Saturday, 21 February 2009

Colour changing magic

OK, so really it's chemistry, but the littlies prefer to think of it as magic.

At this time of year, most weekends we have a big roast and frequently red cabbage is on the menu; usually I use any leftover cooking water to add into stock, but last time we decided to save it up and freeze it into icecubes for a little experiment - red cabbage indicator solution!

So, we set up 3 glasses with warm water in them; one we left as is, one had a teaspoonful of bicarb (baking soda?) dissolved in it, and one had a teaspoonful of citric acid - though lemon juice would work just as well.

We added a cabbage juice cube to each glass and watched them thaw ...

We determined that acidic solutions turned red, alkaline ones turned blue, and neutral ones were somewhere in between, and they were all very pretty.

If you wanted to do this properly you ought to cook the cabbage without vinegar (which is acidic) as that does alter the pH of the indicator solution a bit - so the neutral water probably wasn't entirely neutral - but you can get bogged down in detail with tiny people I think, and all they really needed to see was 3 different colours.

We did some neutralisation experiments - what happens if we mix the acidic and alkaline solutions together? What if we add some baking soda to each glass? Or some more citric acid? I will confess, the washing up bowl was employed for some large scale chemistry.

For those wanting to know the science, red cabbage (and the juice!) contain an anthocyanin whose structure changes depending on the pH, causing a colour change. It's the same kind of molecule that makes hydrangeas pink or blue depending on the pH of the soil. You can get more details here.

Or you can just enjoy making pretty colours!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Going, going, gone

Take one plastic carrier bag.

Scrumple it up inside a little purse.

All the way in!

Zip it up and it's safe in your handbag till you need it.

I try not to pick up plastic bags - I had to hunt about for this one - and have lots and lots of cloth ones, but occasionally something soggy needs to be transported and then it's useful to have one of these (milk spilled all over T-shirts in the car, anyone?)

I made them from tiny charity shop zips, an old sheet for lining, and some samples of Cath Kidston fabric that they sent me for free last year. Bargain, say I.

Edited to add: the pouch instructions are here. I used a 10cm zip, I think.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Normal(ish) service is resumed

I've been a busy little bee over the last few days; every time I switched on the computer I was faced with hundreds of emails that I felt I should answer so I just didn't switch it on, and sewed instead. (I try to email everyone who comments and I feel bad for not having responded to everyone last week, but there aren't enough hours in the day!)

So, I give you:

1. Two bags from one - an Amy Karol artsy clutch that seemed like a good idea at the time but just was too big and unwieldy for what I needed; now chopped in half, zips inserted and buttons and roses sewn on. Much more useful. The tiny clutches are brilliant but big ones ... not so much.

2. A variation on Lotta Jansdotter's all day tote, with a zip added on the top because otherwise I'd probably drop everything out of it. If/when I make it again I will change the weird side pocket to a more normal orientation because my magazines keep falling out of it. Could be useful for socks I suppose. Or perhaps a spy umbrella, James Bond stylee; though it would be bad if that fell out in Waitrose.

Why yes, of course I always carry copies of Alan Bennett and a John Singer Sargent catalogue - don't you?!

3. More of those shirt quilts ... mini ones this time.

4. Covered jam jars

Made with fabric from Katy GM's Fat Quarter swap, sent to me by the lovely Helen. I was coveting Lucy's crochet covered jars but I have realised that it is crochet that is killing my elbow; the physio recommended I try to crochet again after having laid off it for 4 months, and lo and behold the elbow pain came screaming back with a vengeance. No-one needs to take that many pain killers in order to make cushion covers, so I have regretfully laid down my hook for the foreseeable future. Sigh.

There is more, but it can wait!

I had intended to post this yesterday, but the news from Australia stopped me in my tracks. All thoughts and good wishes go out to those affected, and of course, much love to all the crafty Aussie bloggers. Jodie, Trashy, and Melly and Me are among those with useful links.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

And the winners are ...

Blimey, I wasn't expecting that many entries! Just as well the old random number generator thingy can count that high.

I decided to have 2 drawings - one for the overall winner, and a second one for just the people who were offering their own giveaways (I shamelessly stole this idea from Kelly - full credit to her!) So, the winner of the bigger stash turned out to be comment number 16 - that's Alice; and for the second parcel, it's AJ. Ladies, I'll contact you for address details.

Sorry I haven't got enough to send something to everyone but hopefully some of you will pick up some goodies from another site.

Big thanks to Katy for organising the giveaway, and I'm pleased to have found so many lovely new blogs to look at!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

International Stash Busting Giveaway

I'm taking part in Katy the Ginger Monkey's giveaway - and so are a long list of other bloggers. Want to play?

If you click on the image (or indeed follow the link above) you'll get to the rules and info but basically, I have some stuff I don't need that you might like, and if you comment on this post saying you're interested I'll pick a name at random over the weekend to win the lot. If you do enter, please make sure there's either a blog link or an email address in your comment - if I can't contact you I'll end up drawing another name! I will post internationally so don't let that stop you.

***EDITED Apparently it's a one day giveaway (doh) so I'll be drawing sometime on Thursday 5th - which still gives you 48 hrs ... ***

I wish I could present a beautifully coordinated package of bits and pieces, but it's a fairly true reflection of the randomness of my stash:

Some pink damask, swirly watery blue cotton, mad purple pansies and ladybirds, and some of my favourite chicks.

Some lovely raspberry and blue curtain type material, a thrifted floral pillowcase and a pair of round bag handles.

Assorted odds and ends of novelty wool from a mad pink fluffy phase.

Fabric quantities vary from half a fat quarter (the chicks) to about half a yard (the curtain fabrics), and only the pale pink wool is a complete ball, but hopefully there's enough to make a small furry creature or a tiny hat if you're very brave.

Sign up if you're interested (and this is for the whole lot - please don't ask me to split things up!), and when you've put your name down here you can go and visit some of the other people taking part and enter their giveaways too! Good luck ...