Green Cleaning!!

Green Cleaning in Focus: Bi-Carb Soda

By Laura Trotta (BEng (Environmental), MSc (Environmental Chemistry)) Laura Trotta is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering and Master of Science in Environmental Chemistry and had eleven years experience working as an environmental professional prior to starting her business. Green has always been a way of life for Laura, rather than the latest trend. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.
Laura is taking a detailed look at an amazing universal product, Bi-Carb Soda (also known as sodium bi-carbonate or baking soda).

Commonly used as a rising agent in baking, Bi-Carb Soda is also a versatile green cleaning product suited to every room in your home.

Bi-Carb Soda is made from soda ash (or sodium bicarbonate) which occurs naturally in our environment. The soda ash is refined to form a safe, pure product that cleans, deodorises, softens water and is a fantastic scouring powder. Bi-Carb Soda is economical and readily available from most supermarkets and grocery stores.

If you haven’t yet discovered the wonder of Bi-Carb Soda as a green cleaning product, try out some of its uses below and in no time you’ll be converted!


Click here for information on other natural green cleaning products to use in your home.



Ice Cube Painting

Ice cube painting

This is another beautiful idea for a perfect summers day posted by Kate on April 13, 2010 from her blog

The results look brilliant and will make the most amazing gift wrap.

Ice cube painting

It’s dead easy to do, and perfect if your regular paint supply has run out. All you need to do is freeze some ice cubes with a couple of drops of food coloring in each cube – easy! I would advise laying out lots of paper on the floor or on a table as it can be a little bit messy. It may also not be a good activity for younger ones. The first thing my youngest did was try to eat them so we gave him some plain ice cubes instead.

If the weather is a bit on the cold side then ditch the paper and sit your little one up to the sink, with a bowlful of warm water and lots of containers and let the colour melting/mixing commence.

By the way, food colouring can stain little hands, if you rub some moisturising cream into them beforehand it acts as a pretty good barrier.

Coloured Pencil Necklace

While surfing the net I found this tutorial at

They have some great ideas over there and are worth a look!! I hope you enjoy making this necklace xx

Pencil crayon necklaces

By Kate on May 18, 2011

Yesterday evening I ‘borrowed’ eight of my sons crayons and surreptitiously removed 7mm from the end of each one using a hacksaw. Today the crayons are back in their rightful place, my son is none the wiser, and I’m the proud owner of a new necklace!

Pencil crayon necklaces

I have seen these pencil crayon necklaces on the web before and have been itching to have a go. They are really easy to make. I used a junior hacksaw, tiny drill bit, sandpaper and a length of cotton. Each crayon-bead is 0.6mm in length. If anyone wants a more in-depth how-to please let me know.

Pencil crayon necklaces

I reckon they would make a lovely handmade present. All you need to do is add a nice clasp…sorted!

Pencil crayon necklaces

I also stole a whole orange pencil and made a pointy necklace too :)

Pencil crayon necklaces

Recycled Music Station

Play materials for young children can be as simple as painting tin cans!  With a little creative thinking you can reuse, re purpose and recycle to transform these everyday, household items into irresistible play things. Collect them , paint them, hang them and let the banging commence!  Loving this outdoor tin can music station from Growing a Jeweled Rose and Let the Children Play xx

How to Make Plastic Bottle Sand Scoops.

These last few winter days have been so gorgeous and sunny that staying inside is simply NOT an option!!

So, I have found an awesome activity for yourself and the kids to do which should keep them outdoors and happy for as long as it takes you to polish off your cuppa. Introducing…..plastic bottle sand scoops! I found this on a wonderful site ‘Picklebums’ made by Kate. Worth a look!!!


How to Make Plastic Bottle Sand Scoops.

You’ll need: Plastic bottles in any shape or size, with the lid. Scissors and/or a craft knife A permanent marker

make a bottle sand scoop

Mark a line across the side of the bottle – from the handle down to the side. Make sure you leave enough plastic around the handle to keep it intact and strong, and cut down far enough on the side to make sure there is no lip left from the bottom of the bottle.

Make a starting hole with the craft knife and then cut along your marked line with scissors or continue with the craft knife. I find scissors easier to control, but some thicker bits of plastic may need a craft knife to get through.

make a plastic bottle sand scoop

You can tidy up your cut after you’ve made it… cutting off any sharp edges and making corrections till you get the perfect looking sand scoop.

You can screw the lids on tight or take the lids off all together and you have a scoopey kind of funnel. You could have lots of fun if you melted holes in the lids and used the scoops with water or fine sand too.

make a sand scoop

Our sand pit has definitely seen better days. It isn’t used as often these days with the big kids preferring dirt and plants and potion making to the sand pit. So the boys and I had to pull out a good few weeds before we could try out our scoops. I also dug over the sand pit with my big proper garden shovel. Fluffing up the sand makes it a lot easier for the kids to dig and scoop, it’s worth doing every now and then regardless of how neglected your sand pit is.

make a sand scoop

Now get out there and enjoy the sunshine while you can!!

A Green Calendar!

There are now so many ways that you can be greener in your everyday life, from organised annual events such as Plant a Tree Day, Earth Hour and Clean Up Australia Day to your own weekly municipal recycling program  for paper and green waste. Make sure you never miss an opportunity and incorporate green days into the calendar or diary you use everyday; mark all the local, national and international environmental initiatives and events that interest you, to keep you motivated and involved. Also, when you update your calendar or diary at the start of a new year, make sure its made from recycled products or is recycable.

(True Green Life; K. McKay & J. Bonnin)

Braided Rag Rug

I’m attending a Free session on how to make Rag Rugs at the Sandgate Library on July 7th. This is a little heads up from Moda Bake Shop on how to make them and you can use anything from pillow slips to sheets, to t-shirts! How gorgeous are they!!

Braided Rag Rug

please click here for kits available to make this rag rug

1 honey bun of your choice (featured is “sweet” by urban chiks) and

4 yards of white fabric

cut your 4 yards of white fabric to 1 1/2 inch widths (yup ALL of it)

once it’s all cut up get three strips of fabric and sew them stacked on top of each other (i wanted the middle of my rug to be all white)

safety pin your three sewn strips anywhere you can be comfy (you are going to be there for a while! i did mine attached to my runner on my dining room table) this is the start of your braid. start braiding your white fabric ****EDITED**** ****you need to make sure your braiding is SUPER LOOSE. do not make your braids tight at all. if they are tight they will make your rag rug curl up when you try to sew it together.****** once you get close to the end of your braid you are going to fold over the end of your strip and snip with your scissors a slit.

like so, and then you will do the same to the next strip that will be the following strip to lengthen your braid (do this to each of the three strips)
you will take the next strip and place it on top of the braided strip

grab the end of your new strip (the end without the slit) and pull through both slits (from behind)

this will adjoin your strips and you will be able to continue your braid this is what it should look like, now keep braiding.
once you get close to the end of your braid you are going to do the same as you did before and make a slit at the ends of your braided strips and at the beginning of your next strips this time wanted to add color so i took one strip of the honey bun and two of the white strips i cut out.
it should now look like this. this will be what you do through out the whole process of braiding your rug. one color in the middle and two whites on the outside.

as you continue to braid your braid will get too long so unhook your safety pin and re-pin it closer to your end.

this is how it should look as you continue to braid. make sure your fabric “folds” with the right side out and continue to braid it loosely

once you have completely braided ALL your strips together. you are going to sew you braid “shut” this tail will be tucked at the very end and you wont see it. now that you have a whole mess of a braid going on…we are off to hand sew it together. get some sturdy thread (i recommend one you use for upholstery) and a needle and you are going to start off by coiling your start of the long braid (the whites)
start by hand stitching your coil center like so. (start in the very center of your coil first and work your way out) *****EDITED***** make sure once you get your center started and going…place your coil on a flat surface. this will ensure that your rug lays flat with each coil. also make sure you do not overlay the braids at all. they need to be laying flat and to be sewn side by side to each other.
you are going to continue to hand stitch your braids together, do this for the whole rug. what you are sewing is your back, when you are done, the stitches should be fairly hidden from the top. (the other side)

when you get to your end, make sure you tuck and stitch the end of your braid so that the tail is on the bottom of your rug and hidden when you turn it over. (snip the extra part of your tail if you like) ****to make your rug a little sturdier, i recommend adding a felt backing to your rug. first start off with placing your rug on top of your large piece of felt, (you can buy it at walmart for pretty cheap off the bolt you will need aprox 1 1/2 yards (just in case so you can piece a little if needed)) and cutting out the same size as your finished rug. next hand sew around your rug on top of the felt. and then at random places adhere your rug in the middle (and all over) by doing big stitches through your coils. look what you made! isn’t it pretty? and it will look so great ANYWHERE! (make some smaller circles to make bar stool seat covers!)

1 rag rug with width of 32 inches
if you’d like to purchase a kit to make this rag rug please visit this site
to clean your rag rug properly we advise you to wash your rug and lay flat to air dry
instructions by vanessa from V and Co.

What’s your plan for the planet?

Australia is the second biggest producer of waste per capita after the USA, sending 18 million tonnes of waste to landfill every year!! As our desire for new products increases, we contine to make unsustainable demands on the Earth’s finite resources.

So, what’s your plan for the planet?

We all accept that our modern lifestyle is jeopardising the future of our planet, but what can we do? The answer is a lot -We just need a plan! We plan for our retirement, our holidays, our weekends, so why not plan to actively lead a more sustainable life? Change your behavious to think climate-friendly and low-carbon instead of convenient and disposable.

Make a decision to be part of the solution and be a true green for a carbon-neutral future.

(Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin)

Live the true green life…

“If you want to try to live a true green life, it can be as simple as just changing a few habits.” (taken from the book, True Green Life by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin)

This was the first piece of writing I read when opening the book ‘True Green Life’ which was given to me by my beautiful sister, Lisa. We both wanted to change our ways so we could live a life where we reduced our ecological footprint but we just weren’t sure where, or, how to start. This book has provided me with wonderful ideas and tips on how to get started so I thought I would share some of these with my readers to help them get on the bandwagon and lead a life full of simplicity and sustainability. I hope you enjoy these simple and easy tips….