Monday 30 May 2011

Bank Holiday Weekend

My Bank Holiday weekend has been spent giving the house a little bit of TLC. There are many jobs around the house that have needed to be done for a while and I use the excuse 'I'm too busy' far too often. So with all my design work done for now, I adorned some old clothes and got painting!

Our bedroom was top of the hit list - when we moved in 3 years ago, after all the renovations were complete, we had a fire. It was predominantly outside at the back of the house - a spark from the floors being sanded set alight a pile of cardboard, which in turn set the fence panels alight. We lived in boarding accommodation and got that dreaded phone call from our neighbours in the middle of the night telling us 'We think your house is on fire!' Although most of the fire was outside, a hole made in the back wall ready to connect the downstairs loo, sucked all the smoke into the house and there was a lot of damage.

Some of the smoke damage wasn't really discovered until later, when I went to wipe what I thought was a mark on the wall a year or so later, it turned out the mark was in fact smoke damage from the fire. When I wiped the mark, the smudge just got bigger and bigger - it has been one of the jobs I just couldn't face until this weekend.

So we moved all the furniture, washed down the walls, radio on and it was back to painting. It really didn't take that long and before bedtime the room was back to normal again - job done!

I then continued to paint over any mark or paint chip around the house - the poor children weren't allowed anywhere because of the wet paint!

I've also been putting up a few new prints that I treated myself to.

And yesterday I treated myself to some new spotty oilcloth in the Laura Ashley sale and recovered our kitchen table - looks much better I think!

There's no stopping me - the children's bedrooms have been cleaned and de-cluttered, the bathroom is getting my attention next then the downstairs! I knew once I started, I wouldn't be able to stop.

My 1950's kitchen cabinet has also been given a little face lift but the paint is still wet so I will share that with you another day!

The rain has just stopped and tomorrow I have to be back in work mode and face all the orders that have started to pile up - so I better tidy everything away for now - enjoy the rest of the week - hopefully the rainy weather has passed and we can enjoy the sunshine again!

Saturday 28 May 2011

Take That........

If you're not a Take That fan - stop reading! But back in November, I was the luckiest girl in the world and received surprise tickets for Take That and their Progress Tour in June.

Well yesterday, the tickets arrived - slight panic over the date - the tickets were for the 14th June but my husband had told me they would be for the 28th!!!! Seems he got the date completely wrong, so a slight re-jig with child care arrangements needed. My sister is now going with me and I can not convey just how excited I am!!

Friday 27 May 2011

Pinterest - Just lovely

A while ago I shared with you my new love affair with Pinterest - a space filled with visual pinboards. Last time I showed you a few 'pins' off my board titled 'Jars of....' - this week I thought I'd share with you a few pins from my board titled 'Just lovely' A board filled with lovely things that don't fit on a particular pin board but are as the title suggests, just lovely.

There is no real reason for them to be there other than the fact that they look lovely and made me stop and think when I saw the original image! Here is a link to the pinboard - have a little look at some other 'Just lovely' images.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

What an exciting day

I spent this morning over at the premises - packing orders but had a meeting booked at 12.30 with my printers. I seem to live over there at the moment, with so many projects on the go.

It's seemed a long time coming but today was the day, of the 'wet test' - to test colour quality, paper function and show-ability!

The printing press needed to be set up just as it would for much bigger print runs but it was a very vital part of the process.

Particularly as there are 36,000 sheets of wrapping paper at stake.

And thank fully all went according to plan, so now we have signed things off as good to go - I now have to wait!
I'm no good at waiting!!!

When I got home and picked up the post I was so pleased to have, at last, got my hands on a copy of the new Mollie Makes magazine. It has been like gold dust - a huge thank you must go to the lovely Nic of Nicsknots who kindly offered to send me a copy when she read my plea that I could not find one anywhere!

I haven't had a minute yet to even flick through but will have a good read later when I can find a quiet moment. Will let you all know what I think of it another time!

Oh and also in the post - the first copies of my Advent Calendar - so very exciting - I have wanted to do one for so long and am so pleased with it. I only have 6 copies and again, I have to wait - for the rest to be packaged and sent on!

Poor Jeff ( my husband and the technical one) is going to be very busy in the next few weeks - he has a lot of new products to add to the website in preparation for their arrival.

Sunday 22 May 2011

All new designs ..... done!

My poor little studio hasn't known what's hit it the past few days!

I have been working towards a deadline ( I stupidly set myself!) for this Monday and boy, did I leave myself with a lot to do!

The notebooks I brought out this time last year have been really popular - particularly the 'Just for Girls' and 'Boys Only' versions - it was either, reprint them or redesign them. Of course I went for the harder option - redesign them, so that's what I have been busy doing. So look out for 4 new designs in the coming weeks.

I also wanted to update my seaside postcards - they have proved very popular and have been reprinted a few times but I have just sold out of the sandcastle design and am very low on the other designs - so I thought now would be the perfect time to update them a little.

King of the Castle

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Sail away to sea...

We're all going on a summer holiday...

So there you go - design time over now proofing and printing stage.
Everything will then need to be photographed ready to go in our new catalogue and loaded onto the website. I still have all the new packet tops to draw up but a lot of bits and pieces to look forward to.

Thursday 19 May 2011

A new set of postcards

I have been locked away in my studio all day and have produced a new set of postcards entitled 'Home' - will be off to the printers on Monday. Sorry for such a short post - back to the studio - have a lot to do before Monday's art work deadline!

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Busy times!

Life is INCREDIBLY BUSY here at dots and spots HQ - I always seem to be going from one thing to the next without a minutes grace! What have I got myself into? Yes I can be flexible when working for myself but I truly never envisaged that I would be so extremely busy!

I'm busy doing the prep for my next trade show - finalising the new products in preparation for the new catalogue. We have so many lovely new products to share - above is a tiny sample of - yes you've guessed it, our very first Advent Calendar - I'm soooo very excited about this - not only because I insist on having my own one every year but also because I have wanted to produce one of my own for so long!

And of course there is the wrapping paper - 6 sheets double sided - you choose which side you prefer the spots, stars and stripes.....

....... or the various pattern designs - each will have accompanying gift tags! We're nearly there with the wrap - we are in the process of a 'wet test' to check show through, paper quality, wrap ability etc but hopefully by the end of the month it should be all good to go!

Then there are some new card designs.....

.......and some new postcard / invitation designs. Plus many other things going on in the background.

We must be doing something right - we received this lovely review in Greetings Today magazine - worth all the hard work!

And then in between all the hard work home life still rumbles on a pace. My 11 year old daughter has just endured a week of SATS tests and successfully completed her cycling proficiency. My 8 year old son has just started hospital appointments for dental surgery in July ( hopefully after the show) and I still try to find time to complete those projects around the home that interest me - like my flea market cupboard. It's in position but still in need of a little internal TLC - all in good time!!

Saturday 14 May 2011

Fantasy House Buying!!!

My husband completely despairs of me – we have a lovely home but I’m always on the lookout for a new house, a new project (like I have loads of spare time to do up a house!)

I waste my precious evenings on a fantasy house hunt, scouring rightmove for the next new house (in my dreams)

It is ‘imaginary’ shopping as most of the houses which inspire or interest me are double, if not triple the cost of our current house.


Since we have been married (15 years this year) we have moved every 3 to 4 years – we have owned this house for 4 years – it’s been habitable for just over three so I am now embarking on projects within the house, like redecorating or tarting up bits and pieces, when really I want to be doing those things to something new. We had to do a lot to this house – rewiring, skimming ceilings, re-plastering, knocking down walls etc The above photo's show the changes.

When we bought this house, dots and spots didn’t exist, the children were a lot smaller and because we were living in boarding accommodation, the house was initially planned to be a space to escape to during weekends and holidays, so space wasn’t an issue.

Now we have lived here for 3 years you start to see the problems and you start to draw up a list of want you want/need in your next home and no matter how often and how hard I look, I don’t think that space is out there – definitely not on the budget we have.


I want 4 bedrooms or an additional reception room for a guest sofa bed.


I want private parking for at least 2 cars and a bigger garden


I want the big, live in family kitchen that fits a sofa in too


I want a bigger studio / office space


I want a lovely old fashioned wooden porch/ veranda


I want a spacious hallway


I want lovely high ceilings,


I want wooden floors preferably painted white


I want boarded walls


I want big windows that let the light in


I want, ideally space to house dots and spots in its entirety rather that as it is now, in premises


Yes I know – ‘I want, never gets!’ but if I win the lottery tonight – I know what I will do with the money I win!!