#whyididntreport

20190312_094028I actually did. Many times. It didn’t matter. I just ended up more traumatized than I already was, realizing time and again that I was alone in my fight, lacking the emotional and financial resources to get the level of care I needed. I am a multiple survivor of sexual assault. I have been diagnosed with complex PTSD, and every day is journey of self-care and self-love. It shouldn’t be this hard to feel like a regular, functional person.

I used to get out every morning at dawn to walk through the nature preserve near my home. I love that moment when the world just suddenly wakes up. You have the whole world to yourself, the owls hooing around you, and then suddenly, for no discernible reason, all the little chirping birds start to sing, the sun breaks through the trees, and the humans start to bustle. I love to hoard those precious moments of silence and solitude, just me, the owls, the coyotes, the little armadillos digging in the dirt, the jackrabbits hopping across my path. But last November, a man went barreling past me on his mountain bike – not allowed on this trail – and I found myself in a position where I was cornered in the woods with no escape. He saw me taking pictures of the woods with my phone and accused me of taking pictures of him. I was stunned and immediately started shaking, a trauma response. He engaged in name-calling and accusations. I was a woman alone in the woods with a man. I haven’t been outside by myself since. Every morning I wake up and tell myself, today. I’ll make it out of the house today. And I do occasionally with other people. But not by myself. It tears me up that I’m still this broken and traumatized after all my hard work. That it takes so little to knock me down. That my mindset can be so positive, but the neural pathways in my brain betray me sometimes.

The other day I went to the doctor – by myself. I did it. I had my annual female exam. It had been five years. I know what I’m supposed to do. I know I’m at high risk waiting so long, being a woman of 46. I know, I know, I know. But it’s hard. Walking into that county clinic was hard. I had to fill out paperwork, and when I came to the part where it asked me if I was a survivor of sexual assault, I almost broke down checking the ‘yes’ box. It was a raw, visceral, primal response from some deep, cavernous part of me that threatened to suck me in like a vacuum. Even after all this time, all the therapy, all the energy work, healing modalities, all the self-love, all the positive mindset, I still couldn’t check the ‘yes’ box on a piece of paper. I willed myself not to break down. After my exam, I was walking through the parking lot a short distance behind this big, construction-looking guy. He glanced back and saw me, then did double take. He slowed way down trying to get me to catch up with him. I was almost to my car, thank God. I want these experiences to not feel traumatizing. I’ll get there. I thought I was fine. I am fine. I’m sitting here in a pretty dress, wearing my favorite lipstick, drinking good tea, re-runs of Friends playing in the background. There is a perfect, beautiful breezy day outside. But I’m in here. Doing okay. But I’m not okay. Never really am. But I will be okay. Know what I mean?

I’ve reported. I’ve been courageous. Been called a bad ass, goddess, hero by other women over the years; watched other women find the courage to speak because I did. Yet, I still have been silent, fearful of the repercussions if I actually put my story down in writing. I still kept the code of silence with certain people in certain situations out of survival, feeling like I’m having to choose between betraying myself or betraying people I love who I desperately want to love and support me. I’ve had support systems ripped away, been black-balled by a church, gaslighted, had my mental health and emotional stability questioned, told I was just looking for attention because I’m such a pretty girl, been forgiveness-shamed more times than I can count, laughed at while eyes rolled, been accused of trying to ruin a man’s reputation while mine was dragged through the mud, been asked for my I.D. and had a background check run by a police officer who never bothered to take a report or search for my perpetrator, had the state of California tell me as a teenager that it was just my word against his… The burden of proof always fell at my feet, the one on trial for crimes I didn’t commit. When they find out my father is not in my life, people always say, “But, Melanie, he’s your father,” followed by the classic forgiveness-shame. Not once in all these years has anyone ever said, “But, Melanie, I don’t understand. You’re his daughter. How could he?” Never.

Here I am. In here, looking out the window onto the world. He’s out there, driving around in his car, having his career, going to church, playing the role of the sweet, docile, God-fearing man. I’ve been silent for too long. I owe my silence to no one. And my life, our lives, are too important, our stories are too important, to remained tucked away in the inner recesses of our souls. People say. “In your pain is your purpose.” Some days my pain is all I have. So I lay my pain on the altar, and like that final scene in Corpse Bride, I’m going to stand here for as long as it takes until this ball that lives inside my heart begins to dissipate, and I’m surrounded by nothing but butterflies, a swirling rainbow, ascending up, up into the sky. I always heard that you never know when you wake up in the morning if that will be the day that your life changes forever, one way or the other. I’ve decided today is the day. Today, my life changes forever. Right now, I’m taking back my power.

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The view outside. Maybe, if I’m brave, I’ll make it to the mail box today.

About Me

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Turquoise Floral Knit Dress

IMG_20190314_093432There are some projects that are intimidating. You don’t know why. You’ve been doing this for so long, if anyone can handle it, you can. Yet for some reason, it keeps getting pushed aside and pushed aside. Such was the case for my turquoise floral knit dress. There are a lot of pieces to that bodice, and no princess seams whatsoever, so fitting it to a large-chested and narrow-waisted figure is tough to do. In the interest of #sewmystash2019, I decided to buckle down and just give it a go. I’m not much of a knit dress kind of person, and I am very picky about length of my skirts and dresses, so I wasn’t sure about this piece. But I’m so glad I persisted. This really is a great piece for the warmer weather. There’s something so incredibly simple about throwing on a knit dress in the summer with sandals. It’s easy, yet looks so put together.

The fabric was purchased five years ago in a now defunct local shop, and is very nice quality. I’m picky about knit fabric. The pattern I used was the now out-of-print Simplicity 2443, a Cynthia Rowley design:

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I sized the pattern to fit through the bustline, then adjusted along the sides. However, I found that, due to the design, it was pooching out above the bust and had to be taken up at the two points above the breasts where the bodice meets the yoke. This was a little tricky. The yoke was basted to the bodice, so after making the necessary markings on the bodice piece, I took out just enough stitching in these sections to line the markings up with the yoke, laid my tailor’s ham under the section being worked, and hand-basted the section along the markings. Doing this gave me a much better fit when I sewed it together by machine.

The extra tricky part of it all is that I always line the bodices of my dresses, for a better overall silhouette and more professional look. So I had to do the above process TWICE. This, coupled with the fact that the dress has a waistband, made adjusting the waistline tricky. It took many tries, not only to get the fit, but to get the side with the zipper to lay smoothly. It took half of a season of Mad Men to get it to mostly lay right. I ended up hand-sewing the invisible zipper to get the results I wanted. Sewing it by machine made it wavy time and time again. I was about to lose my mind, so I just figured if the prairie women from the days of yore could hand stitch entire gowns full of massive skirts, a little hand-sewing in this dress wouldn’t kill me.

I added top-stitching to my bodice, even though the pattern didn’t call for it. I’m happy with the results. I really hope this dress gets the wear it deserves, for all the work I put into it. Now, the weather just needs to get a touch warmer…

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Things I Sew

My Favorite Beauty Books (Right Now)

Between my love for vintage glamour and my love for plants and making my own products, I look at a LOT of different sources for ideas and inspiration. These are the ones that I find myself picking up over and over again, especially when I need a fresh dose of inspiration.

91fp3R+imCLI recently acquired a copy of this book and was surprised at how utterly absorbing Shiva Rose’s approach to beauty, spirituality and lifestyle has been for me. She takes an Ayurvedic approach to her beauty and self-care routines, having been a practitioner of Kundalini for many years. Many of the holistic beauty books use Ayurvedic principles, but Shiva Rose very clearly lives these practices in her daily life, and has manifested her recipes, recommendations, lifestyle, and beauty company from these deeply rooted principles. You can feel this all through the book. The photography is beautiful, unassuming, and full of authenticity. You are entering her world every time you crack it  open. She introduced me to ingredients that I had never heard of, and I’ve already tried some of them with happy results. This is really more of a lifestyle book than an herbal beauty book, which is why I keep opening it up. Shiva Rose gently shares her values, her rituals, her routines, and her passions, and I love every page. I studied Ayurveda when I was doing my Naturopathic training, and this made me want to dive back in.

9780060722715_p0_v7_s550x406I LOVE Dita Von Teese! On the surface, you’d think she was entirely different from someone like Shiva Rose, but quite the contrary. They are both women who buck convention, embrace who they are wholeheartedly, and use this to inspire and encourage other women to embrace their beauty. I adore a self-made woman who is unapologetically true to who she is. Dita’s book is full of absolutely gorgeous photography, another one that I just have to pick up and thumb through for inspiration. Dita is a master at presenting herself as her own artistic muse – every photo is GLORIOUS. She discusses all of her regimens and routines, this being as much a lifestyle as beauty book (like above). She is openly transparent about her use of plastic surgery and other procedures. While I am more in the crunchy beauty camp and wouldn’t necessarily make the same choices (to each their own), my love of red lipstick and old Hollywood glamour keeps me coming back to Dita. She is very disciplined about her self-care, and I really appreciate her balanced approach between the natural and conventional when it comes to skin care and makeup. Her interview with her dermatologist was a high point for me. Sometimes the less natural choice is what’s best at the time. It’s good to have all the tools in our tool belts. A truly integrative approach that’s refreshing.

913agFPdfpLNadine Artemis is the queen of essential oils and natural beauty. Her holistic dental care book was a game-changer for me, so I was excited when she came out with her beauty book. Like above, this book is yet another labor of love by a woman who is living from her soul and true calling. The book is delightfully autobiographical, highly educational, and treasure trove of excellent information. It is almost like a textbook in its own way, covering more than just beauty, but other aspects of balanced self-care from a holistic perspective. There aren’t a ton of recipes, but I really loved the ones included. They were unique – not just a reworking of the same stuff you find online. However, the recipes tend to use pricier ingredients like blue tansy, immortelle and rose essential oils, which was fine by me. I really wasn’t looking for step-by-step instructions. I was looking for inspiration, as well a resource I could consult that comes from true first-hand expertise and study, not just someone who has read other people’s blogs and books and made a few recipes. I wanted to deepen my experience of plant essences and learn from someone who is gifted and experienced in this area. This book delivered.

71C7t-p16TLI found this book at a used book store, while trying to find an encyclopedia of essential oils. Elana Millman trained with Nadine Artemis, and I learned a lot from her about the world of fragrance. I now understand what a top note, middle note and base note are (not musical). I also learned a great deal about which essential oils tend to fall into which categories, which has made creating my own formulas much more effective and enlightening. I have always been intimidated by essential oils and suddenly I’m obsessed with them, finally stepping out of my comfort zone. There are actually quite a few recipes/suggestions for combinations for beauty, massage, and more. This has been an invaluable guide for helping me create my own formulas, and I’m growing in my own product-making abilities. This book is as practical as it is beautiful to browse through.

510c8a2nO3L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Okay, so this is not necessarily a beauty book, but the 1940s are my absolutely favorite era of fashion. This book is full of beautiful photographs from the era, and is an endless source of inspiration for beauty looks. It is also a fabulous resource to understand the history of fashion in this era. You really can’t study fashion history without going into the politics, societal attitudes and economics of that era, because people’s choices are intimately linked to what’s happening in the world around them. This is why I love this era – women took charge on the home front during the war, and fashions reflected that. American designers were on the forefront, since Paris was occupied, and designs needed to allow women to really move and be free. Shoulders were strong, waistlines were narrow, and silhouettes reflected a brilliant blend of confidence and femininity. Trousers became commonplace, as menswear was cut down to fit women’s physiques. I was fascinated to discover that Dior’s New Look, launched in 1947, was actually protested by many women around the globe (literal protests!) because of the changing role that it represented for many women, who had found empowerment in their wartime roles and considered the new styles to be incredibly wasteful. They were not ready to be re-corseted and forced into voluminous skirts and rendered homebound. The section on German fashion during the war was also eye-opening. All nerdiness aside, I just love sitting and looking at the pictures over and over for fashion inspo. If you have a favorite era, I highly recommend adding a book like this to your collection for deeper connection to the era and creative inspiration.

Honorable mentions:

I can’t wait to see what else comes my way!

Things I Read

Vanilla Oat Milky Facial Cleanser

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Well, the second cleanser of my nightly double-cleaning routine ran out, so I’m product-making again. The other day I made my Lavender/Citrus Creamy Cleanser, which I use for removing makeup and grime. The second cleansing step involves a milky cleanser to deep clean the pores that have just been opened. I have dry, sensitive skin, so I like something that is gently exfoliating, nourishing and soothing for step two. This is a very easy and quick cleanser to make.

Here’s what you need:

  • Powdered goat milk (best you can afford; on a tight budget, you can use regular milk).
  • Powdered oats (I use oat flour in pie crust, so I always have some on hand, but you can do just fine grinding up regular old oats in a food processor or coffee mill).
  • Liquid castile soap, like Dr. Bronner’s. I usually get the unscented stuff. Want to know how to make a gallon of liquid castile soap on the cheap? Buy a bar of castile soap, grate it up, and melt it down in a pan of water over low heat. Add to a gallon jug (old vinegar jug is great) and add water the rest of the way. Shake it up. A gallon of Dr. Bronner’s unscented castile soap is currently listed as $59.99 on Amazon. A single bar of the same thing is about $4 at my local natural market. I actually save my soap slivers from my olive oil bar soap until I have about one cup full, and use them to make mine. Some people are weirded out by this, but I’m the only one using it, and they’re perfectly good soap IMO. To each their own.
  • Vanilla essential oil (or a tiny amount of organic vanilla extract or powdered organic vanilla bean) (optional): I chose vanilla because my creamy cleanser has such strong aromatherapy effects with the lavender and grapefruit that I wanted something which would pair nicely overall. I could have gone without fragrance, but the gentle effects of vanilla layer beautifully with the others. Full effects listed at the end of the post.
  • Glass marble or bead: I like adding a glass marble or bead to items like this to aid in shaking it up before use. It’s a nice alternative to the chemical emulsifiers/anti-separating agents found in commercial products.

I used a 2 ounce jar, but you can adjust the proportion of ingredients up or down very easily. It is best to make this in small amounts more often for the sake of freshness (that sound like a tampon commercial!) If you choose to make more than two ounces, only keep out a small amount and store the rest in the refrigerator.

If you use a blender or other mixing apparatus, use very low-speed or the milk will get VERY frothy. I am choosing to be lazy and throw all the stuff right into the jar, following it with a good hearty shake.

Here’s the process:

Step one:  Combine 2 tablespoons of powdered goat milk with 2 tablespoons of powdered oats and mix them up. If you use powdered vanilla, add it here with the dry ingredients.

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See the marble in there? Works great for the next step.

Step two:  Cover the mixture with castile soap (you basically have equal parts powdered mixture and castile soap; you can make this cleanser as thick or as thin as you want). If you find castile soap too drying, dilute it with water (approximately equal parts). Mix everything thoroughly. If you’re smarter and less lazy than myself, you’ll be using a blender or something and dealing with fewer clumps.

Step three:  Shake/blend thoroughly until you have a creamy, frothy mixture. Add 2-3 drops of vanilla essential oil and shake it up. Vanilla pairs nicely with the ingredients. This cleanser smells edible!

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There it is! Ignore the little clump floating on top. Yours will be much better. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon. What can I say?

Ingredient actions:

  • Goat milk:  Extremely moisturizing and soothing to many types of skin irritation; pH is very similar to human skin, protecting skin from bacteria and chemicals that can irritate and dry it out; nutrient rich (high in vitamins E, C and D); high in acids like lactic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid that have anti-aging effects (break down old skin cells and mildly exfoliating).
  • Powdered oats:  Soothes many types of skin irritation; gently exfoliating; relieves dry, sensitive skin.
  • Vanilla essential oil:  Balances mood; reduces stress; calming; softens other fragrances; sedative (perfect for bedtime when paired with the sedative effects of lavender).

Favorite sources used:

Things I Make

Upcycled Men’s T-Shirts

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Mens t-shirts have this odd way of continually entering my life. People keep buying them for me, and I don’t want them. Why must every event with every group of people involve matching t-shirts that no one else will ever want after you’ve owned it? Or that no one will ever wear again, except for Uncle George, who has no other clothing in his closet than family reunion t-shirts, two pairs of 15-year-old cargo shorts, six pairs of white tube socks that all came in the same package from the now defunct K-Mart, and a single pair of sneakers his wife bought him at Costco. God bless his simplicity. He is the relic of a bygone era, when all your car parts were purchased at Sears and a man could get by with one J.C. Penney suit that was durable enough to survive a nuclear war. We salute you and your tube socks, George…

But I live in the real world. The modern world. Don’t get me wrong. Like every red-blooded American girl I love a cute t-shirt and jeans. I just don’t want one that looks like it was designed for Sponge Bob Square Pants. Some of the shirts which enter my life are really cute, like the hand-me-downs from my Fella, whose taste in things I appreciate. I also like looking through the used shirts at Thrift stores, because you never know when you might find a cool older Harley tee or something like that. As a result, I have a carefully curated collection of upcycled tees in my closet.

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A random sampling.

I’ve grown to appreciate the thick, heavy-duty fabric of men’s shirts and prefer to tailor them to myself than to buy the women’s version. Women’s shirts are made of flimsy stuff, and the logos are too girly. Upcycling male hand-me-downs has become my go-to for logo tees, or anything solid that comes in a color choice that is not easily found in the women’s section. I get them in men’s large or XL. This gives me enough yardage to work with.

I discovered years ago that the perfect fitting white tee (for my body and tastes) was found for $4 at Walmart. In the interest of building a more sustainable wardrobe, I drafted a pattern from one of them using poster board:

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Now, whenever a t-shirt with a great logo enters my life, I can upcycle like a master. Or, if I can’t find a solid color knit fabric that is to my liking, I can hit the men’s department armed and ready to DIY a high-quality shirt on a budget.

Here’s the process: 

Step one:  Remove the sleeve, leaving the underarm seam intact. Cut the body of the shirt apart along the side seams and lay it out flat. Depending on the shirt, you may be able to leave the shoulder seams and neckband intact and simply trace new armhole openings and sides. If the logo is especially large or placed low relative to the neckline, this won’t work.

Step two:  Lay the front and back pattern pieces on the front and back of the t-shirt. Be mindful of logo placement. It will look weird if it’s too low. Trace around the pieces, using pattern weights to keep them in place (heavy bolts from a hardware store are a cheap and effective option). Cut pieces out along tracing lines.

Step three:  Attach front and back pieces at side seams (and shoulders if you aren’t preserving the existing ones).

Step four:  Add two rows of gathering stitches to the middle third of each sleeve cap. You now have a smaller armhole than the original shirt, and this is a pretty, feminine way to take up the excess. Pin sleeves into arm hole matching underarm seams and the top of the sleeve at the shoulder seam. Work the gathers to make it fit, pin the rest of sleeve into place, and sew it in there. *Alternative: If you’re not a gathered sleeve kind of person, you can open the sleeve along the underarm seam and cut it down along this edge to make it fit the new armhole. All you have to do is ONLY sew the shoulder seam; pin the top of the sleeve cap to the shoulder seam and then pin from there down on each side. remove the excess that extends beyond the sides of the body of the tee; stitch up the entire side, sleeve and all, making sure to match up the seams under the arm.

Step five: Let’s include it all as one step – shirt hem, sleeve hem, and neckline. It’s time for the finishing details. This is the point where you can really add some unique detail and make it your own. If you leave the existing neckband, you can add some fun and colorful topstitching to give it some flair:

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If you decide to remove the neckband, or it doesn’t work with your pattern, just fold it under about 1/4 inch, press it down, and add some fun topstitching:

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I have a coverstitch machine, but you can do a lot with a zig-zag stitch. You can do the same with sleeve hems. If you leave the pre-existing hems, you can go over the existing stitch line with something more fun. Or, you can cut off the existing hem, fold it under about 1/2 inch, press and add some topstitching. This shorter length can add to the femininity of the finished product:

You can do the same thing with the hemline. In the end your boxy tee will be a nice, feminine, and well-fitting addition to your casual wardrobe:

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Things I Sew

Lavender/Citrus Facial Cleansing Cream

20190305_183956I like to use a double-cleansing routine when I wash my face at night. I started doing this about ten years ago and love the results. I got the idea from reading all those books about French women that were so popular back then. Remeber that, when American women were obsessing over how French women did everything? I loved those books… Anyway, I figured, if it works for them it could work for me, right?

First, I use pure coconut oil to remove any eye makeup. Next, I use a creamy cleanser to remove any other makeup, dirt or grime, then follow up with something more deeply cleansing and/or exfoliating. The ingredients in my cleansers have shifted over the years, depending on what my skin seems to need at the time. I was almost out of my current creamy cleanser and felt like I needed a change. I’ve been experiencing the effects of age-related hormonal changes (increased dryness, decreased elasticity, occasional blemish). In researching all of the possibilities, I decided on these ingredients for a simple cleanser:

Apricot kernel oil: Light, non-oily feel; similar to almond oil, only lighter; great for aging skin due to its skin-tightening and slightly astringent qualities and high quantities of vitamins A and E, which slow the signs of aging; softens the delicate skin around the eyes and on the throat.
Coconut oil: Lighter than shea and other butters, but very moisturizing and easily absorbable for most skin types.
Beeswax: Thickener; soothing and antibiotic; adds a sweet, honey-like fragrance.
Borax: A water softener and cleansing agent; can suspend soap particles in water so they don’t adhere to the skin and clog the pores; leaves skin cleaner and softer; acts as a binder and texturizer; in combination with beeswax, oil and water, aids in the formation of a stable emulsion and acts as a natural preservative.
Vitamin E: Acts as a preservative when combined with base oils, lotions and creams and extends their shelf life (prevents rancidity of fatty ingredients due to its antioxidant properties); prevents scarring; revitalizes aging skin.
Grapefruit essential oil: Balances the mood and elevates the spirit; helps relieve congestion and balances combination skin; helps tame the occasional blemish; increases photosensitivity, so it is best used in night-time formulas.
Lavender essential oil: Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory; calms damaged skin; has cell-regenerating properties, making it useful for reducing wrinkles and scarring; calming and relaxing to the nervous system, aiding in sleep; relieves blemishes.

Here is the recipe I came up with:

1/4 cup Apricot Kernel oil
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Coconut oil
1 Tbsp Beeswax
1/2 Cup Distilled water
1/4 tsp Borax
1 large or 2 small Vitamin E capsules
20 drops Grapefruit essential oil
20 drops Lavender essential oil

Here’s the process:

In a small stainless steel or glass saucepan (no aluminum or coated pans), place apricot kernel oil, coconut oil and beeswax. Place over low heat and stir until the beeswax is just melted.

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In another pan, add water and borax. Lightly warm the mixture until the borax is dissolved. This is the proper way to do it. I, on the other hand, boiled mine in an electric tea kettle and measured it into a glass Pyrex measuring cup, then added the borax, stirring until it dissolved. To each their own.

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You can kinda see the little cloudy spot of the borax

Pour the oil/wax mixture into a blender and cool in the fridge until the mixture starts to thicken and become opaque (around 10 minutes). The mixture should still be fairly thin – if it gets too thick it will not mix well with water mixture and give you the desired consistency in the final product. Since I use leftover wax from my favorite beeswax candles, I filter my oil/wax mixture through a very fine mesh strainer to remove impurities.

Give the oil/wax mixture a little stir to remove any lumps. Put the lid on the blender, but remove the little plastic piece in the middle. Turn it on high and slowly add the water mixture until it is fully blended.

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You should be aiming the water mixture toward that vortex you see in the middle. Do it little by little, stopping intermittently to stir it with a rubber spatula. Yep, it’s messy…

Replace the plastic piece in the lid and blend further until mixture is smooth and creamy. If necessary, remove the lid intermittently and mix the cream by hand to ensure that everything is fully blended. Add the contents of the vitamin E capsule(s) by pricking the end with a pin and squeezing the contents into the mixture. Blend again until everything is evenly distributed. This whole process can take up to ten minutes.

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Smooth, milky consistency of the finished product

Pour the cream into your desired container, then add the essential oils. I prefer NOT to add them while the mixture is in the blender because I use my blender for culinary purposes as well.

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Yields about 1 cup. The process is similar to that of simple body lotion, the main difference being that this is MUCH more thin and requires a higher blender setting to mix, so you can’t get away with leaving the blender lid off. Trust me, you’ll have greasy splash back all over your kitchen.

I use my creamy cleanser with a hot, steamy cloth to open the pores, and then splash warm water on my face. This prepares my skin for the deep cleaning step, where I use cleanser two and plenty of warm water to finish up. When I am ready to make my ‘Step 2’ cleanser, I’ll post that one, too. Until then, may your skin be happy and glowy…

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Bedtime face

Favorite sources used:

Things I Make

Spring Jewelry Making

Periodically, I like to shop my own jewelry collection and pull out the pieces that resonate with me for the upcoming season. This is the point where I take pieces apart and remake them, or if I don’t see myself wearing something again, I save the parts in my jewelry-making stash for future makes. I am very specific when it comes to necklace lengths, and end up shortening most of the ones I find thrifted. I use the leftover beads, in combo with random extras, to make a matching bracelet.

The last few weekends, I’ve used my lazy Sunday moments to do my Spring jewelry making. Below are the new-to-me pieces that resulted. This weekend, I came across the owl charm in the above photo, and couldn’t resist. I used a combination of new and old beads to make the set. Here are the other pieces that resulted from my jewelry-making extravaganza.

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Green peacock necklace:  I have two of these peacock charms, which I purchased about ten years ago at Joann’s. The green beads were a me-made bracelet that wasn’t getting enough wear, considering that I have one in this color I like much better. I used the clasp from an old bracelet, pretty hardware from another old necklace, and created this new necklace. Now, when I wear my favorite green Tagua nut bracelet, this one doesn’t have to compete. I can wear the necklace with it as a set.

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Taupe crystal necklace:  This necklace is a combination of three different me-made bracelets, random leftover beads, and a sterling silver clasp from a now defunct necklace I made 13 years ago. I love the neutral colors that can go with so many things. It’s sparkly enough to be used for dressy occasions.

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Turquoise and bronze beaded vintage necklace:  This was a longer necklace which I found in an antique mall last year. I shortened it to choker length, and made coordinating bracelets to match. I made the bracelets fairly monochromatic, so they can go easily with other outfits when I’m not wearing the necklace.

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Purple iridescent beaded necklace:  This necklace is a combination of several me-made bracelets that never resonated with me. I have a peacock print Spring/Summer dress in these colors, and I look forward to wearing the two together. Maybe for Easter…

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Green and copper beaded bracelets:
 My sister made me these earrings years ago, and I made this little bracelet from random scrap beads to go with it. I see this set getting a LOT of wear, considering the amount of green in my wardrobe. I also have a great Venetian glass necklace from Italy that will pair beautifully with them and deserves to get more wear.

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Random bracelets:  In the interest of clearing out ALL of my stashes this year, I made a few extra bracelets from scrap beads. The one on the left includes a bead from an old hat that belonged to my grandfather. I got rid of the hat years ago, but kept the bead all these years. The one on the right is similar to the one above, using some of the same beads, yet incorporates a little coral – one of my favorite warm weather combos.

Well, there it is. Between donating unused bits of my stash to Austin Creative Reuse in January and my latest makes, my stash is nice and small, containing only the bits that I genuinely like and see myself using going forward. I can’t wait to see what future makes come into my life. I never know when I sit down and get started what I’ll end up with… it’s always an adventure!

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This little stash serves me well

Things I Make