Steeped Mittens

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I present to you my new mittens. I designed the colour work and based the overall shape off of the popular herringbone mittens (my last pair of handknit mittens were the herringbone mittens… until my dogs digested them!). They were inspired by three skeins of patons classic wool (aran, natural mix and heath heather) from my stash and my favorite companion on a stormy winter day, tea!

I love them! They’re toasty warm and totally cute! I just wish I had done a better job on the actual knitting, I had a lot of tension problems and they’re still super evident even after blocking! I am planning on making a “dipped” model with just the last colour change from aran to a bright colour like yellow or hot pink!

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2016 Knit List

2016 KNIT LIST

Tongshan/Tinder/Wishbone

Last year I made a 2015 Knit List. I only made two items on the list: Graham and Wishbone. Graham was never blogged about. I didn’t like the way it worked up in the yarn I chose so it was frogged almost immediately. Wishbone was blogged about here. You could say the 2015 Knit List was a failure. The 2016 edition though… it will be successful!

I’ve definitely upped the stakes this year, but I have also learned a lot in the last year. Each of these projects was selected to fill a hole in my wardrobe, since I have been wanting to move towards using knitting to contribute to my wardrobe.

Two more projects from 2015 need to be blogged (that were knit without being on the list!), then the first project will be Tongshan!

Aveeno Baby Shampoo Review

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A few months ago I went to the doctor; I was experiencing “unusual hairloss” (~70 hairs). Having recently entered my quarter-life (read: twenties) I can’t help but panic about these things… Unfortunately for me the first thing she did was prescribe blood tests (I’ve never had blood drawn without fainting). Everything came back normal though (fortunately or unfortunately?!), so I followed her other suggestions: a gentle, sulphate free shampoo and… no blow drying!

I picked this shampoo up back in August, but I can’t stand reading product reviews that go something like, “I picked this up yesterday and I am literally obsessed”. Now that I’m almost finished the bottle I feel like I can give a good review. I was so excited to use this because one of my friends told me the day she put sulphate free shampoo in her hair she didn’t as much hair in the shower. Needless to say I had high hopes!

First a little bit of hair background, I have a lot of very fine hair with a few coarse strands woven in there. There’s a bit of a wave to it (naturally dried hair in these pictures), but if straightened/blow dried it will fall very flat and limp (limp hair in these pictures). I wash every 3-4 days, even though I produce a lot of oil (I produce a lot less now that I wash every few days as opposed to when I washed every day). The only other sulphate free shampoo I’ve ever tried was Dr. Bronner’s baby castille soap, which is for another day, so I didn’t know what to expect except difficulty lathering (the suplhates and their derivatives are usually responsible for a rich lather).

Now onto this shampoo! The first thing I’ve noticed is that it has a really odd smell for a baby shampoo. I’ve used a lot of baby products in the past and I’m used to (and appreciate) their clean simple scents. This shampoo has a much stronger, older smell. The best way I can describe it is as a “mature” floral scent, this is a bit more Chanel #5 than Marc Jacobs Daisy, if that makes sense. I’ve found the smell is strong in the shower, but it definitely doesn’t linger: I can’t smell it on my pillow the morning after a wash. I also have to use a bit more of this compared to a regular sulphate-full shampoo, because it lathers less and I like a full lather.

My favorite part about this shampoo is that it doesn’t hurt when I get it in my eyes. I don’t know how I’ve made it this long without learning an appropriate eye-avoiding shampoo technique, but I have. This was also my favorite part about Dr. Bronners: you could basically pour it onto your eyes with no irritation (please don’t do this though!).

BUT because of it’s built in “gentle conditioning” it does weigh down my hair, and combined with the doctors advice to quit blow drying, this means my hair is flat on my scalp immediately after a wash. Which is a major downer. Having healthy hair is great, but isn’t it better to have slightly more damaged hair that looks good?

And to compound the issue, I did not experience less hair loss, it fluctuated between around 70 hairs, just like before… So for me, switching to sulphate free shampoo didn’t affect my shedding during wash. But I do feel good about the shampoo because I figure anything that doesn’t burn my eyes must be better for my scalp and the environment (do fish eyes burn because of sulphates being washed down the drain….?)

Now I have to go shampoo shopping again and the question is: will I repurchase? Aveeno baby shampoo hasn’t quite convinced me yet, so I will look around before I repurchase!

Sweet Talking in September

Sally Hansen - Sweet Talker

I feel like fall is when blogging takes such a big hit; the daylight shrinks away so much faster each day, reducing photo-taking opportunity, and the school work just piles on! Thankfully, it’s my final year in university this year! To celebrate… I picked up a bottle of sally hansen complete salon manicure in Sweet Talker! Just kidding, I’m not celebrating yet, I just didn’t have a neutral nail colour in my collection, and I decided to try this one first.

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The Shell Top

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A basic shell top, made with Butterick B6175. This took me quite a while to make! I’ve never actually finished a top/bodice before, and I had a lot of trouble fitting the facings to the neckline and arm holes. In the end, I got it together, but there are some huge fit issues! The back is quite roomy, which would be fine, but the keyhole part sticks out from my body like a fish fin!

I wanted to make a shell top so bad, and I fell for B6175 because it offered the opportunity of short sleeves and a peter pan collar, which are some of my favorite things! I was hoping to make the shell top my alternative to tank tops and t-shirts since they are much more chic for the same amount of comfort, but… fit issues…

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You can see in the picture above, right below my hat brim a bunch of the material is sticking out (like a fin…)! This was a big disappointment, but a huge lesson in the importance of making muslins! I tend to think I’m fairly “normal sized” (whatever that is), but apparently not, since there is clearly too much fabric in the back. I do love the way this top looks from the front though, the neckline and shoulders are so flattering, and because of that I will be putting the effort into making a muslin and attempting to alter the pattern to fit me better!

The Famous Mint Julep Masque

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In Canada I’ve only been able to find this masque at Sally Beauty Supply. I purchased it for a few reasons, it’s raved about as being the best low cost clay mask on the market, and also with school steadily approaching, I wanted a pre-made mask for spa days/nights. Honey masks and turmeric masks are my favorite because I can really see the benefits within a day or two, my skin tone is more even and any pimples are reduced in redness. But when I’m fully immersed in school sometimes the thought of mixing up a few ingredients is enough of a deterrent for me to not apply a mask, and then I don’t get wonderful spa-like relaxation time! I thought this product would be a perfect solution!

I purchased the larger tub for about 8$. I use a clean spoon to take the product out of the tub, I don’t want to contaminate it with my fingers! I’ve used it twice since purchasing it, and both times I used about a table spoon. It feels very cold upon application, and I have felt slight tingling. I wait until the mask starts to crack around my mouth/cheeks and then gently take it off using my hands and warm water (circular motions!).

Here are the product claims:

  • Dry up acne
  • Reduce pore size
  • Remove Blackheads
  • Relax tired muscles
  • Ease tension lines in the neck and face

And here is my “before and after”:

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Before is on the left, after is on the right. I couldn’t get the lighting to be the same since the sun had gone down considerably since the first picture, but besides the obvious difference that my skin tone is completely different in the two pictures, I think the texture of my skin looks very much the same! If anything there is actually a small red dot towards the upper left of my cheek that I didn’t even notice before doing the mask, but it clearly turned into a pimple when I removed the mask. I’m not sure if it was developing anyways or if the mask drew it into a pimple faster, it cleared up within a few days though.

If I were to rate this product I would give it 4 stars, I can’t comment on the acne fighting abilities since I only suffer from occasional hormonal breakouts, but for a relaxing spa treatment it is perfect! I will definitely be using it often in the coming months (I’m not sure if it will be suitable for Canadian winters since my skin is dry), and if any spectacular results arise, I will share them!