Thursday, January 27, 2011

Unexpected Beauty

I’ve never been one for fussy beauty products. Still, I was surprised, even doubtful,People actually use baking soda and vinegar to wash their hair? I imagine dull greasy locks, smelling distinctly of salad dressing. But after some research I was intrigued. For years, I have mixed my own home cleaning products using the same ingredients. So, I figure, it can't hurt to try?

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Here's the result of the experiment: A mixture of baking soda in warm water, massaged into the roots of my hair cleared away oil better than shampoo. As it turns out, baking soda's pH is mildly alkaline, so it reacts and dissolves the fatty acids that form on the scalp and skin. It was so effective in clearing oil from my hair that I'd be nervous to use it again for fear of stripping away too much.

Then, I soaked my hair in apple cider vinegar. Strange as it seems, vinegar's pH level is the same as human hair slightly acidic. My hair was left smooth and shiny and when it was dry...surprise, no vinegar smell. I may be tempted to try this one again.

But my favorite Natural beauty trick is coconut oil, I use this all the time. Mix it with a little solid perfume on your fingers, work it into the ends of your hair or onto your comb. Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of medium chain fatty acids, the same substance as your skins natural oils. It's hands down my favorite moisturizer.

The little pinch pots: Susan Ridenour.

The vintage brass hair clip made from vintage jewelry findings.

The little cloisonné tins of solid perfume were found at Follow Your Heart.

Art deco table runner is an example of decorative darning embroidery.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Branscombe lace

A big white moon is rising over the trees behind the house. Droplets of condensation have formed on the storm windows and the misty glass defuses moonlight through the room. I'm in a pensive mood, curled up under the covers looking at the spoils of an epic thrift hunt. I had my eye open for vintage handiwork and the universe delivered textiles with abundance.


This breathtakingly detailed needle lace blouse took the prize. I found it at a consignment store for next to nothing. Holding it in my hands, I wonder who wove this delicate web. I can't even imagine how long it must have taken and what thoughts must have drifted through the mind if it's maker in all those hours of focused attention and repetitive motion.




I was so intrigued by the whimsical scallop patterns that I felt compelled to do some research. This is an example of a needle and tape construction, introduced in the 1860's, called Branscombe lace, originating from Devonshire, England. Bold handcrafted designs became fashionable at this time as an alternative to the more readily available machine made laces. Its organic patterns could not be mass manufactured. At the turn of the century Branscombe lace became a popular craft. Ladies could by kits to make "renaissance lace" at home. I'm guessing this piece date from the twentieth century, it's in perfect condition and the shape is fairly modern.


There is something indescribably special about wearing a garment made by hand with loving attention and personal pride. I feel honored to surround myself in the creative force of this nameless remarkable woman. I respect the intelligence and time it took to learn this craft and make this one of a kind work of art. I hope she would be pleased that her creation is still loved and appreciated.

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