Monday 31 August 2015

Adjusting the rag rug loom

Welcome to Tracey via here.

As I have been working, it became apparent that some adjustments were needed to the loom. The rubber feet put on the back of the top and bottom to protect the wall, were actually causing more damage. Off they came to be replaced by this arrangement:
That seems to work better. Watching video's on rag rug twining, most people seem to sit down but then, their looms are shorter and wider than mine, I prefer to stand. This poses another problem as eventually, the weaving becomes too low down for comfort so some sort of legs are needed to be able to adjust the loom upwards. This is a temporary measure whilst DB sorts out what to do:
It isn't quite high enough so now as I work my way towards the middle, it is stood on a chair which is a little too high. Ah well, once I finish this rug, DB will do the legs (which will be detachable) and that should work better.

As it is, the RSI injury to my left wrist from weaving has become quite painful so whether I can get it finished at the moment, will be another matter.

Joining the rag strips together leaves a lot of ends showing:

so the video recommended buying some arterial forceps:
DB has sawn off one of the locking bits so I can open and close it as I go. Pushing them through from the back allows me to grab bits and pull them through to the back. Also any showing on the back can be pulled tighter. I think you can sew or weave them in once the rug is released.

Friday 28 August 2015

Update on trial of honey and oil for my face

Once a day for the past fortnight, I have been using my own made up facial moisturising oil, as well as a twice a day raw honey cleaner. A couple of spoonful's of honey have been decanted into a separate container so we can also eat the honey from the jar! You can read more about it here

What do I think? I have to say I am quite impressed!

A headband is used to pull hair off my face before applying the honey first thing in the morning. I leave it on for up to 5 minutes before rinsing off with cold water (can't be bothered to wait for the hot and use up my metered water!) This routine is repeated around 8pm each evening; washing my hands first to make sure I don't introduce any microbes into the honey.

As the days went on, it became obvious that my partially set honey would be easier to apply to a slightly damp face. I smeared a few lines of water on my face as part of the hand rinsing routine. If you were using liquid honey I don't think this problem would arise.

After a few days my skin felt different. I have normal skin which is usually slightly greasy first thing in the morning. Now my face is devoid of grease except for a light coating around the nose. I couldn't determine if my skin was fine or slightly dry but I kept on anyway. Now, a fortnight on my skin feels lovely, moisturised, clean, refreshed and definitely different even if I am failing to put it into words.

I haven't been putting the oil on in the evening as I was afraid it would be too much for my skin and I might get spotty. I'm still not sure whether to or not although previously I never used night cream so for now, I might leave it.

The oil is applied after my morning honey clean. The bottle is shaken well before 8 drops are put onto the palm of one hand before applying in dabs over my face and neck. Again, for a few days it took a little while to disappear and I gently blotted it with a tissue around my hair line so I could remove the headband! Now, I don't need to do it and the headband can be removed within 5 minutes of applying it.

For now I am going to stick with this as it seems to be working very well. Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Giving your blog that personal touch - adding a photograph to the top of it

We are travelling today, so I prepared this post earlier!

One of the reasons some blog's take a long time to load, is either a huge photograph at the top of it or a particular post is photo heavy and the images have been loaded in the size they were taken, which can be very large. My camera for instance produces photographs around 45cm x 25cm, way to big for a blog. Another problem with adding them so large is that it eats up your free storage space.

If possible try to adjust your photographs to about 15cm x 10cm (landscape) or the other way around if portrait. If you don't have a programme such as Photoshop Elements, Photoshop or other such software that came with your computer, don't despair, there are free sites on the web for you to try, such as these:

one here
or here

plus many more. I haven't tried them out but have tried to chose ones where you don't, at first glance, have to register or give out your email!

Anyhow, onto the tutorial, putting your photograph into your blog header.

First of all, go to your home page, the one where you can read new posts by those you follow etc. Towards the top you will find this box, click on the little downward facing arrow:

It will bring you to a new screen, on the left of which is this area. Now click Layout:
You will arrive at a screen which shows the full layout of your blog. I have only posted the bit at the top. On mine, where it says Header, Frugal in Norfolk (Header), you will notice in blue, the word Edit, click on it:
This screen will open:
You can see on this screen shot, taken a couple of days ago, I still had my old image. In blue, where it says remove image, click it. This screen will appear:
I had my image ready and saved on my desktop. Click where it says From your computer Browse...
then go and find the picture you want. Click on it then at the bottom right of your screen, click open. This screen appears, which is very similar to the flower one before but now your new image is showing

I always have the top button pressed which is show and says "Behind title and description", but you could click either of the other two:
At the bottom left of the above screen you will see Save, click it.

This will bring you back to your blog layout screen, the top right of which is this:

Press Save arrangement, then go view your blog. Your new picture should be present.

I hope this all makes sense to you and that the photo resizing sites I have given, will be useful!

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Changing colours

Before I started the rag rug, I could have sworn I had enough of each colour to finish it. The answer to that would be a no!

Top 1/6th and bottom 1/6th had green in, I then began the next two portions only to find just a bit of green left and far too short to be of any use. Ah well, nothing for it but to change colour, which would have meant a trip to a local charity shop.

DB however, remembered he had seen some blue material up in the loft and brought it down. It was a little darker than I would have wanted but once it weaves it way throughout the rest of the rug, I think it will be okay.

I have also remembered that every time I change ends, to re-jig my rolls of fabric to stop definate pattern formation. Anyway, here with the new colour plus another 10 strips of each colour wound onto cardboard tubes:

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Body Lotion err no!

The first thing I attempted to make, was a half trial size body 'lotion' from here  She has some amazing products for everything!

I have never used/smelt Shea Butter, so bought unrefined organic, not realising it has a far stronger smell, which I am not too keen on at all! Ah well, you live and learn! Her recipe was adjusted to suit the age of my skin, in particular, reducing the number of drops of aromatherapy oils - see information at the end of this post. If you decide to have a go, I suggest you do your research, especially with regard to the aromatherapy oils as well as any sensitivity to any of the products:

Herewith photographs of it being made - weighed Shea Butter put on a low heat to melt:

Adding the oil -I chose Apricot Kernel Oil:
Carefully stirred to combine. The pan then went into the freezer on top of a folder tea towel for the recommended time. It was removed after 15 minutes when it was changing colour:
Essential aromatherapy oils (EAO) were added - half of what she recommended for my skin age: It was blended slowly using an electric whisk until it changes to a cream colour but was still slightly soft at this stage:
Her instructions said to blend for 1 - 2 minutes or there about and it is difficult to know when to stop. I decided when I could just discern 'ribbon strands' in the mixture and it had changed to a cream colour. After detaching my whisk and knocking off and product, this happened when I went to transfer it, showing I had over-whisked it:
Absolutely solid - Doh!

Not to be outdone, it was put back onto a gentle heat to re-melt, put back into the freezer until it changed to an opaque tone. Then I began whisking it again, this time in short bursts, probably 20 seconds or so, until it was cream coloured but still quite mobile! I waited for a day or so to see how it behaved, whether it would separate out again etc.

It didn't separate but is absolutely solid once cold, so it is not a lotion! It eventually 'melts' when you take out a little and rub it between your fingers before applying to your skin. I did a 24 hour test patch on my inner forearm for safety before using.

The following morning I attempted to use it on my face. Once a little of the solid cream had been rubbed on my fingers (taking it out of the jar with a spatula to help prevent introducing microbes), I applied it. Several hours later, it was still slowly absorbing and my face felt very greasy which was not a nice feeling. In the end I wiped it off:(

Taking everything into consideration, I would consider this a body butter rather than a lotion. I really hate the smell so have decided to use it on my feet, especially the heel area! I shan't be making it again but luckily it used up all my shea butter so that's good! Onwards and upwards!

Herewith some interesting information garnered from the web,  on how many drops of essential aromatherapy oil (EAO) should be put in home-made products depending on your age or the age of the person who would use them. For example, most charts appear to recommend:

1% Solution: For babies, children under 3 and those over 65:
5 ml of base  =  1 drop of EAO
1 oz of base = 5-6 drops of EAO

2% Solution - For children over 3 and those under 65:
5 ml of base = 2 drops EAO
1 oz base = 10-12 drops EAO

Final points to consider, with regard to the EAO is this, do they agree with you? If you change to something you like the smell of more, will it agree with you, will it be fine in the sun, is it safe to use whilst pregnant etc. Check out this page, going down to the dermal irritant bit in particular here

Finally, what did it cost? Well, having originally decided to use it for a daily moisturiser on my face, my normal one costs £5 for a small pot. This was £1.95 to make, and by volume (not weight) would have given me 3 pots, so is a lot cheaper!

Using it as a body butter is quite cheap as well. Again by volume, they appear to range in value from £12 to £20 depending on make, for a slightly smaller amount.


Monday 24 August 2015

Light cucumber pickle

We have totally run out of pickle. Feeling in the need for something to add to our sandwiches, we had a go at making this lightly pickled cucumber, the recipe for which can be found here.

What can we say, it does what it says. It is super quick to make and tastes light and bright. As the vinegar is diluted with some water is is not so astringent as some of these quick pickles can be. Here it is:
Just about to add the liquid. We omitted the chilli on this first batch as we wanted to taste it on its own.

It went in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour, then we started eating. It stayed crisp for just under a week, after that period it had lost its crunch but was still lovely. We ate it by the forkful!

Friday 21 August 2015

Welcome and rug update

Welcome to Linzi Sayles via here. I have finished the top section (1/6th) of the rug so thought I would update you with a picture, before it gets turned to begin at the opposite end:
A slight deviation in the levelness of it but that can be adjusted as I work. Once turned, I worked on the next 1/6th piece (the bottom part of the loom before turning). Apparently you are supposed to work from either end and finish in the middle.

I had to get the computer out again just to begin and end the first row, which stretches my patience to breaking point! However, eventually I got it and after that, it gets easier and the end turns become more natural to complete. Herewith some of this bottom portion. However I could have kicked myself as it wasn't until I took the photograph that I realised it is lining up in a pattern which I didn't want:
I have now swapped around two of the colours which should eliminate the strong orange brown ziz zag's a little:(

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 20 August 2015

So, what did I do with the latest...

Batch of wild cherry plums?

Another de-stoned portion was frozen in an ex-Chinese takeaway dish, ready for winter (I have previously done several of these plus some towards a chutney later in the season).

Once they were done and out of the way, the rest were divided. Some went into these crumbles:
The two at the back are just plum, the two in the front, plum and blueberry (from our garden). They were then topped with crumble containing brown sugar and oats:
They were frozen uncooked, again for later in the year. The final lot (plus some more blueberries, went into a cake for DB's recent birthday:
I've just been informed by Bloglovin (rather late after they joined), that I have 3 new followers, Leisha, Knittynutter and Jane Tunley. Welcome to you all and sorry for not saying hello earlier.

Products for my face

All my adult life, I have been washing my face with soap and water, then slavering on moisturiser. I have never been a cleanse and tone sort of person. Recently, I came across these very interesting articles for cleaning your face with honey here then moisturising your face with oil, from here

I know, the second one sounds counter-intuitive doesn't it? Well, I guess if you don't try these things, you'll never know!

Cleaning my face with honey has already started. I couldn't find any raw honey in the supermarkets and didn't want to pay the price for a jar of Manuka (daylight robbery), so ended up in an H & B store (hardly any honey in this one either). In the end, I bought this organic fair trade one:

Once my order of oils and bottles arrived, I decided to give the second part a go so made up a 10ml (1/3rd oz) bottle. For my first trial, I have decided to use Baobab oil as its is very good for mature skin and settles in quite quickly. First of all, 2 drops of carrot essential oil and 4 drops of Lavender essential oil (about a 2% solution I think which again, is good for my skin) were put in before being topped up with the oil.  I reckon that these daily moisturising session's will cost me pennies every day, using honey twice and the oils once.

More important than the cost though,  is the lack of chemicals, but I would like next time to buy a product from UK honey farmers.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

A new start?

The ingredients I ordered before my birthday arrived within a few days from here, buying organic where possibly. I also ordered some Baobab oil and blue 10ml dropper bottles from here

Fingers crossed, this first trial might eventually become part of my new skin and body care routine. I'm hoping to cut down or remove altogether where possible, any chemicals or other ingredients I am no longer happy to use. I will allocate a certain amount of money to home made or bought products and subsequent trials until I find what suits me best.

Shampoo and conditioner are sorted and hopefully should remain so. We have already begun to change our liquid soap. I received some lovely products for my birthday whose smell, texture and company ethics I like. Whilst some of those are already in use, others will be saved until after various experiments. After that, I hope to be able to make my own...

I am going to be sensible about this and once a trial batch is made, will use it on my inner forearm for a few days to check for sensitivity. Also, if successful for me, I shall put the link to it under my new tab above "Beauty Products" for lack of a better description! For sustainability though, where I have used home made web based recipes, I shall keep a copy just in case the blog disappears!

More next time!

Tuesday 18 August 2015

More wild plums!

Welcome to Emma from 2 Tort's via here.

We have been out for a walk to gather our final lots of wild plums:
They are not all here in the above picture as we processed a few. All in all though, for 30 minutes picking, we ended up with 9 3/4 lbs - wow!

We shall not go again even though there are still stones rather than pounds left as we can only store so much. Quite a few of these will go into jam and chutney, the rest stored for puddings:)

As we had gathered more red than yellow and some of the red ones were small, we changed our plum stoner over to the cherry stoning version of it:
As you can see, the stones just drop out underneath:

Monday 17 August 2015

The weaving has started

First of all, congratulations to Andy Murry for winning the Montreal tournament. Not only that, he managed to beat his nemesis Novak! Also, welcome to Amy via Bloglovin.

I joined together all the cream coloured strips - for the warp, in a kind of knot (it isn't really a knot, just a way of joining that saves sewing them all together), then put them on the loom:
Beginning and ending with a loop created using a double knot (a proper knot this time). Several sheets and duvet covers had previously been gathered and I set to, tearing them into about 2" sections, pulling out any loose threads, rolling them to keep them flat. These are just a few of the many rolls I will need:
After 3 aborted attempts at turning around at the ends, which is so weird that even watching tutorials on how to do it, it still took both of us several attempts to just about understand it!  Every time I started, somewhere along the line, I realised I had yet again gone wrong on the ends, so gave up for the day.

The next day, computer close by and DB on standby, off I went again. Only had to pull it out twice this time - getting better then:)

Eventually I got to grips with it but still find the turns difficult, 2" done eventually:
Here is the right hand end, a slightly different size due to its weirdness:
I am not attempting any kind of pattern here, just using the rolls in the order they are lined up in the picture above and seeing how it turns out.

Friday 14 August 2015

DB's project is finished!

He has been busy beavering away on this project for me, no-one could guess what it was, although a few thought of a laundry hanger - which got DB thinking:)

Well, now it can be revealed. This is one of its 4 corners:
Door stop feet on the back to protect walls - metal rods bent so they don't drop out when it is turned:
He even carved a little heart for me on the top - the filled in circle was where a hole was on the original piece of used wood:
Here it is in its entirety:

It is a rag rug loom! Isn't he clever:) Don't know what one is - check on-line. They are variable in design but relatively easy to make. Although you can't see them, the bottom of the metal rods are held in place by mini butterfly clips.

We dismantled an outdoor twin seat and table set, using any wood that was still intact. The rest has gone into our wood store for kindling. We had to buy galvanised nails, large eyes, small eyes as we didn't have enough required (or in a good enough condition to use) plus two metal rods which we bought from a steam fair for just £6 for the two. All in all, I reckon it cost no more than £14 to make, plus DB's time of course! They retail for far more than that.

What isn't shown is another short piece of wood with eyes and nails in that will allow me to make a shorter rug without having to take the whole thing apart, it just slides in and is held into place.

Can't wait to get started as I already have enough fabric to make the first carpet. Let the 'stringing' and weaving begin. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Thursday 13 August 2015

DB's project coming along nicely

Herewith a few more pictures of what DB is making for me, can you guess yet? Final application of wood oil:
Testing size/depth of eyes and nails:

More pieces:
Close up:
All will be revealed soon, nearly done!

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Stoning wild plums

Firstly, welcome to Kelly Hall via Boglovin.

Home grown and most bought plums seem to be big enough to stone by hand simply but cutting them in half, along their slight crease, twist off and top bit and then a slight fiddle to get the stone out the bottom bit.

Wild plums, such as the yellow and red ones that grow quite well along hedgerows around us, are sometimes a bit more fiddly. When stoning them, I reach for my mother-in-law's 'vintage' plum stoner!

It is a beautiful item in its own right and takes pride of place on my Welsh dresser in the dining room.

The plums need to be just ripe or slightly under ripe but not too much:

There, 2 lbs of wild plums, stoned and in the freezer in about 20 minutes.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Our fruit harvest is better than everything else!

Here are a few photographs of just a things in the garden that will be harvested in the coming weeks. First, just some of our first year of brambles (blackberries):
 Two of our 7 tomato plants:
Just one chilli plant:
One of two tomatillo plants. Both sown as green but one has come green, this one will be violet. There are more 'fruits' than shown here:
Some damage on the Laxton's Superb apples:
Just a few of the Red Williams pears muddled in with Egremont Russell apples:
 More Egremont apples
Most fruit this year has been good. For the first time ever, we had nearly 8lbs off the 2 plum trees, mostly Victoria but some Czar. The blueberries gave us less but I pruned them last year and they didn't like it. The raspberries have been eaten to death and will be thrown away as they have never been good. Gooseberries were quite good and as you can see, so have the apples and pears.