Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happy Halloween

So Autumn has really taken hold now and arrived in spectacular, colourful splendour.

The tree's that line the walkway and park behind the house is an array of autumnal shades. It won't be long before all the leaves will have dropped, the bare branches allowing us to spy on all the goings on in the park and we start to wish for the fresh green spring leaves to burst forth and hide it all away again!

So of course, with the month of October rapidly disappearing, we turn our attention to the Halloween festivities. The children are old enough and were adamant this year, that they wanted to do all their pumpkin lanterns themselves.

They had great fun but were abruptly stopped by an untimely rain shower!

The garden needs a good tidy up but there is little point for a few more weeks as we wait for all the leaves to fall! The tree is a Katsura and as the leaves drop they smell of delicious, sweet candy floss.

Autumn for me also means new designs ready for the spring Trade fairs in January. I've been working on this spooky tape design - very fitting for the time of year!

I hope you all have a very Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

A rare day off!

So yesterday I took a very rare 'whole day off work' and treated the children to a day out in London. We were up at 6.30 am and out the door by 7.30 where we waited in a very rainy car park for the 'Super Fast' coach to arrive and take us all the way to Hammersmith.

First thing to tick off the list was the London Eye. Both my daughter and I are scorpion's and with birthdays fast approaching, we decided to treat ourselves to a ride on the London Eye. Sophie decided to do this instead of a party and as it's the big 40 for me in a couple of weeks it seemed like a fantastic idea. Sadly the weather wasn't to be on our side all day but we just about made it on before the heavens opened.

Anthropologie was on the top of my list of things to do - having seen so many photos of it, it was a must see for me and I wasn't disappointed. The way everything is displayed is fabulous.

I loved the recycled chandelier - wish I had a house big enough to house one!

The children wanted to visit Hamleys - of course! Although it seemed everyone had the same idea - very busy, too busy! We also went to Covent Garden - anywhere undercover to dodge the rain! So after a lot of 'tubing' (as the children put it) we got home just after 9pm, thoroughly exhausted but already planning our next visit!!

Today has been 'back to work' and very much playing catch up - too much to do and too little time!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Festive Giveaway!

So we reached the magic 300 followers a couple of days ago and as promised I have put together a selection of festive goodies as a prize.


*3 rolls of festive tape*
*2 packs of homemade festive gift tags*
*2 packs of our 2010 Christmas card designs*
*1 pack of 'Just to Say' Postcards*
*Some festive spotty ribbon*
...and a partridge in a pear tree!!

So all 310 names were put in the hat and picked at random was.........
drum roll please......

Tracey Chorley aka TopCat76

Congratulations Tracey!

Thank you to all of you who have been following the dots and spots blog over the past couple of years and welcome to those of you who have just started to follow.


Keep your eyes peeled.
I will do another giveaway for my loyal blog followers over the next few weeks.
Something really special - a selection of all my new goodies, once they arrive off the various printing presses .

Friday, 22 October 2010

Looks like we have hit the big 300 followers - that didn't take long!
There is still time to join in the fun - I will put together a selection of festive goodies over the next couple of days and announce a winner on Sunday!
A BIG Thank You to all of you who have been following dots and spots on it's journey so far and welcome to those of you who are new!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Nearly Giveaway Time!

Have decided it's nearly time for a giveaway!

I haven't done one for a while and after a quick glance at my followers - 288 I've decided that if and when we make 300 followers, all the names will go into the hat.

As Christmas is fast approaching, it will be a festive collection of goodies.
So if you drop by but haven't added yourself to the list, now is the time to join. If you know someone who might like to join us give them a gentle nudge.

The more the merrier!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

And now the turn of the boys!

I started off the day posting a comment about how much I had to do - ''Lots to do today - orders to pack, a set of embellished prints to do, proofs for new packet tops to check, gift tags to punch and string and if time - designing the boys sticker set. Who needs a day off!!!''
Thankfully I did get to do the fun bit - designing my sticker set for boys!

I already really love them and have to say the shark is proving to be a family favourite.

I did a lot of research and have been advised all day by my 8 year old son!

So here they are - 15 different designs just for boys!

And a little reminder of the set just for girls!

They will go to the printers tomorrow and once proofs have been checked, into production. Packet tops still need to be designed but will hopefully be on sale in time for Christmas - the perfect stocking filler.

Some of you have been busy shopping already - have sold in excess of 100 individual rolls of tape this week - have put in another order - hope this one turns up!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Application approved!

Today I had an unwanted reminder - a bill for 'Top Drawer' a design led Trade Gift Fair in January! I was thrilled to have my application approved but it has made me think new designs, new products and deadlines. Once again I am being driven by deadlines rather that creating in a more relaxed time frame.

But sometimes deadlines are necessary. I have wanted to create stickers now for about 2 years now and pricing has always been my major obstacle. Now dots and spots is getting out to a wider audience and orders are more assured, print runs can therefore be bigger and therefore prices per item are reduced. With a new big show to aim for - deadlines are getting shorter and designs need to be done, however busy I am!

So I have been creating late into the evenings due to time restraints and have been loving every minute. My first set of designs went to the printers this morning and the next set will be started over the weekend. They will be sold as a pack of 2 sheets, 15 designs per sheet so 30 stickers per pack in total. A set for girls and a set for boys to start with and if they sell well there will be future packs in the pipeline.

Well I have to order 10,000 sheets - so only 5000 packs to sell - no pressure.

As and when they arrive at dots and spots HQ, I will let you know and do a little giveaway!
So keep visiting to find out when that will be!
Oh and let me know what you think of them!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

NOTHS Christmas catalogue

The new Not on the High Street Christmas Catalogue has gone live on their site and has been posted out to 1.5million people. You'll have to work your way through the whole catalogue as we are featured on the very back page!! (not really impressed by that!)
Or alternatively go visit the website and find us on there!

dots and spots

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Delivery Arrival - part 2!

Well that lorry was for me! and with the road outside my house being really busy, within minutes we were causing chaos - so I persuaded the 'grumpy' lorry drive to turn around and follow me over to the premises (where I originally intended it to go!)

So I escorted him through the delightful town of Shepton Mallet, into the Anglo Trading Estate and directed him to my loading bay!

A lot of huffing and puffing and no doubt swearing under his breath, he was parked and ready to unload!

A full pallet on board, so with further fluttering of the eyelids, I managed to persuade him to take the pallet down the long corridor to my actual room......

....and that is where he left it!

In the middle of the doorway for me to unload.

On the one hand I was most grateful to not only finally receive it, but to actually get it as close as he did but I'm still a little cross at the amount of time and inconvenience one delivery can cause!

Moan over - but I know the way the tape is selling, that we will be doing this all over again by the end of the month!

Couriers/ deliveries - love them, hate them!

I've had a real problem with couriers and deliveries this week. My time is so precious and I don't have 'time to waste' at the moment, so I get very frustrated waiting for things to arrive which are either late, delivered to the wrong place or not delivered at all!

I rely on my courier to take my orders off my hands and deliver them all over the country. I used to take them to the post office daily, but now there are so many of them and they are increasingly heavy, we have a courier that comes to the house and picks them up. My usual courier is fantastic, as regular as clock work - always arrives between 9.30 - 10.00am. So why, this week when I have so much to do, did the courier not arrive until nearly 1.00pm? - nearly 4 hours late. It turned out to be an agency guy, as my regular courier was on holiday - that's fine, but nobody tells you and with a 'to do' list as long as my arm, my jobs had to be squeezed into 2 hours.

Tuesday I was expecting 2 BIG deliveries over at our premises. There are 2 ways into the building - the first, up a twisting flight of stairs and the second, around the back of the building where there is a purpose built loading bay where lorries can back up, empty their deliveries on my floor level and with the help of a trolley, I am able to unload them myself. SO I gave strict instructions when ordering, that once at the trading estate the delivery guy must phone my mobile for instructions to the back loading bay! I even paid extra for a morning delivery as I knew I was on school run duty later that day!

So 12.30 arrives and I ring to ask where my 20,000 red envelopes and 10,000 cello bags are - given they are very heavy and I'd asked for a morning delivery! To be told that they were delivered and signed for at 9.00am that morning! Well to cut a long story short, they had been delivered to exactly the place I didn't want them - at the bottom of the stairs. So 5 big, heavy boxes had to been taken around the back, by car, by me and very cross I was too!

So where now was my tape delivery - 30 boxes due to be delivered! Well I'm still waiting as it failed to arrive at all! I am currently at home waiting for it to arrive, so I can load it off the lorry into the car and deliver it myself over to the premises so it can't get lost! Whilst also waiting for the courier to arrive to collect my next batch of parcels. I have a whole host of orders to be put together which will now end up having to be done at the weekend again as I have wasted so much time this week waiting for things which are out of my control!

But I quess as the saying goes, 'who said running your own business was easy!'

It's now 11.30am - here is a lorry - promising!

Have a good day!

Monday, 4 October 2010

A few of my favourite things!

I haven't shown you around my home for a while and thought I would share with you a few of my favourite things, things I have collected through the years, things I just love!

Like my bunting by Moobaacluck which adorns my fireplace. It was specially commissioned for me one Mother's Day and is very special to me!
My fabulous fabric wreath by Lisa Perry, bought for Christmas but stays up all year long!

My fabulous Spotty mouse - Myrtle, made by Shelley Rodgers

My dining room dresser which comprises of an old bookcase on top of an old junk sideboard find. I love the LOVE print by Caroline McGrath, bought last Christmas for me by my husband.

My Kitchen dresser has been with me for the last 20 years - bought brand new from a pine shop when I first set up home with my husband. It was given a face lift 10 years ago and was painted and now is a very much well loved, well used part of the kitchen!

MY kitchen - I love my kitchen it is on the small side but it's light and I designed it for the space we had. It's a mixture of old and new and the best bit it opens right out into the garden - where we seem to live in the summer months! Despite being added on to the back of the house, it still feels central to all that goes on. One day the floorboards will be painted white!

This is a new edition - I couldn't resist buying it from a little shop in St. Ives.

I love the way he perches on top of the cupboard in the bathroom.
The cupboard is one of my favourite pieces of furniture - it was a complete nightmare to get up the stairs and believe me it won't be moving until the day we move house as it's sooo heavy.

My bed - so comfy!

My son's White Company bear - so loved, so special!

Daughter's eclectic collection of cards, memories - special things!

My studio - my favourite place to be!

And my view from the studio!