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The notebooks have arrived!

All systems go ...

· Notebook

Happy days – the notebooks have arrived from the printers and I’m delighted with them. They look just how I’d imagined and it really is such a relief. The colours are vibrant, the paper thickness is just right, and the finish is glossy, but easy to write on. On the downside – the timing means I’ve well and truly missed the opportunity to promote them as Christmas presents, and if you’re anything like me, things are just too busy now to be interested in finding out about new ‘stuff’ (fabulous though I think they are!)

So I’m putting aside a little bit of disappointment about that and reminding myself that I started this project to create something useful, that I felt was missing for me, and perhaps for others. It ended up evolving as the realities (and costs!) of printing something entirely bespoke became a bit clearer. Back when I started dreaming about this, I idly thought I’d print maybe 50, to test the water and see if anyone else felt this would be useful. Of course, the fixed costs are far too high at such a small scale so I had to go with a much larger number, despite my (ongoing!) anxiousness that I may be left with a lifetime’s supply of beautiful stationary! I’m very lucky to have an accommodating printer who is kindly keeping some of the boxes until I need them. Hopefully they will start going out into the big wide world in the new year, and I‘ll get the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping others get their crafting a little more organised. (And the little side issue of ensuring I don’t keep the towers of book boxes in my hall forever! It's very tempting climbing material for two-year olds!)

In the meantime I’m getting a bit of housekeeping done, putting them into an Etsy shop and trying to get some nice photos, and updating this website. Photography at this time of year is more challenging than I’d anticipated so I’m planning to update some of the images once we have a bright, sunshiny day … Given that I have plenty going on over Christmas and New Year, including lots of entertaining to do, I keep reminding myself that it’s really not a bad thing at all.

One of the things I’m most proud of is that the notebook is produced so locally to me, in Scotland. I’m trying to be really conscious of where I spend my money, and I’m making a concerted effort to support local, small businesses, who consider ethical and environmental matters in their production, who truly care about what they do, and make things from the heart. I was fortunate to find that a fantastic graphic designer that I had long admired had relocated to Edinburgh; she did an amazing job at helping me to realise my vision for the notebook – and take the design so much further than I could have done on my own. I found a supportive and patient local printer, who coped with clumsy questions and requests from a complete novice, and taught me lots about paper weights and finishes! His offices are less than two miles away from me, so we could meet for coffee when we needed to look at samples. A refreshing change to firing off another email, occasionally!

I’ve decided to donate 10% of the profit I make on the notebooks to a charity, which I’ll change every 6 months. I really wanted to find a way of letting the people that buy the notebook decide, but it felt a bit complicated given the tiny scale of what I’m doing. So I’ve made the first selection myself, and anything I raise between now and the end of June 2018 will go to Age UK. I could write at length about this choice, but it’s probably sufficient to say that the reported loneliness that some of the elderly experience so close to home makes me so sad. When I have a little more free time I’d really like to get involved with their befriending service, but being realistic I just can’t take on that commitment at the moment. So in the meantime I can offer financial support, myself and through this route. And of course, you can read all about the great work they do making the UK a better place to grow older on the Age UK website.

I’ll be sharing lots more detail about the notebook soon, including some suggestions and tips about how you could use the notebook. In the meantime, if you want to take a closer look, please visit my Popcorn and Crocodiles Esty shop.

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