Guest Post: DIY Natural Deodorant

Since thinking about sustainable products and routines, I've been thinking a lot about the beauty and health products I use. Making your own beauty products seemed like a pretty good way to cut down on packaging, avoid products tested on animals and stop this constant state of anxiety that I seem to get myself into every time I stare perplexed at the array of choices in the beauty aisle! When I interviewed Jen of 'My Make Do and Mend Life' for the podcast last month, she mentioned she makes her own deodorant and my ears pricked. I'm giving this a go as I already have all the items in my cupboards.

I love the idea of cheap beauty ideas that are all natural!

Homemade deodorant.jpg

"I have been making my own deodorant for a couple of years now, ever since we spent a year Buying Nothing New. Not only have I saved money, and reduced the amount of waste I’m sending to landfill, I know exactly what I am putting onto my skin, AND I still have friends…!

My motivation when searching for a homemade deodorant recipe, was during a ‘Rubbish Diet’, when I was trying to reduce the amount of rubbish that we was going into our black bin every fortnight. I have to confess that I was massively sceptical that I would find something that would actually work. I assumed that anything I could make at home would never be as effective as something I could buy. And I also assumed that it would probably need lots of weird and wonderful ingredients that would be difficult to source.

I asked on the blog if anyone had any good recipes to share, and was surprised when one of my ‘real life’ friends got in touch to share her recipe.  I gathered together the ingredients (most of which I already had at home) and spent a grand total of about 5 minutes making my first batch. Then with some trepidation I tried it out…

And it worked!

 Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

Here’s the recipe, if you want to try it too:

  • 6-8 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • ¼- ½  cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ cup of cornflour
  • 8-10 drops of essential oils of your choice (optional)

This is the easiest make ever!

  1. In a largish bowl, mash all the ingredients together using a fork until well combined. You are aiming for a smooth paste.
  2. Decant into a suitable container-I re-use a cleaned out body moisturiser tub, which is just about the right size.
  3. To use it, scoop up a small amount on the end of your index finger, and apply! You only need the tiniest bit, and the coconut oil melts at body temperature, so it goes on really smoothly.

You may to play around a little bit with the ratios of the ingredients, to get it to suit you. For example, my own personal version of this is: 8 tablespoons of coconut oil, ¼ cup bicarb, ¼ cup cornflour, and 5 drops each of lemon verbena, and tea tree essential oils. I find if I use more bicarb it can be a little astringent, and cause some redness and irritation. 

I just use cornflour from the supermarket, and you can also buy coconut oil and bicarb there too. As I use bicarb for cleaning, and coconut oil for all kinds of things (moisturiser, and hair conditioner to name two!), I buy both in bulk online from a site called Summer Naturals as it works out cheaper.  

I love this recipe! Each batch takes just minutes to make, and last for several months."

 

With thanks to Jen for providing this simple to use recipe for homemade deodorant. Do you make any of your beauty products? I'd love to hear them. 

Guest Post: Martine’s Motifs

In this month of slowing down I've thought a lot about new skills, dwelling on simple tasks and enjoying a good fling with being polycraftual. Someone I've followed in her polycraftual exploits is Martine, the queen of crafts as far as I'm concerned. I asked Martine to guest post for me this month and amazingly, she found time to pop in and say hi! It's an honour to host Martine here, she's bursting with ideas and inspiration.

Martine hosts the iMake podcast from her Guernsey based home and writes for several publications. I first fell for her amazing ability to write tutorials- I found myself wanting to branch away from knitting and get seriously into soap making and crochet! 

Here's her thoughts on a little motif work...

Martine of imake

The word “motif” doesn’t seem be used in conversation very often, which is a shame, as it’s rather a lovely sounding word with a variety of meanings. A motif can be a decorative design, or a pattern, or sometimes a symbol. It can also be a reoccurring or dominant theme in writing, artwork or music. For example, Guernsey (my island home) is a motif featured often in my podcasts and photography.

Whatever your incarnation of “motif” is, it seems that in most cases, motifs are not just decorative they can be meaningful. Here are a few examples of where I have used motifs in my creative endeavours. 

My Favourite Things

In August 2014 I hosted a knitalong and our chosen project was the “My Favourite Things”  Infinity Scarf by Jill McGee. It’s a stranded colourwork/fair isle scarf knitted in the round as a long tube, then grafted at the ends. The utterly joyful part of the making process is choosing your own motifs to feature in the scarf (the idea being that they represent your favourite things). 

My scarf included coffee cups, flowers, squirrels, sheep and an Apple logo. It also included a number of traditional fair isle bands ­ those bits weren’t particularly meaningful, I admit, but they looked pretty!

This scarf is, without a doubt, the best thing I’ve ever made. The design process was incredibly enjoyable and the constant pattern changing meant that the project was completed quickly. Seeing KAL participants’ pattern choices, and learning about the reasons for their choices, was also quite wonderful. 

 Read more about Martine's Cowl  here  on her website

Read more about Martine's Cowl here on her website

Cross Stitch

I’ve had a love affair with cross stitch for years, but, try as I might, I cannot seem to finish a large project. Small -projects, though, are totally achievable and completely satisfying. There are lots of free resources online for cross stitch motif patterns ­ alternatively grab some graph paper and felt pens and design your own. One of my favourite cross stitch projects was creating and stitching my own QR code ­ it’s both meaningful (it’s a link to my website) and functional (it works!) 

 Martine's tutorial  How to Cross Stitch a QR Code can be found on her website,  here . 

Martine's tutorial  How to Cross Stitch a QR Code can be found on her website, here

Doodles

I’m a compulsive doodler. My doodles invariably feature a whole host of motifs, often relating to the situation or my feelings at the time. Doodles aren’t just a tool to pass the time in meetings though. They can look fantastic on handmade greeting cards, scrapbook pages or as part of your website (scan them, tidy them up in your photo editing software of choice and then you’ve got completely unique, personal motifs for your website). Here are a few of my doodles.

Doodles

Over To You...

Do you use motifs regularly in things you create? Are they meaningful, decorative or both? I’d love to know.

Thanks for reading, TTFN.

Martine XOX

 

You can find Martine on her online home iMake as well as sharing her ideas on Pinterest, FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Thanks so much Martine!

{Guest Post} My Creative Identity

Last month I  celebrated the amazing power of women when they join forces to make and create together and I was very fortunate to have my hand held online by super blogger Emily of MummyLimited. Her writing has been a huge source of nourishment for me since discovering her online home and so I'm overjoyed to bring you a guest post that speaks very close to my heart indeed. 

"I wrote a post recently about a campaign to get us all to unplug for the day, National Unplugging Day.  We are so often told to switch off and unplug. That our slavish devotion to electronic devices is bad for us and as a direct result, bad for our children. I get it, I really do. The picture of us not talking to each other and ignoring our children is a tempting one to believe. The Internet is portrayed as a dark and scary place, somewhere that takes us away from our real lives and makes us look inward not out. As someone who has been blogging for over five years and loves social media, for me, this couldn't be further from the truth.

My creative Identity

It is easy to judge someone when you observe a snippet of their day. If you could see me now, you would see a woman tapping on her phone, while her children play in the park. I look as though I'm ignoring them, but I am near, I can hear them, I am still listening and looking up, as I write. What they don't see is the 6am wake up, the refereeing of brotherly squabbles, the help with a board game, the scooting with my 4 year old, as he took me on an 'adventure'. They won't see the ice cream cones I will make once we're home or the solo bedtime I will do, or finally, after being on mum duty for 13 hours already, the hour or more I will spend feeding, rocking and soothing my baby to sleep. None of this is unusual to me and I don't expect or need praise for it, but nor do I deserve judgement for finding the odd moment in my day to connect with the digital and yet creative world.

My Creative Identity

The Internet and it's vibrant creative community has unlocked my own creativity in ways I could never have imagined. It's improved my skills and ideas, my interest in stuff and certainly my parenting. This resonates with so many parents, mostly mothers, many of whom have experienced the loneliness and frustration that parenting can bring. Parenting can often be a lonely pursuit, as in fact can making and creating and the support, honesty and humour I've found online has been invaluable over the last six years. Rather than make me look inward, the ideas and views I read make me better. A better person, a more patient and creative parent and a more proficient and inspired maker.

Before I started blogging and reading blogs, my creative outlet began and ended with knitting. Very basic and not very good knitting, i didn’t really push past the basics. It was through an online community that I found beautiful crochet did exist and it was far more than the 1970's inspired afghans that comes to most people's minds. I would never have picked up a hook without the Internet and now working with it is as ingrained in my being as reading or cooking.

My Creative Identity

Most creative people will say it's like an itch. Something they must do to feel at peace. That's how it is for me. A few days of not nourishing my creative being and I feel at odds with my world. The Internet allows me to do that and still function in a busy life with lots of responsibilities. Pinterest gives me lots of ideas, for acting on now, especially with the children or for later, for those days way into the future where I have time to explore new creative outlets. Instagram allows the very amateur photographer in me to notice and record the beauty in something or to tell the story of my day. There isn’t always the time to pick up a project in the day, there is time to fit in a bit of digital creativity.

Kate's theme last month was women as makers and it always strikes me how many inspiring women are writing online, about their creativity, their families, their lives. The women makers, I've found online inspire me and my digital life informs and influences my analogue life. We are telling stories, writing social history. The story of our lives may seem small, but it's important. It is a record of how we live, of who we are and of what we create. I want to record mine and I want to listen to others. The Internet allows us to reach across oceans, forests and miles of sprawling metropolis to find our tribe, to share our lives. I won't be told this is damaging and wrong. It just isn't possible. Sharing these things makes us, as women and mothers, stronger and that can only be a good thing."

 

Emily writes about her making, parenting and many things in between at Mummy Limited. You can find her all over the Internet as @emilyandmore. When not online she can often be found hooking with yarn, building Playmobil and breaking stuff.

{Guest Post} Publishing as a Feminist Act

This week, I shared an interview on the podcast with Melanie Falick that inspired me enormously. As well as being a highly acclaimed published author in her own right, Melanie has built a career on nurturing and empowering women to find their voices and become published authors. When the interview ended, we both felt there was still a little more to add. As is often the case when I interview a guest, we talked a little while off air and Melanie very kindly offered this guest post to share an important idea. 

Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops


When I interviewed artist Katharine Cobey for my first book, Knitting in America, she said to me, "If I were a man and I were knitting things, I would feel perfectly calm. It would be perfectly ordinary to have a beautiful studio, to say what I do is as important as I can make it." But women don't always feel that confident and entitled. "It takes putting both feel firmly on the ground," Katharine continued, and saying, " 'Stand up,' all the way that you can go. Just as big or as little as you are, but as much as you can."

 (c) Abrams Books

(c) Abrams Books

I think of Katharine words often. As an editor of craft books, I always try to give my authors (who are most often women) the chance to "Stand up," that is, the opportunity to express their creativity and knowledge in a bold, solid, confident way. Gone are all of the apologies that women often make for being a bother or taking up too much of someone's time or space. Gone is the modesty that many of us have come to believe we must express lest be labeled bossy or egotistical. Gone is the idea that what we do with yarn or thread and needles is trivial. Instead, we create a book that is as beautiful and substantive as we can make it, that allows us to say to the world, "I have something important to express, my work is worthy, I believe in myself." 

 (c) Abrams Books

(c) Abrams Books

I'm not sure how to define the term "feminist act," but I do know that I have always been dedicated to the idea of celebrating what women do, especially the parts of women's lives that have often been devalued and under-appreciated. 

 

Find Melanie online on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest  as @Melaniefalick and also at her new online home, MelanieFalick.com.