Sunday, October 24, 2010

Something new!

What a surprise! I took a break and sat down at the torch.

I was inspired by the photographs we took for Tina's new book, The Essential Herbal - By the Hearth. We visited the oldest home and meeting house in Lancaster County and took pictures of their walk-in fireplace.

We had a salt-glazed jug on the table and I started thinking about making a vessel in that shape.

This what I wound up with:I was pretty pleased with the results. They aren't perfect, but for a first effort, they actually looked a lot like what I had envisioned.

There is a special offer going on right now on the sale of the book - 20% off and an entry into a drawing for a number of prizes.

As of now, the item I have made for the drawing is a bracelet I call "Winter White."
It is a big favorite of mine as I have made this type of bead in different shapes over the past couple of years. I love it because it is so neutral and "classy."

The other bracelet choice I offered her is called "Snow & Ice:"
It reminds me of a snowy night under a full moon. Tina chose the Winter White, so I will have to put Snow and Ice up on my website.

Here's the cover that inspired me:
If you have any interest in herbs, this is a great book! I did the layout and really enjoyed reading through all the articles, even though I have seen them all before. It supplies so much information to keep your family happy, healthy and well fed and so many ideas for projects to take you through the fall and winter while you are enjoying the snuggly feeling of being "By the Hearth."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Magic Garden

We went to visit a friend last evening, and one of the things we did was to tour her garden by candle light. I wish my camera would have been set properly and that I would have taken more pictures because it was truly enchanted, but I can show you a few of the whimsical sights we saw.

Many parts of the garden were lit by candles in hurricane chimneys and it was lovely. Everywhere we turned, we saw another inviting vignette. This spot was lit by little blue fairy lights....
This is an old clawfoot tub in the middle of her garden, it has been converted into a fountain and the trickling of the water added yet another dimension. It looks as if it has almost been overtaken by the Virginia Creeper.
What a fun evening. It is easy to see the love and creativity she puts into her gardening, with a birdhouse tree and her herb garden, much of it in varying shades of gray shimmering in the candle and moon light.

She is a bit south of us and in a slightly warmer mini-climate, so she has drifts of blooming rosemary on the southern wall of her home. It is an unusual sight for us because our winters are just a bit too cold to successfully over-winter the tender perennial and hers grew to an unusually large size...

She always seems to have a wonderful spread of delicacies to entice the palate and during this part of the evening, we enjoyed our choice of two wonderful cakes and hot wassail in her screened-in porch while the garden sparkled outside under the hunters' moon... The whole effect was magical.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A September to Remember!

The last month will be the September to remember - not that there haven't been other memorable Septembers, but this one was a doozey!

It seemed we were working feverishly to play catch up all month. Apparently for all the bad economy news, the tourist season is in full swing and that is our bread and butter. We sell to a lot of tourist stops and they were ordering like crazy.

We had started the month with full shelves... plenty of soap that would have lasted us well over a month in normal times.

Even though we tried to keep up with the demand, replacing the soap weekly (it seemed) we were having a hard time finding properly aged soap to send out!

The very last weekend of the month was one of our rare outside events.. a master gardeners' symposium that we always enjoy, whether we sell a lot or not and the following Monday and Tuesday was our only wholesale show of the year.
Somehow we got everything done and appeared somewhat collected for both shows.

We returned home on Wednesday, pulled the orders from the show that were for immediate delivery. When we surveyed the shop, we were shocked to find the soap shelves practically bare!

While we were busy at the shows, my dear husband made us 10 new soap molds. Now we were no longer limited by our original 8 molds. So, we got busy and prepared for our most ambitious soap day ever.

On Wednesday, we prepared. We weighed the fats, set up all the extra ingredients and prepared the lye for 8 batches.

On Thursday morning, we made 8 batches and I immediately put on lye for an additional 8 and we again set up the batches we had planned. Around 4 in the afternoon, we made the other 8 batches.

In Friday, we cut 16 batches of soap and are well on our way to having everything completely restocked! One more good soap day and we should be set - famous last words!