Crafty Pants

Homemade Liquid Soap and Cleaner Review
May 24, 2009, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Well, I’ve finally tried all three recipes from my previous post. I thought it might be helpful for other people curious about home-made cleaners if I wrote a little about my experience. Let’s start off with the home-made all-purpose cleaner:

Vanilla & Cloves All-Purpose cleaner :

I used this recipe, but with equal parts water a vinegar. I thought the cloves and vanilla would help mask the vinegar smell, but it was barely noticeable. What was actually more effective was simply leaving some cloves and cinnamon sticks in the spray bottle, so the essential oils are extracted as I use it. I also added about half a lemon’s worth of lemon juice, and that also helped with the smell, and increased the cleaning power.

Conclusion: Nothing will hide the smell of vinegar, but the cleaner itself is extremely effective, non-toxic, better for the environment, and cheap.

My Grade: B-

Salt Packed Citrus Shells: DIY Air Freshener :

I used the leftover citrus shell from juicing the lemons for the cleaner. To be honest, my fridge didn’t really stick to begin with, so I’m not sure how effective it was. I love the smell of lemon, so it was nice getting a hint of lemon each time I opened the fridge door.

My Grade: B

Make liquid soap from a bar of soap :

OK, this one was quite interesting. First, let me tell you how I made mine:

I used this recipe, and the ratios are dead on. Basically, use 1oz soap  to 4 cups water. An average bar of soap is 4oz. I recommend trying only 1/2 or 1/4 bar, just in case this soap isn’t for you.

What I added:

  • Brewed lemongrass green tea for the water
    • Barely added any scent, even though the tea was quite pungent. The soap’s smell overpowered everything.
    • Green tea is great for the skin, so I’m hoping my gourmet tea went to good use, but who knows!
  • Olive Oil
    • I added about 2 Tbs per 4 cups of water. That actually might have been too much, so I’d only add 1Tbs, and increase it if it’s not too moisturizing.

Ideas for other additions:

  • Any other oil that you like using on your skin
  • any other tea
  • brewed espresso for a yummy smell
  • finely ground oatmeal, for extra moisturizing power.
  • salt, sugar or finely ground walnut shells, for the scrubbing power

My Assessment:

  • Smell: The soap smelled pretty much like the bar soap I used. Make sure to use a bar soap that you love, and you’ll be happy with the end result.
  • Texture: OK, I’m going to be honest here. This stuff has the texture of SNOT. That, or The Blob, from the 1950’s movie. Seriously, this stuff is slimy, icky, gooey. Nothing like gel soaps you buy in stores. I think kids will love this texture:P And really, you foam it up, and it’s exactly like any soap, so the texture should not be a huge deal breaker. I read that most commercial soaps (like the one I used) contain hardeners, so that might be a big contributor to the texture. Try it with a natural, handmade soap, and it might be better.
  • Effectiveness: For one thing, this soap does not have the dreaded Sodium laureth sulfate, so no matter what, it will not get as foamy as commercial liquid soap. Also, I think the excess olive oil that I added reduced the foaminess. That being said, it is still an effective cleaner, and works great with a puff or washcloth.
  • Skin Issues: I was actually pretty wary about using this, because I have extremely sensitive skin. Well, it was no different that using the bar soap, but had the added benefit of the olive oil. Again, use a bar soap that you love, and you’ll love the liquid version of it.

Conclusion: Use a bar of soap that you love, and you’ll be happy with the liquid version. I unfortunately was not a fan of the soap to begin with, so it was only mildly improved. My boyfriend is squeamish, and the mucus-like texture turned him off from the soap (he’s a total wuss :P).

My Grade: A-


Homemade Cleaning Recipes
April 21, 2009, 2:26 pm
Filed under: Recipes | Tags: , , ,

I’ve been trying to eliminate harsh chemicals from my cleaning routine. I’m very sensitive to them, and sick of the migraines they cause. Also, I’d love to eliminate the extra plastic that they add to the landfill!

Here are some recipes I’d like to try, that I already have all the ingredients for:

Vanilla & Cloves Air Freshener Spray : I plan on using this + some lemon peels + drop of dish soap to be my all-purpose cleaner. My current one (based on many recommendations) is 1 part water, 1 part vinegar, 1 drop of dish soap, but the plain vinegar smell is getting old.

Salt Packed Citrus Shells: DIY Air Freshener : I bought kosher salt in bulk for some bath recipes, so I’ve got loads to spare…

Make liquid soap from a bar of soap : I’m sick of paying $6-10 for a small bottle of moisturizing shower gel, and creating all that packaging. I weirdly collect soaps from the nicer hotels we visit. I plan on melting those first, and adding honey, olive oil and brewed green tea/peppermint tea. I will re-use the container that my current shower gel is in.

New York Noro Plaid
January 26, 2009, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Crochet, Free Patterns, Hats and Scarves, My Projects | Tags: , , , ,

Noro Plaid Scarf MMMmmm, Noro. I love the colors of this yarn, but I’m a bit disappointed with the feel of it. I guess since I’m very allergic to wool, no wool yarn will ever feel yummy to me.

I originally bought this skein of yarn for the wavelength, but it was just taking me too long. The thing kept twisting severely, and every row I’d have to spend 5 minutes straightening it. Luckily, I found I way to both show off the lovely colors, and also use nearly 100% of the skein! Basically, I capitalized on the natural gradients of the noro, and made a sort of ‘plaid’. The results are easy and beautiful!

Here is the super simple pattern, sized so it uses as much of the skein as safely possible:

Noro Plaid Scarf

1 skein Noro Kureyon Sock

Size f crochet hook

Finished measurements: approx 7 in. x 51 in.

Row 1: ch 43

Row 2: dc 2nd ch from hook. *ch 1, skip next st, dc 1* repeat across

Row 3: ch 4 (this counts as first dc and ch). *dc 1, skip next st, ch 1* repeat across
(Basically, you are making a dc mesh, like in filet crochet)

Repeat rows 2 and 3 just row 3 (thanks emy!) until the scarf reaches about 51 inches long.

Now, there are many ways you can do the vertical weaving. I chose to make long chains, to keep the integrity of the gradient, but you could replace the chains with 2 or 3 stands of yarn. It is your choice whether you want fringe, but remember, this scarf uses most of the skein, so keep that decision until the end.

If you are weaving in chains here are some options:

  • Chain one super long chain, and wind into a ball to use, cutting the length as you go
  • Chain single lengths and make them as you need them
  • Chain double lengths and weave both ends, so you have two less ends to weave in

Basically, take the chains or strands of yarn, and weave them in and out of the mesh boxes, lengthwise. Make sure to alternate the starting direction for each column. Secure the ends of the chains by making a knot, and weave in the loose ends of the chain back into itself.

This all sounds much more complicated than it actually is! Here are some more pictures. NOTE: These pictures are of the unblocked scarf! I will try to replace them with better quality ones when I get a chance.

Noro Plaid Scarf

Noro Plaid Scarf

Where I wonder if I’ll ever feel warm again
January 17, 2009, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Crochet, My Projects

Knit + Crochet hat

Wearing a hat helps 🙂

I first knit the hat using the green knifty knitter. To reduce bulkiness at the top, I switched from in the round to flat panel knitting, and knit four triangles at the top. I then seamed the triangles together to make a smooth, rounded top.

I then crocheted 2 sc stitched per each loop on the bottom, and then added another row of sc. Finally, I winged a brim, of which I’ll never be able to re-produce 😛

The “buttons” are actually these seed pods I’ve been collecting from around San Francisco. I cleaned them, sanded the bottoms down, and dremeled a hole through the sides. I wish I had better pictures, but all I have so far are from my NY trip. It was COLD and WINDY there!

Knit + crochet Hat

Ripple, ripple, ripple, and so on
January 15, 2009, 12:28 pm
Filed under: Crochet, My Projects

Well, my ripple blanket is coming along nicely! I know I’m pretty late to the game, but even if I started during the “ripple craze,” I still wouldn’t be finished by now:P I’m using the Soft Waves pattern by Jan Eaton, and it is definitely my favorite ripple pattern I’ve seen yet.

So far, my ripple is about 25% finished. I want it to be around 6 feet long, so I can cover my legs and feet, unlike some throws I have.

Ripple Blanket Progress

Ali just HAD to get in on the photo shoot…  Ripple Blanket ProgressRipple Blanket Progress

The colors are inspired from a vintage coaster set that my mom gave me when I moved into my first apartment (this one). When buying the yarn, I brought the coasters to the yarn store, and spent about 2 hours trying to find the perfect match 😛  I’m using mostly Vanna’s Choice, but also Simply Soft. This blanket is so fun to make!

January 13, 2009, 10:27 pm
Filed under: Amigurumi, Crochet, My Projects | Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve never been a good blogger, and as free time becoming more sparse, my ‘internet time’ shrinks more and more. Sadly, my crafting time also shrinks:(

But, I have managed to whip up a few things, and even managed to make a few Christmas gifts in time!

Brain Slugs!

I made a Brain Slug from Futurama! I sewed some hair clips to the bottom, so my brothers can wear them when they want to escape the drudgery of thinking. They each came with a mini bottle of ‘garlic’ shampoo, with a custom label.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the brain slugs sucking the brains out of my brothers, since it lasted only a few seconds before they ran dry 😉

I used this brain slug pattern.

Taking Pictures of your Hands is Incredibly Difficult
October 6, 2008, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Crochet, Free Patterns, Miscellaneous, My Projects | Tags:

Lace Fingerless GlovesLace Fingerless Gloves

Pretty much exactly what the title says! I made some fun lacy fingerless gloves to keep my hands toasty while I type at work. I’m wearing them right now, and I have to say they are quite effective. I used this pattern and made them using the instructions to make them smaller. I guess I have incredibly small hands, because I had to remove two rows of shells! One from the palm area, and one after the thumb opening. I used the same Lion Brand Cashmere Blend yarn from my slouchy hat, and this stuff really is bliss to crochet with. It takes about one skein of the yarn, so this pattern is a great for a nice-but-pricey yarn!

One tip: don’t bother cutting the yarn after the wrist ribbing. Simple slip stitch one stitch over, and begin the shells from there. The seam is barely noticeable, and then you have four less ends to weave in.