Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Musings

I just browsed my stash of photos for a topic to share today, but there are so many mostly finished projects but nothing that is really ready to blog about. Lots of house progress, but we’re not into the pretty phase of it yet. Lots of cooking, but mostly my standby recipes and most of those are already up here :) So I guess I will share the things that are swirling around my brain, in no particular order. A couple of these are more superficial than generally occupy my thoughts, but I will forgive myself if you will after this Michigan winter of horrors, and my own personal neglect-of-self that was necessary to survive the Big Move. Delayed maintenance. Not just for houses anymore.

luscious locks


I am trying to grow my hair out. I have liked it both longer and shorter than it is now, and don’t much care for my current stage in the process (I have good days and bad days). I am looking into exactly what sort of hair care helps it to grow fastest and healthiest. I have never given this topic much thought before. Turns out biotin, in addition to a good multivitamin, is a healthy skin/nails/hair supplement. I am trying to eat better as well to tame the pounds I put on over the past several highly stressful months (hello again, Weight Watchers!), and a healthy balanced diet and exercise (to improve general circulation) are other big factors. One other musing (and I don’t know where I land on this issue yet) is the debate amongst conventional shampoo, sulfate-free shampoo, and no shampoo at all in favor of a baking soda/vinegar regimen. Apparently conventional shampoos are full of sodium laureth sulfate (almost universally the second ingredient by weight), a type of chemical salt that produces the lather we enjoy, but strips the hair of all its natural oils. This is purported to cause follicle damage, oil over-production, and increased breakage… leading to slower growth, more hair fallout and frizz. The sulfate-free shampoos have other dubious substances in them to replace the SLS, lather less, and are considerably more expensive with the jury still out on better performance and acceptable results. The no shampoo (“no poo”) lifestyle has its own potential drawbacks (itchy scalp, greasy/dry hair, undesirable transition period from conventional shampoo) and may also damage hair due to intense pH fluctuation, though it would be hard to find a cheaper hair care solution. I dunno. Boggling.

new house garden and landscape planning


Our new house has many more flower gardens and true landscaping that our last house. I am excited about this, but also trying to be smart about it. The way it is now, there are BOATLOADS of bulbs and perennials, small and large shrubs, ornamental trees and grasses, and ground cover galore. I have not fully figured out “the plan”, if there is one, to the style we have going on out there. The previous queen of this castle was a wonderful gardener and composter, and she obviously took very good care of her plants. The pool area has some areas clearly used for vegetables. This makes sense since there are many deer in the vicinity and the veggies would be well protected inside the fence. I think I may add some deer-safe plants in new veggie garden yet to be made outside the fence, but that is truly a project for another year.

Other than a few small rectangular areas, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of symmetry. And apparently I like symmetry. There is just so much to work with here that I need to sort out how to keep track of what is here and where it is over the course of this first year of observation, and formulate a plan to gradually move things to places that work for my sensibilities. I want to plant things with a purpose and an eye towards manageable maintenance, so that as the gardens mature and we need to replace the fence or other fixtures, we have something we are working towards to guide our decisions. I would love for the pool space to (one day) be more private with a higher fence or more plant screening, with a couple vine-covered arbor gates for access. I may opt for more shapeable fast growing flowering shrubs like forsythia and lilac to replace some ailing pines that offer a modicum of privacy on one end of the enclosure. A friend just offered me a purple smoke plant that has piqued my interest, so I need to get cracking so I can find it a new home. Nothing has been decided yet, but as Spring is springing, I can’t help but dream.

selfish sewing


I want to sew a dress for myself. Sort of a birthday present, though I doubt I will manage to finish it before the actual day. But I have a dinner out for my husband’s birthday coming up, and a wedding to attend at the end of May and would love a new frock for that, at the very least. We have been keeping the budget ratcheted waaay down during the whole new-house-home-improvement-aggressive-mortgage transition, but it is becoming increasingly clear that I need some wardrobe updates. I had been reluctant to even thrift for updates until recently (when the ugly reality set in) since I have so many grand plans for sewing. But I found 4 yards of lovely yellow matte satin at one of my favorite local thrift establishments (AA PTO Thrift, for you locals) and have long been fantasizing about Kay Unger’s Vogue 1353. I just picked up the last ingredients and will hopefully make a bodice muslin today. I hope anyway :) I could see myself choosing a different skirt with this bodice (to further minimize attention to the hips, ahem), but I am not sure yet (especially after seeing this finished dress). I will certainly lengthen it, if necessary, to be knee-length on me. I’ll keep you updated…


Betsy said...

That dress pattern looks super cute! Did that neckline inspire the one on Kitty's 1st Communion dress?

Re the shampoo thing: I've been a nearly life-long daily shampooer...until about 2 weeks ago. Now I shower daily as normal, but on the 2nd day (and sometimes 3rd) skip the shampoo and go right to the conditioner. Scrub that scalp well as though I am shampooing (solves the itchy scalp problem and causes increased circulation = faster hair growth). Blow dry hair (ahem, after exiting the shower). My results are awesome - no grease, no frizz. It's like light, clean hair with just a touch of "product" for manageability. (fine print: results may vary.) ;)

Have fun getting to know your garden!

Heather said...

Hi Karen! I'm Heather and I just have a quick question regarding your blog that I was hoping you could answer! If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com I would greatly appreciate it!