Sunday, May 30, 2010

The kitchen witch in me

I have long been into homemade bath and body products. I've been making my own beauty products off and on since high school and though there are many commercial products I use and like, there's just something special about the homemade. I know exactly what is in what I'm putting on my skin and can pronounce and recognize each ingredient. Plus the act of creating these potions speaks to my inner alchemist. Using pure essential oils provides aromatherapy as well as skin healing properties.

The last few months has seen a resurgence in my interest in homemade skin care. I discovered fabulous cold cream on Etsy from Cataphract. I've not been able to duplicate her product, but I've discovered I can make a mighty fine night cream for myself in the process of trying. A mention of natural deodorant on the now defunct Lime and Violet podcast got me investigating recipes for that as well. I found it is super simple to make and works wonderfully. Now that our weather is starting to creep into the 80s and 90s we'll see how well natural holds up to the heat!

My latest adventure in homemade natural is trying to create some infused oils. Our lavender is blooming in abundance and smells divine. I decided to try two blends...
The first jar is stuffed full with lavender buds and mint leaves topped with olive oil. The second is lavender and rose petals with sunflower oil. The jars will need to sit in a dark place for several months to infuse the oil with the flowers' scents. I started the lavender/mint oil a week or two ago and the oil is already starting to absorb the scent. I'm very much looking forward to having these infused oils next fall and winter to (hopefully) create some great smelling soaps and lotions!

Monday, May 10, 2010

One word

You nonknitters might as well stop reading now. By the end of this post you'll be convinced I'm a raving lunatic. But, you knitters out there know what I'm talking about. This much ballyhooed yarn is pretty darn difficult to come by. It's a German yarn sold almost exclusively by the dyer (although I understand Loopy Ewe does carry it occasionally). Claudia usually stocks her shop once or twice a week and stock sells out in minutes. MINUTES I say. I've known of the yarn for months. But the extreme difficulty in obtaining it from the source and generally astronomical prices being charged on Ebay have kept my interest marginal. About a month ago, I decided to start watching for site updates. I downloaded a tool for Firefox that monitors websites for you and notifies you whenever they update. The few times I was actually in the vicinity of my computer when an update went up, I wasn't able to get an order off in time. That was until about 10 days ago. May 1st must have been my lucky day because I managed to score a 2 skein grab bag, known as We're Different. I really had no idea what I was ordering. The color names are mostly German and the updates go so very fast it's hard to figure out what's what. So I rather blindly ordered a 2 skein We're Different Gemischt. After ordering I joined the Ravelry group of Wollmeiseholics and did some research. I discovered that Gemischt bags include yarns of complimentary colors (either 2 or 5 skeins, depending which size you order). There are also grab bags known as Kunterbunt which will included unmatched colors, true grab bags. Grab bags are also available in individual colors if you are so inclined. All the We're Different grab bags are "Surprise-Bags with our rebels (colours that don't correspond to the photo exactly), wallflower (skeins that were put aside as standby for previous online updates) and guinea pigs (test-dyes)." Since I love surprise, this is perfect for me.

My package arrived today. I was thrilled to bits. Here's what was in the package.
The yarns were packed inside a delightfully illustrated paperbag. The front side looks like knitted fabric and the back side has English / German knitting translations. There was a free scarf pattern and a bag of German gummy bears.

The yarn is phenomenal. The hype? Totally not hype. It's all true. The color is gorgeous. It defies photographing, but trust me, it's outstanding. Someday I may be able to unwrap these skeins and actually knit something with this. For now, I just want to stare at it. To pet it. To put it in a safe where no one can touch it but me.