Beauty+Health

Maggie is the momma behind the blog, Smashed Peas and Carrots.  On her blog she shares sewing and craft DIY tutorials, crafty projects for your little ones, delicious family friendly recipes and amazing birthday parties too.  She also sells her unique and beautifully handmade children’s clothing and momma’s accessories at her Smashed Peas and Carrots shop on her Etsy shop.

I love shower caps and use one a few days a week. Totally not gross, did you know that you aren’t supposed to wash your hair everyday? Yup, by doing so you can strip your hair of oils that you naturally produce to keep it healthy and shiny. You can also fade the color faster if you are one who likes to color your hair. Your best bet is to wash you hair every other day or every two days and sprinkle baking soda or use one of those dry shampoos in-between washings to keep the oil in control.

Today I am going to share with you how I make my shower caps! By using iron-on vinyl you can make a cute shower cap out of any pretty fabric you see… no more boring shower caps for us ladies!

Waterproof Fabric Shower Cap
  • 2/3 yard of your favorite cotton fabric
  • 2/3 yard of Iron-On Vinyl
  • 1 package extra-wide bias tape
  • 18-20 inches of 1/4 inch wide elastic
  • coordinating thread
  • sewing machine
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • pen, pencil, string and dowel
  • safety pins

  1. Apply your vinyl to the right side of your fabric and follow the insert directions to heat set it.
  2. Next grab a pen or pencil, string or twine and a dowel. I used a disappearing ink pen. Measure your twine to be a little over 9 inches and then tie each end to the pen and the dowel. This is going to be your compass for making an 18 inch circle. If you have really long hair you may want to make a 20 inch circle which would mean you would need a little over 10 inches of string. Place the dowel in the middle of your fabric and use the pen to mark a circle all the way around.
  3. Cut out the circle using your rotary cutter or a pair of scissors.
  4. Grab your package of bias tape, make sure it is Extra-Wide.
  5. Open up the bias tape and sandwich the edge of the circle in-between. Sew as close as you can get to the inner edge of the bias tape all the while making sure you catch both front and back. Now mind you, this is not the proper way to apply bias tape but this is an easy and pretty way to make a casing for the elastic.
  6. Stop sewing and backstitch when you get 1-2 inches from where you started sewing on the bias tape. You will need to make an entry for the elastic to be pulled through. With the remaining bias tape, leave enough hanging so that you can overlap the bias tape by about an inch.
  7. Take a small safety pin and pin it to one end of the elastic and use another larger safety pin and attach it to the other end. This will stop you from pulling the elastic completely through the casing and having to start the process all over again, that is just no fun!
  8. Once you have pulled the elastic all the way through, try on your shower cap to make sure it is snug enough. Then, overlap the two ends of elastic by about 1 inch and zig-zag stitch them together. Place the free end of the bias tape over top and sew into place… all done!

Now you can make a shower cap to please anyone’s personality!  Know a momma who is getting ready to deliver at the hospital?  This would be a great gift for her to have so she doesn’t have to mess up her pretty ‘do while she showers!

You can also use laminated fabrics to get the waterproof part of the cap, but they cost a bit more and the choices aren’t as varied.  The cap on the left is actually made using the same method above but using Amy Butler’s laminated fabric instead of Iron-On vinyl and cotton fabric.

I hope you all enjoy making a few of these and if you do I’d love it if you would add them to my Smashed Peas and Carrots Flickr group I just started up so we can all ooh and ahh over them!

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Francesca has been steadily and passionately crocheting through life’s seasons since then. She blogs at FuoriBorgo from a little village in northern Italy where she lives with her husband and three children. She writes about family life, sustainable living, her vegetable garden, family-style Italian cooking and the things she makes. She is a co-author at the Simple, Green and Frugal and Co-op, a contributor to Getty Images, and contributed to the upcoming ‘Mend it Better’ by Kristin Roach. You can see her most recent crochet work on Ravelry here or browse her crochet set on Flickr here.

I stopped knitting the day I gave birth to my first stillborn baby. At first, during the hours, days and weeks I spent lying in bed staring at the bare and wintry landscape outside, all I knew was that I’d now never finish the blue and white outfit I’d been making for my baby, with so much love and anticipation. Later, giving up knitting became a conscious decision. I collected all the knitting needles lying around in the house, put them in a bag, and stored them away at the back of my linen closet.

As the new spring leaves began to sprout on the trees outside, I found that I didn’t miss knitting at all, even though I’d never sat with idle hands before. Neither had my mother, my grandmothers, or the other women in my family – to this day, I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mother just sit, without needle work, mending or knitting to keep her company.

By summertime, though, I’d begun to miss that company. I walked into a yarn store one day, and looked at the yarns. Nothing felt right. Then I noticed the crochet hooks. My grandmother had taught me crocheting as well as knitting when I was a child. I loved knitting from the start, but even though crocheting was my grandmother’s true passion, I could never really remember which of those many loops I was supposed to stick the hook through.

Now, though, things seemed different. I walked out of the store with a large size crochet hook, some white cotton, and a little booklet explaining the basic crochet stitches. To my surprise I didn’t need the booklet, because I still had those crocheting skills my grandmother had taught me: the crochet hook in my right hand, my work and the thread comfortably wrapped around my fingers in my left, felt right, just as they had when I learned crocheting as a child. Those loops finally began to make sense to me, as well as the puzzling charts, and I rapidly grew past the simple skills my grandmother had taught me. Soon I could chain, make slip stitches, do single, double and treble and reverse crochet stitches, and join these together in clusters and shells and puff stitches.

Counting loop after loop, stitch after stitch, motif after motif, before long I’d completed my first crochet piece. Winter came around again, and when I felt that familiar pang in my heart, I found that sitting and concentrating on this craft, quietly and slowly turning loops into motifs into finished pieces – the meditation of hand-crafting – helped to empty out my mind by engaging it fully, and to lighten my heart. A little.

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Jodi Anderson grew up in the woods of Wisconsin and her past is very present in everything that she does today. Her greatest love is beauty in the mundane, which isn’t difficult to find, and she keeps track of that in her online journal, Daybook. She refuses to let her struggles with pain and illness define her.

Crafting for health

Crafting really can be a unique and useful tool in achieving a healthy life, despite circumstances beyond our control, while participating in something that is creatively productive.

These are things that, whether you are healthy or not, you may have experienced:

Waiting for the doctor to call with test results, the loss of a loved one, gnawing physical pain, trying to put your life back together after ending a relationship, biding your time while undergoing cancer treatment, feeling ready to explode from the pressures of everyday life, being laid up short- or long-term, or struggling to stay afloat despite depression.

We are united in our ability to feel emotional pain and in our inability to completely avoid disease. Our lives, even when in good health, are certain to contain trying moments, periods of anxiety-inducing waiting and emotional distress, not to mention an ill-timed and unexpected cold or flu. With more serious health issues, mundane tasks can become increasingly difficult and life is likely to include long periods of time when everything seems to be in limbo, maybe waiting for an appointment with the doctor, anticipating an unknown diagnosis, or watching for the earliest signs of healing and recovery. So much of it can not really be avoided, yet we can determine how we handle these times, whether we succumb to them or use them to propel us forward in some other measure.

Meditation and journaling are often recommended in addition to more traditional physical and mental healthcare methods. I find that both can be helpful in a variety of ways. Meditation may lighten our mental load, center our thinking, and provide a sense of peace that can pervade all areas of our life. Writing can bring us focus, a chance to vent our thoughts, a way to feel less burdened, and a map to navigate our way through confounding circumstances.

Living a handmade life through crafting and art can provide many of the same benefits as well as a very personal physical product of our experience. Earlier this year, I found myself particularly housebound. Despite loving the cold and dark hues of winter, I began to crochet a brightly-colored rainbow blanket for my daughter. It seemed like an impossibly long project: hundreds of tiny stitches in every row, nearly two hundred rows to do, thousands of yards of double knit yarn, and a small hook. Making that blanket, in hindsight, feels like one long and slow deep breath. At the time, it kept my mind off of my body. It allowed me to meditate, stitch by stitch. I felt a sense of control and peace. Sometimes I did think about my unknown future while working, but it was more constructive than when I simply fretted with my hands rolled into fists. Of course, the sweet icing on the cake is seeing my young adult daughter tote the blanket, a sort of map-journal of my healing, around the house, wearing it like a robe at times, and sleeping under it nearly every night.

Much handwork is repetition in both a small and a large way, with a great number of seemingly trivial motions producing a grand item, such as with embroidery, knitting, and crochet. A large knit piece may contain hours of meditative stitching, the chance to mindlessly work or, also, an opportunity to focus on something besides the self, like proper technique, tension, and the progress of the piece. This repetitious movement and chance to free the mind is so much like meditation, and some find it easier as negative thoughts can be replaced by intentionally thinking of the work at hand, refocusing the brain.

Craft comes in all forms and negate none of it. Take hold of what brings you joy and peace.

The act of dressing a plate with food can start out as creative experimentation, but develop into a satisfying ritual. Maybe you will again find your passion for fashion by piecing together your wardrobe into new outfits or sewing up a fresh addition. Scrapbooking may seem like merely a way to save photos, yet it can be the story of your journey, which is important to recognize and, perhaps, share. You may wish to keep it private, but that does not lessen its significance. Stick a small sketchbook in your bag, whether you feel that you can draw or not. Use it to see what is around you or use it to get out what is inside of you. Let it help you to pass the time while waiting at the doctor’s office. Other small projects, like knitting, are great for this too.

While you can not control all of what happens in your life and with your body, you can grab hold of yourself and live dynamically despite apparent obstacles. The busywork of creating can help to get you through the small crises, and the satisfaction of a finished piece can lift you during the duration of illness, perhaps even physically comfort you.

Crafting is unlikely to cure a serious illness, yet it may provide a sense of relief or contentment as well as a feeling of accomplishment when even the activities of daily living are difficult to obtain. Cross-stitching may not mend your broken heart, but it could be a healthy way to vent your feelings. (Yarn bombing, anyone?!)

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Yummy! Love this idea from Erin, would make a great Mother’s Day gift. Link to how-to.

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get the full tutorial in Craft digital edition for this solar herb edition.

herb_dryer

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