Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Craftiness, UFO's, And Natural Cosmetics (Oh My!)

There's been lots of craftiness going on at my house lately... Some members of my family are doing a "UFO" project (don't worry, we haven't all become extraterrestrial watchers... it stands for "Unfinished Objects"). I thought, not being a quilter or much of a crafter or a sewer, that this wouldn't affect me much... then I went to clean out my crochet bin. Ouch! I've decided to buckle down and get it all organized, including making a list, since I tend to go the the store saying glibly that I'm going to pick up yarn "for a weekend project" and then choke when I reach the yarn wall. How much material did I need? What color? What content? EEK! I usually come home with nothing (which is better than some folks whose blogs I read who come home with the entire store, I suppose, lol).

I decided to get in some practice AND get some extra room by working up all the yarn I'm not in love with - especially cotton. I HATE cotton! Yes, it's nice for anything skin-related, and yes, I too am drawn in by the idea of organic, natural yarn, but it's a pain to work up and my stitches never look as nice. I'm not sure why this is. I just know I don't like it. I have one ball of cotton waiting to be finished into a doily (yes, the doily is actually started!) but I also had half a ball of blue and an absolute smidgen of cream. So I decided to turn them into soap holders.

I've been meaning to do this for awhile as my sisters went on a soap making spree just before the holidays. Most of their creations turned out beautifully, but others - not so much. And the ones that didn't turn out so well are, of course, the ones that are hanging around our bathroom since they weren't given away as gifts. One in particular has been especially persistent - I call it the Dead Sea Eel Soap, because I swear as though it looks like they chopped up a pile of dead sea eels and covered them in soap. And as people have used the soap (NOT ME! I almost screamed when I stepped into the bathtub and saw it!) the dead sea eels are no longer covered in soap and have started to pull away from each other. Not pretty. I'd post a picture, except that I begged and pleaded Ruth to take it away and she did. However, I thought a nice soap-holder would solve the problem. I used this pattern - very easy, I worked the first one up in under an hour and did the other one in twenty minutes (I made one for Maggie, too).

If you can't see from the picture, this pattern makes a cute little drawstring sack that you slip your soap into. You can use it just like a bath pouf, the cotton works up a nice lather, then rinse and hang it from the faucet to dry. And I don't have to look at the dead sea eels!

Wouldn't this make a cute gift with some nice soap? :)

This wasn't my first attempt to use up this cotton usefully. I also made the Short Row Sweetie Dishcloth from the February edition of Crochet World Magazine. This was cute but monotonous to make. I'm still not sure how I feel about round dishclothes. :) It's like when Wawa started selling square sausages - it makes you rethink the shape of the world.

Love the little loop on top - so nice for hanging!

Aren't my stitches nice?

Anyways, I have a few projects to finish off before I start a whole slew of new ones - so excited!

I have been on a shampoo quest for the last year or so. You heard me - a shampoo quest. I have very fine combination hair, which means that anything that keeps my scalp from being a greasy slicked down mess tends to dry out the length of my hair, resulting in frizz or straw. And vice versa - nice glossy length means a greasy scalp. I've sort of coped by mixing and matching products - I usually use one type of shampoo and another conditioner. And I still have to wash my hair at least every other day, and if I don't wash it every day I have to wear a headband or clip the second day to keep my roots from being disgusting.

A friend from church gave me a bottle of this organic, all natural shampoo and I tried it yesterday:

I was kind of dubious, since I tend to think that "all natural" also means "less effective"... I know, I know, don't get me started... but I totally love this shampoo so far. The scent is amazing, it washes nicely, and I woke up this morning and my hair was shiny for the first time in a really long time. So far my scalp is handling it well, too! This really is all natural shampoo - no chemicals or unpronounceables on the ingredients list. Maggie has warned me she's going to borrow it and try it for herself and probably try to make her own. :)

Mostly by accident, I've been steadily going more natural this year. I went sulfate-free after L'Oreal came out with their Everstrong line, since another blogger with similar hair recommended it.

This has definitely reduced the damage factor of my hair, but still leaves my scalp a bit greasy. I like it better than the shampoo I had been using, but I'm still not 100% happy withit.

The one product I AM 100% in love with is the Overnight Hair Repair Treatment from the same line. Holy Cow! I love this stuff. :) At night before I go to bed (if my hair is dry - haven't used it damp or wet) I pump one pump into my hand, work it through, and go to bed. I definitely feel the difference in the morning, and it doesn't leave my hair greasy or matted. During the day, if my hair is a bit dry or even crazy-straw-stiff, I do the same thing and in seconds, it's tamed.
Maggie walked in a few days ago, sighed, and said "My hair is crazy! I can't get it to do anything!" I handed her the bottle, told her how to apply it, a minute later she said, "What in the world WAS that?" :)

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