Holy Crap, We Made a Quilt!

A few weeks ago, as I was sewing pillows at my pillow-making station, Nadine asked, “Can we make a quilt?”  I stopped sewing and said, “What?  Um, sure… I think. I have a book you should look at.”  So I gave her a great quilting book I have, and she looked through it, and pretty quickly she said, “I want to make this one.”

This is our quilt

When Nadine gets an idea in her head, her determination kicks in big-time and that idea becomes her complete focus. I admire this quality of hers, but it also throws me, because she is very effective in getting me to stop what I’m doing to focus on what she wants to get done.  I try not to always indulge her, but this time I thought Hmmmm, I’ve never made a quilt before, this could be interesting.  And it was.  And I can’t believe we did it.  Here’s what we did…

First we measured her bed and decided what size the quilt should be.  Then I let her go through my fabric stash and pick out the fabrics she liked best.  No surprise, she picked out all of the ones that were either turquoise or gray and then some bright pink to spruce it up.  Very nice.

Then we had to do some math – not her favorite thing – but this was nothing like a math homework worksheet – this was math with context and purpose.  Hooray!  So we got some scrap paper and sketched out the pattern she wanted, decided how big each row should be and approximately how big each rectangle might be, how much fabric would be needed for seam allowances, and finally how much fabric in total we would need.  Then we went to my sewing table and started cutting.  Finally, I gave her all of the pieces and she went to her room to lay them all out on her bed in the pattern she liked best.  She loves that kind of stuff – pattern and color are definitely her thing.  She says she wants to be an interior designer some day and I think she may be onto something.

Making a quilt with NadineNadine's quilt pattern

Next it was back to the sewing table where we sewed the rectangular pieces together and then the rows together.  Wow, that didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would, but having two people doing it definitely made it go quickly.  Seeing all of the pieces sewn together made us feel like we were almost done.  Now we just needed some batting and a piece of fabric for the back piece, then I’d quilt it up and bind it.  Okay, we weren’t even close to being done…

We needed supplies and we needed expertise, so off we went to Pacific Fabrics where the nicest lady set us up with some batting, thread, needles, and the best invention ever – quilting glue!  Next Nadine picked out the fabric she wanted for the back, and wow, does she know what she likes (and doesn’t like), and in no time she picked out a super cool grey and white zig-zag pattern. Impressive.

After washing and ironing the fabric (Nadine can’t stand these annoying and time-consuming steps) we laid it out on the floor, sprayed on the glue, which works like a post-it – you can pick it up, move, and re-adhere the fabric until you get it just right.  We made a very nice little sandwich out of the bottom fabric, batting, and patchwork quilt piece.  Thank goodness I didn’t have to baste that whole thing together!

The most time consuming part of this whole project was the quilting.  I decided to quilt in the patchwork seams (“in the ditch”) because I couldn’t imagine being able to sew a series of straight lines or zig-zags.  Fortunately the lady at Pacific Fabrics told me I should wear I sticky glove while quilting because my hands would be too slippery to pass the thick fabric through the machine.

After a few days of quilting, and then binding the edges, we were done!  The whole process took about a month, but it actually went way quicker than I imagined, and I have to say that I never in my life imagined I’d actually make a quilt.  Ha!  And I really enjoyed it.  Although I think it’ll be a while before I try that again.  I think I’ll stick to pillows for now.

Here’s the final product:

The final quilt

The back side of the quilt

Holy crap we made a quilt!

 

Pillows!

Norweigan girl with her sewing machineI have been sewing a lot lately and it’s been really fun, even though it’s not how I imagined it would be.

I’m making pillows.  Lots and lots of pillows.  I’ve created my own patterns, then silk-screened, hand-painted, or had them printed at Spoonflower, then sewn them into 18″x18″ pillow squares.  My intention is to sell them – maybe on etsy.com or at a craft fair like the Urban Craft Uprising.  I don’t quite know yet.  But let me back up a bit….

When I was working in corporate America and things got tough, I would often say, “I’m going to quit this job and open a fabric store!”  In fact, one time I actually did quit my job and when I told my boss, she jumped up, gave me a big hug and said, “I’m so happy you’re finally going to open your fabric store!”  No, I told her, I was taking another programming job.  I was actually pretty surprised that she took my little fabric shop fantasy so seriously.

But I do love fabric.  When I was in high school I worked at a decorator fabric store with my mom, and even though it was in a dingy warehouse building, I loved being around all of that beautiful fabric.  I loved when the fabric reps came in and showed us their new lines. I loved helping people chose fabric and seeing it transformed into beautiful curtains or slipcovers or upholstery.

But when I quit my job and and jumped into the void (almost two years ago now) I didn’t think I really wanted to open a fabric store.  There were already three really great ones in my neighborhood.  But I did start thinking about the idea of getting into the fabric design business.  I took a textile design class last year which I loved, and purchased and read a bunch of books on the topic.  But it hasn’t been until this year that I’ve actually made any progress with the idea.  And I think Krypton is why.

Krypton Community CollegeKrypton is helping me get over my fear of thinking:  Who the hell do I think I am, at my age, to take a risk like this and try to do something so completely different with my life, when I could be making really good money consulting, programming, or web designing? I should have better insurance.  I should be saving more for retirement.  I should be saving for my kids’ college educations.  Even as I write those words, the doubt creeps in.  And I have to constantly remind myself that I am so much happier having slowed my life down, spending more time with my kids, pursuing what fulfills me.  That following my heart is the right thing to do.  That Todd and I will eventually be much more successful this way.  That I’m approaching my life the way I’d want my kids to.  I sure hope I’m right!  But only time will tell.  And I am still doing web design – it’s just freelance now instead of working for someone else.

Other times I think that what I’m doing is the product of a mid-life crisis.  But a crisis is really a turning point, isn’t it?  A crisis, while potentially dangerous, can also be an amazing opportunity to take a new path and have new experiences.  I watched a documentary recently where Sting said something like “Millions of years ago there was some crisis in the ocean that prompted creatures to move onto land.”  Even though I can’t remember it exactly, I think about that quote a lot.  Evolution is caused by crisis.  So if this is a mid-life crisis, then I am embracing mine.  But back to the pillows…

After taking the fabric design class and having read and re-read my fabric design books, it became clear that fabric design could be a pretty tough business to get into.  The market seems to be saturated with ‘surface designers’ and the likelihood of making much money or getting licensed by any of the big fabric companies seems slim.  Fabric isn’t made in American anymore.  It’s made overseas by big companies in big quantities.  So, what to do, what to do…

Could I make my own fabric?  I wondered.  Why not give it a shot?  And that’s how I got into this pillow making business.  Making pillows is my first attempt at designing and making my own fabric, then sewing it into a final product.  And I’m loving it.

i-d-like-you-to-meet-my-pillows-new-yorker-cartoon

“I’d like you to meet my pillows.”

This whole idea evolved from the ‘Ship-It Journal‘ I presented to my Krypton group a few months ago.  Our Krypton group, which started as a group of people taking an on-line/in-person course created by Seth Godin has evolved into a regular book-club type of meeting, but instead of discussing a book, we are supporting each other as we present a project we’re working on, in the form of a Ship-It journal.  Ten of us meet every other week from noon until 2pm, and at each meeting one of us presents our project idea, and the rest of us give feedback.  Then we go around the table and each person gives an update on their respective projects.  It’s been so cool.

Writing your project down, then talking about it in front of a group of impartial listeners is an invaluable experience.  Not only does your project become real, but it might even become something much different than what you started with.  And checking in regularly keeps up your momentum.  You don’t want, week after week, to say, “I have nothing new to report.”  That never happens.  And the best part is that everyone loves to help everyone else and has so much to offer in the form of feedback, advice, expertise, and ideas.  I always leave those meetings feeling exhilarated.  And every person in the group is pursuing a really great project.

Pillow Quote - Vera NazarianSo for my Ship-It Journal I said that my goal was to make pillows and then sell them at the Urban Craft Uprising, my most favorite craft sale, on July 12th in Seattle.  Which seems pretty funny to me now because when I wrote that down, I hadn’t even created a single pillow, and the deadline for applying was April 11th.  But it was something that got me going, and even though that deadline has come and gone, I have created three designs, set up a silk screening and sewing table in my home, and have so far made eight pillows – which certainly isn’t enough to sell at a craft fair, but it is enough for me to learn a heck of a lot about the process, and what it’s going to take to make pillows that people might want to actually buy.  And new ideas keep flooding in.  This could go anywhere.  And that’s really the whole point.  Just start something.  Just do it.  And amazing things will start to happen.

And that’s why things aren’t how I imagined they’d be.  Obviously I thought it would take less time.  But just getting ready to do your first silk-screen takes a lot of time:  buying supplies, creating the design, printing it onto a transparency, burning the screen, choosing and buying the fabric and paint, washing, cutting, ironing it, and finally figuring out how to line it all up.  Once you’ve done all that, the actual silk-screening goes really quickly.  Unless there’s a problem with the screen.  Then you have to do it all over again.  Ugh.

Pillow Quote - John SteinbeckThen once you’ve got your stack of silk-screened fabric squares done, they need to be heat treated to set the ink.  Finally it’s time to sew.  And it’s actually the sewing that takes the most time, especially since I’m sewing in piping and zippers.  But when I’m all done sewing, turn the fabric right side out, and insert the pillow form, it’s magic.  It is so satisfying to see what I’ve created.  I love it.  And my kids seem to love it to.  I always feel the need to show off every pillow to them, because they are my biggest fans, and totally pump up my ego.  They’ll say things like, “I love it!  Can I have it?” or “Is that one for me?” or “That’s amazing mom.  How did you do that?”  Which of course makes me beam with pride.  I also think it’s cool for my kids to see first-hand that it’s possible to make things yourself, and even more importantly, that it is incredibly gratifying to do so.  But can I make money doing this?  I have no idea…

So what’s next?  Well, my Ship-It Journal has changed a bit, but I’m keeping my ship-it date of early July to sell a pillow, somehow, weather it’s an etsy shop or a craft fair or through a retailer.  I also need a name, a logo, a way to package them, and if I do a craft fair, a way of displaying them.  And I’m sure there’s much much more to consider.

My pillow studio

My pillow studio

While I was on Spring Break I read a really great book by Twyla Tharp called “The Creative Habit” and it made me think so much about me and my pillows.  I’d recommend this book to anyone pursuing a creative endeavor, no matter what your medium is – dance, writing, making anything, being an entrepreneur or a CEO.  One (of the many) ideas reiterated throughout the book is to know your craft – all aspects of your craft – and work hard at it.  She talks about how creativity isn’t just talent, it’s a passion fueled by dedication and sweat, or, as she says, greatness is more the product of hard work, habit, and perseverance than it is about talent.”  So while I would love to knock out some pillows and sell a whole bunch of them, I really need to allow myself the time to make them, from end to end, repeatedly, and make them great.  I like them a lot so far, but I have only just begun to make fabric designs, silk-screen on fabric, and sew pillows, so I need to keep at it and get better at it.  As I sew up each pillow, the next one gets a little easier, and each one teaches me something.

My first design was inspired from a Christmas card I made a few years ago where I wrote down my New Year’s resolutions in the form of inspiring verbs.  I took those words and added some new ones, and silk screened them onto the fabric.  Here’s what some of those pillows look like:

silk-screened pillowI know, this is kind of a bad blurry picture, but I don’t feel like revealing too much just yet, which might be weird of me, but I kind of want there to be a Grand Opening! type of thing when I have a whole line of completed pillows available to sell.  So stay tuned!

Another Arty Party

This summer, on one of the rare not-so-sunny days, the kids decided we should have an arty party.  I wanted to experiment with painting on canvas, maybe using it to cover the seat cushions on a couple of free chairs I picked up on the side of the road.  So I figured this was an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, and got out some canvas I’d bought a while back – seconds that were on super-sale at a local art store – and some paints, brushes, sharpies, and blue tape.  I thought it would be fun to experiment with making patterns on the canvas with paints and blue tape, something I’d never done before.  Well the kids, of course, went in their own direction.

Miles is not a big fan of paint.  I think it is unwieldy for him.  He prefers sharp pencils and fine tipped pens, and makes very detailed line drawings.  Like these:

Captain Rex by Miles  

Nadine, on the other hand, likes patterns and bright colors, and when she sets out to draw, she does stuff like this:

Nadine's circles

and this:

Rainbow Nadine

I’m somewhere in between.  For this project though, I just started drawing patterns on the canvas with a sharpie and painting swatches of color, as well as cutting out pieces of blue tape to make stencils to block out the paint.  It was totally fun, although I’m not sure if it will work or the chairs.  I think the canvas it too think and the paint makes it even stiffer.  But that’s why I was experimenting.

Experimenting with the Canvas

Of course the stuff the kids did was the best.  Nadine asked me to make some 3-D letters for her – a large one on each canvas of her initials.  Then she got out a ruler and started using the colored sharpies to make lines all over the place.  I was skeptical, but I love what she did:

Miles just started drawing monsters with a sharpie, incorporating the letters of his name.  I thought it was so awesome, and when he finished it I asked him if wanted to paint it in.  He said, “No, but you can.”  And so I did.  And I loved doing it.  It took a while, but it was a great little escape, and I loved the way the paint absorbed into the canvas in a way that made it really easy to stay within the lines.  Most of all, I loved the way it came out.  I have to figure out a better way to hang it in his room, but this will do for now:

I just love arty parties.  I wish we had more of them.  My kids couldn’t be more different when it comes to art projects – and their art is such a reflection of their personalities.  Thankfully they each are, obviously, incredibly talented.  :)

Image Transfers

My house is small, and I don’t have a lot of personal space, but the one space I feel is completely my own is my closet.  It has my clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc, and I don’t share it with anyone.  It’s an IKEA closet and it has one shelf in it that has my jewelry boxes and some of my favorite stuff on it, but I wanted to pretty it up and put a cork board on the back wall so I could pin up some of the stuff that’s meaningful to me.  But I didn’t want just any cork board, I wanted a cool one.  So I started looking into how I might transfer an image onto cork board.  I wanted to transfer a photo I had taken in NYC years back, of the ‘Imagine’ mosaic that is part of the Strawberry Fields memorial for John Lennon in Central Park.  So of course I started looking on-line, and found this cool video on YouTube on how to do image transfers onto wood using gel medium and Mod Podge.  Maybe you’ve seen it, because it’s gotten over 2 million hits!

I bought the gel medium at an art supply store, glued my cork board together onto a a piece of press-board and painted it white.  I also cut up some small pieces of wood to do some image transfers onto wood as well.  I got my images ready by sizing them in PhotoShop and flipping them so you don’t get the mirror image with the transfer process.  I put them on a thumb drive and had them printed out at Kinkos, since I read that you need to use a laser-jet printer and not an inkjet printer.  Then I put a thick layer of the gel medium onto to the cork board, carefully placed my image on it face down, and smoothed it out with my hands and a little spatula thing to get any air bubbles out.  I let it dry overnight and the next day I got the paper wet, rubbed the paper off with my fingers, and there was my image – not at all perfect, but looking pretty cool.  Here’s how it looks in my closet:

imagine cork board

I also used the same photo to do a transfer onto a 6×8″ piece of wood, and then Mod Podged over it to give it a little shine.  I love the way it came out:

imaging wood image transfer

The kids thought this looked llike fun and wanted to get in on the action, so we chose some more images and repeated the process.  These came out okay, but I’m not sure why the images didn’t transfer quite as well this time.  Maybe we didn’t use enough gel medium?  Maybe darker ink works better?

kids doing image transfers

more image transfers

Once you’ve got your wood cut, this is actually a very easy project.  I love taking pictures and playing with them in PhotoShop, and so does Nadine, so I can see us doing more of these in the future.  Don’t be surprised if you get one for Christmas!

Sew Fun & Sew Educational

Yes I know, I am sew corny, but I can’t help it.  And I can just hear my mom saying “It’s sew much fun!”

Last night I went to my second sewing class at a super cool place in Ballard called Drygoods Design and it was incredibly fun. This was the second and last class, and after cutting and ironing and sewing for six hours, each student went home with an adorable school house tunic, which I have to say, might be my new thing to wear every day of my life.  It’s like a stylishly covert moo-moo.  Check out the pattern:

school house tunic pattern

There were six of us in the class – all of us very different shapes, sizes, ages, and fabric choices, and while we were all working from the same pattern, we each created something so unique – something just right for us. We oo’ed and ah’d over each other’s fabrics and how the final products turned out.  We had a fabulous instructor, but also helped each other along the way, saying things like, “Don’t worry, that sleeve will turn out great!”  Group sewing is where it’s at!  Check out my garment:

modeling the school house tunic

Our instructor took that shot just before going home, and while it’s not very glamorous, you get the picture.  Oh, and I should add that I had the most adorable fabric in the class.  Check out this up close shot:

cloud 9 fabric for my school house tunic

I can definitely see more sewing in my future…

Fait Avec Amour

On Monday I got a flier from the kids’ school saying it was teacher appreciation week, with info on what we might bring for the staff over the next four days of the week.  I set it aside and promptly forgot all about it.  Until the next day, as we were riding our bikes to school, I noticed that everyone was carrying flowers.  Criminy! I am a terrible person.  I thought to myself, I can’t believe I forgot!

Then I did a pretty good job of forgetting again for the next two days.  I didn’t bring any root beer for the root beer floats on Wednesday, and we didn’t make any cards for the staff on Thursday.  Sheesh!  We are truly terrible and unappreciative people.

Friday, today, was ‘homemade goodies’ day, so I tried to make up for it all by sending the kids to school with some homemade vanilla for their awesome teachers.  Way back in October I took some vanilla beans that had been given to me years ago, and put them into a couple of bottles of booze – some in a bottle of bourbon, and some in a bottle of vodka.  They’ve been brewing in the cupboard for months, and every once in a while I take them out and shake them up.  They are definitely done brewing, and have turned into perfectly delicious vanilla extract that I have been using regularly.  It made a lot, so I love sharing it, and I would highly recommend giving it a try. I think I prefer the bourbon-based vanilla extract over the vodka-based, but they both work wonderfully.  I hope the teachers like their gifts.  My kids love their teachers, and we appreciate them so so much.

homemade vanilla

Boho Bag

Last Friday Todd and Miles headed up to Anacortes to visit Todd’s brother’s family, while Nadine and I had some girl time back home.  I didn’t have anything special planned, only that I knew I didn’t want to spend the whole evening sitting in front of the TV eating pizza.  So I asked Nadine what she wanted to do, and she surprised me by saying she wanted to sew a bag like her friend at school did.  Brilliant! I thought.

So we went through my stash of fabric and picked out a few things she liked.  Then we went on-line to figure out how to make something.   There was so much out there, it was hard to sort through it all.  We came across a totally cool video on YouTube where a lady at the beach makes a new-sew ‘Hobo Bag’ with of a big scarf.  (Check it out.)  We gave it a try with a square piece of fabric we had, but it definitely wasn’t what Nadine wanted, so we kept looking. Finally we found this little gem, from a super cute blog called ‘Crap I’ve Made’.  It was exactly what we we wanted, and we had enough fabric for it.

So we printed out the pattern, pinned it to the fabric, and started cutting.  We folded two pieces of fabric into thirds – one floral patterned piece, one solid white – and cut on the fold.  It was a synch, but Nadine thought it was A LOT of pinning and cutting.  Then we ironed, pinned, sewed, pulled it right-side out, fitted and sewed the strap, and voilà!  In less than two hours we had made a super cute new book bag for Nadine that she loves.

Nadine cutting the fabric

She brought it to school on Monday, and it was a hit, and she was really proud of what she’d made.  I was really proud of her too.  So now I’m totally excited to do some more sewing.  Sew I’ve signed up for a class at ‘Drygoods Design‘ to make a ‘Schoolhouse Tunic‘.  I wish I had enough time to design my own fabric for it, but I think that might be overly ambitious.  Still, I can’t wait…

Nadine unicycling with her new bag.

Nadine with her new bag.

Musical Accompaniment

You know what goes great with beans?  Corn bread!  Another recipe I got from my mother-in-law is for healthier corn bread.  It’s a great alternative to regular bread, super quick and easy, and cheap too!  I often bring some to the playground when I meet the kids after school because they are always STARVING.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups yogurt
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Butter/grease an 8 inch pan (I use a round pyrex pie dish)
  3. Mix up all of the ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Pour it into the pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

So in about half an hour you can have delicious healthy corn bread, which, of course, tastes best with a little honey.
healthy cornbread recipe

The Musical Fruit

In my attempt to be healthy and frugal we have given up a few things – like buying/eating much bread or meat. Instead we’re trying to have more whole grains, veggies, and legumes, aka beans.

Here in Seattle a 15 oz. can of black beans costs $1.39.  The price is the same or less for a one pound bag of dried beans.  From the can you get around 1 2/3 cups of beans.  From the bag you get around 7 cups of cooked beans.  Yowza!

Now I know soaking and cooking the beans seems like a time-consuming hassle, but you actually don’t have to cook them that way.  My mother-in-law taught me how to bake them in the oven, and now I do this all the time.  It’s simple, fast, and delicious.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse the dried beans.
  3. Put them in an oven safe dish (I use a glass  pyrex one), add water with around 1.5 – 2 inches covering the beans, and then cover with a lid.
  4. Bake in the oven for around 1 hour.
  5. Pull them out of the oven and add your flavorings of choice.  I usually add a few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, some cumin, salt, and pepper.  Stir it all up.

    Baked beans

    Here’s what my pinto beans looked like at this point.

  6. Put them back in the over for another 20 – 30 minutes.  The time will vary depending on the type and size of bean.
  7. Take them out of the oven, and enjoy!  They should be pretty tender, and most (but not all) of the water should be absorbed.  I keep mine in the fridge to use throughout the week.  My mother-in-law puts them in smaller containers and freezes them.

So, now what do you do with all of those beans?  I give them to my kids for lunch a few times a week:  rice and beans or bean soup in their thermos.  This recipe for Black Beans and Roasted Tomatoes is one of our favorites.  We also use them to make tacos a lot.

Worried about ‘side effects’?  Well, canned beans are actually supposed to be worse in that department.  Also, the more regularly you eat beans, the fewer side effects you experience.  I’ve also heard that adding things like vinegar, baking soda, seaweed, garlic, or ginger helps.  And I think it matters what you do with your beans.  Bean and beef chilli will be a lot worse than beans and rice.

An additional bonus to using dried beans – less cans for your recycle bin!  Plus there’s been a lot of news about potential problems with BPAs found in canned foods, so better safe than sorry.

So let’s recap.  Using dried beans is cheaper, more delicious, less gassy, less wasteful, healthier, and it’s easy!!!  Oh, and one more tip:  Only put 239 beans in your chili, or else it will be too faaaarty.

DIY Skin Care

I am lucky to have a girlfriend that I am so compatible with that we joke we should be married, and have little fantasies of what it could be like, and where we might retire together some day.  For the past few years she and I have escaped winter gloom and mommy burn-out by going to Palm Springs, for a few glorious days of sunshine and pool-side relaxation at the Ace HotelSo much fun.

Palm Springs poolside at the Ace Hotel

What does this have to do with skin care?  Well, the last time we were there, she had a little bottle filled with a golden substance, and when I asked her what it was, she said it was a mixture of olive oil and caster oil, and that she used it to wash her face.  What?  That just sounded wrong.  But she has great skin, so I tried it.  And oh wow, my skin felt so amazing and soft that I couldn’t stop touching it.  After spending a day in the sun and swimming in chemical water, my skin just soaked it up, and was so happy.  Ever since then, I have been using it every day.  I just mix up a 50:50 ratio of olive oil to castor oil, pour a nickel-sized amount in my hand, rub it on my face, then take a hot wash cloth and cover my face for a couple of minutes, rub off, and rinse.  Easy peasy.

When I tell people that I do this, their reaction is usually ‘Ew, doesn’t that clog your pores and feel all greasy?’  Nope, it doesn’t.  I think of it like cleaning a nice piece of wood furniture.  You would never clean it with soap and water; that would ruin it.  The same goes for your face.  And it does a great job of getting off your eye make-up.  Best of all, it’s cheap, easy, and all-natural.

Another cheap, easy, and all-natural skin-care treatment I have been doing for years is exfoliating with sugar.  First I get my face wet, then I put quarter-sized amount of sugar in my hand, rub it all over my face and neck until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then rinse.  It feels fantastic.

Olive oil and sugar skin care products

This is what you’ll find in my medicine cabinet.

Olive oil and sugar skin care products

And these are the ingredients.

So the only thing I’ve been spending money on has been moisturizer.  But as I recently used up my $17 bottle of Burt’s Bees ‘Day Lotion with Royal Jelly’, I decided it was time to make my own lotion.  I scoured the Internet for ideas, and finally came up with a combination that appealed to me.  Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Beeswax
  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 5 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • ½ cup Rosewater
  • 1 Tablespoons Glycerin

 Steps:

  1. Set up a double boiler.  (I filled up a pot half way and then set a pyrex glass bowl inside.)
  2. Grate the beeswax into the glass bowl.
  3. Add the olive oil and coconut oil and bring to a boil, stirring until the wax has completely melted.
  4. Remove the glass bowl from the heat and allow it to cool a few minutes.
  5. Pour the rosewater and glycerin into a small bowl with high sides, because it will splatter when you mix it.  (I recycled a 32 oz. yoghurt container and it was just the right size.)
  6. With an electric mixer (I used the whisk attachment), mix the rosewater and glycerin, then slowly pour in the hot mixture.  Continue mixing until the mixture emulsifies and has a creamy texture.
  7. Transfer the lotion to jars.  (I put mine into two 4 oz. jars – one for my bathroom, and the other is in my fridge.)
  8. Apply to your face after washing, and radiate!

This whole process took about half an hour.  Here’s what it looks like:

Home made lotion

So now, instead of spending a fortune on skin products, I spend a few dollars on ingredients.  I love the simplicity of it – no fancy ingredients, jargon or packaging.  It feels great to know that everything is pure and natural, and I can reuse my own ‘packaging’.  Try it!