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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 (limited opening at the end of June).
  • 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 Horticultural advisor and 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

Thistledown is so beguiling. ⁠
The soft cream catching the light, waiting for goldfinches to alight. ⁠
I’m heading to Hawarden today to join the lively people at @thegoodlifesoc and teach about foraged colour and dyeing socks with all kinds of plants. I’m hoping to be able to harvest some thistles as they give a particularly beautiful mustardy yellow.
Though I grew lots and lots of straw flowers for Christmas wreaths back when I had a proper commercial flower business,  it was only this year that I slowed down enough to really see them. ⁠
I’d assumed that they wouldn’t be good for insects until fully out - flat dulled daisies, past the point of picking - but actually wasps seem to pollinate them when they are still tightly furled. ⁠
This patch was wasp central for weeks. ⁠
A few butterflies flitted about, but mainly wasps⁠
I am somebody who needs distance to see a bigger picture. ⁠
For the past couple of months I’ve been really struggling with where Snapdragon Life is, and how to get from here to where I want it to be. ⁠
I filled books and books with notes but was going round in circles - unable to commit to anything with the kind of conviction a small business needs. It was all too fuzzy somehow. ⁠
Now I am away from the Studio. ⁠
Right in the middle of two weeks of walking and eating and photographing gardens and meeting friends and suddenly it is all much clearer. ⁠
I now have 5 sentences written in my phone notes and a high clear soaring route to take. ⁠
The multi talented @katgoldin took this photo of me in the Studio before I left - part of a photo shoot that took almost three years to actually schedule because I will do almost anything to avoid being in front of a camera.
Stained glass as the light gets cooler and the sun lower. ⁠
Bright dahlias arranged in the Studio window last week. ⁠
Earlier this week I saw great swathes of heleniums and dahlias in the potager at @walthamplace so rich amongst the teasels so next year I think I shall move some of the smaller flowered ones into the studio meadow to shine out amongst the grasses.
A couple of weeks ago someone told me that I have too many photos of cats and not enough of dogs.⁠⁠
So here is Dixie, the Studio Dog, in her chair.⁠⁠
Bored . . . . bored . . . bored
My dye cupboard in the Studio. ⁠⁠
Jars of mordants and modifiers and dried plants.⁠⁠
Scraps of fabrics, too beautiful to throw out.⁠⁠
Skeins of yarn waiting to be washed.⁠⁠
A place of infinite possibility.⁠⁠
The lacy scarf hanging on the door is a pale yellow version of my Winter waves pattern which will be in the Seasonal Studio journal when it is published in December.⁠⁠
It is such a lovely simple rhythmic pattern that I've packed a ball of alpaca/linen yarn - dyed a steely grey with tansy and iron - and taken it with me as my road trip knitting.⁠⁠
I'm not a naturally organised person. I am also very messy and the Studio table tends to get cleared in random waves of orderliness.⁠⁠
Sadly this orderliness doesn't include actually being orderly, there is a lot of the
Euan and I have been sleeping in the airstream, officially as a glitch spotting exercise but actually because it is very relaxing.⁠⁠
I wrote about it in my Tuesday letter to Studio Club members this week.  The lure of the tiny house.⁠⁠
One of the interesting things is that you can see the Studio window, with its frothy pinks, from the other side.

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