Tuesday Top 5 – After School Activities

So, the children are back at school after the long summer break, but there’s always that time after school that you need to fill, between them finishing school, and them having their dinner. I don’t know about you but I always seem to struggle to entertain them, to keep them, busy to stop them from arguing etc. before dinner. So I’ve come up with five activities, you can do to Entertain your children, for a couple of hours after school.

  1. Conker hunting – I don’t know about you but as a child I used to absolutely love collecting conkers and to be honest nothing has changed! Wrap up warm, grab a bag or a bucket, and go in search of some conker trees. I know there are lots near us, so we are quite lucky. If you don’t know where there are any conker trees, maybe ask your neighbours, or your friends, or family, and see if they know where there are any conquer trees and enjoy. On another day you could do something crafty with the conkers – conker caterpillars or conker people etc.
     

 

2. Lavender Play-Doh – you probably find the children usually come home from school they are extremely tired, hyped up or argumentative, and you just want them to stop arguing and calm down. Why not try some lavender Play-Dough the lavender will have a nice calming affect and smells amazing. I’ve found a lovely recipe from The Imagination Tree – here

lavender playdough

 

3. Teddy bears picnic – instead of waiting for dinner time to arrive, why not have an early dinner, and have a teddy bears picnic.  If it’s a nice night you could take the children to the park, take some teddies, take a picnic, and they can sit and have their dinner, play and have fun, when you get home you won’t have to worry about getting dinner and you can stay out longer because they will have already eaten, and they can just get ready for bed when they get home.  If it’s raining and windy, you could make a den with the children and have a picnic in the den.

 

 

4. Board games – another idea is to have a family games night and play various different boardgames there are so many to choose from and some of them are quite short so you could play a few in one night and keep the children entertained for as longus you need to. Some ideas of board games include: (I’ve linked each game to where they can be bought) :
Pie Face
Frustration
UNO
Connect 4
Chess

boardgames
5. Fruit painting – last but no means least I’ve chosen fruit painting, you can choose different types of fruits including; apples, pears, grapes, star fruit, and oranges etc. You can experiment with different fruits, different paints and different colours and create some lovely pictures; you could even turn the pictures into wrapping paper.

fruit printing

 

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Four Years of Chloivia

Gosh where have the last four years gone? Chloivia was four years old on the 23rd of August. It’s been such an inspirational four years.

I thought I’d write a blog to reflect back over the last four years.

Things I’ve learned over the last four years are;

  • There are a lot of creative and talented people in the world
  • Being passionate and creative doesn’t guarantee business success, this requires a different scale altogether.
  • There will always be negative voices around you.
  • I’ve learnt how to build a website. (www.chloivia.biz) Shameless plug 😉
  • I’ve learnt and I’m still learning about social media, it’s a minefield out there!
  • Everyone is busy! Some just know how to be more productive weather with that time.
  • Over the last four years My business has grown from making and sewing just hair accessories to making and selling a wide variety of crafts, creating craft workshops and parties and now launching craft membership boxes.
  • I’ve also learnt how to network and become a networking host for Bizmums Stafford.
  • I’m looking forward to the future of Chloivia and hopefully it will continue to grow over the years to come.Best wishes
    Becky

Chloivia Craft Creations

Tuesdays top five – top five tips for selling online…

What? Where? When? How? Why?

What?

There are a lot of what’s when it comes to selling online; what is your product? What is your niche? What is your price range? Etc…

You need to decide what you are going to sell? Have you found something unique that isn’t already on the market? Or have you found a gap in the market for something? You need to find something that is exciting, and something that will make you money. Once you have found what you are going to sell you will need to decide what your price range is.

Some people know exactly what their niche is.  For others it’s a little bit more work to discover exactly what space you’re trying to fill (what value you’re providing) with your product or service, and who your target audience is. Finding your niche is an important step in building and growing a successful business.

Where?

So you’ve decided what you’re going to sell, and what your niche is, and what your price ranges are.  Now you need to decide where are you going to sell your products.? Are you going to sell them online at craft fairs in shops at markets?

How?

To try and market your products, you will need to come up with a solution of how your products can solve problems.  I know this may seem a bit strange but it does work.   A solution for one of my products is, the Button Art and Butterfly Canvases I sell, solve the problem of a bare wall – it transforms plain wall into A beautiful feature wall!

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How are you going to market your product? Are you going to produce leaflets, Newspaper article produce a newsletter or use social media? When using social media you will need to be consistent with your posts. I newsletter would help to build a customer base.

 

When?

When are you going to market your product? If you’re thinking social media, there are ways to find out what time of day will give you the most optimal results for your posts.

Why?

Why have you decided to start selling what is the reason behind it because if you don’t know why there will be no passion and no reason for you to keep on going with your new venture.

CE Testing…

af9dd85e-f958-4daa-9264-cea7e024295aIn the early months of starting my business, I wrote a list of all the items I wanted to make, one of those things on the list were sock monkeys.  I did some research, bought loads and loads of socks, found a tutorial online and got to work.  I thoroughly enjoyed making them and they proved popular at craft fairs.

One day I was searching the internet and came across a sock monkey page and it said “All sock monkey’s are CE Tested”.  I didn’t fully understand what this meant. So I did some research and found out what the CE symbol means.

What does CE marking mean?

CE marking is a visible sign that the product complies with all relevant product supply laws, and its presence together with the declaration of conformity, gives the product to which it is affixed, presumption of conformity with relevant product safety Directives.  Something a lot of people don’t understand, is that all toys or handmade products supplied in the UK, must meet a list of essential safety requirements, which are set out in the Toy (Safety) Regulations 1995.  To prove all these requirements are met, all toys must also carry a CE mark.

2015-08-19 15.19.54

After reading reading about the CE marking and CE testing I had so many questions!

Right ok- so my monkeys need to be tested? How do I do that??

I spent hours trawling through the internet, trying to find out what  I needed to do. It was extremely difficult to find out anything!

I decided to stop selling my sock monkeys until they fully conformed.  I now know this was the right thing to do!

If toys do not carry a CE mark or they have not been tested the producer can be found guilty of a criminal offence.

Sockmonkeys2

The best advice I can give you is to do as much research as you possibly can before you start making your items.  Have a look at www.cemarking-handmadetoys.co.uk. There is tons of information and you can buy a CE testing pack which can guide you through.

Your toys can be sent away to be tested; but this can be very costly. The most cost effective way for handmade toys to gain CE marking is to self certify your products. I used a pack from here. This pack has a lot of helpful information and has a step by step guide to CE testing, certificates of compliance you will need to collate for all your materials (which need to be kept in your technical file) and templates for all your paperwork, which is required by law for each type of toy / material which is manufactured.  Once you have completed self certification, you will be able to add the CE logo to your profuct.

I could go on forever about what is required and how to test etc, but you are better off getting the pack, and reading it through thoroughly until you are sure you understand it.

CE testing is not an easy process and anyone who tells you otherwise is not being truthful / or they’re not doing it properly!

there is a lot of hard work involved, but once you get your head around it, it does get easier.

Websites you may find useful include:

www.cemarking-handmadetoys.co.uk.

www.conformance.co.uk

www.gov.uk

Or if you’re interested in purchasing a sock monkey, they are available on a special made to order basis at chloivia.biz.

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE;                                                                                                               Whilst I can inform you of my personal experiences with with CE marking, it is not and should NEVER be taken as a replacement for information from toy safety experts.  Please research the EN71 Directive yourself, it is your responsibility to do so.

Chloivia takes NO legal responsibility for the content of this blog post, or further advice given.

The information given is based on my own personal experience, self certifying my own handmade toys for their CE Mark.

 

 

Tuesday’s Top 5 – Summer Crafts / Activities

It’s coming towards the end of the summer holidays and you’re probably starting to tear your hair out, so I’ve put this blog together of 5 Summer Crafts / Activities.  I hope it gives you some inspiration to keep your children entertained.

Ice Painting – This is fun for all ages and also edible, but wear protective clothing as it will stain.

  • Ice cube tray
  • Small plastic bowls
  • Plastic spoons
  • Food coloring
  • Scissors
  • Thick paper
  • Craft sticks or disposable ice cream spoons

To make the “paint”, use mix some food colouring with water and pour into the ice cube trays. The more food colouring you use the more intense the colour.  Make a selection of colours and your children can experiment mixing the colours.  Put sticks into the icecube and put them in the freezer for 4-6 hours or overnight. Once frozen lay out some newspaper or a protective cloth and put some thick paper on a tray and then let your children loose with the Ice paint.

They will love painting pictures, mixing colours, and possibly even tasting.

Potato Masher Creatures- Who would have thought you can have fun with a potato masher?

  • Potato Masher
  • Paper
  • Card
  • Poster Paints
  • Glue

There are various creatures to make using a potato masher. I’m going to explain 3.

Caterpillar – Use your potato masher and some green paint and print onto paper in a “wave” shape.  Clean the potato masher and dip into the red paint and print at the end of the wave to create the caterpillars head.  Cut some circles to make eyes or you could use googly eyes if you have them and your catterpiller is complete.

Potatomashercaterpiller-2

Crab– Use your potato masher and use a colour of your choice to print onto paper once. Let it dry and then cut the shape out. Stick onto a piece of card.  Cut out 8 small rectangle strips and 2 small circles with a small rectangle cut out of it. Use 6 of the strips for legs and use the other 2 strips for the front legs and add the circles to make claws.  Finish off by adding some eyes googley eyes work best.

Lady Bug- Dip your potato masher in red paint and print onto some card.  Cut out some small rectangular strips out of black card and some small circles also out of black card.  Stick on the black strips to make legs and stick on the circles for the ladybug spots. Stick on some googly eyes and draw some antenna.

potatomasherladybug-2

Dragonfly Craft- This craft is so simple but so effective.

  • Dragonfly template
  • Acrylic paint in assorted colors
  • White cardstock
  • Q-tips / Cotton Buds
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint palettes

Print out the dragon fly stencil here.

Put various colours of paint out, so your children can get creative.  Use the Q tips and dip them in the paint and dab them onto the dragonfly, use various colours to create a unique pattern.  You could use gems down the centre of the body to add a bit of sparkle.  Cut out your dragonfly to create a neat finish.

This tutorial came from projectswithkids.com.

Nature Scavenger Hunt
A few weeks ago, me and the girls went on a nature walk with some friends.  They absolutely loved it and it was a great outdoor activity.  Don’t forgot your picnic 😉

I’ve found a website from Buggy and Buddy for free printable Scavenger Hunts here.

Bored Jar
How many times have your children said to you “I’m bored!” Hopefully this could be a solution- well for a few minutes at least.

You will need:

  • A old jam jar
  • Paper / lolly pop sticks
  • Pens

Use the paper and write a list of things you could do when you’re children are bored (see ideas below).  Then you can cut up the paper and put the individual ideas in the jar.  Alternatively you could write the ideas on lolly pop sticks and place these in the jar.

Here’s a list of ideas for inspiration:

  1. Read a book
  2. Write in your holiday book
  3. Tidy your bedroom
  4. Do one job
  5. Draw something
  6. Draw an animal
  7. Draw our house
  8. Paint something
  9. Watch a movie
  10. Make a gift for someone
  11. Tidy your desk
  12. Make homemade bubbles
  13. Have a bubble bath
  14. Make cupcakes
  15. Play on Moshi Monsters
  16. Go on Youtube and search funny things
  17. Make homemade Bubbles
  18. Make Gloop
  19. Make a treasure hunt
  20. Make something with a box
  21. Story starting – There is a monster in my garden….
  22. Story starting – Yesterday I went in a spaceship to….
  23. Story starting  – There once was a little girl who liked to skip….
  24. Write a story about you.
  25. Go to the park
  26. Go to the beach
  27. Find shapes in clouds
  28. Create a family flag
  29. Make a musical instrument
  30. Do the recycling
  31. Build a time capsule
  32. Find something in your house that starts with every letter of the alphabet
  33. Have a picnic – indoor or outdoor. Teddies allowed.
  34. Have a scooter race.
  35. Play with a toy you haven’t played with in a while.
  36. Learn ten words in a different language
  37. Play on the trampoline
  38. Make homemade play dough
  39. Make and decorate paper airplanes
  40. Let Dad choose something to do
  41. Let Mam choose something to do
  42. Walk the dog
  43. Make an animal out of the things in the craft cupboard
  44. Make something with a box
  45. Make a den
  46. Play guitar
  47. Tidy under your bed
  48. Look through the cook books and choose something you can cook us all for tea
  49. Build something out of Lego.
  50. Make a list of black and white animals.
  51. Write three things about every
  52. Paint your nails
  53. Make a sock puppet
  54. Have a bubble bath
  55. Play a board game
  56. Make a board game of your own
  57. Customise your clothes
  58. Make something with your buttons
  59. Play on the Xbox
  60. Play on the wii
  61. Draw a picture blindfolded
  62. Draw a picture with your feet
  63. Make a video
  64. Write a poem
  65. Google something to make
  66. Make a card pyramid
  67. Go and collect some stones and make them into bugs
  68. Dance to loud music
  69. Play on the trampoline
  70. Start a club with your friends
  71. Tidy craft cupboard
  72. Sew something
  73. Bake cookies
  74. Play out with friends
  75. Ride your bike
  76. Water balloon fight
  77. Wash the car
  78. Play with the chalks outside
  79. Make a bookmark
  80. Make some homemade ice lollies

keepcalm

20 facts about me…..

This is just a bit of a random blog so you can get to know me a bit better 🙂

1- I am the youngest of 3 children.

2- I was born in 1987.

3- My middle name is Margaret Anne- named after my Nans on both sides.

4- I am 5ft 4″.

5- I have lived in Northern Ireland.

6- I spent most of my childhood in Blackpool.

7- I was born in York.

8- I had my tonsils out when I was 3- and I remember it well!!!

9- I’m easy to please- I don’t need much to be happy.

10- When I was younger I used to have a hamster, rabbit, 2 chinchillas and 2 goldfish in my bedroom.

11- I am very independant and very stubborn!!

12- I eat chocolate everyday!!!

13- I like to think I am a very creative person

14- As a child I wanted to be a vet when I grew up.

15- I am very self conscious.

16- My favourite cartoon as a child was Popeye.

17- I drink quite a lot of tea.

18- I always laugh when people fall over- can’t help it!

19- All my crafting skills are self taught.

20- My family mean the world to me.

 

The meaning behind it all….

 

When you start a business, your business obviously needs a name. In my case Chloivia.
I chose my business name weeks / months before I knew what the business was going to be.  The name Chloivia came about because I wanted a name which was quirky and unique.  Chloivia is my daughters names merged into one: Chloe + Olivia = Chloivia.

 

Not only did I choose a name that was quirky and unique, but it is also a talking point.  I often get asked why I chose Chloivia and what it means.
I love the name Chloivia because it is so unique 🙂