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An exciting delivery arrived with the postman: it's the Korean edition of Secret Garden Embroidery! The cover looks so amazing; I just love it. How is it that the Koreans are at least fifteen times better at creating beautiful paper goods than the rest of us? They truly have the golden touch.
I am currently surrounded by bundles of felt and pretty supplies, for a new and top secret project I am working on with Cloud Craft. I am buzzing about it quite a lot. It is very cool. It's for a bit later in the year, but if you keep your eyes peeled there may just be some glimpses of it coming up soon...
My sweet peas are in bloom - sweet and simple and perfect. I didn't even know they were there; they just popped up. Sweet peas always remind me of this book. As soon as I saw them I wanted to read it again, but my copy is still packed up in a box somewhere and I can't get to it. I do so miss my books. Unpacking them when the house is further along will feel like Christmas come early (assuming it happens before Christmas that is. I live in hope!).
We can't really use the new garden at the moment, but just having one is lovely - the promise of how it will be in the future is enough for now. And seeing all the little surprises bloom from nothing is quite exciting in its own small way. I wanted to make a list of them so that I didn't accidentally pull the sleeping bulbs out when I come to tidy things up later, but that hasn't happened... Never enough time. Once the house is habitable I can turn my attention to cultivating some green fingers. I hope.
And I found these brilliant, huge ball headed pins for my notice board. Small things like this make me so happy! They are the exact shade of zingy turquoise as the Korean book cover. The notice board itself has yet to arrive but it is eagerly anticipated. It is for my studio, which is slowly coming together, but I am being very impatient about it all. It has been such a long time coming. Almost ten months since we took this house on and still not ready. Hmph. It will be lovely when it is done though. It had better be! I will show you when we get there.
Secret Garden Embroidery is officially released today - whoop!
To celebrate, for the next 24 hours only you can get 15% off the book and my exclusive launch kits (including the lovely Miss Millicent Hare above) if you hop over to my shop and enter the code SECRETGARDENLAUNCH at the checkout.
The code is valid until 1pm (GMT) tomorrow (Friday 12th June 2015).
Happy launch day!
Afternoon lovelies. Thank you so much for all of your orders and love for the new book. I always get incredibly nervous when I release something new, so it means a great deal to me when you take the time to write and tell me you're enjoying it. Thank you, thank you! I am excited to start seeing pictures of your projects from the book - I just discovered Instagram hash tags and have been looking at all of your wonderful #whatdelilahdid projects. I can't quite get into posting pictures there myself but I will be sure to keep a closer eye on all of your makes there from now on. It makes me so happy to see them!
In shop news, I think I finally got the launch kit quantities right this time around to avoid disappointing people. They seem to be holding up quite well, though the Honey Bee Pin Cushion kits are almost all gone. I hope you have all managed to get the ones you wanted - if not you can find them here.
And today there is one more kit to add to the mix! Have you ever seen flags as pretty as those in my Arbour Alphabet? Love them. They are probably my most favourite project of all from the book and I knew I wanted to make a kit from them, but whenever I have tried to source 100% wool felt to make kits with in the past, I haven't been able to get the stuff without it making the kits prohibitively expensive. However, a chance meeting with Nicole Twena from Cloud Craft last September has now remedied that - hurrah! The two of us have teamed up to produce these beautiful flags as a limited edition supply kit, available in a bundle with the book or on its own (if you already have the book) from Nicole's shop.
These kits are seriously lovely, and you get a lot of bang for your buck - felt, waste canvas, threads, needle, ribbon... Each kit contains enough materials to make four flags (enough to spell out home/love/wish/etc.), or you can buy multiple kits if you want to spell out a longer name or word. I made the flags into 'Willow' name bunting for my newest niece at Christmas and it hangs beautifully in her nursery; the perfect new baby gift.
Exciting news: I have just taken delivery of my advance batch of Secret Garden Embroidery books! I will shortly be off to the Post Office to deposit all of your pre-orders, so those should be with you very soon. And if you haven't ordered your copy yet you can get one here.
To celebrate the new arrival I have made some limited edition supply kits, containing the exact materials I used to make some of my favourite projects from the book, so that you can get stitching right away without having to track down the right supplies first - hurrah! The supply kits available are:
These fantabulous Little Bug Magnets are one of the beginner projects from the book and I just can't get enough of them. The magnets are large and very strong (in my opinion a weak magnet is as much use as a chocolate teapot), and the designs are stitched onto beautiful textured linen to create the perfect accessories for your pin box or fridge door. The supply kit contains materials to make all three bugs, and includes the button blanks and magnets themselves as well as the fabric/threads/needles. To find out more and place an order for that kit, click here.
Next up, from the intermediate/improver section of the book, is one of my favourite ever projects: the Honey Bee Pin Cushion. This charming little 'milk and honey bee' is cross stitched over the top of a honeycomb background, and is therefore the perfect stepping stone project for those of you wanting to branch out from standard cross stitch, but without taking on something massive. The project is again stitched onto very high quality textured linen, and the kit contains the backing fabric you need to finish the project as well as the linen/threads/needles. Further details and ordering for that project can be found here.
My final supply kit is from the advanced section of the book and she's a stunner even if I do say so myself! Miss Millicent Hare. This beautiful creature with eyelashes all aflutter is surrounded by a wreath of brambles and flowers, made up of cross stitch and myriad other counted stitches. The project also has some metallic gold highlights, so it offers the perfect opportunity to conquer your fear of stitching with metallic thread - but don't worry, it is in small doses. A large project to really sink your teeth into, this character cannot fail to liven up your walls. The kit comes with cotton threads, metallic gold braid, needles and a massive piece of very fine 32ct linen, the edges of which I have bound for you to save you time (I rather underestimated how long binding all those edges would take me and I won't be voluntarily doing it again so I recommend you snap up these jewels while you can) - it is enough fabric to allow for proper framing or to be made into a cushion front or other sewn item. Details and ordering for that kit are here.
Although the three projects are aimed at different abilities, the book contains all the instruction and practice projects you need to bring you up to each level, so if you have your eye on Miss Millicent or the Honey Bee but never have never stitched a thing, don't be put off - the book will help you get there. If you love a project then often that is all the incentive you need to learn the skills needed to finish it.
The kits are available in limited numbers so if you have your heart set on a specific one it is probably best to hot foot it over to the shop now. I have made more than I did for the Storyland launch, so hopefully you will all be able to get the ones you want rather than having them sell out overnight like they did last time.
Finally, there will be one more kit available on the book's official launch date (11th June) - part of a special collaboration with the superb Cloud Craft. Check back here on launch day to find out more...trust me - it's awesome!
Until then, I will leave you with glimpses of a couple more beauties from inside the book...
The super-elegant Prophet Rose Sash Belt, and...
...my darling Floribunda Clutch Bag.
I hope you love them as much as I do!
The extremely pretty cover is by Katt Frank, whose work has enamoured me for quite some time. And there are all sorts of goodies inside too - I can't wait for you to see!
The book will officially be released on 11th June but I will be getting some exclusive advance copies to send out at some point in May - you can order them in the shop now and I will send them out to you the very moment they arrive.
I am also working on some kits to go with the books, like those I made for Storyland Cross Stitch. They will go into the shop when the books arrive in May, and I will release details and sneak peeks of those kits and the projects they go with on that day (i.e. the day I start sending out the advance copies). Numbers will be limited so keep your eyes peeled here for updates. I also have an exciting collaboration to tell you about when the time comes. Exciting is today's buzzword!
Until then, I will leave you with one small glimpse inside the book - but shhh, it's a secret!
Hello lovelies. I hope you are well?
I am still locked in DIY hell trying to fix my new house, which is why things continue to be rather quiet around here. But I have high hopes that I might just have somewhere to live/work again by the summer... I absolutely cannot wait to wear normal clothes again and spend my days crafting instead of painting/hammering/sanding!
Anyway, I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I will be running a cross stitch workshop and signing books at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia next Thursday (5th March) - are any of you going?
I will be in the GMC Author Lounge from 12pm showing people how to make some of these pretty buttons (above) from Storyland Cross Stitch. I will come armed with both chunky aida versions for first timers to try, and fine evenweave ones for those who feel ready to make the leap to linen. The workshop is free but places are limited, so if you or somebody you know wants to learn to cross stitch or get a few improver tips, then head over to the GMC Author Lounge (Stand F14) earlier in the day to sign up.
I hope to see you there :)
I have given a tremendous amount of thought to how I can keep my business running without breaking the law once this EU VAT nightmare kicks in. I can't stop selling PDF patterns as some others are doing because the patterns form such a large part of how I make my living, and I can't sell through another platform because my margins are already too tight, but I am equally unable to comply with the ridiculous new legislation when I work on such a small scale. Therefore I have hit upon a compromise which will, I hope, cause the least disruption for the most people. It is worth noting for the record, however, that I am not at all happy about it, because it will make things more difficult for me and for a fair few of you too. I'm really sorry about that. I am hoping that eventually the EU will adapt the legislation to protect the smallest sellers like me, and our buyers in the EU, but at least for the short term this is how I need to do things:
From 1st January 2015 anybody based in any EU member state other than the UK will not be able to use my automatic delivery system when ordering PDF patterns. My EU customers will still be able to buy any of my PDF patterns, but I will need to deliver them manually (either as an attachment in an email or by using a file transfer system, depending on the number and size of the patterns you order). The exact set-up has still to be confirmed, but it will likely include EU-specific pattern listings in my shop; the regular ones will only allow you to checkout if you are outside of the EU. This obviously means that for those of you in the EU, delivery times will be significantly slower as I will essentially need to treat PDF patterns just like physical products, with delivery times being up to 2 working days (though often sooner if I am free), and delivery will not be available when I am away or on holiday or if the shop is closed for any other reason.
This change is necessary because, stupidly, the new rules cover any patterns delivered to customers in the EU by an automatic system, but not patterns delivered manually by me personally. Even though the products are identical. Ridiculous? I know. The rules were made by an ignorant bunch of buffoons who appear never to have bought anything online, especially from an independent seller.
For my customers in the UK and in any other non-EU country, business will continue as usual, with PDF patterns being delivered immediately after checkout by my automatic delivery system.
Orders for any physical products (books, kits, etc.) are not affected, so you can continue to order those from anywhere (including the EU) as usual.
I am truly sorry to make things slower and clunkier for my EU customers, especially when some of you have been my biggest supporters right from the start. It makes me angry every time I think about it because the EU is meant to encourage free trade, but this legislation has ended up doing completely the opposite.
This temporary measure will only work for as long as the new rules apply solely to digital products (or until I can't keep up with sending all of my EU orders out individually any more). Once the Government spreads the net to include physical products too, which they are planning to do as soon as 2016, then we are all stuffed.
If you are unhappy about these changes (as I am... can you tell?), then please help us to try and overturn the decision. There is a petition that you can sign, a Twitterstorm planned for tomorrow (Tuesday 16th December 2014) and any letters that you can write to your local MPs and MEPs will be a huge help. All of the information you need can be found through the links below. We especially need people in other EU member states besides the UK to kick up a fuss, because currently it is pretty much just us in the UK fighting against the ruling, and on our own we have no hope of overturning it. Therefore may I offer a heartfelt plea to any of my lovely EU customers who will be affected by this: please, please get involved and help us to protect this amazing circle of independent makers and buyers who could be flattened by this legislation.
#EUVAT Twitterstorm Essential Info: http://euvataction.org/2014/12/14/twitterstorm-essential-info/
EU VAT Action Website: http://euvataction.org/
Thank you so much for your patience in putting up with all of this nonsense. I hope very soon to return to spending my time creating spangly new things for you instead of getting tangled up in red tape!
If I don't make it back here beforehand, I wish you all the most wonderful Christmas and look forward to enjoying a spectacular 2015 with you!
I don't normally post about political-business-type-things here, but this is a big one, and it could potentially impact on all of you too, so I feel I need to make an exception this time.
If you follow me, or any other craft businesses, on Twitter, the chances are you have already heard about the #VATMOSS #VATMESS storm that is brewing here in the UK and beyond. In short it is a shambolic EU VAT policy change set to come into force on 1st January 2015 which will alter the face of the digital craft pattern/tutorial business (and many other digital micro-businesses) as we know it. As it stands, the time and cost involved in complying with the legislation could cripple many of the smallest sellers to the point where they need to stop selling digital products entirely. The worst part of it all is that many of us hadn't even heard about it until this past week because the powers that be didn't see fit to tell us - in fact they didn't even know we existed.
I shan't detail the policy and list all of the many, many issues with it here because there are plenty of people who have already done so, but if you want to find out more then here and here are good places to start (be warned, it will make your head hurt).
The bottom line is that any of us who sell any craft patterns/e-books/digital music/digital magazines/apps/software/etc. to any countries in the EU have some very big decisions to make in a very short space of time, and since the current advice from tax authorities is inconclusive to say the least, for many of us it is a waiting game to see whether we will be able to continue trading in our current guise at all in the New Year. So for the time being we are doing all we can to try and raise awareness about just how many of us this blanket legislation will affect.
To that end, I have written the following letter (based on this template) to my local MP and MEPs, and local newspapers. I may get no response, but at least I feel like I am doing something. It is unlikely that the decisions are going to be reversed, but at the very least we need the Government to realise the scale of this problem, and the more of us that shout about it, the more seriously they will have to take us.
I am writing to you regarding the EU VAT digital supply change which comes into force on 1st January 2015.
As a sole trader who makes a meagre living by designing and selling, among other things, my original embroidery patterns in a digital format I was horrified to discover that this little publicised (at least to sole traders like me) legislation will burden my business with an unfeasible amount of extra administration and cost, so much so that I am being forced to reconsider whether I am able to continue trading in my current guise at all. After spending more than five years putting every waking hour (and many when I should have been sleeping) into building up my tiny business from scratch, this prospect is truly heart-breaking.
The legislation was designed to prevent internet giants from avoiding tax, but in fact the impending changes will have a disproportionate effect on the smallest firms trading with the EU. In my experience the majority of digital designer/maker/sellers are tiny businesses similar to myself who simply do not have the time or resources to comply with the ruling. We have been completely ignored by policy makers who, due to sorely inadequate research, seem entirely unaware that we even exist.
The rule change will force small businesses, including many wildly under the £81,000 VAT turnover threshold, to register for VAT with all the complications and cost that brings, as well as keep abreast of VAT rates in up to 28 countries in order to sell craft patterns, e-books, e-courses and digital products in the EU. Even with the VAT MOSS option and emerging advice suggesting that we may be able to split our cross-border business activities from the bulk of our trade, we are still expected to obtain and retain specific data from each and every customer, even for sales of a couple of pounds, to prove their location. Our small-scale off-the-shelf web solutions and systems are not set up for data capture and implementation of this would cost more than the extremely low-value products we are selling.
Current estimates suggest this will affect 264,000 early stage businesses in the UK. I am just one of this huge number and we are not firms with large accounts departments. We are small, fledgling businesses; sole traders just trying to scrape a living. We may not provide much in the way of high tax revenues, but if we are forced out of business because of this ruling then that is an awfully large number of unemployed people back on the streets, looking for work that is already scarce.
The Government is always talking about encouraging small businesses and new enterprise; increasing the number of start-ups and protecting everyday hard-working taxpayers. However by treating self-employed designer-makers like myself in the same way as multi-national re-sellers like Amazon and iTunes, the outcome is the very opposite of this. It is killing off and turning away an entire generation of innovative young entrepreneurs, and destroying everything we have worked so hard to create. We were not even considered by the policy makers, let alone consulted.
The world is becoming increasingly digital, and we should be encouraging the innovation and international trading opportunities that go along with this, not penalising micro-scale indie sellers who make the most of it. VAT MOSS is a disincentive to supply consumers in other EU countries and moves against the trend towards greater international trade particularly through the internet.
In much of the reading I have done, HMRC are providing conflicting information on how this policy will be implemented and interpreted in reality for the smallest businesses like mine. For example, whether or not it is acceptable to email files to a customer if the process is fully manual and the online element is essentially just a shop window (this says yes: http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/hm-revenue-customs-hmrc/blog_posts/eu-vat-changes-twitter-q-a-31555, this says no: http://ysolda.com/blog/2014/11/26/they-didnt-know-the-impact-of-vatmoss-on-really-small-businesses) – the two conflicting answers both seem to come from Andrew Webb, Senior VAT Policy Manager at HMRC. If HMRC can’t even decide how it will work themselves, what hope is there for us? Clearly the matter needs far more consideration before it is enforced.
I am writing to urge HMRC and the EU to pause and review how this law to fight one problem, may well have created another – and to consider the views of the record number of small UK firms like mine.
I hope you decide to take this as seriously as it's being taken by the small businesses of Britain.
If this affects you and you feel that there is anything you can do to help raise awareness, then please do share and shout as loudly as you can.
Hello lovelies - I still don't have a studio yet but am limping on without one for the time being and am still managing to get most orders out on time. Seeing as it is almost December (eek) the last posting dates are rapidly approaching... therefore if you need books and kits and such in time for Christmas please be sure to order them before the cut-off dates. Merci beaucoup!