Thursday, 28 January 2016

Shopping Small - Why we love our customers

Dear Indie Shop Customer,

When you Shop Small, you're not just paying money to a company, you're putting money straight in our actual pocket.

For me, you're paying towards our dinner. You're paying for that car repair that comes from nowhere and I have no idea how we're going to afford it. The relief in the beginning of small business when you hear that email ping on your phone in the supermarket and realise that someone has made an order that will pay for your shopping. Most importantly you're allowing me to have a job that allows me to be here everyday and look after my children at home.

We try hard to add extras to your order that only an indie business can - a hand written note, maybe a flyer or postcard that we've designed ourselves (it hasn't come from our art department because we don't have one) We've packed your order while our babies nap in the next room. We picture that you'll love opening your parcel.

The fact that you've chosen to persevere with our clunky website or slow payment processing - we love you for that and we're more grateful than you realise.

Thank you for every penny you've sent our way,

Lots of love,

A Small Business Owner

Some of my favourite Indie Business'

Lucky Dip Club
Dotty Cuckoo
I Like Cats
Retro Kids

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Skip Diving - 1980s Fanta Orangeade Can

There was a time in my life where I was unable to walk past a pile of rubbish on the street or a skip without having a nosey. These days I'm not as bad - but maybe that's because most of my home is full of found furniture and I have no more space?

I found this old can (check out the old ring pull hole!) on a skip at a house they're renovating down the street. I love the colour orange and the graphics are great. After a clean up it looks quite at home on the shelf in my office, don't you think?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Blue Monday - My methods to beat the January Blues

So today is Blue Monday - apparently statistically the most miserable day of the year. Touch wood, besides the super cold weather we've had no disasters. That said, I have found the start of the year and getting back into the swing of things hard going. I feel this is mainly due to over doing the cheese, chocolate and cherry coke over Christmas...Anyhow - these are my go to ways to get over the January Blues. What are yours?

1) A nice walk out doors. I love winter clothes and often forget how nice it is to put on a big scarf and take Beasley the dog for a walk. We're lucky enough to live near some lovely views. It really blows the cobwebs away.

2) Happy Mail. I love writing and receiving letters or sending a nice surprise in the post to a friend. Another thing I like doing is looking through the worldwide eBay sites and ordering cheap stationary or craft supplies from abroad. It takes so long to arrive I'll have forgotten what I've ordered by the time it arrives! Mail surprises are especially welcome in January as that's when the first dreaded credit card statements arrive after getting a little carried away Christmas shopping (maybe that's just me)

3) Hand sewing. This is my number one go-to relaxing craft. I've posted about it before. I'm in pretty deep on my La Passacaglia quilt. Even if I only manage to get a few paper pieces put together it really does lift my mood.

4) Cleaning. Yup, really. Sometimes getting really stuck in and clearing a pile of laundry or hovering  the whole house and putting everything away. A tidy house makes me so much better. My favourite cleaning music is The Supremes or 1960's doowop.

5) Lists. Sometimes if I feel overwhelmed with business planning, family life or things in the house the best thing for me to do is to break everything down into managable lists. That way I can see a clear picture of everything that needs doing. Even just crossing a couple of things off a list makes me feel so much better.

Fingers crossed your Blue Monday broke the rules and was awesome xxx

All blue toys are currently available in the Shop

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Tutorial - How To Clean A Vintage Fisher Price 134 Activity Center

Maybe you've bought one online, or you're cleaning up an old family toy that's been sat in the loft for years. Over the years we've sold lots of these and the nostalgic feel of vintage Fisher Price toys seems to be more popular than ever right now. Before you throw away those toys that you thought were too dirty to be loved again, take a look at our tutorial to give it a thorough deep clean to safely pass it on to the next generation.

1. Before we start you'll need a mild detergent - washing up liquid is perfect. You'll also need a soft sponge, an old tooth brush and a screwdriver. Luckily most Fisher Price toys are put together with screws. The plastic may be brittle, so don't be too rough. Carefully remove all the screws and put to one side.

Whoops - have you had a disaster? Moldy decals or you've accidentally soaked one too much? Luckily replacements are available. Use the toy number (in this case 134) to order your replacements online.

2. Carefully take all the components out and put them to one side on a tray. Make sure not to lose any of the small pieces like the yellow piece that dings the bell or the small spike that clicks. 

In a bowl of warm soapy water wash each piece one at a time. You don't want to fully submerge anything especially the pieces with paper decals. Wash all the pieces using the soft sponge and toothbrush to get in all the corners. Don't scrub the paper decals or the clear plastic to avoid damage. If you do accidentally get water trapped in one of the toys, wrap it in kitchen roll and stand it upright in a radiator to dry out. Ideally leave everything to fully dry naturally to avoid putting anything back together damp and causing mold.

3. This is the main body of the toy and has no decals.You can safely submerge this piece and give it a good clean. You may need to change the water in your bowl to do this as this is the part that always seems to hold the most dirt. In this one we found old coins, crayons, stones and paper shreds pushed

4. Now to clean the front. This side has paper decals, so you don't want to keep this in water for any longer than you need to. You may need to use the cotton ear buds / q tips to get inside the edges of the dial. We used the toothbrush to get inside the run for the tortoise and the hare. It's best to now let everything you've cleaned air dry in the sunshine for a few hours...or, if you live here in the UK, leave it on the draining board to air dry :-)

5. Now that everything is bone dry, it's time to put all the pieces back together. Here is a picture of where they all go back in case you've forgotten :-) One thing worth noting is the mirror - flip it over so that the best side is showing. Check everything is in the right place before putting all the screws back in. Start with the screws in the corners first.

There you go - all fixed and back together! If you're giving the toy to a child we recommend using an anti bacterial spray on kitchen paper and giving it a wipe over. These principals can be used for most vintage Fisher Price. Just send us an email if you need any further help.

This one is fresh and clean ready for it's new owner :-)

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Happy New Year - Business Preparations For 2016

It's the first week of January so we can still say that, right?? I love the start of a new year. Time to make plans, and what's the most important thing for making plans? STATIONARY!!

I've ordered this wall planner to plot out all my favourite car boot sale dates, Bank Holidays and other events. I had a huge surge in business in the build up to Book Day last year, so I want to make sure I'm prepared this year. This is my first year in three not being pregnant or on maternity leave or moving house so I'm really excited to get going.

I'm a creature of habit. I use the same planner every year - I like the layout and magnetic clasp to hold all my bills and invites. The other nice thing about this range is that they work with different illustrators every year. I've chosen this one. I really wouldn't remember anything if I didn't write it down in my planner. With these and a pile of VBall pens I'm ready for you, 2016

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Merry Kitschmas - my vintage Christmas decorations collection

I've been collecting vintage decorations for years now while on my buying trips for work. So much so that now the majority of our decorations date from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. An obvious but good point to mention is that almost all of them have been bought during the summer month for less than £1 as people are just keen to get rid of them. I put everything in a box throughout the year and enjoy the surprise of looking them over when we decorate.

As tonight is the Twelfth Night and everything gets taken down I thought I'd document some of my favourites before they're all put away

Yes, I am the overly sentimental Mum that saves all the handmade Christmas cards and crafts Emmett makes. I'm already looking forward to getting everything out again this year - 10 months to go!