Yesterday, walking between Killearn and Balfron, on my way to friends for lunch, I got a call on my mobile from Dubai. A chap working there had been trying to get flowers delivered to his parents who were celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary.
He reeled off list of national florists which hadn't been able to help; could I?
I put together a bouquet of hellebores and wallflowers and drove it along to Blanefield, where was joyously accepted as proof that their son had remembered after all.
What struck me is how this rescue wouldn't have been possible without Internet, mobiles etc.
Im not usually available for work on a Sunday, but this seemed worth it.
In 10 days time I shall be exhibiting at the British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate. I'm really looking forward to it - not least because it is a showcase of makers, rather than importers, and it will be wonderful to see the other stalls.
After the experience of Top Drawer, which had me working silly hours to fulfill orders, I been working over the past couple of weeks to stockpile new lines.
The only problem is that, when they are all neatly stacked like this they look so lovely, that I will be loathe to spoil the arrangement.
These are covered notebooks; tablecloths with pots of raspberry jam - hopefully up on the website next week.
Now that the workshop is almost fully kitted out - and more importantly, now that it is warm - I am joined there after school by the girls. Its a chance to have a cup of tea (I do love how my children are now old enough to make tea) catch up on the day's news celebrations and traumas and then to get homework done.
Over the past couple of weeks we have been making a longboat and some jewelery for a Viking project I so enjoy projects - much better than endless reading of Biff and Kipper which I found so tedious in p1-3
I am very aware that I am showing things here which aren't yet on my website Partly that is because I am working on a new range and updating the old; but mainly it is because I have been very remiss about the website- having decided to revamp it and get rid of the glitches I have been working away on an off line version. Working away far too slowly. I'm thinking of 4th April as a deadline. . . nothing like a deadline is there?
It was my Mum's birthday last week. My parents have, and have always had, West Highland Terriers - so I made this badge to decorate her wrapped present.
Then, by request, I made a couple for the girls (pleeeease), then their friends . . . suddenly I was very popular. But now I am beginning to get very specific requests from these pre-teens. Can I make a poodle one, a collie,a koala ???????
I think I shall have to call a stop. Though I may have a one off attempt at the koala
Earlier this year Homer in Aberfeldy was taken over by its next door neighbours, Jayne and Kevin Ramage of the Aberfeldy Watermill. This weekend sees the launch of new season stock and to celebrate they are giving 10% discount on everything as well as plying shoppers with a glass of bubbly.
As you might have gathered from my shameless plugging, Homer stocks Snapdragon things! However - I never plug anything I wouldn't recommend to a friend - so if you are in the area - get along and grab a glass of something bubbly and and have a look around.
Tracyann Stewart, who does a lot of the buying for Homer, was one of the first people to ask me about wholesale supply (at a Country Living Fair) and she has been seeking out other examples of "home grown talent" too.
This morning I woke up feeling much less wobbly - with the realisation that a whole load of that wobbliness was chemically induced, that it was waiting for my B12 injection to kick in and that this happens every couple of months and that I always forget. Well now the B12 is doing its thing and life seems a lot less worrying; we have done customer testing on various filling options, I have had a chat with the wholesaler and negotiated a better price if I up my order amount and everything looks much more straightforward. Sorry for the griping.
Pam emailed me to say that I had been mentioned in The Guardian yesterday - here - and it made me determined to get back to being"extraordinarily enthusiastic" asap.
Yesterday here was spent dealing with this
Mulch arrived to suppress the weeds.
A lot of mulch.
More mulch than I had expected - some had to be dumped on the verge so the afternoon was spend barrowing it off the road.
The girls think it is a wonderful slide.
Trawling around the web for retail prices is not one of my favourite things to do - and I think it must have been a couple of years since I checked out retail lavender prices. Oooops.
On Tuesday night I had half an hour spare and thought I would have a look and see what people paid for lavender from UK farmshops/mail order.
Well - now I see my problem with my lavender products.
I make a 100% wool cushion, embroidered with my sketches of meadow seedheads. It is 18cm square and contains 265g organic lavender. It retails - or will when marketed at the beginning of April - at £14.95. I think it is a good price; but not excessively cheap - I think in other words that the market has a limit.
However to buy 265g dried lavender from a Scottish lavender farm(not organic but small scale production) retail is £15.76. That is the price for just the lavender - in a cellophane bag.
I'm now wondering how I missed this and really am not all that clear yet as to the way I take this forward.
Often I see craft items which are marketed at very high prices - £200 cushions; £18 lavender hearts; £35 mugs and I wonder who buys them - practical items, designed to be used but at special occasion prices. That isn't how I want Snapdragon to be . . .and yet.
My business hat seems to have been mislaid.
Thank you to everybody who commented, emailed and phoned with advice about the lavender. I have lots of suppliers to follow up and the determination that I need to come up with a solution which improves the products, rather than being a compromise.
Onwards and upwards as they say -
All about the garden there are signs of spring - daffodils are opening out, hellebores are well into their stride and there are tantalizing flower buds on woodlandy spring plants, just waiting for the next sunshiney day.
My favourite spring perennial is pulmonaria "blue ensign"; it is one of the earliest plants that I bought for my first garden and it glowed for weeks and weeks in a small grove of white stemmed birch. Now I have it planted amongst the dogwood. It is a fantastic plant, for as well as the amazing dark blue flowers it has neat dark leaves which don't turn horrible and raggy after flowering like most pulmonarias. It is also very generous with its flowers and I sometimes pick a few stems and line them up in small bottles so that the sunshine can shine through those stained glass petals. Beautiful.
By co-incidence Blue Ensign was highlighted in an e-mail newsletter this week from Future Primitive Plants, a small mail order business with an interesting selection of plants (and soap). They have it on special offer for this month. If I didn't already have it I would snap it up.