Monday, 16 May 2011

Getting in the Mood

One of our regular customers asked us for something a little different last week which we thought would be an ideal entry for Wendy’s Handmade Monday .  It’s the customer’s wedding anniversary in a few days and she thought it would be funny to give her husband a plaque expressing her “mood” for any particular day.  She asked for a square top and something to hang underneath which could be turned around, depending on how she felt.  Both of us, being women, know what it’s like to change our mood regularly so we knew it had to be something that could be turned easily.  So we found some nice little curtain hooks and eyes – perfect.  But of course you can’t screw them into the narrow side of MDF (we discovered that this week…) and the pine we had would have made it very heavy, so we got the saw out and cut some plywood.  We’ve been put off by ply in the past as it splinters so easily, but the sander took care of that and it paints like a dream!  This is what we came up with.  One of the HippoMen very nearly placed his own order for one last night…  Was he hinting at something?

When we first started out at HippoTree, our main products were simple name plaques.  We’ve expanded our range a lot since then, but sometimes it’s really nice to get back to basics and make what first inspired us.  There are so many different names around these days, it’s not always easy to find what you’re after, but this way, you get to have your name on a design of your choice J

Monday, 9 May 2011

Making Time!

Time for painting, time for blogging, time for housework, time for cooking, there just never seems to be enough but, as the saying goes, we've got all there is...  Rushing this blog in tonight though, in an effort to join in, for the first time, with Handmade Monday - let's hope this works :)

It's been a busy weekend - one of us had a birthday last week so that obviously meant we had to go out and celebrate - it would have been rude not to!  Good food and good friends:  nothing to beat that sometimes.  Trouble with all the celebrating was that it meant the painting had to take a back seat for a few hours the next day (can't understand why!).  Nevertheless, we still managed to get a few things finished, and some more nearly finished.  Below are some of our efforts in the past few days.  The clock hands aren't set properly - that will be done post-varnishing :)

We need to have some photography lessons, but hopefully that will happen soon - a good friend is a professional photographer and has promised to give us some tips to help us show off our work better. 

Friday, 6 May 2011

We saw, we sand, we design, we paint ...

We were both finding it difficult to find that something special for our children and their friends and we soon realised there was a market for personalised, handmade gifts.  At first, we catered mainly for children but we’ve been asked to make things for all ages and many different occasions.  One of the items we’re particularly proud of is our Union Jack Countdown Chart– perfect for children counting the days until “Daddy comes Home”.  There’s a lot of sentiment in those charts and all that they stand for and we're in the process of agreeing a percentage of those sales to "Help for Heroes".  Then there are the party favours – painting keyrings for 30 little girls was fun, each one just that bit different from the last.  And, we’re currently designing and making a hanging “mood” plaque for a husband to give his wife on their anniversary!  More of that in the next few days, hopefully…

Thursday, 5 May 2011

It's all got to start somewhere...

So here we are, our first blog post as HippoTree.  It's a medium that we're pretty unfamiliar with, but looking forward to exploring.  So many people blog nowadays and, as avid people watchers, it seems right up our street :)  We'll be wanting lots of advice about how to do this effectively - apart from the fact that we do like to talk, we'd obviously like to try and increase traffic to our website.

We should introduce ourselves at this point:  We are Roz and Sarah - both of us mum to 2 boys.  We met on a Mum and Baby Internet Forum when we were expecting No 1 and No 2 respectively in 2006.  We realised that one of us was about to move within 2 miles of the other and struck up a friendship which surpasses our business!  Realising that both of us like to do crafty things, we set about finding a way we could do that together. 

And so HippoTree was born.