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A Labour of LOVE

Well - long time between blogs and it has been quite a journey. It felt strange ticking the box Toy Manufacturer on my Tax Return!

When Lasercraft broke the news to us in early November that due to covid reducing their staff hours and a shortage of timber they couldn't help us until late January we changed tack and started making clay footprint pebbles for all games. Huge thanks to friends who helped roll the pebbles. Pete from Umina Beach Pottery has fired nearly 1000 glazed pebbles for me and will do another batch for me on Tuesday.

Two weeks ago I visited Marc from Phoenix Packaging, the only packaging company on the Central Coast. Marc can make the original flat box with small adjustments, to fit the rectangular game and all the compartments are built in. I feel like I have gone full circle as Marc was the one who helped me out right at the beginning but had to refer me onto another box maker as they were moving premises and didn't have time for me. Marc will print the boxes in Berkeley Vale and possibly get the boards printed in Newcastle... when we can resolve the issues around printing on to grey recycled board.

Libby and Jane have done an incredible job sewing 600 drawstring bags, originally intended only for the cloth and clay game, but for a few weeks it looked like I would need them in the big box game. Very grateful to have these ready for all options - thanks Libby and Jane!!

I have been cutting the canvas game mats, testing hemming, buying heavy duty needles and giving samples to friends interested in sewing the hems. Thankfully now I have found George from All about Uniforms in Morriset and they are going to hem/bind the edges of the canvas game and possibly make the pouches for me too.

Two weeks ago I handed over 100m of Australian made canvas to Steve for the Cloth & Clay games. See Steve in a video here. Steve has let me know that the name of the business he is doing this job as, is EARTH TEXTILE, which is very appropriate. He has a few different businesses going and his experience is invaluable. We now have 99 printed game mats ready to hem/bind.

My friend Suz and I screen-printed the EARTHCARE logo onto canvas and calico for patches on the cloth & clay pouches. They look really good. Thanks Suz! Lindsay sewed 75 logo labels onto the game pouches and they look great. Amazing effort Lindsay :)

So it is still the wooden tokens that are the biggest challenge - Rob from Narara Eco Village has some timber, cut at the village that we can use to make tokens. Lasercraft can trim it down to 2-3mm and then lasercut the tokens, in January.

In summary:

  • BOX FLAT (includes compartments) - quote received from Phoenix Packaging and I have sent the die lines to Nick, at the amazing Bean Farm Studio. The box design is being finalised tomorrow.

  • BIG BOX - ruled out

  • BOX INSERTS for BIG BOX - not needed

  • BOARD - Phoenix Packaging are asking Cutting Edge, and Steve is asking a friend as the test print on 100% recycled box board was dull, so I may need to print on better but still recycled surface and have it glued onto the box board.

  • PLAYER PEBBLES clay - TICK (made, glazed and fired x 975+) and have started making the next 1000

  • ALL CARDS PRINTED - TICK (18,000 on 100% recycled cardboard)

  • WOODEN TOKENS - still challenging - possible option rye straws!

  • CANVAS GAME MATS - being printed progressively. Steve is a champion!

  • GLASS - I have fixed the tumbling pipe and have taken more glass to Lyn for tumbling this week

  • METAL - I have more aluminium ready to tumble too.

I have just added a GIFT CARD option to the website so I hope some people will find that useful for Christmas for the patient people. Not long now and the EARTHCARE game will be born.

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