Category Archives: Crafts

I am sure I will be working on a few projects while we are living here in the UK.

David’s Sweater

I am currently knitting up a storm. It usually happens in September/October. I usually get the knitting bug. The weather drastically changes and I break out the warm fibers and start to work them into a shape. Scarves, hats, socks, mittens, are my usual fare. This year, I was able to pick up yarn from WEBS. I would have loved to make the two hour drive to go looking around but with babies it is a little difficult. For now, I will make my online purchases. My budget loves the closeout selection. Here is a little look into my small stash.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6bc/28030641/files/2015/01/img_0002-0.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6bc/28030641/files/2015/01/img_0001-0.jpg I purchased ten skeins of this Cascade 220 Fingerling in Christmas Green. It is a beautiful green.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6bc/28030641/files/2015/01/img_0003-0.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6bc/28030641/files/2015/01/img_0004-0.jpg This Araucania Huasco is beautiful and the pictures don’t do it justice. I love the way hand painted wool looks. I only purchased one skein and I think I may make socks with this.
This Christmas, I made stockings, a hat, golf club cosys, and I am in the middle of my second ever sweater. David has wanted me to knit him a sweater for a long time and I am finally getting around to it. For David’s sweater I am using Regia Highland Tweed in the color olive. Here is the pattern I am using and I am making some pretty drastic changes. The biggest change is I am changing the front to be the knit side instead of the purl.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6bc/28030641/files/2015/01/img_0005-0.jpg

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6bc/28030641/files/2015/01/img_0006-0.jpg
I am almost done. I have the front and back done and have the sleeves and collar to go. I also purchased one more skein bringing my total to four skeins of the Regia Highland Tweed for this sweater. Hopefully, I will finish it in the next two weeks and be able to share the finished product with you.

Advertisements

Homemade Baby Linens

Over the past month, I have been finishing up the prep for our little minions’ arrival. I can not believe we are only three weeks away before they have their eviction date.

We have been blessed by family and friends in the States and our friends and communities here in Nottingham. We find ourselves in a weird situation, as we are first time parents which comes with a whole new stage of life. Expecting twins, double the stuff required. Moving in four/five months overseas, don’t want too much stuff to send back or get rid off. This is why I have only collected and received the absolute necessities for our minions.

Some of those necessities, I decided to make myself. Our former housemates left behind a large stash of fabric. So, I went to work and I thought I would share with you what I made.

homemade baby linens
Number 1: Sheets for our Arm’s Reach Co Sleeper
Number 2: Burp Cloths
Number 3: Cloth Wipes
Number 4: Knitted Chevron Blanket

Sheets were definitely on my priority list. A few months ago, I purchased an Arm’s Reach Co Sleeper for our little ones. The bed attaches to our bed to help make those late night feedings easier. Seeing as I am having two babies to grab, change, and feed, I wanted to make my life as easy as possible. The only problem with this lovely contraption is the sheets. It came with one fitted sheet and to buy an extra I was going to have to shell out £20 each. This was not going to work for my budget or the fact that there is twice the amount of baby to make a mess of things.

So, I basically made large pillowcases for the mattress with some cotton fabric. Nothing fancy. I did leave a little bit of a tongue from the top part of the sheet so it could be tucked underneath neatly. It is a great alternative to messing with the elastic for a fitted sheet. This technique will also work for pack n’ plays.
burp cloths
Burp Cloths were next. Twice the amount of spit ups in my future. I already have a few cloth diapers and muslins that will work well but I wanted to make a few to be on the safe side. So, I used some pretty Mexican themed cotton fabric on one side and terry cloth on the other. You could also use old towels but I had some terry cloth lying around. Nothing too hard. Sew wrong sides together except a small hole to turn it right side out. Press, press opening down, and sew around the edge to close. Done.
cloth wipes
Cloth wipes are a simple creation. They are even simpler than the burp cloths. It is best to use cotton flannel for this project. Cut, sew wrong sides together on three sides, turn right side out, press, press open end, sew shut. I will be using some of the bigger wipes as wash cloths for bath time but the rest you use like wipes. You can spray the bum with water and wipe clean with the cloth wipe.
chevron blanket
Last was a knitted blanket. What kind of mother would I be if I did not knit them a blanket? I settled for the trendy chevron pattern with a teal, grey, and light pink colors. I used Rico Design Essential Soft Merino Aran in colors 013, 095, 040. If you like the design you can check it out here on Ravelry. I plan on making another blanket but carpal tunnel has recently set in and knitting is not the best activity for it.

So, that is all. Next on my list of things to do is to pack those hospital bags. Ahhh, this is getting so real!

Another Farewell

It is a sad part of life, saying goodbye to some friends or family. But, the reality is that people must keep moving forward in their lives to experience new adventures. It is up to you to keep the relationship going.

Yesterday, David and I said goodbye to our housemates! They are moving back to the States. This past weekend, we celebrated their time in England by going to the Peak District!

The majority of Americans in the department headed from Beeston to Cromford/Matlock Bath for a picnic lunch and a little stroll. 4 couples and 3 little ones.  We stopped first in Cromford, where we went into St Mary’s Church and Scarthin Booksinatree David needed to get in the tree. Sometimes he is such a kid.
stmaryschurchstmaryschurch1stmaryschurch2stmarysmuralstmarysmural1 The church was so beautiful. We all really enjoyed it. Then we headed to the book store, had lunch, enjoyed Sara’s cupcakes, walked, and enjoyed each other’s company.

Tuesday was their last day so I prepared for them their last meal. I made caprese salad, procuitto and melon salad, butternut squash ravioli with sage butter sauce, spinach and cheese ravioli with fresh tomato sauce, and homemade eclairs. I know the eclairs do not fit into this Italian meal but I had a new toy I needed to use.
farwelldinnerfarewelldinner1
I also made them a gift. They have seen me working on it for the last month or two. I will admit, I did gift wrap it unfinished with a note that said, “It’s not finished. But, Ta-Da!” It is a cross stitched table cover.
farewellgift1farewellgift
We were sad to see them to go. But, we all know that they are just beginning a new adventure and are very excited to see where they are in the not so distant future.

Rain Slump to Sun Celebration

Sorry for my long absence. Rain has dampened my motivation. On the days it didn’t rain I was trying to get as much gardening in as I could. I hope to post about our new garden in the next month. On the rainy days, however, my little fingers were working hard on a knitting project.
evy owls
evy owls
My sister had a little girl last week and I wanted to create something for the little one. It is like a banner. I plan on making my own because I loved it so much.

This week, was also our ‘husband’ housemate’s birthday. To celebrate, we had some friends over and I made him a homemade Oreo ice cream cake. I also squeezed in a new appetizer done in a fire pit or grill.
fire pit cheese
Fire Pit Cheese

1 wheel of brie or camembert cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raisins or cranberries (mine was a mix)

1. Create a sturdy square layer of tin foil by folding it a few times. This is the base of your tin foil packet. I did this so the weight of the cheese wouldn’t break my cheap foil.
2. Lay the square foil on a larger sheet of foil.
3. Top square with cheese wheel. Top the cheese with brown sugar, pecans, and dried fruit.
4. Fold foil to make a closed packet.
5. Place in the fire pit or grill for 5-7 minutes. Feel free to check for cheesy ooziness. When you see the ooze it is done. Serve with crackers, sliced apples, and pretzels.

This was a hit with our guests. It makes for a quick starter for a cookout and the prep time is minutes. I plan on using this again and again.

Knitting Season and My First Pair of Sock

My knitting/crocheting goes through a yearly cycle. From the end of August until March I am a yarn addict. I always have needles in my hand. I knit on the bus; on the couch; in the coffee shop. I could knit anywhere. However, by the end of March I can’t look at another ball of fluffy, wooly goodness. I take a break from creating needlework. It is warm and I don’t really want to be cooped up hold warm cozy yarn. This summer I turned my attention to cross stitching.

Well, it is now yarn season in the Mosley household. I knitted my nephew a blanket.
You can find the pattern at Stick – Legged Girl. I have made this blanket a few times. It is my go to baby blanket. The best part about this blanket is that it is knitted on one side and lined with flannel on the other.

My latest creation was my first pair of socks! I had done Christmas stockings before and I remembered how much trouble they gave me. So, ever since my encounter with the curvy creations I have been intimidated. I made it a priority for the beginning of my season to try again. I was so proud of myself! Let’s just say that my family is lucky because they almost got socks for Christmas. But, I gave it a second thought.
The way they look flattened out kind of reminds me of the socks in How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

I love OWLS! Everything owls! So, I did these cute little owl socks which I found the pattern on Ravelry. If you are a Ravelry user, I created a project log with all of the details on my creation here.
Here is an outline of the owl cable. My mom was having a hard time identifying the little critter.

I am just now putting together my plan for Christmas. I don’t really like to give something I bought at the store unless it shows some thought. I like to give gifts that I have made or that I have come across and it made me think of that person.

Do you have your homemade Christmas gift planning done? Am I the only one that goes through a cycle of knitting? What have you been making while locked up from the cold? Let me know. I would love to hear about it.

Hair We Are

Why do we clean hair?

Think about it: Does your hair really get that dirty? The typical person shampoos their hair every or every other day. Why? Are we rolling in the mud? Hair from my experience does stink. It does get greasy but that is connected to how we shampoo our hair. So, what are we putting in our hair?

Where did shampoo come from?

Shampoo’s purpose is to remove dirt, excess oil, “people flakes”, dandruff, and other impurities. It has been around since the 18th Century but it wasn’t until the 20th Century when it became a “necessity.” Shampoo is commonly made up of oils, surfactants, and fragrances.

From my research, some of these ingredients in shampoo are just not necessary. Many of the ingredients are to make a better lather, fragrance, and texture of the shampoo.

What is SLS?

Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

SLS is a surfactant. It removes excess oil. It also lathers very well. Many people experience irritation with SLS. And some believe that it causes cancer. I have not found any evidence of this doing some brief research online. This compound is used to clean engines in cars. Personally, I don’t think that this ingredient is needed to clean my scalp. I, also, have not experienced irritation. I finally decided to cut it out of my routine because I don’t need it. SLS can also be found in soap, toothpaste, and shampoos.

No Poo.

The No Shampoo Method aka No Poo is an alternative to using shampoo. Instead of using shampoo you use baking soda to clean the hair and vinegar or apple cider vinegar to condition. You can do a quick Google search and get pages and pages of hits.

My Hair Before the Change

I have very fine straight hair. I would shampoo daily. Conditioner was never needed. I air dried my hair and only used my blow dryer in the winter. So, my hair was pretty healthy from the get go. It did not hold any curl, volume, or any hair accessories.

My Experience.

I did the No Poo Method for 6+ weeks. The first week was definitely the worst. I didn’t leave the house very much because of the excess oil. Slowly, my scalp did adjust. I was on a 3-1 schedule. Three days only water wash, one day baking soda and vinegar. I did experience dandruff on the last day of water wash but it would go away because of the baking soda. The entire time I was no poo I never wore my hair down. Which was hard. Before no poo I never wore my hair up. The problem was not grease. My hair did not look greasy it just looked limp and stringy.

One day, I finally caved. I bought a mostly natural shampoo. I know I just talked about SLS but this shampoo has a variation of SLS in it. I hope to stop using it within the month. I only shampoo every five days and will try to expand to 6-7 days. My hair has developed more life. I think this is related to the lack of shampooing daily. I have styled it with no heat curls, bobbie pins, and comb clips. This was a recent good hair day (no products were used and it lasted all day):

Image

Next Step.

I do not think No Poo was for my hair type. I do think I will give it another try some time in the future. I am on an adventure to create my own shampoo bars. However, barred soap needs four weeks to cure. Therefore, I will continue to use the natural shampoo for now. I hope to talk about my soap plan this week.

I hope you learned a little about how to take care of your hair. I am not an expert. I was just curious about how to treat my hair. Therefore, I am still learning.

Lauren

2012 – To a Natural Life

2012. I have started this year off with a new mind set. Being jobless, I have A LOT of free time. I found myself needing more than just knitting and crocheting to fill up my time. The winter here was pretty mild this year but I was cooped up for a few weeks. This time of being a hermit led me to discover new ways of creating a more natural home.

I do have to preface that I do not have a soap box. I am not doing this to avoid cancer, be more organic, or avoid big box names. I honestly want to know how everything got more complicated. The more I learn, the more I figure out that certain things are not necessary. I also wanted to be more self aware. What does my body need?

So, this week I am going to dedicate each day to a certain topic. An interest of mine. Whether it be cosmetic, food, or cleaning oriented. I have read a lot about each subject and I plan on including my research in each post along with some ways to change your habits if you chose to do so.

I hope this helps me become more organized in my adventure to have a more simple, natural life. And I hope that some of you may take some of the same steps with me.

So, here is the schedule.

Monday – Hair We Are                                                                                                                                                  No Poo. What is SLS? Is it bad for me? Where did shampoo come from? 

Tuesday – The Boy with the Bread (Sorry, in a Hunger Games kick like everyone else in the world.) Sourdough. Preservatives. Cheaper or more expensive?

Wednesday – A Clean House is a Happy House                                                                                                  Chemicals. Antibacterial. Bathroom. Kitchen. Laundry.

Thursday – The Largest Organ of the Human Anatomy                                                                                   How to learn more about your skin?

Friday – Beyond the Basics                                                                                                                                      What are my goals? What are your goals?

See you on Monday!