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Fair Season has Begun - Come and say hello!

 Our stand at Fair in the Square

Our stand at Fair in the Square

 Fresh flowers were provided by the lovely Lou at The Little Red Robin 

Fresh flowers were provided by the lovely Lou at The Little Red Robin 

 One day I will make a tabletop cover but in the meantime I am using old linen sheets.

One day I will make a tabletop cover but in the meantime I am using old linen sheets.

 A stack of notebooks with beautiful handmade paper and my 'Day at the Allotment' embroidery framed with reclaimed wood.

A stack of notebooks with beautiful handmade paper and my 'Day at the Allotment' embroidery framed with reclaimed wood.

 Pink hydrangea embroidery in handmade chippy frame.

Pink hydrangea embroidery in handmade chippy frame.

 Tiny drawers, velvet flowers, linen string and handmade paper notebooks...  A few of my favourite things.

Tiny drawers, velvet flowers, linen string and handmade paper notebooks...  A few of my favourite things.

 Blue hydrangea in handmade chippy frame.

Blue hydrangea in handmade chippy frame.

 My 'The Secret Garden' embroidery based on the logo for the Little Green Door.

My 'The Secret Garden' embroidery based on the logo for the Little Green Door.

 Labels for my handmade items, artwork by Kate at  Oyster Bridge & Co .

Labels for my handmade items, artwork by Kate at Oyster Bridge & Co.

 Our conservatory and where I can be found most days, stitching and watching the birds.

Our conservatory and where I can be found most days, stitching and watching the birds.

 The conservatory.  The old wooden box houses my painting supplies.  The patchwork cushion was a gift from my mum (it is a Tilda pattern using Tilda fabric).  She made two cushions and a matching quilt for my 40th birthday and I love them!

The conservatory.  The old wooden box houses my painting supplies.  The patchwork cushion was a gift from my mum (it is a Tilda pattern using Tilda fabric).  She made two cushions and a matching quilt for my 40th birthday and I love them!

 I keep pretty sweet company when I work.  Here she is, watching watercolour YouTube videos with me on the laptop.  

I keep pretty sweet company when I work.  Here she is, watching watercolour YouTube videos with me on the laptop.  

Brocante season has begun! It was our first fair of the year at the weekend.  We had a stand at The Country Brocante Fair in the Square in Midhurst. I had planned to launch my embroidery pieces online at the end of March but being invited to stand at the Fair in the Square changed my plans a little and I decided it would be nice to use the opportunity to display a few pieces of embroidery and see what sort of feedback I received.

In the weeks leading up to the brocante I had the most nervous tummy.  It is one thing attending an event where you have bought in items to sell but when you've made things yourself it is a whole other thing... It has become personal and I was struggling with my confidence. 

The day of the fair was bright and sunny.  The marketplace was full of gorgeous stands, all decorated with flowers and bunting.  It was beautiful.  We were in the town's Old Library which is a stunning old building and provided the perfect backdrop to our stand.  I couldn't have hoped for a better reception to my embroidery.  I had so much wonderful feedback and I feel inspired to continue.  Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by and especially those who gave me a few words of encouragement about my work, it meant such a lot to me.  I sold a few pieces and took a couple more orders but for now I am back in my workroom finishing a few stitcheries to sell at the Larmer Tree Brocante in Dorset this bank holiday Monday. 

It is my first time attending the Larmer Tree Brocante but having followed the team on instagram, I am super excited by the list of exhibitors and the prospect of a ukulele performance in the 'Singing Theatre' during the day.  It sounds wonderful! 

I am lucky to have two rooms in the house that I can use as workrooms.  I am in the conservatory today which is the room I use for painting and stitching because the natural light in here is, obviously, fantastic.  I have a sewing room at the top of the house, in the eaves, where I have a cutting table and a sewing machine.  My sewing room is a terrible mess at the moment as I have bought a few new (old) pieces of furniture and need to have a bit of a sort out in there to declutter.  I am looking forward to getting home next week and having a long overdue tidy up and organisation session but in the meantime I will enjoy watching the birds in the garden, listening to Spotify and embroidering a floral bouquet.  Hopefully see you in Dorset on Monday!

Love

Nicki xx

Find me on YouTube!

I am really pleased to have finally started my YouTube channel.  I would love for you to have a little look and let me know what you think.  I have been meaning to start a channel for months as I love watching podcasts when I work from home and I thought it would be a nice way to connect with my online friends.  Share what I'm up to, and chat a while.  I work from home on my own every day and have no one to talk to.  I try to involve Lizzie but there's only so much knitting natter she can cope with before she flops to the floor in a bored heap!  

My first video is just a quickie, showcasing the little zinc tags that we have in stock.  I'm going to be doing lots of little videos in future to show the goodies that I'm selling but I'll also be doing some chatty vlogs where I tell you allll about my crafty adventures as well as books I've read, films I've watched and recipes I've tried.  I am going to really bend your ear.  Haha. 

You can find my youtube channel by searching for Nicki Franklin on the YouTube site but there is also a tab here on my website that will direct you straight to it.  It's just in the navigation bar under the website header.

Thanks for being such a kind and lovely bunch, supporting me on my journey as you always do.  Couldn't do it without you.

See you soon 

Nicki 

x0x

Gift Wrapping Service

Hi! 

I just popped over to let you know that we have added a gift wrapping service to the shop now, to help you out with your Christmas shopping a little.

For £1.50 we will wrap your gift in cellophane, tie with rustic twine and add a little handmade tag with a stamped festive image.  Pop your gift message in the comments box and we will send it off pretty and pronto! 

Sunday 18th is really the last day for guaranteed Christmas orders but if you are desperate and would like us to ship extra quick then drop me an email or DM on any of our social media platforms.  I will do my very best to help you. 

I cannot believe that Christmas is approaching so quickly.  I have a million and one things to do! 

Happy shopping! 

Nicki X 

 

Christmas Preparation

I had hoped to blog much more often than this but time is whizzing by.  I could do with a few slo-mo days to be honest.

There were lots of lovely photographs shared on Instagram and Facebook for my little 30 Days of Hygge challenge and I'll share some of those later in the month.  They will make you feel super cosy; check out the hashtag if you get a chance in the meantime.   I am planning another little challenge for January, to get through the winter months.  Emma at Silver Pebble always has a lovely 'making winter' hashtag on Instagram which I get lots of inspiration from and I can definitely recommend that you take a peek at that too.  

Anyway, we're all busy so I'll keep my news brief and to the point:

  • I had my eyelids flipped inside-out today at the opticians.  Super-glamorous optician was apparently checking the underside of my lids for allergies and irritants.  I was quietly appalled.  It was gross.  Who even knew you could tuck your eyelids inside-out and they'd stay put? Bleurgh.
     
  • I haven't cooked a proper meal since mid-November.  We are living on ready-meals which we never have.  It feels kind of treat-y.  And those packets of ready prepared vegetables; how luxurious!   Marks & Spencer Gastro-pub Shepherd's Pie is my absolute favourite. 
     
  • I have developed a penchant for Whittard's Christmas Tea, a box of which was gifted to me by my lovely friend Laalaa.  It is so refreshing and festive; delicious with a small slice of Christmas cake.
     
  • Speaking of festive bakes, Nigella's gingerbread and Cherry Menlove's buttercream mince pies are at the top of my To Do list next week.
     
  • I always have my eldest niece Izzie in the Christmas holidays and I am enjoying preparing for our day together.  We are going to paint Christmas cards, decorate gingerbread houses and watch a Christmas film. I am so excited! Mum is going to join in too, so we will have a lovely day. 
     
  • I am currently reading The Girl in the Photograph and absolutely loving it.  
     
  • On Tuesday I will be attending my first ever watercolour class.  I am excited and nervous in equal measure.
     
  • My grandmother is preparing to have a pacemaker fitted.  My sister and I had an interesting conversation tonight about what a pacemaker looks like.  I envisioned a kitchen timer, she thought perhaps more like a SIM card.  I was closer to the reality, which surprised me.

My biggest news is that The Little Green Door celebrated its first year of trading this week.  I am so proud that I have made it this far and built a good foundation for a second year of trading.  I haven't taken a salary at all this year so money has been tight but it has been so worth it.  

We are off to Bath this weekend for some quality time together and then I am attending a small local fair on Sunday afternoon before we pack away our stall for the year.  We will be processing website orders and posting them all over the Christmas break but if you are shopping for bits and pieces in time for Christmas then I would recommend ordering by Friday 16th December for guaranteed delivery.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for stopping by.

Nicki X 

 

The Country Brocante Winter Fair

 Little scandi-style gnomes, handmade from antique linen.  Small army coming to the brocante.

Little scandi-style gnomes, handmade from antique linen.  Small army coming to the brocante.

 Making little wool houses, drinking tea and eating prettily wrapped chocolate.

Making little wool houses, drinking tea and eating prettily wrapped chocolate.

 Love little houses.

Love little houses.

 Pretty silvered glass votives and distressed metal chamber sticks coming to the brocante.

Pretty silvered glass votives and distressed metal chamber sticks coming to the brocante.

 Furry supervisor.

Furry supervisor.

I have got my head down at the moment, rushing around preparing for the Country Brocante Winter Fair which we will be exhibiting at this weekend.  If you are planning to attend, I'd love for you to pop over to say hi.  In the absence of any 'proper' photos I have attached a few iphone snaps which give a flavour of my week.

Andrew, my husband (and head of finance, packaging and logistics for The Little Green Door) is running the stand with me this time.  He has taken some time off work to travel with me, set up the stand and he plans to run the stall each day with me too.  He *says* he wants to meet customers but I think he is going to keep his eye on me; the shopping there is fantastic and last time I came home with a pair of pale pink garden chairs in my friend's already jam-packed car! 

We are staying in a shepherd's hut close to Cowdray and I am so excited.  There is a tiny kitchen area, cute shower room and a little woodburner so we won't miss many home comforts.  I hope it is as romantic as it sounds!  My lovely Mother in Law and her dog Daisy are babysitting Lizzie so she will have a wonderful time too.

The fair is at Cowdray Park in Midhurst this Friday 25th and Saturday 26th November.   Buy tickets and find more information here

Right, I am off to dig out my blackboards, attach noses to gnomes and then I hope to embroider a few hanging hearts in front of The Crown (have you seen it?  It is SO good.  The music gives me goosebumps).  

See you soon! 

Love love

Nicki 

xOx

The Spooky Month!

pumpkin hollow final.jpg

I am so excited to welcome October and release the final Autumnal scented candles that we have in stock from 1803 Candles.  Hocus Pocus, Yummy Pumpkin Seeds and Pumpkin Hollow are all really gorgeous autumnal fragrances and their jar labels are very festive! Perfect whether you go all out for Halloween decorations or like to give just a subtle nod to the season.  Shop now here

I have lots of plans for October, both from a work perspective and personally.  I had fun updating my Bullet Journal this afternoon with my plans for the month and I have written a blog schedule so that I can blog every day without having writer's block.  

I was given the all-clear to wear contact lenses again on Thursday as my eye has healed.  Hooray! I am taking it steady and only wearing them for short amounts of time at the moment but my mood has improved vastly!  It is so nice to see properly without a thick and heavy pair of glasses on my face that steam up every time I pull something out of the oven or slide down my nose with sweat. It is also brilliant to be wearing make-up again and remember that I do actually have a pair of eyes rather than two tiny raisins squished into my face (which is how I felt in my specs).  

Oh! And I can drive Mabel, my new little car!  My lovely friend Lynda (Laalaa) came to visit me again yesterday - we have managed to get together loads this summer, it has been great - and we had a proper tour of Northamptonshire in my minty pride and joy.  We had such a lovely day fabric shopping, stationery shopping, lunching and drinking coffee.  Although it has to be said, Lynda still gripped the door handle a little too tightly when I was driving, I think I still scare her even though Mabel is much slower than my Mini.   To top off a lovely day I went to an aromatherapy class at a divine yoga studio yesterday evening with Debs.  There's really nothing better than spending time with treasured friends is there.  

We are going to settle in front of the TV now to start Season 3 of The Bridge.  We have boozy drinks, blankets and a bowl of Hula Hoops.  Perfect Saturday night in doncha think.

Love love

Nicki 

xOx

 

An Autumn Evening Walk

It has been all over social media today; the first day of Autumn, officially!  The Autumn Equinox. 

It has been a beautiful day.  The sun has shone but it has been pleasantly cool.  I started the day slowly with my knitting and a cup of coffee, watching the birds feeding in the garden.  It's nice now that the hedges are losing their leaves as the birds are more visible.  The longer I sit, the braver they become; I could spend the whole morning there given half a chance.  

I like to start my mornings slowly and mindfully where possible as I find it a really positive way to begin the day.  I try to get up when Andrew leaves the house at 6:30am so I have a good hour to dedicate to breakfasting, knitting and quiet reflection.  I also use that time to review my bullet journal and the things that need to be done that day.  

These last two weeks have not been ordinary for me at all.  Having damaged my cornea last week I have had to take time out to rest and recover.  With my eye particularly sensitive to light, it has been difficult to watch the television or use my computer screen for any period of time and so I have been mostly listening to audio books, stitching, knitting and snoozing.  I have had lots of (mainly edible) presents delivered from my lovely friends and Debs came to fetch me yesterday to take me to knit club at a cosy cafe.  It was only for a couple of hours but so nice to see the knitting ladies again over tea and crumpets.

Fingers crossed, I am over the worst of it now and feel much better. The sun was shining when Andrew got home from work and so after a hasty snack for dinner we laced up our walking boots and headed for the nature reserve with the dog.  The sun was just setting and the hedgerows were laden with rosehips, berries and crab apples.  The meadows were alive with rabbits and the sky was full of flying, honking geese.  It was, as always, utterly peaceful and I feel content having ended my day in much the same way as it began.  

Earlier today I updated the website with some new arrivals of Autumn candles and soy melters. White Pumpkins, a Little Green Door bestseller (and my personal favourite) is back in stock and I can totally recommend Apple Butter House if you fancy treating your home to a fruity, autumnal feel as the nights draw in.  If you haven't tried 1803 Candles before and you're not sure you will like them, it's worth picking up a couple of packets of melters.  The scent throw is fantastic and they are great value for money as each block breaks into six squares; you use one or two depending on the size of your warming device.  Grandma's Kitchen and Cookie Kitchen are lovely nostalgic baking scents, perfect for the heart of the home.  I have a Lavender Buds melter in the bedroom, Cider Mill for the living room and Nutty Pumpkin Waffles in the kitchen. (It's worth me mentioning that I only have one lit at a time because the scent throw is so good that it lingers around the house and any more would be overkill.)

I am off now to finish writing my Autumn bucket list; I have a cosy blanket, hot tea and fluffy pink slippers waiting for me. Then - excitingly for me - I have new beauty products to try including a pumpkin enzyme face scrub and avocado night cream.  A cheer-up gift from my lovely man.

Love love,

Nicki 

xOx

Yay Autumn! 1803 Candles new scents online

September is my favourite month, without a shadow of a doubt.  Firstly because of the weather.  Although the summer sunshine tends to linger for much of September, the light becomes more golden and the mornings and evenings are considerably cooler.  My favourite weather.  It also, of course, heralds the return to school and reminds me of those exciting first days of newness.  New teachers, new timetables, crisp new exercise books, new pencil cases and shiny new school shoes. Gleaming freshly waxed parquet flooring in the school hall.  

September is a bit of a romantic month in our family; we all chose this month in which to be married.  It is actually my folks' wedding anniversary today(I think 43 years).  Congratulations Mum and Dad!  

I have been birdwatching with my Dad again and Mum joined us yesterday; I think she enjoyed it although Dad has threatened to bring duct tape next time to stop her chatting!  I was just happy to see her happily walk the 2.5 mile route without any pain after operations on her feet last year and a knee replacement this year.  I happen to quite enjoy her chit-chat too! :)

I am looking forward to watching the changing of seasons at the reserve.  In the last few weeks we have already seen the blackberries start to ripen.  Apparently, as the blackberries go over the bull finches enjoy feasting on their seeds.  The starlings in our garden must have moved on because the tray of mealworms on my conservatory window is still full.  Usually the starlings show up like a gang of over-excited teenagers, scrapping and bickering as they eat.  I kind of miss them although I do not miss the mess they make.

I am making plans for Autumn and I'll share them with you next time.  Plans include the embroideries I am going to stitch, films I am going to watch, wristwarmers that I am going to knit and the cakes I am going to bake.  We have taken delivery of some gorgeous 1803 Candles in cosy autumn scents and I've listed some on the website this afternoon.  They launched at lunchtime today and there was an exciting flurry of activity as people stocked up.  Perfect Pumpkin and Apples & Acorns have been the favourite so far; stock of those is almost depleted.  Pop over and have a look - if you haven't tried 1803 before you won't be disappointed.  They are by far the best scented candle I have ever come across.  The scent fills a room without being overpowering; very mellow and gentle.  The fragrance lingers too - we had the bathroom refurbished earlier in the year and one of the workmen told me how lovely and cosy the house always smells.  He took a big breath in and said: "ooh your house always smells lovely; like baking.  Very homely."  He made my day!  

Have a happy September and enjoy the slow transition to Autumn, dear cyber friends!  

Love

Nicki 

xOx

PS The mouse situation has been dealt with.  We have two humane traps in the yard and have caught four mice so far.  I haven't seen any around lately either.  We are used to having mice in the garden at harvest time so it doesn't worry me.  The traps were down for a couple of days and we had failed to catch any of the pesky rodents; I was starting to feel concerned that humane traps were not aggressive enough.  Eventually, as I popped out to grab a coffee last Friday I announced, in the general direction of the garden, that all mice had better surrender themselves immediately or I was bringing the 'snappy traps' out.  Lo and behold upon my return two field mice were ensconced in said plastic boxes, quietly snacking on giant chocolate buttons.  I like to think they recognised my non-nonsense tone!  Of course I had to summon Andrew from his office (thankfully he is based just down the road and was local that day).  He released them in a layby near his office and has felt compelled to release all subsequent mice there "in case they are family and miss each other."  Ha! I totally get that.

Birds, Hedgehogs and Fat Little Mice

embroidered lavender sachet_.jpg
embroidered lavender sachet final v.jpg

"We are both like Snow White, but in different ways." pondered my niece, Izzie, last week when she came to stay.  With her glossy dark hair, fair skin and rosy red lips I could guess at her own resemblance but me?  "Well, I look like Snow White and you act like her"  she offered.  Cute.  That girl knows how to charm me.  Snow White is my favourite of the Disney princesses and although I'm not keen on the idea of cleaning and cooking for a small army of dwarves, I love how she keeps that cosy cottage so pretty and cosy, with the help of bluebirds of course! 

We were re-filling my bird feeders at the time.  I am a nature nut and although we have a small garden, living in quite a rural area means that I can entice various species if I get the right food.  Unfortunately, birds do not have the best table manners (finches are the worst!) and the seeds they drop seem to be providing a continual feast for a fat little field mouse.  (I like to think there is only one; the same missy every day.  I realise the reality is not so cute...).  I need to get out there more often with my dustpan and brush.  Said fat little field mouse was in the garden yesterday afternoon.  She was driving Lizzie crazy. as she nipped between bushes, the shed and the log store.  I am torn between letting her nest in the garden and encouraging Lizzie to catch her (yep, not so Disney).  She is very fat and I absolutely do not relish the idea of a gazillion small rodents in my living quarters.  I am going to send Andrew out for a humane trap this evening.  

We've had hedgehogs every night, too.  They also drive my dog insane but hedgehogs are my favourite wild animal.  But then, as I type that, I remember bats and badgers which I also love.  Ahhhh summer.  I love it.

I have been crazy busy finishing up orders from the Summer Brocante at the end of June and the very last Cabbages & Roses overdresses will be sent out this week.  I also took a few orders for bespoke embroideries at the brocante, which I finished last week.  I will be attending the Cotswolds brocante at the end of September and the Winter brocante in Sussex at the end of November.  I'll put details on here in the events section when I get a minute but I'd love to see you there. 

I am off bird-watching with my dad this evening and really looking forward to it.  He retired earlier in the year and I've been wanting him to come with me for ages; it was him after all who I take after with my love of nature.  I have packed a pair of binoculars, a field guide and a notebook and made a quiche for us to eat when we get back.  What a lovely way to spend a summer evening, hey?

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and that your weather is appropriately seasonal.  It is hot hot hot here and I love it.  A proper summer.

Love

Nicki 

x

PS The kitchen and dining summer sale is still going strong over in our little shop.  It will continue until the end of August so snap up a bargain quick! 

 

"When you cuddle, you feel safe."*

*said Izzie, aged 7. 

For new readers, Izzie is my eldest niece.  She came out with this little gem, conversationally, as we snuggled under the covers last time she stayed over.  I think she was a bit scared, spending the night in a creeky old cottage, and these words of wisdom were casually imparted as she lined up a small army of cuddly toys, on the pillow next to her.

My husband had, kindly, moved into the spare room for the night so that Izzie and I could share a bed.  All I can say, after sharing a bed with Izzie for the night, is that I can understand why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture. Several times, just as I was about to drop off, I had a sharp jab in the ribs or a stage-whispered "Auntie Nicki, are you asleep?".  Eventually, I was asked to make up a story.  I told her I would if she just closed her eyes.  

Making up a story sounded like a doddle to me.  I write short stories and make up little children's tales in my head all of the time.  But at 10pm after a day of intense activity with aforementioned 7 year old, my tired mind was blank.  I gingerly started the story of Princess Clara who lived with her mummy and daddy in a beautiful, crooked, stone castle... "What colour was Princess Clara's hair, Auntie Nicki?" My response - long dark hair - satisfied the brunette little girl next to me for a few seconds.  Until I mentioned Princess Clara's long pink gown and sparkly pink shoes.  "They sound lovely Auntie Nicki.... I have a pair of blue sparkly shoes you know.  They're my party shoes..." And on it went.  The story became a conversation with Izzie constantly interrupting to question a detail ("I thought you said his coat was blue?") change the name of a servant or the words of a spell.  Telling her to close her eyes as I recited the story only led to the pair of us trying to secretly peer at each other with one eye squinted open, quickly closing it as we spotted the other spying.  Iz fell into an exhausted slumber at 10:30pm and I slept fitfully for the rest of the night waking on the hour to check that she was still breathing.  This, I remind myself, is precisely why I would make a rubbish (and exhausted) mother.

Those words about cuddling have been playing on my mind ever since, though.  You really do feel safe when you cuddle.  Giving someone a long, tight, hug during their panic attack can be a real help (it is for me).  When I was ill with anxiety and depression last year, my counsellor recommended I bought a teddy bear, for cuddles when there was no one around to administer them.  On the basis that I have a very placid and tolerant dog at home, I didn't buy a bear but if I had, I'd have chosen one of the ones I now stock in the shop. 

Pop over and have a look - perfect for big or small children and uber-snuggly.  I have more Maileg toys coming soon, complete with pyjamas and other, fancier, outfits.  My nieces give me the best excuse to stock them.  Last weekend, when the Maileg order had just come in, Izzie (7) chose the large fluffy bunny and Ellie (20 months) chose the tiny mouse in knickers.  Truffle the pig is my favourite! 

Have a lovely weekend and thanks for popping by.

Nicki 

xOx

Discount and Free Stuff

Hello hello!  Just dropped by to let you know of a couple of promotions that I'm running in the shop this week.  

First off, to wrap up my Valentine Giveaway over on instagram, there is a 10% discount on all orders until midnight tonight, using the code 100hearts.  Flat rate P&P of £4.50.

Then, with Mother's Day around the corner, I am offering a free tiny antique preserve pot with every candle box.  The little pots are water-tight and just perfect to pop a tiny posy on display.  Don't forget to pick up a packet of skinny candles too! 

The flowers I used in the image below were foraged on a walk around the village and from the sparse little plants that are flowering in the garden at the moment.  A single rose head on a very short stem (or ranunculus etc) would be stunning too. 

 I have styled up my large square candle box for the spring with a few cuttings of ivy from the garden and a little wicker nest I bought at hobbycraft the other day.  The feathers were from Hobbycraft too (I thought they were a bit more hygienic than the ones I see on my dog walks).  I bought a bagful and just tucked a few in and around the nest and filled it with some gorgeous Belgian chocolate eggs from Beckworth Emporium.  I had the candle box on display at the Lollyrocket fair I did on Saturday and there was a super cute little girl who was very taken with it and wanted to know if the eggs were real.  As soon as I told her they were chocolate, her hand was straight in the box and ready to scoff.  She was adorable!  

The offer of a free antique preserve pot ends on Friday 4th March at midnight - happy shopping!

PS I've changed my name to thelittlegreendoor on instagram now, just in case you can't find me. X

Windy Days and Scented Candles

Hello hello! I am going to start by saying happy birthday to my lovely dad.  He's had a bit of a rubbish day by the sound of it so I want to just remind him how ace I think he is and how much I love him.  (I'm also a bit broke, dad, if you've got a spare tenner?....)  Haha.   It's my friend Mel's birthday too *waves* happy birthday lovely! 

It has been so windy these last couple of days, I hardly slept a wink last night.  I know that our house has remained standing for 400 years but it still gives me the heebies when I hear the wood beams creaking and the window frames rattling.  I am not a fan of being outdoors in the wind - it gives me horrible earache.  Lizzie no likey either, so we've stayed in all day.  I got some knitting done (I have joined in with the Martin Storey knit along for Rowan) and watched the last few episodes of The Affair.  I really loved that series.  Loved it.  I did not love Noah (in fact I felt quite repulsed by him) but Cole goes a long way to restore your faith in a chap.  The scenery and cinematography was a treat.  Next on the 'To Watch' list is War & Peace.  I've recorded them all and haven't watched a single one so I will pick a quiet day when I can watch them back to back.  So excited - everyone seems to have loved it.

I've had some new deliveries in this week that I need to add to the site.  Today I received the first batch of my 1803 candles order.  I have been so excited for them to come in.  They are only really available in America - I have become just the second distributor in the UK which makes me very happy.  If you haven't tried them before you really should - they are divine.  They are hand poured soy candles and the fragrances are delightful.  They come in gorgeous packaging and, unlike a lot of scented candles, the scent throw is really good. When I light mine I can smell them all the way through the house.  The little rustic tin buckets arrived first, in the following 'flavours':

Lavender Lemongrass: Used for generations to sooth the weary soul...A blend of Natural Lavender and Lemongrass

Cabin on the Hill: Simple and peaceful the cabin looks on the hill...Woody Spice, Leaves, and Fresh-Cut Greens

Hearth Cakes: Just baked cake kept warm by the hearth...1803's snickerdoodle cake

Friendship: Old friends are never far away...Spices with a warm pie crust

The Lavender Lemongrass and Cabin on the Hill are both quite fresh, outdoorsy scents.  Hearth Cakes and Friendship are cosy, spiced baking scents.  All are lovely.  I don't know which to light first! 

More, larger, ones are en route as we speak.  The next lot are in mason jars with black lids, still very rustic and primitive in a few difference scents.  It is so nice to have found a good scented candle in an attractive jar.  So much nicer than Yankee Candles and I even like them more than my old favourite, Bath & Body Works.  I urge you to try them! You won't look back! 

I've also had a bumper delivery of fabric ready to be transformed into lovely things for the Lollyrocket fair on 27th February.  I will, of course, be listing some handmade pieces in the shop too.  I had carved out the whole of this week to break the back of my to do list but so far haven't even switched on my sewing machine. I will definitely *definitely* start tomorrow.  No more procrastination.  

Enjoy your week, everyone.  Thanks, as always, for stopping by to read my ramblings.  

Love

Nicki 

x0x

 

 

 

 

 

February pretties

Hello and happy Monday.  Yay, we got through it!  It has been so grey here in South Northamptonshire.  It doesn't help that we live in a tiny cottage with thick walls and small windows - it's dark at the best of times.  Today I have had all of the lamps on and candles burning constantly.

In all honesty, I have felt a bit pants today.  I'm just getting over a nasty cold and feel very rundown and sluggish.  I also have a bit of hormonal rage (TMI?).  Nice combination.  So, I took a bit of time out this morning to watch a couple of episodes of The Affair and do some easy knitting.  Have you seen it?  I didn't watch when it originally aired so I have two lovely seasons to binge on.  I am loving it.  Such a crazily stylish programme, I love Ruth Wilson's beachgirl wardrobe.  It makes me dream of summer days in cotton dresses and tan leather sandals.  It also makes me pine for a more simple life - Alison and Cole's beach house has that shabby but stylish thrown-together look.  It is basically like watching a Toast catalogue brought to life.  Heaven.  

I have just finished a pair of gorgeous fair isle wristies but I didn't bother knitting a swatch and they are much too small.  I am going to have a very cosy niece.  I've also started knitting a pink Tess heartwarmer and will soon start the Martin Storey knitalong for Rowan.  The wool should arrive from The Wool Sanctuary any day now.  Yay!

Anyway, I didn't stop by to gripe about my day (although sympathy for my cold is always welcome), I wanted to let you know about the gorgeous whitestone pots that I have added to my shop.  I planted mine up with hyacinths, snowdrops and lavender this weekend and they look so pretty and fresh in my conservatory.  Have a little look when you get a mo. 

Have a good week,

Nicki 

xox

 

 

Busy-ness

Hello hello!  I have been so busy this week, it has been ace but only now do I feel even remotely organised or relaxed.  I had quite a big House Doctor order delivered to me earlier in the week which I'd placed before Christmas and it has taken a lot of work to sort through.  I was really excited for everything to come because the glass candle boxes are so different from a lot of things that we get here in the UK.  The rustic simplicity of them looks perfect with the faded florals I love so much.  I'd sampled a few candle holders prior to ordering but I've sneaked myself a copper one and the gorgeous pinky tint of the metal looks really lovely with my white John Lewis lantern in the conservatory.   I'll do a bit of a show and tell either tomorrow or Tuesday because obviously there are some in the shop for you too!  :)

I still have some bits and pieces to upload and I'll have new stock coming in on a weekly basis so I'm trying to get myself into a bit of a routine.  (Currently obsessed with this website at the moment, where inspiring people share their morning routines!)

It's hard work having my own little shop but I'm enjoying every minute of it.  I am gaining experience in all areas of small business and it's a learning curve doing everything myself.  I lug heavy boxes around (thanks to Health & Safety training at my previous job I've got the golfers' lift off to a tee*), I sumo wrestle with giant rolls of bubble wrap and my vocab is far more varied than it used to be - you should hear the swear words I've blurted out when struggling with techy things on my website.  I'd make a sailor blush.  I'm not earning any money so I can't afford treats but I'm happier than I have ever been.  

Although I've had some late nights with stock and orders, this week I've still managed to spend an afternoon knitting in front of Once Upon A Time, took my niece to toddler group and had brunch on Friday morning with a lovely new friend.  

We went to my MIL's for one of her amazing roast dinners today and I came home to cuddle up with a book and a blanket.  Promptly had a two-hour nap.  It has been the most perfect day.

Have a good week everyone!

Nicki 

xox

*sorry

PS My site doesn't automatically accept paypal payments; I am working on an acceptable solution (learning curve, much?!) but if you'd rather pay by paypal please feel free to email me and I'll send an invoice super-quick for you to pay.  

Candles on a Grey Day

 I repurposed my  zinc tub  for kindling by the fire.  This is the larger of the two which I am selling in set in my  shop .

I repurposed my zinc tub for kindling by the fire.  This is the larger of the two which I am selling in set in my shop.

 These glass candle boxes will be in stock soon!  Hoping by the end of the week. 

These glass candle boxes will be in stock soon!  Hoping by the end of the week. 

 Winter Cottage and Waiting for Summer, both by Kirsty Elson.

Winter Cottage and Waiting for Summer, both by Kirsty Elson.

 I still have a few of each of the candle votives in stock - these are the large and small fluted ones together with the cupcake votives.  I have had mine for a few years now and they look lovely year round.

I still have a few of each of the candle votives in stock - these are the large and small fluted ones together with the cupcake votives.  I have had mine for a few years now and they look lovely year round.

So far so good.  The January blues haven't hit me yet.  I'm not sure if it's because I've had a change of direction in my life or because I've been taking vitamin D supplements, though I suspect the former.  It's dark enough to trouble any SAD sufferer though, wouldn't you say?  It has been super grey here today and by 2pm I had to admit defeat and switch a few lights on.

It *must* be dark, because the Amazon delivery man has taken to wearing a head-torch.  I was engrossed in something at the dining table earlier this evening and he gave me the shock of my life when he tapped at the window and caught me in his full beam.  Too many episodes of Criminal Minds over the Christmas break has, admittedly, made me rather more jumpy than usual.  (Saying that, it's no surprise I'm jumpy when you consider my upbringing.  I have a mother who thinks it is beyond hilarious to make her children shriek with fright.  If you knew the amount of times she leapt out from behind a bed/door/sofa in my youth to shout 'boo', you'd forgive me for being the nervous wreck that I am.  Unfortunately for Andrew, I too find it hilarious to leap out unexpectedly to frighten him.  I can't resist it if I'm in a room and he doesn't know I'm there when he walks in.  I keep telling myself I must stop, it probably isn't good for his health.)

Inspired by lots of lovely light, bright and white interior photos on instagram this morning, I decided to spruce up the living room a bit.  Having removed all of the Christmas decorations, the house felt a little bit less cosy and it suddenly felt like there was too much empty space everywhere (seriously, what did I keep on the dining room sideboard before I set up my winter village? I have no clue.)  I started by giving the inglenook fireplace a good going over with a damp cloth and the hoover.  Bad move.  It was so full of cobwebs that I had to tuck my trousers into my socks and wear a hanky on my head (my Cath Kidston ones are lovely and big for that very purpose) in case of abseiling spiders.  Perhaps more alarmingly, there was so much dust that when I turned back around to see Lizzie blinking at me from the sofa, I thought someone had set off a smoke bomb!  

I felt a bit deflated cleaning the living room, I'll be honest.  We chose this house because it is small, cosy and quirky but in these light-starved mid-winter days I wish we'd picked something with higher ceilings and bigger windows.  I gave myself a talking to and pulled out all of the candles and lanterns I could find, to cheer things up.  I'm pleased with the living room now, it is sparkly clean and fresh.  I am definitely going to paint our oak furniture to help brighten things up a little, though.  

Speak soon,

Nicki 

x0x

PS Did you see the little Kirsty Elson piece in my photos above? It was a birthday present from my grandma and it's called 'waiting for summer'.  I think it looks lovely on the skinny shelves in our living room next to the winter cottage piece I bought for myself just before Christmas.

School Fair and Shop Launch

On Thursday evening I had my first fair for The Little Green Door.  It was  just a school Christmas fair at my niece's primary school and I didn't expect to sell much but knew it would be a good opportunity to practise setting up my stall and trial my handmade display boards.  It was also really lovely to be in the vicinity of my niece who, in her silver sequinned dress and hairband was dashing around the school hall with her best friend in an excitable frenzy.  (She'd got 'Santa' sussed though and told me with a puzzled expression that "it wasn't Santa, it was Mr Foster.")  I had to concentrate really hard on keeping a straight face.  

The fair was good, if a little quiet.  It was pouring with rain on Thursday which I think kept people indoors, which was a shame.  Happily, I had a lady selling amazing macarons next to me and she kept my blood sugar levels up.

My gingerbread man wreaths were the most popular item on my stall and I've been making more this weekend.  Since going live with my little online shop this evening, I've sold out again but if you were hoping to bag one don't worry as I'll be making more tomorrow.  Please email me if you'd like me to make one to order.

Truth be told, since going to the Caroline Zoob workshop on Tuesday, all I have wanted to do is make paper decorations, cards and gift tags.  I've been buying loads of antique papers and a huge spool of antique linen thread so I'm going to have a nice afternoon to myself one day this week, with a mince pie and some carols on the radio.  

If you ever have the chance to attend a Zoob workshop I would definitely recommend it. Caroline hosts them from various venues around the country but the two I have been to have been in the most amazing homes of her friends.  Tuesday's workshop was in a lovely country home in the Cotswolds.  The host, Jane, was very warm and friendly - she also made the most delicious lunch.  We finished the day with mince pies and tea by the log burner.  I could have stayed the week.  It was so relaxing.  Caroline brings with her a stash of vintage fabrics, antique papers and her lovely patterns.  We made loads on Tuesday, it was very productive day! 

I'm about to give the husband a 'boost' into the loft so that he can fetch down the Christmas decorations.  We bought our trees today - a bit earlier than usual this year but next weekend is set to be a busy one so I thought I'd start the festivities early.  

Have good week - speak soon.

oXo

PS just wanted to confirm to my international readers that I am happy to post overseas.  If you select the 'international' option at checkout I will contact you separately to confirm postage costs.  I will send by the safest and most economical method for you and will check your preference before actioning.  

 

  

Christmas is Go!

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I have been overrun with gingerbread men.  This is not a bad thing - I love gingerbread men.  An idea to make a couple and attach to a wreath turned into a full-scale military operation this week as I prepare for a Christmas fair at my niece's school tomorrow evening.  Sewing gingerbread men and watching the Christmas Movie channel is getting me into the festive spirit and this weekend I'll be pouring my first snowball.

Niece is very excited about my attendance at the fair.   (The gingerbread man idea was hers, she thought they would be nice for teacher gifts, I think she'll be excited to see them on wicker wreaths.)  Only last week she was apparently writing up recipes so that we could both make cupcakes together and sell them:  "You should get a shop, Auntie Nicki.  I'll come and work for you when I'm 30."  She rang me after school today to let me know that she's bought "something Christmassy that you can eat!" as a present for me.  When I subsequently quizzed my sister, I found out that Izzie bought some biscuits at Waitrose over the weekend that she thinks we can sell.  Love her.  

I'll be back on Friday with photos from my stall and - all being well! - I'll have started to list a few bits in my shop.  Remind me to tell you about my day with Caroline Zoob, making Christmas cards.  I went to one of her workshops yesterday and had the loveliest time.  I feel all chilled out and Christmassy now.

Laters, loves! 

Nicki 

oXo

PS Have you tried M&S Shimmering Snowy Road Bites?  You must! They are amazing.

Rosehips, Pecan Squares and Dads

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bunnies.jpg

Things I have learnt this week:

  • If I am going to successfully run my new little business then I have to spend more time working and less time socialising.  Seeing friends in the week is such a novelty though!
  • Dads do not appreciate candle-light during the day ("It's like night-time in here, can we put a light on or something?").
     
  • I have an obsession with rosehips, snowberries and winter foliage.  And glass box candle holders to put them in.
     
  • Dads do not appreciate dried hydrangeas ("it's a bunch of dead flowers!" said with bemusement).
     
  • Americans know a thing or two about baking.  Martha's pecan squares were amazing!  A hit with everyone.
     
  • Dads are brilliant for popping over and helping with woodwork projects (display boards for my fair stands) and curtain hanging (new red gingham curtains are up and looking gorgeous) requiring no thanks except endless cups of tea and a roast beef dinner.

I am planning a busy week starting with my first two supplier orders arriving tomorrow.  I'm so psyched for their arrival that I'm practically bouncing around on my toes at the door, like a tennis player.  Really excited to get everything and list on the website - just hoping everything goes smoothly.  Oh, and if you liked the rustic wire lantern in my last post you'll be pleased to hear that my first lot are landing here next Friday and I'll be shipping them straight out the door.  So many people have already emailed me and there's a bit of a waiting list.  Drop me an email if you're interested too, they are gorgeous and perfect year-round.  (£31 plus £3.50 p&p).  I love mine.  

Thanks for all of the lovely, supportive comments so far and, especially thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I really appreciate you popping over and will reply to all comments and questions you might like to leave. 

Have a great week! 

xOx