Thursday, December 31, 2009


Like most people, I set myself resolutions each new year to achieve something more, or start something new. Also like most people I suspect, I invariably forget about them and most certainly never get around to focusing on achieving them.

Me, circa 1980, probably resolving to use that stick to fend off my brothers.

This past year has been very different for me as I resolved to move to the US and set in motion my plans to open a boutique. I can tick that one off the list! Earlier this year I put together a list of 25 things that I wanted people to know about me (a very cathartic excercise, I highly recommend it) which included a number of wishes/resolutions. I never intended to publish it but the inevitable late night on Facebook took care of that. I don't want to get too touchy feely about it, but let's just say that my friends who read it were all incredibly supportive of the things I wrote that I wished to accomplish, and that gave me a huge push to make changes in my life. I won't post it all here, but these are the points that I wrote that have been achieved or embarked on this past year and that have entirely changed my life path.

  • I want to start a blog, but can't imagine why people would read it. (Update: Ta Da! Well here it blog, which I have been writing for about 6 months now, and amazingly people DO read it...quite alot of people actually. Thank You!!)
  • I have a secret dream to change career and start my own boutique of beautiful gifts and things for the home. It consumes my thoughts. (Update: After quitting my job in November, I am now ready to finish my plans and commit all of my time to opening Apothecary Fox)
  • I love my work too much, it takes over everything and that needs to change..this year (Update: as mentioned above I did quit after 11 years with the same company and although I miss it terribly, I know this one thing for sure...I HAD to stop working that much so I could invest my energy and focus on ME)
  • I don't drive and feel like a complete loser because of it (Update: I know you can't possibly imagine how a 35 year old could have gone through life NEVER driving, but it is true! I took 4 days of lessons and passed my test early this December!! Woo Hoo!!)
  • It has taken me too many years to realise that I want to move back home to the States, and that has to happen. (Update: I now live in Vermont)

Phew! It has been a very busy year as you can gather. This move is still a work in progress. I moved Continents to enable me to establish my business and challenge my status quo. More than that, I had to take a leap of faith and test my own resolve. In the process I left my friends and some family behind and that is not something I take lightly. I miss them all like crazy. Some of them are going through some very tough times and I wish I could be there for them. But I am there, more than before via phone calls/messages/email etc and very much in mind. As part of my list I wrote this...

  • I have very long suffering friends who give me the benefit of the doubt, and are still around despite the fact that I let them down constantly. My obsession with work is always to blame.
  • This is a work in progress and the geographical distance is obviously not ideal but I realise that I have to work at it all the time and I am doing that. No more excuses. I am nothing without these guys and gals.

    There are a couple of other points I wrote back then that I will share as they will form part of THIS year's new resolutions.

    • I come from 2 different cultures/continents and don't ever feel entirely at home in either (Update: Well, I am giving it a go in the States and so far I feel pretty at home! Being here has also made me realise what my Britishness means to me to)
    • I love cigarettes WAY too much (Update: the MAJOR resolution for this year has to be quitting that nasty habit. I can't use catering as an excuse anymore)
    • I am dying to have a tattoo, but typically the detail obsessed part of me can't decide on what to get, I am afraid I will never decide. (Update: I WILL decide this year, suggestions are welcome!)
    • My most favourite drink in the world...and there is alot of competition, is Magic Hat no. 9. (Update: I share this with you simply because now I live in the heart of Magic Hat land and it is still true, but I might aswell get busy getting to know more of their beers this year!)

    So, there you go. My new resolutions have all got to do with making the most of my opportunities in my new home, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones and really, really enjoying life. All good stuff.

    • I know that I am capable of anything, really...I don't doubt that at all...having the courage to do it is sometimes an issue though.

    That sums me up, and was something I wrote then to remind me that I had to take a leap of faith sometime, be courageous and just do it! So far so good.

    So, Happy New Year everyone! I encourage you to come along with me for the ride this year. I promise it will be an adventure. X

    Wednesday, December 30, 2009


    I just had to share with you a little birthday pressie I bought for myself recently, this gorgeous crocheted blanket by the supremely talented Chrissy from Popsicle Stick.

    A while back I included her work in one of my Weekly Remedies posts and it was the single item that prompted the most comments and messages that I have ever featured. Ofcourse I decided that I just had to have one, and I embarked on a wonderful process of choosing the colourway and over all look of the blanket with a considerable amount of help from Chrissy. Pink and Green were clearly going to be the main colours but faced with the array of shades and choices I needed her guidance and advice. A last minute addition was a light green ruffle around the edge that for me is just the crowning glory of this work of art. This was a wonderful experience of collaboration and support from a very gifted crafter, and we were united every step of the way.

    I have the utmost admiration for the talented artisans and crafters that I search out on a daily basis, and could not begin to imagine the patience and dedication it takes to make something as beautiful as this. All I can say is, it is MUCH appreciated by myself and so many others just by the small amount of feedback I get on the items I choose to feature, that they have created.

    So, not only do I urge you to check out Chrissy's other work on Etsy, but I positively command you to take time to work with any of these wonderful talents and have a piece of art of your very own. This is so much more than just spending money on a beautiful thing. This is about building a relationship with a person who puts their heart and soul into the piece you purchase, that you will most certainly feel when you use and admire that piece in your own home. It is a two way relationship that may well last into the future and will most certainly create a story and memory for you to share.

    Buy Handmade....make it your New Year's pledge. You know it makes sense. x

    Tuesday, December 29, 2009


    First, let me say that I know I have neglected this weekly post for some time. I will unashamedly blame dial-up internet and the enjoyment of an extended period of holiday festivities. That said, I am now back on it and will be posting this every week, along with lots more interesting and inspiring pieces on a very regular/almost daily basis. It would not be a stretch to say that Apothecary Fox is now "what I do", but not yet for a living. For now, just for full time fun!

    Ok so, this week I am loving...

    1. Porcelain Mason Jar Lantern, Alyssa Ettinger 2. Clementine Brooch, Crafty Folk 3. White Paws, Sara Lagace

    4. Make Something Good Today Print, Please Be Still 5. Anchor's Away Necklace, Megan Aker 6. Toile De Jouy Cover, Be Still Shop

    7. Inspiration Hoop, Bliss In A Teacup 8. Just A Lil Pig Necklace, Tangleweeds 9. Grain Sack Pillow, Leslie Janson

    Monday, December 28, 2009

    DESIGN THERAPY: Rocks and Salt

    Rocks and Salt are a small design and manufacturing company based in Brooklyn, NY. Their hats are handmade using high quality materials, often taking inspiration from a classic design style that is given a modern edge through the details and fabric choices. Got the nudge on these guys from my brother, who is a closet Etsy sleuth, always picking out unique pieces that I instantly love, but would never have found myself. This is right on the money for me, and comes at a time when I am contemplating a hat purchase for the Winter months in VT.

    Additional note...under their favorite materials on the Etsy profile page instead of the usual list of fabrics, materials and such like, these guys list "patron, fresh lime and sea salt" kind of people!

    Great little piece on making a cycling hat, by Phil and Sara of Rocks and Salt for ThreadBanger.
    This is way more than a rainy day project in my book, but interesting stuff.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    RETAIL THERAPY: WhippetGrey

    Stuffed full of colourful and creative finds, WhippetGrey is a gorgeous spot to browse around while looking for a really individual gift for the friend who leans to the more unique and creative in style and design. They offer an eclectic mix of home accessories, artwork, jewellery and decorations from around the globe, that you are surely unlikely to find together in any one place. With a shared passion for travel and unusual artefacts, the WhippetGrey family source objects with a particular artistic quality and their catalogue is in itself quite a work of art (resembling a gallery exhibition catalogue). Their belief is that an article must be meaningful and timeless, and this is born out in their careful choices of exquisite objects. Read their story here.

    The collection is categorized under the headings Rare Finds, Curious Objects, Secret Garden & Children's Den just hinting at the mystery and wonder contained in each carefully selected group of items. I have some of my picks for you, but don't settle for just a sneak peak. Make yourself a coffee and settle back to enjoy a long journey of delightful yourself. You will not be disappointed.

    Tempted, right? I told you so!

    DESIGN THERAPY: Jonathan Adler

    This has been on my radar for sometime now, but I saved the real joy of discovering Jonathan Adler until I moved back to the States. A designer of contemporary home furnishings and accessories, Adler has a tongue in cheek approach to his work perfectly reflected in his manifesto. My particular favourites plucked from his list include "We believe that when it comes to decorating, the wife is always right. Unless the husband is gay" & "We believe minimalism is a bummer." You can read the entire piece here and you will quickly get the picture that Adler believes that there are no rules for decorating and accessorising except to go for what you love and not to be constrained by "rules". Here, here!

    Not surprisingly, given the name of my blog and future project, I instantly desire any of the porcelain jars from his Druggist collection, described as "An apothecary of emotion".

    Browse the full selection from his Druggist collection here.

    Since Christmas is upon us, here's a selection of ornaments that I would love to decorate my tree with, then probably hang around the place for the rest of the year.

    Now, who wouldn't love a poodle on their tree?

    The real treat is that Jonathan Adler has a "Design Your Own" service where you can try your hand at creating the perfect pillow, rug or tote bag using an array of colours and patterns. I warn you, once you start creating your fantasy designs, there really is no stopping. I particularly love the Zebra faux-animal rug.

    Ta Da!!!... Of course I had to go for pink and green!

    Too much fun and dangerously expensive if you actually buy your creations (I just made some up and saved them in the Gallery as a kind of wishlist).

    This is fun stuff, beautifully designed and creatively presented. I am an instant fan.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009


    No, this is not a description of myself, now that I spend some of my day mucking out our stable, feeding the horses and chickens, and hauling logs for the fire! Filthy Farm Girl is a Vermont soap company (with a base in Hawaii too) that has alot of attitude and strong eco-friendly values. This stuff is handmade, 100% natural (no 'yucky stuff') and vegan to boot, leaving you feeling clean in body and conscience too. They have made a commitment to use local organic farmers wherever possible as well as trying to grow many of their own herbs and spices themselves. More about their philosophy here.
    I love the inventive names for their soaps, such as Coffee Vanilla Vixen, Galactic Ginger and Balmbastic Basil...good enough to eat! Their packaging is printed on 100% recycled paper and beautifully designed with so much character, reflecting the name of each specific 'flavor' of soap (there are 52 flavors to be precise). Oh, and the soaps are amazing!

    For the Farmgirl...

    For the Farmboy...

    This is just a taster, browse the entire selection here. Getting clean has never been quite such a dirty job.

    Monday, December 14, 2009


    I have previously featured the work of Brighton photographer Cassia Beck before, in my weekly remedies posts (soon to be resumed when I can get more than Dial-Up internet...Yes! It does still exist. AAaahh!). Her work features pastel tones to depict beautiful dreamy feminine images. She had me at her "A Letter To You" print, I featured here (no. 7 of my Weekly Remedies back in October). Lose yourself in her shop Lola's Room, but for now take a leisurely stroll through some of her gorgeous work with me.

    Aren't these photos just so delightful?

    Thursday, December 10, 2009


    Have you heard about Japanese Washi Masking Tape? Forget the boring cream masking tape that we all know. This stuff comes in all colours and patterns, making it perfect for all manner of craft projects and daily use. Washi is Japanese rice paper, in tape form it can be torn by hand and is totally removable and re-usable, making it versatile and cost effective.The fabulous Holly from Decor8 posted a little DIY project to decorate picture frames with this tape, here. I can't wait to try it.
    As always, you don't have to look any further than Etsy for the best variety of this tape. Why not start here. I took the liberty of choosing my favourites from the following shops.

    Little Happy Things

    Love Petit Zakka Japan

    There really is almost too much choice but I can't wait to dive in and start my collection!

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009


    For many people, thoughts of Christmas are triggered by images of Santa, a decorated Christmas tree, a wreath, the Nativity or a snowman. For me it has to be the candy cane. Such a simple form with clean red and white stripes and fresh cool peppermint, that will eternally put me in the Festive spirit. And not forgetting how yummy they are too! Give me red and white at any other time and I will run a mile, but this classic combination really is my favourite Festive inspiration.

    1. Zuppa Artista Candy Cane Heart print, Zuppa Artista 2. Candy Stripe Stockings, Poppy's Wicked Garden 3. Peppermint Stick Baker's Twine, California Craft 4. Candy Cane Lane Album, Heart Speak 5. Hand knit Ornament, Bad Amy Knits 6. The Candy Cane Train print, The Black Apple 7. Candy Cane Personalised Notecards, Perideau Designs

    Now on the subject of Candy Canes...I can't believe that you can buy them in all kinds of colours and flavours these days. Whatever happened to tradition? I have to admit that I did have to think twice before buying pink ones the other day and was really only turned off by the thought of the bubblegum flavour they came in.
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