Thursday, 19 November 2009

Busy week

This time of year is always busy for me. As the festive season approaches I'm lucky enough that Old Pit Potions are in demand for gifts, fairs and other winter delights. I've got used to making more stock as the cold weather approaches, it helps me get over some of the sadness that summer is over and the dark nights are upon us. A days work that produces such a fragrant atmosphere is a welcome bonus. Yesterday I made some batches of soap that I've put away to cure.

Among them was Sylvan pictured here still in the moulds.
Fragrantly woody with cedarwood, pine needle, rosewood & patchouli in a base that includes coconut & extra virgin olive oil, this soap is a popular choice with men although a lot of women like it too. It also is special to me because it's my husbands favourite, so the scent of it always makes me think of him. In fact it was his desire to have an aftershave or cologne that smelled like the soap that led me to develop a range of perfumes and spritzers. I'm told that his work colleagues like hanging out in his office because it always smells so nice. That's a great endorsement.

I also have been making some Mint Smoothies

This bar was one of the first of my own soap recipes that I ever made. It has extra glycerine to moisturize and a refreshing blend of spearmint and Tea Tree essential oils which makes it an ideal morning shower bar and is also really popular as a shaving soap. I just love making this one because the whole place smells of zingy mint as I pour it. I've had the idea of making this one in larger round bars suitable for use with an old fashioned shaving brush. So I'm off to  dig out some suitable circular moulds. I have some large sillicon muffin trays that look like just the thing.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Catching up

I've been quiet for a few days and unable to post. This was because I was involved in making something different from soaps and potions for a change. I was making a wedding cake.
It was for a beautiful young woman who is part of my extended family and her lovely guy. My gorgeous niece was fulfilling a long held ambition to be a bridesmaid, a role she carried out to perfection.
The wedding party were dressed in 1920's style clothing all in ivory and black. The bridesmaids wore black fringed "flapper" dresses with ostrich feather fascinators in their hair. The bride asked for a suitably themed cake. The picture shows the finished article.

It was a rich chocolate cake with a vanilla lemon upper tier. It had to be freshly made as near to the wedding day as possible so I really only had one shot to get it right. Luckily it went very well and the thanks, smiles & big hugs from the bride, groom & families was worth more than gold.
It was an interesting project for me and an honour to be asked. I started making celebration cakes back when my sons were small. I did their birthday cakes suitably themed to each child and made & iced fruitcakes for the family as presents. Then the people who brought their kids to the birthday parties started asking if I could do them a cake, word spread and I found myself very busy. I made my sisters wedding cake and pretty soon I was making them for all occasions.
 I once made a leaving party cake for two very dear friends and a few days later received a call from the local poetry society. The man on the phone sounded desperate. The poetry society was having a party to celebrate their 15th anniversary. They  wanted a cake that would feed at least 150 people. This represented the number of poets who'd read for them over the years. What they were looking for was a big cake with space for all 150 names to be written on the top. I had a couple of weeks to make the cake, they knew it was short notcie and they didn't have much money but the local bakery had turned down the job and a mutual friend had suggested I might be able to help?
The upshot was I made a huge fruitcake shaped and iced to look like an old leatherbound open book. I hand painted all 150 surnames onto the "pages" of the cake and I really wish I had a scan-able picture of it because I swore I'd never do another like it. It turned out really well and the poetry society loved it but I had nightmares, when I could sleep, for the entire week leading up to the event. This included a dream where I mis- spelled all the names on the cake & another where I dropped the cake in the river ( the party was held on a boat)  It also made me realise I couldn't possibly do this for a living because the stress was too much at the time.
These days I'm happy to make cakes for special occasions, and  I find the whole thing much more enjoyable, soap is still my first love and Old Pit Potions is taking a lot of my time but there's always room for a cake or two if I'm feeling inspired.