Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Custom Candles

Just a quick post to show (off!) some custom candles that were picked up this morning. Mel first found me at the Niche Markets in May and has been kind enough to keep coming back for more and bringing along her empty containers to be refilled. This time she gave me some different containers of her own as well as ones she had bought from me. The challenge is to get the right amount of wax to fill them and the right wick for the candle to burn cleanly. What fun!Mel's chosen fragrances this time around were: Vanilla, Pomegranate & Black Currant (my fave); Rhubarb; White Tea & Ginger and; Cinnamon Sugar.
Also had a play with layering the colours in the candles - the far left (hard to see) is pale yellow with white on top and the second from left is a pale pink and white. Am quite happy with how they turned out. Looking forward to hearing how they burn for her.
In the background are the two candles I have made up for Michelle of Nook wrapped and ready to be posted.

Suds Overdose!

I mentioned a few entries ago that I had been lucky enough to win some soap through a competition run by SAFE - well, Terry from Bunny Bubbles Designs emailled me and I am awaiting (breathlessly!) my soap to arrive!
I believe I have won her winning entry to the Bonbons & Booze competition!
Check out some of her other quirky creations! These are all soaps!


Back after a lovely warm weekend away in Brisbane (the weddding was lovely, thanks everyone who asked. The newlyweds are spending their honeymoon in Fiji - here's hoping the Tsunami warning didn't come to fruition where they are staying!).
While in Bris, I was lucky to meet Michelle who owns and runs a handmade designs store called 'Nook' in West End. It's only 6 weeks old, but already looking very much at home in this fairly understated, but hip and happening, suburb of Brisbane. Nook runs out of the front of Michelle and her partners home and they have done a great job with its presentation - there's even a rather tasty looking organic garden patch to wander by as you come through the front gate.
Nook already stocks That Vintage and Michelle stocks some of her felt goodies in our very own Ruby Pear!
Also part of the goodie hoard is Hot Toffee - it was great to see some of Nicole's work again.
Kind enough to let me sneak in before opening time - Michelle and I spoke about perhaps stocking some of my candles and melts. I've done up a Vanilla, Pomegranate & Black Currant Soy Candle and a White Tea & Ginger Soy Candle for her and will pull together some different melts for her to play with. I'd would be very proud to have my little candles in her store!
The only thing I am unhappy about is that it opened after I left Brisbane!

All pictures courtesy of Nook's blog

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Bris-Vegas or Bust!

This is my last entry for a little while. Am off to Brisbane for the weekend for a friends wedding.
Ben has been a good friend since about '93 and we have kept in touch through job, city and spouse changes and I am very happy to see him with his beautiful lady, Susie. They are a wonderful couple who deserve to spend the rest of their lives happily together.
They are getting married south of the Gold Coast in Northern NSW. I'm flying up from Tassie alone this trip but am looking forward to seeing old friends and sharing their day with them.
It's a quick weekender, but I've left one day of the trip free so I can visit old 'haunts' in Brissie as well - maybe a little shopping.... Mmmm... IKEA!

WOO HOO.... I won!!!!

I have been following a really interesting blog called the Soap Artisan Friends of Etsy (SAFE) for a little while. They are a collection of very clever folks (including Erin from Inner Earth Soaps) who are passionate about all things soapy. They run these great competitions with each other to come up with ingenious soap varieties and styles. Things like "If you were a bar of soap, what kind of soap would you be?". Some really imaginative creations come about from this, check out that competition here.
They then ask folks who follow the blog to comment and pick their favourite soap, all for the chance of winning! Recently they had a competition to use an alcohol ingredient in a soap. Happy to support such talented people, I put my two cents worth in, but didn't expect anything... but I won!
Yay me! So very happy, can you tell?! See here for the Bonbons and Booze Competition.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Introducing.... Retro Toes!!

Just finished reading a blog by a friend in Brisbane and she has just started a second blog to showcase her latest creations... Retro Toes!
Cathy had mentioned these a little while back, but I didn't really understand what she had meant until I read the blog - these are really fun and really groovy!
They are actually little clips that you can pop onto your favourite ballet flats or heels - what a great way to brighten up your shoe closet.
They could well be this seasons hottest trend!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Whimsical Designs

Once again, the sharp eyed Nicole from Hot Toffee has found a talented artist for us to enjoy.
Joanna Rutter is from Devon in the UK and she designs beautiful, delicate jewellery, namely in stirling silver. On her Shop site she writes; "I am inspired by the link between illustrative form and jewellery. My pieces begin life as sketches and are then rendered into metal by hand".
As well as creating such lustworthy goods, Joanna is also a dab hand at capturing eyecatching pictures of her designs.
Like this:
Or this:
Check out her Etsy Shop here. Some of my other favourite are Tiny Squirrel and Branch earrings, Very Tiny Lovebirds necklace and Tiny Lovebirds ring. Enjoy.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Titillating Toscakaka!

No.. I'm not swearing at anyone.. a Toscakaka (Tosca Cake) is a traditional Swedish cake and I came across a recipe in Sunday's Examiner newspaper. Was feeling a bit domestic and so gave it a shot... OMG!!
For a very simple cake, the result was very, very yummy!!!
Here's the recipe should anyone wish to treat their tastebuds! The topping is particularly tasty!
Tosca Cake
100g unsalted Butter
2 large Eggs
150ml Caster Sugar
200ml Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
50ml Cream (or milk if prefered)
100g Butter
100ml Caster Sugar
2 tbspn Plain Flour
2 tbspn Milk
100g Flaked Almonds
- Grease and flour a 24cm round springform tin
- Preheat oven to 175 degrees
- Melt butter and allow to cool
- Beat eggs and sugar till pale and fluffy. Combine dry ingredients and stir into egg mix, along with melted butter. Mix well
- Pour into pan and bake in lower part of oven for 20-25 mins
- Prepare the topping. Combine everything in a saucepan, heat and stir well until butter melted and mixture thickens
- Once cake is cooked, spread topping over top and place back in oven (moving up to middle rack) for further 15 mins, or till topping is golden and a little caramelised

The quantities of the dry ingredients are shown in mililitres - this is a European method of measuring volume and isn't a typo. I measured them out using a glass measuring jug.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Heady about Homespun

What a great day yesterday at Homespun Markets! Thank you to everyone that came along to chat and support! Totally appreciated.
Brilliant weather too for a change! With the sun out, I am sure folks were more keen to be outside and away from the house.
There was a great turnout of stalls with such a mix of goodies on offer. From Jams and Preserves, to Jewellery, Childrens Clothes, Letterpress, Felting, Cushions, Weaving, more Kids stuff and more!!
Gem from Loz and Dinny has some piccy's on her blog (check out 'Childrens Clothes' above), but there was so much more happening!
Thanks to Tameeka for organising everything - I have never done a market with a Tea and Coffee station for the stallholders before!! Nice job!
The new palm wax candles and fragrances got good feedback and it was nice to see my little soy melts were a polular choice. The next big market is the Niche 3 day market at the end of November. Will needs LOTS of candles for that one!
I will also be dropping off new stock into Ruby Pear in town as well - so feel free to drop in and see what other delights Rachael has in stock!
OK! Enough plugging other blogs for one day! More soon.....!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Homeward bound for Homespun....

We are finally on the home stretch of a bit of a marathon effort of alchemy in the kitchen and I am officially all 'fragranced out'!
I finished off the last of the Soy Melts and Candles today and everything is all packed up ready to go.
All going well, I just have some printing of menus and pricelists to do and I am all set for this Saturdays market in town.
I am very much looking forward to seeing Mrs Smiths retro cushions, Loz and Dinny's range of childrens clothes and other goodies and That Vintage's array of designer jewellery and accessories. I know there are loads more stallholders coming along and you can check some of them out on the markets website.
Here's hoping for some sunny weather to get folks out of their houses and into the Pilgrim Hall, Paterson Street, Launceston between 10 and 3!!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Candle making day

Today has been a flurry of production... this time it's my soy candles. The house will smell like different fragrances for days. These are all for the upcoming Civic Homespun Markets this coming Saturday.
I have learnt my lesson and even though it's still chilly outside, my kitchen window is wide open to keep fresh air coming in. Some of the fragrances are really strong and can leave me lightheaded if I'm not careful. This is pretty much what I start with - pure soy wax flakes. After measuring them out, they go into a double boiler setup for melting down. I use digital scales to measure out each batch and record the weights, mls of fragrance, wick size and dye colour used in a log book - this helps me keep track of any problems, recipes and changes in each product I make.These are candles that have been poured and are curing - I pour while they are in the carton and wrap everything in a big towel for insulation. Being a chilly climate down here, they can set unevenly on the surface if they set too quickly. It's been a challenge to combat this and I am not always successful. Occasionally a rebatch is called for..... Still, it's an awful lot of fun and I just love seeing the finished product wrapped and ready for sale!

Rediscovered treasures..

I recently 'rediscovered' Wicked Child Designs through another friends blog (thanx Nicole!) and was reminded just how groovy Tenealles creations were!
I did a market with her many moons ago at Manly in Brisbane, but didn't get to chat or go over (we were pretty busy) - now I am so far away, I am sorry I didn't! Pictured are Dame Edna (top, of course!); Kevin Rudd (bottom) and; Gothic Gretel (right). All have a cheeky story to tell and come with a blurb on their personalities and backgrounds.

Friday, 4 September 2009

New Candles, Lotions and Fragrances

Finally got to take some photos of the new palm wax candles I've started making. They take a bit more work than soy wax - both making and cleaning up! - but I think they have a great look to them with the pearlised crystal patterns they produce as they cure. I'm also having fun with dyes as well. Palm wax is one of those ingredients that have a bad reputation in regards to how it is harvested - often it is done in non-sustainable ways - the wax I've found has been sourced and partnered with a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. This organization was founded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and heads of government and industry involved in palm cultivation. So I am happy to use it in my products. The lotions have come up great in their new bottles - these also took some extra work to fill as the necks are much smaller and harder to pipe the lotion into them! But I persevered! I have only done up 9 for the Homespun Markets next Saturday - just to see what feedback I get.
I was also pleasantly surprised to receive a fragrance order very quickly from one of my suppliers - I didn't think it would get here in time for the markets.
The new fragrances I am going to play with are:
Ancient Sedonia - Orange Blossom and Bulgarian Rose and Vetiver, plus notes of Sandalwood, Bourbon Vanilla, Amber (whew!!) - reminds me of the prefume Dior Addict to be honest!
Applejack - this has warm and spicy top notes of Cinnamon and Cloves rounding down to the mellow scent of Red Apples - I'm hoping it will be a popular Spring/Summer scent.
Cinnamon Sugar - warm Ginger, Cinnamon, and Cardamom - making a yummy sticky cinnamon bun aroma!
Marrakesh - this one is super strong!! I almost made myself nauseous after I spilt it and couldn't get the smell out of the house for days! Notes of Bamboo, Vetiver Grass, Vanilla Orchid and Myrrh mix beautifully with Tangerine, Patchouli and Clove Leaf. Amazing.
Turkish Mocha - top notes of Milk, Cardamom, Cocoa and a touch of Nutmeg, scents of Vanilla, Honey, and of course, Turkish Coffee - for all those needing a coffee fix!
Passionfruit & Papaya - a very summery, fresh scent combing these two tropical fruits. Yum!
All going well these will be on my stall (that I am sharing with the lovely Mrs Smith and her groovy home sewn cushions!) at the markets.