21 September 2015

Just a Big Softie!

Even if we get the odd twinge or hear a knee joint complain when we stand, most of us are young at heart! And one thing that can automatically bring a smile to the lips, maybe even a whispered 'awww', is a cuddly toy. We're no exception to their allure. One thing that we have noticed though, is how wonderfully effective these cute characters can be in engaging us in someone's story.

Present Purrfections of Kirkcaldy

In our last blog post we mentioned attending the Scottish launch for Small Business Saturday 2015. Among the six businesses featured was Present Purrfections, the animal themed gift business of Julie Martin-Davy and her husband, based in Kirkcaldy, Fife. The most noticeable character on their stand was Dexter, the shop's mascot, who was named by a lucky customer in a competition, and it's easy to see that he'll be playing a big role in Present Purrfections!

Sweet Pea Felts, NY

One of the first Facebook pages we came across that captures hearts and imaginations is Sweet Pea Felts, NY, USA. Sebastian and Evie are the cutest mice you could ever wish to meet. They are surrounded by an ever growing circle of friends and their adventures are beautifully photographed by creator, Amy Brand. One can't help but wish to live in a world so perfectly tiny and magical!

Felty George and friends created by Signed by Sam

Another Facebook discovery is glass artist Signed by Sam. Sam creates a host of quirky characters in fused glass (as well as beautiful glass 'paintings' of flowers and seascapes). They are headed by goose George and his family but he has an alter ego; Felty George, and his girlfriend Georgina. The gang take us on all sorts of outings! If you use Facebook, you'll discover more at Guzzling Geese.

A new kid on the block is collie pup, Tweed. He helps his owner, Ian Walker of local company, Borders Journeys to round up stray visitors on their guided tours! Tweed has quickly been taken into the hearts of many and has just begun his own Facebook page! Pop over there to join him on his travels.

Mungo the moose at Present Perfect, Melrose

Finally, we couldn't go without championing our own very special friend, Mungo the moose. He has been playing a very low-key role but decided that it was no longer appropriate to hide his light! As you can see from the photos, he is rather fond of candles and enjoys sniffing fragrances that remind him of the great outdoors. But he's intent on building his image all the time so expect to see much more of him!

Do you have a favourite furry friend? Let us know who brings out your softer side!

16 September 2015

It's All Happening in the Scottish Borders!

September has brought its own excitements with two high profile events in quick succession in the Borders, celebrating modes of transport!

Aviva 2015 Tour of Britain race and HM The Queen notecards

The Aviva 2015 Tour of Britain cycle race completed one of the legs in the Borders. The teams came through Melrose and cycled right past the shop. It was the start of their long climb up Dingleton Road and we certainly didn't envy them that but they travel at amazing speed! The support entourage was equally impressive although with near on 30 motorbikes in advance of the cyclists one could be forgiven for wondering what type of bike race it was supposed to be!

HM The Queen opening new Borders railway at Tweedbank station (image Border Telegraph)

The following day saw history being made on two fronts as HM The Queen officially opened the new Borders railway and marked her own day as the longest ever reigning British monarch. The Queen travelled by steam train from Edinburgh to Tweedbank accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. It is hoped the railway will bring big benefits to the Borders; it's certainly proving very popular right now!

Suzanne Kirk of Eildon Bears and Studio Stitches

On 23 August, we visited Kelso for a craft fair and met up with old friends as well as discovering several new makers. In the former category is Suzanne Kirk of Eildon Bears and Studio Stitches. Among her many makes was a new bunch of bears (a few can be glimpsed here) and we were thrilled to have them arrive in the shop after their show appearance!

A selection of Eildon Bears

Benjamin, Bernie, Clover and Damson (clockwise from top left above) can also now be found listed in our online shop. They are all genuine mohair, collector bears, each with their own personality and although they are NOT toys they would make wonderful keepsake gifts for a christening/naming day.

In fact, we've been adding a lot of new items online so do please pop over and take a look.

Flatyz, hand decorated flat candles

Last month's best seller was an item we saw at the Harrogate trade fair in July - 'Flatyz'. These flat candles are made in Europe and are hand decorated. We thought they were very different and would make an ideal gift. Clearly our customers did too because within a month they are practically all gone! We have more on order, including festive designs, and hope to have them soon.

Derrick and Brian at the Small Business Saturday Launch

A week ago we were up in Edinburgh to celebrate the Scottish launch of Small Business Saturday. Now in its third year, the campaign aims to encourage us all to support small, local independent businesses. The actual day falls on 5 December this year but the hope is that everyone will make this part of their weekly shopping habit. Scotland's Deputy First Minister, John Swinney addressed the audience along with the campaign director, Michelle Ovens. And six Scottish companies were present to showcase their wares as part of this year's Small Business 100. We were thrilled to be one of the original 100 in 2013 and know how important the campaign is.

This coming weekend we'll be in Glasgow for the Autumn Fair at the SECC. We are planning to give our new railway a try, so we'll let you know how we get on. In the meantime, do pop in and say hello or maybe pay a visit to our online shop if there's anything you need.