Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CE Testing Update

Back in the summer I found out that the UK law has changed and all soft toy products (toys are anything that looks like a toy) must be CE certified.  It is not a task for the faint hearted or for those that give up as soon as someone says "no", but it can be done..... Not in the way that many people suggested which was to attach labels stating not for under 14's or under 3's ( not a legal cover) or say this is for display only (as they too have to be tested if they look like a toy, they are a toy)
Knit a hat for a child and sell it, no problem, but put the same hat on a toy and it then needs to go through a large range of tests.
My trading standards department couldn't see a feasible way to get tested as socks are clothing and thus not subjected to the same rules.... so I stopped trying, withdrew my sock monkeys from sale and started to research.
I've found a very helpful company and a group of other makers who have been or are going through the process.

It has not been a cheap process and takes a lot of time and paperwork.  You should see the piles I have.
Every single component has to come up to certain standards and be traceable, frlt, fabric, stuffing, thread, ribbon, buttons etc.  It means that you cannot use vintage or second hand fabrics because you can not trace the manufacturer.

So my monkeys have now had weights attached, seems poked, eyes twisted painfully, have been washed, tumbled dry and photographed like a top model and they are currently awaiting more torture  but the wind is currently stopping proceedings.  I need a still day.

Throughout the process, I have been tempted to give up, but with encouragement from other people going through the same thing I've very nearly reached my goal.

I have also been developing a new product.  Ra Ra Raggie Dolls are traditional style rag dolls who are also being tested at the same time.
So watch this space while I watch the wind!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Lavender Blue

Let me introduce you to a web site I've recently created for Gill Tomkinson.
Lavender  Blue is home to some really stunning Lavender and Dianthus (pinks) Plants.

 The new web site is now live and will be added to over the next few weeks

The full range of Dianthus

The full range of Lavenders

Gillyflower the floristry section

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


"Who has told every lightening bolt where it should go or seen store houses laden with snow"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Updates .......

For many many years I've been trading as Beads By Design and whilst that fitted my initial ideas, it's become more restrictive and does not really reflect my current creations in the same way as it used to.
I am also known as Crystal Velvet Weddings and as Ra Ra Bazaar and after some considerable thought, I have decided to move to being Ra Ra Bazaar as it enables me to encompass all my creations under one roof.
I will still have the Beads By Design and Crystal Velvet Wedding sections on my web site, but am gradually changing my public persona. will eventually become my main web address, but the others will still be kept on and will work to take you to the same place.

Friday, January 18, 2013

South Cave Snow Video

A few years ago, but each time snow falls here the beauty is the same

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jack Frost Visited

Spiders webs turned into lace

Little ice crystal trees

Wonderful fern like patterns on the car

Monday, January 14, 2013

Les Miserables

Last Friday I attended a showing of  Les Miserables.  I am still reeling from the impact.
I am familiar with the music and over the years have seen many snippets of the show, but never the whole thing, so other than a vague knowledge of the story, there was a lot left to discover.
The film was breathtaking.
I am now telling everyone I know to go and see it.
But I should issue you with a warning.  take your tissues.  They are essential.  At the end, the whole audience sat in stunned silence apart from the muffled sniffling.  I did not see anyone who looked unaffected   All the way back to  the car we could hear other people discussing it in very favourable terms.
I want to go again!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Crafty Hoarder

A recent post on the Crafts Forum was entitled "Are you A Crafty Hoarder?" to which I proudly stand and say My name is Karen and I am a crafty Hoarder!
Growing up, my parents would despair at the mess that filled my room.  I wanted to be tidy, but it really wasn't in my nature, I'd tidy up and then somehow mess would develop around me and before I knew it, the room would be untidy again.
It wasn't until my late teens and early twenties that I finally understood "my mess", it wasn't mess at all, but creative clutter.
Creative clutter is a tool by which I am inspired.
Creative Clutter throws colour schemes and pattern before my eyes.
Creative clutter is recycling at it's best.
Creative clutter is essential to my creative process.

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