Wednesday, March 30, 2011

reusable snack/lunch bags at Cherish Child

If you are getting right into some eco-friendly ideas for your family then take a look at these- I think they are really neat.  My lovely friends' shop "Cherish Child" in Mt Maunganui has started stocking these awesome reusable bags, "Lunchskins",  to replace the plastic zip lock bags used for snacks, sandwiches and storing little things. They were featured in Oprah's 'O' magazine and one of the amazing things they claim is that in the US they saved more than 120 million plastic zip bags from landfills!  
And here's a bonus, Cherish is having a 25% off everything online 2 day sale today (Wed) and tomorrow only ... just enter 25 in the discount box at checkout :)
Here are some of the Lunchskins they've got for sale (click on the pics)
lunchskins sandwich bag redLunchskin sandwich bag green lizard
and because it's my friends shop, here's a few other gorgeous things on their website too!
Milky basic black leggingOobi Melody - Cottage applique dressSooki baby giraffe romper
Megan x

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

eco-friendly dishwasher powder... and a sherbet recipe

We made some dishwasher powder in the weekend and seeing all the dishes come out sparkling clean from the dishwasher had me and Amelie very excited that it worked! I used this recipe from the Bin Inn website as I already had all the ingredients except for the citric acid which I got from the supermarket. I've used the powder three times now and it has worked really well each time. 

Eco-friendly Dishwasher Powder
1 Cup Washing Soda (from supermarket)
1 Cup Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Salt
1/4 Cup Citric Acid
Mix together (powderise in a food processor). Use 1 tablespoon per load. Way cheaper than the brought stuff, less than 5 cents a load. HINT - use white vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser.
Who would have thought that watching a food processor mix powder could be so riveting...!
I got given some lovely 'Benefit' bath salts years ago and just couldn't get rid of the cute little scoop that came with it....I knew it would come in handy one day!

Using the citric acid reminded me of a fun activity I used to do for science when I was teaching- making fizzy sherbet- so we made some for a treat. Here's the recipe I used..
Sherbet Recipe
4 tablespoons sifted icing sugar (sifted) 
2 teaspoons raro juice mix (powdered cordial) in your chosen flavour
3 teaspoons of citric acid
1 and a half teaspoons baking soda 

Mix ingredients together in a food processor or use a whiz stick. We just used a fork when I was teaching to mix the ingredients but make sure you don't end up with clumps of citric acid or worse still, clumps of baking soda. Obviously not the healthiest treat for children but they do love the fizz!
Next up I'm going to try Wendyl Nissen's laundry detergent but I need to find some borax first. It looks like Trademe is the cheapest place to buy borax but does anyone know of other places to find it?  Would love to hear if you have been making any eco-friendly cleaners lately too or have plans to make some.
Thanks for visiting and have a great day :)
Megan x

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns

I received an email the other day from Sarah at Bakers Delight to ask if I wanted to try some of their new hot cross buns and promote their 'Bundraiser ' Day on Saturday 9th April. So my little taste testers and I went along to Bakers Delight here in Tauranga to collect some traditional, fruitless, choc chip and mocha buns....can you guess which ones the girls wanted to try....yep, choc chip which they loved of course!
I really liked the mocha ones for something a bit different but as a bit of a creature of habit the traditional ones were my fav, and my hubby took a packet of the traditional ones to work and said they went down a treat so that was good!

So pop this date in your diaries..... on Saturday 9th April, 'Bundraiser' Day will see all Bakers Delight bakeries across New Zealand, donate $1 from every six-pack of hot cross buns sold to Starship Children's Hospital in an effort to raise more than $5,000 for Starship's Air Ambulance Service. Hopefully it'll be a really successful fundraiser for this vital service.

And if you're interested in finding out more about the meaning behind hot cross buns at Easter then read this article from Wikipedia...

....and just for a bit of crafty fun, how cute is this little crochet hot cross bun...

and this Felt hot cross bun would make a great little addition to a felt food playset
So, would you like to try some Bakers Delight Hot Cross buns? I've been given 5 vouchers to giveaway for a free 6-pack of hot cross buns from your local Bakers Delight Store.  Just leave a comment on this post or over on my mousehouse facebook page under the link to this post and you'll be in to win!  Would love to hear of any Easter traditions in your family or an Easter treat you really look forward to each Easter but any comment is welcome! (Giveaway open to NZ readers only sorry.)

You can follow Bakers Delight on facebook www.facebook.com/bakersdelightnz and on twitter too- http://twitter.com/#!/bakersdelight - they have heaps of special offers and coupons for followers.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you've all had a great weekend. Mine has been a good one- there was much excitement (ok, mainly from me) making our own dishwasher powder which worked a treat- will share soon!
Megan x

Friday, March 25, 2011

my creative space: a busy book

I should start this post with a warning....this is a crafty project that is very addictive and can end up consuming quite a lot of your thoughts and time!
I've been wanting to make a fabric 'busy book' (they're also called 'quiet books') for ages now and decided to get going and make one for Stella's birthday. She is, like a lot of 2 year olds, obsessed with clips so I thought she'd love a book with lots of different fasteners like zips, buttons and clips to play with.  But once I got started I realised I had no chance of getting it finished in time for her birthday so I've decided to just work on it whenever I get a chance and give it to both girls when it's finished.
I've made three pages so far (with a few more nearly finished) so I thought I'd share them today and share the rest as I finish more. I got heaps of ideas from this blog http://quietbook.blogspot.com which has links to lots of other busy books. And these quiet books were also very inspiring http://thethornocks.blogspot.com/2008/12/quiet-encyclopedia.html and http://homemadebyjill.blogspot.com/2009/06/finished-quiet-book.html

One of the good things about this project is that if you're a bit of a crafter you can find heaps of things to use from your craft supplies and fabric stash and other things around the house so you don't need to buy much to make it. These books are also great for developing fine motor skills, and your imagination is the limit as to what other things you can teach using the book, eg: colours, shapes, counting, alphabet etc. A lot of the crafters that made the books I've seen on blogs were inspired by their own mum's fabric books so it's pretty neat to think that maybe it'll be a book that future grandkids might play with too!

So here's the first page I made... I found this alphabet ribbon among my ribbon stash so I stitched it on and added a little duck bead on some thread so the girls could practice spelling their names and recognising letters.  Next I threaded some beads on a ribbon for some counting practice,  and the little lion slides along the spotty ribbon just for fun! I made the lion from the book "Felties" about a year ago and have had it on my noticeboard just waiting for a project like this!
Next I made Stella's 'clip page'- just need her to learn how to undo the clips now as well!
I saw the idea for this 'puzzle block' page somewhere in blogland but when my hard drive crashed I lost all my links and I can't for the life of me find where I originally saw it. If you think you know where the idea came from please let me know and I'll link back to it. This was a pretty quick page to make as it's all made from felt. I just cut out a whole lot of the same size squares and then played around cutting them into a few different shapes. The part that took the longest was probably stitching on the little flower buttons! My nearly 4 year old played with this page for nearly half an hour when I finished it so it's definitely a winner!
I made a zip pocket on another page to keep all the pieces in.
If you know of any links to some great busy/quiet books you've seen or have made yourself I'd love to see them.

A big thank you today as well as to Wendyl Nissen for featuring my blog, along with this lovely one, in her email newsletter this week. I think I've read every newsletter she's written since she started out on her 'Green Goddess' journey so it was very exciting to see my name in her latest one. You can read it here, and if you're wanting to get a weekly dose of  Wendyl's "It's okay to be a Nana" inspiration, sign up to her newsletter on her home page here.

And musn't forget... the winner of the eco-friendly cleaning goodies from last week's challenge is Leonie
Congratulations Leonie, hope you enjoy your treats, and thank you so much everyone for your comments and tips- I can't wait to get into making some more products now. And wasn't it neat to see that your comments made Wendyl's day!

For more creative spaces this week, visit Kootoyoo here

Thanks for visiting,
Megan x

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

tube poem

I came across this poster the other day when I was de-cluttering the spare room- it's a poem I bought when we were living in the UK.  I saw it on the tube one day when they were displaying "European Poems on the Underground" in the carriages.
I really like it- it's a very peaceful poem don't you think? It's by Greek poet, Yiannis Ritsos.

And a big thank you to Lyndy from one of my favourite blogs Stitchbird and also her fabulous online fabric shop 'Stitchbird Fabrics' for nominating me for a "Stylish Blogger" award. Much appreciated Lyndy!


Megan x

Friday, March 18, 2011

Organised Home Project 6: Eco-friendly Cleaning

Hello all, I hope you've had a good week. This week's challenge is more of a cleaning one than an organising one but it's definitely one that makes the house feel really good! After reading 'A Home Companion' by Wendyl Nissen I've been thinking a lot about having a more eco-friendly and healthy home so I got stuck in this week to making some home-made cleaners. I really enjoyed making them - it was like being a kid again mixing up potions and making 'perfume'! - and it's going to save a lot of money by buying less cleaning products.

Because it's an organised home challenge, here are some 'before' and 'after' pics...
Before
and After!
For the recipe's I used this liftout written by Wendyl (it came in an issue from the NZ Women's Weekly last year) as well as Wendyl's 'A Home Companion' book and a few other online recipe's.
To make the cleaners I made this week you'll need a few 'ingredients'.
-baking soda
-vinegar
-lemons
-essential oils- lemon, eucalyptus, lavender, orange and tea tree oils
-eco-friendly baby bath wash (I used Eco Store's)
-eco-friendly dishwashing liquid (I used Eco Store's again here too)

First I made some lemon dusters- I really enjoyed making these and maybe I'll even dust more now that I have a cute jar of them to use!

Then I made some spray cleaner- so far I've used it for the bench and the high chair, as well as cleaning the oven top (which it worked a treat on) and also my craft desk which had glue stick bits and other grubbiness on it and it looked good as new after using the spray.
Next I made some anti-bacterial spray which smells divine (my hubby used to complain about the smell of the Dettol germ spray as it is pretty strong!)
Then I made up some more baby wipes spray. I use this with flannels by just spraying the flannels with the spray.  I still use baby wipes as well but I'm going to try to use the flannels and spray a lot more. 
I also use Honeychild cloth nappies (which I mix with using disposables) so for when they get a bit stinky I made up a spray of just a cup of water and 10 drops each of tea tree and eucalyptus oils  It's a good spray for cleaning the toilet too. 

Next up I'd like to make some dishwasher powder and some laundry detergent but I'm going to need a few more ingredients for those ones.

Because I love having a crafty project for each of these 'challenges' I thought I would have a go at making some crochet dishcloths. I have seen them on heaps of blogs but have never used them, in fact I'd never heard of them until I started reading blogs! My sister was even asking me if I was going to crochet around a sponge as she had obviously never heard of them either!! Thanks for the ideas and comments on my blog post yesterday about them - I went to the knitting shop and bought some cotton yarn and made a cloth using single crochet stitches last night. If you want to have a go there are heaps of patterns and ideas here and also here.
After reading Angela's 'Eight household habits' I put up a hook in our kitchen for the cloth- much nicer than draped all over the tap getting smelly- thanks for the tip Angela :)

So if you're inspired to make some of your own cleaners now I've made up a little giveaway prize to help you get started...
...a ball of cotton yarn to make your own dishcloths, a tea tree oil soap,  tea towel, spray bottle and some cute sticker labels.
To be in to win...
 * leave a comment telling us about some organising you have been up to lately (leave your URL if you've posted about it) 
or *leave a comment telling us some thing(s) you'd like to do this year to make your home a bit 'greener" 
 or * tell us some of your eco-friendly cleaning tips

You can leave a comment on my mousehouse facebook page under the link to this post if you're a non blogger :)

I'll draw the winner next Friday the 25th March. I still have heaps of ideas and projects for my 'Organised Home' challenge but as I am nearing my due date I'm just going to start posting them whenever I can rather then every Friday as I think some weeks I'm going to be a little bit busy soon!
Thanks for reading along and joining in the challenge so far, have a great weekend :)

To see more of my 'organised home' projects, click here
Megan x

Edit: have just come across Sarah and Cat's "Gift of Love" appeal for mums and children in Christchurch- they are asking for knitted/crochet dishcloths among other things- check out their appeal here http://sarah-redgingham.blogspot.com/2011/03/gift-of-love-appeal-update.html

Thursday, March 17, 2011

my creative space: handprint embroidery

I came across this idea on this lovely blog last year and have been wanting to make our own family one for ages. I've made it as a little art work for the baby's room so when he/she is born I can add their little handprint too!
It was pretty quick to do- I drew around each of our hands on card and then cut out each outline, then I traced around each hand on the fabric using a water/fade marker pen and stitched each handprint using backstitch.
If I was doing this again though I would just trace and stitch one hand at a time- I got a bit confused with all the lines and ended up having to unpick a bit!

It only took a couple of evenings in front of the TV to stitch the handprints and the girls, especially Amelie, thought it was pretty neat when finished. Kids love drawing and seeing their handprints don't they!
And now some questions for you crafty people- I have seen lots of blogs with crochet or knitted dishcloths/wash cloths and would love to have a go at making some for the kitchen (have never used them before). Are they just like using a kitchen sponge- so you use them for wiping the bench, high chair etc?  Does anyone have any links to their own dishcloths on their blogs or know of any links to nice and easy crochet dishcloth patterns? I've searched a few but I thought I would ask here too :)

Thanks heaps, and for more creative space today visit Kootoyoo here
Megan x

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

'Bubbles Before Bed' book

Some lovely mail was waiting in the letterbox today...
 ...this gorgeous book 'Bubbles Before Bed', by Mandy Sutcliffe, the very talented creator of Belle and Boo. 
I ordered it for Amelie's birthday next month and can't wait to give it to her. It's a lovely story book about bath and bed time, with adorable activities to make and do throughout the book.  
I love Belle and Boo :)
I hope you are all having a good week- I've been reading these books the last few days as I've decided to make this Friday's 'Organised Home Challenge' a cleaning one (yep, the nesting instinct is still going strong!)
I've been wanting to make some eco-friendly cleaners for ages now so on Friday I'm going to share some recipes and tips - if you're keen to join in here are two links to great eco-friendly sites with recipes and ideas.

Thanks for visiting,
Megan x

Sunday, March 13, 2011

some thrifty finds

Hello all, thank you so much for all the lovely feedback about my patchwork chair on Friday- it was so nice to read all the comments!  I've had a nice relaxing weekend starting with a crafty morning with two friends and ending with a bit of time at a local park late this afternoon.
Last week I went thrift shopping for the first time in ages - I really enjoy reading "Flea Market Finds" on Sophie's blog on Sundays so I'm joining in this week and sharing some of my finds.
I found this little children's china plate at the Sallies shop for $2. Loving those little squirrels!
And also from the Sallies this little thermos ($1.50) was calling me as I love anything yellow and I also have fond memories of drinking milo from my Holly Hobbie thermos on the school bus!
And from the Red Cross shop I found this little bunny mug ($1) which I thought would be a great Easter gift with an Easter egg in it. 
For more thrifty finds this week, head over to Sophie's here
Megan x

PS: I'm watching 'Sunday' at the moment while writing this - they are showing footage of the earthquake in Japan. My best friend Katy and her young family live there - thankfully a long way away from the disaster but it still must be really scary and heartbreaking for them to see their country so devastated. Thinking of you heaps Katy and everyone in Japan xx

Thursday, March 10, 2011

my creative space: a patchwork chair

I've had this chair that I bought off Trade Me sitting in our garage since we moved into our house three years ago.
We used to live in a 1930's bungalow which I decorated in a bit of a shabby chic/Cath Kidston style so this chair looked great in our hallway with some fabric from Kate Fitzpatrick. But it didn't really suit the house we live in now, plus there wasn't really anywhere to put it, so it's been out in the garage gathering dust.
But after seeing this chair on the gorgeous blog Lucy and I (thanks for telling me about this blog Saskia if you are reading this!) I decided to have a go at a very small patchwork furniture project with the chair.
I also saw this yellow chair last year on Abby's blog and it just stuck in my head as a great little project.

First off I sanded it and painted it Resene "Sargent Pepper". (I love this colour- I think it's quite similar to Pantone's Colour of 2011
Pantone Color of the Year 2011: Honeysuckle










I'm not very good at measuring before I make stuff (a bit like pinning which I have to force myself to do when I'm sewing too!) so for the seat I just cut out a square from some card for a template, worked out roughly how many I would need to cover the chair seat, then cut out a whole lot of squares from my chosen fabrics, then cut some of the squares in half to make some rectangles. Then I just played around and stitched rows of them together and crossed my fingers it would fit over the seat! I used a staple gun to attach the fabric to the seat -nice and quick!
I've put it in Amelie's room next to her bed- a good place for her to put her books and all the other random stuff she likes to take to bed most nights!
To see what's been happening in other creative spaces this week, visit Kirsty's at Kootoyoo here
Thanks for visiting :)
Megan x
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