how to reuse your bath 'pouf'

isn't this clever? it caught my eye because a most recent bath puff only lasted a couple of months at ours, and that was after already fixing it with an elastic band on its 2nd week of life. maybe we are just really hard on our poufs? i don't know. anyways, salihan crafts has a little tutorial for 2 ways of reusing your pouf. the above image is of a knitted pot scrubber, but i think it would work equally well in the shower as a plain old body scrubber.

my thoughts lately have been on how to not buy too many new things. i was talking to fellow craft blogger kat about a blog she reads (note to self: must find out what blog it is she is actually referring to) about a woman who made a pledge not to buy ANYTHING new for an entire year! she could go to op-shops and she could buy some new things but they had to be ethical/sustainable/sweatshop free etc. it really got me thinking about how quickly i tend to rush out on a crafty whim and purchase things to make things with. it is so hard sometimes to be patient and wait until you can find the buttons in a thrift shop or consignment shop, or order and wait for ethically produced fabric to arrive in the mail. being mindful about where and why you are purchasing something takes a little more time and effort, but is so much better for both your budget and your ecological foot-print. and i definitely always feel better about things i've done that require a bit of an effort, don't you?

we did do something good over the weekend, which involved sewing new velcro on a pair of board shorts that were in good condition apart from the velcro bits, and we were quite happy with ourselves for doing that. it is so satisfying to salvage things, and definitely worth the extra time and effort.

ps: Down to Earth posted today about the hierarchy of food waste, and i can't seem to get enough of her thoughts, so for further reading see here.


making plans. . .

the reason for all these shenanigans with a light box is that i'm getting my act together to
open an etsy shop. as soon as I can! it's going to be called 'la fabrica', which means 'the workshop' in spanish. i'm just waiting (rather impatiently) for a few supplies I've ordered to arrive from the states. but look at what arrived the other day...

. . .these beautiful pieces of 100% wool felt in gorgeous colours came from feltonthefly on etsy. thank you Janet! and look at how beautiful her packaging is - something you don't see from commercial sellers.

i am actually a little reticent about cutting into it! the colours are s beautiful and the felt is SO nice to the touch. infinitely nicer than the acrylic felt from the craft shop. i'm also waiting for some 'ecospun' felt to arrive in the mail from feltorama, which is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles. i'm excited to see what this material is like to work with as i want to keep my made things as eco-friendly etc. as possible by using renewable, reused, and thrifted components. there are some great op-shops around our place and a funny little haberdashery with unused old-stock trims, buttons, zips etc. something about having a look around for bits and pieces sort of satisfies the hunter gatherer in me and makes pieces more special.

so to celebrate, i used some scraps of my old icky felt to make this miniature bunting flag. it looks cute, i think. one could go on a bit of a mini bunting binge and fix them onto windows, across wardrobes and along corkboards. it took just minutes to baste the triangles onto some thread. . .


How to: construct a makeshift light-box for the photography of small objects


cardboard box

white piece of fabric (a sheet or cotton muslin works well for this)

a piece of white construction paper (large enough to fit in the box)

a fluorescent desk lamp

Cut the sides and top from your box - leave 'frames' of cardboard so
that you can have something to drape the fabric over.

Cut the white paper to fit on a curve inside the box to create the solid
white background. i guess the is fabric diffuses the light and it seems to make the light less yellow.
I'd like to get some black paper and maybe a couple of other colours to experiment with what looks best with objects of varying colours.

i like this song. . .

hailing from the Blue Mountains, the first Cloud Control single is really turning my crank. . . time to put my christmas itunes voucher to use i think!


here comes the sun

after a few weeks of humid, over-cast and wet weather we have finally had a sunny weekend and it does feel as though some kind of burden has lifted. apparently when it is really hot the crime rate goes up. i can definitely see how that could happen, as i know there have been a few short fuses around our place.
but the heat and humidity don’t seem as stifling against a backdrop of bright sunlight, and the past few weeks of rain has been great for greenery – everywhere is lit up in vibrant green. the water has been sorely needed around here.

we’ve been playing in the water a lot over the last few weeks – rain and shine!

. . . . . tugun beach – playing in the rain, au naturel

. . . . . kondalilla falls rock pool, near flaxton, sunshine coast hinterland

. . . . . coming off the slide at her friend Layne’s house, bea is already posed to swim to the side of the pool before she’s even hit the water

i hope you have been keeping cool/warm - whatever is comfortable in whichever climate you happen to be in!



i've been searching newsagents for awhile for this magazine! i finally found it the other day around the corner from my office. better late than never (would have been good to have before christmas as this issue#4 is fairly geared towards the festive season). the focus is on local, ethical/green/sustainable products with a strong crafty/fashion/artsy slant. right up my alley really, and probably yours too. if you haven't cast your peepers on this little gem of a publication yet, you really should!

lauded as a green fashion magazine, every page is a feast for the eyes and the mind - it gives a positive and inspirational slant on being more mindful consumers, and has just the right balance of frivolity and seriousness, (as in, it took me a while to read it as there is actual writing in it and not just glossy photos). in fact, the photos are not at all glossy (in a good way) as they are printed on crisp, FSC certified pages that do in fact make you feel as though you are treating yourself to something that is both delicious and packed with nutrients!

also, it is a brisbane publication! hooray for that! i'm thinking about getting myself a subscription - it is definitely worth its weight in inspiration.



how to make simple cheese

i've recently been on a dairy product making bender - mainly yogurt making but over the holidays i heard that you can make a ricotta-like cheese from milk and vinegar! i think i just really like using cheesecloth and having the smell of milk on my hands.

the cheese turned out really well - we used some on pizza the other night and it even browned up nice and golden! it's not true cheese or even true ricotta, as it doesn't use a culture or rennet and true ricotta is made from curds formed with whey (apparently). but it is quite tasty and quite fun to do

because this was just an experiment i only used a liter of milk - i used the coles organic full-cream long life variety (it is just under $2 per liter). this yielded about 300 grams of cheese.

after the cheese is made you can mix in herbs and salt or honey/sugar, depending on what you want to use the cheese for. i ended up adding a bit of salt.

1 liter of organic full-cream milk
1/8 cup of white vinegar

and a large square of muslin, cheese cloth, or thin cotton. wash this with a bit of bleach or vinegar before using.

  • heat the milk until it is steaming (to the point just before it starts to boil). turn off the heat but leave the pot on the element.
  • add the vinegar in a slow stream and gently stir. the milk will begin to curdle and separate. cover with a tea towel and allow it to settle and cool for about 2 hours

  • dampen the muslin cloth and put it in a sieve, then pour in the milk and allow the liquid to drain through

  • tie up the muslin to allow the liquid to drain away from the curds and into the bowl. save the resulting liquid in the fridge (i think it is butter milk as opposed to whey in this case but i'm not sure) and use it in baking instead of milk or for soaking beans and grains to add extra flavor

  • once most of the liquid had drained, untied the elastic and just fold over the edges of the muslin to give the curds a nice shape. use a plate and a heavy jar to press the rest of the liquid from the cheese

  • leave the weight in place for a couple of hours, and then peel back the muslin and voila! a lovely looking soft cheese, mild and ready to be used however you see fit. the most yummy thing we tried was spreading it on toast with tomato, salt and pepper.

there is something so satisfying about making things from scratch, isn't there? you generally save money and use less packaged goods, therefore creating less waste. an added bonus is knowing exactly what went into the food you and your family are consuming. not to mention the idea that you are developing a variety of skills that make you more reliant on your own abilities and less on just being another consumer.

the other day i read a
great little post from one of my favourite Queensland blogs, Down to Earth, on this very topic. how life affirming and inspiring to relearn lost skills and have the ability to be self-sustaining! i often feel that crafting and creating things with your own hands is so enjoyable because of the satisfaction derived in knowing that you were able to make something out of nothing. don't we all love that feeling?


felt florals. . .

well, i've had a little break from my little blog, which i think has done me well. i haven't been completely idle over the holidays. mainly making food-related stuff. i've done some serious yogurt making and as we like our yogurt thicker than possible with homemade yogurt without using cream, i have been letting some of the whey drip out by putting the finished yogurt in a cheesecloth for about 30 minutes before putting it in the fridge. it comes out lovely and thick like a greek yogurt. also, i experimented the other day with making a quasi-ricotta cheese. easily done, although apparently real ricotta is made from whey. but i am putting together a little quasi-ricotta tutorial and the end result is very ricotta-like and quite a bit cheaper for an organic product (probably about AUD $ 2 for slightly more than a cup of ricotta).

in crafty holiday endeavors, i tried to make a dress for myself which was very frustrating (how many times do i need to make something without a pattern and mess it up before i learn i ask you. . .) bea asked me if i was making a sack! i think i could fix it with some shirring, so i am holding out for that.

a more successful story - i made bea a felt flower embellishment for a hairband and it turned out better than i expected - quite a few people thought it was from a shop, which i will take as a compliment. i wanted to have the petals sort of lotus-like and i do like the effect.
so, i had a little sojourn into the land of using illustrator! and it was fun and not as hard as i thought and i am pleased because now i have a pattern i can use over and over. normally i just have the one paper pattern that gets lost and or ripped and crinkled and subsequent reproductions just don't turn out the same as the original. so yay! this may be the beginning of a bit of experimenting with illustrator.

for the yellow flower i used a sewing machine and it came together so much more quickly!

I've taken the liberty of ordering myself some gorgeous 100% wool felt via feltonthefly on etsy which i'm very excited about receiving in the post sometime in the next couple of weeks. . .