DIY: Fabric Flowers

Love the look of flowers on your lapel, made popular by Sarah Jessica Parker? You can make your own now super easily. No, they don’t have to be as big as Carrie Bradshaw’s here, but if you have enough fabric and really want to make a statement…go for it!

I found great flower-making tutorials at the fabulous blog, Tea Rose Home. Click on the pictures below to read the tutorials for each one. The nice thing about this is that you can make them from old fabric scraps!

Copyright: Tea Rose Home

Copyright: Tea Rose Home

Here’s one I made (which proves how easy it is to make, as I’m not very handy with the sewing machine!):

Click here for another flower-making tutorial from Sew4Home. Or, if you don’t have the time or ability to make them, check out these amazingly affordable and beautiful flower clips made by Sachiko of Tea Rose Home.

DIY: Shabby Skirt

I love browsing through fashion blogs and websites. Often, I’m inspired to reinvent my wardrobe with different layering effects, embellishments, etc. And the best part is finding ways to repurpose old, boring garments, or fabric scraps (which I always have hanging around). I found this great video on Christa-Taylor today, which shows you how to make a shabby skirt in five minutes. I doubt I could actually do it in five minutes, but it still looks like an easy, fun design that a beginning seamstress, like myself, could do easily. I haven’t yet tried it, but if I do, I’ll be sure to post about it. Check it out for yourself here.

Sorry for the lack of picture here. I wanted to embed the video, but it’s not “embed-able.” Nor could I find a picture that really captured the look of the skirt. If you decide to make your own, please let me know – I’d love to hear how it went!

DIY Shampoo, Version 2 (and a hair update)

I have been further experimenting with my haircare routine over the past two weeks, and wanted to share a few things.

First, if you have already experimented with washing your hair every other day, for a long period of time, as I have, then it is quite easy to extend that one more day without the hair becoming too scary! I am now successfully washing every third day, and it feels great. I probably will go back to every other day in the summer, but in the winter, it’s not usually necessary. (If you feel a little too oily, try the dry shampoo.)

Second, I have experimented with the DIY shampoo recipe. When you mix vinegar and castile soap, the results can be a bit sticky or tacky, depending on the user. I noticed a very slight tackiness to my hair when I first started using this recipe, but it never bothered me, so I didn’t think much about it. Several readers who have tried this recipe recently, however, have told me that they definitely don’t like that aspect of the shampoo. So I omitted the vinegar and reduced the castile soap considerably.

Five Seed’s Favorite Shampoo
aka: DIY Shampoo, Version 2

2 cups filtered water
1/2 cup liquid castile soap
10 drops lavender essential oil

So far, I have found this shampoo to be even better than the previous recipe and can’t believe I didn’t try it before. There is no tacky/gummy residue, and it washes cleanly. Here is my hair the day I first used this recipe.

I have not yet tried a vinegar rinse after using this, but will do so in the coming weeks. Give this one a try – I like it even better than the previous recipe!!

UPDATE: August 11, 2011

I am currently using a 1:1 ratio of castile soap to water. I often change this this, however, just to see how my hair responds. It seems to thrive when I change the routine every few months. I would recommend never using more castile soap than water, however, as it tends to weigh the hair down.

DIY Shampoo

Forget this stuff! (Image: Procter & Gamble)

If you weren’t too keen on the whole no-poo idea, then try this homemade shampoo. I found the original recipe here, on Passionate Homemaking, and have altered it to fit my hair’s needs. The beauty of this shampoo is that you can change any part of it to make it work for your hair. Use different measurements, different essential oils – the possibilities are endless.

1 cup organic liquid castile soap (You can get this from Dr. Bronner’s or from Mountain Rose Herbs*.)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 ΒΌ cup water
10-20 drops of your favorite essential oils (lavender is my current favorite)

I use a spray bottle (as suggested by Passionate Homemaking blogger, Lindsay Edmonds) to apply this shampoo. It works really well. The only drawback is that it is plastic, which I try to avoid. Many people have dozens of plastic water bottles lying around the house (so often given away as promotional material at summer street fairs, so they tend to pile up) – you can easily use one of these, as well. The nozzle would make a great applicator.

Make sure to shake this mixture before using it. The castile soap makes a great lather, for those of you who need some lather in your shampoo! :) I like to use a low castile soap to water ratio, whereas the original recipe calls for the opposite. Castile soap has a very different feeling than traditional shampoos, as it is made from oils. Your hair will feel thicker and it will probably take some time to get used to. But your hair WILL be clean.

This is the shampoo I have used for a year and a half. I absolutely love it. This is a great shampoo to use as a transition to no-poo, if you are interested in taking that route. Or as a substitute for traditional shampoo. As I mentioned before, I use baking soda every fourth or fifth shampoo to get my hair super clean, then return to this shampoo.

There is one drawback to this (and some other) homemade shampoos: static electricity. There are chemicals in commercial shampoos and conditioners that bind to the hair for a number of reasons, including the prevention of static electricity. However, I’ve never found this to be a huge problem – just a minor annoyance.

So…if you aren’t sold on this shampoo’s ability to get the job done, or its eco-friendly ingredients, then just imagine how much money you will save by using this, rather than buying shampoo and conditioner every few months!

*5 Seed is an affiliate of Mountain Rose Herbs. We fully stand behind their ethical and eco-friendly business practices.

DIY: Chocolate & Lube

Happy Valentine’s Weekend! I hope you are planning a celebration of love, whether you are in a relationship or not. No matter what, there should be copious amounts of chocolate consumed! ;) In that spirit, I wanted to share this video with you. Kathryn Budig, one of my favorite yoga teachers, demonstrates a wonderful recipe for homemade chocolates. These are all ingredients (minus the coffee) I always have on hand – raw cacao is my life. (You can purchase it from Mountain Rose Herbs, Navitas Naturals, or at your local health food store.)

And if you’re in the mood for something a bit more…active…try this DIY lube from Grist.org. Traditional lubes are full of chemicals, like propylene glycol, that don’t belong near our delicate parts. Ditch those chemicals and make your own – you only need flax seeds (easily found at most grocery stores these days) and water. Funnily enough, this concoction can supposedly double as a hair gel!

Hope you have a fabulous, chemical-free, all-natural Valentine’s Day weekend! May you be blessed with love in all its forms.

DIY Wednesdays: Natural Deodorant

Thinking about giving natural deodorant a try after reading yesterday’s post? Trust me – it’s amazing.

Personally, I like to make my own. Nearly two years ago, I found the recipe featured here from Lindsay Edmond’s Passionate Homemaking. I’ve been using it ever since then, and have found it to be the best deodorant I’ve ever used.

Here’s the tutorial, or click here to read her post about it.

Yes, you will still sweat when using this product, but I very rarely find this to be a problem. And the big worry: body odor? I have only had a problem with this on a very rare occasion when I was extremely nervous – maybe four or five times. In two years. (Yeah, that’s a long time to be relatively non-stinky.) Click here for yet another rave about it at Kitchen Stewardship.

As for scents, I make mine with lavender essential oil, whereas Lindsay uses peppermint and tea tree in the video. You can experiment with this.

If you aren’t quite ready for the DIY route, try the natural deodorant brands. My absolute favorite is Terressentials roll-on deodorant. I hate that it’s liquid (I always prefer solid or semi-solid deodorants), because it does take some time to dry, but it works better than any other natural brand I’ve tried. (But not better than the DIY version!)

Here’s some more info from grist.org: