Thursday, January 19, 2017

Auburn henna & hibiscus shampoo bars

Below is my auburn shampoo bar recipe. The formulation has changed a few times. I really like using both hibiscus and rose hips teas since they seem to enhance the henna color. I also like to add a little bit of acid since I do so with a full henna treatment. Will these bars color your hair? I do notice a little bit of red highlights after using them for a few weeks. I also feel it brightens up my existing color and in particular when I have recently done a henna wash. I also feel I get some of the wonderful benefits of a henna treatment when I use the shampoo bars. 

Technically I don't think the henna bars can change your color in a drastic manner. When you shampoo you only leave the suds on for a few minutes and the amount of henna in the bar itself is low. However, it does depend upon your hair type also. My hair is curly and very porous. It absorbs color very quickly. I recently did a henna treatment with 90% Cassia Obovata and 10% Henna. I left it on for only an hour, since I had to run to the bus to get my son and I didn't want to scare everyone. Well, I was pleasantly surprised when my hair had an auburn tint. I did use a very high quality henna from Ancient Sunrise® and my hair absorbs color very well or so I found out from my experiment. So your hair may or may not have red highlights from using henna shampoo bars and it will be subtle if you do get color. On to the recipe. I make all of my shampoo bars vegan and palm free. I also sell the bars in my Etsy Shop Natural Violet. Enjoy!

Auburn henna and hibiscus shampoo bars
Total oils -                         70.35 ounces
Olive oil                                  8            11%
Coconut oil                            18            26%
Castor oil                                12            17%
Cocoa butter                             4             6%
Rice bran oil                            18            26%
Organic sunflower oil              10             14%
Candelila wax                        0.35          0.50%
Naoh (6%)                               9.66               6%
Henna, cassia, hibiscus tea, rose hip, acv tea - 22 ounces
Organic agave - 1 ounce added at light trace
16 ounces of tea plus 6 ounces of apple cider vinegar for the lye water

How to make the tea:
Add the henna, cassia, herbs, and apple cider vinegar to warm distilled water. Let the tea sit overnight and strain prior to adding the lye. Some of the henna and cassia powder will remain in the liquid and give the bars their lovely color. 
Rajasthani Twilight Henna 0.25 ounces 
Cassia Obovata 0.1 ounces
Dried hibiscus 0.1 ounces 
Dried Rose hip 0.1 ounces 

Please follow the necessary safety precautions for making cold process soap. Be careful when you add the lye to tea and apple cider mix. It can bubble a little so add it very slowly. I used two wooden soap molds and insulated for two days prior to cutting. Let the soap cure for six weeks prior to using. Thanks so much!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year and pretty soap pictures

Hello and happy new year! It has been a really long time since my last post and of course I am here to make promises of more blogging in the new year. It is a new year after all and I am full of good resolutions. So what have I have been up to over the past year? Well, I have been making cold process soap. I have also been making natural body care products, but will save all that for another post. Yes, I am promising another post and you know how that may or may not go? I have also been sewing for myself and the family. One of my own going resolutions is to sew everything I wear. I have done fairly well on that end, but I would like to take it to the next level including making a pair of shoes. Wouldn't that be fun? Well, to keep this short and sweet I will include some lovely soleseife soap photos from the past year. I do post quite a bit on Instagram so feel free to follow along at naturalviolet. Happy new year everyone and here's to achieving our resolutions!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy birdie birthday

Little sweets turned three this February. Wow that was fast. For her birthday we had a small family celebration. The theme was birds and I had a lot of fun getting together the decorations and activities.

 I made the floral arrangements from tissue paper and wooden dowels. I used make these types of flowers all the time as a kid so it fun to do them all over again. I also cut out a small happy birthday banner and put it on the table along with a few river rocks.

The flower vases are cut off soy milk containers with animal and plant pictures decoupaged with mod podge. They came together quickly and it was a good use of an old calender and recycled cartons.

The felt blue bird masks were a big hit. I made those using a pattern I purchased from Handworkstudio on etsy. I sewed the masks with eco felt using a sewing machine. They came together really quickly. The cape pattern is from Biglittle on esty. I used a variety of fabrics including satin, knit and vintage sheets. We did a little circle time activity and everyone had fun running around and pretending to be birds.

Speaking of birds, the favors for the party were bird seed ornaments. I found a recipe from Eclecticallyvintage for the ornaments that did not contain gelatin. I made the ornaments in muffin tins with hemp twine in the middle. 

 Wall decorations included birds of course. My hubby has access to a big plotter and he printed out some lovely bird photos. I also hung up water color prints from little sweets that were cut in the shape of birds. The birthday banner is from her first birthday. We will see how many years it works but it definitely fit in nice with this years decorations.

Her big brother decorated the chalk board with lots and lots of happy birthday wishes. He also made her an origami yoda and a fortune wookie. She was very happy with both. 

I made gingerbread cupcakes with fluffy vanilla frosting. I tried to make cupcakes in a heart shape by putting a marble in one end. It would have worked fabulously if I hadn't overfilled the cupcakes wrappers. They were yummy though and lovely with the little creamy heats. The recipe is from Vegan cupcakes take over the world which is my go to book for birthday cupcakes.

Little sweets had a great party and of course enjoyed her cupcake. So much that I wound up giving her a cupcake with candles for two more days after her birthday. Always good to make a few extra cupcakes. Little sweets is wearing her 3 crown that I made for her older brother when he turned three too. It is so fun to pass things down and she looked lovely in her crown.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Goldenrod, chamomile and lavender cold process soap

I finally took the plunge and started making my own soap. I am sticking to the cold process method and only using natural ingredients for scents and colors. I have made quite a few batches of soap including goldenrod and lavender, eucalyptus and almond, and lemon balm and lemon grass.

My latest batch is goldenrod, chamomile, and lavender. It is my first attempt at a layered soap. Very excited about the results.  It smells lovely and has a wonderful golden color on the bottom and a beautiful green on the top. I used dried goldenrod flowers that I picked from a nearby field. The kids went with me and we had a grand adventure to find goldenrod. The smell of the flowers is really wonderful. It has a fruity mango scent that goes nicely with the chamomile and lavender. My inspiration for using goldenrod is from The Nerdy Farm Wife. I also bought her soap making ebook and it is a really great resource for making natural soap.

To make the soap I first infused the olive oil with the dried goldenrod. I filled a small mason about half way loosely with the flowers and poured olive oil on top. I then put it in a water bath on the stove for an hour and allowed it to steep over night. I did the same thing to make a goldenrod  and chamomile tea using water instead of oil. The next day I strained everything. The tea smells really wonderful. I added the spirulina powder by first mixing it with two tablespoons of reserved oil and then added it at trace. The candelila wax is optional but I think adds hardness to the bar and reduces the curing time so a nice addition. Below is the recipe I used to make the soap. Please make sure to use all the safety precautions for making lye based soap including protective gear and plenty of ventilation.

For this soap I used two wooden molds made by the sweet hubby that measures 2.75" x 2.75" x 6.5". If you have a different size then feel free to use a soap calculator to adjust the quantities.

Goldenrod, chamomile and lavender

Ingredients in ounces

olive oil with goldenrod and chamomile

organic coconut oil

castor oil

almond oil

candelila wax


6% 6.83 48.2
goldenrod and chamomile tea

lavender essential oil 2 tablespoon

Spirulina powder  2 teaspoon

Btw, I am selling the soap in my etsy shop Natural Violet. So if you are looking for handmade soaps that are vegan, palm oil free and all natural then feel free to check out my shop.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sweet little recycled sheet dresses

 Pattern is playgroup dress by Fresh Stitch Patterns

So what I have been up to this Summer sewing wise? Besides all the fun pool and kiddo things I managed to sew a few more sheet dresses for little sweets. It is so fun to find colorful sheets at the thrift store and reuse them to make cute little dresses. Here is s quick sample of a few of the dresses modeled by little sweets of course. The main body of all of the dresses are from recycled sheets. The prints are cotton quilting prints. Too fun!

Pattern is Clara without the arm ruffles and reduced width skirt by Violette Field Threads

Pattern is another Clara without the arm ruffles and full skirt by Violette Fields Threads

Pattern is from Burda Kids Style Special magazine Spring/Summer 3/2015

Friday, June 19, 2015

Recycled sheet Celestial Dress and the less than a dollar dress

Here is my less than a dollar to make dress. Well, technically the dress cost more than a dollar to make if you include the pattern purchase and all the sewing goodies. However, the fabric was less than a dollar. I found the 100% cotton plaid sheet at the local thrift store for a dollar and tax. I used about half of the sheet to make the dress so the fabric cost qualifies as less than a dollar. A little about the sewing pattern. It is the Celestial Dress from Pattern Fantastique. I made the size 8 and it fits perfect. The dress comes in different length options from top to maxi. I made the midi length and added a band. I am so happy with how it turned out and I matched the plaid so that is a bonus. I love the pattern. It is really comfy and also modern. The directions are great and the bag pocket detail is a clever and unique design addition. The whole pattern is actually very creative and well designed. I plan to make more in different lengths which will reduce my cost point even more. I can wait to make the sleeveless version in the maxi length.  So much fun for the summer and really cost effective. Who says sewing has to expensive. Happy stitching!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dresses from recycled sheets

I decided to use a few sheets I have laying around the house to make dresses for both me and little sweets. I figure if they are comfortable for sleeping then they are going to be awesome for clothing. Also, they are free and what is better than free fabric. I did take a trip to the local thrift store and found a few more cotton sheets to add to my stash. They were $2 a piece so I can make a dress for about $1 if I stick to the sheet fabric only. If I add in a quilting cotton for contrast then it is still really inexpensive.

I used pattern from Tina Givens for my dresses including the Sugar Slip and the free Bloom Dress. I love her style. It is so romantic and really comfortable for summer. I did make a few adjustments to the patterns since everything is over sized to start. For the Sugar Slip the only thing I did differently was shorten the straps by a few inches and raised the back yoke. With the Bloom dress I wound up removing 2 inches from the the middle of the dress and then resizing the neckline. I also curved the sleeves a bit to make it easier to sew with the serger and bound the edges. I really like both dresses and I plan to use the use the patterns a lot this summer. For fun and also for practical reasons I made the free Pilka pants to go under the dresses. I did make adjustments to this pattern. I took off a 2 inches from the bottom and the top. I also made the back a little wider than the front. I added a frilly border and now I have some sweet bloomers peeking out from my dresses.

For sweets I made her a sheet dress using Fresh Stitch Patterns Playground Dress in size 2 and the remainder of the blue sheet from my dress. The bodice is from a button down shirt. The dress is a little big for her so the next version will be a size down. The second dress is made with Too Sweets Baja Dress. It is also a bit big for her so I will need to size it down a bit with the next version. The floral sheet is from the thrift store and great find. I really love the flowers and butterflies. She looks so cute in her comfy dresses. I have plenty of the floral fabric to make more. I will likely combine it with a cotton print in the next version. I also need to make her a few pairs of matching bloomers. Great start though for her summer wardrobe.