One of my favourite things about decorating Ettie’s bedroom has been discovering all the little handmade treasures that I’ve been collecting up over the last two years to make her room feel really personalised and special. My absolute favourite of these ‘treasures’ is actually one of the first things I bought when she was just a few weeks old.
What I am talking about is the beautiful hand-painted and personalised wall banner, lovingly created by Amy at Daydreams and Dandelions.
I discovered Amy’s account during a late night Instagram scroll when I was well into the ‘nesting’ period of my pregnancy with Ettie. Have you ever seen something and fallen so completely in love with it, that it feels like you kind of own it already? Well that was how I felt about the banner – the colours, the font, the shape of the little flowers, it was exactly what I’d been searching for – without me really knowing what I was trying to find. I knew instantly that it was something I wanted for my daughters room (even thought she didn’t actually have a room at the time because we were yet to buy our house!). There was the small matter that Amy lived in Australia, whilst I was in England, however I was in such a crazy nesting phase at that point, ordering all sorts of baby bits from random countries throughout the world, that Australia didn’t seem to be a problem (Instagram you have a lot to answer for!) … and actually it wasn’t!
Fast forward a few weeks and our beautiful little daughter was born, all 7lb 11oz of her with a fuzzy coating of dark brown hair. Initially we’d wanted to call her Mollie or Annie and so we thought we were pretty sorted with names, but as soon as I seen her tiny little face and squishy button nose, my post birth, hormonal brain decided that she didn’t look anything like a Mollie or an Annie and so I cried to Stu (actual tears) that we would have to go back to the drawing board.
Choosing a name was no mean feat, as I am perhaps one of THE most indecisive people in the universe! We also felt like we had given our favourite name to our first-born daughter Edie. Four or five days went past and we still weren’t any closer to deciding so it felt like the pressure was mounting. It was actually the personalised name banner from Daydreams and Dandelions that helped me make the final decision, because I used it to envisage how her name would look in the handwritten font (yes call me crazy but like I said I was pretty hormonal at the time!).
We chose Arrietty because she was really small like a Borrower and we wanted her to have lots of adventures like the character in the book. We chose Willow because her legs were really long and skinny, like the branches of a Willow tree (but also because her Daddy plays cricket). I am so so glad we waited and chose a name that suits her, because I absolutely love it now and think it looks amazing on the banner.
Ordering the banner was simple. Amy specialises in custom orders and so I contacted her through Instagram asking if she was able to make a personalised banner using pastel colours. She wrote back almost immediately saying that she could and provided a list of additional options including font choices and finishes such as the wooden tassel and lace edging. It was actually nine months between ordering the banner and receiving it because Amy was due to have her second daughter at around the same time, but she kept in touch the whole time and it was absolutely worth the wait. The banner is without a doubt one of my favourite things that Ettie owns.
Unfortunately due to a hectic work schedule (read more below), Amy isn’t making banners at the moment, opting to concentrate on other areas of her store instead. However because she’s an artist and such a creative soul she can pretty much turn her hand to anything and there is a wide variety of other beautiful personalised items available in her online shop ranging from stationary and cake toppers to Santa Sacks and acrylic signage.
AND Because Amy is such a lovely lady she’s offering up a 15% DISCOUNT to all ‘Ettie and Me ‘readers. So if there is something you fancy, simply get in touch and mention the code ETTIEANDME and a beautiful personalised item could be winging it way to you at a lovely discounted price.
Amy is also in the process of launching a new business which is all super hush hush for the time being, but it will be baby focused and something that fans of her work will love. Be sure to follow @twentyletterlane on Instagram to catch hear all about her new venture as soon as it launches over the next few weeks.
If you’d like to find out more about Amy and her beautiful online shop, then like with all Small Brand Spotlights, I’ve included a little interview with her below:
1. In your past life, what was your job before creating ‘Daydreams and Dandelions’?
Daydreams and Dandelions was started in the lead up to my first lot of maternity leave with my daughter Ellie. I still currently juggle my actual job as a full time teacher to high school and college students as well as Daydreams and Dandelions (D&D) (so no ‘past life’ yet. Maybe one day… haha)
2. What is the thinking behind your company name?
I’m a big daydreamer, have been for as long as I can remember. When I first started D&D I had so many ideas running through my head as to what I wanted to do. I loved the idea of alliteration so went through some ideas but decided on Daydreams & Dandelions as I kind of pictured myself daydreaming in a big open field full of dandelions and possibilities.
3. Daydreams and Dandelions makes the most beautiful hand painted banners – and now incredible Santa Sacks!! Do you have a favourite?
Ooooo tricky! I’d have to say that I find it hard to go past a nice scattered floral banner. I love being about to have a bit of fun designing and painting away ensuring the florals fit nicely around the lettering.
4. Describe a typical working day in the life of Daydreams and Dandelions?
Complete and utter madness. Is that enough? Haha! My day usually starts at 6am, checking emails and browsing social media, getting myself ready for work and the girls ready for daycare. Dropping them off and getting to work for a day full of educating the wonderful adolescents of today’s world (maybe some slight use of sarcasm here, haha!). Then it’s afternoon pickups, dinner, bathtime, kids bedtime and come 9:30 I’m normally making a coffee and gearing up for some D&D work, lesson prep and marking assignments 6/7 nights a week. Depending on my workload and deadlines I’m normally up until 1-2am and then sign off. They are LONG days and it’s definitely a labour of love.
5. What has been your proudest moment since establishing Daydreams and Dandelions?
I think just seeing my work appear in the homes of some of my favourite girls from Instagram, being featured in Minty Magazine and having some really successful charity auctions. Sorry, that’s more than one!
6. How is life juggling a business and two beautiful children?
Full on. Sometimes it can be more of a struggle than a juggle and at times feels a bit like groundhog day. I generally do all the drop offs and pick ups and don’t work on the weekends during the day so spend time with my hubby and the girls. I do suck at sticking to a schedule as emails and rush orders pop up constantly so that’s definitely something I need to work on so that I’m not ditching my husband for the office every night…. Sorry darling.
7. Do you have any advice for mothers thinking of setting up their own business?
Have a go, try things out and find your niche. Speak to women also doing the same and stick together to help one another out. There’s lots of great support systems online for bizmums too so they’re definitely worth a look. It’s all about trial and error, finding what works for you and being honest and true to yourself and what you can achieve. Goal setting is also really effective but it’s important to make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself as great things take time.
8. Finally are you glad you did it?
Absolutely! I love the friendships I’ve made with other mums and followers in the insta community. I love being able to have a creative outlet and passion and whilst it can be stressful a lot of the time it is so rewarding to see my products in homes and have such a wonderful, supportive clientele.
Thankyou so much Amy, its so great to hear your story and I can’t believe you manage to create such beautiful pieces, whilst also holding down a full time job…. as a teacher!! You really are a super mum with a super talent and I’m so so glad I discovered you through Instagram all those months ago. We will cherish Ettie’s banner forever.
If you’d like to find out more about Amy and Daydreams and Dandilons, you can find her online store here: Daydreams and Dandelions or she has the most beautiful Instagram feed here at @daydreamsanddandelions