Friday, 5 December 2014

Baby Shower Shopping Made Easy

With baby showers  becoming increasingly popular, much in the same way as guests are grateful for a wedding list, we know they'd probably appreciate having a gift list for these occasions too.  

And although many department stores will have their own services, most mums-to-be will covet items from lots of different shops.   But we've got this little problem solved.

Did you know that Amazon lets you create a Universal Baby Wish list?  By adding one of their simple widgets it's easy to find something online from any website (it doesn't have to be Amazon) and click to add it to your own list.

So if you're planning your own baby shower or have offered to host one for a friend, here's what you'll need to do.

First you'll need to set up a Baby Wish List in Amazon (and an account if you don't already have one)

Then you'll need your widget.

Here's the link to take you the page where you can find it.  All you have to do is drag the button shown onto your toolbar and you're set.

Once you've got your widget, you're ready to go.  Find all the gifts you're after online (or sit down with the mum-to-be and ask her for her suggestions).  Find the right page for each gift - for instance, you might fancy one of our cute handknitted penguin hats - and then simply click on the Add to Wish List widget in your toolbar.

A box will appear on your screen in the top right corner.  All you have to do is scroll through the images until you see the one you want and add information such as price, size, etc. to give your guests as much information as possible so they can choose the right gift from your list.

Perhaps dad's a policeman, so this hat would be perfect.  More importantly, don't forget you need to add it to your Baby Wish List in the drop down menu.  

Repeat the process until you've found everything you're after 

Perhaps you fancy one of our hampers - don't forget to tell them which style you want. Some Neal's Yard pampering goodies might be nice!  Don't forget to include this in the comments!

... and you're done.

Then, just as you would a wedding, be sure to include details about your wishlist with the invitation.  Or you can use their link to share your list with your friends via email.
We think this is a great idea.  How much easier would it be if your family had wish lists like this for Christmas and birthdays?  Perhaps they already do!  Don't know about you, but I think I might suggest it!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Book Worm - Hungry Caterpillar Day!

Whoops - missed it, but only by a day. We were obviously too busy heralding in the first day of Spring, the day that was chosen to celebrate Hungry Caterpillar Day.

Eric Carle's book is the most celebrated junk food binge in literary history.  And it sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday: eating your way through chocolate cake, ice-cream, a pickle, Swiss cheese, salami, a lollipop, cherry pie, a sausage, a cupcake and a slice of watermelon.  All this was on the menu in the space of 24 hours for the unlikely hero.

 Those familiar with the book will know that eating a hole through all that food left the very hungry caterpillar with something of a sore tummy, which he cures by chowing down on a healthier leaf the next day. And then… something magical happens, but let’s not spoil it for those who haven’t yet read the book.
This was not Eric's first book.  He had illustrated the children’s picture book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, and created another, 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo, in the late 1960s before he devised The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The book’s caterpillar-sized holes in various foods were inspired by an item of stationary.
Carle had been making holes in some paper with a hole puncher when the idea hit him to do something similar with a children’s book. After taking the advice of his editor, who persuaded him to ditch a bookworm for a caterpillar (‘A Week with Willi the Worm’ became one of the great rejected book titles), a publishing phenomenon was born. 
‘I hope, with all of my books, that the reader finds beauty and comfort, entertainment and some learning,’ he said. ‘But each child is an individual and will enter into each book in their own way. My hope is that each reader will enjoy the aspect of the book that speaks to them.’
The Very Hungry Caterpillar isn’t Carle’s favourite of his books – that honour goes to Do You Want To Be My Friend? – but it remains his most famous. And in a world of reading where children and their parents are turning to iPads and apps, it continues to hold its own.
‘Change is inevitable,’ said Carle. ‘The biggest change in my lifetime has been the advent of the computer in the world of publishing. But for a book to work the basic ingredients remain the same: good ideas, good design and quality materials.’
And today's tenuous link - why not buy one of our caterpillars or book worms (not quite so hungry but lovely and comfy)?  We've got them on bodysuits for babies, T-shirts for older kids or aprons for hungry cooks.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Let's Celebrate - It's Spring

It's officially the first day of spring but I think the quote by Henry Van Dyke probably sums it up : "The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month."
However, we are going to be optimistic that the gorgeous weather of last week will return and in the meantime here are a few more quotes and some songs to get you in the mood.
"In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."  -- Mark Twain
Here Comes the Sun - - the Beatles
"Sweet April showers do spring May flowers." -- Thomas Tusser
Walking on Sunshine -- Katrina and the Waves
"A little madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King." -- Emily Dickinson
Beautiful Day - - U2
"I want to do to you what spring does with the cherry trees." -- Pablo Neruda
Morning has Broken -- Cat Stevens
"Spring is God's way of saying, 'One more time!'" -- Robert Orben
Spring Fever -- Elvis Presley
"It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!" -- Mark Twain
Spring Vacation -- the Beach Boys
"O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?" -- Percy Bysshe Shelley
Feelin' Groovy -- Simon and Garfunkel
"The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day." -- Robert Frost
Sunshine of Your Life --Cream
"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!" -- Sitting Bull
Sunny -- Bobby Hebb
"Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"" -- Robin Williams
You are the Sunshine of my Life -- Stevie Wonder
"I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature's rebirth?" -- Edward Giobbi
Zip a dee doo dah -- James Baskett
"Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes." -- Carl Friedrich Gauss
Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming." -- Pablo Neruda
Sunshine on my Shoulders - John Denver
"Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring." -- Terri Guillemets
Do you have a song or quote that sums up Spring for you?  Do tell us and leave a comment.
And of course, we couldn't let the opportunity pass without sharing some of our favourite photos of babes wearing our spring time hats.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

If you go down to the woods today ....

..... you're in for a big surprise.  

There's a great project going on at the moment called the Woollen Woods, lead by Cumbria-based arts organisation Eden Arts. Launched last year, Canopy is a visual art project showcasing artwork in the area's trees and woodlands.  Their plans culminated in a giant art exhibition in the woodland of the Lake District's Acorn Bank - a beautiful National Trust property - using decorations created and donated by knitters, crocheters, felters and other craft lovers.

This year the plan is to create an installation in the grounds of Sizergh Castle, another stunning National Trust property. 
And you can get involved.  Work shops are popping up all over the place in Cumbria so beginners can learn how to wet-felt and make their own acorns.  And you can find out more about the project and download patterns and an entry form.  Click here for more details.
And of course, if you want your little 'un to be among the trendsetters you can't go wrong with one of our acorn hats - perfect for woodlands and tying in perfectly with the National Trust emblem.  Click here to buy.
Or perhaps you'd prefer something for yourself.  A tea-cosy perhaps?  More details can be found on our website.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Meet the Artist - Marina Dieul

I'm in love with a mouse.  Well lots of mice actually.  Well Marina Dieul's mice in particular.


 These amazing oils are the work of French born artist, Marina Dieul.  (And no, this isn't a photo!)
Passionate about painting and drawing from an early age,  her family encouraged her  and her calling became her vocation.  She moved to Montreal, in early 2000, where she now lives.
It's not surprising to see that she has won numerous awards and been extensively profiled in art magazines.

I'm not going to say any more, but just let her work speak for itself.  I've chosen to profile a selection of animals, in particular her mice (souris) which seem to be a favourite, but I was honestly spoilt for choice.  You have to visit her website or Facebook page to see more and I'll probably revisit her work to showcase some of her portraits another time.



Okay, (and I'm almost embarrassed to link my work with these stunning images) but I have to include my tenuous link of the day.  You can always get your own little piggie, bunny or mouse from my website for your cute little 'un.