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Karen J. Gerrard Blog

Behind the SEAMS Karen J Gerrard

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is The Hand That Rules The World

Our hands are what make us human. No other creature has hands that can do what ours can, and this is what has ensured our long survival. Our hands are so important to us that they have become embedded in our speech, sometimes in the funniest ways. There are literally handfuls of well-known phrases and sayings that use our hands in a symbolic way. 'The Hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world' sounds terrifying but is actually in praise of motherhood as a power that can change the world. The saying comes from a poem written by William Ross Wallace in 1865, 'What rules the world', and has become globally used, albeit in a slightly threatening, 'don't mess with mothers kind of way. Anyone who has seen the psychological thriller staring Rebecca de Mornay named after this will shudder every time they hear it remembering the horror of the murderous nanny and how she nearly destroys a happy home. Other rather sinister idioms include 'the devil finds work for idle hands', meaning not having enough to do can lead a person into trouble and 'an iron fist in a velvet glove', which conjures up beautiful imagery and is used to describe someone whose gentle appearance belies a steely, determined soul. 'To be caught red-handed' means to be caught in the act of doing something wrong. This originates from an old English law that ordered any person to be punished for butchering an animal that wasn't his/her own. The only way the person could be convicted is if they were caught with the animals blood still on their hands! 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' an old favourite which can be traced back to Near Eastern origin as far back as the 6th century. It has a similar meaning to 'the grass is always greener', another much-loved idiom, implying that it is better to make the most of what you have than what may never come about. That one leaves a lot to think about. 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you' has a powerful message about showing gratitude to those who have helped you and is a warning that people are quick to turn and change allegiance when it suits them. 'Cold hands, warm heart' suggests that people with a cool exterior conceal a warm heart and we shouldn't judge others by their appearance, but scientists at Yale have proven the opposite of this to be true. Just holding a warm mug of tea in your hands makes you feel kinder and more compassionate to others. Scientists believe this could be attributed to the connection between warmth and feeling good we learn as children, when a mother's warm hands make us feel better about ourselves and others. Such is the power of our hands. Knowing how important our hands are in every aspect of our lives and even in the peculiar things we say, is all the mor reason to take care of them. If you have never used hand cream, let now be the time you start. With SEAMS you are literally in safe hands. Karen J Gerrard      

You Can Tell A Lot About A Woman By Her Hands

Do you wear a wedding ring? Are your fingernails manicured, or bare? Do you favour short red nails, or long pale, Is your skin soft and supple or dry? Perhaps your hands are ingrained with soil from a passion for gardening? Or calloused from riding your bike or the gym? Perhaps your fingernails are bitten from a nervous disposition, or the perfectly groomed hands of one who likes to take care of herself. Always exposed to the elements, our hands give away our true ages. As young and beautiful as our faces may look, if you don't take care of them your hands will give you away. There are easy ways to spot a seamstress, or anyone who works with needles and threads, pins and scissors. They all show it in their hands. The telltale signs that someone sews are dry, calloused and cracked thumbs, with needle marks under the nail from pushing needles through fabrics, and corresponding sore skin on middle fingers on the other hand. If you are smiling at this you will know how much a tiny needle prick and repetitive work can hurt. I had the idea for SEAMS whilst on a millinery course at the London College Of Fashion, I had designed and manufactured a rain hat that folded into its own pouch and wanted to learn how a hat was made to be able to create my own patterns. Coming home each night with sore pin pricked, burnt and dry hands, I was having to put antiseptic on my cuts and couldn't use a hand cream as they all stung. We all needed a hand cream that helped to heal, felt soothing and moisturised without being greasy so that we could use it around fabrics.When I asked our tutor what she used on her hands she said there is nothing that helps. It was named SEAMS as I was sewing a seam when the idea came to me, and SEAMS means fixing and joining. SEAMS now represents everything we needed for our hands,  it helps mend sore hands, moisturises, soothes, and protects. It conditions nails, is non-greasy and smells wonderful at the same time. The key ingredients were chosen especially to soothe seamstresses' hands, Shea butter to moisturise and soothe skin, Macadamia and Rosehip Oils to soften and restore condition, Vitamin E and glycerine to help mend and protect, Fragonia Oil a new ingredient with antibacterial and calming properties and Keratin to condition nails. The SEAMS signature scent was created to bring a moment of calm and relaxation with every use. Initially SEAMS was produced in pump-action dispensers for seamstresses to use in ateliers and was so well received that they requested handbag sizes so that they could use it all day. By August 2013 the tubes were in production and being sold online. SEAMS very first press feature was in You Magazine with the Mail on Sunday. By chance a year later whilst at an event I met Bella Blissett the beauty journalist who had written SEAMS first feature, she said that she too had attended the London College of Fashion and had encountered the same problem with her hands. Every seamstress, make-up artist and designer to encounter SEAMS has delighted in their common discomfort being recognised and alleviated by SEAMS. It has become the staple of London Fashion Week being backstage at Top Shop Unique. But it is not just for Seamstresses, all hands love SEAMS Sew long sore hands Karen J Gerrard        

I’ve Hungered For Your touch

Do you remember the scene from Ghost, where Molly (Demi Moore) stands with eyes closed, tears rolling down her cheeks, waiting to feel Sam (Patrick Swayze) touch her face for the last time while Unchained Melody plays "I hunger for your touch" in the background? Molly knows it is really Oda Mae (Whoopi Goldberg) touching her, but she can feel it is Sam and as a viewer you are right there with her. Our sense of touch and our emotions are deeply connected, being touched by someone we love is so much more powerful and evocative, even if we only perceive it to be them. Any parent who has gently rubbed a child's back to help them sleep, or wipped away tears will know how quickly the touch of our hands can soothe and console. When you give a hug, it not only gives comfort to the person being hugged, but also releases the same lovely feelings of happiness and reassurance in yourself. If you hold a hug for 5 seconds or more it will trigger the release of oxytocin - the hormone that reduces stress, lowers our blood pressure and makes us feel loved and secure. Our hands have many hidden powers we rarely consider. Did you know that your fingertips can have as many as 100 receptors in one cubic centimetre? There are receptors for feeling whether surfaces are rough or smooth, and for picking up the tiniest of vibrations. There are receptors for feeling pressure or pain, or determining the differences in temperatures. It is a fact that dry skin can limit the sense of touch. Our fingertips automatically know to form ridges when wet, so those wrinkly fingers and toes in the bath are not just a sign of too much wallowing, it is our bodies way of helping us to grip. We use our touch to communicate our feelings, and can tell if someone is touching us with love, happiness or sympathy without looking. Our sense of touch is so instinctive we will reach out to get someone's attention or create a connection before we speak. There are so many positives to the power of touch. Premature babies who are massaged have been shown to gain weight faster and all children sleep better, are more confident for being held often. Studies have shown that children who hold their mothers hand feel less pain from vaccinations than those who don't, and elderly people prone to loneliness can fail to thrive from lack of touch and affection. It is amazing how something so simple and practical as the sensors in our hands can be so deeply connected to our emotional wellbeing. There is something almost magical about the feelings we evoke with a simple touch. Make sure your touch is as soft and smooth as can be with SEAMS Hand Cream Karen J Gerrard Founder  

Be Happy Doing Nothing

 Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot to be said for this time of the year. The house feels bigger for not being full of decorations. You suddenly seem to have more time on your hands as you are no longer trying to squeeze in parties and gift-buying to your already busy schedule. The weather is too appalling to do much at all, which makes the odd leisurely walk when the sun does break through feel all the more sacred. If like me the gym is not for you, then rather than forcing yourself into frenetic gym-attending and bodily cleansing, why not just take this opportunity to relax, unwind and think about the year ahead? Spend some time just breathing, being and catching up. As a bear of little brain once said: "Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering" A.A. Milne The concept of doing nothing is fairly alien to us all in our busy lives of emails, texts and tweets, but nothing makes us feel more renewed and recharged than a little time spent doing not very much, either on our own or with those we love. When is the last time you really noticed the shape of your fingernails, the lines on your hands? Consider what your hands, or your partner's hands, do every day. Perhaps they deserve a little time spent rewarding them for all their hard work? While away a long winter evening with a lovingly-executed hand massage, with SEAMS of course! Make yourself warm and comfortable, settle down and enjoy: Smooth a generous layer of SEAMS Hand Cream into the skin in long smooth strokes starting at the wrist, down to the fingertips. Gently massage SEAMS into one finger at a time, making circular motions over all three joints on each finger and gently pull each fingertip away from the hand. Turn your palm over and use your opposite thumb to massage in deep, circular movements. Go to bed and sleep well knowing that while you are doing nothing, SEAMS ingredients are working hard for your hands. Karen J Gerrard        

Keep Your Fitness Routine In Hand

Exercise is a great way of releasing those 'happy' endorphins as well as keeping your health in check of course! But have you ever considered the damage it can potentially do to your hands? Did you know that 1 in 4 athletic injuries involve the hand and wrist? Each hand contains 29 major and minor bones; 29 major joints; and at least 12 ligaments and 34 muscles which move the fingers and thumb. These stats prove how important it is to look after your hands while you workout. Callouses often form when you're training with weights, deadlifts, chin ups, pull-ups or just about any exercise that involves gripping a bar or handle will produce them. Typically the palm of your hands, right below the fingers will thicken and harden as a result of training. This thick layer of 'armour' initially acts to protect hands from tears and blisters, but will soon become unsightly, uncomfortable and at worst, rip right off! Keep skin soft with SEAMS Hand Cream, and wear gym gloves to stop them appearing in the first place. If you've taken up running or other outdoor activities you need to consider how the cold weather will affect the skin and circulation of your hands. Apart from your face, hands are the only part that's exposed to the cold, wind and rain, so will become stiff and irritated. Wearing gloves to keep warm and moisturising with SEAMS before and after your jog will keep hands soft and supple. It's also important to protect hands from any germs they may pick up during workout. Think of the handles on a spin class bike. They are packed with bacteria! People sweat buckets during these classes wiping their faces without cleaning their hands before putting them back on the bars. Keep hands clean by washing them before and after workout, and make use of the anti-bacterial dispensers. Still be sure to wash and moisturise afterwards as these foams and gels are very drying and not as efficient in washing away bacteria as good old-fashioned soap and water. Whatever your workout, make sure you always carry SEAMS in your gym bag. Moisturising, naturally anti-bacterial, soothing and protecting it has all the properties to keep your hands fit all year round! Happy exercising Karen J Gerrard

The Future Is In Your Hands This Year… Or Is It?

The new Year us a time for resolutions. Is this the year to make that career leap? To take that sabbatical? Where is this relationship heading? When there are difficult choices to make many of us tend to look for 'signs', often in unusual places. Some look to the stars, some find significance in a certain song lyric, a line in a movie, some in the tea leaves in their mug, but what if the answer you are looking for is right there, in the palm of your hand? The lines on our hands have been used to tell our fortunes for millennia. As children we love the idea of gypsies and crystal balls and crossing palms with silver. As adults there is much to be said for something that may help and guide us, after all, Julia Robert's character in Eat, Pray, Love had her palm read and ended living in paradise with Javier Bardem! The lines on our hands say so much about who we are, how we have lived, but can they really tell us what is to come too? Palmists (otherwise known as Chirologists) believe that the shape, depth and clarity of each of the lines on our hands, together with the shape and feel of the mounds on our palms and fingers can predict our prosperity, our love-lives, how many children we will have, or when our lives will take a different direction. Did you know that the squishy pads at the base of your fingers are (from your thumb to the little finger) known as your mounts of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Sun and Mercury? The squishier they are the more passionate, dominant, stubborn, extravagant or outgoing you are supposed to be, and the flatter they are the less so. Those of us with almond shaped finger nails are thought to be more gentle and diplomatic than those with squarer shaped nails. Long fingers are believed to belong to people with more artistic traits than their more practical, shorter fingered counterparts. Sceptics will say that happy, successful people don't tend to have their palms read, that it is more reliable to look to solid truths to help guide us when we feel uncertain. But there is no doubt that our hands do tell volumes about us, from the work we do to the lifestyle we lead, the care we take of ourselves is most evident in our hands. Wether you believe or not, one thing you can be certain of when it comes to taking care of your hands is SEAMS Have a Happy and Healthy New Year Karen J Gerrard  

12 Tips To Avoid Getting Your Hands Dirty This Christmas

Christmas is quite possibly the worst time of year for your hands. Whether it is lugging shopping bags in the freezing cold, wrapping presents, scrubbing endless vegetables or doing indelicate things to turkeys! That sparkly Christmas manicure can often look less than festive by the time the big day arrives. So here are the 12 tips to avoid getting your hands dirty this Christmas: 1) Book a trip to the Caribbean and ignore Christmas entirely...failing that; 2) Wrangle an invitation to Christmas somewhere else, preferably a friend who absolutely loves cooking and wouldn't dream of asking you to clear up. 3) If you must host Christmas book your food delivery slot early, preferably with Fortnums who will deliver pre-chilled champagne and put it in your fridge for you, but as I just found out Tesco do still have delivery slots left. It is perfectly possible to buy pre-prepared vegetables, sauces and birds already in their roasting tins so all you have to do is turn on the oven and pretend you have been slaving away for hours, your mother-in-law will never know. 4) Be very clear what you expect from others, delegation is everything. Your husband must understand his duties will include laying the fire, taking out the bins, collecting up wrapping paper, all toy packaging removal, assembly and battery handling. 5) Pre-Christmas your husband must also carry your shopping bags or better still give him the list, send him off and rest with a Christmas movie, it doesn't matter if he gets it all wrong, the point is you haven't had to do it! 6) Say a big YES to in-store gift wrapping. Rowan Atkinson in that scene from Love Actually is your friend. Yes you want a sprig of rosemary and the cinnamon stick and you don't care how long it takes as long as you don't have to lift a finger in the direction of any sellotape. Ordering online is even better, providing you have someone else to open the boxes for you. 7) If you are lucky enough  to have one, make sure the best gift you buy is for your cleaner, they make your home sparkle and have to be cherished. 8) On the big day, feign an injury. A sprained wrist should do the trick, just don't forget which one it is when you've had a few glasses of wine. You can't possibly take everything out of the oven, gracefully accept all offers of help and retreat to the sofa, you don't want to be in anyone's way. 9) Keep everyone liberally topped-up - they will be far more entertaining and they won't notice how slovenly you are being. 10) Invite nieces and nephews and bribe them to do the washing up with hard cash. 11) If you have managed to survive the day with minimal effort, by all means celebrate with chocolate by the fire, but whatever you do avoid foil wrappers. Nothing is more likely to ruin a good manicure than a Ferrero Rocher or a chocolate coin. 12) Above all else remember to put SEAMS on your Christmas list and take every opportunity to slather it on all day. Wishing you a beautiful Christmas Karen J Gerrard  

Tis The Season For SEAMS

If like me you haven't finished your Christmas shopping yet, be sure to add SEAMS Hand Cream to your gift list. Wether you're buying for a fashion-loving niece whose hands need some tlc, to help heal a gym users calloused hands or for your Christmas host whose hands will need some comfort and care after Christmas day in the kitchen, SEAMS really will make the perfect gift. That's the Beauty of this cream - it has a place in everyone's routine. Even behind-the-scenes at ITV's Good Morning Britain, the lovely Great British Sewing Bee's Thrifty Stitcher who works in wardrobe and celebrity make-up artist's Helen Hand and Lisa Mejuto say SEAMS is their favourite hand cream. Claire and Lisa sent me this picture of them using it backstage on their own hands, as well as on the presenters and celebrity guests who get a hand massage with SEAMS every morning. Word is they keep SEAMS Hand Cream by the sink to lather it on first thing in the morning and to keep hands soft while they work and after washing too. Favourite festive make-up trends - like vampy deep-berry sparkly lips and  silver eyeshadows are keeping backstage make-up busy, whilst Hair stylist Tamara Harrod say's "Cast and crew on set at SEAMS USA TV Network  all love SEAMS". It's wonderful to see so many people stocking up on SEAMS for Christmas. The SEAMS stand at Fenwick Brent Cross has been buzzing with customers buying both individual creams and the beautiful gift packs for wives, husbands, aunts, grandparents. I've met daughters buying it for sewing-mad mums, and dads buying it as a stocking filler for their wives as a caring gift. Keep SEAMS close to hand this Christmas Karen J Gerrard      

Keeping Quilters Hands Happy, Interview Jennifer Sampou

I have always been a fan of quilting. This great American tradition is such a lovely pastime, it's no wonder it is becoming a popular hobby in Britain too! There are wonderful Quilting museums in Kentucky USA and Bath UK where you can see quilts from all over the world, and classes for quilting are now sought after. Quilts are being used for babies, on a bed, as a warmer in the lounge and as wall coverings. It's no wonder all ages are learning this craft. It is a very relaxing skill and I am completely in in awe of anyone that can create something so exquisite with such love and memories. So I was extremely lucky to meet the queen of quilting Jennifer Sampou in San Francisco. Jennifer is an American Textile designer and has designed over 3000 prints for famous brands like Robert Kaufman and via her own company Studio Sampou. Yet it is only recently that she has become a serious quilter. "I grew up in a super creative household, and have always sewn clothes and things for my home." Jennifer explains, "but now that my kids are older, I have time to work with prints in a more specific, detailed way, and it feels so fresh and inspiring." Jennifer talks us through what keeps her inspired and how she looks after her quilters hands... I spend 5 hours a day creating quilts and textiles so my hands are my most valuable tool. I do all my textile work by hand and love getting dirty. I do some hand stitching and push needles through my fingertips - it's a dangerous sport! It can take anything from 1 day to two months to make a quilt, but I don't feel any pain in my hands as I take good care of them. I wash my hands a lot between cooking, painting, giving the dogs lots of scratching, feeding the chickens and of course working with fabric. I am always putting cream on! I find it easier to work when my hands are moisturised. I can't stand it when my hands are dry. Paint thinner is very damaging for my hands but my hand care routine keeps them healthy. Cotton is my favourite fabric to work with. Silk sateen is very slippery and hard to handle. SEAMS I really like this product it's very moisturising. I love Shea Butter based creams, very nice to have an industry specific cream! California and Mexico (my home away from home) are dry climates and I must take care of my hands and skin overall. I take good care of myself and eat healthily. I make sure to work out, do yoga, get manicures. My friends, family, art and other exhilarating people inspire me. My motto for work is inhale inspiration, exhale design. My motto for life is to love well, laugh hard and dance. If you like the sound of quilting, Jennifer suggests to take a basic class and buy a beginner's hand book. She assures me that very little sewing experience is needed, just a day of learning how to use a rotary cutter and sewing machine! Thank-you Jennifer for letting us into your day. Always keep SEAMS close to hand Karen J Gerrard      

Do we really need to shake hands?

I was very excited to see that SEAMS Hand Cream made an appearance on Good Morning Britain ITV, taking part in a report on Global Hand Washing Day! I am very passionate when it comes to cleanliness, and even believe that the common handshake should be banned. It may sound ridiculous but hand hygiene really should be a concern to us all. Especially considering that 80% of infections are spread by hands! Recent research has found that as a nation, we don't wash our hands properly, with the majority spending just 6 seconds at the sink (experts advise to wash them for at least 30 to clear most germs away). Many people don't even bother washing their hands at all after using the bathroom! So whenever I shake a hand, I'm completely away that it can spread more germs than a cheek kiss. People avoid air kissing each other hello when they have a cold, but in fact they are more likely to pass on an infection by shaking their hand. But how do we avoid this ritual that has become so ingrained in our social etiquette? Is it time to ditch the hand shake for a more conventional nod or bow? Or greet like Obama and adopt the American style fist pump? Or should we all just wear gloves like the queen? I would prefer not to shake hands, but sometimes it's unavoidable so being forewarned is being forearmed, which is why Global Hand Washing day is great. It gets the discussion going and really makes us stop and think about how we carry out simple everyday acts and gestures and how they can affect our health. Here are my tips to keep you and your hands healthy: 1. Wash hands regularly with soap (not just after visiting the bathroom) for at least 30 seconds. 2. Always carry a hand sanitiser with you for times when a bathroom isn't available. 3. Be meticulous about cleaning those surfaces that your hands often touch, Kitchen work tops, door handles, mobile phones. 4. Always keep SEAMS close to hand as all that cleaning will make your skin dry. Plus SEAMS natural anti-bacterial ingredient Fragonia Oil will help keep germs away too! Karen J Gerrard    

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