Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Ice-Pack Bed Coolers

The heat in the UK has been crazy lately! The humidity has been so high it feels like the air itself is sweating. Trying to sleep in weather like this is a real challenge, but I have a simple little tutorial here that can help. A simple pillowcase-style towelling cover turns an ice pack into a fabulous 'cold water bottle' to help you keep your cool between the sheets ;-)

All you need is an old towel, or piece of towelling approx. 18" x 6" (45cm x 15cm), and an ice pack like you would use in a cooler for a picnic.

First you need to cut your towel to size. 18" x 6" should be big enough for most picnic ice packs, but check you have enough room on each side for a seam allowance, and an inch or so overlap at the top. If you're cutting up an old towel try to make use of the neatly edged hem for one of your short edges, it will save on sewing later!
Next, turn over the unfinished short edge and hem it. I made this cover by hand but if I had bothered to get my machine out I would have zig-zagged it to strengthen it and help prevent fraying.
Now you need to pin the fold-over top in place. With the right side facing out, position your sewn hem almost level with the top of the ice pack, then fold the towel hem over and pin in place. Slip the ice pack out through the open side, turn the fabric wrong side out and stitch the seams.

And that's it ~ done! All you need to do is turn your cover right-side out, get your ice-pack from the freezer, and tuck it down under the sheets. The ice-pack will keep you nice and cool, while the towelling cover will soak up any condensation so you don't end up wetting the bed ;)

 Sweet Dreams!

Monday, 22 July 2013

A Paper Prince


Today a new heir to the Throne was born! The little Prince, whose name is yet to be announced, was born at 4.24pm and weighed a healthy 8lbs 6oz.

If you, like me, are all of a tizz with the news, well what better way to celebrate than by making a paper copy of the new family! Simply click here to download and print off your copy, then you too can have a lovely time snipping and folding, tongue poking out of the corner of your mouth in concentration.

Hip hip Hooray!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Thrifted Glamor Cabinet

My local wool shop is having a refit next week, so I set off bright and early this morning to see what bargains could be had in their clear-out sale. I was expecting (and found) some lovely balls of wool, some beads, and a couple of gift sets, but without a doubt my best find was this awesome vintage button cabinet:

It needs a little tlc but has so much character and will be perfect for keeping all my craft supplies in one place.

It's even got adorable little rickety wheels!

I haven't decided yet if I want to sand it down and paint it, or stain it, or just take the stickers off the front and tidy it up a little.

What would you do?

Friday, 19 July 2013

Let's not pave Paradise

I live in a city that's chock-full of terraced housing, mainly Victorian and Edwardian. Most of them have nothing but a small forecourt in the front, with space enough for a couple of bins or a well-padlocked bike. But there are a few streets which have a small garden space at the front of their property. Some have a little hedge, or some plants in pots, but very few have any lawn any more ~ they've been paved, bricked or gravelled over, either to provide extra parking space, or just because the owners don't want the hassle of dragging a mower through the house to keep it looking tidy. And while I sympathise with them (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned just how lazy my ass is!) it does make me sad that we're concreting over so much of the world. There has to be a better way!

And then, while out walking my dog, I discovered that someone has found that better way, and put it into action . . .

Turn your front yard into a mini meadow!

No mowing, no concrete, just a beautiful little meadow outside your window which looks good, smells good, and provides lots of lovely flowers for bees and butterflies!

I only have a tiny forecourt in front of my house, but if I ever get a big enough space I will be shamelessly copying this idea.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Summertime, and the lollies are easy

Summer has arrived here in the UK in a BIG way ~ it feels like the first summer we've had in years! Bakingly blue skies, and heat that presses you down into your sun-lounger and makes even salad seem like too much hard work.
The kids are constantly wanting ice-creams and ice-pops, and it can get very expensive, not to mention unhealthy! But you don't have to keep on forking out for ice-creams every time Mr Whippy drives by, making your own has never been easier. There are all sorts of cute lolly moulds on the market these days. I got my set in a pound shop, but here are some fancier versions:
These cute bunnies are from the Treloar online charity shop
Silicone Kitchenware sells these lovely bumpy red moulds.

Or if rocket ships are more your thing, fly on over to Ethical Superstore

So now you've got your moulds, here are some quick and easy (and cheap!) ideas for making your own delicious ice lollies:

Fruit Juice ~ I prefer one of the thicker juices to make an ice pop. Try Guava, Lychee or Mango for a sweet fruity pop.

Milkshake ~ Shop bought or homemade, it's easy peasy to make your own mini milks at home.

Smoothie ~ Blend a banana or two with some strawberries (or blueberries, or blackberries, or kiwi, or . . . well, you get the idea!) and enough milk to make a nice creamy consistency.

Fro Yo ~ A large tub of fat-free yoghurt can cost as little as a pound and makes a delicious and creamy lolly. Or how about one of those yoghurty drinks?

Angel Delight ~ This fabulous 70's pudding makes a great iced treat too, just follow the directions on the packet but be sure to pour into the moulds quickly as it sets fast!

So which one will you start with? I put a batch of coconut yoghurt lollies in the freezer this morning, I wonder if they've set yet . . .