Tag Archive: family


Well we did it. The kids and I moved things around, created a space and organised the gym equipment in the garage into something approaching usability. We did this just before we rushed out the door to look for cheap, second hand, wooden picture frames that we could transform into paper making frames. Because I can’t just keep making soap constantly, much as I’d like to. Already I have a huge wire basket in my office, filled with Lemon Tea Soap and round cakes of Cinnamon Soap, coloured a reddish-pink with paprika oil. Then on the stove-top, large, rose-shaped cakes of Pure White Soap, sit on a wooden plate and next to them, the same soap but in a simpler, round shape. Stamped with my first acrylic stamp.

Tucked away in the laundry cupboard, I have the first and second soaps I made. The Peppermint and Eucalyptus and the Pure Oatmeal. 

So you see, if I make any more I’ll run completely out of space. Luckily there are only a couple of weeks to go before my first one is cured and ready to use. For other people to use. Because I’ve actually already started to use it and I completely love it. It makes my skin feel luxuriously soft and smooth and it lathers and bubbles so satisfyingly in the shower. The only change I’ve made in subsequent soap recipes, is to the proportions of oils, to reduce any ‘squeaky-clean’ sensation after I dry my skin. Altogether though, I’m completely hooked.

So. Paper making. I was looking at wrapping and packaging, with a view to Christmas gifts and things and I came across some eco-packaging, which I liked the look of. From there to DIY paper making was only a few clicks of the touchpad and I was fired with enthusiasm.

We stopped at an art shop, where Zac chose an air-drying clay set to play with and then at a couple of Op shops (charity shops) and bought some cheap wooden picture frames.

Later, we all sat on the tiled floor and, while the kids made clay figures and stories to match, Andy and I hammered and glued window mesh onto the backs of the frames. After I’d removed the glass and backings of course.

I used super glue and was careless…. I glued my finger and thumb together in the ‘OK’ position and then could not pry them apart. At first it was funny, oh how we laughed, but panic ensued when I truly couldn’t unstick them, not with methylated spirits or vinegar. Andy suggested hot water but I burnt my fingers and stopped quickly. Then he suggested cutting them and I decided not to listen to his advice anymore, though I did pick up the scissors….

In the midst of all of this and while we were still laughing, albeit with an edge of desperation in my case, Zac quietly went to the bathroom and filled the basin with warm water. He came and got me, and with much gentle and earnest reassurance, led me to it and instructed me to submerge my hand. I knew it wouldn’t work, hadn’t I already tried hot water?, but I was touched by his care, so I did it. Then he turned on the hot tap. “It’s going to be okay Mummy, just tell me when this gets too hot, alright?” I nodded, smiling at my beautiful, beautiful boy and then, lo and behold, it worked! He was so proud and I was relieved.

It was too late to make paper by the time we’d finished making the frames and having dinner but, before I came to bed tonight, I shredded some paper and put it in a bucket to soak and pulp overnight. I’m using white paper for this first experiment but after this, I’ll be recycling all sorts of paper. I can’t wait!

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It was Andy’s birthday last week, so we went away for the weekend, which was AWESOME!

If you’ve never been to the east coast of Australia, may I suggest a visit and if you’ve never been to Australia, then what are you waiting for?! It’s lovely! 🙂

The idea was to plan it all and present it as a fait accompli as a gift to Andy. He’s done this very thing for me a lot since we met and we both love it. I looked at hotels and cabins and camping spots and found what I thought would be great. A cabin nestled between two farms, next to a river. When I rang though, they were booked out. It turns out that the weekend just happened to be one when there was a big monthly event happening. Great for our entertainment, not so great for finding accommodation!

Fortunately for me, for us, luck was on my side, as it so often is and on my way from one site to another, I found a Glamping spot! Glamorous Camping, or Glamping, is the sort of camping experience I might have scorned once. A sort of luxury camping, in a tent, amongst trees and bush but with beds and a bathroom and a kitchen. We even had a heater and a TV….oh and a lovely verandah with a table and chairs……Glamping! 🙂

At this time of the year, winter here, it’s an inexpensive option. Cheaper than a cabin but in my opinion, far more fun and interesting. Needless to say, the kids loved it.

We spent two nights there and we could hear the rolling waves from the beach, lulling us to sleep, gentling us into the morning light…and the birds…loud, vibrant, calling to life. They created a joyous, optimistic atmosphere, dipping and gliding as I drank my morning coffee and watched.

We went to markets and ate in cafes and walked on the beach and played mini-golf. It was a great weekend. On the birthday morning, we woke Andy (he was already awake and watching the World Cup from the warmth of our giant and comfortable bed) and brought coffee and presents, then went out for breakfast. Photo time I think 🙂

 

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I didn’t write yesterday. It was soaping at my sister’s day and afterwards she and I went out for dinner, so by the time I got home, it was all I could do to shelve my soap before I got ready for bed. It was a great day. We each made a batch of soap and much measuring and pouring and mixing and talking and laughing was done. Also some eating of cake and drinking of tea.

I took lots of photos of course.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Mum and my sister in the prep stage.

Mum and my sister in the prep stage. 

oils and equipment everywhere.

oils and equipment everywhere.

miscellaneous things

miscellaneous things

Mum's friend in her funky soap-making smock.

Mum’s friend in her funky soap-making smock.

Mum's groovy (and very protective) boots

Mum’s groovy (and very protective) boots

Careful measuring

Careful measuring

mixing the oatmeal into the oils

mixing the oatmeal into the oils

soap in moulds

soap in moulds

Fresh soap

Fresh soap

My pure oatmeal soap, setting.

My pure oatmeal soap, setting.

It was very good fun, and then today, I unmoulded my soap and cut it into chunks. The container I used made for thick chunks and I couldn’t decide whether to have short, fat blocks of soap, or longer, slimmer soaps, so I called for help from Andy and the kids. It was a tied vote, so I did half of one and half of the other. We’ll know which is best in practice when we use them I guess.

I love how creamy these look.

I’m imagining how soothing these will be on our skin.

All the soap, curing in the cupboard. Just so satisfying :-)

All the soap, curing in the cupboard. Just so satisfying 🙂

 

Today was a fairly relaxed day. Late in the afternoon, we harvested some more of the endless supply of cherry tomatoes growing in our garden.

They're rampant and show no sign of slowing down. This is just a portion of what is a tomato jungle. Some are propped up with stakes, others have just taken over whatever they've been able to scramble up.

They’re rampant and show no sign of slowing down. This is just a portion of what is a tomato jungle. Some are propped up with stakes, others have just taken over whatever they’ve been able to scramble up.

But the tomatoes taste fantastic.

But the tomatoes taste fantastic.

 

 

Best Laid Plans

All day, while I was working, while I was driving, shopping, walking, cooking, I’ve had ideas for posts running through my mind and then, the email….

It was from my sister. She’s planning a soap-making day on Saturday, which I’m going to, and it included times and an ingredients list. I’ve made soap once before, except it wasn’t really soap-making, so much as glycerine soap melting and adding things to make pretty smelling soaps. There was no actual saponification process. Oh yes, saponification is now in my vocabulary! 🙂 Simply put, it’s the process that turns oils and caustic soda, or lye, into soap and the reason I know this, is that I’ve spent the latter part of the afternoon and most of the evening reading about it and watching Youtube tutorials on the subject. Which drove all other post-related ideas from my mind.

I like the idea of making my own soap. I enjoy the thought of doing something that feels self-sufficient and natural, of using a product without chemicals I don’t recognise. Mostly though, I love that my sister is gathering us to do it together at her house. There’s something very nurturing and connecting about it. So I get to do something new, in the company of my sister, my mother and her friend. Roll on Saturday.

I knew I’d bought those wooden crates for something…..

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