Monday, January 14, 2013

Lip Balm!


   Me and my family are lip balm fanatics. We used to slather our lips in Vaseline, which was extremely effective, but since I became suspicious that petroleum by products might possibly be not-so-good for us, I decided to look into all natural lip balms.
   Burt's Bees is really awesome, but at more that $3 a tube - tubes that sometimes wind up getting washed in the laundry by accident - I wondered if there were a better option.
So I looked around for a cheaper, better, DIY version.
Lo and behold, there is!

       I use three ingredients - olive oil, bees wax, and essential oil.
The one thing that is harder to find is the lip balm tubes, but I got some on Etsy. You can also use little tins, small containers, and the like, but I don't really like putting the lip balm on my fingers and then on my lips. The tubes, to me, are the best.

I use white bees wax because I think it has a less pronounced smell so whatever essential oil I use is the main scent.
So, here's how to do it:

First, get your tubes ready. I like to tie up the number of tubes I think I will need with a hair tie so they will stay upright and put the bundle into a shallow bowl to catch any drips.
Then, put 5 Tablespoons of olive oil into a small metal container.
Put the metal container into a  pot of boiling water.
When the oil is hot, add 1 Tablespoon of bees wax.
Let them melt together.

Here you can see the wax just beginning to melt in the hot oil.
I use clothes pins to keep the container from floating around in the water. Having to hold it with my hands could result in steam burns, so this is my go-to method for things like this.

When it is hot and completely melted, remove it from the hot water bath and add essential oil.
For peppermint, which is quite potent, I only used 8 drops.
(I have done this with lemon essential oil, and used 12 drops or so, but I didn't want to overdo it with the mint. )
Then, mix the essential oil in and carefully pour the mixture into your lip balm tubes.

Wait 20 minutes or so for the lip balm to cool, put the lids on, wipe off any excess, and you're good to go.

Because there are no preservatives in it, this lip balm will only last about 6 months, so make it when you need it.

This batch made 10 tubes of lip balm.

Whatever container you use to heat the wax and oil will be nearly impossible to clean, so make sure to use something you don't want to use for anything else.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grey Shirt

Believe it or not, this is Jalie 2911. I originally began this shirt two days ago, intending to make it exactly like the pattern, but the fabric I used didn't have enough stiffness, and the collar flopped around and looked strange. So, I modified it and I like the result. I re-drafted the whole collar piece, cinched in the center, and now have a new shirt for winter. It looks a little Star-Trek, but I like it anyway.
I got the fabric from Wal-Mart. They had 5-yard bolts of fabric for $5, so I got the following:
The top is the very soft knit fabric that I made the shirt out of, then a dark blue twill that feels like cotton and will eventually become a new skirt, and the final fabric is thin cotton, and appears a little more purple in person. The purple will be a new dress for next summer. I loved the blue dress I made earlier this year! It was super comfortable and I wore it a lot, so I want to make another one to keep me cool next year.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I had too much to say on the subject of pillows for my last post.

We have been buying pillows often lately but cannot seem to find just the right combination of fluffy and firm. My favorite pillow ever was made with crushed foam, which can get packed into a harder ball, or left to loosely cradle your head. It was just what both of us were searching fruitlessly for. We have had a few pillow-squeezing trips*, but the pillows we bought would either compact quickly into headache-inducing lumps or deflate completely. (I have some opinions relating to pillows here, it seems.) I finally looked all over the internet for crushed foam pillows, and discovered that they can cost $120 each. Ouch. So I bought some crushed foam online, and made the pillows today. The foam was $23 with shipping for 2 1/2 pounds. It was enough for 2 pillows, possibly 3, depending on how full you like your pillow.
This is what the foam looks like:
I cut out four pieces of satiny fabric I had in my stash into pieces 22 inches by 30 inches, sewed up three sides, and stuffed them. The foam stuffing is a lot of different sizes, and occasionally there are hard bits that I picked out to keep the pillows fluffy. No one will lose an eye on these!
Then I sewed up the last side on my machine.
The stuffing travels through the air and has a lot of static in it, so cleaning up was a pain, but in the end it was worth it.
Tonight, we'll try them out, and add more stuffing if necessary.
Custom pillows for $23. Not bad!

*A note on pillow-squeezing trips: There is nothing like standing in the pillow aisle at Wal-Mart and taking down each pillow and methodically squeezing it to garner stares from strangers. Has no one ever tried squeezing the pillows they buy?

Summer Projects

Here's a quick run down on the past month:

I moved to Bushnell and whipped out two sets of light-blocking shades for our bedroom windows. I know it's hard, but guess which one was for the boys?

We had the festival, came home for a week, went to Canada to see the relatives, and a certain young man turned 10.
Then we went back to Bushnell for vacation. It was hot. But that did not deter us from petting tigers when the opportunity presented itself. The littlest Winter got bit by the littlest tiger, but the teeth did not break skin. It made for a good story, and lots of later bragging.
We came home last night, and I made these pillows:

I have more to say about pillows, so check out the next post!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day Job - Days 3 and 4

No photos today, just a quick update...
Last night I took my boys over to see Toby Mac on Main Stage. My oldest son had a fever of 102.7 but he really wanted to see Toby's 10p.m. set on Main Stage. So, I gave him some ibuprofen, grabbed our stage passes and some earplugs, and took him and his brother to the stage. I didn't really want to be there. I was exhausted and a little worried about the Sick One, Chase, but I wanted to do something special for him. I am super busy and distracted during the festival, so the best I can do is hang out with him and do what he enjoys when we get the chance.
Anyway, because of my job, I have the ability to get up on the stage (any stage, any time, really), so I took the boys up, parked them on some unused monitors, and watched the show from behind. At the beginning, Toby was directly in front of Chase. Chase kept asking, "Where is he?" and I would point, and he would completely miss seeing him. It was hilarious. He was 2 feet from the person he came to see, but didn't recognize him at all. Eventually, he caught on, once Toby grabbed the microphone and started his set.
And, despite the exhaustion, and the fact that I am not a fan, I had a good time. It was a very good show, with breakdancing, crazy lights, and good musicians. But what really got me was seeing thousands of people singing along, absolutely thrilled to be there, and knowing that they were having a great time in part because of the work I do. Sometimes there is a lot of drama involved in this job. But in the end, it is a privilege to be able to give a gift like that show to people who enjoy it so much. Even people I will never meet. And, of course, giving the ability to sit on the Main Stage to my boys is amazing, too.
How weird is that?
When we left, my golf cart was stuck in a deep rut and we had to be pushed out by a helpful stage hand. That's Cornerstone, too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day Job -Day 2

This glorious structure has been the focus of many hours of contemplation today and yesterday.
It is the pump which supplies water to the entire festival grounds. Normally, it is only about 3 feet tall, but this is what it looks like when some one is digging it up out of the ground. Again.
On the first day of the festival, yesterday, the water for the grounds went out. We called the pump company and they sent out a team. The team worked until 2 a.m. and put the pump back in the ground. Then they discovered that it still didn't work. Today another team came out and spent all day re doing what they had done yesterday, and the water is back on. We have some very easy to please campers out here. I have literally heard no complaints about the showers being out. They are amazing!

Here is Main Stage, all finished. It was christened in its new spot today by Switchfoot, in a special kick-off concert. The new location is working out well. People spent all afternoon playing frisbee in the grass by the stage, even during sound checks.
The photo above gives a better idea of the space around the Main Stage. It's a lot of room, which is something we all worried about. Lots of people fit, though.

There are some photos I haven't been able to post, but were the hi light of today. We had some enormous boxes of granola bars donated for our volunteer staff. The boxes are 4 feet by 4 feet by 3 feet high, and full of individually wrapped granola bars. We have two of them out here. It was a lot of work for me getting those bars picked up, stored, and finally delivered to the fest grounds. I wanted to get a photo of my boys in the boxes with the granola bars because I thought it would be cute. We went over and I let them climb in, and started snapping pictures with my camera phone. (How many kids can say they got into a giant box of granola bars?) Another person standing there thought it was adorable, and asked if she could take a picture, and we were all set for some memory making. Then, one of our volunteers came up and started telling my boys to get out of the boxes, horrified that they were in boxes with food.
It was one of those moments of truth. I meekly told the boys to get out of the boxes and we left. I could have, for once in my life pulled out the old, "Do you know who I AM?" line. I hear that line at least once a festival, and I absolutely hate it. I could write a whole post on hearing that line! I have always promised that I would never, ever, use that line on some one, and so I didn't today. Maybe I could have said, "They are individually wrapped in plastic." But I didn't think it would go over well. Honestly, I left the tent and started laughing. What a weird situation. Me, miss by-the-book, getting yelled at for letting my kids be a little unconventional! Must be Cornerstone!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Day Job

Quick post today about nothing sewing related...
My day job involves helping to organize a big music festival held each year in central Illinois, between a corn field and a soy bean field. We have gotten crowds of over 25,000, but lately with the economy barely chugging along, we get a few thousand less.
It is a wonderful job. For some reason, all of the craziness and chaos is also a lot of fun.
This year, the Main Stage arrived 2 days late. We have one of our biggest shows tomorrow night, and no one is sure that there will be a stage to play on, let alone power, sound, or lights. But I think it will be.
This is the partial Main Stage:

Today is the first day the gates have been open. Already we have been picketed by Baptists who are trying to save our souls from Hell because we listen to Christian rock music. They gave up around noon, which is a pity because I always want to get a photo with them, but each year they go home before I can. Apparently, if you are not saved by noon, you are a lost cause.
Last night at 7 p.m. I drove to the Front Gate and counted 49 cars waiting for the gate to open. It wasn't the longest line I've ever seen, but it was great to see so many people excited about the festival. They all were here 24 hours early.

I have the cutest little golf cart this week. Most importantly, it works.

And, my kids are having a blast with their friends.