It’s been a while…

It’s been a very long while since my last blog post!

My excuse? We’ve just bought our very first house – what a journey of emotions! You try to take it all in your stride and not let anything bother you. You can but try not to get too excited or anxious about every bit of paperwork or survey. Tell yourself this isn’t your dream house, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get it and there’s probably another better one out there for you anyway.

But who are you trying to kid? Of course you’ll be gutted if your offer gets rejected and probably cry for weeks over it too!

Luckily tissues weren’t required as somehow an early offer of ours was accepted and we’re happily swinging our feet from the first rung of the property ladder.

Our initial plan was to not do anything straight away. To live in the house and do little bits at a time….but there was alot ( I mean alot) of gold flock wallpaper which is very hard to ignore.

As we all know, one thing leads to another and when I realised there were original terracotta tiles hidden under layers and layers of thick paint that was it. I was off with a scraper and a huge pot of paint stripper!

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A bit of scraping and peeling is very rewarding! We’ve even treated ourselves to a big pot of Farrow and Ball paint to go on the walls and not a Bumbleblue creation.

A little highlight for me is also having my very own space in the loft to really spread Bumbleblue out a bit.

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We’re a long way from finished but we’re in and settled and loving this journey or turning an empty building into our own cosy home.

 

 

Dolly and Peggy Daydream

I think it’s fair to say I’ve fallen head first into 2013!

Following a fantastically busy Christmas, I’ve been trying to keep on top of things and make Bumbleblue organised. As soon as the festivities were packed up in their boxes and back in the loft, I was designing possible new Spring products.

There are few things that really relax me, but one is curling up in my chair, cup of tea in hand, film on in the background, perhaps some left over Christmas chocs while sketching and scribbling away. I don’t always know what I want to end up with, sometimes just sitting and scribbling anything can bring ideas together – not always concluding in a Eureka moment but I can think of worst ways to spend an afternoon!

Last year I started to develop a few garden products, but I think I missed the season and came in a bit late. This year I’ve started earlier and I hope to have some cracking new bits and pieces for when (and if) we see some sunshine.

Ironic really that I’ve been painting herb labels and visualising Spring while looking out over a garden covered with about 10 inches of snow!

One of my new creations was actually something my sister and I used to make when we were younger, Dolly peg dolls.

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Our mum had a peg basket full of dolly pegs. Unfortunately she kept them within easy reach of us and our paints….It still makes me smile when I think of her washing being held onto the line by a handful of colourful characters. From this little trip down memory lane I grabbed a few pegs and started to paint them.

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A short time later looking at me from the desk were Dolly and Peggy, and I can’t think of a sweeter way of keeping your string/ twine tidy!

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Spring has Sprung

We had a real taste of Spring last week. The sun shined, the sky was blue and even the daffs in the garden made an appearance.

Encouraged by my new seed cards, I planted some sunflowers, sweet pea and foxglove seeds to encourage the bumble bees and butterflies to visit when they flower.

Well, after looking out the window this morning I think my new little seedlings will need blankets and any visiting bees will need to have their rain coats on!

Snow in April? A little odd, but I’m determined to keep a Spring-like mind. I headed over to Folksy to have a look at Spring themed products and have found some gorgeous things;

All beautifully hand made – pop over and have a browse!

Greetings from Bumbleblue

I love buying cards – Birthday, good luck, new home or just because.

It’s amazing how picky you can become when most cards are only really appreciated for a short time and then added to the recycling pile of papers. I’m probably a bit sentimental, but I’ve got cards that I’ve saved – some because of the occasion they were sent and some because of the sender.

Most of my 18th and 21st birthday cards are kept safely all together along with some new home cards from when Ed and I moved in together. Handwritten messages from friends and family are little links to the past and looking back through them always makes me smile.

This all said I’m an absolute nightmare when shopping for cards to give to people. It has to be one that I like and would be happy to receive. Then it needs to be what I think the person I’m sending it would like to receive, obviously! Finally, due to the similar strict process of present buying (don’t get me started) it needs to be a reasonable price. This all sounds pretty simple, but any occasion I need to buy a card it’s usually quite an ordeal and tea and some sort of chocolate therapy is required.

For quite a few birthdays I’ve ended up making my own cards after trawling from shop to shop without so much as a sniff of a ‘nice’ card. Creating a little collection of my own was a good excuse to wander round boutique card shops for inspiration. Alot of my ideas came from things I’d made in the past and a few of the gorgeous shops we had visited in York.

A new letter stamp set has already been worth its weight in gold;

 

 

 

Compared to my usual wooden products, cards are quite different, but I wanted all the cards to look and feel like the rest of my work. With the help of some extra tiny wooden shapes, they were given the Bumbleblue touch.

 

 

 

 

All packaged up, my first little lot are ready for my craft event next week – fingers crossed they will go down well!

 

 

 

A long weekend in York

I had a full weekend of completely neglecting my work – and it was fabulous!

Me and my sister whisked our partners up to York for a long weekend of fun. Both of their Birthdays are at the beginning of February so it seemed like a good excuse to get everyone together and a place that always gets suggested is York, and it’s easy to see why.

York is beautiful. From the buildings to the streets to the shops. I turned into a complete tourist and took photos of practically everything, including the boutique little shops we went in!

Our hotel was just a short walk from all the shops and pubs and one I would highly recommend. As well as the staff being beyond friendly and it’s convenient location, just look at the building…

Four poster beds and the whole caboodle!

We parked the boys in a pub while me and Zoe explored the cobbled streets jam packed with gorgeous boutique shops. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many unique and individual places to shop and we hurried into all of them, sneakily buying presents for each other and moving onto the next. Pictures, paintings and prints in various frames filled walls while cubby holes and shelves were crammed with candle holders, cushions, vintage treasures and more. This shop was a particular favourite of mine;

The cards were displayed in old wooden drawers hung on the walls and homely goodies were scattered around in crates and baskets. A wonky staircase leads you upstairs to find beautiful dressers filled with plush toys, wooden gifts and more cards. I loved the old roll top bath filled with cushions! Another favourite of mine was Priestley’s at No. 36 which was filled to bursting with antiques, gifts, china all of which I could have quite happily bought home. The lady in the shop was lovely and happily abandoned her dusting to tell us about the shop and her history with antiques.

We headed up to the Shambles to find even more amazing shops and some beautiful streets;

After this ‘hard’ days shopping we joined the boys for some well deserved refreshments and sat in an aptly named room…

As much as I say I abandoned my work, I’ve arrived home with some excellent new contacts (business cards a plenty!) and my head is full of fresh ideas and projects.

A thoroughly fabulous and enjoyable weekend had by all!

Playing with Clay

I was right – my holiday isn’t a holiday at all, and if I’m honest I don’t mind too much.

My website is online and there’s a few products on there to browse through, I’ve got some cards designed and made ready for Valentines day and I’ve been experimenting with some new products and materials. This afternoon my coffee table was covered with clay! I remember doing a workshop at school with clay and I absolutely loved it, but that was a long time ago and the itch was still there to try and create a Bumbleblue product in clay.

I had no idea what I was really doing, so decided to start small and simple. Using my hairspray as a rolling pin (yeah, didn’t think about how to flatten it out)  I concentrated on making some little love hearts.

I found the metal letter stamps on Ebay and I already love them. It’s so quick when I’m used to hand painting everything. This was instant results and I’m really happy with them – even half finished. Now I’ve just got to wait for them to dry before I can add finishing touches.

If they work, I’ll update you!

Bee My Valentine

I’m slowly learning, when you hand make your own wares you have to always be a few months ahead.

I was baffled when people on Folksy were saying they had started making products for Christmas…in June! Don’t get me wrong, I’m Mrs Christmas, but I couldn’t imagine painting snowflakes without some festive music – and believe me, Ed would be less than impressed if I was blaring out Jingle Bells for more than one month a year.

Apparently I’m a bit late already for Valentines Day, so I’ve had a little assembly line on the go to include a few loved up goodies, especially for the one area I always struggle to shop for. Cards.

Every year on the run up to Valentines Day, I wander round card shops picking up cards reading super soppy verses and seeing far too many ‘horny devils’ for my taste. I like nice cards, and I’ve had a go at making some simple and stylish designs.

I know not everyone will like them, but at least I will have one ready to give to Ed!

Happy New Year

The festive season is over for another year, and what a season it was!

I really got stuck into Bumbleblue, both online in my Folksy shop and out and about at craft fairs. Lots of sales, positive feedback and new contacts can only be good news for the future and I intend to make the most of it!

I’ve never really been one to make new years resolutions. Probably because I’ve never decided on anything to stick to or give up! This year it seems a little different, and I’ve got a spark of enthusiasm for getting Bumbleblue very organised (I’ve even bought some file dividers, oh yes)

It’s funny that most of my new ideas come to me when I’m busy making orders up, or getting ready for a craft fair. New projects and products flood into my head and of course, there’s no time to do anything about them there and then and usually, I end up forgetting them.

Towards the end of last year, I made an effort to make a note of those random ideas and keep them for when I had some extra time. Well, I’ve got a week and a half to let some of these ‘forgotten’ ideas come out and shine.

As is always the case, I’ve planned to do so much in my time off, I don’t think ‘having a rest’ will feature much! The excitement is keeping me spurred on, and I can’t wait to see my new website up and running! I’m not at all very adventurous when it comes to technology so I’m completely surprising myself and dare I say it learning something new was quite satisfying.

I know we’re well into January now, but Happy New Year and I hope all your plans for 2012 get off to a good start!

Getting Ready for Christmas on Betty’s Farm

It’s been busy,busy,busy at the Bumbleblue desk!

The paint has been flowing and the Christmas songs have been playing – I’m in full on festive mode now. It’s difficult not to be when you’re surrounded by holly, Christmas trees and snowflakes. All my new decorations were carefully packed away ready for my next crafting event. This time I was at Betty’s Farm in Willington. It’s a chicken farm will a shop on site selling their own eggs as well as other goodies. We were in a marquee in the main yard which was next to the chicken fields. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many chickens! As we arrived, they all flocked to the gates to say hello.

…I think instead they were expecting us to feed them. No such luck chickens, the first job was setting up my table.

Then the second job was to get a cup of tea. I’ve not done a fair outside in the winter before and it was freezing! As usual, there were lots of hand made goodies and treats including unusual but yummy sounding varieties of home made soup.

All day were kept amused by the clucks and grubbings of the chickens outside – one of which decided to pop in and have a look around. Amongst all the chickens I saw my first robin since last Winter. It must be getting close to Christmas! Talking of robins, my newest little additions were very popular;

The bunting I made to decorate my table was the first thing to sell and luckily the lady who bought it also had a stall and I was able to keep it strung on mine until the end of the day.

Some more new Christmas decorations were also being admired. I still have my eye on the ‘Ho ho ho’ blocks but I can’t keep everything I make, as much as I could find a home for it all!

So even though the weather was a touch on the nippy side, we were kept warm with hot cups of mulled wine non-alcoholic of course.

If you haven’t been to Betty’s Farm yet, it’s definately worth a visit. As well as eggs, the farm shop is brimming with locally sourced cakes, bread, pickles and pies. In another shed next to the shop is stocked with gorgeous homeware and garden accessories.

I was happy to find a few Christmas presents in here and I know I’ll be back for some more bits for our house!

 

Boo-tiful Fair

It’s been years since I carved a pumpkin for Halloween, but in the spirit of the season I took one along for my table at Bakewell Craft and Gift Fair.

He ended up being quite a jolly looking pumpkin – could have been the bottle of red we shared as I carved him. Buddy came to investigate when I’d finished and wasn’t at all impressed with the new visitor. He kept rolling him over so he couldn’t see his face (either this, or another after effect of the wine). Obviously not a Halloween fan, which is slightly ironic for a black cat.

He looked quite happy sat on the chair at the end of my table. Usually I only do one day at the fair, but I decided to try a whole weekend. Fellow stall holders around me were lovely, and there was even a hedgehog called Thomas on the other side to me. Very cute, although I lost a bit of my glee when asked if I would like to feed him some dried grubs….mmmm.

I had such a great day on Saturday and had so many compliments on my table. I can’t say for sure that my head hasn’t swollen a bit. One lady ummed and arrred over which decoration to buy, only to tell me she would buy one now, and some more on the way out. She made a quick trip round the room and purchased the rest of the decs before she left!

My new bird decorations I only finished on the morning of the fair were the best sellers of the weekend – and I think I need to get some more quick!

Sunday was a bit of a quieter day, but that gave me chance to have a nosey round the other stalls. As is always the case, I find alot of tables at craft fairs aren’t filled with things people have sewn, baked or painted themselves, but with things they have bought to sell on. It’s such a shame when there are so many talented people out there – but I won’t get started on that (I’ll never shut up!)

I did find something I wanted to bring home. Dollypeg Delights from Belper makes gorgeous rustic and country home gifts. All the products are lovingly hand sewn using beautiful fabric and many are filled with fabulous scents like lavender and festive spices. This little chap was just too cute to resist and came with a yummy recipe for gingerbread! Ooh, another baking session perhaps?