Sunday, 29 December 2013

Handmade Sherlock Holmes on Etsy

The time is nearly upon us for the launch of the third series of Sherlock on BBC One. Those of you with elevated elite media status may have already seen it, but for us lesser mortals there are now just three sleeps left until we are happily re-united with Watson and Sherlock. Here are four international handmade items from Etsy to celebrate:

Sherlock Cross Stitch pattern

I believe in Sherlock tee

Sherlock silhouette

Sherlock print

If you don't know or you live under a rock or didn't buy the Radio Times it's on New Year's Day at 9pm on BBC One. Other countries please check your own channels or international iPlayer.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Book review: Natural Soap Making by Elizabeth Letcavage

'Natural Soap Making' by Elizabeth Letcavage is a wonderful introduction to soap making.

It includes 12 recipes to make soap and the instructions are very easy to understand. If you are new to soap making I expect it's a bit like taking up baking - you need a few moulds and cutters but once you get over the initial gathering of materials it could be lots of fun and save quite a bit of money.

The emphasis is on natural ingredients in this book - essential oils, medicinals such as coconut milk or vitamin E and natural colourings such as rose clay for pink or alkanet root powder for purple.

The soaps in this book are so pretty but look natural so would be nice to sell as natural vegan soap which is more durable and longer lasting than some vegan soaps which don't use caustic soda.

Elizabeth has included sections on how to use up soap scraps, how to make nugget soap, how to stamp and how to make swirled soap.

If you dream of making your own soap which is free from the heap of additives it's sold with in the shops then this is the perfect book.

'Natural soap making' by Elizabeth Letcavage is published by Stackpole Books and is available from the Search Press website.

Just an afterthought from me - If you use caustic soda as you are told to in this book to make the soap recipes make sure you wear a plastic apron, rubber gloves, eye protection and a dust mask as it is highly corrosive and an irritant. Please read about it here on Wiki. This is covered on page three of the book but I still wanted to highlight it - this activity is not suitable for children as a result. Caustic soda is not an animal product so this soap book will help you to make vegan soap if you avoid the minimal goat's milk recipes!

Thanks once again to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A finished Rowan knitted shawl by Stephen West

It's been a while since I had something nice to show you. I have a finished object and I'm very excited. I was so excited to take a picture on Saturday with the sun shining brightly and with a spare morning but my camera's batteries died. So apologies if these photos, taken on my iPod, aren't great.

This is the Stephen West pattern 'the Boneyard Shawl' - but I knitted it in Rowan Felted Tweed on 5.5 mm needles. It was my first shawl and I started it just after my birthday trip to Get Knitted in Bristol. It cost me £20 and I loved knitting it so much I feel bereft.

My next shawl is going to be 'Buttermere' - a free pattern from Tangled Yarn. I have purchased some beautiful teal 4 ply yarn from the Tangled Yarn site and have wound it using my new wool winder but I haven't got round to ordering some new knit pro needles from Get Knitted yet. I am starting a collection of knit pro circulars as I only had about four not-so-good-won't-mention-the-brand ones. I am very impressed with the join on the knit pro circulars - you really get what you pay for with the cable and the quality of the needles - they are a joy to knit with.

Here's to more lovely finished objects!
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