Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

My Values

Snapdragon Life is a Company of One - its values are my values.

Every day I try to do better. Try to live a little lighter. Try to contribute more.

It is an ongoing journey and I am learning every day.

Here is where I am.

  • Money - 10% of all profit, along with 100% of my speaking and mentoring fees, goes to The Snapdragon Foundation and is distributed to support projects aimed at 14-24 year olds in the UK. The Snapdragon Foundation is a registered charity and was set up in 2015. It supports small scale, often grass roots, projects with an emphasis on inclusion and access to creativity and green space.
  • Marketing - I believe that many ecological and social problems are caused by scarcity marketing, by pushing people's buttons, fetishising products and encouraging them to buy things that they do not need. I have moved away from this kind of marketing and actively encourage people to take their time and consider purchases or, indeed, to use what they may already have.
  • Materials - My primary aim is to recycle materials. I am currently not buying new fabrics and am reusing things in my own, and other people's, stashes. Where I am buying supplies, for example the alpaca sock blanks and the wool for natural dyeing, I am researching all possibilities and trying to make the most ecological and people friendly decision. This is not always clear cut and may evolve as I learn more. For packaging and printed materials I have moved to 100% recycled paper, tissue, tape and boxes and am attempting to make everything useful and beautiful so that it is kept.
  • Sourcing - where at all possible I source from the UK. Seeds are from 5 different independent UK seed merchants and the majority are grown in the UK. Almost all the flower seeds and a lot of the vegetable seeds are open pollinated varieties, so the seed can be saved from year to year and create plants that are best for your local conditions - I am intending to gradually move over to 100% open pollinated varieties by 2022. Linen and wool fabrics are sourced from UK mills and, where possible, I use seconds, ends of rolls and deadstock.
  • Waste - Reducing the size of runs has radically reduced wastage, though it does mean that I go out of stock of some things more quickly. I have also moved away from stickers and all backing paper type printing related to products/packing. Royal Mail labels, which have an unrecyclable backing, continue to be an issue. Paper and card packaging that comes with supplies is composted or fed to the worms. In the past 6 months I have reduced the unrecyclable waste produced by 4/5. There is still work to do.
  • Studio Club - the club has a 'pay what you can' option to allow as many people as possible to afford membership (opens again beginning of April).
  • Access - I would like to help as many people as possible access my products, writing and tutorials. I am committed to providing free and easily accessed instructions to every craft kit that I make, and to consider inexpensive ways for people to make and grow things. My growing instructions now take account of very small growing spaces and new seed sets are being put together for people gardening in small spaces. I am distributing a percentage of the seed sets to community gardens, this is not tied to sales as I don't feel happy with consumer type marketing. I am currently going back through the website editing alt text fields to make them more accessible to people than to search engines.
  • Community - I am on the Board of Directors of the Community Interest Company G63 Hub which is at the heart of community food projects, running a zero waste shop, community gardens and enabling people to access growing space, learn skills and build community.
  • Volunteering - an important impetus for reducing the size of Snapdragon Life last year was to reclaim a day a week for volunteering within the community. I currently work a day a week for G63 Hub with their community food gardens.

Snapdragon social

The packing bench in the studio.⁠⠀
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Sometimes I turn around and things just look so pretty together.⁠⠀
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Labelling pale pink socks with the plant they were dyed with and the date they went into the dye pot.⁠⠀
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The perfect almond glue for sticking paper, jute string for tying things up.⁠⠀
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Amazingly I didn't even have to tidy up to take a photo - though it is quite a tight crop and the background is a blur.⁠⠀
For the past year the bedroom windowsill has been neglected. It has had stones and bones and the blue speckled pot of bird food, but no flowers.⁠⠀
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I couldn't really work out why.⁠⠀
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Then, as soon as I got the urge to line up my vases again,I realised what the problem had been. ⁠⠀
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In March last year - as I was shielding and Euan is a front line worker - I moved to the spare room. ⁠⠀
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I was very, very bad at it - despite the room being very nice - and huffed and moped and felt I was being punished. I eventually slunk back to my own bed after two months. ⁠⠀
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The deal was that if Euan thought it was a risk he would phone from work and I would move my things back to the spare bedroom.⁠⠀
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I kept expecting - despite all the precautions, the scrubs, the showering - that I might have to go back. ⁠⠀
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Last week I had my second jab, the numbers look good, and, though Scotland is behind England in opening up, I can see the country beginning to relax. ⁠⠀
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It felt safer, I went and found a jug for the cherry blossom.
I began doing freehand embroidery when my daughters were tiny - a deliberate wiggle and flourish when hemming seemed preferable to my wobbly attempts at keeping the needle straight.⁠⠀
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Then, when I began to sew commercially to have some income in the winter months, it seems like the perfect technique.⁠⠀
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Getting the chance to exhibit at the Country Living Fair in 2005 got me speeded up and it certainly felt like my thousands of hours were put in then.⁠⠀
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Today I start teaching an e-course to Studio Club members which will hopefully enable them to begin drawing with they sewing machines.⁠⠀
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The module that will arrive with them today is all about machines and materials - with the message that the simpler the machine the better.⠀
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It gave me a chance to tidy my sewing desk.
Today is the last day to sign up as a member of the Studio Club.⁠⠀
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So if you are ready for more connection and creativity in your life . . . .⁠⠀
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If you could do with a bit of calm and gentle joyfulness . . . . ⁠⠀
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If you want to find out more about the living things around you . . . to slow down . . . to feel more 'at home' . . .⁠⠀
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Then head over to my website snapdragonlife.com to find out more.⁠⠀
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There is a 'Pay what you can' option -  it is always the most difficult to get people to sign up for, and yet I know if would be perfect for so many.
It has been a joy this week to see the bantam hens all out enjoying their freedom.⁠⠀
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It is the one point in the year when we have an abundance of eggs - they are late starters and then hide them all as soon as the weather warms up.⁠⠀
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I have been spending time sitting watching them peck around the orchard - feathers ruffled by the wind, heads down eyes trained for tasty morsels.⁠⠀
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I decided to make a hen embroidery the last part of the 'freehand machine embroidery' e-course that starts on Tuesday. ⁠⠀
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The aim is to break downtime the processor freehand embroidery into very simple steps - with a different exercise each week, building skills and confidence until you can draw with a sewing machine by week 5.⁠⠀
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The course is included in the Studio Club membership - if you want to take it live, week by week, you have 24 hours to join up.  Details on snapdragonlife.com
This week I have been drawn to white and bright and light.⁠⠀
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In the flowers I picked for the Studio Window.⁠⠀
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In the cool white Scottish linen I've been embroidering.⁠⠀
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It's a clean feeling, a throwing off - probably because I've been stuck with a dragging, draining fatigue for a few weeks.⁠⠀
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It's that wondrous clarity that you get when you realise that you can open your eyes wide again.
If I could persuade people of two things they would be . . .⁠⠀
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1. to seek alternatives for domestic cut flowers until their local field flowers are blooming (which is almost now here in Scotland ).⁠⠀
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and . . . ⁠⠀
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2. to pay attention to the daily changes where you live.⁠⠀
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These are snippets of hawthorn and hornbeam hedge arranged in test tubes - but they could also be in bottles or small vases and they could be any kind of deciduous tree or shrub. ⁠⠀
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Every day they emerge a little more, every hour they catch the light in a different way.  All week they have made me smile.⁠⠀
Last year I dumped a load of finished tulips from pots into a metal box, intending to plant them out in the garden.⁠⠀
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I completely forgot and all summer the box looked as through it was just a heap of used compost.⁠⠀
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Most days I walked past it - always intending to take it to the compost heap - until last month it began to sprout.⁠⠀
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This is some of the 'free' (if rather mangled) tulips from the box.⁠⠀
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I have replanted them into the old terracotta pots and propped up the wayward stems with bits of hedge.⁠⠀
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Then - I promise - I shall plant them out properly when the finish flowering this time.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I 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.

 

Learn more about why here

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