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My Christmas Etsy Guide from the Outer Hebrides

While many of my Hebridean small business friends do have social media and their own websites, some of them use Etsy to sell you their stunning handmade wares. I thought I’d share a few of them here to give you some Christmas ideas. I’m always amazed by the level of talent available on our Hebrides islands. I hope this guide will help you support our local businesses and maybe you’ll discover some small business you didn’t know we had here.

My top 8 Christmas gift ideas from the Hebrides on Etsy

Lewisian Nice Harris Tweed Decor and Hair Accessories

Rainbows, hearts and Harris Tweed – the perfect combo

You can’t go wrong with rainbows, hearts or Harris Tweed and Sarah’s heart garlands always catch my eye. What a fabulous gift for someone who has everything, especially good taste.

Sollas Books – beautifully bound in Harris Tweed

Perfectly bound notebooks – in every way

I had the pleasure of visiting Corinna’s workshop in North Uist while on a family holiday some years ago. Seeing the whole hand-binding process was fascinating and the quality of her work will leave you speechless. And you can never have too many notebooks!

Coll Pottery – and so much more

Not just pots!

Coll Pottery used to be just that when I first came to Lewis but since Alan took over it is so much more.

You can’t go wrong with a new piece of jewellery for a gift and with each of these unique glass pendants your gift is going to stand out from the crowd.

Designs on Benbecula – inspired by our beautiful beaches

Jewellery befitting of our landscape

Handmade and unique from biwa pearls and silver…and adjustable too so it will fit anyone.

This stunning choker from Deborah from Designs on Benbecula is a gift to wow both when given and every time it’s worn.

Loch Sealg Designs, handmade for you

Made to order and worth it

Katie has several designs to choose from her own fashion collection and this green agate caught my eye (perhaps because I married an Irishman).

Hallmarked and handmade and if you’re not a green person then Katie will happily do the same design in your gem of choice.

EJay Design – when you’re not sure which island

Have them all!

You might not be able to have the whole world in your hands but you can hold the entire Scottish Hebrides in your hands with this gorgeous teatowel from Ejay Designs.

Eilidh does the most amazing watercolour illustrations of our islands and further afield. If teatowels aren’t your thing then check out her maps, they have gold highlights!

The Herring Girl Posters

Memories of Stornoway

If the whole Hebrides is too much, or you have fond memories of somewhere in particular then take a look at Lauren’s vintage posters.

This one of Stornoway with the famous Lews Castle is a favourite of mine with many a Sunday afternoon family walk taken round its grounds.

Hair Accessories for everyone

Strikingly Stunning

I can vouch for Catherine Anne’s hair accessories as my girls have been wearing these for years.

At Mamayana you’ll also find Mother and Daughter sets which would be a lovely idea at this Christmas time of sharing.

I struggled to choose which one to share but then this black and gold hair bow stood out.

Our Scottish Hebrides are filled to the herring gills with talent and I’ve only shown a handful of Christmas ideas from Etsy here . I’d love to know what you choose please let me know in the comments below.

Looking for something last minute – you might want to check out Etsy’s top recommendations for last minute gifts

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Moon landing gift ideas

moon bunny moon landing

If you’re looking to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing then here are a couple of ideas. Great gifts and activities to celebrate the event. If you’re looking for a family or class room activity then the giant poster is for you. If you are looking for a space related craft to complete then the cross-stitch is perfect. Or perhaps you just want to send someone a card and let them know how much they mean to you.

Space colour in tablecloth moon landing

This cosmic space colouring in tablecloth can be used as a poster too. With a black background and lots of space oddities to discover this is great as a fun activity. If you’re studying the moon landing in class then this could be a fun educational tool.

Great for classrooms or family dinners!

It might be quicker to fly to the moon than complete this cut thru cross stitch from Bothy Threads but you’ll feel like you’ve made some giant leaps when you’re done! Illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

Perfect moon landing commemorative craft idea!

Bothy threads cut thru rocket

This Moon Bunny card is adorable. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to decorate a child’s bedroom then you could frame it. This card would look beautiful on the wall in any child’s bedroom or nursery. Illustrated by Kate Garrett and produced by Flamingo Paperie.

Perfect new baby card!

How many friends could you send this card to? Blank on the inside for your own message this is a perfect card to send to those who mean so much but are far away. Illustrated by Lucy Smith and produced by Flamingo Paperie.

Send a card, deliver a smile!

So why not celebrate the moon landing with some of these cards and activities. If you’re an astronaut they could keep you busy while you’re in space too, though I’m not sure how you send the cards from the space station – do they have a post box?

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Mother’s Day Etsy Gift Guide

Mother's Day

While you obviously want to get your mum a lovely card for Mother’s Day, and maybe a bunch of flowers. What else could you get that’s a bit classy and a bit different? Many of the illustrators who design cards for Flamingo Paperie have their designs on other products too. Thought I’d take a look and see if I could put together some ideas for mum that are perhaps a bit different but still lovely. Where better to start than on Etsy. Here is my Mother’s Day Etsy Gift Guide! When you appreciate beautiful illustrations but perhaps can’t afford the original artwork then here are my next best things.

I do have a disclaimer to make. I am an Etsy affiliate so if you do click through and make a purchase I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you but my gift guide is made up of things I’ve either bought or want to get myself (hint hint if any friends or family are reading).

My Mother’s Day Etsy Gift Guide


Does your mother like to bake? Does she like to stitch? Does she like watching the Great British Bake Off? Does she appreciate good artwork? If so, then how about a cross stitch kit. You could either buy it yourself, complete the kit and give a picture. Or if she likes cross stitch herself then give her the kit as a present. Amanda Loverseed is well known for her cut thru illustrations as well as her other artwork. The cut thru bakery is a favourite of mine. The Dinky Cottage is quite sweet too.


You can never have too many cushions! Sarah Summers does the most exquisite illustrations and many of them have been put on to fabrics. You will possibly recognise her winter and Christmas designs first but she has many others. This beautiful ‘Charcoal Birdhouses and Watering Cans‘ design would make a beautiful cushion or could be used in quilting.


Maybe it’s just my mum but she has a thing about coasters! She also has a thing about fish and chips so these Mr and Mrs Fish coasters would tick both those boxes. And if you’d rather have more traditional floral coasters then these are beautiful. Of course if you’re getting coasters then you need the mug to go with it and this one, made in Cornwall of a Cornish scene would brighten up any kitchen.


Is your mum ‘Pretty in Pink‘? How about some flowers that will last forever in a limited edition print. When you can’t afford the original artwork but want something a little bit exclusive then this is a good idea. Alison has a number of limited edition floral prints for sale in her Etsy shop. Any of them would make a great Mother’s Day gift but this one stood out for me.

…and if you can afford the original artwork then this one is a must. ‘Fresh Daisies‘ is one of my favourite illustrations that Alison has painted. It’s also a Flamingo Paperie greetings card but I would LOVE to have this original artwork.

So now you’re all set. You’ve got the cushions, the coasters, the mug and the flowers. Mum can sit and relax with a cuppa while doing her cross stitch or admiring the one you spent months making her! She is one way or other surrounded by the most exquisite artwork and now feeling very loved.

I hope you like my Mother’s Day Etsy gift guide. If you know of other Etsy shops that feature Flamingo artists that I haven’t mentioned do let me know. You can leave a note in the comments below.

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My Isle of Lewis Etsy Holiday Gift Guide

With only 4 weeks till Christmas I’ve been looking at what I can still get that’s handmade by people like myself running a small business. Where better to start than on Etsy. Here is my Isle of Lewis Etsy Holiday Gift Guide! So whether you live on the Isle of Lewis like myself or not, there’s really no need to even leave your sofa to shop local.

I do have a disclaimer to make. I am an Etsy affiliate so if you do click through and make a purchase I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you but my gift guide is made up of things I’ve either bought or want to get myself (hint hint if any friends or family are reading).

My Etsy Holiday Gift Guide


I’ll start with gaelic harris tweed labelsthese gift labels made by a lady I met just this weekend at a craft fairs. So I’ve seen them in the ‘flesh’ so to speak. I was really impressed with how professional they looked and I have to recommend the ones with Harris Tweed and Gaelic on them first.

She makes other ones too and my daughter really fancied the ‘Naughty or Nice’ ones. You might prefer the ‘Time to Drink Champagne‘ ones.

vintage postcard labelsAs I’m in to sending snail mail, I really love the vintage postcards. I think it’s the stamps that do it for me. Postal stamps and Christmas together, what’s not to like?


If you liked the Nollaig Chridheil gift tags then you might like these tree decorations with the same message. These are made by Sarah of Lewisian Nice who also makes beautiful Harris Tweed clocks. My favourite being this one in ‘winter red‘ as it both looks and sounds so homely.

Of course if red isn’t your favourite then there are lots of other colours available, all made from genuine Harris Tweed, hand woven right here in the Outer Hebrides.


When you are putting your feet up and watching the time ticking by on your Harris Tweed clock, you’ll need a subtle, festive aroma to help you unwind and absorb the Christmas spirit. I can personally recommend Megan’s candles from Sandwick Bay Candles and this year’s Christmas trio sound very appealing. Megan works out of her home. Every time I visit there are the most captivating, but in no way over powering, scents unfolding from her workroom.

If you like to take the fragrances with you then Megan also makes travel tins and car diffusers. Both make perfect stocking fillers.


Talking of stockings, you’re going to need a good one to put all these delights in and I have found the perfect one from Sewing Room with a View. Genuine Harris Tweed stockings that won’t ladder or let you down. Sallie also makes beautiful Harris Tweed clothing for when you’re looking for something exclusive and extra special.

So now you’re all set. You’ve got the stocking, the tree decorations, the gifts and even the tags. And you didn’t even need to leave your sofa, let alone the Outer Hebrides!

I hope you like my Etsy holiday gift guide from the Isle of Lewis. If you know of other Etsy shops from here that I haven’t mentioned do let me know. You can leave a note in the comments below.

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Staying within the lines – or not?

“Coloring is an activity that we tend to associate with children. As we grow older, we put aside our crayons and colored pencils in favor of more respectable writing utensils like pens and highlighters. However, it turns out coloring can be beneficial for adults — namely for its de-stressing power.”

via Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress..

Of course – anyone who loves Phoenix Trading knows this already and if you’ve had one of our colouring in tablecloths you’ll know that you probably spent more time colouring in than your children did…at least that’s what happens in my house! I think we adults sometimes need an ‘excuse’ to colour in, it’s not something we see as an adult activity, there are always more ‘important’ things to do – but with one of our tablecloths, or maybe a frieze then we have the perfect excuse. And of course, any such creative activity we can do with our children has to be a positive thing for us and them surely.

Here are a few of my favourite products:WS173-Hearts-Butterflies

1 – Colour in hats – we have two sets: the first contains a mermaid, a butterfly and a fairy, the second a chief, space cadet and king. Both illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

2 – Colour in map of the British Isles – educational and destressful this comes in a presentation tube too so makes a great gift, and is also illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

3 – Colour in friezes – I love the animal train, though we also have farm, princess carriage, under the sea and a nativity one at Christmas. I think these are particularly great as they come in six pieces and can be coloured individually and put together later to make a large frieze if you wish, but they look great on their own too. All beautifully illustrated by Claire Winteringham, Alison Hullyer or June Armstrong.

I do get parents tell me they will get frustrated if their children colour outside the lines (maybe I just have too many ocd friends?)…my response – buy two, one for you, one for them!

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The Art of Handwriting – Is it Lost?

Cards lost art of handwriting

Have we lost the art of handwriting? I hope not. With social media being a part of our lives that it never was when I was young I see changes in what we teach our children. Quite rightly they learn how to touch type on a qwerty keyboard from an early age. But they still have their handwriting book too. How important is handwriting in a technical age? Does it matter anymore?

Despite the common perception that ‘no one sends cards anymore’ the opposite is true. According to a recent survey 95% of British households still send cards. So surely it’s important that what’s written in them is readable? Or is it?

I did a little research on the lost art of handwriting.Phoenix Trading

This article on The Art of Handwriting about letters by artists is worth a look just to see the handwriting. I’m not an artist so my handwriting leaves a lot to be desired but I just adore neat, artistic handrwriting.

Here is a very inspiring TED talk on the lost art of handwriting – you might be inspired to pick up pen and paper after listening to these shared memories.

Now, going back to my earlier complaint about poor handwriting, there might be an answer in this. A hi-tech pen that could improve my handwriting!

…and if you’re still not sure you need to bother brushing up on your handwriting then this 8 year old has a very good reason why it’s important – how else will he fill in his contract to be a major league player?!

So, is the art of handwriting important or not?

Does it matter if my scrawl looks pretty or is it enough just to be readable? It’s a well known fact that sending handwritten cards and notes has a positive impact on someone’s mental health. So perhaps I shouldn’t get too hung up on how good or bad my handwriting looks but worry more about if I am writing enough. After all the only way to improve my handwriting is to practise, practise, practise. I no longer have a handwriting jotter like my children at school so perhaps my best practice is to send more cards and letters.