Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yarn Along

I am joining in the Yarn Along again.

Yeah, that is the same yarn from last time. I pulled out that project soon after I posted. I still would like to master that pattern, but I need to just follow the directions first before I decide to modify.  I also should probably make it for a baby closer to summer or spring. Anyway, I am making a headband/ear-warmer with the Saxon braid/cable pattern. Isn't it gorgeous?

Did I post David Copperfield the last time? I was still technically reading it then (I have technically been reading it for over a year). I think it may have been The Secret Garden which I have finished. I have really started to enjoy David Copperfield. That usually happens with long Dickens novels for me recently.

I have finished several more knitting projects since the last time. I forgot to take photos of two of them. A matching (same yarn as above except in peachy pink) ear-warmer/head band, knit double stranded with the aran braid cable as the main design and twisted cowl (I like the look of cowls better if I twist the cast on stitches once before I join) knit single stranded in garter stitch chevron.

Plus these three

We got started on an ear-warmer/headband craze last winter after watching the Hallmark movie "Let it Snow" last year. I loved the headband/ear-warmer that Stephanie wears when Brady first takes her skiing (here). Mom and my younger sister knitted a bunch of headbands last year (most if not all with simple braid cable), but only this year did I attempt any. The first one I tried was that pink one from  my last knitting post (I was not going for exactly like the movie). This one I made as a gift. I started it before the pink cable one, but I took this one out several times. I think I would like to make one for myself a bit more like the one from the movie. I did not use a pattern (I found one for sale, but it is fairly simple to figure out and not really that original a concept, so I did not consider it worth the buy).

 I used this pattern from Ravelry, but used seed/moss stitch instead. 

I used this pattern from Ravelry, and I would definitely modify it if I used again (not enough shaping within the pattern; I pushed and pulled them into that shape, and they are not likely to stay that way).

And I still have worked intermittently on a scarf/kerchief. I want to start a sweater, but I am waiting for a boatload of  knitting books from the library to help me fit it properly.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Natural Beauty: Cowgirl Dirt

I have list of objectionable ingredients from The Green Beauty Guide with which I scrutinized loads of purportedly natural and organic beauty products. To this list I want to add Titanium dioxide. All of my research is stuck on my ill or dead computer for the time being. But I still want to try to check ingredients better.

I ordered a bunch of samples from Cowgirl Dirt a couple months ago (I think I first heard of this company from the Fresh Modesty blog; the name of the company does not appeal to me as I have zero interest in cowgirl stuff or style, and this is probably part of the reason why it took me a while to look into it). I ordered some lip gloss and lip sticks, concealer, cream foundation, and cream eye shadow; the latter three do not make the cut because of the silica. I love being able to choose samples especially since it is so hard to purchase natural products and even though many natural products are only available online, many companies still do not offer samples (except in a random sort of way). I also received my order quite speedily.

With the first order I received a "10% off your next order" coupon (I also did with this order; please let some of the lipsticks work on me!). I finally got around to using it and ordered mascara (brown), eyeliner pencils (black, brown, blue, and purple), a lip liner pencil ("8 Seconds"), lip gloss ("Middleton Passion"), and lipstick and loose eye shadow samples. They mistakenly sent me a sample instead of the full-sized lip gloss, and I emailed them right away (I think this was Thursday), and I received the full-sized lip gloss today, yay for good customer service.

The mascara is nice, not greatly thickening (fairly typical of natural mascaras, I think), but then I do not exactly have a ton of lashes, so it is probably better for them. The eye liners are lighter than the ones I had before (Dr. Hauschka, which now seem more like crayons in comparison). I love the lip gloss applicator; it is much more efficient and less wasteful than the ones with wands you dip into the tube. The eye shadows are nice (I have just tried two so far and only one color works for me, maybe), but I love sparkle (although I probably look better in matte) and these look matte on. However, most/all of the sparkly sources (Fairie Organics, Alima Pure, Willow Tree Minerals) I looked at or use contained Titanium dioxide. No. I am afraid I might just eventually have to make my own eyeshadow . . . after I use up what I have. I have not tried the lip pencil. I liked the matte look of the "Target" lipstick, but the color is wrong for me (I cannot seem to wear a great variety of colors, boo), so yay for samples.

The prices are QUITE reasonable for natural stuff. Most (if not all) natural stuff at this price range is not even close to completely natural. All in all I am pretty satisfied.

Here are some of my products (they are sent in those bags)

Cowgirl Dirt is having a massive sweepstakes event until the end of this month also.

Ingredient lists for these items
Mascara: Water, Candelilla Wax, Organic Beeswax, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate (coconut derived), Aloe Vera, Proprietary Herbal Extract Blend, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Iron Oxide, Mica.
Eye Shadow: Zinc Oxide, Boron Nitride, Mica, Vegetable derived Magnesium Stearate, Certified Organic Vegetable Starch, Pure Pearl Powder, Silk Powder, Certified Organic Neem Extract, Certified Organic Olive Extract, Certified Organic Raspberry Extract, Comfrey derived Allantoin. (May contain: Ultramarines, Mica, Iron Oxides, Tin Oxides). Note: Eye shadow Troubador contains Carmine.  
Mud Slinger Eye Liner Pencil: Organic Jojoba, Organic Castor Oil, Organic Beeswax, Candellila Wax, Iron Oxides, Mica and Vitamin E.
Yeehaw Lip Stick: Certified Organic Castor Oil, Certified Organic Beeswax, Olive Emulsifiers, Avocado Butter, Certified Organic Shea Butter, Certified Organic Coconut Oil, Certified Organic Olive Oil, Certified Organic Jojoba Oil, Certified Organic Pomegranate Oil, Natural Vitamin E, Stevia Leaf Extract. (May contain 100% Natural Fruit Extracts or Essential Oils of Raspberry, Pomegranate, Sweet Orange & Lime, Iron Oxides, Mica, Zinc Oxide, Carmine, or Manganese Violet). *Note: Secretariat and Cash shades contain Carmine for a portion of their natural coloring.
Bodacious Botanical Lip Gloss: Certified Organic Castor Oil, Certified Organic Beeswax, Organic Coconut Oil, Castor Wax, Natural Stevia Extract, Certified Organic Green Tea Extract, Natural Vitamin E Oil, Certified Organic Rosemary Extract, Certified Organic Pomegranate Extract (+/- Mica, Certified Organic Sweet Orange Essential Oil, Certified Organic Raspberry Extract, Certified Organic Peppermint Oil, Certified Organic Spearmint Oil, Vanilla CO2). *Note: The Udderly Mauve shade contains a small amount of Carmine for natural coloring.
Latigo Lip Liner Pencil: Certified Organic Castor Oil, Castor Wax, Certified Organic Shea Butter, Certified Organic Jojoba Oil, Avocado Butter, Certified Organic Carnauba Wax, Natural Vitamin E Oil, Triglycerides (coconut oil) (+/- Mica, Iron Oxides, Ultramarine, Manganese Violet). *Note: Outlaw contains the colorant 'carmine' which is not a vegan-friendly ingredient. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Fashion Post

We have had some yearly shopping trips for the ladies of Mom's big Southern family and after the last one my mom's aunt (who is actually around Mom's age) told us about an AWESOME style site:

I love the original Color Me Beautiful and the original make-up book. That first book and TLC's What Not to Wear first helped me understand style (note, I said understand; sometimes I almost have it, occasionally I will have everything together, and frequently something is wrong, and sometimes I am still in awkward style-less home-schooler land :P). Other sources such as Pinterest, fashion blogs and Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad helped me as well.

I still love all of these sources of course, but Inside Out Style Blog compiles and expands on everything. More body shapes are given (much more realistic than grouping everyone into four or five categories), and I think the stylist herself considers herself a mix of two. I also really appreciate the extra help for certain body areas, for example what to do for disproportionately long or short legs.

She has hairstyles for face shapes. Which I recently used to help me decide to get fairly heavy bangs, and chop off another eight-ish inches from my hair (I chopped eight off from my almost waist-length hair in May). Earrings style for face shapes. Accessory guides (I have a long waist, so to break it up I should wear wide belts in a contrasting or noticeable color).

She also has color guides, but besides finding your color she assists in putting them together. I LOVED this. Contrasting or monochromatic or triadic (I do not know exactly what the term used is). Making sure the colors match in intensity (something I did not think about, "Oh, now I know why certain outfits do not work).

I received one Thred Up order (during a major sale) and then promptly ordered another batch of clothes. I also picked up some $1 things at Clothes Mentor a couple weeks ago, most of which need to be altered or used as fabric. I also ordered three of these sweaters from Chadwicks (the square neck is a good style for my sloping shoulders); I now have five and if they continue to put out new colors I will buy more as I find more colors that suit me. My fall/winter style is already much better than last year, but the shoe and scarf category is still majorly lacking, and I need a grey coat. I think I may make some scarves from some of my thrifted items.

To top off this fashion post; I just got my second job, a job at one of our local Clothes Mentor stores!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lorna Doone Review

I have heard complaints about the interest and quality of this novel. I looked up the author and dates; the author was a popular Victorian novelist. This leads me to believe that he intentionally chose an awkward writing style; I think the author tried to write as lucidly and correctly as a yeoman farmer of the 17th century who self-professedly was not over-bright and did not, of course, have the time or interest for intellectual pursuits uncommon to and above his station.

Anyway, I enjoyed the story and its oddity. I am curious to see what else the author wrote and how it compares (and to test my theory). This story felt like it was missing background and closure (Alan Brandir anyone?) because of the style, but I like that. This is called mystery when properly done (most exquisitely done in Sutcliff novels). Modernists feel that every detail of the plot has to "work out" and that this is part of what makes good writing. This is not so, and good writing cannot be broken down so easily into components.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


A few weeks ago I had a prolonged period of semi-successful sewing/altering. Since this mood produced a barely perceptible dent in my sewing/alterations mountains, I need to motivate myself into another one.

I bought this silk and cotton J. Jill skirt from Ashley at Bramblewood Fashion during one of her Shop My Closet sales. I decided to shorten it since it hit at an awkward length on me. I do not have a very good before photo. I probably should not have done a rolled hem because of the ruffly nature of the hem (and it was a new skill learned this sewing frenzy period). Oh, well. Maybe I will fix it somehow eventually.

I ordered the materials to make a white and a cream extender slips quite a while ago. I put this white one under a full skirt, and my sister said I looked like a lacy cupcake. In addition to being too full, the skirt was also crooked. I learned from my mistakes and the cream one is much better (but still not the greatest), but most of my mistakes are usually out of thoughtlessness and impatience which means I have wasted a lot of time and material. These are not genuine mistakes, but laziness.

Much improved.

I made the red skirt for my little sister after tearing out the terrible work done by a much more hasty sister (yeah, runs in the family). Months ago I shortened a pink skirt I had handed down to another sister, and so this sewing period I made an infinity scarf out of the left-overs. I found a grey silk dress at Goodwill and turned it into a slip for which I need to find grey lace to make into another extender slip.  I finished a partially made baby dress someone gave us. Sugarplum, our older cat, likes to climb on our table and sit on the fabric. When she is hiding from Mumford (our spoiled little kitty princeling), she sits in the chairs.

I am thankful for what I did get done, and I learned and practiced two new skills: French seams and rolled hems.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Knitting, Reading, Listening

I am participating in the yarn along here again.

I am of course both reading and knitting more than one book and project, but I will try to post the other items next week. Forgive any crooked photos; my personal computer is dead, and so my iphone set-up is not the same. I started out using this baby dress pattern and downsized on the needles and cut out a leaf at the top, but now I am winging it. Yikes.

I have been listening to my younger sisters' Adventures in Odyssey. I always for get how wonderful this audio series is!

Here are some projects I finished since the last knitting post. I had most of one of the silver gloves and all of one of the purple gloves done already. All the beret and finger-less glove sets are done in time for fall! I will have to post a photo of them all together. I made the headband with one of the balls of yarn I bought in N.C. and still have some left which at the moment I want to try to use for baby slippers, perhaps with the purple yarn from my finger-less gloves (this pattern, and it has some errors in the final ribbed rows, but I love this pattern the best so far; the gloves are sooo pretty on)