Thursday, 2 January 2014

Welcome to 2014 - New Activities and a Farewell.

It's some time since Cy Bear and I have been posting on the blog:  blame it on Christmas and the fact that the sewing room had to revert to its proper use - as a bedroom, so that daughter Philippa could sleep there.  The bed occupies one whole side of the "second bedroom" in this apartment at The Hospital of St. John, and blocks access to the cupboard where all my fabrics are stashed.  Yes - I could get there if really needed, but the hassle of moving the bed, remaking it again so Philippa could get a night's sleep etc. et al  .....  so, for 10 days, no sewing got attended to.  Withdrawal symptoms were beginning to set in!

There was also Christmas and all its attendant goodies to be prepared, enjoyed and finished as well so it was not until Sunday that things returned to "normal" chez nous.  Cy Bear is now ready to take up his duties as Coldham Cuddlies' mascot, co-author of this blog and general over-seer of my activities, and I'm desperately trying to get on top of all the administration required for the Shop ( and for all the Teams that I have somehow joined since the beginning last year (9 in all, although not all at once - and some have been left during the year as well).

Just before Christmas though, an order was received from MsEA who wanted one of our Baby Koalas (Etsy Listing #551901188) to be sent to a friend in Fruita, Colorado.

 Now even with my hazy knowledge of the geography of the United States, I realised that there was no way that the package would be able to reach its destination before Christmas - the last guaranteed date for that within the UK was on the day the order was received.  So, it was decided that Koala would begin his journey the very first post immediately after Christmas (Friday, December 27) - just so that he wouldn't get tangled up with all the international Christmas Mail that was by then in full swing. Thus, the night before, this farewell shot was taken and Koala, wrapped up in chemical free tissue and bubble wrap, was placed - together with an explanatory letter about the postal arrangements that had been agreed - into a polythene Air Mail envelope and all the requisite labels attached.  Cy Bear supervised - as is his wont - and the result was this picture:

Needless to say, the package is still en route as this post is being prepared - but, hopefully, it should not be too long before we get news of its safe arrival.

In the meantime, I've joined a new Team - the All Handmade By Me Team - about which I'd like to explain a little bit.  As the name implies, members are only allow to join if ALL  the items in their Shops are HANDMADE By Them.  It was set up in October last year by Stacey Sobelman of       because of her very real concern about a new direction in which seems to be heading, whereby Etsy shop owners can use outside manufacturing help, if required, for their Shops.  (Slightly truncated, but you get my meaning, especially if you read Stacey's comments quoted below):

All Handmade by ME is a moderated team with the following requirements:
Members of this team will receive a handmade stamp of approval and as such we require that they prove they are truly making their products themselves. This does not exclude traditional collaborative shops or family businesses.

Members must be devoted to selling only what they themselves have made. THIS MEANS THAT YOUR SHOP MUST CONTAIN ONLY HANDMADE ITEMS! Shops also selling vintage or pre-made items will not be allowed in this team. Members who do not comply with our values will be removed.

It should be noted that we rely on team members to be responsible sellers and to know copyright law and the issues surrounding licensed images, fonts and other merchandise. Therefore the team will not be held responsible for any violation of copyright law by an individual member, but that member may be removed from the team if found to be in conflict with this.

I can do no better than to quote from Stacey's description of the aims and objectives of the Team and because I do so agree with this statement I decided to join.

The sharp eyes of my Followers will doubtless of noticed an addition to the Blog Banner, as well as that on the Shop Banner.  The badge, designed by Stacey and offered  for a very reasonable fee, is one that all Team members are encouraged to highlight whenever, and wherever they operate.  The badge is offered in several coloured versions, and I ordered two - the green one below, and a Gold version, which is the Team Badge on Etsy.  Of the two, I think the Green one works best with the Coldham colours and banner:  but I have retained the other, just in case I need it for another background in the future.

The team has been successful beyond Stacey's original hope and now numbers 1,563, occupying 44 Etsy team pages!  In three months, that is going some, I am sure you will agree.  So, in a small way Coldham Cuddlies is standing up for the true artisan and hopefully all future customers will appreciate the fact that every single CUDDLY is HANDMADE BY ME!

I've just made four new Baby Bunnies - in a different colour - in response to a special plea from a Team Member from the Etsy AAA Support Team, which I shall be listing in a couple of days.  MsLC, lives in Blacksburg, Va and wanted one of our existing Light Brown Bunnies, as well as this new model, for her sister's baby - who arrived a little late, on December 31.  These two will be en route for the US tomorrow, but I still have one more to stuff and put together, so that four more Baby Bunnies can join the ever-growing Rabbit population in our Shop (  Pictures of Baby Boy and his new Forever Friends are promised when the introductions are completed.

Right - that's all for this first post for 2014.  It's a bit longer than usual - but it's been some time since I did a proper post!


Good night from both of us.  Isobel   and Cy Bear.