Sunday, December 16, 2012

DIY Christmas Stockings

This past weekend my Christmas project was stockings. At first I was just going to make C and Brett stockings but after I made the first one I decided that we should all have new stockings. :)

I used this tutorial that I found on Pinterest and they turned out wonderfully! I love them so much! I'm lazy and didn't really want to attempt to embroider our names on them so I just went ahead and cut out felt letters to put on the stockings...which was also a huge pain but now that they're done I LOVE them.

Our weekend was incredibly busy and much too short especially right before Christmas but it was enjoyable. We got most of our gifts organized and even managed to make it to the pool yesterday because it was so hot - it's even more hot today...yuck - it's hard to remember that it's Christmas time in this heat so I've been listening to Christmas music almost continuously. 

This week will be more hustle and bustle before Christmas next week (next week! Yikes!). 

If you haven't seen my new Facebook page (NappiesByNicole) go check it out! And don't forget to click the "like" button. :) 

Hope you're all enjoying the holiday season!

C's first encounter with a horse! She wanted to touch his eye.

Her first ride! She loved it and wanted Brett to put her back on after her ride was over. 

First dinner of spaghetti - boy was that messy...


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy December!

I can't believe it's December already! Happy 11 month birth anniversary C!

Whew. We've had a crazy week. Last weekend we went to Somerset Dam with friends for one of their 30th birthdays and it was great fun. Being at the lake made me really miss tubing and spending all summer on the boat. We decided to head home late Saturday night instead of spending the night because C was having a hard time sleeping and it was just too exhausting for Brett and me. That meant that we woke up at home on Sunday and got to go to the market!

View of the lake from our rented house

Sunday was nice and peaceful until C started to get sick enough for us to call the doctor and have them send someone out to see her on Sunday evening - it's wonderful that they still have doctors that do house visits! The doctor looked her over while she slept (awesome!) and said she was fine but maybe a bit dehydrated/constipated, the next morning she woke up and was completely healthy and fine. We don't know what it was but she's still healthy and happy.

The rest of the week wasn't great either because I was ill but we had Debbie here, Brett's mom, which was a wonderful break for Brett and me and C got to spend lots of time with her Grandma.

Yesterday made the entire week much better though because it was Brett's sister's graduation! We got to see Kahlee walk across the stage and spend time with lots of family.

Congratulations Kahlee! 

We've got another big weekend planned because a friend is coming into town so we're heading to the Sunny Coast tonight and plan to stay all weekend. So hopefully we'll get to see the beach and relax a bit after a crazy week.

Most of the week I didn't feel like doing much of anything really but I did manage to put a few new things in my etsy shop (so go check them out!) and I made a batch of shea butter soap, which is my favorite soap so far! I haven't decided if I'll put that in my etsy shop because I like it so much and want to keep all of it!

C is walking all over the place and loves every minute of it. She's just started showing us where her nose is by pointing and she had her first encounter with a fly.

 Enjoy your weekend and Happy December!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Castile Laundry Stain Stick

Venus of Willendorf (kind of like a fertility goddess; I just recently bought this soap mold and was really excited about using it!)

I'm very excited to be posting about a new soap that I've recently made. It's a "castile" soap because the fat in the soap is 100% olive oil and it's a "laundry stain stick" because I rub it on stained clothing before washing and it does an AMAZING job at removing stains. I'm also going to start using it in my laundry soap and liquid dish soap.

I got the idea to make a bar soap specifically for laundry from another blog while I was doing research into soap making. I think this soap recipe works really well on stains because of the lowered amount of superfatting (from 5% in my body bar soap to 4% in this soap)--basically I used a smaller lye to fat ratio because I won't be using this soap on my skin, just on clothing and dishes.

I used my new soap mold (see above) for the laundry stick because I was really excited to see how the soap would look. I rubbed the soap on some clothes the other day and was amazed at what the stain stick actually got out of the clothing.

I was so excited about the results that I listed some bars of soap on my Etsy page! And because I've been on such a homemade-beauty-products kick (I've also recently made deodorant and lip balm) I've also listed some homemade lip balm. I think I will actually end up changing the name of my shop soon too...

Also, I've just started a Facebook page for my shop, you can get to the page by clicking here.

In other exciting news, C has recently started walking (today actually) and said her first words yesterday! She said "buh-bye" to my friend Kat as she was leaving our house yesterday. We weren't actually sure if that's what she meant or even said but then she said it about 5 more times while waving so we're definitely counting it!

We spent the weekend up on the coast, actually only Friday night and Saturday morning, and went to the beach. The water is warming up wonderfully again and it was great to take C to the beach.

All is well here and I hope the same is true for you!


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Australian-Fusion Thanksgiving!

Yesterday, I celebrated Thanksgiving in Australia for the second time. But really this time felt like the first because it had so many more friends and family present.

We had about 10 people on the patio for dinner and it was wonderful. We ate nibblies of wasabi peas, olives, cheese and crackers, brought by Kahlee and Jess. For dinner we had stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, vegan green bean casserole, jellied cranberry sauce (not beet root haha!)-sent from America by my Mom :)- wombok salad, made by the lovely Kahlee, and everyone else ate Turkey. For dessert we had apple pie with (melted) vanilla soy ice cream, sugar free mango crepes made by Kahlee and Woody/Aaron and cookies and cupcakes decorated in a USA theme by Kat, Rachel and George.

 The gang before eating (missing Jess and myself)
 Another of the gang (missing Jess and Rachel)
C sharing her turkey with Dad

She really didn't want to share...

She's definitely part American, she LOVED her cranberry sauce

after dinner

sucking the cranberry off her thumb -- cute!

Yummy, festive cupcakes!

the end of the night

The turnout of friends and family was wonderful and we all ate way too much. I cannot wait to do it all again next year with everyone and hope that even more family and friends can join in on the festivies! Thank you to all who came and helped me celebrate my very favorite holiday! I have the best friends and family and that's what I'm thankful for this year.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

DIY Outdoor Table

Brett and I have spent the past two weekends building a table and benches for our outdoor patio area. We'd been wanting to get the patio in working order since we moved in, it was the reason, after all, that we wanted to rent this place, but it just hadn't happened until a few weeks ago. Mostly we hadn't worried too much about the outdoor space because it was winter and we didn't think we'd use it very much but it's now getting much warmer during the day and having a nice place outside to sit and relax is at the top of each of our to do lists.

So, two weekends ago we went to Bunnings and bought all the supplies and timber that we would need to build this table from . We actually ended up changing the table a bit to make it suit our tastes/needs (the slats in the table are a different size and the overall dimensions of the table are different); here are photos of how it went for us. 

Table support and aprons 

C helping out

Supports and aprons with legs!

Table completely assembled! 

This table took us all weekend to put together because building with a baby is difficult but also because we're complete newbies. So, this weekend we decided to build matching benches, also from, to go with our brand new table. At first we wanted to build just one bench and buy several random chairs from garage sales, thrift stores, etc but finding chairs we actually like might take some time and we really wanted to get some seating for our table because we're hosting an Australian Thanksgiving at our place this week! So, we built two benches to go with our new table. 

Brett doing a bit of measuring

Our bench supports and aprons with legs attached

After countersinking the holes but before the bench slats were actually attached to the bench supports (we used tile spacers for the spaces in our table and benchs; 5mm)

After the holes have been filled with wood filler and sanded down; ready to be stained!

After being stained!

Our newly constructed and stained out door setting!

Our patio area is looking much better than it did but it's still not finished. We have a hammock to hang, lanterns to make and lights to hang to make it more relaxing and homey. I can't wait to post an update!

Until then, enjoy! 
Playing in the rain 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Homemade Liquid Dish Soap

I recently posted about making my own cleaning products at home and wrote about a recipe I used to make homemade liquid dish soap.

We really loved the recipe but it was a bit too watery for our liking so yesterday, when we ran out of dish soap I decided to try a new recipe and so far I'm very happy with the result.

Because I've just completed my first batch of castile laundry stain stick soap I decided to use this to make my new dish soap.

Recipe for Homemade Liquid Dish Soap:

1/2 liquid castile soap
1/4 cup shredded laundry stain stick, grated
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbl washing soda
1 tbl tea tree oil
boiling hot water, probably 3-4 cups

This soap is incredibly easy to make.

First I grated my bar of soap into a large bowl:

I then added all of the other ingredients to the bowl (sorry I don't have a photo of that) and then slowly added the boiling water and stirred. 

I then let the mixture sit for several hours to cool (I should have left it overnight to settle and completely dissolve the shredded bar soap) and poured it into my dish soap bottle. Easy peasy. This soap is much thicker and smells great too! 
Enjoy :) 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

NappiesByNicole--First Order!

I just have to do a little shameless plug because on Monday I shipped out my very first order! And it was a custom order! I can't believe how exciting it was to make and ship my very first order from NappiesByNicole!

I got an email early last week asking if I would be able to make a "boy" colored tie dye nappy based on this set: 

and was more than happy to oblige. 

So I ran around on Wednesday gathering supplies to tie dye, then worked all day Thursday on the nappy/singlet set. I posted the custom order on Friday, she ordered and paid for it and I shipped it out yesterday. 

Here's what the order looked like all finished and ready to ship: 

I'm feeling even more positive and excited about selling on etsy now that my first sale is out of the way! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hot Process Homemade Soap

Our weekend wasn't too eventful but it was enjoyable; garage sale-ing and hanging out with friends on Saturday, and Sunday saw me finally getting to make soap!

I've been crazy excited to make homemade soap - I ordered lye and other soap making supplies about a week ago - and they finally arrived late Saturday! So on Sunday I gave it a try.

I did a lot of research into homemade soap because I wanted to know which oils would be best in my soap recipe. I tend to have dry skin and didn't want a soap that would further dry my skin out. I found a few great resources on oil properties so I could wisely choose oils that would be best for my skin.

First I choose a few fatty acids that I thought would be best, I settled on Oleic acid because it's a great moisturizing oil and Ricinoleic acid, also a great moisturizing oil, is a fatty acid that occurs in mature castor oil plants and castor oil is great for you skin.

After I choose the fatty acids I wanted to focus on, I then found oils that contain those acids in high levels so I could make my soap with those super moisturizing oils.

For this soap I choose olive oil, macadamia nut oil, jojoba oil and castor oil. Because I have never made soap before I only made a very small batch just to be sure that I would like this particular recipe.

This is my recipe:

Olive oil                      55%
Macadamia Nut oil     35%
Jojoba oil                   7%
Castor oil                   3%
Steric acid                 .2% (steric acid is used to harden the soap, beeswax may also be used)

I then entered all of my oil amounts into a lye calculator so I would know exactly how much lye to add to my recipe without having any un-reacted lye left over. (Which would produce a very harsh soap that may even burn skin)

After I got my exact recipe amounts, I gathered my ingredients and began making my soap!

My supplies: Crockpot, immersion blender, safety glasses, glass measuring cups, digital scale, steric acid, lye, and oils

Oils added to the Crockpot

CAREFULLY measuring the lye

CAREFULLY adding the lye to the water

After the lye/water mixture was added to the oils


More mixing

Finally there, trace (when the mixture thickens and is ready to "cook")


Lavender is ready to be added and then it's time to put into molds

my prepared mold

soap in the mold cooling and hardening overnight

I scraped the Crockpot and now have soap that doesn't need to cool!

After setting overnight

Bars of soap! 

My soap still needs more time to harden (and it will over time) because the harder the soap the longer each bar will last but I still intend to use this soap today!

I used the soap yesterday on my hands and Brett used the soap this morning and said he liked it and it didn't dry his skin out so I can't wait to use it! 

Sleepy girl while watching Mom make soap

She has her two top teeth coming in!