14 articles Tag DIY

Pink Jobs/Blue Jobs?

pinks jobs blue jobsOne of the things on which I pride myself is my willingness to give things a go. I come from a family of do-ers, choosing to mend cars, decorate houses and generally fend for themselves, rather than hiring someone in, and Husband’s family is like this even more so than my own. Husband has an aunty of whom I’m constantly in awe, who’s a true role model for my girls. She’s genuinely one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to cars that I’ve ever met and she’s never fazed by a building project or getting her hands dirty in a multitude of ways.

I know that in a lot of houses, there are jobs which are characterised as ‘pink jobs’ and ‘blue jobs’, with domestic chores such as cleaning and child-rearing falling firmly in the female camp, whilst the men do the heavy lifting, car maintenance and rubbish-taking-out. This isn’t the case in our house. Husband is just as at home changing a nappy as changing a tyre, and I’m certainly not shy when it comes to getting involved in DIY.

A few months ago, I was talking to some friends at Sausage’s school when one of the Grandads who regularly does the school run approached me. He mentioned that he’d noticed that my break light was out and suggested that I “get the Husband to look at it” for me. I had to laugh. Yes, Husband would be more than capable of changing a bulb, but as it happens, I’m the only driver in the house and actually deal with car maintenance myself. When our car needed a new battery, I bought one from BuyCarparts.co.uk and fitted it myself, with no more than a YouTube video to give me confidence that I was doing it correctly and it never even occurred to me to think that I wouldn’t be able to do it myself.

For me, I’ve always tried to be as independent as I can be. Husband and I are a team and pitch in together with everything that needs doing, but I still like to know that I can do things myself. It’s also hugely important to me that the girls see Mummy as a capable human being; I remember, as a kid, seeing my Nan and Grandad living an oddly symbiotic life; he’d NEVER set foot in the kitchen and conversely, she never used a cash point, set the video and rarely even changed the TV channel. It worked for them, as it so often does in marriages from a bygone era, but I also remember worrying about how they’d cope if the other wasn’t around. I had visions of Grandad living on fish and chips every night, or my Nan only ever watching one TV channel!

A few years ago, my Uncle kindly gave us his old Honda Civic as we were without a car at the time and although he didn’t need it anymore, it was far too good to scrap. It really invigorated my thirst for independence and I relished taking care of the car myself, doing the vital maintenance as well as the non-vital things like fitting a new stereo, something I’ve done myself in almost every car I’ve owned.

I’ll definitely be encouraging Sausage and Burrito Baby to learn these kinds of self-sufficiencies, so that they’re both able to take care of things for themselves, as well as having the comfort of knowing they’re capable enough to do so. Having that confidence can be the making of a young woman and I can only hope that by seeing other family members doing things themselves rather than always deferring to someone else, they’ll see that there are so many things that you can do at home, without spending huge amounts on labour.

Upcycling Roses Part 2 – Homemade Bath Bombs

Last week I showed you how to make a pretty and more-or-less free centrepiece for a table using recycled rose petals and today I’m going to show you how to make homemade bath bombs using some more of your dried petals. You will need:

150g Bicarbonate of Soda (food grade)

50g Citric Acid

5ml of Rose Essential Oil

Edible Glitter

Pink Food Colouring

Dried rose petals (method for drying in previous post, see link above)

Tools:

Sieve

Kitchen scales

Large mixing bowl

Rubber gloves

Teaspoon

bath bomb mould (we used a rose shaped one)
Hand sprayer full of cold water

1. Begin by chopping your rose petals into smaller pieces with a sharp knife – remember, they’ll need to be able to fit down your drain when you enpty the bath!

2. Measure out the dry ingredients (bicarb, citric acid, glitter) and sieve them into the mixing bowl

3. Add the food colouring a couple of drops at a time. The mixture will start to fix and you need to mix quickly to get the colour through evenly. You could also use powdered colour, which would avoid this altogether

4. Add the rose petals, then the essential oil and mix thoroughly. Some oils have a yellow tinge, depending on the carrier oil, which may alter the colour of the mixture. Try to find a clear oil, or adjust the colour after adding with the food colouring, adding a drop at a time

5. Using a gloved hand, grab a handful of the mixture and spray LIGHTLY with the water in the hand sprayer then push the mixture firmly into the moulds (do not allow too much water as the mixture will start to fizz). The back of a teaspoon is handy for smoothing out the flat side of the bomb once it’s in the mould

6. Once you’ve filled all of your moulds (the amounts above made two of our rose shaped bombs but you can multiply the amounts to make more bombs) leave to set for 30 minutes.

7. Ease the bombs out of the moulds

Voila! You have yourself some homemade bath bombs! I used one of them a couple of nights ago to test it out and I must say, they felt wonderfully luxurious. The rose scent was delightful and I felt a bit special having such a lovely bath, full of rose petals and glitter.

Obviously, you’ll need to be careful with these if you have sensitive skin or are pregnant.

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Kärcher Window Vac – One Month On

Just for the record, the lovely Kärcher people haven’t asked me to do a follow-up to my original post, I’ve just found the device so useful that I wanted to show you how we’ve been using it over the last month.

1. Demisting the car

As much as I love our old car, it’s not all that efficient when it comes to demisting the windows on a cold day. In fact, if I put the blowers on too high and listen to the radio at the same time, it overloads the electrics and the immobiliser has a fit, making the car cut out completely, which is a bit scary when you’re on the brow of a hill on a busy road…but that’s another story! On these cold mornings, I’ve found the Window Vac absolutely invaluable when it comes to giving me visibility quickly. It’s saved me so much time as I don’t have to sit around waiting for the windows to clear before I go anywhere, I just vac all the windows inside and out and we’re ready to go. I can’t emphasise enough how much I love the Vac for this!

2. Sorting out our damp house

We live in a little bungalow which is damp at the best of times and even though we keep our bedroom cold, we still wake up with the windows running with condensation. I keep them open all day long but a quick going over with the vac first gets rid off the excess damp and gives us an overall healthier sleeping space.

3. Cleaning the bathroom

Let’s face it, cleaning the bathroom is a complete drag and although I keep the basin, bath and loo clean, I’m not so good at washing the walls down. However, today we stuck the shower on and built up a load of steam so that Sausage could get a bit of relief from her horrible cough and cold and after, the walls were absolutely soaked. I went over all of the tiles with the Window Vac and they came up a treat. An easy way to steam-clean the bathroom, and I love the fact that I haven’t had to use loads of caustic and expensive chemicals to give it a good clean.

4. Cleaning the patio set

Our patio set has a glass top to the table, which looks really nice but is an absolute pig to keep clean. There’s a rim around the edge which means no matter how much you wash and rinse, it’s impossible to wipe it properly. However, this time I washed the top with a soapy sponge, rinsed it with the hose and then gave it a good going over with the Window Vac and it came up a treat, streak free and completely clean.

I knew before we even got the Vac that I loved the idea of it, but as I said in my previous post, I had high-expectations for it to live up to and I can honestly say that it has more than surpassed them. The longer we have the Vac the more uses I find for it and considering they retail for less than £50 if you shop around, it’s worth every penny. If you’ve got one and know of any uses that I’ve missed, do let me know!

Extreme Makeover – Doll’s House Edition

Soon to be ‘Sausage’s House’

A few months ago, I wrote about my Nan and Grandad, Rene and John, and about the doll’s house they made for me from scratch. This is what I wrote:

“It was in this shed that Grandad made my doll’s house. This dolls house was better than any that I have ever, to this day, seen in a shop.

The walls were covered with brick-dust and individually pointed with white paint, each brick lovingly created by Grandad’s patient hand. The writers over at MetalSucks were extremely impressed.

Every room had an electric light with its own light switch, powered by a big battery compartment, hidden under the roof. The roof had individual tiles, cut out of a terracotta coloured lino. The rooms were carpeted and a proper staircase ran through the middle of the house. Then came Nanny Rene’s work, individually made curtains, duvets, light shades and linen, all in coordinating colours.

Continue reading →