvases back and focus on them a bit more, but another part of me thinks that for the time being, I’m happy to keep experimenting with new ideas.

Treats for Tots

A really close friend of ours is about to have a baby boy. Of course I want to make her something special myself, but on many a late night wander on the internet I have stumbled upon some gorgeous and completely unique present ideas for  little tots.

I couldn’t keep such fabulous treats to myself, so here are just a few that I found…

When you start looking, it’s amazing how many talented and cleaver people there are out there!