30 April 2011

Sunshine and Flowers

It is another long weekend, at least it is for those who have a 9 - 5 office job, with the May Day bank holiday on Monday, and the Royal Wedding yesterday, it is the second four day weekend in a row.

The weather is lovely. We have blue skies and warm sunshine and the trees are heavy with blossoms of various colours and fragrances. At their best are the lilacs, white, pink and purple pendulous blooms which drip fragrance into the breeze. Walking in the park, I marvelled at the delicate horse chestnut flowers; the gorse bushes beginning to break out their bright orange summer coats; the carpets of bluebells beginning to fade and the first of the many flowers appearing on the Dog Roses. These roses are a highlight of the summer for me. They vary from white to the darkest pink, their open flowers wafting scent along the paths.

It is a lovely time of year for a wedding, and on Friday the Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, took place at Westminster Abbey. I do like a Royal Wedding and I think that it shows this country at its best. We really do know how to do pomp and ceremony better than anyone else. The Life Guards on their gleaming horses; the flag waving crowds; the fashion statements, some of which definitely hit a duff note (I don't know what was going on with those hats); visiting dignitaries and European Royalty and everything going without a hitch. Then there was the dress. Kate Middleton has a great sense of style, simple and streamlined and she stayed true to that.

When she arrived at the Abbey, the dress most certainly did not disappoint. It was very Grace Kelly, simple and stylish with a fitted bodice covered in the most exquisite lace and having motifs symbolising Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland. It was a beautiful dress, modern but with references to the past. All in all, I think the wedding was lovely.

21 April 2011


I have been mulling about how best to display soap at Fairs. Until now, I have had them in nice little trugs, but find that people tend not to dig about to see what is in them. Rather they just pick up the first bar, sniff it and put it back. So, something has to change, and after racking my last functioning brain cell have come up on cake stands.

Above is a photograph of the first one, which is uncoloured glass and a good height. I just have to decide if it is right. I have a fair this Saturday, so I will see if it helps then.

18 April 2011

Let there be Light

A long weekend is on its way, and I can't wait. I just hope that the weather will be kind, although it usually isn't. I think poor weather lies in wait for bank holidays.

I have been asked if I make room sprays and candles by one of my stockists. This is a funny co-incidence because it was next on my very long list of things to do. I had a play with fragrances at the weekend, and pictured above are the results.

The larger candles are fragranced with lemongrass and ginger, and are light, fresh and zingy, and although I say so myself, gorgeous. The smaller ones, which I thought would make a nice change to votives, are fragranced with a rosey blend of essential oils. I am burning one at the moment, so that I can work out how many hours they burn for, and nice as they are, they do need a little more of the smelly oils. Still a little tweaking is to be expected. I will try to work on some more over the weekend. They are made using soy wax which is so much better for you than paraffin wax, which emits carcinogens into the air.
They will soon be available to buy through the website.

12 April 2011

It really shouldn't happen to.....

As well as being as soap maker extraordinaire (if only) I have been a pet sitter for the last five years. I love animals and it is nice spending time with them and not having the expense of feeding them and paying vets bills.

Mostly they are very well behaved, but there has been the occasional cat tooth embedded in my finger while I tried to administer tablets (blood everywhere, mine); I have been hauled downhill through bushes by a dog chasing rabbits; I have spent an hour and a half looking for a key for a door which turned out not to be locked; climbed a fence to get at a dog in a back garden kennel (in the house with the unlocked door) and chased a daft dog down a street with cars screeching to a halt around us.

Today, daft dog flattened me. We were strolling in the sunshine minding our own business, when I saw walking along the road towards us two little white fluffballs who proceeded to yap at daft dog, something guaranteed to set him off. He is not naughty, just still not quite an adult and when he is misbehaving he tends to turn into a whirling dervish. The trouble is he forgets how long he is and while he was pirouetting in disgust, he swung his rear end round and I found myself eating tarmac.

He is a lovely boy, but I am beginning to think that he is injurious to my health. Padded cell, anyone?

07 April 2011


Spring arrived at the end of last week and then promptly disappeared. I suppose that is the nature of what is laughingly known as "the great British weather." I have never been sure if that means the weather in Great Britain, or the British weather is great, or indeed not as is usually the case. Anyhow, we had a fleeting glimpse of blue skies and sunshine and the temperatures rose for a while.

The house is driving me mad at the moment. There is soap on every available surface and some unavailable ones, and I really do have to get myself a curing rack/shelf thumingy so that I can have it all in the one place. I need to get more organised, label boxes so I can find things, sort through stock so I know what I have and more importantly where it is. I spent a large part of Saturday afternoon looking for soy wax so that I could make candles. I must have filed away very safely, because I could not find it, and I know that as soon as I order some more, I will trip over it!

I have started making more CP soap. It is, in some ways, more complicated than the HP process, as oil temperatures are more critical, but I think I am getting there although I am not sure about the Gardener's Soap I made at the weekend. Fragranced with a blend of Cedar, Mandarin and Patchouli essential oils, lightly coloured with alfalfa powder and with blue poppy seeds for exfoliation, it is still rather soft, and I am hoping that once it has hardened properly the colour will be more even.