New projects, new endeavors

Hope everyone is having a good summer. Ours has been hot here, and we’ve had a recent invasion of out -of-towners for an event in town. I’ve been working a new job since November, and it’s going to pick up again on hours here shortly for back to school. But, I hope to keep up on the blogs better than I have been..

One thing I’ve gotten into has been slip stitch crochet. It has a lot of other aliases (bosnian, pjoning) but essentially they’re all meaning working in nothing but slip stitches.

Here’s an example:

ImageA very close-up of a washcloth I made.

There are four basic stitches of slip stitch crochet (I think i’m just going to abbreviate it as ss crochet):

FLO-front loop only. Just like it says, insert your hook thru the front loop only, front to back.

BLO-back loop only. Like flo, just in back loop.

The other two require you to turn your hook and point it towards you. Or rather, invert it.

iF-inverse front. Invert your hook, and insert your hook back to front in the front loop.

iB-inverse back. Like iF, just in back loop.

There are other stitches, but these are what start you off. Incidentally, I started a youtube channel and I showed these stitches! (Plus a really cool way to start your work, instead of chaining or foundation crochet.) Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/user/MsSylvieLoves?feature=mhee

I set it up because, well, I love ss crochet and have been writing patterns for it. And trying to get better at it. I need to add some more videos on different stitches, but it’s a good primer.

Here are some examples of what you can do with it:

ImageA lacy ascot I made for myself

ImageA hat and booties set for my DD’s baby doll

ImageA hat (that is a pattern for adults and kids)

Pretty cool, right? If you want to, I’d recommend getting some books on it. Bendy Carter’s “Knit 1 Purl 2 in Crochet” is all about slip stitches, though she does use different terminology. (knit usually refers to blo or flo, purl refers to inverse stitches). I have gotten some great books in German as well, so if you can read German/feel like a challenge both of Tanja Osswald’s books are wonderful! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kettmaschen-H%C3%A4keln-entdeckt-Kuschelige-Winteraccessoires/dp/3772466850/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1342730839&sr=1-1

I have written up a dishcloth pattern if I have you interested enough 😉 it’s been up for download at ravelry and craftsy, but I’ll post it here too. If you ever want a pdf version, just head over to one of those sites. Or message me. Either way.

In this pattern I mention the co/bo method. It’s called cast on/bind off method, and it was in Bendy Carter’s book. It’s fantastic, and it’s basically a modded version of long tail cast on in knitting. I have a video how to on that youtube channel I linked to. If it’s too strange though, you can definitely just chain to start.

Image

Materials:

M hook

WW cotton yarn (Peaches n Cream) less than half a skein makes one cloth

Stitches Used:

Front Loop Only (flo)-slip stitches front to back (point hook away from you) in the front loop only.

Inverse Back (iB)-slip stitches back to front (point hook towards you) in the back loop only.

You can start this pattern with whatever your preference is: chaining or using the co/bo method. Either one will work.

Pattern:

co/bo OR chain 25 sts

Rows 1-4: flo across

Row 5: flo across

Row 6: *flo 3 sts, iB 19 sts, flo 3 sts*

Rows 7-22: repeat last 2 rows

Rows 23- 26: flo across

Hello! New pattern soon..

AH I have been busy lately! Finally we are getting nice weather (though still plenty of gusty wind..) so I’ve been out in the yard quite a bit.

I am, however, working on a pair of tunisian longies/shorties for my daughter (probably will be shorties since it’s quickly going to be too hot for longies) and I want to post the pattern when I’m done. I’ve taken my time with it so I hope it will turn out nicely. I also chose to do 2 colors which has slowed me down further 😛 haha but oh well.

Take care!

Yummy Homemade Toothpaste

I finally got a good combination down for homemade toothpaste!

My bf had major complaints on my last few attempts…too baking  soda tasting every time.  Which, I had to agree..and it’s hard to get someone to switch to homemade toothpaste if it tastes like you’re chewing baking soda. Yuck!

I don’t have any pictures just yet..I’ll upload some after my next batch. I had someone ask me to make them some so probably after I get theirs made!

Yummy Homemade Toothpaste

these measurements are approximate..adjust to suit your tastes

1 tsp Dr Bronners Liquid Castile Soap (I used the peppermint kind)

1 Stevia Packet

3 tbsp coconut oil

1 tbsp aloe vera

3-4 tsp baking soda

Few drops of essential oil(I added 3 drops of spearmint. Mine was plenty minty with the peppermint soap!)

Few drops of Vit E oil (optional)

Splash of hot water

Whisk

 

In a medium bowl, put splash of hot water and stevia together. Add coconut oil and aloe vera. Whisk together. Blend in the baking soda. Add the soap and whisk like crazy! It’ll froth up a bit and look just like commercial toothpaste!

Add the essential oils (if any) and then put in a jar or tube. I put mine in a little travel tube, but it was quite the pain to get it in there nicely..but then I have a nice lil tube of fresh toothpaste. Your choice.

It doesn’t froth up like regular toothpaste, but it also doesn’t taste like baking soda. Woo hoo! Big score there.  I’m wondering if there would be any merit to adding  Vitamin A or anything else to it. I’ll post any changes I make that I think are beneficial.

 

Veggies galore!

So I’ve been looking into raw food recipes to see what new ways I can make some veggie dishes.  I figure, if you’re living a raw lifestyle you must know how to make some good veggie dishes!

Boy I have not been disappointed so far! Last night, I tried out this crazy recipe:

http://www.thedailyrawcafe.com/2007/09/chocolate-pudding.html

Raw chocolate pudding???

I know. Total WTF moment there at first..especially when you read the ingredients! What sold me was the picture. That picture just looks like any other chocolate pudding!! I had to try it out.

And holy moly was I surprised!  Tasted like chocolate pudding..even had the right texture. How cool is that?!

So I thought I’d try another recipe..one that seems pretty popular.

Green smoothies.

Looks like I blended a ninja turtle, doesn’t it?

Once again, I was freakishly surprised. I threw in a handful of kale in with some frozen mango, plum and apple. I added some homemade grape juice because I have a ton of it 😛

It was yummy! My only complaint was I didn’t peel the plum…but that was me being lazy. I couldn’t taste the kale at all!

But I thought it needed validation from the highest source..

Hmm….I think…..this is delicious!!!

You can’t take this from me!!!

So I think that’s a big win there! Roxy agrees. She wouldn’t let me have it back to fill it up more! Haha so cute!

I also tried making some walnut milk as we have a giant bag of it! It turned out pretty well too-I got it a lil thin, but it tastes good with some vanilla extract. I don’t think making your own nut milk is very economical, unless you can find a cheap source of nuts. I about had a heart attack when I saw how much nuts were in the store! 😛 Well, that’s what I get for living in the middle of nowhere.

I’ll be yammering about veggies for a while..I’m experimenting too much not to yammer about it!

 

Overcast skies, simple afternoons

Bark in the park went really well, despite Flaming Gorge Days being the same day and increasingly strong winds. But it’s Wyoming, so what can you do? I sold my 2 pet beds before I even got set up! woo-hoo! I sold out of quite a few items and some garnered absolutely no interest. Good way to test out some items to see reactions 🙂 the kitty fishing poles went almost as fast too! yay for kitty love!

I realize it took me a while to post about it (bark in the park was saturday) but life got busy and er…I forgot to take pictures haha! My friend ashley stopped by and took one at least, so I’ll try and get that up. But I’m trying to get all nice and organized for farmer’s market!! Starts July  8th so be ready! 🙂 I’m getting rather over-ambitious ideas for my booth, so hopefully I’ll have everything ready-ish ..haha. I made a prototype new design for a swiffer mop pad, then immediately gave it to someone else to test out soo I’ll wait till I hear back on how it works before I post it up here. I’ll probably include a lil tutorial on how to make it as well. 🙂 I made a new version of a knit dishcloth sponge/scrubbie, and I’ll post a second post of the pattern itself.

I’ve also been busy in the kitchen..getting better at making bread! I made a wheat bread this afternoon. Not as fluffy as I would like but at least I didn’t destroy it! haha. I successfully made ginger syrup last night and combined with club soda to make-ginger ale! Too cool! It’s pretty refreshing and spicy, much different than regular ginger ale. Delish! I also started a sourdough proof and am attempting a ginger proof as well…I’d like to make sourdough bread and ginger beer! Along with some fruit soda. .blackberry, huckleberry perhaps? 🙂 My sourdough proof is already getting some yeast, but no go on the ginger proof…so we’ll see how it does. Takes a week at least for each to develop so I just need to be patient.

I also bought a fantastic book called “The Urban Homestead:Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City” which is marvelous and totally inspiring. It’s where I got the idea for the sourdough starter, and I am thinking I will try out a diy solar dehydrator to make some sun dried tomatoes! I totally recommend this book for anyone with a diy attitude! I”ll post pics if I accomplish the dehydrator 🙂 http://www.amazon.com/Urban-Homestead-Self-sufficient-Process-Self-reliance/dp/1934170011/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277939718&sr=8-1

Well I’m going to start some supper. I’ll be sure to take pics my first day at farmer’s market!

DIY Shampoo & Conditioner

So I have been messing around with different types of homemade shampoo and conditioner the past week. It’s been an interesting week to say the least!

I started with the one recipe I see most often online-the liquid castile soap + water/tea +essential oils. The first time made my hair feel stripped and dry, so I tried adding a pinch of jojoba oil. This resulted in nasty greasy hair. :/ even when followed by the ever popular apple cider vinegar rinse. The ACV rinse does work well as a detangler, but doesn’t do much to cut the oil.

Hrm. So I started looking at other recipes people have made. I tried putting in some baking soda in the shampoo, and making up a conditioner from aloe vera and glycerin and lemon juice. That seemed to help the first use, but day 2 of that resulted in nasty greasy hair again. Bleh!

I realize that my hair will be going through a ‘transition’ phase while not using regular shampoo and conditioner, but I am impatient. hehe.

So back to the research board. I came across some stores selling ‘shampo bars’ and thought what! What the heck is a shampoo bar? Do you rub your head with a bar of soap? Well…pretty much. But I heard some good reviews in the forums I came across-like no more need for conditioner, hair doesn’t feel greasy, etc.

But I wanted to make my own! And I’m not sure I want to start making soap in my kitchen, so I found a nice alternative-hand milling! Basically melt down a bar of soap and add extra ingredients such as different oils, herbs, infusions, essential oils, etc. Basically what you want extra of that may have been made less during the soap making process, or something that wasn’t in there to begin with.

I had a nice castile soap made by a local gal that I used half of for some DIY laundry detergent that I decided  to use.  It took forever to melt down! It took like half and hour and i still had some chunks in it. I added coconut oil, jojoba, sweet almond and grapeseed oil. I added rosemary and lavender and mint essential oils. I also added honey and rice powder. 🙂 I poured it into a wax paper lined bowl and let it sit overnight in the fridge. It came out really soft! My boyfriend says it looks like caramel candy lol!

So I tried it out this morning…It felt strange to use a bar of soap on my head, I’m not going to lie. But as I’m sitting here waiting for my hair to dry, I feel no grease, no dryness! 😀 There may be something to these shampoo bars! I’ll update as I use this over the next few days…this may be a great great thing!

Burst o Creativity…and fluff.

So I have been busy concocting and scheming and creating in my kitchen the past week or so, hence the lack of posts 🙂 First off i tried to attempt a liquid laundry detergent. Didn’t sound too hard, just need to take your powder ingredients and melt together in a pot with water. Easy right? Welllll…not so much. It worked, but instead of the slime that everyone else online seemed to get, mine exploded into a giant ball of fluff and bubbles O.o  Like it’s a giant ball of fluff in my container days later since making it…it seems to work just fine, and even makes the clothes smell nice to boot! I think the fluff comes from me adding a dash of oxyclean to it…. If you want to try it, go for it 🙂 I used some locally made soap that smells awesome and all the same dry ingredients, plus a lil bit of kosher salt and maybe 4 cups of water? I used enough to get my container 3/4 full. Just use a much larger pot than I did..probably a nice big canning pot. Cuz it will get extremely fluffy/foamy!! Like I had to dive to save it from bubbling over and fluffing up my stove. Lol!! I’ll post some pics when I get a chance. 🙂

Onto second concoction: dishwasher detergent! First few times resulted in nasty white film. Everywhere. Which meant I had to go back and handwash all the said dishes.  Bleh! Not exactly what I wanted out of a detergent. So I did some digging and found out the Secret Ingredient to DIY Dishwasher Detergent-Citric Acid! Except trying to find that here was…well…challenging. As in, it doesn’t exist here. :-/ So I did some more digging and found out here (http://diynatural.com/simple-effective-jabs-homemade-dishwasher-detergent-rinse-agent/) that one thing that is really cheap and pretty much just citric acid-Unsweetened Lemon Kool-aid. Right on!!! And guess what? Works like a freaking charm! No more nasty film, plus my detergent smells all lemon-y fresh. 😀 Yay!

I also found this amazing book called Better Basics for the Home and it is Freaking Amazing. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. I’ve got recipes from face wash to white wash to pooch wash in this baby. I could get super exotic and make this 3 part Mayan formula skincare regimen, or even just a basic cold cream. I ❤ this book. I made some peppermint face cleanser from it and it rocks..

I’ve almost got down a perfect shampoo/conditioner recipe now…once I get that one figured out I’ll post it too. Most of the ones I’ve found online make my hair freak out and get nasty ass greasy, no matter how much vinegar I dump on my head. Yuck.

I did learn that one of the best things I’ve ever put on my face is just some honey and sweet almond oil. Not only does my face smell like candy, it feels soft and silky too! That’s a sweet success right there 🙂

Also got some new ideas for sugar scrubs…god I love sugar scrubs. Anyone in need of one should contact me because I love making and sharing them! 🙂 I’ve also been into making body oils since well…I’m too impatient to make lotion, worry about preservatives for lotion, and have had amazing success with using oil instead. I’d highly recommend to anyone, especially here in our lovely lil desert (especially in the winter) to switch over to using oils instead of lotions. Makes for some nice smooth skin! ❤

Well that’s about enough for this post! I’m off to go create some more…probably something nice and hot since it’s snowing…like a foot of snow today. Argh I can’t wait for spring…..

DIY Laundry Detergent!

Ok so now it’s getting to the point where I want to make just about everything I use in my day-to-day life.  Not only can it sometimes save a pretty penny, it makes me happy knowing I can make everything I need myself. Possibly even better than someone else. 🙂

So in my continuing adventure of a DIY lifestyle, I’ve made chapstick, an aromatherapy neck pillow, and tonight I want to tackle laundry detergent! Especially because I am out…..haha.

So I’m scouring the interwebs and I see numerous sites and recipes all for diy detergent..so at least I know there is a ton of support out there for it! Huzzah.

Well I notice most of them are very basic…but I know me, and I’m going to have to spice it up a lil bit 😀 so I’ll be attempting to make a powdered, yummy scented well working DIY detergent! I’ll complete it with pics as well.

So I started with a basic 1 to 1 to 1 ratio of borax, washing soda, and grated soap (fels naptha). Oh I also tossed in some lovely Oxy Clean too for a cleaning boost. The grating took the longest 😛 I do recommend the finest grater you have, or and electric grater. Would save you plenty o time.

Woo! 1 cup of grated soap. Devin didn’t much care for the smell of it I don’t think. I thought it was strong but it seemed familiar..kind of like grandma’s old soap or something.

Anywho, I used an old Petron bottle to mix this all in. Fun way to recycle! 🙂 I  put in half of each ingredient in at a time, then shook like crazy, so as to evenly mix everything in my bottle.

Almost done! About halfway through shifting and shaking and dancing for the baby, I added some essential oils for scent…some lavender, jasmine and orange. Mmmmmm. Shake shake shake. shake shake shakeshakeshakeshake….

tadaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Right now it’s washing some towels for a test run! Woo. I also threw in a downy ball containing some white vinegar with a few drops of oil for scent.

I’ve always been a fan of white vinegar for rinse cycle…No it does not make your clothes smell like vinegar. I use it on baby’s cloth diapes and it works awesome. Hmm I just realized I didn’t put in any baking soda…whoopsie! hehe o well. Should work well on it’s own, but I’ll add that if I find it’s not cleaning well!

Oh yeah. I used maybe….3 tbsp for a load of towels. 🙂

Other sites like to crunch numbers on how this will save you money…it all varies but I’ve seen people saying it’ll cost anywhere from 1 cent to 44 cents. Not bad! 🙂 Plus then I can make it smell just the way I like 🙂

Annnnnnnd now for the results!

………..YAY! They are nice and clean and smell clean!! They don’t really smell like any of the essential oils I put in, but that could be well as they were girly 🙂 hehe

Conclusion: I dig it. Totally. I’ll probably play around with the ingredients a bit more until I get near perfection in terms of cleaning power and smell 🙂 If you don’t like the fels naptha purely for smell don’t worry, it doesn’t seem to stick around. Sweet!

Next post: DIY toothpaste…and toothpaste that will help protect your teeth, not just make em sparkly clean!

Chocolate Sugar Scrub <3

Holy. Freakin. Cow.

I want to eat my sugar scrub. No really it smells like chocolate cookies!

I am in love with making sugar scrubs…so easy to make, fantastic to use! Also tend to be fantastically messy. I made a vanilla orange body oil to go with it 🙂 Smelled like a bakery in my bathroom this morning! These may make an appearance at the farmer’s market this summer…or if you really really want one prior to that message me 😀

Green direct selling?

So I’ve been thinking about when I sold Avon and I’m starting to wonder, ‘is there a company who  sells anything environmentally friendly?’ and I found out that yes! There are actually quite a few companies who are turning to a more green path and target their products towards green minded people.

I’ve found a few that I may actually join! I know that I express an interest in making things myself, but I know to help others start a greener lifestyle a DIY life may be more cumbersome than they desire…I know everyone has it in them to take a step in a green direction but I know it can be tough to start. I think joining a direct selling company would be a good way to introduce people to items that can help to transition away from harmful items (ie some reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags)

I still want to show people simple things they can make to save on money and help the environment. I’ll be posting soon about homemade cleaning wipes as well as homemade makeup remover wipes…two items I absolutely love but hate buying >.<

As with anything worth doing, it’s all about starting small and just keeping at it! Who knows, maybe I’ll start exercising more regularly!

….well let’s not get carried away…. 🙂