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Creativity saved me!

Hi, I’m Danielle and I am the creative behind Under the Rowan Trees. I call myself ‘creative’ because anyone in my school art class would let out a laugh if I called myself an artist and I’d like to think I’m more than a crafter – I’ve taken the next step and turned my hobby into a business and it has saved me!

I’m a part time teacher, a full time wife and mum and somewhere in the middle I am me! I lost myself for a bit but thanks to Under the Rowan Trees – I’m back!

My job is tough. I’m sure you all know that we don’t work 9 until 3:30 but what people don’t always realise is the emotional burden that goes with working with adolescents. As a new mum I was exhausted. I worked in a school under a lot of pressure from Ofsted and under even more pressure from some of the students. I was miserable!

I took up crochet towards the end of my maternity leave and I knew right away that I was going to love it. The textures, colours and the concentration – perfect therapy! Endless counting and pattern reading stopped my mind from wandering … worrying.

The biggest shock was that as I started to share my work in online forums and Facebook groups, people liked it! I was used to nothing ever being quite good enough. Results could always be better; books could always be marked a bit faster; my baby wasn’t sleeping. All of a sudden I was getting praise and people were asking me for advice!

My next step was to set up a Facebook page to share what I was doing. My friends and family liked it and then some of their friends and family. I soon had 200 likes. That is when I decided to start selling my makes. I had branched out into embroidery, knitting and jewellery making. I love starting new projects; hunting for materials and patterns (shopping!).

It has been nine months now and business is growing slowly but steadily as is my confidence. I have left my job in the tough school and taken another closer to home. My baby is now a three year old and is an amazing little boy who gives the most gorgeous cuddles.

It has taken hard work, lots of it and quite often the first step I’ve had to overcome has been getting out of bed but I’ve done it! I’ve been to several craft fairs, not sold a huge amount but people loved my work – worth more than any cash to someone like me.

Want I want you to take from my ramblings is that if I can do it, so can you. Get out of bed. Try something new. Ask for help. Share what you have done. Keep trying and grow!

I’m not going to be a millionaire any time soon. I may not even cover my costs (that would be a bonus) but I am happy and I’m making others happy by sharing my creativity. I’m doing it and I’m not going to stop!

Follow our journey into 2016!

www.facebook.com/undertherowantrees

www.undertherowantrees.etsy.com

www.instagram.com/undertherowantrees

www.twitter.com/undertherowans

www.pinterest.com/undertherowans

undertherowantrees@gmail.com

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Poppy for Peace

Whilst in Belgium this summer we visited the amazing Yser Tower in Diksmuide. The tower contains the Ijzer museum which is an awesome experience. Yser Tower and Pax gate

Not only is the panoramic view from the top of the tower of Flanders breathtaking but the journey down the tower will make you seriously question your knowledge and feelings war.  As well as seeing the reality of life in the trenches, you can also experience it first hand as you pass through the pitch black corridors of the twelfth floor surrounded by the sounds of soldiers gasping for breath. Truly haunting.

No More War

The message of the museum is clear – no more war. It was after this visit that I was inspired to purchase a white poppy. A poppy for peace.

Peace Poppy

This stunning white poppy was created by the amazing Grainne at Glassworks. She designed and created this white poppy exactly as I requested. It looks stunning on our window and is a permanent reminder of the importance of peace.

I have also recently visited The Weeping Window at Woodhorn in Northumberland. 5,200 ceramic poppies which represent lives lost during world war one. These are part of the display that was originally at The Tower of London. The majority of the poppies were sold to the public but these were kept so that the installation could tour the country. Another display is currently at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Weeping Window

Weeping Window 2

The art work is very moving and has been seen by thousands of visitors during its time at Woodhorn. The archives at Woodhorn contain documents which start to tell the stories of some of the 5,200 whose lives are marked by these poppies. We looked at the very basic information contained on the application forms and medical examinations of some of these young men and at the devastating telegrams which informed their families of their fates.

What better reason can you think of to wear a white poppy for peace this December?

More information about the poppies and their tour of Britain here.

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Jakeart1

 

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I met Justine through an online craft group and fell in love with her style. Her art work is just amazing and so diverse as you can see by the few examples I’ve selected to share. It was only later that I learnt that she was a cancer survivor and an amazingly strong woman.

Recently, Justine organised a charity auction in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. I was more that happy to donate a prize to this amazing cause and have to confess to bidding on a few items myself! The auction was a huge success and we were able to help Justine to smash her £500 fundraising target.

Make A Wish
Make A Wish

Justine’s Just Giving Page is still live here if you would like to donate and she is selling prints of the amazing Make A Wish on her facebook page with £5 from each sale going to charity.

Look out for Justine’s work (and mine!) in the Handcrafted Uniquely Community – perfect for gift shopping!

You can find JakeArt1 on EtsyFacebook and her own website. Do pop over and say hello and tell her I sent you!