Posted in Chickens, Christmas, Creative presents, gardening, Gift, home, presents, Self reliance, winter

Christmas Presents

Isn’t it nice when you get presents that take you into the new year on the right foot!

A new kneeler for those low gardening jobs,Christmas pressies 1
Who doesn’t want to try their hand at making cheese?Christmas pressies 2
Lovely new table mats
Christmas pressies 3
and a super little wooden spoon for my collection.Christmas pressies 4
Happy new year everyone! 🙂

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!

Posted in cakes, Christmas, Creative presents, Food, Gift

Happy New Year and Gingerbread House

Hi there everyone and Happy New Year to you all, hope you all had a great festive season.

I thought I might share with you some of my lovely pressies.  The first thing to share is this lovely ginger bread house which I received from my friend Linds.

Gingerbread house 1

Gingerbread house 2

Isn’t it the most gorgeous gingerbread house you’ve ever seen and gluten free as well! It was bought from Honey Suckle Cakes a Norfolk award winning company. Like me, Linds likes to buy local!