Thursday, 29 April 2010

Introducing the Miniature Cats

I tydied up my little Lavender cats today, and re photographed them ready to go in the Folksy shop. Not a bad attempt for me, I think they look pretty good, hoping to do the dogs tomorrow.

First this evening I must thank Mick from for his very kind words of wisdom yesterday, I was having a rather low day. It got much better though, when some lovely friends of mine offered a lot of help and support for the future, and more than anything actually believe in me which means an awful lot. So, no more doldrums and carry on upwards. Tomorrow I have a meeting with Business Link, were I am going to attempt a grant (worth a try), so have an awful lot of homework to do tonight.

Cut out is new design number 4, still awaiting eyelets for the completion of the others, I am hoping to finish off a custom design for me to show off at the Greyhound Rescue show in Stoke I am going to on Sunday, complete with pockets full of business cards. I am getting a bit fed up with said seller, worst of it is he was recommended by U-Handbag, so if he doesnt make return contact with me soon I may well have to let them know - I dont mind if things are slow if the seller bothers to let you know or at least communicate in some way, but no items and no communication is a tad frustrating, and the items were very costly to me.

Right, off back to study the business link information pronto.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Here is our Alfie (black Labrador) with his pals from scent work on Monday. Centre is Sophie, other collie is Beau. They do their work at training, then go for a play afterwards. Due to our Alfie being such a wayward boy he needs his mind occupying quite a lot, tonight is obediance and tomorrow agility. Sunday we are hoping to go to the Greyhound Gap show to introduce him to some of our friends from down south we havent seen since his adoption.

Slow craft day today, my eyelet kit STILL hasnt arrived so this is holding up the new designs and driving me mad. Also feeling a bit low after a slating from my family about not getting a 'proper' job since my redundancy and more or less accusing me of wasting my time here, thinking cap well and truly on now on how on earth to get some sales in quick to show them I can do it.

If anyone has any advice I sure could do with it right now.


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Lavender Sachets are here

Well, at long last the Lavender sachets are here. The best bit is they contain dried English Lavender which was locally grown at Phytobotanic, who can be found at a glorious place I am going to be visiting in person with my friend Sian in the next couple of weeks.

This morning I have also joined Stumbleupon, I hope! I must admit I found this all rather confusing, but I think I have mastered it and managed to 'like' a few other Folksy seller, so lets hope this will help us all out a bit.

I am also very excited with my new drawstring rucksacks, of which I have three in production now just eagerly awaiting the arrival of the eyelet kit so I can finish them off.

Hoping to list some Lavender sachets next in the shop.

Enjoy the sunshine, those of you lucky enough to be out in it. I will be off out for a bit with my dogs and the other hoodlems I walk shortly.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Spirit of Border Collie

Last night I attended a talk on 'For the Love of Dogs' by a wonderful lady called Barbara from here The talk was to teach us already dog people to educate the public in dog ownership and the horror and defanition of the Puppy Farmers. My own site Woof Beginnings will hopefully be helping with this education in the future.

Never one to miss an opportunity LOL, I have (hopefully) struck up a deal with Barbara for some advertising in her magazine and maybe on her website for my products, what she doesnt know yet is I will also be offering a donation to her rescue for every item sold from her advertising space.

Day of work ahead, the new project is going very well so far - so hoping to have some new design bags to show you during the week.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Friday, 23 April 2010

Jigsaw Lovers wheat bag

I listed 2 more lavender scented wheat bags on my Folksy shop earlier. The jigsaw one and the pinks one from yesterday. They are all nicely packaged up with HUGE instructions, to keep their lovely scent.

Also went to visit the lambs today, they have grown up quite a lot since we last went, had a couple of relaxing hours there - but am now way behind on the work front, I have managed to cut out the pattern from new bag design - may be some time before its actually finished though, as quite a busy weekend with doggie stuff ahead, not much available free time.

Short blog tonight too, as dashing off to watch Ashes to Ashes now, I dont watch a great deal of TV but do enjoy this show.

have a good weekend all, lets hope the sales fairy is kind to us.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Introducting Lavender Wheat Bags

They're heeeeeeeeeeeeeeer!! Well, they are crafted, labelled and packaged at least. All I have to do next is list them in the shop. Introducting my first line in Lavender filled wheat bags, the first run does contain French Lavender - but the next lot will be locally grown English. Of course in time (hopefully) they will be home grown lavender.

I hope to list them in the next day or so, but a bit short on time. Even more so than usual, tomorrow I have a meeting with the bank manager and I also have been chatting to Business Link, so soon to have a meeting with Sefton Elect, my local business people for a chat and some help and advice. So, been busy with paperwork, business plan and new products to take and display.

There will also be another new product soon, then to follow a new handbag design - once I have managed to perfect it - that may well be another week off yet.

Dashing off now, as have to sort out family meal - dogs liver cake for training school tonight, and take Alfie the reprobate labrador there.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Garden Birds Handbag

I finally got around to adding my latest creation to the Folksy shop. Let me introduce "The Garden Birds" makes a change from dogs I thought. This morning I planted the lavendar, just got to learn how to look after it now, hoping hubby will take me out to a large lavendar plant in Rainford in the week, they grown lavendar and other herbs and products and give advice too.

Today's creation is Cottage Garden Patchwork Cats, hoping it will turn out ok.

Not tested the wheat bags as yet, as Hubby has been busy fixing the servers all weekend, we have our websites back now but still alas no email, makes checking all the sites, facebook etc even more time consuming, be glad when its back.

Better dash off, just remembered the washing still on the line.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Formby Sunset

Guess what we did last night? yes, in light of the recent news reports we thought we would go capture an interesting sunset at Formby Point, unfortunatly due to PC probs I only have one I took on my trusty Panasonic not the rest of the camera equipment we had with us, still you get the drift. It was a lovley evening though a touch on the chilly side to say the least.

Today, I have done all the preparation for the lavendar planting tomorrow - visited the garden centre and taken all the advice whilst purchasing the plants. Also I attempted a new handbag, and to anyone who can actually attach wooden handles with gathered fabric and do this in the sewing machine I take my hat off to you, as my attempt was a disaster - so that will NOT be a new design seen here at Bags of Swank by SimJaTa thats for sure. Took me all afternoon and into early evening. So back to the drawing board on new designs, going to have another crack tomorrow at something else, after the gardening.

Also trying to wade through a business plan for Mrs bank manager, eeeeeeeeeeeek - not doing so great at that either, I think I need to make enough money to pay someone to do the paperwork side of things, I just want to create, she says and goes off in (hopeful) creative flounce.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The dog lovers lavendar wheat bag

So here we have them, the very first SimJaTa dog lovers lavendar scented wheat bags. Now then, think goldilocks........... Bag one looks good, but has far too much wheat in it, Bag two is pretty has the right amount of wheat and lavendar, Bag three is actually just a cover for a wheat bag and I doubt microwave safe, created to put the bag in after heating for comfort purposes? well I thought it a good idea.

Now, the next step will be to see just how many microwaves I can blow up when I test them - think I will await hubby's presence for that one, as my history of blowing up microwaves and their contents is not so good, or is that very good? as I have succeded in that one a few times. Then, once I get that bit right to find the right safety instructions to go with them. I have contacted British Standards to see how I go about gaining a kite mark, and how much that will be - hopefully after that I go grovelling to Business Link for that one LOL. I know its not necessary as others do not do it, but will help sales and safety if I can make that possible.

Now you see why the lavendar plantation is on the cards too. I love lavendar always have, and spent many a year with the wheat bag on my neck and shoulders at night, only just found out one of the ways to stop setting them alight is the egg cup of water in the micro with them, and to let them cool first before re-heating them. I also grew lavendar at both my previous houses, just because I liked it in the garden, I dont actually have a garden now - but have pots, and my parents, friends and neighbours have gardens, and have already volunteered to help the growing and harvesting process.

Not stopping the handbags of course, I am on with that too, infact I have completed the garden birds and will treat you to that one tomorrow, just incase I get stuck for something to write about LOL.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Some of you who follow this blog will have seen this before, but I have just listed this Airedale Terrier handbag on my Folksy shop - having just noticed the handle has a twist, so decided to list it at a reduced price as I think its lovely anyway.

Been out most of day so little else done, joined business link today and been studying step one, think that might take me a day or so to digest, horrified by the whole idea of a business plan but has to be done, somehow.

Also spent an hour earlier tidying work space as was getting far too cluttered even for me, bought 2 more huge containers for fabric - and have one more on the way, that should be enough to house tomorrow's 'Lifeboat Shop' visit, I need something to line my new handbag project with, my friend Paula donated some wooden handles to me today so I can have a try at this new design.

That along with the beginnings of the lavendar plantation - well I have the pots!

Dog club shortly, so off to try work out how to use the new cooker and make something for tea first.

Also entered the Airedale handbag on Facebook to see if that can create some publicity too.

Quiet day all round really.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa

Monday, 12 April 2010

My Birthday

Early blog today, as a day spent cleaning cupboards ahead of me ready for the joiner to come and sort out kitchen, and new cooker to arrive (after last weeks disasters).

Today is my birthday, and I have added on an extra digit as I am feeling more like 144 this morning. Best thing so far is appreciating my very best friend from 'Collars and Woofs' (see link at side of page) who last night walked a very long way with her dog to bring my card and present. I have opened this morning, a lovley card with dogs on, nice bottle of red, a wonderful book on recycled handbags and a gorgeous piece of fabric. How cool and thoughtful is that? I am so lucky to have such a fab friend.
I have other cards and gifts I have opened from Saturday's post, and Hubby made me my own mug with my dogs past and present on, which is also lovely. The best handmade card from my Mum, with 2 of my dogs on and a picture of the lambs I visited earlier.

You never know, once things 'EVER' get back to somewhere near normal in this house, new handbag designs should be arriving, that with my new project of late on the way... Anyone know about growing Lavendar?

Have a nice day all.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Alfie star Agility Dog

Here is my rescue Labrador Alfie, doing his first agility show at last weekends show. We are very proud of him as when he arrived with us last November he had no training and no manners. Now look at him, he did very well.

Yes, here I am again doing no work whatsoever now I have the electric back I 'should' be catching up on some work but no, I have sat here checking all the forums, facebook and updating here - well, it is sort of work a bit of promotion thrown in:)

My next handbag is 'Garden birds' makes a change from dogs eh? Hoping this might attract some new attention.

After yesterday's fiasco, we now need a new cooker, so off shopping for one of those tomorrow afternoon, so another day with not much work done, promise to get back to it at weekend. Also been into work today to try start the fight for some redundancy pay, nothing forthcoming yet so not a happy bunny, been told the earliest will be end of the month, not really good enough - but do I really want to head down the tribunal route? mmh, not just yet. I think there is little point with a company that has ceased trading and has other debts, but will wait and see how it goes.

Bit chilly here today, sunny but not that warm. I am also on the look out for how to create a rucksack if anyone out there has any idea's, been asked by some of the dog walkers.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Ever had one of those days?

Quick post tonight, explaining my absence from everywhere and that of my website.

So, up early this morning lots to do, starting off making liver cake for tonights dog training class, all going well ready to go in oven by 8am, turn on the oven and Kaput! all the electric goes off! Hubby in Clitheroe on a course so all alone, I very cleverly (I thought) worked out how to sort out the trip switch and put it back on, nothing.... i work out it must be a cooker fault, turn oven off elec back on. Great, stuck with pan of livecake and no oven, take that to Mums later to cook. Worse than that though, we have our own servers so they all reset knocking off all the websites and email, get hubby on phone to talk me through how to reset cant do it, have to wait for him to be home. Turn on PC, nothing............... find out all the elec has gone downstairs except in kitchen, so at least appliances are on, but no electric down here - means no pc, and worse than that No Sewing Machine!!!!

So till hubby came home I had no cooker, no tv, no pc, no sewing machine. He has now fixed the elec and servers so the power and the website is back. Cooker is terminal so can go to cooker heaven along with the freezer that also packed up the night before.

Still, its not the end of the world there are people far worse off - just thought I would explain today's absence from everywhere, and lack of work done. Though I did cut out all of the next handbag ready to start on hopefully tomorrow.

Oooh, nearly missed a bit, on the plus side I gave my tale of woe to the nice man in Pets at Home, who when I told him what I did for a living said his wife likes handbags, so he got a business card and then told me my day must get better for that LOL.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Coldest place in the world EVER

Hi all

First I am sorry I cannot keep up with all the blogs I have missed over the last few days, too many to get through - promise to do better now things are back to 'almost' normal. So, the 3 day garden festival, or 4 day if you count setting up on Friday was the single coldest place in the world EVER, I think Siberia would have been warmer. Friday we set up the gazebo tables, stands etc in a huge downpour of torrential rain and the worlds worst wind, Saturday there very early as despite having watched us set up the organiser wanted us to move again! Weather looked nice with the sun, but boy was it cold, more clothes needed for Sunday...

Sunday, still not enough clothes, and everything had blown over and collapsed when we got there - took us till about 10.30am to secure it all with a few SOS messages to some super friends who came and bailed us out.

Monday, dull and not as cold - but then I had enough clothes on to resemble the Mitchelan Man, but worst thing was the weather was so dull and miserable the place was like the Marie Celeste. I am now very tired, in a lot of pain and have wind burn on my face - LOL.

We did however manage to raise £326.52 for Woof Beginnings, so not too bad an amount to say there was few people attending.

My bags did didly:( but then, I couldnt display them as it was so windy so that didnt help. I gave out a few leaflets and cards and people did admire them, but as is often said this one was of those venue's were people were not looking to spend much money, our stall sold mainly small items or the odd mug and t-shirt, nothing over £6 was spent by anyone. The handbags were admired by some, and I did get asked for the dog breeds I didnt have (of course) so I do have an idea what to work on now, might also have a few leads for further promotion so here's hoping.

Today's picture is of hubby finishing off the stall on Saturday Morning, this was our best day for the stall as the wind was behind us.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa

Friday, 2 April 2010

Temporary shut up shop but seen at Country Fair

Well, I am off to shut up my folksy shop for the weekend - in the hope that despite the appauling weather, hundreds will flock to the show, spend all their money on the Woof Beginnings Stall and buy up all my handbags, or at least shower me with custom orders, as well as supporting our fund raiser, watching my daft dogs do agility and enter the dog show.
Lots of other attractions too, there are over 50 other trade stands, lots of attractions and plenty to do (and if it rains you can come and shelter with us LOL)

For the next 3 days Sat, Sun and Monday we can be found at;

Southport Country Fair
Stanley Sports College
Southport PR9 9TF.

From 10am - 5pm.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Evening Bloggers,

hope this comes out ok, but here is the tri-fold leaflet, which I have printed a fair few out for this weekends show (weather permitting) and for the future. Also today having managed to mislay the laminting folders had to go buy some more for the price details, and managed to buy a multi pack in Tesco containing business card laminates, these worked rather well on my cards making them look a little more impressive.

I asked the lovely people on Folksy and it seems I do not have to delete my entire shop ready to take the bags out for a jaunt, but can just mark myself on holiday so no purchases can be made and still have them there for display, what a super idea and saves me a lot of work, then again if or should I say 'when' they all sell at weekend, will have more stock to make and list LOL.

Been busy today dodging out of hubby's way, I have been packaging up my handbags and doing the laminating and he has been printing out mugs and t-shirts, and currently working on air fresheners (the ones you hang in car's etc), as well as sorting out the Woof Beginnings tri-folds - see men actually can multi task if they wish.

Just back from agility and both my dogs did very well, just hoping they perform as well in the ring at the show and Alfie doesnt get side tracked by eating all the children's chips!

So, busy few days ahead. Tomorrow is setting up day, then Saturday, Sunday and Monday its full on show time from 8am - 6pm. Just hope the weather turns out better than is forcast, been lovely here today.

Hope to pop on tomorrow with update on were the show is and details of how set up went.

Bags of Swank by SimJaTa