This year has been awful. Pretty sure that is a universal feeling at the moment, so this year I want to go all out with the Christmas decorations. All the colours, all the wreaths and all the Christmas cheer I can get.
It’s the first time making a proper wreath and, I have to say, I’m really quite pleased with it! I recently decluttered my craft supplies and set myself a challenge of using up all the random items I had (like feathers) some of which I’ve had sitting there for eight years! Some of them are already in the front door wreath and the rest will be added into the other garlands I’ll be making around the house.
I also have to make the crib decorations (a stable and some mountains with adjustable parts so I can change it each year). It’s going to be a busy but fun few weeks!
Last year I made an absolute abomination of a Christmas wreath that was barely little more than old jewellery necklaces knotted together in a clump. It looked awful. So this year I’ve bought a proper metal frame for a wreath and started making the props I would need for it. One of the things I wanted to include so that there was a contrast with the spiky fir and holly leaves were some cotton flowers. Only problem is that it’s not exactly a native plant – far too wet and cold all the time. If I wanted it I would need to make a fake version, so that’s what I did.
It’s quite easy, quick and should be an affordable way to add another beautiful detail to your decor.
Back when I did the Camino de Santiago one of the few beauty related items I brought with me was a tiny tin of home made hair balm. It was much simpler than this, just beeswax and evening primrose oil, but it was an absolute lifesaver. That year there had been a series of forest-fires in Portugal (which my sisters ended up getting caught up in a few of them), it was very, very hot, but after two weeks of the heat I had a ton of new growth and barely any split ends.
For some silly reason, after I got back, I stopped being in the habit of applying a balm to the ends of my hair, and I definitely noticed the difference. So this year, since I want to start growing my hair waist long, I’m determined to get back into taking a little more care of my hair and I thought I’d start by making a slightly improved version of the original hair balm I made.
After how utterly crap this year has been, I’m so ready for Christmas! Last year I promised myself that I would ramp up my Christmas decorations, and so far I’m on track to reaching that goal. I have several different garlands planed, a large front door wreath and many, many diy’s in the works. As usual, my Patreon supporters are about a month ahead for content, but over December I’ll be releasing all the Christmas DIY tutorials for people to recreate.
One of the things I need to challenge myself on too is to keep the budget for these as close to zero as possible, and try to re-use or use up supplies I already have. I have two different ways to make berries, this way which I’ll be showing you today, and another which I’ll include later for slightly smaller berries using just wire, flour, water, slat, sugar and paint.
I’m sure I’m not the only one this happens to, but one of the things that always happens to me post-partum is my hair get’s really waxy at the roots. Not oily, waxy. It feels awful and last time it happened I experimented with various vinegar hair rinses to deal with it. This time I’m prepared, and I thought I would share it with you.
What I’m using:
Apple Cider Vinegar – I have a tutorial on how to make this here. Some people have asked if you can use white vinegar in your hair instead. Personally, I wouldn’t advise it. White vinegar is a lot stronger than apple cider vinegar and is too rough on your hair, in my opinion.
Bay Leaves– Astringent, bactericidal, antiseptic, fungicidal.
Nettle leaves – If I was going for the proper traditional part of the plant to use here I should really be using the roots, but I only just planted my nettle patch and I’m in no hurry to dig it back up again until I have a LOT more growing where I want them too, so for the moment I’ll be using a few of the leaves in stead. It’s rich in silica, sulfur, and iron (all great for the hair) and full of antioxidants.
Sage – If you’re into herbal remedies, sage is one of those absolute essentials to have. I know some people like to cook with it – personally I think it tastes disgusting – so I mainly use it for skin and haircare. It’s an astringent, antiseptic, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory.
Long story short, I’m starting to be able to tolerate sugar less and less in my diet, and I’m NOT happy about it.
I’m already really limited in what I can eat with gluten, soy, cinnamon, clove, aubergine, aniseed and nutmeg being complete no-go’s, and now it looks like sugar is trying to join the club. I’m trying not to make a bad situation worse, so for the moment I’m on a strict no-sugar streak except for special ocassions. You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to Christmas, there’s a pack of cookies with my name on them! But in the meantime, I’ve actually managed to make something delicious which is sugar-free and doesn’t taste like cardboard.
What You’ll Need:
250 g Tapioca Flour
250g Almond Flour
250g Oat Flour
250g Desiccated Coconut
If you want to add a few more ingredients to this you can also add 1-2 ripe bananas (they have to be ripe) and vanilla extract. Of course, if you’re not sensetive to sugar feel free to substitute the honey for sugar or brown sugar. You can also double or half this recipe without any issues. I’ve tried this recipe where I’ve doubled or even tripled the amounts and it’s tasted just as good.
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.