Season's Greetings

Dear Mustard Lovers,

I was going to send you all a Christmas card and a Tunnocks, but I never got round to it. Will you forgive me and accept a seasonal message and a dotty video on my Facebook page instead?

I hope you've had a good year. So many sad bad things are happening in the world but I try to focus on the good things, things I can do something about and things I can create and make happen. I've had my ups and downs but I know I'm one of the lucky ones and I hope you feel lucky too. Just the fact we are communicating via the whiz bang interweb is to me a total miracle. I always wonder what my old Nan would make of it all.

It's been a busy year with many changes. And I always find that change is strange even though it's inevitable.

The biggest change was losing my dear Moses dog just before his 16th birthday. He was my first dog. A legend. And good as gold if you don't count him peeing up the backs of some smartly dressed Japanese tourists sitting on the beach. Enthusiastically humping a nervous stranger at his first Christmas party. Chasing pigeons down the street with his lead attached to the leg of a table full of cake and coffee. Rolling in fox poo just before a long bus ride home... Dear Moses. He was the best old dog too. In fact I could hardly remember him as a young dog until I met little Betty.

Young Betty. A two year old Black and Tan German Shepherd. She is both graceful and terribly clumsy. She loves walking through my artful displays of flowers and greenery in the fire grate. She's sweet, silly, cuddly. Playful like a kitten. And she loves my bereaved Stanley Philpot. They snuggle on the same bed, and they fight like brother and sister, Betty on her back kicking her legs in the air with his ear in her mouth, and Stan getting all disgruntled and cross then launching back in for more. And if Moses hadn't died I wouldn't have my Betty, so I thank him for that as well as all those happy years he gave me. Betty also chews like a demon. Big strong teeth and an appetite for bones and chewies like I've never known. She gets through those indestructible toys in an afternoon, almost like it's her solemn duty. It's costing me a fortune. But don't we just love it?

And earlier in the year we had that wonderful exhibition at Panter and Hall in Pall Mall, and so many of you made the journey to Big London. Our lovely bubbly Private View and our fun Grand Day Out with all the crazy dressing up, the quiz, the happy families game, the raffle. All the We Came We Looked We Liked the View merchandise and the new self published little book. Thanks for all your enthusiasm and support. It really keeps me going in those dark moments of self doubt. Can I say, I truly appreciate you all, without sounding schmalzy?

Later in the year I came to Abingdon and Norwich where you queued in the cold and rain and I signed and drew and dedicated for 7 hours straight then back home on the bus. We made a new card range for Art Press, Larry n Pidge, a new calendar with Art Group and new mugs too. We launched a stocking and hamper business. And then we decided to open a little shop and renovate some old telephone boxes to be the smallest exhibition spaces in the world. I made two new bronzes, and I did a few pictures as well. I get all cross with myself if I don't keep up with making the pictures.

But oh how I love my little shop.

If you follow us on Instagram @littlemustardshop and @dogandbonegallery you will see us step by wobbly step, struggling with a motley looking sandwich shop and those derelict old phone boxes. And talking of steps... have you seen the concrete mess the builders left? My little shop is a work in progress.

And the loveliest news is that Nan Mustard and I will be at the little shop together 12-6pm on 23rd and 12-4 on 24th December so please pop in and say Hi. We may even give you a Tunnocks ! We still have stockings, calendars, cushions, mugs, writing sets, badges and tapestry kits as well as plenty of last minute picture gifts and two Tofties itching to wrap them for you. And then we will be closed until January 11th

And last but not least, thanks SO MUCH for all the hand knits. So generous you are dear Mustardistas. Nearly £200 you have raised for Sussex Pet Rescue.

Lots of thanks, lots of love and a big hug from Team Mustard. All the very best for the Season and this lovely old year before we ring in the new.

I hope you'll enjoy our Christmassy video on my Facebook page and keep yourselves safe until next we meet,

Big love,

Sam Toft

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