Category Archives: Other Stuff

Cleaning Make-up Brushes

I don’t normally post about things like cleaning make-up brushes, but I found such an awesome way compared to what I used to do, that I just had to share.  Firstly, I guess just a short note on why I clean them: I don’t use the brushes/sponge tipped ones that come with any eye shadows that I buy; I have other brushes that I’ve bought for that.  I also use brushes to put my concealer, foundation and loose powder on with.  Therefore I have all these brushes that get dirty, not to mention the bacteria that probably builds up on them.

The method I have always used is to wet them with warm water, squirt on some hand soap and froth up the hairs on the brush, repeating many times until the water runs clear when rinsing.  For my loose powder brush I might have to repeat the above 3-4 times, and the foundation one is even harder to get clean.

Not any more!!  I had a search on the internet and kept seeing references to using vinegar so I settled on this “recipe” and it worked a treat:

1 Cup warm water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon disk washing liquid

All you do is swirl your brush around for a few minutes and then rinse!  My foundation brush took a little longer, but still MUCH quicker than the old way.  Here are the before and after photos of that brush.

Before:Foundation Brush Before


Foundation Brush After

So, there you have it.  Beautiful clean brushes that look brand new again!



Goodbye 2014

Today is the last day of the year 2014.  I’m not typically one for sitting down and reflecting greatly on the year that has been, I’m more of a ‘look forward’ kind of person.  However this year seems to have been a particularly trying one and so am finding myself looking forward to 2015 so much that my mind keeps being drawn back to why 2014 was so horrible!

Te Whau WaihekeTo be fair to 2014, it wasn’t all bad.  My husband and I went on a two lovely short trips; one to Waiheke to celebrate his birthday, and a lovely trip to Rotorua to chill out for a couple days, courtesy of some good friends of our.  Ummm.  That’s all I can think of.

The other exciting trips that I had planned (and had tickets for!) were a week in Perth, 3 weeks in South Africa, Scallop Festival in Whitianga, work trip to Wanaka (the most amazing place imaginable) and a work trip to Hastings (great wine!)

I have had to cancel every single trip because hubby “caught himself a little dose of cancer”.

Back in July hubby was diagnosed with stage 3 Laryngeal Cancer; he had cancer inside one of his vocal cords.  This seemed particularly unfair to us given he’s never smoked a cigarette in his life and the fact that he’s about 20 years younger than the average person who has this.  Talk about having your life turned upside down!  What followed so far has been 4 surgeries; one of them being 9 hours long!  A couple of weeks in hospital, plus the odd emergency trip.  Weeks of him literally not being able to talk, relearning how to swallow and speak (he’s now able to whisper) and 18 weeks with a tracheostomy to breath through.  Somewhere along the way it was confirmed that all the cancer had been removed, but for me that has been somewhat lost in translation given all the other things we’ve had to deal with.

We both had our fingers and toes crossed to have all this behind us by Christmas, but on Christmas Eve it was confirmed that more surgery is required in January 2015.  Whilst this is frustrating, I have to remind myself how incredible it is that they can build someone a ‘fake’ vocal cord at all!  And due to the surgeries, there has been no need for radiation therapy or chemotherapy.  For that we a most certainly grateful!

I don’t say any of this to be all doom and gloom but it would be fair to say that this has all but consumed my life for the past six months…anyone who gets stuck talking to me for too long will attest to my needing to talk about it (too much).  I think that it has been my way of gathering support and sympathy because I quickly realised how much people stay away from those who are ill.  I can’t judge, I’ve done it myself…..”I don’t want to be a bother, so I won’t visit.  They will have so much going on as it is”.  I will never say that again!!  I now understand that the reality is sitting at home alone for hours on end with just you and the ‘sick’ person. A friend of mine gave me some good advice.  She said that in my next email to everyone providing an update, tell them that having someone call in for a quick cup of tea for 30 minutes is wonderful therapy!  It tells people that you want/need visitors, and sets some boundaries around the timeframe.  30 minutes is a small amount of time, and people won’t feel burdened to stay for an hour or more which can be harder to fit into their busy day.

However the one thing that I have come to realise is THE most important thing to have during these challenging times is a sense of humour!  Laughing is the best therapy!  It certainly worked for me when I’d say “Speak Up, I can’t hear you!” to hubby.  Ahhh, peels of laughter would follow from both of us.  We’ve come up with some great stories to explain all the scars, and had great fun devising a plan to foil any police during a alcohol breath test; breathing through a tracheostomy has to have some advantages!  And for a long while he could do the best Darth Vader impersonations!

So as we say Goodbye 2014, I will focus on the laughter and fun moments.  It certainly seems like a much better frame of mind to enter 2015 with!


Christmas Decorations – Washington Fur Drop

Washington Fur Drop 6I was feeling a bit low, after having to put one of our darling kitty cats to sleep (she had cancer).  One of my friends had great timing in asking if I’d go to a Christmas decoration demo at The Christmas Heirloom Company.  Evidently she was somewhat aware that I LOVE Christmas (the number of decorations I put up at Christmas might have been a give-away).

At this event there were two demonstrations, the first was how to put your lights on the tree.  Given that I put 4-5 sets on my tree, I already have this one pretty much nailed, but it’s always good to either a: confirm you’re approaching it in a good way or b: get a new idea of how to do it. The second demonstration what how to decorate a Washington Fur Drop.  I didn’t even know what one was, so I was excited to see that the story was here.

The long and sort of it was that I loved what the lady put together, and promptly bought two, plus the bits I needed to decorate it.  Below are the steps I took to ‘joosh’ up my drop:

Here is my ‘naked’ Washington Fur Drop.  As you can see, it comes with small pine cones already attached.  The first step was the spread out the branches so that it had a nice even shape.

Washington Fur Drop 2

Here are the bits of decoration that I bought to put in my drop.  They include 5 ‘picks’ of berries, 3 gold Poinsettias, and 2.5 metres of red and gold wire ribbon.  We were advised to always go with odd numbered decorations.

Washington Fur Drop 1

The berry picks came bunched together, so I had to spread the branches out. Washington Fur Drop 3

The next step was to push the stem of the berries up into the foliage, working from the bottom of the drop, upwards.  They can be secured with the flexible branches, and blended in between them.

Washington Fur Drop 4

Then you do the same with the poinsettias.  I pushed the last one (at the top) into the foliage from the top.

Washington Fur Drop 5

Then I made the bow (outside to limit the glitter effect on the carpet) and attached it to the top of the drop using one of the smaller branches (there is one conveniently in the middle at the top).  And ta-dah!  Done!  I can’t believe how quickly I put this together.  All up it probably took me 15 minutes, and the second one I made was even quicker.  The trickiest bit was making the bow.  I had to go from memory, but luckily it wasn’t very hard.  I tried to find a demo on line in case you are interested.  I did find this demo, which actually is how to made a very cool wreath too 🙂

Easy Knitted Mesh Scarf

Nina Mesh ScarfI was wandering around Spotlight (as you do when they’ve got a 40% off all Yarn Sale on) and started to eye up those ‘weird’ yarns that they stock in the Moda Vera range.  They have names like “Nina Mesh”, “Nelly Bobble Mesh” and “Avery” just to name a few.  They usually have a sample hanging near the yarn, but I could never work out how they actually made the sample.  Well, the mystery is over!  There just happened to be a demonstration being held to show how to use these types of yarn.  The worrying bit was it it involved knitting, which I haven’t done since I was about 15…and I never enjoyed it.  Still, this seemed like a quick and very easy project so I thought I’d give it a whirl!

I went for the Nina Mesh yarn in Beige, and had to buy some knitting needles (5 1/2mm)…and then I had to strain my memory on how to actually knit!  haha.  The pattern on the back of the ball band was SO easy, and I made fast work of a really pretty scarf…two evenings in front of the TV was all it took!

There are a lot more patterns on the Spotlight website, but since this particular one isn’t online I quickly typed it up for you:

Nina Mesh Scarf

Width: approx 10 cm
Length: approx 150 cm


1 Ball Moda Vera Nina Mesh yarn

Cont = Continue
st(s) = Stitch(es)

Use 5/5mm needles

To cast on sts stretch the mesh open and lay flat.  You wll see that the one side edge is mesh the other side edge is more bulky with an edging yearn.  Work on the mesh side edge only.  You will be working along the top row of holes on mesh side edge of the yarn, leaving he rest of the yarn to form a frill.  You will be using these top holes as it they are a length of yarn.

Cast on by inserting needle into a hole along mesh side edge – this is your first st, insert needle into next hole – this is your second st, repeat until you have 6 sts on needle.

Swap the needle with the 6 sts on it into your left hand.  Insert remaining 5.5mm needle through the first st (loop) on needle as if to knit keeping mesh open (as before), wind the mesh around as if to knit slipping the next large hole onto right-hand needle, then complete the st by pulling through first st (loop) on left-hand needle, cont to knit every st in this manner to end…1 row garter st.
Cont in garter st until the yarn is almost finished taking care to leave enough yarn to cast off.
Neaten scarf by threading ends into a yarn needle and working them into the scarf.  Shake out scar to get the full effect of the ruffles.

Get your skin glowing!

Besan FlourI seem to have too much time on my hands at the moment…why else would I be watching day time television, namely Dr Oz.  On the episode that I watched, he had asked some so-called big name places to advise on <$5 remedies for at home use.  One of them caught my eye… allegedly helps to brighten and exfoliate your skin!  Naturally I could help myself from giving it a go…what woman wouldn’t?

There were only 3 basic ingredients, Chickpea Flour, Turmeric, and Milk.  Apparently Turmeric has anti-inflammation qualities.  After finally working out that in New Zealand we call Chickpea Flour (a.k.a. Gram Flour) Besan Flour, I was set to go!

I have to say that my face definitely felt exfoliated afterwards.  Next time I would be more careful about applying a more even coating so that it dries evenly.  In places where it was very dry, it was quite difficult to remove.   Next time I think I’ll apply to the back of my hands too.

While I waited for my face to dry, I found quite a bit of evidence on the internet that this is indeed quite a widely used face pack, and there seemed to be a lot of general use for Besan Flour such as body scrubs.  This site here had a list of uses: The Times of India

Here’s the recipe:
2 T Chickpea (Gram / Besan) Flour
1/2 T Turmeric
2 T Milk

Mix to a smooth thick paste.  Smear over face, avoiding eye area.  Leave on for 20-30 minutes then rub off.

Turmeric is chronic for staining, so be VERY careful about what you are wearing!

New Year’s Resolutions

Hello there,


It’s the last day of January 2013, and of course at this time of year one starts to contemplate the meaning of life and all that guff. It got me thinking about whether I could start writing a blog….almost like a New Year’s resolution. We’ll see how long I can stick it out for…..I’ve never been one for New Year resolutions (which is evident given that I’m only just thinking about it at the END of January) and tend to be pretty bad at sticking to them. I did consider for a nano-second trying drinking less wine, but I think I’ll stick to the blogging idea because there’s probably more chance of me committing to that. haha

So, what content will I put in my blog? Knowing me, it’ll mostly be about whichever craft I’m currently addicted to, baking and the two gorgeous fur kids of ours, Zonda and Islay. We’ll see. I actually might have to sit down and give it a bit of thought. I use Facebook a lot to share the photos of my work, but you don’t really get a chance to put a lot of commentary around thoughts, challenge, inspirations etc. That is something I’m looking forward to with the blog.


So, what crafts might I try to inspire you with? Well, I’m currently somewhat addicted to crocheting. A good friend of mine was going for a lesson at her Aunt’s place to get her started…..I think she had great ideas of crocheting blankets for her soon to arrive in this world baby. Or maybe she was being cunning all along, knowing my slightly addictive personality, and that if she got me hooked on crocheting, I could make her blankets for the baby. Well, damn it! It worked. So far she’s received a blanket with matching hat, and a hat that’s an Owl.


I guess you can’t complain too much when your friends know you that well. 🙂 Oh, and in case you were distracted by the beautiful cat in the above photo, that’s our darling ginger girl, Zonda.

My current Crochet project is an Angry Bird hat. Sooooo cute! I LOVE Angry Birds (refer to earlier comment about addiction….). I’m trying to play less often, but seem to have just replaced that with playing Scrabble on our tablet.

Well, that’s probably enough ramblings for my first post.