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.
  • Sourcing - where at all possible I source from the UK. Linen and wool fabric are from UK mills. Seeds are from 5 different independent UK seed merchants and the majority are grown in the UK.
  • 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 January).
  • 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. From October I shall be working half a day a week for G63 Hub.

Snapdragon social

Small runs.⁠⠀
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The single thing that has made the most difference in Snapdragon Life's eco-footprint over the past 9 months has been choosing only to make small runs of products.⁠⠀
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I know that can be frustrating sometimes - people get upset when something sells out.  @amandabanhamceramics wrote about this recently - how she received frustrated, sometimes even nasty, emails after every online sale of her houses.⁠⠀
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Once upon a time I would make 100s, sometimes even 1000s, of a single design. ⁠Now I make 10 or 20 or 30 of something. ⁠⠀
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And that is it. ⁠Once they are gone they are gone.⁠⠀
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⁠The photo is of some allium embroidered lavender cushions, embroidered onto C19th handwoven linen - part of the Just Breathe gift set - a limited edition of 20. ⁠⠀
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Half have sold.⁠⠀
A big sky and a bright pond for the end of the working week.⁠⠀
#lochlomond
This week I've been setting aside time to make things.⁠ It has felt grounding in the way that gardening is when we aren’t ankle deep in mud. Carefully chosen materials, working with my hands, concentrating. ⠀
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These patches of antique linen, embroidered with the dark lines of allium seed heads, are for a new batch of the 'Just Breathe' gift sets which should be up on the website tomorrow.⁠⠀
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I taught myself to draw with a sewing machine⁠⠀
years before I learned to draw with a pen. ⁠⠀
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In many ways I still find it easier - as though there were something backwards in my head that is happier thinking in reverse.⁠⠀
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At the weekend I read Anne Lamott's 'Almost Everything: Notes on Hope' - a book written in 2018, ⁠⠀
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I copied out this quote ⁠⠀
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Oh this linen from @scottishlinen is wonderful to embroider on.  It has inspired me to try something I have been meaning to do for ages.⁠⠀
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All Summer I have been decorating order boxes with mugs and flowers.  I must have done a few hundred by now, the initial of the customer on the mug, fine liner on card.⁠⠀
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It is a design device I love - the wonderful works of @debbiegeorgeartist and @angielewin are my inspiration - and I wanted to see if I could get fluid enough to have it work as a freehand machine embroidery.⁠⠀
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I don't work from a sketch, there are no lines on the fabric, I just put my sewing machine pedal down and go.  It helps a lot if there is some level of muscle memory.⁠⠀
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This large lavender cushion is the result - this particular one is going as a gift to a Club Member who has agreed to write for my January edition of Some Seasonal Notes. ⁠⠀
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The link to have me make one is going first to Studio Club Members their e-mail this morning, but then will go up on the website later today. The last order date will be 30th November as I can't stockpile them and will need time to make them.⁠⠀
My Dad would hate this photo.⁠⠀
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Growing up candles were banned from the house except from on Christmas Day - and even then he spent his time blowing them out as he passed.⁠⠀
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This is a rosemary covered jam-jar.  I first saw these in 1990s when they were a speciality of the florist Paula Pryke and the tie was a silk taffeta bow.⁠⠀
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This rustic version - with a tie make from linen offcuts - is the 15 minute activity going out in tomorrow's Studio Club email.
Dixie is slowly getting used to being a Studio dog.  All last year - as  I changed the way Snapdragon Life worked - she spent her time with me working at the kitchen table, bossing the cats around, barking at the postman.⁠⠀
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Earlier this year, I moved back into the Studio full time and she came with me. To begin with it was fine, she was mainly outside and the doors were open.  She spent her days lying across the Studio threshold and watching out for trespassing pheasants.⁠⠀
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But now it is too cold to have open doors and I can't be bothered with constantly letting her in and out, so she is a full time studio dog, curled up on the chair by the stove.⁠⠀
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She very clearly finds it “boring, boring, boring” and thoroughly disapproves of both my music and the lack of biscuits. ⁠⠀
Now that we are in the season of mud I am spending most of my time looking up.⁠⠀
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Birds stripped the orange rowan berries within a couple of days, but these yellow ones were still hanging bright against the grey.
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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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