Saturday, May 15, 2010

BP, bringing oil to American shores...

NPR recently ran a story about using hair to make big absorbent booms to help with the oil now spread in an area larger than Rhode Island over the Gulf of Mexico.  I wish they would do a follow up story later.  I'm curious how well these work.  I know of at least one hair salon owner in my area that is participating.

Sopping Up An Oil Slick With Castaway Hair

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vinegar and baking soda

To make your own vinegar herbal hair rinse:
  1. Place 2 tablespoons of the dried herb (or herb mixture) into a muslin bag or tea ball and put in a warmed tea pot.
  2. Pour 1 pint (500 ml) of boiling water over the herbs and infuse for 2 hours.
  3. Allow the liquid to cool then pour it into a quart (1 liter) jar.
  4. Add 1 pint (500 ml) of apple cider vinegar and mix well.
Pour this over your hair (I like to pour it through it my hair over a large bowl so that I can reuse and use less) and comb through.  Use once a week or as needed.  Store bought shampoos and conditioners leave residues behind and this is a great way to make sure your hair is actually getting clean. 

Vinegar is also a great lice remedy and it is far cheaper than any of the shampoos on the market, for the moms with kids in school. 

Baking soda is also fantastic and safe to use around the house.  I like to use natural and hand-made soaps in the shower, but because the soap mixes with minerals from my tap water, I get soap scum in my tub.  Take a small dish of baking soda and a damp cloth.  Dip the cloth in the baking soda and scrub the surface of the tub.  I don't think my tub was as clean when we moved in as it was after I scrubbed it with baking soda.  Afterwards rinse it all away knowing that you are not adding harsh and most likely toxic chemicals into your water table!  I found a great article on about cleaning your home with green cleaners.

Will Twitter one day become a primary resource on life in the 21st century?

The Wall Street Journal has published an article in which the author likens Twitter to diary entries from the 18th and 19th century.  It is an interesting idea.  Will the tweets of today be a resource on everyday life for the people of tomorrow?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Star Wars Day

May the fourth be with you!
In honour of this festive day, I am going to share a knitting patter that I found.  Its on my list of stuff to do (which is really, really long).  Enjoy!  (This is not my pattern, I had nothing to do with the genius.  It is available for free online and through Ravelry.)

Want a handmade Halloween costume this year? Have a geeky friend whose birthday is right around the corner? Or perhaps you are that geeky friend. That's okay. Be proud of who you are. Shout it out loud without saying a word. Knit this hat and wear it everyday, everywhere.

Queue this on Ravelry!

Caron Simply Soft (100% acrylic, 3oz/85g, 165yds/151m) one skein each in Royale and Grey Heather
Small amount of worsted black acrylic yarn
Small amount of loose stuffing for projecting bits, if desired
US7 (4.5mm) 16in (41cm) circular needle

US7 (4.5mm) double-pointed needles
Tapestry Needle

18sts x 24rows = 4in (10cm) in stst on US7 (4.5mm)

Finished Size:
Child (Adult S, Adult L) = 19 (21, 24)in [48 (54, 61)cm] circumference

Note: This pattern is written such that a basic striped hat is created first, and then details are added with duplicate stitch afterward. If you prefer, you can use the appropriate chart and stranded knitting for rounds 8-12 (9-14, 10-15) and rounds 25-30 (28-33, 30-35), leaving less duplicate stitching to be done in the end.

With grey yarn and circular needles, CO 84 (96, 108) sts. Join to work in the rnd, being careful not to twist. Work 4 (5, 5) rnds in k2, p2 ribbing. Join blue, but do not cut grey. With blue, knit 2 (2, 3) rnds in stst. Twist blue and grey strands once to prevent a hole. Knit 1 (1, 1) rnd in grey. Twist strands and knit 5 (6, 6) rnds in blue. Twist strands and knit 8 (9, 10) rnds in grey, twisting strands every 4 (5, 5) rnds to carry blue strand along, but still working with grey.
Crown Shaping:
Switch to dpns with 28 (32, 36) sts on each of 3 needles.
Rnd 1: With grey, [k6 (7, 8), k2tog, k6 (7, 8)] around - 78 (90, 102) sts.
Rnd 2 and all even rnds: knit even with same color as previous rnd.
Rnd 3: With grey, [k6 (7, 8), ssk, k5 (6, 7)] around - 72 (84, 96) sts.
Rnd 5: With blue, [k5 (6, 7), k2tog, k5 (6, 7)] around - 66 (78, 90) sts.
Rnd 7: With blue, [k5 (6, 7), ssk, k4 (5, 6)] around - 60 (72, 84) sts.
Rnd 9: With blue, [k4 (5, 6), k2tog, k4 (5, 6)] around - 54 (66, 78) sts.
Rnd 11: With grey, [k4 (5, 6), ssk, k3 (4, 5)] around - 48 (60, 72) sts.
Rnd 13: With blue, [k3 (4, 5), k2tog, k3 (4, 5)] around - 42 (54, 66) sts.
Rnd 15: With grey, [k3 (4, 5), ssk, k2 (3, 4)] around - 36 (48, 60) sts.
Rnd 17: With grey, [k2 (3, 4), k2tog, k2 (3, 4)] around - 30 (42, 54) sts.
Rnd 19: With grey, [k2 (3, 4), ssk, k1 (2, 3) around - 24 (36, 48) sts.
Child Size Only:
Rnd 21: With grey, [k2tog] around - 12 sts.
Rnd 22: With grey, knit even.
Adult Small Size Only:
Rnd 21: With grey, [k2, k2tog, k2] around - 30 sts.
Rnd 23: With grey, [k2, ssk, k1] around - 24 sts.
Rnd 25: With grey, [k2tog] around - 12 sts.
Rnd 26: With grey, knit even.
Adult Large Size Only:
Rnd 21: With grey, [k3, k2tog, k3] around - 42 sts.
Rnd 23: With grey, [k3, ssk, k2] around - 36
Rnd 25: With grey, [k2, k2tog, k2] around - 30 sts.
Rnd 27: With grey, [k2, ssk, k1] around - 24 sts.
Rnd 29: With grey, [k2tog] around - 12 sts.
Rnd 30: With grey, knit even.
All Sizes: Cut yarn and thread tail through rem sts using tapestry needle. Pull tight and tie off. Weave in ends. Using tapestry needle and duplicate stitch method, add details to match appropriate chart below.

Child Size:

Adult Small Size:

Adult Large Size:

Projecting Bits, make 2 (if desired):
With grey, CO 12 sts leaving a long tail. Dist sts to 3 dpns - 4 sts on each needle. Knit 7 rnds in stst. Join black and cut grey. Next rnd, [k2tog] around – 6 sts. Next rnd, [k2tog] around – 3 sts. Cut yarn and thread through rem sts using tapestry needle. Stuff with batting and use tapestry needle and CO tail to sew to hat along dashed lines from chart. Weave in ends.

Put on hat and make beeping noises.

Feel free to comment here with questions.

This pattern is intended for personal use only. Please do not try to sell it or any product made from it. Thank you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sore throat remedy

I usually eyeball everything.  I've been making this for a while now and it works wonders on a sore throat.
Add to a mug a good sized pinch of powdered cinnamon (or a half inch to an inch long piece of a cinnamon stick) a good dash of cayenne powder and enough vinegar (I usually use apple cider) to cover the bottom of the mug, about a centimeter.  Add to it 6 to 8 oz boiling water and let steep covered for 5-10 minutes.  You can add honey, which is also really good for a sore throat.  Sip while hot.

Sore throat remedy 2
Pour 8 to 10 oz boiling water over 1 to 2 slices of lemon, a few small chunks of ginger and some honey. Let steep covered 5 to 10 minutes.  Sip while hot.

I've been suffering from sinus drainage, something's probably pollinating.  Its not bad enough to warrant going to a clinic, just enough to make me feel crappy.  I've been trying to drink a lot of water too, hoping to flush out whatever is bothering me.