Monday 9 November 2009

Another Christmas Fair

I spent a lot of hours last week making up gift sets etc for the two day Christmas Fair on Friday and Saturday. I didn't finish pricing up etc until midnight on Thursday, up again at 6am on Friday morning, loading the car etc and setting up at the venue at 7.30am. Worn out before it even started, lolol. I took a few pictures as we were all setting up -

It was most definitely worth all the effort and taking tons of gift sets, and it was such a pleasure to see them flying off the table ( so to speak ). Both days were busy busy busy with a pretty steady stream of customers coming through. I didn't have a lot of space and I tried to cram as much as possible into the available space, I even managed to get a few vintage bits and pieces into one corner! Just as well, because I met a lovely couple that way. The gentleman was very interested in the cravats ( ascots ) I had on the stall, kept coming back to them and finally bought one, which he put on immediately and showed off proudly to everybody. He came back again after ten minutes and bought another one, a nice snazzy one, and went off happily with his wife to have lunch. After lunch, guess what? His wife came rushing to my stall asking me to show her the paisley scarves he had also been looking at. We had such a giggle picking one without him noticing and squirrelling it away for a Christmas prezzie. Bless them, they were just wonderful.

The stall holders were great, we were giggling and laughing together whenever we didn't have a customer, and the atmosphere was really lovely, so friendly and relaxed. I wish I could have spent a bit more money than I did, buying little gifts from all of them. There are so many talented people about. It was really nice seeing some familiar faces as well, stall holders I had met before. Of course one had to have a good natter about what fairs one had done etc etc.

I have only booked one more Christmas Fair, for Saturday, thats quite enough for me. I'll be making more body scrubs in those lovely vintage French jars, lip scrubs, herbal bath teas and bath bonbons for that one. Also got to get a few telephone orders ready over the next couple of days. We will be off to France soon as well, for a week or so, and after that I'll be busy preparing for our own Christmas. There are so many things I want to make this year and it all takes time.

Back soon, xx

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Gotta love this time of the year though. I love making up gift packs and people are certainly starting to buy for Christmas already. I haven't really made any new products over the last few months, I seem to be making more of the same all the time. Not complaining though, because its really great when soaps sell out, at least I know people like them.

So, last week I made 4 soaps, all restocks - Laventine ( lavender ), Aveline ( sapmoss ), Clementine ( citrus ) and Gigi ( geranium )

I have orders to fill this week as well, and today I am making salt soap bars, as they are all sold out as well. The last two, which I had hoarded for myself, went to my almost-daughter-in-law. She asked me for them the last time they came over. She loves them and swears its the only thing which helps combat her outbreaks. Isn't that sweet?

Back to the pleasurable task of making up gift packs, yay! xx

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Two-day Market

I know, I know, I should have posted about this last week, but somehow I only seemed to have had a few mins here and there to quickly check some of my favourite blogs and leave a comment. I really had the best intentions, but......... usual story, lol.

I really didn't know what to expect of this two-day market. I hadn't done a market before, and I hadn't even known about this one until this year. Boy, did I get a pleasant surprise! The market stalls were all set up for the traders, proper traders licences were handed out first thing Saturday morning and displayed prominently, and then we could arrange our goods. I had enough space at the sides of the market stall to put tables up, and I had brought some of my antique French linens and other vintage bits and pieces with me on the off chance. So, on one side of the stall I hung some really pretty French 19th C tops, nighties and..... yep, bloomers, along with a display of vintage French and German linen towels, some laces and buttons, and on the other side of the stall I had a quirky mix off all sorts of vintage stuff.

It worked out brilliantly. The market was so well attended, there was a constant flow of customers. I got to chat with lots of ladies about the wonderful linens I had with me ( I get very enthusiastic about these things ) while my son was doing his bit selling the soaps ( and getting very good at explaining about them as well ). And quite amazingly, I had people queuing up quite frequently when my DS toddled off and I was on my own. It was the by far the best event I have had so far, and despite a very wet start on Sunday morning, it turned out as good as Saturday. Everything sold really well, sold out of quite a few soaps and skincare products again, Lavender soap being the first to go of course. French antique nighties, buttons and tins, as well as vintage bits and pieces from 1950s cocktail fork sets to 1960s art glass soap dishes and snakeskin wallets, all sold so well.

Not much in the way of photos, we didn't get the chance really. But here are a few

These were the new soap designs which I took with me for the first time. They were very well received -

Now I have to get my butt into gear and make a load of soap batches, new shaving oils and facial serums, start planning new gift packs etc, basically get ready for the Xmas fairs which are coming up soon.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

And back to work we go....

We got back from our summer holiday in France on Sunday night, and I am trying to get myself back into work mode. Well, making soap and skincare products isn't exactly like daily-grind-work for me yet, I love doing it, and its most definitely not a dreaded chore, but getting back into the swing of things after a few weeks away is not easy.

I have some fairs coming up, so I need to go through my stock, replace damaged labelling, make a list of products I am running out of, take out anything which is approaching BBE soon and perhaps organise a bargain bin for it, hmmm. And then there are the now well cured soaps on the rack, which need wrapping and labelling ( ah yes, I need to design new labels as well, as these are new soap designs ) -

I know I have to make loads more of the Cleopatra's Decadent Milk Bath, I sold out of that one, again! I need to make more bath melts, my last few, errrmm, well, melted at a recent outdoor fair during some very hot weather ( which is ok, because I get to use them muyself, woohoo ).

I also want to start on gift packs, I know its still too early really to mention the X word, but one has to get organised in good time, right? So there are men's gift sets to be made up with these gorgeous Wade shaving jars -

oh, and I got these gorgeous little cups in France, I would dearly make some cup candles with them, perhaps again for a gift set, with a soap in the matching fragrance -

I hope I manage to get my butt into gear, and don't just stop at making lists! Which is what often happens with me, sigh. Feel free to give me a kick up the backside, if I am not getting my act together within the next couple of days. xx

Monday 3 August 2009


Don't worry, not recuperating from swine flu, just recovering from a very hectic weekend. I tell ya, outdoor fairs are, lets say, interesting, lol. We had a two day fair booked this weekend, and although the event had been held for many years, it was all completely new because it was at a different venue. So, I thought perhaps it might be a good idea to set up the day before.

We decided just to take the gazebo, no stock, for a quick in and out. Yeah, right, lol. The venue was enormous, we are talking square miles, lol, absolutely HUGE, and not exactly flat, in fact you could have held a dozen or two simultaneous ski jumping events there, if there had been snow of course. Also, it felt like driving over corrugated iron, lol, my poor car was making very strange noises. Plus, the wheat (?) had only been cut 3 days before, so it was definitely trainers and long trousers, otherwise you could have gotten prickled like crazy by the stalks.

As soon as we got there in the morning, we were shooed into a field and told to wait until they found out where to put us. Errrmmmm. Ok. We parked the car, toddled off to where we could see tents, marquees and gazebos going up, and were slightly surprised to see that everything was extremely higgledypiggledy, there were no marked out pitches, no rows, people were setting up, it seemed, all over wherever they fancied and with huge empty spaces between them. Back to the car again, check with the organisers, still no news where to set up. An hour later, same thing, give us another 5 mins, bla bla bla. Sigh. At last, 1 1/2 hours after arriving we were finally told where we could go, so we put up the gazebo, made it safe, and made our escape.

Saturday morning was lovely. We were absolutely amazed at how things had changed, the whole site was a hive of activity, the empty spaces were filling up somewhat, although still very haphazardly, and there was a really good buzz in the air. People started pouring in nice and early, although as the grounds were so vast, it took a couple of hours before it actually looked busy. I had no idea how vast the place actually was until I had a quick womble about. There was a whole Red Indian village, an area set aside for the helicopter rides, arenas for the demonstrations ( shire horses, dancing horses, birds of prey ), vintage tractors galore, an oldfashioned fun fair for the little ones, loads of traders, huge charity marquees, beer tent, refreshments, a large stage for the band.... just so many things to see and take part in, and no time to see/do it all. I took loads of photos during my quick womble. I'll post some more on my lululizinlalaland blog later and will put the rest on photobucket, there are way way way too many to put on a blog, lol, but here are a couple of the gazebo -

Some of my vintage bits and pieces -

Sales were good, customers were not exactly queuing up, but there was a steady flow and things were going well until about 2ish in the afternoon, when the heavens opened. OMG, you have never seen so much mud! It didn't take long to turn the whole site into a quagmire. We were right opposite the beer tent, which, not surprisingly, was jam packed within seconds of the rain starting. Our gazebo only has two sides, but we had some plastic dust sheets with us. You would have creased up watching us frantically trying to use the plastic sheets to cover another side, lolol, it must have been quite hilarious. But it make the gazebo quite cosy. We had dragged a hay bale into it as well ( basically to weigh down the bottom of the plastic sheet wall, lol ), which made an excellent seat, and we spent a couple of hours in there, with the occasional very brave customer strolling in. Packing up in the pouring rain is not fun, and we got absolutely soaked securing the gazebo in case it got stormy during the night, as the forecast was not very good. It was looooooooovely to get home, have a nice cup of tea and a bath.

It rained, A LOT, during the night, and although Sunday morning looked lovely and sparkling and promising, I had a very bad feeling about the show, remembering how many cars and vans had gotten stuck trying to get out of the field the afternoon before. And that was just after 2 or 3 hours of rain! So it was with some slight trepidation that we drove to the fair. Quite frankly I was VERY worried. Not without good reason, it turned out. The sort of lane which had been flattened out for traffic to get through the first field into the site proper was impassable. We had to drive right across the "corrugated iron" field and then park up, while they were " trying to sort out a few things ". This was just before 9 with the fair scheduled to open at 10. So we left the car, and tried to get to our gazebo. OMG, I was having kittens just trying to walk through the very slippery mud, down the slopes and up the slopes, it was a nightmare. At least we could get the gazebo all ready for whenever we were allowed to or rather able to bring the car up with the stock.

Finally people were given the go ahead to try and get the cars/vans/lorries to where the pitches were. OH BOY! Cars and vans were getting stuck all over the place, tractors were towing goodness knows how many, lol. The main "lane" was impassable for anything other than the toughest 4 wheel drive mean machines and tractors, so once again it was right across a field, down the slope, and up the slope, which was VERY scary, with wheels spinning and sliding, and the occasional push required from my darling son. But we made it.

I had dreadful visions of the general public coming in and slipping and falling all over the place in all that churned up mud, but, quite miraculously, within an hour or so the wonderful sunshine started drying out the ground quite nicely and by lunchtime it was almost back to normal! Hurrah! It was a glorious day, blue skies, sunshine, what seemed like thousands of people, and a great day for sales as well. The atmosphere was fabulous, I loved being there, I just wished I had had a little bit more time to have a look around myself. I did manage to pick up a couple of gorgeous things though, more of that on the other blog. As it was, my darling son did all the looking for me, lol, I hardly saw him that day, there was just so much for him to watch and do. The highlight of his day was when he had his photo taken with an EAGLE on this wrist!!! What an experience that was. A word of warning, never let your son loose with a camera, lol, he took well over 300 pics ( mostly of the dancing horses, oh, and the "fit bird" riding one of them, lol ). How on earth am I going to decide which ones to keep, which ones to delete, and which ones to post???

So, all in all, it was a fabulous weekend, good atmosphere, good sales, really really enjoyable. Once again, sales were a good mixture of soaps and skincare products, a bit of most things really, plus I had to part with quite a few of the vintage things I had taken along. But they all went to really good homes and very appreciative new owners.

Just a few general pics -

Fun fair

Red Indian village

Look at these beautiful creatures -

One of the dancing horses and "fit bird"

This owl was the most gentle creature, we stroked it, and it didn't mind at all, but look at those eyes!

And this is the majestic eagle Nick had on his wrist -

Thursday 30 July 2009

Cleopatra's Decadent Milk Bath

I usually sell the milk bath in a cello bag with three sachets and a little cotton bag, but at the fair last Saturday, I completely sold out and only had two single sachets left, which I had kept just to show people what it looked like. But even those two single sachets went, when a couple stopped by, saw them, had a sniff at the tester and said they loved the scent so much, they had to have them!

So today I have been preparing more of this really quite decadent mix, which includes sheeps milk powder, buttermilk powder, yoghurt powder, fruit powder, honey powder, oats and wheatbran, plus of course a gorgeous fragrance.

I have just finished filling the little baggies, printing the ingredients labels and front labels and am now debating whether I should take a pic of them tonight. Arrghh, decisions, decisions. A post without pics is boring, so I suppose I ought to really.

There you go, pretty poor photo but then its 10pm, I oughta be in bed and not trying to take pics, lol.

Tomorrow I'll be making more clay,yoghurt and fruit face mask trios, I sold out of those as well.

Weather forecast is still not good for the weekend, sigh, it is not going to be pleasant if its chucking down. Ah well, fingers crossed and hope for the best, eh?

Tuesday 28 July 2009

So many fairs!

It seems that lately I have been spending most of my weekends doing fairs. Actually, I love doing them because I love talking to people about my products. Saturday was a brilliant day. I was at a huge two-day fair, sharing a large outdoor space with three others. I could only do the Saturday, as it was my granddaughter's Christening on Sunday, but it was so worth it!

The space was shared with three jewellery makers. I was quite amazed at how different their styles were. Mind you, I could have easily bought a piece or two from each of them, they all made such exquisite necklaces etc. I only managed to take a pic of one of them though, somehow there were always people to talk to, lol -

This was my corner -

Whenever I have a large outdoor space, I try and take some other stuff with me as well. I love love love vintage fabrics, so I usually take my box of vintage and antique French and German linen towels with me. I also had a basket with lavender hearts and brooch pillows made from 19th Century French fabrics as well as rosy vintage fabrics, and a basket with those crocheted flower brooches which I have been making. And you can probably spot the eiderdown, quilt and crochet blanket in the background as well ( oh, bad news for you, Joy, I actually sold the eiderdown which you liked so much, sorry ).

It was incredibly busy, it took me 5 or 6 attempts to get a drink from the van opposite us where they were selling ice cold water. Everytime I just got into the queue, there were people picking up the soaps, the serums, the gift packs etc at my stall so I had to rush back. Not that I am complaining, lol, it was great to see so much interest.

It was a successful day, the soaps sold well, as did the facial polish, and alls sorts of other things as well, like the Pampered Feet packs for example. Lavender hearts, crocheted flower brooches, french linen towels, French vintage buttons, ah yes, and the eiderdown, all sold nicely. What a nice change to sitting in a huge hall with just a few people aimlessly drifting about not even looking at the stalls.

Just to finish this off, have a look at this fella, you do get some characters at these shows, lol

Sunday 12 July 2009

Fun at the Village Fair

It really wasn't a great start to the day, it was drizzling, there wasn't a speck of blue or ray of sunshine to be seen in the sky anywhere, just big dark clouds, sigh. I was feeling a wee bit apprehensive as we were putting the gazebo in the car, remembering Purplesparkle's adventures with her gazebo last year. Although her writings made us all laugh, it really wasn't very funny, having your gazebo blown away and I was starting to have visions of my gazebo going the same way. And even if the gazebo behaved itself and stayed put, would there be any customers if the weather was going to be foul all day?

Still, as we were going to a village fair I was hopeful that people weren't going to be put off by bad weather, villagers always seem to support their local events come rain or shine. Half way to the fair, it stopped drizzling and my spirits rose. Perhaps the gods would smile on us after all, eh?

The grounds where the fair was being held were huge! And there was so much planned for the day! Dog shows, dance displays, animal displays, hog roast, bar tent, a little funfair for the kiddies and of course lots of stalls. The atmosphere was fabulous, you really can't beat village fairs for that, the stall holders were friendly, the organisers were very nice, the only criticism I have is that everything was too spread out, there were huge areas of nothing.

The morning was slow, every now and then there was a little moisture ( alright, drizzle, sigh ) in the air, and I was beginning to think that perhaps this would be the first time that I would make a loss. I was so wrong! After midday, things really started to take off, despite the lack of sunshine, and the atmosphere was just fabulous. So many happy families about, people making such lovely comments about my products, and buying, lol, and not allowing me much time to have a look at the other stalls or events which were taking place in the arena. It turned out to be the best fair yet for me. The best thing, and which made us all laugh out loud, was when I had a bunch of friends in my gazebo fighting over the last bar of hair soap, and one saying in desperation " I need it more than you do "! It is really quite worrying how many people these days suffer with skin/scalp problems. So far, the hair soap has proven to be of tremendous help in soothing the scalp, calming itching and reducing flaking and patches of psoriasis. In conjunction with the scalp oil, it certainly clears my husband's scalp problems.

I really wanted to take photos of some of the events, but in the end I had to ask my DS to go and take some, as I was constantly talking with customers. Just look at these totally adorable doggies, the brown Newfoundland looks just like a huge cuddly teddy bear -

Debbie and Mike organise craft fairs as well, in Tunbridge Wells, and we also seem to be at the same fairs quite often. They are such lovely people, so I was really pleased that they were next door but one to me.

We had such a laugh during the day, Debbie had a naughty glint in her eyes most of the time, lol, and she is quite the little daredevil. Just look at what she got up to! You wouldn't get me doing that, even if you paid me, I'd be spewing for the rest of the day, lol -

Just look at her, she is still smiling after all that, and she didn't even stagger when she got out of that contraption!

Debbie creates really lovely, elegant and classy jewellery, not your run-of-the-mill strung together cheap beads. Her beautiful necklaces feature Swarovski crystal and semi precious stones, and her designs are so imaginative. These photos, taken with my very ancient digital camera really don't do them justice -

The next few photos are for our very special friends in France, Frank and Christine. Well, mostly for Frank really, he is a bit of a tractor collector, especially the beautiful old Petit Gris tractors ( Petit Gris is the Little Grey ), the old Fergusons. I believe he has just been and got himself two more!

So here you are Frank, for you, some photos of lovely old tractors, aren't they just so handsome?

They are so incredibly well looked after, just look at that last one, pretty impressive, isn't it?

Well, there really wasn't very much about soapmaking in the post, lol, more about soap selling and the pleasures that (sometimes, lol) go with it. So, just to make it a teeny bit more of a soap post, here is a picture of the hair soap which those lovely ladies fought over ( in a very friendly and funny manner of course ). Hmm, obviously not this particular bar, just thought I point that out, lol.

Oh, I should add really that I have made a big big batch of hairsoap this afternoon, which will be ready in about 4 weeks time. That should keep a few people happy.