Monday, 20 October 2014

Garden Update: Plant Babies

Things are going quite well in my garden. I did get potting mix and I moved the four pea seedlings to their own pot. It really is too hot for newborn peas right now, and unfortunately I've already lost one. The other three seem to be holding on, though. Go, go little pea plants!

My lettuces are starting to look like lettuces, too. They're all in a clump as they self-seeded, but I've found lettuces can usually sort themselves out.

I've thinned out my carrots, leaving the biggest, strongest looking carrots where they were, I transplanted the very smallest few to other tubs in the garden and moved the medium-sized carrots further apart in the carrot tub. Carrots hate being transplanted, it's really their least favourite thing to do, so I watered them in with seaweed solution to ease the shock. I will be surprised if the smallest carrots recover, but at least they have a chance... when I say "smallest", I mean this size:
See that little red-orange thing? That's a carrot!

I sprinkled some more dirt in the carrot tup to cover up the exposed part of their roots, so now my carrots look like this:
Well that's actually much blurier than I thought it was when I took it. Really my carrots are not blurry at all, but they do have a lovely crop of green fluff.

I removed the mini greenhouse from my chilli today and moved the pot into the main part of the garden. It's now this big:

The other new plant babies I have are strawberries. I got this handy little all-in-one greenhouse from Kmart:

And it now has four tiny little strawberry sprouts in it. I tried to get a good picture of the actual sprouts, but it turns out they're camera shy.

What's going on in your garden? :-)
Happy Planting!
Cassandra Louise

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Beauty Tuesday: Microbead-Free Exfoliation

Last week I decided that every Tuesday would be Beauty Tuesday and I would talk about sustainable fashion, environmentally responsible cosmetics or natural beauty products on Tuesdays. This Tuesday, I want to talk to you about microbeads.
You've probably heard about microbeads but you may not know what they are. A lot of companies use microbeads as a selling point. It is a selling point - microbeads are great for exfoliation - but microbeads are wreaking havoc on our waterways and marine life. Microbeads are plastic. They are tiny little pieces of plastic that go down your drain and then never, ever dissolve or disappear.

You can read about what microbeads are, exactly why they are a problem and what products you may have that contain them here (the link will open in a new tab).
If you have something with microbeads, I would suggest throwing it out. You should know by now I don't suggest throwing things out lightly, but the less microbeads flooding into the ocean, the better.
I don't have a photograph of microbeads for you as I don't want to demonise a particular brand or product, so I drew some for you:

I didn't think that adequately captured how evil they are, so here they are lighting a bushfire and running away:

And here's one making a fish sad:

But on a serious note, they make fish more than sad, they make them sick, dead and extinct. Don't use them.
"But what," I hear you cry, "can I exfoliate with?! I'll get all scaly! Do you want me to be all scaly?"
Of course I don't want you to be scaly, and that's why I've made this simple recipe for you.
You will need:
The most gentle conditioning baby shampoo you can find

Normal white table sugar

And... that's it. Pour one tablespoon of baby shampoo into a small bowl or a teacup.  For the kind I have, 1Tbsp is ten pumps, so that's easy.

Next, add two tablespoons of sugar to it.

You can either just let it sit, or poke it with a spoon for a bit, either way, in less than a minute the sugar will have absorbed all the baby shampoo and turned into a sort of crunchy gel:

You can use this scrub and know that you will not be scaly and you are helping to keep marine creatures and environments safe.
If you have very dry skin, you can replace the baby shampoo with olive oil or coconut oil.

I would like to make this post an informal link-up, which will be open... well, basically forever since it's informal. If you have a beauty post you would like to share, link to this post on yours and leave a comment here letting me know you've linked up.
You could link an environmentally-friendly alternative like this, a natural skin or hair care product like the one linked herea fashion-centred op shop/thrift post like the one at this link, or a refashion project like this one. I really look forward to seeing your stuff! :-D

Happy Scrubbing!
Linky love,
Cassandra Louise.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Garden News: Chilli, Carrots and Peas

Remember my mini greenhouse from this post?
Well, look what's in it now!

I moved it slightly so it was over the strongest plant. If I still get more than one, that's fantastic, but this way I'm guaranteed to get at least one. It's about 5cm tall now. I think I'll be taking the greenhouse off it in about a week.

My carrots are recovering well and the roots (the carrot part) have visibly started growing again.

Very soon I'll need to go through them and move them a little further apart. There's some very straggly ones that are having a lot of trouble and they may need to come out, but I'm soft hearted/headed [delete as applicable] so I'll probably make a carrot nursery for those ones. 
The little one on the right of the screen probably can't catch up.
I also found the kind of surprise you only get when you put your used potting mix back in the compost to refresh:

Surprise pea plants have come up in the tub of a native plant I potted up a few weeks ago. It's really getting too hot for peas, but I still want to give them the best start I can.  On Saturday I walked to Coles with my wheelie bag (you know, like grannies have) to get some potting mix to rehome my peas, as I don't have any more compost ready right now. Turns out Coles no longer sells any potting mix. Boo! So today I'm walking to the next closest shop which may have some and hopefully wheeling some home to replant those peas before they climb on my native friend there. Potting mix is heavy and I'll be walking really quite a long way considering, so that's my workout for the week, thank you very much!

Happy gardening!
Lots of Love,
Cassandra Louise.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Witchy Tea

I'm calling this "witchy" tea because it just came to me, like blam! and insisted on being made right away, so that's what I did; "witchy" just seems like the right word for that. Please excuse my not-so-good photos this time, I didn't want to put the kitchen light on and disturb the serenity.

You will need:
A sprig of rosemary

Two slices of lemon (or a tablespoon of lemon juice)

A green tea teabag

A camomile teabag

I don't like camomile tea, I have those teabags for my hair, so I was surprised when my body said that's what it wanted, but anyway...
Put everything in an infuser or a teapot

Add slightly-less-than-boiling water

And let it stand for at least three minutes.

I let mine sit for about five minutes before plunging and pouring.

And I stirred in about a teaspoonful of ground cinnamon, because I'm me.

I found this very pleasant. I wasn't sure about the camomile, but I tasted it before I added any cinnamon and my reaction was I don't hate it! I was surprised, I really was. I need to learn that good things happen when I trust my inklings and intuition.

Worlds of love,
Cassandra Louise.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Three-in-One Hair Cleanser

This is my recipe for an all-in-one "shampoo" (sham-shampoo, if you will), conditioner and rinse. There are many like it in books and on the internet, but this one is mine. I adapted this recipe from one used by a Twitter friend of mine that I won't link to because I know she wouldn't want that, but this is me waving to her.
First, this is a cleanser, not a shampoo, so it will clean your hair amazingly well and get rid of all the scalp-yuck you may have, but it won't bubble or lather at all.
You will need:
Rain water, filtered water or spring water

Bentonite clay powder (I get mine on eBay) 


Green tea, bag or leaves is fine but if you use loose leaves you'll need a super-fine strainer.

The clay is the cleanser, the honey is the conditioner but also acts as a cleanser and the green tea is the rinse. Green tea will leave your hair extra silky and shiny. Regular green tea is better than decaf for this because caffeine reduces hair fall, but either is fine if you're not concerned with that or only have decaf.
You will also need:
A plastic squeezy bottle

Using a non-metallic spoon, measure out one tablespoon of honey and put that in your plastic bottle. I usually use a funnel for this but I can't find my kitchen funnel right now so I just poured and hoped...

...and got honey all down the outside of my bottle.

Anyway, you're more organised than me and have a funnel, so now your bottle looks like this:

To that, again using a non-metallic spoon, add two teaspoons of clay powder. It will look something like this:

Mmm! Clay-y. Meanwhile, you can have a cup of green tea brewing. I brewed mine in an infuser because of the whole funnel thing, I needed a pouring lip, but obviously a normal cup or a glass is fine. Let it brew for at least ten minutes.

When the green tea has brewed for a while, pour it into your bottle, leaving some space at the top for cold water.

Fill to the top with cold water, put the lid on and shake well to combine all the ingredients. It should end up looking something like this:

Take the lid off the bottle to let the mixture cool down for at least five minutes, as you're going to apply it to your head while it's still warm. To use, I apply it to my dry hair in the shower and let it sit for several minutes before washing it out, even though I have quite long hair, I find there's enough liquid in the bottle to thoroughly wet my hair, you might like to apply it to wet hair and that's completely up to you, I don't think it really matters. Just make sure you get the mixture on all of your scalp, as that's where all the buildup is that makes your hair greasy and makes your head smell funny.
Unlike regular shampoos and conditioners, if you don't quite wash all of this mixture out of your hair, it won't do any damage at all.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!
Much love,
Cassandra Louise.