Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Project Updates and Miscellany

Over the weekend, I finished crocheting a dress (mine's dark green) and put a lining in a skirt I crocheted last year. My next project will be finishing a sleeve apiece on the Baby Doll Dress and the Baroque cardigan. Then, I hope to start on the Cecilia chemise and some baby clothes for my youngest sister's due-in-June daughter.

Last week, I cooked up some flaxseed hair gel in my kitchen. It's based on several herbal hair treatment recipes I've found over the years. I have attempted to make flax gel a few times before, but was never happy with the results. Basing the recipe on a good-for-hair herbal infusion seems to have done the trick. It seems to help encourage my hair's curl, which I love; I like my hair long, but the weight of it usually pulls the curl out and makes it wavy, with curls at the ends (still nice, in my opinion). It's a pretty liquid-y gel, so apply a lot of small amounts to keep it from pouring out of your hands. There's nothing in it that will build up on your hair, so don't be afraid of applying too much. If it dries crunchy, scrunch your hair gently with your hands until the crunch is gone. Here's the recipe.

Herbal Flaxseed Gel

5 cups distilled water
2 tbsp each of the following dried herbs:
cherry bark
burdock root
chamomile flowers
lavender flowers
1/2 cup (rounded) raw flax seeds
1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel (a health-food brand like Lily of the Desert, not the green sunburn-treatment kind)
smidge honey (1/4 tsp or less)
smidge jojoba oil (or other natural vegetable oil - 1/4 tsp or less)
10 drops lavender essential oil (or your favorite scent)

Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan (glass or stainless steel). Add the herbs and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and cover. Let steep until cool.

Strain the liquid into a glass bowl, squeezing as much liquid as possible out of the herbs. Wash out the pan and pour the infusion back into it. Reheat to boiling and stir in the flax seeds. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally (the longer you cook it, the thicker the gel will be). Strain into a bowl. Whisk in aloe vera gel, honey, and oil. Let cool to lukewarm. Add essential oil. Pour into a clean bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Vary the recipe to suit your hair type. Some people say Epsom salts encourage curliness; I've tried adding some and it makes my hair stiff and tangle-prone, but your hair might like it fine. I've also poured some of this into a spray bottle, diluted it with more aloe vera and distilled water, and used it to refresh my curls in the morning. It works!

Looking out the window, I see it's snowing again. Everyone seems crabby about it except me.

Best wishes and good luck to Kristina, who's traveling to China today (and tomorrow, too, probably!). See you in three weeks!


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