I Like to Crochet...

**Right now I am having a SALE in my Etsy shop. Head over there and see if there is anything that floats your boat. All hats are currently 10% off. Use coupon code EVERGREEN10 upon purchase. These hats make great gifts or you can just treat yourself! Sale ends Monday**

If you didn’t already know, I like to crochet. I’ve been practising crocheting on and off since I was about 10 years old. My mom (the very talented/) taught me the foundational skills and I’ve been learning different techniques ever since.

When my daughter was born I started taking this skill of mine a little more seriously. I’m not a huge fan of buying cheap, mass produced goods so I started making hats for her. Making them myself allowed me to choose the fibres I wanted, like undyed wool and organic cotton. It’s very satisfying knowing that I can make beautiful things while minimizing my impact on the environment.

That’s when I decided to start my Etsy shop. I wanted others to have the option to choose well-made items developed in a more sustainable way than their cheapo counterparts.

Having the Etsy shop motivated me to create some of my own patterns. With every hat I make I learn something new, so my patterns are always changing and getting better. All of the hats currently in my shop were designed by... that’s right... moi! Although I am a sucker for a cute pattern; my favourites can be found in the Etsy shop Mon Petit Violon.

Being a stay-at-home mom has allowed me the time to do something I love while raising my little girl. I love interacting with customers while being able to read stories with Leah. I love creating and designing while being able to teach Leah her ABC’s. And I have a cute little model to show off new hat designs :)

More recently I’ve delved into the world of Amigurumi (or crocheted stuffed animals and creatures). Animals are so fun to crochet! I ordered Crocheted Softies by Stacey Trock which is a fabulous book with so many animals that I can’t wait to create. So far I’ve made a moose which turned out adorable! Pictures to come soon...

So to sum it all up, I like to crochet! And don't forget to check out the sale :)

PS. All pictures are courtesy of my sister, Amelia Lloyd. Thanks sis :)

A Homemade Lip balm Experiment

Ahh, warmer weather is here to stay... at least I hope so. I’ve had just about enough of this spring weather weirdness and I’m ready for summer!

So recently, I’ve been doing all kinds of research on natural body care products. I delved into it a little around Christmas time, but now I’ve jumped in head first! It was actually brought on by this gorgeous, sunny weather and the need (or so I thought) for some natural sunscreen for my baby girl. Little did I know, the average bottle of sunscreen has some pretty terrible chemicals in their ingredients. Some sunscreens may actually be accelerating the same cancer it is supposed to prevent. Yikes! So I started looking for an alternative and found some great homemade sunscreen recipes. Well I jumped all over that and will be making some sunscreen in the near future. I did however find this post which actually questions whether we need sunscreen at all. It has definitely given me something to ponder this past week and I’ll be posting something soon on my sunscreen adventures but for now I’d like to show you what I made this week.

115_0784

Lip balm! With lots to share. Good, quality lip balm from the store can get pretty pricey. The initial investment into the products for making lip balm may seem expensive, but the final tube or container of lip balm cost next to nothing. And the ingredients can be used for making lots of other things like lotions, deodorant, sunscreen, soaps... the list goes on. The benefit of making these products yourself is that you know exactly what you are putting onto and essentially into your body. Our skin absorbs everything we put onto it which eventually travels into our bloodstream. We need to start being aware of what we are unknowingly exposing ourselves to and start taking control of it.

I decided to start with something easy and fun. I found this lip balm recipe around Christmas and have been itching to try it ever since. It uses all natural ingredients that smell wonderful when blended together. I did have a bit of trouble finding some of the ingredients, which is part of the reason why it took me so long to make. But after lots of searching, the end results are definitely worth it!

115_0777

Beeswax is one of the main ingredients. I found this at my local Farmer's Market for a great price.

115_0774

Mmm, cocoa butter. It smells so delicious. I had trouble finding this in stores but I was able to find this organic cocoa butter online here.

This is a great recipe and makes enough to share! This lip balm goes on super smooth and the peppermint oil gives it a nice cooling effect. Another great thing about making your own body products is that you can make them however you want. Don’t like peppermint? Add some lavender oil instead or your other favourite scent. Make it your own. I’ll definitely be experimenting with different flavours in the future.

115_0780

I also recently tried making deodorant with great success. More on that soon!

Ashley “)

PS. Does anyone want some lipbalm?

10 Ways You Can Reduce Waste in Your Home (while saving $)

1. Buy in bulk. Especially food. By buying in bulk not only do you save on the amount of packaging used, but you also save money!

2. Buy foods with less packaging. I was once lured into buying a box of cute, little penguin cookies. I think I was shopping while I was hungry which is never a good idea, and bought a box of these new cookies that were on sale. Little did I know, each cookie was individually wrapped and then put into a sealed bag AND THEN put into a cardboard box. That’s what I call excessive packaging. I try to avoid things like that now.

3. (For the bean lovers like me!) Buy dried beans. I love my beans; black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, mixed beans... And I love having the convenience of having them at the ready for when I plan my last minute meals. But did you know that buying dried beans is MUCH cheaper than buying them in the can? My husband and I worked it out that dried chickpeas are less than a quarter the price of canned ones. You can also cook them up and throw them into the freezer for the same canned convenience.

4. BYOB - Bring your own bags. The car has become my new storage place for my reusable bags. Once the groceries have been emptied, back out to the car they go!

5. Make your own food. Breads, cookies, salad dressings, baked goods (like these yummy granola bars), are quite simple to whip up but for some reason, we opt for the full of preservatives, bland tasting, store bought alternatives. By making your own, you are using less packaging, saving money (more than you would think!), and eating healthier. You can customize your foods to exactly how you like them. And the excuse that you don’t have time won’t cut it. This bread recipe actually takes 5 minutes to make. I tried it. It’s delicious. You should try it too.

6. Shop Thrift. Before going out to the store for that must have item, well first consider whether it is actually a must have item (do you really need that 10th pair of jeans when you can only wear one pair at a time anyways...). Once that’s been determined, see if you can find it somewhere used instead of buying new. You’d be surprised at how many great, quality things you can find used. Most of the things we got for our baby girl have been used (crib, rocking chair, swing, toys, clothes...) and we have probably saved a fortune. Especially on clothes. She grows out of things so quickly.

7. Invest in reusable containers. I LOVE reusable containers. I put everything into them; leftovers, lunches, loose fruits and veggies that wiggle their way around the fridge. They are a great alternative to plastic baggies, plastic wrap and tin foil. They are also great for school snacks. Instead of buying individually packaged snacks, buy them in bulk (again with the saving money thing...) and put them into small, reusable containers. You get the same serving size with less waste while saving money. Seems pretty logical to me. And it only takes an additional 10 seconds to prepare. I love my reusables... did I mention that already?

8. Reuse things instead of throwing them away. If you have plastic baggies lying around, don’t throw them away! They are very easy to wash and reuse. If you happen to have baby food jars lying around, don’t throw them away either. They are perfect for storing herbs and spices, craft supplies, or they would make cute homemade candle holders. And here’s a link for a ton of neat things you can do with tin cans. Like this:

9. Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels. Paper towels and paper napkins are pretty wasteful. Well, they more often than not end up in the garbage, so yup, pretty wasteful. Cloth napkins are great because they are relatively inexpensive (you could even make your own!) and you can use them again and again. As an alternative to paper towels, you could use old t-shirts. Cut them into paper towel size pieces and voila! Paper towels.

10. Subscribe to e-bills and e-magazines. Almost all companies have the option of having bills delivered via email now. So make sure you sign up! There are many magazine companies that provide their entire magazine online as well. Although this option may cut down on your bathroom reading, the environment will be much happier because of it!

So those are just a few of my ideas to help reduce waste while saving money in your home. What are some of the ways you reduce waste in your home? I’d love to hear them!

Ashley ”)

Giving Up Boxed Cereal....Forever.

We have decided to stop eating cereal. You know, the super sugary stuff you buy in the store for ridiculous prices that come in excessive packaging? We’re giving up that stuff. And I’m so excited to start doing it!

Green Tip of the Day: Mason Jars

So here is a little Green tip for you today. I am a huge fan of preserving seasonal foods. It is much healthier for you than store bought canned goods or foods that have travelled the continent, it is more delicious and it's more economical. I've only been canning myself for a couple years, so I do know that there are several initial investments that can add up quickly. One of which is canning jars. As we begin to can more things, we find ourselves buying more and more jars! Well I have a solution for you!

Back to Business

For those of you who may have thought otherwise, I'm still here! Alive and well.

It has been a long Christmas break from blogging for me. A little too long... But I'm here with many fresh ideas for the New Year. I don't have anything prepped for today, but while you wait, let me introduce you to some of my family members that are fairly new to the blogging world as well.

Tags: 

Homemade Dryer Balls

Dryer balls; have you heard of them? They are fairly new to me, but i'm sure they've been around for ages. They're pretty neat. Their purpose is to decrease the drying time of your dryer by getting in between the clothes and fluffing them, saving you time and money. They also claim to soften clothes and decrease static, just like dryer sheets. These are a great environmentally friendly option for a couple reasons: 1. They replace dryer sheets, which can only be used once and are then tossed in the garbage and 2. They decrease drying time so you don't have to run the energy guzzling dryer for as long. Many of the dryer balls you find in the store look like this:

It's Here!

Isn't it lovely? My dear husband (a programming nerd) made this beauty for me. Sigh, he's soo dreamy. There's still a few kinks that need to be worked out but it's beautiful nonetheless! I think he was more excited about this website than I was. But that's why I love him! Anyhoo, here it is! My blog . . . . say what? I'm a blogger? I use to have this idea that blogging was overrated. Everyone and their dog was starting up a blog, talking about how they took their dog for a walk that day and vice versa. But a few years ago while in school, I had this sudden urge to start a blog.

Subscribe to Front page feed