Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Handmade Soap! We've had so many of our soaps packaged up and head out the studio these past few weeks. And it's been amazing to share them! These are all soaps that we use ourselves and enjoy here at our HomeGrownHOME.

Our soaps are gently & subtly fragranced with carefully blended essential oils a smooth, luxurious lather. We use organic ingredients, olive oil, coconut butters, almond oils etc which leaves your skin feeling moisturized.

We want to help you get the most out of your soap. So we thought this would be a good time for some tips on handmade-soap care. And share why we make our soaps the way we do.
Everything in our process has a practical purpose, they are not just pretty☺️

The first tip would be to keep your soap as dry as possible in between use. I know how funny this sounds. How do you keep a soap dry when it's destined for water?

The reason for this is that even the most generic, off the shelf soap will eventually start to dissolve if it is left to soak in water. Which melts the soap down faster. Handmade soaps are cured for up to 4 weeks before use. This allows the water to evaporate completely and harden the soap.
But due to the soft nature of the ingredients, keeping a bar soaking in moisture will cause your soap to soften. And shorten your use. That is such a pity, because handmade soaps are packed with goodness and gentle skincare.

We've made our bars chunky, allowing them to stand up for the first stage of use, giving as much of the soap bar exposure to air & dry out. We've also added a ridged side. This side helps to drain excess water away from the bar.

You will notice that most of our soap bars have a touch of crunch and texture. This could be in the form of dried petals, leaves, seeds etc. That is because it creates a lovely scrub for grimy hands. It is handy to scrub off dirt from the garden, paint, dough, the list is endless. Plus it looks pretty! And I find that I miss this on smooth bars sometimes.

We've tried many different ways of keeping our soap dry. Once it's at a stage when it cannot stand upright, one of the most effective ways of keeping it well drained is by placing it on top of a small glass jar. The picture below is our well used Lemon-Poppy soap bar at the kitchen sink, on top of a little jar. I like to add cute things to the jars, like pebbles or shells. You know what I say about stuff you use everyday. It has to be Beautiful!

Which is also why we use our beautiful deeply embossed stamp on all our HomeGrownHOME handmade soaps. As you use your soap, the lovely picture will slowly melt away. For your enjoyment, a little extra touch of delight extended.

Where in our home do we use these handmade soaps? They are suitable for anywhere you wash up. But I've found that we've come to enjoy certain bars in certain places more usually. The Lemon-Poppy and Rosemary bars are great in the kitchen. I always have a bar there. Both help neutralize odors, I love the scrub of the poppy seeds and chopped herb and Rosemary is naturally antiseptic.

Lavender has become our usual one for sinks. Lavender also being naturally antiseptic, without the harsh chemicals of generic bought soap. I always have a Lavender soap bar of any description at my studio sink. Currently I have a glorious Lavender Cream bar and a half bar of Loaded Lavender. Just because: for the love of lavender.

We also have a Lavender Cream & Rosemary bar in the showers. Rosemary is great for skincare & helps to prevent spots. And Ahhh, bath-time would not be the same without the Cedar Charcoal loaf! We keep one especially for the boys at the family sink too. It's a favorite! No surprise, because it's not only striking and dramatic, but has a wonderfully indulgent masculine fragrance of Cedarwood, Lemongrass and Activated charcoal.

Little indulgences like natural handmade soaps adds a touch of extra to an ordinary day. At HomeGrownHOME, we want you to get to enjoy that little luxury for as long as possible. Hope you find these tips helpful!



Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Sugared Rose Petals & Lavender Sugar.

It was a beautiful day here, so we decided to turn a simple batch of vanilla cupcakes into something really special.
And as it was a day for sweet things we decided to make another jar of Lavender Scented Sugar to use later. It's great sprinkled on pancakes with whipped cream, iced cupcakes, porridge, freshly bakes cookies, & iced tea etc.

And all you need for both are some pretty fragrant rose petals and dried lavender and also a bit of sugar of your choice.

It's always a joy to work with pretty flowers!


Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Drying Flowers

Every season has it's perks. And to me, having a leisurely walk through the garden harvesting flowers for drying is one of summers peaks!
We use them in all sorts of things. Soaps, bath bombs, salts, scented bags, potpourri, crafts etc.

There is just something so whimsical about the slow, careful harvest, sorting and placing of beautiful flowers and petals on trays to dry. The sweet fragrances rising to meet you. It's all joy!

And it couldn't be easier. You simply pick what you need and place them on a baking sheet or tray, well spread out to allow for air circulation. Store in a cool dry place that gets good airflow. Ours go in the bay window on trays.
This is suitable for rose petals, smaller blooms, wild flowers, clover, lavender, cornflower etc.
More tender flowers like pansies are well preserved pressed in a heavy book.

We have focused more on our kitchen garden than flowers these past few years. What we've planted have been for the bees ☺️ But it still surprises me just how many flowers there still happen to be that are suitable for drying. I do recommend sowing wild flowers. They need no care, and never disappoint. That part of the garden now has a life of it's own that we just get to enjoy alongside the bees.

We've also picked little blooms on wild walks and adventures. You don't need a big garden to dry flowers.

On your next walk, how about picking a handful of flowers in a bunch and hang them upside down to dry when you get home. Wild flower bouquets are beautiful too.

I love how these dry flowers will bring summer with them in whichever way they're used.



Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Lavender Harvesting!
We have a few different varieties of lavender growing in our garden. And each one as beautiful as the other. Choosing a favorite lavender would almost be like choosing a favorite child. It cannot be done!

I noticed today that a lot of our English lavender blooms are at their prime and starting to open. So I realized I had to get in there soon if I wanted any harvest of those lavender heads this season. I missed the door last year. And I ended up mainly harvesting from our French lavender.

The English lavender has long clean stems with tight knit seeded heads that are wonderfully fragrant and stunning at full bloom with various purples ranging from moody deep to an almost soft blue hue.
These are great for drying. And we harvest them in bundles, simply cutting the stems long enough to be able to tie them up and hang to dry. About 10 inches below the head. With this variety we only use the heads. 

Our French lavender is more flamboyant looking with beautiful plumes sprouting from the top of the heads. And they are absolutely stunning to see! I love brushing my hands over these plants when I'm walking in the garden, as even the foliage is packed with that wonderful scent you only get from fresh lavender. This variety is more densely packed with leaves all the way up the stem.
We harvest the entire stem, leaves and all, and use both when dried. As the foliage is also packed with aromatic fragrance oils. It's a more messy looking bunch. But we love free range things, including our lavender.
And I also love having bundles of this one in little jars all over the house. Bringing the best of the season indoors.

After cutting we tie the lavender into smaller bunches and hang them in an airy dry place for a few weeks until they are completely dry. We use the dried lavender in many different ways.

One of my personal favorites are our Hand Embroidered Lavender Sachets.
We place them in our drawers, linen cupboards, with towels, we also place them under bed pillows and I love hanging them with knitwear or coats off hangers etc.
We also use the beautiful dried lavender heads in soap and candles.

After the week we've just had, I chose to hang these beauties up to dry on our pantry cupboard in the kitchen. Spreading that calming touch of indulgence that only lavender can give.

And I took a whole bunch of pictures, because they are just so lovely. And lovely things have to be shared.


You can find Hand Embroidered Lavender Sachets HERE:



Today in our HomeGrownHOME:



Container Gardening. This year we've got a few things growing in containers. And they seem to be doing really well.

Container gardening is great if you're new at gardening, if you're renting or living space doesn't allow you much space for gardening like apartments etc.
It's self contained, which helps eliminate weeds and is great for maintenance.
A large garden can become overwhelming. Growing food in containers is way less stressful.
You can also grow a lot of vegetables and salad indoors. All you need is a sunny windowsill.

And as I'm a real practical person, I think vegetables and salads in containers are beautiful, plus it feeds you. Win win.

A lot of things that you can grow in containers can be sown almost year round. Like lettuce, spinach, cabbage & herbs.

It's been such a busy few months here. We planted out our berries in containers this year to give them time to strengthen as we didn't get around to preparing a new berry patch when they arrived.

With garden centres now open. Why not go grab yourself a few pots, seeds and a bag of compost. There are few things in life as satisfying as picking your own crunchy salad and herbs for dinner.

Hope you're all enjoying this beautiful day!



Today in our HomeGrownHOME:



Peaches and nectarines are at their peak and so cheap at the moment. We grabbed a few punnets and will be canning these beauties to go on our pantry shelves.
There are few things as HomeGrown as canned peaches & custard. And few things as utterly satisfying as eating them!
That's if the kids don't eat them all before I get started.

Canned peaches always remind me of my grandmother Ouma Lala. She is 91 and was the ultimate homesteader. Apricot jam, canned peaches, prickly pears, tomato passata. It seems like jars of delicious treats and home cooked food oozed out of her kitchen. There was always something cooking on the hob, always a treat in a tin or the fridge.

And this beautiful enamel bowl was my gran Ouma Margaret's. I remember hanging around her while she was baking in her farmhouse kitchen. Telling me how fingers make the best spatulas. Using her long elegant finger to scrape the last of the batter from this bowl. I can still taste her meringues -skuimpies. Baked in her outdoor fire oven. Have never tasted anything like them since.

It's lovely how canning peaches come with so many fond memories. It makes something ordinary like canning peaches into a really meaningful experience.



Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Ever since we made this adorable recycled strawberry bed I've thought wouldn't it be lovely to fill it up with ferns. But I never got around to doing it.
This year, it decided to stop waiting for me to do it and did it all by itself! And I think it's absolutely gorgeous!

You've got to love how nature comes in Natural Design Mode. Sometimes all that is needed is a bit of time.

Planter was made by recycling an old pellet - I followed a YouTube video. Was pretty easy. And got this bed frame from my friend Chris.

I painted some stones to look like strawberries. Read somewhere that helps with keeping birds from eating your fruits. Don't know if it works tbh. But they do look pretty anyway.



Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


I confess to being completely soap giddy today!
I just love how you have these totally unrelated ingredients. Some of them you can eat. Some of them even quite dangerous! Then you carefully blend them together, give them a little TLC treatment & time.
And what you end up with is an extraordinary luxurious, indulgent, BEAUTIFUL natural soap!

Practicality meets pretty. The perfect match!
And such a fab reward for hard work. I get excited every time we turn our fresh batch out & process them.
Each one totally unique. Always a different visual result. No two bars ever look the same!

I just love that!


Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Nothing is wasted.
We've kept our egg shells, baked them & then crumbled them to small shards.

Going to sprinkle them around our beans & lettuce. All those lovely greens that slugs also love. Creating a protective barrier & additional nutrients to the soil.

From watching what happens in our wormery, the earthworms will quickly make a meal of these shells. So plan to do this regularly.

Hopeful to win the slug war this year.


Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


This time of the year it's like flowers are all showing off their extravagant Diva side.
My favorite part of the day is watering everything after dinner. And I get to enjoy this showcase of summer beauty and explosion of colors close up.

One of my favorite parts in our garden this year is where our wild flowers & lavender collide. Pops of bright white against soft green and purple. It changes every year. I wonder what it will look like next year.

And our sea of mint! I find myself deliberately brushing through it with the hose just to get a whiff of that refreshing fragrance.

All of it just so utterly beautiful. With no effort from me whatsoever. I love that!

Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Keeping things real & sharing some of this year's garden fails.

Nearly drowned the lavender when I forgot the hose on in the flowerbeds. Lavender notoriously prefers very little water. Fingers crossed they forgive this little mishap.

We planted the one batch of ginger too deep & forgot to take it into the greenhouse. The one next to it was planted the same day. Thriving.

Only half of our salad in the raised planter germinated. Top image.

We planted out some of the sweet potatoes too soon & a cold snap ended most of that first batch.
The same snap got to the potatoes too. They took a knock, but seem to be a bit more hardy.

We procrastinated on our new pumpkin raised bed which meant the butternut seedlings got planted out way too late and half of them didn't make it.

We share our successes, but can learn a lot from failures too.

Hope that's helpful to anyone.

Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Getting all wrapped up in our beautiful Beeswax Wraps!
It's a delight to reach for these beautiful wraps when wrapping up food. Instead of the usual plastic cling film.

If you use it every day, it has to be BEAUTIFUL!

Fold handy pockets for fruit bags. Pack picnic sandwiches. Instant lids for jars and glasses. We are finding new fun ways to use these with each passing day.

Coming soon: Our latest how to make your own Beeswax wraps vlog.
And also opening up our little shop soon with loads of new beautiful things. Including these beauties.

Hope you're all enjoying the wonderful weather!


Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Today in our HomeGrownHOME we worked on some fun fabric prints for our Beeswax Wraps.
Coming soon! 😊

One of the best things about Handmade and Handcrafted is that each one is unique, one of a kind. And those little quirks in different textures, finishes & colours all add to the overall final charm and appeal of a quality hand made product.

A product that is the result of hours and hours of practice, learning & honing skills.

Which is why the simple things in life are no small thing.


Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Today's Today in our HomeGrownHOME: 😊💜

The weather was perfect for soap making. So we whipped up a batch of fresh Lemon Poppyseed & another Double Lavender loaf.

The lovely thing about soap is how the batter changes as it goes through the different processes. Looking at them now they look so similar.
The olive oil, shea butters & almond oils etc. give them a warm yellow tone. But as the soap sets and dries, the natural minerals & mica powders will change them to two distinct and unique natural looking soaps.

Now the 24-48hr wait before we take them out of the molds & cut them. And then the long 3-4 week wait before they are ready!

It's a big job. But it's worth it!

Happy Friday everyone!


Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


It's getting on in the sowing season. If you're planning on growing from seed. Now is the time to do it!

Though with garden centers hopefully opening again soon. You might be able to find some young plants.
But we find growing from seed satisfying & the plants grown from seed seem a bit more resilient.
It's similar to anything else you make from scratch. You know what went into it

We love growing from seed. Nature is so generous! I always marvel how from a tiny seed you get rewarded in time with an abundance of food!

Handy Tips:
Keep the seed packets. It's easy to lose track of what you've sown. And it's good to have the growing instructions handy if you're trying out new varieties.

We always keep a few Popsicle sticks & sharpie in our seed box in a jam jar. It makes for quick easy labeling while we're sowing so you don't get confused about what you've sown in your seed trays.

Plants like squashes & pumpkins have very similar sprouts. I find it hard to distinguish between them in the early days.
We've learned the hard way to label label label. Though even despite that, we still have the annual mystery seed event happening. 

Have a lovely weekend everyone!


Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


Celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary at our HomeGrownHOME today! 
We love celebrating good things & this milestone coincides with a 13th birthday! So it's a really fun day over here!

Gorgeous cake baked by our amazing daughter!


Today in our HomeGrownHOME:


The Pantry of my Dreams is a walk in room with shelves brimming with all sorts of delicious beautiful jars, bottles and bags of food from our garden. A stockpile of wholesome organic goodness that can feed our family good food every day. 
But until that day, I love our very robust wholesome Pantry Cupboard made from recycled rustic wood with a beautiful, humble country kitchen draw curtain to hide what can sometimes become a stockpile mess that is fitting of a busy large family life. 

I believe that if you use it every day: It has to be Beautiful! 
Every now and again, I take hold of that space and bring it back in line with my dream. It feeds the family I love. 
And it needs to feed the creative in me that enjoys making things pretty.
It's not fancy, and that's why I like it. It's down to earth, like the food we're putting on our plates.

A pantry can be anywhere you store your goods. You don't need a room or a robust cupboard. But when you reach for your onions, there's no reason it shouldn't make you smile.


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