Why a Blank Journal is the Best Gift EVER!

Modern marbled notebook and poo paper stack

Sure, any phone app will do the job of a blank book better! Not quite… Technology may be able to spy on you but it is still limited and pretty basic. NOTHING CAN BEAT A BLANK JOURNAL and to offer a handmade notebook is to offer the opportunity:

  • To dream about possibilities

    handmade blank journal for men
    Handmade blank journal
  • To wonder what should be remembered
  • To stop for a moment to just pause.
  • To empower by getting better organised

Disconnected from the world, we can at last reconnect with oneself. I know of a lady with a shelf full of traveler’s journals left blank, yet each with their own story.

A blank screen from Kindle is just a power failure. An app keeps you on a treadmill, and reinforces “what didn’t happen”, “what needs doing”. When I look at an app, I scream: AAAARGH!!!

 A blank notebook allows “What could be”, “I remember…”, I turn the pages and sigh:   Aaaagh

Relaxing blank journalSo what is so inspirational about a blank book? Well, how about:

  • List your blessings, favourites, treasures and feel comfort from your bounty.
  • Record your dreams, lucid or not and marvel at the gift of creativity or imagination.
  • Plunge deep and pour your heart, appreciating life’s ups and down and learning.
  • Practice mindfulness through good writing, doodling, drawing.
  • Be in charge and get planning that big event, a big year or just day-to-day.
  • Escape and indulge in a fantasy world that could be the next Harry Potter.
  • Monitor changes that could impact your health and well-being, it is all about patterns!
  • Ground yourself and remember what feeds your roots, memories are priceless but so elusive.
  • Reap small wins by recording the results of your efforts, be it gardening, fitness or parenting.
  • Be organised and make your own bullet journal or bucket list
  • Be the light and explore your spirituality.
  • Commit to yourself: write and voice those affirmations for the day.
  • Treasure those culinary nuggets.
  • Marvel at what you saw during your travel or in nature.
  • Make the future possible by breaking down your goals.
  • Make the most of now and capture that fleeting brilliant idea, quote, word of wisdom.
  • Develop intention.
  • Question.
  • Regain serenity.

I am sure you can come up with even more ideas. The point is that a blank book makes your life yours!

Be Huga and treat yourself!

Did you mention a Poo Collection?

 Hello! Let’s start Spring with a sneak preview of a rather unusual yet very exciting new collection full of goodwill and good humour!
Goodwill because the whole range with 100% recycled material that really means to do what is right for the planet and good humour because well, emm, it is taking advantage of a new trend in papermaking by emm, making use of elephant and rhinoceros poo for added fiber!
I love this paper!
100% Handcrafted Blank Journals


Handmade journal - Poo collection– COVER: Indian Rag Papers are made by hand using recycled, refined cotton from rags, clothing and textiles instead of pulp from the cotton seed as other papers. Longer fibers in the paper providing exceptional strength and durability. It reminds me of my biology classes (a long time ago)…

Handmade notebook - Poo collection– INSIDE PAPER: Lokta paper made from bushes growing on the Himalayan slopes. The paper is finished in Katmandu and traditionally used for official documents and religious sacred texts.
AND… (Drumroll…)
– WRITING PAPER: 100% recycled Ellie and Rhino Poo, 110gsm paper. This Notebooks and Journals - poo collectionpaper is made with post consumer waste which has been collected from schools, colleges and offices around the UK. It is then mixed with elephant/rhinoceros dung to produce our unique and very unusual Ellie Poo Paper. (Tada!)

Suitable for Writing, Drawing, Sketching– Complementary twig pen

How could you resist saving the planet. its fauna and flora at once?

Available next week on www.huga.ie, Etsy and soon in the Leitrim Design House!  Available in grey, green, blue, pink and red…

Craftsmanship begins at Home

A few years back, I realised the path I was on was neither for me nor leading me anywhere worthwhile. Being practically minded I decided to retrain in alternative medicine and spent the second year trying to make sense of Chinese Medicine. Unfortunately, I did not complete the course, but I learnt so much from the Chinese way of thinking that it was worth it nonetheless.

One thing however never ceased to amaze me. How could people derive an

Japanese collection
New arrival: Japanese collection

entire system of medicine based on forces that cannot be seen, and whose influences are so subtle? Amazing. The same sense of amazement overtook me while visiting the Belleek Pottery factory. The clay is a finely balanced composite of elements sourced from all over the world. Before being fired, at the right temperature, it is incredibly brittle. Who came up with this? The theory of trial and error leaves me cold but I do not have an alternative explanation.

The amazement is equally matched by a great sense of regret. Apparently, nowadays, some craft schools teach the art of design but not the practical skill of making. Perplexing! Who will carry the flame?

Red chyogami - Collection
New arrival: Sketchbook, Journal or Photo album in passion red…

But in talking about my own experience, the long historical chain of human ingenuity stopped at my parents’ generation. I am of the 1972 vintage. By the way, apparently, that year, you had to be a heady wine if you wanted to age gracefully. Emmmm…

Anyway, at that time, the “emancipation” of women was in full swing and the modern woman was free from the sink, mending, cooking and washing all day. Having a career was then a real possibility. Many of the women who had missed the boat, and could merely dream of an office job, maybe put their own dreams on the shoulders of their daughters. Practical home-making skills were passe, a definite sign of lack of ambition, if not backwardness (the smart robot and powdered food  were born, remember?).

Photo Album - Katazone Circles - Back
New arrival: Bold and modern!

So it is only when I had my first child that I suddenly copped-on that your food is your health, that health is nurtured rather than coerced with pills and that DIY skills are empowering. Worse again, when expecting my eldest, I bought an amazingly cute pair of booties for her, never realising they were in fact dolls shoes. She was born particularly small, yet there was still no hope for the booties to fit. No way, not a chance. I was totally clueless about all that matters in life.

I recently watched a TED video, entitled “Craftsmanship begins at home”, where a gentleman shared his journey in making blue grass violins. There is nothing heady, but he emphasises how the little things, similar to good habits, shape good craftmanship. Give yourself time and if you make a mistake, do not do it again. It is not rocket science.

By rushing from A to Z, we no longer take the time. Resilience is undermined by instant gratification. Know-how is redundant in the face of opinion. Skill development is cheapened by technology and ready made solutions. I wonder whether the line of human ingenuity has been further weakened.

Sketchbook - Flower Katazome - Front
Decorative Japanese paper and stitching on Coptic exposed spine

For me, feminism dis-empowered me as a mother. I started on a very child centered, expert- guided, emotionally absorbing and ultimately expensive form of parenting. To move away from this unsatisfactory state of affairs, I had to unlearn the faff and learn quickly about the real stuff. Very uncomfortable! Today, after a drastic life review and simplification, the kids are pretty much free range, much more inquisitive and I think more confident. They are also quite crafty. And so I agree with this gentleman, that craftmanship begins at home. It is a mindset above and beyond a skill. To illustrate this, apparently, the Japanese technique of marbled paper is called Sumiganashi, and the most important skills is a perfectly still mind! To achieve this, you need to have your house in order…

So we now have nearly traveled full circle. To complete the journey, I feel it is necessary to put your mind at ease. My first born is very much still kicking 18 years later, on the whole seemingly unscathed.

And her shoes fit her.

(But then, at this age, she does her own shopping, nothing to do with me…)


  • Love “Handmade in Ireland”? Browse or contribute: https://www.pinterest.ie/ndescheres/cornucopia-handmade-in-ireland/
  • Etsy seller? Why not joint the craic? https://www.etsy.com/ie/teams/31708/le-cheile-ireland

RIP Etsy – Do you Believe in Afterlife? (I do)

I have attended quite a few fairs recently, a new experience for me. I have to admit enjoying the rides so far. Mainly because I feel like I’m learning tons, meeting many interesting and helpful people, really enjoying the diversity, and the humanity. It may sound silly but diversity and humanity are something I found lacking in my previous life as a professional whatever.

Continue reading “RIP Etsy – Do you Believe in Afterlife? (I do)”

Making is Connecting

I always took pride in making things. Yet, a comment stopped me in my tracks a few years back: “Why do you play ‘poor’?” For me, the pleasures and sense of achievement in creating something were completely unrelated to poverty. Funnily, another comment stated that I must be pretty well off to be able to afford wasting time making things. I am neither. But I guess that having read about the social history of Ireland, it sheds some light on the origin of these mindsets.

Continue reading “Making is Connecting”

November Events

Hey! Did you see us at one of the fair or pop-up and wonder where to see us again?

Well, well, well:

– 12th Nov: Kilmore Christmas Fair, now in its 18th edition, food, fun and gifts Autumn Bridal Bouquet - Halloween Paper Flower Bouquetfor all!

– 19th Nov: Strandhill People Market, with live music, fabulous crafts, and lovely people!

Finally, join us on Sunday 26th, at the Glasshouse in Sligo, for the Christmas Craft Fair!

There will be specific reminders as we go along!

And since it is Halloween, here is the latest not-so-scary paper flower bouquet!

Wabi-Sabi does not go with Sushi

Last July, with some trepidation and much gusto, Huga was born. I will admit that since the learning curve has been steep. It is obviously a good idea to do your market research beforehand but in a world where everything essential has been done, made and created it is difficult to come up with a new concept, especially if you make handmade books and other paper-based wonders… Anyway, true to myself, I (and my hubby) put a hand-made website together and a first collection launched. The website now has 103 revisions and collections are more adventurous. But it is all a journey, so what…

Continue reading “Wabi-Sabi does not go with Sushi”

Huga Returns to Cavan

From bespoke order to retail: A lot happened this month!

A new pop-up display in Lough Key further promoted the Inside [Craft] network, the next one will be in Longford so keep in touch, more details to come…

New marbled collection
New marbled collection

We are delighted to be part of Anne and Claire Godwin’s new venture: The Little Craft Room in Virginia, where plenty of handmade gifts and treats are now available! We wish them the very best ! Like their page for the best kick-start!

There is nothing more exciting than designing a bespoke order for an enthusiastic crafter. A bespoke album is in the making for a Minnesota quilter and here is her feedback so far: “This is even more beautiful than I could have imagined–and I have a good imagination! The little scissors on the spine is inspired. To me it says “quilting” and more “making” and its heavier shape does echo the light-as-air shape of the dragonflies. ” … that made my day! (Pic to come)

Meet us at the Slieve Russell Autumn Fair this coming Sunday with (I quote) : “30 tables featuring a wide range of handmade goods, craft supplies and quality giftware such as jewellery, candles, art, hair accessories, greeting cards, knitting & crochet, skincare, local honey, glassware, journals, wooden boxes and lamps, jams & relishes, mead, beads, craft stamps and more…” The weather promises to be awful so no excuse, come and support your local crafters…

Next month

Hopefully, we will have an update as per the next Longford pop-up soon. But you can also meet us at the Strandhill People Market, in Sligo, on the 22nd of October. A vibrant place where food, crafts and banta collide in style! Again you can like their page to show support!


Crafter’s Typology

As mentioned before, “the crafter”, their habitat, ecosystem and mindset are the focus of this blog. It looks like they have attracted the attention of other people also. Let’s quickly see what they had to say.

BOP Consulting in 2012, in a report called “Craft in an Age of Change”, defined a crafter’s typology in terms of the somewhat narrow parameters of level of qualification and career commitment. Hence, you could be a craft careerist (trained, committed), an artisan (untrained, committed), a returner (trained and repentant) or a career changer (untrained and inexperienced). This classification leaves me somewhat perplexed.

Continue reading “Crafter’s Typology”