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Cat Cafes and Creative Inspiration


So last week Mum and I had a trip to London, for two primary reasons... 1: to visit Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium (and drop off their card order at the same time), and 2: to have a tour of the 6th annual Progressive Greetings Live at the Business and Design Centre.  

I admit, I was quite excited about the prospect of the visiting the Cat Emporium, London's first cat cafe.  In Japan, you can't swing a cat (not something to be recommended or encouraged, obviously) without hitting a cat cafe, but in the UK they are, so far, few and far between.  Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium certainly didn't disappoint.  The cats were plentiful and contented and happy to be stroked, while you leisurely graze on something from the delicious menu.  (unfortunately we were a little pushed for time, due to the timing of our tour at the Progressive Greetings Live show, so our time there was ridiculously short).  I guess, as a cat owner, I can not essentially be classed as a target market for Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, but for a cat loving London dweller with no opportunity to own a feline friend, it's the most perfect (or indeed purrfect) place to spend a couple hours indulging in some much sought after cat therapy (purring and leg twirling is obligatory).  If you wish to check it out for yourself - all the contact and location details can be found on our 'Stockists' page.  Enjoy

And so, from furry felines, it was a hot foot trot London across to Islington, and  to the Design centre for our scheduled 2:30pm tour of the Progressive Greeting Live Show.  The PGL is fast becoming THE event for the retailers, from the big well known retail chains to small independant outlets, to source new greetings cards and artists for the year.  Once again the show was an exciting mix of colour, design and innovation ..... such a buzz from our point of view, being able to see the new trends, colours, card shapes and designs (I can gleefully report that there was nothing to mirror Marian's Scratching a Living designs..... phew!).  It was a delight to catch up with some of the fellow artists and suppliers (of paper and envelopes that we currently use in our own card production) we have met before, and also put a few faces to names.  Our current plan is to have a stand there in 2015 - so, watch this space.

I shall leave it there, and bid you all a very happy Bank Holiday weekend.


Successful Arts Trail 2014 - The Raised Bed was the star of the show!


Well, that's it for another year. Thank you to everyone who stopped by at venue 12 to say hello and to browse Marian's new work and see my own creations (bunting and catnip mice for those of you who missed it.  The local cats were pretty thrilled at this years new additions....).  

Once again the weather didn't stop play (and was infact very kind to us over virtually the whole of the second weekend.  Mind you, there's always that magnificent spirit of Emsworth that wouldn't let a drop of inclemant weather spoil the fun!).  The atmosphere was magic - just lots of smiley happy people exploring Emworth and admiring the art and crafts.

Of course, those of you who visited us will know that the real stars of the show at Venue 12 were the extraordinarily well advanced tomato plants in the greenhouse (complete with the curly metal support poles) and the newly finished raised veg bed, which, in its unplanted form, had more of an installation look about it than a plot for veggies!  That's one of the utter joys of Arts Trail's in general; being able to have a wander around neighbours gardens and, in some cases, houses, for a nose round without being arrested for trespassing! 

So, this week it's back to the office for me (much to my cats delight - according to her, leaving her for 4 entire days in a row is just not cricket....). I'm merrily continuing with my quest to spread the business and Marian's name and greetings cards farther and wider across the UK (she's been confined to the Emsworth boundaries for many many years - it's about time we shared her with the rest of the UK and beyond).  And Marian, having finally finished packing away everything from the Trail, is having a slightly calmer week fulfilling order requests and watching the new conservatory take shape (only at the foundation stage - but it's been started! Hurrah!  The paintings might be in there next year, you never know!

We have the trip to London on Wednesday to visit the Progressive Greetings Live exhibition (an expo devoted entirely to greetings cards - it's THE place to go for retailers looking for new cards for their stores.  Scratching a Living intend to have a stand there next year, all being well) and also to see London's first Cat Cafe - Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium.  I will report back about both of those events..... especially the Cat Cafe! (must not smuggle a cat home, must not smuggle a cat home, must not smuggle a cat home............) 



One down, one to go


Well, this is it, the second and final of the Arts trail weekends approaches.  The first weekend proved to be a damp, but enjoyable and successful event, and it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces dropping by for a visit.

Marian has been busy with some new work, which was much admired (and, as ever, with the new paintings come new greetings cards to accompany them - the current card stock is now nearing the 800 mark would you believe?).  

The weather's looking pretty promising for the 3 day bank holiday Arts trail weekend (well, it's looking dry ... which is a bonus - last weekend was a little damp around the edges at times - but as ever the Dunkirk spirit kicked in amongst the good folk of Emworth!).

Once again, Marian has a large stock of cards, and new paintings, keyrings, bookmarks, magnets, notelets and prints waiting for you.   And I have my ever increasing range of bunting, bags and catnip mice (new to the trail for 2014..... trust me, the cats love them..... I've lost count of the number of times I've discovered my own cat, Meryl, sitting in the bowl of 'mice' deciding which one she'd like to have as her own).

So, grab your walking boots and your trail map and we look forward to welcoming you to Kings Road (Number 12 on the trail map).

Best regards


Countdown to the 2014 Arts Trail


It's happened again!  February came and went, and apparently March has been and gone (did anyone see it? It seemed to shoot by quicker than the speed of sound!). So, here we are in April, with the Arts Trail fast approaching and there is a sudden flurry of mild panic and activity.

Marian's busy creating new paintings and projects to exhibit on the trail (in between building a new veg bed and filling her greenhouse with little pots of seeds and seedlings ready for the growing season). The new paintings are coming alive with colour and character; I'm sure you're going to enjoy the new ranges.

I will be switching between Sales and Marketing for Scratching a Living (we're currently on a marketing push to expand Marian's customer base, and advertising her work further afield; targeting gift shops, book stores, galleries, wild life parks etc across the UK) and creating more bunting, bags and the ever popular catnip mice for the Arts Trail (providing I can stop my own cat Miss Meryl from stealing them - they're not easy to make with her around!).  Lots of new ideas to whizz along the sewing machine, which I hope you enjoy.   

The new Arts Trail map and brochure is now available - if you would like a copy, please drop me a message with your address and I will get one in the post for you. 

Happy Sunday one and all




Time for a change


It's finally here! The new website we've been promising you since, what feels like, the beginning of time.  Hurrah!

Please have a look around the new site and enjoy more of Marian's talent and wit in the new ranges of cards and products.  I'll be using this Blog area to bring you news, new product information and any little musings which you may find of interest.

In addition to Marian's cards, you will notice there is a new section to the website 'Emma's Forever'.  This is my own little project; making fabric bunting depicting images from Marian's paintings. (A full range of the bunting will be available at the Arts trail).

We have a busy few months coming up here at Scratching a Living.  The Emsworth Arts Trail is approaching at lightening speed.  Once again we look forward to seeing many of you along the way (for information, please check out the Events section for all the details).  Marian will be showcasing new work and projects that she's been working on during the past year.  And there will of course be the full range of greetings cards, prints and gifts for sale. (Keep your fingers crossed for some dry weather - but also keep your welllies close by, just in case!)

We are also planning exciting new ranges of manufactured cards, which we hope to launch at this year's Arts Trail.  The new cards will be slightly different to the current card format. The look and size of them is yet to be decided, as we're still in the preliminary stages, but it is a very exciting forward step for us and we look forward to sharing them with you.  I will keep you updated with the progress.

Best regards


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