Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cleaning out the bathroom cabinet

It's not only baby who doesn't need all those products. I just commented the following on this US
blog about saving the environment from home. Then I thought, sustainable parents need this advice too:

Here’s a tip for not buying face cleanser or moisturiser. Have you olive oil in the cupboard? Almond oil? Do you have roses growing in the garden? Pick some rose petals and infuse them in the almond oil for a few weeks, shaking daily. Then strain and put in a disused cosmetic bottle. This is your facial oil (moisturiser).

Now for the cleanser. Wet your face and tip a bit of olive oil (food grade is fine) on your hand. Massage this over your face. It feels great! Wipe it mostly off with a warm damp facecloth. Now rub in your rose oil. Maybe if you have oily skin you can skip the rose oil altogether. However I find it great for my fairly dry and damaged skin (and what Australian past the flush of youth doesn't have damaged skin?).

No chemicals, no preservatives, parabens or sulphates. And no extra packaging!

If you have rose essential oil you can add this to the rose-infused oil. That way you don't forgo the pampering factor! It smells divine.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Warm fingerless mitts from old woollen jumpers

I blogged earlier about making nappy covers from felted woollen jumpers, and using leftovers to make mittens for babies. Here is a way to use the arms from the jumpers to make the warmest fingerless mitts out!

1. Take the jumper sleeves and cut them to the length you want. Pin them to the narrowness you want around your wrists.

Now stitch or overlock this seam.

2. Cut a hole in the stitching along the seam, right up near the cuff of the sleeve (this is for your thumb to poke out, so measure where you would like the finger part of the mitt to come to)

If the wool is properly felted (see earlier blog) you don't need to hem it as it won't fray.
Your finished mitts!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Making pants

Making pants for a toddler/young child is so easy, as they are all straight up-and-down, no inconvenient curves like adults.

I blogged earlier about cutting out pants from an existing pair, onto an old t-shirt.

But if, like me, you have already used up all your old t-shirts, sometimes you need to use new fabric! (shock, horror).

Anyway, the principle is the same. Just turn the existing pair of pants inside out and fold the pant legs together so that the crotch is clearly visible. You then cut around it.

I always cut with an extra inch or so around (apart from the seam allowance) so that there is room for your child to grow!

These were from new fabric, but used a recycled applique :) This cute duck was made by a friend of my mother's for her children, forty years ago! I just went around it in zigzag stitch.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Removing pesticides from produce with vinegar

In my book I explain why it's always better to buy organic.

But sometimes it's not really practical.

Affordability, availability, and sometimes freshness, are not always maximised with organic produce, depending on where you live.

I blogged earlier about minimising your pesticide consumption by buying smart.

The other way is to wash the produce in vinegar.

I'm not sure of the chemistry-based reason why this works, but it's been around for generations. Just soak fruit and vegetables in a mixture of vinegar and water (1 part vinegar to 9 parts cold water) for five minutes (scrub with a brush if something hard like a potato or apple) then rinse in plain cold water.

Any vinegar will do; I recommend the plain white vinegar you can buy in bulk.

For obvious reasons, this method doesn't work with mushrooms (which are better wiped rather than washed) and soft fruits like berries, which just soak up the vinegar.

A caveat is that some pesticides permeate the skin, so this method won't be fail-safe; neither will it help if the pesticides are beneath a waxy coating - you know, like you often find on supermarket apples.