Our current lead time is 2-3 working days

Snapdragon blog


the importance of joy

The word Joy has been following me around this year.

It cropped up again and again when I was working with Kayte Ferris to sort out exactly what direction I wanted Snapdragon to take and it ended up front and centre in our About page and all social media bios.

But though it was there - my aim is to help people create joyful lives - I wasn't absolutely sure what that looked like in practical terms.

I didn't want it to be trite or easy - it wasn't yet another pile of inspirational quotes.

It wasn't about bright colours or animation or childlike illustration. It couldn't be about creating 'joyful designs' because I don't believe that mindlessly buying 'stuff' leads to joy. I certainly have no wish to be a coach or inspirational speaker as I love designing.

It was all still a bit fuzzy as I headed off on holiday.

And then . . .

We started off our break with The Good Life Experience in Wales - it is a Festival of all the random stuff that makes life great - music, talks, books, food, drink, making things, being outdoors.

One of the Founders, Charlie Gladstone, says that it is a festival that changes people's lives.

This year it changed mine.

I listened to Lia Leendertz talk about the importance of noticing seasonal change, to Mark Shayler talk of Kindness and Joy, to Hannah Jane Walker talk about sensitivity. And I talked to a lot of people, in queues for food, watching cookery demonstrations, making herbal potions, at the Feasts.

And the same things kept coming up in all these conversations - a need for different ways of measuring success, a drive towards Joy, the importance and power of mindful intentional spending. Connection, Creativity.

My mind buzzed the entire weekend - it was like having an electric crackle in there.

If there is power in using our attention and spending in intentional ways there is even more power in my using my voice and design skills in intentional ways. My challenge now is to put that at the centre of what remains a designer-maker business.

I wrote this far while on holiday in Majorca last week.

In the airport, returning home, I made the mistake on turning on Facebook notifications and looking at the news. The torrent of soap opera politics, the ignored regulations, the corruption and death all flooded out.

The entire flight home I was pondering that this idea - this quest to make everything about something as ephemeral as Joy - was too frivolous, not political enough. Maybe it would look too Pollyanna-ish, maybe people would think it was for those with easy lives.

Then we landed and I switched my phone back on and the first post I saw on my instagram feed was of one of the most inspirational women I know. An explanation of why she was stopping further treatment for Cancer, a note of the short time she has left, and a raging scream of a plea for people to grasp the joy of their lives and live every single second.

And looking at her - and the way she lives - I absolutely knew that grasping the joys in life is actually the most political thing anyone can do.

One of the first things we are doing is over in the Snapdragon Bee Facebook Group where there is a Friendship thing going on - it is too complicated to explain here but you can find out more and join in over there.

Comments: 2 (Add)

ellen woollaston-cooper on September 29 2018 at 17:51

YES!!! Yes yes yes!!
Thank you.
We can shout and scream and have bad days, but underlining it all should always be about living every single moment intentionally, with kindness and fully! Love fiercely. And when your deck is down, pick it up, shuffle it, look at it upside down and you'll find something new. Something to be in awe of. Something to inspire. We've got to stop finding excuses for not being happy. Joy is every where around us. And if you've got it, it shares and spreads beautifully without thinning so go for it! I might have Cancer, and my timeline is ridiculously shortened, but I'm still living, every day, every moment as best I can. Because I'll be dead when I'm dead. It is what it is. In the meantime I've got days to grasp all the joy and share it around where I can!
With lots of love, Ellen xx

Snapdragon Jane on September 29 2018 at 18:59

Yes! Joy and love can spread and spread without ever diminishing,
J x

Snapdragon social

Yesterday marked 32 years since Euan and my first date. I spent time looking through photo albums for a record of that time. There weren’t any photos - I don’t think I had a camera or the cash needed to develop photos back then - but there were a few pressed flowers. ⠀
I don’t know what they were from, I should have labelled them, but they obviously meant enough to keep. ⠀
This photo is of the little brass frame from our Flower Press kit that was the most recent Studio Box. We have a few left packed up and after that it will be repackaged as a more expensive gift version. ⠀
If you were thinking of buying one, either as a one off or as the start of a quarterly subscription you can find out more by clicking the link in my profile.
Poppies are really the best cut flowers. Especially if you are stuck inside and can watch them gradually open. All varieties work - from wild corn poppies to the flamboyant oriental poppies. ⠀
Cut them in full bud, if you can see the petals just about to burst through that’s perfect. ⠀
Sear the bottom inch of stem in boiling water for 5 seconds and then arrange. The lower stem will go black so best in an opaque vase. ⠀
If you recut above the black line you need to re-sear. ⠀
They should last 5 days. 5 days of wonder.
Yesterday was the first hot day, the first day in the garden when I didn’t feel that all my poor plants are shivering and shrinking. ⠀
It was also the first day for weeks that I had completely clear, no plans, no work, nothing but time to potter and plant. Glorious. ⠀
What is your weekend like? ⠀
(Today it is back to being windy but I don’t care as I’m also back at work, prepping everything so that we are ready to send out the magazine part of A Seasonal Way next week)
How do you manage different layers of privacy, vulnerability and messy beginnings online?  I was musing about this yesterday, all the different things I put out into the world - and how I choose where to post them. ⠀
How I choose what to post here, what goes out in my general newsletter, what goes into my Studio Members Newsletter and what gets posted into my (free) closed Facebook Group Snapdragon Studio Bee. ⠀
It’s all subtle stuff, the difference I suppose in what you would talk about in a live interview and what you would chat to the interviewer about later, off the record, over coffee. Both conversations are likely honest and true, but one might still be evolving and feel too unformed, too fragile for public consumption.⠀
I’ve decided to document my beginnings with screen printing in the Snapdragon Studio Bee Facebook Group - it’s a really supportive group and I’ve no fear of judgment in there - if you want to join you would be really welcome. It’s thankfully not a competitive, ego driven group so I think I will feel very comfortable sharing the things that don’t work as well as those that do.
Yesterday was a stressful day.  Our big printer, which does all the textile things, keeled over with a fatal error.⠀
Repair is seemingly not possible, replacement too expensive.  We had to take about 40% of the things we sell off various websites.  It's not ideal.⠀
But after I'd got over the frustration of number crunching and having to cancel orders, it seemed like an opportunity really.⠀
Val and I have been talking about screen printing since the beginning of the year - it is one of the reasons we cleared the workshop so that there is a long central working space.⠀
I want to be able to draw directly on the screens - and play about with the technique a bit, make the results really immediate, sketched, mine.⠀
I've ordered supplies and will be working away playing with the technique over the next week or so.⠀
Sometimes it seems that when I don't move fast enough towards something, fate just seems to create mayhem until there are no other options left but to just ‘do it’. ⠀
Does anyone else find that?
What is your favourite way to make a house a home? 
I'm not a tidy person - my natural persona is more like Thing 1 and Thing 2 in the Cat in the Hat, everywhere I have been, there is a trail of mess left behind. ⠀
When I wanted to leave my job as a museum curator Euan said I could do anything I wanted to, he would always support my decision, as long as I didn't attempt to become a housewife because I would be truly terrible at it.⠀
On Tuesdays though Izabella comes and cleans the house for us (this is why my embroidery morning is a Tuesday, so I can keep out of the way)⠀
Walking back into the house on a Tuesday lunchtime is always such a lovely feeling - the kitchen is tidy, the floors mopped, order is restored.⠀
I try to take advantage of the sense of homeliness by doing some of the things I am good at - arranging flowers, cooking.  Often I do so much of these faffing about domestic things that I have managed to make the kitchen a mess by the time anyone else gets home.⠀
The plum poppies are blooming.  A week late, but here to say happy anniversary Jenny and Jeremy. #ayearinflowers #week24
How tidy are you? Do you like everything out and to hand or do you prefer clear surfaces and blank space?

It’s Tuesday today so that means my embroidery day as I build up a little collection of limited edition works which then go up into the webshop on the last Friday of each month. (Studio members get first dibs and then the link goes into my newsletter later in the day)

I took this photo yesterday afternoon of the bench that is next to my sewing machine. Untidied, un-arranged, but with rather nice light coming in the window. 
There is a half made doorstop, some piles of cut wool to be embroidered and the threads I like to have near at hand. You can see that the wall where I work used to have tiles on it, you can see that I’m neither neat nor organised. 
Showing my day - a 10 second photo, full of reality, potential, and life is what I meant when I talked about doing and Social media last week. 
I welcomed the rain yesterday - it didn't seem so bad to be indoors proofing the final version of the A Seasonal Way magazine.⠀This goes alongside the e-course and community and is at the heart of the whole thing 🌱
It goes to print tomorrow so I need to decide the final numbers today.  I'm not going to be able to print another run, but equally I don't want to be left with lots of copies.⠀
So today is the last day to order to guarantee that your A Seasonal Way has a hard copy rather than a digital copy of the magazine part.⠀
This article is about off grid holidays, why they appeal and what we get from them.  The mug in the background with coffee is by @amandabanhamceramics.⠀
You can find out more about the A Seasonal Way course by clicking through my profile, or in the A Seasonal Way story highlight.  I would love it if you felt you could share about what I'm doing here!  The more people join in, the better the community will be.

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