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The Christmas Collection is Here!

The Christmas Shop is now open

My Christmas collection of Irish made gifts has landed. I have worked for most of the year to bring this collection to life. So lets dive into the collection and see what’s on offer.

Christmas Giftboxes

Up until now, I have always had my Christmas Giftboxes available on pre-order. I decided to be very organized this year and have my Giftboxes ready for immediate dispatch, no more pre-order. So I have two boxes this year, my Merry & Bright set and my Let it Snow gift set. Each box is filled with handmade soap bars, soy wax candle and a beautiful handcrafted Irish made wooden Decoration by Joe. These sets also come with a Christmas card, illustrated by me! These gift boxes always sell out early, so to avoid disappointment, head to the link here to grab yours!

Christmas Candles

I am thrilled this year to bring not only a new Winter candle scent, but three new candles! First is my new Driocht candle scent. This is super wintery with Peppermint, Lavender, Clove and Eucalyptus oils. OOOHHHH this is one Christmas smell. I just love peppermint and wanted to add it to my beautiful collection of Irish made soy wax candles. Driocht is the Irish for “Magic” and I wanted to add a little magic this Christmas. Have a look at them here

Not only do I have a new scent, but I have two new Deluxe Limited Edition Christmas candles too. These are scented with my ever popular Realta (Clove, Pine, Cinnamon and orange essential oils)and my New Draiocht candle. These are stunning candles made with soy wax, and topped with stunning festive tops! Its not only a feast for the nose but the eyes too!. Each on of these candles are hand poured by me in my home in Kildare. Then the toped are carefully added to each candle tin. These really are the perfect Christmas gift for the candle lover in your life. These are one of a kind and you won’t find them anywhere else! Check them out here.

Handmade Cards & Decorations

In 2021 I had a pack of artists illustrated cards that went down a storm! So this year I wanted to add an extra touch of handcrafted this Christmas with my updated illustrated cards and a pack of Lino printed cards. I absolutely loved making my Lino cards. I am a lover of all things print and I feel have produced my best Lino cards to date. Each design was drawn by hand, carved onto a piece of Lino, inked up with the finest inks on the market and hand pressed. All handmade here in in my home in Kildare. All three designs are just stunning, they make a heartfelt gesture to anyone sending cards this Christmas. You can find my Lino cards here and my artists illustrated cards here. As always, I put being eco friendly at the forefront of all my products, so each card pack is hand wrapped with twine, no plastic here!

Joe has been busy these passed few months also getting ready for the festive period. He has made my stunning wooden Christmas decorations again this year. I have updated the designed this year with the new addition of the the Reindeer design. These packs of decorations are so popular on our market stand over the festive period. These are produced in Ireland, hand ribboned and are engraved on both sides. These make the perfect gift or stocking filler this Christmas, you can find them here

I hope you all have a lovely festive period coming up, filled with family friends and a little too much tipple. Remember to shop local, shop Irish and support your local community through fairs and craft markets this Christmas. It really makes a difference to independent makers. When you shop local the maker does a happy dance!

Happy Shopping

Cleo.

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My Zero Waste Journey- Tea!

My Zero Waste Journey-Tea!

It has been a little while since I posted on this thread, but alas, no time like the present! In my quest to be zero waste, I picked up lots of good tips in Plastic Free July. If you haven’t come across this campaign, check it out. They have social media pages and the website is here.

I love tea, I basically live off the stuff. I have at least two cups a day but it can be up to four….or five if I am at home with family. I watched a clip a few years ago now about how much plastic is actually in tea bags. The main brands all has it in them, which made me think. Am I putting plastic in my compost pot? To combat this, I used up all the black tea bags I had left in my cupboard (few stragglers in there) and have now switched to loose tea. We got a glass loose tea pot from IKEA last year but I barely used it. We ordered Irish Breakfast Tea from the lads over at McCabes Coffee (here is their website) and got some of their Wicklow Organic coffee beans for Joe too.

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Draw, Carve, Print, Cry…. Repeat

Draw, Carve, Print, Cry…. Repeat

This is pretty much how my first few months as a print maker started.

I got a beginners lino cut kit for Christmas 2019, before the chaos of Covid and lockdowns. It took me a while before I made my first attempt. I didn’t know what to make, I had never made a print before. I longed for this kit for months prior to Christmas, but when it came to it…..artists block. So I parked it for a little while, and then in February (after I left my job) I gave it a bash.

I found a little cartoon dog on pintrest and thought…ah that be easy..right? NOOOOPE. I drew out the doggo, traced him over and drew him back on the standard grey linocut. This is the first big thing I learned while doing lino, battleship grey lino ain’t my friend. I could never get good sharp lines, found it hard to carve due to stiffness and it would buckle when you cleaned it. So when carving this lad it was hard work. Battleship grey lino is hard, cold and bits like to break off. Some artists love it, and I don’t.

After making the attempt at carving, with the tools that came with the box (I will definitely be making a whole post dedicated to tools ) I went to make the first proof. I used some paper I had lying around, inked up the plate ( again all with the ink and roller supplied in the box) and placed my paper down. I used the “spoon” method of pressing, using the kitchen wooden spoon, and pulled off the paper.

This is where plenty of my issues arrived from, the pressure of the spoon. After pulling off the paper I was not very impressed with my work. Artists are their worst critic, and I was not so keen. The ink was splotchy, it was inconsistent in color tone, there was areas inked up that shouldn’t been and over all, it wasn’t the best. Looking back now I should have been a bit easier on myself, but I knew the art of lino printing was not going to be an easy one to master.

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My Zero Waste Journey- Refill!

My Zero Waste Journey- Refill!

Spending the last week or so I began to look at my household on how I can reduce waste, both coming into my home, and leaving it. The biggest thing I noticed is not that I need to find more compostable packaging, but just to not bring anything in….at all. There have been refill stations popping up, and one here in Kildare. I do think that by refilling any plastic bottles/containers I already have will at least not add to the pile of plastic on our planet.

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My Zero Waste Journey

My Zero Waste Journey

I recently discovered that my beloved country of Ireland does not recycle any waste. Any items in the recycling bin gets sent to the UK if suitable, otherwise it is incinerated in Dublin or worse…sent to Asia for dumping. Ireland, this is not on. Every day I look at the things I print, trying to use less electricity, being economical with my driving and having as many aspects of my business as eco friendly as possible, for what? The majority of packaging in my shopping trolley on my weekly shop was plastic. So from now on I will endeavor to have any packaging come in, has to be reusable, refillable or be able to go into the compost bin.

Now, this wont be a swift change as they say Rome wasn’t built in a day! It will be a journey and I hope to discover new Irish products, old ways of doing things and hopefully, a smaller bin bag.

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Seven Soap Bar Facts!

Seven Soap bar facts

Plant Based Ingredients

Liquid soap and body wash (and many “beauty” bars- Yes you Dove) are detergents in disguise. The bubbles are produced by surfactants – chemical petroleum BY-PRODUCTS. It dries out your skin and disrupts the natural balance of the skin’s protective properties. Handmade soap bars are packed full of nature’s finest ingredients and scented with essential oils!

Your Skin Knows

Small batch handmade soap contains Glycerin (Yeay!) An ingredient that attracts and retains moisture into the skin. Many commercial “soap” is either a detergent (not real soap), or it has glycerin removed to make lotion. Often shop bought products dry your hands to force you to purchase their hand cream or moisturiser.

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Unlocking the secrets of essential oils.

Unlocking the secrets of essential oils.

Essential Oils have been used for centuries and are deeply rooted in all cultures, since their origin in what we believe to be Egypt around 2000BC. The Egyptians invented the art of distilling to produce perfume, medicines and spiritual enhancements (and are to thank for the creation of alcohol!). It’s no secret that authentic essential oils (from the plant itself rather than synthetically produced) bring a range of benefits to the body, mind and spirit. Even Cleopatra’s breathtaking beauty was attributed to her use of extensive beauty treatments that included essential oils as well as clay and salt from the Dead Sea.

Today, essential oils are used widely in beauty products, treatments, aromatherapy and medicines. We use them to calm our nervous system, to invigorate sluggish spirits, to treat ailments and to ultimately bring healing. Most of us know the names and aroma of essential oils, but do we know just how many benefits they can bring us?

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