Cloud 9 black and white print

Not on the High Street

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

As a small business not found on the High Street, I quite often find myself being overlooked. This isn’t helped when all of the current focus is on our High Street and what can be done to improve it. Whilst I’m happy to support initiatives that look at bringing business back to the High Street (as this must have an impact on the town as a whole) I’m really worried when these campaigns focus on what we haven’t got. To me that’s negativity. And I am not a negative person. 

All too often keyboard warriors shout about the things that annoy...

Spring Update

Friday, 30 March 2018

I made intentions after Christmas and New Year to fufill some long held ambitions. One of these was to make use of art as a therapy. I’m not able to pursue an Masters degree in Art Therapy, much as I would like to, for logistical reasons. The nearest university offering the official course is the other side of Edinburgh and would take me more than a couple of hours to reach. Even on a part-time basis having a four hour (at least) round trip is just not workable for me. 

And I also don’t want to just be an Art Therapist. I have a gallery...

Meeting Theo

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Just before Christmas, coming hot on the heels of my trip to Downing Street (courtesy of Small Business Saturday UK), I received news of two further business awards. One came from Jacqueline Gold MBE, CEO of Ann Summers, and focused on businesses run by women. The other came from Theo Paphitis, multimillionaire entrepreneur and self titled Shopkeeper. 

Theo started his Small Business Sunday awards, hashtagged on Twitter as #SBS, in 2010 following, he says, an afternoon spent trying in vain to chat with his wife Debbie (affectionately...

Ringing in the Changes

Monday, 15 January 2018

So much happened that was wonderful in 2017.

Firstly we had the hugely successful Tiny Paintings campaign in May, with 49 out of the 50 paintings being sold (and one damaged during exhibition), raising money for two worthy charities. 

In August Cloud 9 was a Small Biz 100 winner, chosen from 5000 similar sized businesses across the UK.

As a result of that I went to Number 10 and was part of an honourary reception in November.

Cloud 9 was also chosen as one of Theo Paphitis’ Small Business Sunday businesses...

Cloud 9 at No. 10

Monday, 4 December 2017

Such a lot has happened since last I updated this blog - and that was only a couple of weeks ago! I’ve spoken before about my amazing Small Biz 100 win, in which Cloud 9 was chosen as one of one hundred businesses throughout the UK to embody the ideals of Small Business Saturday UK. I enjoyed my SmallBiz100 day at the end of October and have appeared in several national and local newspapers, magazines and across social media. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind and I admit to have been a bit overwhelmed at times.

Then, a few weeks back,...

Christmas is Coming

Sunday, 19 November 2017

At the time of writing it’s five weeks until Christmas. Which sounds like ages away. It’s not!

I’ve been busily putting out new stock, some very Christmassy indeed. The gallery is literally bursting with new arts and crafts and looks wonderful. However, I’m still to succomb to winterfying the window and, at the moment, it’s still autumnal on Cloud 9. 

I’ll get all wintery this week though I think - look out for that!

I’ve just been adding a new workshop to the calendar after a visit from...

A Week of Awards!

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Someone today suggested that I put money on the lottery because this week I’ve managed to pick up another two awards for the gallery! 

The first came on Monday evening when Theo Paphitis, former Dragon and entrepreneur, chose Cloud 9 as one of his twelve businesses to join his Twitter Small Business Sunday collective. The first I knew of the win was when my Twitter feed suddenly went crazy, with two hundred notifications and almost as many new followers appearing! 

I spent Monday evening and Tuesday morning thanking...

The Lovely Life Planner

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Last year I was telling you all about a wonderful life and business planner I’d been using and many of you followed suit and bought one of your own. I’ve faithfully used mine during 2017, logging my recovery after surgery and important dates and so on, but soon discovered that the planner didn’t quite have everything in it that I wanted and was a bit too airy-fairy for me. 

So I set about designing my own. 

What I’ve designed is something that can be downloaded and printed on a home printer and then put into a...


Friday, 1 September 2017

For the last few years Cloud 9 has been supporting the Small Business Saturday UK campaign. Small Business Saturday falls neatly between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the worst days for small businesses as everyone clambers to shop online, grab those pre-Christmas bargains and save as much money as possible. And who can blame them?

We are historically a 'Nation of Shopkeepers’, but small shops can really suffer at what should be the brightest time of the year for them. Not everything bought online and cheaply has the quality and the...

I'm on Tour!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Well, the wee van is loaded to the neck, with everything I think I’ll need, for this weekend’s Kirkcudbright Arts and Crafts Trail! 

I’ve got some new work to show, paintings that haven’t yet been displayed at Cloud 9, as well as my recycled accessories. I’m hoping that the display will encourage plenty of folk into our wee caravan awning. Everything will be for sale, with prices starting from £3, so mind and bring your pennies!

The event starts on Friday at 11am and runs until Monday at...

It's goodbye Tinies!

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Yesterday I parcelled up forty-eight tiny canvases, ready for their new owners. It literally took me all day to match paintings up to their destinations, print out a certificate of authenticity for each one and then carefully wrap them up in specially printed wrapping paper. 


So, at the moment, some parcels are winging their way to letterboxes, whilst others are waiting for their new owners to collect them. It’s been an amazing last month!

Come Saturday I suddenly realised that I was...

Guid Nychburris!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

When I first came up to Dumfries and started working in a local primary school, June came around and everyone started talking about Good Neighbours. It was the local gala and primary school children were all invoved in prize winning activities from handwriting to football and the event culminated in a gala day on the third weekend in June.

Imagine my confusion when I started getting written information coming through for Guid Nychburris, seemingly doing the same things as Good Neighbours were. How odd, I thought! 

Until the...

Open Studio Weekend

Sunday, 28 May 2017

It’s 8pm on Sunday night and two days of my open studio event have successfully passed by. I’ve met new customers and well kenned ones over the last two days and I’ve still got another two days to go! 

I should maybe feel a bit guilty riding on the coat tails of Spring Fling. I should be a bit shame faced at parking René outside Gracefield Arts Centre. But I don’t. I’m just doing what any sane business woman would do. I’m taking advantage of a situation, without causing hurt or harm, breaking any rules or, hopefully, annoying anyone

Tiny Paintings

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

My Tiny Painting exhibition opens on Thursday 18th May, 2017. Here’s a reasonably short video of me explaining what the exhibition is all about and how to get involved!  

It’s really easy to register at eBid. Just follow the link, click on the register button and add a few details. It’s free to join, free to bid and easy to pay - if you win!  Make sure to click that you want a ‘Buyer’ account. You can search for Cloud 9 in the eBid stores section or simply follow this link:


Saturday, 6 May 2017

I’ve long been a supporter of the Fairtrade movement, always buying Fairtrade fruit, tea and coffee. To exploit people for profit is abhorrant to me and I would rather pay a little more and have a guilt-free conscience than pay less and not care!

It was only natural for me to buy Fairtrade and Forest Alliance teas and coffees for workshops here at the gallery, and when I noticed that Dumfries Fair Trade were retweeting those businesses in the town that supported the movement I joined in.

The short story is that Cloud 9 is...

Spring at Cloud 9

Friday, 5 May 2017

With so much happening at the moment I feel the need to take a wee break and recharge my depleting batteries! So, having got the gallery up and running again, I’m taking a week off. My timing might not seem ideal, but with a new exhibition looming and Spring Fling weekend on the horizon, I happen to think it’s perfect! 

When I return it’ll be all hands to the pump, with my Tiny Painting exhibition starting on May 18th, followed by Spring Open Studio on May 27th. During the Tiny Painting exhibition the wee canvases will be up for auction...

Little and Often

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Since last posting I’ve been up to Edinburgh, had surgery on my spine and I’m now recovering. It was a big operation, lasting five excruciating hours for my very nervous husband, and afterwards I ended up in intensive care until my extremely low blood pressure started to climb. That in itself was ironic because my blood pressure had been so high before surgery! 

My recovery started off with me spending a huge amount of the day lying flat, interspersed with short walks and short sits. Gradually I’ve readjusted the times I spent doing...

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

I’m probably the very last person who will wish you a Happy New Year, until next year - so sorry I’m late! 

Personally I’ve had a demanding start to the year, one which I knew was coming and which has affected the choices I made for the first half of 2017. 

I’ve had major surgery on my back and I’m recovering from that. It’s going to be a few weeks before I’m able to reopen the gallery and in the meantime it’s going to have a lick of paint and a few changes. We are all having a fresh start!

I’m looking forward...

Christmas on Cloud 9

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

I’ve always been a huge fan of Hygge, even before I knew what hygge meant. Maybe it’s a Scandinavian ancestry or just a love of the wonders of nature, but seeing the days shorten has never bothered me as it seems to bother others. Instead of aching for the long days of summer, I turn on a million little lights, cosy up by the fire with a book and a nice glass of wine and enjoy the cosy hug of winter nights. 

When I dress Cloud 9 for the winter, I do it with that in mind. I try to bring a cosy glow to the place, inviting people in with...

Rounding up 2016; a reality check!

Friday, 9 December 2016

I''ve this year become a big fan of a down to earth Australian artist and entrepreneur called Leonie Dawson. Some of you may have heard of her. She''s made her fortune from selling a range of planners for life and business, as well as selling self-help programmes. Her story is pretty amazing and I look forward to getting her emails.  

However there are times when her buoyant emails underline how grotty I''m feeling just now. My energy is spent being the happy and calm face of Cloud 9; when I get home I''m just a big hurt of a wife,...