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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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The Gallery @ Papercuts

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Yesterday was the launch of a gorgeous new gift shop and gallery in Whitley Bay. The Gallery @ Papercuts is the brain child of Saffron and Pat. Located at the back of a successful craft shop, this pop up shop is destined to be a huge success. I have filled four cubes with a mixture of hoops, memo boards and jewellery – some of which sold before I could even take a photo!

The gallery contains an array of beautiful art, jewellery, cosmetics, gifts and even preserves. The is certain to be something for everyone!

Other contributors include:

Claire Cooper

Claire Cooper

Kath Woollen

Kath Woollen

Tori Lo

Tori Lo Designs

Green Ginger Glass

Green Ginger Glass

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Market Day Tomorrow!

Today I’m getting ready for the Make & Mend Market tomorrow in Newcastle’s amazing Grainger Market. This will be the first time I will have attended this market and I’m really excited.

The Grainger Market has such an amazing bustling atmosphere and it is a long day (9am to 5pm) so is will hopefully be our most successful market yet.

The table-cloth is blowing on the line (fingers crossed it doesn’t rain) and I’m about to start a stock inventory to see what we are going to take.

Hopefully we’ll be able to pop the bubbly tomorrow evening and celebrate a successful day. In the meantime I need to finish my packing list!

What to take to the craft fair:

  • Paper bags in three sizes
  • Tissue Paper
  • Tape and stickers
  • Business Cards
  • Money belt
  • Float
  • Display board
  • Drawing Pins
  • Fairy Lights
  • Table Cloth
  • Pen and paper
  • Order book (if you take custom orders)
  • Glue
  • Staple gun
  • Warm clothing just in case
  • Drink and snacks
  • Knitting and book in case it is quiet (hopefully not needed)

 

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Art Gallery Discovery – Whitley Bay

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Last week we visited the gorgeous Links Art Gallery after spending the afternoon on the beach.

The cafe is on the links side of the building, near the car park. There is a large range of seating from comfy sofas to highchairs and the menu is varied and interesting and available here.As well as hot tea and delicious cake, I fell in love.  They have an amazing selection of art on their walls as well as prints and cards available to purchase.

I particularly liked the work of Jane Jackson who can be found here – Bright Seed Textiles and Laura Edgar. Both ladies are local to Whitley bay and use inspiration from their surroundings in their art.

I think what fascinated me most about their work was their use of textiles. Jane uses Harris Tweed to create the most amazing collages many depicting local landscapes and wildlife.

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Laura combines haberdashery, vintage textiles, embroidery and paint techniques to create unique and dramatic pieces.

You can find Laura on Facebook or click on the images above to visit her website.

I have added both their work to my pinterest boards so pop over and take a look.

Don’t forget to pop in to the gallery if you are in Whitley Bay (and try the salted caramel chocolate brownies).