Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lounge room and bedroom before and after

Almost 2 years ago I moved back into my house. It was a rental for a few years and when we moved back in, it was a little worse for wear. Ok, it was terrible!

Due to my husbands work not transferring him properly, he had no work for quite some time. He got some casual work here and there, but nothing permanent, which meant we had the time, but no money to fix the house. It is still a work in progress, but I thought I would update you all.

The lounge was bright yellow and mouldy. The curtains needed to be replaced due to mould and it was just terrible all over.

Here is a before shot:

The photos have been taken from a different angle and with different cameras. I know I have more before shots which show the transformation better, but I can't find them.

Anyway, here is an after shot
 The mould got removed, the walls were puttied, sanded, cleaned and painted, as was the ceiling. The light fixture was changed. We got a new lounge, the curtains were replaced and since this photo was take we now have a floor rug too.

As for the bedroom, it was even worse. In the picture below you can see the hideous mould, ugly light fixture and part of an old wardrobe (the white block).

 Another angle, but blurry

The walls had to be cleaned, repaired then painted and were painted a neutral colour. The light fixture was replaced, the wardrobe thrown out and a built in robe put in.

I don't have a decent after picture as there is still some work being done, but here is a semi after picture with my bed

The house is coming along, slowly. Hopefully I will be able to share more after picture from other rooms soon.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Crusty Gluten Free Bread

Eating gluten free is not always easy and most 'normal food' options such as bread and pasta cost a lot more when made gluten free. I have tried a few different gluten free breads and they all taste kind of heavy. I have made some myself and loved the results when fresh out of the ove, but once cool they weren't fantastic.

Last week I decided to buy a box to make crusty gluten free bread. The brand I used was called Simply Wize and it turned out great.

I'll be honest, I completely did not read the box before attempting it. Had I read it, I would have realised I needed yeast, there was not sachet in the box. Lucky for me I had some in the fridge. Unlucky for me I had no idea how old it was!

I also would have read (and had my memory jogged) that I needed to let it fizz up in the warm water. Instead, I just dumped the lot in the bowl, then went "Oh, dear. Hope this works!"

I kneaded it all, praying the whole time it works, because I wanted bread and did not want to go down to the shops. The odds were against me with yeast so old I can't remember the last time I had used it before today and not following instructions, but you can live in hope right?

It came out beautifully and costs less than $3 a box I think. I plan on making it again, but next time I will read and follow the instructions. I can honestly say this has been my favourite so far and I plan on experimenting with seeds and things next time too.

Also, once I pulled it out of the oven and it cooled, other family members cut themselves some (much to my disgust because it is gluten free FOR ME!!! And I had just made them some 'normal' bread rolls!) They all loved it and were surprised when I told them to back off, it's my bread! They said it was the best gluten free bread, it didn't even taste gluten free.

Just so you know, I haven't been paid to write this. I saw the box and decided to try it. Had I been paid, I probably would have done it right and read the instructions.

I plan on having this instead of buying ready made gluten free bread from now on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stuffed Baby Capsicums with Caramelised Onions

I did a bit of experimenting on the weekend making caramelised onions and stuffed baby capsicums. I have wanted to make caramelised onions for a long time, but since they take quite a while, I had not yet had the time. I hadn't planned what to do with them, but since I had the time I wanted to do them.

I decided to use them and a few other bits and pieces to make some stuffed baby capsicums.

6 Baby capsicums
1/3 cup grated zucchini 
1 slice of ham, diced
2 Tablespoons of caramelised onions (I share how to caramelise onions below)
1/4 cup of grated mozarella cheese

1.) Cut the top off the capsicums and remove the seeds.
2.) Place some zucchini, followed by some ham, onions then cheese in each capsicum.
3.) Place the capsicums in a frying pan with no oil, over a medium heat. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 - 10 minutes, until the cheese just starts to melt. 
4.) Pour a cup of water into the pan, cover with the lid again and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the capsicums are soft and the cheese fully melted.

How to do caramelised onions
It is a long, slow process to make delicious caramelised onions. You can make up a bulk batch and portions in ice cube trays to use as desired. Raw onion loses it's crunch when frozen, but caramelised onions are soft already and fine to freeze. You can use more or less than the amounts I share below, depending on how much you want to make at one time.

3 onions
3 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1.) Slice the onions to desired thickness. Place them in a frying pan with the butter over medium heat.
2.) Allow the onions to cook slightly, then reduce the heat to very low. Sprinkle with brown sugar and mix to cover.
3.) Continue to cook on low, stirring every now and then for 2 hours. Keep the lid on to retain the heat and moisture as well.

It takes a long time and you need to be really patient. When I was making them I cooked a variety of other things at the same time since I was in the kitchen anyway.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Free and cheap make-up

I recently posted a make-up tutorial for my day to day look. This week I walked into my bedroom to discover this...

All my make-up destroyed! 

My kids had taken it upon themselves to give their toy horse a make over and themselves as well. A lot of this was close to finished, but some i.e. the powder spilt everywhere, had a lot left. The items I planned on replacing were going to be replaced in September, when I go to the USA. Unfortunately for me, I need to replace them now.

So I thought I would share with you some ways to source free and cheap make-up since that is what I am now doing.

1.)  Check the websites of the products you love to see if they are offering any samples at the moment. It's not instant make-up, but if you can wait a few days it is free.
2.) In store samples - Some companies have mini tubes or sachets you can get in store to try products before you buy. Some will put a bit of product in a container for you to try or some stores are happy for you to bring in a sample size pot to put a bit of a tester into, so I've been told.
3.) Sample and freebie sites - check them all out and sign up for the samples
4.) Magazines - virtually every week there is at least one magazine with make-up or products attached as a free gift with purchase. Buying the magazine is often cheaper than buying the products.
5.) Contact the brands - email the brands you love or want to try and ask for samples. The worst they can do is say no.

If you can't get make-up for free, look out for sales, shop around and check online. Don't just check the brands websites, check eBay and buy/sell groups on Facebook to get what you need.

How do you source make-up for free or cheap?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Whoopie Pies

I saw these in the supermarket and had no desire to buy them. However, recently I was given some by my mother in law. The box was blank so I had no idea how to make them, but since Betty Crocker generally uses 2 - 3 eggs and some oil, I went with that.

This is not my own recipe, it was just a box of whoopie pie mix with 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of oil. Mixed together, then we just slapped spoonfuls on a lightly greased oven tray and baked at 180C for 15 - 20  minutes until they were cooked. We let them cool and placed icing in the middle and stuck them together.

They were a hit! And demolished very quickly. I am considering giving them a go with my own recipe as I am not a fan of box mixes. Have you made whoopie pies?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scripture Study Handout - Young Women's Lesson 27, Manual 1

Soon I am teaching the Young Women lesson 27 from manual 1 which is on studying the scriptures. I decided to make these for my handouts at the end of the lesson.

"My testimony grows when I read the scriptures"

I got a plant from my garden - in this case Aloe Vera because it grows easily and that little plant can turn into numerous plants all on it's own. Also Aloe Vera can be used to heal many things.

I had a few little seedling pots, so I covered them in scrapbook paper and put potting mix and the seedling in it. With the book mark which says "My testimony grows when I read the scriptures" it makes a cute little handout that can be a regular reminder to read the scriptures.

Another option would be to attach a packet of sees to the book mark.

I got the book marks from an old folder of my mums when she was a Young Women's President in the 90's. You could create something similar by either drawing some flowers or making a bookmark with a flower out of card.

Friday, July 6, 2012

DIY bedhead and bedside tables from an old crate - tutorial

I recently posted about turning some old crates into a bedhead and bedside tables. Here's how I did it.

I started with this crate, which had previously been used in a desk and I had the lid from another crate which was a toy box. I ended up needing the side of the toy box crate too, but it's not pictured.

First I bashed out the side of the extra crate using a mallet on the inside and hitting the side of the crate to losen the nails.

Then I used a hammer to remove the nais which were poking through these holes

Next I sanded everything I was going to be using. Make sure you wear protection when sanding such as a mask and goggles. I really should have had gloves on as well.

After sanding, I measured the crate and drew a line down the middle of it so I could cut it in half. I don't have an electric saw, so I had to do this bit by hand.

One it was cut in half they looked like this and I needed to sand the edges where I had just sawn them.

Following all the sawing and sanding I needed to stain them. I used some laquer we had sitting in our garage in the colour "Jarrah". The label had actually come off and I had to test it on some other wood first. I had two tins, one was Jarrah and one was Mahogany, but neither had labels.

Once I had stained them I left them to dry. I actually did the bedhead first, then the bedsides were done on another day

After I did one coat, I left it to dry for 24hrs and applied another coat. You can see in this picture the flat pieces look darker than the bedsides because they have had their second coat.

Once they were dry I brought them inside to put in my room. The crates had pieces of wood on the back which enabled me to hang the bed head easily without having to make legs and things for it. So I only needed to place some nails in the wall and hang the 3 bedhead pieces. They have been hung low for now, until I finish the rest of the bedspread (European pillows and pillow cases, plus one pillow case). It looked weird when I put it higher without much on the bed.

Here's a close up of one bedside table

The room is not finished. As I said, I need to finish sewing the pillow cases. Yes, I made the bedspread and it was a fraction of the cost of what the whole set would have cost in store (Over $400 for the set in store).

I have something to put on each bedside table and will be putting something on the wall above the bedhead as well as baskets under the bedside tables. I plan on putting fabric on the blue bed base and a few other things to finish the room. I am injured at the moment, so all these plans have to wait for now.

What are your thoughts? What would you do to finish the room?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cacao and chia seed pancakes with berry sauce (Gluten Free)

I made these pancakes the other week when experimenting with chia seed and they were so good. My 4yr old ate 2 and loved them. There is no refined sugar in these, but they are still sweet. They have cacao instead of cocoa for a healthier chocolate taste and the berries set the pancakes off nicely.

2 Tablespoons of Chia seed left in 1/4 cup water to soak overnight to form a "gloop" aka gooey mixture
2 Tablespoons Cacao
1 cup GF plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
Butter for cooking

1 cup of berries (I used organic, frozen berries)

Mix the chia and cacao together. Add in the other ingredients and mix to combine so there are no lumps. I try not to mix it too much, only as much as needed and I do it by hand. I find gluten free recipes sometimes go a bit hard or gluey if mixed too much.

Place a frying pan over medium heat. Melt some butter in the pan and pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan. Cook for about 1 - 2 minutes or until golden brown, then turn over and cook the other side.

This the berries, simply heat them in a saucepan until they start to form a liquid. Mix while you are heating them, then pour over the pancakes. You can add a little maple syrup if you like to sweeten, or a sprinkling of sugar if you prefer.

These pancakes were very filling, more nutritious than regular pancakes and they tasted great!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Make-up tutorial - Day to Day

I love make-up. I don't wear a lot of it most days because I don't have the time and because I don't feel the need. I do pretty much the same routine whenever I do my make up. This is the usual end result

See, pretty basic and natural.

I start off looking like this...

I apply a primer all over my face, then I apply concealer to he bits that need it such as under my eyes

Next I apply foundation. I am pretty slap happy with how I do it, but basically I apply the foundation to a make up sponge then dab it on may face. I dab all over, never rubbing it in, instead sponging it all over my face. I do it so there are no lines of foundation anywhere. The dabbing makes it last longer I find instead of rubbing and I tend to use less foundation in the long term.

Next I use a mineral powder all over my face. It's a loose powder I dip my brush into, then tap my brush to get most of the powder off, back into the container. If I don't tap my brush the powder tends to clump on my face and not blend in.

After that, I do my eyes. I am actually pretty blind in my left eye, which makes it hard to get my eyes right.

I start by using an different primer specifically for my eyes then placing a sweep of darker coloured eyeshadow on my lid, usually a brown, just up to the crease.

Next I sweep a tiny amount of light blue over the brown. I did this one day and everyone loved it, so it became part of my usual routine.

After the blue I place a natural/skin tone colour from the top of the crease of my lid up to the brow. I blend it into the blue colour. So my eyes are never really 'out there' when it comes to eye shadow, especially not for day wear. I am pretty basic.

After the eye shadow I apply liner. I alternate between a pencil, liquid and mineral depending on what I grab and how much time I have. As you will see in the photo below, my eye liner is not perfect because I cannot see what I am doing with bad eye sight. It is always a guess and usually turns out ok.

I just glide the pencil along my lid, right near the eye lashes. I just do a thin line for during the day.

Once the eyeliner is done I apply lash primer to my eye lashes then the mascara. I always wear black.

After the eyes are done I do the lips. For me it is simply a matter of applying lipstick, then some gloss. With the lipstick I start in the middle of my lips then glide to the left, go back to the middle and glide to the right. I do that on both the top and bottom lips and that is how I apply lip gloss too.

If I feel a little pale (doesn't always happen because I have a fairly red face), I apply a sweep of bronzer on my cheek bones for blush. I always do it in a barely there fashion, so essentially my brush has only a hint of colour and I apply it on the top of my cheek bone brushing down towards my lips, but only for about 1 - 2 inches.

This is actually the make-up I did for my brothers recent wedding, where I wore the dress I made myself.

See? I'll show how to do the hair in another tutorial later. It's pretty easy.

Doing your make-up doesn't need to be hard or a long process. I am all for simplifying things like this, especially when you have kids. 

As for the products I use, most of them are Mirenesse that I got for free ages ago and a lot of it will bee updated soon.

Here they are:
Face primer is Mirenesse absolutely firm treatment primer, but I use to use Napoleon Auto Pilot before I got this for free. Once it has run out I will go back to Napoleon 
Concealer is Mirenesse Icon Sealer 24hr concealer
Foundation is L'oreal VisibleLift in Ivory
Mineral powder and bronzer are both Bella Terra, but the labels have worn so I don't know their colours.
Eye primer is Mireness Sexy Secret Eye Primer which I got for free and I never used an eye primer before but it really does help to make my eye make-up last longer and stay in place.
Eye Shadows vary but mostly are Bella Terra or Mirenesse. With Bella Terra I use #6 - Serenity, # 32 Dreamscape and #3 Sand. With Mirenesse I use the idol eye lift palettes.
Eyeliner is Mirenesse Ebony and Nude/Rose - the Auto Eye/Lip Liner Duet
Mascara primer is Mirenesse 4D Secret Lash Evolution Primer Maximum Lash Extension
Mascara I have loved Maxfactor Great Lash for years.
Lipstick is Mirenesse most of the label has gone but I can read it says 24 Guntar and is in a silver tube with a diamond on top.
Lip Gloss is not pictured, but my favourite is Glam Shine from L'oreal.

Just because this is what I use, doesn't mean you need to buy them to do your make-up. With make-up you need to find what works best for you. I highly recommend using a primer, a sponge and some good  brushes at the very least.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

DIY bedhead and bedsides from old crates

This past week thanks to Pinterest I decided to make a bedhead and as I was making it realised I could do matching bedside tables from 2 old wooden crates I had. These crates had been used before, one as a toy box and the other as a desk, but they had not been used for a while and were sitting in the garage. 

I used 1.5 crates, laquer and nails all from our garage, so the it was all free. I made the bedspread too, but need to do the other pillow case and the European cases to complete it. I will be raising the bed head when that is done.

This is a close up of the bedside table. I am considering putting a basket or something under each one for storage. I really love how it all turned out.

The room is not finished, it needs to be painted (half done), and I plan on varnishing the inside of the other crate used in my old desk so it can be a book shelf in the corner of my room. I can't wait to do that. I also worked out how to turn an old pine single bed we have sitting in the garage into the dining table I have always wanted, so I am looking forward to doing that and sharing it too. Unfortunately, I sprained my ankle badly last night and the Dr said 1 week bedrest, so no projects, but I do have loads of tutorials from make-up to craft to share on here, which I will do this week.

I do have pictures of the steps I took to make the bedhead and bedside. I'll be sharing a how to once I transfer all the pictures, so hopefully tonight or tomorrow.

Now, since my room is not complete, I would love opinions on what I should put above my bedhead (or anything else if you like). I have 9ft ceilings, so the walls in our house look big and bare a lot of the time. Thoughts?