Mad Hatter

The Tale Of The Mad Hatter

So in my last post I mentioned that my husband had booked me onto a wet felted hat workshop. Last week we travelled up to Cheshire and I spent the day with Alison Rose from Rose Creations whilst my husband took my son to the Outlet Centre for a spot of retail therapy – think I got the better deal…

So thinking about the style of hat I wanted to create had me thinking about the ‘Mad Hatter’ from the Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” where the cheeky rabbit was famously featured.

However, contrary to believe the phrase “mad as a hatter,” used to describe someone who’s prone to unpredictable behaviour, didn’t originate with Carroll.  So where did it originate?.

The expression is actually linked to the hat-making industry and mercury poisoning. In the 18th & 19th centuries, a toxic substance, mercury nitrate, was used as part of the process of turning the fur of small animals, such as rabbits, into felt for hats. I can confirm that I only used soap and water in my workshop and no small animals where harmed in the process either….

Workplace safety back in the day were lax and exposure to mercury caused employees to develop a variety of physical and mental ailments, including tremors (dubbed “hatter’s shakes”), speech problems, emotional instability and hallucinations, not the best working environment and glad to report that the use of mercury in hat making was banned for use in the early 1940’s.

Fitted and Felted

We spent the first hour  measuring my head so we would get a good fit, preparing the template and choosing the wool which of course was my favourite colour – purple. Several hours later and after a lot of felting, fulling and shaping I had a hat to take home and dry.

Process and Practice

The process is long but enjoyable as you see the shape appearing. I shall make another hat in a different style as the more I practice the more I will learn about this great craft.

Hope you like it:

 

 

Wedding season and happily ever after

So the wedding season is upon us with many a couple making the final preparations of the dress, shoes and those all important wedding party gifts. In recent years has been a growing trend of giving personalised soap and candles to your friends and family instead of the little voile bags containing sugared almonds which has been a long standing tradition.

The Anniversary Gift

So the honeymoon is over and the happy couple settle into life and all to quickly it is the first anniversary. My husband and I have been married a long time but as we approached our 1st anniversary we decided to choose gifts of a traditional nature. So with the first being a gift of Paper I received a book, the second year for Cotton it was a tea towel not so romantic but practical!

Collections of Soap, Wood & Wool

As the years have passed by we have exchanged many gifts and with little expense and a lot of thought these items have become treasured memories. So here are a few suggestions for you if you are looking for new ideas that will be sure to delight and remain traditional.

4th Year – how about some handmade soap? Rose & Vanilla with rose petals is a delight.

5th Year – how about a personalised pyrography plaque with a favourite quote or time and place   – handmade makes it extra special.

7th Year – A little needle felted wool heart – this could be on a brooch or a keying?

we would love to help you find the perfect gift but whatever you choose and however you celebrate your anniversary we offer our congratulations and best wishes.

 

 

When to jump from a hobby into a business

Honed at the kitchen table

I have always had a passion for crafting and making things. Am I any good, could I take my hobbies and turn my talents and hobby into a business, well this is something I have been thinking about for a while.

I get a lot of satisfaction when I create something, I like the excitement of the design and planning stage, I like the execution and making the product, be it handmade soap, an apron, a needle felted toy or a bit of pyrography on a locally sourced piece of wood.  I like sharing my knowledge with other people and hope they get a spark of my enthusiasm to switch of from everyday stresses and physically make something instead of clicking the order now button on Amazon Prime.

I have spent many years in project management roles in retail and the NHS, and given the current retirement age I could be working for as many years into the future – but is this the life I want?

I have been reading a few books of late that are making me question what do I want to do and the question is When  To Jump. – This is a great read – I even bought a real book!

Talent into Turnover

So I know that I will not earn as much in the crafting world and in the beginning I would be making a loss but the question is can I begin to earn enough to live on and would the experience still be an enjoyable one and not turn my love of crafting into a chore will it still be a hobby and not just a business?

The boring administration

Turning a hobby into a business also requires a lot of initial administration , setting up a company, building a website (my sister led me through this torture and I drank a lot of wine – thank you), all the social media required, finding time to make products and then sell them. At one point last year I thought ‘ you are crazy’ and then I thought you would be crazy not to try.

Planning The Jump

So having had some time to reflect, I have devised a cunning plan with sisters and brothers in tow. I have set myself a goal for turning my hobbies into a full time business over the next few years so the question is not will I jump but when.

So have you turned your hobbies into a business – drop me line and let me know.