I'm very excited to be moving into a new studio this weekend. I say 'studio', it's a portacabin. It's a HUGE portacabin. Not a very pretty portacabin but I'm sure I can make it beautiful in no time. I've been working from home until now and it's all got a bit out of hand. Lampshades aren't the easiest thing to store, nor are the enormous cardboard boxes I send them out in. My dining table has been taken over on a permanent basis by work stuff, my children can't move for piles of fabric and rolls of PVC and my enjoyment of my living space has been severely compromised. So Swee Mei is moving home. I can't tell you how overjoyed I am. I'll be based in a boat yard attached to a yacht club, surrounded by burly men who make things too but out of steel and metal and stone. What they'll make of a namby pamby lampshade maker, I don't know but they seem a pretty decent bunch. My children will miss the cardboard boxes and bubble wrap (the best bit about Mum's job) but I think they'll love the new place. Who needs expensive shepherds hut holidays when you can visit mummy in her portacabin?
....In the words of the great Toyah Wilcox.
I used to hate it when people blogged or Facebooked about exciting developments for their businesses but didn't reveal any details. I wondered what the point of it was. But since starting Swee Mei, I totally get it. It's not about drumming up interest, or getting more likes/shares/whatever. It's just about excitement! I've got two really exciting things happening for me in the near future. I can't tell anyone just yet but I can't contain myself either. One of the two things will be revealed very shortly indeed... watch this space. But the other won't be official for quite some time. If it all goes ahead, I'll be just about the happiest girl on this planet. If not... forget you read this.
In the meantime, here's a photo of some lampshades :)
I've been camping all week. I call it camping but some of you may think I'm cheating a little. I've been staying in a beautiful shepherd's hut deep in the Sussex countryside. It's got a shower and loo, a gas hob and and a sink. But most importantly.... electricity! I've drawn the line at bringing my laptop but a fully charged smartphone is surely a basic human right.
But they do make you work for your home comforts. All the taps work on a pump system, the shower too, and the water for this has to be heated up on the fire and poured into a big bucket outside the hut. The firelighters provided are eco-friendly but you practically need firelighters to light them with. I've not really used the gas hob. That feels a step too far towards civilisation and the camp fire is, for me, one of the best bits about being here. Has a sausage ever tasted more delicious?
My children have had the most amazing time. In a few short days they've made a whole gang of new friends and roamed free-range all day. Swinging over rivers, making dens, finding new insects and coming 'home' covered in scratches and stings that would've sent them running straight back to mum this time last week. Scattered grown-ups keep a watchful but discreet eye out for each other's kids without needing to hover. This feels like a place where nothing bad could ever happen.
The iPad, the television and the boxes stuffed to the gills with toys are a distant memory. The new friends will be remembered for a long time.
We leave this morning. I'll miss our little home but I know we'll be back. It's the most magical place and I couldn't imagine a more perfect holiday for the children. I've also discovered that I'm not the only woman to wear lipstick when camping. There's a whole yurt-full of them upstream and not a whiff of a Millets cagoule. Any cagoules that make an appearance will be decidedly Cath Kidston, I feel. Maybe I'll be brave enough to camp in a tent next time but it's just started to rain and I've got a wood burner in my hut and it surely doesn't get better than that.
On my return, I've got a very exciting project to be getting on with and I'm really looking forward to that. A collaboration with a very lovely and talented young lady. All will be revealed next week, hopefully.
Until then, Hi De Hi! x
I'm Miranda and I live near the beach in a quiet corner of West Sussex. I make lampshades and I also work as a scenic artist.