Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bechtel Family Fun Day...

We had a great time today- thanks Bechtel !  They put on a family fun day for the whole community.  Everything was free - everything !  On the way in we  each received vouchers for  free food, drinks and icecream.  For the kids there was a jumping castle and slide, camel rides, face painting, balloons and a show.  For everyone there were the big machinery displays, simulators, emergency vehicles, heaps of giveaways, and live entertainment.  We loved it all.

Audio Vixen from the X-Factor TV show sang - they were awesome !

Ruby thought the fire engine was pretty neat - even if Fireman Sam wasn't there!

I asked the policeman to take this load of offenders away - no luck...

Happy little munchkin

The kids loved the camel ride - very exciting !!

Oriana, Ruby and the christmas camel

A sticker on her face and her very own autographed football...just kicking back watching a show

Wouldn't want to be changing this tyre.

She had a little reindeer balloon made especially for her... and destroyed in within the next 10 mins...

getting a rainbow painted onto her arm

Even the big kids got balloons!  This one is a dragonfly ??

It would be awesome to drive one of these things !

Future mechanic

She wanted a cow balloon, but the clown didn't know how, so she asked for a pig...managed to destroy it within the next 10 mins...must run in the family.

Some of the Big machinery that was on display

 What did you get up to today?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Felted soap...

Look what Ruby made today !

She started with a piece of homemade soap (no, not the goats milk soap from last night !)

Then she wrapped it up in some wool fleece...

Then she put it under the tap with the water as warm as she could handle it, and started to rub...gently at first...

...then a bit more vigorously as the wool started to 'felt'.  I helped her to get the felting process started, but she did most of it by herself and she really enjoyed it.

Here's her felted soap, pretty much finished and still soapy.  She choose the colours herself !

And here they are all done.  They look like pretty rocks.  What a lovely way to dress up a piece of soap for a special Christmas present!  Ruby was really excited that they turned out so well, because they are her Christmas presents for some special people.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

soap and facials...

My eldest daughter Oriana has been with me for a couple of weeks holiday.  It's been AWESOME having her around.  My big girls are both away at uni and I miss them heaps.  Anyway, we made some goats milk soap last night.  Well, she made it, I sort of supervised -  ha!  From most of what I've read on other blogs, they recommend that you have some soap making experience with ''regular' soap before trying goats milk - it's a bit more involved.  And hey, this was my 3rd batch of soap - so I have 'some' experience - yes??  And guess what ?  Tonight we took our soap out of the mold and it looks like it worked nicely - very happy.

I'm thinking I could have cut the slices a bit thicker, like the one at the back on the left, but oh well, next time.  We used a couple of 1L milk cartons - the cardboard ones for our mold, and I kind of like the shape - they look sort of like beautifully rounded squares.

They almost look good enough to eat don't you think !  Once again, I haven't added any colour or fragrance, but I like it like that.  I like that natural smell ! 

We have been using the soap from my first batch already.  Had no choice really, we ran out of the last bar of bought soap, and I refused to buy any more so we tried some and wow!  It is so wonderful to use.  It lathers up nicely and feels like it's actually moisturising the skin - it would have to be the most luxurious soap I've ever used - and hey, it's a very basic homemade soap.  I will NEVER buy soap from the supermarket again.  If you have never made your own soap before, try it - it's not as scary as you might think !  Promise !

And while we're on the subject of bathrooms - that's where you use soap right ? - well, this is what else has been going on in our bathroom...

say cheese !

look how many teeth I've got !

and this little cranky pants is really the most adorable little girl in the world !
Love you Marlise.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

what's for dinner?

Look at this bounty !  Fresh homemade ricotta , made just before we needed it. Fresh basil picked from our garden.  Fresh picked cherry tomatoes from the neighbours garden (Thanks June !) and some grated parmesan cheese.

What did I do with it all?  Mixed it through some nice hot spaghetti.  A delicious, simple dinner.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fabric mousepad tutorial...

Our computer sits on a glass desk which I really like.  Only problem is, the mouse doesn't work properly on the glass, so we've been using a magazine as a mouse pad for ages.  Over time, the magazine has become quite ratty and old and looks messy, so I decided to (finally) do something about it.

I bought a plain, cheap mousepad - y'know the ugly blue and black ones.  And I covered it with material.  How simple is that !  I love how it looks.  Can't believe I didn't do it much earlier.

So here's how I did it.


a mouse pad (any shape or size will do)
material (same size as the mouse pad)
Vliesofix (same size as the mouse pad)
needle and thread

Vliesofix is a fusible webbing.  You can get it wherever you buy material,  I got mine from Lincraft.  It is basically like double sided sticky tape, only it's for fusing material together.

1.  Put your mouse pad on top of your material and trace around it with the pen.  Cut it out.

2. Put your mouse pad down on the paper side of the Vliesofix and trace around it with the pen.  Cut it out.

Material and Vliesofix cut out.

Here is the mouse pad when I started

3.  Iron the Vliesofix on to the material side of the mouse pad - NOT the foam side.  And iron the Vliesofix on with the paper side up.

My roll of Vliesofix with my cut out piece ironed on to the mousepad

4.   Using the needle and thread, blanket stitch around the edge of the material to prevent it from fraying.

5. Peel the backing paper off the Vliesofix that has been ironed on to the mouse pad.

6.  Now iron your material on to the mousepad, it will adhere to the Vliesofix.  So cool ! Very easy !

This is what mine looked like....

And voila !  the finished mousepad.  Looks nice and tidy now !  Very Happy.

Friday, November 11, 2011

upcycled pants...

One of my big girls, didn't want a certain pair of pants anymore, so I took them  with the intention of  upcycling them.   Upcycling is taking something and perhaps changing it a  bit, to give it another use, rather than throwing it away.  Here are the pants - I forgot to take the picture before I cut them.  I love the material !

It was easier than I thought to make a pair of shorts for Ruby.  I followed the line to get a straight cut and hemmed up the bottom. The waist band already had elastic and a string tie, so I just tightened the string to fit Ruby.  The shorts are kinda big and flowy, but she loves them - especially because they are her big sisters old pants.

Best part about these pants, is that they will grow with her - just have to loosen the tie, they could last another 10 years !!
Now for the rest of the original pant legs...There is enough material to make another pair of shorts for Marlise, and I'll see what else I can squeeze out of it...a headband maybe ?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Poo...

I haven't poo'd for 6 weeks now and I feel great ! 

Now don't get me wrong - no poo is a good thing.  It's actually short for 'No Shampoo'.   oooh !!!  I hear you say with a great sigh of relief.  Thanks good ness for that.  but why?  Why would you not use shampoo, isn't that gross?  Well to be perfectly honest, I had never heard of no poo until 6 weeks and a few days ago.  I stumbled across it completely by accident and somehow it all made sense to me.  I mean, I already knew that shampoo was full of yucky chemicals, but there was no other worthwhile option for me. 

I bought some goats milk soap at the markets - twice - and both times the person selling it to me said "You can even wash your hair with it.  It will make your hair lovely and soft."  Now believe me, I checked out their hair - both people, both times and yes their hair did look lovely and soft, and shiney too.  So I went home, both times and washed my hair with the soap.  First wash was great, felt nice, hair even looked nice afterwards.  Then I washed it a second time and it was horrible - my hair I mean.  Back to shampoo for me.  And then I discovered the whole no poo thing.  And it's a BIG thing - google it and see just how many people around the world don't poo !  It's amazing !  How could I have missed this important information for so long ? 

How to 'no poo'

Ok, let me explain it as best I can.  No poo means you don't wash your hair with shampoo, ever.  Yep. That's right.  EVER.  Instead you rinse your scalp with bicarb soda and water.  The general consensus seems to be 1 Tablespoon of Bicarb mixed with 1 cup of water.  First wet your hair, then  pour the bicarb and water over your head and massage it around your scalp.  Rinse well with water.   Next, mix 1 Tablespoon of Apple cider Vinegar with 1 cup of water, and pour that over the ENDS of your hair - not your scalp.  After doing that you can actually feel how it has softened your hair.  At this point, I can easily comb through my hair, rinse the vinegar out and that's it !  My hair doesn't smell like vinegar, well at least I can't smell it, and nobody has said anything !!   I usually do this routine, every 3 days or so. 

How does it work?

Well, how can it not....seriously, did they even HAVE shampoo a hundred years ago?  Your scalp naturally produces oils - that's a good thing.  BUT, we strip those oils away when we use shampoo.  Shampoos contain chemicals,  harsh detergents like sodium laurel sulphates and sodium laureth suplhates - NOT GOOD.   They rid your hair of natural oils - that's what detergent does right ?  And then your body panics coz there are no oils left, and it produces more - to protect your hair and scalp...and then you strip it away again - it's a viscious circle, and  it's no wonder some people end up with oily hair - oil production has gone into overdrive to compensate the loss.  On the other hand, not having those natural oils, can leave your hair looking dry and dull - hello!  That's me !!

Then there is the lather factor.  We've all seen the ads on TV, beautiful girls shampooing their hair in all that luxurious white foam - I know !  I've been sucked in to that too !  More lather doesn't mean more clean though - sad but true.

So we can do without the chemicals, apparently !  And let our hair do it's thing - naturally.  C'mon !   Have faith in your hair !

What will my hair look like?

Well, don't expect wonders to happen over night.   Your hair will gradually be stripped of all the chemicals that are coating it, and that might come as a bit of a shock to your hair.  Then it will have to get used to being 'naked' in a sense.  In a nutshell, it's going to get worse before it gets better.   It can take up to 4 weeks for hair to 'transition'.  And the defintion of transition is pretty much yucky hair.  (The goats milk soap people forgot to tell me that bit, that's why I gave up !)  Now I said UP to 4 weeks, it took my hair about a week and a half to 'get over it'.  But hang in there - Endure to the end !!  It's a good opportunity to wear your hair up, with a headband, or a scarf maybe !! No seriously, mine didn't get THAT bad.  I wore a headband for a couple of days, but it was no big deal. 

And then ?

And then, congratulate yourself because you are NO LONGER bound to that shampoo bottle.  Your hair is likely to have more body, and less frizz - great news for curly tops like me.  For me, my hair has been easier to manage somehow - I don't use any other hair products, don't have to anymore.  And my curls have been more curly lately.  I still have bad hair days now and then, but not nearly as often as I used to.  And think of all the money I'll be saving - lots...aswell as less landfill...happy days !!

The end note...

I've also got my kids going no poo.  Ruby is 4 and has dead straight hair.  Her hair was dry and dull and I was using (an expensive) leave in conditioner in her hair to make it presentable.  Don't need it anymore though.  Her hair is so shiney and beautiful now !  And my baby, I've never used shampoo in her hair anyway, but I think the addition of porridge and fruit and whatever else she has eaten to her daily hair routine just adds extra bounce and shine!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kids will be kids...

I said it was time to set the table for dinner, and she did this !

And for some reason she sat still for quite a while with the scarf over her head ??

This  koala bear loves it up in her favourite tree.

Caught ! With a mouthful of cabbage and a handful to go...

"Let your children be exposed to great minds, great ideas, everlasting truth, and those things which will build and motivate for good." - Gordon B. Hinckley

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Body parts and my new favourite thing...

On my mind today...I've got a body with 2 legs attached, a head and 2 arms...what's it going to be you ask?  well, that's my christmas present for my baby girl.  She loves "babies".  Always points to them at the shops - real babies I mean, and loves her big sister's baby too - always pushes her around in her little pram with the crooked wheels.  I started making the doll about a month ago from a pattern I bought online at Sarah's Dolls.  It's been an easy pattern to follow, but now I'm stuck trying to sew the head onto the body - not quite as easy as I thought it would be, so it's been sitting in the cupboard for a wee while....I'm waiting for it to sew itself on ???  hmmmmm.... OK,  I know that won't happen, so it's out again.

See the gorgeous hand dyed mohair in the picture?  That's from the lovely Jo over at  Indigo Inspirations.  ( I love her shop !)  And that is going to be my doll's hair.  According to the pattern I have to crochet a cap for the hair - another reason why I had to learn how to crochet.  I'm a bit nervous about that bit, but I'm determined!!

The bright, rainbow coloured wool fleece is also from Indigo Inspirations.  And is also for christmas presents but I should probably keep that bit quiet.  Have to leave something as a surprise hey !

I saw a sign the other day that said "55 more sleeps till Christmas".  Talk about a wake up call ! and there is still so much to do. The plan is to make the majority of presents, as is my plan every year.  So far so good, I know what I have to do, but I'll be busy busy busy if I want to get it all done in time.

And my new favourite thing is...

Orange citrus cleaner

I should have taken a photo before I strained it, but I forgot !  I found the recipe here at Just Like MY Nan Made - a great blog full of interesting things that I love.  So basically you just have to keep all your orange and/or lemon peels and steep them in vinegar.  I used orange peels.  And I juiced the oranges to make iceblocks for the kids which they loved.
So after I strained my finished citrus vinegar I diluted it 50:50 with plain vinegar and got to work.  I sprayed the kitchen surfaces and wiped them with a clean cloth.  It smelled so fresh and lovely!!...then I got carried away, and took my new citrus cleaner into the laundry, and to the bathroom.  Needless to say my home smells of oranges and I am in love.  I'll have to get more oranges and make a new batch because this one isn't going to last long at this rate !