Tuesday, August 16

Conveying the Quality Message.

Handmade = Homemade? No it does not, absolutely not. My background in manufacturing, specifically quality assurance, qualifies me to answer this question.

Speaking fashion, as this is my area of expertise, mass manufactured articles are made the same way as I make my one off pieces - just en masse.

Giving the Far East as an example, walk into a factory and you see people cutting the fabric, you walk through and see people sitting in rows stitching the fabric together, at the end they are pressing it and packing it. Same process as how a bespoke, 1 off piece would be made.

The difference is that all day 1 person cuts fabric. Another one all day stitches the left sleeves on, passes the garment to the next machinist who stitches right sleeves on all day. Who passes it on to the next person, who, all day does the next operation. Could be a bag, could be a shoe, a coat, jeans, all the same principle.

When you buy handcrafted, handmade, from a shop like Etsy you get the same as you get in high street stores but with the knowledge that its unique, personal, and injected with the creators personality, and you know that you will not walk through town with your brand new purchase that you have been excited about and see someone else with the same piece.

When you buy handcrafted, handmade, from a craft fair, you are not getting a sub standard product that has been knocked up in the spare room, you get a considered piece of creativity, the jewellery which has been painstakingly worked to ensure the findings are closed neatly and without error. A garment which has no thread ends trailing off, or buttons hanging off because it was made on a (famous saying in the industry) Friday afternoon, by a person who has seen the same item 300 times that day during a production run in 3 colourways and got blind to the flaws.

No, the item you get has been designed, cut, stitched with care, double and triple stitched on stress points. Restitched to ensure perfect symmetry on both sides on a constant quest for perfection. Labels attached with love as you put your name personally to an item with love and care. Pressed to make sure that before it gets sent out to the person who appreciates your efforts it is in pristine condition as you hope that is the way it arrives, and picture the delight on their face when they open their package.

This is not an item sat on a container for 4 weeks travelling on the water, then sat in a warehouse ready for picking and thrown down chutes ready for packing. Or been knocked off the hanger by the rumaging masses on a busy Saturday afternoon.

We are talking limited edition / one of a kind / hand made / hand crafted / loved and cherished pieces of artwork.

Handmade = Bought wisely.

Monday, August 8

Craft Fair Liner Hotel Liverpool, 7th August.

What a lovely day Sunday was, my 2nd craft fair was a great success! At the Liner Hotel, Liverpool it was run alongside the Psychic Fair so it had a very spiritual feel to it. There were talks on regression, aura readings, tarot readings, palm readings, massages it had tons going on. A free flowing group of customers throughout the day and lots of interseting scents and sounds filled the room.

I met some fab people as always and though I spoke to tons of people I didn't get half the cards I should have as usual.

The stalls were a mix of spiritual, selling angels, readings, incense, candles, and other objects of spiritual wonder and fashion and craft. Handcrafted cards, jewellery, adorned sunglasses, vintage wardrobe finds, soaps.

Below are 2 of the brand new designers I scouted from the many stall holders showcasing their work.

Styleeyzed -
This is the place to get custom adorned sunglasses to match your bikini for your hols. Check out the styles on the facebook page and these come with free P&P within the UK.

Masquerade Jewels -
A fabulous new designer made her debut sharing with us some unique jewellery with a peacock theme, tassels and great coloured stones. Her unique style is definately worth a check of her facebook page.

So my stall pictures are below - I changed the layout halfway through the day when I had a spare few minutes which lead to renewed interest in the product so well worth the effort - no pictures of the later display though so will have to try to remember for next time.

The event was organised by Memory Land Fairs and the link to their site is below so you can check out the next dates if you are interested in selling or shopping!

And don't forget to click into my facebook page and like me so you can have regular updates about new product lines and where I will be appearing next.

Monday, August 1

Pink Owl Crafts - Featured Team Member.

Pink Owl Crafts is the home of simple card sets, banners, rag quilts and more. Custom orders are a speciality so please convo direct for this service through the Etsy shop.

How sweet are these cards, perfect little tags for your birthday presents and would be fab for the kids in their lunchbox as a little birthday suprise. Maybe use them to give money gifts or tickets, these days they are printed when bought on the internet and not as nice to give so these would solve that problem and zush it up a bit. £3.10 / $5 for 5 cards.

Pink owl crafts also does these cute little thankyou cards - with a little one who accumulates gifts everywhere she goes I am always in need of thank you's.

Olganna in Feature Friday!!!

A great blog that I follow - KAW! Studios has featured me in their Feature Friday post!

I am so pleased to get some love from this talented artist / photographer.

You can check out the post at the above link.

Monday, July 18

Featured Team Member - Brittanys Best.

Brittanys Best - Handmade Jewelry and cards.

'Unique jewelry, home decor, holiday decorations and paper crafts handmade in Colorado and searching for a good home'

I love this shop! Selling a quirky selection of itty-bitty notecards, jewellery and fabulous adornments for your Christmas tree this is a cute shop with a beady eyed owner!

The proprietor herself says -

"I love little things. Let's face it, the smaller things are the cuter they are! I work with tiny beads and make minuscule ornaments. I'm slowly going blind and loving it.

Please visit my website to read my blog and view craft tutorials and view weekly treasuries at "

From her home in Colorado, Brittany creates some pretty items which are available to buy in her Etsy shop. There are items suitable for gifts and trinkets for festive occasions. Each one is handmade with love and care. I met Brittany through my Etsy team and we have critiqued each others shop and found we have lots in common.

Brittany also has a blog which is full of great posts, inspiration and hints and tips on taking great photos.

Friday, July 8

Joys and Anxieties of a Mummy.

Every parent is obsessed with firsts because its nice after all the months of limited animation for your baby to progress, and once they start, an infants' firsts, by their very nature are constant.

As a stay at home mum my sole job is to take care of my baby, entertain, feed, stimulate, develop, educate, same as any parent regardless of employment status, difference is the pressure I feel for my baby to perform as she gets 1 to 1 all day from me, I feel it's my total responsibility. So I do feel all the firsts as being a personal achievement, this probably also comes from my lack of stimulation in the workplace that other parents obviously get from working.

The amount of firsts this week has been bumper, she has lost hours sticking magnets to the fridge, to each other and back on the fridge via the front room. I showed her this only yesterday at stay and play and she has gone mad for it. Day before was putting blocks one on top of the other, I kept building them, she knocked them down - quite violently actually, I thought she had a real issue with building! But we sat and played and took them out of the truck and put them back in and suddenly it clicked, she built the blocks, one on top of the other. Fab, I was so proud! Then she knocked them over.

Sat in a waiting room on Tues I gave her rice cakes to keep her occupied. After having read her books several times over, recited rhymes to ad nauseum and when her walking direction could no longer be controlled, out came the snacks - never fails. I got her teddy and started to 'feed' De Li (a pink character from Waybuloo), she copied and now all her bears get to share her snacks. Its so cute.

Walking backwards was her new thing yesterday and today rubbing her tummy to show she is enjoying food she does with a nice little grin on her face all smug! Waving has been a hard one, wave hello, wave bye bye, how confusing, but she got it, and now most people round our area have been waved at!  She waves bye bye to the house as we leave, her cot as we leave her bedroom, the toys, everything. Gorgeous.

I have struggled a bit with being a 'homemaker', found it hard to ignore comments about my wasted career and any foundations I have made. The patronising but trying to be sweet 'you don't go out much though anyway so you'll manage', as they question my fanancial situation. I find myself making excuses of 'I worked too far away', 'the Far East travel wasn't manageable with a baby at home, it's too demanding', etc. etc. as they say 'I couldn't do it, I've always worked', as if I haven't.

Fact is we all have our different ways of looking at things and you can argue each side. I cast no judgement on anyone, but feel judged by all. But since I know my faults, main ones being that I always was uptight and always take things to heart, this is nothing new.

But forgetting the doubts, the judgements (which may or may not be in my head), while the rest of the world is working, I am able to slope on back to bed with my baby during the day for cuddles and snoozes, and that is well worth the pressures and anxiety of any issues my head comes up with.

Sunday, July 3

My first Craft Fair!

Today is my day off from mummying and its all about me, by me and for me! I have a stall at a local craft fair and will be showcasing my wares and from 10am til 4 pm.

So 9am and I am in, got my table, right at the door, practised my layout last night so I know what I am up to and 9.20 - finished, all set up. Start to write for this blog post while all the other stall holders who have intricate items and more complicated pieces to display are busy busy, pricing, setting up and exercising their artistic flair with their displays.

Its a moment of pride for us all as we step back and admire our stalls. Check, tweak, double check, tweak and yes, thats it, all done. A few photos and we are done. Ready to sell.

I added new lines with some scented hearts and makeup bags which I have been experimenting with, they went down well so pleased with that and they were an interesting addition to the table. The scent of holidays has lingered all day from the orchid and coconut used in the scented hearts - Lush!

Echoing the room are the sounds of rustling bags as we tidy up and with half an hour to go til doors open we look round and check out the competition.

Opposite me is Ria's Jewellery so we couldn't help but catch eyes all day, and next to her, Jacq of Hearts who makes the most gorgeous fabric hearts, handstitched and made with love. My competition was The Bag Laydeez, but really was no competition at all as our product was completely different and Jessies Jewels were no competition for Ria as the organiser had ensured no duplication and strategic placement of crafts to give an enjoyable mix for the browsing customer. It was an interesting and appealing mix to us all.

For me, today was about gauging my customer, working out popularity and any new product lines, based on feedback. I have spent a long time making in isolation and it did me good to get out and actually meet my market and like minded individuals on the craft circuit.  The mix of stallholders was great in terms of experience as well as product and the encouragement and friendlyness made for a really enjoyable day. I have a few new ideas and lots of feedback on other fairs, footfall, new contacts and new 'friends' who I am bound to see again as I continue with this path.

Jewellery and cards are always the most popular at these events, today there were some really simple but effective cross stitch cards by AKStitching. Really pretty and appealing for a personal touch, something different. Suttons Soap is a fairly new but successful soap company, and the scents are divine - Lush! And the display of nappy cakes by Geeta was fabulous, through doing these fairs her range has expanded since last time I saw her. There were tons of others whose cards I never picked up (including the organiser - sorry Suzanne!), too busy chatting and just forgot, but what  was apparent was how many talented people you could fit in 1 room and it was plenty of us!!!

Although sales didn't come through for all of us due to the poor foot fall due to the FANTASTIC weather (everyone must have gone to the beach) it was definately not a wasted day and I shall be back there in November, and most of the other stall holders have all booked for future dates too. So don't miss it!

Monday, June 13

Only in Liverpool???

It's been a regular topic of conversation in this part of the world and I have seen variations a plenty in the 10 years of being in Liverpool. Wearing pyjamas out in the street. To go to the shops. Yes, you read that right. I am a non-judgemental character, and while this activity is not for me personally - and God knows I have left the house in some right states - but never in a stained, once white dressing gown on a Sunday afternoon at the only shop open for miles around. (Due to Sunday trading laws most shops shut at 4 on a Sunday afternoon).

You see, my baby has the chicken pox - not picked up from York I hasten to add - probably from one of the groups I take her to, but glad to get it out of the way to be honest. Poor little mite, blisters all over her head. This is self diagnosed as the GP said it was not Chicken Pox and she didn't know what it was. But with the help of the trusty internet and its many pictures and descriptions I will take a gamble and say it is the CPox. So how to treat it - porridge oats??? Suprisingly yes. It seemed to relieve the itching for her.

For 2 days during its most intense period I subjected her to cool baths in porridge oats 3 times a day. She screamed the place down - it was cold. I rationalised it to myself that it's only the same as swimming - yes where we cuddle each other really tight 'til we are warmed up, and splash and kick to send the blood round to speed up that warm front. I was not present in that cold vat of porridge. It was for her own good.

Then scared about the risk of infection leading to potential life long scarring I changed her romper and towel each time and washed her bedding each day. Looking after the sick is hard work.

Anyway back to the story, we were in quarantine so I had totally kicked back, relaxed hair, no make-up, scruffy joggers and tee. Ran out of coffee I went to the shop on a grey Sunday afternoon which was teeming with rain. Oversized raincoat on, hood up and head down to ensure I didn't see anyone in this state I barely looked up as I walked in. Til I saw the wet dirty slippers wander in. I think we all looked twice as they brazenly strolled in.

It's not exactly common, but once or twice a week I see (always girls) wandering round in their PJ's. They are so obviously PJ's too. With penguins on, cow print etc. It poses so may questions though. Are these special day PJ's? Did they wear these for bed last night? Will they wear them tonight? Have they underwear on under there? (That is asked purely for hygiene reasons).

I just find it bizarre. And a noteable experience as it was the worst of it's kind to date.
 (Just a footnote about the porridge - it was porridge oats placed in a muslin cloth and held under the tap as the water was running). No edible breakfast cereal was present.

P.S Baby on the mend.

Old York! Old York!

This week I went on a nice day out to York with the baby and my parents. It's a city I went to many times as a child and never got bored of looking round the Minster (it was free back then). Having been destroyed in a fire, it always seemed to be being restored, so each time we went we saw how it had (hardly) progressed and gazed in wonder at the vastness of this great place of worship.

York is steeped in history ready for exploration boatsing many tours and attractions. But the 3 things I love about York are the Tea Shops. Ye Olde Buildings. And the quaint little streets with their quirky little shops.

We spent 4 hours wandering round, taking in the sunshine (we were lucky!), peering in the windows, stopping to drink cups of tea and devour yummy slices of cake. We took a look at the minster (we stayed in the foyer to have a nose, before popping across the road to the (free) RC church for a quick prayer and to light a candle.

I didn't take many pictures but Ye Olde Shops deserved to be shown off. Also, regulars to my blog will know I don't do personal pics but I made an exception here, and you can see my mum in the red coat pushing my baby. OK its from behind but it's as much as you're getting!

Sunday, June 12

Independant Little Miss.

Our weekly library visits are lovely (apart from last week - see previous post!), we play first with the medical box or the play groceries. The kids are learning to share and interact. Mum's catch up on their progress and new funny ways. Then its nursery rhyme time followed by a story. All the kids grab a cushion and sit watching the storyteller turn the pages and it can go either way, listening intently or fidgeting.

Then its time to go choose our books. We have words and pictures books at home and the board books so I always get story books to read. This week I chose 'I'm BIG enough now'. The tale of a baby elephant who wants to go off on adventures exclaiming "I'm big enough now". Ending up in situations that baby is unable to cope with along comes his 'wise, old mum' to help out. They end up having great  fun together and baby decides to wait a while before resuming the adventures as actually he's not big enough yet.

I have read this book several times now and cannot get to the end without crying. OK, I am a softy tearful sort, but this is quite ridiculous. I love this book and despite the tears will be buying a copy to keep, its wonderful, with a great sentiment and moral - 'mum knows best'!

I told my dad my reaction to reading this book, and he said that when I was younger I could not believe I wouldn't always live with my mum and dad. I was horrified at the time! But as I grew I couldn't wait to move on!

Baby's have to grow up and it's a parents' job to give them independance and life skills to help them move on. Always good  to go home though! 

Lots of love to my mum and dad, and my baby. xxx