Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Things I Loved This Month...April...

This month I've loved...

* My friend from Brazil and her husband visiting, sooo nice, I'm saving my pennies to go and visit them! * shed party * shed cake * fire * booking tickets to see Mr David Tennant in Richard 2nd in January * watching Jonathan Creek, Broadchurch (shameless David Tennant ogling!), New Girl, The Mindy Project and The Big Bang Theory * bank holidays * excellent charity shop finds * nice colleagues who bring me vegan biscuits * crocheting * daffodils, pansies, blossom * jammy dodgers * tidy house * home grown broccoli * walks in the sunshine * listening to Michael Ball, Phantom of the Opera soundtrack and Eddi Reader * seeing Phantom of the Opera at Birmingham Hippodrome, it was sooooooo good! * planting seeds * shortening my new jeans, rather than getting mum to do it * mending my sink all by myself - u bend off and everything! * starting to help at Rainbows, they're really cute * having a nice mummy * work trips * tadpoles *

Hope you've had a nice month!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Crochet Bunny and Crochet Lavender Mice...

My friend commissioned me to make these for her.  The crochet bunny is for her future nephew, and the mice are for her mother in law.

The little crochet bunny is called Herbert.  I was feeling whimsical, so I thought I'd make him a tank top to keep him warm.  I made up the pattern myself, and I'm specially pleased with his face, I sometimes find it hard to embroider the features on nicely, but I think this one worked out well.  I can see myself making another one of these for me, I found it very hard to part with him.

And here are the mice, crocheted to my own pattern and filled with lavender, to make clothes smell nice!

I'm having a break from selling on Etsy and at craft fairs for now, but I am available for commission pieces, contact me through my Facebook page if you'd like me to make you something special.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Spring has Sprung...Seeds are Shooting...

My seeds didn't take long to germinate...I planted these 6 days ago and look at them now! 

Here we have sweet peas, chick peas, nasturtiums, sunflowers and mini sweetcorn...

Broad beans...

Lobelia, livingstone daisy, marigold and verbena...

And here's a little frog doing a hippo impression...there's frog spawn in the pond at mums house and fish and snails zooming about too...

My balcony is still looking beautiful and colourful too!

Has spring sprung for you yet?

Thursday, 18 April 2013

How to Recycle Tin Cans into Retro Plant Pot Holders...

I know a lady who makes genius jams for a living, and she asked me if I'd like some of her big, catering sized tin cans to use for something.  Of course I did!

I decided to use some of my lovely vintage fabrics to recycle these tins into plant pot holders for my house plants.

Step 1 - cut out a piece of fabric long enough to wrap around the tin, and an inch or 2 wider than the tin is tall.  Cut slits along the long edges of the fabric to make it easier to fold neatly round the top and bottom of the tin when you're sticking it on.

Step 2 - gather your tools, you'll need watered down PVA glue (about equal parts glue to water is fine) and a tub to put the glue in, sponge brushes, newspaper/plastic bag to protect your surfaces, something tall to stand your upside down tin on (I'm using a plastic box and a tin of sweet corn ).  Paint the glue mixture on to the tin, wrap the fabric carefully round, pulling it tight as you go (you might find it easier to hold the tin to do this, I put one hand inside and used the other to wrap the fabric round.)  Use undiluted PVA glue to stick the edge down.  Spread diluted glue mixture all over the top of the fabric, get it nice and wet so it sticks down.

Step 3 - spread the glue mixture round the top, inside of the tin, then fold the flaps you cut earlier neatly over, making sure to pull them tight, and stick them into the glue.  Do this all the way round then go over the fabric with glue to stick them down.  

Step 4 - make some more.  Wait for the glue to dry.  Overnight is probably best.  Stand them on something to stop any sticking to your surfaces.  I'm using tins of sweet corn and chickpeas to hold them up.

Step 5 - when the tins are dry flip them upside down.  You might need to trim some excess fabric off before you start gluing, I did.  Then spread glue on to the bottom of the tin and stick the flaps down, pulling each one tight as you go and covering with watered down PVA glue mixture.  If you have a gap in the middle then cover that over with a scrap of fabric if you want.

Wait for that to dry!

 Step 6 - Once they're dry, put your plants in them!  Make sure you put a little plastic tray or something in the bottom of the tin, before you put the plant in, if it gets too wet it'll probably get rusty.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Charity Shop Treasures...Retro Pillow Cases and Rag Rug...

I bought these today, they were in the charity shop last week and I didn't buy them and thought about them all week, so I went back for them today!

Two new-vintage pillow cases, £2.50.

Little rag rug, perfect for a doormat my by balcony door, 50p.

Have you bought any brilliant bargains recently? 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Bamboo Toothbrush Review...3 Months On...

I thought I would do a follow up review of my bamboo toothbrush, in case any of you thought it had fallen to splinters in my mouth or something.

So this is my toothbrush after 3 months of use.  The old one is the top one, with my new one below for comparison.  As you can see, the bristles are a little bent, but overall it held up well.  The bristles had softened quite a lot by the end of the 3 months, but the handle was still fine, if stained a little white by toothpaste.  I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be white with toothpaste if I washed it, but I'm also pretty sure that life's too short to wash your toothbrush.

I was looking forward to putting my old bamboo toothbrush in the compost bin, but then I realised I could use it to clean round taps and things (am I a domestic goddess or what!?), so it's into the cleaning cupboard with it for now.

My bamboo toothbrush was £2.50 and came from Ebay.

All in all a great success, I am converted.

Linking up with Frugally Sustainable.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Vegan Junk Food...Jammy Dodgers and Choccie Dodgers...

UPDATE - Jammy Dodgers are no longer suitable for vegans, they now contain milk.  So sad!  Check out my other vegan friendly posts to see actual vegan products!    

I recently discovered that Jammy Dodgers are vegan!  They're also soya free, which is great for me 'cos soya makes me itch.  The choccie ones are the best, I think.  I thought they would just be like circular bourbon biscuits, but they are so much more my friends.  The chocolate creme in the middle is deliciousness it's self!  The Jammie Dodgers are yummy too, although I would appreciate a slightly higher jam to biscuit ratio.

Here are the ingredients for each type of dodger...I know how much vegans like to read the labels!  You can click on the photo to enbiggen it.  The packets also have the important 'suitable for vegetarians' labelling.

Have you made any magical, vegan junk food discoveries??

(This product is vegan as far as I can tell - items have suitable for vegetarians labelling, no dairy/eggs in the allergy section and the ingredients list contains no animal ingredients that I can see)

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Gardening...April...Sowing Seeds and Beautiful Balcony Garden...

Spring has sprung in Mums garden, even though we do have a little bit of snow left!

And I've planted my seeds in Mum's greenhouse.  I've got flowers; sunflowers, livingstone daisies, marigolds, sweet peas, nasturtium, lobelia and verbena.  And veg; mini sweetcorn, broad beans, courgette (I'm trying two varieties this year, black beauty and mikinos), sweet peppers and chick peas.  Hopefully it will be warm enough for them to germinate, and the ground will be warm enough to plant them out.

The courgette mikinos seeds were PINK!  I'm not sure if this is a natural thing, or if there was some sort of special coating on the seeds, I've never seen pink courgette seeds before.

My balcony garden is looking all lovely and spring-y, my daffodils and crocuses have come up, no sign of the snow drop bulbs I planted in my pots though, perhaps they'll come next year.  I bought some daisies and polyanthus too for a bit of extra colour.  I really like sitting on my sofa a looking out on my pretty little garden.

On my balcony, so far, I've seen a centipede, lots of little flies, blue bottles, a spider and a bee!  I wanted to attract insects to my little garden and I'm glad some little creatures have been enjoying it!

I bought myself some solar powered led fairy lights, which twinkle prettily as soon as it gets dark.  They're lovely.

Have you managed to do any gardening yet, hope your weather is better this month!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Easy Green Things To Do This Month...April 2013...

Here are some easy, eco actions you can do this month...

Do these online actions from Greenpeace, asking for low-CO2 regulations on new cars and to stop arctic oil drilling.

April 22nd is Earth Day.  This year they're asking you to upload a photo of yourself, holding a sign saying 'The face of climate change', to their collection, which will be displayed at Earth Day events around the world.   

Sign Water Aid's pledge to show support for the right of all people to have access to clean, healthy water.

Ask your MP to support carbon-free energy, buy sending the email on Stop Climate Chaos website.

Spring clean your home using eco friendly products, my tips are here, and some more good ones here and on my pintrest board.

If you have any ideas to be added to this months list, then let me know in the comments section and if I like it, I'll add it!  And feel free to share any of this info (or the whole post) wherever and with whoever you like! 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Library Love...Ready Player One, Life According to Alice B. Lovely, The Virgin Cure, Making Soft Toys...

This month I've  been reading...

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
I nearly gave up reading this, I found it quite hard to get into, I was all 'nooo this is a book about sad people playing video games'.  But I am Sooo glad I stuck with it.  Set 30 years in the future, oil has run out, the environment is shot and pretty much the whole of humanity logs into a free computer simulated reality every day called the Oasis.  Wade is a gunter (an egg hunter) searching for the hidden 'easter eggs' in the Oasis, whoever finds all 3 eggs first gains control over the Oasis, will it be Wade and his gunter friends or a sinister organisation bent on commercialising the Oasis.  It's filled with references to 80's films, music and video games (I didn't get the video game ones!).

Life According to Alice B. Lovely - Karen McCombie
This is a kids book about a pair of sad, naughty children and their new nanny.  She wears  multicoloured false eyelashes, charity shop chic, has a pet raven and see's art and beauty everywhere.  A nice easy read.  Kind of Nanny Mcphee meets Star girl.

The Virgin Cure - Ami McKay
The subject matter of this book is a bit grim - under-age girls being sold into prostitution.  But, it was a really interesting and gripping story, and the characters, especially Moth and the Doctor, were interesting and gripping too.

Making Soft Toys - Karin Neuschutz
This book has lots of sweet, simple patterns for making all sorts of toys.  I really like the dolls and bear and I will be making some bunnies for a couple of small people who are due to enter the world in a couple of months time.

Have you read anything interesting recently? 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Things I Loved this Month...March...

This month I've loved...

* Orange chocolate biscuits * wearing pretty dresses * quoting TV/film lines with my friend and making each other laugh * making a pond * pretty flowers on my balcony * audiobooks * buying a new CD player and radio, I can listen to music everywhere in my flat now! * dinners at mummys * visiting pet shops to look at the bunnies and guinea pigs * sunshine * booking tickets to see David Tennant in Richard the 2nd next January - EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!! * overtime, extra pennies! * discovering jammy dodgers are vegan * watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Ally Mcbeal, New Girl, Mindy Project, Jonathan Creek * chocolate Easter bunnies * daffodils and crocus * finding mystery money in all sorts of things I've been unpacking * excitement - my bestest friend is coming for a visit * new house plants *  Indian takeaway * cinema * popcorn * snow * planting veg seeds * wearing silver moon boots * listening to The Cranberries, McFly, Sandi Thom * DOCTOR WHO *

Hope you've all had a lovely month!