Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Nail art design

Nail art takes a little bit of practice. It is done with very small brushes, not your normal nail polish brush. You can try using a tooth pick for some designs. I find the easiest thing is using proper nail art polish, that comes with the right sized brush.

Choose 3 colours. Using one colour do a horseshoe shape like this picture.
Next do a little oval with a point in a different colour.

Then finish with a larger horseshoe and a line up the middle.
You can make this design as small or as large as you like. It can take up a little or all of the nail. You can do it on one nail, like the thumb or pinky of each hand or all of your nails.
Once the "art" is dry, remember to do a layer of top coat to seal and get it to last longer.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Traveling and site seeing does not have to be expensive. There are many things you can do to cut costs.

1.) Book cheap flights. Sign up to various travel sites and they will email you when air fares are on sale, or there are special deals on.

2.) Use frequent flyer and reward programs. Some like Velocity from Virgin are free. It may take a while to accrue points, but every bit helps.

3.) Shop around. There are deals everywhere. Do your research. Don't just take the price online as the price you have to pay. Call the hotel, car company, whichever and you may get a bigger discount.

4.) Know what is included in your package and what is not. Some hotel rooms include breakfast, some get free champagne etc...

5.) Pack your own travel nibblies. Buying snacks and drinks from the supermarket, packing sandwiches or other food will save you considerably on overpriced aeroplane and service station food.

6.) Have a budget. Too many people buy extra things they didn't really need, purely because they are on holidays. Souveniers are nice, but do you really need more dust collecting items? Photo's are just as good.

7.) What can you do for free? Visit museums, go to beaches, mountains, bush walks, look-outs, glass works, art galleries, landmarks, water falls, historic buildings. Many places can be toured for free.

8.) Visit family and friends. Many will let you stay at their house. We do this for our friends and family and they do it for us. We traveled overseas for next to nothing thanks to friends and family. We've also had a few overseas visitors, which made us feel like we'd had a mini holiday, as they bought nibblies from home. We took milo and tim tams etc... when we visited, much to their delight.

10.) Don't eat out all the time. Tempting as it may be, things such as cheese sandwiches, banana rolls, ham rolls etc... are easy to prepare, but much cheaper than take-away.

Tropical wedding

My sister recently got married. She wanted a tropical wedding, complete with the hiring of palm trees and spiky grass. She had a $1,000 budget, which turned out to be the price of hiring the plants, leaving no money for anything else. So my older sister and I put our heads together and made a tropical theme within budget for her.

This is what we started with. A pretty small and plain room, but we had grand ideas.

We started with creating a false roof using palm leaves from my garden and tying them with string and using tape to stick them to the roof here and there.

Next we hung fabric around the room.

Then it was just a matter of tables, chair covers and room decorations.

These are the centre pieces. The baskets were $22.95. We lined them with a bird of paradise leaf, sprinkled with white rocks and a few river pebbles, added the balls, then flowers. Total cost for the 3 tables and the bridal table was $155.

Behind the bridal table we set up a garden arch, covered it with organza and satin. Tied some frangipani's on, then taped on the bird of paradise flowers. It was more effective in the room than this picture.

Around the room in various places we put these vases with lilies and various greenery from my mother in laws garden. The vases were a bargain, marked down to clear, then I managed to buy them when all vases in store were 25% off, so they were reduced even more.
The tablecloths were borrowed from our church. The cutlery and crockery were bought on sale, as well as the glasses. We actually got given some plain glasses from my mother in law, so alternated these with the green ones I got on sale, so my sister would have 2 different sets of glasses.
The fabric hanging behind was bought from Spotlight, and worked out cheaper than we thought.
Behind the food table we placed bamboo fencing from the hardware store. The table cloths for the food tables were given to us from my sister in law.
As you can see, once set up the room looked VERY different. The chair covers were hired, but you can buy them pretty cheap on eBay. If you happen to buy them, you have the option of re-selling or hiring them out to others. Either way, it works out cheap, as you can recoup some of the costs.

The reception break-down worked like this...

Palm leaves - Free from my garden
String - $2
Chair over hire - $175
Centre pieces - $155
Plates - $95 (actually they were white dinner sets, enough to seat 24 people.)
Glasses - $54.32 for the green ones, the clear ones were free.
Bamboo Fencing - $40
Arch - $6
Fake flowers - $46
Fabric - $178
White vases - $92
Cutlery - $75
Serving platters - $40

So we did it for under $1,000. We could have hired instead of buying, we could have bought cheaper glasses, but I knew my sister would really love the ones we got. But this goes to show you don't need to spend a fortune to have a great reception.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fleece sleeping bag

My daughter regularly kicks all her blankets off at night. This is a big problem, because I do not want a heater on all night, as she will always kick her blankets off then. If there is no heater on, the room is freezing and when she has no blankets on she gets cold. Then she wakes up in the middle of the night, a little ice-block. As such, I have made this polar fleece sleeping bag for her.

Polar fleece sleeping bags are so easy, yet they keep you so warm. Eliminating the need for electric blankets. They are great on beds, but equally good for sitting on the lounge. Snuggle up in one whilst watching TV, before going to bed, then just take it to bed with you. Your bed will be instantly warm, thanks to the sleeping bag.

To make one, all you need is some polar fleece, however long you'd like. Fold it in half and sew together, down one side and along the bottom. That's it!

One of the fantastic things about polar fleece is it doesn't need to be hemmed. Simply cut it and it wont fray. Even after being washed numerous times.

One great thing about this sleeping bag, is even if it's made in a kids size, once your done with it being a sleeping bag, you can unpick it and make it a throw rug for them, or turn it into a dressing gown, or make some polar fleece slippers, virtually anything. You haven't cut it into any particular shape, so the choice is your as to what it can be turned into.

Rather than making the strip of polar fleece into a sleeping bag, you could simply use it as a blanket, one you haven't had to hem or sew in any way. But, I like the sleeping bag, because it wraps around me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One lonely sausage

How often do you find you have just 1 or 2 sausages left from dinner? Normally you would just eat them for lunch the next day right? Well, instead here are a few ideas of how you could turn that sausage into a meal.

1.) Sausage Pizza - Make a pizza base, put some sauce, onion, cheese, thinly slice the sausage, add anything else you like, such as capsicum, garlic, tomato, pineapple etc... and bake in the oven.

2.) Fried Rice - Use the sausage in fried rice instead of bacon

3.) Sausage vegetable pie - thinly slice the sausage, make up some gravy, add some vegetables, such as carrot, peas, corn, place it all in pastry, bake.

4.) Sausage risotto - With arborio rice, onion, mushrooms, thinly sliced sausage and any other vegetables, this is yum.

5.) Spaghetti - chop the sausage into little pieces, grate some carrot, zucchini, dice some onion, mushrooms, fry it all together, add some tomato pasta sauce. Cook some spaghetti and mix the sauce mixture through. Serve with grated cheese.

6.) Sausage and baked beans - Cook some baked beans, thinly slice the sausage. Stir it through, with some grated cheese. Serve on toast. You can add a fried egg too.

7.) Sausage omelette - Whisk some eggs, with milk and any other fillings you'd like, onion, cheese etc... and the sausage chopped up. Fry. Makes a great breakfast.

It's amazing what you can think of when you look for ways to extend those little leftovers into new meals. Stay tuned, because I will have more posts on leftover ideas!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Modern Cloth Nappies

Modern cloth nappies will save you so much money and are surprisingly easy to make if you have basic sewing skills. If you are unsure about anything or things aren't clear, just let me know! I learnt to make them from my friend Suze at www.seesuzesew.blogspot.com (See blogs I follow)

You will need:
1 disposable nappy (to make initial pattern, you can borrow from friends to just make the pattern)
Sewing machine
Swimmer/clear elastic
Fleece (you can get this in bamboo or hemp versions which are better for baby's skin)
Bamboo or hemp toweling

To start with I trace the outline of a disposable for a pattern. In the first bounty bag you get when you visit a midwife there is a Huggies Newborn sample. This is a great start. Alternatively you can request nappy samples from companies, such as Huggies, Babylove, Snugglers. Just email them and ask.

Once you have your pattern, lay it on a piece of flanelette fabric. Pin it and cut it out. This will be the outside of the nappy. It is easiest if you use patterned flanelette to start with, you will see why further down.
Figure 1
Next, lay the same pattern on a piece of fleece (you can use flanelette, I will explain the differences later). Pin and cut it out.

Figure 2

Figure 3
Next you will need to cut out 3 - 4 strips of bamboo or hemp toweling (my preference is bamboo, but either is good. both of these are more absorbent than normal toweling)
Lay this on the inside of the fleece, generally the softer side. This is the fabric that is going to be inside the nappy and not against baby's bottom. Sew it on.

Figure 4
Next lay the flanelette and fleece together, with the patterned side of the flanelette and the side of the fleece which is not showing the toweling (see Figure 2), facing each other. Pin in place.

Figure 5
Next stitch around the nappy, starting at the top of the nappy, approximately where the tabs would start on a disposable, and sew around the tab section of the nappy. When you get to just under it and it starts to curve, approximately level with where the toweling is sewn on, stop.

You will need to change to a zig zag stitch on your machine and pin in some swimmer elastic. The clear elastic. It needs to be this one as it is design to be wet. Other elastic will deteriorate too quickly. Holding the elastic very taught, sew a zig zag along it, until the nappy begins to curve again. Stop. Cut the elastic off. Change your machine back to straight stitch, sew along the curve of the bottom of the nappy to the other side, then repeat the elastic steps above on this side.
Next, do a zig zag stitch all around where you have just sewn straight stitch to strengthen and reinforce the sewing.
When you have reached the top of the nappy, ensure you do not stitch it closed. You will need to leave a gap big enough to be able to turn the nappy inside out.

Figure 6
The elastic should make the nappy curl like this. (See Figure 6). You may need to practice the elastic and how tight you hold it a few times before it sits properly.

Figure 7
Once the nappy has been sewn together, turn it inside out. Where the gap is at the top, pin it together and straight stitch along it to close the gap.

Figure 8
Cut some strips of velcro. Attach the soft part to the tab as shown above and sew on. Do this to both tabs.

Figure 9
Next, attach the loopy / hook part of the velcro to the bottom of the nappy, (as shown in Figure 9.) To make the velcro nicer, you can round the corners a little by trimming with your scissors. It gives a nicer finish.

Figure 10

And this is it finished. You will need to use a plastic cover (pilcher) or make your own cover using PUL, which is nicer for babies bottom.

To make the nappy more absorbent you can make a liner, by sewing some toweling, flanelette and fleece together. The fleece should face the baby's bottom when using it.

The reason I used fleece is because the poo's come off easier than other fabric. The only problem is it can be hot for a baby's bottom during summer, so use whichever suits you, but I highly recommend making fleece liners. By making liners with toweling, fleece and flanelette, you double the absorbency of the nappy, with out doubling drying times when washing.

Modern Cloth Nappies or MCN's as they are commonly called don't need to be soaked. You can just chuck them in a bucket with a lid, then wash as normal. Do not use fabric softner, as this affects the bamboo. Dry them on the line as sun is a natural bleach.

They are shaped like disposables and much easier to use than the old terry toweling squares.

Have fun making these.


Here you can find the links to all my healthy living posts, my weight loss journey and more.

Before pics of me
All weight loss posts

Craft Links

To view all my crafty posts click here. Otherwise here’s the links to my most popular ones.

Toy box make-over
25 Days of Christmas (I will be updating this and changing a few things this year.
Beaded angels
Tinsel Christmas Tree
How to make felt Santa’s

Contact me

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I am a mum of 2 beautiful girls who was a hairdresser and beautician with my own business before stopping all of that to be a mum. I Love my daughters aged 1 and 2. This blog is about my life and the things I do, such as cooking, crafts, weight loss and I am really focussed on health.

I discovered some health issues recently so am now on a journey to learn as much as I can about how different things affect our body and what steps we can take to live healthier lives.

I am also on a weight loss journey. I was over 95kg after my 2nd daughter. I have lost 15kg, but still have a way to go before I get back to pre-kids weight. I have poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which makes losing weight very difficult. I am determined to do it though. I want to be the healthiest I can be.

I love to cook and have actually published a cook book called 26 Ingredients. You can make over 100 recipes from gourmet breakfast to delicious desserts with a basic pantry of just 26 ingredients.

I love to sew and make things as well, so you’ll be seeing all my little crafty projects on here.

There’ll be a mix of things from my life as well. It is my bit of everything blog. So hang around, I’d love to get to know you.

If you like you can check out my money blog here. I set myself a challenge to become a millionaire by 30 and this is where I blog about what I am doing and what you can to.

I also have a welfare blog, based on food storage and things for those with food intolerances and allergies. Check it out here.