I’m Back!

With BEER!

wpid-20140324_081203.jpgit’s been farting at me all day

and BAD SELFIES

wpid-1395002560766.jpgcheck out my cabbages!

It’s good to be back! The basement computer has been brought upstairs so I don’t have to hang out with the creepy crawlies in the basement. Not that I mind terribly much, but it’s cold down there because somehow it has not yet warmed up here in Illinois. It’s like a damn tundra around here. There is a swarm of very upset robins outside. There’s at least a dozen in the yard at all times complaining. Also, I think sanity has disappeared around here as well. The “high” today is a whole 36 degrees. Insanity! I don’t know how much more we can take! Last year, it was 80 degrees in early March. Ugh!

Well, I haven’t been up to a whole lot. I’ve continued in the crochet sweatshop and I am almost done with the skirt portion of my wedding dress. About two more rows, then the waistband. After that, I am going to work the same pattern, only smaller, for the top starting at the waist. When I get through with that, I am going to turn that part over and work up to make a halter type top, which I am probably just going to wing. I don’t want my cabbages hanging out. Next, I am going to sew some sort of lining so that the dress isn’t see through. When all of that is said and done, I might add some embellishments here and there, like a bit of ribbon or trim, or whatever strikes my fancy. But I really won’t know until I get a good look at the finished product. I am really excited, it is very pretty. I can’t think of anyone I know that has a handmade wedding dress! Interesting to add, the dress has so far only cost me $50 and I am guessing it will end up around $100.

Also, my lovely fiance started brewing our wedding beer, which we will be using for the toast. He likes making beer and I thought it would be perfect for our completely unconventional wedding. I managed to sneak a few pictures for you. Don’t tell him!

wpid-20140322_110245.jpgI honestly have no idea what this step is about.

wpid-20140322_130411.jpgnope, no idea what’s going on here either, except we have to add hops at certain times.

wpid-20140324_081203.jpggurgle gurgle gurgle gurgle…

THIS BEER IS VERY NOISY!

It sounds like someone ate some very, very bad food. Every few minutes it gurgles loudly at me. It’s actually made me jump once or twice. It smells great though! He used raspberries in it.Now we just have to wait til it ferments.

He also finished the invitations. They took a lot longer than we anticipated. Who knew making your own invitations would take forever! I guess that’s why most people pay someone…gluttons for punishment over here. Basically we bought some very nice paper in earthy colors and he printed them out using a fancy shmancy printer he has at work. Then he had to cut them and glue them together. They look fantastic! I should have taken a picture, but I was pretty excited and forgot. Oh well! Just take my word for it!

Anyway, that’s about it around here. I have a lot of stuff to do before work today and thankfully I am off tomorrow, so maybe I can do something fun! Like make bread! Haven’t had time for that in ages! Poor Francine misses me. Hope you all have a wonderful day and I will chat more tomorrow!

Tunic Tantrums

I made a tunic! Whoot!

wpid-20140223_203848.jpgthis is a representation of how annoyed I was by the end of it.

Ok, truth time. I really, really like it. It fits great, it’s adorable, but the pattern and the instructions gave me fits! I did learn a few things, which I am going to share with you guys of course.

wpid-20140223_163313.jpgit did not include a pattern. so i had to cut my own. freestyle!

This set of instructions did not include a pattern, but as it was basically squares and rectangles, I managed all right. I just drew a few lines in the appropriate areas and cut it out. Thankfully, the bust was measured out so I knew, for sure, I was a small. The only sewing tip I ever apparently picked up from my grandmother was MAKE IT TEN SIZES TOO BIG JUST IN CASE. I was able to argue myself out of upping it a size.

wpid-20140223_165425.jpgI need to rename the sewing machine. it’s name is Rachel. No offense to Rachel’s.

The instructions included diagrams, which I found largely unhelpful.

wpid-20140223_170357.jpgyou can tell my skill level by the completely not straight seam.

wpid-20140223_185757.jpg“mom? did the book poop on the rug? is that why you are so mad?”

But I did learn things! Yeah! For one, I learned why there was a paint can opener included in my grandmother’s sewing cabinet.

wpid-20140223_180922.jpgJune Dorothy was way too practical to have put this here for no reason…

wpid-20140223_180844.jpgohhhhhh, that, that just makes too much sense.

wpid-20140223_180907.jpgeasy as pie way to turn things inside right. I knew my instinct to take “anything near the sewing machine” was the best bet.

When I first got the machine, I found a walnut picker thing. I’m sorry, I don’t know exactly what they are called, but I know you use them to pick walnuts out of shells.

wpid-20140223_180939.jpgone of these. ya’ll know it wasn’t there to pick walnuts.

wpid-20140223_180956.jpgBOOM! goes right through the sticker on thread spools.

So that is just fantastic right there. Anyway, more on the Tunic Tantrum…

wpid-20140223_171823.jpgthe back. this is how i really felt.

wpid-20140223_181522.jpgwhy would grandma have a million small weights and a 6″ ruler…oh…oooohhhhhh…

Finally, I stopped taking pictures and got to work. All in all, it took about 5 hours of tantrums, but I finished it! And it looks cute as pie!

wpid-20140223_203848.jpgsorry, angry face. long night.

I would post some close ups on the details, but I really, really did not do that neat of a job. It looks really cute, but if you get up close you can see where I should have hid some stitches there, or sewn a little straighter here. I might go back and fiddle with it, but I AM NOT DETERRED!

wpid-20140224_175035.jpgummm, yeah, I bought two more fabrics for two more tops…

I did forget thread. D’oh!

Results from Francine a l’Ancienne!

Finally Francine got to work for me!

wpid-20140218_095833.jpgi’m awake!

If you recall yesterday morning we were here:

wpid-20140217_072927.jpg

WIP

So I was pretty thrilled that we got Francine a l’Ancienne to wake up. Next time, I will probably feed her and leave her out overnight before I mix up another batch.

wpid-20140218_100040.jpghappy mess

wpid-20140218_100443.jpgnot my prettiest work, but this dough is wet.

wpid-20140218_100739.jpgit’s okay, i’ll eat the ugly pieces.

wpid-20140218_110444.jpgbaked up, my new gigantic cooling rack.

wpid-20140218_111102.jpgholy moly!

Well, I definitely scored on the crumb! I gave it a taste test and unfortunately, we do need some improvements. Too much whole wheat made the bread a little more bitter than I would like. It will be great with soup or to scoop up sauces in, but it could be better. I had planned on using more bread flour in my ratio (I think I ended up with 70% whole wheat and 30% bread flour) but the dough firmed up before I got to the ratio I was planning on, which was six cups of flour, not four and a half or so. So lesson learned for next time, however I don’t think there’s going to be a problem getting this bread eaten!

While Francine was baking I went out and fed the wild birds and scooped a poop zone aka turdundra for the greyhound. I don’t know about you, but I would not like to poop up to my elbows in snow. I took a few snaps so you could see how snowy it is here!

wpid-20140218_102455.jpgdoesn’t do it justice

wpid-20140218_102642.jpgsad flamingo

wpid-20140218_102600.jpgi almost had to borrow some huskies to get over to the tree

wpid-20140218_102631.jpglast years hops

It needs to warm up here before I go crazy!!!

No Poo Hair Care How To (with 4 years experience!)

Good morning!

wpid-20140205_093105.jpgpre-coffee

Today I want to write about No Poo Hair care, which is something I probably should have done a while ago. I was tra la la-ing through blogs yesterday and I bumped into a lovely post from a beginner No Poo’er. Of course I read it and left some, hopefully, helpful commentary. This reminded me of when I first started No Poo. Rarely do you find an “update” or “x many years later” about the topic. Mostly it’s beginners starting off. So I am here to fix that!

I have been No Poo for about 4 years. I stopped using baking soda and vinegar 2 years in and only wash my hair with water.

BEFORE YOU READ:

1. I AM WHITE

2. I HAVE STRAIGHT THIN HAIR

Please be AWARE that if you are a different race or have a different texture of hair, you might want to look into some other writer’s thoughts on No Poo as well. Hair type matters. Basically, the method is the same, but you may want to look into tips specifically for your hair.

This is how I am going to set it up for you:

A. What is No Poo?

B. How to wash your hair in the No Poo Method

C. The Plan for Going No Poo (what I did and results)

D. Troubleshooting

wpid-20140205_065802.jpgthis is my hair, literally immediately after the gym. i just took it down, shook it and there it is.

A. What Is No Poo?

No Poo is basically the cession of the use of shampoo. Gradually, you wean your hair off of shampoo and use a different method. The typical method is baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Generally, you “wash” your hair with baking soda and then “condition” it with apple cider vinegar. And why would anyone do this? Well, you no longer have to buy shampoo or conditioner. So, less money spend, less bottles in the garbage. Also, there are claims of nasty evil chemicals in shampoo. Is there merit to that? I don’t know and I don’t worry about it. I don’t think they make shampoo with GMO Diet Coke and McDonalds, but who knows?

My personal thought is that my hair has evolved over bazillions of years and I doubt some CEOs at a shampoo company have a better idea what my hair needs than my own head and genetics. They want to sell shampoo. Duh. It really does do wonders for your hair. My hair was very thin and brittle (thanks, creative dye jobs) and now it is thicker (still on the thin side) and much, much stronger, it does not break as easily. Also in general I have less frizz, my hair dries much faster and sweat wicks off when I am at the gym so my head doesn’t stink like a foot. My hair combs better, stays styled better and in general, looks better consistently. Like 99.9% good hair days. I forgot what a bad hair day was. I no longer use any hot styling tools as they have become unnecessary.

wpid-20140205_092909.jpgthat’s the side of my head, guys!

B. How To Wash Your Hair in the No Poo Method

This is where I am going to get sincerely long winded. But I want you to know 100% the exact details of how to do this to set you up for success. Did I follow these rules to the letter? Not always, but if something started to go amiss, I could usually ferret out the reason. This stuff does not feel good in your eyes, so avoid that.

I am going to reenact this for you, but I am not going to actually use the products. I’m going to dump them in the toilet and see if they clean it. I’ve heard that works well, so why not?

wpid-20140205_081015.jpgstuff.

Things You Will Need (NOT NEGOTIABLE!)

1. Baking Soda (here on out known as BS)

2. Apple Cider Vinegar (here on out known as ACV)

3. 2 Cups (I use coffee mugs)

4. Water and a Shower (ok, duh, sorry)

5. 10 Extra Minutes of Time

6. A GOOD Bristle Brush. I like Kent. They run up from $20.

wpid-20140205_074518.jpggather your stuff.

Step One:

Measure out about a teaspoon of BS into one cup and a tablespoon of ACV into the other. Add enough water to fill the cups. About 3/4 C. You might find you need more or less. No Poo is very much determined by your hair type. You have to experiment.

wpid-20140205_074607.jpgthat looks kind of like pee.

wpid-20140205_074624.jpgi am sure without a visual aid, you couldn’t handle this.

wpid-20140205_074714.jpgstill looks like pee. stir around the BS to make sure it mixes well.

Step Two:

Either use your sink or your tub. I prefer my tub, because it’s easier to kneel in front of it for me. PREPARE A TOWEL! Kneel or stand over the tub/sink. Pour a quarter of the BS mixture onto the back of your head. Use your fingers to scrub. Take your time. We’ll wait. Repeat for the sides of your head and your forehead. Focus only on your scalp and scrub deep.

Step Three:

Rinse all of the BS out! Your hair should feel squeaky. Like that is the best I can come up with. Squeaky.

Step Four:

Dip the ends of your hair into the ACV cup, as deep as you can get them then pour the rest onto your head. Let it sit for a few second. Squeeze out the excess.

Step Five:

Take a shower, you filth pit! Avoid rinsing the ACV until the end. You will smell the ACV, but as soon as your hair dries it disappears. Rinse with cold water to close up the hair cuticle. (I did find a post contradicting this, however it also said that if you don’t wash your hair it could become inflamed and your oil glands produce the same amount of oil no matter what. I smell bull crap and quackery.)

Step Six:

Whether you No Poo or not, you should make sure to NOT USE FRICTION to dry your hair. Squeeze out the water, shake, squeeze. Blot up moisture with a towel. Wrap your hair into the towel and let it air dry. I usually leave it in the towel for ten to fifteen minutes and then I let it out to finish drying. I rarely blow dry, about once a year. Since my hair now dries straight, it is not necessary. Do not brush it until it is at least mostly dry.

Step Seven:

When your hair is dry, brush it out with your bristle brush, I do on average 20 strokes but sometimes I will go off on a daydream and do 100 or more. Pull sections of your hair and brush from root to tip to distribute the oils.

Step Eight:

Enjoy your amazing hair!

wpid-20140205_093134.jpgi just am not good at taking pictures.

C. The Plan For No Poo

Ideally, you want to stop using all forms of shampoo, BS/ACV and just wash with water. It takes some time to get there. It took me two years and I have not washed my hair with anything but water. You probably aren’t interested in that quite yet. So let’s make a plan. I am going to call these “Phases” because each phase has no time limit and entirely depends on your personal preferences.

I am going to assume you shower every day, or nearly. When you shower, SCRUB YOUR SCALP. Give it a good rub down with your fingers for at least a minute.

Phase One:

Stop buying shampoo. Duh. Start washing your hair less often. When I started, I washed every other day and I cut it down to two days a week. Condition as normal.

Phase Two:

Conditioner only washing. Wash your hair, again as little as you can get by with, but only with conditioner. It contains most of the same ingredients as your shampoo, I dare to assume. Go ahead, look at your bottle. Try to keep it at twice a week.

Phase Three:

Ditch the commercial stuff. Hold off on washing until literally you can’t stand it. Ponytails and braids are your new best friends. Do the No Poo method when it gets bad. I did it once a week in the beginning, and then once every two weeks. It gets better, promise. You just have to be patient!

Phase Four:

Keep trying to minimize the amount of times you use BS/ACV. Keep dragging it out as long as you can. Your head needs to adjust. Strange things might happen, be patient! When you get to once every three months, you can get ready to make the jump!

Phase Five:

Water only. You can get there, I promise. Just keep trucking along. Read the troubleshooting for some more tips!

wpid-20140205_092948.jpgmy part/scalp

wpid-20140205_092959.jpgclose upish?

D.Troubleshooting

Dry, straw-like hair:

  • Apply an oil, such as coconut or even olive oil to the ends of your hair. Put a very small amount in your hands, rub them together and lightly rub through your hair starting at the ends. I never bothered to wash it out, I would just wear my hair up until it faded out, like 2 days max.
  • Make sure you are brushing from root to tip with a GOOD BRISTLE BRUSH. I can’t emphasize this enough. Invest in a GOOD one.
  • Don’t forget to SCRUB your scalp. Move that oil.
  • Cold water rinses always help

Very Greasy Hair/Scalp:

  • Again, the brush thing. And the scrubbing thing.
  • If it is really bad, take a 20 minute hot bath. I’ve found this works wonders. Scrub in the tub!

Dandruff:

  • I never had a problem with this. I would guess it would be due to not scrubbing or brushing.

How Do I Style:

  • Stop using heated tools. Rag curls, waves, anything is possible. Just avoid the heat. My hair no longer holds a heated curl, I tried it for a party and it just did not happen. But rag curls work fine.
  • Wispy ends: You won’t have them.
  • Frizz: You won’t have it, or put a very little bit of oil in your hair.
  • Dyeing: I stopped dyeing my hair. This was a personal choice. You have to decide for yourself. There are natural dyes out there if you would like.
  • Wut do I tell my hair dresser? I don’t know, I don’t have one. I would BS/ACV prior and just tell them not to wash your hair. If they pout, remind them who is paying them.
  • Dirty brushes: Wash weekly in dish soap and rinse well. Your brushes will get dirtier. Keep them clean
  • My hair doesn’t smell pretty: I don’t know. It never bothered me that my hair doesn’t really smell. Well, it smells like hair. And bread. Probably because I bake a lot. You can add essential oils to your hair if you want. Just be careful. Maybe put a few drops into a small spray bottle with water and shake.

That’s about all I can think of! Give it a try if you want. Worst case scenario you go back to using shampoo. Best case? Never use the stuff again. If you have questions, please leave a comment!

*edit 4/29/2014 I have added a No Poo Number Two installment. If you like this post, you might want to check it out!

Why throw away money? Cloth Napkins!

I’ve been using cloth napkins for ages, because I never got the point of buying something to throw away, like paper napkins. Born of being poor and frugal, my first out on my own adventures in adult land included buying cloth napkins, cloth diapers (for cleaning, you’d be amazed how well they work!) and a whole mess of towels. I hate buying things to throw away. I even bring them and silverware to work, despite the array of throw away napkins and cutlery provided. But now, with my new sewing machine, I can make much less expensive and much prettier ones!

wpid-20140123_083748.jpgi bought this fabric because it reminded me of my childhood. probably have something handmade somewhere by someone in the same fabric from 15 years ago…

wpid-20140123_083611.jpgthis was just pretty! i also made a matching bread towel, because normal towels are just too small for bread making.

100% cotton beautiful napkins sure impress! Can’t wait to wash them and use them!

Also, this is my wild yeast starter:

wpid-20140122_173217.jpgbubbly!

Going to make that baby into bread soon! Will keep you updated!

xxxbmg

My First Garment: Pajama Pants

I finished my first garment, a pair of flannel pajama pants!

wpid-ResizedImage951390364098628.jpgyou’re so lucky i am not making a duck face. the black lump is a greyhound. it is always a greyhound.

I made them from a pattern from Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp. The pattern is actually for yoga pants, but I figured my first attempt should be something that, um, doesn’t need to be worn outside of the house. The upside, since they are designed to be yoga pants, is my back end looks AMAZING in them. It took my two days because I definitely took my time to get it right and not get frustrated. I didn’t want to rush it.

wpid-20140122_081934.jpgtop of pants (waist?)

wpid-20140122_081949.jpgbottom of pants (hem?)

wpid-20140122_081959.jpgdrawstring. no, i am not posting a picture of my back end! 😉

They turned out really nice, although a little big. I know I am a bit in between sizes right now (knee injury and having to take time off the gym, booooo!!!! from running about 20 miles a week to couch potato! Take care of your knees people!) so I’m somewhere between a small and a medium. Also I am really short, by the way. But again, this is why I made pajama pants, in case they were too big or needed some editing. I plan to make a “real” pair in black and already I have like 20 requests to make them for other people. So, I guess I am going to be making pants for a while!