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Red Tape Challenge

I came across the Red Tape Challenge today and think it looks interesting! The idea is that the Government is aiming to cut some red tape by getting views on what is and isn’t working in terms of regulations.

They are tackling it one sector at a time and the current sector is Retail.   Amongst other things, they’re looking at Hallmarking – so this should be of interest to any precious metal jewellers out there!

I used to make soaps but eventually stopped doing it because I spent more time doing paperwork and calculating % quantities of essential oil allergens than I did making soap.

Worth keeping an eye on this, I think! You can read about each red tape challenge and leave your comments on the website.

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Two months later…

I seem to recall back in January I said I was going to try a bit harder to keep up with blogging …. now here I am two months after my last blog post finally getting round to doing my next one.  Oops!!  Must try harder 🙂

Life has been hectic as always!  As well as being a keen crafter, I’m also a freelance web developer and have been busy with new & existing clients’ websites.   Add to that the fact that I’m also a full time student at the moment (I decided on the spur of the moment last summer to do an HNC at the local college!) and have two pre-school children … you can see why time gets away from me sometimes!!

Anyway … I’m dabbling in a new hobby at the moment: pottery!  But before I get to that, I’d like to share with you a fantastic painting I commissioned for my mum’s birthday.  The artist is Nicki Macrae and she is *amazing*.  The painting is the view from my mum’s old house – a lovely sea view that she misses now that she’s moved away.  Nicki happens to live in the same wee town I grew up in and, being a HUGE fan of her work anyway, it made perfect sense to ask her to capture the memory for mum in an artwork!

Here’s the painting (I hope Nicki doesn’t mind me linking to her Flickr account!) – isn’t it amazing!!

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Needless to say, mum adores it & can’t take her eyes off it!  Nicki was a real pleasure to work with, so I can’t recommend her enough!  Check out her Facebook page and prepare to be amazed!!

Now, onto the pottery … it’s something I’ve always fancied doing, as I enjoy working on a smaller scale with polymer clay.  But I’ve always felt I’d never be able to afford a large enough kiln for firing it.  Then last week I thought to myself “but they didn’t have kilns back in the olden days..”!  So I’ve been doing a lot of research into more traditional firing techniques and I’m ready to try a few out – starting with a pit kiln.

So far all I’ve done is purchase some clay and made a few basic items to fire (I’ll take a photo tomorrow – it’s too dull now!).  They are NOT masterpieces!  I have a feeling I’ll break quite a few items during firing (especially the first few attempts!), so I’m deliberately not spending hours and hours on my creations at this stage!!  I’m hoping to have my first bash at a pit kiln in a couple of nights!

Stay tuned…

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A new year & a new blog

Well, the hotwaxart blog has been sorely neglected lately and now it’s time to fix it!

2010 was a busy and quite stressful year for me on a personal level, with my youngest being diagnosed with autism and me starting a full time college course.  But things are settling down a bit now, so it’s time to get back to blogging!

While the blog has been taking a break, we’ve moved servers and I’ve unfortunately misplaced a few photos in the process – whoops!  So you might notice a few of the posts below don’t have images beside them.  I’m gradually digging the original pictures out,  so I hope to fix the broken images soon!

The hotwaxart shop is taking a wee break while I give it a re-jig, but I promise it will be back with a few reduced price clearance bargains to help make room for all the new bits & bobs I’ve been working on!

Stay tuned 🙂

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Stop! Thief!

I was checking my bank balance online the other day when I noticed quite a big discrepancy between the running balance and available balance.  Thinking it was either a mix-up or some horrific bill I’d forgotten about, I waited until this morning to check again in the hope that my online banking statement would give me more details.

So, first thing this morning, I logged in again and found exactly the same discrepancy and no explanation of the cause.  So, I gave the bank a call and it turned out that someone has had a nice shopping spree at my expense – to the tune of over £400!

I can’t believe it – am absolutely devastated.  The bank has cancelled our cards (it’ll take 7-10 days before we get our new ones) and is “investigating the transaction”.  Apparently we’ll get a call from the Fraud Department in the next 3-4 working days and they’ll give us a timescale for getting it resolved.  We won’t see our money back until their investigation is complete, so we’re down £400+ for the foreseeable future.

What’s amazing me is that there doesn’t seem to be any fraudulent activity monitoring system in place for current account holders that would have flagged this up.  I can remember ordering a takeaway online once using a credit card – the transaction was declined and within minutes I had the CC company on the phone to check it wasn’t a fraudulent transaction!  When we confirmed that we did indeed want to order the takeaway, they released the block and we were able to order without any problem.  I’d have expected something like that with the current account as well – a £400+ clothes shopping spree (we were told it was women’s clothes) should have flagged up as being suspicious because it’s TOTALLY abnormal for our account.

So, now we just have to cross all of our fingers and toes and hope that we get our money back quickly!

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College

Yesterday I applied online to do an HNC in Art & Design at the local college!  The course covers drawings, paintings, communications, jewellery design, graphic design, pictorial illustration, ceramics and sculpture … and sounds FANTASTIC!!

I’ve been invited to go in for a chat about it next week, so fingers crossed!