12.24.2011

Merry Christmas!

merry-christmas-animated-image

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