Posted in around my home, bargins, challenges, Crafts, decorating, Hints & Tips, home, Recycling, Reusing, Summer

New Side Table

I’m delighted with what I’ve just made. I’ve made a side table for the lounge out of  vintage chemists box.

I found this box in the loft of our last house when we were moving and so decided to bring it with us. We’ve been using it to store sketch books and journals until now when we had a need for a new side table.

I’m really happy with it 🙂

Posted in challenges, cooking, Crafts, Mini vacation, plants, Self reliance, Summer

Dyeing and Spinning Workshop

I’ve been being a bit quiet on hear recently because I’ve been having a bit of a rest. Things have still been happening and growing and I’ve just been in my studio painting! Yesterday though I went on a bit of a slow adventure and felt I had to share.

I went on a dyeing and spinning workshop for the day 🙂

We first cooked all the things that had been collected on site on the fire.

Some created quite a good colour like this fresh Alder bark.

This is some of the fleece that we dyed hanging up to dry.

We were shown how to make our own spindle out of Hazel wood….

….and were given some washed fleece so that we could learn to spin.

This is what I came home with. Some swatches of fleece that we’d dyed, our handmade spindle and a small skein of our very own spun yarn!

It was a very good day, but I was really tired when I got home. I think all the fresh (smokey) air did me good 🙂

Posted in around my home, challenges, Crafts, decorating, home, painting old furniture

New Lamp Shade

One of my projects last week was to make new a very tatty lampshade.

I have a collection of used stamps and I have loads that I have accumulated that are no use in my collection, so the new project began.

After the laborious job of soaking the stamps of the paper of the envelopes, it was a fun and satisfying thing to do.


What do you think?


Now for the job of restoring the lamp base! 🙂

Posted in Crafts, decorating, gardening, home, Reusing, Self reliance, spring

Garden Furniture

MMmmm, it’s about time I did something about the garden furniture, otherwise It won’t last very long!

As the sun was out and looked like it was going to last, we got some paint out and began preserving and brightening up the garden furniture. I must say, this table started life in our lounge in Northampton about 15 years ago, it’s been in the garden a year now and we intent to make it last even longer.

Table 1

This is the spot we like to sit sometimes for a cup of coffee in the morning when the sun is on the front of the house. It now has what looks like a new table. 🙂

Table 2

Posted in Crafts, Creative presents, Gift, Hints & Tips, home, Self reliance

Handmade Soap

I made some more soap!

This time I made the fragrance up myself. Neroli and geranium and it’s turned out lovely. I used 450g/1lb of SLS Free melt and pour soap base 3 tbs olive oil, 1/2 tsp of each of the essential oils and as its coming up to valentines day here in the UK, I used some fab heart shaped silicone cake cases I had for Christmas (and the microwave).

Soap copy

I’ll be taking these along with me to the regular Art and craft fair I do!

Posted in Art, Crafts, Creative presents, decorating, Hints & Tips, home, Recycling, Reusing, Self reliance

Dyeing with onion skins

I’ve posted this on my art blog, but not on my Simple Life. I have decided to post it on here as it is all part of my simple life aim. With my life, as with my art I like to try to have as little impact on the environment as possible, so I have been trying out a bit of Eco dyeing and combining it with my work.

Onion skins seem to be a good starting point because they need no mordent (a mordent is a fixing agent).

All it take is collecting the brown flaky skins from your onions until you’ve got about a carrier bag full and put them in the largest pan you have (or tin bucket) add a generous amount of water and heat it up.
Onion skins 2
Simmer for a couple of hours, strain, and you get this!Onion skins 3
Take it off the heat, add some wet fabric (not band new fabric, it has to be something that has been washed previously) and make sure you push it all under the dye that you’ve made using some tongs or with rubber gloves to protect against the hot water. Simmer again for another hour or so. Let it get cold on the pan or leave it over night and then take the fabric out and rinse it in warm water and dry on the washing line.
Onion skins 4

You can get quite a dark colour with this dye. The background of this cushion I’ve made shows the sort of colour you get. You can use the dye a couple of times more if you like and you just get lighter colours.
Onion skins 5

Free dye from kitchen scraps, not bad is it! 🙂

Posted in challenges, Crafts, Creative presents, home, Self reliance

I made soap!

I’ve been thinking about making soap for a while, as I have quite sensitive skin. Even better now, you can buy melt and pour soap that is SLS free, which is a a nasty harsh ingredient, that is put in most cleaning agents and even bars of soap. I bought mine from Just a Soap, I already had some essential oils I could use.

I cut up the soap base into smallish pieces………

Soap making 1

and gradually melted it in the microwave at 30 second intervals and kept stirring it.

Soap making 2

Then when it had melted I added my essential oil and citrus peel I was using. I used vetiver with orange zest and rosemary oil with lemon zest.

Soap making 3

I used a large serving spoon to put it into the molds.

Soap making 4

When it is set you can pop it out of the mold and voila, you have soap!

Soap making 5

Because I’m me, I made pretty wrapping for some of them 🙂

Soap making 6

……….and yes, I am going to make more!