Tag: wrapped by alice

Big Changes Mean Big Challenges: Chronic Illness in Business

Where I Have Been: Moving House and Beyond

Apparently today is National Writing Day, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to explain where on earth I’ve been for the last 3 months (apologies to the ‘gram, et al!) 

So, I did a rather big thing while I was away…no I didn’t have a baby! But I did buy a house, move into that house with my partner (not only the first time we have lived together, but also the first time I have ever lived with any partner). And, if that weren’t enough, in the process I also became a stepmum (I prefer the title ‘bonus mum’) to my partner’s 5-year-old daughter.

‘Wow, that’s a lot of stuff’, you might be thinking! Well now, just for good measure, add into the mix, the fact that I also have a number of chronic illnesses to contend with, and you may get some sense of the pile of quivering, overwrought jelly I have been for the past 3 months! Overwhelmed doesn’t cut it. Exhausted doesn’t cut it. But I’ve made it through, and am somehow sat in my new workroom, in my new house, telling you all about it, on National Writing Day!

This Is Going To Get Personal: Chronic Illness In Business

This is something of a sea change for me; I never normally share anything about my health; I guess I am a naturally private person, and, furthermore, a stubborn one – I never want to feel that I’m defined by my illness. Not to mention – and I can’t stress this enough – I don’t think that you, or anyone else for that matter, wants to hear me bore on about my ‘daily struggles’!

Nevertheless, it’s true that over the past 5 years, since setting up Wrapped By Alice, I have had to close the business on many occasions, thanks to severe infections (yay), surgery (double yay), or just being plain unable to get out of bed (…you get the idea). I’ve never really offered an explanation as to those absences, and fair enough – that is one of the perks of being your own boss, after all!

But, having said that, I don’t think that I’ve ever been MIA for quite as long as I have this year, and I feel like I want to let you in on a bit of what’s been going on. So, welcome to my new house! It’s been slow progress, but it’s already feeling like home, here are a few of my favourite bits so far…

Home Sweet Home: Pops Of Colour And Personality

However, no part of the house was as painfully slow to complete as my workroom; by this point I was running on absolute empty; I thought I’d only need 4 days to sort my workroom out once all my stuff had been moved over (what an uncomprehending fool I was!) It actually took over 4 weeks! I was desperate to get back to the business, and reclaim a bit of me, but days on end went by where I was too tired or too ill to do anything. And even on those days where I started with high hopes, I could only manage to get done a tenth of what I had planned; it was like wading through treacle… very, very thick, frustrating treacle!

But all in its own time, and with a lot of help from my brilliant family, finally it was done, and now I am writing this at my desk in my brand new workroom, having just recently reopened the business, and it feels so good!

My New Workroom: A Purpose-Designed Space

wardrobe with neatly stacked wrapping paper sheets
My beautiful paper, all stored away neatly, ready to send out to my lovely customers.

Last But Not Least: My Partner In Crime!

Shout out to my fella, for not considering my health problems, when deciding that I was the one for him. I was going to say, ‘he takes it all in his stride’, but that would be a platitude; it would imply that somehow this is easy for him. It is never easy to build your life with a person who has a chronic illness or disability; I mean it’s a hard enough thing to do as it is! But he accepts and supports me; he never makes me feel bad for the things I can’t do, and celebrates with me in all the things that I can do. I guess he’ll do!

me giving a kiss to my handsome fella.
Obligatory soppy photo of me and the boy.
Peony Print, surrounded by real pink peonies

Peonies: Printing My Limited Edition Pink Peony Art Print

My Inspiration

I have to admit to you that I am a little cuckoo about peonies! They’re my favourite flower, and I wait all year in anticipation of their arrival. I’m lucky enough to have two really well established peony plants in my garden, and from May onward I’m pretty much constantly checking on their progress.

Close up of an open pink peony, surrounded by peony buds

A peony in bloom in my garden.

I decided to draw on this love, as the inspiration for a limited edition peony art print. To be honest, I only ever draw what I love, which is why there are so many dog designs in my ranges!

The Creative Process

I began by drawing some simple ink illustrations of peonies in various stages of bloom. From these drawings, I then carved rubber stamps, or block cuts, as they can be called. 

Block carving of a peony, next to original floral sketches

It is these block cuts which I use to create my peony art print.

Flat lay of Wrapped By Alice peony print, showing finished print, with printing tools

Although they are a limited run of just 50, in reality each print is unique in its own right. There’s a couple of reasons for this; firstly, each element has been carved as an individual block cut, rather than being carved as one large piece. Added to this, I don’t choose to use a template when printing, therefore, one-off variations are created between each print. Finally, once I have finished printing, I add in each stem by hand, using watercolours; this adds yet more individuality to each piece.

Peony Print, surrounded by real pink peonies

To find out more about my peony art print, and get your own little piece of peony print perfection, by visiting my listing.

Do It Yourself

If you’d like to have a go at doing your own block print, here are the materials I used to create my Peony art print:

The Speedball Speedy Carve block is made from a really soft rubber, and comes in all different sizes. It’s so easy to work with; just draw or trace your image straight onto the block (remember to reverse your image), then get carving!

The Pfeil cutters are a bit of an investment, as they’re not cheap. However, I have found that they are really worth the price tag! If you just want to have a try first, then you can buy really cheap lino cutters, like this one, but you will find it a lot trickier to carve.

The Versamagic and Versafine ink pads are great, as they come in tiny dew drop sized pads, which cost under £2.00 each! Great for experimenting with colours, and none of the fuss associated with traditional lino printing, where you’d use traditional block printing ink along with a brayer.

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