Saturday, 29 March 2008

the far east comes to Beverley

I have had a great evening out with my friends from the Beverley Circle of Women Merchants better known as the Beverley Sisters. We all met up after work in the local Tapas bar with the idea of moving on somewhere to eat. I arrived with Susan to discover three more of the girls all about to start on some very pink Singapore Slings. I took a quick look at the drinks and a quick sip of Alison's cocktail and decided to go mad and have one myself. I rarely drink but tonight was special and so I decided to indulge. Just the one !! oh yes we have all heard that before. Alison ordered a few nibbles, some garlic bread and olives and a few vegetables, then some more nibbles and another drink.
Now this event started at 5pm so by 8pm we are all very relaxed and laid back literally in the leather sofas. So another good night. The girls presented me with a lovely pair of Pilgrim Earrings from Figaro in Wednesday Market, excellent choice girls. I LOVE THEM, and the earrings.
Serious note here. The Beverley Sisters always have a good time when they go out or get together, the emphasis is definitely on having a good time, but the friendship and support the groups offers each other has been invaluable to me a woman alone in my shop everyday. These girls know what the problems are and they have been very encouraging through out. THANK YOU

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

what a picture

Well having described my Easter as sitting on the sofa with the dog eating chocolate I saw the prefect picture of just such a scene today. If I hadn't been saving all my pennies to get started on our range of embossing powders I would have been very tempted. It was a long picture with a lady of a certain age reading a book entitled how to change your life in 21 days, and beside her was a tin of chocolates, a pile of other books and a bottle of bubbly. Then at her feet, on the sofa two dogs. It looked like heaven!!
My life is slowly getting to where I want it to be but I am still surrounded by boxes and trying to make space to work. Unfortunately I do have to keep doing a few minor other jobs like feeding the family. OK I can hear you saying they both bright enough to feed you, but possibly I am feeling guilty about how much they have looked after me in the last few weeks. Is it just women who feel guilty about such things.
On Easter Sunday I decided I needed to make Yorkshire puddings. My Son loves these things and can be persuaded to eat a whole variety of other foods if Yorkshire puddings are part of the meal, so I general keep a few cheat ones in the freezer then I can add one or two to his meal at the drop of a hat, but the freezer was bare. SO I decided to make some, I have a few interesting attempts at this delicacy of the years but mostly edible and often fine. Well this Sunday they were awful I have no idea why they were just so bad but they were. But they insisted they were fine and asked for second helpings. I had to smile, I am sure they just being nice and where hoping that if they asked for them again even I couldn't possibly make them so bad twice!! in the past I would have got mad that they lied so much, but actually this time it seemed nice that they cared enough to lie! Now I know I going silly again.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

happy easter

We have had the sort of weather that makes you want to curl up on the sofa with the dog and a good supply of chocolate to watch a long film on the television.
I had expected to get out a little over Easter put we made two rather poor attempts at getting outdoors and both times to shop, not we bought very much either!!
My son being 15, has enjoyed the long sessions in front of the TV and it has been fun to spend that time with him, I have been outside with the dog, but he too has enjoyed the long cuddles this holiday weekend.
Today I have desperately been trying to find the motivation to get things sorted ready for a show we are exhibiting at next weekend at the KC stadium in Hull. I did stop once to play, I mean try out a new embossing powder sample but my excuse is simple I need to know if we want to order this new colour for the show in Hull. The answer is quite simply yes and now all I have to do is decide which of the many colours on my shopping list are essential for the Hull Show and which can wait until we launch new stamp designs in May.
I hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend, however you spent it. Why don't you let me know.
email me at I would love to hear from you.

I hope to have news of a way you can keep in touch with the Oak House Studio and how you can find out about new products as they arrive. When this is all sorted I will let you know here and on the website. If you haven't checked out my stamp website yet have a look now

Friday, 21 March 2008

woman can not live by bread alone

Last night I met up with two girls from my design team, I guess Rachel Shillito would call them part of my cheering squad.
Elisa decided that the best place we could meet and talk ( something we do very well) was at her friends cafe bar in Hull. The Hop and Vine. We have usually met up to do crafting ( with a small chat thrown in) at my shop.
This was my first visit to the Hop and Vine and it was ideal for the night we had planned, This place has a great list of real ales AND an equally spectacular lists of breads. So despite my attempts to avoid all things wheat based I succumbed to a poachers platter!! All the food was very good and they had the sort of menu that makes you want to go back to try something else next time.
I took along a couple of projects I wanted some feed back on. And feed back I got!! As ever both were very supportive and encouraging. We talked very fast to try and fit it all in.
We all had so much to say.
So girls if you want to talk about things you haven't quite decided on, if you want to think out loud, and make your own decisions in the end. Then I recommend and good night with two or three good mates.
A good friend will let you talk, ask the odd question and then help you understand why the decision, you have made was the right, but most importantly it was your decision they were just there to listen to your thinking process!!
So thanks girls once again for your support.
Oh yes those craft projects. well when they are finally finished I will post them on the website. they are both mono chromatic though!!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

feel the fear and do it anyway

Last night I drove out of town across the hills to hear a lady called Rachel tell us all about the Susan Jefferson's outlook on how to not let fear stop you achieving your dreams.
Rachel admits that as many of us where already in business or working towards getting new businesses off the ground, we had made it through the bad weather on a bleak night to a venue in the middle of nowhere, we were possibly all facing the fear and doing it anyway!!

It was my first visit to this group so I was perhaps more quiet than normal otherwise maybe I would have spoken up and shared these following thoughts with the other ladies there.

Rachel went on to tell us about what we should have in our "Tool Kits" to help us survive. My ears pricked was Rachel just about to justify my need for a CraftRobo or justify the Bind it all machine I bought in February. Sorry NO she wasn't talking about the tools we crafters find more and more essential. She was talking about simpler things than that, Firstly she advocated Journaling, just scribbling down thoughts and ideas she said....what a waste when you can craft a really great journal and have all that therapy doing it I thought, but at least I could think I am doing that one with knobs on (as they say)
and then she said everyone should get a cheering squad, now this one really made me smile, remember in my last blog I said how I was working hard to get everything together for a demo in another person's shop. Well that day was last Saturday and when the day came, there sat in the audience were faces from my own classes and groups, ladies I knew trusted me and believed in what I was doing, with such fantastic support how could I fail, what was there to fear. These ladies knew the products and where there to find more. Their faces smiling at me, their comments and support carried me through what could have been a very hard day.
So a HUGE thank you to Sharon, Barbara, Pauline and Shirley. Thanks you girls for being there for me and helping me know that what I had been struggling with all week was worthwhile.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

nearly there

I am struggling to see where my time is going again, I had so much to do over the last two weeks.

I am doing a demonstration with my stamp range Oak House Studio on Saturday at Paper Roses on Holderness Road in Hull. Before then I would have liked to see all the new packaging I have been slaving over onto my updated stock. I was hoping the new T shirts would have arrived too.
Well it looks like we should manage to get the new stocks in on time and it might even be in the new packaging, but that means everything has to fall into place tomorrow.

I was hoping to have some new textured black card ready in the samples, well we should have it for Saturday so will be able to show people how great it is, but I won't have chance to play with it much before hand. We should just make it by the skin of our teeth, but so many factors are out of my control and I don't like that!

This afternoon I have managed to get a little play with the new stamps and some watercolour paints. I used ready mixed watercolour in tubes by Pentel and squeezed some paint straight from the tube onto the stamp. Then I used the scrubbiest brush I could find to pull the paint out over the stamp leaving brush makes as I went. I stamped this image onto white linen card. The results where like very naive country painting will look good with gingham style embellishments.
I have left them out to dry. I will post the pictures when I have made them into cards.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

a time for reflection

Last night I was invited to speak to a group of people in Driffield which about 15 miles away from home. I only a had a vague idea about who I was going to meet, I have only done a few of these talks before and usually to an audience of 20 -30 ladies of a certain vintage. I arrived last night to discover young people in my group and a few men. But I had nothing that thoroughly prepared and hopefully I wasn't too boring for everyone.
I was invited to introduce myself to the group. This was actually very cathartic. Telling a group of people I had only just meet, all eyes on me, about some of the challenges I have faced, helped me appreciate just what I have managed to achieve recently. I must say that anything I have achieved has come because plenty of support and friendship that has been offered me since I moved to Beverley. The sense of community I have felt since living here has been tremendous. I have met some wonderful people many of whom never stop helping those around them. I hope I am able to offer support in return, I certainly try.
Well I enjoyed last night and hopefully more people will understand what stamping is really all about. One person has emailed me to say they enjoyed themselves and looking forward to seeing me demonstrate again at the Craft Show in Hull ( April 6th). For those who can't wait until then I will be in Paper Roses on Holderness Road on Saturday 15th March.
Full details of both events are on the website.
email me if you want more details.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

the morning after the night before

This morning I am recovering from a very physical session at my Tap Dancing class last night. My teacher is going to be out of action for a few weeks so no more classes until after Easter. She managed to keep us all moving right up to the end with a fast routine to a Scissors Sisters number with lots of extra hops and springs. Steps that I normally find challenging like maxi fords, were a rest on the midst of the other new step combinations she had managed to create. I have to admit although I have no real skill at Tap, I really enjoy these classes as I time when I can stop thinking about everything else in my life. I have to, if I am going to at least keep moving in the right direction.
So by way of a rest, I have spent a little time working on my website,
check out the changes at

Monday, 3 March 2008

a quiet day

It has been a quiet day for me, I do have all those boxes to tackle but that will have to wait. I have spent most of the day researching my new stamping business and some of the ways forward. Actually today has been a day of hitting dead ends but sometimes that can be useful. Crossing off some possibilities should help me focus on where I really want to go and what I really want to do. Today has more been a case of crossing of what I don't want to do!! but I am not to down hearted I think it is good to cleared these distractions so I can concentrate more on what is going to work.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

more wind

We had a very windy night, I guess they qualify to be gales. We woke up this morning to discover the loft hatch had been dislodged. That is a first for us.

Another first, a Saturday off work. Since we opened Write Now in 2001 we have had very few "Saturdays Off". If we have had the day off, it has been to do something important and that usual means working somewhere else. This morning was very strange and I am not sure I was ready for just how good it felt, to be able to chose what to do, at what time.
In the end Martin and I had a grown up trip into Driffield. We bumped into lots of people we haven't seen for a while, and did a little shopping and had that speciality of shopping, a toasted teacake and a cup of tea. These may seem like simple pleasures, but they were made special by the fact we had time to really enjoy them and do as we pleased.
Now I am excited about next Saturday.