12.24.2011

Merry Christmas!

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Happy Holidays!!

12.20.2011

Homemade Deodorant, and it works….

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This probably comes under the TMI clause, but I’ve had to rotate deodorants since I’ve begun using them. I usually have at least 3 in the rotation, due to what I like to call “fire pits”. For me this is a extreme rash, bumps and sometimes hive like condition, while using deodorants.

I’ve used about everything on the market, even stopped shaving my pits, (which I couldn’t stand and really didn’t help).

I had a really bad flare up recently, and twice now I’ve come up with big lumps. So I thought, OK, off to the blogosphere to see what others have come up with.

My first success is the Crystal Rock,Crystal Body Deodorant Stick For Men

The link above will bring you to the website and the “Crystal Story” . This is made from natural mineral salt, and works well. It comes in a roll on also, and lasts for an amazingly long time. Irritation free, and pit happy this is a great product.  The only issue I have with this, is that is is a deodorant, not an antiperspirant. so while I love this product, I was still using something else for those days, when it is hot out, or I knew I was going to be in a meeting, etc.. and didn’t want to worry about any possible, pit stains, or well you get the idea….

While investigating how to make deodorant online I’ve discovered many variations on a basic formula:

1. Even if you are a stinkless angel, it’s my opinion that we all deserve a little protection on one of the parts of our bodies that is almost always folded over onto itself.  You’re bound to build up a little moisture there in the course of the day, so a bit of deodorant keeps it clean and dry.

2. Good homemade deodorant has three essential elements: an absorber, a moisturizer, and a disinfectant.  A fourth optional element is scent.  You can use:

* absorber: baking soda, cornstarch, arrowroot powder

* moisturizer: coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, liquid Vitamin E

* disinfectant: coconut oil, tea tree oil, honey, grapefruit seed extract

* scent: pretty much any essential oil that you love

Did you notice that coconut oil is in two of those lists?  Yup.  That’s why it’s a main ingredient in my deodorant.  I use a fairly large ratio of coconut oil to baking soda because my skin is sensitive to the dryness caused by the baking soda, and too high a ratio gives me a rash.  Tinker with it until you find the ratio that’s right for you.  By the way, coconut oil will liquefy at around 85 degrees, so if your house is not a steady temperature you might consider keeping it in your fridge.  (Who doesn’t like to stand half-naked in front of the fridge first thing in the morning?)  Our house is usually kept at a steady 68 degrees so our deodorant solidifies just fine.

So armed with this info, I decided to try a small batch, the recipe I chose is from LittleHouseInTheSuburbs, Quick Stick Deodorant.

What I used: (mostly due to the fact I had these ingredients on hand)

-coconut oil, tea tree oil, baking soda, cornstarch

I didn’t have a used stick deodorant container, so I used a paper towel roll, cut to the size I needed, and plastic wrap to line it with.

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This amount is good for one small stick. Travel size. Time to make, approx. 10 min or less.

Take 3-4 T of coconut oil, add 2 T baking soda, and 2 T of cornstarch, and from 10 to 20 drops of tea tree oil, (this is quite aromatic, so I just used 10 drops, but don’t worry, the smell only lasts for approx. 15 min)

Add all to a bowl. I found it was super easy if I then microwaved it for 10-15 sec. then just let sit and stir some, it will now totally liquefy.

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Now you can take your container, I used a paper towel roll, I found the TP rolls were thinner. Cut it to around 2 inches or so, take plastic wrap and tear off a large piece, (we can cut this down later) push the plastic wrap into the roll and you are ready to pour your “deodorant” in.

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 007Now just take the wrap and gather it up and twist it on top, I put my tube in the refrigerator to set up. When hard, you have a “push up” stick deodorant.

I have been using mine for a week now, and have really happy pits, and totally fresh feeling. I’ll let you know when it gets warmer, but for now this is a keeper. I will say if you don’t care for the tea tree oil smell (this is suppose to help with odor also, being mildly antibacterial) Leave that out and use another essential oil, I think cedar would be nice for men, here is a link to some essential oils.

I have made a second batch. same as the first, but I added some rosehips oil to it, (in addition to the tea tree oil), I have also read that you can add a tablespoon of baby powder to it.

I’ll included some links to recipes below. I’d love to know if you try this and what you think.

http://www.crunchybetty.com/not-a-secret-homemade-deodorant, I love crunchy betty, she has http://frugalgranola.com/2011/05/natural-homemade-deodorant/loads of great info.http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/08/27/effective-homemade-deodorant-my-baby-steps-story/ She has used this for a length of time, and reports how it held up.http://asonomagarden.wordpress.com/2009/07/28/how-to-make-homemade-deodorant-i-love-it/ this blog also has other homemade toiletries, lotion, hand cream, and lip balm.

Take care, and back to knitting….knitting_coon

12.11.2011

Easy Laptop Bag Pattern (crochet)

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I have been waiting on some yarn to be shipped to finish my sweater. In the meantime I didn’t want to start another big project. It all started with one laptop bag for a girlfriend, and turned into a bag marathon. I discovered that this pattern is good, not only for laptops, but a knitting bag, papers for work, magazines and books, and I’m thinking of making it smaller for a cute lunch bag and/or clutch.

I’ll include the pattern for anyone that needs a fast, and fun bag.

Bag is made holding two strands of yarn throughout, I use worsted weight. I’ve tried everything from acrylic to wool and cotton.

Great for stash busting, make a striped bag!

Single crochet, this tight stitch, allowing for a sturdy bag.

If using cotton yarn, it makes the bag very sturdy.

I go around the handle opening with slip stitch, and/or a sewn backstitch around each stitch, this makes a decorative handle that is very sturdy, and doesn’t stretch too much.

Also think about lining your bag, I haven’t lined any of mine, but I’ll included rough directions, think about adding pockets, to organize your things inside.

Crochet Laptop Bag
(easy)
This is a good project for scraps

Stitches used: slip stitch, chain stitch, single crochet, (optional sewn backstitch), click on stitch to see tutorials, thanks to thecrochetside, and knitwitch, and needlerific on YouTube for the great tutorial videos!

Yarn: Worsted weight, may be anything from wool to acrylic, two strands held together
Stitch: chain, and single crochet

Hook: size J

Measure your Laptop or magazine, book etc...size that you want it to be, this bag can also be made smaller for a kindle, ipad, small clutch, lunch bag, and of course knitting bag.

Consider using two different colors, one solid and one variegated, or transitioning colors in stripes. I like to keep one color and change one, this gives an interesting progression of stripes.

With two strands held together chain until your chain is the length of the desired bag, now add two more chain stitches (this will be to turn, or your first sc stitch on the next row).

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bottom of bag started (photo)

Bottom of bag:
row1: sc in the 3rd chain stitch from hook, sc in this stitch 2x, sc all along your chain, until you get to the last 3 stitches, now sc x2, sc, sc x2, the last stitch will push you around the end of the chain, now you will pick up your stitches along the other side of your chain.
other side: sc, sc x2, sc all along your chain until you get to the last 2 stitches, now sc x2 and sc, now you should be back to the beginning of row 1
row2: sc x2, sc, sc x2, sc, sc x2, sc all along the flat part of the row, now find the center stitch of each end, place a marker there.
You will continue knitting the bottom of the bag, 3 stitches before each stitch marked sc x2, sc, sc x2, sc, sc x2, continue until the bottom of the bag is as big as you desire, I usually make it several rounds.
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Starting the sides, this is crochet in the round (photo)

Sides of bag:
Sc, all around until your bag is tall enough to add the hand holds. (Or your laptop height measurement)

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Handles:
To figure where to place your handles lay your bag out, mark your end stitches, and count the number of stitches on each side, or total of stitches divided by two, sides should have even number (if it isn’t don’t worry, one stitch won’t be noticed)
Take your number of side stitches, you want your handle to be 10 stitches long, so subtract 10 stitches, and now divide by 2.
Example: My bag is a total of 64 stitches, 64/2=32 per side, now I’ll take the 32-10=22, this is the number of stiches per side minus the handle stitches, 22/2=11.
Handle: using the example numbers above, we will sc along 11 stitches from our side marker. Now chain 10 stitches (this is our handle), now count 11 stitches from the other marker and this is where we will sc 11 stitches to the side, now sc 11 stitches on the other side, chain 10 stitches, and sc 11 more stitches. The handle is created.
Continue sc in each stitch around for about 3 or 4 more rows, until you like how your handle feels.
Break yarn and weave in.
Now attach your yarn to an inside stitch on your handle, and slip stitch all around, this is to reinforce the handle and make it resistant to stretching. Break yarn and weave ends in.
Ta da, now insert your Laptop or magazines and your ready to go....

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Want to line your bag?

Lining the Bag:

Figure out how much fabric you need, measure the height of your finished bag, mine is 12 inches, now add about 4 inches for hems etc.… this comes to about 16 inches. (this is how much fabric you need, half a yard is 18, so I usually  get that, this will be enough fabric for added pockets, if you want  them.

Fold the lining fabric in half and lay it flat on the table. Lay the bag on top of the fabric and trace around the bag onto the fabric.

Cut out any square that you want for your pockets, allow for a hem on each one, all around, or to make it super easy make your pocket twice the size and sew it together, right sides facing each other. turn, and you have a fully lined, sturdy pocket. Pin these down in the location you want them, and sew around all sides but the top. I usually stitch around twice for good measure.

Pin the two sides of the fabric together around the tracing, allowing about 1/2 inch for the seam.

Sew the fabric together along the traced lines, leaving one side open.

Insert the fabric lining into the bag so that the seams of the lining are unseen. Fold the top edge of the lining down between the bag and the lining and pin in place. Sew around the edge to secure the lining in place. I would sew mine in directly below the handle hole.

Have fun!

Yellow_Dragonfly

12.04.2011

Things I’d like to make….

I’ll start with a lovely long draw spinning video from Ruth Macgregor! The music gets me into the mood also.

Skadi

This is a free pattern on http://www.petitepurls.com/winter10/winter2010_p_jack.html, you can make the balloon and Jack Frost, or I’m planning on just Jack himself to hang on my tree!

beauty shot

I found a top down knitted, Shapley Boyfriends Cardigan on Knitty by Stefanie Japel, I’m off to look at my stash, I think I have 5 skeins of Cascade 220 in an odd green color that would be perfect for this. Well, I’d have to tweak the gauge, perhaps….

I’m interested in this self intersecting basket weave stitch, it is a free ravely download, check out how it looks.

It looks like everyone is knitting the GapTastic Cowl, free download on Ravelry!

May your knitting needles fly as fast as dragonflies…Yellow_Dragonfly

11.28.2011

Fate Of My Iced Sweater..and developing a laptop/IPad bag pattern (sneak peak)

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Is there anyone out there that knits a sweater pattern without drama? Ha, all frustration aside, gauge problems, pattern tweaking etc.…[pattern here] I powered through all of my knitting drama with this pattern, well it did have extended “resting” times, but my biggest hurtle was, (see above photo) this is all of the yarn I have, see little bitty ball at the bottom!  11 skeins later and the arms of the sweater are just to my elbows. I dithered around for a bit, I had spent more money on this yarn than I had planned, and not made it into the pattern I had bought it for (of course *snort*).

But I ultimately decided that I do in fact, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how this is turning out, (it is super bulky thick and thin yarn) and is very warm and soft and squishy, I originally thought, when I realized that I would not have enough yardage to complete it, that I would make it into a vest. Having a raglan sleeve posed a problem with that idea. So I decided to knit as far as my yarn would allow me to. Knitting from the last ball, a row on this sleeve and then a row on the other sleeve. I finally came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to be happy with the sweater with some substitute yarn that kinda, maybe matches.

So I’m all in and embarked on a quest to find two more balls of my discontinued yarn. I searched Ravelry with no luck and then did find some in several misc. online yarn shops, at almost double the price I paid! Could it be I’m not the only one looking to complete a project? On Knitters Review forum, (gotta love those ladies!, and men, sorry), they directed me towards a shop on EBay, which did in fact have 4 skeins of my much sought after yarn. Colinette Point Five Cardinal, Yay. At a reasonable price and shipping also, so I put them in my cart and promptly bought them! Since my yarn seller is in the Netherlands, now I’m just waiting on it to arrive!

In the meantime, I really didn’t want to start another sweater, I have enough yarn for 3 sweaters and one coat. I hope we are having a chilly winter!  I decided to knit some stash up and began creating a Laptop bag for some friends and family.

Sneak peak here, pattern to follow, if anyone is interested! OK, don’t judge the yarn, I believe the colorway is called Drunk In Mexicali, I’m using my stash up, LOL

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Until then, here are some laptop, IPad patterns that I did find, but weren’t what I was looking for:

Knitted and felted:

Laptop sleeve, very cute! This pattern is from slumberland,  I would like to make this one!

Nice felted laptop cover here from RebekahMartin.

I like this felted laptop snggie pattern from EunnyJang Knits

LindsayDayton, has a felted laptop pattern that would be good for stash bustin!

Other:

I love this tutorial from MyPoppet, a sewn scrappy IPad cover from wool scraps! So Cute!

TipNut has a list of laptop patterns, that included knitted and sewn, very nice!

Tipnut also has a great list of IPad/Kindle covers! Thanks TipNut!!!

May your knitting needles fly as fast as dragonflies…

11.24.2011

Have a Knittin Thanksgivin

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Cooking has started here, and I’m looking through the ads and going to get some knitting done. In the process of making some laptop bags (pattern to follow) for presents. Easy and fast.

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For anyone following the Iced Sweater slog-a-long, I’ve knitted all of the yarn up that I have which was 11 balls, I love the sweater (really a coat, LOL, made from super bulky yarn), and hunted down someone online who had some more of the discontinued yarn (she is in the Netherlands, *grin*, god bless her), and I ordered two balls up. Hoping to have them by the end of December so I can finish and wear it. So close!! I decided that a substitute yarn to finish the sleeves wasn’t’ going to make me happy, so I should just go all in and got on a crusade to find the yarn to finish it with!

Happy holidays!

11.19.2011

Where is my sewing machine?

220px-Bradypus

In my “moving like a sloth” period I was looking for a tutorial for a fleece poncho with a hood, maybe sewing something will make me feel like I’m accomplishing something *snort*. I found lots of ideas but then came upon this site that I had to share. I swear you will find something you need, even if you don’t, it is rather addicting looking through the links.

Sewing Stuff, free online sewing patterns, but don’t let the title mislead you, it is a super compilation of links. In the process I found more good blogs to follow, and some interesting ideas. (she has knitting and crochet, quilts, etc.… links also)

From Halloween costumers and underwear to moccasins and hair scrunchies to lawn mower covers and mermaid dolls. Need a portfolio cover or interested in recycling? Charity sewing? Going to a Renaissance Fair? There is a section for you. Keep looking, don’t stop at the top, the more you look, the more you have to look.

I love the portfolio cover, I was just going to buy something similar from thirty one, this one is better!

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ThirtyOne organizer (left)                          Amy Butler small and large right (link to free pdf)

 

Need a casserole cover? Perfect time of the year for this! Hey in the Midwest everyone needs one of these…because food is the perfect thing to bring in any situation! http://elisabeth-dixiedoodles.blogspot.com/2008/04/cozy-toter-casserole-dish-carrier.html Thanks DixieDoodles!

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Or have you desperately wanted you DH to cover that motorcycle in your family room that he has been working on? No joke, where else would he want to take it apart? Well there is a pattern for that also, and lots of other covers for mowers etc..

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I found an amazing number of things that would be great gifts, and just handy stuff in general. In these green, on a  budget, trying to simplify times, I think this has something for everyone.

There is a help section and if you don’t see something you are looking for a section to post that! If you are wondering who made this? A woman named Mary, you can see a little about her here.

Have Fun!! I never made that poncho that lead me to Mary’s site, but I have lots other ideas now.

sewing

11.17.2011

The Mamas & The Papas: California Dreamin'



This makes me smile, time to get knitting...

11.16.2011

I Slipped Through The Cracks….

slipped through the cracks  
Photo from Mark Lorch
I’m beginning to feel alive once more. While I was viewing myself as being chronically lazy and unmotivated, there was a reason for this.
While visiting my surgeon (I had my thyroid partly removed recently) he discovers I’m not taking any Synthroid. and says, “well you look ok”. This may explain why I have been doing a lot of sitting, and sleeping, and forgetting what I was going to do, no hot flashes, in fact I’ve been wearing sweaters, and it’s 50 out.. I’ve become really good at sleeping with newspaper, (and waking up with newsprint on my face), sleeping with my knitting, (those needles are pointy), and well you get the picture. On the bright side, I can’t remember what I was going to do or say, and discovered it is less stressful if I can’t remember what I was worrying about. Ha
synthroid
Cut to some fast blood work, and a prescription, it has only been about 4 days, and I’ve begun to feel more alive. I’ve not started to knit yet, but I’m thinking about it. Hoping to get something done besides working, sleeping, and repeat…
Meanwhile, I’ve gotten my hair totally chopped off. It is as short as my husbands. It will grow in with my “real” color, silvers and all. I think I’m pretty much white in the front but still salt and pepper in the back, I’ll be able to tell more when I get some length on it. I was “blonde” for so long before my henna years, I forgot that my hair was a brownish color. *grin*
Thanks to all that answered my plea for help with dry skin! The best things I’ve found so far!!
I love the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, and try Vegetable Glycerin Oil, I’m totally in love with the Savannah Bee Company, as well as Provon skin moisturizer, I wash my hands so much at work and they will not let us use anything that doesn’t have antibacterial properties, *grimace*
So until I do start knitting I’ll leave you with some more creative links:
-How about some tiny polaroid magnets from Ambrosia Creative!
-Easy Peasy Fingerless Mitts from JCasa handmade, with an afterthought thumb, super easy and fast! You might want to add her Easy Peasy Cowl to go with it.
-KillerBDesigns has a tutorial on sliding door for some privacy in your home, check it out! I love this.
-I keep seeing these. Take something old and make it new again. RecycledLovelies shows us how to make a slash sleeve tee.
turkey_knitting
Keep knitting

11.15.2011

Easy, Fast Tutorials for A Rainy Day…

Raining here today and cold. 1137372-3-another-rainy-day[1]
I’ve not been very productive at home, so I’m looking for some quick, good looking items to make. I searched these out on YouTube.

Make Your Own Hand & Arm Warmers: EASY & CHEAP!, this tutorial is from twxitbetwxit, (etsy shop here, in case you just want to buy a pair. Fun and fast, I think kids can do this project also.


How to make a dog hoodie, this takes some sewing skill, but it is so cute. From IMadeThisForYou blog, this tutorial lets us make a sweet dog hoodie for any dog. Take a look at her blog for more ideas.


DIY - From a shirt to a cardigan,

thanks to http://viviantranx3.tumblr.com/ take a knit crew shirt and turn it into a surprisingly stylish cardigan.


How to : Make a simple wrap, cardigan, from TheCreativeBoutique, this would be nice over a variety of clothes this fall/winter. She also has more fast tutorials on her blog link.


Have Fun!!

11.12.2011

Knitting patterns I like…..(all free)

I’m in full blown sweater knitting mode!! Guess I’m ready for winter! *grin*.

I’ve been browsing around, and as usual, love to find free knitting patterns online. There are so many great ones! Enjoy, and please send me some of your favorite ones!

I’ll include a link to the free pattern, and a ravelry link so you can see other versions and read reviews of them.

Happy Winter! (almost)

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sonnet

-Sonnett from Knitty fall of 03. My girlfriend is knitting this, it is a side knitted pattern, I especially like it, due to the fact that it is written so you can use any yarn and calculate your own pattern. [rav link below]

-Paulie cardi from Grasfleckin http://owlsisters.blogspot.com/2011/05/free-paulie-for-you.html

this is knitted top down, from reading the comments on Ravelry, it looks like a good knit, well written pattern, I love the simplicity of it and the stripes to add interest.

[rav link below]

See photo here, just published Oct. 2011, I predict this will end up in many knitters, to knit lists!

-Recipe for a Rustic Jacket from Mona C. NicLeoid (free download but In keeping with the spirit of the design, if you like the pattern please consider making a small donation to a local organization that cares for forests, woodland or similar natural areas. see ravelry link)

Gotta love a pattern with this much flexibility! Knit it your own way! A Cabled, hooded, cardigan knitted bottom up in the round, and it is shaped, the waist is a waist, and the hood won’t look like a pointy one.  (I love in the round knitting!) This is in my queue for sure!

Enjoy your knitting….

bell_knitting

11.08.2011

DIY’s I like….

This is so cute, little mushrooms to add to your plants! This is a great idea for gifts, especially since fall and shorter days are here. Add a little brightness and whimsy where it is least expected!

An easy fun DIY from PrettyHandyGirl, thanks! Suitable for kids also.

 

I like these basic boy pants from MyGrowingHome, great tutorial, but I think it could be used for any size person. I’m going to try a pair for myself. Super comfy, and nice to lounge around the house in, I’ll just need some fun fabric, maybe even some corduroy!

From kimboscrafts AGirlAndAGlueGun a simple tutorial on how to make a bedskirt from a sheet! It looks nice and hey make a couple and change your bedroom look up. This is on my list of things to do.

ThanksIMadeIt has a very good looking wrap bracelet made out of a zipper who won’t like this tutorial? It looks cool, I would never think this was a zipper!

As always look further into these blogs for more great tutorials! Thanks everyone for sharing your creativity!

11.02.2011

A Little Get Away

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We got away to one of our favorite spots in Gatlinburg, TN. We had beautiful weather, and did some hiking.

And I got some knitting done also.

Happy Fall, knit something to keep you warm!

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10.19.2011

Dry Skin


Since my thyroid surgery, my skin has been as dry as a pop corn fart. (now I don’t know how dry that is, but it is a saying from my husbands family, which makes me think way too much about farts and dry vs.: wet)
Someone suggested cleansing oils. Then I found info on making my own.

I did find out this info on cleansing oils, and a great deal of  info here on the cleansing oil method, and various recipes for all types of skin. Also some good info on acne.org, on cleasning oil, how to make various recipes, recipes for toners, masks, lots of good info on how to proceed.http://www.acne.org/messageboard/OIL-CLEANSING-METHOD-Hi-t141871.html

From SimpleMom I found good info on making my own facial cleansing oil, and how to use it. I’m going to give it a go.
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Since I’ve written this, I’m 3 days into using the cleansing oil method. I consider my skin dry, but still having breakouts (OK mother nature, come on…?). I choose to use castor oil 3/4 and jojoba oil 1/4 to begin with (just because I’m somewhat oil phobic) My skin feels great, and looks better than it has in a long time. I will continue this and let you know my progress.
OK, it is about 10 days into my facial cleansing oil trial, and I’m like a infomercial, I’m trying to convert people at work and elsewhere, LOL. My skin is looking great! The price is right, and now I’m investigating other uses, I found the “Castor Oil Challenge” on Hairlista.com, hummmmm….checking this out….I have been oil phobic most of my life, due to complexion problems, I thought I always had to avoid oil. Now I’m finding that mineral oil is a large molecule and the oil that clogs pours. Most other oils are not.

Lots of castor oil use info here..http://skinverse.com/castor-oils-many-uses-for-beautiful-skin-and-hair.html.

I work in a hospital and found that castor oil is good to use to heal bed soars. I found lots of into on its uses (not internal, ick) http://stevehamlin.blogspot.com/2008/07/castor-oil-topical-use.html, also more info from livestrong http://www.livestrong.com/article/27338-external-uses-castor-oil/  I have also come across reports of using castor oil to get rid of warts (OK sometimes I get suspicious when it cures everything…)http://www.ehow.com/how_2309213_cure-warts-castor-oil.html, worth a try if you have them?
Anyone had good/bad experience with castor oil? Leave a comment, I would love to hear any info you have.
rawhandsIMG0911
I’m also searching for a good hand cream. I’m using some almond hand cream now from Sally’s. It isn’t cold out yet. I have problems with my hands cracking in the winter so I’m trying to head off that problem. I found a easy recipe for making hand cream from a sonomagarden, and she includes a label to download. This might be a good idea for gifts for the holidays. Anyone have any recommendations on a good hand cream?
Thanks for any info and help….
Keep knitting…..
knitting