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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Flooding, Revival of the Cottage Industry, My Current WIP

Over the past week the news has been dominated by the bad weather both here in the UK and in America.  We have had flooding and quite a lot of America has been gripped by snow and sub zero temperatures, which hasn't provided a lot of people with the best start in 2014.  I hope people who read my blog have not been affected too much by the extreme weather.

Copywrite of Reuters.  Chicago trucks frozen in ice
Copywrite BBC News  Flooding in England with more rain predicted
This past week I have not had chance to do much at all, last Sunday I came down with flu big time and spent 3 days in bed with no energy whatsoever. I am fortunate though, being a foster carer with my husband also allows me time (flu permitting) to work from home making cushions in between the daily school run which we share and meetings. 

 Nevertheless, whilst ill, I did get the chance to surf the net for something to do and I found a really interesting site called Planet Handmade which can be found at http://www.planethandmade.net/.   Reading some of their blogs, one piece that caught my eye on their 'A Return To Cottage Industry' blog on 29th August 2013 was that National Statistics published 16th April 2013,  2.5 million people in the UK now run business from home, representing 52% of UK small businesses using.  However, Planet Handmade do point out that this may not include craft businesses operating under the VAT Threshold    I can remember learning about the Cottage Industries leading into the Industrial Revolution and enjoyed studying that period when I did an Access Course at college prior to going to University a few years ago.

What I love about that era  was the different skills used creating items prior to the Spinning Jenny and industrial Britain with mass producing factories.  Whilst industrialisation had its good points, helping to shape the way we live today, some skills were in danger of being lost forever.  Fast forward 3 centuries and the modern day handmade crafting is very much prevalent ensuring that these skills live on.

Whilst its easy to go into town or go on-line and shop at big named stores, to me it has turned into a bore and lacks gift satisfaction.  My daughter told me and my husband once that she loves looking carefully for presents for family and friends, preferring to purchase something that the recipient would love rather than just getting something off a store's shelf.

 Like me, she loves to wander round craft stalls and has dabbled a bit in card making.  Yes, there can be a huge argument that factory made is cheaper, especially with today's shaky economy with budgets constantly being cut, against hand crafted items when you put into context the amount of time, materials and the satisfaction of creating something personal for somebody and keeping skills alive such as jewellery making, knitting, ceramics, etc for me personally, that wins my vote.

My mantra is you give gifts with love and when you buy handmade your gift is made with love, also for personalised items they are unique to the person receiving them. With my cushions I do always worry that there is something that my customers will not like with regards to the finished article but then the immense satisfaction I get when they are pleased with the finished piece totally outweighs the time I spend creating it.  For me cross stitch is an enjoyable past-time and my chill out time and whilst I enjoy what I am doing I feel fortunate that I can branch out with my own little cottage industry.

My Current WIP

 A week later I am finally getting back to good health and have spent a couple of evenings cross stitching Heavy Going Grizzly.  So far you can see the shape of one of his ears and I started on both his eyes so he could start to see.  I think this evening will see some more of him  take shape especially as there are no dreaded confetti stitches in this chart.