An Alpaca Adventure!

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Hello there lovely Buttoneers! Well…that was a rather impromptu blogging break wasn’t it! For those of you that don’t follow me on social media (You should by the way – Instagram is my fave!) I have been having headaches and migraines constantly for a few weeks or so. Luckily the CT scan came back clear but I am back and forth at the doctor’s trialling different medications hoping one will work enough for me to properly get back to work and live my life again! Arrghhh! In the meantime the Eliston Button Etsy Shop will remain open and I will be dipping in and out here and social media when I can.

Anyhoo, Now that my Create 30 blog challenge is well and truly done and dusted I can concentrate on the other little doses of creative lifestyle goodness that are in my blogs tagline – like adventure! Hooray!

I really want this little corner of the blogosphere to be a mix of all things Art, Design, Craft and Adventure because, let’s face it, they are blooming great things to fill your life with!

I wanted to share ‘An Alpaca Adventure!’ with you for a few weeks now but with recent hospital stays and feeling pretty poop, it took a bit of a backseat. But, alas! Here it is because I just couldn’t let this one slip under the radar without documenting it – You know I am a sucker for documenting my life and what better way than to share it on this here bloggity blog!?

This year as one of my presents to my fiancé Chris for his birthday I wanted to mix it up a bit and get us out and about on an adventure. For years now we have been obsessed with how funny alpacas are. Before we moved, about ten minutes from our house, we used to drive past an alpaca farm on the way to go shopping in Cheltenham and always say hello to ‘Alan’ the alpacas (They are all called Alan right!?) which then turned into every picnic starting with…

“I’ll grab a blanket…Alpaca lunch!”

So, when I spotted an alpaca experience online I jumped at the chance to walk an actual real life alpaca! We went to Charnwood Forest Alpacas in Leicestershire and had the best experience – we are still laughing and talking about it now! This is not a sponsored post – we genuinely just had a fabulous time and I wanted to share it! 

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We started out with a really informative talk about the alpacas and the handling of them.

Fun Fact #1: Did you know there are 20 different colours of alpaca from white to black with the brown shades in between!?

They get sheared once a year and their wool can be used for all sorts of things but especially crafting! Have you ever knitted or felted with alpaca wool?

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Fun Fact #2: Alpaca wool is different to sheep wool as it hypoallergenic – it doesn’t contain lanolin, which is the cause of many wool allergies. 

I can’t take all of the credit for remembering all of the talk – I might have had to ring Chris at work to ask how many shades there were – He is a fact brainiac enthusiast so I knew he would remember! 

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Apparently a lot of the time, the alpaca chooses the person for the walk rather than the person choosing the alpaca – how sweet! Jasper here definitely chose me by sticking his face right into mine! I think he could sense the fear to be honest; he had me totally summed up. I was super excited to be holding an actual real life alpaca – I think I played it cool…right!? 

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Off we went, walking our alpaca across the paddock and towards the open fields of the farm. This is where I very quickly realised that Jasper the alpaca was just using little nervous me as a freedom giver. As soon as he felt that fresh air on his face and the wind in his hair, as soon as his feet felt the grass between his hooves and the tree line in the distance…he bolted. What the heck!!?? There I am half running across a field, fingers so tightly clenched on his lead (I mean come on…who wants to be the only one to lose their alpaca?) and hoping to god that the leader girl will DO SOMETHING! It felt like a marathon to this crafty girl with stubby legs I can tell you. The panic was unreal! 

Luckily he slowed and with a bit of wrangling I managed to get him back across the field to the rest of the group where I was told to be a bit firmer with him and not to let him be the boss of me – life lesson right there. 

Life Lesson #1: Never let an alpaca think he is the boss of you.

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Meanwhile, Chris has missed the whole debacle as he is too busy wrestling his own alpaca called Tailwind (a sentence I never thought I would write!) and only caught me on the walk back whilst I was snivelling away between an hysterical cry-laugh and hoping I wouldn’t get told off. Have you ever seen a guy so chuffed to be holding an alpaca? I blooming love this photo – I might have to frame it!

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Around Here…I’m Back!

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Hello there lovely Buttoneers! I’m blooming back! Have you missed me!?

It feels like soooo long ago that I was sat here, mug of coffee in hand, channelling my inner Carrie Bradshaw, tippy tapping away on my laptop…

Actually that all sounds way calmer than it actually was at the end of my Create 30 blog challengeIt’s been so good to step away from the editorial blog calendar for a while. I envisioned myself sat in the garden, reading my book with a cup of tea relaxing my days away. In reality it was so different!

I started off my break by completely stepping away from posting on social media. I needed to get away from the pressures of daily posting ‘perfect’ photos and battling algorithms to get them seen and just live my life a bit. Our family had a sad loss at the start of my break too so posting my day to day or Etsy Shop snippets just didn’t feel right. The break was exactly what I needed and I actually found that I wanted to get back to Instagram sooner than I had scheduled, full of fresh ideas and creativity that I had feared I had lost in the hustle and bustle. More on that later. 

So…What have I been up to? Well, a lot of my days have still been on the computer. I spent sooooo long completely re-formatting my back catalogue of blog posts. When I switched over to self-hosting my blog and ended up completely redesigning it, a lot of the text formatting and image sizes changed. I had even lost a huge amount of images on the crossover without realising, resulting in gaps between text and other images – Yikes! As a bit of an organisation obsessive enthusiast (now there’s an enthusiast print in the making!) This drove me insane!

With trying to keep my head above water keeping up with Create 30 and running on that never ending hamster wheel of social media – I had zero time to fix it.

So, with it niggling in the back of my creative little head, I knew that the minute I stopped blogging for a while, I had to get it done. Cue hours of soul destroying reformatting and image sizing…I was purely running on giant cups of coffee and listening to podcasts. At the same time I started re-taking the Eliston Button Etsy Shop product photography to jazz it all up a bit.  I have spruced up my prices, postage prices and search engine optimisation (Yawwwwnnnn!!) but everything is a lot happier and everything is how it is supposed to be. Phew! The prices and postage are all now in place if you have had your eye on something, but I am still trawling through the re-photographing stage! No wonder I am glad to be back. 

With all the admin out of the way, here is the pretty picture bit. They are a mixture of Instagram photos with their captions to fill you in on what I have been up to and a few behind-the-scenes photos too. Here is what I have been up to Around Here…Enjoy!

Around Here… Back at the start of July I wrote – “Hello lovelies 💖 I’ve been a little M.I.A over on social media for a while, my usual posting schedule has become a bit few and far between and I feel like I’m stuck in a bit of a creative rut. I feel like a lot of my time is spent working hard against the new algorithms, alongside battling the tide and noise of it all that I have lost my umph and feel really disenchanted by it all 😫 I have decided to, not just take a blogging break, but take a social media break too for a short while, in the hope I can get back my usual creative magic 👩🏻‍🎨 I spend so much time worrying and running on the hamster wheel of daily posts and hashtags and writing engaging posts that the fun, imagination and creativity has gone. I want to put down my phone and my laptop for a while and make something with my hands, something tangible, make my crafty little heart happy again. 😊I am unplugging away from the noise and concentrating on finding the parts that I love; the making, the experimenting, the creativity. 🎨✨ The Eliston Button Etsy Shop (link in profile) will remain open and I will flit in and out of here from time to time and add some Insta stories here and there when I have something to share. I feel like a break will do my creative little soul some good and allow it to feel refreshed and recharged to get back to it soon! 🌼 I urge you all to take a little time away from your screens today. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, sit in the garden, draw something, buy some flowers, have a real life conversation with someone and above all, find the fun again… 🌈💖

Around Here… I am just dipping in to say hello and make sure you know I’m still here. I have however, decided to extend my social media break for a little while longer. Self-care as looking after my mental health is very much a priority for me this year after a stormy couple of years and stepping away from my screen and unplugging the last few weeks have helped tremendously in getting myself back on track. I want to come back at it being able to fully dive in and be my best and most creative self. 👩🏻‍🎨🎨 We also had a very sad loss in our family last week so posting just doesn’t feel right at the moment. I promise I will be back when the time is right, but for now I will dip in and out to say hello and continue to post out your Eliston Button Etsy Shop doses of handmade goodness 

Around Here… I dug some home decor bits for the mantelpiece out of boxes from the move to make the place feel homier. We are trying to do up and decorate each room one by one, so a lot of our stuff is still boxed. Sometimes just digging out a few things and arranging them on the mantelpiece can brighten the place up and make it feel like a home rather than box city and a decorating disaster zone!

Around Here… Sex and the City was watched A LOT! I don’t care what people say about this show. To me it will always that old friend that you can just slip back in touch with to make the grey days a little brighter and make your heart feel a little warmer. A familiar favourite that wraps you up in a ball and sits with you under the duvet with a large mug of tea and a ball of knitting until you feel more ‘you’ again – You know the sort. 

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For the Love of…Summer

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Hello there lovely Buttoneers! The sun is shining, the balmy warm air is close to your face and the oscillating fan is on full blast. Ice lollies are in the freezer (or dripping down your hand!) the ice cube tray is full and the sun loungers are out. The garden is blooming, the sandals have been dug out of hibernation and the sun lotion is on hand. This can only mean one thing…Its summer time!! Hooray! 

In my new tradition of celebrating each of the seasons in my ‘For the Love of…’ blog series, I was excited to get started with the bright blue skies and happy yellow, sunshine filled days of summer…For the Love of…Summer!

Also, I don’t normally get to post a lot about the summer as it is usually when I take a blogging break to revive the creative juices (which I will be doing after my Create 30 blog challenge!) so I thought it would be nice to capture it all before I relax a bit!

Just like with my For the Love of…Autumn, Winter and Spring editions, I will be rounding up all the summer goodness from all things Eliston Button as well as some exciting summer finds from around the web.

I want to get your arty, crafty souls feeling the summer vibes and finding the sunshine tribes…I would definitely join that super fun sounding tribe – Pure sunshine magic! 

So, what do I love about summer? I love more sunshine than cloud but also cool breezes and not getting too hot. I love bright happy colours and bright blue skies. I love ice creams and lollies and exciting outdoor adventures (and also getting lost)…

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I love sun kissed skin and make up free faces. I love road trips, summer stargazing and soaking up vitamin sea! I love sandy beach combing and ocean cool paddles…

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I love collecting shells, sea glass treasures and colourful bits of fishing rope. I love warm sand between my toes and silky soft feet. I love salty sweet kisses and sounds of crashing waves… View Post

Why It’s Okay To Make Mistakes (and a Life Update)

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Hello there lovely Buttoneers! We have officially moved house! Hip, Hip, Hooray!! (If you are reading this then I either have internet set up already or I went on an adventure to find some in our new town!) I have more news on that later in the post, but today I wanted to share a bit of a story time/lesson learnt with you all and to be honest document it for myself to look back on in times of need – I rarely take my own advice but maybe if it was written down…here’s to hoping anyway!

A few weeks ago I launched my ‘Just want to nap’ print as number 15 in my Create 30 blog challenge. I had made the print ahead of time because of the move and also ahead of time, had photographed it, edited the photos, written an Etsy shop listing; created a blog post…yadda yadda yadda…you get the point. I had the post sat in my drafts folder for a while and was pretty darn pleased with myself for finally getting a little bit ahead of myself to be able to pack the house up etc.

Just for some context, the whole of the few weeks surrounding this were mega, uber, t-rex dinosaur proportion stressful.

We almost lost the offer on our house, the chain got really messy, no one could agree on a move date, estate agents and solicitors were all in the mix and it was a Mess – with a capital ‘M’. Anyhoo, I had read and re-read that blog post, I checked for spelling and grammar, you name it, I checked it.

I was so excited to launch this print. I had worked hard on colours and getting the right mix of typography and hand lettering, picking the right angles of the felt flower photographs to fit perfectly into the corners – If you know me at all, you will know that I am a total perfectionist.

I released the print, the blog post and launched the Etsy listing into the wild and sighed with relief that another Create 30 blog challenge make was done and dusted and I was super proud of it…

That is until my personal (and not actually a paid job) quality control manager (my sister) emailed me to tell me how much she loved my print but was the quote meant to read “Some Days I Feel like Super Women, Other Days I Just Want to Nap”? or was it meant to say ‘Super Woman‘?

I felt sick. That pit of your stomach sick. That pit of your stomach, freeze-on-the-spot-mid-carrot-stick-chomp, don’t-take-another-breath-until-you-have-processed-the-words-in-front-of-you sick.

You know the one? I couldn’t move. I felt paralysed by the shock and fear and panic whilst at the same time my head was buzzing with thoughts trying to make sense of it all, un-ravel the messy ball of wool in my brain, do something that involved DOING SOMETHING!! I had already gotten 50 likes on Instagram – 50 people had seen it GODDAMMIT!

Then the magic happened…My inner organisation-freak, get-to-it-systematic-minded, problem-solving-fairy-brain kicked in…

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I got to work. I sniffed a bit and blew my nose, I took a deep breath and my shaky little hands sprang into action. I started with some damage limitation by deleting the social media posts and Pinterest pinned images. I threw the print back into Adobe Photoshop, erased the problem (I wish we could do this in real life sometimes!) and re-drew the hand lettering to make it say ‘Woman’ instead of ‘Women’. Then I realised that I didn’t only have to erase the problem on the actual print but also go back and re-edit the photographs of the print, the framed set up of the print etc etc not only on my blog post but on my Etsy listings too. Yikes!

Within about half an hour all was rectified and the world hadn’t been hit by a failure rock the size of the sun and no one had died because of my silly little mistake.

But for that milli-second (I swear it felt like I had aged a whole decade of my life) it consumed me. I was so scared that because of a simple, correctable error, that everyone would think I was a total sham. A failure. A fraud. I felt like people would judge me on my mistake and deem my art and my work not worthy of buying. That my sales would hit rock bottom, that no one would read my blog anymore, that someone wouldn’t trust me enough to buy from my Etsy shop because I couldn’t do a simple thing like check my wording on a print. This all, of course, was not true. It was made up by the little anxiety gremlins in my head that like to rear their ugly little heads when I am scared or panicking or overwhelmed.

I didn’t let them win. I think that this is the one thing I will take away from this lesson learnt (apart from now triple checking my work) I will never let them win. I will pick myself back up and make it right. I will take a deep breath and do my very best to fix the problem, and most importantly not beat myself up too much about it.

I will not unpack and live in that place. I will allow myself to have a little cry, a few little sniffles and then I will move forward.

I mean, I am not saying that I felt a huge deal better after rectifying the problem – Don’t get me wrong,  I was a mess and felt truly frazzled. I felt burnt out from everything that was going on around me that made me make the mistake in the first place. I hauled by bum back upstairs to bed, got under the duvet and watched Disney’s Peter Pan for the rest of the afternoon. I Instagramed about my day and chatted to my lovely Etsy group on Facebook and I was bowled over by the support. Which is when I realised that it is not just me.

People mess up every day. Sometimes they are small, fixable silly little mess ups, sometimes they are bigger and more damaging but either way they (hopefully!) survive to tell the tale.

Once I had stepped away from it all I could get a bit more perspective and by the following morning I realised that life definitely goes on. What makes me so important to think that anyone even cared, let alone noticed!? I don’t even mean that in a self-deprecating way, just that in the grand scheme of things, in this big wide scary world, the only one who cared about the mistake and judged me was…Me (and possibly the 50 people that still went on to like that photo before I deleted and re-posted it) Phew! Lesson Learnt.

To be honest it was a good little warning sign that I just needed to step away from things for a bit, get into my blanket fort and relax away from the world, even if it was just for an afternoon.

The funny thing is, in hindsight obviously, is that my ‘Just want to nap’ print actually went on to be featured on the fantastic creative lifestyle blog Live It. Love It. Make It. in their latest ‘New in Handmade’ blog post. Funny how things turn out isn’t it! You should check out their blog too – It is super fun and inspiring – they are really lovely ladies too. 

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For the Love of…Spring

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Hello there lovely Buttoneers! Spring has finally sprung and you can feel it in the air! I think I love this season almost as much as I love Autumn and I think it is mostly down to colour. As most of you know, I am a huge colour lover. I love the brights and pastels as much as deep and brooding inky shades – I love them all (especially if they are organised in to rainbow order!)

Colour makes me happy; it can brighten a day or make you feel warm and cosy. Colour can make you feel emotions, grab your attention or simply blend beautifully from tone to tone – What’s not to love right!?

Spring is that wonderful time of year when the sunshine starts to become a bit more of a regular occurrence (sometimes here in the U.K. it’s just a tiny bit more than Winter!) and you can feel the warmth on your face at the same time as the cool breeze across your skin. Just like Autumn, It’s not too hot and not too cold. There is no sweating it out on the way to the shops but you don’t have to bundle up under layers of coats and scarves either. It’s perfect. Not only that, but the flowers start to peek through from their winter slumber.

The excitement of catching sight of bulbs peeking through and gently blossoming into happy sunshine yellows and pinks and lilacs.

Colour starts to explode into everything again and you can stand and take a deep breath of fragrant flowery goodness, warm sun on your face and know that you made it. Spring is the start of less gloomy days and dark evenings, it is the start of new beginnings and spring cleans.

Spring breathes life back into the world and lifts your mood with its cheery smile and its little nod towards summer…Perfection!

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So, because of my love of Spring, I wanted to have a little colourful and crafty round up of my favourite springtime finds at the moment, some spring themed Eliston Button Etsy Shop finds and some wonderful springtime goodness from around the web. Much like my ‘For the Love of…Autumn‘ and my ‘For the Love of…Winter‘ blog posts from last year. I really love this little seasonal mini-series and hope to find lots of fun favourites over the course of the years to come too. 

I really love finding inspiration across the web at the same time as supporting fellow craft and creative lifestyle bloggers that I look up to and admire…

Here are six spectacular spring time crafts that I have discovered recently – I can’t wait to try them out! 

  1. I love the gorgeous Floral Wallflowers Spring Home Decor D.I.Y by the amazing ladies at A Beautiful Mess – It would be sure to brighten up my new living room mantelpiece. 
  2. These delicate Paper Hyacinth Flowers are super pretty and so colourful by the fab One Little Project blog – Imagine lots of different colours all together in pretty vases around your home! 
  3. I think these really cute Painted Rock Garden Markers from Adventure in a Box are a genius idea! Fun and creative but also super useful for your garden of greenhouse or even if you have an allotment or homestead. 
  4. One of my favourites in this mini round-up is this really clever and creative Garden Hose Spring Wreath by the lovely Create Craft Love blog – So much fun and made using things that are probably hanging around the garden or the garden shed at home with a dash of floral fancy to finish it off.
  5. How adorable are these Easter Bunny Treat Jars from the super cute Happiness is Homemade blog!? Perfect for storing seasonal treats or even your spring time craft supplies! 
  6. Last but definitely not least, I adore this D.I.Y.Easter Egg Button Art Craft by A Cultivated Nest blog. It’s bright and cheerful and full of buttony goodness – What more could this button obsessed crafty kid want!? 

Did you know that I have a few spring time blog posts in the Eliston Button Archives too? 

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