Homemade Shampoo Didn’t Work.

I”ve been off the radar for a few weeks sorry guys. The reason is actually a combination of things. First, I tried to update my operating system on my laptop and it crashed the disk, meaning I had to wipe it and reboot from a backup. Unfortunately my most recent backup was 18 months old, so I had to find creative ways of getting my data off the machine first. Anyway, long story short is that it took about a week and a half but we”re finally back on track in that regard.

During that time a couple of other things happened. I idled upon a new (to me) podcast which is focussed on trying to encourage people to think scientifically. It sounds a little dry when I describe it like that but it”s actually fascinating and has really made me reassess the way I think about certain things. 

Another thing that happened as a direct consequence of this is that I signed up to a course! It”s called Food For Thought and it is designed to help people understand eating, health and nutrition scientifically, and see through the hype of marketing and misinformation that we’re bombarded with every day.

Why am I writing this here? Because something I’ve learned is that I have had some false ideas about certain things. And I’ve written things here such as ‘trying to use more natural products’ and so on that is not only not based on science but is just a silly way to prioritise things. ‘Natural’ things include cyanide, mercury, and botulism, and I don’t want any of those things in my daily life if I can help it.

I will continue to make my own lip gloss and moisturiser, as these things when store-bought tend to contain petroleum-based ingredients which are non-renewable. I’d rather avoid using fossil fuels as a beauty aid. 

I’ll keep blogging and creating as much as I can. I will try to avoid too much preaching (aside from this post, obviously), but I will equally try to avoid making unfounded health, nutrition or other claims. 

All this finally leads back to my title. I started making my own castile-soap based shampoo due to the popular thought that sodium laureth sulfate has health risks. After looking into studies made to test these claims, I can safely say that aside from being a mild skin irritant to some people, there are no known health risks. The whole myth is based on hype, and misinformation, and poorly-conducted, biased studies. Aside from all that, the homemade shampoo made my hair greasy, brittle and really hard to brush. And it got worse and worse. So I have gone back on the store-bought stuff. I’m alternating with this soap, though, as my mum sent it to me and it smells great, and works pretty well as a shampoo. 

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The reason for the mixture of normal shampoo and this soap is because I’ve started riding my bike to work each day and so my hair needs daily washing. It gets a bit too flyaway with the normal shampoo washing everyday so the alternating with the soap makes a good balance.

So this was a pretty different post to usual! I hope you don’t mind. I’ve got some yummy recipes to share and I’ve been sewing, too, so I’ll be back with more of my regular style of post very soon.

Have a great weekend guys!

Cheers,

Luci

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Air Freshener.

Hi there everyone! I’m sorry it’s been a little while, life has been conspiring to keep me off the internet. But I’m back now!

So this is just a quickie. My stick-diffuser air freshener in my bathroom is empty. It very well may have been for a while now, but I happened to notice it today, which is incidentally also the day that my lovely new essential oils turned up. One of which is Jasmine, which is one of my favourite scents in the world. We had it growing all around the house when I was growing up, and aside from smelling great it looks pretty too:

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The recipe is simple. I used almond oil as a carrier, a little vodka (you could use any strong clear alcohol) to help carry along the sticks, and about 25 drops of the jasmine oil. I’ll give that a day or two and then if it’s not strong enough, add more. 

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So that’s my solution to keeping waste to a minimum – recycle the old bottle! It was vanilla flavoured last time so we’ll see how much of that carries over, but vanilla and jasmine scents together will work pretty nicely anyway, I think 🙂

Tourist T-Shirt into Cushion Cover.

I should probably invest in a decent office chair one of these days. My current work char is a cheap folding chair, which is a little low. I’ve been using a pile of fabric scraps as a cushion for a while (lazy? Yep!) but I decided to make something a little better. I’ve partially cannibalised a bed pillow over recent months, taking some stuffing and using it in other projects – so it was a bit deflated. I decided to combine that and one of the many men’s T-shirts from my stash and make a comfy spot for my behind! 

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I cut the pillow about two-thirds of the way along the length and stuffed the larger end as full as I could, to make a nice firm cushion. I folded the raw edge in on itself and sewed it shut. I also sewed the other end closed and put that back in the stash.

I chose a T-shirt that (sorry Dom) I would never wear in a million years. I decided the Australian-ness is acceptable when not living in Australia, and when used as part of the furniture. The T was good thick cotton too, which is important. I flattened the front and back together and pinned down, then used my chalk pencil to draw a square 17 inches per side – to match my cushion with about an inch leeway. I cut out my squares. 

I decided to make ties to hold the cushion in it’s cover, and to hold it on to the chair. For this I used the convenient hem of the t-shirt. I just cut it off close to the seam, and turned the tube inside out with help of a safety pin. 

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I then cut this tube into 8 pieces – 4 per side. These I pinned and sewed onto each ‘open’ edge of the cushion cover – I had marked the side I wanted at the back of the chair in chalk so I didn’t get mixed up. That is, I folded the raw edges down, pinned the strips of tube, sewed. 

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Then it was just a matter of putting the right sides together, sewing down the other three sides of my cushion, and turning it right-side out.

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In goes the cushion, tie tie tie go the ties. Done!

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And now it’s under my bum. It’s comfy too. 

(Yes I’m in a silly mood today. It’s Friday and I’m not sick anymore, what can I say – I’m happy!)

Do you have any good ideas for T-shirt upcycling, or what to do with souvenirs when the novelty wears off?

I hope you’re having a great day!

Cheers,

Luci

A Little Denim Bag.

Christmas is looming and I feel as if I should hand-make every christmas present. This is definitely not going to be possible, but I will make some and today I finished off one. This is another creation from old pairs of jeans from Dom, and I’m quite satisfied with it. I love the colour variations that old denim gets, and the softness of the material. 

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I didn’t get too many progress photos, but I’ll describe what I did as best as possible. I cut two equal sized rectangles of jeans leg, making sure to keep the seam in the middle as shown. The rectangles were about 20cm by 30cm. I sewed one long edge of each together, and made a rectangle of lining material the same size.

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I pinned two darts per side at what will become the top edge, and added a covering piece of denim slightly longer than the darted edge. Then I sewed it all down.

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I wasn’t exactly sure how to finish it off (I’d seen a tutorial on how to make this bag but I’d lost the link and only remembered up to this point). I ended up sewing a few pieces of jeans leg together to make a piece about 80cm long and 12cm or so wide. Then I ironed it flat, then in half, opened it up and ironed the raw edges to the middle, then back in half again to make a nice casing. I sewed the remaining raw edges of the bag into the new casing strap, with the ends at the base of the bag and a good length of handle left above. 

A funky old button and a loop of elastic to hold the top closed, and it’s all done!  I think it worked out nicely and I hope it will be well received in a couple of weeks (eek! So little time!) at christmas.

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I hope your festive plans are going well! Are you hand-making any presents this year (and want to give me some ideas)?

Cheers,

Luci

Tidying Things Up A Bit.

Every now and then I get this urge to clean, tidy and organise some part of my home. Sometimes it’s just little things like actually packing books into the bookshelf instead of on top of it; sometimes I try to colour-code my wardrobe, which lasts about two outfit changes. This week I attacked my office/workroom desk.

My desk has two computers, a sewing machine, a pile of German-language books and notes, and a whole lot of what can only be described as mess. After half an hour of putting things where they should go, and cleaning off the dust and loose threads, I was left with a relatively tidy desk. And this stuff, which I couldn’t find a home for.

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It’s not a whole lot, I know, but after cleaning everything else, this stuff bothered me. So I decided to make a hanging pen (etc) holder to hang from my cork board just behind my desk. 

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Two pockets of different heights to accommodate my flotsam seemed about right. I made it an arbitrary width – using a scrap of yellow cotton I had lying around. I should have interfaced the back, to give it a bit more support, but I may go back and do that later. I had initially thought I’d just pin it directly to the board but then I remembered I had yellow ribbon, so I made little hanging loops. This stuff was annoying to line up under the needle on my machine, but after a few tries and some swearing I got them attached.

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After testing the carry-all, I decided to stitch up the middle to stop sagging.

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And that’s really all for this one. I put it up on the wall and filled it with my bits n bobs, and then proceeded to keep sewing and therefore make more mess, but it was a productive venture nonetheless!

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Definitely need to go back and interface, though. One day…

Hope you’re having a great Monday!

Cheers,

Luci

A Handbag.

I’m so glad I can finally post about this! I made a handbag a few weeks ago (well, I finished it a few weeks ago, anyway) but as it was a gift I couldn’t post about it before it was received.

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Dom’s family, like mine, are really supportive of my new-found creative bent. Dom’s mum requested something hand-made as her birthday present, so I decided to make her a handbag. I took Dom along to the fabric shop (I think it was his first time ever in such a shop) and we chose some material. I took it home, arbitrarily decided on a shape and size for the bag, and got cutting.

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The red lining contrast so nicely with the neutral outer material, don’t you think? I used interfacing on the outer material and not on the lining. In hindsight I should have just made boxed corners like I did for my laptop bag, but I for some reason wanted a proper side and bottom piece. That made for a lot more work! sewing the corners was the worst, as it was super-think and tricky to get them straight, but I think I managed okay in the end.

I searched a bunch of different sites and found what I decided was the best option for inserting the zipper. I didn’t save the link unfortunately, but thanks to the person who put up a beautiful zipper casing tutorial! I’ll update with the link if I can find it.

Basically, I got a zipper of the right length and cut two strips of cloth the same length of the zipper, in matching colour. I actually should have cut these a bit longer. Oh well, live and learn. I ironed them flat, then in half lengthwise, then I opened that up and folded the sides to the middle, then folded that shut again and ironed it flat.

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So that goes around the zipper and is sewn in place.

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As you can see, the strips really didn’t have any excess at the ends. That meant when I put in a cross-piece I had to cover a bit of the zipper as well, but I think it worked okay. Next time though I’ll leave a few centimetres excess at both ends.

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Sorry about the blurriness!

So with great care not to mix up the right and wrong sides (and a bit of unpicking when I got it wrong…) I sewed the lining onto the zip, like so:

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I then attached the outer material to the zipper casing, and I had to hand-sew the ends as it was WAY too thick and tricky for my poor old sewing machine to handle!

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The last step was making a strap, which I made in much the same way as the zipper casing. I attached it with some D-rings that are in that old beaten brassy style, like the zipper.

I’m really happy with how this one ended up. What do you think?

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Hope you’ve had a great weekend!

Cheers,

Luci