Friday, 10 February 2017

A fresh new start!

It been a long time since our last blog post so we are declaring it a fresh new start for this space. After a manic period for Christmas orders (our best yet!), I can practically sew stockings in my sleep! It was a fantastic end to 2016, but I am equally as excited to share a bit more about what we have been working on in 2017 so far. Hint: it involves some beautiful fabrics...

I thought I’d start a new blog regime with a little reintroduction to me (I’m Kirsty!) and Elm Tree Studio. So grab a cuppa and let’s have a virtual chat. Talking of cuppas, I should let you know I’m a big coffee snob and can only drink fresh bean to cup coffee. I definitely can’t get into sewing mode with any decaf brews! I’m constantly in search of the perfect mug.  Being small, I have the bottom shelf in the kitchen all to myself for my mug collection and each one is for a certain drink - builders’ tea, posh tea, coffee, hot chocolate. You could say I’m quite particular about things, but I think that’s a good quirk to have when you are designing products too.

At home I share my space (but not my mug collection) with my hubby Darren (who weirdly doesn't "get" the need for more cushions in the house… a constant battle!) and my children, Josh and Chloe. We take care of two cats, referred to as "the boys" and two chickens called Omelette and Button.

So, coffee and family aside, I mentioned I’ve been sewing in the studio lots! Over the Christmas period, I stitched through the night on some occasions, to make sure all orders went out on time. I discovered Netflix and binge watched Gilmore Girls whilst sewing. I loved it so much I’ve watched it all and started again from the beginning. Have you seen it?

I also had some behind the scenes photos taken in my studio and thought I’d share them with you here, so you can see where everything happens.

January has been equally as busy, but I have returned to what I started last summer and I’m designing my own range of fabrics. The first one, Aster Flower has started to really take off and is now available on a range of textile products, lampshades, lamps, cushions and clocks.

It’s exciting to see the designs come to life on the products. The two existing colourways (dove grey and indigo) will be extended to include spicy mustard which is a beautiful shade! The product range will also grow to include some non-textile pieces. See all the collections here.

We were also thrilled to see our Embroidered Linen Lavender Pillows in Country Homes and Interiors magazine. Seeing our designs in print will always be exciting!

I’d love to know more about you and what enjoy, so do leave me a comment. I’m off to make a cuppa - I’ve just tried Perkulatte Coffee and it’s delicious. I’m really hoping that someone (no pressure, Darren) will treat me to their monthly subscription. Just imagine, fresh coffee delivered monthly straight to your door!

Love, Kirsty

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Finally getting organised….. Working for yourself, at home must be so easy, so everyone says.

It’s August, almost half way through the long summer holidays, if you have kids. How are you doing? Are you surviving with a smile on your face, or like me, getting more and more stressed as each hour ticks by? I’ll let you into a secret. One day last week, I actually locked myself in the loo, just so I could answer some emails in peace! Yep, I'm that kind of mum.
I'm normally pretty organised, but the last week everything went to pot. I have over the years, learnt to just roll with it, but when work calls, you stick to the floors and you realise that your five year old is living on food from the “goodie cupboard” I had the feeling that I needed to take some kind of control, again.

OK, so it won’t stop me working strange hours over the holidays, but if that means I get to bake cupcakes with the littlest, then that’s fine by me.
My personalised wall planner from Who ate my crayons

It’s time to “Live by the Planner” again, plus it gives me 5 minutes to just sit down and look at the week ahead. I always put in the “Family” stuff first, dentist appointments, play-dates and what-nots, so that even if I don’t know what I'm doing, at least I know what everyone else is doing! Second on the planner is my work schedule, orders that need to be made and admin which needs to be done. Thirdly, I enter a bit of me time…… I find that if I don’t then I start to get frazzled, snappy and just right down horrid! It may be just half hour chill out time or gasp, a whole afternoon!

To-do lists.
I break them down into monthly, weekly and daily. Just remember that not everything needs to be done that minute! I keep mine all together in another pretty notebook, again broken down into “Life” and “Work”. The monthly one has everything on that must be done, I then break it down into weekly amounts and then again daily, that way what’s starts to look like a big, daunting list gets smaller and smaller and much easier to tick off!

This is where my planner, wall chart and note books come in. And if you are a stationary addict like myself this is where its gets exciting! Let’s face it, even if you don’t use any of the lovely stationary, it will look pretty on your desk, kitchen counter or bag!
I've made a list of my favourites below.

Weekly planner from The Green Gables with lots of space for lists and notes.
  • Above my desk, I have a personalised wall chart planner, by the super Who ate my crayons. On here I pop all the important things that I need to see at a glance, such as the all-important hair dresser appointments, holidays and school terms. I always cross reference this with the kitchen calendar downstairs.       
  •  I have another weekly planner by the wonderful Green Gables, I try to fill this in on a Sunday and it’s mainly used for my work stuff. What orders need to be made, what supplies I need to order and any other important information. It sits on my desk and is also a handy mouse mat, if your old school like me. One thing that I have found to be very important to how I work is to try and pencil in some me time, much easier when the kids are at school, much harder when it’s the school holidays.
  •  Small note books are a must for slipping in my bag, to jot down ideas, must do’s and any other “monkey brain” stuff that goes on. Personal favs are my sewing machine print, from Green Gables and my personalised “Awesome plans” by Who ate my crayons.  
  • Hard backed notebooks, now I have quite a selection, in all different sizes. They all have a different role, from sketch book, general note making, and the one that I always keep on the cutting out table for making notes on new products/costings, I love this one from Charlotte Macy and features one of her beautiful printed fabrics. I have another, slightly larger one for blog/photo/product ideas, big enough for me to sketch out ideas and layouts.

  • A selection of note books that I currently use, functional doesn't have to be ugly!
    So there you go, that is how I'm surviving (or not) the summer holidays whilst working from home x