Hair care

Hair care

So I’m taking the plunge.

For years, I’ve heard how horrible shampoo is for curly hair. And like most girls with curls, I’ve searched endlessly for the perfect product that will kill the frizz and create perfectly formed curls.

So when the handbook for curly hair went on sale (e-book for under $3), I thought I’d give it a try. I quickly read through the instructions and decided to try out some significant (and some not-so-significant) changes to my routine, at least for a month.

Before photo (what my hair generally looks like — sorry for the terrible photo):

Before

Day 1 (1/8): I stopped using shampoo, and instead relied on good old friction and water. I did use conditioner, and switched to drying my hair with one of my husband’s old undershirts (I will be ordering a microfiber hair towel). I used a combination of products that kind of resembled a gel since I don’t have any gel yet. And I let it mostly air dry before using a diffuser on it before heading out the door to work. The results were okay. Not greasy or anything, just not as full of body and bounce as usual, but the curls might be more defined, which is a good thing.

Day 2 (1/9): Repeated Day 1, except I diffused my hair immediately after putting some product in it (about 75% of the way dry). Not too crazy about my hair today. I think I need to buy some real gel and come up with something to replace my shampoo, I think my hair is going through withdrawl. Unfortunately, since it’s short I can’t just pull it back, and since I work, I can’t just hide until things work themselves out. Oh well. I’m also trying very hard not to touch my hair throughout the day. Hard, but I’m sure this is why my curls lose their definition.

Day 3 (1/10): I’m still concerned about shampoo withdrawl. I brought a hat to work with me today just in case…meanwhile, I ordered the DevaCare No Poo cleanser.

Day 4 (1/11): Scalp a little itchy.

Day 5 (1/12): A comment from someone at church: “Are those your natural curls?!”

Day 6 (1/13): A comment from a coworker: “I love your hair today!”

One week in (again, sorry for the terrible photo):
One week of no shampoo

My curls are definitely more defined and I’m starting to get regular comments on my hair. However, I’m still not entirely satisfied. I haven’t started using the sulfate free cleanser (which should help clean my scalp better than good old friction and water). Also, I confess that I’m not using gel as recommended. I’m using some curl creams that I had just purchased and will continue to do so until I finish them, can’t afford to waste perfectly good product! I’ve been diffusing my hair about 50% dry and letting the heat in my car take care of the rest, then scrunching the curls slightly before heading into work. It seems to be working pretty well, but I’m not sure what I’ll do once winter is over… A coworker mentioned that she just might have to try the no shampoo method after seeing what it’s done for my hair =).

Day 9 (1/17): I used the sulfate-free cleanser on my scalp for the first time. Honestly, I’m not sure it made a difference. I’ll probably continue to use it (just to be sure I don’t get a build up) but since I didn’t notice much of a difference, I’ll likely only use it twice a week or so and make it last a long time. I also used a microfiber hair towel for the first time (this one), I’m astonished at the absorbency (and softness of the towel!). I think I might have actually over-dried my hair with the towel, so this is going to take a bit of practice.

Day 11 (1/19): I used gel for the first time (purchased at a huge discount at a thrift store), I’m not sure it made much of a difference as compared to my regular styling products, so this will require more research.

Day 23 (1/31): I’m experimenting with putting product in my hair while it’s still rather drippy before it has the chance to air dry much. I’ve also begun to experiment with clipping my curls as they dry, not sure I really have the hang of it yet though.

Curls

In conclusion: After one month of the no shampoo method, I’m a convert. In part, I’m convinced that my curls are better defined than when I started. Additionally, I’ve at least proven to myself that I don’t need shampoo, and it is one more expense I can remove from my budget. And, it cuts down on my morning shower time, which means an extra 2 minutes under the covers.

I think one of the biggest pieces of this new routine is the idea of just not touching my hair. This makes the most difference. Don’t touch while it’s drying. Scrunch to remove the gel cast. Then don’t touch, all. day. long. It’s still hard =).

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Knitting and reading

My intention with starting this Growing Leaves Cowl pattern was to challenge myself, and challenge I have done. I’ve actually pulled it all out a few times and started over. But I’m loving the pattern and I’m determined to finish. I’m also reading Emile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise (which the BBC’s The Paradise is based on), and I’m rather enjoying it so far, much more than Pot Luck, the novel that comes before it in Zola’s series.

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

Lovely Lisa Leonard

Lovely Lisa Leonard

I haven’t done this much, but I want to share more of the products and businesses that I appreciate.

I won a Lisa Leonard gift card in a blog raffle and I was delighted to order some of her beautiful jewelry (and a lovely Christmas ornament!). My favorite pieces were the chestnut brown earrings and natural earrings — they are beautiful, practical, and not terribly expensive.

Lisa Leonard Jewelry

I have sensitive ears, so for a long time I didn’t wear earrings much (also, earrings + horses = high risk of ear injury). But I work a regular 8-5 job now, and while I don’t have much money, I am beginning to invest what I do have into higher quality items that will last me for years to come. Also, I love to support small businesses, especially creative ones.

I was excited to open my package when it arrived and was delighted with the look and feel of the earrings I had ordered. (And they came in adorable little linen bags, that doesn’t hurt at all.) I immediately began wearing them, and have worn both pairs many times since then. They are exactly my style and it turns our I can wear them at work all day and they don’t irritate my skin! They are definitely made of a good quality metal, and they are plenty sturdy (I’m not afraid of them breaking when I throw them in my purse before I go to the barn).

So there you have it, I’m now a big fan of Lisa Leonard, and I would totally recommend her products.

Also, I had some difficulty getting my gift card to work, so I emailed her customer service and was very satisfied with the way it was handled — simple, straightforward, and I got my earrings in record time.

(I was not paid, perked or given any other incentives to write this review. I just felt it was something to share.)

West Virginia Finds

West Virginia Finds

When we travel, Husband and I love to find a few antique stores to visit. We are always looking for a new item to add to our collection and a good deal. (FYI, Virginia Beach is NOT the place to get a deal on antiques.)

We tried both Hinton and Beckley, W.V., without much luck, but on our way home from Bluestone SP, we stopped in Lewisburg and found a few stores way out of our price range, and one right in it.

So we brought home these two small finds to add to our collection:

For our bedroom, a sheepskin rug (which I’ve been wanting for about a year now). Most our things are in storage, and the furniture was just kind of plopped down wherever it fit, but this is what our room looks like right now:

Our bedroom

And the new sheepskin (currently accenting an antique trunk we found in Ohio):

Sheepskin

And, for Husband, a well-worm ammo box:

ammunition box

Ammo box

We might stand it on end and place a piece of glass on the top for a small side table. Or maybe use it open as a planter. Or a shelf. Who knows how it will end up, but we liked it. So, those are our latest finds!

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Felted scoop bag

I felted my first project! And it even turned out pretty successful =). I did a lot of checking and double checking every few minutes, but I’m happy with the way it turned out. So right now I’m waiting for it to completely dry before I work on sewing the pieces together. Next week I’ll have the bag completely finished!

And I’m currently reading In the Shadow of a Secret by Lance Wubbels, a historical fiction book that somehow came to be on my shelves. But one of my goals is to read everything in my library that I haven’t yet read (which really isn’t much in the fiction department), because what’s the point of having books you don’t read?

P.S. Check out my full review of Perfecting Kate that I mentioned last week!

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

DIY Thrift Store Pillow Covers

DIY Thrift Store Pillow Covers

I’ve had a thing for throw pillows lately. I see them all over the place and fall in LOVE, but the price tag means I put them right back on the shelf. We just don’t have that kind of spending money right now. So I’ve searched the thrift stores high and low for decent throw pillows, and I’ve scored a few. More often than not though, I’m a bit disappointed in them once I bring them home…the fabric is pilled, the size is too small, the feel is cheap. You get the idea.

But I keep looking. And while I was in one thrift store last week, I found these beauties: Two brand new, 20″ down pillow inserts priced at just $4 each! I snatched those up and kept rummaging.

Thrift store pillow inserts

Before long I had found this brown and white, canvas shower curtain that I loved, also for only $4.

Thrift store shower curtain

So I brought it all home with me, with a new DIY project percolating. I know how to sew, I’m not incredibly talented or experienced, but I can (usually) thread a machine and run a stitch. I even bought this old metal machine for $30 from a thrift store back when I lived in Ohio (it’s the EXACT same machine my mom owns, so I already knew how to use it!).

Thrift store sewing machine.

All I needed was an assistant…oh, right, I have one of those too =).

Assistant Ginger

I knew that the fabric I had chosen would really only work with our winter bedding, so I wanted to make pillow covers that could be removed and changed out for something summery. That left me with two options: envelope or zipper. Honestly, I’ve never sewn a zipper. Not that I think it would be that difficult, but since I’ve never done it, I thought I’d just stick with basic seams. (I don’t like the way zipper pulls poke you in the back anyway.) I found a straightforward pattern for making envelope pillow covers on Martha Stewart’s website, then washed, dried and ironed my fabric and got to work.

Since I was working with a geometric pattern (this would be 10x easier if I hadn’t done that!), I had to center my pillow exactly where I wanted the pattern to be and then measure around it (the pattern indicated exactly what my measurements should be).

Positioning pillow

So I measured and marked with a fabric pencil.

Measuring fabric

When all my measurements were made, I began cutting. Fabric scissors really help with this step, but I appear to have lost mine somehow, so I was stuck with kitchen scissors.

Cutting fabric

I measured and cut both covers before moving onto the next step. While you could easily make one cover then the next, I find that I lose motivation after having one final product…

Next, I made a double hem on the ends by folding the fabric under twice, ironing and pinning.

Double hem.

Then I sewed a simple 1/8″ seam.

Sewing pillow covers

After those four seems, I laid out my fabric and overlapped the “envelope” closure. Then I re-measured to make sure it would fit my 20″ pillow inserts.

Double checking measurements.

Next I pinned and sewed the final edges with 1/2″ seams.

Sewing final seams.

I turned the pillow covers right side out and stuffed my down inserts into them. Everything fit without a problem!

Proud of my pillows.

Now both these pillows have a home on our bed, and I have to say I’m quite pleased with the outcome! And I’ll be browsing the thrift stores for more fabric to go with our Spring/Summer comforter…

Pillows on our bed.

This is a REALLY simple sewing project and I think just about anyone with access to a sewing machine could do it. Just measure carefully! And if you’re a new sewer, use an easier pattern =).

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Yarn Along Christmas

I finished my new ribbon scarf this week, it was quick, easy and fun to make. I’m not sure if I should keep it, sell it, or find someone to give it to…

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading the next book in the Little House series (and thoroughly enjoying it!) and The Littlest Angel–it’s a tradition in my family to read this book on Christmas Eve, so I read it aloud to Husband every year (he usually falls asleep somewhere in the middle). If you can ignore the erroneous doctrine (it’s a story, after all, not Scripture), this children’s book uses some of the richest vocabulary I’ve ever heard. When I was a little girl, I remember loving this book because although I didn’t understand what all of the words meant, I loved the sound of them–the cadence, rhythm and richness.

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Yarn Along reading Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn.

I’m still working on last week’s knitting and reading, but I also dove into a few new things this week. Robin Jones Gunn was one of my favorite authors when I was a teenager, and her books bring back many memories of sitting on the window seat in my bedroom for hours and hours with her books. And I decided to try out a new boutique yarn–Red Heart Boutique Ribbons–just for fun =).

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Yarn Along - Reading What Your Husband Isn't Telling You

I’m back to working on washcloths, which I’m looking forward to using =). The cotton yarn is Lily Sugar’n Cream, which is a soft but sturdy yarn that I don’t think will wear out too quickly. And I’m in the middle of What Your Husband Isn’t Telling You: A Guided Tour of a Man’s Body, Soul, and Spirit, and I’m not sure what I think. I definitely take issue with a few of the arguments, but one way or another it’s prompting me to meditate on my husband and marriage, which is always a good thing! I’ll be sure to post a review when I’m finished.

Joining Ginny at Small Things.

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

Yarn Along: Reading What Your Husband Isn't Telling You

I’m having a blast with this Sashay yarn (a Red Heart Boutique special)–this is my second scarf this week! It’s quick, fairly easy once you get the hang of it, and absolutely beautiful! I’m happy to say that after making so many Christmas presents, this scarf is for me =). And I’ve just started What Your Husband Isn’t Telling You: A Guided Tour of a Man’s Body, Soul, and Spirit, I’ll be sure to let you know what I think when I’m finished!

Joining Ginny at Small Things.