A place for everything...

...and everything in it's place. It's the time of year for resolutions, for recognising flaws and for raising the bar. I am so desperate to make changes in my life. I need to be more organised and more tidy. Since Merry Berry and the Little Panda opened, I have been feeling increasingly like one of those plate spinners who used to appear on Record Breakers. They would set hundreds of plates spinning on top of sticks and then dash round madly trying to ensure that none of the plates stopped spinning and fell to the floor. I love my shop but I really need to become more organised at balancing running the business and running my home. I seem to have so many opportunities opening up but I can't take advantage of them until I'm sure that they won't compromise my number one priority, which is taking care of my children and my home. So I am determined to get myself more organised and get more accomplished each day.

Wellie Rack (£19.50) from The pine Studio

With two small children it sometimes feels like the cleaning, washing and cooking never ends but I am hoping that improving our routine will help. In this search for the secret of domestic harmony, I came across the Organised Housewife blog and I think I'm in love. It is a beautiful blog full of inspirational photos and quotes and full of actualy useful tips and techniques to get your house organised and keep on top of the chores and clutter. I bought the cleaning checklist from the online store and I love it. It tells you what tasks to do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually - perfect for a procrastinator like me. I probably spent more time trying to decide what to clean first than I did actually cleaning. The checklist prints out beautifully (in a choice of colours) and I have put acetates in front of mine in my file so that I can just mark off my tasks with a whiteboard pen and then wipe clean as needed rather than print more checklists off.

Storage Basket Tutorial (£2.50 charity donation) from Helen Rawlinson

The other steps in my plan to take over the world organise my life are:

  • Learn to drive
  • Cook faster (I was given a copy of Jamie's 15 Minute Meals and a food processor for Christmas). I'm also planning on trying the 5:2 diet (if you haven't heard of this yet, this blog has an explanation and some yummy recipes).
  • Mind control - well not really but I've bought a hypnotherapy CD that is supposed to make me more organised and tidy. I'll keep you posted on whether it works or not. Currently I'm doubtful as I am rarely able to stay awake much after the warning not to use while operating heavy machinery - as soon as they say 'relax' I'm gone!
  • A more focused business plan for 2013.
I'd love to hear about your New Year's resolutions and any resources you've found to help you accomplish them.

The images from this post are all items available to buy from Folksy - just click on the image to see the item in the Folksy store.

Carrier Bag Holder (£5.99) from Cush-n-Craft
Hair Clip Holder from Merry Berry and the Little Panda

Bunny Hop

The children have been ill this week. Not very ill but enough to mean too much time spent indoors, too many tantrums and too little sleep.  The result of this has been a complete loss of bounce from all members of the family.  It really has been difficult to identify even the smallest of springs in our steps.  Maybe that is why I’ve been sewing rabbits - little, pointless, whimsical bunnies from scraps of felt and linen.  They are filled with lavender and the little brown one has a secret little message stitched on his bottom.

By the way, the copy of Anne of Green Gables in the top photo is actually a beautifully made notebook from the Folksy shop Dab and a Dash.  I couldn’t resist buying the journal when I saw it on Folksy as Anne of Green Gables is one of my favourite books of all time.  I was completely obsessed with it when I was a child.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before...

I have to show you my other little Folksy purchase too, this adorable little fox from the lovely Natalie at NOfkants Curios (if you ever need a gift this is the place to go to Natalie has an amazing range of items).
I’m going to go over and have a look at the other HandmadeMonday blogs now.  So I’ll leave you with a picture of a business card holder I made using one of my Dorset buttons.

Dorset Buttons

I've not had much time for doing any new designs recently as I've been busy with orders and my time management skills are practically non-existent (hence the fact I've just eaten my evening meal and it's eleven o'clock in the evening) but I've found a lovely little bit of crafting that is quick and easy to do when I need a break from making stock for my shop. Dorset Buttons! You can read all about the history of the buttons and find instructions on how to make them on this website (I didn't actually use these instructions but they look very clear).

A Google image search for Dorset buttons results in an amazing selection of styles and colours- I especially like the beaded ones in this blog post. When I was at little I remember making lots of the ones that have tiny bouquets of flowers in the middle (like these ones) and it was finding one of these buttons when I was visiting my parents recently that started me making them again.  Why not have a go - they are very addictive though...

Right, now I'm going to go and look at all the other Handmade Monday blogs.  Why not pop over and take a look too?

I'll leave you with a photo of one of the hair clips I've listed recently in my shop.  

My first Handmade Monday

This is my first ‘Handmade Monday’ blog post. For anyone who hasn't heard of it, Handmade Monday is run by Wendy at 1st Unique Gifts and is basically a link party – everyone writes a post about something they have made and then they share their links on Wendy’s blog. It’s another way of creating a community in the blog world and I'm looking forward to reading the blogs of the others who join in each week.

This week I’ve got two gadget cases to show. A Union Jack one for an iphone and a more girly one for a Kindle. I’m hoping that the Union Jack design is a more masculine design than my usual ones. I find it much easier designing things for women and children and my sketchbooks are full of pictures for future product ideas but when it comes to men I seem to have a mental block. I’d love to know what sort of designs you think appeal to men! 

As well as fitting in a bit of sewing we’ve also been doing some cooking. I love cooking – I’m not an expert and I don’t really cook anything too complicated but I enjoy it and for the most part I make sure my children are eating home cooked food. Unfortunately, recently my children seem to be going through a fussy stage. It’s so disheartening. I hate going to the effort of cooking and then scraping piles of food into the bin. So I’ve decided to try and get the children more involved in the cooking process and hopefully get them more interested in the food! I was wandering round Lakeland (something I try to resist doing too often as it has a detrimental effect on both my bank balance and my cupboard space) when I came across sale copy of the book which accompanies the Children’s series ‘I Can Cook’. I’m not usually a fan of children’s cooking programmes as mostly they just involve arranging the food in some complex way to look like something (a car, train, teddy bear) but actually just make it look totally unappetising and impossible to eat. This book, however, seems to have quite nice simple recipes, with healthy ingredients, and child friendly instructions. 

 We made the sausage kebabs (swapping the yucky precooked cocktail sausages for proper ones!) and they were actually really tasty. The idea of using rosemary stalks as the skewer was brilliant and I’m planning on using it with vegetable kebabs as an accompaniment next time I have people round for a meal! 

Folksy Friday - Make and Sell Blog Ring

This week I set up a new blog ring.  I've returned to blogging after a very long break and things have changed quite a bit.  There are lots of ways of finding and following blogs but it seems harder to find the sort of blog communities that seemed to be around when I first blogged.  I often come across a lovely blog only to forget where it was and how I came across it.  So I'm hoping the blog ring will make it easier to find blogs that all share similar theme and become a regular reader of those blogs.  The ring is open to anyone who makes and sells handmade items.

We've already got quite a few blogs signed up but obviously the more we get the more fun it will be so please join!  Click here to find out all about it.

Anyway, to celebrate the new blog ring I've chosen items from some of the shops who have activate blogs in the ring for my Folksy Friday.  Click on the images to be taken to the item in their Folksy shops.  There are quite a few blogs in the ring now so I'll do another showcase tomorrow so that everyone is included!

Hannelore's Atelier Helen Limbrick Say It Jaymonkey Slowlane Made Handmade by Edwina

Clockwise from the top left Hannelore's Atelier - Helen Limbrick - Say It - Handmade by Edwina - Slowlane Made - Jaysmonkey