Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Creating an Heirloom

Yes, I know you've heard me say it before; I love a challenge! And I love working on your special commissions, big and small. But this really must be my favourite one to date. 
At the end of last year I was approached about a unique commission, a project that would not only be a beautiful Christmas gift, but one that would be the start of a new family heirloom. It was so wonderful to be asked, I just had to say yes! The Project was to repaint and restore a stunning Rocking Horse.

Now I know this seems a million miles away from jewellery making and sewing, but I have a thing for painting and love up-cycling too. I also like a bit of DIY and am no stranger to masks and a power sander, so I knew I would enjoy the task. But it was no mean feat! Below is a summary of the jobs it entailed and of course, the all important Before and After photos!

The horse had been painted in its heyday, but age and storage conditions meant it was in need of some filling and patching from where the joins had cracked opened. It was decided that a full new paint job would be the best fix and make it showground ready for it's new home!

After a wash down and some protection prep, I started work. (Who knew that one day I'd be putting 'making a horse shower cap' on my CV!)

All the gaps and cracks were filled and the old paintwork was sanded down to give a smooth surface to work from. Then it was onto the painting!
Because Rocking Horse's are classed as toys, they must be treated and covered with the correct paint to enable them to be child safe. Unlike normal paint however, this water based Acrylic was super thin. It took 9 coats to get the horse back to it's gleaming white state!! But what a difference once it was on.

 After studying some stunning Rocking Horse paint work online, I started work on the face and legs. The old eye's had been slightly damaged during the initial works on the horse and by the adhesive used to secure them, so these were filled in and covered separately. The paint around the horses muzzle, ears and hocks needed touching up and blended better so this was done here also.

The next part was to add the dappling effect and create the full body detail. To be honest, I was quite nervous about this stage. I knew how long it had taken me to get the horse fully white, and a mistake with the black paint would mean another sanding job and 9 more coats to cover it! So I took my time, planned it out and practised with the dappling brush before committing to the horse. I was really pleased with the result and by now could see it all coming together.

With 2 coats of varnish now on and dry, and the leather cleaned and polished,the last and final part of the restoration was to tackle that hair!! 
After a wash, dry, straighten and brush (yes, I actually used my own hair straighteners to tame that mane!) I gave it a  trim and tidy up:

And Voila! A beautifully restored show pony was ready for it's new home! What do you think?

If you have a commission, big or small, that you would like to discuss with The Butterfly and Toadstool then please drop Dee a line here. We are happy to share advice and help too!

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, 7 January 2017

Giving Back While Looking Forward

So today I re-opened my Etsy shop after the holidays, and with it a sense of achievement arose. Last year was a great year for my online shop and I was pleased to feel that all the hard work was beginning to pay off. With a strong feeling that things are moving forward, I've already made big plans for the coming year. And one of those plans is to give back.

Charities are great things that support so many amazing causes, and I've always wanted to help in any way I can to the ones closest to my heart. To say it's been an easy ride would be a lie. I, like so many others, have faced difficult times, family illness and loss. However, through the hard times there was always someone there to lend a helping hand and I will never forget that.
So, as part of my big plans for 2017, I am choosing a charity to give back too. This year's charity is Parkinson's UK.
I pledge to raise funds to donate to Parkinson's UK through my online shop and small business. I already began in December selling lucky dip bags at 2 Christmas markets, so can proudly say there is already £27 in the donation pot! I will continue with this at this years events and will also donate the money collected from selling my accessory seconds too. 

It may only be a small gesture, I'm still a small business. But to charities everywhere, small is mighty and the little things do help.

So here's to the year ahead, together we can help make it great!

The Butterfly and Toadstool

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Year of the Big Leap!

2016 was full of ups and downs for everyone, and will go down as the year we lost so many greats. But for our little business it was also full of wonderful experiences, great opportunities and major growth.

Although we are super excited to move forward and crack on with bigger and better plans for the year ahead, I feel it’s only right to reflect on the year we have just had and everything we managed to achieve.

First and foremost, it will always be the year of the big leap! 2016 was a leap year so what better way to remember it than that. It was the year that we took a deep breath, crossed our fingers (and toes!) and leapt from hobby to full time maker! And right now, I can honestly say that I have never looked back!

There were so many reasons why I took the leap and so much of that had come from 2016. As a business, we had had our best year in terms of traffic through our Etsy shop, developed new products and a whole new boys clothing line, we had gained new stockists and even had some amazing commissions. It all lead to the fact that if we were going to continue to bring you new and exciting products and develop our business the way we wanted, we would need more time to do it. And so, we created that time.

Having this also meant that we could take our business to meet more people. We took part in the Creative Whithorn Event in July and then the wonderful Wigton Book Festival in September. Meeting new people also helped us form great new connections and friends and with that came some amazing commissions and collaborations. It even saw us being featured in our first ever magazine article!

2016 really was the year that we kick-started our dreams and I feel that we are in such a great position now to focus in on where we really want B&T to go. Although it may have been quiet out front this past wee while, we have been busy planning and organising for the year ahead.

2017 is full of possibilities and I will do everything I can to bring the very best of them to you in the form of all things creative. I really am thankful of all the support you have shown my little business, I really couldn’t do it without you. So, this year I also want to give back to help show my gratitude and appreciation; Stay tuned to learn how!

But for now, I will leave you with this; Use this time you have and be grateful of it. Use it to learn something new or connect with something you have lost, use it to forge new relationships, make new friends, visit new places. Use it to connect back with yourself, do things that make you happy and always remember to show love and find beauty in everything.

Here's to a great 2017 . . . 

Friday, 2 December 2016

We're In Print!!

It's official! We're in print! 
Dee is so happy to have been chosen as Artist in the Frame for issue 11 of the lovely Our Wigtownshire magazine. It's first time that she has been interviewed specifically about her business and it's so lovely to be recognised by such a great media presence in our area.
The piece describes how The Butterfly and Toadstool came to be and how Dee has been inspired to be creative her whole life. We are chuffed to bits that our story has been shared locally and we even made it onto the front page! (See Dee bottom right!)

Issue 11 of the Our Wigtownshire magazine is available to buy now from shops around the Dumfries and Galloway area in Scotland until the end of January. You can also get your copy online here.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Butterfly and Toadstool

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Wee McAsh to the Rescue!

How could you not love a wee Dachshund!!

Meet Wee McAsh! He's a super special kinda guy! 

Wee McAsh is the star of his own storybook - Wee McAsh to the Rescue, written and illustrated by his lovely owner, Amanda Sunderland.

Amanda and Wee McAsh live in a small village not far from The Butterfly and Toadstool HQ. We have been fans of this beautifully illustrated book since its launch in August 2016. And who wouldn't be after meeting this bold little doggy!

In just under 4 months this adventure storybook, based in the west coast of Scotland, has sold over 900 copies! A big success already for this little chap!
We were extremely excited when Amanda approached us to help with a brilliant idea of a Wee McProject! Below is a photo of Amanda and Dee from The Butterfly and Toadstool as they show off their latest collaboration together- Wee McAsh badges!!
These can now be bought, alongside copies of the book, at book signings and readings hosted by Amanda herself, and they can be found at markets on the B&T stall!!

Don't worry of you can't make it to one of these events, you can purchase the book online here! At the moment, the badges are not listed on the online shop, but please feel free to message us about them. We have a secure payment system in place for online orders. Books are £7.99 each plus P&P and badges are £5 each plus P&P.

These are great gift ideas to accompany this wonderful storybook, and why support one local business this Christmas when you can support two!!
If you have any questions about the book, how to buy one or how to become a stockist, then please contact Amanda here.

Alternatively, if you have questions about the badges, how to buy them, or how to commission badges of your own, then please contact Dee from The Butterfly and Toadstool here.

Thank you so much,
Dee, Amanda and Wee McAsh! xxx

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Winter Collection

It's here! The weather is changing, the nights are getting longer and the Christmas Fairs are in full swing! 
Find our fab selection of winter goodies in our Etsy shop now. Lots of lovely gift ideas and great stocking fillers. Have a look below at just some of the accessories we have on offer or follow the link above to our full online shop!

Find our full range now in our Etsy Shop

The Butterfly and Toadstool

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Alternative Root

There's a gorgeous new health food shop that's just opened in our little town, and they stock a selection of our accessories!!
Alternative Root was opened by the lovely Tabetha in Newton Stewart, Scotland on the 9th of July 2016. She's completely changed the old, dark building into a beautifully light and airy space stocking an amazing range of health foods and supplements. She also stocks clothing, accessories, freshly baked bread, organic fresh produce and vegan cosmetics. And as well as all this, there is now a new treatment room in the back where you can book to have a whole range of relaxing and alternative treatments. There really is something for everyone.

I remember my first visit to Alternative Root during the opening weekend and noticing how lovely the newly renovated space felt. Not only was I greeted with a warm welcome but the energy and light in this little oasis was friendly and peaceful. Take time to look around and you will be amazed at what they have on offer.
In such a small space there is so much to look at and choose from. I for one love the range of curry pastes and herbal tea and they also stock my favorite line of falafel mix and nut roast!

Alternative Root has now been open for just over 3 months and they continue to gain a wider variety of products, many of which are produced or grown locally. I am very fortunate that Tabetha took the time to look through my work. She selected a gorgeous range of our more earthy and natural accessories to be stocked in store, and she is now the sole stockist of our earth button earrings and hair accessories.

Alternative Root is for anyone who takes pride in their own health, who likes to shop and support local produce and who is looking for something that little bit different. I for one think we can all be that little bit different and choose the Alternative Root in life. Trust me, you wont be disappointed.