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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Homemade fingerpaint in awesome crafty jars

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Homemade fingerpaint in awesome crafty jars

We visited my sister’s family in Gloucester this past weekend, glamping (well, it was in a caravan and we had bunting?) in their paddock. Ooh, twas lovely chilling with them all, apart from the incessant rain and freezingness. Instead of celebratory Easter Eggs I took them home made finger paints –  something that might fuel their imaginations rather than their existing bouncing off walls tendancy (this is still edible though, Ramona reveals every time she uses them!)

A little while ago Louise from Sew Scrumptious posted about these most amazing jar lids she had crafted up. I duly tucked it away in my mind’s craft drawer and have been searching for little figures ever since. My heart leapt into my throat and my hands got the shakes (you don’t have this reaction when pouncing on a proper bargain?) when I nabbed this WHOLE BAG of little fellas for £2 at a car boot last week.

Red Ted Art (kids craft queen) posted a recipe for home made finger paints a wee while ago. It is just a few ingredients and I always have them in my kitchen. I have a great love of this kind of easy crafting and avoidance of toxins.

Together I reckon they made an awesome pressy. (You are allowed to say that if the ideas weren’t yours, eh?)

The Finger Paints

1/2 tsp spoon salt

1 cup corn flour

3 tbs spoons sugar

2 cups water

Beat it all together in a pan while heating over a hot element. When thickened allow to cool. Pour into jars and add a couple of drops of food colouring.

The jars

I used Barts Fairtrade spices jars, a nice little size.

Spray paint lids and figures seperately with a white under coat.

Keeping them seperate give them a few licks of a bright acrylic paint.

Using super glue or a hot glue gun stick the figures onto your lid.

GIVE IT UP FOR EASY CRAFTS ALL AROUND THE WORLD!

PS Unfortunately my little gift didn’t survive the bus, tube and train to Glasterr and the Cowboys and Indians had escaped the lids taking some paint with them.  Woe, WOE, me. And my sis who has to superglue them back on. I have adjusted the directions to prevent this happening to yourself.

PPS I am a day late (blaming WordPress, the ratbags) but am linking this up with the other Magpies at Liz’s Magpie Monday celebration

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Eggs are for life not just for Easter: weird alternatives to shampoo

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It’s been 3 months since I washed my hair (to the tune of Barenaked Ladies, obvs)- and I have finally decided my days of shampoo are gone forever.

Of course, I haven’t  given up washing it all together  – I have just let go of the shampoo element; my latest move in the name of eco-thrift.

My last update revealed me to be in a bit of a pickle about it – all that vinegar (geddit), all that bicarb, was stripping out my gingeryness. So I have been doing some eggsperimenting. (You’ll have to just excuse/ admire all these ace puns for a while I’m afraid.)

By way of introduction, can we just have a moment to focus on eggs on the whole? Fried eggs, poached eggs. Key ingredient in cakes and other baking. What about a quiche? Man alive, I love a quiche.  What a completely underrated thing an egg is.

But how about eggs and hair? For real. They are the cats whiskers for your locks. I know! Total disbelief eh? I, too, couldn’t believe it. Never one to rest in my skepticism I cracked on with it. I mixed one in a little bowl and applied to my wet hair whilst in the shower, working it into my scalp and ends. I left it on for a few minutes then rinsed it off with luke warm water. It felt lush! A bit wrong too, like I was having some kind of intimate food fight. But my hair felt like silk with all that egg dripping off it. (Bahaha, I just know this making some of you vomit a tiny bit.)

Image

This is after 4 days since the egg wash. CHeck out Ramona in the background, she has just learnt to blow her nose. Way too cute.

I dried my hair as I normally do, brushing it through as with my blow drier and I was instantly impressed with the results. Shiny, thick, soft. Since leaving behind my shampoo days my hair has never been so volumous, and it is growing at Rapunzel rates – things that suggest to me the natural way is the healthiest way.

I got 5 days of nice clean hair (including one water only wash a couple of days after) and then had to wear a scarf for the last two days, which were just a little too oily for me. This is the pattern for all my shampoo alternatives – 5 days of good, 2 days of bad. But I am really trying to get into a once a week habit, my hair WILL submit eventually I am sure. Having two days where you are motivated to wear a scarf is an excellent thing I reckon, I do love a nice scarf. And 5 days of clean hair is miles more then pre-experiment. I really only had 48 hours of nice hair, max.

At 35p a pop (yeah, we get the super happy, free range, organic as you can get variety) eggs as an alternative are a little eggspensive, but the sunny side (Up) is that you will likely have them in your kitchen so they’ll make a fab emergency shampoo.

This Easter, why not give it a crack? I’d love to hear about it. Even if you are in love with your shampoo, I do recommend giving this a go, just to help your esteem of eggs along a bit. And to give your hair a bit of a natural treatment. (Of course, all hair is different- it might totally fail on you. Don’t be ashamed, or take it too personally.)

PS I am also testing out a bit of clay as another alternative. I will update about that soon too. Sorry these updates aren’t more regular, I know you are fascinated, but when you only wash it once a week it is quite slow progress.

My tiny tyrant? Feminism and attachment parenting

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Er. Ramona has a new thing. It involves calling my breasts baps. “BAPS! BAPS!” she yells as she pats my mammary glands.

It isn’t particularly pleasing – clearly she is spending too much time in the company of those objectifying truck drivers and sweaty sexist builders. (Must get new baby sitters.)

I am currently wrapping my aching brain around the concept of feminist motherhood. (Yeah. One who loves a dash of fashion, who staggers towards bra-off-o-clock every evening, because, shiver my timbers, I do have to wear that thing most of the day.) I am wrapping; embracing it, wrestling with it, assuming it.

For these first 17 months of Ramona’s life I sat a little uneasily- kind of comfortable on the sofa of my new mummydom, but with a pesky toy car under my thigh- this small sticky sense that being a mother was gobbling me up;  my other identity, my desires, ambitions, hobbies.

Credit: The Radical Housewife

It is AMAZING that becoming a parent does that to you- you suddenly realise that you think NOTHING of yourself in comparison to your baby, without one single doubt you would put aside everything just to love them. Knowing that you have an intrinsic goodness, an inherent ability to sacrifice all of you– that is a pretty incredible human experience.

But, in practice it is the mother that actually tends to do that. Especially so when practicing attachment parenting, I genuinely do reckon that the first year of a baby’s life is like a second gestation. They need us, they want us, to be there every moment, our nipples in mouths. For most, daddies just don’t cut it. (Although, there is one society where moobs/ daddy breasts will dosome even lactating?!)

And in practice is really does have an impact on our empowered selves. This nurse all night, lugging on backs, mothering option we choose can seem to subsume who we are, our newborn tyrants rejecting the space we have carved out as Women with Rights .

Yet at the same time, there is a freedom in it -it allows us to get on with life. To go where we need to go, heedless of nap time and nursing  schedule. Attachment parenting turns its back on normal parenting structures, built by “experts” and imposed onto already guilty and harassed parents.

Blue Milk (brilliant blog, must read!) suggests another place that attachment parenting and feminism meet. Attachment parenting is about treating your child as if they too have rights, respecting their personhood, regardless of anything (in a child’s case, them being so small) – an idea central to feminism.

There isn’t quite enough nuance involved in mothering conversations, don’t you think? I am an attachment parent, I buy whole heartedly into the principles and have practiced nothing but. However, a lot of non-nuanced attachment parenting  philosophy would despair at me going back to work. When in fact, despite it being one of the hardest decisions to make, turns out to be one of the best I have made.

I work 2.5 days a week, my husband the same, and we share work and parenting equally, an ideal situation. And something I never thought would ever, ever happen has happened I am enjoying it as much as I used to pre-Ramona. For real, I didn’t think it could happen. Maternity leave was AWESOME, I felt fulfilled mothering but had the opportunity to get involved with Occupy London and spent days hanging out with other activist mamas. Being a full time mother has huge, under rated, potential for world changeyness.

And yet here I am now, loving my days at work as much as I love my days at home. I love my colleagues, the activists I work with, the campaigns I work on.

And it allows me to be who I am- which is exactly the person Ramona needs me to be.

A recent F Word article by Jane Chelliah heralded a new groups called Outlaw Mothers – “An outlaw mother is an empowered mother who believes that her personal self-fulfilment is a key enabler of her child’s happiness”. I love that – I am so in.

I am going to be thinking about this a bit more… with some posts in the pipe line imaginatively called “Routine Schmoutine” and “Rules Schmules”. Hehe.

Meanwhile I am off to see if I can teach Ramona how to say “Mamm-a- ry gl -an ds

Oh Farnham! Your forests and fashions!

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Oh my days, oh my days. Farnham, that old Hampshire town, has got it going ON! I had a luxurious day off last Monday and we whizzed on out there, an hour from Waterloo, lured by the charity shops and forests. We trained into Bentely where we hopped off the train, straight into woodlands and tramped along up to Alice Holts woods for some more forestry fun.

We love getting out of London, romping in the wilderness but we also (as you maaaay have gathered) love charity shopping. We hopped back on the train for one stop and headed down the road from the station into Farnham town. We were met by two wonderful Oxfam shops on our east, then headed west for the rest. I mean, like, there are a gazillion.

I knew the charity shop lollipop ladies were shining on me, clearing my path towards the treasure, as I found little item after little item that MATCHED THE OUTFIT I WAS WEARING! I was just adding to my outfit as I went along. So pleased am I with the accessories I am jolly well entering the whole shebang in to Style Eye’s Ethical Outfit comp. I love ethical fashion, I think our beautiful world depends on us finding harmless ways to please our aesthetics,  and I love how second hand shopping allows you to get creative with zero impact on the earth. If you love fashion you should keep in touch with Ceri’s fab blogging. 

Scarf: £2 Cancer Research Farnham (It is slightly too silky though- any good tricks to keep the slippery ones stuck on?)

Belt: £1 British Heart Foundation Farnham

Cardigan: Cancer Research Farnham (they have TWO cancer Research shops too- can you adam and eve it)

Shoes: £4 Oxfam Bromley

Blue Top: £3 Fara Pimlico – This was a size 14 but I just sewed the seams in by a couple of cm’s and it worked a treat. I feel now that the whole range of charity shop goodness, big and small,  is open to my sewing frenzy clutches.

Bird Earrings: 50p from Cruisaid Pimlico

Retro Skirt: £1 jumble sale.  This was a lot longer but I savagely hacked off the bottom, knowing I’d get more wear out of a shorter one

This cardi is a lovely vintage St Michaels number. A St Michaels label adds a certain retro calibre compared to M & S, don’t you think? I do love this black cardi, but it is 100% Nylon. What with the polyester skirt I couldn’t touch anyone all day without giving them an electric shock.

I also picked up these beautiful retro jars from Oxfam which just about made my day. I love the typeface and the fact they are Made in England, like St Michaels I tend to see  Made in England stuff as a certain vintage. Tim’ll be like “Lucy, they’re just ugly nineties pots” and I’ll be like “Uhhh, don’t think soooo- Made in England, see.”

(If anyone knows anything about England’s historical and present making industries and would like to clear this up for us, please do. ) (If I’m right, of course.)

As ever on a Monday I’m also linking up to the totes marv Liz and her Magpies! You must go and swoon at all their secondhand swag.