It’s been another year and I’m wondering where the time went. I’ve heard that it seems to snowball more quickly as you grow older and after this year I believe it. Even so, when I look back at 2014 I realise I did a lot and was able to meet many of my goals. I’ve continued on my pursuit of creating lovely and handmade products and projects, I’ve grown my blog and business, I’ve traveled back to Seattle and have made decisions on where I need to be, and I’ve had a lot of fun and made many new friends. For me, 2014 has been a great year!
I’ve set some goals for myself for 2015 which include getting back to allotment gardening. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but it’s been up in the air as to whether our site would be allowed to continue. Fortunately, we were able to secure another five year lease with our landlord and everyone at LALAA feels more secure and motivated to continue with our love of Kitchen Gardening. I’ve just submitted the allotment seed order and telling by the number of seed packets that are sailing back to the Isle it should be a very productive year!
But back to 2014! I’ve had a look through my blog and have selected the highlight posts of my year to share with you. From January to December, the below posts are the best and most viewed of the year. I’ve even created a Youtube introduction so if you fancy seeing me introduce these posts ‘in person’, watch it at this link.
January saw me combing the beaches on the Isle of Man for pieces of colourful glass and pottery washed up by the waves. I took my finds and used them to create this deceptively simple sea glass candle. I’ve also put together a Youtube video for the project.
I wasn’t aware of the product ‘Angels on Bare Skin’ until a friend with very sensitive skin asked me if I could figure out how it was made. She uses it regularly and seeing as there isn’t a Lush on the island, it might be easier if she could try making it herself. My copycat recipe for this soap-less cleanser that I created last February has now become very popular. See how it’s made in the blog post or with the Youtube tutorial.
In March, gardeners are starting to sow seeds and may even find that their seed collections are in disarray! In this project for Creating a Seed Book I show how a photo album can be used to organise your seeds as well as show how to cover the album in fabric to give it more of a fun and garden themed feel. This would also make a great present for any gardeners in your friend and family circle!
The sunny and bright days of April inspire us to get a move on our kitchen gardening for the year! There are seeds to be sown, canes to be set up, seedlings to propagate, and untold mini tasks to sort out so that the garden will be fruitful for the coming summer. If you’re new to growing your own or are just curious as to how other gardeners organise their garden, check out these tips on Growing the Edible Garden from the ladies at the Garden Charmers.
In May the garden is blooming and many of these beautiful flowers and plants can be used in handmade beauty products. As a producer of handmade beauty using natural ingredients including plant extracts I’ve learned which ones you can grow and use for different skin types and conditions. Read about planning your own Beauty Garden at this link.
Strawberries begin to ripen in June and if you’d like to grow some at home but don’t have much space, consider building this Strawberry Planter using a single pallet. It’s practical, can be easily moved around once filled, and I think looks very pretty! It does require some tools and specific steps so my Youtube tutorial for this project will come in handy.
I love building beautiful things using pallet wood and in July this year I was inspired to recreate a wooden trug I spotted in an antiques shop. With this tutorial, I show you how to create not one but TWO rustic trugs out of a single pallet. They’re perfect for use in home decor or plant them up and use them in the garden as containers. For in-depth information on the making-process, watch me make this project on Youtube.
In August it’s time to start taking honey off the hives for the year…and at the same time, you’ll find beautiful golden Calendula blooming in my garden. I use both to create a rich body cream that is nourishing, hydrating, and gentle enough for the most sensitive skin.
The containers I planted up in this tutorial on how to create a Springtime Flowering Container with bulbs is already full of green leaves! To have bulb flowers such as Tulips, Snowdrops, Hyacinths, and Daffodils blooming in your garden or in containers, you need to plant them in autumn or early winter and September is the probably the earliest you can start with this project.
In October, many of us will experience skin issues whether it’s dryness, oiliness, or outbreaks. This recipe for a Healing Balm for Eczema and Psoriasis is both moisturising and helps treat the symptoms of dermatitis such as itchiness and inflammation. If you’re unsure about the process of combining the ingredients, there’s also a Youtube video on how to make it.
If you’d like to make handmade cold-process soap in time for Christmas presents, you need to think about making it in November. Soap takes about a month to fully ‘cure’ so my series on Natural Soapmaking started getting a lot of views by the beginning of this month. In this four-part series I walk the beginner through the ingredients you need, equipment and safety, formulating your own recipes, and finally the soap-making process including cutting, and curing the soap.
In December, I took empty wine bottles (of which many of us will have a lot this time of year!) and showed how to first cut them in half and then used them to create beautiful handmade candles that can be used to decorate your home or given as gifts. This is a fun and satisfying project and best of all transforms ‘trash’ into treasures. I love a good upcycling project 🙂
And there are the blogging highlights of my year! If you’d like to see me introduce them, click on the image below to view my Youtube video and presenation of this piece.
Happy New Year and best wishes for a productive and CREATIVE 2015! xx Tanya