Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Interlude


I have decided to take a short blogging break...

I’ve found it difficult recently to find the time not only to write an interesting post, where I’m not repeating a tale I’ve written in the past, but also to get round to visiting other blogs. I don’t want to churn-out ‘filler’ posts where space is filled as an obligation, which can be frustrating for the reader – we’re all busy girls, I know, and time is precious. (And whilst I'm being honest, I also feel a little like this lovely lady, who says things so well...)

My daughter breaks up from school on Thursday, so I’d like to spend some time with her too. It will be good to take some time out and to feel refreshed and raring to go, rather than having my blog feel like just another chore I have to do.

I’d also like to focus on my business and the items I make to sell. I’d love to come up with some new and inventive ideas –I’m looking to live by the quote by Herman Melville that I’ve added to the bottom section of my blog…"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."

A good friend of mine took the brave step recently to work on some original hand embroideries to exhibit at a textile fair at Petworth House. She hadn’t sold her work before and was nervous as to how it would be received. All of her pieces took her many hours to finish, with each one being completely original and different to the others.

I found her attitude totally inspiring and it reminded me that I sometimes feel constrained by trying to stay commercial. Of course I need to make money from my business, and it is a very lucky person who loves what they do and can make a decent living from it…

To give an example as to what I am trying to say; the patriotic rag dolls that I created this month for my website, using vintage union flags for their skirts – Was I selling-out? One can’t fail to have noticed the boom in merchandise on the high street with the bold flag design– something I’m sure will continue well into 2012 when London hosts the Olympic Games…

I imagine the concept for reintroducing the union flag as a fashion statement would have been by some of the well known fashion designers reworking the looks from the 1960’s, when it was last popular, or from the punk era. (Maybe I should mention Geri Halliwell here too, with her infamous tea towel dress!) Catwalk fashion so often influences the slower-to-change home interiors market and so it would be inevitable that this strong look would make it into our houses too. Emma Bridgewater and Jan Constantine ran (are running) with it, to name but a few.

I must admit that when I took my sewing machine to the original queen’s coronation flags that I bought at the V&H, I did question myself as to whether I was compromising my integrity somewhat. Was it really ‘me’ and did I want to jump on a bandwagon…but I was also torn, knowing that I needed to earn money and that this was a popular look which would make the dolls saleable…Maybe I’m being too hard on myself; its not like I’m looking to set a trend myself, but I am looking to find my true style and to really go for it…

I want to keep away from the blogs for a while, so as not to be influenced by them. There is an uneasy undercurrent, which many are aware of, and so I’d like to step back, just for a short time, so as to think more clearly…I’d like to remain happy and positive and not be dragged down right now. Life is good.

I’ve included lots of photos of some of the vintage costume brooches that I have found over the years. These are a passion of mine, after my love of antique and vintage textiles, and are something that I often like to add to my hand made items. Their diversity of design and materials are what fascinates me and when I add the perfect piece to a handmade item, it seems to bring it to life.

I hope that you will enjoy taking a look through the photos and that they will serve as a reminder that I will be back blogging very soon, to feature more of my nostalgic loves and exploits!

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I don’t want to be away for too long – “Summer Wishes” to you all – hope you have a lovely time whatever you have planned,
Niki x

37 comments:

  1. I have come home between jobs on a really miserable day.... to this..... the most exquisite of posts. Exquisite in both the images and your words. I shall revisit it all again later, and I wish you the most peaceful and (if the two can be comfortable together) creative blogging break.

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  2. Hi Niki,
    You have always been an inspiration to me. I love your blog and these images are exactly the reason why. Have a wonderful time away from blogging and enjoy the summer with your daughter. She is the most important work you will ever do.
    Smiles,
    June

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  3. Beautiful images, and I understand the words too. I have always said children come first no matter their age enjoy the summer and look forward to seeing your return.

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  4. Have a wonderful summer with your daughter.

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  5. Enjoy the summer, have a wonderful time with your daughter. I'll miss your wonderful photographs though, they usually make me drool all over the place. What a stunning collection of brooches, I am totally gobsmacked!

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  6. Well done to you for making a stand and being true to yourself. I read on a blog from the US (I can’t remember which one) about a movement in blogland over there of ‘Obligation Free Blogging’ where blogger should not feel pressured to post nor to respond to every single comment made on their blog. I think this is a fabulous concept as I only started to blog as a bit of fun and to kept family and friends up with our latest endeavours. I wish you creativity in abundance on your blog break and would like to say thankyou for your blog, as although I do not leave a comment every time I come to visit, I always enjoy coming.

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  7. Wow! What a beautiful large collection! Dazzling - you possess the magpie's dream! :) Interesting post too...a lady's got to make a living to get by at times and it is difficult. Sometimes in life you do have to make small sacrifices and it is important to reflect on these and understand why you are doing it at the time. I think as long as you don't allow yourself to be forced down a path you don't wish to go continually, you'll be okay. If you have to create something a little commercial and not to your taste for a few extra pence in the piggy bank then rectify that afterwards by seeking out some inspiration -treating yourself to a book, a show, a film - whatever excites you- and then start creating something more to your taste and when you are finished be sure to shout about it! :) xxx

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  8. Well Niki, I hope you have a lovely break I am sure it won't be for long.

    Now as for your Union Jack dolls, you are not selling out! Just having a bit of fun with the Union Jack. Look we have never had so much fun with the our own flag since the Jubilee Year in 1977.

    There is nothing wrong in flying the flag. I think you have inspired my next post too LOL.

    The fashion will fade again but it is big fun right now, and you have made it much more fun with your lovely dolls, what else are we going to do with the flags anyway, they should be put to good use, it also makes these dolls even more precious too considering the history behind the flags ..... have I said enough on that subject ... boy I'm worn out. LOL

    speak soon Ginny xx

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  9. Niki, I am glad you are following your heart by taking a break from blogging so you can have much deserved time for yourself and your family!! You will be missed and we will be here when the time comes for you to come back! I was so busy with the Barn House flea market that I forgot to tell you that I have received my package, and was absolutely over the moon!! Everything was even prettier than I imagined, I am truly a lucky girl!!! Take care!
    Isabel

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  10. maureen4:22 pm

    Hi Niki,

    I Will miss your lovely pictures and thoughts, but you must always follow your heart, have a wonderful summer.
    Take care

    Maureen

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  11. Enjoy the hols - they'll be over far too quickly so you need to savour every moment.

    Just HOW many brooches???

    Sue xx

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  12. Claudette8:54 pm

    Niki, enjoy this sojourn from the "constraints" of blogging. I have purchased many of your delicious items and have always found you the most gracious seller/creator to communicate with. One thing I don't buy are the dolls, but admire the workmanship and charm. Regarding the Union Jack dolls, I have to say I think it was BRILLIANT!! I don't think you stepped on any bandwagon, the gist I have picked from your posts is of a lady who is not uniquely talented, but is proud of this wonderful country and what it offers; our heritage, the crafts and its rural beauty. What better way to portray that than with your immaculate dolls. The UNION JACK is being "reclaimed" and isn't it just marvellous that it is through woman who create? It is an iconic flag, I love the design and I hope this trend may continue. About time this country got back to basics. Have the most relaxing time and I look forward to your return.

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  13. Don't be too hard on yourself Niki..I look at blogging as a type of diary more for me really..you look back on it and are reminded of things and feelings you had at that time...for 8 months I don't think anyone looked at mine!! So have a great summer if it ever stops raining!! xx

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  14. What a huge, and adorable collection of pins and brooches.
    I understand completely, sometimes we need to step back and put things in perspective occasionally, I have done that recently.I will miss your little shopping days, and your treasures, but I wish you well on a well earned break!
    Sue

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  15. Way to go Mrs! Have a great time pleasing yourself and being with your lovely family! Blogging without obligation is the way to go. Heaven knows you've earned it for the amount of pure pleasure you deliver with every post! You might find this post interesting about the ability to blog and be original at the same time. Very thought provoking. t.xxx
    http://mousenotebook.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-do-we-see.html

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  16. What a feast for the eyes! It all looks quite delicious.
    Lesley X

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  17. Hi Niki
    Have awonderful summer with your daughter, I always find your posts to be wonderfuly inspiring.
    I bought my first broach at the weekend.
    Thinking of you, Sophie xxx

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  18. What a great post! I will check back just to see what you've put in your shop!
    Happy Summer!
    Hugs, Lisa

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  19. Stunning post Niki and such wise words. I will return here for contemplation until your return. Enjoy your precious daughter, the English summer and your new shed! I am almost overwhelmed by the beauty of this post!

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  20. we'll all miss you while you are gone Nikki! Enjoy your time off, and thank you for such lovely posts, I really enjoy them!
    xoxo, Tiffany

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  21. Have a sunny break my friend....I think we are all tired and need a break...I certainly do...then the creativity can flow...your pictures and compositions are exquisite...sunshine and rainbows to you and yours...H

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  22. Enjoy your summer and your family Niki! Thanks for all the eye candy and inspiration you've given us over the past months and years, I never, ever think of you as selling out!
    Kimx

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  23. Gorgeous broaches, have a great summer

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  24. Have a wonderful summer & blogging break!
    Lizzie x

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  25. oh quel trésor !!!!!!ton blog est MERVEILLEUX !!!!!beaucoup de plaisir à le visiter à+ bisous

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  26. Niki I think you are totally doing the right thing in taking a break and I'm totally with you on what you are saying today. I'm on the verge of giving up blogging completely. Like you I have toyed with the union jack thing. Wondered if I should make some union jack things but in the end I have steered well clear of it. Everyone is making union jack cushions and I am tired of seeing them. I urgently need to start selling more of my creations but I'm not prepared to start jumping on a bandwagon. I'd rather make what I feel comfortable with and what I feel is my style, and sell nothing than to copy the trends and sell more. I hope you have a wonderful summer. I'm sure you will come up with some beautiful new ideas. I have always seen your work as very unique and even your union jack dressed dolls were very much your take on the trends ~ very special. Take care and enjoy the summer. Fiona

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  27. Hi Niki, have a wonderful break and enjoy the rest of this summer. xo, suzy

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  28. Hi Niki,

    What a fantastic collection you have .
    Ill miss you, and look forward to seeing you here again.

    Hugs Dorthe

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  29. Enjoy your break! I really enjoyed looking at all the beautiful jewelry! Happy summer days to you, Karen

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  30. A nice open and honest post Niki. Have a good summer, lets hope for sunshine...lots of it.

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  31. I understand so well the need to step outside of the fray and take stock of all that you have achieved and aspire to..
    I hope the summer brings you unexpected pleasures and inspirations.. and a peace in your head and heart.

    Bon vacances

    Michele xx

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  32. ditto~feeling the same way

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  33. I so enjoy looking at all of your collections - your brooch collection is no exception. What an incredible collection you have! Enjoy your blogging break, Niki.

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  34. Niki - hello hon, long time no talk - my fault, (sorry) I stumbled across your blog today and I so know how you feel...I love the quote, but you and I both know that being original people can often lead to frustrations as whilst we are being unique all around are blatently copying without conviction! I have decided over the years to take it as a compliment...I have 'BIGGED UP THE BLIGHTY' for years now Iinfact thats what rosie calls me! he he!...and why shouldnt we.

    I am a Royalist and always have been...I love traditions and our great British History albeit we were a bit bossy back then LOL!

    If you do start creating with 'Brights' you will do it in your own style and ideas...I have always decorated with colour, it makes me the Happy person that i am...and it is more popular, now than ever....

    Go for it girl...if we all worried about the CC we would never get anywhere...shrug it off and carry on in your own style...

    I too have stopped looking at blogs...there are so many likeminded people that we cant help but create items similar, especially when we are looking at other peoples blogs it spurs us off and sometimes we forget where we have seen it and go and create something similar thinking it is our own....

    Its nice to have a break and have some me time...to think of new ideas is refreshing...have fun honey - send my love to you family...next time I go to somerset i will definitely pop by - i wanted too this time but ran out of time :)

    You know I love ya chick :)

    Have a great rest...

    Love Happy xx

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  35. Hi Niki - as with you, the summer hols mean that I'm an intermittent blogger, so I've just caught up on this post now. You are such a great blogger and your honesty, integrity and individuality are what makes your work so special.

    I had a good read through what people have commented and I think Twinkle Pink expressed what I'm thinking too. I also know, perhaps, the feeling that I'm being sort of sacreligious in cutting up and re-using wonderful things like your coronation flags. In the end, though, I've concluded that these things were made for a very brief period of use, and if they come into another use later on, which celebrates the origninal intention but changes it into something which makes them desirable again, why not? We celebrate the original creation more by re-working things than by hiding them in boxes and drawers.

    Have a great break with your family.

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  36. Just spent far too long pouring over your lovely blog.
    I'm also a bit of a vintage vixen, perhaps you might enjoy a look at my blog too, I'd love you to stop by if you can find the time, me thinks you are a very busy lady. :)
    Wx

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Thank you for finding the time to visit me...
Niki xx