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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   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.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Happy New Year

So 2013 has come to a close and a New Year is upon us.  Welcome to 2014 and I wonder what it will bring for me with my stitching, business and home life.  Looking back to the post I did last year it looks as though I have only managed to stick to one of my resolutions which is sad but I suppose ACTUALLY sticking to one is better than none.

This also made me wonder, how many people who read what I have written on my blog actually manage to  make and stick to their resolutions and what they were.

Instead of making resolutions this year, looking on the internet I found a quote by Lao Tzu .  I do love motivational quotes, especially as starting up Created With Stitches has been a journey with many steps, hurdles and learning curves; and continues to do so.   Whilst the fostering is undertaken by both me and my husband, looking back at all the photos of the cushions  I have made, I am really pleased that this is something I can say "I did that myself", whilst continuing with a relaxing hobby through cross stitch. However, stitching aside, in our own life's course, we all have a long journey.  I hope for everybody that their own individual journey  becomes easier throughout the coming year.
As for the coming year, now its time to start planning for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day, especially as over here in England it will be on 15th March.  Straight after Christmas Day we did notice the supermarkets were already filling the shelves and advertising Easter Eggs (and I still have loads of Christmas Chocolate left).  So far I have started designing some small valentines cushions and will then move onto some medium sized ones too ready to advertise for sale.

Stitching News

Over the Christmas period, I was busy stitching..........sandbags on my sewing machine.  My daughter had a school project to make a World War 1 trench and I was cutting up a supermarket jute bag and stitching squares stuffed with wadding to help her out.  I also ended up making barbed wire for her from some picture wire and then cutting smaller pieces of wire to wrap around the long piece.  However, I did turn into a victim of my own making when it came to wrapping the barbed wire into circles.

They look like a breakfast cereal
The finished result
Close up of the sand bags, also the dreaded barbed wire
On my other stitching, I have now started Heavy Going Grizzly.  Its been sitting in my cupboard for a number of years and since we have been redecorating our hall and landing we have slowly sold off all the horse prints we had on the landing.  Downstairs now hold copies of my step-daughter's artwork on canvas and up the stairs (well 2 flights of stairs) due to the size of our house hold my cross stitches completed over the years.  We also had a mirror on our landing but that has also gone now and a space keeps reminding me to get on with another cross stitch to fill the gap.  I will start posting pictures of it as I make progress on it.  Perhaps that can be a New's Year's get it completed before the end of 2014!!

Many thanks for reading this blog and any comments received are very much appreciated.

Lisa xxx