Last week was mine and my husband's 8 year wedding anniversary. We used to go away each year for our anniversary but since we've had kids our celebrations have got a little more reserved each year. The first year after we had my eldest daughter we managed a couple of nights away while my parents babysat. Last year our youngest daughter was 6 weeks old at the time of our anniversary, and wouldn't feed from a bottle, so she slept in her pram alongside the table while we had a meal out. This year my husband had to go to a class the day of our anniversary, but we did manage a meal at a local restaurant the night before (minus kids in prams).
So, over the last few weeks I've spent some considerable time looking at anniversary gifts. When looking for gifts I think we all want to find something that has a personal connection; that has that special feel and is unique and meaningful to us. Neither my husband or I wear our wedding rings much any more, but I was keen to have something less formal I could wear that recognised our partnership. It got me thinking about some new design ideas combining handwriting from two people - we're imaginatively calling it the 'yours and theirs' collection.
The idea behind the design is that one side is your writing, and the other theirs - joined together by a large ampersand. In the last week we've mocked up a couple of sample necklaces using the words Mr&Mrs and You&Me. I must say I absolutely love my You&Me necklace, I can definitely see it becoming a firm favourite. Like all of our jewellery what people choose to write, and why, are entirely open - hearing the stories and inspiration behind the pieces we make is one of the things I love about it.
Next up is transferring the design to other products - almost certainly a key chain and perhaps some wall art. They'll be hitting the store soon so keep an eye out.
In February last year I was almost 3 months pregnant, and off work with a chest infection when I got a call from my boss - he needed to see me urgently. He confirmed what we'd known was coming for a while, restructuring and redundancies. I got a lot of sympathy at the time for what people perceived as the unfortunate timing of the announcement given my pregnancy. I must admit, the thought of finding myself out of a job at 5 months pregnant was disconcerting at first, but in truth I had known for some time that it wasn't the job for me.
It was convenient - 10 minutes from home and sharing a site with my daughter's nursery, it was generally low stress and well-paid, but I'd never had any passion for the work. Since I'd started 3 years ago I'd had a slightly hollow feeling and struggled to see the value in what I was doing (not that there wasn't any of course, it just didn't give me the feel-goods that I'd had in my previous jobs). I knew that when I returned from maternity leave I should cut ties and look for something new. I didn't want to risk spending a lifetime in a job that was comfortable but unfulfilling. The announcement was an opportunity to act a little earlier than I had planned.
I was fortunate that my employer agreed to maintain my employment throughout my maternity leave and grant me voluntary severance afterwards. In May, despite not working there for 9 months, I formally left the company. And so here we are. We have enough money to live (frugally!) for the best part of a year and an opportunity, which may not come around again, to try something different.
Like many people, I have always been interested in working for myself. Being responsible for your own decisions and setting your own path is pretty appealing. Scribbled Squirrel is a chance to try it out; to see how long we can make that money last before I have to return to paid employment - and who knows, maybe with a bit of luck I won't need to!
I intend to keep this blog to document my experiences starting up a new business, managing childcare and work, developing new products, testing new materials, and anything else that crops up. In my next post I'll write about my experiments with 3d printing since that was really the start of Scribbled Squirrel.
My name is Sarah. I live in Warrington, UK, with my husband, two daughters and dog.