Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Paper making

I'm teaching a Summer Camp next week, and thought it would be good to make paper, and embed some saved seeds in it. It's years since I last made paper, so I had a practice run today.

Yesterday I swung by a printers, and got loads of scrap paper. Soaked it in a bucket of hot water overnight. Took the hand blender to it this morning,and we were all set to go.

Kids were initially very uninterested, but when they saw hat there was water and mess involved, they got stuck in, and really understood and enjoyed the process. There are about 20 A3 sheets now hanging from the line, looking forward to when they are dry!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

iPhone Cover

So, I succumbed to the tech pressure and bought an iPhone. But, it's so expensive to replace! What if I am my usual klutzy self, and drop it? I got the screen cover, and the skin, but it wasn't enough. So I felted a little cover for it, with a special tie for holding the headphones, and keeping it closed. I think it's very cute, but it will be even cuter when I sew on some eyes. And it's a bit subtle for me, colour wise. I'll have to make another :-(

Anyone want this one when I replace it?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mullingar Advertiser - wrong phone number

Great to have my Soapmaking and Natural cosmetics course (in Mullingar, May 23rd) featured in the Mullingar Advertiser If you've come here because of that - the phone number there is missing a digit - to book the soapmaking and natural cosmetics course phone or text 087 2222562.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interesting competition

My swap partner for the Clasheen Spring swap is having an interesting - check it out! A beautiful waterfall jacket is the prize....

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hyperbolic Crochet Coral





These are some of the wonderful things you'll see if you visit the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at Trinity Science Gallery.

The show is great on a number of fronts - it's beautiful, you can feel that you are scubadiving, and looking at the corals. It's inspiring from the craft point of view, and from the use of different wools, and recycled materials to make a coral reef.
From a science and ecology point of view, it makes you think about how we could be destroying a beautiful organism. And then there's the whole hyperbolic space thing, and thinking about different surfaces.

I'm wondering how I can incorporate this into my summer camp - there has to be a way..or several...

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Antibacterial soap concerns

Interesting post about the possible health effects of triclosan, an antimicrobial chemical.

My favourite part - FDA states: “At this time, the agency does not have evidence that triclosan in antibacterial soaps and body washes provides any benefit over washing with regular soap and water.”

Learn to make your own soap!

Soapmaking and Natural Cosmetics course

Make your own Soap and Natural Cosmetics

Love rich creamy soaps? Love pampering? Adore taking luxurious baths? Love all the beautiful products for creating a home spa experience, but find them a bit pricey? And maybe you’re a little concerned about the additives in the cheaper ones?
Well, now you can learn to create those luxurious products, at a fraction of the price, using ingredients that you can easily find in your supermarket, health food shop, hardware store or pharmacy. Make lots for yourself, and maybe even make a few for your friends for presents. Who knows, maybe you could even build a business selling them?
Following on from the success of this and last year’s courses I'm offering a course in making your own Soapmaking and Natural Cosmetics on Sunday May 23rd in Mullingar Educate together NS from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Cost is €75.
Participants will learn how to make soaps from scratch, using both cold process and rebatching methods. They will also learn to make Body creams, Exfoliants and other natural cosmetics . In addition they will learn to make origami boxes to package them in. The origami boxes have proved to be the hit of previous classes.

All materials will be provided, including a wide variety of essentials oils to scent the products. And they will go home with clear recipes showing how to replicate these at home.

I have been invited to teach this course at The Organic Center in Leitrim later this year. That's almost fully booked, and the last soapmaking course was sold out, so book now!

To book, call/text Anna at 087 222562, or email

Friday, April 23, 2010

All quiet here

Great weekend in Belvedere - the bunting was admired - one lady even told me that it could become an addiction - which I well believe.

Photo above shows the undergardener (aka Brian) and I in our stand - it was colourful, we were busy - we had lots of entries for our competition, and oldest son was a tremendous help on Sunday.

Belvedere was beautifully safe for kids to run around, the FAS garden looked great, there was no 'junk' on sale. I think everyone there had a great time.

Now I'm busy with my homework from a train the trainer course, trying to find a school to do my teaching practice (I'm going back to college in September) and publicising my Summer Camp in Mullingar in July.

So not much time to be crafty right now - but I really do want to make some more bunting - reckon it would make a wonderful hostess gift....

Friday, April 16, 2010


This is what the bunting looks like - I made my own bias binding to string it all together - a first for me - I'm really happy with how it turned out. It will be in use tomorrow at the Belvedere self sufficiency show. Drop by my booth to admire it, and enter my competition.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Getting ready for Belvedere Self sufficiency show

I have a stand at the Belvedere Self Sufficiency Show, here in Mullingar this weekend. I'm speaking both days - about bread making, but I'll also be promoting my other courses - like natural cosmetics, soapmaking, Christmas crafts, Natural beverages.

I was busy last night making bunting to decorate the stand - I have been wanting to make bunting for some time now to use up some pretty scraps of fabric, and finally I found the motivation! It turned out great - will post a photo later.

I'm trying to think of what will be fun activities for the stand - last year I was baking flatbread - it was great for kids - they could roll out their own, and bake it right there and eat it - but it was a load of work, and hard to keep everything up to scratch hygiene wise. And loads of equipment to bring.

This year I have made lots of soap, so if anyone wants to sign up for my mailing list, I'll be giving them some soap as a taster. But that just shows one part of what I do.

So I'm thinking I can have 2 activities:
Making paper pots, and planting seeds - I have lots of purple pea seeds - to illustrate the garden side of the business.

Making bath bombs - for the crafty , cosmetic side of things.

And I'll bring some seedlings and bread to decorate the stand - bunting only goes so far...

What do you think?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Must try this

Seems like adding peat to your beauty products has great benefits - my father would laugh. Will have to spend a day at the bog, and see what I can find to add to my natural cosmetics....I wonder if someone needs help with footing turf....some good photos here

Friday, March 26, 2010

Soap experiments


2 interesting batches of soap - the green one is the seaweed soap - I scented it with rosemary, but you can smell the seaweed more than the rosemary. Can't decide if I like it or not. It's a nice soap to use, though. The green colour is from a little green wax crayon.


Second one - see the whale! - is coloured yellow from palm oil. I scented this one with Lavendar and Patchouli, and then added some cinnamon for the brown colour. It's intended to be a shaving soap, so I also added Kaolin to help with a close shave.

What do you think? Would you try either one? I'll be giving away some samples at Belvedere in April.

My soapmaking course is almost full - only one space left!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Scrub up! Soapmaking course in April.

Get yourself in a lather in Mullingar Educate Together N.S.on Sunday April 11th!

Course begins at 13:30, and goes till 16:30.

You will learn to make soap by the cold process method, and you'll get to try your hand at rebatching also.

We'll use essential oils to scent the soaps, and a variety of natural additives like seaweed and clay to complement the soap's properties.

You'll go home with a comprehensive understanding of how soap is made, recipes for making your own soaps at home, and plenty of samples to whet your appetite.

Cost for the course is €40 - all materials included.

Places are limited, so book your place quickly! email or phone/text 0872222562

Photo above is a rosemary scented seaweed soap.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Soap making

We were in Galway for an overnight stay on Thursday night. I had a meeting on Friday morning, but when that was over we headed first to Wa Cafe to grab some bento boxes and sushi, and thence to Spiddal to have a picnic.

While gazing out at the rocky beach, and the seascape, it struck me that it would be good to put some seaweed in my soaps. So we took a plastic bag, and grabbed a variety from above the waterline. It was nice to be back scrambling on rocks. One of our first dates back in the late 90s involved some rock scrambling.

Got it home, and did a bit of research - starting here - turns out seaweed is an excellent ingredient for all kinds of cosmetics - it (apparently) fights cellulite, makes your skin more youthful, adds trace elements, you name it.

Anyhow, dried some seaweed in the oven and ground it up once dry. Added it to the soap - and added rosemary as the scent - seemed to be the most marine like Essential Oil I had - and added a little green colouring. It looks pretty good, but it's still curing, so hard to say if it will shave 20 years off my appearance the first time I wash with it. :-)

The rest of the seaweed is drying in a more environmentally friendly manner on the clothes line - and I have ordered some from Kildoney, near Ballyshannon, where my cousins live.

I will be giving out samples of this and other soaps in Belvedere at the self sufficiency show, so find me and sign up for my mailing list, and you'll be able to try it for yourself.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Soaps available to buy

Normally I don't sell any of the things I make - I prefer to use them, or give them away as presents. But I had so much soap that it would take me years to give it all away, so I'm selling it here.

It's available at the farm shop, at my brothers organic farm - I'm very proud of what he does - he sells the most delicious organic beef, at very reasonable prices. So in the summer, when our garden is in full production, it's not hard to have an amazing meal all of which has been grown in a 3 mile radius.

I made his website using WordPress - check it out - I'd be interested to know what you think.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Another Natural Cosmetics course

I'm running another Natural cosmetics class - As before, you can learn to make your own luxurious lotions, exfoliants, bath bombs using natural ingredients. And you'll learn to make beautiful origami boxes to package your products.

The class takes place on March 9th, at Mullingar ETNS 7:30-9:30pm, €35. To book, email me at or 087 2222562

Friday, February 19, 2010

Boy Belt giveaway

Great tutorial and Boy Belt giveaway here.

I'm inspired to get one of those snap setter kits - can see a myriad of uses...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Craft related post

Can't avoid the Olympics coverage, and noticed a photo of the US team - all wearing Aran jumpers! Dug round a bit, and found that Ralph Lauren designed the 'All American' look - harking back to a 1932 US team at Lake Placid. Don't know about you, but I didn't think that Aran jumpers (sweaters?) were American in origin? Maybe if you add a bit of cashmere and charge $425...

And the winner is...

Sarah Lynne! Thanks for Dara for folding up all the entries, and being the one to pick out the winner. Sorry that you all couldn't be winners.

Castille Soap giveaway - picking a winner

Thanks to all of you who left comments, told their friends, followed me on twitter. Later today I will get my son to pick a winner and I'll let you know who the lucky person is....

Friday, February 5, 2010

Castille soap Giveaway - now finished.

It's spring, and with the sun still low in the sky you can see all the dust and dirt in your home, very clearly. Yuck! Roll on the summer when we can stay outside as much as possible, and ignore the messy inside stuff.

Instead of cleaning, I made a batch of Castille soap - main ingredient is Olive oil. It's lightly scented with orange oil, and lathers beautifully. Commercial soaps have the glycerin that is a natural by-product of soap making removed, so they may be quite drying. My soap leaves your skin feeling very soft. See Photo above - I could probably improve the unmolding and cutting part :-)

It's also great for felting with, as we discovered at last weeks felting workshop.

So I'm giving away a couple of bars of the soap, and will throw in a few packets of seeds I've saved myself, if you're interested. More about that kind of thing at my gardening blog.

Here’s what you need to do to win this package. Get one entry for each of these actions:

- Post about this giveaway in your blog.
- Follow me on twitter (greenannabrowne) and retweet this post. You can use the retweet button on the right side of this post to do it.
- If you're not on twitter or blogging, email your friends.

If you’ve done any or all of the above, please leave a comment on this post with a link to your post or your twitter name. Or just leave a comment with your email in the format "annambrowne at gmail dot com".

The giveaway will be closed on Monday, 15th February, around 10:00pm Irish Time (GMT), so please leave your comment here before that time.
The winner will be picked randomly and announced on Tuesday, 16th February. I will then contact the winner for a complete address and the package will be sent to wherever you are.

If you're not lucky this time, I'll be running soap making courses in Mullingar soon, and at the Organic Center later in the year.

Thank you!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crafts for Boys

Here's one dear to my heart - things you can make for Boys!

Here's a blog which will be featuring lots of projects for the month of Feb - all about boys!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Felted slippers


So here is the result of a full felting day - one pair of beautiful slippers. Read Nicola's blog for a description of the day, and for more photos. I ended up making a piece of felt large enough to make slippers out of, and later that day, sewed the slippers up, and with Nicola's help, felted them more.

They are warm, comfy, durable, and extremely cute. I'm delighted! You gotta love the little red elf tails coming out of the fronts of them - the kitten has not spotted them yet, but there will be fun when she does!

See more photos at Nicola's Flickr stream, and working at getting some uploaded to mine.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Felting Workshop

You may remember that I headed down to Carlow in October to teach a cosmetics workshop at Nicola's studio.

Now she is returning the favour, and coming here at the end of January to teach a beginners felting workshop.

It's taking place on Sunday January 31st, at Educate Together NS. Cost is 75 euro per participant, and includes all materials. The day starts at 10:00am, and goes till around 4:30pm. Everyone will go home with at least one beautiful completed project ready to frame or stitch into a bag or book cover plus possibly some samples or felt flowers as well!

You can see some photos of previous workshops. Or check out her blog.

If you're interested in the course, please email me at or call/text 087 2222562

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wheat free oatmeal cookie recipe

Here's the recipe for the cookies we made for gifts at Christmas. We are still making them on a weekly basis for one of our friends - she liked them so much. You can make this amount, but only bake what you need and freeze the rest - they cook well from frozen.

Wheat free oatmeal cookie recipe
6oz (170g) butter
1 cup (230g) brown sugar
.5 cup (95g) white sugar
2 eggs
dash vanilla
1.5 (200g) cups spelt flour
1tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
2.5 (200g) cups porridge oats
.5 (75g) cup millet
Milk to soak millet, and perhaps a bit more.

To flavour - chocolate chips, cinnamon & raisin, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips

Soak the millet in the milk. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/340 degrees F

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and flour and mix well. Add everything except the flavourings. Add a little extra milk if necessary to make it slightly runny. If you are using multiple flavourings, divide into 2 or 3 parts, and flavour individually. You need 1 cup of raisin or chocolate chips for the whole mix, so divide this as appropriate.

Use a small teaspoon spoon to drop tiny amounts on a baking sheet - they will spread a little and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Once they are a little brown, place on a cooling rack, and try to stop eating them!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

What we gave, part IV

I gave a lot of felt necklaces this year, but didn't find time to photograph any of them before I presented them. Here, however are a similar selection that I will be selling on etsy soon.


The first is an adjustable cuff - this has been made with someone in mind.



This is a long necklace - adjustable, and with a plastic bead at the end which gives it a bit of weight.


A shorter necklace, white and turquoise, a bit larger than a choker. These are all great for kids....

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What we gave, part III

On Christmas eve, we baked these oatmeal, millet and spelt cookies. Some had choc chips, some had white chocolate chips and cranberries, and some had cinnamon and currants.


Dara and Leo did most of the work, and then we packaged them up in recycled margarine tubs, and delivered some to our neighbours and friends.

We also made truffles, which we labelled as reindeer poo - they were not so photogenic, but delicious nevertheless. We made dark chocolate, milk chocolate, rum and raisin, and pecan and almond. We put 4 into a handmade box, lined with greaseproof paper. All recipients declared themselves delighted.

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