Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Oven Cleaning Tips.

We have had a few sunny days lately and & the bulbs are starting to appear in the garden, you can almost hear the earth groaning on its axis and know that spring will soon be here.  I have been itching to get stuck into my spring cleaning but I am stalling myself because I just know the months of mud and mildew are not over yet & its probably a little too soon.

So I satisfied my urge to deep clean by giving my oven a lovely clean.  My now gleaming oven makes me smile every time I open it - I am not embarrassed to tell you.  You may remember the post I did last year about cleaning your oven with bicarbonate of soda and water.  Well I have been using this method very successfully for about a year now & it's working well.  The thing I love most about it is that's its easy, chemical free and very inexpensive to do.

In essence I sprinkle the inside of my oven with bicarb in the evening & then spray it with water and leave over night - get the full instructions (and some other handy kitchen cleaning tips) here.  The next day I scoop out all the gunk that has lifted of the bottom of my oven and then rinse it well with mild soapy water.  I have found you need to rinse thoroughly to remove all the bicarb otherwise you get a slight residue when you next use your oven.

The inside of my oven is now clean so I turn my attentions to the glass. I remove the glass from the door and using bicarb, water, a scouring pad & some elbow grease I scrub the glass of my oven.  If the glass is especially mucky I make a bicarb and water paste which I smear onto the glass and leave overnight.  To give it extra sparkle once I have removed all the muck I spray with a little white vinegar and polish to a nice shine.

The thing I always struggle to get clean are the oven racks.  They are rather fiddly and time consuming to clean in my experience.  The other day it occurred to me that these could go through the dishwasher (I am still new to dishwashers - do forgive me if this is very obvious to you all).  I put my oven racks into the dishwasher with my dishes on a normal cycle.  They came out looking better than I have seen them looking in a while & further more the rest of the grime came off so easily with just a sponge!  they are now shiny and like new - as is the rest of my oven.

Reading my previous post about how despairing I was about the state of my oven and conventional oven cleaners I am so glad I found the bicarb method my oven looks 100x better than it did this time last year - & so thrifty too ;)

Saturday, 9 March 2013


A bit of make do and mend for you today.  My girls have gone through the knees (& crotch) of several pairs of tights lately & as my girls rarely wear trousers they need lots of pairs of tights.  Just like ladies hosiery girls tights are not cheap on a cost per wear basis.  So I have been mending them using a technique called darning. Darning can be used to repair any hole in knitted fabric.

Mary Poppins darning a sock (excuse the subtitiles)
 It’s very easy - the hardest thing about it is finding darning wool to do the job.  After hunting high and low locally for some I looked online and found e-bay was about the only place where you can buy it.  It starts from as little as 99p.  You will also need a darning needle and either a darning mushroom or if you don't have one a small ball or even a sturdy drinking tumbler - anything with a curved edge - to support the hole whilst you work.

Here is how to darn.  Turn you item inside out and place your curved object inside the garment under the hole.  Starting about 1cm in from the hole make a line of vertical running stitches beginning 1cm below the hole and extend to 1cm above the hole.  Repeat this step going up and down as in the diagram below making rows of vertical stitches as close to each other as possible.  When covering the hole make one long stitch to cover the hole and then continue 1cm below and 1cm below the hole, as before.
Image via martha Stewart - see below for link
Now repeat the above taking stitches horizontally and weaving them in and out of the vertical stiches you have just made.

Image via martha Stewart - see below for link
These images were taken from the Martha Stewart website - read the full article here for more tips on repairing knitwear.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Le Ballon Rouge


Here is a little recommendation that I hope will brighten up your weekend.  Justine over at Sew Country Chic recommended this as a lovely film to watch with little ones and well you know how suggestible I am ;)

This cute little french film made in 1956 is so delightfully simple & best of all the whole film is on YouTube - for free!

I didn't know how long my girls would put up with the slightly grainy film & dated soundtrack but they LOVED this film.  I loved it too, it reminded me of the summer I lived in Paris.  Its a city I am fortunate to know well & I think this film really catches it without being cliche.  It has a certain charm about it and I think it qualifies as a children's classic.

I hope you enjoy it too!

P.s. After we watched this film I blew up a red balloon for my girls to play with, they spent hours pretending it was "The Red Balloon"