Friday, 25 September 2009

soap spirals and movie stills

spiralling soaps

close ups...

Not feeling good today, but here's a little post for you.
You can see i've obviously had time on my hands - look at my spiral!
Oh, and an insight into one of my all time favourite movies, which I've seen more times than is normal.
In a soaping afternoon on so I may well put it on for a little background noise.
On the agenda for soapmaking:
humbug - sold out
lagoon - only 1 left
sundown - 2 left
potters bar - sold out
the orangery - 2 left
snowdrift - 3 left

I'm sure you really needed to know that!  Never mind. My head is full of cold, so you'll just have to put up with my delirious dopey speak.
Not a lot going on really. Autumn is well upon us...though the days have been soooo warm lately.  Conkers are all over the shop.  Walnuts are ready ( i gathered some at Cotswold Garden Flowers yesterday where I was working again for Bob).
The Malvern Autumn Spring Show is on this weekend too....and then next week is our annual MOP.
The MOP is a fair, which has ran in this town ever since i've been alive and way before that.
Shame they don't have the old style helter skelter with the rush matts anymore.  I'd have chucked myself down it!  Now it's all new-fangled 'super rides', which are just cheap and nasty.
Anyhooo, I could rant all afternoon, but I shant. I'll be off now for a coffee to sustain me and I may 'tweet' a bit later.
See ya

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Introducing 'PEELER SURF'

Peeler Surf is a British Eco Surf Co.
The peeps behind Peeler are doing such a good job of promo-ing all things eco within the surf world, and
I am at present working on some organic surf wax for them. 
A few more samples to trial and we reckon it will be 'bang on'.
All exciting stuff.
The Peeler website is simplistic and clean-looking and if you click on 'freshly peeled' you can keep up with the peeler blog too.

Click HERE to visit this great eco friendly surf site.
Peeler have been very good to me and have now listed my soaps for calling all surf chicks (and dirty dudes)...check 'em out.  They got some goods you need...

Particularly loving the handmade necklaces

click here to view my awesome soaps within their range.
They have taken varieties, which suit their company aesthetics.  So..we'll see how they go and maybe offer a larger range if they take flight.

I'd best get a link up here somewhere..and on the FP website....

Friday, 18 September 2009

New Echinacea's...please don't do it to yourselves..!

Echinacea 'TOMATO SOUP'

Echinacea 'TIKI TORCH'

Purdy ain't they?
I know you all want them.  The names are 'showcase' good....but please people don't be fooled.
The bloody things die as soon as you look at 'em.
They hate life.
They are the thoroughbred racehorses of the plant world.
They are difficult to get going. They are incredibly temperamental.  They show off at any given opportunity.
And...they stand absolutely no chance of survival in our British climate...well not as it is at present.
No...I've never seen Tom Soup in flower...or Tiki Torch. I've never had them in stock long enough to see them..and I've never had one survive long enough for me to experience it.
So...stick to the old ones peeps.  Far more reliable.
The best 'new' ones in my experience are:
Fatal Attraction
Harvest Moon (though this is susceptible to death if too cold & wet)
Summer Sky
Coconut Lime

and the old ones:
purpurea Rubinstern
purpurea Rubin Glow
Kims Knee High's a case of  'OUT WITH THE NEW AND IN WITH THE OLD'

Thanks for listening!

BTW...if you have managed to keep any newbies tell us all here. 
Tips anyone?

Monday, 14 September 2009

a bit of what i fancy

enjoy..if you don't mind a bit of melancholia

enjoy..if you like a good bit of drummin'

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Introducing Mr Bob Brown - Plantsman Extraordinaire

Mr. Bob Brown

Twisted Firestarter!

The back shade tunnel...was didn't set alight.
Bob Brown - caught off guard.

Smoke billowing down the nursery track..oops..!

One of the stockbeds I cleared today.

The frontage of Cotswold Garden Flowers

Tunnel 1
Aconitum Spatlese, Tracycarpus fortunei..and fire smoke.

Before I drink ANOTHER well-deserved glass of Wolfblass, I must tell you about a very special person.
He really needs a fanfare introduction, but I couldn't quite manage that.
Those of you who read my blog hoping to read about plants will be happy with me today. Some of you may be familiar with this man...others not so...but you should be so here goes...
Mr Bob Brown (or if we're gonna get formal...Mr. Robert Chadwin Brown) was the person who taught me everything I know about plants.
I worked for him for 7 years at Cotswold Garden Flowers. Those were some of the best years of my 36 year old life and I look back on those days with a great fondness.
Recently I was offered a one day per week position to help in his stockbeds at the nursery and I almost bit his arm off.
Today was the first day that we started 'the tidy up'...I must at this point inform you that I can barely type because I am so tired.
But that 'good tired' you get from knowing you worked your ass off for a good purpose.
We weeded, we cut back, we lopped, we chopped...and we had one helluva fire! At one point, I actually thought you may be able to see our fire from outer space.
So...back to the beginning...
When I first started working my 'office' job for Bob in 2001, little did I know where it would lead. Every waking hour was spent learning about and getting a 'feel' for plants and what comes with them...touching plants, smelling them, growing them, and keeping them alive, advising customers, taking orders, packing orders, talking know, general planty stuff.
The database we had to work from had some 10,000 records..., yes I thought that as well!
I read the RHS encylopaedia, I read books about Beth Chatto and Christopher Lloyd, Graham Stuart Thomas and even Percy Thrower and Alan Titchmarsh. I read the 'expert' plant books range and I watched others and learned all I could...because I wanted to. It became my life.
Each Friday, Bob used to give us a mini lecture. Those Friday's stand out more than anything else. He would have us learn 10 different Achillea's or 10 different Dianthus and so on..and then he used to mark our work the following week (he used to be a teacher too) to see if we remembered what he had taught us. Most of us did well. He has a way of teaching, which opens up your receptors and makes you WANT to listen.
These Friday sessions were brilliant and gave me an insight into the workings of a 'real' plantsman's mind.
For the years that followed, my knowledge would grow into what it has today...though I'll never know enough.
So, that skims the surface of my experience at Cotswold Garden Flowers with this pioneer plantsman.
I feel like I know Bob quite well. I know how to take him. I know how he works. I know he appreciates people from all walks of life and that he can adapt to many. I also know that when he's around, people flock to him like flies around...(ahem).
He is like a magnet. Something a person like Bob must find difficult at times to live with...I also know he likes his own company. His problem of course, is that he has a likeable face. A face you will never forget and a manner, which makes you laugh out loud. He will tell it like it is. If he thinks something is shit, he will say it. If he thinks something is good, he'll 'big it up' til the cows come home..
If you're into plants, you'll want to pick his brain because you know he knows what you need to know!
He'll hate me writing all of this...
Bob has spent many a year travelling remote parts of the world...all for plants.
He is known for introducing brand spanking new varieties to the UK and Europe and also for giving you the much needed information on how plants perform in all manner of conditions.
You will not meet many with such a passion for all things green.
It's a pleasure and an honour to have been given the opportunity to work alongside him.
So, feast your eyes on the pics from today. Jealous...? You should be!
To order Bobs plants by mail order...go to to browse the massive listings.
Call 01386 422 829 to order plants.
or Call 01386 833 849 for nursery opening times and information.
Email: for enquiries.
To visit him, the nursery address is:
Cotswold Garden Flowers
Sands Lane
nr Evesham
WR11 7EZ
I will be there with Bob on if you fancy a laugh or coming down for a chin wag just turn up between 9am and 5.30pm...try to avoid 1.30pm cause we'll be filling our faces.
So there you have it...the story of where my path began and the man who made it happen.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

join my new facebook group

LAGOON - the best soap I've ever made! (well that's my opinion)
Click the above and join my new facebook group for soapers. If you need a little promo help, it's a great place to start and it's free.
Upload your soap pics and put links to your online shop (etsy, artfire, misi etc).
Start topics if you's a place where you can ask any questions you like.
Want to start soapmaking and don't know where to turn?...just ask...DON'T BE SHY! Everybody has to start somewhere.

How it all began....
I only started soaping about 18 months ago, and have learned so much from all of you out there in bloggosphere. You have been my inspiration, my friends and my soap family. I was welcomed with open arms, so I want to pay a little bit of that help & honesty forward.
Without forums and soap sites, folks find it so hard to find out how to 'really' make soap. Books tell a lot, but people can tell you more due to experiences and trials and of course, errors!
I have had plenty of errors and continue to boo boo - but hey, it makes us stronger and better soap-makers in the long run.
I never set out to do this for a living, but now I can't stop. I love every aspect of the making process, the mixing, the pouring, the peaking, the cutting (yes, i know i tell you all the time) and the stamping and packaging. Love love love it all.
This whole soapmaking thing has shocked me - I never usually stick to one thing and hobbies have never been my passion...but this one - man 'o man, let me tell has become my lifestyle, my solace and has given me a sense of freedom. No matter who has bothered me in my day or made me feel crap for whatever reason.. none of it matters as I know I can come home and make soap and give any bad stuff or crappy people 'the finger'.
I get totally immersed in it, and I spend my evenings either making the stuff or reading about it.
I constantly think of new ideas, of new colourways, of new essential oil blends and of new scents I want to try out. The possibilities really are endless.
You all make extraordinary soap and I love looking at your pics and reading about your daily goings on.
I don't want this to ever stop. come along and join my new facebook group...and give your business a little boost.
Ta ever so