Monday, 31 March 2014

Easy rag doll

I needed to make a rash doll in a hurry for a paediatric oncology patient who needed some serious cheering up and who really loves dolls so I designed my own very simple rag doll made from scraps from my stash. Watch this space for more details soon.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Stuck Violin Pegs

We had a totally insane amount of rain here in Roodepoort, South Africa, this March. The most rain we've had in 10 years. What with all the rain there has been an increase in humidity. My violin did NOT like this. I sat down to tune my violin before practising one Sunday and my tuning pegs wouldn't turn. A quick Google search helped me identify the problem but there was no practical solution. No way was I going to try and bang the peg out with a hammer.
So I sat down and had a good think in the car with the aircon running (trying to shrink pegs with cold air - didn't work) and then I had a light bulb moment. You know those little silica gel sachets they put in vitamin bottles to stop the vitamin pills absorbing moisture?
So I raided my tissue salts, my vitamin bottle and my dog's glucosamine supply and managed to find 5 little sachets. I put them in my violin case near the pegs and left my violin in the closed case for about 8 hours. The sachets absorbed enough moisture to allow my peg to turn a bit. I couldn't get it to tighten the string but I managed to loosen the string, pull the peg out a bit and then tighten the string again.

The disgruntled violin


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Kidney Bean Burgers

Kidney Bean Vegetarian Burgers are easy to make which is good because I am very lazy when it comes to cooking. Kidney beans are a good source of vegetable based protein and iron.

1 tin of kidney beans
1 egg
Coriander leaves
Chilli con carne seasoning (or any other seasoning you prefer)
Flour to bind

Rinse the brine off of the beans and mash a bit until it's lumpy
Add the seasoning and mix
Add the egg and mix
Add enough flour to bind
Add the coriander leaves (or any other herb your heart desires)
Mix well.
flour your hands and form patties.  Lightly dust with flour and place in the fridge for 30 mins to firm up
Cook over a medium heat and serve in a bun or however else you want.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Herbal Lemon Verbena Tea

I was sitting in my garden the other night and there was this lovely smell coming from my lemon verbena bush so I decided to make herbal tea.
To make the tea you will need a bag of organic white tea or any other non flavoured tea and a branch of lemon verbena.
Rinse the branch to get any dirt off of the leaves.
Set the kettle to boil while you pick the leaves off the branch. I used about a cupful of leaves.
Stuff the leaves and teabag into a teapot and allow to steep for 5 mins.
I left the leftovers to cool and took it to work the next morning as iced tea. You could probably add sugar but I don't like sweetened tea.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Homemade Placemats

Its going to be a very frugal Christmas for me and my elderly pensioner parents.  I just had to buy a new car battery and the South African government just started tolling the highway that I have to take to work. So I am broke. So now my poor parents are getting homemade gifts this festive season. I decided to make my mother placemats.

I used the ruffled placemat tutorial from I don't like ruffles and I didnt have enough fabric to make bias binding so I used ribbon over the seam between the main fabric and the contrast fabric instead. As usual the fabric and ribbons come from my stash.

I hope she likes it and that it isn't too tacky and cheap looking.
If anyone actually reads my blog pls leave a would be so awesome to hear from you!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Origami Clutch Bag

I made a clutch bag following a tutorial on

I used light weight batting instead of interfacing and I added a credit card holder inside.

I made this using scraps out of my stash so it cost me nothing. I made it for a secret santa gift instead of using wrapping paper (which I think is wasteful and not ecologically friendly).

Friday, 22 November 2013

Homemade cream deodorant

I'm a big fan of natural products and I refuse to use aluminium, parabens, EDTA etc on my skin. I find most organic deodorants don't survive my active job and lifestyle so after looking at various recipes on the internet I developed my own recipe.
You will need:
  • 2 tbsp. (organic) shea butter
  • a dash of organic carrier oil (I used Boabab Oil and now have lovely moisturised arm pits!)
  • 1/4 tsp. citric acid (the kind you buy in the baking section at the supermarket
  • 1/4 cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 cup of (organic non GMO) cornstarch
  • Essential oil of your choice

You're supposed to melt the shea butter in a bain marie but I just nuke the shea butter in the microwave until its liquid
Add the bicarb and cornstarch and stir well to mix
add the citric acid (this is going to act as the "preservative" - its my own idea, none of the sites I've seen mention it but I reckon a little bit of natural preservative is probably a good thing)
add the oil to get a nice creamy consistency - you want this to have the consistency of thick body butter so that you can rub it into your arm pits.
add the essential oil according to how strong you want it to smell. I used spearmint this time but I usually use lemongrass. A lot of the internet recipes advise tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties but I leave it out and the deodorant still does its job.

When its at the consistency you desire, spoon it into a sealable container
It will have a grainy texture from the bicarbonate of soda - this is normal. The bicarb is what kills the bad smells.
Just remember this is a DEODORANT and NOT a anti-perspirant . You will still sweat but the bicarb and cornstarch will kill any funky smells.