30 December 2010
I was lying in the bath looking at the colour of the paint, and decided that I did not like it. The following day, I went and bought a tester pot which I really liked, but the colour did not go with the tiles, so instead of changing the colour of the paint, I started to take off the tiles. I am sure that is the wrong way round!
Most of the tiles have now been removed, but the remaining ones are decidedly stubborn little blighters. I have smacked my knuckles umpteen times and have come to the conclusion that it was not such a good idea after all. Oh well, not much I can do about it now.
Of course, I have had "help" from the kittens who have been chasing the bits around the bath. It is very kind of them, but the sort of help I could do without.
25 December 2010
I have been to see all my furry wards, had my bath and I am sitting with a cup of coffee and a piece of chocolate tiffin given to me as a Christmas present.
Later, I am off to Mums for Chrstmas dinner assuming I can remember where I have put the presents.
18 December 2010
This morning the snow is up to about a foot high, mostly in drifts against the pavements and around the wheels of cars. It fell so fast and so heavy that the cat fencing which keeps my furry little darlings safely in the garden has given way under the weight, and the brackets (the expensive part of the system, naturally) have snapped.
Gathering every ounce of courage, I got into my car and drove into town to go shopping. At this point I have to say that my courage would have deserted me, if I had not had bare cupboards. (My need to eat is far greater than my common sense at times like this).
I made my way into town easily enough, popped into the supermarket, back to the car to put the food in the boot before sliding to the book shop to finish off a Christmas present. I returned to the car with a self satisfied grin, quite pleased with myself that I am one step closer to finishing my present shopping, to find a completely flat front tyre.
Thank goodness for the "third emergency service" (other breakdown services are available). I called them to rescue me, and although I was told that it may take up to two hours to reach me, my knight in his yellow van arrived about 40 minutes later.
What annoys me, is that I know how to change a tyre. I do, honestly! The trouble is that I can't undo the nuts.
So, much later than planned I arrived home with cold wet feet, and soggy jeans to a house full of cats who wanted to go out and play in the garden and can't.
27 November 2010
We recently applied to the National Trust to be added to their approved local suppliers list. An email popped into the inbox this morning, to confirm that we have indeed been included.
Orders should start arriving late January/early February 2011 for sale at local properties. These will be added to our "where to buy" page as and when the details are available. Watch this space.....
22 November 2010
21 November 2010
I have just made my first Cold Process soap. As you can see, I do not have a very steady pouring hand.
It is for a new range of soaps which have Babassu oil and silk added for that extra touch of luxury. It is a slightly more delicate process than Hot Process in that you have to take notice of the oil temperatures. I will be really interested to see how it turns out. The problem is that I have no patience and I have to wait weeks to be able to use it.
Talking about cold, I have just seen the weather forecast and there is a cold wind blowing our way later in the week. With it comes the first snows of winter, not here luckily, but I don't do cold very well at all.
13 November 2010
Another Fair over. It took place at old Christ Church, a beautiful venue, if a little chilly at this time of year. I was lucky as my stall was near enough to a heater so that I did not develop hypothermia.
My best seller by far was the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh limited edition soap. Perhaps the combination of the time of year and the fact that we were in a Church helped.
As it was Christmas, I decided on a different look for my "props" and went on a spending spree (feeble excuse I know). I decided on the dramatic, and bought some lovely masks. The problem with them though is that more people fondled the props than wanted to buy and if anyone else had picked them up, I would have screamed!
03 November 2010
I am going to see what the texture is like in a week or so and I need to sit and think about texture and how I make it a little thicker for use as a hand cream. As a first pass though I am rather pleased with myself.
30 October 2010
The products will be different to those I make now, and are aimed at a different target market. The packaging is going to be the usual pain to source, although I have a vague idea of what I want.
All will be revealed as and when I have finalised a product - so watch this space!
The clocks go back this weekend, so in theory that means an extra hour in bed. In reality, for me it won't. Cats do not go by the time on the clock, and no doubt I will have some furry little ratbag dancing all over me because it wants its breakfast. I am off work on Monday and Tuesday of next week, so I want to get everything ready for the craft fair on 13th and then it won't be too much of a rush, assuming all goes to plan, and it has not today.
I was trying to print off the cigar bands for the limited edition Christmas soap, and spent most of the afternoon fighting with and swearing at the printer, which has now decided that it does not like the card I am using. Trouble is that I have used the card before with no problems so why it won't go through now is a complete mystery.
I hate technology!
24 October 2010
19 October 2010
03 October 2010
This was the first year of the awards, so I am especially proud to have won the inaugural award. The SWBN is a networking organisation aimed at helping and supporting women start and grow their businesses.
18 September 2010
Fidget is a real Mummies boy, and vocal with it. He wants to sit on my knee, and if I have the audacity to need the toilet, or to go and get myself a drink he shouts until I get back.
Echo on the other hand, is a bit more stand-offish, but has at least stopped flinching if I tickle her under the chin. They are beautiful little beasties and I am having buckets of fun with them.
11 September 2010
05 September 2010
I met some lovely people, and it is a great place to network and find out about other fairs and how successful, or not they are. I can't wait for the next one.
03 September 2010
Tomorrow, I will be spending the day making body butters. Everything else is done (I hope). I am really looking forward to it.
I also have a couple of new trade enquiries, so hopefully before long I will be able to spill the beans.
24 August 2010
22 August 2010
There is a glut of plums and cooking apples on Mum's trees, and I have taken to jam making.
The jars with the blue lids are apple and plum and the red lids are plum. I have a fridge full of apples and a bowl of cooking apples I am trying to decide what to do with. I have so far tried only the plum jam and it is very nice indeed, if I say so myself.
Do you think there is any therapy for this kind of thing?
20 August 2010
15 August 2010
12 August 2010
I miss him taking over the bed leaving me perched on the edge, I miss him shouting at me for food and I will miss him crawling under the duvet and lying against my stomach next winter.
The other three watched him die, and are really stressed and clingy as a result. They have hardly eaten this evening, and there is nothing I can do to make them feel better.
23 July 2010
I have just had my application accepted for the Liverpool Craft and Design Fair on 5th September. I am really excited to be preparing for my first Craft Fair. I am going to have to spend the next few weeks furiously soaping, wrapping, planning and tearing my hear out. I am sure it will be worth all the work though.
My main problem at the moment is designing my stand. I think I know what I am going to use as a table cloth, and I do have some other ideas to make it pretty too. But, and it is a big but, I have to source what I need. I did find some lovely reasonably priced baskets, but the shipping was horrendous so I am going to have to look elsewhere. I have absolutely no idea how much of everything I need to take.
I am currently tweaking my soap packaging. I am not keen on the tags I am using, so I have sent for some. If I like them then I will get them for the rest of my soap. I also need to work on my food balm. It would be good if I have it for the Fair.
14 July 2010
A few frantic emails to my supplier and my safety assessor later, I heaved a huge sigh of relief when my lovely assessor Scott, said that he would amend the assessment for me without charge. So, while I have been waiting for the new assessment I have not been able to make any soap, and I am a little behind.
Am I the only person who does not have enough hours in the day? I need to catch up on the soap making, do a considerable amount of marketing and try to work my way through the growing list of things I have to do. If anyone could manage to slot another day into the week, I would be grateful.
27 June 2010
I am having a light eating day. The dreaded D word (diet in case you are not sure) is not allowed through my front door. It is not a word I use, because as soon as I do, I reach for a cream cake. No, I have to play mind games with my stomach if I want to lose some weight. I do not deny myself chocolate, or a cream cake or any of the food groups you hear people say they can't have because they are fattening. Instead, if I have a chocolate craving, and what girl doesn't, then I have a piece. I make sure that it is really good quality chocolate and then I don't eat the whole bar, although I can if I try. Today, I will eat plenty of fruit, with just a small drizzle of cream so that my brain is fooled into thinking that I am doing something really naughty, when I am not. Dinner will be a huge salad, with some sort of carbs - I do not prescribe to the no carb theory, and find that if I don't have some then I could eat an Everest sized pile of salad and still be hungry.
I believe that there is some sort of football game on shortly, can't think what, but I keep hearing a vuvuzela somewhere locally, and it is going to drive me demented if it does not stop. I am so glad that I am not in South Africa where there are hundreds of the blasted things (pun intended). I am not going to watch because I think that it is likely to be a train wreck, and if I am honest I am not terribly patriotic when it comes to football. If the cats allow me the comfy chair, I am going to settle myself with Freya Stark's "Southern Gates of Arabia" and head east to more exotic climes.
20 June 2010
On Monday, I went to Anglesey with a box of soap to see if I could sell any. The gallery took the whole box. That gave me a bit of a fright, especially as they want the body butter as well. I just have to wait for the labels which will be something like this...
I am getting a little low on soap. I think one of the hardest things when you start out, is knowing how much to keep in stock. On the one hand you don't really want to make mountains of soap to find that you can't sell it. On the other, running out is not a good thing. Luckily, I make HP soap so can ship fairly quickly after making it. The body butter is easy, and can be made to order.
Back to work tomorrow, and I am not looking forward to it. I have been really relaxed this week, and that feeling is rapidly disappearing!
Had a great day in London on Friday. I thoroughly recommend the Magnificent Maps exhibition at the British Library. It is a fascinating exhibition, especially for someone like me who like to look at maps anyway.
09 June 2010
It is lovely to know that someone other than me likes my soap.
04 June 2010
15 May 2010
08 May 2010
07 May 2010
Coming soon to my website, are the bath salts, body butters and some beautiful soap dishes. Watch this space!
27 April 2010
Mum has been foisting my products on poor unsuspecting guinea pigs. Yesterday, she gave a sample of my body butter to a friend, who has placed an order for a full size pot. Yippee, my first order. From tiny acorns, and all that.
I am trying to find suitable outlets for my products rather than just relying on the internet. It is a really time consuming excercise, but hopefully will bear fruit.
Gardens are starting to look lovely after their long sleep. I don't have a garden to speak of, so I have to make do with a few pots. My Camelia is just about to flower, and the Passion Flower never fails. It is a lovely bright purple spot in an otherwise dull spot.
23 April 2010
Creation Collaboration was set up as a way of networking by a group of women friends, who are all in business. Women Wednesday was started as a way of promoting the businesses of all who register on the blog roll.
It is a great idea. We are barely out of the recent recession, if indeed we are which I wonder about, and we all need a little help to promote our businesses. Goodness knows it is really difficult to get a business of the ground, and as women we are sometimes not taken seriously, so isn't it great to be able to offer some support to fellow business women?
It just shows how technology is changing the way we promote our businesses. Gone are the days when you just advertised in the local paper. Commerce is now global and the world shrinking.
The world is shrinking that is unless you are one of the poor unfortunates who were caught up in the Icelandic volcano fiasco. I knew I did not shop in Iceland for a reason!
19 April 2010
This evening, I have uploaded some of my jewellery to see if that sells. Fingers crossed!
13 April 2010
09 April 2010
08 April 2010
04 April 2010
I have been messing about with packaging, but can't quite decide what I want. I like both options (see above, but please ignore the delightful background) and there does not seem to be an overall consensus. I think that I will have to defer my decision until I have the "proper" ribbon and have created my label. Still, I have plenty to do to be going on with.
There is a lot of work involved with getting a business off the ground, and my loo roll list of things to do, never seems to get any smaller. It does keep me out of trouble however and what I find so encouraging is the reviews I get for the products I make.
27 March 2010
20 March 2010
05 March 2010
Last weekend, we reinstated the propagator and planted aubergines, tomatoes, salad leaves, celeriac and tagetes (the tagetes are to keep away greenfly and other such creature) and the cucumber seeds went in yesterday. At the moment, we have two aubergines, one tomato and lots of celeriac and tagetes growing nicely. Hopefully, in a couple of weeks the soil will be warm enough to be able to plant seeds directly in the garden. We have lots of other vegetables to go in - garlic chives, leeks, khol rabi, baby turnips, French beans and other things I have forgotten. I am terribly excited about it, although there is absolutely no guarantee of success.
My soap safety assessment came through a little while ago, so I am desperately trying to finish the website, decide how I want my products to look, find packaging, look for boxes to ship my products in, and of course make the products. Still, it keeps me out of trouble. There is a lot of competition about and I need to make sure that not only are the products lovely, they look great too. Decisions, decisions.
The weather this weekend has been glorious, giving hopes of a summer to come. The sun is shining, and the sky is blue although there is still a real chill in the air. I do hope that we have a decent summer this year, we deserve one. The winter seems to have lingered longer than normal, but that may just be my perception. We are in March and still have frosts.
21 February 2010
On Friday evening, while I was driving home, the sky looked as if it was on fire. The most intense reds and burnt oranges lay low over the horizon with small grey wispy clouds floating above. It was a beautiful and vivid sunset.
There are signs of Spring in gardens and in parks. Snowdrops are showing their small white bells, and daffodils are beginning to show above the soil. We have had snow again this weekend, and more is forecast for later in the week.
I planted garlic before Christmas, and it is doing very well. It is standing inches above the soil while other plants lag behind. Apparently, garlic likes to be hit by frost to be successful, and it has certainly had plenty of that. At the weekend, Mum and I planted flower and vegetable seeds in the propagator in her greenhouse. I decided that I wanted to grow my own vegetables this year. I am not renown for greenfingers, and do have a habit of killing all that I touch, so we will see what happens. It would be lovely to be able to go an dig a vegetable out of the soil, peel it and cook it the same day.
It was great to see British success at the BAFTAs last night. Usually awards go to the strong American contingent, but it makes a great change to see the British on top.
16 February 2010
I had been thinking of trying for some time, but when you look at on-line tutorials, those demonstrating soap making look like they are dressed in hazmat suits. Luckily, I received plenty of encouragment by people who know what they are talking about, and late last year I gave it a go. I loved the results, and so do the people who have been acting as guinea pigs for me. I like knowing what is in the products I use and I like knowing that they have not been tested on animals. Since I started making my own soap, despite the cold weather we have had over the winter, I have used far less handcream than I would usually have done.
I have had some success with my soap making, although it took me a while to get the colour right. I tried some alkanet root a while ago, to see what colour the soap would turn out and loved the result. It looked like chunks of Welsh slate. I tried again with the last batch I made with a little less of the alkanet in to give it a paler colour, and it looked like cat vomit. Not what you would call much of a success and not one which will see the light of day.
I have just applied for my Safety Assessment, which is very exciting but scary at the same time. I need to think of how I package my products, and look for ways of selling them. Each time I think that I have decided I know what I am going to wrap the soap in, I see something else and then change my mind.
I made a whipped shea butter today for a pregnant friend. Actually, I made two, the same recipe but two different methods. They have turned out very different indeed. One looks like lightly whipped cream and is mousse like in texture, and one like stiff whipped cream. One took two hours and one took half an hour. I will send them to my friend, and she will no doubt give me her honest opinion. This the first time I made whipped shea butter, so I have much to learn. I really enjoy experimenting and it is great fun even when it does not quite work.
We are in for a cold snap later in the week, with accompanying snow. I thought that we had seen the last of the white stuff for this winter and I am not looking forward to more.