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….. Making pretty things
….. Simple living
….. Growing a family

Three children (17, 15, 13)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

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gift idea for tween teen

Crochet an alternative to cotton wool

With two teen daughters in the house, it was only a matter of time before skincare and makeup products would become the major occupants of our bathroom cupboard. Heck. It got so bad, I even contemplated a second cupboard to cope with the invasion. Could I squeeze one in without making it feel too crowded? Maybe two?

Fortunately, as so often happens, it sorted itself out. Makeup was eventually herded into bedrooms to prevent one sister using the other one’s collection. Peace was restored. Skincare tubs and bottles were still in residence, but there was room. Plans for future cupboards were abandoned.

It feels like a long, long time ago that I wrote a letter to my 11 year old daughter about the use of makeup. I’m pleased to say, neither of them are over the top in their use. They go for the natural look. This is a good time to experiment, as far as makeup is concerned.

Anyway, the next looming issue was tied up with the removal of said makeup. What goes on, has to come off.  I eliminated single-use wet wipes and cotton wool pads from the house, by a ready supply of flannels. I made a clutch of bamboo flannels. These have been a bit of a success, I’m mighty glad to say.

Just one niggly problem. Teeny tiny one, at that. They found the flannels too absorbent. The makeup remover glugged away into the fluffy fibre, never to be seen again. Same with toner. As good as gone. They were resorting to using tissues instead with the remover and toner.

Neither solution was good. Apart from the waste of the remover with the flannel, the tissue wasn’t a good alternative to a cotton wool pad either and it was adding to our waste. We only have a tiny bin in the bathroom and I was emptying it far more frequently. All heading for the landfill.

I’ve had reusable cotton pads on my radar for a while. Crochet in cotton. There are so many different designs but most boil down to a small circle. Usually 12 half crochet stitches in a circle. Then 24 on the next round. Digging through my stash, I had a few odd balls of cotton yarn. I wanted three different colours, so each of us skin care/make up users could have our own colour.

I made three trial sets. Three of each colour. If they work out, I’ll make more. They take no time to crochet up. The plan is to store them clean in one jar and put the used ones in another jar. Once there are enough to wash, I’ll put them in a small, drawstring mesh bag I have in the cupboard. Then into the washing machine they will go.

I’ve tried one with toner and it is so much better than a tissue or fluffy flannel. Thick enough to hold the liquid, but thin enough not to hide it. Fingers crossed. It looks hopeful.

If nothing else they are so darn pretty. I did look at buying a ball of recycled cotton yarn, but hard to justify when I already have cotton in my cupboard. Another time.

First make of 2019.  So simple and satisfying. Thrifty and frugal. Also a warm, fuzzy feeling that it is an eco friendly solution to boot. Cutting waste. Cutting water and chemical use in the production of single use cotton wool. Happy dance.

And, even though I say it myself, I think they look rather good in their jar by the sink. Like little rounds of candy. Irresistible. Encouraging all to give them a go. Some projects are win-win, I’d say.

Linking up with #GoingGreen

Capturing the sunshine

Dear summer 2018,

I just wanted to let you know that the sunshine and warm weather, you’ve sent our way this year, has been awesome. We’ve enjoyed it. Made the most of it. Drunk it up like a bumble bee in spring. No weekends spent mowing the grass. No thought of bringing jumpers when we venture out. The wet washing drying on the line within an hour. Eating alfresco and late evenings in the garden. Lots of outside time.

I’ll forgive the fact that our salad garden was baked solid and not much grew, except turnips and lettuce. The green house has made up for it. (Anyone for a cucumber?) I’ll even put aside the fact that you chose the one evening we attended an outdoor theatre, to summon up a sustained downpour. I may never be able to watch Oscar Wilde again without thinking of raindrops on umbrellas.

No. Seriously. It’s OK. I’m over it.

Overall, we have been hugely blessed. Blue sky and sun. There is a big part of me that wants to capture that feeling. Bring it out when the first frosts bites and I most need it.

In an effort to bottle some of that sunshine, I’ve made strawberry jam, and have a vat of apple and mint jelly brewing as I type. We’ve nimbly crafted lavender wands to put among clothes in our drawers, to summon up the scent of summer, as woolly jumpers are pulled out to wear midwinter.

Wonderful, colourful ribbons.  I’ll be transported straight back to sitting by the lavender with my two girls, weaving and twisting the stems in place. (how to here) Watching a hummingbird hawk moth visiting the flowers waiting to be picked.

Good memories.

But, hands down, my favourite summer project, this year, has to be the tie dye bedlinen. I’ve had this one waiting in the wings for a few years. Looking for a summer that’s not too wet, because this project was always going to be big and messy. Not a kitchen activity. Oh, no. Has to be outside.

Although, I do usually count on the rain washing away the inevitable spilt dye, that runs off on to the lawn. While the rest of the grass in our garden was crunchy brown, this year, we did have one small corner that looked like a rainbow had laid down to rest. For weeks.

So three duvets and three pillowcases are now summer coloured. We bought more dye to top up the colour for the crumple style duvets, meaning we could dye three pillowcases, one bag and a pair of socks, at the same time.

It would be true to say that we are well and truly over the urge to tie dye for a while, at least. Yep. No desire at all to dye anything. I’m not even sure we have anything left to dye.

It was worth it. They did have fun. They innovated and problem solved as they went along. The bedlinen is now on their beds. Boldly declaring that summer is being observed in this home. Some of the vibrance washed out at the rinsing stage, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Enough sunshine has been captured.

Thank you, summer 2018. You have a few more weeks to run yet, but already you have proved to be a vintage year and we’ve captured it, not only in memories and photos, but duvet covers and pillowcases too.

Your forever friend

Cheryl

p.s. I’ll be bookmarking this post. Once the jam and jelly have been eaten, and the duvet covers swapped for a winter theme, there will be days that I’ll need a top up of colour and sunshine in my life. For sure.

Debs Random Writings

A Tween Needle Felting craft

It can be tough for the children of a crafter to find their crafting niche. At first they follow their mother’s footsteps, but sooner or later they need to branch out. Some give up. I’ve spoken to so many adults that talk about their mothers making dresses/ knitting jumpers for them, but they never got the hang of it.

I don’t want my children to give up.

Both my girls can draw and paint. I doodle. They have already started to pull away from me in that area. I envy their ability to shade and make something look 3D. They have offered to teach me.

They love to watch me needle felt. So much that each of them now have a needle felting kit. Middle One received hers for her 12th birthday back in November. It is just a needle in the holder, a foam pad and a bunch of colourful wool. She has to supply the imagination.

This weekend, she borrowed her sister’s wool fairy book, looked up images of other fairies on the internet and made her very own fairy. All by herself. I’ve never made one. The only input I had was to point her in the direction of the pipecleaners (Lift arm. Point. Its a strenuous job, but someone has to do it) and suggest a special wool for the hair.

I bought the orange hair wool years ago, when I made waldorf style dollshouse dolls and the bigger type too. The brown string running through the doll’s hair, keeps the curls in place, while being stored. Middle One decided she liked it just as she found it. So the string stayed put.

I really, really love what she has made. First attempt too.

I should talk about the lack of facial features. I know it can bother some people. It is the style, often adopted for waldorf style dolls. Either no features or just the merest hint. The simplest way to explain this approach is that the viewer supplies the expression. If the doll has a fixed happy (I’m looking at you Elf on the Shelf) or sad look, then it never changes. This way, the doll reflects your feelings. Or at least, does not challenge them. You’ll know what I mean if you have ever felt the urge to throw a doll across the room.

She wants to make more. Possibly one for her bestie, if I can dig up a bit more flesh colour wool. We went though my collection and nothing was suitable. It was all too bright or too dark. She didn’t like my suggestion of green. I see now why they sell packs of flesh colour wools.

If you are looking for a crafting kit as a gift inspiration, this Christmas, for an older tween/teen then I can recommend needle felting. It does take patience and fingers do get stabbed ocassionally, but it is also a wonderful, calming hobby, promoting imagination and creativity. The book is one that Eldest chose and bought for herself a while back. She loves using it and getting more ideas.

I quite like the fairy hiding in the garland. I wonder if I can persuade Middle One to leave her there.


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