Monday, 30 June 2014

needle book swap {on its way}

Baa's needle book.
I finished the needle book for my swap partner! It is on its way and, as the recipient has no idea that I am their partner, I can reveal it here.
My partner is quite intriguing. It is a sheep! Yes, you read it correctly. Master Baatholomu Vince happens to be a stuffed sheep who goes by the name of Baa for short. His mistress Miss H keeps a blog of his adventures in New Zealand, which cne be found HERE.
Back of Baa's needle book.

I forgot to take photos of the internal felt pages, though I did remember to snap a shot of the other goodies I sent with the needle book.

I really enjoyed making this little needle book. So much so that I made one for myself, as well as a couple of friends. We were all without a needle book. Funny, considering that they are easy and quite quick to make!

I made mine using the same fabric as Baa's, opting for a hand stamped name instead of the sheep.

The quilted heart is a bit dodgy, but I think it adds to the hand made persona of it!
Internal pages.
I used entirely different fabric for the needle books for my two friends. A 16 patch of Kate Spain's 'Central Park'  (from a pre cut candy pack - sometimes called a mini charm pack) made up the back, with pink spots on the front. I hand stamped a name on the front like mine (though I have covered this up with the cotton tape, as one friend probably hasn't received hers yet and will be none the wiser until she does!). I really love the orange binding on spine.
I love ric rac (and have quite a bit that I inherited from my mum's cupboard. Without her knowing. I'm pretty sure the ric rac dates back to the 70's) and took the opportunity to use some to pretty up the felt pages.
Internal pages.
I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the needle book swap hosted by Amy. I am sure Amy will host another one  - sign up on her blog to be notified by email if you would like to join in next time.

Have a look at the Flikr page for photos of all the needle books that were made and swapped. I will post a photo of the needle book my anonymous partner has made for me as soon as it arrives.

 So, do you have a needle book? How many? Did you make your own?

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

family photo competition

One of my submissions. I love the red of the berries against the crisp white tufts of snow. Obviously not taken in Perth!
Our church recently ran a photo competition which was a lot of fun. We are fortunate to have two digital cameras to use, so we set aside some time once a week prior to the competition and went out as a family for some photographic inspiration.

I was so proud of the shots that the children took! There was a category for the youth, who were allowed to submit one photo (any subject) and three categories for the adults (my children would have loved three categories for the youth too!).

These were their submissions:
Eli - Want to race?
Lily - Pink Flower
Zoe - Autumn Trees
Jed - Leaves
Taking time out to take photos together was a great experience. There will likely be another photo competition next year; already my children are seeing potential winning shots around them. I noticed that their sense of perspective, composition, use of light and 'getting in close' to avoid wasted space developed throughout our photography sessions. Prior to our photo sessions I was hopeful that they would have some shots that were in focus (each photo was enlarged to A3 size). They far exceeded my hopes!

Zoe has even submitted two photos to our annual shire photography competition - something she wouldn't even have noticed was being run had she not had her photographic senses awakened. In addition to Autumn Trees she submitted this one:
Zoe - Beyond the Park Bench
These were my other submissions:
Jeneta - Christmas
Jeneta - Sledding Fun
Just in case you were wondering, the child in this photo (Zoe) was perfectly fine!

Monday, 16 June 2014

flip dolls and other toys {book}

We have a fantastic public library system where we live. In addition to books, magazines, dvd's and cd's our public libraries offer story time sessions for children, school holiday craft and activity sessions, internet access and photocopying facilities. All free of charge! Our particular local library has lovely staff members who are always friendly and willing to assist. And you know what else? If you would like to request a book that is not currently in the public library stock you may. Which is exactly what I did with this beautiful book.

This is a wonderful book that extends the regular softie into something that is interactive. Projects are rated according to difficulty.
Each project is truly delightful and refreshingly new. The author - Laura Wilson - is very clever who clearly understands children as well as crafters.

I love the zippers used for mouths.
 And the animals that have a little hidey hole for storing treasures.
 All the templates are provided at the back of the book.
 My absolute favourite projects are the inside-out dolls.
This knight can change into a dragon!

And this one changes from boy to super hero.
I haven't actually made any projects from this book, but I plan on borrowing it again, as it was so enjoyable to read. If I do have the need to make something for a child (maybe even my own!) I will be making something straight from the pages of Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

a chat with the girls

 After collecting the eggs this morning I had a chat with our chickens.
We either have a chicken that is extremely thoughtful and has laid an egg for Eli, or she clearly needs a break!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

op shop {treasure}

 A new op shop opened nearby so Eli and visited on its first day of trade to drop off a bag of items. Of course we went inside to have a look around and ended up leaving the shop with a variety of 'treasures'. I was pretty excited about the 2 metres of Very Hungry Caterpillar quilting fabric for $3.

We brought this elephant home so that he could accompany Eli to kindy. This week sees the short 'e' sound on the display table (lots of elephants, eggs, envelopes and Exit signs were brought in!). After that he will make a lovely addition to our animal toys at home.
 Eli's eagle eyes spotted this Buzz Lightyear umbrella in perfect condition for $2. Buzz has accompanied us everywhere and doesn't mind being put up and down, up and down, up and down, even when it is not raining!
 Another great find from Eli is this amazing Tomy branded Tell the Time Owl. Lily is fantastic at telling analogue time, but we haven't yet moved on to digital time. The red button at the bottom left moves the large hand five minutes in a clockwise direction each time you press it. "What does the button on the right do?" I hear you ask.
 This! Digital time revealed. What a fantastic resource for teaching children how to tell the time.
I also came home with a few packs of embroidery threads for $1.
 Some cream cotton tape that will do very nicely for stamping initials on. I like to put the initials of the recipient on items that I make. Another bargain at $1.
This cute little book from the 1960's caught my eye. It is missing some pages and the dust cover is not in great condition, but it was only 20 cents. I love the illustrations and thought they could be used to make some lovely cards.
And lastly (well, only because I didn't take photos of the two pairs of shoes, one pair of boots and two jackets - for me!), I really couldn't leave this little packet behind. The instructions for the "Patchwork bedspread made from left-overs" are taken from The Australian Women's Weekly and is dated August 1st, 1973. Inside are some yo yos, as well as a stack of circles ready to be sewn into yo yos.
Eli and I left our new favourite op shop quite pleased!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

needle book {swap}

This is how I currently store my needles. It's not very practical (see those needles stuck across the middle? I can't even get those out!) and certainly not very pretty. I think I've had my needles stored in this since the mid 90's. It is definitely time for an update!

When Amy over at Amy Made That! announced the Need A Little Needle Book Swap I was very keen to participate. I've been meaning to make myself a needle book for such a long time and just haven't. Participating in a swap means that I will definitely end up with a needle book. Isn't it funny that we are always good at doing things for others, but aren't so great at doing things for ourselves.

 I have been given the details for the person that I will be making a needle book for, but I don't know who will be making one for me (and I think I like the idea of a surprise!). I thought I would showcase some needle books that I like to make it easier for my secret partner to choose the style and fabrics. Having said that, I would love any needle book that was made just for me, no matter the style or fabrics!
Needle book images courtesy of Pinterest
Bottom left: photo from Nana Company. Top right: photo from em ay kay ee {make} Other photos courtesy of Pinterest.
I think I'll make my partner's needle book using the tutorial found at Nana Company. I'm not saying what fabrics I'm using though!

I'll post photos when it is done. Because I haven't started yet! In the meantime, if you would like to see what everyone else in the swap is making (there are 57 swappers participating) have a look at the swap's Flickr group

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

7 day home detox {review}

So, it's been 7 days since I began my 7 day home detox. It all began with the new finish Power & Pure tablets. I was sent this very generous sample pack via Retromummy.

Want to know how they performed?

My dishwasher is used twice each day
And always gets things clean.
Despite plates and pots not rinsed
They emerge with a sparkling sheen.

 The Finish Classic tablets I use
Keep cleaning demands secure.
But I was interested in less chemicals
And tried Finish Power & Pure.

No unwrapping needed the tablet smells great
But will it be good enough
For baked on food, dirty pans? --
It will have to be quite tough.

To my pleasure but not surprise
Finish Power & Pure came through.
With the same clean as Classic I feel good
That the chemicals used are few.

It's a big thumbs up from me!
I put these tablets through their paces - even washing some baked on dishes the day after.
Beautifully clean!
I don't rinse before stacking my dishwasher, but that made no difference when using the Finish Power & Pure tablets.

I was thrilled, because for me to be convinced that the Finish Power & Pure tablets were better than my Finish Classic tablets I needed them to clean just as well as the Classic. They do and they do it with substantially less chemicals. Fantastic!
Putting my hand up to participate in Retromummy's 7 day home detox prompted the thought that it is by making little changes that significant changes are brought about. And I began to think about the chemicals I have in my home. It can't be that many. After all, I have chickens, fruit trees and a vegetable garden. Well, the vegetable garden is still in its infancy, but it's a start.
Oh, and I purchase bicarb soda in 5kg boxes, have a cupboard filled with vinegar and clean my floors with a steam mop.
Bicarb laundry tub.
 I did a quick 30 second dash around my home and very quickly found that I had more chemicals than I realized. And that was after only 30 seconds.
The results of my 30 second dash around the house.
With dismay I realized that I would have to give up my Domestos (aka toilet cleaner) and Glen 20 (aka reassurance that the bin isn't breeding germs or the door handles aren't harbouring any nasties). I am quite attached to both.

I then needed to console myself with another 30 second dash, but this time looking for products that did not contain chemicals. I came up with these:
I felt slightly better.
 After some internet research (there are a lot of excellent online resources available) and reading I felt ready to make some changes!

I determined some criteria for the changes that I would implement:
  1. It must be simple. Simple will stay. Complicated will probably only last a week or two.
  2. It must be effective. Like the Finish Power & Pure tablets, changes would have to produce the same result, but with fewer or no chemicals.
  3. It must be cost effective.
So, would you like to see what changes I made? I approached the detox by looking at my daily activities/routine and then determining whether or not I could substitute less chemicals.

I threw out a pot. Did you know that when the nonstick coating on cookware breaks down it may release toxic fumes? I was just waiting to throw out this pot anyway. I just didn't feel like I had a valid reason - it seemed wasteful. The non stick coating inside was worn and it was even peeling on the outside. My other pots are non stick.
I also burnt a pot. Accidentally. Thankfully, Shannon Lush (our great Australian cleaning guru) has a great solution that involves covering the burnt section with white vinegar, placing it in the freezer overnight, allowing it to thaw a little before adding some bicarb. That bicarb fizzed for about 5 minutes and almost turned into a family activity! A scrub with a scourer and the pot was clean again.
 When I made a pie for dinner I swapped my aerosol cooking oil spray for a quick swipe of butter. Easy. I'll keep that change.
When the kitchen bench needed more than just a wipe with a damp cloth I popped into The Reject Shop and picked up some spray bottles. Using my fab book I made up some recipes. I wrote them on the spray bottles so that it would be easy to make them again when they needed refilling. They are great! I am so happy to have a Glen 20 substitute. I'm keeping this change.

I swapped the aerosol air fresheners for pump fresheners. Good. But I thought I could do better than that.
Our main toilet gets a lot of action is used a lot and doesn't have an exhaust fan. Nor is their scope to install an exhaust fan. Despite being in a large room for a toilet, it is essential that air freshener be used. Really. So I tried this.
Lemon leaves in pretty recycled drink bottles. They look nice, but they were useless as an air freshener, regardless of how many times I squished the leaves to release the lemony smell. I'm not keeping this change.

Plan B. Distilled vinegar and lavender essential oil in a fine mist spray bottle. I'm keeping this change.

I am yet to find a true replacement for my Domestos, but I am working on it. I need something that will clean toilets without the need for a toilet brush. I am looking into denture tablets. For now, I sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, then squirt with vinegar. I let it sit for half an hour before flushing. It's working for now (I'll make sure I don't change my kids' diets!), so I'm keeping this change.

I wash our fruit and veg in a mild apple cider vinegar solution and have been conscious of seeking out organic products at the supermarket. I really had dismissed organic grocery products as being too expensive, however I was happy with these purchases discovered during two supermarket runs during the week. Coles has been a bit disappointing, but the Macro range at Woolworths is very good. I'm keeping this change.
In the garden I planted some nasturtium seeds underneath our fruit trees to repel unwanted pests and made some natural fruit fly traps. I also discovered a natural fruit fly control product to use later in the year. Hopefully we won't lose our crop to fruit fly like we did last year.
I have also made a point of opening up doors and windows to ensure more natural air flow. I requested that all shoes be left at the front door to prevent any chemicals picked up by the bottom of shoes from being spread throughout the house, but this was a complete failure. It was just too hard, as there is such frequent coming and going in and out of the back yard. Kids got grumpy at having to take their shoes on and off all the time. I'm not keeping this change - it's just not worth it!
I could go on, but I think this post is long enough! I have enjoyed looking at things differently and am more conscious of where chemicals are hiding (though sometimes they are in plain sight) around the home. I have a different attitude when looking for products to use and feel like my general awareness has been increased. I am better able to look after my family in the way that I would like and look forward to adding to the changes made during this last week. I am armed with natural remedies for preventing powdery mildew on zucchini plants, getting rid of gastro germs and killing dust mites as I vacuum. I'm excited!

And to think that this was all started by Finish.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...