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Karen J. Gerrard Blog

Behind the SEAMS  

How To Keep Your Hands Clean & Soft – Hand Washing Tips

With all this extra hand washing and sanitising hands are getting extremely dry, we should be washing our hands like this anyway, so here's how to keep hands clean & soft - Wet your hands first then add soap and work into a lather rubbing your hands together. Interlace your fingers and then with your thumb massage in between finger. Work your way over and around each finger and don't forget your thumb the outside edge often gets left out and thats the part that has the most contact when on a keyboard, picking something up, turning  a page... Rub the tops of your hands together paying special attention to your knuckles. The don't forget you wrists, they lean on a table when we are at our desks and we often rub our wrists with our hands. Dry with a paper towel and then use the edge of the paper towel to turn off the tap so as not to pick up any germs. Make sure your hands are fully dry, damp hands can cause the skin to chap and also will be more porous to any dirt. Moisturise well, SEAMS Couturiers Hand Cream absorbs instantly its not greasy so you can carry on with whatever you need to do. Fingertips are usually the first to become dry this can reduce the sensitivity when using touch screens, if white lines are appearing be sure to massage in some extra hand cream. Keep nails shorter and file to a  square, the underneath of our nails can become a dirt trap! If  you have any loose bits of skin around your cuticles, do not pull on it but trim it back gently with some nail scissors. If  your hands sting when using an antibacterial gel it could mean that the skin is beginning to chap. Split skin lets in bacteria and can be cause for infection. To help prevent this happening  use Silk Touch Hand & Nail Oil as a treatment under SEAMS Hand Cream at night before you go to sleep. Regularly clean any nail tools, keeping nails scissors sanitised is crucial to stop the spreading of any bacteria or fungus. Be Safe - Be Well Karen J.


It was great to be on set in Sewing Streets first week on air talking hands and hand care with Vicki Carroll. The studio is in the most beautiful country manor deep in the British countryside in Redditch, sharing their building temporarily with Jewellery Maker, meant precious stones and creations in progress were dotted over desks, photocopiers in the sound studio and it was a head pin  to the rescue in wardrobe i've found out head pins are the go to when a safety pin is not available! Although there was a trade off with SEAMS which was greatly received to look after the dry hard cuticles of crafters hands! Karen J.        

A quick blog today just to say we opened up Simply Knitting Magazine to see SEAMS Couturiers Hand Cream as the editors choice chosen by SK Editor Kirstie McLeod. I am so pleased to see  SEAMS helping the hands it was created for. Knitters hands get especially dry as wool is extremely porous, I know from experience how a bit of dry skin catches on the wool and feels uncomfortable when knitting. SEAMS Hand Cream can be used whilst working as its non-greasy and so doesn't transfer on the knitting. Karen J.

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

Dealing with a problem right away will prevent it from getting worse and more difficult to deal with later, there is nothing like the now! Some say that "A stitch in time" was first said by mothers weary of mending their children's clothes, and mending a tear right away would require only 1 stitch instead of 10 stitches later. Others that making 1 wrong stitch whist embroidering can mean unpicking a whole section later. Embroidery has been around since 3rd Century BC with the earliest examples found in China. You may have thought that embroidering was something Elizabeth Bennet did in Pride and Prejudice to while away the hours whilst waiting for Mr Darcy to sweep her off her feet, but the art of embroidery is enjoying a huge renaissance, with global designers such as Erdem using embroidery to create the most beautiful floral designs on his pieces, every high street retailers embroidered bomber jackets flying out of the doors, and this season Valentinos legendary Rockstud bag has been embroidered with a Jungle print. At SEAMS this week we are looking after hand sewing the creations for London Fashion Week and I know there are going to be many fabulous embroidered pieces on the catwalk. There are many reasons to sew there is nothing like creating something timeless with a personal touch. Type embroidery into Google today and you will find embroidery groups and courses springing up everywhere. There are Facebook groups where you can chat to Romanian Grandmothers who will show you their country's traditional techniques, and clubs you can go along to socialise and swap tips. Embroidery has come back in fashion in a big way Gwen Stephani loves to sew and says she learnt the craft from her mother and grandmother. Britney Spears has tweeted herself having sewing lessons from her wardrobe mistress. Chris Martin from ColdPlay says he and his band members love to sewing their own clothes. Julia Roberts has been taking sewing lessons to keep her brain active as she grows older. George Clooney once made his own clothes and stepped in to fix a broken zipper on his girlfriends dress backstage at The Academy Awards. Rumour has it that Judy Dench creates the most ornate and beautiful pieces of embroidery but of the most foul language and them gives them to people as gifts! It was my love of sewing that lead me to create SEAMS Hand Cream, knowing from first hand experience the problems that this addictive craft can cause. From pin-pricks and burns to dry, sore and aching hands we needed a hand cream that could be used whilst working as a sewer never wants to stop! That is why SEAMS has a special fast dry formula and doesn't transmit grease onto fabric. Moisturised hands really do 'feel' the material better. With your skin 'a stitch in time saves nine" is so true, meaning it is better to smooth on SEAMS before and during everything you do than to try to repair damaged skin afterwards. Keep your hands soft and beautiful with SEAMS Karen J    

Claire-Louise Hardy – Great British Sewing Bee

"SEAMS is the least greasy hand cream I have ever used, its always on my work bench. When I'm hemming I pop on some SEAMS Hand Cream and pass the thread over my hand."

Our hands are our biggest tool in everything our imagination wants to create, but hours of crafting, the handling of porous material, use of cleaning liquids  and the constant washing of our hands causes dry irritated skin sometimes slowing down or halting work! Nothing worse than flakey skin catching onto wool or pin-pricked fingers making each stitch painful. Looking after your hands will keep them soft, supple and enhance your power of touch. SEAMS absorbs quickly and is not greasy so you can carry on...

The Beauty Of Music

Shakespeare wrote "If music be the food of love play on..." Then on a subliminal note, music is also an anti-ageing skincare tool, and a powerful boost for our wellbeing, health and soul. Music can bring out emotions of joy, sadness, happiness and love as our brains synchronise with the sound, and has the power to slow down or speed up the rhythm of our heartbeat - Tune in and read how this affects the body - Stress The cortisol hormone increases in our bodies when we are stressed out, too much cortisol leads to dryness of the skin and the breakdown of collagen so speeding the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A high level of cortisol also lowers our immune system causing issues such as acne, blemishes, dull complexions and in some cases skin allergies, rosacea and eczema. Slow down the signs of ageing Listening to your favourite music can help you de-stress and relax the mind and body. This lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels so slowing down the ageing process and promoting clear radiant skin. Speed it up for a healthy glow Listen to a fast beat whilst at the gym to boost blood circulation, beat away toxins and cellulite, plump up skin, keep it supple and give your complexion a healthy glow. Feed the soul There's an old saying "Words are the quill of the heart and music is the quill of the soul." When you express something in your heart you use words to write it or speak it, music expresses what's in your soul. Tunes cross all barriers, everyone can be moved by music even if they don't understand the words, even if in a different language it touches you. A small child can understand the message of music, put a child to bed and sing a lullaby they will understand it and fall asleep a lot better than when the mother talks and uses words to tell the child to sleep. Music has a deep power to impart messages and memories, we remember tunes from childhood to old age instantly taking us back to where we were, who we were with and the feelings that song evoked, giving us a deeper inner peace and wellbeing. Bump it up Usually experienced through a chill or a rapid change in temperature some people have the ability to exaggerate the part of the brain where emotions are processed, listen to a chilling piece of music and feel a shiver down your spine and watch Goosebumps appear. Heal Research has shown that regular music listeners have a higher number of lymphatic cells, which help fight off bacteria and viruses. Our bodies heal whilst we sleep, so listen to a calming tune when going to bed, to help relax your mind giving you a better nights sleep. Get creative Listen to your happy music and ignite both the hand co-ordination and ideas part of the brain in unison, to promote abstract thinking and solving problems. Good vibrations Sound waves send vibrations into our ears with which to hear, a deaf person can feel the vibrations and send signals to their brain, then with the help of sign language also know the lyrics and enjoy the music. Dance to the beat  Not everyone likes to exercise but who doesn't start tapping their feet or clapping hands when listening to an upbeat tune. There are 8 essential pressure points in our hands which get activated when we clap having a positive effect on our hearts and blood circulation, helping to remove obstructions in the veins and arteries, sharpening the brain and keeping the immune system healthy. Whether it's dancing around the house by yourself, or at a party with a partner moving together to the rhythm, both will have physical and psychological benefits. Dancing helps you stay fit, increases muscle tone and will keep you supple. Dancing releases the happy hormone and some doctors dance with their patients during appointments to help reduce their anxiety!!! We rely pretty much on our hands during social dancing, it's virtually impossible not to use them whilst on the dance floor, hands help communicate what the body wants to do, telling a story giving attitude, sensual energy or just pure fun. Dancing with a partner will inevitably involve touch, which is essential to our emotional wellbeing. There are more sensory nerves in our hands than any other part of the body, through holding hands we can express emotions and feelings. Hands are a way of connecting the bodies, holding hands whilst you dance signals total unity, a tilt of the hand can indicate the direction you want to go, touching your partner gently around the waist gives an instant feeling of compassion and security. Music is contagious In a good way, music can lift the energy in a room, uplift our mood and bring light to our faces. When Neil Diamond sang Sweet Caroline at a Red Sox game a full stadium of 37,731 people were swaying to the music holding hands with the person next to them, endorphins were released, transmitting joyous energy, uniting both teams. There is not a single style of music that is best for everyone, fast, slow, loud or quiet. Be it Soul, Jazz, Rock, Dance, Latin, Opera, Pop or R&B whatever type of music that brings you joy is the best. SO TURN UP THE VOLUME - DANCE THAT DANCE, SING THAT TUNE AND FEEL THE BEAT OF LIFE!!! Karen J.  

Holding Hands Is The Strongest Form Of Touch

Touch is the one sense that we can never turn off, a newborn baby will grasp a mothers hand at the first touch, and research shows that depriving children of touch can cause a condition called skin hunger or touch deprivation, resulting in emotional problems and late development. Touch Talks - We have more sensory nerves in our hands than any other part of the body, through our hands we can transmit emotions. Holding hands causes brain waves to synchronise affecting the part of our brain that is associated with empathy, pain and interpretation, and triggers the release of oxytocin Aka 'the love hormone' releasing feelings of trust and compassion  - speaking without words. Touch Soothes - Our natural response when a person is in distress is to hold their hand, to give reassurance. Pressure receptors are stimulated sending messages to the brain which are capable of bringing heart rate and blood pressure down. Touch Helps Us Sleep - Massaging hands stimulates the part of our nervous system that calms body and mind, and the pressure on sensory receptors during exercise will release serotonin which helps you get into a deeper sleep. Touch Connects - What is life without touch, but with all our technology we have never been so connected yet disconnected! Take time to nurture your skin, moisturised skin is not only soft and supple but also enhances our sense of touch. The bottom layer of skin called the dermis is filled with tiny nerve endings that send information to our brain where feeling is registered, if skin is soft it is more sensitive to contact. SEAMS Hand Cream absorbs instantly and is non-greasy and a must for dry, rough distressed hands. Widely recognised for it's mending, softening and moisturising properties. With a biomimetic lipid complex which penetrates the skins epidermal layer to help lock in moisture and leave skin feeling exceptionally soft, supple and smooth. Give your hardworking hands the SEAMS touch Karen J.

The History Of Shea Butter

Shea Butter was one of the many beauty secrets kept by Cleopatra, in ancient Egypt she had it sent especially from Africa. One of Cleopatras most famous beauty tips was to have Shea Butter massaged into her face and body after a milk and honey bath. She would also use Shea Butter to hold her hair in place, and when travelling through the dry desserts Cleopatra would get her servants to pack Shea Butter into clay jars, so that she could use it to protect her skin. Shea Butter has been used to moisturise and heal skin for centuries, and was also known to be used by The Queen Of Sheba and Nefertiti. Shea Butter is an ivory coloured natural fat from the seed of the Karite Nut tree, also called the Mangifolia tree found in the savannahs of West and Central Africa. Africans originally used Shea Butter to protect their skin from the hot sun and drying winds over the African desserts. Shea Butter is one of the richest natural sources of fatty acids and Vitamin E, which is why it has the unique properties of moisturising and healing, and can also help reduce wrinkles, stretch marks and scars, heal insect bites, clear sinuses, moisturise dry scalp, and is gentle enough to use on a baby's skin. Shea butter is one of the safest and effective natural moisturisers that you can trust to keep skin soft, it has incredible properties which is why I chose Shea Butter to be one of the main ingredients in SEAMS Hand Cream. Karen J.    

What To Do With Your Hands When Giving A Speech

Whether you are making a speech at a conference, giving a presentation or speaking at a party the question always arises what to with your hands whilst you are talking! Some people say don't use your hands too much so people can focus on your words, keep them still and hold onto a podium or table, but gripping too tightly shows a sign of nerves, hiding your hands behind your back can look intimidating, holding your hands tightly clasped in front of you can draw attention to the wrong places, and if  holding a pen or paper you may start to fidget by clicking the pen and this can be distracting to the listener. Research shows that's it's effective for a presenters hands to do plenty of talking, and can increase the value of your message by 60% they just have to be saying the right thing! When charismatic people use the correct hand gestures audiences will be happy, as they get two explanations in one! So it is important that your words and actions work on the same page, avoid giving out mixed messages which can be very confusing and eventually lead to loosing your audiences attention and they could walk out! But do not dismay there is a way to come back from this, open your hands out to the the audience, ask if there are any questions they would like to ask, get your audience interacting with you possibly invite someone up to the stage, shake their hands, make your audience an active part of the presentation. For most of us speaking in public can be daunting. It is a gifted person who can stand up and speak with confidence and ability, so having to think about what your hands are doing can add another pressure. To minimise stress read my tips on what to do with your hands whilst you are talking, practice a couple of times either in front of someone, or film yourself on your phone and watch it back, so that by the time you stand up and speak it will come naturally to you. Think of hand gestures as the bold print or highlighter to what you are saying. 1. Keep Your Hands In The Box Although its good to always think outside of the box, hands should stay inside of the box, the area from your shoulder to the top part of your hips. Going too far or wide out of this zone can be distracting, try not to repeat the same hand movements too many times, new movements as with new words keeps the conversation engaging. Holding your hand outstretched high up in the box shows "Its a pretty big deal" but lower down toward your waist that its just a small issue. Hold one hand out to the side when describing the benefits of an issue, and the other to describe the downsides. When You Don't Know What To Do Keep Your Hands By Your Side This is your go to position if you don't know what to do with your hands, try not to leave them there for too long. Big & Small Issues If you are talking about a small issue pinch your finger and thumb together, to reinforce an important topic have your hands opened wide in front of you. Separating Subjects, This & That When talking about two different subjects or opinions you can use your hands to symbolically represent them,  always put the same hand out each time, e.g your right hand for 'we' and your left hand for 'they' its a great way to define distance between two things, and people often are looking at their phones or look away whilst listening when they look back up again they can see at a glance what you are referring to. Talking In Numbers If talking in numbers up to five show these with your hand, it helps us believe the word, a bit like a non-verbal underliner. Fist Shaking This shows you are determined, but use it with care and with a soft voice otherwise it can come off as anger. Hand On Heart This shows you are sincere about what you are saying. Ive got my stuff together A steeple with your fingertips is seen as a wise gesture. Open Palms To Build Trust Showing open palms means I've got nothing to hide and installs trust. So from the handshake to the hands up movements make sure your hands are facing you audience palms open. Come Together When you bring both of your hands together, it is a great way of showing two forces coming together and thinking as one, folding your hands together shows completeness. We This is the most powerful, when speaking to a group or team opening your arms as if you are about to wrap them in a hug, gives a feeling of welcoming them into your inner circle. Its  a lovely come together gesture when used correctly. Listening Always end your speech by throwing questions out to the audience, let them give their opinions on the topic, hand on chin has a number of meanings, but it can show that you are listening and thinking about what that person is saying. Groom Your Hands The Night Before To keep your hand gestures fluid and natural, massage your hands the night before with SEAMS. If your hands are dry they will appear stiff and uncomfortable, moisturised hands increase elasticity in the skin, a massage the night before you go to sleep with SEAMS Hand Cream will ensure you wake up with soft hands. If you are wearing nail varnish make sure its not chipped, and take the colour with you in your bag in case they get chipped on the way. Pick your nail colour carefully nothing too bright to take away attention from your face. If you don't wear nail polish shine your nails with a buffer. Moisturise with SEAMS again in the morning. People often want to shake your hand after the speech and there is nothing worse than shaking a dry hand. Before you make your speech, with your thumb press the pressure point between the thumb and forefinger this will help release any tension. Remember its not just about what you are saying, its your actions that will make the difference. All eyes will be on you whilst you are talking just saying..! Karen J.