Categories for Do it yourself

Mending some clothes

Only while i was mending this shirt i thought of making a post about it. So no before photo. i do love this shirt. I think i might have it for around fifteen years or so. So yes, definitely worth the mend.
This dress from Joline Jolink is also a favourite. I have for it four or five years i think. There is a little hole in it.
And now it is fixed!
This legging from the Hema has a big hole near the crotch.
On both sides. This side the hole is a bit smaller.
Done ...
... and done! 🙂
Afterwards i went out and had a Turkish pizza. I walked through the city and sat down for a while. Lovely weather. All summery 🙂
Published on July 30, 2019 at 6:00 by

Homemade moisturizer

I try to make as much as possible myself. I have been making body butter for the past four years or so, last year i made calendula salve, detergent for the past five years, i recently made a night oil to put on my face before i go to bed. Moisturizer is a big step for me though. I have been buying it, the Total Effects 7 in One perfume free Anti-ageing moisturizer from Oil of Olaz. On Jetske Ultee’s website this is one of the recommended moisturizers.

In the Total Effects moisturizer mixture is niacinamide (vitamin B3).

Niacinamide is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient that offers multiple benefits for aging and blemish-prone skin. Among these benefits is the ability to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness, and a weakened skin surface.

Source: Paula’s Choice

The Ordinary sells a 10% solution. It is not expensive, €5,90, so i might give this a try.

I did research for a starting recipe. I found one through pinterest which i have changed a bit. I’m sure this will take time to get right.


  • Coconut Oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Beeswax – 2 tablespoons
  • Almond oil, Argan oil and Calendula oil – 1/4 cup together, most used is the almond oil
  • Shea Butter – 1 tablespoon
  • Myrrh, Frankincense, Tea Tree oil, Geranium oil, Rose oil – five drops of each


  1. Take a clean jar and put the ingredients in them.
  2. In a pan, heat water till it starts boiling.
  3. Place the jar inside the pan. Do not cover the jar.
  4. Let the jar remain there till the ingredients are melted completely.
  5. Once it is all melted, get the jar out of the water and let it cool down so that the cream starts hardening.
  6. The homemade anti-ageing cream is ready

This morning i bought four more essential oils: tea tree, rose, myrrh and frankincense (wierook in Dutch). I did have some other essential oils. The geranium one seems to have good properties for ageing skin. The peppermint is for my toothpaste. I recently bought some clay powder for my toothpaste. Still need to look up a recipe for that. I also have a small collection of oils: almond, jojoba and argan oil. In late summer i will make another batch of calendula oil.

Published on June 19, 2019 at 6:00 by

Calendula oil and salve

This summer i picked calendula flowers, put them out to dry and saved them. The end of June i took the dried flower leaves home and put them in oil. I used ecological sunflower oil. I let it stand on the windowsill for way too long. I read that a month should be enough. I let them stand for three months.

Today i let the oil drip from all the dried leaves. The oil is very orange. It also smells a bit sweet. I put some left over oil on my legs and afterwards my fingers smelled sweet. Lovely!

The main use of calendula is in wound-healing and skin-soothing. It promotes healing. It is anti-inflammatory and slightly antimicrobial. You can use it on scratches. Do not use any oil-based calendula on oozing or weeping wounds. Use a calendula tea for those and let it dry between applications. It is safe and nontoxic.

My main purpose is making calendula salve. A person i’m following on youtube is Morag Gamble. She has a channel about permaculture life. She made three movies about calendula. I used her recipe as a base. The movies i linked at the bottom of this post.

The recipe is very easy.

  • 1 part calendula oil
  • 1/2 part coconut oil
  • 1/2 part beeswax

I put all three ingredients in a glass jar. I warmed it up in a pan and kept on stirring it until everything was dissolved. I washed several small jars and pots, dried them completely and filled them. That’s it!

Morag Gamble, our permaculture life

Published on October 16, 2018 at 6:00 by

Less waste

Time to set out my progress in the zero waste department. I still buy most my foods in the market and the supermarket. In my bag i have a set of paper bags and plastic bags for use on the market. I confess though, it is hard to completely avoid having my groceries wrapped in plastic. Especially walnuts and dates i buy at a Turkish stand are always wrapped in plastic. At one point i will take glass jars with me, but i’m not there yet. I do try to use the wrappings i have until they are entirely finished. I took some to the garden and put them there in a bag, for people who don’t have anything with them to put in the harvest. So it is getting better the whole time. But still many space for improvements.

Two weeks ago i visited my mother. One thing i took home with me are the handkerchiefs my stepfather used to use. They were lying in a drawer unused. I’m happy with these. Earlier i did check some shops to see if there were handkerchiefs for sale. I remember seeing them in the HEMA a few years ago. I didn’t see them in the shop. But online i just checked and you can still buy them there. I am happy to get them for free secondhand though. I still have some paper handkerchiefs – will keep those to see what the best use for those is.

A major turnaround is the toilet paper. A few weeks ago that i watched some youtube clips about this subject. I then went through my cupboards and found this large hand towel, which i hadn’t used for over five, maybe even ten years. I simply cut it up into smaller bits and put it into a basket in my toilet.

Now i’m still getting used to doing this. A few times i threw the towel in the toilet. Oops! But i admit, it is a nice feeling wiping your bottom with a hand towel after a pee. I still use paper after a number two (as you seem to call the poop action in English 😀 ). Since i only poop once a day and pee two or three times a day, it is still a good saving. And better for the environment. I hope!

Going along steadily. Still have areas in which i need to make improvements. I wish for a no packaging shop in Rotterdam. I know there are a couple of shops in the Netherlands. The closest shop is the Gimsel close by which does have a section of large containers from which you can fill a bag, your own or one of the Gimsel.

My progress is going in a slow pace. Still, every step counts. Yay!

Published on December 21, 2017 at 6:00 by

Not yet zero waste

The past couple of months i’ve been watching youtube video’s about zero waste.

Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. No trash is sent to landfills or incinerators.

Over the past years i have worked slowly towards making more myself. My body butter, handcream, cleaning stuff, laundry detergent, toothpaste, all these i’m making myself. I love to search for recipes, search for the proper basic materials to make these from.

Watching these video’s makes me more aware of all the unthinking i do in my life. I do buy things wrapped in plastic. Only one or two months ago i changed my catty litter grit to wood, so i can throw it in the compost in the garden. Only six months ago i started a special bag for the plastic waste container near the Jumbo. I have been throwing away my paper and glass in the proper containers for years, OK. But other things were simply passing me by.

Zero Waste Home is the website from Bea Johnson.

Since adopting the Zero Waste lifestyle in 2008, my life and that of my family have changed for the better. We not only feel happier, but we also lead more meaningful lives based on experiences instead of stuff.

This blog and my bestselling book, Zero Waste Home, have launched a global movement, inspiring thousands of people throughout the world to live simply and take a stance against needless waste.

I propose a simple guideline, my 5R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot (and only in that order).

Another website, which i discovered through its youtube video’s, is Trash is for Tossers.

How do I define ZERO WASTE? To me, Zero Waste means that I do not produce any garbage. No sending anything to landfill, no throwing anything in a trash can, nothing. However, I do recycle and I do compost.

Gittemary is a Danish girl who makes video’s about food, make-up in a zero waste manner.

Hello everyone! My name is Gittemary and I am 22 years old. Two years ago I switched out impulse buys, fashion week and must-haves for a zero waste and plastic-free lifestyle! Now, I create inspiration, recipes and guides on how to get started reducing trash and finding non-materialistic values.

So yes, plans on my own internal list of things to research and do:

  • do research for a shower bar, at the Gimsel or Lush
  • look for a metal container for these bars, Lush has them, but maybe there are some second hand ones
  • go through all my trash each day and look for alternatives
  • start buying things in the bulk section in the Gimsel, save cotton bags for it, have a talk in the shop first though!

I do see so many things thrown away on the streets. Plastic wraps, plastic spoons, bottles. Yes, a small part of that will be gathered by the people working on the streets, of course. But it is all such a waste.

I am starting this trip of mine. Looking at myself and all the things in my life and in my house with a critical eye and determine if i want to keep something in or not. It will be a slow process, and i will make mistakes, but this is something worth fighting for.

For my body and hand butter i simply use the same amounts of shea butter and coconut oil.
Cleaning the old pots for my body butter and toothpaste in boiling water
Warming the coconut oil and shea butter au-bain-marie
Mixing the body butter with an old electrical whisk i took with me from home, thirty years ago. It must be from the 60s!
Whipped body and hand butter and toothpaste
Published on October 18, 2016 at 6:00 by

DIY: Fermenting your own sauerkraut

Today i started making sauerkraut. I have read about this process, fermenting, for years. Last year on the Rotterdamse Oogst Markt i talked with the girls from Ferme Kolen. I bought some kimchi then.

Fermentation is used in many different foods and drinks. Beer, wine and cider converse sugar into ethanol. Bread uses the yeast to produce CO2. Sauerkraut, sausages, kimchi, yogurt, miso, soya all use fermentation to alter the taste and make the end product more usable.

The pot will need to stand in room temperature for around two to three weeks. A white mould can appear on the surface, i do need to remove that as fast as possible.

I used the following recipe.

  • 1 kilo white cabbage
  • 5 gr mustard seeds
  • 4 gr juniper
  • 3 gr caraway
  • ± 22,5 gr salt
  • a few peppercorns

Sauerkraut is the easiest fermented product to make. I used some spices to add a bit of flavour, but you can make it with only the white cabbage and salt. I will see how this will evolve and report back here.

Starting out with white cabbage, salt, juniper, mustard seeds and caraway. I did add some black peppercorns at the end.
Slicing the cabbage as thinly as possible. Next time i use my mandolin and grate them really fine.
Adding the salt, 22,5 grams for 1 kilo of cabbage. After a couple of minutes of crunching and munching and stamping with clean bare hands the cabbage gets moistened. Here you see the spices put on top of the cabbage after the first kneading. After this the spices gets kneaded in the cabbage for a few more minutes.
The pot i wanted to put the cabbage into broke. I had this other pot, not ideal, i hope it will work fine. On top i put a big leaf from the outside of the cabbage. The core of the cabbage is used as a weight with which to crunch all the cabbage down. I did add some salted water to get the cabbage completely covered with it.
I use a dish cloth to close up the pot.
Published on March 30, 2016 at 6:00 by

Homemade toothpaste and deodorant

The most important part of my new homemade toothpaste and deodorant is sodium bicarbonate. The following applications are listed on the wikipedia page:

  • pest control
  • paint and corrosion removal
  • pH balancer
  • mild disinfectant
  • fire extinguisher
  • cooking
    • with acids
    • by heating
  • neutralisation of acids and bases
  • medical uses
  • personal hygiene
  • sports
  • cleaning
  • biopesticide

The past week my toothpaste ran out. I am using Parodontax for like, 25 years. It is a bit salty and its main ingredient is – yep! – sodium bicarbonate. I’ve been using it for so long i don’t notice the salty taste. So last week i decided to bite the bullet and make my own toothpaste. Most recipes i found had a mix of the following ingredients:

  • baking soda
  • coconut oil
  • peppermint essential oil
  • stevia
  • vegetable glycerin
  • sea salt
  • hydrogen peroxide (3%)
  • water
  • bentonite clay

I decided to try the following recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 20 drops of peppermint essential oil

I slightly warmed the coconut oil au bain marie and put in the baking soda and the salt and peppermint. I let it cool for a night. The next day i went through it with a teaspoon. I use a wooden icicle stick to get some paste out and put it on my toothbrush. Yes, it is salty, but the smell of peppermint makes up for it – a bit.

I might get some stevia to make it a bit more sweeter. I have never bought stevia before, i will have a look around. I did do a search for it this evening and i do need to look at the composition. I would like to get some pure stevia. Not the products with 97% maltodextrine and 3% stevia (yes you Albert Heijn!). So i might need to go to the nature shop Gimsel.

So far i do like the toothpaste. It is not the same as my old Parodontax, i will need to give it some more time to get used to it. But, it does really clean remarkably well. Happy with that!

To be honest, i haven’t made this one yet. But last week a video came by from Trash is for Tossers and today i bought the arrowroot powder.

The ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of shea butter
  • around 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil

I do have a confession to make here though. I hardly use deodorant. I don’t find myself smelling weird. Truthfully, i like my smell. But yeah, i’m a lot by myself, so it is not a big deal anyway. When i go out more, for work or anything else, i have used deodorant. So it’s not a completely strange product. Right now i have a mixture of baking soda and coconut oil in my bathroom – how do you call that?? – closet? little tiny cabinet? – sorry, i have no idea! Anyway, this mixture sounds good. So i will let you know once i made this and tried it a couple of times.

Published on November 17, 2015 at 6:00 by

Skincare: face and body

Over the years i’ve used many different types of skincare.

I did use mostly Clinique things. It was high end, but not too expensive. I used the Superdefense moisturizer SPF 20. As a night cream i used the Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer. I did try the Clinique 3 step system with soap and moisturizer, but it never stuck. I still have a small Super Rescue tube, which i will use up in the coming months.

A few years ago i started to read about skincare on blogs and watch more make-up and skincare youtube clips. Some recommended Dr. Jetske Ultee, a research physician in cosmetic dermatology. She has a list of recommended products (in dutch) on her site, which i now use as a starting point. It is hard though not to be tempted by all the beautiful selling talk which is thrown at you on the street, in the shops and online.

Skincare: face
For cleaning i mostly use warm water. Since i do not use make-up daily, water is enough for me. I do have a Body Shop Aloe calming facial cleanser and Aloe calming toner for when i do need to remove make-up, but i only use it once every two or three weeks.

As day cream i now use the Olaz total effects day cream perfume free. It is a soft cream with hardly any smell which does get absorbed into the skin quickly. It leaves my skin feeling soft and fresh, just what i need. The Total Effects most important ingredient is Niacinamide (2).

This cream will cost you around 20 euros, but the Kruidvat shop does have regular 50% discounts on this brand, so keep an eye out for that. I also have a Olaz serum i irregularly use, the Olaz Total effects Instant smoothing serum.

I did use Ren for a short time in between the Clinique and Olaz products. I did enjoy the feel and packaging of this brand. Sadly it’s getting a bit too expensive for me right now. I still have a Bio Retinoid anti-ageing concentrate i sometimes use in the evening.

On the market i bought a pure argan oil for use on my face as well.

I did stop using a dedicated night cream all together. I use the oil now sometimes. I could use my day cream as a night cream, since it doesn’t have an SPF in it. This was also a conclusion i reached after reading about on the blog of Dr. Jestke Ultee.

Skincare: face, soon
There are two more product types i will start using soon. First it is an exfoliant. I should read more about the two different types – salicylic acid and glycolic acid – and make an informed choice. My skin seems fairly normal to me, not overly oily or dry. I do get a red face quickly though, so i think i have a sensitive skin. It seems that salicylic acid is the best for me, since it’s a bit milder and suitable for a sensitive skin.

The other product i want to start using is a sun protector. This does coincide with the exfoliant, which makes your skin more sensitive to sunshine, since your upper skin layer will be thinner. I will go through the list on the product advice page and will pick an affordable one out to start with.

Skincare: hands and body
I did find my favourite hand cream of all time, the L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Hand Cream. I use a bit in the morning and a bit in the evening, rubbing it into the upper side of my hands. It’s a wonderful thick cream, with a faint honey and almond smell. I just bought my second tube of this stuff. I simply don’t wanna use anything else.

I was tempted and bought a Shea Butter Body Cream as well. It is wonderful stuff. Yes, the price is a bit high, 33 euros for 200 ml. I will go back to making a homemade body butter. I do like the idea of knowing all the ingredients in what i use. It’s also pretty easy to make it yourself, you only need a few ingredients.

Skincare: body butter recipe

  • 1/2 cup Shea Butter
  • 1/2 cup Cocoa Butter or Mango Butter
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup light oil like almond, olive or jojoba
  • Optional: 10-30 drops Essential Oils for scent


  1. In a double boiler or glass bowl, combine all ingredients except essential oils.
  2. Bring to medium heat and stir constantly until all ingredients are melted.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Move to fridge and let cool another 1 hour or until starting to harden but still somewhat soft.
  5. Use a hand mixer to whip for 10 minutes until fluffy.
  6. Return to fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.
  7. Store in a glass jar with a lid and use as you would regular lotion or body butter. If your home stays above 75 degrees, it may soften and need to be kept at the fridge, but it will stay whipped at a temperature lower than that.
  8. Enjoy!

A year and a half ago i went to drugstore de Lang in Rotterdam to buy the ingredients for this butter. Soon i will go back there and get more ingredients. Just a short trip with the tram is all i need. Or… i could go for a walk!

I do feel the products i use are fairly basic. But i admit, i do love a bit of pampering. I do not use the body butter each day. I do use it around twice a week on my arms and legs. I try to show a bit of restraint in the products i use. But yeah, i do get tempted!

I am curious about using an exfoliator. I have never used it, so i will make my skin get used to it slowly. I’ll keep you informed about my experiences with it.

For Dutch people, the website of Dr. Jetske Ultee is a great resource. I’m afraid i do not know any similar site in english, or any other language. If you do know any such site, with clear and precise information about beauty products, please share that in the comments below.

Published on March 10, 2015 at 6:00 by