Beautiful Bureau

I love family furniture hand-me-downs. We grew up in a house filled with furniture passed on from grandparents, family friends and more, and for me this is what makes a home cosy and familiar. As well as being unique pieces of furniture, they’re also little links to the past, filled with memories of where they came from.

My parents have a beautiful grandfather clock in their dining room which came from our grandma’s house. He seems to have his own personality and is incredibly fussy about where he stands. When my grandma moved from her house into a bungalow, he refused to tell the right time. Eventually (after many months of confusing my gran) my Dad took him apart, moved him to our house and carefully put him back together again. Obviously he likes it there as since then, as long as you keep him wound up, he tells the right time.

Now we have our own house a few pieces of furniture have been passed onto us to start a new chapter. A little set of shelves my Uncle made sit in our living room, a chest of drawers from my grans house looks perfect in our bedroom and now a bureau from my auntie and uncles house has found a home in our hallway.

It was looking a little bit tired and sorry for itself covered in thick black varnish. Out came the paint stripper to try and cheer it up a bit. Our initial plan was to paint it, but as soon as I started to scrape off the tar-like varnish I knew I couldn’t cover it up with paint. The wood was a warm colour and the grain running through it was amazing.

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I’m so happy with the end result and I’m sure it will be a long standing member of our family of hand-me-down funiture.


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!

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!


Butterflies Welcome

The sun has actually tried peeping out in the last two days, and to encourage it a bit more I bought a flower plant for the garden. Not being green fingered, I can’t tell you what it’s called, but it’s purple, pretty and looks fab in my pot at the bottom of the garden!

My new blooms got me feeling creative and I went in search of something new….and found these;

Perfect! They’re huge, heavy bits of slate, and to be honest, when I first saw them it was a case of

“…I want them but I don’t know what for…”

I’m constantly doing this. I’ve got a cupboard in the room where I paint and it’s full of random bits of this, and mixed bags of that, just in case…

Luckily my dad gave me a lifetime supply of vintage tabacco tins so my collection of buttons, beads, ribbons etc. are kept tidy (and even labelled)

After studying my new purchases for a few days, instead of being religated to the ‘cupboard of all things waiting to be used’ my new slate labels made it to my desk and the paint came out!

I’ve never painted on slate before, and it’s not the easiest! The surface isn’t flat so all the letters are slightly wobbly round the edges – something that over the last few years I have never allowed. Being a perfectionist, if it wasn’t right, it was sanded down and started again. (My mum would chuckle reading that!)

Pretty chuffed with these…

and of course, with my new little flower that inspired the whole thing.