Thursday, February 25, 2016

Honey and oat soap


I had my first go at making a soap with some add - ins. Up until now I had stuck to my "cheats" castile recipe but thought it was time for something a bit different. It was really no more difficult than making a regular batch.


I'm surprised at the beautiful rich colour the bars have turned just from the addition of honey and ground oats. And it smells as good as it looks, with no artificial additives. I can't wait until it has cured long enough to use.


The recipe is from this really great book I borrowed from the library, there are heaps of recipes in here I want to try. 


I was so enthused by my last batch that I saw this new book for sale and jumped on it. Actually, it's not really "me", the recipes are a bit more complicated than I want to achieve and it just doesn't ooze the simplicity that the other book has. Now I wish I had bought the library one instead, ah well, that's impulse buying for you!



Saturday, February 20, 2016

How to make a heddle rod on a rigid heddle loom





My newest video is ready for viewing! It is a tutorial on how to make a heddle rod, which makes weaving with more than one pick up stick on the rigid heddle loom so much easier!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Natural homemade deodorant

I wrote this recipe on my blog years ago as part of another post but it's hard to find and people are constantly asking me for the recipe.



1/4 cup bicarb soda (baking soda)
1/4 cup cornflour
4 tablespoons organic virgin cold pressed coconut oil 
10 drops essential oil (optional)

Mix all ingredients together until creamy. If the oil is solid it can be melted with heat to combine with the dry ingredients more readily. After your daily shower, just rub about a choc dot sized amount of paste onto the armpit area. In hot weather, your deodorant will melt unless kept in a cool spot, I keep mine at the bottom of the cupboard in the ensuite which is a very cool room so mine only melts on really hot days. If it does melt, it won't affect the quality, just give it a stir and pop it in the fridge until solid again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

It's cheap, it's healthy, it's No Bake Date Slice!


I love medjool dates but unfortunately, at around $20 a kilo they're a bit much for our modest budget. I thought I'd start experimenting with the much cheaper (at $2.99kg) dried, packaged, pitted dates.
And I've had success! This is a delicious, healthy and economical treat. I love to have a piece in the middle of the day or in the afternoon with a cup of tea and the children love it too.


Recipe

40 dried and pitted dates
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup rolled oats
1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 - 3 tablespoons date syrup *see method

Place dates in a large bowl and add enough hot water to just cover the dried fruit. Soak for at least an hour, longer is fine.
Strain dates, reserving liquid. *This liquid is your date syrup.

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend thoroughly. 

Press the processed mixture into a tin or container lined with non stick baking paper (I use a bread loaf tin). Let the baking paper fall over the edges of the tin, this makes it easy to pick up later. The back of a spoon is useful for pressing. Sprinkle with extra coconut if desired.

Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. Take out of tin using the edges of the baking paper to pick it up. Cut into squares and keep in an airtight container in the fridge.

Note: Date syrup is also delicious on yoghurt if you have leftovers and can also be used as a sweetener or topping for fruit.





Monday, February 15, 2016

The Simple Life

It's quite a popular topic nowadays, the "simple life" and how to obtain it. Do some people spend so much time pursuing this so called simplicity and their ideal of what that is that they miss the point entirely? 

Is the simple life about living the dream or living the reality? The dream for me is a country property and earning a good income through a  handmade business. The reality is suburbia, traffic, very little time to devote to a business of any kind and a very limited budget. But that's not the point, right? 



The point is, what can I do right now to live the simple life given my circumstances? 

I was pondering the simple life and what simplicity means to me. It occurred to me that one of the most rewarding parts of simple living is that you can take very little and turn it into something 
special.


Home made bread for example. Usually 4 ingredients. Inexpensive, ordinary ingredients. Add time, love, technique and you have something awesome.



Weaving is another example. With threads and a loom I can make the most beautiful variety of things.



Soap making? Once again, very few ingredients. A bit of time and attention and you have a whole batch of creamy, natural soap for your family.

That property in the country may or may not ever happen, in the meantime I will try to be grateful for all I have and all I can do. And if it does happen, I guess I'll be well prepared :)


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Finished twill towels


Hooray, the towels are finished!


All on the same warp but each one a little different.


I'm quite taken with twill as a weave structure, I had the idea that it might be a little stiff, but it's beautifully soft and supple.


The range of variations is amazing!





You can read more about the making of the towels in my previous post.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn along.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weaving twill towels and a fluffy "assistant"


I've been having a bit of fun with some towels this week. I warped with a natural cotton and threaded for twill. This is just one twill variation.


Once you've threaded in twill, there are a lot of variations to try. This one is extended twill with a black weft.


Straight up twill with a blue weft.


And here we have extended twill with red weft.


This is what I came across this morning. Note the chewed thread in the mouth. I posted this on a weaving group on Facebook and set off a whole series of naughty kitty photos, it was very amusing. It seems that looms are a magnet for cats! Thankfully the cloth was not damaged, I just had to cut the affected thread and start a new one. Could have been a lot worse!