Chair socks!!!!

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We have a laminate floor so our wooden chairs have started to scratch the floor. So my hubby (it) came up with a good idea of putting ‘socks’ on the feet. So we cut up bits of fleece and used loom bands to hold them on. Good use for the loom bands that are not as popular anymore!!. It has made the chairs lovely to push out from the table now. Well done hubby, There’s hope for you to turn crafty yet. hehe.xxx

Reduce your energy in the home

This is taken from a book by Cabbages and Roses. It’s not all the tips but quite a lot of them.

* Rise with the lark to make the best of the natural light

*Clean the windows and get used  to using natural light instead of electricity

* Wear more clothes when it is cold rather than putting the heating on

* Interline curtains  for extra draught proofing. Sew old blankets between curtain fabric and lining.

* Place a brick or filled litre bottle of water in the cistern. This will save at least one litre of water every time you flush

* Brush your teeth with the tap off. Only turn on when necessary

* There is no need to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, just scrap the food into the food bin

* Run the dishwasher and washing machine at full loads as much as possible

* Defrost your freezer regularly

* Avoid empty spaces in the freezer. If possible fill bags with ice to fill the gaps up.

* Switch off any lights and use lamps with energy saving bulbs in where possible

* Install a timer on your lights if you go away so you don’t have to leave lights on to deter burglars

* Unplug chargers when they have finished doing their job. They are not energy efficient if you don’t

* Switch off appliances when not in use. TV, DVD’s. Even washing machines and dishwashers and tumble dryers should be switched off at the wall plugs when not in use

* Boil only as much water as you need. I have a whistling kettle that goes on the hob and you can have less water in the bottom

* When cooking with boiling water use the kettle to boil it first as its quicker so saves more energy

* Chop vegetables smaller so they cook quicker

These are just few tips.

Homemade tumble dryer sheets

You can either use J cloths for this or old t shirts or rags as long as they are clean.

You will need: Jar with a lid, 1/2 cup white vinegar, 8 drops of essential oils, cloths.

Cut cloths into smaller pieces. Mix in vinegar and oil in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the cloths until they are damp. Store in a jar. When you have used them in the tumble dryer, keep them to one side and remake them all when you are ready. It’s better than having the shop bought ones getting stuck in the filter.

Felting sweaters

This is a post by a lady called Paige Russell She has explained the best way to felt a jumper.

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There are only two things that are important to felting success:

1. The fiber type / blend:

I have found that a blend of 65% or higher wool content yields the best results. 100% wool is desirable, but not necessary.

2. The knit stitch:

This one is a little harder to pin point or predict. I’ve found that certain knits refuse to felt no matter what I do – even if the wool content is high. The best thing to be on the lookout for is stretchiness. If a knit is too stretchy, it will most likely not felt well. But I say if in doubt, try it!! If it’s something that’s just been taking up valuable closet real estate, you have nothing to lose!

Step 2: Get Felting!

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Like I mentioned, this process is really simple. Felting occurs when the wool fibers of the knitted sweater are agitated enough to bind to each other. (aka, get fuzzy and stick to one another so fraying doesn’t occur) Here’s how I make that magic happen:

1. Place sweaters in a washing machine and chose a long, HOT cycle.
*For extra agitation, you can add a pair of old running shoes to the cycle. These will help ‘pummel’ the fibers into felted submission.
2. Add half the normal amount of washing detergent for a single load and start the cycle.

3. Once the wash cycle is complete, transfer the sweaters to the dryer (not the sneakers, if you chose to add them to the wash cycle).
4. Chose a setting that is long and HOT. ‘Cottons’ is usually a good one to use.

When the dryer is finished, pull the sweaters out and give them a good close once over. If the fibers do not appear bound/matted enough to not fray when cut, you can repeat the above wash/dry process as many times as needed. For your reference, the three sweaters pictured took 3 rounds of washing and drying to achieve their felted state.

Lavender bags

You can make lavender bags out of anything that hasn’t got big holes in that the lavender will fall out. You can handsew anything too as long as you do a good tight back stitch. I would recommend using felt though if you are hand sewing. If you don’t want to buy it then use and old jumper. ( i’ll do another post with how to felt an old jumper)

All you need is 2 10cm squares of fabric. you can either use pinking shears to make them zig zag or place the fabric right sides facing and sew most of the way round. Turn in the right way and fill with dried lavender then slip stitch the hole shut. If using felt or pinking shears option the fabric will go wrong sides facing and sew most of the way round, leave a hole. Fill with lavender then close the hole up. Bobs your uncle you have lavender bags. If you look on my pinterest page I’ll post a few ideas in the recycles clothes section.   http://www.pinterest.com/hollywillow74/

Old Clothes???

Recycling your clothes. I have put in a post about upcycling your clothes. You can make your clothes, I have just made a skirt in a lovely fabric I got from the market for £3 a metre. So I made a skirt for about £4 and it fits perfect and is one that nobody else will have. If you need sewing classes or tips there are plenty around. I am going to be doing some sewing classes in my vintage caravan as soon as I have finished decking it out. I believe that all kids should be taught sewing skills and that means buttons,hems and such.

If you have clothes in your wardrobe that you no longer wear, then you have a few options. Charity shop is one, homeless shelter, ‘swishing party’ or you could change it. An old pair of trousers can be a skirt or if you don’t want clothes you could make a bag or bunting with it. T-shirts that are looking shabby can be upcycled with buttons or patches or if you really don’t want to wear it tear it up and use it for dusters or make your own tumble dryer sheets with them. (see post on this).

If you like lavender you could make lavender bags to put in your drawers or hang on your clothes hangers. These can be as simple as you like. I’ll post a few pics and instructions in another post. You can make these even if you don’t have a sewing machine. I believe it’s an investment worth having. They don’t have to be expensive but are worth their weight if you are going to make things.

If anybody wants any tips on a tired piece of clothing then please ask for ideas.xxx

Seafood chowder

I really like chowder but don’t have it as I’m not sure the rest of my family will eat it. I might make it just for the grown ups one day.

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 tsp olive oil

1 leek, finely sliced

1 garlic clove, crushed

200g white fish, skinned

198g can of sweetcorn, drained

180g soft cheese, softened

275ml skimmed milk

2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish

100g peeled, cooked prawns

PLace  the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a meduim heat. When boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, and sweat the leek and garlic in the oil with the white fish placed on top, to steam for about 5 minutes. When the fish is cooked it should flake easily.

Drain the potatoes and add to the pan with the leeks,fish and remaining ingredients. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soft cheese has melted, all the ingredients have heated through and the chowder has thickened. Garnish with a little chopped parsley.x

Serves 6-8