Back in the saddle.

First of all I just want to say thank you so much for all your kind and encouraging words in response to my last post. Things have been difficult here, mainly due to the increasing frailty of my elderly parents. I have also succumbed to the nasty bug that has been doing the rounds, anyone who has had the sore throat and cough will no what I mean, and I thought I had escaped it!

It has also been a particularly worrying time on the work front. One of my main licensees, Hudson and Middleton Ltd, who I wrote about earlier, has called in the administrators. This is yet another bad blow for Stoke-on-Trent and has resulted in many lost jobs. The company itself was doing well but sadly, it was owned by another company who supplied bone ash for the manufacture of bone china. One of its main customers was Wedgwood and when that went there was a domino effect. We are keeping our fingers crossed in the hope that a buyer can be found for what was Britain's oldest bone china factory.

Last week should have seen the launch of three of my new bone china mug collections and I was looking forward to my annual visit to the Spring fair in Birmingham. Sadly this was not to be, other licensees did better I am happy to report and although I did not get to see the stands and new products I was delighted to receive a nice package through the post. Padblocks, a company I met last year at the fair, have now produced one of my designs "Garden plot" as note blocks, slant pads, shopping lists and sticky pads. I particularly like the slant pad as the design stays the same no matter how many sheets you tear off, who ever thought that up was very clever, don't you think?


  1. Back in the saddle and riding as well as ever, I see. Gosh, we have missed you!

  2. Good to have you back though sorry you are having such a difficult time at the moment.

  3. Sounds like you really have a lot going on at the moment. I can sympathize on the elderly parent issue... we have care of my hubby's partially paralyzed Mom (stroke victim) every weekend so I do understand.

    Nice to see your artwork on stationery... it looks good anywhere!

  4. hold on! there is light at the end of this tunnel we are all in. Know that you are not alone in these situations.

    Beautiful stationary items.

  5. So glad you are back - I know the thing with the parents - I am there too - try to keep some time where you don't allow them to suck you in.Keep your pecker up and you will come through

  6. Hi Valerie,
    It is very sad to here about all the companies that have been closed by this down turn.
    Of course that is just the start of it and it's the knock on effect to other smaller self employed buisness's.
    Wishing you well and hope all is ok with your parents.x

  7. So sorry to hear all this, this bloomin' credit crunch is effecting so many things and on top of your other difficulties too. But your blocks do look lovely.

  8. The Padblocks line with your design is so delightful! Sorry to hear this nasty economy is effecting you this way. I believe it is hurting all of us. We are definitely feeling it and it is very frightening.

    Welcome back!! :)

  9. Welcome back - I think we have all missed you. Sorry about the domino effect from Wedgewood. Love the Padblock and shall keep my eye open for it.
    Any more jig saw ideas?

  10. Hi Valerie~ So glad to have your words & images again! Your new products are wonderful~ as your artwork cheers up any surface! We're finding companies in similar struggles, have had a few close this past year...I'm hopeful that when the economy swings back around we will have fresh & FILLED portfolios to share & knock their socks off! Do hope your china company pulls out of this & continues on for years & years to come~
    Wishing you rest & comfort as you care for your family~

  11. The stationary looks lovely. Crisp and attractive. Refreshing colours.

    The chain reactions we are seeing at present are highlighting how interconnected we are, even in an apparently fragmented world. If only they were turning out to be productive connections instead of disasters!

    Hope things become easier soon.

    Mary Sharpe

  12. Hope your sore throat and cough get better swiftly, Acorn Moon, and that your spirits will be lifted in the midst of all this.

    Nice to have you back and love the stationery.

  13. Hola valerie! Nice to see you back! I hope you are feeling better from your cold.

    Take care. xx

  14. Welcome back, Valerie, we've missed you. Oh, dear that dreaded bug - I had it over Christmas and wouldn't wish it on anyone. I too understand with regards your elderly parents we have been through the same worrying times with my parents over the last few years; both now gone and still missed. It is a great shame about Hudson & Middleton, when I read about it in the local paper I wondered about the mugs you had mentioned. The note pads and memo blocks are very pretty. Take care as that bug takes a long time to disappear.

  15. Do hope you feel better soon. What a fright about how the economy is affecting everyone. I love your bone china mug designs. Being an Englishwoman in happy exile, I always drink my tea from bone china! So sad about Wedgewood going under. Thanks for your comment about my Rose challenge quilt. Having inspected and admired your booklet inspired by the same poem I'm working with, I might now just use the "My Love" words and not the whole first line. Thanks for the inspiration! Best wishes and great to see you back blogging!

  16. I'm sorry the global troubles have hit so close to home. Your stationary line is lovely!

  17. Wishing you all the best, I'm sorry about the difficulty. It does seem to hit us from all sides doesn't it? Be sure and take some time for yourself!

    I love your new pieces and hope that a buyer will save the china company!


  18. Lovely to see you back Valerie. Sorry to hear of you difficult times.

    The stationery looks gorgeous!

  19. How wonderful to discover your blog and gorgeous work! I love your style. All very wonderful! I am sorry to hear of the trouble going on, it's rough here too, in the US..

  20. Welcome back, and thank you for your comments.

    Your green garden stationery line is terrific. I am sure that it will do very well, and agree about the cleverness of the slant.

    About the china business, not so clever. I am finding it very odd to suddenly see items with which I grew up vanish. Well, maybe not those very items, but whole categories of wonderful things that have framed my life don't seem to be part of the upcoming generation's common memory. Now ... I am sounding old.

    Hoping that your flu bug vanishes and the china company remains!


  21. I am glad to see your return. But sorry to hear of the difficulties you have been facing. It is remarkable what an assembly line of woe this financial crises has started. It is effecting almost everyone here. My thoughts are with you and Edward sends his biggest smile your way!!

  22. Happy to hear from you again...I sympathize with you..times are difficult. Stay warm and stay happy ..there will be better days..
    I do love the stationery items!
    Wish you well:)

  23. Oh ..and the little note book in the Etsy shop is soooo cute..

  24. Glad to see you posting again Valerie!
    So sorry to here that you are having difficult times. I hope things start to look up soon.
    Make the most of those small precious times you have with your parents and enjoy the things that are free, because they are often the best! x

  25. Oh my goodness, I do hope better times are on the horizon for you Valerie. I am rather impressed with Padblocks too. Both my partner and I were given one each for Christmas. I will look out for yours. x