Friday, August 26, 2011

Beeswax (for minding, and furniture polish)

You know how little girls make clubs? I had a club when I was little, it had two members, me and my friend Penny. It was called JP's potion club and we used to make truly disgusting mixtures of mud and leaves and food items. It was fun.
The truth is, I still like making strange concoctions. I think that's why I like to make to make jam and jelly and household items like glass cleaner, spray cleaner, laundry liquid, and now...furniture polish. Or perhaps it's because I am a total cheapskate. Either way, I have just made my own furniture polish, and now I am going to write about it on my blog.

Beeswax furniture/wood polish
50 g beeswax
1 C turps (and no, I do not mean the cheap alcohol you get drunk on when you're 18. I mean turpentine.)
1/2 c hot water
25 g soap flakes (I grated up some of the soap I made back here)

Melt together the beeswax and turpentine in a double boiler. I did this in a stainless steel bowl in a pot of hot water over a low-ish heat. You have to be a bit careful here because you don't want it to catch fire and singe your eyebrows off. Have a lid handy to smother any flames, just in case. Grate the soap and dissolve it in the hot water. Let it cool a little. When the beeswax is melted stir the two mixtures together. Cool and then use to polish your wood floors and any wooden furniture you might have.

The beeswax was from my sister, who among other things, is a bee keeper. She sent it up in a parcel via my Mum, and this is what it looked like.
Now, my Mum mistook it for muesli and poured herself a big bowl of it. Needless to say she was very dissapointed to bite into it and find that the 'oats' were wax and the 'seeds' were bits of beehive and bees arses. Pa ha ha ha ha ha! Some misfortunes just need to be laughed at.

Anyway, there it is. Furniture polish. It made a nice job of my bookcase. The recipes for the other bits and bobs are below.

Spray cleaner
Fill a spray bottle almost to the top with warm water. Add about 1 t dishwashing liquid and 2-3 T white vinegar. Add some essential oils if you like. I never do because have you seen the price of them?! It's only cleaning spray.

Glass cleaner
1/3 c methylated spirits or white vinegar
2/3 c water
1 t dishwashing liquid.
Use newspaper to clean your windows and they don't end up with linty streaks. That's true that is.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A parcel

Recently I promised my niece a silly parcel to cheer her up. I was all set to make something very funny and ridiculous, like an evil bunny egg cosy for instance, but at the last minute I thought to myself; "Is a very silly non-edible craft item the best gift for in impecunious student who only has a few more months in the city?" and the answer was "No".
Instead I decided that something edible, hopefully both delicious and healthy, would be just the thing to brave the Wellington winter. Roll on the rolled oats!
Wheat-free muesli (for my niece, who can't eat wheat but is okay with oats) Recipe adapted from Alison Holst's muesli recipe in "Meals without Red Meat"
4 c rolled oats (porridge oats or wholegrain, or a mixture of the two)
1/2 c shredded dried coconut
1/2 c pumpkin seeds
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c almonds, cut into large pieces
2 T (heaped) ground flaxseed
1/4 c honey
2 T brown sugar
1 T water
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
2 T plain vegetable oil
1/2 - 1 c dried fruit
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt together the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon, salt, and vegetable oil, then stir through the dry ingredients, mixing well. Spread in a large oven dish and bake at 170 degrees celsius for 15 min. Give it a stir and bake it 15 min more, checking regularly to make sure it's not burning. Let it cool completely before adding the dried fruit (I added 1/2 c raisins and 1/2 c sultanas). If you add the fruit while the muesli is still warm it will go as hard as nasty little rocks after the muesli cools; this is the truth and I know it from experience. Divide the muesli in half, give one share to your niece and keep the other half for yourself. Store in an airtight container.
And have a good week, okay?
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stuff. Beautiful stuff.

I'm the first to admit there has not been a whole lot of crafty activity around here lately. However, that doesn't mean I'm not filling up the house with stuff I don't need and may never use. I just can't help myself, I love to go to junk shops and trawl for treasures. My Dad was the same, it's a genetic affliction.
I have a few favourite stops in the junk shops; kitchenware, bed linen, fabric, jewellery. These sheets were among the latest things to come home. The purple one in the background is my favourite kind, the white ones on top were totally unnecessary as I really don't need any more white flat sheets, but if some old lady has gone to the trouble to starch them (yes, really) and fold them so perfectly the least I can do is purchase them. I imagine that she was a retired nurse, who would smack my hands and shriek "stupid girl!" for not doing hospital corners when I make the beds.
Pinnies. These get comandeered for the dress-ups the minute I get home, but I have visions of actually using them one day. Especially that one with the pink swan on it. Classy!
Next, a fabulous dress, made in NZ back in the day. There is quite a lot of damage around the darts, so I'm going to cut it down into a skirt. You can't see in my crappy (sorry) photo, but this dress is sparkley blue lurex. It's gonna shock folks.
Lastly, these eight pieces of vintage cotton from an estate sale. Melissa from Tiny Happy was good enough to tell me about it, and my sister and I went and swooped like vultures, fighting over pieces we both wanted as only sisters can. What a show. Still, look at all the great stuff I got.
Well now I'm going to have to go and sew something with it all, aren't I. Any suggestions?