Welcome to my Blog!

Hi there, nice to have you visiting! I'm Heidi and this is the blog for Heidi Bears. Here is where I post all the happenings in my work and daily life. Here and there you'll find info on things that have caught my attention as well as the odd tutorial. I hope you enjoy your visits. I love to have feedback, so leave me a comment!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Home Made Laundry Detergent...and a wip

I have been working on and off as time allows on my new pattern using the African Flower Hexagon. Above you can see a sneak peek at the wip...I have really enjoyed working with the red yarn, and of course, had to add some pink in... :)

Some feedback on the Home Made Laundry Detergent. IT ROCKS!!!!! Well, I was a bit hesitant, thinking (stupidly!) that if it cost so little to make, it couldn't do the same job as the regular stuff. It works like a charm! I have given some to my sister and mom, and so far my sister has given it a thumbs up... Mom, I still have to chat to about how she found it works :)

I did a costing exercise for you all to see...

Borax R9.99 for half a cup
Washing Soda R6.25 for half a cup
Sunlight bar of soap R5.00

So...total cost of making a very concentrated 10L bucket = R21.24

At the very least, I will do around 80 loads of washing with 10L....so the cost = R0.26 per load!!!!!

I have used half a cup of the concentrate for a load of washing. As it is really thick, I have watered it down with about 500mls of water. It really works very well. I am decidedly not buying the regular stuff anymore...after all, why spend money on that which goes down the drain?

I am going to try my hand at making soap this weekend...again, using Rhonda's recipe. This blog is awesome...go and take a look around :)

Any good ideas for cost saving that you've tried? I'd love to know :)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

In the car Lifesaver for Moms (and Dads!)

So...imagine the scene....

I have collected my 3 year old from playschool, and am driving home in fairly busy traffic. She is strapped into her child safety seat, at the back of the car and to the left of me. I have given her something to eat while I drive home...I forget exactly what...possibly a biscuit or something else...
She says to me,"Mommy, take this!", and, without looking away from the road, I reach my left hand between the car seats (our cars in SA are right hand drives) and hold it out to her, palm up. I innocently expect her juice bottle, toy, shoe ....
I feel a soggy, slimy, something in my hand, very runny and already oozing between my fingers...

So, this tutorial will show you a quick helper for when your toddler gifts you her chewed up lunch...

Quick Toilet Roll Tin

Take a medium sized tin...it has to be at least the height of your common-ol'-garden toilet roll, and must have a plastic lid. Clean it out well and dry thoroughly.

Use a permanent marker to draw a circle on the plastic lid,

Cut out using kitchen shears.

I guess that the next step is optional...I wanted my tin to look pretty, so I use some of my scrapbooking tape (this one happens to be from 7Gypsies), to tape to the opening all the way around.
Measure around the hole in the plastic lid, and cut a piece of the tape to size. Using sharp pointed scissors, clip all the way around, and and stick all the way around the hole, leaving the tape half in, half out of the hole.

Press the clipped edges down well, and turn the lid over.

Repeat the clipping on the other side and tape down well.

Measure and cut a piece of pretty paper and glue or sellotape to your tin.
Now take a standard toilet paper roll, carefully pull out the cardboard inner, and find the loose end. Pull out a short section of toilet paper.

Push the toilet roll into the tin and thread the loose section through the hole. Push the lid into place.....Voila! ...you're done. It's a lot easier to have one of these tins in the car than a box of tissues, or loose roll of toilet paper...

On another note....I made some homemade laundry detergent today. I have wanted to try and see if it works as well as the regular stuff, albeit at a fraction of the price. There are loads (no pun intended :) ) of sites that you can find info on this, but I used Rhonda's recipe. Go and check it out...her blog "Down to Earth" is fabulous and a gem for self-reliance related stuff. It was really,really, really easy to make...took me all of 10 minutes, and if the users are to be believed, works as well as the store bought stuff. VERY economical as well!
I am going to try it out on a load of laundry now...I'll let you all know how things go!

Nectarines a-growing...

Cherries beginning to form...

Garden helper and chaser of birds...

Strawberries flourishing...

I did a bit of gardening today and am pleased to say that everything is growing well. I have had very little trouble with pests, and only had to spray with organic insecticide (Margaret Roberts) for some aphids I found on a fruit tree... Summer is truly here in SA!

Lemon Tree with a gazillion flowers...

I am really very excited about the garden...my next endeavour is to learn to make jam...


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The DH's Office...what colour do you think it will be?

So, in a week and a half, the new ICU is opening! This is a big deal for us, because it is a "closed" ICU and we are all very excited about it!!! In preparation, I am busy decorating Gerry's new office. Of course, everything is currently beige and white (is that supposed to be calming for patients or for putting doctors to sleep?), and really folks, I cannot abide it! SO....here are the before pictures...not quite done, but enough of an idea for you to take in the scene...

It's not a huge room, space being quite an issue because we are after all, on the fourth floor, so the room is about 13m2 in size and in addition has an attached loo. What is wonderful, is that on the one side there is an entire bank of windows, so it get LOADS of light coming in. I have been running around all week (at least every moment I managed to squeeze in), getting together all the ideas and bits of furniture. I really want this to be a space he enjoys being in...

Ok...so the question, Dear Readers is this....What colour/s do you think I am going to paint this room in? (*Hint: No, it's not pink...)...

For fun, I am going to give a copy of my Lollo African Flower Bear Pattern to the person, who guesses correctly (or the nearest in any case... :) ) Enter by leaving a comment , with the colour you think the office will be :) PLEASE NOTE: if you decide to enter by leaving a comment, you must have a Ravelry account! The files are huge, so the pattern can only be delivered via Ravelry!

Next week, when the office is done, I will post pictures and the colours will be revealed!

Hope you are all working on your Heartmade lists :) I have pinned a lot of ideas and stuff on Pinterest, so take a look for some inspiration!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bath Melts Tutorial

Thanks very much to everyone who commented and followed my Pinterest boards! And thank you to everyone who visits my blog...I don't always have time to react to comments, but want you all to know that I appreciate you all :)

Today was a really intense day in the ICU. Gerry arrived back from the States last night (jet-lagged, the poor thing!), and was back at work full throttle this morning. We were very busy, and my time has run out today... So I am doing a short tutorial on how to make a really easy Heartmade gift, which when you have tried them, will have you making them in bulk like I do... :) really, I promise.

I gave a jar of these Bath Melts to my friends in our Knitting group, and they all loved them. Even my girls (and Gerry...) use them every night in their baths. They are super easy to make, and you use easy-to-find ingredients....they are awesome for soft skin!

I make my melts in bulk, because they are so popular and they don't last all that long once you've discovered how divine they are. If you want to make smaller quantities, just use the same ratios as below:
1 measure Creme of Tartar: 1 measure Cornflour: 2 measures Bicarbonate of Soda: approximately 2- 2.5 measures of Coconut Oil. Add the coconut oil slowly, mixing your mixture very well in between additions of oil. It is easier to add more, than to take away (which obviously means you need to add more dry ingredients ). If you prefer, you can use less Coconut Oil and add some Jojoba, or other oils which you like.

If you want to add some essential oils, add them to the melted coconut oil, before you add it to the dry mix. I like to use Rose and Lavender essential oils, with dried rose petals and dried lavender respectively. PLEASE : make sure that you know what essential oils are safe to use, depending on who you are giving the melts to! If you are in any doubt, leave the oils out! The melts will still be divine for bathing :)

Bath Melts Tutorial


2.5kg Creme of Tartar
2.5kg Cornflour
5 kg Bicarbonate of Soda
2.5 Litres Coconut Oil
Essential Oils of your choice
Dried Rose Petals or Lavender or other dried flowers of your choice
Large tub
Wire whisk

Sieve all the dry ingredients together. Make sure that there are no big lumps in your mix.
Use your wire whisk to mix very well.

Add 4 cups of dried flowers. I have used rose petals, but Lavender also works well. Mix thoroughly into the dry mix.

Above you can see the huge tub of Coconut Oil , before I have melted it. Coconut Oil is solid at room temperature, so scoop some out and place in a Pyrex measuring jug. Melt on low heat , 30-40 seconds at a time, in your microwave, until all the oil is melted. BE CAREFUL not to overheat and burn yourself!!!!

My measuring jug holds a litre, so it makes it easier to keep track of how much oil I have added.

If the bulk of your coconut oil has melted, but there are a few white solid lumps left in the jug, use your wire whisk to gently stir...the lumps will melt into the rest of the oil.

Carefully pour the oil into the dry mixture. Use your bare hands to work the oil through as much of the dry mix as possible. You will need to add more oil, so don't be surprised if the mix is still very dry...it is better to add the oil slowly, and end up with the right consistency, than add too much...you can't un-add!

Melt some more coconut oil, and add half a litre at a time. After adding the oil, mix very well, crumbling the dry mix/oil together to ensure that the oil is well spread. You may need all the coconut oil as described, or less...add slowly , small volumes at a time...check your consistency often.

As you work through the mix, you know that you have added enough Coconut Oil, when your fingers leave a clear impression in the mix, that holds it's shape.

Roll balls of the mix into a golf ball sized melt. Place on a baking sheet on a baking tray, and leave in the fridge overnight.

When you run your bath, just pop one of these into the warm water...they will slowly fizzle and melt. Be warned, they are addictive.

Because these melts have no preservatives, you will need to keep them in the fridge...
Once they are hard, put them in a pretty jar and add a nice ribbon, and Voila! you have a lovely gift to give :) Just remember that you will be asked for more... :)

Tomorrow I will post a pretty label sheet for you to use for a gift tag on your Bath Melt jars ....


Monday, September 19, 2011

Some yarn dyeing happiness...and Pinterest!

During the weekend I had a sudden need to dye up some yarn. It may have had something to do with the fact that there are several metric tonnes of un-dyed yarn sitting in my yarn room...looking lost and forlorn (never mind like someone had yarn-bombed the place), so in the interests of making the yarn happy again, I threw open the cupboards and started dyeing!

Dyeing yarn is a very self satisfying activity, I'll have you know...once smitten, all is lost. I actually owe my friend Dana a great big, fat chocolate cake for teaching me to dye both animal and plant based fibres. If you haven't tried it, and would like to learn the easy way, check out Dana's tutorial here.

*(if you're wondering why the skeins above are so huge...they're 200g skeins :) )

On a different note...folks, you have to check out Pinterest! It's site that allows you to "pin" photos/things of interest that you have seen on the net, onto your virtual pinboard. It's really easy to use, fantastic for sharing and you can do this all for free :D Just like Twitter, you can follow people whose pins you find interesting/inspiring etc, as well as create awareness for your blog/website. You can add the Pinterest Follow Button to your site (as I have done...*cough*, er...um...hint..*cough*...) and also add the " Pin It" button to blog posts, photos etc. Go here to open your account, and let's share... :D. Here is a very helpful overview of how Pinterest works...

I am adding stuff as I find it...I'll also add ideas for Heartmade Gifts :)

How's your list going? Have you started? Are you inspired?


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Super Easy Pillow Case with Crocheted Edging

I have been working up a storm since Gerry has been away. Not having to go to work certainly has it's merits ;) I have made my first inroads into my Heartmade List! I am going to make 7 pretty pillowcases with crocheted trims for my older daughter. It's a nice gift for a teenage girl as I like the idea of her having a new, clean pillowcase for every night of the week. I learned of this from a friend, when I was still studying, who was prone to breakouts and said that changing her pillow case every day (obviously in addition to other interventions ;) ), made a big difference to her skin. Whether or not this is a case of the placebo effect rearing it's pretty head, I am going to make them for my girl (who thankfully has lovely skin, but, you know...still the thought that counts...) anyway...

This has got to be the easiest and quickest pillowcase imaginable. It is made from one piece of fabric and only has 4 straight sewn seams and two overlocked edges. Took all of 15 minutes for me to make...

In SA, the standard size pillowcase is 70cm X 45cm. You may need to adjust your measurements according to the size of your pillows...

Cut a piece of fabric (100% cotton), 176cm x 47cm.

Now iron a 1cm fold on both short edges. Make sure you iron the fabric with the wrong side of the fabric facing you. This will ensure that the fold you iron, as shown above, has the right side facing you. Now fold the same 1cm fold over again, by 1cm, and iron flat again. Do this on both short sides.

Sew a straight seam along the edge of this folded hem.

Sew both folded seams. Iron again.

Place your piece of fabric on your table, with the right side facing you. Bring the left edge over, so that the overlapping fabric area is 70cm wide, as shown above. Make sure that your edges are straight and aligned.

Bring the right hem edge over, all the way across, so that the hem underneath is at the extreme right end of the work.

Pin along the edges, as well as in the middle of your pillowcase (to prevent the fabric layers from shifting while you sew the seams :) )

Sew a 1cm seam along both long edges, reinforcing the small area where the previously sewn hems overlap.

Overlock the same seam edges (or of you don't have an overlocker, just sew a small zigzag along the raw edges). Turn your pillowcase inside out, making sure that the corner points are pointy :)
Iron well.

Now you will add a simple scalloped crocheted edge. In the photo above, you can see the pillowcase opening. The edge that you are going to crochet onto is the bit with the stitching running along it. The other end is a folded edge that surrounds your pillow.

Thread a tapestry needle with the yarn that you are going to use for the crocheted edge. Start at the right hand side of the seamed open edge of the pillowcase. Insert the needle at the very start of the edge, and pull about 2m of thread through. DO NOT CUT the yarn going to the ball of yarn. Just leave it be for now...

Above, you can see the loads of yarn pulled through and piled up.

Insert your needle just to the right of where it previously exited, and work along the inside of the hem, exiting about 1cm to the left. Pull all the yarn though.

Insert the needle in the same place as you previously did, and this time exit 2cm along, as seen above. You are effectively back stitching all along the pillowcase edge.

Pull all extra yarn through. Make sure that you don't pull too hard as the fabric will bunch. The stitch should lie flat along the fabric edge.

Re-insert the needle at the edge of the last back stitch, and work along the hem and exit 2cm to the left again. Pull all the extra yarn through.

You have made two back stitches.

Repeat this all along the edge of your pillowcase.

Make a small double stitch to anchor the yarn, and cut.

Go back to the beginning, where you have a working yarn still attached to the ball.
I have used a 2.0mm crochet hook for this edge, but obviously you can adapt to whatever edging you want to crochet.

Make 4 sc into each 1cm thread space...do this all along the edge. Above you can see that I have reached the end of the edge.

Turn your work, chain 1, and make sc into each of the previous rows' stitches...again there will be 4sc in each thread "space".

Above you can see that I have finished the second row of sc, and have turned my work around, ready to start the scalloped edging.

Make 1 dc into the space between sc 2 and sc 3 of the previous row...this lies in the middle of each 4sc repeat.

Make a second dc into the same space.

Now make 1 treble crochet stitch into the same space.

Crochet two more dc into the same space...one scallop complete.

Next make one sc into the space between 4sc repeats of the FIRST ROW.

Make 2dc, trc, 2dc in the next along 4sc repeat (always crocheting into the space between sc 2 and sc 3). Make a sc into the first row, as described before. Continue in this manner all along the edge.


At the last scallop, cut yarn, pull through last stitch and tie off. Iron flat.

Ta Da! Your pillowcase is done! Easy peasy...

The pleasure in making this pillowcase is choosing beautiful fabrics...this particular fabric is a Yuwa pure cotton and soft and smooth ...cotton is by far the best fabric for a pillow case...

Enjoy your Sunday folks...