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Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic

Neal's Yard Remedies OrganicWelcome to Neal’s Yard Remedies

Neal’s Yard Remedies opened their doors on 4th December, 1981 in Neal’s Yard, a once forgotten corner of Covent Garden, in the heart of central London, England. A passionate belief that beauty should be natural, not synthetic, has been at the heart of the business since it started, over 30 years ago. Neal’s Yard Organics believe in nature, honesty and transparency, and your right to know what goes into the products you buy.

Their vision was to bring the expertise of the apothecary and our holistic approach to health and beauty to people and communities.

Today awareness and interest in natural remedies, skin and body care are on the increase. But when NYROrganic opened their first shop in Covent Garden, they were one of the few pushing against the synthetic chemical approach to skin and health care that had been adopted by much of the industry.Neal's Yard Remedies - Mother's Balm

This is why I’ve decided to become an independent consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies; bringing their amazing products to Under the Rowan Trees.

I first discovered their products when I was bought ‘Mother’s Balm’ by my own mother when I was pregnant. It was divine and I fell in love with the whole idea behind the brand as well as the products.

To browse the NYROrganic product range, visit my NYROrganic website or get in touch at nyrorganic@undertherowantrees.org for more information.

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Creativity saved me!

Hi, I’m Danielle and I am the creative behind Under the Rowan Trees. I call myself ‘creative’ because anyone in my school art class would let out a laugh if I called myself an artist and I’d like to think I’m more than a crafter – I’ve taken the next step and turned my hobby into a business and it has saved me!

I’m a part time teacher, a full time wife and mum and somewhere in the middle I am me! I lost myself for a bit but thanks to Under the Rowan Trees – I’m back!

My job is tough. I’m sure you all know that we don’t work 9 until 3:30 but what people don’t always realise is the emotional burden that goes with working with adolescents. As a new mum I was exhausted. I worked in a school under a lot of pressure from Ofsted and under even more pressure from some of the students. I was miserable!

I took up crochet towards the end of my maternity leave and I knew right away that I was going to love it. The textures, colours and the concentration – perfect therapy! Endless counting and pattern reading stopped my mind from wandering … worrying.

The biggest shock was that as I started to share my work in online forums and Facebook groups, people liked it! I was used to nothing ever being quite good enough. Results could always be better; books could always be marked a bit faster; my baby wasn’t sleeping. All of a sudden I was getting praise and people were asking me for advice!

My next step was to set up a Facebook page to share what I was doing. My friends and family liked it and then some of their friends and family. I soon had 200 likes. That is when I decided to start selling my makes. I had branched out into embroidery, knitting and jewellery making. I love starting new projects; hunting for materials and patterns (shopping!).

It has been nine months now and business is growing slowly but steadily as is my confidence. I have left my job in the tough school and taken another closer to home. My baby is now a three year old and is an amazing little boy who gives the most gorgeous cuddles.

It has taken hard work, lots of it and quite often the first step I’ve had to overcome has been getting out of bed but I’ve done it! I’ve been to several craft fairs, not sold a huge amount but people loved my work – worth more than any cash to someone like me.

Want I want you to take from my ramblings is that if I can do it, so can you. Get out of bed. Try something new. Ask for help. Share what you have done. Keep trying and grow!

I’m not going to be a millionaire any time soon. I may not even cover my costs (that would be a bonus) but I am happy and I’m making others happy by sharing my creativity. I’m doing it and I’m not going to stop!

Follow our journey into 2016!

www.facebook.com/undertherowantrees

www.undertherowantrees.etsy.com

www.instagram.com/undertherowantrees

www.twitter.com/undertherowans

www.pinterest.com/undertherowans

undertherowantrees@gmail.com

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Laser Cutting – Guest Post from Chris Braithwaite

Our lovely friend Chris from Laser Cut Supplies has written a guest post for us to explain how he brings to life amazing designs for Under the Rowan Trees.

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I’ve always been creative, and found my first love for computers 25 years ago. I started graphic and web design when I was 13. I’ve taught myself everything – never had any education in computers or design. I’ve always used technology and creativity to solve problems.

I moved to Leeds from Hull when I was 21, met a girl, fell in love and decided Leeds was my new home. 5 years later we have our first child. My partner is very meticulous with a keen eye for detail. For our son’s first birthday she bought boxes and balloons and stickers and made personalised favour boxes for the children. The comments she received were fantastic and as she enjoyed making them and so wanted to make a small business out of it. I worked out that the profit margin was tiny, and we couldn’t charge more for what is essentially a disposable item.

I had been looking for an excuse to buy a Silhouette Cameo craft cutter, and with a small bonus from work, this was the perfect excuse and opportunity to buy one knowing I could save money by making everything from scratch.

As time went on I brought many ideas to life, but eventually my tiny craft cutter was no longer cutting it (pardon the pun) and about a year ago during a stint of depression I decided that if I didn’t change anything, nothing would ever change. I decided to invest in a laser cutter. Secretly I’d been wanting one for years, but never had the guts to outlay such an expense. I took a risk and it paid off. I love experimenting and creating. It’s the perfect tool for me. 

Laser cutting starts at the design stage.

Laser Cutting DesignWhen designing something for laser cutting, a few things need to be taken into consideration. Because a laser cutter burns the material, although not impossible, it’s very difficult to achieve shades. Any point on the material is either “burnt” or “not burnt”, so for simplicity let’s call this Black & White. All designs are created in blocks of black and white.

You also have a choice of cutting, engraving, or a combination of the two. When you decide to cut a section you need to think about whether or not that section is going to fall out of the design or not. You also need to think about how strong each section will be once cut. Because of the precision of the laser it’s easy to create objects so thin that they break very easily.

A lot of thought needs to go into the designs to ensure that they are both attractive and functional.

Once a design is created it needs to be exported to the laser.Laser Cutting Vector

A laser cutter is a type of CNC (Computer Numerical Control). CNCs don’t use pictures like a printer would, they use
vectors. A vector is two points with velocity. The machine uses two (sometimes 3) axis to move a laser beam along a vector. The laser works a lot like using a magnifying glass focusing the sun to burn things, except the focus has a much higher precision than a magnifying glass. If focused correctly it is precise to 0.01mm

Preparing a laser cutter for use is a much more complicated process than simply pressing print on a printer.

A laser is produced in a fragile glass tube – something to do with agitating co2 inside a chamber. I don’t really care for the science involved. The tube gets hot. very hot, and as such needs to be cooled. If the laser tube raises above 25C it will shatter. To keep it cool, water needs to be pumped through the tube all the time while operating. About 50 Litres of deionized water helps keep it cool for a few hours of use.

One the beam has been created, it needs to be redirected to the material, and it does this by being bounced off 3 carefully placed gold plated mirrors and then finally through a  focusing lens. All these parts need to be cleaned on a regular basis using Isopropyl Alcohol. this removes all dust and grease and soot. If you were to leave the parts dirty they would heat up and eventually crack.

As we are burning the materials a lot of smoke is produced. This needs to be removed from the machine and the room. A simple air extractor does the job here. You know the saying “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”? That is very true here. A small flame is often created at the laser point which can damage the lens, or much worse cause fires. This needs to be extinguished, and we do that by focusing a jet of compressed air right at the point. This not only puts the flame out, but it reduces the heat of the smoke, and in turn reduces the extent of the burn to the material.

The laser usually cuts at around 2cm per second (which is pretty slow) and some cuts – depending on complexity –  can take in excess of an hour to cut!

The materials that we use includes paper, card, mdf, spruce plywood, American walnut, cherry and acrylic. We are always exploring with new materials.

There are some materials that we can’t cut – anything that contains chlorine for one. This would produce chlorine gas and that’s probably the last thing you want to be inhaling. Other than the health issue, it would corrode the machine. Polyvinyl Chloride is hidden in a lot of things. A good example is LPs which sometimes get laser cut. This must be done with more advance machines and ventilation

Each material that we use has different settings, so it’s not a case of one size fits all, and as most of the materials we use are from nature, we often find imperfections and have to compensate for these.

I personally find acrylic the best material to work with; the engrave gives a good contrast, it cuts cleanly and it smells great. It can be filled with acrylic paint, and sanded easily.

Acrylic Snowflake

Who knows what the future holds? Maybe a bigger laser and a workshop. I’m still testing the water but I’m confident that one day I’ll find my niche.

Laser Cut Supplies can be found on Facebook.

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Market Day Tomorrow!

Today I’m getting ready for the Make & Mend Market tomorrow in Newcastle’s amazing Grainger Market. This will be the first time I will have attended this market and I’m really excited.

The Grainger Market has such an amazing bustling atmosphere and it is a long day (9am to 5pm) so is will hopefully be our most successful market yet.

The table-cloth is blowing on the line (fingers crossed it doesn’t rain) and I’m about to start a stock inventory to see what we are going to take.

Hopefully we’ll be able to pop the bubbly tomorrow evening and celebrate a successful day. In the meantime I need to finish my packing list!

What to take to the craft fair:

  • Paper bags in three sizes
  • Tissue Paper
  • Tape and stickers
  • Business Cards
  • Money belt
  • Float
  • Display board
  • Drawing Pins
  • Fairy Lights
  • Table Cloth
  • Pen and paper
  • Order book (if you take custom orders)
  • Glue
  • Staple gun
  • Warm clothing just in case
  • Drink and snacks
  • Knitting and book in case it is quiet (hopefully not needed)

 

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The Epic A Sale A Day Challenge! Eek!

A-Sale-A-Day-Challenge-2Ok so I’m setting myself a challenge. Lots of lovely people are visiting and liking my etsy shop and other social media pages but sales are slooooow so I’ve decided to take on the 3o step challenge! Hopefully you will be seeing a lot more from me and your walls will soon be adorned with my hoops and noticeboards and you will have rings on your fingers and bells on your toes!

My first challenge is to set myself a goal. That’s easy … or so I thought. Making it specific and achievable was much more difficult.

Step one – Goals

Sell five items from my etsy shop by the end of August.

Host a giveaway on instagram to celebrate 500 followers.

Learn how to use twitter to promote my etsy shop and increase traffic by 10% from that route.

Wish me luck!