Sunday, 31 March 2013

Pasg Hapus!

Pasg Hapus means Happy Easter in Welsh.  The sun is shining, the sea is sparkling and the mountains are still covered in snow.  But it is Easter, there is chocolate in the house, the birds are singing in the garden and the lambs are bleating in the fields.  All is well with my little world.  Have a lovely day everyone.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Puppy's Big Day

Yesterday was the day we had all been looking forward to for quite some time.  The day when Puppy would go to the vet with all his manly parts intact and return home without some of them.  Sadly he had no idea about this forthcoming event and therefore I was unable to hold it over him at crucial times, like when he was gleefully chewing my nice furniture, or stealing cake from the kitchen work tops, or when he was headfirst in the bin, or when he had pilfered a precious item from a bedroom or dug up lovely plants in the garden, or...You get the picture.  I didn't have the pleasure of making him quake at the thought but when the morning of his departure to the Vet came, we all decided he wasn't so bad after all.

He was a very brave boy and gave H1 a big high five, which made us all feel terribly guilty.  He lay quietly on the carpet and listened to us talk about how we would miss him for the day.  He knew something was up and tried very hard not to let it worry him.  He shook like a little jelly in the car and deposited the contents of his stomach on the back seat.  It is quite a long journey to the Vet, especially if you are feeling sick and wobbly, so by the time we got there he really didn't care what happened next.  He was fussed over by the vets and we left him in good hands.  He looked a bit sad to see H1 leave him, but we didn't prolong the agony and went quickly, (just like leaving a child on their first day at school! So sad.).

To help us come to terms with not having Puppy for the day, we did a bit of therapeutic shopping before returning home to MAL.  She was delighted to see we had forgotten to bring Puppy home and lazed about and ate carrots without being jumped upon or having her food stolen from under her nose.  All too soon, sorry, I meant not soon enough, the phone rang and it was the vet saying he could come home.  We went off to fetch him and were met with a sad looking little dog, who had most definitely had the wind taken out of his sails.  He slept most of the way home and H1 snuggled him up on the settee when we got in.

He was very quiet all evening and didn't want to do much at all, other than curl up with H1 and have cuddles.

He didn't hold it against us and has in fact been extremely good about wearing his most unbecoming 'lampshade' and only once tried to get it off.  I think the effort of carrying it about and continuously crashing into things has worn him out.  He is calm and biddable.  Yippee!  We all love him to bits and feel quite sad that he is subdued and a bit sore.  I highly doubt it will last though.  Welcome home Puppy, we are complete!

You may notice from the above picture an unusual light coming through the windows.  It is THE SUN!  Oh joy!  At last, though it is still pretty nippy out.  But the sun is shining and it makes me want to do things.  Pea and I got up reasonably early and leaving the boys Puppy sitting, we went off to buy citrus fruits, caustic soda and spring water.  What on earth for?  You may well ask!  Soap making!  My new venture to go along with my candles.  I will be making only vegetarian soaps with natural oils, fruit and flowers.  Fresh matter goes brown and soggy in home made soap, so I am getting ahead by drying them.

The smell of freshly cut limes just says summer.  It makes you smile and lifts your mood.  Heavenly.

It looks really pretty too.  I would be very happy to wash every day with a soap that contained limes.  Summer in your bathroom.  These have been drying all day on my sunny kitchen windowsill.  I will be experimenting over the rest of the holiday and will let you know how it goes.  For those of you who like bees, watch this space!

Have a lovely bank holiday weekend and enjoy the sun.  Thank you for visiting my sunny island! xxx

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Inspiration Station

Have you discovered Pinterest yet?  I found it around Christmas time last year.  I couldn't quite work out it's purpose at first or who could put pictures on there and why.  One afternoon, Pea and I were faffing about on line and decided to delve deeper into the world of Pinterest.  We didn't have to register to browse and before we knew it, we had successfully wasted two hours cooing over pictures of fluffy animals, amazing science and nature and of course, crafts!

I say 'wasted', but it wasn't wasted at all, because that site can really fire you up and get your creative (or otherwise) mojo on again!  It beats flicking through piles of back dated magazines and books you have thumbed through a thousand times before.  The photographs are excellent and I bet just about everyone would find something of interest there.

I currently have five boards on the go and I must warn you that once you start your own boards and begin pinning, you will be addicted!  I would like to add more of my own creations rather than just re-pinning other people's finds.  Pea started a science and nature board and has become as besotted as I am, when her revision time-table allows, that is.

If you are new to Pinterest and would like to have a look, you could click on my link opposite, which will take you to my boards and from there you can type in something in the search box that you are interested in, such as 'gardens', 'chocolate', 'weddings', 'nature', or whatever.  The world is your oyster.  Then click on 'boards' and this will bring up all of the boards people have created within that category; click on any or all of them and enjoy!  Before long, you will be creating your own boards (believe me, you won't be able to help yourself) and being inspired by the beautiful images and ideas you will find.

So when the Easter holls get a bit much or the snow is keeping you at home with frustrated children and teenagers, let Pinterest come to your rescue.  Honestly, I should get royalties for all the advertising I'm doing in this post!

We have been very lucky on the island not to have had any real snow fall.  It has been snowing for days, on and off, fluttering around in the wind, but not really hitting the ground.  Or if it has, it hasn't stayed.  Thankfully.  Many parts of Wales and England have had so much and many farmers have lost sheep and lambs in snow drifts.  We saw sad images on the television of farmers digging out half dead sheep from snow, three feet deep and people being air lifted from their remote homes to safer, warmer places.  It is most unusual at this time of year.  In fact, this time last year, we were wearing shorts and sweltering in the heat.  Unfathomable. It may of course mean that we finally get a real summer, with warmth and sun and everything. Now wouldn't that be nice?

Where ever you are, keep warm and safe and enjoy the holidays.  Thank you for reading. xxx

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Lost For Words

Unusually, I do not have much to say at the moment.  My head is full but there are no words or pictures in it, just tasks and chores that must be done.  The cold weather continues.  My skin is the envy of all Night Dwellers; my hair has the texture of sheep's wool and the appearance of  a badly constructed jack daw's nest.  My dad remarked that I looked tired.  He never notices anything so for him to say that, I must look pretty bad.

My knight in shining armour has not yet come to claim my hand and whisk me away on his tractor to a rambling farmhouse on the edge of a woodland, and if he did, he would have to wait so long while I put on enough sensible clothing for the journey, he'd get bored and wander off.

I am so lucky to be able to work from home and be here when my children need me, (less and less as time goes on), but it feels a little lonely sometimes.  Puppy is being driven to destruction by his private parts; (a Very Special Operation next week should sort that out) and I am being driven to distraction by Puppy and his private parts.

I spend part of most days in my kitchen making candles and the rest of the time trying to come up with new ideas for candles.  I haven't yet sold anything, so I don't even know if anyone likes what I make.

People can be put off candles as many smell heavy and sickly and are headache-inducing.  The colours can be deep and strong and are mainly thought of as something we have only at Christmas time.  I want mine to be different.

I love pale pastel colours, so I make my candles in these shades.  I love lace, ribbons, papers and all manner of pretty things, so I use these ideas to adorn my candles.  And I love a potpourri kind of scent; delicate and clean, that lifts the air rather than hangs in it and a scent that reminds you it's there when you move around the room.  This is what I want from my candles, even when they are not burning, so that is how I make them.

Chandlery is a slow process, so any mistakes cannot be known until the candle has cooled completely.  I have been having problems with small container candles for a while now; they keep cracking about 1cm from the edge.  I have altered the pouring temperature and warmed my pots, but it doesn't make any difference.  I keep having to open the back door to let the dogs out and I'm wondering if the draught is causing the problem.  I will have to experiment with the colour and scent to see if either of them are responsible.  See, it's a slow process!  I love it when it works well though, and I get to burn the failures!

My aim is to change the way people think about candles.  They are for every day, every room and everybody.  They look pretty, smell wonderful and take on their own personality once lit.  Every candle will burn slightly differently depending where it is situated, the temperature of the room and how long it is left burning at one time.  I have read that burning a candle for no more than 3 hours at a time before extinguishing, leaving it to cool and solidify before lighting it again, can increase the length of time it will burn overall.  Worth a go!

They give tiny amounts of pleasure, don't make our hips expand (chocolate and cake!) nor cost a fortune and they don't have to be coloured or scented to be naturally beautiful.

Please, please, please let me know what you think about candles, they need your support!

Thank you for visiting my Windy Island and I hope you have a lovely day. xxx

Friday, 15 March 2013

A Day At Home

A bug has entered the house and H2 has caught it.  He woke yesterday morning feeling not quite right, but battled on and got ready for school.  We walked to the top of the lane and then I glanced down at him and saw a tired looking little boy, bundled up in his school coat, hood up and heavy-eyed.  We turned round and came straight home.  Today he is on the mend.  He has had Marmite on toast and a cup of tea for breakfast and is now snuggled up watching a DVD.  The combination of Friday and wet weather give us licence to be lazy!

I too have been feeling 'off' for some time, but just thought it was me.  Now I know I probably had this strange bug, that takes all your energy and lust for life and leaves you feeling low and shabby, I can give in to it and actually, I feel better already!  I haven't read anything for quite a while, being busy with home, family and candle making, but something was missing.  I love books and always have done.  They have given me many hours of pleasure; helped me when times were tricky; made me laugh out loud or cry silently; passed a few moments or held me in a tight, nail-biting grip.  I have been lulled to sleep and kept awake all night by books and the stories within their pages.  I have read and re-read all the books in my possession and felt the need for something that would keep me reading but not take over my life.  I found it.

In fact, I found several.  I read The Woman in Black last year and was a little disappointed at how short the book was.  I wanted it to delve deeper and keep going!  It was a brilliant read though so it was to Susan Hill I turned this time.  I read The Small Hand in two sittings.  It is simple and strangely comforting, for a ghost story.  She doesn't do gore and horror, just good old-fashioned ghosts.  I haven't yet found her books to be as terrifying as the previews claim them to be, but I had a teenage diet of Stephen King, so that could explain it!  They don't disturb me or keep me awake; in fact I find them a little sad more than anything, but they are super and I will be reading more.  I started The Man in the Picture last night and even read some in bed and so far this is the most unnerving, but I can't wait to finish my chores later and settle down for another chapter or three!  Have a look at Oxfam on Amazon books if you're interested; you will be doing a good deed and getting yourself a really good book.

As you know, I love candles.  Good job really as I am a chandler!  The other day I had a rare burst of energy and cleaned the lounge, bathroom and kitchen.  I know! What is wrong with me, for goodness' sake?  Anyway, for a short time all was gleaming and fresh.  I had cleared away a load of rubbish that had accumulated on the kitchen work tops and my kitchen felt pretty and spacious.  Recently I had a go at making a candle that smelled of Bakewell Tart; almonds and jam.  I mixed a little red wax in with the yellow to give it the right appearance.  My clean kitchen was the perfect place to have it.  So with snow, hail, rain and wind beating against the windows, inside my cottage was sparkling and warmly scented with baking!

A candle is for life (and every room, day and occasion!), not just for Christmas.

H2 and I are going to have a cup of tea now and then I will bake some spice biscuits and a tray of chocolate biscuit cake, then I will treat myself to a lazy hour with my book!  Yippee!  I don't want too many of these kind of days, but once in a while they are quite nice.  I hope you have a good book to keep you company and plenty of tea and biscuits.  Have a lovely weekend and thank you for

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A Grand Day Out

On a very cold, clear morning, with snow lying fresh on the ground, I got in my little car with my bags of lovingly made candles and set off to the other end of the island to Celebration Studio in Beaumaris.

I was a little worried when I awoke to find that Winter still hasn't let go of her grip just yet.  The sun shone brightly on a thin blanket of snow and the lambs looked a tiny bit startled at this new event in their lives.  The roads were thankfully clear as the high winds had blown most of the snow onto the fields, so I felt sure that Lizzy (my car) and I would be fine.  We arrived in Beaumaris to a completely different scene to the one I had left behind; no snow, dry ground, sun glittering off the sea and only a little bit chilly, beautiful.  It lifted my spirits immediately and I found Christine's shop easily.

A very pretty, sun-filled room greeted me and I found it's owner cheerful and relaxed.  She kindly found space for my candles and they are now sitting prettily on one of the shelves surrounded by beautiful things for people to grace their parties, weddings and general get-togethers!

Now ladies, if a man gives you a ring this big, (providing it is a diamond, of course and not fake!) you know he loves you.  All very well, but not exactly practical for washing up or gardening.  I would be equally as impressed with a daisy-chain he'd made for me; but then maybe I'm too easily pleased.  This is actually a napkin ring can you believe? It's gorgeous!  I want one just to play with!

Christine and I had a good chat and (I think) boosted each other up a bit; I know she did me anyway.  Afterwards I went for a walk round Beaumaris.  The weather was gorgeous and I wasn't ready to get back into my car and trundle home just yet.  The sea, as it always does, beckoned me to it and I moved in it's direction without really knowing where I was going.

Even better views of the snow capped mountains than I have from my kitchen window!  Everything glittered and sparkled as if it were covered in sugar.  The air smelled like holidays and the sound of the sea lapping against the wall felt like the first time I had ever heard such a thing.  The whole place seemed magical and I returned home feeling as if I had had a weekend away.  Living on an island does that to you!

The snow has melted where the sun has hit it and the lambs look much happier to be gamboling about again and bleating pitifully to their mothers.  I hope the Spring will make a come back very soon but as my dad reminded me yesterday, March winds doth blow and we shall have snow and what will the robin do then? Poor thing.  He will sit in the barn and keep himself warm and hide his head under his wing.  Poor thing.

Have a lovely day, snow, rain or shine and thank you for visiting my windy island! xxx
If you would like to contact Christine to visit her shop you can find her on facebook at Celebration Studio.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Quiet Day

It is cold and breezy; the fog is covering the sea and mountains, there is no sun.  Not the best day for inspiring creation, giving rise to enthusiasm or summoning energy.  I have therefore been looking round my home for the means of creating inspiration, but it isn't happening!  I can't find it!  That may be because it usually comes from inside me and today I just don't have it in me.  So somehow I have to make it happen.

My friend Helen, who also loves candles and has more than I do, even though I make mine, gave me an empty Yankee Candles jar.  How kind.  I promised her I would fill it up with one of my candles and she seemed quite happy with that arrangement.  So, knowing how much she loves food (sorry H, I didn't mean it like that!), I have made a Lemon Meringue Pie candle for her.

It smells exactly like warm Lemon Meringue Pie straight from the oven and is one of my favourite puddings ever.  In fact after I began making these candles for my Etsy shop, the kitchen was filled with this scent and the children's mouths were watering with hunger for a real LMP!  So I made them one; a huge one and it was gorgeous.  I haven't got a picture of it because it didn't hang around long enough!  That inspired me to make more food related candles and I have put some in my Etsy shop, if you want to have a look just click the Etsy button at the top of the page and it will take you straight there.  I have more candles waiting to go on there, so keep popping back for a peek and hopefully you will find something you like.

My sister had an operation yesterday and is feeling quite poorly today.  She is too far away for us to go and see her while she is still in hospital, but mum will be going to stay with her when she goes home.  We all miss her and feel sad we can't be with her.  We are all sending her lots of love for a speedy recovery and thinking about her every moment.  Get well soon sis.

I hope your day is filled with lovely things and that your inspiration doesn't desert you!  Thank you for dropping by. xxx

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Spring Lambs!

Spring is here at long last!  I don't know how we got through winter, but we did and now we have months of longer days and sunshine ahead of us, full of promise and good times to come.  Flowers are beginning to open, birds have a purpose in their song and the air is filled with the bleating of tiny lambs.  Life is indeed good.

Look at that little face!  Anyone would have to have a heart of stone not to find these little animals absolutely gorgeous.  The island is awash with lambs now and will be for some time to come.  I love watching them play in the sunshine and then collapse next to their mothers when they get tired.  As I write, I can see lambs asleep in the sun, enjoying the first rays of warmth they have experienced; their mums resting while they can.  Soon they will be awake and leaping about again.  It is funny how, just like children, they seem to develop in the same way and play the same games, year after year.  I love watching them run together in a line, then turn round and run back along the same path!

 There is, of course, only one reason that these animals were born in the first place and it isn't to give me something to go silly over.  They will be food for us.  It is a sobering thought and makes me even more determined to only ever eat meat from local butchers who supply meat from this island.  We haven't eaten meat from anywhere else for years and I wouldn't change that.  Good quality meat is expensive, so we only have it once or twice a week at the most.  I would much rather eat less good meat than more meat from an unknown source.  I find we appreciate it far more for eating it less often and absolutely nothing is wasted.  That has to be a good thing not only for our health and our budget, but also the welfare of the animals.  OK, I'm done lecturing now, but if you love animals, please think about the life of the animal that was killed so you could eat.

It must be Spring, as there is very little snow left on the mountains.  They glowed a lovely pink colour yesterday evening as the sun went down.  We stayed outside until the chill sent us indoors, then curled up with books and music, enjoying the feeling of tired limbs from long walks and running in the field and being out in the fresh air after a long winter of being indoors.  Hopefully nature will be kind to us this year and give us all in the British Isles the summer we have been waiting for.

Have a lovely day and thank you for reading. xxx

Saturday, 2 March 2013

It Is a Truth Universally Acknowledged...

That a single woman in possession of 3 children, 2 dogs,a squawking parrot, fish and a small business must be in want of a holiday.  Too right, but all she will get is five minutes with her favourite book - if she's lucky.

Pride and Prejudice is my comfort read; the place I escape to when it all gets too much in my little world.  I only have to read that first paragraph and I am there with Lizzy, Jane and their sisters, getting excited about the imminent arrival of Mr Bingley.  We don't know at this point that Mr Bingley is merely a smoke screen for Mr Darcy, as he is the one we are all longing to meet!

Ok, so he is a pompous ass at the beginning and if we actually met someone like him in real life, we probably wouldn't want anything more to do with him, just like Lizzy.  Thank goodness though, that he turns out to be perfect in the end!  Our lives are complete, and we can dream of Mr Darcy for ever more safe in the knowledge that he is one of the best men ever.  Phew!

I must apologise for my lack of posts this week.  I have been slaving over my computer and becoming more and more frustrated at my uselessness at being able to make it do what I want.  In the end I gave in and rang the computer man and asked him to sort it out.  I was a bit miffed when he said we could sit down together and sort it.  No you silly man, I want you to do it for me, not with  me. Huh.  Anyway, hopefully by Monday lunch time, I will have links from and to my blog, Facebook, Pinterest and finally MY ETSY SHOP!!!
Yep at long last, I have my shop up and running.  It took a while and I am sure my brain has lost weight in the process, but I did it and what's more, I did it all by myself!  I am very proud.  So if you want to have a peek hop over to Etsy and type in Windy Island Handmade and it should take you to my shop page.  If you want to wait until Monday, there will be a link on here that will take you straight to it.  I hope.

I have put some large candles on there for now, but I am working on new sizes at the moment.  Here is a sneaky peek at things to come.

Some of these floating candles are destined for Celebration Studio in Beaumaris.  I rang Christine earlier in the week and will be going to see her in a few weeks with some of my candles and hopefully she will like them enough to put them in her shop.  Fingers crossed!

I will let you know how we get on, but now I must dash off to pick up H1's friend.  He is coming here for the day, so the noise will be even more than usual, with 3 boys in the house.  Pea and I will be seeking solace in Pride and Prejudice...

Have a lovely day and keep smiling!  Thank you for dropping by. xxx