Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring has arrived...

We've had the warmest spring opening on record, forcing all the flowering trees into bloom right now. Tonight we are predicted to have a hard frost, so I've just been running around the out of doors (oooooo cold!) snapping pictures to preserve the blooms that will be affected.
The forsythia this year is stunning! Vibrant yellow blooms packed onto the branches. It really looked best yesterday, but I didn't get that picture taken. It's starting to drop it's blooms, which look so beautiful in the green grass it's like a bonus gift the blooms give. I planted these around an electric pole in our yard and only trim when absolutely necessary (to save a lawn mowers eye, for instance). I much prefer to let the forsythia grow naturally, as mother nature knows what she is doing. Amazing!

"There is no remedy for love but to love more." Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Shampoo Update

I'm catching up for a couple of days... Yesterday began much as the previous days had with me not completely satisfied with the status of my hair. Limp, dull, bummer. After work I decided to shower again. This time I made a slurry of baking soda and water, 1/4 cup of baking soda with just enough water for it to swirl around. I dumped the entire contents on the top of my head and gave it a good rubbing in all over my scalp. Rinsed thoroughly and things were definitely better! Woot. Not perfect, but there was something like shine and bounce to my hair.

This morning, I repeated the entire process, 1/4 cup baking soda with about 1/2 cup of water (perhaps less)... It's perfect. My hair is happy and so am I! It looks good, healthy, and clean! I couldn't be happier. I didn't even dry it this morning, which I've typically done to give my fine hair some lift. But I didn't need it this morning. No drying time, no hairspray. This just gets better and better.

I think I've crossed the 'transition' line and will back down the amount of baking soda at this point as 1/4 c is quite a bit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chiffon Poncho!

I saw a chiffon poncho on a clothing website and fell in love. It was, however $30. Depending on your clothing budget $30 may or may not be a lot. For me, an experienced seamstress, it was too much. I buy about half of my clothing, but I rarely buy anything I can duplicate unless it is cheaper to buy than make, yes that does happen.

Searching the net, I discovered this pattern, which was similar enough that I was off and running. Don't be mislead by the photo provided, instead of a curved poncho the directions are for a rectangle. Lucky for me, it was what I wanted. I did round the corners to make sewing the rolled hem easier.

Though the original had a bias tape made from the same chiffon around the hem and neck opening, I opted for a rolled hem. I have found it to be easy to do and worth the effort. Rolled hems disappear more than a bias taped hem and this lends itself very well to chiffon. I make it on my traditional sewing machine as I haven't mastered it on the serger.

This is my final product. The picture really doesn't do the fabric justice. The background is shear and the rectangles you see are opaque and shimmery and there is a gold thread very subtly woven in.

I purchased 1 1/2 yards of chiffon on sale for $11.69 total. It took about 20 minutes to trim to size, cut the neck hole and sew. No joke. Because this fabric has such strong horizontal and vertical lines I chose to trim all four sides so the lines would be true and not distracting. For the rolled hem, follow your sewing machines guidelines. Test it on scrap fabric. From the 1 1/2 I purchased I had several inches left over after trimming to size. This enabled me to get the stitch length and thread color right.

Chiffon likes to unravel some and it will show from the rolled hem. I've worn my poncho three times since I made it and have trimmed one or two threads each time.

Chiffon gets a bad rap, because it is slippery and can be difficult to sew. My advice, try it. Use the right needle. Take your time. It will work or it won't, but there isn't anything scary in the process. Just give it a go. You might just discover something wonderful. :)

No Shampoo Update

It's day 5. It's better than yesterday, but my scalp is quite itchy and more oily than I feel comfortable with. When you look at my hair it doesn't look greasy, more like I have some sort of product in it to keep it in place.

Using more baking soda helped today. My hair is shoulder length and very full. The lack of suds makes it difficult to know if I'm distributing the baking soda well enough. Using more baking soda improved the results. I rinsed incredibly well this morning as anyone who poo poo's "no shampoo" claims the harshness of baking soda on the hair, so I wanted to be extra sure I rinsed it out.

I'm trying to document all the results because when I was looking for help all I really found were recipes and vague remarks to the transition period. So this is my attempt to be more detailed.

Interestingly I've found people who use only water, just apple cider vinegar, or conventional conditioner. Some scalps produce more oils than others and age & activity are also factors in what will work for each person. So, keeping that in mind I am continuing on.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Year of Wonder...

2012 is the year of wonder in our house. We are trying new things, giving up some things, getting out into the world and being open to life. It's been pretty amazing so far! It's been wonderful to take a second before making a decision and factor in the Year of Wonder. I've said yes to things that I would have said no to and been utterly delighted. I've also said no to things when I was tempted or felt obligated to say yes and found freedom and joy.

One thing I'm trying this year is to reduce the amount of chemicals in our home. Ever looked at labels on your cleaning products? Lotions, moisturizers, cosmetics? You might be surprised by the number of chemicals, commonly called additives in your food! So, I'm reducing my dependence on products with a lot of chemicals. I am never a zealot (Pinterest aside) and not all chemicals or additives are bad, but I am being conscious of my purchasing choices because I can. And because this is the year of wonder!!

One example: Vinegar is an excellent cleaner/degreaser/antibacterial. It's easy to use and requires no special storage. I re-used the spray bottles from my previous kitchen cleaner. I use half vinegar/half water. It's great in the bathroom and kitchen. Tip: Spritz moderately heavy in the microwave, run on high for 30 seconds, then wipe clean.

I discovered on Pinterest a blog entry where the woman and her family began using baking soda in place of shampoo. I was intrigued. It would fit perfectly into my plan to replace chemical laden products with natural alternatives, so I began searching the web in earnest. Everything I found only encouraged me, so I am on day four of the switch. The first day my hair was awesome. Clean, soft, shiny. Woot! I was so happy. Day two, good but I noticed that by the end of the day I wanted to and did cleanse again. Also, my scalp is periodically tingly, not in an uncomfortable way at all, but obviously from the new regimen. Day Three, hmmm... Not great-flat, not so shiny, difficult to comb, oily feel as the day progressed, plus it's just not all that soft to the touch. Not straw like or anything, but definitely not like it used to be before this experiment. Day four, worse than day three as far as the oil goes. Hair was easier to comb and the ends feel soft and 'normal', but the oiliness near the scalp - not good. I was warned, but every blogger who tried this that there is a transition time. That hair and scalp exposed to the harsh ingredients in shampoo will need some time to adjust to the new protocol. But reading it and living it are two different things. So, I've decided to put some entries on the blog to help me remember this process and to help anyone else trying it. I was using 1 TBS baking soda in 1 Cup of water and using half of that volume per shower. As I said, the first day this worked amazingly well. After doing more researching, I will be trying 2 TBS in 2 Cups of water and using the entire amount tomorrow. This is a trial and error process. Like a puzzle = and I do enjoy a good puzzle!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pinterest Obsession

I've discovered Pinterest and I'm obsessed. Seriously. So much to see, so much to inspire... And the ability to keep it all organized. To find something great and be able to pin it for a later time when you need it. Genius!

It's inspired me to give this blog another go around. I very much enjoy creating and this blog is a great place to track it. Plus, like everyone else I sometimes have things to say. So, after all this time I'm going to begin again.