Thursday, 20 April 2017

Spring is blossoming ...

Hello lovelies,

Well how did we get past Easter already? I was pretty restrained this year, only 1 chocolate egg...we won't count the handful of mini's snaffled in between digging rows for spuds last weekend.

It's been a busy ole time here at OSHQ, what with feature interviews, awards, new stockists and a heap of events, my head is in a bit of a spin. I have a fresh pot of chocolate tea (courtesy of Rosie Lea Tea) and I have my typing fingers primed to tell you all about it, so here we go...

First up, I was delighted to have a 'Meet The Maker' feature over on the Natural Wedding Company blog last month. read all about it here or click the image below.

If you've not heard of them before, do go and check out their beautiful Wedding Directory of eco-friendly small businesses who can help with all the doings when planning your wedding day., helping to make it extra special with one off pieces, customisable gifts and even bespoke rings, take a peep.

On a 'Meet the Maker' theme, back at the end of March, I attended a Trade Event hosted by Northumberland County Council in Hexham, a beautiful traditional market town here in Northumberland, 'Meet the Maker / Meet the Buyer' is an opportunity to bring together local makers, artists and producers with buyers from gift shops, galleries, local guest houses, hotels and independent retailers with the intention to network and drum up some trade agreements. It's never really my thing putting myself infront of someone and saying ' my stuff' but sometimes it just has to be done, so with brave girl pants on, I went, set up stall and pitched my wares...I was absolutely bowled over to have come away with the 'Best Stand' award for the day!! With over 120 stalls, all beautifully presented, I was quite speechless, blushing and wibbly after that! You'll spot me I'm sure...*runs and hides behind a cushion* . See the video of the event below.


In all the whirlwind of the last month's events ranging from the 'First Friday Steamer' set inside Newcastle Central Station, a regular art based event I'm attending each month, a Beekeeping conference,  2 days Rival Arts Spring Fair at Ushaw College near Durham, 2 days The Designer Maker's Market down in Barnard Castle and coming up this weekend, the Hexham Spring Festival, I've had open studio's too, running over the Easter Holidays, so needless to say I'm looking forwards to a little day or two of rest soon.

If you've not been able to catch me at my events, the website is always open in within easy reach 24 / 7. It's had a little facelift too (a natural one of course), Feel free to take a peek at the new digital products and custom wedding favours query form...oohhh!! 

I'm also really excited to tell you about some new stockists of my soaps and bathtime treats around the North and East too, I was delighted to have a request from the Kagyu Dechon Dzong Buddhist Centre in Harrogate a few weeks ago, so now you can pick up some of my fragrant lovelies if you're there for a drop in meditation class, sounds pretty perfect to me...

From Harrogate in North Yorkshire to Alnwick in the North of Northumberland, I'm also absolutely chuffed to be sending soap to play with George and Piglet who are opening a new vintage venture up there very soon, I can't wait to see what they have in store. I met the two ladies who own George and Piglet last year at an event up in Rothbury, they have a keen eye for the quirky and beautiful, so I think Alnwick will be in for a treat!

And finally..I'm delighted to let you know I'm supplying stock to the Allendale Forge Studios as of next week. I'm coming full circle a little as I used to have soap on their shelves back in 2012. Since then The Forge has undergone a big change and now has lots more options for artists and makers, and I'm delighted to be back on board. I'll have a few shelves in the shop or display space to begin with and hope to introduce more work as time goes on, maybe even some of my original eco - prints and silk scarves at some stage, watch this space.

Well, I think that's it for now, I hope you've enjoyed catching up, I hope you check back with the blog soon, and do feel free to share it amongst friends.

Enjoy the last of the Easter break if you're one of the lucky ones to be off.



Thursday, 16 February 2017

A new place to find my work, and a whole new digital adventure.

Happy February peeps,

I'm staying inside waiting for a courier who's bringing me a big pile of glass ware for my next batch of candles so while I'm waiting ... and in between cuppas, I thought I'd update my blog, it's been an age!

Christmas came and went in a bit of a whirlwind of fairs, orders and whizzing to and fro, but we all made it out the other side safely and more or less in one piece, thank goodness!

January was filled with wonderful orders through the website as I had a bit of a barmy sale on to clear some space and reclaim some studio shelves, mission accomplished!

In between chilly New Year beach walks and 4 days strolling the snowy hills of Hartsop...(ohh, and some orders and studio work of course ;)  I've been planning, learning and catching up with all sorts of things I'd wanted to get going, but never had a moment in the autumn, I feel I'm almost getting there, so wanted to share them with you too.

If you've followed my blog or found me on social media, you may know I also like to create Eco prints on fabric and paper and have also been learning to make cyanotype prints too, these are delicate prints using only sunlight to develop the images. I've finally got them out into the ether, and you can now buy them online, as well as from me at events and at my studio. Feel free to have a wander in my new Etsy shop, which I've called 'Ghosts of Nature' I'll be adding more one of a kind prints and originals soon. Simply click the image below to enter my shop.

I've been learning all about how I can offer digital products as part of my business too. These will be downloadable PDF files that contain ... I'm thinking...product making recipes, essential oil information sheets, planning templates and useful lists for whoever might like them, be they, customers who fancy a go at making, fellow crafters and small business owners or even Jim from the farm shop...who knows!!  I can't offer them for free, but they will all to be a very reasonable non bank breaking sum. I'll be gradually making them and adding them to my website and they will also be introduced on my facebook page, take a look at the one I've done already. 


In other news too, I'm delighted to be stocking into a new retail outlet in North Northumberland. As from Sunday, my soaps will be available from the Heatherslaw Gift Shop within Ford & Etal Estates. I can't wait to see what it's like as I've only passed by on my way to the Scottish Borders, I'll be sure to take my camera! I'm also chuffed to bits to be supplying guest soaps to a lovely new and very luxurious holiday company called 'Hang my Hat'. They have a growing selection of beautiful cottages to hire in and around the Tyne Valley (my home) on the books, so do check them out if you're heading to Northumberland, they look absolutely gorgeous, I could move in tomorrow!

Well, I think that's about it for now, Stay warm and embrace the days stretching that little bit longer into Spring.



Sunday, 23 October 2016

Christmas Soaps launch

Well a happy autumnal season to you,

Here I am, sitting in the cosy studio with a pot of tea, surrounded by box upon box and shelf upon shelf of handmade festive treats such as newly poured soy woodwick candles in festive fragrances, glinting corked bottles of bath oils, dinky little pots filled with luscious rich butters ans waxes as lip balms and perfume balms, tubs of rich creamy body butters and exfoliating sugars scrubs - "Just right for 'chicken legs'" (as the local WI exclaimed at a talk I gave earlier this year). I've been making and wrapping in a frenzy over the last couple of months, so I thought it high time I told you about them.

But first of all, I just had to give you a little peep into my morning started like this...not bad eh? I LOVE Autumn in the UK. I can't wait to break out the woolly scarf and fingerless gloves in a week or two - a winter event essential teamed with hand warmers, stout boots (pictured) and a good flask, yes sireee!!

So, without further ado, may I introduce the featured special guests, my festive soaps.....these have been challenging to make as I've employed newly learned pouring techniques, new essential oil blends and a whole streamlined method of production, meaning I can make my soap twice as fast as before!! Oh, and I recorded video's as I made them too! I always like to make things complicated for myself it seems!!

First up, 'Snow Drift soap' - Imagine rough woollen socks stuffed into warm leather boots, crisp bright mornings and tramping along a forest path strewn with fallen leaves beneath sparkling frosted pines and the earthy scent of the springy forest floor.
Beautifully yet delicately fragranced with a fresh, crisp scent with top notes of mild menthol with a hint of pine giving way to middle notes of spruce and eucalyptus and grounding cedarwood to complete the blend. 

'We Three Kings' handmade soap - Crowned in gold and bronze micas, and sprinkled with real gold dusted Frankincense resin, this truly is a festive treat. Pure, smokey and resinous Oman frankincense essential oils give a beautifully haunting and ancient scent. Each bar is enriched with pure plant oils and butters to soften and feed the skin and lashings of fresh dairy cream for added moisture. Real tussah silk adds an extra luxurious lather and silky feel on the skin.

'Winter Cabin' handmade soap is woodsy, earthy and smokey. Blended with warming Cedarwood, comforting Clary Sage, spicy Clove and meditational yet smokey Vetiver oils.
Imagine a special escape in the forests, it's dusk, a glowing fire built with seasoned pine and dried cones is roaring in the grate, the wind lifts a spray of sparks, an owl hoots from the distant branches. As the sun slips below, a frost decends and glitters on the roof, a warming hot toddy in your hands, a hug from your favourite special one ...bliss! I can't think of a better winter escape!

'Winter Spice' handmade soap is what Christmas is all about. Spiced steam curls over the lip of a sparkling goblet of amber mulled cider, the glint of candle light on the dampened eastern spices bobbing on the surface, notes of dusty cinnamon, sharp clove and rich sweet blood oranges fill the air.

Well there they are, I hope you like them. These little lovelies and oodles more are all available to buy from my website, Folksy and Etsy shops online and will be available direct from me at the studio or from my events in the big run up to the big day. Numbers are however limited and once they're gone, they're gone so be quick if you want one (or two, or a bundle!!). 

See my EVENTS page over on the website too, for a full rundown of my Christmas events in the North East, I'll have OPEN STUDIO days throughout November and December so keep an eye out for these as well, I'll announce them over on my Facebook Page each week, so be sure to 'find and follow' me over there too if you're not already. 

If you want to see how they were done, pop over to my You Tube channel for a gander, here's one to tempt you in...enjoy xx

If you're a fan of a flash sure to sign up to my NEWSLETTER too, I'll be releasing the odd special reward to subscribers as the days get darker and the nights get chillier.


I can't quite believe I've been this organised and finally feel I'm ready for the big push towards my busiest time of year. I really hope to make a few blog posts before the BIG DAY, but if I get swept up in the whirlwind that is the Christmas countdown, I wish you all the very best for a fantastic Christmas and relaxing New Year ahead. 

Until next time, TTFN
Ceri xx