Frugal Living

Cheap and easy, family friendly recipes that can be made in bulk, repurposing ideas, make not waste projects, cheap and easy ideas for things to make for your home and children.

DIY Cocoa Lip Balm


What you need:

  • 1 teaspoon beeswax
  • 2 teaspoons pure Fair Trade organic cocoa butter
  • 3 teaspoons organic coconut or olive oil
  • 5-10 drops peppermint essential oil recycled containers

What to do:

Slowly melt ingredients in a double boiler or in 30-second spurts in microwave. Cool slightly and fill recycled containers. You may need to adjust the ratio of ingredients to suit your liking. Yum!

Read more:

Posted by OneProudMomma at Friday, March 04, 2011 11:04 AM

How To Make Washable Sanitary Pads.


My all-in-one design of washable sanitary pad is made up of three layers. A bottom waterproof layer, the absorbent pad and a top fleece layer (to keep me feeling dry and fresh!).

washable sanitary pad

For the bottom waterproof layer you can either use specialised fabric bought from an outdoor store (which looks nice but is expensive) or you can opt for the frugal old nylon shower curtain or soft waterproof bed cover.

The middle pad is made from cotton, either flannel, brushed cotton winceyette or toweling (which is much bulkier) - you can use a combination if you like. I tend to use offcuts from other projects or recycle old sheets or towels. If you do use old sheets or towels cut the edges off and then use the outside edges, the center sections tend to get wore down and thinner, meaning the absorbency will be reduced.

The top layer is made from polar fleece, either use new fleece or the backs from old fleece jumpers.

You should end up with a selection of fabrics like the one below.

Fabrics pile  

The first thing you need to make is the absorbant pad.

Start by cutting the cotton to the size you need for your pad, as I was making maxi-pads I cut my fabric 24cm x 8cm. I used 4 layers of fabric for these pads as I had a layer of toweling in there. If I was only using brushed cotton I would have used 6 layers. If you want them longer or shorter then adjust the length accordingly - use whatever pad you are happiest using as a gauge for the size.

cut pad pieces

Make a pile of the layers of fabric (there are six in the photo as I was making 6 pads), then stitch around the edge to hold them all together, either use an overlocker or the zigzag stitch on a regular machine.

stitched pads  

That's that bit done! :-)

Next you need to Cut the top and bottom layers

The first thing you will need to make is a template piece for the pad. To do this cut a piece of fleece that is equivalent to three times the width of the absorbant pad and about one inch (2cm) longer on either end.

making the template  

Remove the outer two pads (if you used them for measuring like I did) then trim the corners off to make the pad more elliptical. Make sure that you don't curve the long edges too much as you will be applying a popper to them later on.

shaped template  

Once you have the basic shape of the sanitary pad cover you will need to cut one piece in fleece and one in the washable fabric for each sanitary pad you are making. (I don't know what happened in the photo but the light and dark blue fabric pieces are the same size, even though they don't look it!)

wierd photo of pad outers  

Now we have to attach the pad to the cover.

Lay the absorbent pad on the wrong side of the fleece fabric and pin it in place.

pinned pad  

Stitch around the outside edges of the absorbent pad so that it is attached to the fleece liner. This will stop the pad from moving around inside the cover, which is especially important when they are being washed.

stitched pad  

Next place the waterproof layer on top of the absorbent pad, forming a sandwich with the fleece layer. Pin it in place.

pinned layers  

Stitch around the outside edge of the two layers with an overlocker or using the zigzag stitch on a regular machine.

stitched pads  

Once the poppers are attached the sanitary pad are ready to use - just make sure that you line up the poppers properly - one should be attached to the fleece and the corresponding popper to the waterproof backing. Otherwise you won't be able to fasten them!

Posted by OneProudMomma at Sunday, September 19, 2010 12:05 PM

Washable Sanitary Pads


I have been using washable sanitary pads for approximately 10 years now. It all started when I was expecting my third child and I was researching washable nappies. I noticed a section on the website for washable sanitary protection and, feeling a bit grossed out, took a look. After perusing the different options it occurred to be that it really wasn't any more gross than a washable nappy. After all, if I was prepared to see to another persons, albeit a babies, intimate needs then I really shouldn't be freaking out about seeing to my own! With that thought firmly in mind I ordered a starter pack, which consisted of three different sized cotton pads and two different sized waterproofed backed, poppered pouches to hold the pad in place.

I must admit that the first month I wore them it was with trepidation, as I was not convinced as to the security and absorbancy of the pad. There were a few little leaks along the way, but nothing major. Thankfully I used to bleed really lightly at that point in my life. I'm sure that those pads (which I still have and are still wearable) would not stand up to my current flow which has increased dramatically since the birth of my fifth baby, nearly 2 years ago. It is possible that the heavier flow is down to me still breastfeeding, I guess I won't find out until Amelia weans herself off!

The main thing I noticed after I started wearing the washable pads is that all the thrush like symptoms that I used to be plagued with vanished. At first I didn't put two and two together, until one time when I was going to be on holiday during 'that time'. Obviously I didn't want to carry around soiled pads with me whilst out and about or have to wash them on a camp site so I resorted to disposibles again. By the time my period was over I was suffering chronic burning and itching down below, like I had done so many times in the past. After resorting to all the pills and creams to clear up the infection I went back to using the washable pads the month after and no problems. Over the past 10 years there have been several months when using washable pads were not an option, and each time I ended up with a thrush like infection by the time my period was finished. I know other women who have similar problems when using disposible pads too, so I have come to the conclusion that it is not coincidental and quite probably due to the plastics and chemicals they use in these products.

Over the years I made new pads to fit in the pouches but I was still not happy with the design of the pad, wishing rather that I had something similar to a winged Always to wear, an all-in-one if you like. After all, you get all-in-one nappies so why not all-in-one pads? I started looking on the internet for instructions and patterns for making your own pads and none of them were the sort of design that I was after. So I came up with my own, overlocker friendly, easy to do custom design that doesn't require you to follow vast quantities of instructions or buy specialsed fabrics.

My pads are made from one layer of waterproof backing and one layer of fleece (well if it keeps a baby dry and fresh shouldn't I feel dry and fresh too!) with a 4 or 6 layered pad sandwiched between them.

I use a regular machine and an overlocker, plus popper fastenings which are hammered in place. It is quite feasible to use only a regular sewing machine, using a zigzag stitch to bind the edges of the fabric together and hand-stitched poppers instead of hammered studs.

Carewise, once I use the pads I store them dry in a lidded nappy bucket over 24 hours, then wash them on an evening and hang them on the radiators to dry over night. If they are heavily soiled I wash them once in the machine without any laundry detergent, then wash them again with a small amount of detergent and an extra rinse cycle.

I think that just about covers it all, now I just need to tell you how to make them...

Posted by OneProudMomma at Sunday, September 19, 2010 11:27 AM

Cabbage can beat period pain... and other home remedies that really work


These natural remedies may have some medical credence, according to a new book by Rob Hicks, a GP and hospital doctor.

Cabbage can beat period pain... and other home remedies that really work

The remedies in the article are extracted from the following book

Posted by OneProudMomma at Sunday, September 19, 2010 9:09 AM

Liquid Hand Soap


I originally saw instructions on how to make your own liquid soap on a You Tube video a month or so ago. I gave it a go and must say that although the quality isn't the same as the sort you would buy in the shops, it works and it costs a lot less.

All you need to make your own soap is a bar of regular soap, boiling water, a measuring jug, spatula for stirring, essential oils (if you want to scent it), a pump dispenser bottle to put it in afterwards and a funnel (to get the soap in the dispenser).

Materials needed for making liquid soap.  

To start with grate your bar of soap into the jug - the finer the better as it will take less time to dissolve in the water.

grated soap  

Make sure it is relatively flat in the jug and read off the quanitity, here it is approximately 100ml. Add 4 times as much boiling water (400ml in this case), taking the level in the jug up to 500ml.

Soap and water  

Stir the soap mixture until it has all dissolved.

Bored looking helper!  

Once it has dissolved, let the mixture go cold. It will set a bit like a jelly!

set cold liquid soap  

Then add some essential oils if you want to - I use 10 drops each essential oils of Rosemary and Lavender. Then beat the soap mixture until it is all gloopy and reasonably runny.

gloopy beaten soap  

Once you are sure the essential oils are mixed thoroughly throughout the soap, pour it into your dispenser. I use a funnel as I make less mess that way.

filled soap dispensers  

Posted by OneProudMomma at Wednesday, July 21, 2010 6:58 AM

Homemade Baby Wipes


Home made baby wipes

I was pushing Amelia down the 'Special Offers' aisle in the supermarket when I caught a display filled with baby products. Huggies nappies, Johnsons toiletries and baby wipes were all there, tempting me with their discounted prices. I grabbed the double pack of disposibles for £5 - yeah I know, she could be in washables. Better for the environment, better for my purse, etc. but they aren't better for me. Washable nappies means more laundry, and with a family of 7 plus an incontinent dog I have enough laundry already! - Anyway, back to the point...

I noticed on the shelf that the Johnsons baby wipes were better than half price, only £1 a packet. I felt quite pleased at that as they are my preferred brand of baby wipe, especially the Aloe Vera ones. I picked up three packets (one for the changing bag, one for the bathroom, one for the bedroom) and was just about to put them in the trolley when I paused. Usually, I would be congratulating myself on a good find, having saved in the region of £4 on the weekly shopping bill, but not this week. This week I thought "£3 just to wipe a bum? That's stupid. I should be making my own wipes again, or use baby lotion."

I must admit my previous experience making homemade baby wipes was not too successful. I used the method of sawing a kitchen roll in half, removing the cardboard tube from the middle and then letting it soak up some boiling water which I'd added a little baby bath too. Don't get me wrong the wipes worked, initially, but the damp kitchen paper used to stick to my hands and the babies bum as it seemed to break down after being damp for a few days. Maybe I needed a better quality paper to start with, I'm not sure, I might experiment with that later on!

I'm not too keen on using baby lotion and cotton wool for the same reason. The cotton wool fibres get clagged up with the baby lotion and then you end up having to pick bits of sticky fluff off your clothes, fingers and babies bum. There has to be another way.

Then I remembered The Basket in the bathroom. It's filled with goodies from my Mum; sample sized soaps, scented disposal bags and gauze wipes. to name a few. The gauze wipes are actually from a relative, every month they are given a set of supplies from the hospital. The kit they are given always contain gauze wipes which are often surplus to requirements but as it is part of their monthly kit they get given them anyway, lucky for me! I figured that if I could use the gauze wipes with the baby lotion the residual fluff on the bum problem would be solved.

With that thought in mind I reached out for the discount (only £1) bottle of Johnsons Baby Lotion, then that little voice piped up inside my head, "Bet the own brand baby lotion is cheaper". With my hands firmly on the trolley we set off for the baby toiletries section. Not only was the own brand cheaper, they even produced their own Value baby lotion at 10p per bottle. At that price I figured it had to be worth a go, and if it wasn't any good I probably still had a part bottle of Johnsons Baby Lotion courtesy of my Mum in The Basket in the bathroom.

From the previous experience with home made wipes I know that the container the wipes are kept in is important. It needs to be easy to fill, easy to open when you need a wipe in a hurry and relatively airtight so that the wipes don't dry out once made, an old baby wipe tub or one from toilet wipes is ideal. Someone was definitely smiling down on me today, the old Kandoo tub turned out to be the exact same size as the folded gauze wipes!

So armed with my old tub, free gauze wipes and 10p bottle of baby lotion I set to work.

How To Make Home Made Baby Wipes

First gather together everything you will need.

  1. Empty Tub
  2. Gauze Wipes
  3. Baby Lotion

Baby Wipe Materials

  1. Open up the gauze and place a fairly generous squirt of baby lotion at regular intervals throughout the stack. This is where I noticed that the Value baby lotion is actually superior, because it is runnier it is absorbed by the gauze much more readily.
    Squirting the stack of gauze
  2. Press down on the gauze stack so that it absorbs the lotion.
    Pressing the gauze stack
  3. Repeat the first couple of steps until the gauze pack is pretty much saturated with baby lotion (but not so much as it's dripping wet!)
  4. You will probably notice that the edges of the gauze are dry. Fan through the gauze with your thumb whilst dripping baby lotion onto the dry edges.
    Putting lotion on the edges of the gauze
  5. Press down on the gauze again, so that it absorbs the lotion.
  6. Repeat the dripping of lotion and pressing of the gauze for the other three sides of the stack of gauze.
  7. Once the gauze wipes are all saturated with lotion they are ready to be placed in the tub - I used approximately one third of the bottle (about 3p worth!).
    Placing the wipes in the tub
  8. Close the tub up and the wipes are ready to use straight away.
Posted by OneProudMomma at Tuesday, July 20, 2010 2:50 PM