Sunday, July 14, 2013

Purple Hair

Yeah this is old. I meant to post it weeks ago, but I have tiny babies and a bad short term memory. Don't hate.
I decided a while ago that my hair needed to be purple again. A charming shade of heliotrope would do. It's really not that hard. If I can do it with a 7 week old and a toddler on my hands you can do it too.
First off you'll have to bleach. Lucky for me my hair is already blonde, so all I have to do is my roots:
Sexy right?
If you've never bleached your hair, just follow the directions on the package. They'll walk you through it step by step.
Now add the purple! I like Manic Panic's Ultra Violet, but there are lots of choices, choose what you like. I also dilute mine a bit with conditioner so that it isn't as dark. There is no science behind it I just mix some in.
And you thought I couldn't get any sexier...
I usually use an applicator brush, but I won't lie, sometimes I just slap that shit on like conditioner and brush it through. Works just as well, honestly. Leave it in for 45 minutes then rinse it out with cold water (the coldest you can stand!). I like to do a vinegar rinse at this point, it's supposed to help the color last longer. Not sure if this is actually the case, but vinegar is cheap, and a great conditioner, so who cares? After it's dry run a flat iron through it to seal the color in. Voila. Luscious purple locks.

Warning: Tiny babies may be terrified of you now.
Don't worry, pop em in a sling and they'll forgive you!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

DIY Woven Wrap

Ok so for the past week my husband has been out of town for work, and I knew I would need something to keep my hands busy while he was gone. As you know I wear my babies. Up until now I have survived with a ring sling, a faux moby, and a couple of circular wraps. Then I learned about woven wraps. Oh my gosh you guys WOVEN WRAPS. They come in all shades, sizes, fabrics, and patterns. Swoooooon!

And HOLY CRAP are they expensive. Sure, sure, many will argue that they are worth the price. I mean they are HAND WOVEN, on a LOOM. Those people are right. Totally worth it. But in case you haven't noticed yet, I'm cheap, and broke, and dear husband is an unwilling participant in the government furlough (don't get me started), so we're even poorer than we would normally be... So I decided to make my own! Booyah.
One of my friends introduced me to this group, and they helped me loads in learning how.

First thing I did was find out what size I wanted. I decided a size 4 sounded good (completely arbitrarily since I've never owned one and had no idea). Then I decided on a fabric. Although linen, and linen/cotton blends are good, they are expensive, and since expensive is what I'm trying to avoid I opted for osnaburg. Osnaburg is a woven cotton utility fabric usually found near the muslin at the fabric store. I got mine from Hancock Fabrics for dirt cheap. It retailed for $3.99, but I had a 50% off coupon and 15% off for military appreciation so I got it for less than $2/yard!!! Hells yes! I bought 4 yards as a size 4 is just shy of 12 feet, and I knew the fabric would shrink when washed. 

I got that baby home threw it in the washer on hot, and then dried it on high heat. I quickly ironed it, and that baby was ready to cut! (I learned after the fact that it is easier to tear osnaburg.)

Wraps only need to be about 32" and since my fabric was 43" it needed to lose a few!
After I trimmed the width I decided to do tapers. I free handed a slight curve into mine. (Tapers make knotting easier, but as I discovered, shorten the length of your wrap, as you tie above the taper, so in the end I ended up with a long size 3).
UPDATE: DO NOT CUT YOUR TAPERS LIKE THIS!!! If you want a taper cut in one direction leaving your final product looking like a parallelogram (not a trapezoid or in my case with two pointed ends). If you cut it like I did you won't be able to tighten your rails easily and you will be frustrated and want to kill your wrap. SO, like THIS: /----/, not like this: /----\ or <---->. 

Next it needed to be hemmed. A rolled hem is best to prevent your wrap from tearing and for bearing the weight of your baby. All this means is that you fold it over twice before sewing. I did myself a favor and ironed mine, I suggest you do too.
Then I just sewed around the edges!
I had to try it on immediately. I take horrible selfies, but you get the point. :)
Now the natural fiber color is pretty, but it just isn't my style so I started looking into dying options. I quickly found out that Rit dye is a no-no for babies. Babies like to suck on their carriers. They think it's delicious.
So dying with caustic chemicals seemed like a bad idea. I decided to try to use natural dyes, you know, do it old school. At which point I stumbled upon this:
Check out her tutorial here.
 Gorgeous right?!? I wanted that. ^THAT is fabric dyed with turmeric. So I ran to my local organic market which happens to have an awesome bulk spice section and I bought myself a bag of turmeric ($.89!!). The only other thing I needed was Alum, which I already had (thanks mom!), so I set to work.
I decided to do a test run with scraps I had leftover from cutting, and it's a good thing I did! My Facebook group Dyed Baby Carriers taught me about the importance of Soda Ash (otherwise known as washing soda or sodium carbonate) in the traditional dying process. I thought I would try it with just turmeric and alum first, since that's what my tutorial said to do (sorry I forgot to take pictures of this step). After that I gradually added washing soda. Here's what happened:
It turned the turmeric a deep burgandy/orange color. Neat! But totally not what I was going for...
Here are my scraps drying.
This is what they looked like after I threw them in the dryer:
Whoa! Totally gorgeous, right? I concluded that if I wanted that bright sunshiny yellow I shouldn't add any soda ash at all.

Thanks to the tutorial I knew I needed a 2:3 ratio of alum to turmeric. I used 1/4 cup Alum and 1/3 cup Turmeric.
I knew that was right thanks to this:
Thanks measure magnet! :)
I poured them all in my biggest stock pot and waited for them to come to a boil.
Once it was boiling I turned it down to a simmer and added my fabric (which I wet down first in the sink).
I let it hang out in there on low heat for about an hour, giving it a poke every now and then with a shish kabob stick to make sure it was getting dyed evenly (don't use anything that you don't mind turning yellow to stir your wrap). After that I dumped it into the sink and rinsed it under cold water.
This didn't work for 2 reasons:
1) I'm lazy
2) I'm impatient
So I threw that sucker into the washer to finish rinsing.
After it dried it looked like this!
Whoa! Great picture. Thank you, little man, for the photo bomb. Almost managed to get your face in there didn't you?
It didn't turn out as bright as my scrap did. I'll admit I'm a little disappointed, but really it did turn out pretty gorgeous considering I had no idea what I was doing and it was basically a massive science experiment. 

After this I decided, Gee, that burgundy color is awfully pretty. I should try a gradient dye! So here is what I did. Again I followed this tutorial (sort of).
I found a tub and hung my wrap from pants hangers over the shower curtain rod that I moved down. It was too long to fit in the bathtub, so I settled for just outside (hey, at least it's still in the bathroom!). I mixed my turmeric and water and this time I added 1/4 washing soda to turn it that awesome burg color. I made just enough to fill the bottom inch or so of the tub.
I used a marker to mark how much warm water I wanted to add to make the gradient (this turned out to be a superfluous step as a tea kettle full raised the water about an inch). I let my wrap steep for about 20 minutes and then started adding water every 5 minutes. After every add I refilled my kettle and put it back on the burner, because I wanted my water to stay hot.
Be careful not to splash when you pour in the water or it will leave marks on your wrap. I didn't do such a great job!
I kept adding water until I reached the top of my tub, at which point I pulled the wrap out and let it drip for about 20 minutes to let the dye set (in retrospect I think I should have just let it dry without rinsing, but se la vie).
Wrap before rinsing. SO pretty!!
I then rinsed it in the tub, and threw it in the dryer. This is what I ended up with:
Yeah... not so much what I expected. But it's my first dye job, it was bound to be imperfect! Cy doesn't seem to mind, in fact he fell asleep in the time it took me to wrap him and take a picture. Maybe I'll try again... maybe I won't. But there you have it. Naturally dyed sunshine/gradient wrap. I love it.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Meal Planning. You know you want to.

Okay, so this is something I've just started doing. I have a problem with going to the grocery store or farmers market, and being so freaking excited about all of the fresh produce that I buy way too much for my family of 3 (I know there are four of us, but really, one is on the boob, so he doesn't count), and I (we) end up wasting more than I would like to admit. My solution? Plan out your freaking meals. Easier said than done right? WRONG. It is so freaking easy people. You know you already spend half your day on Pinterest. You know you pin recipes all of the time. So take a couple of those recipes and make them you lazy bum! And give yourself a break for crying out loud. You're not a freaking Stepford wife. Only plan to make at the most 5 meals. Seriously. I know there are 7 days a week, but by only planning 5, you might actually do it. The other 2 days can be leftovers days, or pb&j's. Me? On those days I tend to make a salad. Salads are easy. Throw some lettuce on a plate and then put all the other crap you have lying around (apples, grapes, leftover chicken, leftover veggies, cottage cheese, almonds, hard boiled eggs, lunch meat... you get the idea) on top along with some oil and vinegar, and BAM! you have a salad. Easy peasy.

We do grocery shopping once a week. At which point I make a list of our everyday things. You know like, eggs, milk, bread, etc. So do that. Then when your done making that list, get on Pinterest (you know you're already logged on), find your recipes, and write down the ingredients that you don't already have on hand. Make a freaking grocery list people! On one side write what you need. On the other side write down the meals you're going to make. Now go buy your groceries! And do yourself and your wallet a favor, only buy the things on your list. That way you won't waste anything. Also since you only bought the ingredients for the meals you planned, you have no choice but to make those meals. Here's my list from this week:
(Sorry for the crappy photo. And NO I'm not making toilet paper for dinner it just got thrown on there as an after thought so I didn't forget it.)
It's so fancy. You know you're jealous.

Now slap that bad boy on your fridge so you don't forget what you're making this week.

***Make your life even easier. Make a board on Pinterest called "What's for Dinner." Search recipes from all over the web and pin them to that board. That way you don't have to go searching for your recipes when your ready to make them. They will all be in one space. You can even delete them or move them to another board at the end of the week so that you only have that weeks recipes to look at. Here's my recipe board if you're interested.

*****All of the recipes above are my own except for the pan enchiladas which you can find here. This is what I'm making tonight (if you have yet to check out Thug Kitchen, do it now. Gangster Vegan Chef? Be still my heart. You're welcome).