Luscious Lavender Restocked – with a Twist

I found that photograph that I thought I’d deleted yesterday. Actually, I had deleted it, but discovered that my phone keeps a copy of recently deleted photos – who knew? (Many people, clearly, but not meūüėČ

So, just popping in and out quickly to finally share the third of last weeks batches:

Here it is in the mould:

Luscious Lavender in the Mould

Luscious Lavender in the Mould

And here it is freshly cut (and a little rough and ready). The twist (such as it is) is a slightly different shade of the darker purple – I’d run out of the regular mica so had to improvise:

Lavender freshly cut

Lavender freshly cut

That’s all for today folks!

The Week in Soap: 27th Nov ’16

Last week was a pretty quiet one on the making front. On Tuesday evening I made three batches – Luscious Lavender, Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) & Blodau (Flowers):

Soap in the Mould

Soap in the Mould

The Lavender restock has a slight twist as I’d run out of one of my micas and had to improvise. I’ll share a picture very soon – I did take one of the cut but I seem to have deleted it – gah!

I shared the cut and the story behind Yr Wyddfa in this post last week.

And this is the cut of ‘Blodau’. ¬†Blodau is Welsh for ‘flowers’, and the fragrance is a lovely blend of lavender and ylang ylang essential oils, balanced with a touch of rosewood ¬†to give depth. Please forgive the rough and ready appearance – this was taken five minutes after it was cut:

Blodau - freshly cut

Blodau – freshly cut

Much of the week was spent preparing for the Porthmadog craft fair on Saturday. This is the only regular market/fair that I do. I could easily do more – I’m often asked – but to be honest I started this business to be able to work from home, and spend more time with the family, so I’m really not inclined to spend every weekend away from them. ¬†Nevertheless I do happily join my crafty family on the last Saturday of every month, and I get a lot of pleasure from catching up with my fellow stallholders and regular (and new!) customers.

The Dinosoaps proved to be very popular¬†(this was the basket I transported them in by the way, they weren’t displayed like that!)

Dinosoaps wrapped

Dinosoaps

The other soapy highlight of the week was a fabulous mica delivery from the awesome U-MakeitUp in Spain:

Mica samples

Mica samples

This was the second lot I’ve ordered from them, and I’m so impressed with their range of colours and great customer service. This was the first selection I received, a few months back:

More mica

More mica

Lots and LOTS of colours to play with!

In other news, this week the children wrote their letters to Santa, and I made a start on the Christmas shopping. This coming weekend we head down to south Wales for the weekend to visit my husband’s family, so we need to have all their Christmas gifts wrapped and ready to take with us.

I’ll leave you with this view from my office window last Saturday morning, 8am, just after loading up the car for the fair – gorgeously clear and crisp.

A room with a view

A room with a view

Personal Goals 2016 Revisited

Back in January I wrote this post¬†about how I don’t really ‘do’ resolutions, and instead had a couple of simple (ha!) goals for 2016. ¬†I na√Įvely thought that posting them here, with the odd update throughout the year, would keep me accountable. Unfortunately I was wrong. ¬†Not only have I not written a single update this year, I haven’t remotely succeeded in completing either goal.

Goal one was to run 1000km by the end of December. ¬†Ok, so the year’s not over yet but, as I’ve only run just over 200km so far (and only 10k during November to date), I think it’s fair to say that this goal is not going to be achieved. The reasons are legion, but when I’m motivated and I have the time, running is the best exercise for me, so I’ll definitely be running (more?!) in 2017

Goal two was to read 12 novels during 2016. ¬†I started with Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. I didn’t finish it. I’m sorry Kate, it wasn’t because I disliked it, nope, not at all. I just found that I was reading a page, maybe two at the most, per night, before my eyes refused to stay open any longer, and somehow it became a chore rather than a pleasure. I gave it up in the hope of finding something (apologies again Kate!) more engaging, but it wasn’t to be. Whatever I tried to read, I had the same problem. Every. Single. Night. ¬†I started The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, a book I’d look forward to reading for a long time as her ‘The Secret History‘¬†is utterly compelling,¬†and I¬†loved her ‘The Little Friend‘¬†almost as much. ¬†Once again I gave up as, by the time I got to bed and tried to read, my brain and body started to shut down and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. ¬†I’ve always been a reader, and in my head I’m still a reader. I suspect that, in order to read as much as I’d like, I need not to be parenting a sleep-shy pre-schooler while trying to build a business. ¬†Sleep comes firstūüėÄ

Don’t be surprised if I have similar (if less optimistic :-D) goals for 2017, but this time, like my recent commitment to post at least twice a week, I’ll commit to updating once a month on my personal goals. Will it make a difference do you think?

 

 

 

Designing, designing…

As winter inexorably approaches, the tourist season here has more or less come to an end for the year. ¬†The only visitors we’ll see for the next few months will be hardy, well wrapped walker and mountain climbers, and many of the gift shops have closed or drastically reduced their opening hours while the owners take a well earned rest. ¬†A good time, then, for me to take stock and consider what sold well during this last year. ¬†It’s clear to me (and it’s no real surprise) that the bars which sold the best here in the village¬†were those with a Welsh element to their name (eg Welsh Rose and Blodau (Flowers)) or a link to the local area (eg Black Rock Sands and Traeth Criccieth (Criccieth Beach)).

I’ve decided that there needs to be a few additions to the regular range – soaps which reference the local area – and the first of those will be Yr Wyddfa, our name for Snowdon, the highest mountain in England & Wales. ¬†Yr Wyddfa has always been close to my heart. As I child I lived literally at the foot of this majestic mountain, and now I live just 10 minutes away from the bottom of 4 different routes up (depending on which direction I drive). I’ve walked (and run, with a team of women, carrying (an occupied!) wheelchair – but that’s another story :-D) to the top many times, but I’ve never taken the train up… Anyway, I digress…

On Tuesday night I made my first attempt.  Even while it was still in the mould I knew that there were things I would do differently next time:

Yr Wyddfa in the mould

Yr Wyddfa in the mould

See that blue on the top? That’s supposed to represent the sky, but sadly it’s the wrong shade of blue. Easily fixed – next time…

And the cut:

Yr Wyddfa, cut

Yr Wyddfa, cut

Clearly I’ve not gone with one of my regular drop swirls here – ¬†I’ve gone a little more literal, with greenery (two colours of green), rock, snowy mountain top and sky. ¬†I need to alter the colours of the rock and the sky, and perhaps have a little more greenery than rock, but I’m really happy with it as a first attempt.

The Week in Soap: 20th Nov ’16

Despite the enforced slow down recently (update on the building work coming soon), there’s still plenty of great stuff going on.

1. The third and final stockist of our Christmas bars will receive their order tomorrow. They can be found in:

  • Glosters, Bank Place, Porthmadog
  • Lotti & Wren, Palace Street, Caernarfon
  • Woodcraft, Beddgelert
Christmas Soaps

Christmas Tree, Three Kings, Candy Cane

I have a limited number available for my local /¬†Facebook customers – I’ll be posting them on the page this week.

2. I’ve finally got my bath bomb assessment – woo hoo! This means that I can now officially (and more to the point, legally!) make and sell handmade bath bombs. That’s one of my goals for the year ticked off tooūüôā

Bath Bombs

Bath Bombs

3. The Dinosoaps are cured and will be posted for sale over the next couple of days. I’ve already received a few pre-orders and I’m confident they’ll sell pretty quickly.

Dinosoaps

Dinosoaps

4. I managed to make a few restocks this week. These are Boho Baby, Delicious & Botanica:

Boho Baby, Delicious, Botanica

         Boho Baby, Delicious, Botanica

5. This week, I hit the 5K followers mark on Instagram.¬†I know I bang on about it but I do luurve Instagram, and this week I was lucky enough to be featured by HandmadeintheUK. ¬†They reposted one of my photos, and if it received more than 125 likes (which it did), then I go forward to the grand final on Sunday (tonight!) At time of writing I’ve not idea how that will work, but I’m excited to see what happens this evening.

6. And finally, you should notice a few more posts coming through from me in future as I’ve committed to post at least twice a week (see this afternoon’s post here), probably on a Sunday and a Wednesday. ¬†Having successfully completed Blogtober I rested on my laurels for a little too long, but I’m backūüôā

Commitment

I’m slipping. ¬†After successfully completing Blogtober, I planned on continuing to post at least twice a week, but because I don’t have that challenge mentality it’s just not happening. I need a plan. ¬†I need structure and regularity (and a little more determination :-D).

Commitment

                        Commitment

So here’s the deal. I’m making a commitment, now, to post a minimum of twice a week, most likely on a Sunday and a Wednesday.¬†I plan on doing a weekly roundup on a Sunday evening of everything soapy (or maybe the top 5 soapy events / the best soapy stuff) that has/have happened that week. I’d also like to start sharing some book reviews (I have an AWFUL lot of soapmaking books, for starters) and also posts about other products that I’ve tried and enjoyed.

Somewhat disconcertingly, out of all my Blogtober posts, the one that received the most ‘likes’ was the recipe for a Swiss Roll. Ohhhh, OK. Nothing to do with soap at all. ¬†Well, this blog is supposed to be about my soaping life, and baking is part of that, so I will probably share some more of my favourites – occasionally.

I do have plenty of ideas for the Wednesday blog posts, I just need to buckle down and write them. Now that I’ve made a commitment to post more regularly, I think I will!

 

 

 

 

And Relax…

Relaxing. It’s not something I’d normally be doing much of in the run up to the holiday period. This is usually my busiest time of year – the two months during which I attend innumerable Christmas fairs and sell shedloads of soap. But not this year. The building work on the house as made soapmaking difficult, and I realised at the beginning of October that there was no way I would be able to keep stock levels anywhere near as high as they needed to be for the Christmas rush. I made the difficult decision to cancel all my seasonal fairs, and will only be attending my usual monthly craft fair in Porthmadog on the 26th November and 17th December.

I’m still working though. I still have my wholesale customers to keep stocked, and my wonderful local customers who’ll be knocking on my door looking for last minute gifts (if last year is anything to go by :-D) and so the soapmaking continues, just on a much smaller scale.

This are last week’s makes:

Sandalwood & Serenity

Sandalwood & Serenity

I’ve been asked a few times now for a sandalwood soap, so I finally made one (on the left) and the one on the right is a restock of Serenity (fragranced with patchouli, ylang ylang, orange and lemon essential oils).

The sandalwood moved REALLY quickly and nixed my regular drop swirl. ¬†I was pretty sure I’d created something pretty fugly, but you know, it’s ok:

Sandalwood Soap

Sandalwood Soap

Here it is just cut, still needing to be bevelled and cleaned up. It’s really not so bad and I’m happy.

So apart from wrapping and labelling my holiday bars and gift sets and some gentle soapmaking I’m really not that busy at the moment. ¬†It’s rather niceūüôā