How to: Thai Herbal Massage Ball (Valentine’s Day Fun!)

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We love anything romantic and Valentine’s Day is really just an excuse for pure, unadulterated romance.  Over the years we have shared our tutorials for sexy ribbon panties and our heart garland.  But this year we are sharing perhaps our favourite tutorial ever.

These Herbal Balls are a dream and a wonderful surprise for your lover on Valentine’s Day…. I spent five days in Kuala Lumpur having time out by myself a few years ago and had a two hour massage with these balls each day. Bliss. I still dream of that holiday.

I finally decided to make some and share the love with you. These balls take massage to a whole new level.  They are surprisingly easy to make.  When I made this batch I made four with the ingredients I had, used one and froze the rest.   You can use each ball three to four times.    What a romantic treat for V-Day!  A massage with one of these is bound to please!

Ingredients

IMG_8649 1 handful Kaffir Lime Leaves

4 Lemongrass stalks

1 large root of Galangal (Thai ginger)

1 large root of Ginger 1 large root of Turmeric root

1 handful Mint Rind of 3 Limes Rind of 1 Lemon

Materials

A good knife A food processor (use a knife to finely chop if you don’t own one) Unbleached

Calico Elastic hair tie or rubber bands

Scissors

1. Chop the roots and lemongrass into small chunks.  Rinse the kaffir lime leaves and mint in water.

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2. Cut the rind from the limes and lemons (keep the fruit in a bag in the fridge for cooking)

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3. Place all ingredients into a food processor on high for two minutes or until all the ingredients are finely chopped and mixed together. (Ahhhh the amazing aroma….. take a moment to enjoy).

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4. Rip or cut a 30cm square of unbleached calico and place a 3/4 cup of the ingredients into the middle.

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5. Gather all four corners of calico together and wrap the calico tightly over the herbs.

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6. Tie an elastic hair tie or band around the fabric, wrapping the herbs as tightly as you can into a ball.

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7. Rip a one inch strip of calico and secure it on top of the ball with a knot.  Wrap the stalk with it tightly and secure with another knot.  The stalk needs to be firm enough to get a good grip.

IMG_8692  Now you are finished your Thai Herbal Ball.  There are two things left to do.  Before you use it go and watch a video on Youtube about how to massage using one.

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Then, when you want to use it, microwave until it is warm and the oils and aromas fill the room.  This is amazing,  it is the most relaxing massage I could imagine.

If you like this, Pin it and if you like us, then Like Us on Facebook and spread the Valentine’s Day love…..

How To: Build a Simple Sandcastle

sc16sc19Summer is nearly here.  While we hear about freezing weather in Paris, our weather is beachy and already hot.  A good friend of mine said that “being happy is to be in love with what you already have”.  And we are.  Not a day goes by when friends and family don’t comment on how lucky we are to live by the Indian Ocean in all its windy glory, white sands and crashing waves.

We spend a lot of our lives at the beach, we listen to the waves pounding as we fall asleep at night, we visit at least once a day for a swim or a walk.  My daughter’s first dip in the ocean was as a five week old baby, held close to my chest.  I was approached by an English lady who basically asked me ‘what the hell are you doing?’ and I just said, ‘that’s what we do’.  Our children grow up as water babies,learning to swim as babies, going to the surf club on a Sunday morning, boogey boarding, surfing.

Building sandcastles is a favourite pastime and an activity often done on our afterschool beach visits.  So here’s a first for this blog.  You will learn how to build a very simple sandcastle, Aussie in flavour.  Clearly, it’s not a very serious craft, but will give your more insight into our lives in Western Australia.

Materials

The Ocean

White beach sand

Shells, stick and sunshine

Method

1. Clear a patch of sand close to the shoreline.  Make it close enough so that the biggest waves will fill the moat.  Use the moist sand to build your castle, it clumps together well.

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2.  Clump the sand together into a round mound on top of your foundation.  Pat it down as you go to compact it together.

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3. Continue to pile up the sand and pat it down as you go, making the mound grow bigger and bigger. Make sure that the base becomes bigger and not just the sides so that it doesn’t topple.

sc54.  When your mound becomes large enough on the base, begin to scoop out a moat around it.  The sand you scoop out should be piled onto the mound to make it taller.  Continue to pat it as you go.

sc6sc7sc95. When your castle is complete, dig out a chanel that joins to the moat and travels to the ocean.  This will then fill your moat with water.

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6. Decorate your castle with shells, seaweed and sticks.

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Now you have finished, kick back on the sand and watch while the ocean fills the moat.

Wishing you sunny days, white sands, gorgeous waves to ride into the shore and many hours of sandcastle building.  If you like this, Pin It and if you like us Like Us on Facebook.  Stay tuned for more Australian posts in the future.

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Recipe: Thai Pumpkin + Fish Curry

fishcurrytitleThis is one of my favourite dishes of all time.  I make it a lot at home.  It is a go to comfort food and tv dinner, and also a great dish to serve to guests.  When you make it just make sure you have a lot in the pot because your guests and loved ones will want more.  It is light and gorgeous but also hearty enough for a winter’s night.

This meal is easy to make and only takes me less than half an hour to whip up. Before you start make sure to put on the rice to cook so that it will be ready to go.  The Thai flavours are heavenly.

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Ingredients

400ml coconut milk (we use light)
1kg pumpkin (butternut squash) (peeled and cubed)
500g salmon (cut in large chunks)
1 bunch of bok choy or pak choy
2 tablespoons Thai green or yellow curry paste (found at Asian foodstores)
350ml fish stock
3 tablespoons fish sauce (high quality and without msg)
2 tablespoons grated palm sugar or can use brown sugar
3 lemongrass stalks
3 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Juice of 1 lime
Handful fresh coriander

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Method

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1. Place a big pot onto medium heat on the stovetop. Pour in the coconut milk and add the curry paste. Mix together with a wooden spoon while it is heating.

2. Let this mixture simmer a bit while you add the fish stock, sauce, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and turmeric.

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3. Bring to the boil and add the pumpkin chunks to the mix. Cook the pumpkin for fifteen minutes or until it has gone quite soft.

4. Add the fish chunks to the sizzling mixture and gently stir so as not to break up the fish. This part will only need a few minutes. When the fish is white they are done.

5. The last part is to wash and separate the bok choy leaves. Leave the mixture simmering and lay them out over the top of the mixture. As they begin to wilt, gently mix them into the curry.

6. Your delicious meal is done. Serve it over rice and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

We hope you enjoy. If you like this Pin or Twitter It. And if you like us, Like Us on Facebook. Keep coming back for more food goodness…

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How To: Wrap a Gift (Perfectly)

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There are several ways to wrap a present… and this way produces a perfect wrap.  We love it.  So here is the first of our Christmas Wrapping Series.

Materials

Wrapping Paper

Sticky Tape

Scissors

Ribbon

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1. Place the present onto the wrapping paper and cut as much as you need.

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2. Place present onto the paper and lift the two edges of the paper up, in the middle.

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2. Fold the edges under two times.

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3. Smooth this fold down. in the middle of the present.

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4.  Tuck the sides into the middle on one end of the present.  There is no need for tape in this middle fold.

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5.  Take this end and make one fold in the end to hide the raw edge then fold it over onto the same side as the middle fold on the present.

6. Place one piece of tape on the end.

7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 for the other end.

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8. Place your present, right side up on the table and tie a simple ribbon bow around it.

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And it’s a wrap!  Join us for more of our Wrapping Series in the next few weeks.  Meanwhile for more Christmas ideas, check out our Little Birdie Advent Calendar, Felted WreathAngel Wings (perfect for a nativity), and our Christmas Starters.

And, if you like this, hover over an image to Pin It, and if you like us, then Like Us on Facebook.

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How To: Felted Christmas Wreath

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This wreath requires very little skill to make, yet it looks beautiful when finished and will last for many Christmases to come.  For us, Christmas is always a mix of new decorations and ideas, and the comfortable return of handmade goods from years past, the reminder of good times and the comfort of continuity.

This project can be scraps of felt from other craft projects or from old woollen jumpers (sweaters to the Americans).  Make sure that your jumpers are 100% wool so they will felt properly.  These jumpers can be easily thrifted.  This is our second Christmas post for 2013.  Our first, Little Birdie Advent Calendar, can be found here.  And there are many more coming in time to make them for this year.

fw6Materials

1 piece of thick, pliable wire (make it round and measure how big you want your wreath)

1 pair plyers

Woollen jumpers in different colours

Washing machine + towels

Scissors

1 piece of wired ribbon

Fishing wire or hook to hang
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1.  Firstly, if you haven’t felted your jumpers, you’ll need to.  This takes a bit of time but can be easily done on a weekend day, as it requires very little of your time and attention.

How to Machine-Felt 

Place your woollen sweaters into the washing machine.  Place a few pairs of jeans in with them.  Place your washing machine on the hottest setting, with a cold rinse.  This will shrink and felt the jumpers.   Repeat this process until all of the knitting stitches have been matted and the jumper has shrunk to about half of its original size.

2. Take your felted jumpers and cut them into 2″/5cm strips, then into squares.  Cut about 50 squares to begin with.
fw103. Measure and cut your wire to the desired length.

4. Thread the felted squares onto the wire.  You could either vary the colours or do different blocks of the same colour.
fw95. Continue threading the felt onto the wire, making sure that you balance the colours.
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6. Using your pliers, bend the ends of the wire.

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7. Interlock the bent ends of the wire together to join them.  Shape the wire into a circle.  Push the felt towards the join, so that it can’t be seen.

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8. Find the spot directly opposite the join on the wreath.  Tie a length of fishing wire to the wreath to hand it with.

fw19. Tie a piece of ribbon to the bottom of the bow, where the join is.  This will completely cover it.

Hang your wreath on the front door or in the lounge room for Christmas.  We hope this brings you and your family years of Christmas joy.  If you like this, hover over our photos and Pin them.  If you like us, Like us on Facebook and tell your mates.  We have more Christmas articles and tutorials coming soon.fw2

How To: Cinnamon + Brown Sugar Face Scrub (Organic)

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We have been using this scrub for our faces and bodies for a few years now.  This is the third in our Eco Friendly Series, potions and lotions which are not only good for you, being chemical-free, but are also gentle on Mother Earth.  Our first post was for the home, the gorgeous Orange Power Cleaner and our second post was for All-Natural Moisturising Bars.

Sugar is not good for your insides and we try to steer away from it.  But it is great as a scrub for your skin, not too harsh and not too gentle.  It is great for getting rid of dead skin cells and leaving skin shiny and soft.  The other ingredients also work wonders on your skin.  Until you wash it off this scrub will make you smell like a cinnamon bun.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar (Organic)

1/4 cup Light Olive Oil (Organic)

2 Tbs Sea Salt

4 Tbs Cinnamon (Organic)

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Method

1.  Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir them together.  (Very simple).  The consistency should be not too oily, it should be crumbly in your fingertips.

 

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2. Place scrub in an airtight container to be kept in the shower recess.

3. To use just take a dessertspoon full of scrub, add some water and gently rub it into the skin, then wash it off with warm water.

Please join us again for more Eco Friendly Lotions and Potions, and if you like it Pin It and if you like One Hour Craft, like us on Facebook.

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How To: Orange Power Cleaner (All Natural)

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In the past two years, we have tried to get rid of all the chemical products in our homes and replace them with natural, eco-friendlier and organic products.  This has not been difficult as I grew up in a home with a mum who never liked chemicals.

This cleaner is really easy to make and can be made even with older oranges, like these.  It is very quick to put together and then takes two weeks to ‘brew’.  In that time all it needs is a little shake every now and then.  This cleaner is great for cleaning ovens, bench tips.  The orange oil in it helps to remover the grime.  Once you are in the habit of taking your lemon, orange, lime peels and just throwing them into a waiting mason jar, this process is really easy to continue, ensuring that you have cleaner for your needs and maybe some as gifts.

Materials

1 Mason Jar with Lid

Cleaning Vinegar (available at any supermarket with the cleaning products)

5 or 6 oranges

Knife

Juicer

Spray bottle (for finished product)

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Method

1. Cut your oranges in half.

orangecleaner22. Squeeze the oranges to make orange juice…. and then drink it.
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3. Chop the orange rinds into smaller pieces and stack them in the mason jar.

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orangecleaner64. Cover the jar with cleaning vinegar and seal it with the lid.  Give the liquid a quick shake and leave it on a shelf in the pantry or another handy spot, for two weeks.  Give the jar a quick shake once in a while.

5. After two weeks, strain the liquid into a spray bottle and get cleaning.  You can leave the rinds in the mason jar and just pour vinegar over the top again or start with fresh rinds.

When we use this our home smells like fresh oranges.  Please join us here again as this is the first post of many more eco-friendly tutorials for the home, the body and the face.  If you like this Pin It, and if you Like us, like us on Facebook.  Thanks.
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How To: Spider Web (Halloween Tutorial No.2)

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If you would like a look at our first Halloween tutorial, here it is: Angel Wings.  Here is our second Halloween tutorial for this year.  These came about as a sort of accident.  We are having a little love affair with God’s Eyes at the moment and just started playing, knew we needed another Halloween tutorial…. and voila.

These make great Halloween decorations and can be hung on the wall or hung from the roof.  They look really effective en masse.  They take very few materials and are very inexpensive to make — always a bonus.

Materials

3 sticks

Black yarn

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Method

1. Tie the three sticks together in the middle, wrapping them a few times and securing with a knot.

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2. Open the sticks and wind the thread around the middle of each of the sticks, so that they stay apart more easily.

spiderweb33. Weave the sticks with the yarn in the same way as you make a God’s Eye.  It is really simple.  Weave the thread over one stick and around, then under the next stick and around.

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4. Continue the weaving, over and around one stick, then under and around the next.  Unlike the God’s Eye, leave gaps in between each weave so that it begins to look like a spider’s web.

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spiderweb75.The weaving doesn’t have to be perfect.  It looks more authentic and interesting if it’s not.  When you reach the end, tie a knot and you’re done.
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How To: Gluten-Free Strawberry Clafoutis

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Clafoutis is a beautiful, rustic French dessert which is easy to make.  It is a sort of mixture between a pudding and a cake.  Light and refreshing and tastes delicious, clafoutis is traditionally cooked with cherries.  Strawberries also taste very good with it. The berries will bubble and dye the batter a gorgeous, bright pink. We guarantee that children love clafoutis! This recipe is both gluten-free and dairy-free (made with coconut milk).

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Ingredients

1/3 cup (70 grams) natural cane sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (225 ml) coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1/4 cup (35 grams) superfine brown rice flour
4 Tbs (40 grams) almond flour
pinch salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 punnets strawberries

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Method

1. In a bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs.

2. Add the coconut milk, vanilla seeds, brown rice flour, almond flour, salt and cinnamon.

3. Place the strawberries into the dish (or small dishes).  We cooked our clafoutis in four wide-mouthed mason jars and this was wonderful.

4. Pour the batter over the top of the strawberries.

5. Sprinkle sugar and almond flour on top for a lovely crunch.

6. Bake them at 180C/375F for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of the dish.

7. The clafoutis will set in the middle.  Do not overcook it as it tastes better if it is like custard on the inside.

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How To: Paper Feather

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Making things from paper is so much fun.  These paper feathers are gorgeous.  They are versatile also.  They can be used as a decoration when wrapping presents, they can be strung to make a garland.  They could even be strung onto lamps….  the possibilities for these little beauties are endless.

They are easy to make and take only a few minutes to put together.  And they are a little addictive to make.  We have made a lot!

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Materials

Florist wires or silver wire cut to 25cm  lengths

Scrap paper to make feather template

Silver tissue paper

Craft glue + Brush

Pencil

Scissors

Method

1. Draw a feather shape (like the one below onto a piece of scrap paper (these feathers look better when drawn freehand).

2. Cut out the template.

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3. Using the template, draw and cut two feather shapes out of the tissue paper.

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4. Place one feather piece facing right side down, paint glue over the entire area. paperfeather7

5. Place the florist wire onto the feather piece, running down the centre, then place the other feather piece on top.

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This is what it should look like now (photo below)

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6. Place the feather between two books overnight or until it has dried.

7. With small scissors make small cuts in the feather, from the outside towards the middle.  The cuts should be on the diagonal, facing towards the top of the feather.

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And….. here is your finished feather.  Ready to decorate your home or party with…

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