Two wings lift a person up from earthy concerns: simplicity and purity. Simplicity should be in intention, purity in feelings. Simplicity reaches out after God, purity catches hold and tastes. ~ Thomas A’Kempis

Friday, 15 March 2019

Making Beeswax Wraps

Hi everyone :)
I just checked and it's been exactly one month since I last posted. The last few weeks have been busy and I must say I am tired of hot/humid weather.  We're hoping to install air conditioning later this month (please note: this is truly a hallelujah moment !!!! :). With cooler/cleaner air, I hope my energy levels will improve and my life here at home will be a lot more comfortable. Today was a hot/humid day and even though I didn't feel like doing much I pretty much worked all day and achieved quite a lot . Thankfully later in the afternoon we got some rain and things cooled off a bit.
At the start of the week I made out a list of things I need to do...some have been waiting for quite some time. I was hoping to make some skirts to wear over leggings and haven't done that yet.  However I did finally get  around to making the beeswax wraps today.
I watched an awesome video/tutorial on youtube by a lady called 'Crafty Patty'. I'll attach the link in case anyone else wants to watch it. She went through about 3 different ways of making them. Her tutorial goes for 45 minutes and she is very thorough.

Why did I want to make my own Beeswax Wraps? Because I am a nut and like to do things from scratch !! :)
but really...
1. I wanted to find an alternative to using plastic clingwrap/gladwrap, thereby reducing waste.
2. Beeswax wraps are quite expensive to buy and only come in packs of three sizes. sml/med/large
3. I wanted to be able to make different shapes and sizes.
4. I already had Beeswax and Jojoba Oil, so only needed to purchase the resin (which helps with the tackiness of the finished product, so it will stick to itself).

I initially bought Pine Rosin, but was put off by the strong odor/turpentine smell of it, even though many people use this to make their wraps, I was not happy to use it. I was concerned it would taint our food and thought the whole project was going to be shelved...until..
I did a little more research and found that some people used another resin called Damar Resin, which was meant to have a faint lemon aroma.

So I ordered some of that online. Note: I didn't find these resins to be cheap. Damar resin has a much softer smell..not really like Lemon though.

Here are some pictures of the melted wax/oil/resin mixture and the wraps painted with the mixture, then hanging up to dry.

 ~ The mixture all melted together ~

a small round wrap - suitable for covering a small round dish. I placed a bread and butter plate on the fabric and drew around that and cut the fabric out using pinking shears.

~ Air drying on the pasta racks and then onto the clothes horse ~

~ Wrap demo with an apple of how well it sticks to itself ~

~ Folded neatly into different shapes - round and square ~
and into a storage container. I lined the container with parchment paper, as the wax is tacky
and covered it with a lid  ~

H O W   I   M A D E  M Y  W R A P S :
Step 1. Cut your fabric to whatever size you want. I wanted some to wrap our snacks/crackers/muffins and for covering small bowls and dishes with. I also made a couple of extra large ones to cover a large casserole dish and to be able to wrap a loaf of homemade sourdough bread.
Step 2: Turn the oven on to 100C.
Step 3. Cover an oven tray completely with aluminium foil, tucking the edges under the tray.
Step 4. On a low to medium heat, melt the 3 ingredients together. In total for this many wraps I used: 3/4 cup beeswax, 1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons  Jojoba Oil and just over 1/4 cup of Damar resin. The damar resin is very sticky as its melting. I used a small old saucepan, plus an old spoon for craft purposes. Keep on stirring until fully melted and fluid.
Step 5. Place a piece of fabric on the foil lined tray and paint some of the mixture on, so it's soaks through the material.
Step 6. Place the tray in the oven. I put mine on fan bake. Leave it in for around 5 minutes. This helps the wax to melt into the material more evenly. Remove from the oven and check to see if all areas of the fabric are evenly coated.
Step 7. Remove it from the tray and wave it around a bit so it starts to dry. I laid mine over a pasta drying stand and then removed them to my clothes horse stand to further dry.

Conclusion: I still think it's more economical to make Beeswax Wraps yourself, well it was for me because I use beeswax and Jojoba oil in my soap business and didn't need to but them. If you had to buy all these 3 products (in small quantities) which is always more costly, plus shipping, then I don't know if it would be such a good idea.

Note: I find the finished product to be very tacky/bees-waxy. It certainly sticks to itself. It has a lovely aroma :) that I am pleased with. They also make my hands feel lovely and soft..and a little tacky lol.

Update: I have been using the wraps this week and they work great ! A couple of days curing seem to help them. After wrapping a cracker I just rinsed the wrap under cold water and lightly scrubbed it with a soft brush to get any crumbs off. Then I left it to dry before storing.

~ A covered bowl of leftovers in the fridge ~
It's one thing to think about making a change in your lifestyle. 
It's another step to actually do it, and then when
it's done and you step onto that new path
it's a good feeling :) Procrastination is defeating..action brings peace.

Craft Patty's Excellent tutorial:

~ Please leave a comment if you read this blog and/or have a go at 
making these too. I'd love to hear from you. :) 
Blessings to you all ~
L I N D A xo

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

My Summer in photos

Hi again, it must be some sort of miracle, here I sit writing yet another post for February (I am doing well, 2 blogs in 1 week :) I don't think I've written about our latest wee blessing, new grandbaby .. 'Laura Joy'. Born to Katie & John in November. She is warmly welcomed by 3 loving sisters :) who delight in smothering her in kisses..a little too energetically at times. It's always so exciting to me to watch as their little personalities slowly unfold, each one so unique and so different.

..taking a nap at the beach..
~ & so sweet in her wee bonnet ~
I decided to mostly just post a whole lot of photos of different things we've been doing, cooking, planting, harvesting,planning and making over the last couple of months. It's been a joy filled, busy, and very hot season :). I'm very weary of the heat and so is Bruce, so we're planning on getting air conditioning, so next year won't be so unbearable. It will also mean Bruce won't need to spend hours and hours chopping firewood to keep this old house warm in Winter. We feel like it's a worthy investment that will make our lives a lot more comfortable.

O U R   S U M M E R

Growing in the garden...

 We've been picking plenty of small tomatoes for sandwiches and theirs lots of fat ones on vines yet to ripen, which will later be turned into Tomato Relish, Salsa and some will for the freezer. I planted about 2 dozen plant this year (different varieties - yellow, beefsteak, cherry and acid free ones)

Our Fruit Trees: The Cox's Orange Pippins are outdoing themselves this year. My neighbour was amazed and wondered what in the world I would do with so many apples :) We have a Granny Smith, and Sturmer tree as well with lots of apples. We'll give some away, but many people today prefer sweeter apples, where I like the tart ones. They are great in pies and lovely bottled.

Plums..plums..and more plums..we have 4 trees !!! This variety grows as big as small
apples. I bottled a dozen jars from another of the trees..even though I said I wasn't going to :)

Just this week I planted another dozen lettuce plants. I try to be vigilant with the watering, even though we have restrictions (every second day, and hand held hoses is all that's allowed). 

I cut the Lemon Verbena tree back very hard this year and was actually worried I may have been a bit too enthusiastic, but lo and behold it has come back huge !!! The leaves are a lot bigger and the branches longer, so a good pruning has truly done this herb a world of good. I pop a couple of leaves into my bedtime tea every night. Its delicious :)
 Once again we have masses of courgettes/zucchini. A friend shared a recipe for zucchini taco boats, which is wonderful. It's basically a thick-ish beef or chicken chilli, with paprika and kidney beans, stuffed into scooped out zucchini shells. I top them with cheese and olives, cover with foil and bake 40 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook about 15 - 20 minutes more until browned. I serve them with a salad.
The recipe and pic are from

Our Meyer Lemons growing.

H O M E F R O N T   P R O J E C T S: 
Project No.1
I sewed a curtain to provide a wee bit of privacy by our back door (since it's glass) and not the prettiest of doors. I drew up a little template for some curtain rod brackets and hubby cut them out of wood, sanded and painted them white, and also a piece of dowel to hang the curtain on. I had some vintage brass curtain rings, that I've been carting around for years in an old sewing box, so I was pleased to finally put them to good use. The material isn't truly curtain fabric, it's just a pretty cotton Kath Kidston style of fabric  that was on sale. I lined the curtain with calico. The end result is very sweet and cottagey, which we're very pleased with. It gives us privacy and makes the house feel cozy when its cold.

 Project No.2
We painted 2 wooden benches in pale blue, well my husband painted most of it. I also painted a little round cane table in the same colour. It suits our old period house and provides a burst of colour for the outdoors. Notice how well that basil plant is doing !! in the pot. I've already made a large batch of Pesto from it and froze about 3 jars.

S U M M E R  O U T I N G S:
We had a lovely day at the beach with our grown children and their children, our grandies. The weather was perfect, not too hot and not windy. I didn't go swimming, just sat with Laura Joy and chatted. It was glorious. The sand looks awfully bleak and dark grey in the pictures. We don't have a lot of white sandy beaches in my area.

I N  T H E  K I T C H E N:
I've been tweaking my sourdough English Muffin recipe, to make it into sandwich buns. I just flatten them and make them larger than average muffin sizes. When they are cold, I split, stack and freeze them. I use these for burger buns too. Their not perfect to look at, but they sure are tasty !

Craft projects and Green Living:
I love to follow GDonna's blog (Grandma Donna), thanks to a fellow blogger friend sharing it with me (thanks Laura Lane). In a few of her posts she talked about how she washes her dishes, using natural unscented handmade soap and a soap shaker. The gadget is swished in hot water to produce suds. 
So of course (being a soap maker) I knew this was something I was keen to try. I made a batch of unscented 100% coconut soap to test this out for myself and purchased a soap saver/shaker. 

I searched online and was amazed to find someone in New Zealand was actually making these. Metal soap shakers or Savers - maybe they have different names in other countries. I was a little surprised at the cost - $50, but agree, as the caption said, that it would indeed last a life time and I would not need to buy another one I did a little online checking before my purchase to see if I could find a cheaper one, or even something second hand, to no avail. I've never seen one of these in any second hand stores here in N Z, so knew it was pointless to even go looking. 

My Method: I have a plastic basin I set into my sink, and while it's filling hold the shaker under the water, swishing the shaker around. It makes quite a lot of suds, and gets the dishes clean. I then rinse them in a separate bowl and either dry to a squeaky clean straight away or leave them to air dry. 
So far so good. It's a lovely waste free, non toxic way to wash dishes and economical too.

Craft project no.2
I plan to make some homemade Beeswax wraps. New Zealand is Big Time anti-plastic. Supermarkets and large stores no longer put groceries in plastic bags. Supermarkets either use paper bags (like the old days) or one can purchase cloth bags from the store, which are quite inexpensive, about $1 - $2.00. String bags are also sold to use  for vegetables and fruit. 
As I'm trying to eliminate single use plastic in our home too and create an alternative to Gladwrap, I've been researching the making of Beeswax wraps. The best most effective ones seem to be made with a mixture of Beeswax, Jojoba Oil and Pine Rosin. So far I've gathered all the things needed to make them and also purchased Pinking Shears (not cheap) and some 100% cotton fabric. I'll do a little post when I make them. All I need now is some time :)

photographer: Lia Griffith

W H A T  I'M   R E A D I N G:
I've read a lot of books over summer, but can't off hand remember them all. One I've just finished is:
Beneath the Summer Sun ~ by Kelly Irvin. I love her writing. All her Amish stories are my favourites. She has a very descriptive style of writing and truly weaves a wonderful picture of each of her characters, making them very memorable. Some of them I miss greatly after finishing one of her  book, as I'm sure other readers would agree with. I also loved her Bee County Amish books series.

..and next...a very quirky little book, which is delightful. 'The Hen who wanted to fly ~ by Sun - Mi  Hwang The illustrations are also wonderful. I got the book out of the library, Apparently in Korea where the author is from, this book was a huge success. It was even made into a movie.

O T H E R  T H I N G S:
After Christmas, I always find it a bit sad to take down the decorations, and the house feels a bit plain. So I set about doing a lot of cleaning, clearing and rearranging. I went with a navy and white theme for much of the house and removed a lot of excess clutter.
 I love these Ceramic t-lite houses Katie gave me for Christmas xox

 ~ My Amish corner ~

I then went through kitchen drawers and shelves and donated a whole ton of things we didn't need, such as excess coffee mugs, plates and glasses. Next I cleaned out my spices drawer and my pantry. 

There's nothing more satisfying for me than having a good clean out. I purchased some new glassware and a few coffee mugs, but only what we needed. I have my 'good' dinner set for when we have company and a few plates for every day use, and that's enough. 

~ o ~

Well friends, this post has taken me about 3 evenings to complete, and I've enjoyed every bit of it. I know I get so much pleasure out of reading and seeing what other blogger friends are doing, so I hope whoever stops by here will also be inspired or encouraged in some way.
Blessings to you all, whatever season your in. ~ Linda

Making Beeswax Wraps

Hi everyone :) I just checked and it's been exactly one month since I last posted. The last few weeks have been busy and I must say I ...