Animal Lovers - Sunbeams of Summer Gift Collections

Hi there,

It's an overcast May morning in the west of Ireland. The cats are lazing dreamily all around, and there's that slow burgeoning feeling in the air that it's about to pour down with rain, but it can't, not just yet. I love this weather; it really reflects how I feel inside today. I'm so excited about my upcoming 'Sunbeams of Summer' gift guide that I can hardly focus on one thing at a time. I want it to burst forth on all fronts like the sloppy heavy rain of Summer, and it is, theoretically at least. It's all happening slowly and methodically, which is as it should be with handcrafted, slow production methods. My collections will also be in small proportions, compared to mass-produced factory items, as it always has been with truly handmade goods. The ideas are plenty, and the suggestions from customers and email members have been inspiring too but it’s slow going. A tricky feat in a fast paced world.

What’s new in my upcoming Summer Gift Guide?

My new gift guide will feature yet more wonderful and exciting collections of handcrafted gifts, art and art cards all inspired by my customers suggestions and preferences gathered over the last while, combined with themes intrinsic to Parade Handmade.

While the ‘Sunbeams of Summer’ gift guide will feature plenty of new ideas it will also remind you of other fab creations already featured in Parade Handmade that fall into this current focused theme of plants, flowers and nature in general along with a nod to the beloved creatures we know and sometimes live with. Our dogs and cats. The birds, the bees and other such beloved creatures.

Cute pink owl tea cosy hand knitted by Shoreline - Parade Handmade  Tea Bookmark 4 Piece Gift Set - Recycled Box - By Ditsy Designs - Parade Handmade

Note: All email members get 'Exclusive early bird access to my 'Sunbeams of Summer gift guide' featuring links to all my new collections with 10% OFF for the first week before it goes public'! I will send my members the link as soon as my Gift Guide is ready. Sign up here so you never have to miss a new gift guide! You can always unsubscribe easily from any email.

My A-Z Of Animals Written By Bridget Clarke - Parade HandmadeMy A-Z Of Animals, Written By Bridget Clarke - Parade Handmade
'My A_Z of Animals', written and illustrated by Bridget Clarke is a wonderful book choc-a-bloc with fantastically entertaining tales of exotic animals for adults and children alike.

The slow and quiet process of handmade creativity.

Colourful beret felt insect motifs underway - Parade Handmade
Colourful beret fun felt florals and insect motifs underway in the craft room!

I am an advocate of this slow and quiet process of handmade creativity. Oh yes, but when it comes to bringing together all of the beautiful creations in a beautiful gift guide, I get very excited and I want to do 'all of the things' all at once. The chasm between the two leaves me somewhat conflicted. The challenge to balance my days with a good sprinkling of patient, quiet work and exuberance in equal measure is not small. The slow, quiet admin tasks such as listing products and describing each one down to the last stitch tax me most of all. On the other hand, the quiet designing, painting, cutting, knitting, felting, applique, and embroidery, or even plain sewing, balance out even the most laborious of tasks.

Animal Lovers Theme

Miss Prim the feline muse admires her image in a recent painting - Parade Handmade
Miss Prim is the 'purrrrfect' feline muse. She's cheeky, feisty, fun and affectionate. She goes whereever whenever she wants and knows how to wrap me round her finger! Just look at the stand of her!

Let me give you a little glimpse into ‘Sunbeams of Summer’. One of my clever email members won the little competition with her 'Sunbeams' suggestion. I hadn't thought of the word for this collection, and I really thought it made sense. When the world seems so noisy, violent, and sad, and there seems like there's nothing I can do to change all that, I try to focus on all the beautiful and amazing things that nature brings through the seasons and try to see the hope it provides. The little sunbeams, so to speak. These beautiful sunbeams seem so obvious in Summer with all of its wonderful exuberant color and sound. The birds, bees, animals, and insects abound through all the wonderful fresh foliage and crops.

Summer Berets

An early work in progress shot of a Summer beret - Parade Handmade

I have added some Summer-style unique pieces to my beret collection. This time I have chosen lighter wool with looser stitches for an airy, floaty feel, and I have added some appliqued felt insect motifs, which I hope you will like. I have tried positioning them on the side and also on the top. Of course, I couldn't feature all of the inspirational creatures, but at least I made a start and I intend to build on this in the future as I have lots more ideas for these stylish berets.

Blooming Floral Jewellery

Inspired by the floral theme of my boho jewellery collections, I have added new whimsical and pretty jewellery pieces perfect for Summer weddings or parties. They are all limited edition, light, and pretty pastel floral pieces.

Pretty Boho Bandanas

As I mentioned before, I love gingham, especially in yellow and white. It's a childhood throwback. I recently acquired some in Guiney's, and I also picked up some in light blue there. I was inspired by my sister tying up her hair in a bandana to keep it tidy as she did her garden. I had also considered popping my own hair up in a scarf that day but had decided against it. I wanted to give her another bandana as a gift but found it hard to find another one in pretty colours. It spurred me to start a little collection. I decided I would not use the machine for even the edging. Quiet hand sewing is so therapeutic and relaxing.

Summer Days Inspirations - Paintings at Last

Miss Lemon keeping me company as I get moving on my painting - Parade Handmade

I have worked very hard to make time again for painting. This is the trouble when you are 'multi-passionate,' as they call it nowadays. I have always been creative, but as you might well know, creativity is not limited to one area. Creativity knows no bounds, in fact, so it's hard to know just where to focus. Where to stop or even if to stop at all, on one particular discipline. If it's purely money you're after, then it's possibly the way to go. Either way, painting requires so much time and dedication it has been on the back burner for me for quite a while. I miss it so much, however. Of all the creative pursuits, painting, for me at least, is the most freeing. The most immediate and organic. There are no constraints to the imagination in that physical sense. It is so direct. There are so few steps to expression. It is easy to go from imagination to brush to paint to canvas, so I have a very small collection to begin with. Here comes that Summer rain! Wow! It's beautiful. All of the cats are running for cover. In they come. So sweet.

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Until Soon, Enjoy the Summer!


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