Sunday, 3 February 2013

Day 34 - We have locked eyes.

Sunday 3rd February
As a write I have also locked eyes with the most stunning male pheasant I have ever seen. How come the males are so beautiful and the females so not? Don't be tempted to answer that! He has gone back to his pecking now happy that I am not about to attack him. He is showing off his wings as well; is he flirting with me? Don't answer that either!

I want to start todays post by thanking everyone who stopped by yesterday and today to read my blog. I had posted my very first guest blogger and she has had a serious number of page views and some lovely interest in her products. I have seen many handmade products over the years but, rarely, have I seen finishing skills like Angie demonstrates on each and every product. Her attention to detail is masterful and if you ever need a gift for someone special in your life she is the girl for the job. I am thrilled to be able to have supported her new new business. I am passionate about supporting handmade products made in the UK. My grandmother worked in the textile inductry when there was an industry. In 2013 it is much more about micro and small businesses and all of you taking an interest is a very important part of the story.

Ok, the pheasant just chased the cat. Love that!

I have been a very busy little bee this weekend in an attempt to catch up. By now I should have my entire Mother's Day collection ready to go and the new 2013 season designs completed. I have achieved neither but I am, at last, working on it. I am quite well on with the top of the range Mother's Day gifts and that is pleasing because I stress most about that section of any collection. Every single piece is unique and there is always so much than can go wrong. I have also painted the silks that at the core of the 2013 Collection. I have three themes for this season - Seascape, Arran Earth and Opulence. My current studio faces the sea and over the last few months I have watched the sea change colour constantly and I wanted to capture that 'changing' dynamic before I relocate to my new studio. It also faces the sea but it faces south so the light will be very different and thus so will the colours.

Arran Earth is my personal homage to the colours and textures that you see on Arran when you look down. From the beach to the moors to the valleys Arran Earth is a rich mix of inspiration and that, clearly, needed capturing. Expect this part of the collection to change colour with the seasons. Opulence is a word that I would use to describe the quality of my life on the island. I may not be the richest person in the world in the conventional understanding of that word but I do feel that the island provides me with a rich and fulfilling life. So in this part of the collection I wanted to celebrate that and I make no excuses for the strong female colour pallet....

High on my challenge list for 2012 was to set up a website for our current label 'With Love from Arran'. I have finally achieved that. Granted a little late but who is really counting? My new web site is in embryo stage but I am pleased with it. It will bring all the different aspects of my love together and I feel this is long overdue. It will also have a web shop in the not too distant future and I have big plans for the label. I want to expand it to include work by other craftworkers on the island. Allowing for these individuals to still trade under their own name I just want to offer a further selling option for them. I think it will be an example of the total being more than the sum of the parts. Together I hope to showcase the very best that Arran can offer in handmade quality gifts. I have had many years experience as both a maker and a buyer and I do feel that this project will allow me to use that experience for the benefit of the island. Each and every item will therefore be handpicked by me and new products will be introduced on a regular basis. It is a little bit of 'watch this space' but don't fret I do have it all planned out. I am not winging it!

I hate websites that stay the same and are never updated. My new site will be updated at least once as week especially as I will be writing a weekly blog that aims to map progress in all my projects. I will still blog daily here and as I can on my personal journal blog. This is a little neglected due to time constraints but this girl will try and do better.

I am also adding to this blog site as I go through the year adding more and more pages that I think might be useful. I have had some lovely feedback from people who want to start 'growing their own' so I am putting a bit of a month by month summary on a separate page now just to make it a little clearer. Just click on the page at the top of the site to remind yourself what we got up to in January.

I am having a day off tomorrow because it is my youngest son's 13th birthday. As I write this George is baking him his birthday cake. George is a truly remarkable baker for his age (15) and so much better than me now that these things are best left to him. The boys and I are off to the spa and I will finally be getting in that swimming pool. Once I am in I will wonder why the whole of January was devoid of such luxury. Of course, I have to take my clothes off first so I am hoping the changing rooms are nice and warm. Tomorrow I will tell you a little bit more about Max while trying very hard not to embarrass him....

I do hope you have all had a lovely weekend and that the week ahead is full of promise. I see the temperatures are on the way down; dare I dust down my sledge for one last try? Until tomorrow. xx

Picture today is a sneak preview of the velvet scarves from the Opulence Collection. As we are good friends I trust you with this information, just don't tell anyone. xx