Back in December, I eluded to an adventure I was about to embark on.
It sort of started with a stroll down a road close to where I live in Leicester, on a very wet day. This road is lined with 19th century terraced houses, most of which have been converted into small independent shops and eateries.
When I was a child, I used to spend my pocket money on glittery stickers, torn from a large paper roll, and fruity fragranced felt-tipped pens from one of the gift shops. It's still there. When my own children were little, I would occasionally buy coloured beaded bracelets and painted wooden yo-yos from the same shop.
One of my first Saturday jobs was working behind the sweet counter in the post office at the top of the street. I loved that job. The elderly chap who owned the post office frightened the living daylights out of the 15 year old me though. He was a no-nonsense man, quite small with tightly curled hair and a furious expression. The shop remains but is now a newsagent.
Anyway, back to this stroll. Halfway up the road was an empty shop. I honestly couldn't tell you if I'd ever noticed it before but I certainly did on this occasion. It was perfect. Well, that's not strictly true - it was a bit shabby and very unloved but it had so much perfect potential.
A chat with the lady owner of a nearby shop led us to discover that the previous tenant had done a moonlight flit and the gentleman who lives in the flat above was going to take it on. I can't begin to tell you how disappointed I was. You see, if I closed my eyes, I could clearly visualise how it could look.
There then followed what I can only describe as a chain of 'meant to be' events. A lot can happen in a month, as I'm sure you know.
My lovely friends, may I introduce you to what will eventually become the newest yarn shop in town, Pink Milk?
Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! You can't see me I know but I'm grinning like a mad thing!
This is how it looks right now. I only took possession of the keys yesterday. As I type, D and a friend are in there with tools and paintbrushes and I will soon be setting-to with my bleach and steam cleaner! I've chosen the colour for the outside. (Surprised?!)
I'll be totally honest with you, I'm ever so slightly terrified because I have never done anything like this before. Over the last few weeks, I've had to get my head around taxes and insurance, costings and forecasts and all the nitty-gritty stuff that comes with running a business. I am also designing my own online shop. I'm putting absolutely everything I have into this little venture of mine.
I've had a few wobbly moments where my bravery and self-confidence have temporarily deserted me. On those occasions, I sit and crochet a bunting triangle. Does that sound a bit bonkers? The truth is, I haven't had much opportunity to do a lot of crochet or knitting recently and the ten or fifteen minutes it takes to select a colour and make one soothes me. It acts as a sort of 'time out' when I can take a few deep breaths, remind myself that we only live once, and all feels good and positive again. My Simple Bunting Tutorial was the very first crochet pattern I published here on my blog, four years ago. It remains my most visited post of all time. For me, it sort of heralds where my journey began and it seems fitting. The bunting will then be strung somewhere in my shop.
Most of all though, I cannot begin to tell you just how excited I am. I have so many plans and ideas, sometimes my head feels like it's going to literally spin right off my neck! I've been spending hours with yarn samples and colour charts. I've been squishing and stroking, sniffing and poking like you wouldn't believe!!! I've also been working on a few secret projects and have made some lovely new talented friends in the process. Aargh, I cannot wait to show you everything! I will only be selling yarn and products that I love. I hope you'll love them too.
You have all played such a massive part in giving me the confidence to do this. For that, I cannot thank you enough. I feel so lucky and proud.
I will be keeping in some pretty tea cups, just in case you call. The kettle will always be on and the shelves filled to the brim.