Well, that was a summer of fun. July saw me at my first event since 2109, held in the beautiful grounds of Sudeley Castle. It was so lovely to meet customers face to face again, the stands were set socially distanced and it really worked well. Thank you to everyone that came along bought Perches and had a chat, it was great to meet you.
Had a chance to take some time off as well to enjoy the fabulous weather the UK had. I hope you had a chance to enjoy a well earned break too.
This September Jacwicks celebrates its 3rd Birthday! As you can imagine the past year has been a rollercoaster but we made it through. I'd just like to say a huge THANK YOU, to all customers and supporters who have got me to this point , I couldn't have done it without you.
Looking forward to the coming year, there will be some exciting new product launches and the revival of Shows, Fairs and events across the UK.
Talking of Shows and events, I have a full-on program of them in October:
1-16 October: Guest maker at Land of Oak and Iron. With a Meet the Maker Day, that’s just for me on Saturday 16 October.
9-10 October: British National Ploughing Championships and Country Festival, Mindrum Mill, Northumberland, TD12 4QL.
27-30 October: The Cheltenham Christmas Gift & Fashion Fair, The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse, Evesham Rd, Cheltenham GL50 4SH.
If you are in the area please pop along and say hello, I love meeting you all.
I am very excited to be launching some new products in the very near future. Keep an eye on the Jacwicks social media channels Facebook, Instagram, to be the first to view them. One is really, really useful and the other very, very, warm. I love them and I hope you will do too.
After eating all that celebration cake I'm going to have to go for a walk
Until next time, Happy Perching.
June is the start of Summer. With the meteorological start of summer being 1 June and the longest day 21/22 (there’s always a debate in my house), the fab warm weather we are enjoying all leads to summer being here.
Get outside, enjoy the sun when it shines and take in the sights and smells of the countryside. It will make you feel sooo much better.
Another thing that makes you feel better is forest bathing. A walk in the woods is one of my favourite things to do. The Bluebells of last month are fading, new species are taking their place and the tree canopy is closing over to bring more shade. Find a quiet place to Perch and just take a moment to just be still, enjoy the bird song and the sound of the leaves moving in the breeze. Smell the forest and the flowers within it, anything that just makes you feel closer to nature, is good for the soul.
As a supporter of the Woodland Trust, it’s interesting to read their latest report on the state of the nation’s woodlands and trees. The headline fact is that there is concern about woodlands and trees. Coverage from woodland has more than doubled in the last 100 years. Unfortunately, the main species of the additional coverage is with non-native trees (such as managed forest), leaving existing native woodland isolated. This leads to a poor ecological condition which has a knock-on effect to a decline in woodland wildlife.
Ancient forests have a fascinating complex eco system, and are vital to the planet. If you are interested in trees and woodlands, I would recommend reading The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben. It makes a walk in the woods so much more interesting.
There are several active tree planting campaigns at the moment, with the aim to encourage as many people as possible across the country to join in. Here are some you can join in with:
I love trees in my garden and even though it's quite small I have several medium size trees and over 20 homed in pots. I just need a bigger garden to plant them in.
Enjoy the start of summer, plant a tree and you will enjoy the benefits for years to come.
Until next, time Happy Perching
May is Bluebell time!
One of my favourite spring walks has to be in a Bluebell wood. It takes me straight back to my childhood. I used to spend hours playing with friends in an ancient wood full of Bluebells, happy carefree days.
Now each May, we have to make time to visit our favourite Bluebell wood, just seeing the carpet of blue instantly relaxes the senses and childhood memories come flooding back. Find a fallen tree or bench to Perch and just spend a moment just breathing in their sweet fragrance and relax.
To find a Bluebell Wood near you check out the Woodland Trusts pages for their expert guide.
Also at its best in May is cherry blossom and we recently spent a magical day at The Alnwick Gardens, Northumberland. The Cherry Orchard has been planted with over 300 Tai haku (Great White Cherry) trees. Making it the largest cherry orchard of its kind anywhere in the world.
They have cleverly included swing seats under the trees and you lose track of time sitting and gentle swinging in the warm spring sun. Just magical. All part of the Duchess of Northumberland's vision for The Alnwick Gardens.
You do need to have your Perch with you though, the birds make their presence known in no uncertain terms. Good job Perches are washable.
With the slow easing of restrictions and being able to sit outdoors for pubs and cafes, Perches are a great way to save yourself from damp, chilly seats. As spring showers and frosty nights continue, just pop one in your pocket, unfurl and you can sit in comfort and enjoy our new freedoms.
I am also looking towards the full easing of restrictions and I hope to bring you exciting news next month, if all goes to plan.
I like to show you our products in use by our lovely customers and this month, we have this handsome fella, looks like he’s having a great time on his Pet Perch. Thanks Tim (and owner Jackie) for this fab image.
Until next time, Happy Perching!
The clocks have sprung forward, the daffodils, tulips, primroses and hyacinths are out, its official Spring has arrived.
Spring is my favourite time of year. I love the new fresh buds on trees, seeing the leaves bust forth a little bit more each day and new born lambs leaping for the joy of being alive. There's nothing better to restore the soul after a long, hard, cruel winter, than to be out in the spring sunshine, or even if its not sunny just to be out in warmer temperatures.
This years Spring is particularly poignant as it coincides with some restriction lifting and the rule of 6 coming back into our lives. We can now meet outdoors and catch up with friends and family we have been separated from for so long. With the vaccine now being rolled out at a rapid rate, this year Spring has the added feeling of hope. Hope that we have found a way through this, hope that we have found a way to live with this horrible virus, which will be with us for the foreseeable future and beyond.
It's a scientific fact that sunshine and daylight has a positive effect on our moods and health. For a start it's helping us get enough Vitamin D. Sunshine also triggers the release of endorphins and prompts our brains to release serotonins, which improves our mood. Sunlight also causes our skin to release nitric oxide, which lowers blood pressure.
So make the most of our extra hour of daylight. Go outside and Perch in the fresh air, or even better the sun (make sure you have sunscreen on) and feel those endorphins busting through.
I'm taking a short break over Easter and will be back in the workshop on 7 April, 2021.
Whatever you are doing this Easter, have a great time, stay safe and take in some fresh air.
Until next time, Happy Perching!
To celebrate Made in UK Day, Jacwicks Designs is launching its new Union Jack Pocket Perch.
As the appetite to shop locally and support local businesses grows, Make it British, a community of UK-made brands and manufacturers, is calling on everyone to celebrate UK makers.
Make it British was founded on 9 March 2011 as a blog to champion all the wonderful products that are made in the UK. To celebrate their 10 year anniversary 9 March this year, is Made in UK Day where you are encouraged to pledge to buy British.
Since its launch MIB has seen an increase in interest for UK made goods. This year alone has seen a 68% increase in enquiries since the UK left the EU’s single market and customs union.
There has never been more important to buy products that are made in the UK and support local manufacturing.
As you may know all Perches are handmade in Co Durham. They are not mass produced, they are of a high quality and well made. Some designs have quite short runs which make them even more unique. When possible additional help is sourced from a local social enterprise, Just for Women, which supports women and families in the region.
Fabric and sundries are sourced from UK businesses and every effort is made to ‘keep it local’ wherever possible. When you buy from my UK business you are also supporting a whole chain of UK based businesses. You are also lowering your carbon footprint, saving essential skills, helping local economies and creating job opportunities.
Our New Union Jack Pocket Perch enables you to fly the flag for UK business, find yours on the Pocket Perch page of the website.
If you saw last months Insights post you will have seen a photo of one of our lovely customers Kris sharing her favourite place to Perch. I'm so thrilled to be able to bring you the taker of that photo Maggie, enjoying a well earned rest on her Pocket Perch. Thank you so much for the lovely photos ladies, I absolutely love seeing customers favourite places to Perch.
If you would like to share your favourite place to Perch, please take a photo and email me at email@example.com I look forward to seeing you.
Until next time, stay safe and Happy Perching!
Happy February. I do think once we've got past the month of January, February has the promise of warmer times and spring flowers trying to push through.
It looks like social distancing is going to be with us for a while still, so I thought it might be helpful to remind you of the way you can social distance outdoors by using a Perch as a measuring guide.
The Pocket Perch this is 40cm wide, if the SD rule is 2m just take the Pocket, mark your starting point flip the Pocket over 5 times and you have 2m. If the SD goes down to 1m that 2.5 flips. The handy quilting marks help with .5 measuring.
If you have a PIxy Perch at 30cm wide, the flip rate is 7 for a just over 2m distance. Or 3.5 for a 1m distance.
The Poly and Pet Perch’s are 80cm in length, so that’s only a 2.5 flip rate.
Always keep to government guidelines when out and about, we're all in this together.
Lets hope with the vaccine on the way for all, we will soon be out of this nightmare. Thank goodness for walking.
I love hearing from customers and seeing how they are enjoying using their Perches. Here's Kris out on a walk with her favourite furry friend and a tipple. My kind of walking.
If you have a favourite place to Perch please share it with us, we love seeing you and you could even star in a blog.
Until next time, keep safe and happy Perching!
So here we are in 2021 and back into lockdown. Lets hope it won't be too long before we are out again and all make it through safe and sound.
The good news is we can still exercise outside. Walking is a great way of getting some gentle exercise, fresh air and if your lucky a beautiful view. Recently, on an icy walk, we found a park in our local area we never knew was there, just a stones throw from our front door. Happy days. As you can see from the photo above it also has a lovely view of a local landmark, Penshaw Monument which can be seen from miles around. It has an interesting history and is a great place to walk when we are allowed to go out and about again.
After a very strange 2020, we are looking forward to a better 2021 and planning some fabulous new designs for the Perch ranges, after selling out of some lines and continuing with some old favourites.
Check out our social pages on Instagram and Facebook for the latest news, feel free to show us your favourite places to Perch we love hearing from you.
So what ever 2021 brings stay safe, keep walking and Happy Perching!
We are now closed until 4 January 2021.
Thank you to all our customers who have supported us throughout this difficult year.
We wish you a peaceful, safe and happy Christmas where ever you may be and hope you are able to be with loved ones.
If the weather is kind, take time to go for a walk. Find a perfect place to Perch, take a breath and enjoy a beautiful view.
Merry Christmas and we hope for a better 2021,
Thank you to all of you who have ordered your Perch in time for Christmas, we have been incredibly busy!
We handmake the Perches to order and to avoid disappointment we ask you to order your chosen Perch by
Friday 18 December 2020.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Jacwicks customers, happy perching in 2021!
A recent article in the Guardian highlighted the increasing interest in a more sustainable way of gift wrapping.
There is a growing trend towards a more sustainable way of living and a move away from the mountains paper gift wrap that is sent to landfill each year.
Our Fabwrap range is sourced from rescued from landfill fabric that proves eco friendly does not have to be dull. Our vibrant glamorous double layered fabric can produce fabulously wrapped gifts in just two knots and can be used time and time again. Pass on to another for them to reuse or pass back to the gift giver for them to gift you again.
Based on the Japanese art of Furoshiki, gift wrapping with fabric has been around for centuries. With the rising interest in finding a more eco friendly way of living it has seen a resurgence of interest, as we look to reduce the amount of rubbish we send to landfill. In just two knots fabric can be moulded to fit any shape and is ideal for those awkward gifts that you just can’t wrap neatly with paper.
Once you’ve learnt the basic way to tie a gift you can move on to more elaborate wrapping and by adding baubles and satin ribbons (both reusable) more glamour. There’s no end to what you can do.
Fabwrap is available in three sizes:
Small: great for a Pocket or Pixy Perch, or paper back book
Medium: ideal for a Pet or Poly Perch, or a tub of your favourite sweets
Large: perfect for the Picnic Perch or those larger items i.e. beauty boxes or clothes
Choose your perfect glamour wrap on the Fabwrap page
New research on face covering just released!
Research released this month has tested the effectiveness of fabric reusable face masks against single use ones and found the fabric multi layered ones perform better.
'Overall, our study suggests that cloth face coverings, especially with multiple layers, may help reduce droplet transmission of respiratory infections. Furthermore, face coverings made from biodegradable fabrics such as cotton allow washing and reusing, and can help reduce the adverse environmental effects of widespread use of commercial disposable and non-biodegradable facemasks.'
Our triple layered face coverings are made from high quality soft cotton with a dense interfacing layer which makes them both breathable and reusable.
They have proved so popular we have completely sold out of several lines and have just added 2 new designs a fabulous Dutch Chintz and Rose Garden.
You can read the full report on the medRxiv website.
Jacwicks founder Ruth Jacobs talks to Melanie Cant of Elm Marketing
When you are running a business its always important to connect with a network that's on your wave length and contains other members that help and support each other. Its never been so important as it is now and I'm proud to be a member of the Do Business Network (DBN or Derwentside Business Network).
The team there have worked tirelessly to provide help, support and training during lockdown. They continuously engage with their members and find new ways to promote their businesses to the network and beyond.
Part of this process involves members Podcasts and I was lucky enough to be asked to speak to Melanie Cant from Elm Marketing, about how and why I set up Jacwicks Designs. Hear how the name Jacwicks came about, how I work with a local charity Just for Women and the way that the 'Finding your Tribe' moment happened.
You can listen to my story by clicking on this link (There's also a bit about how I met the legend John Craven and how he reacted to his Perch).
It's been a great project to be part of, I've loved telling my story and receiving listeners feedback.
Pull up a Perch and a coffee and have a listen, I hope you enjoy it.
September already? Where has the year gone.
September always seems to me the start of the slowing down of the year. The hot sunny summer days are behind us and it’s the slow procession into cooler days and chilly nights. Leaves begin to fade and feed the trees for over wintering.
It’s also the main season for County Shows and oh how I LOVE a County Show!
Unfortunately these are all cancelled this year due to the current situation. Some shows have been produced for over 100 years and only cancelled due to wars ,or animal diseases. It reminds us just how different this year really is.
2019 was the first year for Jacwicks to showcase their range of products and they went down really well. Pocket and Poly Perch’s are perfect for sitting on a hay bale to watch the various shows and animal judging.
The shows are always full of dogs of all sizes and the Pet Perch’s are snapped up by happy dog lovers for their favourite pooch. Pixy Perch’s for children are ideal for keeping the little ones in one place for a few minutes and the large Picnic Perch rugs are perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
Fingers crossed we can return to the show field again in 2021 for bigger and better celebrations, until then enjoy some images from previous years.
Until next time, stay safe and Happy Perching!
Summer is finally here, at least for now. It's time to head off on socially distanced days out, or summer holidays with a difference.
It's certainly been a strange year so far and now face masks are with us to add to the mix. They are another item to add to the check list before you leave the house. I have forgotten mine once or twice, so now have them stashed everywhere, handbags, rucksacks, car, husbands car, pockets you name it there's some there. They are going to be with us for the foreseeable future so its best to have a few.
I find it quite interesting to see the different designs and shapes people wear.
As I started to design the Jacwicks range, I tried them out on family and soon realised one size or shape does not fit all. I set about trying to fix this by modifying the shapes, added pleats to the nose and chin areas for a tighter fit and made the elastic adjustable so you can fit it to your face for comfort and fit.
To adjust the elastic: Loop the elastic through the small loop on the mask, tie in a loose knot. Next, loop the elastic over your ears, adjust to fit by gently pulling on the elastic until snug and secure. Tighten by pulling the knot tie additional knots to secure once happy with the fit. I recommend you tuck the loose ends under the chin to hide as you may like to readjust. Once happy with the fit cut off the excess elastic.
Please follow Government Guidelines, wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face in public and stay safe. For more information regarding the wearing of face masks check out the information from the UK Government's website.
The Jacwicks face masks are triple layered for that little bit of extra piece of mind . There are a few patterns to chose from and you can even match some to Perches to have a totally coordinated look.
Where every you go and what every you do this summer, stay safe and enjoy that perfect place to Perch!
July has been labelled National Picnic Month. I love a picnic. I think there’s nothing better than finding a space in the country or at the beach where you can sit and enjoy a beautiful view whilst eating. Food tastes better and it’s so relaxing.
Did you know the origins of the word ‘Picnic’ can be traced back to the seventeenth century French word ‘pique-nique’ which described a group of people dining in restaurants who brought their own wine. This then lead to a picnic being a meal where everyone brought something to share.
Is wasn't until the mid 1800’s that the picnic became a common English word. Poems were written romanticising them, they became fashionable. Fortnum and Mason claim to have invented the Scotch Egg, specifically for picnics, something that is still taken to this day. Pasties and pork pies had been around before then, but they were ideal to take.
The Victorian era saw a surge in picnicking. With the social season revolving around events which were made for long lunches outdoors: Henley Regatta, Glynebourne, Epson, Goodwood, and garden parties. Picnic blankets were placed on the ground to protect from the damp grass and picnic baskets were brimming delicious food and drinks. It was as boom time for Fortnum and Mason with their now famous luxury hampers being the accessory to be seen with.
Now a picnic can be as simple as a snack bar taken during a short break on a walk. Or a long lazy sunny afternoon with friends and family all chipping in and playing games. Bliss.
Let's hope the weather has got the memo that July is National Picnic month and it sends the sun out to play.
The Perch range is made for picnicking, from the Pixy and Pocket for one, to the Poly for two sharing and the larger Picnic mats for families. There’s a perch for all occasions.
Whatever you do and wherever you go for your picnic, stay safe and Happy Perching!
Here at Jacwicks we like to be helpful.
With all these new social distancing (SD) rules which seem to change on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis it's not surprising to be a bit confused. Just for fun, I'm going to share ways of measuring safe social distancing when you're out and about without a tape measure.
When you're out and about with your trusty Perch and you need to practice SD, remember each perch is a certain size which can be used to measure distance.
Take the Pocket Perch this is 40cm wide, if the SD rule is 2m just take the Pocket, mark your starting point flip the Pocket over 5 times and you have 2m. If the SD goes down to 1m that 2.5 flips. The handy quilting marks help with .5 measuring.
If you have a PIxy Perch at 30cm wide, the flip rate is 7 for a just over 2m distance. Or 3.5 for a 1m distance.
The Poly and Pet Perch’s are 80cm in length,so that’s only a 2.5 flip rate.
We had a day on the moors taking photos to illustrate this, (you may have seen the photos on the Jacwicks Facebook page). We were getting on quite nicely with the sheep and lambs, when out of the corner of my eye I could see a large black cow coming towards me. Cows are fairly intelligent and communicate with each other and I think she wanted to see what all the fuss was about to report back to the others. I was half way through the photo shoot but duly retreated, in the hope she would lose interest and mooove on. No such luck, she decided we were so interesting she called all her mates over to see. Photo shoot was quickly abandoned and we left them to their munching on the lush grass.
Note to self, always check for wildlife.
For some it’s so lovely to be able to see loved ones and friends again in the bubble environment and its times like these it can really bring home what's truly important. My deepest sympathy goes out to those who have lost someone to this and many other dreadful diseases, for you these are the most testing of times. Through dark days I find a walk in the country really does heal the soul and can be an item in the toolkit to better times.
In the meantime hug those you can and dream of the day when you will eventually be able to hug those further away. I can't wait until the day I can hug my gorgeous sons again.
Until the next time, stay safe and happy perching,
Have you heard the advert ‘What did you do during lockdown?’ It got me thinking. My answer is I completely indulge in my love of sewing. From sit-mats to scrubs, blouses to laundry bags and items in between, I sewed my way to sanity.
I have always loved sewing and when I began my business I was concerned it may become a chore. There's always a danger that if you have to do the hobby you love as a job you will become bored. Happily this has not been the case, if there is a danger of stagnating I just change the item I'm sewing, which then stimulates the brain cells, the joy you have when you complete a new item reignites the joy of sewing.
Like many other businesses it's been tough, all planned shows and fairs have been cancelled. It will certainly be interesting when shows and fairs do get up and running again. How will they look and how will we social distance in a fair/show setting, only time will tell.
In times of adversity it is crucial that businesses adapt and pivot and you may be interested to know that the Jacwicks Etsy shop now offers a haberdashery. It offers a range of products from fabric, interfacing, trims and tape for a whole host of sewing and crafting projects, which has seen an increase in interest during these stay at home times.
Networking and business meetings have gone online, which once you’ve got used to the etiquette, I find a great way of communicating and have met some lovely people along the way.
Much like everyone else holidays and get together's have been postponed, anniversary and birthday celebrations put on hold, but these can be rescheduled, the main thing is we all come out the other side together.
It's great that we can spend more time outdoors and perch in a socially distant way. How many perches does it take to social distance? I hear you ask, well, I will show you over the next week. Check out the Jacwicks Facebook page for updates.
Until next time ,stay safe and happy perching!
With business severely affected by the lockdown and like so many others sewing businesses I have diverted my sewing skills to helping those on the front line.
I have joined the ever-growing team of sewers and machinist via the Northeast England Sewing for the Front Line group on Facebook. Set up by Zoe Worrall and Alison Matthews, the aim of the group is to: 'share patterns and discuss making headbands, scrubs, wash bags and anything else we can sew to help out the NHS and the staff on our front line helping to fight covid-19.'
If you live in the North East, we are currently in need of fabric to make these items, so if you have had a clear out and have spare items such as cotton/polyester bedding that can be washed at 60 degrees please let me know and we can arrange for it to be collected posted or dropped off.
If you know a nurse or have any contact with a hospital in the region that needs any items, or can distribute items, please let me know.
If you can sew or knit, or even if not and you would just like to help, please join the group here: Northeast England Sewing for the Front Line or help with funding material at the Go Fund Me page.
Having a history of a life saved by the NHS and a son seconded to a Nightingale Hospital, it was time to do something to help.
We are all in this together, stay safe, stay home and help the NHS x
What a difference a weekend makes.
In this interchanging new world we are living in, the advice for outdoor activities is changing on a daily basis.
As a business that has outdoor activities at its heart, has a belief that nothing makes you feel better than a walk in the country.
As someone who has been helped by walking and exploring the countryside, who's son is now on the front line of the NHS, I'm putting up a plea for you to STAY INDOORS, or if you have to go outside ensure you stay 2metres from those around you.
Please help the NHS by staying safe and help those around you who are keeping things moving in essential services.
There will be light at the end of this path if we all work together, the countryside will still be there when we are through this, do your bit so we are all still here to enjoy it.
Stay safe and Perch another day.
I am aware of the rapidly changing situation with regards to Covid-19 and would like to let you know how the business is complying with Government advice.
Here at Jacwicks I am l keeping calm and carrying on business as usual. Apart from the fact that the early year events and shows have been either cancelled, or postponed to next year. All products are handmade in house, there's no contact with the outside environment. For those worried about contaminated parcels, please visit the Royal Mails website for reassurance.
Whilst so many major and minor events have been cancelled, on the bright side the National Trust are offering free access to their parklands and gardens. Just ensure you keep a safe distance from those around you. Keep up to date with the latest news from the National trust on their website. As we know things change daily.
The Jacwicks website is still open for business with gorgeous new lines coming soon. Keep up to date with the products on our product pages.
It's been lovely to see so many acts of kindness that have been happening throughout these difficult times. From looking after vulnerable neighbours, having random conversations with strangers, to just keeping spirits up, there so much positivity out there. Yes, it’s difficult and there’s a great deal of miss information, do all you can to stay safe and try not to get caught up in the hysteria (easier said than done sometimes).
When things get too much, I like to take a walk in the country, just in the open air and away from the crowds, you can clear your head and readjust your wellbeing. Whilst we can still enjoy the countryside take a walk, find a special spot, take a seat and take a deep breath, it will do you the world of good.
Say safe and happy perching.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.