The Books I Read In 2014

I don’t know if any of you are big readers, but I definitely am. I always have a book on the go, and I like to read a variety of genres. In short, I’ll give pretty much any kind of book a go!

I also like to keep track of the books that I’ve read. I don’t use Goodreads any more as I found it such a time suck; instead, I just write a plain-old-boring list. And here is my list from 2014:

1. Broken Symmetry by Dan Rix
2. Days of Blood and Sunlight by Laini Taylor
3. Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements
4. The Foster Husband by Pippa Wright
5. The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason
6. The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox
7. The Messiah Secret by James Becker
8. From Notting Hill to New York…Actually by Ali McNamara
9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
10. Fractured by Dani Atkins
11. Dust by Hugh Howey
12. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
13. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
14. The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
15. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
16. Sherry Cracker Gets Normal by D.J. Connell
17. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
18. Desecration by J.F. Penn
19. The Pollyanna Plan by Talli Roland
20. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
21. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
22. Coco Pinchard: The Consequences of Love and Sex by Robert Bryndza
23. Day of the Vikings by J.F. Penn
24. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
25. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
26. Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor
27. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
28. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
29. Hell’s Belles by Paul Magrs
30. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
31. Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
32. The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah
33. Paper Towns by John Green
34. Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid
35. Looking For Alaska by John Green
36. Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich
37. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
38. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
39. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
40. The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh
41. How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
42. The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen
43. Step Back In Time by Ali McNamara
44. The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh
45. Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
46. Delirium by J.F. Penn
47. No-One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday by Tracy Bloom
48. The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
49. Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O’Porter
50. Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson
51. One Night in Italy by Lucy Diamond
52. The Bad Boyfriends Bootcamp by Poppy Dolan
53. Winter Wonderland by Belinda Jones
54. Saving Grace by Jane Green

I think of those, my favourites were Days of Blood and Sunlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor for the sheer beauty of her prose, and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green because it is such a moving yet entertaining story. And I loved The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith too — it had a fantastic, intricate plot with really well developed characters.

Have you read any of the books on my list? If you enjoy reading, what was your favourite book that you read last year? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! :-)

Getting Into 2015

Hello again everyone! It has been a loooooong time since I last wrote a blog post. And I think we’re a little too far into January for me to be wishing you all Happy New Year… Ah whatever, Happy New Year!

I had a busy end to 2014 which is part of the reason my blogging went by the wayside, but this year I’m going to try my best to blog at least once a week. It won’t all be candle related stuff either as I’m planning to share a bit more about me, the person behind the candles! (Whether you want to know or not… 😉 )

The reason for this is that if I like a product, particularly something handmade or from a micro business, I like to know a bit more about the person or people who are part of the business. I think it appeals to my nosey side — and other than that, it reveals the human side to the business. Business doesn’t need to be all grey and corporate and bland, and those are certainly three words that I hope never to have to apply to myself!

Here are some of the things I’m planning on blogging about this year:

  • Candle news and new products (obviously!)
  • Books
  • Recipes
  • Places I’ve been
  • Other gorgeous crafts and crafters

Let me know if there are any other topics you might be interested in reading about.

Now, the main reason for this blog post is to let you know of a little special offer I’ve got going on at the moment. I’ve reduced a number of Christmas candles which are currently on sale in my Folksy shop, but as well as that I have a special discount available to new subscribers to my newsletter.

This 15% off discount code is only valid for the month of January, and is only available when you sign up to receive email updates from me. Don’t worry — I only send one email a month updating you on all the news from Pink Peppermint Crafts and I won’t use your email address for anything other than these email newsletters!

So, until next week, happy shopping! And let me know if you have any other ideas or requests for blog posts by leaving a comment below or sending me an email :-)

Making Seashell Tealights

I thought that today I would post a few photos showing the different stages of making my seashell tealights. I’m quite a nosy person, so I love to see how people make things, and hopefully you do too!

These tealights are one of the products I’ve been stocking up on again during the past week or so as I sold out completely at the Gower Show on 3rd August. They can be a bit fiddly to get right — the wicks have a habit of falling over while the glue is setting, unless I prop them up juuuust right — but I hope you’ll agree that it’s worth the trouble in the long run!

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The clean shells

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The shells with their wicks

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The finished tealights

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The end product!

 

New Candles

When I sat down to write this post, I had no idea that it’s been almost exactly a month since I blogged last. Consequently I have quite a lot to share, so I’ll do my best to keep it brief! With that in mind, I’ve decided just to do a picture round up of some of the candles I’ve been working on over the last few weeks.

A pillar candle scented with fresh linen. I also made a pink one scented with cherry blossom and a pale purple one scented with lavender.

 

Cappuccino candles.

A new batch of candles scented with citronella essential oil.

A couple more citronella candles.

Cupcake Candles

I mentioned in my last post that I had been experimenting with some scented cupcake candles. As it’s taken me a couple of weeks to get around to writing this post, I’ve sold out of the first lot I made and I’m now in the middle of making my second batch!

They drew a lot of attention from people browsing the craft fair, and there were definitely a few disappointed kids who saw cupcakes from a distance and then realised they weren’t edible!

Here’s a couple of pictures from that first batch:

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Cherry bakewell on the left, chocolate on the right.

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My cupcake stand full of “cupcakes”!

As I said, I’m currently working on my second batch of cupcake candles. This will include more cherry bakewell and chocolate cupcakes, with the addition of some lemon meringue. I’m also working on on some ice cream sundae style candles — more on them when they’re finished!

Beeswax Hearts and Cupcake Candles

A couple of weeks ago I made a few rolled beeswax tealights in the shape of hearts as an experiment. I had a couple of craft fairs coming up and I wanted to see how popular they would be amongst my customers. Well, the experiment was a success, and there were lots of sales and compliments. Since I have a craft fair tomorrow at Neath Community Centre and one the following Saturday as well, I thought I’d make some more so I have lots in stock. They’re only £1 each after all!

Here are some photos:

Some mixed colour hearts -- red, pale purple, pink and ivory

Some mixed colour hearts — red, pale purple, pink and ivory

Some mixed colour hearts -- pale purple, pink and ivory

More mixed colour hearts — pale purple, pink and ivory

Close up of some single colour hearts -- red, pink & pale purple

Close up of some single colour hearts — red, pink & pale purple

Something else I have been working on is a range of cupcake candles. It’s been tricky to get the formula just right, and the perfect consistency for the icing on the top but I think it’s about right now! I’m very excited to see what the verdict is tomorrow amongst the craft fair shoppers. With a choice of chocolate cake and cherry bakewell — both of which smell like they could actually be edible! — and lemon meringue still to make, I’m hoping there’s something for everyone. When they’re ready, I’ll upload some photos, so watch this space.

Have a great weekend everyone! :-)

We’re Now On Facebook!

I know, it has certainly taken me long enough, but Pink Peppermint Crafts now has its very own Facebook page. Since I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I wanted to make sure it was as ready as I could make it before it went live to the world, but I’m finally happy!

Why not pop over to the Pink Peppermint Crafts Facebook page now and give us a like? I’m working on a new product at the moment, so look out for more information both here on the blog and on Facebook…

Citronella Candles, Craft Fairs, Looking Ahead & Facebook

Since it’s the end of May and not totally freezing (even though it has rained a lot) I decided it was time to make some citronella scented candles. If you don’t know what citronella is, it’s an essential oil extracted from certain types of lemongrass plants, and is used as an insect repellent to keep mosquitoes etc away. Citronella is great in outdoor candles (particularly as it can be quite strong) for when you’re enjoying a summer barbecue or just sitting out in the garden with a book and a Bulmers Bold Black Cherry cider (or maybe that’s just me…). Fingers crossed we have the weather to use them!

I don't think it's clear in this photo, but these candles are pale yellow in colour.

I don’t think it’s clear in this photo, but these candles are pale yellow in colour.

I will be taking these and my other candles along to my next craft fair, which is Saturday 31st May at St Mary’s church in Swansea (near the Quadrant). I have craft fairs coming up on the next few Saturdays, so take a look at my craft fairs page for more details.

Speaking of craft fairs, I’ve also been trying to get super organised, so I’ve been finding out information and making bookings for the rest of the year. I know, I know, it seems way too early to be thinking about Christmas, especially since we’re not even half way through the year yet… But having said that, I’ve spoken to people at craft fairs I’ve attended recently and they mentioned that a few Christmas fairs were already booked up, or getting close to fully booked. The bookings are the easy part — I’m now wondering when I need to start making my Christmas stock to give myself enough time to get it all done!

Finally, I’m in the process of getting the Pink Peppermint Crafts Facebook page up and running. More on that when it’s finished!

Well there we are, that’s all my news for now. I’ll be back on the blog soon, but feel free to leave a comment here or send me an email if you want to get in touch.

Seashell Tealights

A few weeks ago I was browsing Pinterest for a little while (read: several hours) and came across all kinds of different tealights. Tealights can be made in so many different containers (as long as they’re not flammable, obviously!). I saw some in bottle caps and some in acorns. My favourites were ones in sea shells.

Coincidentally, the very next weekend my boyfriend and I had planned to go for a walk on the beach. The tide was going out and the beach was literally covered in shells. Two hours later, I had a decent selection of beautiful shells that I thought might make good tealights.

I took them home and read up about cleaning them, then I submerged them in the recommended solution of bleach and water before scrubbing them a few days later. When they were clean and dry, I was ready to make them into tealights!

I’m still working through some issues I had with certain shapes of shells, getting the wick to stay put without falling over when the wax melted a bit (cue superglue and a lot of patience) but I’ve managed to make a few lovely displays with this kind of shell:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis kind of shell tealight burns for around two hours, and is scented with ‘sea breeze’ fragrance. I think it would make a lovely present for someone who loves the beach or lives by the seaside. And since I live around half an hour from the Gower peninsula, I know there’s lots of people like that near me!