Crafty Gardening – The Mini Greenhouse

I used to find it very difficult to keep on top of the garden jobs and still find time to relax with my knitting in the evening. Years of not getting round to the big jobs have resulted in a rather wild garden!

The bugs would often get to my fruit and veg before I had time to pick it, my post-people would get attached to the overgrown rambling rose and the BT man fell through the rotten wood of my bench when leaning on it to check some wires (he was worried I was going to sue them for breaking my bench!). My fence has fallen down every winter for the last few years, and as I haven’t had time to replace it I’ve just been sawing off the rotten ends of the posts and putting them back in the other way!

With things a bit quieter through the summer months this year,  I have the luxury of time to get some big jobs done –  although I don’t have the luxury of lots of money so I’m sticking to a budget and doing some up-cycling.

I’m covered in scratches from cutting things back, but the garden is looking so much better already. I’ve called in the expert (Dad) for some of the bigger jobs and he’s already built new shed doors, started work on replacing the wood on my rotten bench and will be helping me to install a new fence and build steps to create a raised seating area in the sloped back yard.

In the meantime – I’ve been working on up-cycling an old bureau, which has been living in the shed for years, to create a mini greenhouse. I’ve run out of space on my windowsill so I need somewhere warm to get seedlings started and maybe attempt pepper growing.

I looked into buying a mini-greenhouse but all the reviews seemed to say they were very rickety and only lasted one summer. For the same price I have transformed my old bureau into a really sturdy little coldframe/greenhouse.

Ta dah!

mini greenhouse

I’m so excited about getting the new fence up and all the other big jobs. It’s going to be a lovely garden to sit in with a glass of wine and my knitting…it’ll be well worth all the hard work!

Homemade Dry Hair Shampoo

After growing my hair for about a year – I got bored last week and went for the chop!

My favourite thing about having my hair longer is that I can get away with not washing it everyday because I can always just put it up! Washing hair everyday isn’t great for it – especially if you’re blow-drying it or using other heated styling things. In the past I contemplated joining the ‘no-poo’ revolution and not washing my hair at all! I quite quickly decided that wasn’t for me and my compromise is to just wash my hair a few times a week.

So I wanted something to use on the in-between washing days to keep my hair nice and dry shampoo seemed to be the answer.

I found various suggestions on Pinterest, and based mine on this recipe because it explained to me why you use each item!

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I didn’t use essential oils in mine – instead I added cocoa. This is often suggested as a dry shampoo ingredient and makes my hair smell like chocolate! If you’re blonde – leave the cocoa out.

I used 2 tablespoons of each item and mixed them in a lovely flour shaker which I bought on ebay. Alternatively you could keep it in a bowl and apply to roots with a large make up brush.

One of the problems with Pinterest is that it has a lot of American recipes that don’t always convert directly to UK products. After a bit of research I worked out that American corn starch is corn flour in the UK. Some people on forums were arguing that it’s not the same – but for the purposes of adding volume to hair I think it’s close enough!

The Arrowroot powder/flour is for taking away the oils in your hair. This is a bit harder to find in the UK! I eventually located some tiny sachet’s with the home-baking stuff in a large supermarket.

The next suggested ingredient was baking soda. This is the thing that will actually clean your hair so quite important. After a bit of googling I decided that baking soda is the same thing as bicarbonate of soda here and opted for that.

The finished dry shampoo works perfectly and has saved me from going back to an everyday wash! Have you made dry shampoo? What ingredients do you use?

Lotions and Potions

A little while ago I made some lotion bars – and I’m addicted to them!

I’m on my third batch already. Mostly because I’ve given a few away as well as having them dotted around around the house so that I’m never too far away from lovely moisturising hand salve!

My friend Steph really liked the second batch I made which had lavender oil in it, so I bought her a little vintage tin and have made her some to keep in her handbag. For myself – I have gone for the simple recipe with no added essential oils as I think the lavender irritated my eczema.

Although I love these lotion bars – they don’t work brilliantly as a body moisturiser so I decided to try this recipe to get more of a cream/whip.

I bought a lovely little pot from the antique centre to store it in and it worked really well! It is made up of aloe vera gel, beeswax and coconut oil. I just whisked mine, but it is a bit lumpy – so next time I’m going to try blending it instead. I missed out the peppermint oil and added a small amount of almond oil and jojoba oil. It’s really simple to make, but rather messy!

Do you make your own lotions and potions?

 

Handmade Lotion Bars

These are so simple and quick to make – I had to share!

wpid-img_20150116_144112.jpgI’ve been using henna shampoo bars for over a year now and my hair has never been happier. When Lush stopped making my favourite one I decided to make my own version based on this blog.

However- the ingredients have sat untouched for a really long time! Partly because I found an alternative that I really like from here. And partly because I was petrified of making something that involved a chemical reaction!

I love making stuff –  but I know my limits and if something needs doing at home that involves gas or electricity, I will get an expert in. Wonky shelves are fine – wonky wiring is not. I think I’m safer to leave soap-making to those who know what they’re doing.

So that leaves me with lots of shampoo bar ingredients to use up – and, as always, Pinterest was my first stop for ideas. I found the recipe for these lotion bars here, and couldn’t believe how simple they sounded! But they really were easy and I would recommend giving them a go – especially if you suffer from eczema. They make a great hand-salve, lip balm, and I’m also using them as a body lotion bar. You just rub it in your hands to heat it up first then rub it on.

They use just three ingredients: Beeswax (I used three 28g blocks), coconut oil (one cup) and almond oil (one cup). I chopped up the beeswax and melted it in a bowl over boiling water, added the other ingredients and stirred until all the white bits went away. Then you simply pour the hot liquid into silicone cupcake cases, soap moulds, tins or whatever you fancy. So easy!

It is a bit messy because the wax sets very quickly, so I’m keeping a bowl, jug and spoon separate just for making these, so that I don’t have to wash them too thoroughly!

Next time I’m planning to add some essential oils to make them smell yummy and I also want to try this chocolate mint version (with cocoa butter and peppermint oil).

Do you make your own lotions and potions? Maybe you’re braver than me and have attempted soap?!