The Workshop Cure

I know this is going to sound like a blatant plug but, trust me, this is a real thought I’ve had…

Since Christmas, when the urgent need to show someone you love them (or have at least thought about them once in 365 days) has died down and everyone is still using the marvellous soap they were given as a present (btw recklessly ignoring the fact that is NOT an everlasting bar) …well… I have been spending much less of my time on re-stocking the nation’s soap cabinets (does such a thing exist?) and much more of my time showing people how to make their OWN soap.

“Rather foolish for someone trying to sell soap isn’t it” several well-meaning friends have commented.  On the one hand it may be, but on the other hand I know just how long it has taken me to get to the level of experience I have now in producing and marketing something that people actually want to buy because it’s well made at the right price.  There aren’t really any short cuts to that so all I am doing is showing interested crafters a new little craft they can try at home.

“How interested are they though in turning out on a cold winter’s evening for a few hours messing about with hot runny soap in your kitchen?” someone else sneered (where do I find these so-called friends?)

The answer, as I knew it would be, is VERY interested.  Now why is that?  Here’s the thing.  Everyone at some point gets wrapped up in life’s problems, large or small from the ‘Are we going to find enough money amongst the fluff down the back of the sofa to pay for a holiday’ to ‘When my mother comes to visit I wish she’d just remove the dust rather than point at it’ or even ‘I wish my daughter’s boyfriend didn’t do THAT for a living”.  

Life just comes rolling at us in a never-ending conveyor belt of highs and lows and sometimes the lows are harder to shake off and get into perspective. This is where soap comes into the picture.  No really, stick with me here.

For the sake of everyday sanity everyone needs something to take them away from the conveyor belt on a semi-regular basis and while some ‘escape’ mechanisms may be enjoyable but harmful (I won’t go into those) some are just enjoyable.  Think going to the gym (query enjoyable), watching telly (a bit too couch potato), going down the pub with your mates (good for a laugh but can be disastrous to the wallet) or even re-arranging the stamp collection (no comment).  All of these may work well in their own way but another wholeheartedly positive option is to MAKE something.  Preferably that ‘something’ should require enough concentration to force you to forget about the ominous crack in the bedroom ceiling and be a pleasure to behold (or smell) and just possibly useful.  The sense of satisfaction when a whole 3 hours has passed and you have produced an object that is (in your opinion) really rather cool, that will surprise your family/friends and more-over has prevented ‘that thought’ from popping up – well, we are ALL in need of it every now and then. 

So…to the soap-making.  In short, I have observed how much everyone loves to try their hand at something new, and how much it acts as an anti-conveyor-belt therapy.  I know that knitting, baking, painting, model-ship-building and tatting would work just as well, I just don’t have any expertise to pass on in those areas.  In fact, I don’t even know what ‘tatting’ is though I believe it IS a thing.  All I can offer by way of therapy is some essential oils, cosmetic colours and glycerine soap base all mixed together to create something really rather nice that it will be a pleasure to give (or keep).  Luckily for me quite a few people have been up for this particular life-cure and I say ‘luckily’ because it also happens to work for me too.

Lovely pictures of recent workshops, courtesy of Elizabeth Molineux (thank you Elizabeth) and if anyone is recognised in a picture I’m pretty sure you all said you didn’t mind!  All workshops are now bookable directly on the Events page but contact me first if you need more info about any aspects of this curative regime I am recommending.

 TTFN, Faith

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Soap-Making Workshops 2015....I could do that....

Want to come and have a go at making the soap yourself?   'I could do that!' as Yosser Hughes used to say (this bring back memories anyone?).

Well, come and visit me in my kitchen and give it a go on Thursday 12th November 2015 (either during the day or in the evening).  Central Guildford location - easy free parking on site.

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Details are as follows:-

Three hours of creativity (and a delicious light lunch or supper!) and what’s more, take home some  handmade Christmas gifts to impress your family and friends.

Thursday 12th Nov 2015  10.30am –1.30pm   OR   7pm–10pm
 Max 6 per session - £35 per person - come on your own or bring a friend.

Hugely enjoyed by everyone who takes part (including me!).  Always receive lovely feedback...

”Really enjoyed our little soap making session on Friday.  Everyone very impressed here with my bag of goodies. A very nice way to spend a day!”

Message me directly if you have further questions or would like to book a place.

Contact Faith on 07962 063041 or info@englishhandmadesoap.com

Looking forward to it!

 

 

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Anyone for spiders?

Ok so SOME retailers might be trying to persuade you that there is this thing called 'Christmas' on the horizon but I say NO!!

First we have to have the fest of all things creepy and nasty.  However, the origins of this fest are decidedly more uplifting.  Presumably everyone knows that the 31st October is the eve of the day that was set aside to celebrate the opposite of things unpleasant... that is All Saints Day on the 1st November.  

All Saints Day is a decidedly more cheery affair, when the Christian church, by tradition, honours all saints, known and unknown...rather like a heavenly Remembrance Day (or Veteran's Day if you are from over the pond).  While we have information about many saints, and they are honoured on specific days, there are many unknown or unsung saints, who may have been forgotten, never been honoured specifically or indeed only known only privately.  These all get their day of special remembrance on the 1st November and the day before All Saints Day comes down to us as All Hallows Even (Een) aka Halloween.

So where did the nastiness come from?  Hallmark or Clinton cards you may wonder, well not this time. Check out the Wiki link here with masses of fascinating information about the origin of the 31st October activities that seem to be common in many parts of the world. Seems they are a mixture of Ancient Roman, early Christian and pre-Christian Irish traditions.  The Irish roots of Halloween explains why we have acquired recent Halloween traditions from the US.  

With a wholehearted sense of history therefore, I would like to propose that we all embrace the ghoulish and frivolous element of All Hallows Even.  Who doesn't like a bit of silly dressing up and crazy kitchen decoration? It's been going on for years.  To add to the generous party spirit and allow your guests of all ages to remember the cracking party on 31st October why not send them home with a nasty goody bag (fantastic oxymoron).

We're doing the Creepy Crawly soaps as a bulk purchase option as well as an individual purchase option now...take a look....wrap them with a 'not to be opened till you get home' label and you can carry on freaking them out long after the party has wound up. 

But the next day...well don't forget to raise a cheer (or a glass) to all the Saints in your life, known personally to you or otherwise.  Where would we be with out them.  THEN we can get on with Christmas. Have fun.

 

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January Clearance - Happy New Year!

At last !! Finally sorted out the technical issues with the website and have uploaded all the items that are on sale.
Look out for a number of discounted seconds (all at half price or less) and other perfect items at 25% discount.
Good opportunity to just re-stock your bathroom cabinet for YOURSELF for a change instead of having to reluctantly give away the nice things you buy to other people.  
Lots of new ideas bubbling under for 2015, especially for those of you who like to use this soap regularly yourselves but would like to get hold of a reasonable quantity of it in a more cost effective version.  'Watch this' space as they say....

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Time has run out !!

I have decided that in order to preserve sanity (and honour various family commitments) I will have to shut up shop fairly early this year and take last orders on the website this Friday (12th December) at midnight.

I shan't exactly be packing my bags    and running away but will just HAVE to turn my attention to other matters and I would hate to take on orders that can't be fulfilled.

So, hurry hurry...have a last little browse on Friday evening and make up your minds about an order.  If you want anything before Christmas let me know asap and I will dispatch next week as early as possible.

In the new year I will have my usual clearance sale so keep and eye out for that.

Until then MERRY CHRISTMAS, and a fragrant NEW YEAR. x

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Help...I need a time turner!

This coming weekend I'm all over Brighton like a rash.  Actually... that's a very inappropriate metaphor for someone making soap, forget I wrote that.  I mean that I am in a 'wide variety of places'.  Well, four to be exact.

Two of these are Open House Christmas Sales in the Brighton area, though as far apart as it is possible to be geographically, and still be in the same 'area'.  The soaps will be found at The No. 75 Open House run by Nigel Gray (fabulous cushions) in Saltdean (Saturday & Sunday 11-6, here’s the link www.aoh.org.uk/xmas-2014-festival-houses?item=1423) and also at the Surf and Turf Open House run by Emma Stanton (fantastic jewellery) in Hove (Saturday & Sunday 11-5 www.aoh.org.uk/xmas-2014-festival-houses).

In addition I will be taking part in the last of this year's Makers Boutique in the Unitarian Church in the centre of Brighton, just behind the dome (11-5 www.makersboutique.co.uk).  If you're in the area pop in for a spot of Christmas shopping from the very eclectic mix of crafty stall holders followed by really yummy tea and cake from the most colourful and ingenious of pop up cafés at the back of the venue.

Lastly my poor little soaps have been braving the bracing conditions down on the beach - well underneath the arches at the Brighton Fishing Quarter, where the folks from the Makers Boutique have a  little shop, open 10-5 Saturday and Sunday.

So that's four different venues in one weekend…simple…I just need a time turner.  If only that self-righteous Hermione Granger didn't hog all the best gadgets.  She's so irritating, I wish she'd just grow up.  Oh wait…she did.

Let's hope the sun shines.

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Advent is here...Christmas can't be far behind.

Had an enormously busy run of craft fairs in the last few days and was feeling all washed out (pardon the pun) but managed to drag myself to the beautiful and uplifting Advent Carol Service at Guildford Cathedral this evening. If you've never visited then you've missed out.

What a marvellous treat of words and music from those fantastic choirs - a jaw-dropping standard as usual.

Came to a decision, somewhere in the middle of the second carol (yes, lovely carols already!) that I would donate £1 from the sale of every one of my Christmas Angels (sometimes actually labelled as Guildford Angels)

 

to the Guildford Cathedral Make Your Mark appeal. So I'll have a look at how many I've sold by the time I close for Christmas and donate accordingly.  This soap was originally inspired by the angel on the top of the Cathedral tower (albeit the style is a little different....) 

I first made them to sell at the Cathedral during the Cathedral's golden jubilee year in 2011 and, thanks to the former Dean, these soapy angels went all over the world that Christmas.

They are a little tricky to make (and extremely difficult to photograph) and can only be done in relatively small batches so I am usually quite relieved when I can stop making them for another year.  If you find they have gone out of stock it is usually only a temporary situation!

Time for a few carols now and my first glass of mulled wine....shame no mince pies yet but I'd better pace myself.

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Martha Kearney's Bee Aid Garden Party

Anyone at Martha Kearney's do at Lambeth Palace tonight? 

www.beeaid.org.uk  This is a brilliant event supporting the work of Bees Abroad and Bees for Development

You lucky people will soon be in receipt of a neat little package like the one above, from us, containing a soap along the theme of either honey or honey bees, plus a small sample of one of our best sellers.

There should be just two of you that have something a little different.  Anyone opening their box to see either a spider

 or even  a lovely red scorpion should email us at info@englishhandmadesoap.com to receive an extra special set of free soaps.

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