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 acne...and...it's clarifying because it opens up pores, making them easy to unclog.
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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.
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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.
Ingredients:
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 acne...and...it'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.
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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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