Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Tea cup Tuesday:The art of Thank you

I read a status update on Facebook from a lovely friend about gratitude & thank yous.

"Call me old fashioned but have we lost the art of thank you cards?!"

No no no no no!!!
I'm big at thank you' s. Even if they may be late, (normally very late in my case) my little ones always send a thank you card for Birthdays & Christmas gifts. OK, at 19 months Sam may be too young to actually write a card but I have already started Ida on thank you drawings to grandparents and she even coloured most of the thank you cards I bought for Christmas gifts.

I like the art of communication it incurs & the sentiment of thank you.
It installs manners and as importantly confirms that a gift is appreciated. Initiating confidence that the buyer got it right and choose a really good gift.

Thank you doesn't always have to be about saying thank you for a gift. They can be about acknowledging a service, a compliment or action. A thank you for being there or a thank you for doing something. Both equally as important as any thank you.

I don't think there are enough thank you cards in the world. For whatever reason.
They make you happy and they make you smile.

As my blog earlier this year talked about gift giving being just as important and special to the buyer as it is to the recipient. Just as a gift of thanks is just as special to both.

So Zoe, the inspiration for my little Teacup Tuesday, most certainly not. I believe the Art of Thank you cards should be cherished and kept.

thank you

 a polite expression used when acknowledging a gift, service, orcompliment, or accepting or refusing an offer thank you for your letter no thank you, I don't believe I will.noun
an instance or means of expressing thanks Lucy planned a party as a thank you to the nurses [as adj. thank-you letters. 

Our Little Thank you Pigeons

DO IT! Send a thank you card to someone today!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Monday Maker, David & his inspirations....

Today we read a little about the inspirations that have inspired Mr Flowers, aka David Earp.

What did you want to be as a child?  

Where do you find creative inspiration?
In piles of old fabrics.

What makes you different, what inspires you to create unique pieces?  
I can't help it - the colours and different designs are screaming at me.

Which blogs or magazines do you read regularly and would you count as an “inspirational read“?  
I don't have time to read blogs and I don't ever read magazines, unless I find them on the tube.

Why are your pieces special?  
Because of the process and the spirit of the shuktara family that permeates through them.

Can you tell us about a gift that you will never forget? 
A 1960's magazine that came through the post for my birthday and miraculously arrived in Calcutta.

What do you have planned for the future?  

What are your three most important advices to any upcoming crafter/designer?  
Do it. Do it again.  After 5 years if it isn't working - then do something else.

To see all the wonderful press David & his wonderful blankets have had click here.
World of Interiors (front cover), Stella Magazine -Sunday Times, Sunday Times, Marie Claire & Selvedge to name a few!

Psssstttttttt, David makes beautiful, breathable unique baby blankets for us. See them here.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Teacup Tuesday...you need good foundations

Sarah & I both have builders at the moment, a necessity that comes when you buy a bigger house that needs some TLC. The little ones love it, and will pretend to make 'buildermen' a cup of tea every 5minutes! DangerMouse can often be found in the soil / rubble pile covered in Mud saying 'oooh muddy muddy muddy'.

Which is why we've been talking about foundations! Businesses and houses are alike, both need good foundations. When we founded u-ni-k we drew up a business plan, we did our market research, we drafted and redrafted again a partnership agreement and we opened up a business bank account - all before registering ourselves with Companies House.

We did this because you never know what might happen, the partnership agreement includes what happens if one of us is no longer here or alternatively what happens if we want to include another partner! It's several pages long and we both have a signed copy!

So if you're thinking of going into business with someone else, build on good foundations - not only a solid friendship but a decent partnership agreement that you can both sign and have a copy of. One day you may be glad that you did!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

It's Party Time!!

Well we're nearly 2! Where did that time go?! In fact April & May are party month's for us here in u-ni-k. Anna & Italian Stallion's Mum both have birthday's in April - as do 8 other people we know... and in May, well all the babies were born in May as well as u-ni-k!

So it's non-stop party time... which makes me wonder if anyone struggles with gift ideas? We have a gift idea section of the website!

Where? Well the links are right here on the home page...

We have gifts for girls, gifts for boys, gifts for birthdays, gifts for occasions, gifts for bumps... you name it we've put things together in a list for you to find it!

We'll be adding the new makers to these lists very soon. So if you are stuck for ideas, then please do go and take a look.

If you can't find what you are looking for then just email Anna & I and we maybe able to help you find it!

Always here to help, Sarah & Anna www.unikgifts.co.uk

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Wordless Wednesday...

Celebrate all things Spring & Summer with gorgeous florals from our Monday Maker David Earp of Shuktara!

Here's us using ours...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Teacup Tuesday... it's not just about the kids!

Well, this week we've been processing orders and doing a bit more due diligence on the 'things for Mummies' section of the website (if our due diligence pays off then this will be 'coming soon').

We've found some more talented makers...

We've opened a world of opportunity!

A letterpress printer; would you like some lovely Mummy stationary? A welcome to the world printed poster, personalised pieces?

We've found a weaver who works magic on an old fashioned loom... scarves, throws, wall hangings?

We're looking for more makers that will make something beautiful for Mummies! How about a jeweller? A milliner? A cordwainer (makes shoes, cobblers fix them)?

What would you like to see? Just for Mummies...

Monday, 22 April 2013

Monday Maker- Mr Flowers aka David Earp

Meet David, David Earp. Or as I call him Mr Flowers. He was one of my super egg friends who sent my first little baby, Ida, the most beautiful blankets and for me was a true inspiration to the beginning of u-ni-k gifts. Gifts as unique as the babies they are bought for. Given with such thought and care and made with love.
His blankets are beauties and totally individual. Each finds the perfect happy home. Each is special and each has been made with much loving caring hands.
Read a little about David and his love of flowers and what inspired him to make his beautiful blankets in the forthcoming months blogs.

 Name: David Earp

Year of Birth: 1959

Current City: London - Calcutta

Company name: ANTIMACASSAR

How would you describe a typical Sunday?

Sunday is no different to any other day of the week.  It starts and ends the same way - in bed.

And here a quite obvious question: How did you become a talented crafts person / designer

I had a stall in Portobello road for years and when I went to India to start shuktara I kind of neglected the textile side of my personality, but as a fund raising tool to raise money for running the homes, I started putting vintage cottons together to make blankets.

What inspired you to do this?  

I had seen used fabrics in the villages in India all stitched together haphazardly for warmth and these were my inspirations.

Its Fill-in-the-blanks time. So, please fill in the blanks:
I love big florals  because they make me smile - always!

If I could live anywhere I'd live in a big house in Hampstead.

If I weren’t a designer / maker , I would be  a stall holder at Portobello road.

People who like afternoon tea will like my creations.



Friday, 19 April 2013

Friday Funny- Blink and you lose!

It's a STARING competition. Blink and you lose.

My little BamBam has no fear!
Even with animals of a terrific size.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Glorious Green & Growing

This week we celebrate all things green, glorious and growing!
It’s National Gardening Week.

With the final comings of spring, buds are at last gracing us with their presence, flowers are suddenly blooming and coats have been discarded.
It’s time to get outside.
If you’re a green-fingered soul then grab a pair of wellies, get your little ones outside and dig dig dig!
It’s time to get planting those seeds that you’ve been too frightened to over the last few weeks, patiently waiting for Spring to arrive.
Get planting! It's now time.

If you’re a little less adventurous, grab a few eggshells, some cress seeds and some damp cotton wool. Cover till the seeds sprout and then keep the cotton wool damp to encourage speedy growth.
Lots of fun decorating the eggs and more fun watching their curly hair sprout.
Your little ones will love it!

If your afraid of getting your little ones clothes a little dirty whilst gardening, these are the perfect answer. Winifred's Pinnies.

*Wisley Gardens have lots of lovely adventures for little ones on this week. One of the important things they are encouraging this week is to plant Wild Flowers. Click here to find out why.

*For more inspiration on gardening with Children here are two fabulous books I've stumbled across.
Garden Crafts for Children: Dawn Issac ISBN 9781908170255
The Book of Gardening Projects for kids: Whitney Cohen & John Fisher ISBN 9781604692457

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Teacup Tuesday...Finding the right fit!

This week Anna & I have been talking about craft fayres. We're proud to be apart of some lovely local fayres here in the Surrey / Hampshire / Berkshire area but we've recently been let down or disappointed by some of the newer fayres we joined. One of which took our booking money for a fayre that never happened, once they had payment they went silent - never to be heard from again!

With the increase of postage prices now in force (Royal Mail is still our preferred mail option), we're really keen to show our lovely gifts in person at craft fayres. So if you can recommend any, please do pop over to our Facebook page and let us know of a craft fayre near you that we can exhibit at!

On a happier note, we've started to build the website into something that has a slicker purchasing process. We're really happy that our new domain hosts provide us with a stable platform with which to do this. So keep your eyes open for more changes... and maybe even a section for Mummy gifts rather than baby & children's gifts. It's all very exciting.

Something nice for Mummies? ooooohh!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Friday Funny- MUD

Next week marks the beginning of National Gardening Week.
I thought I would share this Mucky Muddy Pup with you.

MUD MUD glorious MUD!!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Made to Order, Make it special

We make, where possible to order. 
Which means we can personalise. 
We work closely with most of our makers to offer a bespoke service.
This can envolve many types of personalisation. 
You can add a name, choose a special colour, finger print, choose a theme,
ask for a porcelain portrait of a favourite Teddy friend,
or simply choose the fabric of your preference.
 Here are a few of the personalised gifts we have made, and the services that are available.

Edinburgh Silver bangles
Bangles can be engraved with the child’s name and D.O.B

Porcelain Breakfast & Bathroom sets
Sets can be personalised to show the child’s favourite toy, place or simply a replicated drawing of themselves with their favourite rubber duck or meal

Wooden Memory Boxes
Boxes can be personalised with family images hiding beneath the woodland scenes or unisex bunny & teddy decoupage with the pages from a baby book baring the child’s first name.

Personalised Bunting and Mice Sets
Unique vintage fabrics are chosen to make ever length of bunting and matching mice bespoke. Additionally the child’s first name can be sewn into the bunting. Perfect for a child’s nursery.

Breakfast Boards
Our animal boards can be personalised with the child’s name written on the board.
We have even had a commission of a sheep board make especially for a Welsh man.

Ride on Toys
Our ride on toys come with personalised number plates, if you so wish!

Fingerprint Jewellery
Every fingerprint is unique. Therefore every piece of fingerprint jewellery is too.

Knitted Animals
If you child has a favourite colour, ask us and Larry Lamb or Bert Bunny can come with a jumper or scarf knitted in that colour.

Anything is possible.
We never say no, so ask. 
You never know, we may be able to offer you something even more unique then you hoped.
We can help you make a lovely product even more special.
We gift wrap everything beautifully.
It the cherry on the top!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Teacup Tuesday Strike

Two Ratty toddlers
One Ratty Mum
One house to clean


Mums on STIKE!!!

Apologies normal blogging will resume tomorrow!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Monday Maker- Sarah Papworth & her wares

Today we look at Sarah's wonderful illustrations on paper and fabric that we have been lucky enough to showcase on the u-ni-k gifts website very soon!


This charming A4 Squirrel illustration will be a wonderful addition to any child's nursery, bedroom or playroom.  Squirrel and accompanied lettering were beautifully hand-drawn using fine-line pen, then digitally recoloured.

There is a choice of 3 different colour combinations.  

Grey Squirrel with Peach highlights, 
Lavender Squirrel with Mint, 
and Mink Squirrel with Pink highlights.

This whimsical A4 Owl illustration would be a heart-warming addition to any wall of your home. Owl and accompanied lettering were beautifully hand-drawn using fine-line pen and digitally recoloured.

There is a choice of 3 different colour combinations.  

Navy Owl with Red highlights, 
Lavender Owl with Peach, 
and Grey Owl with Mint highlights.

This adorable A4 Rabbit illustration will be a joyous addition to any children's bedroom wall or nursery. Rabbit and accompanied lettering were beautifully hand-drawn using fine-line pen and digitally recoloured.

There is a choice of 3 different colour combinations.  

Grey Rabbit with Pink highlights, 
Mink rabbit with mint, 
and Lavender rabbit with peach highlights.

Printed on Epsom archival matte paper, with archival pigment inks.  

Each illustration will arrive in a plastic sleeve with an A4 backing board ready to give as a gift, or keep safe until displayed.  And will also benefit from a card backed envelope while being posted.
COLUMBIA ROAD Collection...
The design is inspired by London's wonderful Columbia road flower market and the colours give it a modern-vintage feel.

This whimsical and beautifully designed hand-made cushion cover uses traditional hand-printing methods.  The 4 colour design, in lemongrass yellow, red, emerald green and peacock blue, is silk- screen printed using sustainable materials.  The inks are water-based and the fabric is a soft white linen.

Size: 40 x 40cms.  The back is a plain white linen to match the front and has a mid way slip opening, secured with a vintage button.


This whimsical and beautifully designed hand-made canvas uses traditional hand-printing methods.  The 4 colour design in lemongrass yellow, red, emerald green and peacock blue, is silk- screen printed using sustainable materials.  The inks are water-based and the fabric is a soft cream organic cotton and hemp mix.

Size is 40 x 40cms.  The print has been securely fastened to the back of the frame with upholstery staples.

Sarah's pieces above are all coming to u-ni-k gifts website soon along with lots of other ideas she has "working in progress" 
For more details contact unikgifts.co.uk

Friday, 5 April 2013

Friday Funny....

Easter holidays... there seems to be lots of small people running in & out of the house!

Have a good weekend!
Sarah & Anna

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Featured in a Showcase

Spring (or Srping for those who spotted my screaming-baby-typing-blind mistake earlier this week *sigh*) has sprung. No really it has, there's some daffodils out in the garden...honest!

So we're dusting away the cobwebs and making the most of the sunshine while dressing ourselves in our winter coats because that wind is FREEZING.

We're not the only ones who think it's Spring. Over on the More than Mummies website their showcase is full of lovely Spring gifts - our red Shuktara blanket's been selected to be part of it. We're really pleased that they too can see the spring / summer joy in these delightful florals.

Head over to More than Mummies website to check out their showcase. We're also listed in their directory; a great resource for those who are looking for special gifts!

Keep your eyes peeled for some offers in April & May we'll be celebrating our 2nd birthday and we'll be emailing our customers with our latest offers!

In the meantime the selection of Shuktara blankets that we have in stock can be found here