Wednesday, 23 April 2014

How to: Make a Soothing Oat Bath Soak

I've recently discovered the joys of oat baths.  They sound as lame as hemp pants but actually are very relaxing and give you lovely soft skin.  They're also practically free and only use natural ingredients, so there's no nasty chemicals for your skin to handle.

Photo Credit: PhOtOnQuAnTiQuE via Compfight cc

Here's how to make your own.

You will need:
- Old pair of tights/thin sock/muslin square
- Cup of oats
- Elastic band/hair band
- Lavender buds/dried petals/essential oil (optional)
- Bath
- Warm running water
- Peace and quiet

Photo Credit: Me.blogger via Compfight cc

1.  Cut a foot off your tights, or find your sock/muslin square.

2. Fill the foot with a cup of oats. Your standard porridge oats are fine for this.

3. Add some lavender heads, dried flowers (maybe rose petals?) or a few drops of essential oil.  Please check these are safe to be used on skin before you go ahead - a quick google is a lot less hassle than dealing with a nasty rash.

4. Secure the top of your tights/sock with an elastic band or hair band.

5. Start running a nice warm bath and put your bag of oats away from the tap end.

6. Come back when the bath is full, get in and enjoy! Squeeze the bag gently to release the oaty goodness.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Recent Makes: Knitted Headband, Skull Cushion, One Hour Skirt

I've been enjoying some fun little crafts over the last few weeks.

This knitted headband from Design Fixation took me waaaaay longer than the 2 hours mentioned in the instructions, but it was well worth it.  I used some lovely turquoise wool from Poundland (I'm all class) and now have a nice cosy head :)

I made this skirt in some navy and white polka dot material from Walthamstow market. It is pretty shiny and not the highest quality ever so I'm not sure how long it'll last.  It is very cute though and I will definitely be making some more.  Time to search for lovely stripy fabric........

There's no tutorial for this skull cushion as I basically made it up as I went along.  The fabric is an off cut of an Ikea curtain.  I drew the skull on freehand in pencil and embroidered it on with my sewing machine.  Then I cut out the holes and reverse appliqu├ęd the black material on.  Probably not the quickest method but it turned out pretty well!
It is a shame that cushion covers are so easy to make as I really don't need any more cushions in my house.  I'm all cushioned out. 

What have you made recently?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Musical Thursdays | The Burning Hell

The Burning Hell are evidence that Canada is not the musical wasteland it is sometimes thought to be.  The band is primarily made up of musician Mathias Kom, who is joined by various contributors apparently whenever he sees fit.

They've been producing music since 2006 but I only heard of them last week thanks to 6 music!   Latest album People was released back in May 2013 and is 43 minutes of indie folk joy.  Have a listen with the handy Spotify widget below:


Official site / Facebook / Bandcamp

Monday, 31 March 2014

Monthly Finds / 31.3.14 / Two Headed Calf, Crochet Ghosts, Sodabread,Beautiful Chickens and Colourgasm

Maybe my tastes are slightly peculiar but I really enjoyed this video; a dissection of a two headed calf. Don't watch if you're squeamish.

Follow The Brain Scoop for more cool stuff!

Really love Roald Dahl quotes, and this is a particular favourite:

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.”

Roald Dahl

Finally got my act together and started on making sour dough bread.  This starter recipe seems to be doing the trick.  It is a bit like having a very quiet pet.

This skull bottle may well be making its way into my drinks cabinet.

These crocheted pacman ghosts are kinda pointless but I like them anyway.

Scroll down and enjoy the colourgasm.

Have you ever seen a chicken beauty pageant?

These monster frogs are intriguing and strangely pretty.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Musical Thursdays | Boy & Bear

This band are so good you would barely guess they are Australian!

Their folky indie sound is right up my street and sounded as perfect on a cold February in Shoreditch as it would on a sunny festival afternoon.

There have been some accusations of them sounding like Mumford & Sons which I choose to ignore, preferring to compare them to Noah and the Whale.

Listen to: Southern Sun.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Finds / 8.3.14 / Puppies, Spider Jewellery, Dresses and DIY

Does sex affect your athletic performance?

I love love love this dress which is down to £15 at Joy.  I'm not sure how many bright blue dresses a girl needs but I already have 3.

I've been searching for a spider brooch for ages,  and this one is super cool.

I've been working on making this headband in a pretty turquoise wool.  It is taking forever though as I'm very slow at knitting and my needles are pretty skinny. Got a whole set coming in the post though.

If you run a website or blog of any kind, this post about free image resources is indispensable.

These DIY ear cuffs are totally on my crafting to do list.

Puppy pile!

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Musical Thursdays | Speedy Ortiz

I recently went to see Speedy Ortiz at Birthdays in Dalston.

 The venue is a bit of a hell hole if I'm honest; boiling hot, over priced beer, crowds of hipsters and mediocre acoustics. Also, being 5'1" I am used to not seeing much at gigs. But when friends a foot taller than me can't see the stage across a tiny room, there's got to be something wrong!

 Anyway, Speedy Ortiz are a grungy female fronted American indie band. I wouldn't typically say I'm a fan of grunge but having given both albums a fair few listens I'm starting to change my mind.  They do actually do a pretty good job of playing live - despite the problems with the venue and feeling exhausted that evening, I actually really enjoyed seeing them.

Listen to: American Horror, Tiger Tank

Monday, 3 March 2014

Gin and Jewellery for Save the Children

Last week I combined two of my favourite things with a good cause.  To mark the launch of a new phase of Save the Children's No Child Born to Die campaign, Make Thrift London hosted a swishing event!

 We each brought along at least 3 accessories that we no longer wanted, laid them out on a table and proceeded to swap goodies.

Swishing treasures waiting for a new home.
I'm rather pleased with my finds; a sparkly insect brooch, a 'hand' necklace, a little leather bracelet and a colourful bag.
 We also enjoyed some delicious gin cocktails and cup cakes, handmade by Daisy, while we learnt about Save the Children's work.

Around the world, 1 million babies die in their first day of life and 2.9 million die in their first month.  Many of these deaths are totally preventable, so the campaign is for all babies to be born with the support of a midwife by 2025.  That kind of change won't come about over night, so the charity are asking world leaders to commit to a 5 point Newborn Promise plan to make it happen!  You can sign a petition asking David Cameron to get involved.

Have you ever been swishing? Would you swish for charity?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Evans & Peel Detective Agency, Earl's Court

Last weekend I was lucky enough to visit Evans & Peel Detective Agency, a fancy bar in Earl's Court.  I'm not usually a fan of themed pubs so I was a little sceptical about making the trip across London.

Fortunately it was well worth it.  Evans & Peel is a quirky delight!

Hidden behind an unassuming side door, your detective experience starts with an interrogation about the misdemeanours of a member of your party.  In my case, the birthday boy was accused of having indecent images and using them to blackmail people!

Then the fun really begins with an extensive cocktail menu and a range of smoked bar foods.  We shared a platter of mini burgers which turned out to be surprisingly filling and attempted to work through the list of cocktails.  We didn't manage to try them all but I did enjoy a delicious beetroot based number, and another marmalade flavoured one with a frog spawn like consistency.  Both were much better than they sound - honest.

Our booking was just for 2 hours - it seems to get very busy on Friday and Saturday nights.  I'd like to have stayed a little longer and will definitely be back again.
310c Earl's Court Road, London SW5 9BA
020 7373 3573

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Learning to Bookbind with Make, Thrift London.

I love a good craft - making something with just my hands and some imagination is so satisfying, and much more productive than staring at the TV all evening.

When my friend Daisy asked me if I'd be interested in doing one of her bookbinding classes I jumped at the chance.  I did her stage 1 class in the Autumn and loved it!  The little notebook I made that day is still empty because it looks so perfect as it is.  I can't bare to spoil it. I did however, find the time to make a bigger version for my other half for Christmas.  I'm not quite sure he appreciates the time that went in to it but never mind!

Finished cover and signatures.

Last weekend it was time for stage 2.   This time we were going to use multiple 'signatures' (groups of folded pages) and try stitching them directly into the cover.  And instead of cutting our own cover out of cardboard, we were recycling food boxes.  My book started life as a box of instant mushroom soup!

We started by choosing from Daisy's extensive selection of wrapping paper.  I went for a colourful floral print for the cover with a smaller yellow for the inside.  Then we cut our boxes to size and carefully covered them with the paper.  I'm a bit of a clumsy lady so it was great to have Daisy keeping a close watch.  Her perfectionist eyes don't miss a thing!

The inside is just as pretty as the outside!

The delicate task of measuring and punching holes in the spine took us quite a while, and then we choose the paper for our pages and began cutting them to size.   I decided to use 2 sheets of brown paper and 2 sheets of white paper for each of my 10 signatures, but we also had ledger paper and graph paper to choose from.  I felt that with my busy cover it'd be best to keep the pages clean and simple.

Daisy also showed me how to put little envelopes in to the book! Don't they look cute?

An envelope waiting to be stitched in to the book

By this point our 3 hours were up - I think we got a bit distracted by all the herbal tea and chatting!  So we'll be arranging another date to stitch the pages in.  

I'm planning to use mine as a mini holiday scrap book but the possibilities are endless.  They'd make great birthday or Mother's Day gifts, and I'm planning to make one for all my favourite recipes.

Daisy runs loads of evening and weekend craft workshops at Alfie's Antiques in Marylebone.   Maybe I'm a little biased because she's my friend but she's a great teacher - very knowledgeable and patient with clumsy students like myself.  And the tea is always flowing freely when she's around!

Take a look at her website for full workshop listings (I've got my eye on the dip dye tights one).  You should also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.