One womans struggle to live sustainably in a money obsessed world...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Adventures in Chemistry

A few weeks ago I came across the Indistructables site and found something I have been looking for, well as long as I've been interested in Sustainability! It's a recipe for how to make your own deodorant. Deodorant is one of those necessary evils. It's full of dodgy chemicals, terrible for the environment and suspect to your own health, but noone wants to stink like the scary man that hangs out in the local charity shop, so we use it.
This recipe uses natural ingredients, easily found at my local Asian food store and promises to ban odour as well as keeping my pits dry. I hope noone feels I'm being too familiar when I say, since I was 11 I have been frankly plagued with pits that get very, very wet if I don't use Sure Stick...Sorry to name my shame and a Brand name but I've tried them all and when this one came out on the market I jumped for joy cause at last I could raise my arms in public! Smell, doesn't seem to be much of a problem for me, well noone has openly complained, and my kids are brutally honest with me and I'm sure they would have said something if there was a problem there. So, in essence this recipe has a lot to live up to. Can it keep me dry, smelling nice, be easy, non-time consuming to make and cheap enough for it to be worth while doing?

Today, I used the last of my regular deodorant and headed off to the shop in search of, corn starch, baking soda, coconut oil and some essential oils to make it smell pretty. I couldn't find corn starch, but did get potato starch instead, the packet said it can be used instead of corn starch in cooking so lets see if it works in deodorant! Also, I remembered I had some essential oils at home, so I didn't buy any at the store... More on that later...So, here is the mix after I added a bit of shea butter (left over from soap making) and wacked it in the microwave for a sec or two to soften the oils cause the were rock solid in my freezing kitchen. Now, back to those oils... after rooting about all I could find was ....Pine and Eucalyptus... Well at least the Pine is antibacterial, even if I will smell like toilet cleaner....
The consistancy was very good and when I rubbed my fingers together, it had the same drying effect of my usual deo... all good so far.
So here is the finished product packed professionally into my old cleaned out deo dispenser. I popped it in the fridge to set and will be trying it out for the first time tomorrow. For fairness sake I will try it for a week and then post my findings then! In the mean time, I think the packet is looking a little boring and is in need of a bit of decoration, so please comment and tell me what you think a good name for it should be. Del's deo?...Eco Pits! .... I'm sure you can do much better than me!

Monday, 8 February 2010

So much to do......

Well, this weekend was a busy one and although not much went to plan, things seemed to turn out alright in the end...
I'll start with Saturday evening, that's when it all started to go wrong. I had planned to do a spring clean upstairs and then bake some cupcakes for my friend Shannon's little girls birthday party as a surprise treat! Sadly, my cold hit me pretty hard and me and Io(my youngest daughter) fell asleep while having a 'Mummy needs a few minutes' lie down...
Aargghhh! We woke up at bedtime with nothing done! Io said she felt a bit not well and when I felt her head she was burning up with a fever...doh! she's caught my cold, just what we both don't need. Well time for damage limitation, the cleaning will have to wait for another time (there's a shame...) and I'll have to crack on baking those cakes and decorate them in the morning. I managed to bake a batch of lovely cakes while tending to my sick daughter's every whim...."Drink please mummy"..."Tissue please....NOW"..."Turn the TV over"..."Hug me"....
Now why don't I have someone to boss about like that when I'm sick?
Anyway, I congratulate myself with a cup of tea and a browse through my emails. I'm planning how to decorate cakes, whether Io will be well enough for the party on Sunday-Bowling then a quiet tea at Shannon's, and whether Spring cleaning on a Sunday is against the law (any excuse...), when I open an email that nearly makes me spit tea all over the laptop!
Ages and ages ago, I promised the group I volunteer for- Action For Sustainable Living that I would man an information stall at the Zion Centre to promote Sustainability at their Open Day. AARRGGHHH!!!! I'd forgotten all about it and worst still I was supposed to be there Sunday 10-4. The party starts at 2, Io is ill, and I've done my usual thing of saying 'Yes' to everything without thinking.
Calm down woman.....Think.....Think.....
Ok phone Shannon, there is no way Io will be well enough for bowling, we'll go to the quiet tea at 5. Now, babysitter for Io. Lee my partner! I knew I wasn't alone in this! Time he did a bit of work. Phew! Things starting to work out.... Now email AFSL, can someone take over at 1 for me? Yes?!! Brilliant!
Ok, so how did it all work out? Well, I left Lee and Io in front of the TV, happy if a little snotty, packed my crochet needle and a ball of wool in my bag...You know, in case things are slow... and dash off in the cold to the Zion Centre.
I get there and I'm the first person with a stall to arrive, well it is a Sunday morning, and I start looking for the stuff that 'should' have been left there for me to set up the stall. All I can find is Energy Saving Lightbulbs...NOTHING ELSE! I phone my boss, her phone is off, now what!
A very nice man called Chris takes pity on me and brings me a cup of tea, I ask him when the doors open to the public, he says 12. Hang on....12!!!!! What am I doing here at 10 then with nothing but a box of lightbulbs?!!! No wonder I'm the only one here. So I've got two hours to kill. I know... I whip out my crochet hook and start making a present for Io, a little balero snug for the party. Two hours later and....Taa Daah!
While I was knitting away, someone found the rest of my stuff for the stall and things satrted to look up!So I spend just ONE HOUR with the public before another volunteer arrives to relieve me so I can get back to Io. Just before I leave though, I spot a stall making sreen printed T shirts for £2.50. I know, I'll just have a quick go, to make a present for poorly Io of course, not because the last time I did screen printing was back in school...ahem...and this was the result!
I like it! Maybe it needs some applique too... (Stop've got more than enough to do).

When I arrive home, everyone is still alive and happy I bring presents, apart from Lee because I didn't bring him anything...I don't know, there is no pleasing some people.
It's a good job I made the T-shirt because, it turns out the balero is just a tad big for fact, I wonder if it would fit me??!!
Perfect fit! BONUS! Now, seriously, that wasn't the intention. It WAS meant for Io, HONESTLY! I promise to use a smaller hook and make one for her.
Anyway, I make the cakes with vanilla buttercream and jellysweets in the shape of bones because Jessica loves dogs (sorry, no pics, by that time I was rushing about at warp speed) and get Io dressed and ready, pick up the Sock MONSTER I made for Jessica and head out for tea at Shannons.... Jessica loved the cakes and had scoffed two before we even got our coats off! And she was thrilled with her MONSTER! Io had rested enough in the day to have enough energy to play with Jessica until bed time. Happy Days!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Spring is in the air?

That cold I was telling you about hasn't got any better. :-( Blocked ears gummed up eyes, snot, coughs...well you get the picture.
So to cheer myself up I thought I'd go out into the garden- as the sun was shining- and look for signs of Spring.
First, I started in the front. Last Autumn I built a raised bed out of and old cupboard and filled it with compost from the back garden. I planted fruit bushes, and herbs and was generously gifted with 3 strawberry plants from I's school garden. I also put in a few surprises here and there so I would forget and be pleasantly surprised when they popped up.
So here are some hyacyth bulbs popping up next to the sage

and here are some buds appearing on my Japenese wineberry bush... ooohhhh....

Now, onto the back garden, two hyacythns with a tulip in between.... I can feel the mucus drying up and my spirits rising...

So, when I turn around to check on the only vegetables growing in the back garden, the garlic and broad bean shoots, I'm feeling pretty serene and proud of myself.....
Then, I see this....The bloody chickens have ravaged the whole lot!!!! Urge to kill RISING.....

I feel my sinuses blocking and my head starting to hurt again. :-( Not to worry though, I had an idea. I can't coop the chickens up in a pen like the bunnies, they are just too clever, so I used the bunny pen to coop up the raised bed. The animals all have free run of the entire garden now apart from the beds. I can see it's going to be up to me to compromise, once again....

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Rough with the smooth

Today is one of those days you think is going to be a write off. I woke up feeling stuffed full of cold, choughing up a lung and then I realised I promised I's school I would bake some cupcakes for their Teddy Bear picnic for Haiti... I set myself a challenge a while ago that the next batch of cupcakes I make will resemble these delicous ones by Molly Bakes. (who was that muffling a snigger.... ?!) All I need is some patience and planning I said to myself. Piece of cake!!!!

Well, I set to and here are the results...
First a light chocolate sponge,

Next the decoration!

They might not be up to Molly's standard, but for a first try at cake decorating I'm very pleased with myself! Today isn't so bad after all

P.S. Who noticed one cake was missing from the tray? Well, you've got to have quality control somewhere in the production line!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

More Snow!?

Just when I thought Winter was gasping it's last breaths.... scratch that....just when I was hoping Winter was gasping it's last breaths, along comes.... MORE SNOW! " It'll never stick," I say to the mums on the school run. Well THAT was a dumb thing to say! The chickens cleverly took themselves off to bed early, who says chickens are stupid?

After two hours my little garden has a liberal dusting....

Welcome Everyone!

Hello everyone, and welcome to this the very first entry of my very first blog. I've toyed with the idea of blogging for a long time but I've never had the nerve to do it, until now that is! So, with the guidance of my lovey friend Mel, I've bitten the bullet and.... well, here it is!

I have a shop on folksy where I sell sock MONSTERS. It's called MONSTERMASH, capitals are essential when writing it! You can have a look at it here and see all the MONSTERS in all there glory. The one in the picture is called Gus and he's currently on sale to make way for more MONSTERS! I also make lots of other things and teach craft to anyone who wants to learn. But I suppose you'll learn all about that in good time. My other passion apart from my two lovely daughters is sustainability and all that goes along with it. Basically, I've turned my (very) little two up two down terraced house in Moss Side, Manchester into a mini small holding, eco home. Again, I'll reveal all in bite sized blog chunks, cause to be fair, if I told you everything now, you'd be sat staring at your screen, bog eyed and overwhelmed with info! Thanks again for dropping by and here's to new begginings! Let's see where this takes us! x