Posts tagged painting

Water Weeds are killing our river

Our local newspaper, the Daily Dispatch, run this article this morning.

Deadly weeds choke Nahoon river – A noxious water weed is once again choking the life out of the Nahoon River, which is home to myriad species including bass, geese, fish eagles and otters. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), one of the world’s worst aquatic weeds, first threatened the river’s ecosystem last year. Now the out-of-control alien plant has blanketed large stretches of the river, with the worst outbreak occurring near the causeway that links Dorchester Heights to the Stutterheim road.

Residents living along the river bank have now questioned the municipality’s efforts in keeping one of East London’s most popular rivers unpolluted. Joan Hempel, whose farm borders the river, said: “I am dismayed at the state of the Nahoon River. The rapid growth and spread of the hyacinth has already affected the wildlife. “It seems the entire ecosystem is being choked and destroyed by this alien invader plant.” Hempel has sent numerous reports to the Department of Water Affairs hoping to pressure government to act.

“To date no one has responded or reacted to my report. I was hoping to alert them to the alarming spread of the plant. Andrew Lucas, Department of Water Affairs provincial director of water regulation and use, said clearing invasive alien plants was the responsibility of land owners. Lucas said if the land belonged to the municipality, it was the responsibility of the Working For Water team. “I have not investigated the areas myself but the influx usually stems from residents,” he said.

Lucas said residents used the weed, which has a beautiful purple flower, to decorate their ponds and water features. “When it starts to overgrow they dump it in the river.” According to Lucas this reinfects the river system and the problem starts all over again. The water hyacinth has caused a decline in fish populations in Africa. – Taken from Dispatch.co.za  15/02/2011

Ok, so if Water Affairs doesn’t want to help the river then what?  A classic case of passing the buck, our politicians are very good at doing that.  Pity they are not as good at anything else.

I found this info on Wikipedia…

When not controlled, water hyacinth will cover lakes and ponds entirely; this dramatically impacts water flow, blocks sunlight from reaching native aquatic plants, and starves the water of oxygen, often killing fish (or turtles). The plants also create a prime habitat for mosquitos, the classic vectors of disease, and a species of snail known to host a parasitic flatworm which causes schistosomiasis (snail fever).

Solution – I will definitely be sending our political parties a strong email.  What nonsense is this passing the buck, if it isn’t your mandate then help us to get the right people in to fix the problem.  Be part of the solution, Don’t add to it – silly man.

Wikipedia’s article has some interesting results at the end…

Industrial utilization

Since the plant has abundant nitrogen content, it can be used a substrate for biogas production and the sludge obtained from the biogas. However, due to easy accumulation of toxins, the plant is prone to get contaminated when used as feed.

Exogenous

The plant is extremely tolerant of, and has a high capacity for, the uptake of heavy metals, including Cd, Cr, Co, Ni, Pb and Hg, which could make it suitable for the biocleaning of industrial wastewater [7], [8], [9], [10]. In addition to heavy metals, Eichhornia crassipes can also remove other toxins, such as cyanide, which is environmentally beneficial in areas that have endured gold mining operations [11].

Water hyacinth is also observed to enhance nitrification in waste water treatment cells of living technology. Their root zones are superb micro-sites for bacterial communities.[12]

Food for thought – this weed is not all bad, it’s just not any good in our Nahoon river.  An import bit of information, that I will include in my emails.

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WTF

At our recent J&B Met held in Cape Town, this photo popped up on msn.co.za…

 Are you asking yourself the same questions – WTF?

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Global Economic Summit – Can we help ourselves

The recent recession hit many of us in South Africa hard.  High numbers of jobs were lost as countless companies closed their doors.  My husband’s family business was hard hit aswell, with blessing, they have remained open, however our budget has become exceptional tight.

A radio discussion this morning got me thinking, I don’t like many ideas our government has on health, housing, social development and environmental issues – I won’t even start on economic issues.  I also feel we talk more than we do.  My activities in the local community help me to give back and do my bit for our society, however I’m left with, “what can I do to take hold of my family’s future in these dull times?”

I feel very strongly that we should all have a skill, hobby or pastime that we enjoy doing.  Why not use that skill or hobby to create a safety net for you to fall financially?  We don’t have to be the next Martha Stewart, but we can make small nest eggs for ourselves.  My thinking is that not only will it be an excuse for you to enjoy something that you love doing, but you can then become a little bit more independent from the government.  This way we become more in control of our future and less reliant on government to create jobs for us. 

So if you don’t like what you hear coming from the Global Economic Summit, don’t feel despondent, you can do something about it!  We can also use this as part of our children’s lives to teach them about hard work and how there is no substitute for it.

Good luck on your independent missions and let me know how it goes…

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DIY Natural Paint :-)

I found this awesome recipe on http://www.diylife.com.   Looking for a gentle alternative to chemical-based interior paint? Stir up this simple, four-ingredient recipe. Milk paint transformed this old cassette cabinet into a charming powder room organizer for storing towels, tissues, and toiletries.

homemade paint

Cavemen did it. The early Egyptians did it. American Colonists did it. And even today, many people are rediscovering the art of making interior paint for the home. In an age of store-bought paints with high performance finishes, you may ask yourself, why make paint?

 For me, it’s the natural, handcrafted look — along with the satisfaction of being self-reliant. For others, it may be because homemade paint is the greenest and least toxic alternative possible to traditional paint. Homemade paints aren’t based upon petrochemicals and they’re far less toxic than commercial paints — even the many zero-VOC paints now emerging on the market.

 The ingredients for homemade paints vary. This recipe consists of lime, water, pigment, and milk.  The easiest to make and least expensive homemade paints consist of milk, lime, and pigment. For additional body a filler, such as chalk powder or plaster can be added. My preferred recipe is simplicity itself: —

homemade paint

Hydrated lime (available at most home and garden supply stores)
Water 
Pigment (powder or liquid)
Whole milk (at room temperature)

homemade paint

Mix lime with water using a putty knife or plastic spatula.
1. Fill a container with one to two cups of hydrated lime. Gradually add water and stir until you have a thick paste.
2. In a separate container, do the same with the pigment powder. For a small batch like this, 2 to 4 tablespoons of pigment is typically sufficient. 3. Gradually add milk to the lime paste until you achieve the consistency of sour cream. Then add the pigment paste and mix thoroughly.

Safety tip: Despite the relative low toxicity of the ingredients, wear vinyl gloves and a dust mask when working with lime and pigment.
Gradually stir milk into the lime paste until you achieve a consistency of loose sour cream.

homemade paint

ADDING PIGMENTS TO HOMEMADE PAINT You can buy pigmentsat many hardware and artist supply stores. Avoid using pigments made from toxic compounds, otherwise you’ll defeat the purpose of making your own paint. Some common toxins used in pigments include cadmium, lead, mercury, and cobalt.

You will have to experiment with pigments to achieve the color you want. Be sure to buy plenty of white pigment, as you’ll be using a lot of it. It comes in two forms: titanium dioxide and zinc. The former is a bit more opaque. You can make many of your own colorants using natural ingredients but the process is a lot more time-consuming than making paint alone.

Also, the colors produced through home-brewed dyes are more subtle than store-bought pigments. If you do want to make homemade pigment, try these methods:

Add water to steel wool for a red rust coloring.
Try simmering everything from berries and vegetables to bark and leaves to create the dyes. Blackberries, for example, make a strong dye. — Brew coffee or many tea to create neutral tones.
Boil peach or crab apple leaves for greens.
Use store-bought juice concentrates, such as blueberry and cranberry, to create pleasing tints.
Use a natural bristle brush to apply the milk paint, and allow it to dry for a few hours before recoating.

homemade paint

ADDITIONAL TIPS ABOUT HOMEMADE PAINT — Milk paint is not as scrubbable as its commercial cousins. In areas subject to spills, apply a protective coat of shellac or oil finish. If you choose the latter, stay green with a plant oil-based finish. — The shelf life for milk paint is short. Store unused paint in the refrigerator. It can be used until the milk sours. Brushes clean easily with soap and water

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I love these sites!

 

Some of the sites I love to visit for inspiration and to see what others are doing. 

http://www.flamingotoes.com – a gorgeous crafting site, from clothing and home decor to bags and some cute toys.

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com – a useful site with some great tips on organising your house and diy decorating.

http://blog.effortless-style.com – totally fun site, great ideas for art works – I’m working on a collection of SA stamps for our hallway.

http://www.notmartha.org – run by Megan, this site has light-hearted feel to crafting.  Easy crafts with great photos and clear instructions, I’m in love with Megan’s Christmas tree!

http://www.mental-health-matters.com – a helpful site for me – it gave me good ideas on how to calm down my worked up 4-year-old.  Also made me feel normal, that I’m not completely useless at this parenting thing.

http://happychildfoundation.co.za – an organisation based in South Africa – they fundraise, feed and uplift communities.  All with the help of their Happy Bars.  They need help to get their foundation funding to continue their work.

http://www.4akid.co.za – great safety products for kiddies.  They have been very generous over the last year with donations of presents and party pack items for birthdays and Christmas.

http://www.safecosmetics.org – delicious diy beauty and makeup recipes.  So easy to use and something you can do with your sisters, daughters and friends.  Make a party of it!

http://www.rockyheath.co.za/ – a local lass, a friend of my sister-in-law.  Rocky does beautiful photos of pets as well as photos at our local SPCA of  those needing homes.  There is a scruffy one and a basset hound that are nudging my heart!

http://eatmytreats.blogspot.com – oh how I would love to meet Lauren.  She makes such gorgeous cakes and she also is super nice and puts her recipes on the blog.  With Lauren’s help I will be making my son”s “How to train your dragon”4th birthday cake.  I’m going to make the fondant and modeling chocolate myself – watch this space for updates on how well it turns out 🙂

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Sale – Hot Bags on Sale!

I’m having a sale on all our handbags, prices ranging from R10.00 for the small beach bags to R120.00 for the Demin Bags.  Look out for my price list with photos!

Recycled Inc – Hot Handbag Sale!

Pink Flowers – R120.00

Demin Bag, fully lined in funky, colourful fabric, embellished with buttons, beads and fabric

 

Bobtail Bags – R70.00

Fully lined bags from various brands of dog food.  Bags can be ordered although each one will be different.

 

Demin Shoulder Bag – R50.00

Demin shoulder bags with light embellishments

 

 

Bleach Demin – R100.00

Bleached demin bags embellished with fabric and wooden beads.

 

Demin Shirt Bag – R70.00

Large bag with splashes of colour

 

Basket Bag – R50.00

Perfect summer bag with ribbon accents and a broach.

 

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For Sale – Colours of Love Painting

Once-off painting “Colours of Love” on recycled materials

A wonderful addition to any room, in any home.  The colours bring love and smiles to your life.  Done a local artist, this painting is ready to hang.

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