Sunday, 27 March 2011

Egg decorating competion!!

Check these out......
They are this years entries from my own little house midgets. As there didn't have to be an Easter theme we went to town and have no links to Easter whatsoever.

"Mr Egg and his veggie patch"
 My daughter made this little garden and made all the vegetables out of plasticine and fimo clay. The planter trough and spade came from their farm.

"Mr Eggs day at the beach"
A simple one from my youngest son, he stuck on the googly eyes and shovelled sand and added tiny shells, a little help from big sisters Polly pocket accessories to dress him up a bit with a hat,sunglasses, parasol and suntan lotion!

"Triceratops Egg with monkey"  (apparently)
An aptly obscure entry from my oldest boy, no help wanted as he just does things his own sweet way! offering the bizarre and the unconventional at every opportunity.
Lets hope we have a winner! Will let you know if we do

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Clay Days ~ works in progress ~

Unable to finish any one thing at the moment, life just seems like a succession of unfinished projects all needing a little time spent on them, I try to spend as much time with the children when they are not at school so that I feel OK about time spent in the workshop, so the result does seem to be an erratic way of making things as I can't always get out to finish pieces off or move things onto the next stage. Here are some things I'm working on right now....
An addition to my egg projects, these are printed and etched with Indian print blocks & slip cast in a mould I made recently, more about them when I've finished them.I know they don't look functional yet but they will be.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Goats milk & Almond butter soap

I've been making this type of soap for a few years now, I make a large batch that generally lasts for about a year in my house plus a little extra to give away as gifts, originally I thought I would make some to see how it turned out, but its popularity in my household has meant that no-one wants to use shop bought soap anymore. As my cured stash of handmade soaps is down to the last I thought I'd better make some more and share with you the best recipe I've found so far.

Goats milk & Almond Butter Soap

  1. 615g         Coconut Oil
  2. 670g      Sunflower Oil 
  3.      670g     Olive Oil  (not virgin
  4. 295g         Caustic soda
  5. 930ml         Mineral Water
  6. 100g    Dried goats milk
150g     Almond Butter
50ml  Almond Oil
10g Cedar Oil
20g Lavender oil
20g Petitgrain oil
20g sweet orange oil


You will need:
weighing scales
large pan to heat oils
large stainless steel spoon (for lye)
large spoon or spatula to mix oil
bucket to mix the mineral water & caustic soda (lye)
plastic container (greased) for soap mould
old blankets or covers to wrap soap and insulate
Two thermometers

After weighing all ingredients melt coconut oil with sunflower oil and olive oil in a pan then grease the mould.
Use the bucket and add caustic soda to mineral water (not the other way) stiring continuously until dissolved.The temperature of the caustic soda & water (lye) will heat up and the oil will be cooling so you need to test the temperatures and aim to get both mixtures to around 35-37c. (you may need to help this along with cooling the lye in a larger bowl or sink with cold water or ice or in the case of the oil you may need to heat a little if it cools too quickly.) The pooring temperature should be around 36c before combining both mixtures. If temperature varies too much problems may occur later when the soap tries to set. Prepare the goats milk and other supplements while you wait for the temperatures to rise & fall.

Create a paste with the almond oil, goats milk, almond butter & essential oils, ready to add to the soap mixture later on. Set aside.

Stir mixture continously (this takes ages! sometimes upto 3 hours until the mixture traces, so I use a hand blender or whisk this takes the stiring down to half the time, but I wouldnt recommend this as it can spit and splatter, and the mixture is caustic so shouldnt go on your skin.

As you can see the mixture changes in colour and begins to thicken, when you see the mixture start to trace you can add the goats milk paste made earlier and give a good stir.

Poor the mixture carefully into your mould/moulds.

After mixture has been poored you need to wrap up with old blankets and keep in a warm place where it can be left to set. I leave mine on top of the boiler but an airing cupboard or any warm spot will be fine so long as there isnt any draft. When the soap is set you can cut it into chunks and store for a few months so it can cure and go nice and hard. This recipe makes a really bubbly soap that doesnt make your skin feel dry and smells lovely, but be warned it will stop you buying shop soap.

This was de-moulded 24hrs after it had set and cut into slices.It is still caustic and oily at this point, but it will start to dry, harden, shrink and lighten over time making a really luxurious soap. (make sure your soap isn't stacked or touching any other soap so it cures and doesn't stick, turn it from time to time as well, and be patient)
Look, this recipe makes all this soap!!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

What to do with Granny's bone china?.....

100_3408 by littlebrickhouse
100_3408 a photo by littlebrickhouse on Flickr.
Ok so I've heaps of old stuff that I can't part with, some useful, some useless and some old and sentimental, most of it should go I know but I am my mothers daughter for sure and seem to be following in her footsteps and just hanging on to things that may one day be of use to somebody, stuffing cupboards,piling it onto shelves and sneeking it into wardrobes and under beds (and that's not even a mention of my shed and garage)
There is no such thing as a minimal existence in my world.....
Well lets stop the ramblings right there and show you what I did with "Granny's old china" back in the autumn of 2010.

Spring bulbs in Granny's bone china

What to do with Grannys china..... by littlebrickhouseI've filled the cups with compost and planted crocus bulbs, mini daffs and alpines in them then covered with reindeer moss around the edges and secured with florist wire. I put these out in the glasshouse overwinter and popped in the other day to have a look and wow all grown up now! Ready for the window sill.

This is what they looked like when they were first planted up back  in the autumn in 2010. (If left on a warm window sill from then they will flower around Christmas time, if put in a cold frame or glasshouse they will flower around now)

100_1017 a photo by littlebrickhouse on Flickr.


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