The Launch

Hello Fabulous

Thank you to everyone who participated in the launch of funding for Social Entrepreneurs in the Edmonton Green Area. This was such a fun event, I wanted to share some behind the scenes information and fabulous photos of the event.

I was told by Untld (the brilliant funders) that there was some money for a launch but it probably wont happen due to only have about two months to organise everything. I took this challenge, ‘I can do it’ jumped out of me and I was on a mission.

I wanted this launch to be Fun, Friendly, Informative, Supporting Local Businesses and Fully Accessible.

For the venue I chose the Millfield Bar/Restaurant as it’s a beautifully open space with great facilities. People can get their by foot, car and bus and is fully assessable. The staff are always friendly and helpful.

When it came to food, I wanted it to be fun, tasty and easy to eat while chatting. Also I wanted to minimise wastage; so often I go to events and there is so much food left over and it gets thrown away. Popcorn, Candy Floss and Slush seemed perfect. So I went on the hunt for people to supply the launch and Leanne Baker – The Candy Kart was recommended to me. Wow was she excellent. They made and handed out all those goodies to so many people they were like a well oiled machine. Leanne even makes her Popcorn suitable for Vegans.

Now you may think I was a little insane having Slush in December, but I did have Malone & Co serving Tea, Coffee and Hot Chocolate with Cream for those who needed something a little wormer.

The Millifeld Centre had done a great job with Christmas lights but nothing that represented Unltd. With luck I met the lovely Kim from Kim Saunders Flowers and Balloons. I told here the Unltd colours were Orange and Purple and she created a balloon arch with lots of clusters of balloons dotted around the room in super quick time.

So the venue, decorations and food and drink were all done but there was much to do at the event. As well as lots of eating and networking there were was Human Bingo! Such a great idea from Joel (Unltd). This way there is a fun relaxed way for everyone to get to know each other and win prizes.

Myself and a helper spent the Saturday prier stuffing envelopes (to match the colours of popcorn bags and candyfloss) with a pen, motivation badge and a bingo sheet. The words DO NOT OPEN were written on the front. I was also in charge of punishment. Anyone who did open the envelopes before they were told to had to wear these Unicorn headbands. Sadly no one broke the rules and the headbands came home with me.

There were also sticky notes and boards where everyone could put their thoughts. So quickly the boards were covered.

Joel of Unltd did a great job of telling everyone about the fund and he answered so many questions. Ideas were bursty every where.

I was one of the speakers along with Community Souls. I spoke about my jewellery ‘Sensations,’ a sensory, inclusive collection. I create pieces that hold scents, use genuine Braile with motavation messages, magnetic clasps etc to your body, to make you feel as fabulous as you are. Engaging to the wearer and the viewer.

The
launch was brilliant. Such a great atmosphere all captured by Dave
Hadley Photography, thanks for your hard work. He made it a hard
decision on what photos to put in this blog. Below are photos of the
event that tell you more about it that I can.

Zinfinity, Designer-maker of fabulous quirky inclusive jewellery and exciting creative workshops

Hints of Green

Hello Fabulous

We all know we can help the environment but so many people don't know how to do it. Zinfinity is an awarded and kite-marked 'Green' business and I wanted to share a few simple tips that don't cost the world to achieve.

1) Use Recycled Pinter Paper. These days recycled paper is of better quality, the cheap rough yellow papers are long gone. You can also print on both sides, why use 2 sheets when you can use 1.

2) Use your Scrap paper as a Note Pad. Simply cut your A4 sheet in half to A5, put the blank side face up and put them together with a bulldog clip. Great for writing your To Do lists to keep you organised.

3) Think about your Packaging. Say NO to plastic! There are plenty of paper and card bags and boxes of great quality.

4) Revive Your Leaflets. The last think you want to do is to hand out a dog-eared leaflet or business card. Instead of throwing them away (hopefully in the recycling bin) simply use a Corner Cutter. This simple cheap tool brings your printed material to life again.


5) Anything Can Be Something. There are so many materials around us. Be creative. 
What can you make out of them?  Here I can used broken glasses to make Spectacular earrings. I have used old maps to make bold brooches. 
No drinking cans leaves me when I can make it in to lovely leaf brooches. You use odd items to help you display your goods, such as bottles, bricks and scraps of material.
  
6) Think Before You Drink. When refreshing yourself with a much needed beverage don't use a plastic or polystyrene cup, use a glasse or mug. Yes you do have to wash up but a little effort makes a difference.

There are lots of other businesses out there who care too. This is what they do:

Kay from Crafty Cavy advises keeping leftover yarn from a project as this can be used for repairs if the original item is damaged. It’s also possible to embroider over small holes or snags in knitted or crochet garments to extend their life and create something truly unique and individual! 

Good yarn can be salvaged from an old jumper by undoing it, steaming the yarn to remove kinks, and using it again.

Small scraps of yarn can be used to decorate other items, by making crochet flowers and leave that only take a small amount but can add zing as a trim to a hat, scarf or gloves - particularly topical in autumn!



Kwaks from Malone and Co uses Paper Straws instead of Plastic.


Cathy from Partylite told me they used 100% Recycled Paper for their Fragrance Sticks. When it comes to their Tea Lights the wicks are made with 100% cotton and the pots that hold the wax are recyclable.


What ideas do you have, please share.

Zinfinity, Designer-Maker of fabulously quirky inclusive jewellery and exciting creative workshops.



 

Jewellery At Play

Hello Fabulous

By now you know me at the Fabulously Quirky Designer-Maker. My jewellery is about joy but what happens when it inspires you to play. Here are some little fun films and photos of my jewellery at play. Have the sound up, they’re fun.

Ring Garden Photo

 

 

Interavtive Inspiration

Specs-tacular Cable Tie Neckalces.

Eye See you

                                    How will you play with your jewellery?

 

Zinfintity  Designer-maker of fabulous quirky inclusive jewellery and creative workshops.

 

10 Simple Rules to Customer Service – Simple things that we think we do but probably don’t

Hello Fabulous

Customer service is always important no matter what your business is. Here are a few tips.

  1. Smile, Say Hello, Be Friendly

  2. Location – When meeting think about location, is there a car park, how is the public transport, does it have disability access? Make sure you and your client can easily get there. Of course remember your safety. We often meet strangers in strange places, so always make sure you are not alone and meetings are in well-lit public places. Never take risks with your safety.

  3. Pen & Paper – Don’t reply on phones and tablets, sometimes it’s easier to describe on paper. We all communicate in different ways, so make sure you can communicate with each other.

  4. Be Professional – Don’t be overly intimate. Be friendly but still professional.

  5. Respect Your Customer – Listen to them, don’t presume you know what they want.

  6. Keep in Contact – If you are going to be late or have a problem let them know.

  7. Be Prompt – If you say you are going to do something try to do it within 3 days. Longer than a week shows disinterest and tells your client that you are of no interest to them.

  8. Be Patient – Your customer may find communicating their ideas difficult. Help them.

  9. Resolving the customers Problem – It doesn’t matter what your business is our job is to solve your customers problem. If you can’t, be honest, you may be able to pass them on to someone who can.

  10. Let your Fabulousness Shine – There is a reason this person has come to you, so show them why you are special.

 

Zinfintity  Designer-maker of fabulous quirky inclusive jewellery and creative workshops.

Mighty Oaks From Little Acorns Grow

Hello Fabulous

There are good people and bad people but most of us float about in the middle. This month’s blog is about how teeny tiny steps can make life better. I have collected advice and combined it with my own experiences that improve the days of others and ourselves.

Smile

The simplest thing of all. When you see someone and Smile and Say Hello. This polite gesture has a far more positive effect than a blank face which seems to be most people’s response to a situation. A smile is infectious and so can bad moods. I would rather have the former, wouldn’t you?

Say Thank You

Yes it is that simple. Say thank you for your change, thank you for directions, thank you for giving me your time. Show appreciation.

Give a compliment

If you are a little shy this may be hard for you but give it a try if you can. If you see someone in the street or in a cafe and you like their bag, coat, scarf tell the person you like it. Tell them how good their hair cut looks on them. I told a women that her trousers looked nice and gave a real Audrey Hepburn look and she told me that it made her day. How lovely.

 

Cheryl-lya says ‘A kind word and a gentle touch help. Meditation sets the tone for the day and helps with the ‘little’ things in life! Letting someone ahead of you in the grocery store. Helping someone with a difficult problem. Spending 5 minutes chatting with a stranger.’

 

Don’t Be a Litter Bug

Recycle what you can and put what you can’t in a rubbish bin. There are lots of bins around and if you can’t find one, put it in your pocket and put it in your bin at home.

 

Jane says ‘I write daily gratitudes and appreciations which I send to my gratitude buddy every morning, we’ve been doing this for nearly a year now and it has helped up through some particularly difficult challenges.’

 

Donate

I donate jewellery that I have made to charity events so they can raise money. Think of charity shops before throwing those clothes away or Freecycle when ridding yourself of old furniture. Of course you don’t have to donate ‘things,’ what about your time. Can you give a few hours of your time to help. I give 4 hours a year to collect for the very worthy cause, the Poppy Appeal. By doing this I have raised hundreds of pounds for charity for so little of my time. I do free head shot shoots for people who need a more complimentary Facebook picture. After being in business for 14 years I have learnt a thing or two and meet others for coffee to help advise with business issues.

Of course there is the traditional way of putting spare change in donation pots and lots of people putting in makes a lot of difference. Do always think of safety, there are some unscrupulous people out there and they will look where you to put your purse / wallet. I keep a little change in my pocket just in case.

 

Barry says When people who are serving me I always try to be particularly friendly e.g. ‘you’re busy today,’ ‘isn’t it lovely outside.’ It is how I would like to be treated myself.

 

Sign a Petition

If you agree with the course, take the few seconds to sign the petition. Yours may only be one signature but lots of one’s become many.

 

If none of this is possible for you, just be the best you, you can be.

 

What do you do to improve life?

 

Zinfinity, Designer-maker of Fabulously Quirky Jewellery and Creative Workshops

Cheap Easter Thrills

It’s only a few days left until lovely Easter is here. Celebrations can turn out to be quite pricey so here is a fun, cheap crafty idea to amuse you and the family.

Buffy, Fluffy Egg Decorations.

These are simple, fun and can be made with scraps of material. They can be used as hanging decorations, table name place settings or if you have lots of energy to make enough they are great for a calorie-free egg hunt.

  1. Draw an egg shape to the size of the the egg you want. You can copy and paste this one as a guide.

  2. A tissue box or a cereal box make great templates (make sure you remove tissue and cereal before cutting 🙂 ). Draw on the shape and cut it out. If there are several of you working together make more so there is no need to share.

  3. Collect any scraps of material you have. Felt works particularly well but anything can be used. Draw around your template and cut out.

  4. Lay out your designs. This is the really fun part, placing all your bits and bobs in to position. You can add anything; ribbon, buttons, bits of lace etc. You can sew them on or use glue.

  5. Secure pieces in place with dressmaking pins. Please be careful not to prick yourself blood does not look good on art work!

  6. Sew the edges using normal dressmaking cotton. You can use any type of stitch, I like the blanket stitch but I like to be fancy 🙂 Here I have used blue cotton to contrast the pink and green materials. Don’t forget to leave a gap at the top for stuffing.

  7. Now it comes to stuffing. If you have stuffing material, great, but if you don’t just use the scraps of material to put in the middle (add ribbon on top if you want to hang it) and finish sewing.
  8. You can hang them up, use them as name places or table decorations. These are just a few suggestions, let your imagination run wild.

  9. Voilà you are done. Happy Easter

Zinfinity, Designer-maker of fabulousy quirky inclusive jewellery and exciting creative workshops.

Eye of the Tiger

Hello Fabulous You

Did you know Tigers Eye Stones come in a range of colours including red, brown, gold, cream, black and blue. Gold is the one you will see most often and has lovely bands of yellow-golden colour through it, mimicking the eye of a tiger.

It is the stone related to the star sign Leo and pieces and cost as little as a £1, so with Mothers Days so close you can treat mum and have some money left in your bank account.

Some believe stones have powers and each group of stones have their own qualities associated.

Tigers Eye is said to help convert anxiety and fear into practical logic and action and promotes balance and strength in difficult times, and to relieve doubt.

It is believed to be a powerful stone that helps one to release fear and aids harmony and balance. It stimulates taking action, and helps you to make decisions with discernment and understanding, unclouded by your emotions.

It aids emotional healing; decreasing anxiety; happiness; organization/order; courage; focus, objectivity, bravery and courage. It can help eliminate the ‘blues’ and helps your life blossom and protection.

The Ancient Romans carried it as a talisman to safeguard against their enemies and for bravery when going into battle. I wonder if Ancient Roman family-members gave their beloved such tokens?

Tigers eyes can be carved in to many shapes all showing off its gold or red radiance. Every piece is unique and individual for the wearer.

In jewellery one will often see Tigers Eye combines / set in gold as it have the same colour pallet as the stone. Personally I prefer stones mixed silver / white metal as I feel it enhances stones.

This is a series so look out for more and get in touch if you have any questions about Tigers Eye or jewellery.

Zinfinity, Designer-maker of fabulous quirky inclusive jewellery and exciting creative workshops.

From Their Mouths – A collection of quotes and poetry

With all the colour and fun of Christmas and New Year gone, here is a little something to make you smile.

 

A day without laughter is a day wasted

Charlie Chaplin

——————————————–

I saw a Jolly Hunter

I saw a jolly hunter

with a jolly gun

walking in the country

in the jolly sun.

 

In the jolly meadow

sat a jolly hare

saw the jolly hunter

took jolly care

 

Hunter jolly eager –

sight of jolly prey.

forgot gun pointing

wrong jolly way.

 

Jolly hunter jolly head

over heels gone.

Jolly old safety-catch

not jolly on.

 

Bang went the jolly gun.

Hunter jolly dead

jolly hare got clean away.

Jolly good I said.

 

By Charles Causley

————————————————-

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you never alone;

Audrey Hepburn

———————————————-

Nothing you wear is more important than your smile.

Connie Stevens

————————————————–

I love my mum because she gives me lots of huggles

A child I was teaching.

————————————————–

Happiness is warm puppy

Charles M Schultz (Snoopy)

————————————————–

What’s you favourite quote or poem to make you Smile?

Inspiration

The question I’m asked most of all is ‘Where do you get your idea?’ This is a tricky question as inspiration comes from everywhere and you never know where something will lead. By being open to the things around you lead you to ideas. Often people think that to create jewellery you must research jewellery. I feel that jewellery is the end product and you need to look outside jewellery to lead you to jewellery inspiration. For examples in my sketchbooks are sketches and pictures of stones, rust, maps, faux turf, felt, latex etc. Anything can be something.

I find when making a product that people live with / wear it’s important to be involved with people. Listen to their stories, what makes them happy, what makes life easier, what is their message?

Keep your eyes open. While sitting on a train (if you are lucky enough to get a seat), waiting for a bus, walking around the shops embrace all that’s around you.

So many things interweave in to my mind and designs come out the other end. Of course one can have an idea but it takes knowledge, skill and experimenting to create the final pieces. Touch, feel and explore what a item or material can do leads on to more ideas.

Despite what I have said, the opposite is also true; some of the best time you can spend is just by spacing out. Let your mind wonder and go free. Ideas can come when we aren’t thinking about it. Sometimes the best way to get ideas is to walk away, do something else or just do nothing.

Working your way is the best way.

Here are some idea paths that I followed.

I saw faux turf then researched and experimented with different styles, lengths and textures. I learnt how to melt it, curl it and shape it. Here it is set in sterling silver with a silver daisy in the centre.

I saw a picture of a toy Troll with it’s crazy hair in a magazine and it reminded me of working with felt and combining contrasting materials.

This idea came about as I was staring in to space, just in my own world.

What is your inspiration?

Make a Great Meeting

When we go to a meeting, whether a proposal or discussion we want to make the best meeting we can. Here are some simple tips to make the best of the time.

1) Find out who you are meeting. Look at their website, Facebook page etc.

2) Before you set off make sure you have their contact information. Address and phone number. If you are like me and meet a lot of clients in coffee shops and public places, a mobile number is a way to text and let them know where you are sitting so they can find you. Also no matter how hard we try to be on time, we are human after all; if you get lost, stuck on a train or sitting in a traffic jam, a phone number lets them know you are on your way. It’s simple courtesy.

3) A few days prior to the meeting, make sure you have samples of your work or any notes you may need. Put them in your bag so they are all ready to go.

4) When you meet SMILE. This is the simplest thing you can do to make the most of the meeting. A smile is friendly, polite and makes everyone feel good.

5) Know where your pen and note book are in your bag. You don’t want to start rummaging half way through a conversation. It may not be appropriate to get a note book out straight away but you want pen and paper to hand. If you are talking about an idea, it can be helpful to do rough sketches with them to aid communication.

6) Listen. Truly hear what you client is saying.

7) What do they want and how can you RESOLVE THEIR PROBLEM? When it comes down to it our purpose is to resolve problems. If you are a driver, you are solving the problem of them needing a reliable, honest, safe, proficient driver. If you are a designer, you are solving the problem of e.g. designing a wedding ring in gold and silver.

8) When you speak, think who you are speaking to. If you have a client who knows nothing of your field, use language so they understand. No one wins if the client feel stupid of doesn’t understand but don’t talk down to them.

9) If you don’t know the answer say you will check and get back to them.

10) Before you leave make sure you have covered all areas and both you and your possible client are clear. Sending an email after the meeting helps confirming ‘To Dos’ or plans makes sure everyone is on the same page. No matter how clear everyone seems on the day misunderstandings are common.

11) Finish as you start,  when saying goodbye.

Hope you found these tips helpful.