In my last post I forgot to mention that I’ve been using dry shampoo to help keep my hair from looking oily.  And it does seem to work for the most part.  My hair is still feeling pretty waxy, I’m hoping that will disappear soon.  Because I have dark hair, I did use the cornstarch and cocoa powder recipe found in this post.  And it does seem like my hair looks less oily in the mornings (I shower at night).  I’m continuing to use water-only every other day or so.  All the hair at my scalp has the waxy feeling, but the rest of my hair looks great.  So there’s that.

I used up all the lip chap that I had put in the old lip chap dispenser, so I melted down the rest of what I made and added about a tablespoon of beeswax.  And now it’s not as melty as it was before but still just as moisturizing.

I also tried a new lotion, this one is less greasy, though it still does start out that way when first applied.  After a few minutes it doesn’t seem greasy at all.  I like how smooth it is and it was really easy to make.  It was like magic when I was blending it and it turned white and creamy.  And she said that she uses a combination grapeseed, safflower, and sunflower oils.  I just used a third of a cup of each since she didn’t specify.  The other day I offered this to a friend and she did not like the greasiness and almost immediately washed it off.  Gonna be honest, that hurt my feelings.  So next time I’m going with another recipe.  But unlike the other stuff I made that stayed greasy for a very long time, I will be using this until it’s gone.

I finally made this oil face wash.  I was skeptical since it is oil, but it worked!  I don’t love the sunflower smell so I think next time I’ll use olive oil.  Other than that, I love it.  Sooooo easy to make, two ingredients, and we’re in business.

I also made this hand sanitizer.  I used peppermint extract and found it smells a little too strong to me, but I do like it and would make it again, either leaving out the essential oil or using another scent.

I still need to find a satisfactory body wash and I want to try these ideas for air freshener.  Along those same lines, I just found this post of homemade perfumes.  I’d also like to try this facial moisturizer, since the one above is not for the face.   Very soon I plan on making this foaming hand soap, since my other hand soaps were such failures.  We’re getting closer, people.  I’ve cut out almost everything cleaning and toiletry-wise that had potentially toxic chemicals.  I’m very happy about it. :)

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spice of life

I am obsessed with glass jars; whenever we buy salsa or jam or anything in a glass jar and it comes time to clean and toss that puppy out, I just can’t bring myself to do it.  It’s resulted in a lot of weirdly shaped containers for things.  Pairing that up with the awesome bulk bins at one of our grocery stores means that I have a great use for the jars.  We live in an old house and the drawers are not constructed in a way that makes sense.  If we pull the drawers out too far, they tip down and I’m always afraid they’ll fall out.  One of those drawers has held a lot of the glass jars filled with dried goods.  It’s a very heavy drawer and I was having a difficult time getting it open and closed.  I decided I needed a shelf to store them.  However, living in earthquake country means that I have to be careful.

I knew the internet would have ideas and I was right.  I didn’t get the idea from just one source, but a few.  I will try and source everything that I’ve found.  We already have a shelf in our dining room, but when I tried to put the jars in the shelf, I discovered it was actually too deep, and it would be difficult to reach the back jars.  I decided to go with a narrower shelf and happened to find just the right one at Target for about $17.  It also happens to be the same brand as the current shelf I have, so they match.  Winning!

I went to our local lumber yard and had them cut me some thin board, all of which cost me less than $2.  They ended up being a bit too long but I was able to use my jigsaw to cut them to the right size.  I sanded and then painted the boards using chalkboard paint (inspiration taken from here).  Using my electric drill I made pilot holes in the shelf and then hammered the boards in (yeah, I could have used screws, they just intimidate me a little).  I used three books to prop the boards up and make sure they were all evenly spaced.  I wanted them to be high enough to keep the jars from tipping over, but low enough to still catch the shorter jars.  I think I found a happy medium.  There’s a lot of open space above the jars to allow me to reach to the back row and get the jars out.

In the above inspiration post I saw a lot of comments about keeping the jars from knocking into each other, as that would also break them.  I didn’t really see any ideas that seemed economic or useful.  Then it struck me, thick rubber bands.  They would be stretchy enough to fit all the weird shapes, and also thick enough to create a band to write on.  One of the issues with my jar system is that I could write on them but then inevitably I would grab the jar in the place where the writing was, effectively wiping off the writing.  Some things are obvious, others are not.  Now I could protect the jars while also labeling them.  Yay!  And I found some rubber bands at Staples for about $3.  Two bags were more than enough for all my jars.  Some of the jars needed more than one rubber band as they had protrusions that were still striking the other jars.  Even still, those two bags have been enough.

Lastly, I will need to secure the shelf to the wall.  It doesn’t to me a lot of good if the shelf can tip over.  I know I need to find the studs in the walls and I have the worst time trying to find them using the knocking method.  And so to the internet I went.  Here’s what I found.  Magnets?  Genius.  And it worked.  And to secure it to the wall?  How about this video?  I haven’t actually done this part, but it seems pretty straight forward.  I might even have all the supplies needed, but if not, it’ll be pretty easy to acquire the wire (haha) and take care of this step.

So here’s the (almost) finished product.  Whoo hoo.

Haven’t gotten around to labeling it yet, but I will.  Also, excuse the poor quality picture, this was taken with my phone.  I might update with a better quality photo.

It’s nice when projects actually turn out the way I want.

diy, belinda, and me

Whoa.  It’s been a loooong time since I’ve stepped foot here, so to speak.  Part of that is because I’ve been journaling for real, like with a pen and paper.  I started the first of the year and have faithfully done it before bed every night.  I started that kind of journaling when I was in first grade and have treasured it, but neglected it for a long time.  I decided to go “off grid” so that I could be more open and honest about my feelings.  Most of the time it’s just about what happened in my day, nothing super exciting.  But I enjoy the way it helps me reflect on some of the things that happened or how I was feeling.  Nice to put it down in writing.

So life is really good right now.  We’re in an awesome season and rhythm of our lives.  I’m really happy.  We recently had a few serious discussion about finances and it encouraged me.  We don’t fight about money because we’ve been doing a budget for about 5 years now.  It’s worked very well for us, even if we don’t stick to it 100%.  We decided to make a few needed changes and I am so happy that we’re on the same page with this stuff.  So many couples fight about money but we don’t have that problem.  He keeps me in line if I want to get something I shouldn’t, and I do the same for him.  It’s nice to not feel stress or anger about that very important part of our lives.

We did Whole30 last year and I discovered that I’m mostly lactose intolerant.  This saddens me a little because I really like cheese.  However, I have been vegetarian for a while now and I have been thinking about going more or less vegan.  This kind of forced my hand.  I still have milk with my cereal (which is weird because that’s almost the only way I have any milk, I’ve never enjoyed just having a cup of milk; also it’s weird because you’d think the lactose in milk would bother me.  oh well) but I can’t really do ice cream and I definitely cannot do cheese.  This has forced me to try cheese alternatives.  But I probably would have done that anyway because that’s how I am.

My parents got us a Vitamix (who I’ve christened Belinda the Blenda) for our anniversary last year and making vegan cheeses and nut milks has really put Belinda to work.  I found this great article and have been working through the recipes in the list.  Some of the links are broken, but most are not.  I’ve tried  quite a few and most of them have been quite tasty.  Conveniently so far, all the cheese I’d make again are the easier ones.  I have actually made some of them more than once at this point.  It makes me happy to find things that I can make that will replace my cheese love.

Also, I made some things that I want to share here, in separate posts.  I’m excited to share them and more excited to be back.  I do still plan on posting more for the Bible and Cream Puffery.  And that’s another big reason I haven’t written, because I felt like I couldn’t until I wrote that first.  I’ve finally come to be okay with delaying that until it’s ready, but still writing here about other things.  I’m doing some more reading and reflecting for those posts, but they’re not ready yet.

achievement unlocked

Finally finished this project.  As with almost any project, it took longer than I thought it would.  But I’m so happy with the end result.  Now instead of lugging five huge boxes around, we can just take the binders.  And they’re nicely displayed too.  Here’s the “before and after”:

salt of the earth

A few days ago it was our 1.5 anniversary.  Yeah, I know it’s not really something most people celebrate but I wanted an excuse to do something.  We stayed in, had a nice dinner, watched a couple episodes of Castle, and were going to enjoy a nice, warm cinnamon roll.  When I was making them I had a taste of the dough and was a bit suspicious when it tasted too salty but I figured I’d give it a go anyway and just make them again if they didn’t turn out right.  After they came out of the oven I tried them again and determined that there was too much salt.

So.  I made them again.

Same story, they were too salty.  At this point I had run out of powdered sugar for the glaze so I tried using normal sugar instead.  When I took a taste of the glaze it was too salty.  Realizing the likely source of the problem, I tasted a bit of the sugar and discovered that it tasted a lot like salt.  I have no idea what happened to it since I’ve been using the same canister for sugar for a long time and hadn’t encountered the problem before.  Fortunately I had another container of uncontaminated sugar and tried the rolls once again.  They are pretty good.  And they provided me another excuse to pull out my apron.

dos

I finished my second project yesterday, and I’m really happy with the end product.  I originally bought two fabrics to make the bib and the skirt but I decided that I just wanted the one fabric for both pieces.  I had a rough idea in my head of what I wanted; I knew I wanted a ruffled bottom, a pocket, and a wide ribbon to tie in the back, other than that I wasn’t sure.  I looked online for some inspiration on bib shapes and in the end went with something simple.

 gathered waist

ruffled bottom

pocket

neck loop

And I’m already putting it to good use!

buttah

I made the peanut butter and it was so easy.  And super delish.  I did add honey as a sweetner.  It was kind of crazy because while I was squeezing in the honey and running the food processor, I saw some steam coming from the opening.  I decided it was probably done.  As it cooled it became more difficult to spread but it is so worth the effort.

I love the irony of putting peanut butter in a recycled jelly jar :)

project 1

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to finish at least 6 handmade projects this year.  I think I’m going to try for one a month but I’m not gonna kill myself achieving that goal.  So this month I made a laptop case for my new computer.  I already have a pretty nice black laptop case, but I wanted something bright and cute.  I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

I got my inspiration from Habit of Art.  I obviously didn’t copy her pattern exactly.  I wanted something with a pocket similar to the case I already have so I made it an accordion pocket (which I realize is kind of hard to see in the pictures).  And I wanted straps that would fit comfortably over my shoulder, something my other case does not have.  For the lining I used sew-able interfacing and an old wetsuit that Jason got at an elephant gift exchange.  The pocket is secured with four snaps underneath the buttons (which I’m absolutely in love with as they match the flowers on the straps and they are so fun and colorful).  Now I just need an excuse to use it!