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

Did you have a good Easter break?  We went to Spain to visit our eldest daughter and came back late last night, possibly actually early this morning. ⠀
The Tuesday after Easter is always an important date for me, for even though my baby birds have flown the nest, I still get the new term feeling. And the term between Easter and summer is always a busy one, so much to fit in! ⠀
The start of a new week⠀
The start of a new season. ⠀
The start of a new planner, new journal. ⠀
New plans, new pens, new garden to plant. ⠀
These pheasants eye narcissi - with their perfect eye liner - are flowering under the plum trees in the orchard. The perfect morning commute.
On Sunday night Euan turned to me and said “I don’t think we have ever made as much difference to the garden in such a short time.”⠀
⁣ He was right. In October we had brought in soil to make raised beds - turning the ground slick and slippery. All winter and Spring I looked at mud and worried about all the people that I had told that there would be a garden to see in May. ⠀
But then - dry weather, fierce cold winds and suddenly on Friday afternoon we could barrow and build and by Sunday night . . . There are the beginnings of a new productive garden - a mix of vegetables and flowers for cutting. ⠀
As usual Euan did all the heft and heavy stuff and I planted and staked and fluffed up mulch. ⠀
If you are coming along to A Seasonal Day on 8th May I am pleased to say that there will be a garden! ⠀
Sometimes projects come together really quickly - one of the best things about having a small making business is that you can go from idea to having something for sale in a single day. ⠀
🧶 ⠀
This was not one of those projects - I had the idea in our busy Christmas period, took away the samples to knit while travelling in Asia in February, and yet only put the kit up on the website yesterday. ⠀
I don't normally post many direct product shots here - but this one is special to me. I wanted to make a beginners’ knitting kit that allows people to knit something practical and quick - in this instance beautiful cotton face cloths and exfoliating cleansing wipes - and which felt substantial yet not daunting. My aim with everything is to make it easy for people to give things a go. ⠀
And I wanted it to look beautiful and be practical and all be packaged up in way that was part of the kit. ⠀
Everything came together earlier this week and I’m so pleased with how it looks, the squidgy cotton balls of yarn, the instruction cards and needles all in their own specially printed drawstring project bag. ⠀
I hope you like it too.
How do you like to learn? I used to be happiest just battering on by myself, making mistakes, googling. But increasingly I find I’m preferring to be shown things by someone who knows what they are doing, to have the space to ask questions, and then to go home and try everything on my own with the option to call if I get stuck. ⠀
I find my mind opened so much more by talking to other people - rather than beginning a project from my own limited viewpoint. ⠀
I had a great time yesterday learning E-magazine production with Eleanor from @creativecountryside and today I’m planning to practice everything by re-formatting the guide to getting the most from your cut flowers to send out with the next newsletter. ⠀
I also met up with @bob_sy - all arranged on an Instagram whim - and had a wonderful evening discussing kindness, connection and creativity. ⠀
Increasingly I love being able to move beyond typed words and have great rambling conversations. Is anyone else finding the same? ⠀
GIVEAWAY - Today I am getting the train down to Lancaster to meet Eleanor from @creativecountryside.  She is going to be showing me the ins and outs of making a magazine.⁣⠀
I have always loved the aesthetics of Creative Countryside magazine - the solidity of it, the surety - so when the chance came up to take a masterclass in how to put it together I jumped at the opportunity.⁣⠀
I love putting together the e-magazines for Studio Members and A Seasonal Way, but I am very aware that I am simply joining together PDFs.  I want to create something more magical, more meant.⁣⠀
My lesson is co-inciding with suddenly having fast WiFi at home - so uploading a magazine no longer requires a drive to Stirling to poach University WiFi.  This will change Everything!⁣⠀
This magazine is the first bumper edition of Creative Countryside, as it turns from a quarterly into a biannual publication. ⁣⠀
I am a contributor to this edition, as well as subscribing, so I have an extra copy which I would love to give away. ⁣⠀
Just comment here - and make sure you are following me - and we will pick a name at random next Tuesday.⁣⠀
(The knitting is the #comfortblanketkal by @louisetilbrookdesigns which shall be my train knitting)
I knew this greenhouse as a child. It had a grapevine then, and a lead dipping trough that was home to motherless ducklings. ⠀
There were long snakes of terracotta pots under the staging and I got to turn the cranks to open windows in the roof. ⠀
When it was abandoned and began to fall down we asked if we could take it and give it a new home - and now  it stands in our drive, the oldest thing here. ⠀
Euan rebuilt it all exactly - with a new base, but with everything else original.  It turned out to be a superior form of flat pack.⠀
This weekend I stood in the greenhouse, mid watering the seedlings that are crammed in tiers onto the staging and floor, and tried to link it back to when I was seven. ⠀
I couldn’t. Then is was an enormous space of dust and spiders and broken glass , of benches to climb on and a cold, dark trough of water we were to stay away from. ⠀
Now it is my garden in waiting. Waiting for May. ⠀
I did think I should maybe plant a grape vine though.
I photographed this heart of honeysuckle on the Isle of Bute last month - a random reminder that nature is at the heart of everything that I love.⁣⠀
Also last month, I spent a wonderful evening with my friend @hazey107 - and she told the story of why she had crossed the school playground to make friends with me 16 years ago.⁣⠀
Seemingly I was standing waiting for the P1s to come out, my toddler on my hip.  Her bright blonde hair was full of leaves and sticks, her bare feel black with soil.  Hazel immediately felt that, with such a feral looking child, I must be her kind of person.⁣⠀
We would have been travelling back from the field where I grew my flowers at that time, we hadn't yet found this house.⁣ I was probably worried about being the only scruffy Mum at the school gate. ⠀I never felt I did school gates very well. ⁣⠀
But hearing Hazel’s story I was so glad that I never mastered that
We are promised a dry and sunny weekend here in Stirlingshire. I have 3 days completely clear of commitments. The greenhouse is full of seedlings, the ground is dry enough to work. I have 4 tonnes of mulch in the drive. 🌱

I can barely contain my excitement. 🌱🌱 I’ve been awake since 5 (though obviously still in bed!) 🌱🌱🌱 What do you have planned for the weekend?

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