Thursday, 25 August 2011

Leave of Absence

Just a quicky to explain the quietness from Bags of Swank by SimJaTa and Special by SimJaTa over the next few days. Starting today really...

We have our WoofBeginnings
fund raiser this weekend. Set up our stall tomorrow (Friday) then ready for the Town and Country Fair in Southport for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Also our agility team are attending so Alfie will be performing, and maybe Jaja depending on just how brave we are feeling.

Today I have been sorting out the tombola prizes, so far we have managed 150 prizes for each of the days, so I have done day 1 and folding up over 1,000 raffle tickets and sticking on tickets, then packing up the boxes - didnt take too long, only the best part of 8 hours!! I very much doubt I will be seeing much of a sewing needle till Tuesday, or maybe Wednesday, feels very strange not to be working - but I suppose its a forced break and lets me come back all nice and refreshed ready for new designs. I will be missing out on Folksy Friday and Handmade Monday, so hope to read and catch up next week.

Before I go, here is the new bag I listed today on Folksy

..and if I get the time I will be listing the gadget pouch I made to match at some point too.

Luckily I have got ahead with the brooches so can start listing more of those in my other shop - Special By SimJaTa, like this one listed yesterday

The photo's take you straight to the shop, so please do go have a looksie, I will be available to post out up till tomorrow lunchtime, but sadly not until Tuesday after that.

Our main worry for the weekend is of course the weather, usually v.good for August bank holiday, but not looking so promising this time - Ali, if you are reading this perhaps you can send that prayer off to the weather gods again? As you know a weekend of hanging on to tent poles really is not ideal, and tombola tickets are really not so good in wind and rain.

Hope you all have a great weekend with whatever you have planned.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Monday, 22 August 2011

Its Handmade Monday!

Its handmade Monday time and only my second, I enjoyed it so much last week and met some fabulous new crafters. More importantly though after all this time the lovely Wendy at 1stUniqueGifts who organises all this for us taught me how to do a clicky link, so huge thanks to Wendy who can be found here 1stuniquegifts along with all the other talented crafters who join in with handmade Monday.

Today I am going to talk about quilting, I so admire all those talented quilters who make such fantastic works of art, so much time goes into each piece and the results are amazing. Just for your amusement, here is my very first attempt from last year.

One day I will find the time to start on a real quilt, though I often think I just use the lack of time thing as an excuse. I have all the quilting needs, my Mums friend in Wales was an amazing quilter it was her life, sadly she lost her sight and could no longer continue, she was more than happy to give me all her collection in the hope one day I would learn. I will do one day.
I often visit the exhibitions just to look and admire this craft, and have a few magazines. To begin with I raided the library of all their books, there are plenty there for anyone like me who would love to start.

Last week as a bit of a cheat I had a go at some bags, by quilting the dogs on them, the idea was to give them a 3D appearance on the bags and to keep my hand in so I dont forget, I do think maybe I should have used a different colour thread though but still I enjoyed doing it.

So that was my week, wonder what this week will bring?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Folksy Friday, Best Talented A-Listers

Friday already? who did that, surely we havent moved passed Monday yet? goodness me, time goes so quickly.

As I have only done one blog post this month on the A-Listers this weeks Folksy Friday better be then, these are the very hard working Folksy members who try to list one of their fabulous items each day (or near enough), so please do take a look by clicking on the picture and being transported to the rest of the shop of wonders and temptations, all more than worthy on new homes..its Friday, you need a treat!!!

One of the first items I saw today was this necklace from "Be Beautiful Again Trinkets' great name, and super shop

The jewellery on Folksy is second to none, and most is one off originals, so wont be seen on another whilst you are out being admired. Here is another necklace from "Laura Faye Crafts"

The earrings in this shop are amazing, this talented lady draws them herself! Here are a pair ready for halloween by "Created by Kelly"

Dont you just hate it when you visit a friend on their birthday to find the same card you bought duplicated on their mantle? not when you buy from Folksy, here is one for the boys from "Adien Crafts"

Geisha Dolls, what a great idea - here they are as earrings from "Damselfly Gemma"

This is a stunning necklace, wait till my Mum sees it, she loves owls. Again not something you see on the mass produced shelves, Turquoise Owl by "Mary Elliott"

I just love all the items in this shop, from "Vintage Dreams" today are a set of shabby chic gift tags to brighten up your gifts

Lastly, from my other shop SimJaTa2 (link to the side of page) the last in this type of brooches, my new creations will be in the shop very soon - and OH is slowly working on a new website for them too, I just need to find a few more hours to get some new designs made. This one is a Fox Terrier in his wooly scarf

I hope you have enjoyed today's Folksy Friday Selection.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Rescue Dogs

I have been happy to observe recently that many of us crafters are also animal lovers, be it dogs like me and cats. So todays wafflings are on the rescue dog. The above photo shows four dogs from this mornings walkies, can you spot the rescue ones? no, of course not they are all dogs having fun. Zac the golden retriver (rescue), Alfie the black labrador (rescue) and their pals Charlie the mad yellow labrador and Bailey the darker golden retriever.

Here is our Jaja, looking so adoringly at my friend Sylvia - not because he loves her, but he does love her pocket of gravy bones. Jaja was adopted from Swindon Strictly Strays 8 years ago as a puppy, his Mum was rescued by them expecting a litter, Jaja was one of that litter, infact the largest of that litter. He has been a lucky dog, never known anything but love throughout his life.

This is our Alfie, adopted 31st October 2009 after a relationship breakup. Alfie did arrive with us with one or two 'issues' we are still getting there, he is ok with most dogs now, but still needs a little work. He does attend classes each week, along with agility, flyball and scent work to keep his brain working and keep him out of trouble the rest of the time.

Tess came to us from Labrador Rescue 9 years ago, she was a failed gundog who had then been homed to a delightful family (not) who beat her, she is still a nervous dog at times, sometimes you cannot remove the past no matter how you try. Tess is now around 11 years old but still enjoys playing with the younger dogs.

Zac, is my friend Sylvia's dog, he is from Retriever rescue. Also a very nervous dog with many an issue, he is quite happy as long as he is in familiar surroundings and with his friends, but reverts back to his nerves in strange places. His Mum no longer has holidays as Zac couldnt cope with them.

Last night I was looking here ManyTears
at the many dogs needing homes, heartbraking to see so many unwanted dogs. I may well have been lucky enough to find one a home with a local lady who was looking for a minature poodle having lost hers to old age earlier in the year, so thats one lucky dog out of so many.
Many Tears are one of the rescues my own organisation help to support, as well as crafting I am also area co-ordinator, and one of the founders of Woof Beginnings,
we raise funds to help rescue dogs. Currently working towards our next show at the end of the month, collecting as many donations of prizes for our quality tombola as we can.

Hope you have enjoyed meeting some of our friends today, I have been told recently blogging should be about other aspects of our lives as well as crafting, so here you have an insight into mine.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Monday, 15 August 2011

Handmade Monday, My first attempt

I have often read about 'Handmade Monday' but not fully understood what it was all about, I have just seen Haptree's blog on CraftUK and decided to have a go. Still not quite sure were I am meant to link it too? but do understand no shop links and chat about craft and latest makes be they good or bad...
Well, as some of you know I am really a bag maker, but do enjoy other crafting too. I noticed many of our customers like something a bit more reasonably priced to treat themselves too, so had the idea to make brooches - it didnt start so well..

I have listed some brooches, but they often turned out way too big so became keyrings and bag charms instead, but some as the one above and this did not make it to the shop, I just wasnt getting it!

Improving slightly, I am aware its my outline that just isnt right - so tried this one, still not quite sure the magic is quite there though?

During the weekend I had a new idea, long long ago when time began I used to make jewellery, I still have some left in a drawer so thought I would try a spot of remaking and turn the old jewellery into brooches, now these I like...I may well be the only one, who knows? but I am happy with my first two attempts at flower brooches - although the light is not really my friend this morning but hopefully you get the idea.

So, there you have it. SimJaTa's move into the land of the handmade brooch, you may wish to watch this space and by next Monday I may have improved. I have spent an awful lot of hours trying, and more hours will be spent this week too - alongside the next bag I am 'meant' to be hand quilting, anyone found out were those extra hours in the day are hiding yet?

Late edit - to say my first mistake was not putting the link back to the handmade monday blog by wendy (sorry) here it is

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Friday, 12 August 2011

In Memory of a special lady

Some of you may remember my previous post about my friend, the post was 'life is for living'. Today we said goodbye to my friend Michele Bimpson. Above is a picture of her beloved boy Digby who passed to Rainbow Bridge some years back with many of her four legged friends she is now reunited with. I struggled with what to write today for her, and decided the best thing was to share this poem with you, dedicated today to Michele.

Rescue Rainbow Bridge Poem

(Author Unknown)

Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.

It wasn't long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for a while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.

He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be.

But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.

With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren't playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.

One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn't understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him.

You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge.

The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what will happen now?" As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.

"Watch, and see" said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge. They all crossed The Bridge together.

"What happened?"

"That was a rescuer." The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of his work. They will cross when their new families arrive. Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn't place on earth, across The Rainbow Bridge.

"I think I like rescuers," said the first animal.

"So does GOD," was the reply.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Beautiful Scents for us Beautiful People

Yesterday I was totally side tracked from everything. The nice old chap who provides me with my lavender for sachets brought me a cutting of 'lemon geranium', I immediatly fell in love with this scent and spent most of the day searching to find more and looking to see what I can do with the leaves. I now have a stack of lavender, geranium and other flowers drying out to make myself and maybe the family some popuri - no wonder I never have any free time.

During my search I of course found myself on Folksy, were there are no less than 91 pages of homemade soap, and what a fantastic selection - so you lucky people are about to see some of my favourites I discovered in my search.

First of all is 'Handmade Soap by Caroline' as she actually had the scent I was looking for alongside another 2 I could choose, so I chose the patchouli and orange for me, and another one for my friend so I can share my wonderful find. As you see, its not just about soap making, but the fantastic presentation and service, my soaps will be with me tomorrow, and I cant wait.

Next is this special lady from 'Scrub up Lovely' who helped me out with a soap for my psorisis, and has others to help with varying skin conditions, here is a lovely citrus blend she has on offer, but I also had to include her chocolate and swirl as it was such a lovely photo.

This one is just a work of art, what a lovely gift for someone special, 'Bennington handmade soap' has this adorable cupcake soap rose garden

The next one really amused me, I walk a dog called Bailey and the picture on the front is just like one of my own dogs, its a special natural doggie soap, and is on my favourites list for Bailey for Christmas. Its from 'Just Bev Soaps'

One here for those with sensitive skin, from 'Handmade Luxury Soap' a fabulous creation for those with skin issues to still have something lovely.

My last choice was from a lovely named shop 'Little Bird Told Me' just look at the presentation on this one, what a stunning gift this would make, organic lavender soap.

Now then, you cant blame a girl for trying - just in case you may well be looking for somewhere to store these beauties, here at Bags of Swank by SimJaTa we have some cosmetics bags, here are just a couple

Hope you have enjoyed my selection, please dont read and run - leave us a comment if you have already or indeed do purchase from the above sellers, the picture takes you straight to their lovely shops, or maybe you can recommend some others?

Today the news on the TV is pretty bleak, us beautiful happy people need to surround ourselves in beautiful scents to keep us happy and smiling.

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Introducing Folksy A-Listers

Ok, its day 2 already, but JulyJewels have now finished and the talented crafters on Folksy have a new title of "The A-Listers" which is a daily listing club for the month of August, were the wonderful daily creations are shown off, and more importantly available for you to purchase an original treat for someone special or indeed for yourself.

Here is just a small selection of my favourites, simply click on the picture to be taken for further details, and maybe even a leisurly browse around each shop.

Starting with Maxine Veronic Art, and today's ACEO 'checking out the piglets'

Sophie's Stuff, has a lovely card yellow, with crochet flowers

Squintessential, has these gorgeous earrings that also have matching bracelt and necklace in her shop, in Smoky Quartz

You will find some wonderful artwork in Passionate about Photography, here is an encaustic art card entitled 'the big bang'

At Lonely Hearts for today is this stunning Scarab Beetle Necklace

The Whimisical Wren, has Jenny Wren and her Quartz nest (I am already wearing stunning quality jewellery by her)

Lastly from my other shop 'Special by SimJaTa' I am trying to stock up with some fun brooches, keyrings and bag charms, this cute cat on pink leather is from me today

Hope you have enjoyed today's selection, its clouding over here so perfect to do some on line shopping! What are you waiting for?

~Bags of Swank by SimJaTa~