Category Archives: home management

My Favourite Home Made Body Products

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People who have been following this blog for a while will know that I have been making a lot of products at home instead of buying them in order to try and save money. I thought that today I would do an update on how these products have been going.
Two products that I really love and have made a couple of times now, are home made deodorant and home made hair gel/ curl definer.

Here is the recipe I have been using for home made deodorant. It is so simple and takes only a couple of minutes to make.

Home Made Deodorant

1/2 cup bicarb soda
1/2 cup cornflour
coconut oil
a few drops tea tree oil

Mix together carb soda and cornflour, then gradually mix in enough coconut oil to form a paste (about the consistency of thick cream). Stir in tea tree oil and scrape into a wide mouth container.
To use, scoop a little bit on to fingers and rub under arms – you don’t need very much.

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If you have ever worried about the health effects of deodorants, or just want to save a little bit of money – try it, try it, try it! Honestly, this works really, really well. I have used it while exercising on a hot Queensland day with no problems – amazing!

This recipe came from
homestead Revival Blog

My next favourite recipe was originally called home made hair gel, but I prefer to call it home made curl definer.
This is the product I was using, it is quite an expensive product.

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This is a big statement, but I think the home made gel is much better (at least it is on my hair).

Hair Gel Recipe

2 tablespoons linseed
1 cup water

Put linseeds and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer gently for 10 minutes (no longer).
Pour mixture through a fine sieve to remove linseeds and discard these.
When mixture has cooled beat it with a whisk or beaters for a minute to break up the gel. Store in the fridge and discard if it starts to smell bad.
Use the same way that you would use a purchased product.

I have adapted this recipe from one I found at The Hairpin

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It is a little gross and slimy, but it works great and is so cheap, so try to get past that.

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I am also loving the home made soap that we made. You have to leave soap for about a month before you can use it, so it’s very exciting to be able to finally try it out. It is beautiful and soft and silky to use and I can use it on my face with no problems. It is still a bit soft so a block doesn’t last all that long, but I think it will get harder if we wait longer.

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I have a book of gorgeous soap recipes so I am looking forward to trying a few of those now. It is really very easy and you can buy everything you need from the supermarket, so why not give it a go.
I used Rhonda’s recipe from the Down to Earth Blog

My purchased face moisturiser has almost run out, so I think my next experiment will be making moisturiser. I’m slightly nervous about this as my face is fairly sensitive, but we’ll see how we go. I know that it is certainly worth a try though because the savings can be huge, and it is a lot of fun.
Give it a try, I’m sure you will be amazed too.

All the best,
Sharee

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More Productive Home Making – Smell That Coffee

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People who know me will know that I am pretty serious about my coffee. Well, as serious as you can be when you drink Decaf lol.
A few years ago I did a Barista course, and I have worked in a coffee van and a cafe, so I expect my coffee to be pretty good. Unfortunately the rest of the family has raised their coffee expectations as well, and with 3 or 4 coffee drinkers in the house it was becoming a major expense.
I have found a fair trade coffee that we can grind fresh at our local Health Food Supermarket. It is just beautiful, but costs $10 for 200grams, and that lasts us less than a week.
This was obviously an area where we could make cuts to the budget. We often buy cheaper pre ground coffee from the supermarket, but I don’t think you really save much money this way because you need twice as much coffee to get the same strength, and the flavour will never be the same.
I was looking for places to buy cheaper coffee on the internet when I came across an online store that was selling green coffee beans. The Decaf green beans were only $18 a kilogram – a huge saving on the the little 200gram bags which work out at $50 a kilogram.
A bit more internet research showed me that home coffee roasting is actually a growing trend, and also I found that you can actually roast coffee in a home popcorn machine! A little harder to find was a local source of green coffee beans (I didn’t want to spend all my savings on postage), but eventually I tracked down a factory that wasn’t far away and was open to the public.
And so my coffee roasting adventure begins…

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We got this popcorn machine for $8 at a garage sale. It actually works really well for roasting the beans. I put 1 scoop of green beans into the machine then switch it on. After a few minutes the beans start to pop and when they have popped for a little while our popcorn machine conveniently switches itself off (because it has got too hot), and about this time smoke will start pouring out. This is all ok though, I quickly tip the beans out into a saucepan so that they don’t burn and shake them around a little as they cool. They are now lightly roasted.

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I tried some beans at this stage, but the coffee flavour was very mild so I decided to roast them a bit more.
The beans went back in for one more go, this time they had just started popping when the machine cut out. When I tipped them out they actually looked pretty perfect!
In the photo above you can see the green beans, the lightly roasted beans, and the darker roast.
Next step was to grind our beans. I have been drooling over a Rancillio Rocky grinder for a while now, but at $400 it’s a bit out of my price range, then I spotted this grinder at KMart for $12. To my utter amazement it works really well, as long as you only need a small amount of coffee.
You really should wait a week after roasting before using the coffee, but I couldn’t wait to try it, and I had run out of my regular coffee, so after the beans had cooled down they went straight into the grinder.

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Here is my coffee shot, very nice creama from my freshly roasted and ground coffee beans.

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And here is my latte.

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Delicious!

I’m looking forward to learning more about coffee roasting and experimenting with some blends in the future.
Hope you can get your hands on a really good coffee today too.
All the best,
Sharee

Saving money through Productive Home Making

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Oh, it’s been a good couple of days for me here. The jobs on my ‘to do’ are dropping like flies, which is awesome because I have felt pretty over run this last week.
Yesterday was a day for paper work. We finally got our car registration and drivers licenses changed to Queensland – thank goodness that paperwork is out of the way. After that I was on a bit of a roll and knocked off a heap of other paper work jobs – woohoo!
Today was a stay at home day and I have got so much done. One of my plans when moving to Brisbane was to give myself time to try and make my artwork into a business. This of course means that I am not bringing in any income at the moment, so to compensate for this I have been looking for ways to cut our budget and to live on less.
One of the ways I am doing this is by thinking about my weekly grocery shopping and especially looking at the items which are more costly and trying to think of cheaper ways to get these things.
Hair and skin products, ice cream, yoghurt, coffee, washing powder and breakfast cereal are some of the higher priced items in my trolley each week.
I started looking on the internet for different ways of making or getting these items. I have been hugely influenced by Rhonda Hetzel’s Down to Earth Blog, she has so many great ideas and also is very inspirational with her words about the value of home making.
I have been making bread and yoghurt. I am working on my yoghurt recipe trying to make some nice thick yoghurt like the type we love to buy at the markets. I haven’t got it quite right yet, It is fairly thick, but hasn’t got the same texture as the market yoghurt. I think I will add some powdered milk next time and see how that goes. It is looking pretty good though, especially when it is pot set in these gorgeous little jars that I picked up at the cheap shop for $1.

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I have tried a few different bread recipes, looking for one that’s easy to become my everyday bread. I tried a recipe for no knead overnight bread that looked really cool because I made it in my tagine, but I wasn’t really happy with the bread.
Since then I have made Moroccan Bread and this Pumpernickel (note to Mum – click on the bread names to see the recipes xxx)
These were both great. The Moroccan bread was really easy, only one rise, and I actually made my dough in the morning and put it in the fridge for most of the day before rising it and it still came out great. I love the Pumpernickel too. Apparently this is a North American Pumpernickel which is not as dense as the German style Pumpernickel that you buy in supermarkets. It has coffee and cocoa and caraway seeds in it which makes it quite strongly flavoured. I am never quite sure what to have with my Pumpernickel, but I like it with cheese and with honey. My husband hasn’t tasted this one yet and I’ll be interested to see what he thinks.

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I have just started making a sourdoug starter which is bubbling away nicely, so hopefully we’ll have some home made sourdough bread later in the week.

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Not so tasty for us, but a huge money saver for me is making my own dog food. I have only just started doing this and I actually find it really gross, but it costs me about $2 for a weeks worth of dog food, plus I can put my vegetable scraps to a good use, so it is a great thing to do.
Here is my dog food recipe…
In a saucepan, put any fruit or vegetables that you find dying in the bottom of your fridge, chopped up a bit, into a large saucepan (important note: no onions, leeks or grapes for dogs!)
If it doesn’t look like much you can add some carrot peelings, an egg or some frozen veg, also any leftover dinners that have been in the fridge a few days too long.
Add to the saucepan about 1 cup of rice or pasta and enough water to come half way up the pan.
Bring to the boil and simmer until really soft, maybe 40 minutes to 1 hour.
Leave to cool, then puree this all up with a stick blender.
Mix in about 2 kg pet mince from the butcher (most butchers have this but you have to ask for it).
When it is all mixed together well, divide the mixture into serving size containers. I started off using ziplock bags, but am now using plastic take away food containers because Fergus can eat straight out of them so it’s less handling of gross dog food for me.
My dog is pretty fussy, but he seems to love this as long as I keep a ratio of about 2/3 meat to 1/3 veg mix. Keep a couple in the fridge and freeze the rest.

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Now, with everyone fed, I started to look at cleaning and body products. These recipes were all so easy. I made this home made deodorant from Amy’s Homestead Revival Blog. Then I made some hair gel using linseeds (which are basically the same as Flax seeds I think), following the instructions that I found at The Hairpin, you need to scroll down to the bottom for the gel instructions.
Next I made some orange cleaner thanks to NellyMary at Just Like My Nan Made.

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Finally, I whipped up a batch of Rhonda’s home made laundry liquid which you can use for lots of different cleaning needs. Here is a link to the Down to Earth Blog, you just need to scroll down a little until you get to the recipe for the laundry liquid and there are lots of other cleaning tips too.

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This recipe makes a LOT of liquid, so make sure you have plenty of containers handy to pour it into, and also a funnel. As you can see, I did not have these things handy, so my floor got an impromptu mop as well!

After all of that productivity, I think tomorrow is going to be a day devoted to Art – yay!

I’ll let you know how I go with using all my homemade products in future posts.

All the best,
Sharee

It’s a Cordes kind of Christmas, part 2

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“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, of all the trees most lovely”. We were in a bit of a dilemma when it came to getting a Christmas tree this year. As you will know if you have read my earlier post, in the past we have always had a real Christmas tree that we cut down from the forest. This was easy when we lived in Mt Gambier which is surrounded by pine forests, but now that we are living in the city it is of course not possible, so what to do about a Christmas tree? Going out and buying a fake Christmas tree was just out of the question for me I’m afraid. We looked for places to buy cut Christmas trees in Brisbane and although we found a couple of places they were both a long way on the other side of Brisbane, and the trees were $70 each!
What we decided to do was to head down to Bunnings garden department and see what we could find. Bunnings had a couple of large Pine trees in pots, but these were $145 and looked like they would need to be planted out in the garden soon. We spent a long time wandering around the garden centre, picking out any bush we could find with a Christmas tree shape, looking for plants with branches suitable for hanging decorations and picking out the tallest things we could find. We considered topiary shaped bushes, lilly pillies, all the conifers, and even mango and macadamia trees. In the end we settled on a nice little Daintree Rainforest pine for $12. They had a big one of these pines there and it looked really nice with it’s very fine needles, so hopefully we will have ours for a few years and it will grow up to look great too. At the moment it is a cute little baby one.

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This left us with the small problem of what to do with the Christmas lights and decorations because obviously we wouldn’t fit much on the tree. Walking around the garden section of Bunnings I suddenly had a brainwave. We raced around the corner of the shelves and found the trellis and other climbing plant supports, and that is were we found an awesome ‘cane obelisk’ for only $24 – perfect! Here it is in all it’s decorated glory. We made little hooks out of wire to hang the decorations on. I just love it, so glad we didn’t just rush out and buy a fake Christmas tree.

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Ok, that’s the tree sorted out, next thing is the Christmas food.
One of my most favourite parts of Christmas is sitting back in a comfy chair with a cup of coffee and leafing through all of my recipe books picking out yummy things to make for Christmas. Here are some of my favourite books this year.

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My lovely mother in law Ros has given me one of these books for Christmas every year for the last few years and I have my fingers crossed that she will do the same this year because I just love them.
As I go through my books I make a list of all the things I would like to make, usually many pages long.

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We have talked about starting a tradition that we heard of somewhere, the ‘Twelve Desserts of Christmas’, because I always have way too many dessert dishes on my foody wish list. Bianca suggested that I need to write them all on little slips of paper and draw them out of a hat to decide which ones to make lol.
I’m loving taste.com.au because I’ve made a recipe book just for my Christmas recipes, so I can have them all in one place.
For the final Christmas menu I wanted to do something a bit different because it’s our first Christmas in Queensland and also our first Christmas without lots of family around, so here is our final menu…
Sweet treats – Baileys and Macadamia Fudge, Adults only Rocky Road, and Christmas Cake Pops
Breakfast – fresh fruit and Assorted Danishes from the market
Drink – Summer Iced Tea
Starters – huge prawns and moreton bay bugs cooked on the Barbecue
Lunch – Chicken and pork Terrine with cranberries and pistachios, American style Spare ribs, grilled vegetables with almond and wasabi dressing, beans with pancetta crumb and Mango, avocado and macadamia salad.
Desserts – Raspberry and white chocolate mousse, Almond Parfait
Dinner – Christmas ploughman’s with leftovers.

As if that isn’t enough, Bianca is going to make us some of her wonderful macaroons, hopefully salted caramel flavour – she is a bit of a macaroon expert. Mum has also bought one of her amazing traditional Christmas puds that she makes and I am really looking forward to that. We decided to have pork spare ribs this year instead of the traditional roast because that is something we love but never have because they’re a bit too fatty for everyday fare. Yum, yum, I’m looking forward to that.
The kids had a great time last night making the Christmas cake pops.

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They were a bit fiddly, but fun for the kids. The recipe is here.
Also, as my Christmas gift to you, I am going to share my absolutely favourite, super yummy, super easy fudge recipe. I make this with macadamias instead of pistachios. Sometimes it is a little soft, so I usually keep it in the freezer and serve/eat it while it is really cold – I have some in the freezer now, but it seems to be mysteriously disappearing so I think I will make another lot today. Here it is – enjoy!
Wishing you all the happiest of Christmases.
All the best,
Sharee

10 things I know about moving

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Joining in with the Things I Know series from the Yay for Home Blog, here are 10 things I know about moving.
1. It is really, really hard work, and even when you get there, it’s still hard work cos you have to unpack everything again.
2. It’s a good idea to colour code all the boxes with the rooms you want them to go into. Do this on the sides of the boxes, not the top, so you can see your labels when they’re stacked on the removalists trolley.
3. If you pack your favourite glass salad bowl underneath a little glass dish with legs, it will get broken even if you have paper between them.
4. When you declutter your house don’t put stuff in storage, get rid of it, you are never going to want to go back to a cluttered house again.
5. It’s a really good idea to introduce your Mum to Skype and to set her up with an iPad before you leave, even if she is totally computer illiterate.
6. If you are going into a rental house for a little while, decide what you can live without before you pack, and pack these things in separate boxes with ‘do not open’ written on them.
7. Smile lots and be brave about introducing yourself, and shake hands even if you’re a woman.
8. You can pick up great secondhand stuff really cheap, especially if it is hard rubbish collection week in your suburb.
9. Furniture removalists would be very good at playing Tetris.
10. Stay calm and try to be happy through the rough times, it’ll all be over one day.

Good luck to anyone who is moving.