Sorry to bring it up….

But I’ve heard people talking about Christmas.

I know, you probably have too, in fact I suspect if you have been anywhere near a supermarket, high street, social media, a TV with adverts or a newspaper you have been hearing about it for weeks already.

For a long while now Christmas for us has been far more about the experience of the day than about the gifts. Living here means there is no such thing as ‘last minute’ shopping, in fact a few years ago the ferry was cancelled due to bad weather all over Christmas and several gifts arrived after the day had been and gone. Decorations are home made, food is home produced where possible and gifts are about the giving as much as the receiving.

It’s a style of celebrating that I am seeing and hearing more and more people adopt and with very good reason. January can bring blues related to far more than just the weather when it is also the results of excess spending, eating or drinking coming back to haunt you with tight waistbands and scary credit card bills. In the same way as we are all aware of the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra of reducing our waste we are all starting to apply the same thinking to our spending and consuming. Creative and thoughtful gifts, home made, hand made for the actual recipient are so much nicer to receive. If asked what I would like as a present for many years I have requested something I can use up or consumer rather than keep – food or drink, chocolates or bubble bath (back when I had a bath!) were all perfect for me. I got to enjoy them and didn’t have to find a space for them in an already cluttered home. My favourite gifts in recent years are those that I use every day – my mug, tumbler and penknife are all things I have in my hands daily and really enjoy using.

Business in the shed has pretty much finished for this season, only very hardy tourists are visiting this time of year, egg production has finished for the year and the shed door is often closed and sometimes even braced against the rain and wind. But so many of the items we make or create or produce are perfect gifts and we can post them off anywhere. So if you are thinking about gift giving this year and will be buying from somewhere please do think about supporting a small business, an artist, crafter or maker as you’ll be giving a gift not only to the recipient of that item but also to the person who made it and you are giving your custom and support to as well.

We have consumable artisan jams made with brambles foraged from our gorgeous wee island and combined with ingredients we have grown here ourselves too where possible – bramble and chilli jam is amazing with cold meats or cheeses (or for hard core chilli lovers on their breakfast toast!), bramble and lavender jam has the taste of late summer captured in every jar. Other flavours include bramble and rose, rum, violet, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger or the very festive mulled spice.

Useful items include cost hats and scarves inspired by the colours of Rum from rainbows to autumn hues, spring colours to the northern lights.

My free form crochet items include bags, notebook or diary covers and drawstring pouches which can be used as glasses or sunglasses cases or holders for your phone or MP3 player.

Our slate signs or clocks can be personalised with a slogan or name of your choice.

Paracord survival wristbands are perfect for adventures young and old

Or if you really are after ornamental not useful then our cuddly midges, highland cattle or eagles are winning. Santa hats or other accessories can be added (I’ve made bagpipes, a tam o shanter and a kilt in the past!). I can change the colour or indeed give you a quote for a different creature of your choice. I also make crochet flowers for the everlasting, doesn’t need watering bouquet!


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