Cartoon Nails

I was perusing my Pinterest boards recently, wondering what I should try next, when I found this pin of cute cartoon-style nails on my aptly titled Nails board ūüėČ

And since I have only done plain colours on my nails lately, it was time for something a little more interesting! Continue reading

School Holiday Activity – Henna Tattoos at Home

We are currently half way though our winter school holidays. It has been a lovely week doing a variety of activities.

We¬†began the holidays¬†by having a family gathering in the Blue Mountains,¬†enjoying Christmas in July. I’m guessing this is not something that is ‘celebrated’ in the northern hemisphere, but not sure if it is just an Australian/New Zealand thing? It is our opportunity to get as close to a wintery white Christmas as Australia allows. And if we¬†had been¬†the weekend before, we would indeed have seen snow (although it was the end of June, not yet July), but not while we were there.

We stayed in a lovely old hotel that was built in the late 1800s. The kids all enjoyed exploring the many rooms and making their own movie. The hosts seemed quite happy for them to do so! On Saturday night we were treated to a special Christmas dinner, even Santa made an appearance!

Christmas in July, Blue Mountains

Christmas in July in the Blue Mountains

After spending the weekend in the icy cold mountains, Monday was spent at the beach! You gotta love winter in Sydney!

Anyway, moving on…a member of¬†a facebook group¬†I am a¬†part of posted about doing her own henna tattoos at home (thanks, Lisa!). She had found a local Indian spice shop sold henna tubes. It looked like such an entertaining activity, I decided to see if¬†I could find an Indian spice shop that sold them.

And there was! For local Sydney readers, I found them at Hornsby Indian Bazaar, 43a Florence St, Hornsby. Cost: $2.50 per tube.

Henna tube

There were no instructions on the tube, so I did a bit of googling to see if there was anything important I should know. Believe it or not, there is! So I have compiled a list of what I learnt. Bare in mind that I am no expert in this, I am just a beginner. So my list is not the be all and end all of henna tattooing. Just sayin’ ūüėČ

  • Wash the skin where you intend to apply the henna with a soap that doesn’t contain lotion. (Ie not the home-made one you’ve made from Dove soap!)
  • Do a small patch test to see if you have any reaction to the henna paste. That’s just common sense. My son said he felt a slight tingling when I applied it to his hand, but he had no lasting or worsening symptoms. Perhaps it was just an unusual sensation for him and that was the best way he could describe it.
  • Massage the henna tube for a minute or so to loosen up¬†the paste and ensure it is all mixed nicely.
  • Have some water and paper towel or tissues¬†nearby.
  • Cut a small amount off the tip of the tube.
  • Squeeze the tube gently and start designing! I started by squeezing some onto a spare bit of paper to get the feel of it.
  • If you make a mistake you can quickly wipe it off with your damp tissue. Or just incorporate it into your design.
  • Let the paste dry. From what I read, this can take from 5 minutes up to 30 minutes. In our case, we waited 30 minutes. The longer you leave it on, the darker the stain. I read conflicting information on whether the paste stains or not. To be safe, assume it will and clean up any bits before it gets walked into your carpet or squashed into your floor or towels.
  • Be careful not to smudge the paste while it is drying!
  • Once dry, you can gently scratch the paste off to reveal your tattoo.
  • Rinse it under water, then pat your skin dry.
  • Henna stains your skin, so as your skin cells flake off your tattoo will fade until it is gone. To make your design last as long as possible try not to rub it (so pat your hands dry after washing them), wear gloves when doing the washing up, and moisturise your skin. From what I see, certain brands recommend using their own special oil to maintain the tattoo. I’m sure you will be perfectly fine using whatever you have available. We have been using sorbolene cream after washing.
  • The design gets darker the next day!

The tube I bought is just a tube full of paste. You can also get tubes with applicators. If you don’t have an Indian shop near you, check eBay or other on-line sellers for starter kits.

We browsed Pinterest for design inspiration, but I didn’t pin anything as all designs are personal, and really you just make it up as you go.

We had my niece and nephew come to visit and I thought this would be fun to do with them. Before they arrived, my son and I had a little practice. I asked him to choose a design, and he went with the Pokémon symbol of mega evolution:

Henna tattoo Pokemon

Then he watched while I decorated my own hand

Henna tattoo flower

He thought it looked fairly easy, so he added some details to his hand himself

Henna tattoo Pokemon 1

Here’s the first design¬†I did for my niece

Henna tattoo flower for Evie

Then she did one on my hand

Henna tattoo turtle

I’m sure it’s just a trick of the light that makes my¬†fingers¬†look like¬†they’re turning blue…

The boys decided on yin yang symbols

Henna tattoo yin yang

The next morning they wanted to do more!

Here are our finished designs, the kids have them on hands and wrists so we need 2 photos to see everything! You can see the difference in colour from the ones we did the first day.

Henna tattoo collection 1

Henna tattoo collection 2

All these tattoos came from one tube, which still has plenty left in it. So that’s pretty good value, I think. I’ve sealed the tube with a bit of tape, and I read that storing it in the fridge keeps it fresher for longer. The kids loved searching Pinterest for ideas and¬†inspiration, and there are certainly plenty for boys as well as girls.

I would definitely suggest giving this activity a go!

Linking up with:

Average But Inspired – The DIY Collective, Carrie Elle – The Mommy Club, A Glimpse Inside – The Handmade Hangout, Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson – Share Your Cup, Sincerely, Paula – No Rules Weekend Bloghop, The Life of Jennifer Dawn – A Little Bird Told Me, The Pin Junkie, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters, Shoestring Elegance – What to Do Weekends, Raising Fairies and Knights – Bloggers Spotlight, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, Strawberry Butterscotch – Saturday Shuffle, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, The Pinterested Parent – Sunday’s Best, Nifty Thrifty Things, Love of Home – Sundays at Home, My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies – Snickerdoodle Sunday, That Recipe – Happiness is Homemade, Plucky’s Second Thought – Cooking and Crafting With J&J, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday, Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday, I Should be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, The DIY Mommy – Creative Corner,¬†Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Lou Lou Girls, Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love it, Our Home Away From Home – Tuesdays From Our Home, Being a Wordsmith – Turn it up Tuesday, The Dedicated House – Make it Pretty Monday, Cedar Hill Farmhouse – The Scoop,¬†Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired, The DIY Dreamer – From Dream to Reality, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Wonderful Wednesday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesdays, Simply Made Fun – Wednesday Roundup, A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, 21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Domesblissity _ Thriving on Thursdays, Wondermom Wannabe – This is How We Roll, Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday,

DIY luxurious hand and body wash

*Apologies in advance for this long post. I was going to break it into two, but it seemed appropriate to keep it at one. Plus, I didn’t take enough photos. And the ones I did take were on my phone.

I keep seeing pins of Dove Body Wash on Pinterest. I don’t use body wash (preferring my own handmade soap) but the boys in our house do, so after seeing it for the gazillionth time as a ‘picked for you’ pin I decided I should give it a try ūüôā

Apparently this Dove Body Wash is thick and ridiculously luxurious and¬†creamy. And who’d have thought it would be so easy to re-create!

I knew I could get bars of Dove soap from one of the discount shops for $1 a bar. I picked a couple of bars each¬†in the 2 different scents they had – original, and Shea butter and vanilla. Then I thought I should ‘treat’ myself to a grater to be used exclusively for the job. I was very lucky that my lovely sister-in-law found one for me, for the quite acceptable price of just 50c. Thanks, Em!

Bar soap for DIY body wash

I pinned a couple of posts to my Beauty board, but quite a few seemed to credit Stacey from The Brady Bunch for the idea.

Stacey’s formula is quite simple: 2 cups of water to every 1 bar of grated Dove soap.

She does say this is specifically for Dove Beauty Bar. You can still do a similar version with other soaps, but you may need to play around with the soap to water ratio.

You may also have seen many people discovering the amazingness that happens when you microwave a bar of soap. Any soap. This is a separate experiment to the body wash ūüėČ

So, for my first batch I decided to microwave the soap, instead of initiating my ‘new’ grater.

I used 2 bars of original Dove soap, so I heated 4 cups of water. I microwaved my first bar for about 1 minute, until it was big and fluffy, then scraped it into my simmering water. I did the same with the second bar. Then it is just a matter of heating and stirring until the soap has completely melted. This took around 10 minutes. Make sure you stir it regularly. I found the microwaved soap to be very lumpy and take a long time to melt. Once it is smooth let it cool. It will thicken further as it cools. That’s it!

The next day I made a batch using the 2 cakes of Shea Butter soap. I grated this soap. It was hard, and little bits flew around the kitchen. So I microwaved the cake of soap for 10 seconds and then grated it. Made it softer and so much easier to grate! When I had grated through the softened soap I just microwaved it for another 10 seconds and was easily able to grate the rest of the bar.

Adding the grated soap to the simmering water, and it all melted much quicker. The smaller, more uniform bits made the melting process quicker, and I only heated it for about 5 minutes.¬†After trying both ways, I will stick with the heat/grate¬†method ūüôā

But then I messed with the recipe. I decided to add some Epsom Salts, about 1/2 cup. Whether it was the different soap, the added Epsom Salts, or a combination of these, but it didn’t get thick. Perhaps the longer¬†heating time is important. I don’t know, I’ll have to make some more and experiment. After it was cool and obviously still very thin, I reheated it. It did end up a bit thicker, but not like the first lot. I ended up mixing both batches together, though, and¬†it is¬†perfectly fine to use ūüôā

And since we don’t use the thick Dove Body Wash (the current favourite is a lime¬†scented gel), the boys are used to a thinner consistency. Which means everyone is still happy. And it works perfectly in the hand wash pump dispenser as well.

DIY hand and body wash

Ah, you’ve noticed in the photos that there are some soap packets that are not Dove?

I am a recent convert to Aldi, and slowly trying out their products. I bought another few bars of Dove Shea Butter soap at $1 from the discount shop as mentioned above. But when I was in Aldi, I saw they had a box of 5 soap bars, also with Shea Butter. Also 100g bars. Both described as ‘beauty bars’.

But the cost of the 5 bar box? $2.19. That’s under 44c a bar.

So of course I had to give this process a try with the Aldi soap. Understanding that the water to soap ratio may be different, I still started with 2 cups of simmering water and 1 bar of grated soap. I didn’t think it was going to work. It had a different consistency, like it was separating. I heated it for longer than 10 minutes, but not sure exactly. Then I just got fed up and left it to cool.

Not even half an hour later I looked at it again, and it was very thick, smooth and looking pretty fantastic! But way too thick. I ended up adding another 2 cups of water, half a cup at a time, to get it to a reasonable creaminess. Here you can see the different textures, from when it has just started heating, to being far too thick, to having extra water added and being just about perfect!

Melting bar soap for DIY body wash

So let’s compare that, shall we?

One bar of Dove soap for $1, with 2 cups of water, makes a beautiful thick hand/body wash.

One bar of Aldi brand soap for 44c, with 4 cups of water, makes a beautiful thick hand/body wash.

Less than half the cost, for twice the amount. It’s a no-brainer really!

A quick search tells me that buying the ready-made bottled Dove body wash would cost from around $4 for 250ml (1 cup).

I did, however, prefer the Dove scent to the Aldi one. I will check Aldi to see if they have a plain one. Or I could try adding a drop or two of vanilla.

The ingredients list for each are a bit different. They both use Palm products. As far as I can tell, most soaps contain palm oil/products. Yes, there are some companies that make palm-free soaps, but they are not your usual supermarket brands. I am no expert, but if you environmentally aware, this might be of concern to you. There is plenty of information out there for you to do your own research, here is just one article I picked to give you an idea of the issues: Say No To Palm Oil.

Anyway, this is not a post on environmental affairs, and I don’t want to leave you on a negative note.¬†I have shared with you an option to make something that many people already¬†use, for a much cheaper price.

Are you a cake soap user, or do you prefer body wash/shower gel? I think in our home there is a place for both ūüôā

Give this a go, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Linking up with:

Table and Hearth – DIY Like a Boss, Average But Inspired – The DIY Collective, To Simply Inspire – The Mommy Club,¬†21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Too Much Time on my Hands – The Handmade Hangout,¬†Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olsen – Share Your Cup, The Crafty Wife – Wednesday Roundup, Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday,¬†Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesday, Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays,¬†Wondermom Wannabe – This is How we Roll, Love Bakes Good Cakes – Freedom Fridays,¬†The Pin Junkie, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters, Shoestring Elegance – What to do Weekends,¬†Domestic Superhero – Pinworthy Projects, Strawberry Butterscotch – Saturday Shuffle,¬†24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, The Pinterested Parent – Sunday’s Best,¬†Interior Frugalista – DIY Sunday Showcase, Thoughts From Alice – Sundays at Home,¬†My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies – Snickerdoodle Sunday, Coombe Mill – Trash 2 Treasure,¬†Plucky’s Second Thought – Cooking and Crafting With J&J, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday,¬†Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday,¬†I Should be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, The Foley Fam – Sunday Funday,¬†Pastels and Macarons – The Creative Corner, Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired,¬†Lou Lou Girls, Merry About Town – Monday Funday, Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love it,¬†Our Home Away From Home – Tuesdays at our Home, Cozy Little House – Tweak it Tuesday,¬†Tip Junkie – Tip Me Tuesday, A Peek Into My Paradise – Turn it up Tuesdays,¬†The Dedicated House – Make it Pretty, Cedar Hill Farmhouse – The Scoop, That Recipe – Happiness is Homemade,¬†The DIY Dreamer – From Dream to Reality, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Wonderful Wednesday, Crafty Wife – Wednesday Roundup, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesdays, To Simply Inspire – The Mommy Club, 21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style,¬†Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olsen – Share Your Cup,¬†Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday, Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays, The Life of Jennifer Dawn – A Little Bird Told Me, Table and Hearth – DIY Like a Boss, Average But Inspired – The DIY Collective, Too Much Time on my Hands – The Handmade Hangout,¬†Wondermom Wannabe- This is How We Roll, Sincerely, Paula – No Rules Blog Hop,