2014 was such a busy year, getting made redundant, launching new businesses, starting a new job and lots of holidays in between. We finally sold our house in France with much regret (and a great deal of relief as well) and bought a second hand caravan with the leftover money. We're looking forward to lots of holidays in the UK over the next few years - we really are so lucky to live in such a nice corner of the world; Northumberland itself is stunningly beautiful and a couple of hours drive north, west or south brings you to Scotland, the Lake District and Yorkshire respectively. Why go anywhere else?
Earlier on this year, a little shop in the village where we live came up for rent. It's always been my dream to open a craft shop so I took the plunge and made some enquiries. Fast forward a couple of months and I'm the proud owner (well, tenant) of MY VERY OWN SHOP!!!!
Wanna see some pics????
As you can, it's not the biggest shop in the world but I rather like how cosy it is. First job, painting the concrete floor. The shop was a sun bed salon in a previous life, you can see where the partition walls used to be. Thankfully, the previous tenant ripped the walls down and removed the nasty carpet tiles.
Once I was happy with the floor, we could start moving furniture in. Thank heavens for Gumtree and eBay! Also, thanks to my wonderful hubby for driving around the North East of England in his van to collect all my bargain finds.
Once the furniture was moved into place, I could finally start to see it as a shop and not just a room full of random furniture! The big table is going to be perfect for sewing classes plus it's ideal for cutting fabric on - certainly beats the bed/ living room floor which is what I currently use!
The white dresser is probably my favourite piece of furniture in the shop - it's so pretty!
Next job was to start ordering lovely fabric and haberdashery to sell. I'd already been in touch with several suppliers and had decided that I wanted to stick to British designers and manufacturers wherever possible.
To begin with, I'm only stocking fabric from two suppliers; Dashwood Studio and Lewis & Irene. I love their quirky prints and the quality is perfect for dressmaking, crafts and quilting so sewists from all backgrounds can make something with it.
When I looked into the designers of some of the Dashwood Studio designers, I was delighted to find that, not only were two of them based in the North of England (Jessica Hogarth from Whitby and Rebecca Stoner from York), but they also design and produce beautiful cards and gifts. I got in touch and ordered some designs - they're going to look amazing alongside the fabric designs.
Having decided that cards and gifts were a good idea, I got in touch with Wotmalike who design cards, gifts and homeware with a North East theme. One of my annual annoyances is not being able to buy a birthday card for my "mam" - we don't say "mum" so much up here. I love the Northumbrian (and Geordie) dialect and Jo's designs are spot on. I couldn't resist their Pan Haggerty tea towels and their Shy Bairns Get Nowt Geordie Mugs :-)
For the haberdashery side of things, I'll be stocking mainly Korbond Creations as they're affordable and well made plus a selection of other hand picked ribbons, trims and craft supplies.
Once the parcels started arriving, I couldn't wait to start unpacking everything and putting it in its place. Doesn't it look pretty?
If you want to come and join in the fun, please pop along on the day - there's be drinks (mainly gin-based) and cakes. It's going to so much fun, I can hardly wait!