Making supplies

3 Years Shampoo Free.

It’s been another year, and I’m still not going back to commercial shampoo.

I honestly almost forgot it was time to talk about this, because being “poo-free” has become so every day for me.  Then a friend of mine sent me a link that included a video of Kathy Lee and Hoda on the Today show ripping apart another blogger for not washing her hair with shampoo.

The whole thing made me really want to write a big, long winded, angry rebuttal, going point for point about all the things that were wrong, poorly researched, and generally ignorant in their segment.  But, when it comes down to it, I think the absolute worst of it is, on national tv, a supposedly respectable 60 year old woman is bullying a complete stranger.  I don’t want to add to that by throwing more vitriol out there.  Those who would listen already know better than to believe the kind of nonsense they were saying, and those who don’t…well, they wouldn’t listen anyhow.

  So, after 3 years without shampoo, here’s where things stand for me:
  I hate my hair.  Like, extra “a”s and “t”s for emphasis, hate.
  This has exactly nothing to do with being poo free, and everything to do with the weather, and that sweet little booger in my arms above.
  I can say this with confidence, because I’ve also been the absolute happiest with my hair while doing poo free.  Also, because my hair did this exact same thing after I was pregnant with G.
  Problem is, this being one of the coldest winters in memory, our heating has been running constantly.  My whole house is a static electric tinderbox.  Add to that the fact that, as happens after you have a baby, a large portion of my hair fell out this summer.  All of that hair has grown back to about 3″ long.  I have a constant, staticky halo around my head that makes me look a bit like a lightning-struck dandelion puff.
  Winter and post-pregnancy blues aside, I’m still pleased with washing with baking soda.
  One of the biggest questions about poo-free that I had been, up until this point, unable to answer, was how dyed hair fared with it.  I added my turquoise streaks to my hair at the end of August and have only had to re-dye them twice…one of those times being this past week.  That’s with semi-permanent hair dye.  They don’t make permanent teal dye.  So needless to say, poo free is dyed hair safe.
  While I was pregnant with R, I got down to using the baking soda once a week.  I’m back to twice a week, for a couple of reasons.  One, my skin, including my scalp, gets really dry when I’m pregnant.  I honestly could have gone longer than a week at times.  Two, I’m exercising a lot more now than I was when I was pregnant.  Obviously I wasn’t doing aerial at 8 months huge.  I use the baking soda rinse when my hair gets greasy, and I just rinse with water when it isn’t.  I wash my hair when I need to wash my hair.  Simple as that.
  I started with no-poo mostly out of curiosity about what it would do to my hair, but it has been a fascinating journey in other ways too.  If I had any doubt about the powers of marketing before this, I definitely don’t now.  There hasn’t been shampoo in my shower for 3 years.  I still have to fight myself to not buy a bottle any time I wind up in the hair care aisle.  I don’t need it, heck, I don’t even really want it, but there’s that siren call of “this shampoo will make your life perfect” always there.  …obviously the only thing standing between me and euphoria is the lack of a new bottle of Pantene, right?  It sometimes makes me question which other items I “can’t live without” are just emotional manipulation.
  I can’t help but feel that the woman who was chosen for the segment I linked to above was picked because she was an easy target.  She admits to being “crunchy”…to the point it’s part of her blog name.  That’s scary to a lot of people.  She different, and unapologetic about it.  I suspect that my blog, or the blog of somebody more like me, wasn’t picked, because it would have been a lot harder to build a case of “yuck, dirty hippie”.  I don’t use shampoo…but I dye my hair turquoise.  I make my own clothes, but out of obnoxiously bright colors or black, not vegetable dyed, organic cotton.  I do my best to keep my kids’ screen time to an absolute minimum and don’t have “real” tv, but I don’t co-sleep, and I use disposable diapers.  I wear makeup, and high heels and tend to only buy organic when it’s convenient.  I hate to admit it, but I’m middle of the road.
  I don’t use shampoo, not because I’m trying to avoid the chemicals per se (though that’s a bonus), but because it works for me to not use it.  I’d wonder if I were fooling myself, if it weren’t for the half dozen or so non-crunchy friends who have tried it, based simply on my success.  If I’m a hippie, apparently I’m a pleasant smelling, nicely styled hippie.  I’m non-threatening, so maybe if it works for me, it’s not quite so out there.
  But, I’m getting dangerously close to heading off on a rant, so I’ll stop this here.
  If you’re curious about anything with no-poo, or heck, just feel like telling me you think I’m delusional and my head probably stinks*, leave a comment!
*Please be warned, if you do so, I’ll probably revoke my decision to not rant.

A failed experiment in kool aid dyeing

  Hi Everybody.  I’m Erin, and I have a problem.  (Hi Erin!)  That problem is called “Pinterest“…and if you’ve discovered it, you know what I mean.

  I’ve tried very, very hard to not let my boards turn into the stereotypical collection of crafts I’m never going to do.  Problem is, that means I’ve got to find the time in the day to do the 3,000 things that I think I can get done!
  A little over a week ago I found this:
Gaaaah…must have preeeeetty
  It was connected to this tutorial for kool aid dyeing, something I’ve been meaning to try out for a while.  I was headed to the grocery store anyhow, so I decided to add yarn and kool aid to my list.
  Now…the first mistake I made in this process was to read “wool yarn (or a blend with other animal fibers like alpaca, angora, cashmere – a small percentage, like 15% or less, of something man made, like nylon or rayon, would be ok) in hank form” and get overly smart.  “Oh, any natural fiber should be fine” I thought to myself…and grabbed cotton.  …if you go back later and read the comments (because you’re confused as to why it didn’t work) you will find that she specifically says it doesn’t work on plant fibers.  …that’s okay.  I’m going to show you what happened anyhow.
  This is what I started with:
I used grape, berry blue, lemon lime and lemonade
  First, I wound my balls of yarn into a hank.  I used the back of a chair and then just slid it off when I had finished.  I decided that two of the balls of yarn were going to be plenty for the first experiment.  I tied strands of a polyester yarn around the hank in 4 places to avoid the nightmare tangling I got when I did my tarn dyeing project.
  Next, I dunked the yarn in the water (make sure you don’t have it heated up for this, you’re going to have to push your hand into the water to get the air bubbles out of the yarn so it’ll sink) and let it simmer for a while.  I’m not sure exactly how long I let it sit…certainly longer than 15 minutes…I ran outside to get the last few bulbs planted in my garden…so probably more like 45 minutes.  I also added 1/3 c. vinegar to help the color set.
  Once the yarn was good and soaked, I started adding kool aid.
  I added the green and blue first and let it soak for an hour.  The water never got entirely clear (probably because I was using the wrong type of yarn) but I lost patience and turned it over.  I added the purple and yellow and let that soak for an hour too.
  After two hours soaking in the crock pot, it looked like this:
Not exactly the vivid colors I was looking for
  I threw it in the sink, wondering what had gone wrong and rinsed it out.
  After it was rinsed, I hung it up to dry in my shower.  It looked like this:
  I was disappointed.  The very subtle, greyed out blues and purples were very pretty, but it wasn’t at all what I had been trying for, and I was afraid that as it dried, it would lighten even more.
  You can imagine my surprise when I checked on it two days later and it looked like this:
  By the time it was completely dry, the blues had come back in full force.
  Only problem now is that there’s still a lot of not very colorful yarn in there.  And though it’s hard to see in the picture, the parts that aren’t blue have a funky pink tint.
  Not to worry.  I got more kool aid and will be putting it back in the pot soon!  I’ll let you guys know how it goes…and when I actually do it correctly (using wool yarn and all), I promise, I’ll show you that too!

Beautiful Tote Bag

  I can never have enough tote bags.  Part of how I keep myself sane and organized is by having a bag for everything.  I have a bag for school, a bag for the gym, a bag for the dance studio and a bag for the library.  Each one has specific things I need for that destination, so I don’t have to haul everything all the time (I prefer my purse to be small).  Sometimes, simply out of necessity of needing the bag right then, the bags are ugly and utilitarian…but how much nicer when they’re beautiful!

  I found this tutorial last spring and fell in love with it immediately.  I knew I had to make at least one.  Unfortunately, I’m yet to find a source for affordable, beautiful leather like she uses.  I did however find some incredible, heavy duty canvas from a local recycling resource that sells industrial scraps.
My bag for the gym
  The tutorial itself is incredibly well written and easy to follow, so I won’t elaborate on it much.  The only modifications I made were to make my bag bigger and to insert an inside pocket (like this).  I also added a band of lining between the two canvas pieces for contrast (simply fold a small piece of fabric and insert it between the two fabrics before attaching them).
  Finding the rivets for this project was a little more difficult than I expected.  None of the sewing stores I checked had anything like what I was looking for.  The only place that seemed to have them was the hardware store.  Big box hardwares aren’t likely to carry them.  Find the store with 35,897 different types of screws. 
  I would definitely encourage purchasing extra rivets and grommets/eyelets to practice with, especially if you haven’t worked with them before.  Inserting them is in theory fairly simple, but getting them in cleanly takes some practice, and once they’re on your bag, they’re probably on there permanently.  
  I use the bag I’ve made all the time and couldn’t be happier with it.  …I think I’ll make another one soon!
  What about you?  Will you try this tutorial out?

Beautiful, Ratty T-shirts

  My bathroom needed a new rug.  Our old one had traveled with us through 2 houses and an apartment and was in such bad shape that the last time we put it through the wash and then back on the floor, the rubber melted to the tile.

  I’ve been trying really hard lately to make more things and buy less.  It takes a lot of time, but it means I truly appreciate what I have, instead of just loading up on “deals” that wind up needing to be stored or thrown away in a year when I get tired of them, so I decided to try my hand at making my own rug.  The sizing didn’t quite work out for the space in the bathroom, but it’s PERFECT for a bathmat (which was also on its last legs).
  Pretty fancy huh?  So would you believe me when I tell you that my bathmat started out as this?
  The Mr. hadn’t cleaned out his dresser in a while and so he had a dozen or so white undershirts that were ready to be tossed.  Rather than condemn them to a landfill somewhere (after paying our garbage collection fee on them of course), I decided to put them to use.
  Using this tutorial, I cut the t shirts up, and then linked the pieces together, like this.  Heads up, this does get messy.  You’re going to lose lots of little “pills” of fabric when you stretch it.  I cut apart the remaining (above the armpits) portion of the shirts for rags.
  Once it was all hooked together I headed to the store to grab some dye.  I wanted something that would work with the coral theme I have in the bathroom, so I bought 2 boxes of RIT dye, one in scarlet and another in tangerine.
  I wound the tarn around two chairs in an attempt to get a somewhat serviceable hank.  Next time I’ll either put something between the chairs or start with them back to back…they slid closer and closer with every pass I made.  If I ever dye tarn again, I will also put some ties around the hank to keep it from getting all knotted.  Untangling my tarn after dyeing was by far the most arduous part of this process.
  I wanted to make sure I had some variation in color throughout the yarn, so I wrapped rubber bands around random portions of the tarn and used two different dye baths.  First I made a bath that was about 75% scarlet and 25% tangerine and then after dyeing and removing the rubber bands (and replacing them on other parts of the hank) I put it in a second bath with the opposite proportions.
  Once the tarn was dyed, I stuck it outside in the sun to dry.
My neighbors are very understanding of the fact it looks like I’m putting guts out to dry.
That or they’re afraid to ask too many questions.
  3 days later, when I’d finished untangling it all and had it wound into a ball, it looked like this:
Next to a ball rolled from a full hank of yarn
  Now it was time to knit!  I already knew the pattern I wanted to use.  I’ve been working on making this Ariel scarf  for…well, lets just say it was started before I was pregnant with G and leave it at that…but on size 5 needles, I can work for an hour and only add an inch.  Not very satisfying.
  Obviously, making a bath mat, and with big thick yarn to work with, it was going to go faster.  I broke out the size 15 needles and while I’m not going to say knitting this was quick, it was always really satisfying to see how much length I could add to it with just a row or two.
  I think I did 4 or so repeats of the pattern and then bound it off when I ran out of tarn.  A brand new, all cotton, specifically-designed-for-my-decor bath mat…and all it cost me was a couple bucks for dye.  Not bad huh?
  A note for those who are interested in trying this:
     Don’t be intimidated by the cable pattern!  Believe it or not, this is my first completed cable knit project.  Cable knitting takes a little bit to figure out, but this one has every step written out exactly, so it’s actually a great learning pattern.
  If you have any questions about how I did anything, please feel free to leave me a comment!