Thursday, December 29, 2011

Handmade Soaps

Here's some more Christmas presents I made this year.
I bought clear and white glycerin and decided on my different types of soap I was going to make:

Oatmeal & honey
Honey & ginger

I used a heart-shaped silicon icecube tray and a silicon muffin tray.
I lightly greased the trays with sunflower oil so the soap wouldn't stick.
I then cut a chunk of the glycerin and melted it in the microwave.
I added my ingredients:
200g clear glycerin + 1 tbsp honey + 1 tbsp porridge oats blitzed down (aka oatmeal!)
200g clear glycerin + 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
200g white glycerin + 1 tbsp honey + 1 tsp ground ginger
I poured the liquid soap into the moulds and then sprinkled vodka on top to stop bubbles forming.

After an hour they were hardened and I put them in the fridge to firm them up a bit.

I then wrapped them all up ready for Christmas!

Wooden Spoon Rest

I used bits of leftover wood, cut them to a good size that would fit a spoon to rest on. I then sanded all sides smooth and then sanded the top surface at a funny angle and tried to make a little dip in the wood.
I kept going until I was happy with the result and then rubbed sunflower oil into it to protect it.
There you have it - a little rest to put wooden spoons and the like when cooking!

Chopping Boards

I had some lovely thick pieces of beech wood left over from the single beds I'm in the middle of making so decided to make them into chopping boards.
I did these down at the woodworking shop as I didn't have the tools at home and I didn't want any prying eyes peeking at them before Christmas!
I cut them to size on the table saw (well, actually Thomas the carpenter who is in charge did as "normal" people aren't allowed to use the scary open table saw!).
I then used a router for the first time and actually had to look up the English translation for the word Oberfräse! I never did any carpentry or anything in England so never really needed the vocab for words like that!
I rounded off all the sides on the boards and then carved out a little drip catching grave all the way round the big board to catch all the juices when cutting duck etc.!
I then sanded them nice and smooth and rubbed normal sunflower oil into them to protect them.


Now that the presents have been handed out, I can blog about how I made them!!
I sellotaped tissue paper onto normal A4 paper and printed out sheet music onto it.
I then cut the tissue paper to the right size to fit round the candle.

I wrapped the tissue paper round the candle, being sure to put it the right way .... well, OK, I didn't and G had to point out that one of them was upside down! Not bad going for someone who wasn't paying attention though!
I then kept the tissue paper in place with a line of glue down the ends and a couple of drawing pins stuck in the wax.

I got my trusty hairdryer and gave my candles a blow dry until the wax melted slightly and caught the tissue paper.
Obviously had to make myself one too!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Tree

We're off to England for Christmas to see all my family so didn't think it would be worth getting a tree this year. We seem to have quite a few disasters when it comes to buying Christmas trees, so maybe this is the way forward?!
Here's an amusing story for you...

Our first year in our own flat in Nuremberg:
I absolutely had to have a tree so G kindly decided to go and get one. This was before the days when we had a car, so he just went on the tube. The only trees they had were ones in pots with earth. He bought one and almost broke his hands carrying it back on his own getting some very funny looks on the tube!
We decorated it and then flew to England for Christmas. On our return I started to notice quite a lot of ants in the flat and realised that there was a reason most people buy Christmas trees without roots attached! The soil had been full of ants! To top the story off, when we came to dispose of the tree we were unsure as to where you could throw them away and didn't want to drag it through the whole flat to get it outside so decided just to chop it up and put it in the normal rubbish. A word of advice to anyone planning on doing this ... do not just have a blunt pair of scissors to hand - it really doesn't make for enjoyable work!

Anyway, you can see why I might be told in no uncertain terms that we are not bothering with a Christmas tree this year! I still wanted somewhere to put the presents, so took it upon myself to build a Christmas tree!
I looked in my collection of scrap wood and had all different sized pieces that didn't even require cutting - perfect! I also had a small branch left over as a possible 3rd branch towel rail but decided it was too wonky in the end but perfect as a Christmas tree trunk!

I glued all the pieces together and clamped them until they were dry. I didn't bother getting them perfectly straight as I wanted a quirky tree.

I had some green paint on hand and painted the planks.
I then pre-drilled screw holes into the "trunk", glued it to the planks of wood and then screwed it in place.
I then hammered little nails in the tree so I could decorate it properly!!

I used a spare vase and filled it with Christmas decorations to hold the tree in place.
Not bad, 'eh?