Category: How To

2018 Photo Calendar

I have made my own calendar for quite a few years now.  It means I can make it the size I want, and arrange the dates how I want (mainly meaning a Mon-Sun week, not Sun- Sat), and include my own photographs to make it more personal.  At one point I made complicated and exciting collages of photographs, but I have simplified in my old age.  Nowadays, I use one image for each month, that comes from the same month in the previous year. Continue reading “2018 Photo Calendar”

Christmas Tree Skirt

We don’t have a regular Christmas tree but use a large Yucca Plant that boyfriend has had for ages.  So I dress it up with tinsel and festive do-dads but it still has that ugly brown plastic pot.  I made a cover for it a while back but I needed to make another one for Christmas. Continue reading “Christmas Tree Skirt”

Tie-Dye Summer Dress

I did some tie-dye last year and wanted to do some again.  Instead of just another t-shirt I went for a summery, embroidered dress. It’s white, and somewhat see-through.  So I would want to dye it a darker colour anyway.

It’s from H and M but actually cost about £40 which seemed kinda expensive for something I had a good chance of ruining but it was 30 degrees and sunny, so I went wild.  Obviously the temperature has since dropped to about 15 Celsius since then but that’s British summer for you.

Possibly at some point the weather will actually get warm enough again for me to wear it?

Tie Dye Top Tips

  • Only use natural fibres, like cotton.  I think you can get special dye for synthetics but they don’t take the dye as well .
  • Wash the clothes before you dye them.  They put a water resistant coating on clothes, called sizing for some reason, which keeps them looking nice and prevents mold.  But it also stops the dye penetrating.
  • After you’ve done, use scissors to remove the elastic bands.  This is much easier than trying to pull them off and there’s less chance of the dye running.

What I did

I used Dye-Lon dye, and followed the instructions on the back.  That being to mix the dye in 500ml of warm water, and dissolve the salt in 6 litres of warm water.  Then mix together.   I used a light pink in one bucket, and a dark pink in the other.  As well as tie-dying, I wanted to an ombre effect.

I then got a bunch of elastic bands and attack the dress.  I somewhat randomly grabbed little sections and elasticated them.  I did do a boob check, to make sure I wasn’t going to end up with targets on my breasts, and I tried to get a mixture of large and small sections.  Once you’ve done about half the dress it becomes pretty hard to visualise what the finished product will look like.

I held the dress under the warm tap for a few moments to dampen it again.  Then I dunked the top half of the dress in the light pink.  I left it in there for over an hour, swishing it around every so often to make sure it would dye evenly.  Then I pulled it out, turned it upside down and dunked the bottom half into the hot pink.  Again I kept that in for about an hour.  I didn’t want a hard line between the two colours so I wiggle it around in the darker pink a bit to get a blurrier line.

After taking it out, I poured the bucket of dye in the drain outside.  Then I ran the dress under water and gently squeezed the water out.  I kept the light pink section at the top at all times, so the darker pink wouldn’t drip down onto it.  After rinsing a few times, I used some scissors to carefully cut the elastic bands off.  Then I threw it into the washing machine, by itself to wash off the remaining dye.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Green Kale Smoothie

Frozen Kale Smoothie

Another day, another green kale smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 40g Frozen Kale
  • 40g Apple
  • 20g Frozen Raspberries
  • 14g Huel
  • 190ml Coconut Milk

So the recipe is pretty simple, you just put everything in a blender and blitz.  I used my beloved Nutri-Bullet, which is tough enough to blitz the frozen stuff.   Frozen kale, btw, is a life saver for the semi-regular smoothie maker who does enough to buy fresh kale each week, but not enough to actually use it before it goes off.

And Huel, if you weren’t aware, is supposedly a food replacement powder.  Although really I just use it as a protein top-up.  I used the vanilla flavoured stuff, so the smoothie had a vanilla tang to it.  It’s also my ‘greenest’ smoothie yet, they all seem to come out brown for some reason.

Nutritional Information

These quantities are enough to make the smallish glassful you see in the photo. And that’s what this nutritional information is based on.

  • Calories- 140
  • Carbohydrates- 18g
  • Fat- 4.3g
  • Sugar- 10.4g
  • Protein- 5.9g
  • Fibre- 3.9g
iron-on patch

How to Use An Iron-On Patch- Cool NASA T-Shirt

I picked up an iron-on patch on my recent trip to America, it found it really easy to use.

The NASA t-shirt is super ‘in’ right now.  But I didn’t feel I could buy one without having visited something NASA related.  Like wearing a band t-shirt because it makes you look rock ‘n’ roll but you’ve never listened to the music.  I’m not planning on joining NASA anytime soon, but I have now visited the Smithsonian Air and Space museums in Washington DC and Virginia.  It was the Virginia one that I bought this $6 iron-on patch from.  Back in the UK I bought a t-shirt from H and M for £3.99.

iron on patch

I tried the t-shirt on first to eye-ball where I wanted the iron-on patch.  Then I laid it out flat and placed down the patch.  I placed a piece of cotton fabric over the top (you could use a pillow case).  Then put my iron on the hottest setting and placed it down over the patch for about 45 seconds. iron-on patch

Don’t use steam, and don’t move it back and forth!  Then I turned the t-shirt inside out and did the same thing again.  And that’s it!  Pretty simple, and it’s stuck fast as people said in the 1840’s.  I feel like this post has had a lot of anachronistic slang…  This cost me less than £10 to make, I’ve seen them online for as little as £15 but a lot that were over £30.  So I feel I’ve got a pretty good deal, and it’s a wearable souvenir of my trip.

iron on patch

Save

berry smoothie

Berry Smoothie

Exciting times people, I have the Nutribullet! Boyfriend said ages ago he would get it for me for my birthday so I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting…Anyway my birthday finally rolled around and now I can go smoothie crazy!  Starting with this Mixed Berry Smoothie.  Well we’re several iterations in really.

I have also been experiencing Huel.  Huel is a silly word.  It is also a nutritionally balanced powder that gives supposedly fulfills all your nutritional needs. It’s been designed as a meal replacement, I can’t quite get to grips on that.  Instead I am just adding it to my porridge and smoothies.  It’s high in protein, so I imagine that people use it as a protein powder.

I’ve been experimenting with smoothie recipes, and this one was pretty good.  It’s amazing how much better adding a banana makes everything taste, but also how much more calories and sugar it adds.  So I suppose my next challenge is a delicious banana free smoothie.  Also one that looks less brown…berry smoothie

Ingredients-berry smoothie

40g Mixed Frozen Berries
1 Banana (around 130g)
25g Huel
25g Kale
Chilled Herbal Tea

Nutritional Values-

Calories- 240
Carbs- 42g
Fat- 4g
Protein- 10g
Sugar- 19g
Fibre- 7g

Save

How To Make a Marble Cake

I posted a while ago about making a cute heart cake for Valentine’s Day, and it worked really well so I decided to use the cake tin again for a marble cake.  Actually, I was tempted to make a proper rainbow cake, with all the stripes but generally you make lots of cakes and pile them up.  That sounded tricky when I only have one cake tin and it’s shaped like a heart, so I thought I’ll got for more of a splodgy marble cake look.

Ingredients

Using a little heart tin I had to reduce the quantities down from a normal recipes.

For the cake-
45g margarine
45g caster sugar
44g plain four and 1/4tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2/3 egg (might be messy to split that up!)
red, blue, and green food colouring

For the buttercream-
25g margarine
75g strawberry flavoured icing sugar
red food colouring

Recipe

Making the cake is pretty simple. I mean, I managed it.

Preheat your oven to 190 Celsius (which google informs me is 374 Fahrenheit, which seems a suspiciously specific imo). And grease your cake tin. Top Tip- after greasing, sprinkle with flour to prevent sticking.

In one bowl blend the caster sugar and margarine, in another mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Slowly sieve the flour mixture into the marge mixture, and keep mixing.  At the same time slowly add the egg.  That sort of takes about 5 arms so don’t worry too much if you can’t mix and stir at the same time.

marble cake

Once it’s a nice smooth mixture separate out into thirds in three separate containers.  Then add a different food colouring to each third.  Then pour one into your tin at a time, I tried to do it in smoothish layers. Then put in oven for about 20mins, until a skewer comes away clean.

marble cake

My cake went a little bonkers and peaked quite a lot in the middle, so I actually used a bread knife to cut the top of before I iced it.  For the icing, just mix the margarine and icing sugar together and spread it all over.  I added red food colouring to the icing, which gave it a pink hue. I also covered mine in orange sprinkles because why not?

Top Tip- It always take much more icing sugar than you think so start with a little marge and add the icing sugar to it.

marble cake

It wasn’t until we cut into it that I could see if my marble cake was indeed marbly…and it was!  At some point I need to get a grown up cake tin and make a real cake.  But actually for two people this is the perfect size.

Save

Save

Peg Bag

How To Make A Peg Bag

Well it’s the post you’ve been waiting for, this is it people, it’s how to make a peg bag!

The weather FINALLY turned decent (it had torrentially raining for days).  I was able to put a few loads of laundry in and use the washing line.  It was an exciting time for us.  But I realised we needed a peg bag.

What You Need

  • Fabric- I used 4 fat quaters, because I lined mine.  Without a lining you could get away with 2.
  • Coat hanger

What You Do

  1. Position your coat hanger at the top of your fabric and draw a line along the top of it.   The cut along that line, leaving some extra seam allowance.  Then figure out how long you want the bag to be and cut the fabric to that length, again leaving some extra seam allowance.  I did this in my main fabric and lining fabric.  This was the back
  2. I sewed those front sides together, leaving a gap of a few inches in one corner so I could then turn it right side out.  I didn’t bother to sew this up yet, just pinned it closed.
  3. I used the remainder of those fat quarters to make the top of the front.  Again I followed the curve of the coat hanger for the top.  The amount I had left went about a third of the way down which was perfect.   Again I sewed them right sides together, leaving my gap in the top right corner.
  4. And I used my other fat quarters for the bottom of the front, pretty simple just a rectangle for the bottom two thirds of the front.  And sewed these right sides together, with a gap bottom right.
  5. Then I put the coat hanger on the top piece again and marked on where the head went so I could leave a gap for it.  Then I sewed the front pieces to the back pieces, right sides together. The front is just left open for easy access to the pegs.
  6. Then I ironed it, and inserted the coat hanger.  And done!

With hindsight, a neater way to do it would have been to create the lining in one piece and the outer layer in one pieces and then attaching them. Also I should have ironed the fabric first but there we go.  Still it took about an hour to make, it’s pretty, it’s got dinosaurs on it, and it’s actually practical.  Win, win, win, win!

Save

Microwavable Rice Pack

rice-pack

collages5

It’s bloody freezing right now, and I’m forcing myself to go outside and walk to the gym. It’s sheer madness I know.  It has forced my hand though to get on and make some microwavable rice pack because it’s cold and I’m aching.

I bought a fat quarter of fabric for £2.85, and a 500g bag of rice for 88p.  I already had a little bottle of what I thought was lavender essential oil but was actually lavender massage oil.

I cut the fat quarter into a piece that was 32 x 58 cm (I just eyeballed the size I wanted).

I folded it in half longways right side together.  Then I sewed closed two sides, and about a third of the way along the third side.

I turned it inside out, so right way out really.  Then poured in the rice, and a few drops of the lavender.  Then I hand sewed the open side using my terrible version of slip stitch.  I was worried that my hand sewing wouldn’t be strong enough and rice would explode everywhere but so far so good.

I put mine in the microwave for two mins and it came out very hot, so I think 1min 30secs might be better.  I did notice it didn’t keep it heat as long as a hot water bottle, although if you spend four hours trying to pose with it and take pictures for your blog then what do you expect?

Origami Stars

origami-stars

It’s bonfire night so I thought I’d make some origami paper stars.
I took a thin strip of paper about 1.5cm wide and tied it into a ‘knot’ then flattened that down into a sort of pentagon with tails.  Then I folded the little tail, then wrapped the long tail around the pentagon, turning it over each time until I was left with a little tail again and finally tucked that in.

Then I squeezed each point to make it more star-y.  It sort of worked!

origami-stars1