With the first frosts, the autumn raspberries are turning to mush and the remaining runner beans have become overgrown and stringy - the allotment season is winding down now for this year. The nights are drawing in and the mornings are dark with a chill in the air.
Along with the count-down to winter, there has been sadness, and several sad events (one especially) have left me feeling weary lately and my energy sapped.
"See You Later"
My creativity seemed to dim and I have not felt much like writing, gardening, capturing moments and images with my camera or even doing in general. However I know that those whom I have tearfully said goodbye to recently would be admonishing me to "get a grip" and carry on regardless, just as they continued on without complaint or self-pity through difficult times - still able to laugh and offer words of encouragement to others.
So my attention has turned now to indoors and soaping in preparation of the oncoming fairs. There is much to do, including -
Sea Garden Soap - with sea shells & driftwood from the sea shore
fabric hearts and sachets to sew and stuff with my dried herbs.
Red Rose Buds decorate my Goat's milk, Jojoba & Shea Butter Soap
And that's just for starters - believe me, my To Do List is lengthy! I shall also be putting together some seed packets with seeds collected from the allotment and this year I am planning to experiment with making natural firelighters, containing herbs, pine-cones and essential oils - guaranteed to not just help light a cosy winter fire but also to fragrance the room with beautiful natural scents.
The first fair coming up is Lucinda's "Christmas at the Barn." A gorgeous venue with a quality line-up of crafters, including Jenny - Drin Pottery, Viv and her lovely handmade teddy bears and of course Lucinda's fabulous Phoenix Cards.
With the fair less than 4 weeks away, soaping is now the priority, (I simply must resist the new cross-stitch sampler kit that has caught my eye and the sudden seasonal urge that I have to start knitting)! With all the batches made - using the traditional rather more time consuming cold-process method, requiring 28 days for the soap to cure; I can begin on the part that I like the most, and that is decorating the soaps and the boxes.
Gardeners Herbal Soap decorated with Poppy seed-heads and Marjoram from the allotment
Home and the workshop are filled with the delicate scents of essential oils and dried herbs; the normal progression into soap clutter chaos is seeping and expanding into rooms other than the kitchen and workshop.
Dishes of pink rose buds and lavender flowers, trays of dried Bee-Balm flowers, and pressed Chamomile and Heartsease Viola flowers adorn every available work surface; jugs of lavender sprigs and poppy seed-heads line window sills. Boxes both decorated and waiting to be decorated are stacked precariously on tables and benches.
Piles of vintage style fabrics spill across chairs and spools of ribbon unravel in a colourful rainbow amongst the ginghams and sprigged rose fabrics. For health and safety purposes Monty and Lucie are banished despite their protests to the hall in order to prevent any mishaps.
As usual time is always against me and this year due to other commitments (not least the renovation project - yes I am still painting windows!)
Sneak preview of one of the newly installed windows, - especially for Fran!
I may be forced to either call on the elves or else take up the offer of help from a friend who is having a rest from her own craft of jewellery making. For this reason I am not taking on as many fairs as usual, but hopefully when I can squeeze some spare time from somewhere (where I do not know???) I shall be setting up my Etsy shop and so my soaps will be available on-line.
While I am writing this, time is racing past, so I shall bid you adieu for the moment and resume my one woman soap and box making production line. I'll be back soon though to update you on progress!