Monday, 30 May 2011

Charity shop glassware

For todays Magpie Monday post I thought I would show you some of the glassware we have bought from charity shops all of which is in everyday use here. To start with here is my trifle bowl, I love this bowl it is slightly frosted and has a wheat pattern and it says 'France' on the bottom. The photographs do not really do justice to the glassware, it is much prettier in real life and this cost just 10p from an odds and ends box!

Next are these pressed glass ice cream dishes, (that's what we use them for anyway), from the same odds and ends box for 10p each. There were only five of these and we have since broken one of them but they make the children feel very special when eating their ice cream, so worth every penny.

Last item from the odds and ends box today is this shaker, it is about 4 inches high and we tend to use it for sprinkling icing sugar or cocoa powder also 10p.

Something a little more colourful now, this turquoise blue glass bowl was only 35p, I'm not really sure of it's original use but we use it under a plant pot on the hall stand or sometimes to hold a group of candles. It is a very beautiful colour.

I've managed to pick up a few bottles over the years which are used for various things, mostly to hold the small flowers my daughter accidentally picks whilst smelling them! The one on the left says 'kutnow's powder' and is a lovely blue colour, the middle one has 'eiffel tower lemonade' on the front. These were 50p and 25p, the last one was free as it was dug up.

Finally today is this black glass perfume bottle, my husband bought me this for 75p mainly so that we could use the atomizer on another bottle. I have a lovely glass dressing table set but the atomizer on the perfume bottle was missing, so he had the idea of using this one. As yet though I haven't changed it over as this black glass one looks pretty on the bedroom shelf next to the ostrich feather fan.

I seem to have quite a few perfume bottles... That's it for today then this post is for the magpie Monday link up, please feel free to wander over there for more charity shop finds.

Me and My Shadow

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Wild and Free running.

As you may remember from previous posts, I recycled all my daughter's jeans into shorts for the summer to get extra wear from them as they would never be big enough for her next year. So we had to buy more jeans... which is something we did not find very easy at all. Everywhere we looked only had skinny fit jeans... these maybe in fashion but for my 2 year old, they are not something she wants to wear as she finds them far too restrictive, and there really should be much more choice for the active toddler.

So we were faced with a challenge to find her some looser fitting jeans that she liked and she could move freely in! As we are fond of recycling things, I had a quick rummage through the bags of clothing that I had put aside as it was no longer a good fit and found some of my sons old jeans. He is a little older than my daughter, so I decided to merge a pair of his with a pair of her old ones.

This is the first step we have added the pink scarf belt from my daughters old jeans to my sons old pair. My daughter loved this belt and she loves pretty embroidery on jeans too so this leads to my next step.

We cut the embroidered flower motive from her old jeans and stitched it to the new jeans with contrasting cotton. This however could be done much easier with special stuff for iron on patches.

These then are the finished jeans... very simple, strong, loose fitting and with a little touch of the things my daughter loves... We call them 'Big Brother Jeans' and best of all they were free, just took a little time, a few adjustments and she loves them... perfect for garden play.

Here they are on, 'what do you think?' perfect jeans for a little girl who loves to run wild and free through fields and explore the woods and climb trees with no restrictions.

Plenty of room for cartwheels and other tumbles.

Dancing too!

Crawling  and rolling in the dirt!

and even sliding down steps. My daughter is a very 'spirited young lady' and being able to move her legs freely and to have the most fun is very high up on her list of priorities.

To have a CHOICE of different styles of jeans would be lovely but just to let you know we will NOT buy clothing just because it was the only thing available! We are also saving more of my sons old jeans to try and decorate them with fabric paints in the future, another fun project.

I have recently been given lots of patterns on free cycle, some modern and some vintage and we will be trying to make some of our own clothing by adapting these. There are also many patterns and tutorials available on line to try.

Just to let you know after our third trip into the city and after visiting lots and lots of shops we did find a pair of looser fit jeans that she liked. What a challenge!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Soap nuts!

I am writing this post as there has been a lot of interest in how we got on with the soap nuts trial. We have been trying lately to rid ourselves of as many of the everyday chemicals as possible, in an attempt to make our lives more natural and greener of course. One of the things changed is the way the laundry is done, we were originally going to make our own environmentally friendly washing powder but in the end decided to give soap nuts a try.

So, here they are.... they don't actually look like they will do the laundry do they?

But it is so simple, just put a few soap nuts in the little bag and I usually wet the bag with hot water and give it a squeeze to give the saponins a head start and toss them in the machine, you don't even need to add fabric softener. We have also been adding a couple of drops of essential oil to the fabric softener drawer to give the laundry our choice of smell but this is not necessary. Each batch of soap nuts can be used for a few washes and composted when finished with, so each wash works out at just a few pence.

More importantly though the laundry has been coming out clean and soft, with absolutely no chemical smell at all. It has been a lovely surprise really, as I wasn't expecting it to work. Things just feel different, in a good way and there has been NO itching what so ever. The big test for me was the the towels, I love to have a soft fluffy towel when getting out of the shower and the soap nuts didn't let me down! While I can't say they clean better than washing products, they definitely do not clean any worse.

The soap nuts can actually be made into many cleaning products including shampoo, but we have not tried this yet. My husband has washed his hands with them after working on his bike and in the garden and they did come up very clean and soft but that's as far as the testing has gone. He was also excited to find some black seeds in our bag of soap nuts which he is now going to try and grow...I'll let you know how that comes along too.

If you would like to find out more about soap nuts you can read more here, or just search yourself.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today is the 19th birthday of my eldest daughter... wow 19 years! so this is just a short post to wish her a very happy birthday and to hope that she has a truly wonderful year.

We made our own gift baskets for her presents, two of which can be seen above, we made them using the same design as we used for the Easter baskets seen here, if you chose to make some of your own. But back to the birthday girl...

Here she is aged just five, she has grown from a shy tomboy into the beautiful young woman that she is today... an engineering student hoping to follow her dreams and work in formula 1.

This is the cake we made for her birthday, the younger children helped, we chose chocolate stars as the decoration.

Of course the cards were hand made too... with much glitter!

So Happy Birthday once again... enjoy your day x x x x x

Monday, 9 May 2011

Is It A Sign?

The weather has warmed up significantly here so we thought we would give the Home educators sports club another try, to see how my son's feet would cope with the extra activity. This time last year he had to have surgery on his feet, which you can read about here. After recovering he quite excitedly started playing sports in the late summer but had to quit at Christmas due to the huge amount of pain his feet were in afterwards, possibly due to the severely cold weather we had been having. We weren't absolutely sure what was causing it, but they improved greatly when he stopped playing sports. You can read all about the painful decision he made here.

We arrived early as there is a lovely park adjoining the sports club where all the children play before and after sports, and the little brothers and sisters who are too young to join in the sports club get to play together, which my daughter loves. There were many new faces here since the last time we came.

My daughter had a great time, she played on everything, many times over. I have had to be creative with the photographs as I didn't want to include the ones with other people on, in case anyone was offended, she is not really playing alone, in an empty park.

And when she felt like doing something a little more sedate, there were puzzles and games all over the park and little hidey holes to keep her amused.

My son had a wonderful time both playing sports and in the park afterwards too, he played some football then they tried out some field sports like javelin and the hammer, for juniors of course. He has said his feet hurt a little but not too much, hopefully a normal amount for the exercise he has done, but we will see how he is tomorrow before he decides whether to continue going to the club.

We are pleased he chose to try out the club again as we are due to return to the specialist very soon and we can provide him with an accurate report of our son's progress, and all the things he can and can't do. He has been having some problems but we do not know if they are related, we will find out next month hopefully.