Sunday, May 29, 2011

Homemade Facepaint

We've been experimenting with homemade facepaint here recently. It all started because I was doing a theme about clowns with the kids I taught at school. I wanted them to experience having their face painted like clowns. There are quite a few allergies among the kids I teach so I didn't really want to purchase commercial facepaint as I wasn't sure what sort of 'extras' it would have in it.

This facepaint is what we came up with. It is made using a combination of sorbolene (we used a good quality sorbolene from the chemist which didn't contain any sort of 'extras'), cornflour, water and food colouring. It works well although it is quite thick. It also doesn't last long. As soon as it is dry it tends to flake off (although I personally prefer this to having to scrub faces to get facepaint off!)

Jacob with his moon and star (he had a cold hence looking like he had been crying!)

As you can see from the pictures, I need a little more practice with my artistic skills ;) However, the kids enjoyed having their faces painted and happily sat and had them done.

Esme asked for a heart on her cheek

Here's the recipe for anyone interested:


1 tbsp sorbolene
2 tbsp water
6 tbsp cornflour
food colouring

Mix sorbolene with water, gradually add cornflour (don't do this too quickly or else you will get a lumpy mixture). Add food colouring as desired.

That's it really - a simple, no-fuss way to make facepaint!

Week 8 of decluttering: The bookshelf

This week's decluttering task was to clean up the bookshelf! It's become a bit of a dumping ground for all sorts of odds and ends lately. It was also time to do a bit of a book cull. While we love books here and would happily keep them all forever, we just don't have the room to do so. So, it was time to get rid of some of the books that we don't often use or that we have never read.

Books to go to the op shop...yep, another big bagful of stuff!

After sorting out which books to keep or donate to the op shop, I re-sorted the bookshelf into different sections, tidied up all the odds and ends and gave it a dust (don't remember the last time that happened!) And here's the end result:

The bookshelf all tidied and sorted!

Much nicer to look at than the bookshelf before! Next week I am going to attempt to declutter the laundry cupboard. I have avoided doing so for a looooong time!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week 7 of decluttering: The Yard

I've had a bit of a busy week this week and will freely admit to not getting around to any decluttering. So I am cheating and posting a decluttering project that we did a few weeks ago. I wasn't really involved in this project so I can't claim credit for it. All the work was courtesy of hubby, FIL and BIL.

Before we started the other side...

We've been having trouble with mold in our house for a little while. During Winter the house heats up inside and forms condensation which runs down the inside of the windows causing the mold to build up. There is always condensation on the windows during Winter no matter what time of day and it's steadily been getting worse since we've been in this house. We don't have a lot of light in the bedrooms during Winter due to some conifers that had grown completely out of control so we decided we would cut these down as a first action for getting rid of the mold. I wish we'd taken so more pictures before we'd started chopping down the trees but we all got a little excited ;) This photo is taken of one of the conifers before it was chopped down (there were two originally - one of either side).

Of course, the kids enjoyed 'helping out' with this task. I didn't see them for most of the day as they were so busy outside.

Jacob shovels the sawdust and does some digging

Esme tries on the gloves for size.

We were left with a huge pile of branches at the end of the day. Luckily, my FIL came back with a mulcher the following weekend and he and hubby got rid of most of this pile. We had a lovely pile of mulch to put on the garden!

The pile of branches we were left with (actually this was only from one tree!)

The end result of clearing these two trees was amazing. For those of you that know our place you will see what I mean in these photos. I'm still getting used to the amount of light in our room at night and being able to see into the bedrooms from the driveway but I'm sure it won't take long. I do love having more light upstairs during the day though and it's already seemed to have made a difference with the amount of condensation on the windows.

Looking towards the entrance to the house, previously you wouldn't have been able to see the steps or this bedroom window!

Looking the other direction, towards the carport.

If anyone has any more suggestions for how to minimise mold, please feel free to share! Our next step after clearing these trees is to add ventilation to the bedrooms upstairs (yep, there was none added in the building of this house!!) and changing the exhaust fan in the kitchen to vent out of the house (it is vented into the kitchen currently!!)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week 6 of decluttering: The Kid's Clothes (part 2)

Remember what the pile of clothes the kid's had outgrown looked like last week? Just in case you have forgotten, here's the link ;) Well, I'm pleased to say that the project is finally finished! It's been a bit of a mammoth task but here's the final result...

The kid's clothes, finally sorted into some sort of order!

The new system is designed to be a bit more user-friendly than before ;) Here's how it works: clothes are sorted into sizes and boy/girl/unisex clothes. I also have a box with singlets of different sizes as we use the same singlets for both boy and girl (I found I was pulling them out of different bags before and making a big mess before). The clothes are stored in clearly labelled space bags. There are two labelled plastic bags for the size of clothes the kids are currently wearing and as they grow out of them I will put them in the bags and pack them into the space bags once they have finally finished with that size.

I have to say though that I am not a fan of space bags at all! I love the idea of them but after one use they seem to somehow get holes in them, no matter how gentle I am with them. A bit annoying really as I buy the proper 'space bag' brand too...

I pack the clothes into space bags and clearly label them with sizes/boy/girl/unisex clothes

Singlets are stored all together in different sizes in this box

I'm feeling a huge sense of relief now this project's finished! Perhaps I'll try a smaller project next week...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Week 5 of decluttering: The Kid's Clothes (part 1)

It was time to tackle the piles of clothes the kid's had grown out of this week. About 12 months ago this pile was neatly sorted into sizes and boy/girl clothes and stored in space bags but it has slowly grown out of control over time as I grab clothes out for Esme and add clothes the kids have grown out of to the pile. This is what the pile looked like before I started today.

To be honest, this decluttering project is stressing me out a bit. It's actually a lot bigger task than I thought it would be. I didn't start it until 4.30 this afternoon and didn't actually feel like I accomplished much before dinnertime. Now, because it's all in Jacob's room and he has gone to bed, I can't really do much more! The OCD side of me is not liking leaving a project half finished! Especially when I don't have much spare time this week to finish it. I'm just trying to take a deep breath and tell myself it'll all be done by the end of next weekend ;)

What I have managed to do this weekend is put the girl/boy 000 clothes into the same bag and have them ready for when this baby comes (all the neutral 000 clothes are already under the change table). I have also put boy 00 and 0 clothes into the same bag and girl 00 and 0 clothes will be put in a bag tonight. I'm on my way to finishing although looking at these photos it still seems like an awful lot to do...

The pile of boy's clothes left to sort (from size 1 upwards!)

Size 00 and 0 clothes still to sort tonight...

And all the other girl's clothes (from size 1 upwards!) The top of our bunk bed makes a great storage space ;)

I will update on my progress at the end of next weekend!

Handmade Mother's Day Gifts

I've written before about why we choose to only give handmade gifts for Mother's Day so I won't bore you with the details again. This was my present from the kid's for Mother's Day this year - a flower pot painted by them complete with paper flowers. I love it and it looks so pretty on my bedside table!

Hand painted flower pots for Nanny and Nanna.

We also painted flower pots for Nanny and Nanna as well this Mother's Day. They were very easy for the kids to do. All we did was cover them with a layer of PVA and let them dry before we painted them so they were water proof.

Jacob was very proud of the pot he decorated!

We made some paper flowers to go in the pots too. These paper flowers were really easy to make and look really effective. We used the instructions from here although I cut the squares a lot smaller than what they recommend.

Happy Mother's Day to all the other Mums out there!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Autumn Garlands

It's Autumn here at the moment and the kids and I have been enjoying watching the leaves on the trees slowly change their colours. We drove home today past some trees which had some really lovely coloured leaves on them. Out of the blue, Jacob asked if we could stop and collect some. How could I say no to that request? The above picture is just some of the leaves we collected: all kinds of beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.

Threading the chain of leaves together

We decided to make ourselves some garlands using the leaves. I learnt how to make these garlands in the first year of taking Jacob and Esme to Steiner Kinder. They are so easy to make and lots of fun! All you need to do is take a stem off a leaf, overlap two leaves, then thread the stem through both leaves. Keep going until you have a chain of leaves and then you can join the two ends together to make a garland.

Jacob proudly wearing his garland

Jacob was so proud of his garland. Esme's didn't last long (which is what usually happens around here) before the leaves were thrown around the house. But I don't really mind seeing she had lots of fun doing it ;)

Esme's garland - before it was taken apart ;)

And of course one creative activity leads to another...Jacob decided he wanted to paste some leaves onto a piece of paper as a present for Nanny and Pa (shhhh, don't tell them ;))

Pasting Autumn Leaves onto paper (or in Esme's case, putting glue on a piece of paper!)

We Play

I am joining in with the 'We Play' link up over at Childhood 101 this week. Come join me!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week 4 of decluttering: The Linen Cupboard

This week it was time to tackle the good ol' linen cupboard. It's turned into a bit of a mess lately as I tend to just stuff things in (particularly towels!) I started off by emptying the entire cupboard and sorting through what we did and didn't need. There wasn't actually a lot of rubbish (surprisingly!) but definitely a lot of things that we had enough of and could go to the op shop.

The pile of things to send to the op shop

I'm getting really good with this decluttering business and I'm quite ruthless with what I keep and what I get rid of now. However I can't seem to get past my gift bag addiction. Everytime someone gives me a gift bag I like to keep it. My rationale is that I can reuse it for gifts for other people but in reality, I don't and I just end up with a whole heap of them sitting in the cupboard. But yet, I can't quite part with them...

My gift bag collection - I would say there's probably at least 20 gift bags in here!

Decluttering the linen cupboard also inspired some impromptu cleaning as well which is always good! I had the vacuum cleaner out to vacuum the bottom of the cupboard so thought I'd just vacuum the whole top level while I was at it as well. Then I got the duster to clean the cobwebs from the top of the cupboard so ended up removing all the cobwebs from the hall and bedrooms too (that was LONG overdue!)

I'm so happy with the end result. Everything is folded neatly and organised. One shelf for linen, one shelf for towels, one for baby stuff/sleeping bags and the bottom for games. And I actually have a spare shelf - amazing!

The linen cupboard all finished and organised.

We've also been doing some major decluttering in the yard this weekend too. But more on that later...
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