A Magical Christmas at home with Fable Heart
Christmas has always been a very special time for me, and this year it feels even more poignant with all the upheaval of Covid and the changes that everyone has faced. Both from a work perspective, and as a mummy, I’ve felt the need to be prepared earlier, and to make more conscious choices.
Behind the scenes, Fable Heart has been preparing for Autumn/ Winter since February. This is normal for us, as we have become such a Christmas focused brand, we pretty much take January off to recover and then get right back to it, designing, fabric buying and planning out new pieces. Obviously in around March this year, everything came to a halt and so our season is a little later than usual. But I can honestly say, it has given me more joy than ever. It is so lovely to just get lost in the process of making something really beautiful. I feel that way about all our pieces, and this year has been our busiest yet.
Last year we took the decision to homeschool our children, for various reasons it just felt right for our family. We spent a few months preparing for that and one of the things I knew I needed was a home studio. After a bit of a re-jig, my husband and I now both work from home and we learn with, teach and work around our family fairly seamlessly.
I normally have a very early start- around 5-6am, and getting rid of the commute has meant I have a blissful few hours to myself every morning with a hot cup of coffee, prepping for the day, packing orders and answering emails.
I LOVE my new studio. It’s bright, and clean, and has helped me to regain some of that all important work/life balance. It really feels like my little hideaway, and is a very inspiring space to create new things.
At around lunchtime, I go back into the house and take over homeschooling our four daughters. I am actually a teacher by trade, but I haven’t taught in a school since our first daughter was born and I started Fable Heart. I’ve really enjoyed getting back into thinking about learning, what makes us good learners and what makes a great environment to thrive in. We follow a largely Waldorf- centred curriculum, and focus a lot on seasons, how important cosiness is, what helps contribute to good mental health, and trying to build a sense of self-advocacy and strong voice in our children.
My husband works in the afternoons on his own business, and rejoins us all for dinner. Our house is quite small, but we love it so much. We live very rural, in an old farmhouse in Northern Ireland.
All four girls share one big bedroom, so it can get very noisy!I have to be very purposeful in how I shop for them, and toys which have open ended play are essential. I have always been of the opinion that the less a toy does, the more the child does. The beautiful wooden toys that really last can be quite expensive, so I shop a lot for secondhand on ebay throughout the year, then buy new for birthdays and festivities.
For Christmas, we buy one toy, one new outfit, one set of pyjamas, and one new book for each child. As well as lots of little stocking fillers. Prepping it all makes me so, so happy. As well as planning all the food, and the little touches like making new decorations, or freshening up the bedding. It’s just the best feeling, feathering your nest. And it’s never been more important than this year; as outside distractions or events have faded away, our home has become a real sanctuary. I’ve never been more grateful for it.
At work at this time of year, I am also wrapping up lots of little parcels every day, for other people’s homes. Because planning the festivities is so important to me, it makes me immensely happy to also be a part of other families plans.
I get such lovely messages from customers, whether it’s a wand that will be popping out the top of a Christmas stocking, or if they’ve invested in a full dress up outfit from us this year as the main present, we get wonderful feedback and we stay in the lives of lots of our customers.
Working with only a couple of stockists this year, has meant I’m much happier at work. I get to offer our products with much faster delivery through them, as our own shop has quite a long turnaround time. Also working with other mums, who are understanding if you need to pause, or adjust, is such a lovely way of doing business.
This year I think we’d all like a simpler Christmas. Full of the important things. I’m hoping to shut up shop a little earlier, and to have lots of quality time reading books, lighting the fire, going on morning walks. It’s certainly been a time that Fable Heart has thrived in, and we’re ever grateful to everyone that’s taken the time to shop small and support us this year.
Words & Images Claire Fable Heart