Now that my herb garden is more established, this year I’ve been able to make a lot more gifts for other people which are almost entirely homegrown and homemade. It’s always been my plan since we bought our own home to try and aim for as much self-sufficency as possible, and since the budget is absolutely tiny this Christmas, I couldn’t be happier that I made sure to get my herb garden going when I did.
This DIY is really quite simple to make – maybe too simple – but depending on how you wrap it, it can still be a wonderfull home-made gift to give for Christmas which is quick, affordable to make, and feels luxurious.
A little bit closer to Christmas I’m thinking that this year I’d like to do a small series of videos on home made – or partly homemade – gifts. I thought I’d test out that idea today with a tea set I put together for my brothers birthday.
Putting together gifts for people is something I absolutely LOVE doing. So between this small series and the giveaways I have planned for Christmas on my Patreon and for my mailing list subscribers, it should be a really good gift-themed batch of videos.
What I Featured In The Video :
Cast iron tea cups from eBay • Tea warmer from eBay • Cardboard suitcase from TKMax • Glass storage pots from Tesco • Black chalk paint from Frenchic • White Ink Paint (affiliate link) • Paint Herbs from my garden
While I don’t think I’ll be making a video all about how to grow a SCOBY for your Kobmucha any time soon – there are far better videos than I can make already out there – today I did want to talk a little bit all about what I do with the SCOBY once it becomes a bit too big for the jar.
SCOBY: Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast
This year has been warm, and as a result, my SCOBY has grown to an absolutely monstrous size and I need to aggressively cut it back. There’s so much of it that I can put half in the compost bin (it’s amazing for the compost) and the other half I can turn into a probiotic fruit roll which my little one loves! Possibly because he thinks it’s a sweet, but I’m not about to let him know that he’s wrong about that.
It’s been a while since I did anything with gesso. I used it two years ago in my Please Don’t Cry piece, and I’ve been itching to try using again since then.
The process I used in this video where I just used the gesso is probably the most time consuming method you could use. If you want to thicken up the gesso and not layer quite so much you can add flour, plaster of Paris or even wood glue to the mix. My favourite mix is to do 1/3 gesso, 1/3 flour and 1/3 wood glue. It’s so much thicker and the wood glue makes it quite forgiving and pliable.
Learning how to re-use and re-purpose items has become somewhat of a daily game for me. It’s something that I absolutely love doing, both for the challenge and for the money-saving aspect. I really got into this when I was in University studying graphic design and it really hit me just how many things are just marketing. It costs more to buy an empty bottle than to buy it full of herbs and re-ue it later.
Another thing that struck me is how many lovely reusable items are just discarded. A perfect example are the small demijohns that my cider comes in. The bottles are beautiful, there are so many ways to re-use them and decorate with them, the cider itself is only a five pounds, but if I wanted to buy a demijohn bottle brand new without cider in it I could easily spend between £8-£16. It just seems a little insane to me that it is that way, so today I wanted to talk about my favourite up-cycles.
I clearly have a thing for eyes. I don’t know why, but eyes are just something I could draw, paint and mould all-day, every day. There’s something so fascinating about them, and Halloween is the perfect time to turn my obsession into a craft project.
If you wanted you could add a lot more eyes than I did, and one trick that I didn’t show here (but will in a future video) is how you can use marbles to create a glass eyeball effect that is amazingly creepy in low light.
After completely refurbishing the downstairs toilet the next step was the details. I’m not a huge fan of rushing to do projects all in one go. It’s far to0 stressful, time-intensive, and (I think) leads to snap bad decisions that are made with the goal of finishing a project as quickly as possible rather than doing it well once.
Now that everything big was done it was time to tackle details and decor. I had hoped to paint a beautiful gold fern pattern on the green wall, but I ended up scrapping that idea and saving it for a later date so I could do it calmly and make a template for people to download if they wanted. So that will be saved for next time, but for today I wanted to get started on the built-in shelf under the sink, painting the walls, paint stripping the shelf, and adjusting the new towel rail. Adding all the little details that make a big difference.
I’m really enjoying the more chatty videos lately. It’s nice to just sit down and talk about things that I love, and hunting down second-hand items is something I’ve been doing ever since I was little and I’m still obsessed with it. I think my siblings and I must have hunted through hundreds of charity shops when we were younger, and now with sites like Gumtree, eBay and Facebook marketplace, I can look around even more for some really beautiful things, and I don’t even have to move. Just like my last favorites video, this one is a long one, so grab a tea first, sit back and feel free to listen to me blab about things that I love.
And finally, the last project that had to get done before little bean arrived, the wardrobe. When I originally started planning this one months ago I had intended to do the work myself, but as I got more and more pregnant, I decided it wasn’t worth the stress or the insane time investment it would take when I could just hire an actual carpenter to do it properly. It was worth every bloomin’ penny! I now have an organized, functional wardrobe that only took two days of disruption to make, and I can finally get started on my capsule wardrobe series in the next few months.
There a still details I need to add. The carpenter still has to install the coving, I need to make shoe racks for both of us and figure out a pretty and practical way to display my hats so I remember to wear them, but the basic bones of the thing is finally done!
In case I haven’t mentioned it already, I love my house. Corazon and I bought our first house two years ago, and even though it’s come with an absolute myriad of issues (boiler and faulty roof, I’m looking at you) I love my house. It’s mine, and every day we add small improvements here and there that make it better. Today I thought I’d talk about those improvements.
Links to items mentioned:
(please note that Amazon links are affiliate links)