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Rainbow button necklace

I ‘borrowed’ a little bit of inspiration from nature today!

This awesome double rainbow that we could see from our window after the storms here on Sunday…

…made me think about getting the buttons out again!  After a lot of playing (and a bit of help from Daisy junior), I came up with a colourful variation of the Button Daisy necklace I made last year, and a bracelet to match.  What do you think?


Rainbow Button Bracelet

A shift of focus…

A thousand apologies… once again I have left my blog unattended for far too long!

With an incredibly busy Christmas season for Rainbow Daisy and a hectic Christmas and New Year for the family, it was time for a break.  I have to confess that I had fully intended to write something to this effect on the blog before I disappeared, but right before the last craft fair of 2011 I, Mr Daisy, and even little Daisy Junior, were struck with a really horrid bug/flu/call-it-what-you-will-but-it-was nasty, and we were all just kind of ‘surviving right through until the New Year.  And then, all of a sudden, we are in April 2012!  Where did that time go?

Well… for me, I’ve mostly been busy learning to be a full-time mum!  Last year I was working on Rainbow Daisy while my son was in nursery for 2 days a week.  However, it hit me towards the end of the year (just after I’d written my last post on here in fact) that the time I was spending working was time with my son that I would never get back.  The weekends spent at craft fairs were especially hard, because I felt that should have been family time, and I felt that I missed out on doing a lot of the ‘Christmassy’ things with him because I was so busy with Rainbow Daisy.  Suddenly I realised that although there will be next Christmas, and the next, etc, etc, he would never be 2 years old again.  This was the first year that he started to understand about Christmas, the first year he ‘met Santa’, and the first year he was able to sing the carols and enjoy all the build up.  This felt like huge stuff that I was either missing out on or did not have the time or energy to be enthused about because I was working so hard.

So I made a decision.  I didn’t want to miss that stuff.  I took him out of nursery, and decided that Rainbow Daisy would have to take a back seat for the time being.  It will continue, and I do have lots of plans, but for now it will be a hobby rather than my sole focus.  Of course I want to assure customers that this will not affect the service on the website (I’ve even given in and got myself an iPhone to make sure I don’t miss any orders or enquiries!) but it does mean that I will do less craft fairs this year and I will continue to be as erratic as ever with keeping my blog up to date!  My little boy will start pre-school in September, and I fully intend to devote more time to Rainbow Daisy once he is there.  I hope you can be patient with me and that some of you will stick around even though it’s a bit quieter than usual around here, but if not, I understand!

Forgive me, but my little boy is growing up so fast it feels like water slipping through my fingers, and each day I’m busy trying to cup my hands together to catch a drop, in a vain attempt to make time stand still, or at least to preserve the memory for as long as I possibly can…

One year on

So… this ‘Vogue’ thing has made me sit up and take stock of my little business here.  I’ve just realised that it’s roughly a year since I started with Rainbow Daisy.  I’m not sure of the exact timing – it’s all a bit of a blur – but I’ve found a diary entry from 1st Oct 2010, which records me saying: “I’m going to be brave and book a craft fair – just to see how this thing goes”… and Rainbow Daisy’s first craft fair was on 30 November 2010.  So somewhere in the middle I must have got myself a bit organised and priced my stock, found a fair, planned the table display, and bored everyone silly with fretting about it all!

Sometimes, when I’m right in the middle of the busy-ness of it all, and I’ve got so many ideas in my head about where I want it to go next, and how far off those goals seem to be, it’s hard to recognise how far the business has come.  Before that first craft fair I was nervous as hell.  I had made plenty of stuff before for friends and family, but to actually go and try to sell it to strangers meant opening up all my vulnerabilities and inviting those strangers to trample all over me, if they so wished.  And I didn’t even do it on my own!  Back then I was only able to try this stuff because I had my sister, Marie, alongside me (thank you Marie).  She was selling her gorgeous button flowers and felt brooches alongside my jewellery, and we were able to hold each other’s hand as we each struggled with those very quiet first couple of fairs :-/

However, here we are.  Marie has since decided that this life is not for her (at least not for now), and I am going it alone  (although I have to say here that she does still help out with proof-reading most of my rambles before thay get published).  I feel like it’s been a HUGE learning curve so far, but yet it is a curve which I have still got a long, long way to travel along.   Not only has my jewellery developed in it’s own way, the business has also, and I have done so much more this year than I ever thought possible when I tentatively booked that first craft fair.  I have learnt loads about marketing, selling, pricing, presentation, websites, and the competitiveness and sheer hard work of an ‘industry’ that from the outside looked so inviting!  I was lucky enough to find Victoria and Amy of V&A Events early on and have exhibited with them several times this year (will be at another one this weekend), and I’ve met some lovely people through those events (not least the girls themselves).  I’ve also had some really successful, and really fun jewellery parties, and I’m so grateful to everyone who has invited me into their home to sell the jewellery to them and their friends.

Selling, whether at craft fairs, at parties, or even online, is, for me, the hardest thing ever.  My serious lack of self-confidence is forever urging me to just run and hide, or to give the jewellery away because I daren’t ask to be paid for it.  I have had to use various confidence-building techniques on my way to fairs before now, like singing along to Glee at the top of my voice in the car (the shame!), and I am still shocked, overwhelmed, honoured, and embarrassed all at the same time when anyone compliments the jewellery, or (gasp) buys it!  But, somehow, I’ve done it.  And for me, that’s huge.

Anyway, I’m sure the path ahead will be equally exciting/frightening (if it isn’t then I’ll get bored!), and I hope you’ll keep me company along the way.   I’ve got so many ideas buzzing around in my head about what I want to do, including:

  • new directions with the jewellery: new materials, new techniques, and different styles
  • lots of other (non-jewellery!) creative ideas – I just have to find the time!
  • using the business to help more with fundraising for charity and local causes – I’ve done a bit this year with exhibiting at Realitas Community Arts Centre and one fair that I had the chance to do, but would like to do more
  • business stuff – would love to feel like I was more ‘in control’

…so watch this space!

After all that I want to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to all my family and friends for their support in all of this.  For listening to all my worrying/moaning/decision-making/celebrations/tears and still continuing with the encouragement.  And of course to my long-suffering husband, who has, apart from all of the above, also put some silly hours in recently to build my new website in his spare time.  Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.  There’s a long way to go but I hope I can make you proud x

A quick hello…

Sorry it’s been so quiet on here lately folks (again).  Keep watching this space though, there’s been lots of exciting stuff going on, including work on some lovely new photos and a flashy new website which we should have up soon (I hope!).  What was supposed to be a fairly quiet summer with time to catch up ready for Christmas has actually been a bit manic, and my creative spirit got a bit, well squished.  But, this morning I have been spurred on by the sunshine and I’ve been creating some lovely chunky beady things, in gorgeous autumn colours – I promise to get the camera out again and post some pics soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a few pics I took a couple of weeks ago.  Someone asked me once if my son ever tried to ‘help’ with my jewellery making. Here he is doing just that…. and even modelling it for me too!


The wisdom of age… or not

I wrote about the inspiration for my button bracelets in one of my first ever blog posts.  My granny always used to have a huge box of buttons that I would play with as a kid, and when she passed away I inherited her collection.  A couple of months ago when I was visiting my grandad, he asked whether I still had her buttons, and what I was doing with them.  Surprised that he had remained blissfully unaware of my new found obsession with buttons (I’m sure I’ve bored everyone else on the planet to tears with it), I vowed to take one of my button charm bracelets with me next time I paid him a visit.

And so I did, last weekend.  I took this bracelet, as this is the one I’m most attached to and I guessed that he might remember the big blue buttons from years ago.

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I was right, he did, and he commented on how much Granny had liked them.  And then, in true grumpy old man style, he then he went on to say “Well what a waste of all those buttons.  Buttons are for holding shirts and coats together, not for wearing on your wrist”!!!

I tried in vain to appeal to his ‘waste not, want not’ way of thinking, by suggesting that there were so many buttons that I may as well make use of them somehow, but there was no give.  He had said his piece, I was dismissed.

So, I consider myself told!  Whatever was I thinking?  Let’s all stick our buttons back in their dark and dinghy boxes and tuck them away in a cupboard for our grandchildren to inherit!  Heaven forbid we should celebrate their colours and wear them with pride!

I comfort myself with the idea that somewhere up there my Granny is pulling a face behind his back and saying “don’t listen to him, daft old thing”.

Love you, Grandad 🙂

Lost without my phone….

I re-read the following blog after first bashing it out in an email and realised that I was referring to ‘my husband’ way too much, sounding way to old-fashioned for me!  So I have decided, since it’s likely to be recurring problem, that he and my son need nicknames.  Therefore, from here on in, I shall refer to them as ‘Mr Daisy’, and ‘Daisy Junior’ (thereby making me ‘Mrs Daisy!). Anyway, enjoy the ramble…”

A few weeks ago I did the Race for Life in Cambridge.   I was late leaving the house in the morning (as usual), and in the mad panic to get to the start of the race on time I managed to leave my mobile phone sitting on my bed at home.  Fine, who needs a phone when running a race anyway?  Okay, so I might have planned to time my run using the stopwatch on the phone, but Mr Daisy lent me his watch to do that job.  And I arranged to meet my cheerleading team (aka Mr D and Daisy Junior) at the end of the race in a very obvious meeting place, so no problem, who needs a phone?  What did we do before everyone had mobiles anyway?  What could possibly go wrong?However, the Race for Life being the huge event that it is, there was some confusion over exactly when I would have crossed the start line, so my ‘support team’ missed me running past because they weren’t expecting to see me just yet.  And then, Mr Daisy overestimated (how dare he?!) how long it would take me to get to the finish line, and so missed my finish as well.  And eventually they got there and they waited…. and waited, to see me finish, while I had disappeared off to the pre-arranged meeting point and stood there waiting like a lemon, glowing like a belisha beacon, and getting just a little bit impatient.

I had no reason to be impatient, other than the fact that my son had to get back to a friend’s birthday party that afternoon.  I had just run a (for me) fairly quick 5k, I had my stretches to do, the sun was shining, I had some water and an orange kindly donated by the R4L team, and I could have just been resting and chilling out while waiting for them to turn up at said meeting place.

But no, numerous times my right hand automatically reached for my non-existent back pocket (where phone usually lives when I’m wearing my jeans) looking like a bit of a nervous twitch.  I chastised myself more than you can possibly imagine for being so stupid as to leave my phone at home.  I found myself desperately thinking of some other way to get in touch with my husband, and looked enviously around at everyone else casually talking or texting, or checking emails on their phones while I stood there ‘disabled’ by my lack of telecommunication.  I was frustrated that not only could I not get in touch with him and tell him to ‘hurry up, we’ve got things to do’, but also that while I was waiting for him I was unable to use the time to catch up on texts or emails.  What a dreadful waste of time! What was I supposed to do? By the time they eventually did turn up (after I had borrowed a random stranger’s phone and phoned, only to get through to Mr Daisy’s voicemail), I was grumpy, to say the least.

I was reminded of this today when I read this blog post by Jonathan Fields.  I used to relish the opportunity to sit outside and just ‘be’.  If the sun was shining, so much the better.  And if there was an event going on where thousands of women were taking part to raise money for a good cause, then what an atmosphere to sit and soak up.  But not any more.  In that time where I was ‘without phone’, I could only think of how much more ‘efficient’ I would be if I had my phone with me.  It seems these days I am so used to being able to arrange, cancel or rearrange meetings just by typing a few words into my phone, that I can no longer remember what it was like to sit and wait for something to happen.  I used to be so aghast when my husband (who was one of the first to embrace mobile technology) would check his texts and emails several times in a day.  Back then (and it wasn’t so long ago) I could not understand what could possibly be so urgent that he needed to check his phone at every opportunity.  And heaven help him if he thought he saw an opportunity while mid-conversation with me! ‘Why can’t it wait?’  I used to ask.

But now, I have fallen into the same trap.  Since starting work on Rainbow Daisy (and inheriting Mr Daisy’s old iphone), I fill every spare moment with checking emails, facebook, texts.  It’s often the first thing I do when I wake up, and the last thing I do when I go to bed.  When pushing Daisy Junior’s pushchair into town, I’m usually texting.  I check my emails while I cook his tea.  When sitting at my desk making jewellery, I invariably have my laptop on next to me.  It is a real shock for me to realise that I have become what I used to moan about.  How did I get brainwashed into thinking that everything would fall apart if I didn’t respond to an email instantly?  ….

After all, where is the space for thought if we fill up our every spare moment with other people’s thoughts and requests?  Where is the time for contemplation?  For inspiration?  I totally identified with what Jonathan calls the Zeigarnik Effect, which describes how our minds become ‘full-up’ with all these open-ended conversations and ideas that are floating around on email and text and tweets.  I am really feeling like I’ve got way, way too many ‘balls in the air’ at the moment and just cannot find time or space to think things through clearly, and this idea goes some way to explain what the problem is!I’ve decided I need to ban the phone from the bedroom, at least,  And maybe there needs to be certain times during the day or week when it is banished too.  I’m going to work on it.  I am so keen to keep in touch with customers and potential customers, and provide a great service, that I am squashing the creativity that got me to this position in the first place.  I’m sharing this with you in case you are reading this when you should be paying attention to what’s going on in your world right now…. I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs a reality check 🙂

Anyway – as a reminder of why I did the Race for Life in the first place – and to thank everyone who sponsored me – here’s a pic of my back sign!

p.s. yes, I get the irony that this pic is taken on Mr Daisy’s iphone….

p.p.s. he took one of my face – but it’s the same colour as the back sign – am not showing you that one!

A friendly nudge…

Had a fab weekend visiting friends last weekend (well actually we kind of invited ourselves into their house because I had a meeting to go to nearby, and they were kind enough not to refuse!).  Had a last minute request to take my jewellery along so that I could share a stall with my friend at the local school fete.  I was happy to oblige, as my friend is the most amazing artist, but has even less confidence in her work than I do in mine (which is really saying something).  I have been trying to nudge her to get her work ‘out there’ for some time, but living as far away as I do (she in Devon, me in Cambridge) it is difficult to keep nagging.  So I thought I’d cheat and ‘nudge from here.

The words ‘Spread your wings and fly’ are hidden within the branches of this fantasy tree, painted with acrylics on canvas.  Charlotte uses similar inspirational/calming messages in her other work, which can be seen on her facebook page:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Treespeake/161512393910316?sk=info

(She’ll have a website one day – but she’s waiting on a certain friendly IT ‘expert’ (Mr T) to have time to do it – and he’s still working on mine at the mo ;-)….)

Home Sweet Home

We had a holiday! (gasp!)  I didn’t want to broadcast it to the world before we left for obvious reasons, but now we’re back I can bore you senseless with holiday talk!  Only joking 🙂  Although there may be some holiday photos when I get round to sorting them out – will try to find something presentable!  It was our first holiday in a looong time, and much needed, and we had a fab time.  Lots of family time, which is all too rare when we’re at home, and lots and lots of good food, wine, laughter and just a tiny bit of sun (which is plenty for us fair-skinned types who look forward to summer days only to turn bright pink & sweaty within 30 mins and have to spend the rest of the time hiding in the shade).

However, after spending an excruciating amount of time in the car on our journey home on Sunday, we finally caught sight of Ely Cathedral on the horizon and my heart did a little flutter.  I surprised myself.  I hadn’t realised I was looking forward to getting home, but I was actually really pleased to see the familiar sights.

I had the same feeling again when we pulled onto our driveway.  As we walked in the front door and I carried my son upstairs to bed I felt so pleased to be home.  As I had dashed out of the door just a week before I had been feeling tired and harrassed, and the house had felt tired, messy (we had packed in  bit of a hurry!), and I was glad to be leaving.  But now, I was able to sit on a favourite chair and read Arlo a bedtime story rather than being cramped on the tiny bit of floor space next to his bed in our mobile home.  Once he was asleep (much, much later), I was able to close his bedroom door and get on with unpacking, rather than being afraid to make a noise because we were living in such a small space on holiday.  And then, when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, I crashed out on my bed, my oh-so-comfortable mattress, without the sound of other holiday-makers outside my window.  And I was content.  It’s been great to have some time away, to see what we’ve seen, and to spend time with family and friends, but it is lovely to be home (I think that might be the first time I’ve ever said that in my life).

Maybe I’ve been a bit slow to catch on and everyone else out there knew this already, but maybe half of what’s great about holidaying, is making you realise how much you love and appreciate your home.  It may not be exciting, there may not be a swimming pool 500yds away, and there may be 101 jobs to do, but it is home.  I am looking forward to catching up with the friends and family that we’ve missed, and I have a renewed energy for all the jobs that needed doing before we left (who knows how long that will last!).

Now to get on with the first of those jobs – I’ve got lots of making to do before a jewellery party and craft fair next weekend – wish me luck!

Challenge 52 – week 3, 4, 5…

Two weeks into my new challenge with all good intentions and I disappear off the face of the earth forever and a day.  Not so good!  Sorry if anyone out there was avidly awaiting my next post!  (Says me, shamefully aware that the only two people reading this are my husband who has been made to read it and knows I will test him on it later, and my very good friend Chrissy – who is reading this to take her mind off the fact that her 2 year old son is refusing to go to sleep…).  Anyway, anyone who knows me will know that I will have chastised myself repeatedly for not meeting this little challenge that I set myself, and now it has become a bit of a stumbling block because I’m so busy beating myself up that I have seriously delayed writing this post.  I have several other posts ‘blossoming’ in my head, but I won’t allow myself to pay any attention to those until I pay suitable penance and get this one out of the way.  So here goes my list of excuses…

It has been ridiculously busy here in Daisy Cottage over the last month… (not our real house name but one day I will live in a place that warrants being called a cottage and I’ve no doubt that I will still be obsessed by daisies by then so that is what it will be called.)  I’m not exactly sure what I’ve achieved but I certainly seem to have been dashing around like a fly with a blue bottom, and have missed several episodes of The Apprentice too!

However, I have not been neglecting my challenge, I promise! I had mentally set myself a couple of ‘big’ projects as part of this challenge.  One of which was to try to find another retail outlet for my jewellery.  I had a few potentials in mind, but one of my favourites was Big Blue Sky in Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk  This is a fab shop which sells lots of lovely art and crafts, and I have spent lots of hours and lots of pennies in there in the past.  I had kind of ruled this place out for stocking my jewellery because (a) I have zero self confidence and therefore assume nobody likes my work, and (b) their strapline is ‘where everything comes from Norfolk’.  I no longer live in Norfolk.  I live 8 miles away from the border of Norfolk.  However, I was brought up in Norfolk and mine and my husband’s family live there and we therefore spend a fair bit of time there (although never as much as parents would like, I know….).  I can safely say that a lot of my inspiration comes from Norfolk.  Although as a teenager I couldn’t wait to get away from the place, now when I go back I revel in the beautiful countryside and the relaxed attitude to life that everyone in Norfolk seems to have.

So, after I dragged my husband to visit Big Blue Sky again a few weeks ago (purely for research purposes, you understand), I was so smitten by the place that I just had to ask.  They say ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’, so I gave it a shot.  Catherine & Vicki seemed to like my work enough to let me sneak in (thank you!), so I took a load of jewellery over there and now it is proudly displayed all in a cabinet of it’s own.  Yippee!!  I’m sooo happy!  I keep thinking they’re going to change their mind and send it all back.  So please go and see it before they do!  And go see all the other lovely stuff there too…




So – that’s one of my projects done and dusted a bit sooner than I thought.  Sorry it’s taken me a while to get round to telling you about it – I have been busy replenishing my stock…

Another of my big projects was to start working on my photography.  I was given a lovely Canon 350D for my 30th birthday (blank) years ago.  It’s an awesome camera, and I have managed to take some great photos by being really lazy and using all the pre-programmed settings on it. However, I have never worked out how to use the manual settings and really get the most from the camera.  And this is becoming a real pain now that I am trying to photograph my jewellery.  There is no room for mistakes when taking close up photos that need to accurately represent the colours and the proportions of the beads for the purposes of selling.  Although I have muddled through so far, it has really started to bug me that I have to make so many different attempts and can never be sure what’s going to work until I view them on the computer.  So I promised myself that I would learn to use it properly.  I started ploughing through the camera’s manual (not a particularly entertaining read) before the Big Blue Sky thing came up – but since then it has slipped to the bottom of the list of priorities – so that is now my big project for the next few weeks,  hopefully you will see some much better looking photos soon 🙂


Photo courtesy of RNLJC&M