Seasonally inspired things to Make, Learn & Do.

What is Snapdragon Life?

jane lindsey of Snapdragon

Welcome to Snapdragon Life, I'm Jane.

Snapdragon Life is part membership community, part online shop - and both sides stem from what I have learned in learning how to change my own life, how to slow down, how to simplify and how to make time for the things I want to do.

Twenty years ago I moved to the countryside. I had been an art gallery curator working in a basement office in Glasgow, never seeing the daylight.

Newly pregnant with my younger daughter I decided that I needed a radical change, I quit my job at Glasgow University, retrained in horticulture, and began growing and selling cut flowers.

We had settled in a 1980s bungalow, with a pony paddock to convert into a flower field, right on the edge of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and I devoted the next few years to growing that flower business - every weekend was a rush of wedding preparation and farmers markets, every week was spent trying to keep up with demand while looking after my young daughters.

I may have moved to the countryside for a slower life, but I certainly wasn't living it.

Perhaps not surprisingly nature intervened and I gradually became more and more ill, I had no energy, my brain was foggy, I would sit amongst my rows of flowers - too weak to get up, gently weeping. I finally went to my GP and various hospitals and after about a year was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Addisons - part of my brain had stopped working and was no longer producing steroids or some hormones. The tiredness wasn't laziness or the normal demands of motherhood, it was medical and I had to reassess my life.

Since then I have devoted my time to finding out what things support the life I want to live - a life of creativity and joy and connection - and what things hinder it. Stress always increases my symptoms so a lot of what I've learned have to do with managing day to day stress, being connected to nature and creativity always makes me feel healthier so I have found ways to bring those into my life more.

I believe that these things help everyone who is looking for a simpler, more connected life, not just those with a chronic illness. Snapdragon is the result of all my experiments - a way of giving people the tools to make things, create things, slow down, simplify and enjoy their lives..

I love to design, I love to write, I love to garden and cook and sew and sit and watch the world. You will find my life in our blog, in our free Facebook Group and in my weekly newsletters.

I would love to get to know you better so please do join us and get in touch - my email is jane@snapdragonlife.com

Snapdragon social

Between the plum trees and the studio is a sloping space that was created when we flattened a patch of land to build. It is a mix of subsoil, rocks and odd seams of rich pasture land. ⠀
⠀
As grass began to grow there about 7 years ago,  I sowed a perennial meadow mix, I planted lots of random plants from the cutting beds, I worked without a plan, without knowing what would thrive and what would gently vanish. ⠀
⠀
Now there is minimal gardening involvement - I try and keep the nettles from taking over, we dig out brambles - and in the autumn and winter I lure the chickens there to scratch out patches of bare soil for the wildflower seeds. ⠀
⠀
It’s a patchy space, caught on the cusp of abandonment - but it is the most beautiful space in the garden, buzzing with insects, rustling with birds. ⠀
⠀
Low light, bright petals, setting sun. ⠀
A couple of days ago I got a message from a friend asking what I thought about all the 'picking wild flowers' photos on here and the fact that a country style magazine was promoting it as a
My Gran had hangers like these.  Knitted from odds and ends of wool, hanging softly squashed together in the big dark wardrobe in her bedroom.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
My cousin and I would take the fancy silky 1960s dresses from them and transform ourselves into glamorous detectives, spying on passers-by from behind the net curtains, making notes.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Now the hangers are my favourite things to make from wool scraps - each takes 37 grams of wool and you only need to be able to do a plain stitch to make it. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
As well as being chock full of nostalgia for me, they are also the most practical kind of hanger, as the garter stitch keeps even the flimsiest of straps in place so clothes don’t end up on the floor.
⁠⠀
This week's business improvement was deciding to make the postcards that go in with orders more useful, getting Kate Stockwell to turn them into activity cards for me. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
This is the first, going out with orders from today.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I’m always amazed at how many plants from sunnier climes take to the garden. ⠀
⠀
Sicilian honey garlic - Nectaroscordum siculum - is one of the plants that grow in rows in the orchard - ghosts of the flower field, buzzing with bees, happy in grass, a strong whiff of onion as I pass. ⠀
⠀
⠀
This month I’ve been experimenting with solar dyeing- using plants and sunlight and a jar to dye wool on the windowsill. 
I was amazed at what bright shades were possible and at how easy and self contained it turned out to be. 
It was part of the Studio Membership mini “Introduction to plant dyes” course but I’ve also put together a kit in the shop with full instructions and everything you need to get started with solar dyeing wool (there are mini skeins in the kit). The photo is my drying rack on the dye deck - part of the studio where I used to prep flowers when I sold them. 
The wood rack used to be for shoes and wellies.
Inspired by @josephinepbrooks I’m still using this time for some serious decluttering of my business - looking hard at which parts have descended over the years into one of those drawers stuffed full of things.  Which bits are muddled, useless, impossible to open without everything falling out. 
Last week was the turn of the blog - so many out of date things, so many broken links, pretty much impossible to browse. 
Now it’s been sorted out - David and @fuzzyjill at Fuzzy Lime helped me divide it into sections and now it’s all easily accessible from the navigation bar.

So if you are looking for tutorials, nature notes, gardening, recipes or musings on life you can find them without scrolling through hundreds of pages. 
And - as always seems to happen when you  declutter - I’m suddenly full of ideas for things to write about, so that I can fit them nicely into my new space! 
The poppies are from Friday’s blog about how they make wonderful cut flowers.
Another week. Another new morning 
I was chatting to a friend yesterday about what was the best thing about running my own business - and I decided that it was probably being excited about each day and all the things I want to do. ⠀
⠀
That I now rarely need to force myself. ⠀

Today it’s finishing off this week’s Studio Members lesson about solar dyeing and putting together these activity postcards which I am getting printed to go out with orders. ⠀
⠀
What are you looking forward to doing today?
snapdragon.life
FacebookTwitterPinterest

About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here

Loading