Thursday, 28 July 2011

Meet the expat: Sam´s Shenanigans

Whenever I visit Sam's shops I get this happy feeling. Her Gingerbread Christmas decorations are delightful and I love her inspiring signs. She also makes beautiful homewares - go have a look.

Sam was kind enough to take some time to introduce herself to us.

I´m Sam, I´m 27 and live in Barcelona, Spain. I make anything my hands want to make and I run two shops on Etsy, Sam´s Shenanigans and The Gingerbread Mama.

I started sewing, probably only about 6 or 7 years ago, but I have always been creative and making things since I was small.

I´m originally from a small village called Walkington in East Yorkshire, England. Think fields, trees, tractors and a typical English Village with Village pubs and a pond I grew up playing in corn fields and climbing trees and making “den´s” with my younger brother Matthew and due to this I love nature and really miss it now I´m living in a city. I love the UK countryside and I never realized it until I moved, but I am such a country girl it´s untrue!

When I thought about my creative/artist background I couldn´t really see where it had come from, or if I had been encouraged at a young age, but then I remembered that my Great Grandma made clothes, my Grandma made clothes and even my Mum made clothes so really it´s all in the genes! (Although I haven´t quite got onto clothes yet!) My mum bought me a sewing machine one Christmas, as I thought it was a good idea to learn to do properly and it sat in the loft for two years. Then for no reason at all I decided I needed to get it out and start learning. I went round to my mum´s on Saturday afternoons for sewing lessons and the rest is history! I think even my mum is impressed at how far I have now taken those lessons! Thanks mum!

Why did you move?
I moved to Barcelona, Spain in 2009 and as with all good love stories, it was purely for love. I met my partner Victor on a holiday in Menorca, and just like the famous film dirty dancing – he was on the entertainment staff and I was with my family!

We lived a long distance relationship for a long time and it got to the point where we couldn´t live that way any longer, So one of us had to move. After all this time here now, I am starting to feel like this is home, the home sickness still strikes, but less often and it´s more controllable.

Hardest thing about being an expat?

I found the hardest thing was relying on someone else to help me (not speaking fluent Spanish or Catalan). I'm very independent as a woman and found it really disabling. It still occasionally gets to me now although I am getting much better at accepting things and letting him help…plus my Spanish/Catalan is getting better each day as well. Of course missing my family is hard and at special times, babies, marriages etc it´s harder but I am only a 2 hour plane ride away so it´s not too bad.

Biggest joy being an expat?

The biggest joy of being an expat, (apart from being with Victor – obviously!) is the great friends I have made these past few years, including my Etsy expat friends who without sometimes I don´t know where I would be! I really have been lucky and met some wonderful people and seen some wonderful places. It´s opened my eyes to the world and taught me a lot about myself.

Find Sam online:

Etsy Shops

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about yourself Sam.

Are you a soon-to-be, been-there-done-that or currently an expat? If you sell on Etsy come and join our team.

Post by: Jacqueline Fouche (Tangentine)


  1. Great interview. Sam's work is gorgeous. Funny to learn that she and I grew up practically as neighbours. I didn't know where she was originally from!

  2. It's so much fun to learn a little more about our teamates! Great interview, thanks Tange & Sam :)

  3. Shirl/Artophile29 July 2011 at 06:08

    Sam, your childhood sounds idyllic! Your grown up life doesn't sound so bad either!
    Great interview and lovely to have Jacqueline back to do them!

  4. Hello Sam,
    Great to hear all about you - a lovely photo of you both!
    You're not too far from me - around 3 hours by car so maybe one day we'll get to meet up.