Monday, September 28, 2009

aspartamine, for kids??

A comment from bridget b on my last post and this article on bbc health about sensitivitity to aspartame gave me fodder for a small rant - what the hell are we feeding our kids??? How can people think chemicals are better than the real deal (in this case sugar). If someone is gaining weight because they drink too much coke, why not drink less rather than add potentially carcinogenic chemicals to their body (aka coke light/zero/whathaveyou)? Just a thought - take it or leave it. Our latest buzz is full cream rather than low fat (heard the process to get milk products to low fat reduces the goodness), and the difference in fat content is only 1.5% - 3%.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

National Braai day

A great idea of how to spend your heritage day, but yet again I missed it due to illness. Next year, or perhaps all summer long :) The braai (BBQ) is one of the few traditions shared by just about all South Africans ... we love our boerrie (boerewors) roll.
Instead I celebrated Heritage day by going to a Ladysmith Black Mambazo concert at the ICC (actually there were loads of other Southern African bands and one West african desert blues band but they were the highlight). They decorated the stage with meters and meters of African wax prints and skirt panels. Made me want to go shopping the next day for my next major project. Watch this space...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Preservatives, a rant,

I've been a fan of reading labels on things I buy from the store for a while (triggered by my convinction that artificial sweeteners gave me migraines) but since my husband is in on the vibe (he's a fan of Michael Pollen, author of In Defense of Food and the Omnivore's Dilemma) it's been open season.

Since we got back to South Africa I have been shocked by how impossible it is to get some foods without additives at Pick 'n Pay. For example, all yoghurts, except Bulgarian a friend told me, have pimaricin, which destroys all the good bacterial cultures that make yoghurts so great. Our cream cheese also had it in, so I have now resorted to buying all our dairy produce at Woolies.

Another thing that shocked me was the fact fruit juices called "Real Juice" seem to resemble a chemistry lesson rather than squashed fruit. Even our beloved Ceres has something called "Nature identical flavourant" - something that is chemically identical to the real deal, but is created in a lab ... no wonder their new Mango juice tastes so good! Pure Joy juice has a label with no suspicious ingredients, but dear hubby said it didn't taste as good - you just can't win against those flavourants.

So the question is - is this a South African thang, or was it just that the labels were in Dutch before?

Sewing tip of the year

I have to credit my sources and say I discovered this hack after my husband book his new jeans to be shortened at the tailor. I always find the chore a mission - I never have the right thread and getting the length right is a pain. When he got them back he discovered the neat professional trick - they kept the original seam and simply overlocked a fold off ... just above the stitching..

Today I finally was fed up with my turn-ups (somehow I always find the only jeans in stock are 34" long - instead of 32"). I made sure the folds were the right length and the same size the whole way around, then stitched as close to the original seam as possible. I didn't overlock to cut the extra off and discovered that this allows you two styles 1) I simply folded the cuff into the inside. You could also overlock along the same line, but this way you get both a turnup and the right length jean (pant).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We need more green books

I couldn't help myself, I took a deep breath, let go of the organisation obsessive within and did it. Yes, I re-arranged my books by colours and realised we have a shortage of green books. Next week (al la Nick Hornsby) I'll be doing it by number of pages ;)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Over the rainbow

I have now arranged the books on my bookshelf. Being a rational creature of logic, the system is loosely dewey decimal but what I would really like is to break free and go colour way. Doesn't the rainbow bookshelf look beautiful? Here are some more rainbow bookshelves on flckr.

Friday, September 18, 2009

High on craft

Well it's been a busy few weeks I can tell you. This time moving country seemed to be a smooth transfer, but it all eventually caught up with me.

The bookshelves were long awaited, and seemed to be victim to one unfortunate circumstance after the next (from the truck driver driving under a low handing wall, to the carpenter getting a divorce), but here they are... I am really happy to report we are now officially box free.

Then the birthday party was a great success, and mommy-me managed to bake and decorate her first birthday cake. I must admit to cheating and using a cake mix, but hey. To make the cat, I used a guide from the Betty Crocker site, which made it 1-2-3 easy.

Finally, I have been eco crafting - I re-used formula milk powder tins as storage containers. They are plain tin, so to indicate what's inside and make them look nice, I simply cut open some paper packaging, cut to size and glued it on. Hmm, not 100% sure if it's exactly the look I was after (my original idea was paper printed with a fake look at what's inside, like so), but it'll do for now.