House Warming

Applique

Our lovely friends Caroline and Nat have moved away from North London to live by the coast in Hove with their little boy, Drew and Labrador, Bosley.

Bosley

Bosley

It’s been a few months already and I feel really bad that their house warming present has taken this long to be sent.

Big Bad Bosley

                                                                   Big Bad Bosley

After making a terrier cushion for ourselves and a couple of Daschund presents for other people, I decided that a labrador cushion in the likeness of Bosley would be a well received present. Drew and Bosley are firm friends (as are Max and Bosley) and Bosley is a very important and well loved member of their family.

Buddies

                                                                                   Buddies

We have had Bosley staying with us at times when his family have had holidays or couldn’t take him with them and he is a very lovely boy. He is our favourite king of house guest.

Max and Bosley

                                                                          Max and Bosley

We miss him as much as we miss Caroline, Nat and Drew.

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weekend workspace

vintage table cloth

vintage table cloth

Well I have finally got my little sewing corner finished and the wine box shelves are in place with everything just where I need it now.

workspace shelves completed

workspace shelves completed

I started arranging this little weekend workspace in spring 2014 but managed to finish it in October (just not had time to talk about it).

rows of buttons

rows of buttons

I’m really pleased with the use of the wall space that the wine boxes provide and it is an inexpensive way to get storage and shelving.

It also appeals to the recycler in me so ticks many boxes (!!) and only took about 10 minutes to install.

my gorgeous little singer featherlite

my gorgeous little singer featherlite

I have somewhere away from my sewing table and sewing machine to store my collection of vintage table cloths, napkins and cloths, the staggered line breaks up the width and the spaces between are perfect for those long awkward knitting needles.

sewing table

sewing table

There is a stash of unfinished work (no!!) in a trunk nearby and some fabrics in a rather nice basket ready to be turned into something. All this and a commission for the pooch pouches (Sorry it is taking so long, Barb. I haven’t forgotten!!)

cut glass bowl of threads

cut glass bowl of threads

Now I need to find some ever elusive time to sit there and get busy.

scraps and spares

scraps and spares

Pay it Forward

sue chef

sue chef

Pay it Forward is a lovely but random act if quite unexpected kindness.

I love the idea of  random acts of kindness, it is a faith restorer and although the recipient benefits, there is a huge to the giver by the simple act of giving.

the finished apron

the finished apron

It can be an anonymous act – something like paying for a coffee for the next customer.

It can be a truly kind act – such as giving a homeless person a scarf when it is freezing cold and their need is greater than yours.

It can be a thoughtful act that will just make someone’s day that bit easier – like putting more money in their parking meter so they don’t get a ticket.

It can be an unexpected gift – of something someone you love needs or desires.

tool loops

tool loops

The truth is that it can be anything you want it to be

None of them is a costly act and will leave you feeling good knowing someone else feels better today.

Who knows it might just make enough of a difference to change someone’s life.

tool loops

tool loops

There is a small ‘pay it forward’ movement on Facebook where you make your statement about wanting to do something nice and offer a surprise act of kindness to the first 5 who say they are in.

The deal, of course, is that they do the same with 5 people who respond to their offer and so on.

The last of my five arrived in New Zealand recently.

'To Kill a Mockingbird"

‘To Kill a Mockingbird”

Sue has been showing off some of her culinary skills on FB recently so  an apron seemed a good idea.

The ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ I sent her was my copy from school but much more random than the apron although I know that she hasn’t read it.

home made skincare

jars of lovely stuff

jars of lovely stuff

Last year, friends and I went off to Temple Spa for a catch up and some pampering. It was a lovely treat and amongst the chat and fizz, we managed to shoehorn in a few treatments too. I was so taken with the body scrub treatment that I had, that I bought some of the products they had used along with and ye cream a friend had recommended.

One of the products I bought was the Sugar Buff. I loved it so much that I literally bought everyone I know a tub of it for Christmas.

It is very lovely but pretty expensive. If you use it regularly, and with any kind of enthusiasm you can get through it very quickly. Once I’d got to the bottom of my tub of loveliness, I decided to see if I could save some cash and have a go at making something similar myself.

Using only what I had to hand, on a whim and without a shred of research to help me out (bit crazy when you consider everything you need can be researched on the internet now) I set about combining some sea salt, some solid coconut oil that I had in the bathroom cupboard (superdrug coconut oil to treat hair – not perfect but a cheap alternative and on hand) and some essential oils that I use in burners around the house.

It was a success albeit it limited; the salt I used was a bit too coarse so the texture wasn’t quite right.  Not one to be thwarted at my relatively rubbish first attempt, I did a bit of research on the internet and invested in some of the basic skincare ingredients from Summer Naturals (please don’t buy palm oil for any of your home made recipes as it is only farmed from devastating natural habitats and is about the least earth friendly beauty product money can buy).

I have bought lavender oils and other essential oils and products from them before so felt safe in the knowledge that it is pretty good quality stuff. They don’t cater for all your needs but they go a pretty long way.

Ironically, my sister gave me some gorgeous bath salts and also some really lovely hand made Bath Melts in a hamper for Christmas. She had made them herself from a recipe on the be beautiful blog and so my interest was peeked again.

I have had very little time to do anything with my purchases but with a hostess and a birthday gift requirement for last weekend, I opened my box of delicious smelling goodies and set about seeing what I could create with my £50 of ingredients.

creams, balms, oils and scrubs

creams, balms, oils and scrubs

Here are some of the recipes that I have used (all variations of those found on the internet and changed to suit my own requirements as I have sensitive skin with an oily T zone skin and delicate high colour areas around my cheeks as well as constantly dry hands):-

FACE OIL

50ml sweet almond oil (or jojoba)

10ml Vitamin E Oil (good for your skin but also acts as a preservative – you can also use Olive Oil instead)

10 drops Borage Oil

3 drops Lavendar Oil

5 drops of Geranium Oil (Rosemary is a good alternative to Geranium for less sensitive oily skin)

Mix them all together and put into a bottle (a spray top bottle is easiest to use and less messy)

Tip – I added Lavender and Calendula flowers which make it look pretty but they are a bit of a nuisance in use.

I have been using this face oil most successfully at night. Once I’ve cleansed I then applying it to my face and neck which makes my skin feel lovely in the morning. I’ve also been using it during my morning shower when I apply to my face and neck but also all over my body just before I am done.  It is just lovely.

rosemary and lemon zest sugar scrub

rosemary and lemon zest sugar scrub

SUGAR SCRUB

3 parts organic brown caster sugar

1 part Coconut Oil (Shea Butter can be used instead)

3 teaspoons of freshly chopped Rosemary

3 teaspoons of Lemon Zest

1 tablespoon of Sweet Almond Oil (or Jojoba Oil)

Melt coconut oil in a bowl over hot water

mix into other ingredients

put into clean sterilised jar, decorate if required label (include date)

Variation – I also used Lavender flowers and Caledula flowers instead of Rosemary and Zest for half of what I made

rosemary and lemon zest hand & body cream

rosemary and lemon zest hand & body cream

HAND AND BODY CREAM

50g Cocoa Butter

25g Beeswax (reduce this and increase cocoa butter to change consistency)

2 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin (optional)

30ml Sweet Almond Oil

10ml Vitamin E Oil

10 drops of Lavendar Oil

2 teaspoons of Aloe Vera juice

melt the cocoa butter and bees wax in a glass bowl over hot water and stir in the rest once is has cooled down.

decant into a sterilised jar

Variations:-

10 drops of Borage Seed Oil

10 drops of Orange / Tangerine Oil

10 drops of Rose Water

The oils you use can be almost any you like the smell of or know to be particularly good for what you want from a hand & body cream

The consistency is quite solid and to make it into a lotion you need to put the warm mix (as above) into a blender and slowly blend in warmed water (same amount as your oils etc and this could be rose water). Blend until you get the creamy consistency you want.

lavendar and calendula sugar scrub and hand cream

lavendar and calendula sugar scrub and hand cream

CUTICLE CREAM

25g of Coconut Oil

1 teaspoon of Sweet Almond Oil

2 drops of essential oil (any flavour you like)

Put all ingredients into a glass bowl.

Melt over hot water and pour into a clean sterilised container

bath melts in moulds waiting to harden

lavender and calendula bath melts in moulds waiting to harden

LIP BALM

25g of Coconut Oil

1 teaspoon of honey

Put all ingredients into a glass bowl.

Melt over hot water and pour into a clean sterilised container

Variations:- You can use petroleum jelly instead of coconut oil and a tiny bit of lipstick into the mix if you want to add colour.

rosemary and lemon zest bath melts

rosemary and lemon zest bath melts

BATH MELTS

recipe as link above to BeBeautiful blog recipe

bath melts ready to use

bath melts ready to use

ROOM DIFFUSER

Equal parts of Sweet Almond Oil, vitamin E oil and 10 drops of Jasmine Oil

I had some carrier oils left over so decided to try this and it is working well. I repurposed an old diffuser that had dried out.

sugar scrub tub with a little floral decoration

sugar scrub tub with a little floral decoration

I still have some of what I bought left over for my next batch of making but for my £50 I got the following:-

4 medium kilner jars of sugar scrub

3 small kilner bottles of face oil

4 small kilner jars of hand and body cream

3 spice kilner jars of cuticle cream

1 spice kilner jar of lip balm

3 medium kilner jars of bath melts

1 room diffuser

That is 18 pots of skincare and a room diffuser which average at less than £5 each (less than £3 each if you take out the cost of buying pretty jars and recycle containers instead).

In the meantime, I’m very happy with the results and can’t wait to get ‘cooking’ up the next lot and just handling the ingredients for making these lovely things has softened my dry and troubled hands.

I’ve learned loads and will be trying more new things next time but I don’t think I will be running out of scrubs and creams any time soon though, I got a huge amount for my £50.

Weekend Workspace

IMG_6996

I have long hankered for an out-of-the-way sewing space where we spend some of our weekends.

I now have a wonderful sewing space in our spare bedroom in London and it has spoiled me somewhat.

getting a little nourishment

getting a little nourishment

Our weekend dining table is pretty useful and it is right in the heart of what goes on in the house but it all has to be put away again at the end. It kinda puts you off a bit and I definitely do less at weekends when we are away than when we have weekends in London.

I have a spare sewing machine for here (well, I have a couple as it goes but I don’t say that out too loud in case JC is listening), I have sewing baskets and accessories that I have been given, found, inherited, car boot bought or had already so I’m set up in that respect.

The spare bedroom is out of bounds because we have people staying here loads and need it to be ready all the time.

set up in the alcove

set up in the alcove

But we do have little box room/bedroom (which is really only a glorified cupboard) that has become a dumping ground and somewhere for JC’s drum kit but it has 2 windows and gets lots of light so it is just about perfect.

I’ve had my eyes open for a little table to sit into the alcove in this room so that I could set up a tiny tucked away space. If I’m clever and don’t allow my workspace to spread, there will still be space to put up a single stow away bed for any extra bodies that might be staying at any given time.

In my search for a table, I have taken to dropping into a super little antique shop on Albert St in Spalding. (I think it is called The Attic) and is run by a very jovial chap called Jeff.  At my last visit, and on the back of a casual conversation about needing a small table has sorted it out; Jeff had the very thing on his van, just collected that morning and needing some attention.

my little Singer 221K set up and ready to use

my little Singer 221K set up and ready to use

It was cold having been in an unoccupied house so needed bringing up to temperature. It also needed cleaning and nourishing to bring out it’s best qualities. It has an all important drawer and was incredibly inexpensive.

It is now sugar soaped, waxed and in place. I haven’t managed to use it yet as my machine now needs some repairs but it is there and ready.

one of my mum's sewing tins

one of my mum’s sewing tins – I love it

I have plans for shelves above so watch this space.

fabric cases

button fastening

button fastening

One of my best friends has a january birthday (there seem to be a few in our group!!) and it was the first week in the month.

inside the iPad case

inside the iPad case

I have been toying with adding glasses cases to my makes as they include sewing and appliqué and V’s birthday was the perfect opportunity.

glasses case

glasses case

I also happened to know she was getting an iPad too so what better than to make a matching case for that since the glasses and the iPad may well be used together!!

button loop

button loop

The glasses case is so much fun and I enjoyed making it so I will definitely be making more of those.

pink details

pink details

Perhaps the odd iPad case or little purse might sneak in there when I get some more time.