Sunday, 24 June 2012

Simone's Sugar Scrub

I spent another evening covering myself in food stuffs, all in the name of research you understand.  My husband observes these adventures of mine at a wary but curious distance.  Anyway I've come up with an amazing sugar scrub recipe that you ladies are really going to thank me for.  It is super cheap to make from ingredients you will have in your kitchen cupboards.  Further more this scrub is a bit of a one hit wonder (in a good way) this one product will exfoliate and moisturise your legs plus you won't need to use any soap or shave foam to shave your legs as the oil in this scrub will make your razor glide effortlessly over your legs.  It will also boast your circulation, help get rid of cellulite and give you a really close shave meaning you won't have to shave so often.  This is such a time saver & I guarantee you SMOOOOTH legs.

sadly these are not my legs

This is my recipe, you will need 

An air tight container 
175grams of sugar (just ordinary sugar)
100ml of oil this could be olive oil, coconut oil, baby oil, grape seed etc. use your favourite (I used 75ml of coconut and 25ml olive oil)
1 tbsp citrus juice, freshly squeezed.

Measure your ingredients add the oil to the sugar and mix well.  Add your citrus juice.  
Now run a nice bath & have a nice soak to really soften your skin.  Take a palm full of the sugar scrub and rub it all over your legs give them a good scrub!  Now but your leg back in the bath to get rid of the sugar grains and then take them out and shave.  Remember you won't need to use any foam or soap as the oils from the scrub will suffice.  Rinse your leg again & repeat with the the sugar scrub.  You're done! beautiful clean, smooth legs

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

How to cover buttons

I recently made this sweet little peplum top for my daughter from the amazing book one yard wonders I think I've mentioned before how much I love and use this book.  Any way the fabric I used had quite a small delicate pattern.  I felt fabric covered buttons would really finish this top nicely.  You can buy buttons to cover very inexpensively but they never come with instructions so I thought I would do a little tutorial here.  I know myself when you' re new to sewing you want to check you are doing things just right.  I still like to look up an unusual seam finish or technique I haven't done in a while just to refresh my memory & give me the confidence to proceed.  I hope this helps.

here is the kit available at most haberdashers

 Cut a circle of your chosen fabric with about 1cm extra around the button,  Remember that what is in the centre of your circle will be what is on the finished button.

 Tie a knot in one end of your thread and sew a large running or basting stitch around the edge of your fabric circle.

Place the button in the centre of your fabric and begin to gather the fabric around it.  Do this by gently pulling the thread still attached to the needle, easing the gathers along the fabrics circumference as you go.  Secure with a couple of stitches.  I like to run some stitches across the back of the button just to help secure the gathers and help the fabric lie nicely to help with the next step.

Get the back part of the button and press it firmly into the back of the button.  As you can see this holds all the fabric firmly in place and tidies all the raw edges and folds.  The button back is slightly conical place it on the back so the cone is facing upward not down.

Your done, easy-peasy!  I hope you will agree this adds a lovely finishing touch 

Oh and here is the sweet little top I made, buttons go up the back this is the front.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Singer Sewing 1949

Hello All

For one reason and another it's been kind of a heavy weekend and I could do with some humour so I thought I would share this extract from a Singer sewing manual from 1949 that came to me via a friend on facebook.  It really made me laugh, I hope does you too. 

If I did all of this before I got out my sewing machine I would never get any sewing done, what incredible women out Grandmothers and great Grandmothers must have been!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Cleaning make-up brushes

I have to confess cleaning my make-up brushes has never occurred to me.  Then a certain small child got hold of my make-up brushes and it became necessary clean them.  I discovered that make-up brushes need cleaning regularly because they harbour bacteria and and get clogged with make-up and oils.  Cleaning them can prolong their life so it makes sense to do it.  Of course there are products out there to do this but they are not necessary.

Add one tbsp of vinegar to a cup of hot water and soak your brushes for 20 minutes.  Rinse in hot and then cold water, pat dry and allow to air dry.  This will disinfect and dissolves grease/makeup.  Its also very thrifty.  You learn something new every day, hey!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Elderflower Cordial

I always feel the preserving season is really underway when the elderflower come out & I make Cordial.  I use this same recipe, below, every year.  I am afraid I don't know it's original source as it was given to me but it is a good recipe and makes a fragrant and delectable syrup which you dilute to drink or that you can pour over ice cream for a wonderful summer treat.  It keeps for months and months as long as your bottles are well sterilised but can also be frozen.  This recipe makes about 1.5litres.

You will need...

20 large elderflower heads
1.8kg Granulated sugar
1 Litre of water
75g Citric acid (you will need to buy this from a chemist - tell them you want it for cordial)
2 lemons

Place the elderflowers in a large bowl.  In a pan mix the sugar and water and bring to a gentle boil, stir until all the sugar is dissolved.  Pour this mixture over the elderflower and stir in the citric acid.  Grate in the zest of both lemons and then slice the lemons and add the slices to the bowl.  Cover and leave for 24 hours before straining through a double muslin.  Decant into sterilised bottles and store in a cool dark place.

You can drink this cordial almost instantly once it has been decanted however after a couple of weeks the flavour develops a little more.  I can never resist a little taste when it's first made - it has a lovely freshness at this stage.
Please be careful Elderflower is a tree or large shrub with sprays of white flowers that later turn to deep purple berries, it has a distinctive smell.  Be certain that what you are picking is Elderflower!  Some people have mistakenly picked cow parsley as the flowers are similar but this grows up from the ground on tall stems.  Cow parsley is poisonous!  However, after a little familiarisation elderflower is very easy to identify so don't be put off, give it a go!

Friday, 8 June 2012

You can learn a lot of things from the flowers...

"You can learn a lot of things from the flowers
For especially in the month of June"

so the flowers sing to Alice in Disney's Alice in wonderland.  You may have noticed I'm rather fond of flowers.  My favourite flowers are peonies and heavily scented old English roses.  Last year I bought a beautiful David Austin rose for my Garden - it was reduced at the garden centre, thrifty!  David Austen breeds the most beautiful roses but they are not cheap.  Any way what better time to write about flower pressing.

You can press flowers using a flower press, I have got mine in a charity shop.  A flower press is simply two bits of wood with layers of cardboard and blotting paper inside, held at each corner with a screw and wing nuts, you could make one yourself very easily .  However you don't have to have a flower press to press flowers.  You can simply pick your flowers and lay them between the pages of a phone book or on blotting paper between two heavy books.  Leave for a few weeks and then admire the results.

The girls and I have been pressing flowers for number of summers now & it's lovely to open up the flower press on a grey winters day & remember the flowers that graced our garden the previous summer.  However, other than the obvious greetings cards and book marks I am always at a loss what to do with these delicate beauties.  So I've been looking up some ideas and thought I would share my finds.

A stunning Pansy and Viola wreath by Martha Stewart 

 The following two ideas came from I love the arrangement of the rose picture with the text in the background & the old frame.  I definitely will try this.  Also I have just bought some candle making supplies (more on this later) so think I'll give the candle idea a whirl too.

These coasters may not be very thrifty to make (glass is expensive) but would make a wonderful wedding present or house warming gift.  How about using flowers from the brides bouquet of table decorations as a thoughtful keepsake for newlyweds.

Using pressed flowers to adorn gifts is a simple but effective idea from Martha Stewart again

Do you have any tips for pressing flowers?  I'd love to know what flowers you enjoy pressing most and what you like to do with your pressed flowers, please leave your comments below. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Out and about toys

Recently I've been looking for little portable toys to take when we are out and about to occupy the children.  There are inevitably places you have to take your children which are less thrilling for them and they need entertaining the Drs, dentists, the car, dare I say church.  
So here is a little round up of some simple and thrifty ideas I've been browsing

 This sweet little set is made using an Altoids tin.  A pattern for all the bits is available here and uses felt which is THE beginners fabric as it doesn't fray.  older children could make this themselves.  I think this is such a lovely little set and so portable!  I just LOVE it!

I mentioned church in my list earlier  let me clarify I don't really approve of giving your children lots of distractions in church as I think it establishes a habit of not joining in.  However when they are little even the little time they are in church before Sunday school is too long for them to sit quietly and listen.  I try to pack church related activities, bible activity books & stories & most importantly something quiet.  I've seen an idea of incorporating a crayon holder into a tote bag.  Again here is a pattern I found on Etsy.  I am going to be making one of these very soon.  Just be really careful not to leave it in the car on a hot day in fact I may make mine in oil cloth ;) 

this next project I have made so can honestly say its truly gorgeous.  It was the 1st toy I ever made - a little challenging as a 1st project but so lovely!  get the free tutorial here.

Here is one for the boys who I believe love their LEGO.  LEGO can be can be very absorbing but tricky to transport.. not any more

Get the tutorial here.  I'd love to hear your ideas on this topic please leave a comment below.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Jubilee weekend.

Hello Readers

I've been a bit of a fair weather blogger lately.  The sunshine finally came out (and has of course now disappeared for the bank holiday weekend) but we have been making the most of it.  I have been busy sewing too - more of that later.  Anyway I thought I'd do a jubilee themed post and fill you all in on what we've been up too.

On Tuesday I had the great honour of judging a jubilee bonnet competition.  As you may have noticed I am 27 going on 77 & I am privileged to have been adopted by the ladies fellowship in our village.  The ladies fellowship is a group of about 30-40 older ladies who meet every Tuesday for a talk or social activity and a cup of tea.  They are attached to the Baptist chapel which we attend.  Any way they have had me to talk a couple of times now & always invite me to their socials.  I was so excited to be asked to judge their jubilee bonnets competition - like soooo excited :)  I wish I had taken some photo's because all the hats were so lovely and as judge I had a tough time.  Any way my youngest came along to help with the judging so I just had to make her a little something to wear.  I used this pattern which I purchased on Etsy.  My youngest daughter is forever pulling her hats off and last year I had great success with an old fashioned baby bonnet which she can't pull off so easily.  Although she's nearly two she has enough of a baby face to wear a bonnet. I bought the fabric at my local quilting shop total cost about £7 & I know I'll use this pattern again.

On Friday my eldest daughters playgroup had a Jubilee party & I made these red white and blue strawberries for her to take in.  They are simply strawberries dipped in white chocolate with the tips covered in blue sugar or edible glitter but very effective.  

One note my 1st batch didn't go very well.  I used Cadbury's white chocolate which had too much vegetable fat in and didn't melt but separated and spoilt.  I attempted to cover the strawberries in icing (d'uh!) of course the sugar just drew all the juice from the strawberries and I ended up with a big mess.  I tired again with Green & Blacks white chocolate and this melted just fine.  

Finally we had friends over for afternoon tea this afternoon and I made a three tiered sponge cake with a red, white and blue layer for a real surprise when we cut into it ;) I'm still rather new to icing cakes all over like this my presentation needs a little work.

I didn't manage to get a picture of us slicing the cake but this is the scene after our friends departed so it can't have tasted bad at all.  And after all whats is cake for but to be eaten ;)

I hope that however you spent your jubilee weekend you had a lovely and relaxing time.