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Turning over new leaves

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odds and ends 024

I thought I’d show you some of the differences in our personal care routine now that we’re trying to make it more natural. 

Natural Toothpaste

Natural Toothpaste

I don’t know how true it is that conventional toothpaste actually helps to destroy your teeth with all the nasty chemicals etc.

What I do appreciate about natural toothpaste is that I know what everything is in this toothpaste, it’s cheaper, and my teeth are whiter. I don’t appreciate the saltiness but what can you do :)

The recipe is super simple

50% baking soda to 50% coconut oil

50 drops peppermint essential oil

10 drops clove bud essential oil

I also added some “real salt”. Apparently it has 60+ trace minerals etc that are good for your teeth. And salt is supposed to be good for sloughing off the gunk too.

More info here:

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/04/rethinking-oral-health-care-a-homemade-toothpaste-recipe-for-tooth-remineralization.html

Natural Deodorant

Natural Deodorant

Also super simple to make. Some recipes add arrowroot powder. I never have had any on hand so instead I used corn starch which was suggested for a substitute. This recent batch though I cut out the cornstarch and basically made the toothpaste, 50/50 baking soda to coconut oil and added essential oils to kill the bacteria and provide a nice scent.

The essential oils I used were

Sweet Orange – because it’s cheery

Lavender – for skin soothing and antibacterial

Tea Tree – more antibacterial

Clary Sage – great for the skin and an awesome green scent

Chamomile – also good for your skin and I love the smell

Black Pepper – to ground the scent more than anything

For more information:

http://www.theeverythingsoapblog.com/2012/03/recipe-best-natural-deodorant.html?m=1

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2011/09/gentle-all-natural-deodorant-stick-recipe.html

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Natural Moisturizer

I also really enjoy coconut oil as a moisturizer, so I made up a batch of straight coconut oil with the same essential oils as the deodorant {minus the tea tree}. Slather it on while you’re still wet from the shower and then dry off as you normally do.

Natural Hair Care

And then of course the natural hair care – baking soda cleanser {clear liquid} and herbal rinse {brown liquid} for a conditioner. I also added some honey to the rinse for added conditioning.

From my previous post:

For my hair, all I need is a bottle of

1 tbsp of baking soda {otherwise it’s too drying}

to

2 cups water

I add a couple drops of Peppermint,

Lavender

and Rosemary essential oils.

I pour that onto my scalp and really massage it in.

Let it sit a couple minutes, then rinse.

After that I have, premixed in a bottle,

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

to

2 cups water

with the same essential oils

I pour that through the entirety of my hair and then wash it out immediately, or, I find it weighs my hair down too much.

 I’ve also started using herbal rinses more often then the baking soda.

My hair was super dry before at the ends but now they are manageable, and not frizzy, and I still have that awesome volume at the roots.

My every day I need it Nourishing Rinse

What?

Why?

1 small aloe leaf peeled

  • Makes your scalp feel amazing and can help with itchiness and flaking

  • Makes your hair beautifully shiny, strong and just plain awesome

  • Helps new hair grow

  • Balances hair’s ph levels

  • Great conditioner

1 tsp basil

  • Stimulates follicles

  • Promotes growth

  • Nourishes and adds luster

1 tsp ground flax seeds

  • Great conditioner because of the mucilage

  • May help prevent hair loss

1 tsp ginger

  • Increases scalp circulation

  • Great for thinning hair

1 tsp parsley

  • Super rich in vitamins

  • Makes your hair look and feel awesome

1 tsp rosemary

  • Great for your scalp and thinning hair

1 tsp thyme

  • Ditto above

Add herbs to a bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them.

Let sit over night.

So how do you use it?

It really depends on how much benefit you want.

  1. You can just pour it through your hair in the shower and let it sit while you soap up, shave and do whatever you need to do. Then rinse out at the end. This doesn’t really let it sit in your hair though so it won’t provide the most benefit.

  2. Or you can bring a bowl with you, sit it in the bath tub, pour your concoction in and then sit your whole head in it until you get dizzy :) Ok, not dizzy but for 5 or 10 minutes. This lets it really sink into your hair.

I poured about a cup into the bowl and filled the rest with warm water. Then let my hair soak in it for several minutes. I knotted it on top of my head and had my shower, then rinsed it out at the very end and let it air dry. My hair felt amazing afterwards. No dry frizzy ends like before.

I’m still fighting frizz with the hair. Hopefully the honey will help tame it. My scalp still feels amazing though. I also got a Denman boar bristle brush to help properly brush my hair. Maybe that will help.

I’m loving the whiter teeth with the toothpaste so I’ll put up with the saltiness.

As for the deodorant, so far it has worked. I have no idea how I’ll fair come summer though. We shall see.

Coffee Dyed

Handmade cotton doilies Cotton doily Doily Coffee Doily Coffee dyed doilies Solar dyed cotton doily using coffee grounds Solar dyed with coffee Coffee dyed cotton doily Coffee dyed cotton Coffee dyed

A little bit of my own boro

I made a hideous dress. One of those no closures but still shapely – or not.

The fabric is a gauzy cotton and so, with boro in mind, I ripped it up to mend it. Here are some pieces.

Stitching with scraps of silk from a cheongsam redo

Stitching to mend the holes

Boro mending on cotton

Stitched pieces

Boro mending on cotton kimono jacket piece

Square placed to be hand sewn onto sleeve for boro kimono jacket

Mending on the inside of the jacket sleeve

Boro Kimono Jacket pattern and sleeve with stitching

Pattern for Kimono style jacket made out of cotton with boro mending

odds and ends 004

stitching up close

Stitches and Hair

Posted on

Some Stitches

Stitches on Cotton

Sorry, these pictures were taken at night so they are not the greatest. 

Stitches on Cotton Stitched

And for any of you that were interested in the Shampoo Free post – I’m still at it.

It’s been about a month now and my scalp feels fantastic. I had to fiddle with it to make it work for my hair. Some suggestions really didn’t work at all. I also had to do some more research because I found my ends really dry and I would get weird buildup at my neckline.

For my hair, all I need is a bottle of

1 tbsp of baking soda {otherwise it’s too drying}

to

2 cups water

I add a couple drops of Peppermint,

Lavender

and Rosemary essential oils.

I pour that onto my scalp and really massage it in.

Let it sit a couple minutes, then rinse.

After that I have, premixed in a bottle,

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

to

2 cups water

with the same essential oils

I pour that through the entirety of my hair and then wash it out immediately, or, I find it weighs my hair down too much.

I was using the baking soda once or twice a week but I got a weird build up at the base of my head around my neckline. My hair felt kind of sticky or waxy. I think this is because the baking soda, for whatever reason, was just staying there once I poured it through at my scalp, even though I really rinsed my hair.

Too much baking soda = not cool!

So I’ve started using herbal rinses more often then the baking soda.

My hair was super dry before at the ends but now they are manageable, and not frizzy, and I still have that awesome volume at the roots.

My every day I need it Nourishing Rinse

What?

Why?

1 small aloe leaf peeled

  • Makes your scalp feel amazing and can help with itchiness and flaking

  • Makes your hair beautifully shiny, strong and just plain awesome

  • Helps new hair grow

  • Balances hair’s ph levels

  • Great conditioner

1 tsp basil

  • Stimulates follicles

  • Promotes growth

  • Nourishes and adds luster

1 tsp ground flax seeds

  • Great conditioner because of the mucilage

  • May help prevent hair loss

1 tsp ginger

  • Increases scalp circulation

  • Great for thinning hair

1 tsp parsley

  • Super rich in vitamins

  • Makes your hair look and feel awesome

1 tsp rosemary

  • Great for your scalp and thinning hair

1 tsp thyme

  • Ditto above

Add herbs to a bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them.

Let sit over night.

So how do you use it?

It really depends on how much benefit you want.

  1. You can just pour it through your hair in the shower and let it sit while you soap up, shave and do whatever you need to do. Then rinse out at the end. This doesn’t really let it sit in your hair though so it won’t provide the most benefit.

  2. Or you can bring a bowl with you, sit it in the bath tub, pour your concoction in and then sit your whole head in it until you get dizzy :) Ok, not dizzy but for 5 or 10 minutes. This lets it really sink into your hair.

I poured about a cup into the bowl and filled the rest with warm water. Then let my hair soak in it for several minutes. I knotted it on top of my head and had my shower, then rinsed it out at the very end and let it air dry. My hair felt amazing afterwards. No dry frizzy ends like before.

So now I’m thinking I’ll baking soda wash every so often but anytime I need a shower I’ll use the rinse instead. Hopefully then no build up or over-dying of my hair. I also found this site, Minimalist Beauty, where she suggests using green or black tea for a cleansing rinse. Haven’t tried it yet but it looks interesting. 

Have you tried anything like this with your hair? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you and what hasn’t?

Onion Skin

You may remember this picture from awhile ago – part of my Silk Scarves post.

Stitching and Dyeing 017

To see the end result please visit Onion Skin in The Market.

The Market

Hand dyed using wild blueberry juice.

Here is the first addition to The Market, my brand new little shop.

Wild Blueberries and Cream is a gorgeous crepe de chine silk scarf, lovingly dyed and prepared for you.

Spring is Almost Here

I’m hoping at least :)

March 20th technically speaking is the first day of Spring.

Up here we’ll probably still have 3 feet of snow on the ground and it could be -25 again.

However some of you have crocuses and daffodils already.

In thinking happy thoughts, including sunshine and crocuses and rubber boots, I’m opening The Market.

Tune in on the 20th for the first addition.

The Amazing Oatmeal!

Posted on

I thought I’d share my new favourite breakfast with you today.

I’m not much of a breakfast person, I’d rather eat lunch around 10:30. But my Mum always told me that I needed to eat my breakfast. She was the one who introduced me to this.

When I was in school we had oatmeal basically every morning. Water and oats, some brown sugar and usually canned peaches on top. Not the most appetizing and by high school I hated it. But it was good for me.

So as soon as I was a grownup and chose my own own breakfast I just stopped eating it. Or ate it sporadically. Not good, I know.

This winter I was cold and starving quite a bit so breakfast became a necessity. Enter the Amazing Oatmeal.

I’m serious, it’s stinking awesome!

Plus I’ve been having some issues with too much milk consumption and this only has a dash while still being incredibly creamy and delicious.

I make mine in the microwave but I’m sure you could do it stovetop.

For 1 serving

 Amazing Oatmeal

1/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup + a bit water

Microwave for 1:30 minutes

While that’s in the mic

1 egg

dash of milk

In small bowl beat them well.

When the oat mix is done it should be a little runny, stir well and add the egg mix. Stir well again.

Put back into the mic on half power for another 1:30. I don’t know how to do half power on my microwave so I use Speed Defrost and that seems to work just fine.

While the egg mix is cooking pull out some craisens, brown sugar, ground flax and my Crab Apple Butter-ish.

When the oatmeal is finished cooking pull it out and stir well.

Then add

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tbsp ground flax

a handfull of craisens

a scoop or two of Crab Apple Butter-ish, or Canned Peaches if you want to be traditional :)

 Oatmeal with ground flax and crab apple sploosh

It is delightfully creamy and kind of desertish without having too much milk in it. I love it!

I hope you will too.

Enjoy!

Silk Scarves

Crepe de Chine scarves in the window, utilizing the sun for solar dyeing.

Stitching and Dyeing 009

Stitching and Dyeing 017

Above: Red and yellow onions skins wrapped tightly in the scarf and then stuffed into a Mason jar.

Below: Pomegranate to the right. Cranberry to the left.

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Washed Purple Plum

Purple Plum

I’m amazed at how green the purple plum stayed. It seems to be a pretty solid dye. We’ll see how well it lasts though. 

Eco Dyed Cotton purple plum dyebath Eco Dyed Men's Cotton Shirt

Washed Cotton

Blueberry Eco Dyed Cotton

Some of the blueberry dyed cotton shirts after washing. It was hard to get a really good shot of the colour. Definitely much more blue then red purple. But I think that’s because I washed them in the machine and town water is full of chlorine. The red purple probably would have stayed if I had washed it in distilled water. 

Eco bundled with wild blueberry Eco Dyed Men's Cotton Shirts Blueberry Dye Bath Alum mordanted cotton with blueberry dyebath

Botanical Stitching

Floral embroidery using vintage darning thread on crab apple eco dyed cotton. 

Floral Embroidery using vintage cotton darning thread Stitching and Dyeing 029 Stitching and Dyeing 030 Stitching and Dyeing 031

A great way to reuse my husband’s lovely white cotton shirts when the collar finally gives out. 

Red Currants

More stitching on cotton for the quilt of many pieces. 

Good memories are involved with this piece. I copied it {not perfectly} from a hand coloured print by George Brookshaw found in his Pomona Britannica.

But it’s the red currants that are tied to happy childhood memories. 

Red Currants

My sister, 3 years younger, would spend hours and hours sitting in front the currant bushes at the end of our lawn picking them off one by one. She was always little compared to me, much more delicate in build. I remember her face, with her scrunched up little nose when she smiled, as she brought her little bowl in. 

Stitching and Dyeing 008

We had white and red currants.

I don’t remember eating them.

Maybe because they were her special treat after all the time it took her to pick them. There were never enough to dry or harvest for baking. So they remained hers, the spoils of her toil. 

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I love the red of this particular thread. It looks juicy.

With -40 outside, without the windchill, it’s nice to have lovely summer memories. 

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My sister, and currants. 

Botanical Stitching

Another stitching piece I have been working on recently. This is more botanical that bird. 

Botanical Motif

 Botanical Motif Botanical Motif with Lace Botanical Motif with lace

Stitching Inspiration

I saw this gorgeous art quilt by Jane LaFazio on Pinterest the other day and it was instant inspiration. 

Art Quilt

Stitch Ritual by Jane LaFazio 60 x 24

http://janeville.blogspot.ca/2012/03/stitch-ritual.html

In the blog about this particular quilt she spoke about her evening stitch ritual. I liked the sound of that.

I don’t know about you but every once in a while I really just want to hand stitch. Not a something either. More of an anything kind of thing.

So the idea of this super lovely quilt made me so happy. Over time she made all sorts of itty bitty quilts. Each unique to time and place and anythingness. Then later – deadline for her, intense desire to compile will be most likely for me -she puts them all together in random wonder and there you have it. A quilt.

The pointless creativity of it really appeals to me.

And don’t think pointless in a bad way. I have a habit sometimes of not “wasting” time on something if I cannot perceive it’s immediate value to me and mine or “the greater good and such”. I’m busy, as I am sure you are too, and so even if it may be enjoyable and something I like I probably should be doing the dishes/laundry/dusting/volunteer work etc instead of sitting in my creaky old chair twirling and stitching {more on the chair later or I’ll digress}. So the fact that this particular project doesn’t necessarily have to be made, is not necessarily going to be an item to sell in my right now mythical shop, that it will be made solely for fun and for absolutely no point has me squirming with glee.

While I was at my Mum and Dad’s for a relaxing weekend I started it with vintage thread from my Great Grandmother’s stash passed on to my Mum and now to me. Don’t you just love old wooden spools? I could kiss them I love them so much. Ok, maybe I did. Anyways. In keeping with last year’s ABDY it made perfectly logical sense that the first bitty bit would be a bird. I don’t know why I chose the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. I’ve only seen a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, which is nowhere close to the same thing. Hee hee, Yellow-Bellied. Doesn’t that make you happy?

He’s a bit fat and his head’s too small but I love him anyways. My sister says it’s looks like a pregnant bird that got shot, she didn’t realize he’s supposed to be red-bellied.

I don’t know what to call him. I once had a jade plant named Cyril that got too big for himself and fell apart and died. Maybe Cyril will work. There’s an over-large-for-their-own-good theme here. I haven’t edged him or interfaced him or anything yet so don’t laugh. And I don’t really know what I’m doing anyways.

But it is fun!

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Ecodyed Cotton 054

yesterday was hectic

Hence only one project picture of portly pillows poked up precociously.

Ok, a pillow can’t be precocious…

I think.

Vintage cotton napkins, rust and botanically dyed, cut up and quilted

Moving on.

These are some of the cotton napkins dyed, deconstructed and then reconstructed.

It all started with a book.

I found it at the library.

I was never particularly interested in quilts. I don’t usually like the colour combinations or design. A little too grandma fussy for my taste sometimes.

Though I will say check out Kirsten Jane. She first got me with a post on shoes that she made. But I loved her Improve Patchwork!

Nine patch pillow, rust dyed and eco printed

Back to the book.

The title was – Around The Quilt Frame: Stories and Musings on the Quilter’s Craft by Kari A. Cornell.

A Great Quilting Truth of the Universe by Lisa Boyer made me laugh out loud, uncontrollably. It is me and my sister in quilt land.

It was funny. Though not a quilter, many of the stories touched on things that I definitely could relate too. Unfinished object takeovers. Husband’s in fabric stores. Hoarding tiny scraps, of bits of fabric, because you hate to waste any, because maybe you’ll use it, someday.

The stories about the history of the quilts was particularly fascinating. You used what you had – feed sacks, clothing, bits and scraps. Whatever you could find, or beg and barter for. Each piece meant something; it was a memory, something beautiful that only you and it knew. Pieces of the dress that made you feel incredible, your child’s first piece of clothing, a shirt of your husband’s that always had good memories attached to it . 

Rarely, if ever, could you go to the fabric store and perfectly match prints and solids in monochromatic or analogous splendor, double checking your colour dominance was just right.

This is my kind of quilting. Beauty carefully saved and treasured. Beauty purpose built from unmatched unknowns.

vintage cotton napkins, rust and eco dyed

Because that’s why I love natural dyeing so much. You start in and just enjoy as you go. Sometimes it’s what you expected, sometimes it’s better then what you expected, and sometimes you have no idea what happened but “that’s pretty ugly, what will I do with it now?” Each piece reminds you of the walk you took to gather those leaves or flowers. What you were talking about when you gathered that particular rusty bit. The scent of the dye pot. The truth in colour.  

So I thought I would try quilting with some of my recent dye batches. The Rusty 9 Patch Pillow turned out quite well, I thought. My starburst on the other hand…

But then I read an interesting post by Wendy Feldberg over at Threadborne which she appears to have taken off. She was talking about creating with her grandson and the joys of imperfection, seeing things through a child’s eyes and just being happy with something you’ve made – even if it’s not perfect. I appreciated the perspective. This definitely is an Imperfect Starburst. But I’m leaving it like that. In fact, I made it up into a lovely little tossing pillow – perfect for beaning someone in the head in a pillow fight. 

Cotton, rust and eco dyed, quilted, starburst, 9 patch, pillow

And we thoroughly enjoy it just as it is!

Quilted starburst pillow. Rust and eco dyed. Vintage cotton napkins.

Purple Plum

 

 

 

 

Coffee

 

 

Cinnamon

 

 

 

 

 

Crab Apple

Natural colour crab apple dye pink

 

 

Iron Mordant