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.

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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.


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:




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.


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.


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


How to juggle….

The one question I get asked a LOT is; “How do you find the time to do what you do?” or when I’m at craft fairs “How do you have time to make all your items?” The short answer is – I make time!
The long answer? Read on…..

How do I make time?
I try to stick to a routine, it’s a very flexible routine, but a routine none the less.  During school holidays the routine goes out of the window.

My day begins by getting the girls ready for the school run and out of the door by 8-20am – not as easy as it sounds, and most mornings we’re late! Everything always goes missing in the morning!! Shoes, bags, coats and hair brushes – we own about 5 hair brushes of various shapes and sizes, but can never find one on school mornings!! It drives me mad!!!

Once I get home from the school run, it’s breakfast time and breakfast number 2 for Olivia! Whilst I eat, I check emails and social media etc. After breakfast we either go to a toddler group or I get some housework done.

At lunch time Olivia used to have a nap and I would get some work done – with this morning on in the background (as you do)
Olivia now doesn’t have a nap, which makes it harder, but she is very good at occupying herself; I have now learnt how to juggle making things or working on my laptop and playing with dolls, lego, etc (with Peppa pig on in the background).
If you ever receive an order with lego instead of buttons, I can only apologise!
Olivia will soon be starting Pre-School, so the routine will be changing again!

At 3pm we go and collect Chloe from school, and I don’t get a lot of work done until they go to bed at around 7pm.  Once they are in bed I can dive into my work and will work until around 10/11 pm. Sometimes I go to bed and continue to work if I’m struggling to sleep.

So there you have it, that’s how I juggle being a work at home Mum, it’s not easy, but I love it!!

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.