....with Christmas fast approaching - there, I said it and it's not even December yet! - I have dipped my toe in the waters of Christmas list compilation. After last years worries - the book to edit, mum in and out of hospital - I am determined to get things organised before any other surprises are thrown my way. Any working parent out there knows what a challenging time of year it is. Christmas plays to prepare for, gifts for family and friends around the globe to send out in good time (definitely not one of my strengths), getting the house ready for the festivities and planning the food. And so, with my list tucked firmly in my bag at all times, I've been out and about!
The week before last I was in Wimborne visiting the newly opened branch of Sharland & Lewis. Nestled in the old squash courts at Deans Court it is a hidden gem - a little off the main drag, but worth the hunt to find it. Stocked with fabulous antiques, contemporary crafts, linens, soaps, candles and more, it's a treasure trove for Christmas shopping.
I love the mix of old and new, there is something for everyone. And with new Christmas stock arriving every day, you're never sure what you're going to find!
I, for one, have got my eye on some 1950's glass toadstools to decorate the tree - The Sicilian always gets a 'fungi' related surprise in his stocking, these might just be it! When I pop back later this week with some pairs of crochet wrist warmers ordered by owner Ali, I'll see if I can snap them up and show you a sneaky peek!
So with vintage finds and Christmas baubles ticked off the list, it's on to books. I love to give books, and this year will be no different. Still in Wimborne, is family run independent bookstore Gullivers. With so much competition from on-line retailers, I think it is even more important to support independents whenever we can. So, when I skip along to drop off the wrist warmers and snap up the toadstools (fingers crossed they're still there!), I will be heading for Gullivers to see what I can find. But we're not all fortunate to have a fab bookstore on our doorsteps and for those who haven't there's the big 'A' - which today, I am afraid, has left me a little disillusioned. A review has been left for my book and whilst I believe in freedom of speech and have the utmost respect for peoples opinions, someone has taken it upon themselves to describe my book as 'not really a crochet book at all' and my projects as 'dull', 'ugly' and 'pointless'. Whilst the review is littered with factual inaccuracies relating to my book, I have to question the credentials of a particular reviewer to comment on the aesthetics and usefulness of projects? In this case it seems the reviewer is herself a crochet designer and craft enthusiast, but her web link fails to illustrate why her efforts are any more worthy of publication than mine!!! Luckily, the review is balanced by some altogether more positive comments from creative crocheters who 'get' exactly where I'm coming from. Anyway, rant over, back to Christmas shopping, much more fun.
Obviously, I'm planning to make (or have made) several presents myself, but as time runs out it's always good to gather up other peoples handmade loveliness and with this in mind I will be browsing the shelves of Folksy and Etsy hoping to pick up some gorgeous treasures. My friend Rosie has just set up an Etsy shop RosieLumley and our neighbour Janine illustrates and sells the most charming Christmas cards, tea towels, original art works and prints. So with postal deadlines to meet and determined for gifts to arrive before the new year, I'm going to crack on, have a lovely Sunday evening and happy crafting xxx