Thursday, November 17, 2011

More Dropcloth Goodness

I have a hard time remembering to take "before" pictures of my projects. I get so excited and jump right in, and remember a picture about halfway through... Case in point:

Yay, no longer an eyesore!  I'd say $12-ish dollars well spent (it took a little over one 6x9 drop cloth).  Even better, no sewing... Just scissors and staples!  I love my staple gun almost as much as drop cloths ;)

Now to decide what kind of throw pillow I want :)


I heart crafting.  I love seeing something and being inspired to recreate it in my own way.  Pinterest has definitely been putting the bug in me lately.  Here's what I've been up to...

This was a bright orange extra large mens pullover hoodie... Added some darts, took out some fabric in the arms, changed the color with some black dye.  Now it's my cute "loungey" sweatshirt :) 

"Sweater pillow".  Also used the sweater arms for boot "sock tops" 
(sweater found at thrift store for $1.50)

I've been looking for a red cardigan. Not burgundy, not maroon, just red (and not spend $50).  
Found this at the Goodwill for $1.50.  New buttons were $2 
(the new buttons are the top ones, in case you were wondering; jewel-studded isn't really my taste ;)

I've recently discovered the amazing-ness of painter's drop cloths.  Cheap. Neural color. But can be dyed or painted. Already hemmed (awesome for certain crafts and curtains!) 

Bought a large comforter at DAV ($6), drop cloth ($10), and velcro ($.79)... So for less than the price of one store-bought dog bed, I made two :)
One thing I love about crafting is being able to make things exactly the way I want them.  I sewed the comforter so it won't fall apart or clump when it gets washed, and I put velcro on one of the short sides of the cover so everything is easily taken apart and washed.  I'm thinking about stenciling their initial on the bottom corner. What do you think?
 I think they likey :) 

Projects in the making: new art for the living room, and recliner chair reupholstered... Coming soon :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Non-Chemical Beauty Regimen

*Right before I posted this, I realized I had written "regime" instead of "regimen"... Oh the power of an "N" :)

**Sorry for the wordy post... Apparently I have a lot to say, but I'm quite certain I don't know much.

*** I in no way claim to be an expert or professional on any of the topics mentioned.  This is purely my own personal opinion and what has worked for me.

If you know me at all, you probably know that I like to go against the grain.  If someone tells me I need to do something (or not do something), I'll promptly do everything short of killing myself to do the opposite.  One could say I have quite the pile of noses due to cutting them off to spite my face.  This is not normal, I know.  Well, in the last few months, I've been weeding out all of the health and beauty aid products that most of us have grown up thinking you need.  I like to stick it to the man (especially when "the man" is society and the lies they ingrain in our pretty little heads about what we "need".  Do we need expensive hair products to tame our hair? Do we need body wash laden with chemicals that end up drying our skin, so we use lotion laden with chemicals that absorb into our skin?).  At Bible study tonight, someone commented on my hair being curly, and that turned into me talking all about my new-found love of natural products. 

As for my hair, I'm embracing what my perfect, all-knowing God has given me.  After years and tears, flat-irons and blow-drying, and idontwannaknowhowmuch money spent on products that claim to tame and maim, I'm becoming okay with my crazy weird curly/wavy hair.  Right now, I'm in the process of "no-pooing" [no-shampoo], practicing methods from "The Curly Girl Handbook", and "plopping".  I don't use shampoo, as it strips hair of its natural oils.  No bueno.  It did take a couple of weeks to detox from shampoo.  {Before, I would rarely skip a day of shampooing, just because by noon on the "no shampoo" day, the grease would be more than I could take.  When I was working outside of the home, I even ran home on lunch break one day just to wash my hair.  I did shampoo on the day of my daughter's first birthday party.  I knew I'd be in pictures and didn't want to look like a Crisco ball.  But the next day I was nowhere near the grease-level as before.  I think I even went 3 days before I cleansed again.  We're making progress here people!}  My routine as of right now (which I'm still working on), is wash my scalp with a 2T. baking soda / 2C. water mixture whenever I feel I need to - at least every other, but more like every 3 days.  On the off days, I still wet my hair in the shower, use conditioner, and comb through it with a wide tooth comb while still in the shower under the water.  I have been using Redkin conditioner for now until I find something else (either homemade or non-chemical).  I've also thought about trying coconut milk or coconut oil.  Has anyone used either and liked the results?  There are a few non-chemical conditioners I'd like to try, just need to make it to Sally's beauty and pick them up. I'll keep you updated since I'm sure you're interested ;)  At night I put a palm full of sweet almond oil (more on this later) on the ends.  I also use a cotton t-shirt for my hair after the shower.  Terrycloth is extremely rough on the hair and causes frizz and possibly breakage.  Next on my to-do list is get a satin pillowcase.  I've heard they are so much more gentler on your hair as you toss and turn at night. 

To cleanse body and face, I use a vitamin E bar soap, (around $3 at local whole foods store).  I also use this on my 1 year old daughter.  I very much dislike using things on her skin that would be harmful if swallowed.  Your skin is your biggest organ, gotta take care of it! *steps off of soap box* - no pun intended ;)

I've also ventured into making my own lotion.  If your kid ingests some, no need to call poison control.  This is the recipe I use, and have really liked.  But I'm thinking next time I'll have to try this one.  You know, just to keep things lively around here :)

I mentioned sweet almond oil earlier... I'm becoming a huge fan of the stuff.  Not only do I use it in lotion and in my hair at night, but I also use it after the shower sometimes (in place of or in addition to lotion, depending on the day), at night for face moisturizer, and added to my bath water for a nice soak.  What I've found so far is about $8 for 16oz. at the local whole foods store.  Love, love, love the stuff.  Totally worth the moolah in my opinion :)

I contemplated writing about deodorant, but decided I'm just gonna lay it out there. Stink and all.  Maybe someone else is struggling with the "I've been told since I was twelve that I have to use deodorant, so if I don't people will think I'm gross, but if I do it doesn't help" conundrum.  I rarely use deodorant.  I've found that my smelly factor significantly decreases by not using it.  No matter what kind of deodorant I use (and trust me, I've tried every single one out there short of a prescription deodorant. *sigh* This has been a battle ever since high school), I will still get damp armpits.  I've finally come to terms with this and have instead focused on controlling the stink.  In high school I tried a deodorant that claimed to close off the pores underneath your arms... Worked great, but the small print said "you may experience increased sweating in other places".  Sweaty hands, anyone?  Nice, huh? :/  Half of the million billion deodorants I've tried end up giving me hives, and the other half just don't cut it when it comes to the smelly factor.  So sometime this summer I just decided to stop using it all together.  I mean, I found a deodorant that doesn't cause me to scratch like a flea infested orangutang, but it seemed that it was amplifying the stink (think stink + metallic smell), and definitely not helping the wetness. On the days that I didn't use any if I did start to smell, I would just wash them with a warm washcloth and soap and would be good the rest of the day.  From what I understand about underarm smell, it's not the wetness that stinks, it's the bacteria - or something - that starts growing from the wetness.  I know, I know, just call me Bill Nye.  I still use deodorant when I'm going to the gym and know that I'm going to work up a sweat, because it seems to actually work then, but not as a part of my morning routine. 

So there you have it.  I no longer use shampoo, body wash, store bought lotion, or deodorant.  My skin and HBA budget are thanking me.  Most of the information I've gathered for myself is due to hours of online research, then trial and error at home.  If you've ever thought about going more green when it comes to beauty products, I say go for it!  What do you have to lose?

Have you had any experience with any of the above?  Any tips or suggestions?? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

First Birthday Party!

For Emmalyn's party, we invited only family because just that guest list was 50 people - yikes!  35 people showed up, and we were busting at the seams! But we had a great time anyway :)

vintage doily wrapped over invitation with ribbon
cupcakes and funfetti fudge
goldfish and fall mix
Found this sweet little vase at the antique mall - sure to adorn future babies birthday tables :)


the littles got their own cups

another view of the tables
display of her weekly pictures - framed pictures of her "birth" day - vintage blocks spelling her name out
party favors - apples & pictures

a HUGE thank you to my Momma who helped with all of the decorations!
I couldn't have done it without you, Mom!!
party skirt custom made by Grandma Shields :)
welcoming her guests

people didn't pay much attention to the request on her invitation regarding gifts

sporting her new chef hat

Happy Birthday to our incredibly sweet baby girl!!