Sunday, 17 February 2013

Homemade lotion bar and travel pouch

Since I started making my own body care products a few months ago, I made all I could find on the Internet that would use at least one of my magic three ingredients: Shea butter, coconut oil and sodium bicarbonate. I've made wonderful solid deodorant, whipped body butter, face cream, lip balm, shampoo, and lotion bars. The last one being the one I was less happy about, but the one I was most willing to get right. How wonderful it is, to be carrying around your very own customised moisturiser, that has no packaging, no nasty chemicals, no wastage, and most importantly, is really effective?
So in my post from a few months ago on bodycare homemade natural products, I gave the link to a recipe that, in hindsight, it may not be the best one, as it contains too much beeswax, and as a consequence, it doesn't melt that easily. I since found another recipe, same simple ingredients (coconut oil, Shea butter, beeswax, Vitamin E and essential oils), slightly different proportions ("the devil is in the details" someone said...), which was only published recently on the Health Impact News Daily online (you can find it here).
This is just *AMAZING*, so much so that I have given a few bars to friends as a present in the last couple of days and I have already received orders for more! I keep one in my bag at all times, and my hands have never been this soft.
But after giving the first bars wrapped in supermarkets bags or freezer bags (so very classy, I know!), I decided that I ought to give them away in a proper little travel pouch, that wouldn't be affected by the grease of the oils, and would be prettier than a supermarket I came up with this:
Ordinary oilcloth inside, cotton outside, and a cute little button to keep it closed. Oh, and my NEW LABEL! (Have you noticed it? Really chaffed by the way it came out, and how it makes my stuff all of a sudden look more professional!)
Cute little useful present, good to make hands, bodies, hair and pregnant bellies baby-soft!
Until the next one, have a great week!

March 2013 UPDATE! if you can't be bothered  to make lotion bars and want to buy my handmade lotion bars, you can visit my Etsy shop: - if you can't find what you are looking for, please contact me and I'll try and help :)

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sunday morning crafting with kids: homemade fishing game

Since my life has turned much more crafty (and I have a toddler to experiment with!), I make a point of doing some simple crafting on a Sunday morning, especially since this is the time I'm on duty with my little Miss, while daddy catches up on sleep. So silent games are the best at this time of the week.
This morning I didn't know what to come up with, though. Last week we did a giant butterfly collage, the week before we did a poster with all Christmas cards she received as a keepsake (you'll know if you are following me on Facebook...), but this week my tired mind really didn't have a clue... So, I picked up a book I bought in a charity shop ages ago called "365 things to make and do" by Vivienne Bolton. It's an old 1990s edition, but still a useful reference for parents when they run out of ideas to entertain their kids.
In this book, I came across a game I *LOVED* to do with my little brother when we were kids, the "fishing game". At that time we had a "sophisticated" version, it was a set of little fishes which had a magnet inside their mouth, in a rotating plastic pond; the scope of the game was to catch the fishes with little plastic rods with a piece of metal at the end of the rope. If you are about my age you'll know what I mean!
The one I saw in the book was the homemade version, using cardboard to make the fishes and paper clips to do the hooks. I happened to have some cheap Pound Shop materials that keep on turning very useful these days: magnetic paper and coloured foam sheets. These seemed perfect for what I had in mind.
So, if you want to do the same, this is what you need:

  • Crafting foam sheets (you can substitute with cardboard, but this way the fishes are a little more resistant)
  • Magnetic paper (you can use simple paper clips to do the hooks, but this way it's so much better!)
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Sticky tape
  • Two pencils or pens or chopsticks or any safe sticks you have handy
  • Colours to decorate your fishes
  • All purpose glue (this is slightly more toxic than kids' paper glue, but more effective in this case, so I suggest an adult does the glueing, rather than a child)
All you need to do is to cut the foam in little fish shapes (I cut a couple of special pieces as well, a sea star and an octopus: if you are playing with points, these could be worth more); I didn't follow a template or drawn the fish on the foam first, I just quickly cut the shapes, but of course you could download some templates off the Internet and do a much more professional job. I was after "quick-fun-who cares lets be quick so we can play with it". The limitation with foam is that you can't really decorate the fish (although my little Miss has drawn eyes on all of them; older kids could also do the cutting, glueing and assembling), but if you decide to use cardboard you can let your creativity go wild!
Once the fishes are all cut and decorated (I made an odd number of fishes so that there will be always one winner) you can cut little pieces of magnetic paper and glue them on the fishes, with the non-magnetic side to be glued on the fishes.
Now, the last part: making the fishing rods. Just cut two pieces of string of the same length, then tie each one to the end of each of your sticks (or pencils). At the other end of the string, glue or fix with sticky tape a piece of magnetic paper, slightly larger than the pieces you used for the fishes (the string should be stuck on the non-magnetic side of the paper).
That's it! Now put your fishes in a plate or tray and start playing by catching with the magnets at the end of the fishing rods as many fishes as you can in a minute. At the end of the minute, wins the player who caught most fishes. If you want to add another educational element (apart from the eye / hand coordination needed to play this simple game), number the fishes or write a letter on each and for example pick the fishes in numerical order or so that you form meaningful words.
Happy playing and happy Sunday! X

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Exciting exciting! First EVER giveaway!!!

On the 12th of February 2012 I wrote my first post (on the felt playhouse, remember?).
One year on, and many many crafts later, I am still here, happy as a bunny to celebrate the first birthday of Virtage Gets Crafty!
So, to celebrate properly, here it is the FIRST EVER giveaway of the blog...
So, if you want to win a lovely hand decorated tote canvas bag AND a handmade lotion bar (full of the richness of Shea butter and organic coconut and almond oils and gently scented with lavender essential oil - great for body, hands, hair and pregnant bellies!), read on!

To enter this competition simply log in in box below and follow the instructions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: thanks to those that have entered, this competition has ended, but I'm going to have another one at some point in the future...
What prize would you like to be offered?