2021 Is Dead – Long Live 2022,

Hello kitties! Well that was a fun year 😬 I have never had so many vaccinations, but more of that later!

I have been incredibly fortunate this year to keep my little business afloat but many others have not. I shall be trying to do all my gift shopping from small businesses this coming year and I hope you will be supporting them too.

Small business is able to deliver your exact wishes better than anyone, just take a look at this lobster….

A new year is a time for new goals and my key one for next year is to make my toys more ecologically sustainable.

I started this journey last year with Gaia the Ethicorn…

I would like to transform these bunnies next, and try an embroidered eye for them too..

I will also need to retest these designs in line with the new CA mark for childrens toys.

This little one will be making a comeback and with a matching hat for the perfect newborn gift…

There will also be a sheep and a tiger version (it will be the year of the tiger soon!)

What about me? Well, it’s best summed up with this…

I shall be braver in my work and braver in what I wear! See the closing paragraph for my brave new hat!

Before go I need to say this, it’s been a horrible year and it hasn’t be helped by the “discussion “ that has happened around vaccines.

Let me be clear I am vaccinated as much as I can be, and if they offer me more I shall take more.

I want everyone to be safe but just because someone chooses not to take the jab, doesn’t mean I get the right to call them a covidiot- and similarly I don’t want to be called a sheep!

Let’s try and take the emotive language out of this and other debates and try and respect each other’s position, because one thing is for certain, we are and always will be better together, and we will need that unity to face this New Year.

So, I send you all my love and gratitude for your support this year, and I hope we all have a more peaceful 2022.

Kisses

Karen ( in my cupcake kitten hat – pattern by Tiny Owl Knits)

While Darcey Sleeps Workshop!

Hello my lovelies! I’m so sorry it’s been so long but in my defence I have been sooooo busy! So busy, that it’s feeling like Santa’s workshop or in our case Darcey’s workshop! And there will be more about that further down 😊

But first let me tell you what I have been up to, I have finally got my festive food and drink decorations range finished! And one of them has become a runaway success, please meet Pete, the pig in a blanket….

Pete and his friend Coco chocolate

We are a partially vegan household and I had to find a meat free version for my range!

I obviously also needed a mince pie, this is Matt….

He’s in his metal tin because he knows you are too busy to make them all the time, and he promises not to tell anyone 😉

Here’s the finished box, which will be in my Etsy shop soon….

Top row: Sid sprout , Bryon the Baileys coffee and Matt mince pie, bottom row , Coco hot chocolate, Pete and Edward nog

I have also been busy with your orders, this order was so pretty to make ….

A rainbow bear for Luna Moon Dyes

The customer runs a tie dye company, and wanted a suitably rainbow bear, and also a rainbow and a moon. Check out her beautiful creations here : http://www.instagram.com/Luna_moondyes

And now for the super exciting bit! My kit patterns have been out for testing and look ……

My sisters unicorn
And her polar bear
And a blingtastic unicorn from my mum

These kits will be on sale in my Etsy shop on 1.11.20 and will come with everything you need including a hook, needles, yarn and stuffing. They will be branded Darcey’s Workshop as you guys will be doing the work,

I will let you know when they are in there and will try and get more festive goodies in there too.

Look after yourselves ❤️

Kisses

Karen xxx

Pandemic, Panic and Privilege

Hello kittens! its been a while to say the least but this time I have an excuse 🙁

****This is not a cheery post and covers all the horrors of COVID19, please pop by next week if this is too much- I totally understand*****

Unless you have been asleep or on Mars, you will know that the entire world has been in the grip of a pandemic- so serious that it makes those post apocalyptic movies look very tame!

Here in the UK we tried to suppress the virus for a while and then we entered a full lockdown on the 23rd March, this meant you were allowed out only for essential reasons i.e food shopping.

After walking the dogs that morning, me and more importantly, my 21 year old daughter received letters classing us as vulnerable because of our asthma and were told to shield at home for at least 12 weeks. Not allowed out for any reason except medical treatment. I immediately felt like I was shut in a small box because walking in the woods next to my house is my anxiety therapy.

This was the picture I had taken that morning…

It was 15 weeks before I returned to the woods.

Life then became about virtual queues for food shopping, very occasional trips out for my husband – with the manic decontamination that followed- and trying not to panic..

It was hard, thousands of people were falling victim to this insidious virus and there didn’t seem to be much of an idea how to treat it. It also became clear that being as overweight as I was, led to poorer outcomes if you were one of those that ended up in ICU. Every day brought a horrifying toll of deaths.

I decided that now was the time to lose some weight and I started to exercise with some DVDs from Jessica Smith…

Simple, low impact and based on walking, I started with 15 minute ones and gradually worked up to more. Did it make my pain and fatigue worse – you betcha! but the fear of death was one hell of a motivation. It also sweated away a lot of the anxiety that was ever present.

We started to clap every Thursday night at 8pm, I went to the front door to clap with my neighbours and to draw strength from their smiles and waves, and the occasional laugh most notably when my next door neighbours child escaped carrying his saucepan that he had been banging, and was hotly pursued by his sister and then his mum! most weeks ended with a few tears, frustrated by being kept indoors and so desperately worried for frontline staff and the ever increasing death toll.

I spent loads of time in the garden

Mostly with the dogs, here is Milo! but sometimes just to sit and breathe and look at the sky- the weather has been for the most part amazing – and to count my lucky stars that we have a garden, it has been the first time that I have become aware of what an immense privilege a garden is.

I sat and cried a few times as well, mostly for the dead but also for my shielding colleagues stuck in flats and tower blocks,I can’t imagine what that has been like 🙁

Hubby has set up his outpost of the Home Office and has worked all day, everyday since the lockdown- contrary to some of the media reports!

I worked as well, my fabulous customers, old and new kept me super busy, in difficult times I have never felt so grateful to them, here’s some of my lockdown lovelies…

Sadly, I also made these……

These hearts went to our ICU unit, one for the person who was sadly leaving us and one to be sent to their relatives, with a card from the angels that are our nurses.

Whats happening now? well I’m allowed out – hooray!- but still advised to avoid crowded spaces. Numbers of infections has decreased- with sporadic local flare ups-, as have deaths, and we are living an uneasy life alongside the virus. I walk in our woods most days and a little of the peace that this brings has returned.

Life moves on and I have a new sense of urgency and focus, we literally do not know what the next year will bring, so….

Ive also made a big business decision, finally, this will be the year that you are able to buy a crochet kit from me! there will be this bauble …

and also a polar bear bauble!

All the details on progress and more will be in next weeks blog, I just needed to address these horrific few months first before being my usual bright and breezy self!

So, i’ll see you next week, stay safe and big hugs to anyone touched by this virus and my eternal gratitude if you are any kind of frontline worker, including the amazing delivery drivers, postal workers, and anyone who works for Amazon and Hermes! without you I wouldn’t have been able to continue trading!

kisses

Karen

Happy New year!!

Good morning! I thought I would pop in and wish you Happy New year! has 2017 been a happy year for you? the truth is that years contain everything, the highs and the lows, the ecstatic moments and the absolutely awful ones.

My year has been pretty much brilliant, my little business has gone from strength to strength. I have made friends and gathered more customers and we have had a blast.

I am sure you know that I am a huge fan of the mother of all drag artists RuPaul not only for his artistry but for his common sense advice – my favourite of which is that we should all find our tribe- the people with which we share values and goals and opinions. I am so lucky as I have most definitely found mine and they rock!!

It has not been a year without sadness, family members still facing health problems and my own health being a challenge have presented their all too familiar problems.

The loss of a little boy in our community and the continuing illness of a friends child make me angry and frustrated at the wickedness that is cancer.

I have just filed my tax return and I have increased my turnover by 56%. I couldn’t be prouder or more grateful for the support you all give me. I have huge plans for next year and hope that I can get out to fairs more often to see more of you in person.

This coming year will be a challenge for the Uk as a whole, I don’t think Brexit has worked out whichever way you voted. That is going to present its own set of a problems and it is in this atmosphere that we see the rise of extremism of every shape and colour. I hope that we can respect each other and resist the more hateful ideologies that are springing up.

So, in closing, my wish for us all is this – I think its a Buddhist prayer and I apologise if I have it wrong-

May you be safe

May you be happy

May you be free from harm

oh and may you find your tribe and love them as much as I love mine.

Kisses

Karen

and a big lick from these nutters xxx

 

Under Construction!

Boo! I’m baaacckkkk! that break didn’t last long did it?  because I am fundamentally a technological Twit I am going to turn this blog into my website, so this page will just have some details about me and what I do and I’ll be adding a page called Whats Going On! and that will have updates about what I’m working on, things that have caught my attention, things that I can’t live without, you know the drill. This page will be updated as and when, no fixed schedule so pop back often!

So, let me pop off and get busy and I’ll see you soon!

Big kisses

Karen xx

 

I’m Excited!!

Happy New Year, Bonne Annee, Buon Ano Nuevo, Frohes Neues Jahr, and last but not least Anni Beatum! can you tell which way I voted in June? anyway I’m a bit early, the New Year will start tomorrow and this girl is excited.

Why? because 2016 was kind of pants for the most part, various family members have been ill as I have I,  more times than I care to mention! Also for me personally the big decisions that were made went the wrong way, what had seemed inconcievable – a UK no longer in Europe and that man as President became a reality, lets hope that the people at the sharp end can make all that work. Lets not even list the massively talented, clever and influential people that passed this year…


In the midst of all this craziness, good things happened, all the family members are better or well on their way and lots of good things happened to While Darcey Sleeps, and I made some changes……….

img_0085
I got my piercing!!!

I have also taken time out over the holidays to do some personal projects, for the first time   I have successfully knitted some lace…….


And a very easy hat…….


And now I’m knitting a flamingo…….


Professionally there will be some changes in the New Year, I will still be making cute but in an effort to differentiate from all the other talented people there will be more of a luxe edge, more sparkle, more glitter and maybe less traditional subject matter!

There will be lots of painting, and lots of practicing, my business took off very quickly and didn’t leave a lot of time to try new things, so that will be a priority.

There will be a few more giveaways so keep your eyes peeled, the first one is SOON!!

All that is left is to wish you the very happiest of New years and thanks for being a visitor to While Darcey Sleeps!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
Our CEO Darcey and Head Of Public Relations Milo 

Kisses

Karen xxx

Stop Mucking About!!!!

Hello loves, did you know that I used to be a civil servant? Not only that I was pretty good project manager, I had lists flow charts, Filofaxes, spread sheets and project timelines. That’s nice I hear you say, but why are we talking about this? I’m talking about it because I have become so disorganised!!! Pain, medication and the mental effects of fibromyalgia have robbed me of all my skills.  Couple that with an imagination that races around at a 100mph, and this is what you get……

image

So what is the solution? Before is started this blog I took a blog writing course at Www.creativelive.com, it was taught by a fantastic woman called April Bowles Olin, well April writes a fantastic blog as does her best friend Mayi Carles, and Mayi is the queen of organisation! she is running a project called Life is Messy to support this she has a wonderful package of downloads, that organise every aspect of your working and personal life, I have just downloaded it, are you ready for a sneeky peek?….

image

Throughout the package there are Mayis illustrations.

There are planners for the year, month and daily…. .

image

There re are ways to establish your unique talents…..

image

There are also planners for your personal life, like meal planners and emergency contact lists…..

imageimage

There so many pages, I haven’t posted them all as this post would be a mile long!

This planner will now enable me to have a weekly planning session, and gives me somewhere to right down all my ideas.

I will also be heading over to April’s blog – http://www.blacksburgbelle.com, and reading through her guidelines for new creative businesses ( find it on the site in the New? Start here section) , here’s the articles that are jumping out to me……..

The top 25 + tools to run your business

Landing pages, what they are And why you should use them

Your get healthy reading list.

So it’s time for me to get organised and also to start being professional, because what started as a distraction has actually turned into a proper business!

Please share any organising or business tips,  I’m always grateful for any suggestions!

kisses

Karen