Thursday, November 11, 2010

Handmade Holidays - AJ's Country Cottage

Handmade Holidays at Pinkie and the Bean - Day 4

Today I am featuring AJ's Country Cottage.

I found Audrey's shop, AJ's Country Cottage, one day on Etsy when looking for handmade soaps.  Handmade soap is one of my favorite "pamper me" items.  I love the scents and the feel of handmade soap.  Once I found her soap listings, I discovered her candles, too.  I was immediately attracted to Audrey's colorful pictures of her products.

I contacted Audrey and asked her if I could blog about her shop and share her wonderful products with all of you.  She took a few minutes and answered my questions about how she got started and more about her products.  This is what she told me.

How did you get started? I can't remember a time when I wasn't fascinated by candles.I poured my first wax creations when I was about 13. I love the warm ambience the steady flame creates as well as the beauty that the scents, colors and textures bring to our homes. But I became frustrated that many commercial candles didn't burn well or scent my room when lit. So I set out to make candles that would do those jobs. Thus was born AJ's Country Cottage. Scent is very important to me and I think it's a powerful medium. It can energize or relax. It can evoke feelings of tranquility, peace and calmness. It can help create a warm, inviting atmosphere. It plays a strong role in creating a cozy, welcoming retreat and a place of personal refuge. Fragrance is associated with happy memories and can trigger recollections. Think of the scents traditionally associated with Christmas, for example: freshly-cut spruce boughs, cinnamon sticks, clove-studded oranges, bayberry, simmering apple cider, tart cranberries, rich nutmeats, pumpkin pie, peppermint candy. Getting a mental image and recalling some fond memories? Fragrance is powerful stuff!

How long have you been doing this?  I've been experimenting with candles most of my life, but the time was right for me to get down to serious business about seven years ago. I've never looked back! I love what I do. I started with paraffin, as that was the only wax available when I was a kid. As the new vegetable waxes such as soy and palm became available, I was eager to work with those. We chandlers have so many options these days!

Describe your products:  I love scent, color and variety. So I work with a wide selection of fragrance types in my candles, from earthy and herbal to sweet and foody. My hope is that I have something for everyone who is as fascinated by candles and scent as I am. Life can be so stressful; my desire is to help create an inviting, tranquil place of retreat and a warm, restful, cozy place where people feel welcome and relaxed. Of course, it never hurts to make your workplace smell great, either! :)

Tell us about one of your favorite items? Scent is so personal, and my favorites vary by season. But best of all, I love vanillas and spices - especially clove - so those candles are my all-time favorites. They are comfort scents for me. Running a close second are citrus scents such as lemon and orange; they make me feel sunny, happy, and energized. Maybe that's because citrus evokes early childhood memories from California, where I grew up amidst orange groves. :) I also have to confess a huge weakness for anything pumpkin. *sigh* Earthy scents such as sandalwood, cedarwood and patchouli also make me happy, depending on my mood. Right now I'm into burning Sugar & Spice and Pumpkin Souffle. Yum!

Do you have any sales, discounts or specials going on? By buying my multi-pack listings, customers get a discounted price on every candle! I plan to keep this price break going right on up until Christmas. Look for my Etsy listings such as "Choose Any 3" or "Choose Any 6" etc. for this deal. It's a great price per candle, plus the flat-rate shipping boxes I use save customers even more money since they can fill the box and not pay any more for shipping.

When is the last date you need for orders to be in to be guaranteed delivery by Christmas? December 15th.  I usually ship within one business day after orders are received and ship my candles via priority mail so they typically arrive in about 2-3 business days, although during the busy, high-volume Christmas season, it may take the post office a day or two longer to deliver.

One lucky reader can enjoy AJ's Country Cottage candles, I am offering a giveaway for one candle in the winner's choice of scent.  To enter the giveaway, please visit AJ's Country Cottage and take a look around.  Come back here and leave a comment with the name of the scent you would choose if you won.

For extra entries, please leave a separate comment for each step that you complete. Ex.  "Like" me on Facebook, leave a comment saying you did.  Follow Audrey on Twitter, leave another comment saying you did that.  Here's how to earn extra entries.
1)  Become a fan of AJ's Country Cottage on Facebook and come back here and leave a comment telling me. If you are already a fan of AJ's, then just leave a comment letting me know.
2)  Become a fan of Pinkie and the Bean on Facebook or tell me that you already are.
3)  Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link to the tweet.
4)  Post on your Facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment here.
5)  Join my brand new Blog Frog Community if you're a member of Blog Frog.

Remember, the first comment is mandatory and you must leave a separate comment for each extra entry.

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