Roadside treasures!

Last weekend people had started putting out stuff ready for the council’s waste collection during the week. And I found some treasures! I had been hoping for some sort of chandelier, and finally I found one! You just have to keep your eyes open, and wait, and wait some more. And at some stage something suitable¬†will turn up ūüôā

So this is what I found:

roadside treasures 4

Both pretty dirty and rusty, but beautiful shapes.

I picked up a couple of bottles of spray paint on Monday, however I had to wait to start the beautification process. Because it’s been blowing dogs off chains this past week! (For those that don’t speak Aussie slang, that means it’s been very, very windy.) There have been severe weather warnings¬†on several days, and although it’s been worse in other parts of the city, it wasn’t the best weather for spray painting.

However, I set myself up in the carport on Thursday, and started. I used a wire brush to get a lot of the rust and dirt off the chandelier. I didn’t bother sanding it down further, although that would have made for a much smoother finish. But it’s pre-loved – it doesn’t need to¬†be perfect! I realised that the lantern was only being held together by rust, so I was very, very¬†gentle with it. A few coats of paint can only help that, can’t they?!!?

roadside treasure 6

The man in the hardware shop recommended I use White Knight Rust Guard, and if that had come in a colour I wanted that would have been enough. But it didn’t, so I had to find another brand for that. I chose British Paints Bright Pink. I wanted these items to be features in the garden, which is why I decided to go the bright pink.

Here they are after they’ve had a bit of the rust guard:

roadside treasure 5

Looking better all ready! The wind was gusting all around so I couldn’t complete the job that day.

Since the lantern really is on it’s last legs, I knew it was definitely going to end up pink. If it’s not going to be here for a long time, it’s going to make a big impact while it is! As for the chandelier, I wasn’t sure where it was going to go, so I decided to leave it white until it had a spot. Then I would decide if it would end up pink as well.

So this morning I walked around the garden – front and back – looking for spots to feature these treasures. I had to walk around¬†more than once¬†ūüėČ

I am happy with the spot I found for the little pink lantern, although it does clash with the colour of the house next door ūüėČ

Roadside treasure 2

The gale force winds are still around today, so I’ll be keeping an eye on it to make sure it stays put. It’s a very green part of the garden at the moment, so it’s nice having the pop of pink. And, assuming it doesn’t disintegrate before then, it will look lovely with the purple Wisteria and Agapanthus when they flower.

I couldn’t find a tree from which to hang the chandelier, so I decided to add it to the deck. One of the very first Pinterest-inspired projects I did was the chandelier made from¬†icicle lights hanging from a hula hoop. But it had been there for a couple of years and some of the lights weren’t working, and it was looking a little shabby. So I took that down and it will go out in the next Council Clean-up. I’m very pleased I decided to keep the chandelier white

roadside treasure 1

I hunted around for some lights to use. I tried out some solar lights, but once I knew it was going on the deck they weren’t going to work so well. I did some juggling of lights that we already had out in the garden, and found some clear icicle lights to use. I divided the icicles equally between the bowls, and hung it up. I may hang some crystals from it at a later stage, but for now I like it.¬†I may have to paint the birdcages hanging down the end white as well. They are also filled with fairy lights.

Roadside treasure 3

And I still have another roadside treasure from this week to do up and share with you soon!

What’s the best thing you’ve¬†collected from the side of the road (checking that it is ok to do so with the local council of course!)?

* Linked up with Mimi’s Five Star Frugal

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Coombe Mill – Trash to Treasure

Beauty pins I’ve tried – Hand Milled Soap

Soap has always seemed such a tricky thing to make yourself. All those chemicals, exact measurements, precise temperatures….But when I saw my friend Mimi’s easy recipe for rebatched or hand milled soap I knew I would give it a try! Hand milled¬†soap (I think¬†‘hand milled’¬†sounds a little more¬†glamorous than ‘rebatched’!)¬†means someone else has done the hard work for you, so really you are using soap that has already been made. But you are personalising it, and absolutely making it yours!

I did pin her recipe, however it was on a site that is for members only. Fine for me, however it’s no good for anyone else to find. So Mimi has very kindly told me that she will add the recipe to her public blog (which I thoroughly recommend!). You can find links to her blogs on the right-hand side of my Home page under ‘Blogroll’. I believe it will be here http://thesecondbestthingsinlife.blogspot.com.au/ and I will post the link when it happens.

I first made this to give as presents last Christmas. I have also made a batch with my friend’s 9 year old daughter, which just goes to show how easy it is!

So, here’s Mimi’s recipe:

You need:

750gms Lux flakes or equivalent grated soap

3 cups of water

4 tablespoons of Milk Powder

1/2 cup Macadamia Oil

Few drops of scented or essential oil (Jasmine fragrance oil for oil burners is our favourite)

Bring a large pot of water to a simmer, and sit a large mixing bowl over it.

To the mixing bowl, add the soap flakes, milk powder and water, and stir until it becomes a thick slush.

Add the Macadamia Oil and fragrance oil and stir until combined.

Spoon into your mould/s.

Let them set overnight, then unmould onto racks to air and harden. I’ve found that leaving them for about three weeks gives them more longevity upon use.

I have always made this using 1/3 or 1/2 of the ingredients. Half the recipe fills my 6 heart-shaped silicon mould, with a little bit over.

I have followed the method above of placing a bowl over a pot of simmering water. I have also sat a bowl over another bowl full of just boiled water and mixed it on the kitchen bench. This time I used the microwave ūüôā All methods have worked! I wasn’t sure about using the microwave, but I did a search for making rebatched soap using a microwave and found plenty of recipes. So all good!

I started by mixing the soap flakes and water,

Hand milled soap 1

then it went into the microwave for 30 second increments until it got to a melted gooey glug

Hand milled soap 2

which took about 2 minutes.

Then I added the other ingredients, including some Rose fragrant oil and a couple of drops of red food colouring to give it a pretty pink tone. In this batch I used olive oil instead of macadamia oil. Pretty much any oil will work here. I was also a bit more generous with the milk powder, and added a touch more oil to keep the consistency right.

Hand milled soap 3

And I mixed it well. It smells pretty good!

Hand milled soap 4

Then it was time to put it into my mould. It was starting to cool and get a bit difficult to work with, so it went back into the microwave for a couple of 10 second bursts. The silicone moulds I used hadn’t worked terribly well for me for baking cakes. They kept getting stuck in the pointy bits!

Hand milled soap 5

The soap needs a day or so to dry a bit before you can turn it out of the moulds. It will still be a bit damp and soft, so you can smooth out any lumps and bumps on the edges. But we had a wet weekend here in Sydney, so it was 2 days before I could turn them out. In the meantime, I whipped up another batch Рwith tea tree oil and green food colouring. Today was a little warmer and sunnier, so I put them outside to take advantage of the weather

Hand milled soap 6

I used a plastic container lined with plastic wrap for the tea tree oil soaps, and the leftover bit of rose scented soap.

Now they need to cure, or dry out, for at least 3 weeks. If we get more rain, they will take longer ūüė¶ But the drier they are, the longer they will last in the shower.

So what do you think? Will you give hand milled soap making a go?