Category Archives: personal products

I’m ready, I think.

I have been thinking for a quite a while about switching from toilet paper to cloth, because our daughter uses cloths when she uses the potty. She’s switching to using the toilet more and more and I hate that it means moving to toilet paper too, but she wants to be grown up and that’s what we grown-ups do. I wanted to make the change to cloth rather than having her move away from it, but it seemed a bit “out there” even for me and I live “there”. When some one says “out there” they mean the place where the weirdy beardies like Sarah McGaughey live. Yes, I really was called a weirdy beardy, and yes, I liked it.
A while ago Kyle and I had a little communication glitch that resulted in there being absolutely no toilet paper in the house on a day of a blizzard. I decided to try using the wee ones cloths. It was way easier than I expected. I’m going to go into detail now so if you are squeamish, stop reading now!
Pees were no problem. It seemed natural to use cloth. As for poos, it was way easier. It took one warm soft wet cloth to get a very clean bum rather than wads of scratchy paper, and it was really easy to rinse and throw in a bucket after.
Kyle still thinks the water usage for cloths make it equal to toilet paper, but I don’t buy it. I didn’t use much water to rinse and when they are washed in our little portable machine and hung to dry, I’m sure the water usage is less than the water, energy, chemicals, plastics, and carbon that go into making (even recycled) toilet paper. Unfortunately there are no unbiased studies that I can find on the topic-the one study of cloth diapers which claimed the energy and water usage was equal to that of disposables was very biased. Firstly, it was funded by PAMPERS. Secondly the studied diapers that were washed industrially with bleach and dried in a dryer. Thirdly they didn’t study the water or energy used to make the disposables.
Back to me, my daughter didn’t want me to use her cloths again, and I haven’t been able to buy or make them yet. I’ve read about using old flannel sheets (cut up into small squares and sewn around the edges) and I think it’s a great idea but I haven’t done it yet. I may just order these ones and some bamboo wipes from the same seller. I can make them but there is such a line up of things I have to sew before I get to them, and I want to make the change soon. In fact, just this second I set a deadline for myself to do it by the end of February.
Obviously this isn’t for everyone. I am not at all bothered by bodily fluids.* I still find poo and fart jokes hilarious. I use reusable menstrual pads and cups. We used cloth diapers and natural infant hygiene when our little one was a baby. Scatological is one of my favorite words. I can’t believe I didn’t make this change before. I also can’t believe I could come up with a funnier title for this post!
* Just to clarify, I am bothered by unknown bodily fluids, like huge puddles of urine on my doorstep (dog, person???) or puke on the sidewalk, but my own or my family’s or friends is not a problem to me*

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Beauty and the Beast

A friend was recently talking about a website that rates products on their healthfulness and environmental accountability. She was talking about the fact (which is another reason I make my own products) that what we put on our skin goes directly into our body so we should be as careful about that as we are with food. I can’t find the specific site she was referring to ( I will ask her and post more later) but I did find a lot of information about ingredients that are harmful to living things. I knew about most of these before-that’s why I make as much of my own body and skin care as possible. The problem is that I am really forgetful, so while I retain the knowledge that many products should be avoided, I often forget the exact things I should be avoiding. I found many sites with lists, and this is the one that I found most helpful . They are all very similar but this one seems to have the most information and sources to back it up.
One of the chemicals I cam across on the top of every list was Sodium Lauryl Sulphate. Laboratories actually use this to irritate skin so they can them test healing products. It delivers nitrates straight into the body, which have been proven to cause cancer. Greeeeaaat. I was pretty sure my products were safe, but I decided to check. My Shampoo, is in a bottle I keep refilling and the ingredients have worn off. Kingston Soap Company doesn’t have an ingredients list on their website so I will have to ask them on Saturday when I go to the Farmer’s Market. The conditioner I have is Green Beaver and it seems to be good across the board-though it makes me head really itchy so I’m not going to buy more. I will try their other products though because they do seem to be actually healthy and “green”
I just dyed my hair with “Ice Cream professional dye” that I somehow convinced myself was a natural product. Ha ha ha. It has almost all of the EVIL CHEMICALS TO AVOID in it. Oh Dear! It has Ceateryl Alcohol, Glycerol Stearate Se, Ammonium Hydroxide, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Sodium Cocoyl Sulphite, Propylene Glycol , synthetic fragrance and more! EEEEK! OK no more hair dye for me (wipes tear from eye).
It amazes me how we ( I) can put vanity in front of so many things. The other day I rode my bike in high heels just because I got them for free and wanted to wear them. It was so stupid. My foot kept slipping off all over the place. Fortunately I didn’t have an accident. Dying my hair is kind of like that but way worse. With the bike scenario, I was really only hurting myself and maybe one other person (if I ran into someone, but that would. be unlikely as I couldn’t even get going!) The chemicals however, have consequences that far surpass my own body. What exactly are these compounds doing to the water and the fish, the air, etc.? And now that I have it in my home, how do I get rid of it. this is not the first time I have been faced with this type of conundrum (once it was Ritz crackers). I accidentally buy something terrible, and I don’t want to use it but I don’t know how to dispose of it.
So now what? The simplest solution would be to go without shampoo or conditioner and use simple things on your skin, like olive oil. Soap nuts are another option, as is making your own products or buying from me:) There are a growing number of products out there that are environmentally sound. Farmer’s Markets and Etsy or Hyena cart are a good place to look (though I suspect that the shampoo I get from the farmer’s market has SLS in it and that’s why my head is itchy).
As for hair dye, pure Henna seems to be the only good one and you have to look at labels carefully to make sure there are no synthetics added. Or we could all just be happy with the way we looked in the first place. Did I just say that? GASP? What about the economy!?!?!

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Goodbye old friend

After 15 years of use, my reusable razor has died. Since I do occasionally shave my legs (quite frequently in the summer) and even more occasionally shave my armpits, I need a new one.
The obvious choice for me, as I am way too clumsy to try out a straight razor, is PRESERVE. They make personal products and kitchen ware out of yogurt containers and accept all their products back for recycling. Some of the products now come in postage paid mail in packages to send back when you are done with them.
We already use and love their toothbrushes. In fact, I just printed out a postage paid mail in form to mail in our growing pile of used toothbrushes to be recycled. I’ll keep you posted once I receive my razor.

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Hip Hip Horrah!

I have a really good excuse for not blogging for a month and here is the photo evidence! I have been crafting like crazy to get ready for the Mulberry School Winter Fair.

All of these things were inspired by a need/want to reduce trash and have a creative outlet. I started making deodorant, toothpaste and cream for me and my family as a way to avoid getting containers every time, and also so I knew exactly what was going on and in our bodies. Unfortunately, now that  I am selling it, I am creating trash again. I ordered containers and some raw ingredients for New Directions Aromatics. Each little tin had a small Styrofoam circle in the top and everything came in bubble wrap! Almost all my other products are in mason jars, which only come in cardboard, but labels (that I don’t use) come with them in little plastic sleeves. I am offering a dollar off if you bring your container back to me, but I’m not sure how else to solve the problem. I have had people ask for the bubble wrap for felting,  so at least it will be used again. To be honest, I let Aurora dance on it and she loved it, but it feels like it’s a bit of a waste.

The sewn goods are made from a combination of new materials and up cycled clothing, curtains etc. I am never going to make hankies again because I don’t have the patience, but the gift bags are easy and fun and can also be used as produce bags at the market or grocery store.

I sold out of most things at the Mulberry School Winter Fair and I made more to sell at Made 4 You. If you are not in Kingston and would like something,  please e-mail me.   I can’t sell the owl pillows here because there is another crafter already doing so and everyone is afraid to buy mine, so if you want some owl pillows, let me know! If you are in Kingston, buy stuff from Made 4 You and talk about how great it is. I am sort of on probation for the first month, and I really want to stay on there!
Here are some recipes for some of the most popular items, if you are so inclined to made them for yourself.

Cocoa Velveet (1 jar)

Ingredients
2 tablespoons beeswax
2 teaspoons water
4 oz. cocoa butter
4 tablespoons oil (olive or almond)
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Melt the beeswax over low heat with the water. Spoon in cocoa butter and blend. Gradually blend in oils. Pour into glass jar.
Will thicken as it cools.

Mint Toothpaste
Approximately equal amounts of Vegetable glycerin and baking soda, a very small amount of salt, about a teaspoon of organic peppermint extract(to taste). Mix well will hand blender or whisk.

Sanchouli Deodorant
Use a mixer, like a kitchen Aid to mix 1.5 parts baking soda to 1 part coconut oil. I adjust the amounts until the constancy is like a thick cream. Add 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil, and a few drops of both patchouli and sandalwood essential oil. The sandalwood I get is mixed with jojoba oil because it costs $10 that way as opposed to $50 for pure sandalwood.

That’s all the time I have, but I have about 5 other posts brewing so stay tuned!

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What is the one item you can’t live without?

Have you ever noticed that most interviews of famous women (especially if they are sex symbols) include this question? Sometimes they say “What is the one thing you can’t like without” and I always think “air”, but the answers are things like “My #12 red Mac lipstick” or “My Prada stilettos”.
If I was asked that question (not that I am claiming to be a sex symbol;), I would have to answer baking soda!
We use it in baking, wash the house with it*, brush our teeth with it, put it under our arms, and now I’m washing my face with it. I tried it on my hair but that experiment failed.
I do, however, highly recommend it as a facial cleanser. I was having a hard time with finding or making a good cleanser that didn’t leave my skin dry and pimply at the same time. Yes I am a thirty something with pimples-what of it? Finally I broke down and started washing with Dr.Bronners mild baby soap, which I can buy in bulk at Grass Roots, Big Carrot or Eco-Existence. It works great! Just wet your face and rub the baking soda on until it looks like a mask. Then rinse it off,with hot water, then cold. If I need to moisturize I use a little coconut oil, and if I want to exfoliate I use baking soda. It kind of tingles and leaves my face feeling clean and soft.
* Since we have had a child we use baking soda way more than borax because borax is a little caustic. We use baking soda and vinegar for the toilet, sinks, bathtub, walls, and diaper pail. We also use baking soda on pots and pans that have had food burnt onto them. Just dump a bunch in with a bit of water and let it sit overnight before scrubbing ( a scrunched up and knotted onion bag makes a great scrubber).

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Apparently I love talking about underarms-that’s trashy right?

Despite the fact that someone has asked me why I already talked about deoderant more than once, I am going to mention it again.
We have been using home-made deoderant which works really well, cuts out trash and is simple and easy to make. It’s coconut oil, baking soda and tea tree oil and or patcholi. We discovered it irritated Kyle’s skin, but fixed that by making an oilier version. The problem is the oilier version is staining our clothes. So far using baby powder to soak it up and then dish soap has seemed to work. I thought of getting mainstream stain remover or even grease fighting dishsoap, but that seems to sort of defeat the purpose of having all natural deoderant.
Hmmm what to do, what to do.
I finally tried the Thyme to wash cleanser that I mentioned in the DIY hygiene post. I don’t like it. I have way more pimples then before and I have to keep it in the fridge, which I find terribly inconvenient. Really, I want to be able to just leave it in the bathroom so it’s there when I need it. It’s not pure laziness- once I am in the bathroom for a shower, I can’t leave again because Aurora will see me and freak out “mommm-MEEE!” I have to sort of sneak away.
I think I’ll try the ginger one next and tell you how it goes.

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Whip it good!

I made a new batch of deodorant with patchouli for Kyle and he is fine now. I made myself another sandal wood batch since I didn’t have a problem, and I didn’t really like the smell of the straight patchouli- smells like Dettol to me. Then, I shaved my arm pits. Now the sandal woods is no good. Ouchy ouch ouch. I suppose I will have to use the patchouli stuff until my hair grows back.
Speaking of hair, my hair on my head has been a disaster since trying the no poo method. When I gave it up, we still had some Lush solid shampoo, which was nice, but now we are out and I am trying not to buy more. I did cave and buy Burt’s Bees conditioner, even though I know they are owned by the evil Clorax. Well karma got me and my hair looks dull and heavy. The beeswax just sort of sticks- I knew that from before, but I forgot. So, I am still looking for a shampoo recipe. I tried Auroras glycerin soap and it was no good. I tried http://www.drbronner.com/DBMS/OLBA08EA/BabyMildLiquidSoap.htm and my hair was too tangly so I put the tiniest bit of coconut oil in and turned into a greaseball. Even after I washed it out my hair looked wet when it was dry.
I bought Soap Works solid shampoo and conditioner (way cheaper than Lush) and it is also no good for me. It really does leave my hair squeaky clean but I can’t get a brush through it after. Sigh- I may have to cave in and go back to my beloved bulk Giovanni products from the Big Carrot.
I am currently making protection creme from Stephanie Tourles’ Herbal Body Book. I’ll have to let you know how it turns out. My skin has been dry and crackly so I’m hoping it is as good as she says. I am also hoping I can whip until it’s creamy, because I have been whipping it and whipping it (LOL, that sounds bad) and it is still a pot of oil. Gotta go do some more whipping. Stay tuned for more exited DIY hygiene talk.

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