I am a winner!!! wooo hooo. I am lucky enough to have won a competition by Florence Finds, I have won a shiney new website from Moonfruit and an amazing Panasonic Lumix camera.

Having had one issue after another with mr site I can’t wait to get my Moonfruit website up and running. I’ve had a lovely email chat with them sorting out the transfer, and it may take a while for me to migrate over, just so that I am happy with it, before this one disappears, Moonfruit have been a great site for me in the past and sounds like their new updates resolve all the worries I had previously.

My new camera has been in action already but practice is definitely required, Claire Ball and Emma Hughes are friends of mine from university and they now both teach photography at Falmouth Uni, I am hoping this mention might get them to spend a weekend helping me get the best out of it.

On the coffee front I had a brilliant day out with Miles, lots of pictures (taken with my new camera) below. The equipment is amazing, the coffee roasting machines are like something created by Wallace and Gromit, all shiny and complicated, specifically adapted to fit into the requirements of being housed in a grade 2 listed building. The process of roasting/ grinding and packing is so detailed with every element being checked, worked and supervised by an elite team of specialist.

The second leg of the day was in the tea factory, which is very big out at Minehead. I met with John, one of the senior management team who’s knowledge and enthusiasm on Tea is boundless. I got to experience their tea tasting process and how they look at choosing the exact combination of recipe to meet our requirements.  I am now slightly in awe of their team who have to make the choices and commit to providing consistent quality to customers even with a product that is essentially a natural product and has all the usually problems you would expect with seasonal changes. I was very glad to leave this hard work to the experts and just get to enjoy the end product.

I have enjoyed doing more painting, ordering and buying this week so, looking forward to the postman’s visits over the next week or two. I will FB or Tweet as it arrives. I have more to blog about but will save it for another day, I have a knitting project waiting for me to complete it tonight.






What happened to August?

The time is flying by, with things starting to become organised, after researching a few options  I have decided to go with the B&Q kitchen I looked at last blog, with a few minor changes, so will be ordering it on Saturday. I have started getting insurance quotes from local brokers and I have written my fire safety risk assessment and plan, not all aspects of opening a shop are exciting.

I have also confirmed my coffee machine with Miles Tea and Coffee. This is the largest investment for me so pretty scary, more expensive than the rest of my kitchen put together. I am booked in to visit them again next week to trial their range of teas and coffees and make choices! Definitely looking forward to that morning, hope to get a few pictures to put on here next week.

More stock has arrived from The Natural Dye Studio and Fyberspates, again stunning wool, very beautiful and impossible to resist, mum is already picking out her next projects from it. The attached photo is a couple of skeins from the previous Artesano delivery.

A friend of the family Eileen visited us this week and brought with her a massive range of sugar paste tools, books, magazines and pans. This is an interest of mine and one of the craft ranges I intend to offer in the shop for purchase. Now I have no excuse for not producing impressive displays other than lack of experience. I am so overwhelmed, I might not be able to live up to her generous gift, and I have no doubt it will take a few years until I live up to her skills, but she has promised to run a few classes in The Periwinkle when it opens, so hopefully it won’t take too long until you can spot my creations.

Finally I want to send my congratulations to Tom’s Cakes of Combe Martin, who has won Gold Awards with Taste of the West for his Blueberry Frangipane and his White Chocolate and Raspberry Bavarois. He also got Silver for his Caramelised Nuts. This is such an achievement for Tom who grew up in Ilfracombe and opened his bakery last year. I have worked with Tom for the last nine months and he is due to expand over the next 3 months. He has been a brilliant tutor and endlessly patient with me learning the craft, I hope to apply the skills he has taught me to produce the cakes in The Periwinkle, if I can live up to his Award Winning standards I will be over the moon.

New yarn

(Originally posted 03.09.13)

It’s Christmas


First delivery of yarn is here ! really beautiful selection from Artesano. So lovely and so many I want to just hold them but they are all in neat packaging to keep them safe until I open up. … or maybe I need a new jumper ?? so tempting !

I have also had my delivery of knitting needles and crochet hooks, all warm bamboo, so light to knit with, I have to admit I have selected my personal favourite tools, metal and other options will become available further down the line when I am slightly bigger.

This afternoon was spent I B&Q with a lovely chap called Andy, I now am fully clued up on what is required for a commercial kitchen ! just to bake cakes and brew drinks results in large requirements, he also mentioned it is one of his smallest kitchens to date. … eek  still pretty expensive but not too far over budget 🙂 what do you think of slate style worktops?

So to complete my Christmas theme, I had another delivery today from my Aunt and Uncle in Wales, a brilliant book of 55 Christmas Balls to knit. Hoping to produce enough before Christmas to decorate my shop window ! so many options to inspire and motivate…. maybe that is a great excuse to crack open a skein ???

Well if the success of a shop is measured on the support and generosity of friends and family then I am fairly sure I am one of the most successful and luck shop owners in the South West. x Thank you everyone.

(Originally posted 20.08.13)



Well I have had a busy few weeks with work, and my savings are becoming healthier. So to balance it out I have spent more ! Now that one job is completed I am refocused on the shop.

Some of my yarns have now been ordered and paid for which is so exciting, due to be delivered in the next few weeks which will help make sure I have enough shelving. I have also been choosing which patterns to get in. Both decisions are difficult as there is so much I want, but hopefully I will have a selection that will get your creative juices flowing.

I have also been ticking boxes with the council, I am now food registered, correct usage and health and hygiene advised so hopefully I am on track to get 5 star ratings. Thanks to Alan for meeting me on site and explaining the complications of hygiene requirements so I get it right before I install anything.

Also you may have noticed my Twitter post to say congratulations to my mum Jan Sears who has opened her first exhibition with Fiona Bates in St Annes Arts and Community Centre in Barnstaple. It looks amazing we are very proud of you.

Oh and a note – mr site have fixed my poll button issue, so please vote on your favourite yarn weight and help me chose which to buy in !

(Originally posted 15.08.13)


Well this has been a busy week, I have had so little time for working on the shop, but some how still spent quite a lot of savings! I now have a large chunk of the furniture I need, filling up dads garage and needing a bit of TLC. I also have on order a lot of the tools and accessories you may need to produce garments or knitted projects. I have bought a few fun props including a mini spinning wheel, which I love. And several coffees to check out the competition.

I have also had a chance to look round the shop again and the work has begun ! I am so excited, the shop looks bigger now that a few walls have been taken out. My landlord is brilliant helping me massively by ripping out existing DIY so that I can have a fresh canvas to work on. I just need to do a few more rain dances so that his builders can be diverted onto my shop from his other projects.

I have also had a lot of help from friends trying to find me bargains, and images and advise. so a quick thank you to them all including ND+ I will get round to implementing it all at some point before opening. I promise.

Have a great week everyone, I am working day and night most days this week so unlikely to get another post in until next weekend.

(Originally posted 04.08.13)

The Natural Dye Studio

 So, this is a bit delayed, but I have been very busy since trying to type this up on Thursday evening when mrsite timed out.

Well the Wednesday afternoon, I visited The Natural Dye Studio Ltd in Lynton. This is a family run business producing beautiful yarns in a stunning rainbow of colours. They have named the colours after local locations! A perfect gift to give a local friend a scarf you have knitted in a Woolacombe green dazzle DK or Lundy yellow lace.

I met Amanda and Daisy in their wonderful studio, set in an idyllic rural location amongst alpacas you can instantly see why both women love their work. Enthusiasm and energy for their products drew me into wanting every yarn available, I plan to stock a selection in my shop but choosing what I want and what fits into my budget seems an impossible task. Particularly when offered a Scheherazade 4 Ply skein with 65% silk and 35% Camel in a lovely Woody Bay pale green shade. This is the sort of yarn that makes you skip a beat, but might be out of my price range at £22.95. (Please let me know if you would like me to stock this I really want enough people to say yes please to give me an excuse)

Me and mum were able to watch Daisy dying skeins into blue and green shades, in large vats of natural dyes. I was unaware that some dyes need air to change colour, coming out of the vat the same as they went in then as if by magic they  fade into a completely different colour.  I would recommend seeing this for yourself. I have got a video which I will try to post soon once I have edited it a bit.  Until then I will load up a few pictures. ( The yellow skein turns into green)

Amanda is a very talented crochet designer and has a range of patterns to offer her customers and a couple of books that will inspire and explain how to crochet wonderful creations. She suggested to me to have a crochet afternoon in the shop once a month or so, which is a great idea, hopefully she might turn up now and again to trouble shoot for us! How lucky are we to have such brilliant local artists.

To finish off my day when I got home my dad surprised me with a skein winder! I have been hankering for one to be able to offer my customers, so many of my yarns will be in skein form, and I know how long it can take to turn it into balls, , I got to test it out with my Scheherazade, its brilliant this nifty technology halves the time. Thank you Dad! Can’t wait to see people using it in the shop

Daisy from the natural dye studioDaisy with yellow skeinMagic ! Colour changing yarns

(Originally posted 27.07.13)

Wow wee what a day I have had !

I am not sure where to start, I guess with this morning, I went for a coffee with Martin Storey; he is one of my knitting idols, always creating classic designs that will suit everyone. Martin was an inspiration to me when I started knitting, his patterns and easy explanations’ encouraged me to stretch my basic skills into complex designs.

Martin currently works as one of Rowans top designers, and he agreed to meet with me to provide some advice. I can’t tell you how excited I was, still am in fact. He was as lovely as I hoped, very encouraging and positive, offering me useful suggestions and explaining current trends and customer preferences. Having thought I had decided on all the yarn I needed his suggestions have sent me in a spin rethinking.

Best of all he has mentioned he might be willing to visit my shop when I open. That will be a nervous day for me!

Well, I am gushing a bit so I might stop there, my afternoon was equally exciting, and has pictures to go with it. But might save it for tomorrow as I need to spend more time tonight looking at yarn prices.


(Originally posted 24.07.13)


Wow what sunshine we have had, I am working in a few jobs this summer to save for the coffee machine, so whilst I was out my wonderful parents have been busy, mum has been out buying cushion pads for me and stitching up the cushions we have made, dad has been painting the picture frames I plan to use to decorate.

Most of my stock has been chosen, just finalising details before putting in orders to ensure I can be fully stocked from open day.

Feeling very lucky today, and to top it off Mum and Dad are now taking me into braunton to treat me to a meal !

I have a very exciting day planned tommorow, so keep an eye out in the evening and I will let you know all about it ! photos to be included.

(Originally posted 23.07.13)

Day one!

Hello World Wide Web,

So this is day one of The Periwinkles online presence, I am busy busy looking at wonderful products and suppliers. This blog will be a regular account of the steps I am taking to begin my business. This is my first shop, I am very excited about it so you can look forward to detailed descriptions of each stage. Can’t wait for open day in Autumn!! will write more soon.


(Originally posted17.07.13)