Day 79, Use What You've Got - growing a snake!

Do you have any Christmas Presents in your cuphoard from last year that you've still not used or played with?

I found this snake in our cupboard from last Christmas. It's one of those toys that magically grow in water.

Since we were having a quiet family weekend at home last weekend, we thought we'd 'use what we've got' and finally open up the snake packet and get it in some water!

The girls measured it before we started, then threw it in the swimming pool!

They've been measuring it quite regularly ever since, but we've yet to see enormous growth.

I'm not sure if the chlorinated pool water is having the right effect on the snake, or maybe the water is too warm (it's supposed to be under 35C).

But the packet said it would grow 600% in 96 hours (4 days).
It's now been  48 hours (2 days), and it's only grown by about 50% - from 38cm to 58cm long.

Maybe we left it in the packet too long? Or maybe it's just a slow grower?

Oh well - at least we've got it out and are making use of it! Better than having it sitting in the cupboard!
 I think we might take it out of the pool, rinse it off and put it in a bucket of tap water - see if that helps it grow any more!

Have you ever had one of these toys that grow in water?
Did yours work?
And do you have and Christmas presents from last year you haven't played with yet?


A glimpse of Cairns - Day 77, Use What You've Got

On Friday, I had a lovely morning out with my girls, biking around the cane fields. For lunch, we then took a picnic to a gorgeous spot here in Cairns - Stoney Creek.

The water is cool and refreshing and we had lots of fun cooling off, building dams, racing leaves in the water and watching the wildlife!

Here are  a few pictures:

It's good to take time to enjoy the beautiful place you live in! 
Do you?


Tin can upcycles, Day 75 Use What You've Got

This week I've been spending time with my girls as it's the school holidays. 
Yesterday we got out a pile of tin cans that the girls have been saving to make pencil holders from. 
This was a nice simple project, using up fabric from my scrap stash and glue!

They came up with quite a selection! and had lots of fun in the process.

 The fur and thicker fabric definitely worked better as you can't see the ridges of the tin through the fabric. I can see there might be some embellishments added to some of these tins. But that will have to wait until I can buy some more glue as the girls used all we had!


Paintings by my girls - Day 73, Use What You've Got

Yesterday my girls wanted to paint.  They both have large canvases for their bedroom walls that they paint over and change every few months.  They moved into their own bedrooms and decorated them at the end of last year and painted their canvas backgrounds then the colour of their respective feature walls.
It's taken us this long to get round to actually painting the pictures! Better late than never!

Here they are:

My younger daughter's picture:

And my older daughter's picture:

I love them both! Now we just need an extra hook in each room to hang them up!

Do your kids have any of their own artwork in their bedrooms?


Plastic Lid Lamp Upcycle (a tutorial) - Day 72, Use What You've Got

The school holidays started yesterday and we started as we mean to go on - with a craft that involves, 

Using What We've Got!

I've had this old lamp in the cupboard for a while. the light itself works, just the shade disintegrated and had to be thrown out.

My daughter has also been collecting plastic lids from the milk and juice bottles for a while now - saving them for some kind of crafty endeavour.

First we had to find a way to hold the upper shade ring up to create a frame for the shade.  I had some old pieces of wood from a broken tray and we got out my hot glue gun to stick it all together.

Once we had the frame, we used some fishing wire, and the plastic lids to create the lampshade.

We used an awl to punch holes on 2 sides of each lid.

Then tied the fishing wire to the bottom of the frame, before threading it through one hole at a time to secure each lid in place all the way up to the top of the frame, where we wrapped the wire around the top, down to the bottom and up ready to start the next column of coloured lids.

We worked our way around the frame - one of us on either side, until we met.

Then after tying the loose ends of fishing wire off, we got the glue gun out again to hold the lids together and all facing the right way.

Once the glue had dried we could trim the wire and pull off the stringy glue bits.

Then test it out inside..

My daughter is very happy with her new lamp. Especially since she was so involved in making it.
And we made it just with things we had on hand!

What do you think? 
Have you ever upcycled a lamp?
Or made something with plastic lids? We still have plenty of lids left over and are looking for the next craft!

Jelly mountain - Day 70 Use What You've Got

Take a look at this cool jelly mold we have.

It's been sitting in our cupboard for several years after it was handed down from my husband's side of the family a long time ago.

Well - since it's time to 

Use What You've Got

I thought we'd try it out.

The girls helped me choose the coloured layer combination. 

We sprayed the inside of the mold lightly with cooking oil to prevent sticking (I found that tip on a few websites).

Then started making the jelly.

I read that you should pour each layer before the previous one has set completely to make sure they stick together.  But we also didn't want to pour the next layer on too soon so that it would mix with the first!

Tricky business.

We started with the lime green jelly. Then when we judged the timing right, we added the pink raspberry.When we poured the second layer, there was a bit of a glooping sound and we thought we saw a blob of the green jelly surface briefly!
Aarrggh!  Oh well, nothing we could do but wait and see.
Back into the fridge for another couple of hours before layer 3 could be added!

Here's what it looked like ..

I had to set my alarm to get up at 1am to pour the final layer! 

Looking good now - nothing to do but wait till it was time to  turn it out!

The big moment came - and with a quick dip of the mold in hot water. it came out a treat!!

I was impressed it held together in one piece, but the colours didn't look too clear!  
However, I think it may have been the darkness of the evening, because look how the flash photos turned out..

Using this mold provided lots of entertainment while making and serving it up!
Plus, it tasted good!

Do you have something in your kitchen that you've never used, or haven't used in a long time??

Maybe it's time to

Use What You've Got!!


Willpower! - Day 67, Use What You've Got

In this 100 day challenge I've set myself to 'Use What I've Got" I've decided that I need to start using my willpower more.

This year I've really been pushing myself to keep exercising lots and have felt fitter and healthier than ever.  I'm running faster and stronger than ever before and earlier this year I dropped a few kilos too which was a nice by product of all my hard work.  

A winter cold

However - over the past couple of months I was sick, then had a lingering irritating cough and blocked sinuses which meant I cut back on my exercise lots - and ate a lot more comfort food.  The weight has crept back and my fitness levels have dropped.

All better now!

Yesterday I went for a run and for the first time in weeks I didn't cough once during it. I pushed hard and was exhausted at the end but it felt good.

I have a half marathon that I'm training for coming up in just over 7 weeks time, so I've decided it's time to get back into some full on training and being a bit more careful with what I eat.

My weakness

I may have a strong will when it comes to pushing myself to exercise - run and workout. But when it comes to food, I'm not so strong.

Working from home - I can grab a snack so easily whenever I want - and frequently do throughout the day!

I also love to bake - and we almost always have home-baked cakes and cookies in the house.  I'm also guilty of licking the bowls out after I've mixed the cakes and taste-tasting the cookies etc when they come out of the oven.

So - here's where my willpower comes in.

I need to stop all the unnecessary snacking - especially when I bake.

Yesterday and today I baked cakes and managed to rinse the bowls and put them in the dishwasher without even a tiny taste of the cake or cookie mixture first.

I'm trying very hard to snack on better things, like some fresh pineapple.

And drinking plenty of water - often spiced up with some lemon ice-cubes.

A healthy weight

I'm not overweight but I'm right at the top end of the scale of what is healthy for my height.   I've never been overly concerned about my weight - preferring to concentrate on feeling fit and healthy. Exercising regularly and trying to eat well.
However I am a little over what I usually weigh and can feel my clothes are a bit tight!

I'm also aware that losing a few kilos would make running a bit easier for my body - and faster too, so that's an added incentive to work that willpower when it comes to food from now on!

So there - I've put it out there.
I weigh 69kg now, but should be much closer to 60kg than 70kg!  

I need to learn to cut smaller pieces of cake!!

What's your weakness?
Do you have a willpower? Do you use it much?


How to make a Fabric Headband - Day 66, Use What You've Got

Here's another of the tutorials I made for my girls to learn to sew.  This one is for making a Fabric Headband or Hairband, whichever you like to call it!
They have a fabric yo-yo added to them for a little decoration. The fabric yo-yo tutorial is here.

Again it's designed to be followed by kids so they can try to sew something all by themselves without an adult needing to help (so long as you're happy with them using your machine unassisted!).

You can download the free PDF tutorial here.