{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

July 26, 2010

Help save the Transfrontier Conservation Area and Mapungubwe National Park!

26 July 2010

This occurrence is just another sign that the Department of Mineral Resources does not particularly care about the interests of the South African generations to come, nor in fact does it care about the so-called democracy that our country stands for.

It has provided a mining licence to Coal of Africa - an Australian company - to go forward with open cast and underground coal mining just 5.4km from the border of the Mapungubwe National Park and Heritage Site.

The area is the centre of the new Transfrontier Conservation Area spreading across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and this area should be preserved as an international tourism jewel and a site of African heritage. If, of course, it doesn't get destroyed by the short-term and rich-making schemes of those who are going to benefit from the coal mine. And I can guarantee that it's not society in general that will benefit - only a few slimers with their hand in the pudding.

The mine has been opposed by many government departments, including the Department of Environmental Affairs. The Department of Water Affairs has not issues a water licence either. But the DMR has made a unilateral decision to grant the licence despite not actually having the permission to do so yet.

A coalition of NGOs is in the final stages of preparing for legal action against the DMR and its, apparent, illegal action.

Sign this petition to help the reserve! The campaign is an important part of the battle to preserve the sensitive and important areas of South Africa against indiscriminate mining, housing and other approvals.

Please sign it! :(

July 25, 2010

Revisit: Cutting my own hair - and how to cut yours

25 July 2010

So I did it...I cut my own hair. I used these instructions...

But the problem is that my hair is thin, and fine, and so damn unmanageable it was practically impossible to lift my hair above my head and cut it straight!

I think it was also because my hair is long, and I didn't really want to lose the length - just give a cut and a style.

So here are my personalised instructions:

- Wash your hair and comb out all the knots. It's very important to keep your hair wet all the time. This makes it easier to control your hair and easier to brush through every time. Comb all your hair to the back of your head.

- Seperate the section of your hair at the front as you would for cutting bangs - about 2cm off the front of your hairline - and cut to the length you would like to start from. Remember, no shorter than the bridge of your nose, and anywhere between there and the tip of your nose, depending on the end-length you're looking for. I cut mine to the region of my mouth, as I wanted to keep the overall cut long. (To cut, run your hair through your forefinger and middle finger, and cut along the line your fingers create - remember though that you need to hold your fingers parallel to the ground for a straight cut).

- With the section you just cut still combed down in front of your face, seperate another section of hair from your head, running across from ear to ear. Comb this down in front of your face. Then to cut, what worked for me with the long hair was to bend over and try hold my head parallel to the floor. Comb your hair from what would be the front of you head and emulate the movement with your forefinger and middle finger, cutting where you see the difference. It's a bit difficult with fine hair, and also a bit difficult to keep the top of your head parallel to the floor - but you'll get the hang of it.

- Follow this procedure until you reach the back of your head with the sectioning off.

- Your hair should be nice and layered now, except for the very back, because this is the most difficult part to snip to the same length as the upper bits of your hair using my "bending over" trick.

- To round off and straighten out, gather your still-wet hair into a high ponytail (I mean unfashionably high - right on top of your head!) Make sure the hair on the left is on the left of the pony, the hair on the right, on the right, and so on.

- Run your forefinger and middle finger along your pony tail till you find the difference, and just cut it straight.

Voila! That should be it. Sorry I don't have any pics - I just wanted to focus on getting my hair cut at this stage!

I am relatively pleased with the result! :)

A French Beret...

25 July 2010

I finished this knitted beret yesterday. I was quite excited, as it's nice and fluffy and bound to keep me warm and cosy (well, my head at least! ;) )



Anyway, I tried it on...and it's too big! :(

Obviously I don't have an average-sized adult head! At least this would make for a good gift. I'll knit another for myself, but am trying to figure out how to make it smaller without changing the pattern...

Something about different-sized needles...

July 23, 2010

Cutting my own hair

Woman Having Bad Hair Day
23 July 2010

I want to cut my own hair this weekend!

It's a daunting prospect, because I know how horrible I've felt before with a cut that was less than I was expecting (or more - whatever the case may be: I once went for a trim, giving the hairdresser my exact specifications, and somehow I had ended up with a cut just like my mom's, even though we had given different specs! And it was poofy!)

I think perhaps I'll try this how-to guide from Wikipedia's WikiHow. It seems simple enough - keep your hair wet, cut it all the same length from your bangs to the back of you head - got it!

The entire idea becomes more overwhelming as I imagine myself getting all knotted up with the scissors and my thin hair, snipping off way too much and looking like a baldy, cutting way too skew and discovering my "emo" side, bits of hair flying everywhere as I frantically attempt to rectify my ugly hairdo...

urgh...maybe I should rather leave it to the hair dresser!

July 13, 2010

Our curtains

13 July 2010

I've been making curtains for our home. It's been going pretty well, except for mistakes in measurements, meaning I need to remeasure or buy more material or...

Anyway, I made these blinds for our study/entrance area. There's a before and after pic. Let me know what you think? :)

Refashion || Changing a peasant top to a chamisole

13 July 2010

I had this peasant top that I wasn't really comfortable in - I'd made it myself, but ... you know how sometimes things just don't fit right? Well, I decided to make it into a camisole instead. So here's a tutorial if you would like to do it with one of your own tops.

1. This is the top before I started. It had organza around the edging at the top and the sleeves, but I had unpicked everything before taking the pictures.

With this style, you need to remove the sleeves.

2. This is the top without the sleeves. The neckline is too high, so you need to cut it off a bit.






3. Here is the top with the neckline cut down - it's still a straight neckline, just lower to match with the straps. The final step is to sew the seam on the neckline and add the straps. I used the leftover organza to make the straps.



4. This is the final result. Sorry, of course no pics with me in it! :)