Saturday, 24 October 2015

Indigo Daze // DIY Shibori Bedding

Shibori is a form of tie-dyeing which originates in Japan. Areas of fabric are folded, wrapped, twisted or pleated in special ways and then secured with string, rubber bands or clamps. The fabric is then dyed with unique patterns emerging when the fabric has been untied or unwound. Shibori is also often related to the tradition of Indigo dyeing, a natural dye process which has long been used in many different cultures around the world. Indigo is a natural dye extracted from plants and is one of the oldest dyes used for colouring fabrics. I have always had a love for the rich, vivid blue hues from using indigo dye, and when paired with crisp white, the two remind me of the crashing blue waves, cloudy blue skies and delicate blue and white porcelain.
I've often experimented with tie-dye and reverse tie-dye in the past and have wanted to try dyeing with Indigo in what seems like forever. So, with aspiration to create a new bedroom space and decor based around an Indigo, white and copper colour palette, now seemed like as good a time as any.

I picked up an Jacquard Indigo Tie Dye Kit from Amazon and this 100% cotton double duvet set from Ikea. When choosing your bedding, fabric or clothing to dye, you need to look out for all natural fibres, cotton, wool, silk and linen, for example. Pre-wash your item(s) before dyeing to remove any 'finishes' to the fabric and allow for shrinking.

The instructions that came with the kit was easy, most of the hard work had already been done. All I had to do was set up the dye vat and and follow each step. The hardest bit was deciding on which technique to use. I decided to use the shape resist technique Itajime. For this technique, fabric is laid in accordian folds and sandwhiched between two identically shaped and sized boards. This is then all held in place by clamps, string or rubber bands. When the fabric is dyed, the bound areas act as a resist meaning a fairly regular pattern is produced.

I folded my duvet cover and pillowcases using this technique, folding them into triangles and used rubber bands to hold the wooden triangular boards in place during the dyeing process.
So, now that I've tried it I can't wait to experiment more. It's such a versatile craft, there are so many options for creating different patterns and it's super easy with an almost instant reward. I'm pretty pleased with how my bedding turned out. The duvet cover was quite awkward to fold pecisely and it was quite bulky when folded, so was a little tricky to hold in place, but I got there in the end. You can see how the pattern and dye is more concentrated around the outer edges, where the middle has a softer blue hue and less pattern definition but I still think it works. Perhaps a larger sized triangle with less folds would produce more pattern definition?
The thing I love about dyeing fabric in this way is that it's only semi-guaranteed to turn out a certain way, with lots of beautiful surprises and patterns awaiting, depending on how and where the dye finds its path. I love the results and am already deciding what to dye and what techniques to try next.

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Sunday, 18 October 2015

DIY Pumpkin Pie Scrub

Following on from my last post, here is the second part of my collab with wabisabiBotanicals. When I messaged Elysse and asked if she'd like to share a DIY beauty trick or two with me, and my readers, she came back with a recipe that sounded incredibly delicious and pretty much summed up everything I love about this time of year in a jar. One of the ingredients is a little harder to come by over here than in the U.S, but thanks to the 'world food aisle' in Tesco, I could make my own little pot of pumpkin spiced heaven and so can you.
Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin as well as aiding the treatment of blemishes and acne enhancing skin complexion. This is due to the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of cinnamon.
Cane Sugar is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the environment into the skin helping to keep it hydrated and keep moisture within. Like Pumpkin, sugar contains a lot of AHA's, which basically means it helps to keep your skin looking fresher and younger. As the particles in sugar are smaller than salt, it's an ideal exfoliant as its a lot softer and much kinder to your skin.
Coconut Oil is a wonderful natural way to make your skin soft, radiant, and healthy. Research has shown that from the use of coconut oil on skin, hydration improved and skin surface lipids remained in tact.
Nutmeg is brilliant for healthy and smooth skin, is widely used for its anti-bacterial and analgesic properties. It also helps in reducing wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of ageing. 
Raw Honey is wonder-stuff for your skin. It's full of antioxidants so is great for slowing-down the ageing process. It's moisturising and soothing, has antibacterial qualities that can treat and prevent's clarifying because it opens up pores, making them easy to unclog.
Create your scrub by mixing together the ingredients above. Keep adding small amounts of each until you get a consistency you like. I used about half a can of the pumpkin puree and a few tablespoons of sugar as I wanted it to be quite a gentle scrub. I was generous with cinnamon because I can't get enough of that warming smell at the minute. I added my coconut oil straight from the jar as it was quite soft but next time I think I'll melt it first so that it blends in a bit better, this mixture came out a bit lumpy but it still worked great.
Massage the scrub into your skin whilst bathing or showering and rinse off.  You can store any leftover scrub in a jar and keep in the fridge for up to a week. I make a jar full and used it almost everyday last week. My skin felt super soft and refreshed afterwards and the aroma is warming and delicious!
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Tuesday, 13 October 2015

DIY Warming Cinnamon Cacao Face Mask

With summer feeling like a long-lost-friend and nights drawing in, it's almost time to dig out the winter woollies and turn up the central heating. The change in season doesn't just mean a toastier home and a new wardrobe, it means a new beauty regime too,  a top-to-toe winter overhaul. Everything from sudden temperature changes, stuffy and warm rooms,  cooler, less humid weather and even a bath or shower that's too hot can cause pandemonium with your skin. 
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I've teamed up with Elysse from WabisabiBotanicals to bring you  a moisturising, antioxidant-rich mask for keeping winter dryness away, improving skin texture and giving skin a fresh, youthful glow. It smells great, feels warming and comforting on the skin and is made from organic ingredients...triple win! 

The mask can be honed to your own requirements, so you can add more (or less) of your favourite ingredient to tailor it to your own skin requirements.
Organic oat flour (gluten-free optional)
Organic raw cacao powder
Organic cinnamon
Water, raw organic honey or pure aloe vera gel 

Simply mix all the ingredients together to form a paste and apply to clean skin. 
Leave on for 10-20 mins, rinse with warm water and pat dry. 

Oat Flour is great for softening and moisturising your skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Oat flour is also said to help reduce scarring from acne. 
Raw Cacao is rich in antioxidants called flavenoids, which are great for stimulating blood circulation
in the skin, smoothing fine lines, and giving you a rosy glow. It can also can help soothe redness and reduce blemishes.
Raw Honey is wonder-stuff for your skin. It's full of antioxidants so is great for slowing-down the ageing process. It's moisturising and soothing, has antibacterial qualities that can treat and prevent's clarifying because it opens up pores, making them easy to unclog.
Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin as well as aiding the treatment of blemishes and acne enhancing skin complexion. This is due to the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of cinnamon.
<<< >>>
I was contacted by Elysse a few months back with an enquiry about stocking my bags alongside her beautifully packaged, Natural, Organic and Vegan Beauty and Skin Care ranges in her Etsy shop, 'wabisabiBotanicals'.  Being a small business owner myself, I know how important it is to reach out and have someone be interested in you and your products. A few of my zip pouches are now lovingly nestled in amongst some beautiful beauty products that Elysse has put together as gift sets. 
So as well as wanting to share this brilliant little business with you, I reached out to Elysse to see if she'd like to share some of her expertise and share a couple of DIY beauty recipes with me and my readers...and luckily for me she said yes!
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'The words "Wabi-Sabi" represent a Japanese Buddhist world view that finds beauty in imperfection, values simplicity and authenticity, embraces the connectedness of all things, and respects the integrity of natural objects and processes'
Elysse Says:
'What started as a mission of self-love has turned into Wabi-Sabi Botanicals-- a line of 100% natural, organic, vegan + cruelty-free beauty and skincare products. All of these products are formulated and handmade by me after many, many trials and testing on myself and the humans I love and trust. I am so happy that I get to share them with you. I hope they inspire self-confidence and self-love in you as they have in me.'
You can read more about wabisabiBotanicals here, go gooey over beautiful packaging and shots here or treat yourself or a loved one to some  gorgeous goods here.
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Saturday, 9 May 2015

I'm having a sale over on my Etsy shop, making space for new designs and products. There's 50% off everything, with a minimum spend of just £5. Oh, and I ship worldwide! The magic code is FIFTY50 and is valid until the 15th May.

                                          ♥ ♥  I hope you find something you love ♥ ♥ 
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Saturday, 14 March 2015

Conscious Consumer // Montagne Jeunesse

Face masks have long been part of my 'pamper night' ritual and I've used Montagne Jeunesse sachets for as long as I can remember. Not only are they really affordable but you don't have to invest in a massive tube to find out if you like it and whether it's suited to your skin type. I've often given them as gifts to, which are always well-received. 

Based in Baglan Energy Park in South Wales, MJ is sold in over 82 countries. The business is built around a range of natural beauty products, with face masks being their main product, along with foot, bath, hair and body products in single-use sachets. MJ was established in 1985 by vegetarian Greg Butcher, with the aim to create products which make a minimum impact on all forms of life, at every stage. They now manufacture toiletry products that are completely vegetarian and are approved by the Vegetarian Society and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV, an animal protection and advocacy group that campaigns for the abolition of all animal experiments).

"Since the inception of the company, the management philosophy has always been one of protecting the environment and the company ethos is the ‘Conservation of Energy, Protection of Animals and the Environment’ is adopted by all. Montagne Jeunesse aims to become 100% renewable energy self-sufficient and currently holds ISO14001 EMS accreditation and this ensures that all employees consider the impact of everything they do to ensure the environmental impact is minimised wherever it is technically feasible, and demonstrates the company philosophy beyond any doubt. For example, all paper used in the office is shredded and used for protecting the fragile goods in transit."
Source // Wikipedia

Montagne Jeunesse launched their ‘Save The Seal’ campaign in 1989 and one year later began an 'Antarctica Appeal'. Along the way the 'Eco Factory' gets launched and in 2001 they introduced 'Windy' the wind turbine to MJ to help reduce their carbon footprint. In 2001 "We’re walking the walk when it comes to the environment – we achieve our first ISO - 14001 followed by ISO 18001 in 2004. That basically means we’re doing lots of good stuff!" MJ moved into 'The Green Barn' in 2005, their new super energy efficient HQ. 2009 saw a 5 year Site Management Plan for the Green Barn introduced, where their Green Team ‘ Green  Guardians’ encourage biodiversity within their grounds and do good stuff like plant kidney vetch to help nurture rare Small Blue butterflies.

I love mixing and matching when it comes to my face masks. Sometimes because I can't decide and want to try something new, but mostly because I have combination skin and my skin needs different treatments at different times. This is the beauty of being able to buy sachets, you can do just that without breaking the bank. They normally retail at around £1 per sachet and I can easily squeeze out 2 applications. 
My absolute favourites are the self-heating mask, they just feel so comforting and feel that they're really doing some magic to those pesky clogged pores. I usually alternate between these and a peel-off mask as the peel off ones get right in there for a deep cleanse and, I find, are a lot kinder to your skin than pore strips. I also try and use a mud mask and a cloth mask from time to time too, to try something different but to also use what my skin is craving the most. If I'm honest, I've tried a lot and I've always had great results.
So, In Montagne Jeunesse style, here is the self-heating chocolate Orange mask in use....I can't tell you how good this smells! My skin always feels super clean and lovely and soft after using this.
My skin has been breaking out a lot lately so I recently tried the Aloe Vera Blemish Mud for the first time. I really felt like it calmed my skin down. It smelt really subtle, but fresh, and was really gentle on my skin, leaving it feeling super soft.
The only thing that there doesn't seem to be a mention of on MJ's website is the packaging and whether the sachets materials are recycled or can be recycled. None the less, it's clear to see that Montagne Jeunesse are passionate about the planet are are visibly making efforts to be a sustainable company and are, quite rightly, proud to do so. I can't see a reason for me not to continue to use their products, and if anything, I'm more encouraged to do so now than ever.
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Friday, 13 March 2015

DIY Copper & Rope Necklace

I've made my first copper inspired DIY! After I published this post, I've been getting ideas for a few DIY's, mainly for the home but I when I spotted copper pipes in my local B&Q, I knew I could make something wearable from it. This isn't going to be a step-by-step DIY as it's really easy and doesn't really warrant a load of steps for you to follow. Also, I hope it will provide you with a little inspiration to come up with your own version.
Because the rope I used was only a couple of millimetres narrower than the pipe itself, it was quite hard to slide through easily, so I used a bit of ribbon to help pull it through more easily.
Once the rope was all the way the way through, I fixed on the end caps with hot glue. To make a fastening, 2 holes were drilled in the end caps and a copper jump ring was opened and fixed in place to form a loop. I did this for both ends then simply attached a lobster clasp fastening. Sadly I didn't have any copper ones so it stands out a little, but will do until I can replace it.
Using, what is essentially a plumbing pipe, can create a really versatile look. You could easily change up the look by painting a design onto the metal or by wrapping thread round it. You could also dye the rope in a dip-dye effect, sew into it or wrap other threads around it too. You could even flatten the pipe down using a hammer or slide on copper rings, washer or hex nuts perhaps?!
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Friday, 6 March 2015

Conscious Consumer // Nurdle In The Rough

I follow a few Instagram accounts that showcase a lot of semi-precious gemstone jewellery, and I'm very partial to a quartz pendant or turquoise ring. I stumbled across Nurdle in the Rough whilst scrolling through the 'explore' page and was amazed to see that what I originally thought were pieces made from gemstones, were actually made from plastic. Kathleen Crabill creates these amazing pieces from her tiny beach shack in Holualoa, Hawaii, and all of her jewellery is made from marine debris, that she collects herself  from Kamilo Beach, and 100% recycled precious metals.

"When you wear a unique piece of jewelry, people will comment on it all day long. Jewelry is an amazing conversation starter. My goal in starting Nurdle in the Rough Jewelry is to facilitate conversations about plastic pollution. If each piece of jewelry I make inspires just one person to rethink one aspect of their daily lives, and begin to move away from throwaway plastic consumption – I will feel like I've helped to make an impact."

It's so important to support small businesses like N.I.T.R because not only are you buying a beautiful, unique, handcrafted item that will last a lifetime or more but, you are also supporting an environmentally conscious small business and helping to fund vital work to protect our oceans. Furthermore, Kathleen uses metals that are fair trade and recycled, donates 10% of her profits toward marine conservation and volunteers her time directly to beach cleanups. Attention to detail even extends to the packaging - made from recycled materials and hand printed by Kathleen herself.

But what is a Nurdle?

Nurdles are the pre-production material used to make all plastic products. They're little plastic pellets that are melted down into everything from water bottles to bathing suits to children's toys. They are one of the leading forms of plastic pollution, as a surprisingly large number of them end up flowing directly into the ocean.

"I hope that the name Nurdle in the Rough evokes the thought that there is potential for beauty and change even in the ugliest places, and I invite you to join me in working toward a cleaner future."

Nurdle in the Rough's Instagram is packed full of beautiful images, and trust me, you won't be able to stop scrolling from one picture to the next, marvelling at how each piece of hand-crafted jewellery has been created from ocean damaging plastic. Kathleen is a real inspiration. She is able to see the beauty and potential in discarded everyday objects, thrown out without a care or thought to the damage that it creates. Kathleen's passion resonates through both her work and her volunteering, and it's hard not to get excited or passionate about what she believes in too. I absolutely love what she's doing and look forward to seeing her latest creations pop up on my Insta feed.

All of the images above were found on Nurdle in the Rough's website and Instagram. If you want to find out more about Kathleen and her amazing work pop over to her website here where she provides a tonne of links to leading experts in the field of ocean conservation and plastic pollution education and other artist who work with post consumer plastics.
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