Showing posts with label etsy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label etsy. Show all posts

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

I am the storm

I had a moment last week. It was very clearly the moment I realised I was doing it; I'm an entrepreneur!

I've been feeling good for a while now. Business is steadily flowing in, I'm winning more contracts than not of the ones I choose to go for - which is a bit because I know what I can do better and also I know which jobs work better for me too. I opened my Etsy shop back up after a few months on holiday and the sales are steadily starting to come back in from there too - which is good news as it means the break hasn't hurt my business or reputation.

I still feel like there are far too many options on the table for me. I have to choose which things to cut now when I write a to do list, rather than which to start. I just have so many ideas and possibilities and avenues keep opening up for me. I'm thrilled, I'm grateful to the universe (as I am a massive hippy really) and I find that the more I keep working the more opportunities there are.

I often use that quote actually "Inspiration will strike, but it needs to find you working". I would say that 80% of my working time is either problem solving or designing so actually inspiration is very crucial.

I used to think the best ideas came at midnight too, but as my business grows I can find ideas come anytime really. A quiet place without lots of distractions is good, so trying to get to sleep can be one of my best inspiration striking places, which is probably why I used to think the ideas came late.

Let's go back to my moment. I was sick last week - proper sick, unable to leave my bed with chills and a fever and everything hurt. I was a bit disoriented so I put everything I could on hold and focused on the most important tasks. I'd signed up for some training on Wednesday and it was training that I knew wouldn't be on offer for another year. The last thing I felt like doing was leaving my sick bed and trying to pay attention to a course on bookkeeping. But - I did it, I went. I took some day nurse and got through it. 

The moment that my feet left my bed, the moment that I stood on the floor, feeling pretty darn rubbish but dragged myself to the shower. That was the moment I knew it; I want this enough. I will do whatever it takes to be successful day in day out. I am doing it, I am in charge of my own path, my own destiny, I am the storm.


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Interior design series: No more boring walls! Ten stylish and unusual ways to use wall hooks


You know that feeling when you walk into a beautifully styled shop or cafe and you get an instant wow. Sometimes it's a wow of relaxation and a kind of peace comes over you and sometimes it's inspirational and you start taking note of the design, thinking I could do that. I could totally have a giant hot air balloon in the hallway, a vertigo inducing floor in the kitchen or I could actually keep an all white space clean!! Note - I absolutely could not keep anything clean enough!

But, I do pay attention to that feeling and try to recreate this in my own home, on a smaller live-able scale. I'm a homebody by nature and usually feel that sense of peace when I get in, but I also want to create a bit more wow!

In order to achieve this, I make wall hooks, which are simple and elegant, and which are designed to enhance displays - not to distract from them. Tactile and subtle to show off whatever it is you want to display.

Here are a few images of how I use them in my own nursery...




I bought a grand total of one item of clothing for my baby while pregnant that wasn't practical white stuff. This top was it. I didn't know if I was having a boy or a girl, but I'm a girl and love to wear blue so I picked a baby blue top with gold lettering which says hello world. I love it. But my baby turned out to be rather fast growing and so I decided to display it with a dreamcatcher I made when I did know he was a he. The navy blue wrapped around the circle was the colour of his eyes when he was about a month old. Yes I did take him to a wool shop to colour match!

And then, life took over. I had a tiny baby and was shattered, and I didn't find the time to make displays or share any other images of the hooks I made. I'd like to rectify this here.

Let me share ten different ideas I have for displaying lovely items on my wall hooks. You can use any, but I would prefer you bought mine. They're £8 including p&p for one and £15 including p&p for three in the UK and I do have a few different colour options available. Purchase them here in my Etsy shop destabled.etsy.com

Idea Number One:

Fabrics - fabric quilt/ pieces. I have a tendency to hoard fabrics. I just love them. I have beautiful pieces and lots of them but despite taking a dressmaking course, I have to admit my sewing skills are just not good enough to make the things I can see in my head. Thankfully, my woodworking and crochet skills are, so I get to fulfill my making needs in other ways. I am going to have to destash fabrics and have a big clear out. Has anyone done that? I'm not sure the best way to go about it.

However, I am lucky to have very talented friends and family and my lovely Sister-in-Law has the skills and the patience and painstakingly made this stunning hand stitched quilt for my baby boy. It's so beautiful and too nice to let him get dirty at the moment, so I wanted to hang it on the wall. Heirloom pieces like this can make a real statement.



Idea Number Two:

Somewhere to hang your dog lead or leads. If you're anything like me, you are always looking around for this when taking the dog out. Having a dedicated place is so important, especially if you have an impatient dog who gets totally overexcited when you put your shoes on and then just generally is a bit annoying while you look for the lead.

Idea Number Three:

Handbags - one, two, many! It's kind of the same as above. You are already to go out and just need to grab your going out bag, rather than the luggage sized one with all your work stuff/ kids stuff / general detritus. Having them in one location makes it so much smoother to leave the house and keeps your make up looking fresh rather than ending up all sweaty and flushed before you even shut the door and get outside.



Idea Number Four:

It's very very fashionable right now to have lots of lovely plants in your house and a hanging plant is the best. It looks amazing, makes your home feel better and you get major style points, and something beautiful to instagram. I've been on the plant bandwagon for a while but this year it's started to get out of hand. Nevermind - there are worse obsessions to have.

Here is my lovely hanging plant in it's vintage holder. These plants do look amazing hanging from the ceiling but if you don't fancy drilling lots and lots of holes in your ceiling to locate a joist, then using one of my hooks makes them a sturdy holder - and can be placed where you want them and where the light is right.



Idea Number Five:

Why not use fairy lights, either at Christmas (there I said the C word), or all year round. I absolutely adore the ambience that these lights give and although I did start using these in my student days, I don't think there is anything wrong with using them forever and in every room!

Idea Number Six:

Bunting. Is there anything more cheerful than lovely bunting? Bright or pastel, triangular or semi-circle, fabric or paper, handmade or bought, vintage or new. Whichever your style or preference, this is instant make you smile decor.

Idea Number Seven:

The hooks I make are not just for the more girly items. They would also work very well to display a collection of scarves or ties or cravats. Gorgeous items that don't need to be hidden away; collections should be celebrated if you have the space.

Idea Number Eight:

Statement necklaces. I've always envied people who wear jewellery and who take the time to build up impressive selections of statement necklaces and then actually wear them. I'm not really a jewellery person but I do love the look of displaying your accessories and am sure it would help wear more of them.

Idea Number Nine:

Towels while you get in the shower. I hate leaving them on the floor and I don't think I'm alone in that, so it's great to have a place to hang them while you shower. The large round design of my hooks helps to hold larger and heavier items like towels too.

Idea Number Ten:

Tomorrows outfit - why yes I am going to a ball tomorrow! Haha. In all serious-ness though, I do try and pick out tomorrows outfit the night before, especially when I have a busy morning. It helps to start the day more relaxed.


This is very helpful for little ones too, especially if you may not get them dressed every day. For example my husband always wants me to do this if he is getting the little one dressed as one time he took the baby out in pyjamas. It didn't matter at all - he's  a baby and can totally get away with wearing pyjamas anywhere and everywhere but hubby won't choose anymore as his confidence in clothes wasn't high to begin with. I just want to add, I was super chilled about this, I'm quite laid back about outfits!



I couldn't resist sharing these baby dungarees. Aren't they the cutest little outfit you ever did see!

Do you like these ideas? What would you pick? I'd love to know how you would use my hooks. Don't forget you can buy hooks through my Etsy shop at destabled.etsy.com




Monday, 17 July 2017

About me

Hello everyone, it seems like a long time since i just chattered away and talked about me. We'd better rectify that then, hadn't we?




Life has changed a lot for me over the last couple of years and although I love change and tend to thrive on change, I'm still adjusting to this new life style.

Two years ago, I was developing prototypes of my handmade shelves with added crochet and starting to think about building a business. I was working full time and had teenage children. I was spending my spare time renovating our house, a former dentists from the 1900's.

Now, I'm a new mummy again- well new ish, my little one is 14 months old as I write this. He's walking, climbing, and trying very hard to speak to us! I'm my own boss of two different businesses. I've hardly moved the house on at all, but it's our forever home so it's ok!



Not going out to work very often and not having colleagues are pretty big changes. Working 13 hour days looking after a baby and then starting work on my businesses is also very different. It doesn't feel like work at all and that means I am exceptionally grateful to have such a wonderful lifestyle. I do take time everyday to appreciate my life, my work, my family and friends, my health and my house and businesses. I do chat away at people when I see them though as I think I am a little in danger of not having enough conversation in my life. That's one of the definite downsides of living with four boys and being the only girl. 

My days are spent dividing my time between my two businesses and making sure I have plenty of time to play with my little man. I struggle to fit household tasks around these, but just keep telling myself that there's more to life than neatly ironed clothes. The teenagers are mostly having to fend for themselves. Ideally that will just mean they grow up to be very independent. They won't allow me to take pictures anymore, so I can't introduce you to them! 

My consultancy business is as an evaluation expert. Unless you've worked on charity and publicly funded projects in the past you probably have no idea what that means. I've been a project manager for charity projects for the last 14 years and along the way I've learned that evaluation is one of my key strengths. I'm one of those weird people who loves English and Maths and is good at both. I happen to enjoy analytical work and meeting people and evaluation means I get to do all the bits I love.

How it works is that when charities and community groups receive public money for projects, which could be from the lottery, from health funding agencies or charitable trusts, they call upon someone like me to show the impact of their work. What this means, for example, is that if a group of young people are developing a project around building a community garden and they are being supported by a gardening group: I can work with them to find out which bits of the project were particularly successful, what taking part meant to the young people and what the project did for the local community, the wildlife, the community who see the garden every day. I help projects measure things like confidence or resilience and happiness among other difficult-to-measure-things. By bringing someone like me in, the project staff can focus on running the project, I can help them to find out how they should plan another project and I can show how the project was a worthwhile investment to other funders, which hopefully means more projects in the future. It's my way of helping to make the world a better place. 

I really love this work, it's flexible and I'm my own boss and I get to problem solve too!

Then the other business is destabled. As you are reading this on my destabled website the chances are fairly high that you already know something about my work here. I'm a furniture designer and maker. Each of my products is designed and refined by myself and then made by hand by me. I work with wood and crochet and make a capsule collection of products; shelves, wall hooks, bookends, and my latest design - bedside tables.



My products are designed to echo the forest, and the shape of trees but in a clean and contemporary manner. Each of my wooden shelves and bedside tables are made from solid wood which have the knots removed, to show the shape of the original tree. This means that each piece I make is a completely unique design, just like no two trees are ever identical.

I start with the wood and make design decisions throughout. Smaller knots tend to have smaller holes and larger knots have larger holes.



The larger holes are filled with crochet. These are woolen knots, again, made by me! I use the finest hand dyed yarns and then add paint to create a truly original product which is a usable item too.





I am often asked where the inspiration for adding crochet came from, and the truth is I'm just not entirely sure. I have been crochet-ing for a few years and often used to hold my work up to the light to see how the pattern was coming along. Out of nowhere I decided I wanted that crochet to be a part of furniture. I started teaching myself woodwork only because I had a vision of what I wanted my shelves to look like. It took me a long time to get them to look like the ones you see now, which is the vision I had. I kept my early works though, to remind myself how far I've come. I'm a fairly confident person on the whole, but I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to share those first attempts! 

I use dovetail joints, they're strong and sturdy and look great. Again, that was a pretty huge learning experience. Luckily I really do love learning. To manage this lifestyle I've chosen, I've pretty much given up watching TV. I catch the odd show or movie, and sometimes I put documentaries on in the office while I tidy up or do a job where I don't need to concentrate so much. 




I don't mind not watching TV. I'm quite impatient anyway and always felt a bit like I was wasting time if I just sat down and watched something. I'm quite driven and give myself a hard time if I'm not productive. I need to stop doing that so much, as life with a baby just isn't productive and I need to get better at appreciating the little moments we have together, rather than thinking of all the things I still have on my to do list. 

I don't like wasting materials, and had all these circles of wood leftover from my shelves. I spent ages trying to think of a way to use them and then I remembered that branches of trees are natures coat hooks. Is that a saying? I've possibly just made that up! Anyway - that was the inspiration and now I use the holes I remove to make simple and elegant wall hooks. I like to try and think of it as I am using all of the tree. I use hooks a lot at home, and still need more. As I type this I realise more and more that I make the products that I need. Is that what every designer does? 



I've always loved to read. Trips to the library as a child were my favourite thing to do and I still read a lot as an adult. Not as much recently, I lost the ability to concentrate when I had antenatal depression (you can read about that here) and although I do now feel healed, I just don't have the time. I could make time probably, but I want to focus on blogging, and learning to improve my photography and improving my social media skills so I haven't really put reading as a priority right now. 

Again, I was thinking of my love of forests and woodlands and places and travel and all those images combined in my head to create a vision of these bookends which are shaped like signposts and these can be personalised with any combination of six special places. I love hearing the places people choose. Making these gives me a sense of wanderlust every time! 



Our house is a forever house, as I mentioned before and it has lots of wonderful original features. One of the most amazing parts is that we have an outbuilding with a garage, a den above and a stabIe. I still have to pinch myself sometimes when I think I own a stable! It's like a dream come true. The stable is my workshop, I make all these products in my stable, it's my little haven and I spent a lot of time in there designing, hence the name destabled.

It's so easy to talk about yourself isn't it! I've just kept writing and there's more to say! I'd like to discuss how I spend an average day, the spaces I work in, what I've learned setting up a business, and much more. I feel however that this post has come to rest at a natural place, so I shall save those ideas for another time.





Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Real life problems: Yarn Storage

I started to get a bit overwhelmed as I really was drowning in yarn!


Warning the following four images are just gratuitous yarn shots! 






Let's get back to the real life problem. Almost one year ago, I had another beautiful baby boy. My other boys are teenagers so our house had become a more grown up house. We have a playroom for the xbox and massive telly required by grown up boys and apart from lots of sport equipment toys were rare these days. 

Our house had become a bohemian and lovely space. Comfortable, quite messy in a sit-down-and-be-cosy-friends-always-welcome kind of way and I had (have) a lot of hobbies and half done projects which require equipment. This worked out pretty well but once we started to add; changing mats, toys, nappy storage, toys, new baby washing piles, toys, jumperoo's, toys, bouncy chairs, toys, pram, did-I-mention-all-the-bloomin-toys! I started to feel out of control. 

I like the toys, I don't think we have that many just coupled with my personal style which is quite cluttered anyway it soon felt too much and not in a good way. My son has inherited some of my personality as he loves to get every toy out, scatter cushions on the floor, empty the nappy storage (all clean items - don't worry) and we were spending most of our days living in this...





There was a while, where I thought - it's fine, he's going to have awesome orienteering skills! But it has started to get to me more as he moves around more. I want him to have space to play and I want to have space to sit on the floor with him. 

This was the catalyst for coming up with a solution. I love problem solving - it takes time, but I really enjoy it. I have spent a long time thinking through and decided that I needed to change up the furniture as it wasn't working and repurpose some of the items. I had all my yarn in a beautiful old bohemian 1970's storage unit which reached the floor. I decided this would work much better for toys and then started to think about how I could store my yarn. I like to see it, as it encourages me to not go and buy more yarn for small projects as I often have what I need already. If I hide it away, I would go yarn shopping much more often and I don't need to do that. 

I tend to make quite a range of crochet projects - toys, amigurami, blankets, flowers for my shelves and so on. Quite often my projects don't need masses of wool, which means I end up with quite a lot of half balls of yarn and I have started buying lovely hand dyed skeins of wool as they are just gorgeous and I have those rather than lots of different balls. 

I estimated I had around 100 balls of wool to store. As I am a shelf-maker (you can view my etsy store here)  I decided to come up with a wall mounted solution which would display these 100 balls and still be easy to access. I did NOT want them to all fall out every time I took some yarn from the bottom of a shelf. 

Firstly I carried out some market research and looked into what storage is already available. None really. A lot of people use Ikea shelving and while that works well in the main, it doesn't stop wool falling out. There are some beautiful glass fronted vintage armoires which work very well but I don't have £1000 to spend and wouldn't have the floor space either. 

I also asked people how much yarn they had. The answer was a lot! So I started to draw bigger shelves than I'd originally planned. I counted my yarn and there was nearer 200 balls to store too, once I'd rounded up all the stray carrier bags with balls stashed in them. 

Here is an image of my very first design. It worked really well except the elastic wasn't quite covering the way I needed it too. Some balls of wool were at risk of falling out as I reached for another. 





These two pictures above show me testing the shelves in my own dining room/ craft room. It was quite messy as there were 200 balls of wool scattered about the place and that's when I took the picture of me drowning in yarn. 

Teenage son had a lovely time chucking balls of wool at me and then photographing the results! 



You can see above that I used mirror plates to hang my shelves. I always use these as I find them long lasting and sturdy and with this shelf it can be completely invisible when the wool is in there. 

I decided to add more elastic and kept to a strict design, so that the shelf looks beautiful. I didn't want the elastic to detract from the yarn, and chose to make the shelf available with either black, white, pink or clear elastic. 

Here you can see my finished product, in use, in my own home. 



I've tested it out and it works. Nothing has fallen out. All 190 balls of wool (of varying sizes - some full balls, some skeins, some small ones and some chunky yarns) do fit in. There's even a little space to add more! 


This wall makes me so happy every time I see it now. It's a practical problem solver and a work of art! 

My yarn storage shelf is now available for sale on Etsy and all the product features are listed there. I've also protected the design so I am the only person who can sell these. 

I'm really excited to share my problem solving with the world! 





Wednesday, 22 February 2017

I have a shop

I've actually gone and done it.

Set up a shop.

Of my own.

An etsy shop. It's here; destabled.etsy.com

I'm so pleased to have taken the leap. I worked hard and followed a free course from Etsy, called Etsy Resolution. It was brilliant, I met a group online of other people in the same boat as me and we all supported each other. The support continues and I need it.

Here are some glimpses of the images I have used for my shop.





I have to admit to feeling scared as I pressed publish. (On Valentines Day, no romantic meal for us, I was working away on my laptop and husband was looking after the baby. No, sadly he isn't in bed at that time. Feel for us).

I've learned so much over the last two years of product development, made so many mistakes and often had to tell myself if it wasn't hard then it wouldn't be worth it! But, that means I feel like I put a little bit of myself into my work. You know, kinda like a Horcrux in a not so evil way! 

So now, I need to add more products, take more photographs and learn how to become a marketing genius. No pressure!