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Tana Lawn Tunic

I didn’t actually need another tunic top but I have been possessed by a sewing demon and I simply cannot stop buying fabric especially when I came across this.
Liberty Tata Lawn.
It was in Abakan a Manchester fabric shops At first I thought it was some strange kind of silk. Maybe even a synthetic fibre. It was so fine and was covered in lovely design of what looked like pomegranates.
Abakan is a rather grim no nonsense shop which sell huge heaps of synthetic fabric by weight. For sure they have a small craft fabric department but since the disaster of the endlessly creasing Tabard Dress I am right off craft fabric. To find something so lovely and so obviously suitable for shirts was rather a shock.Which led to a quick bit of research.

Liberty Prints & Fabrics

I can tell you that Liberty is an amazing fabric shop in London. But also a huge part of British design history. In 1875 Arthur Lasenby Liberty  opened Libertys the shop selling ornaments, fabrics and objets d’art from the east. By 1884 Edward William Godwin  a distinguished architect joined the team and Liberty’s started making clothes. By the 1890s Arthur was working with English designers connected with the  Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movement and his fabric designs had become massively popular. In the 1920s, Liberty began to produce small floral prints known as Liberty Prints. They were printed on one of their most famous fabrics Tana Lawn, still a Liberty best-seller.
In 1924 the mock-Tudor flag ship store store was built. It was designed by Edwin T. Hall it used, timbers from HMS Hindustan and HMS Impregnable. In proper Arts and Crafts style it was built using authentic and original Tudor techniques.
By the 1940s Liberty was firmly established as the supplier of must-have silk scarves.
Come the 1950s and 60s, an Arts & Crafts revival meant even Libertys old designs were still cutting edge. Art Nouveau designs were redrawn and coloured to make them more appealing to modern designers. They were used by all the great names.
But back to me and my fabric revelation.

Tana Lawn

is extremely high quality cotton. This was taken form the Liberty website….
Taking its name from Lake Tana in East Africa where the original cotton grew, Tana Lawn cotton is unique. Made from specially selected ultra-fine long staple cotton and finished without the use of crease-resisting chemicals or irritating allergens, the result is a famous masterpiece of fabric technology: fine, cool, comfortable and durable, with brilliant reproduction of colours and prints.

Fabric & Purchase Details 

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While Abakan might be a little bit grim they  sell at a discount. Tana lawn normally retails at around £22.00 a meter I got mine for 12.00. If you cant get to Manchester they have an online store. They don’t stock the whole Tana range – for that you will have to try Liberty or other shops.

As far as I know Tana Lawn boasts no organic or fair trade credentials but it was bought locally from Abakan in Manchester and buying locally and keeping fabric shops open are both very important to me.

It is 100% cotton. I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed. Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Design & Pattern
McCalls M6102 1 hour dress. Really easy. You can see my patterns here.

Fixtures & Fittings
None needed

Made With
It was  cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating
Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In At g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

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Nottingham The Roasting House – coffee

We’re a micro coffee roastery based in Nottingham. We roast all of our coffee in very small batches to order. Our environmental and ethical values guide us in how we run our business. We have a zero waste to landfill policy informs our purchasing decisions and use only 100% recycled and recyclable paper packaging and labels for our coffee. At events when serving hot coffee, we use both ceramic reusable cups and fully compostable takeaway cups.

Website: roastinghouse.co.uk

Twitter: @roasthse

Please note..

This post was written by the contributor and  is  a PfU.K. Directory submission. We have not tried this product but it sounds great! Would love to see that packaging…
And the Pf U.K. Directory is…?
…a directory of UK-based groups, organisations businesses and individuals who are responding to the problems presented by the misuse of plastic. That does not mean anti-plastic necessarily but certainly plastic-problem aware.
The DIRECTORY is to promote their fantastic work. Read more here…

Got a project?
It is very easy to get a project featured. Each contributor submits a short synopsis of their project, focussing on the plastic aware element and I post it. You can read the submission guidelines here.

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Find  more plastic free coffee & tea here…

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Choir Boy Shirt

I have been making cotton tunics for a while now and while I love this very easy to make garment I fancied a change. I OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwanted something with rather more space to move. The tunic pattern has fitted sleeves which can be a bit grabby under the arms if I wear them with a T shirt. Plus the body while not fitted has no extra space. I have to be careful when removing my tunics. I am not always careful tending to yank them off to the cracking sound of splitting stitches.

So I thought I would try me a gathered shirt with some raglan sleeves. A raglan sleeve is a single piece of fabric that extends from the collar of the garment over the shoulder and down to the underarm.

There is no seam around the shoulder rather that the seams attaching the sleeve to body run diagonally across the front and back of the shoulder. This results is more room in the underarm area allowing a greater ease of movement. Which is why it is often used in sports wear. And considered less formal than a fitted sleeve.

Fabric & Purchase Details

I bought some grey lawn from the Button Box in Huddersfield Market. This is more like a muslin it is softer more crumply and looks like a looser weave. I don’t know where it was originally made and it boasts no organic or fair trade credentials but it was bought locally and buying locally and keeping fabric shops open are both very important to me.

It is 100% cotton. I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed. Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Design & Pattern

I found this pattern in a charity shop. New Look 6133.  It seemed to fit the bill give or take a frilled collar. I made it longer so it was more smock like. I cut the neck lower  and rather than a draw string, I  gathered the fabric and sewed it into place and attached a thin collar.

I tried it on. I looked like a choir boy!

I had to add pin tucks underneath the bust to give it some shape. Then rather than gather into cuffs I added pin tucks to the billowing sleeves to give them some shape too.

Fixtures & Fittings
Needs none

Made With
Cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating
Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In At 132g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

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Navy blue, A line and below the knee…

A sensible, deep blue, below the knee A line skirt. I wear it with leggings or tights. Yes it sounds dreadful but it’s good for cycling in. I made it from a soft corduroy which I think stops it looking like too much like a school skirt. While it really is much nicer than the description implies even kindest friends would class it under practical rather than glamorous

Fabric & Purchase Details

I dont know where the corduroy was originally from and it boasts no organic or fair trade credentials but it was bought from my local fabric shop LeonsAnd buying locally and keeping fabric shops open are both very important to me.

It is 100% cotton. I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed. Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Design & Pattern

I used the Mc Calls M6770 Misses’ Jacket, Bustle/Capelet, Skirt and Pants patterns as a very loose guide. The Mc Calls pattern features a bustle. My corduroy skirt doesn’t!

Fixtures & Fittings

I didnt bother with a waistband just turned the top over and fixed it using used bias binding. This is 100% cotton, bought by the meter and from a cardboard roll. I fitted a zip at the back The zip is metal and synthetic fibre. It is sold unpackaged. N.B.metal zips are not so easy to fit as plastic as they are bulky, dont sit as neatly in the seam and tend to flash and glint. Plastic zips are finer and so less obvious. As I always wear long tunic tops it is not an issue for me but you might want to consider it.

Made With

They were  cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating
Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In At 300g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

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Plasticfree, compostable, homemade and below the knee

No Daisy Dukes for me! Check out these bad boys! Below the knee, denim shorts with half gather waist. Made for when the weather was warmer only posted now!

Fabric & Purchase Details

I don’t know where the denim was originally made and it boasts no organic or fair trade credentials but it was bought locally from the Button Box in Huddersfield Market. And buying locally and keeping fabric shops open are both very important to me.

It is 100% cotton. I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed. Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Design & Pattern

I thought I could adapt the Palazzo Trouser pattern I have already used for the Linen Trousers. I still wanted to use a drawstring waist (no plastic elastic for me!), but didn’t want them to be quite as gathered. The denim is much thicker than the linen so doesn’t gather as easily. I didn’t want to end up with crinoline style shorts.

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Shorts hanging in festoons?

I narrowed the legs of the pants and added darts at the back waist to make a more fitted butt. This means only the front is gathered. The bum bit works well and is a comfortable fit… but the back of the pants have a tendency to hang in festoons? It doesn’t really matter and they might soften out with washing but for my next attempt at trousers I will try a different, proper pattern rather than adapting one.

Fixtures & Fittings
Plastic free drawstring fixing.

Made With
They were  cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating
Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In At 414g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

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Tabbard Tunic Top

This is a simple sleeveless dress with bust darts to add a bit of shape. It looks rather like those old pinafores people used to wear hence the name.

It is easy to wear – either as a comfortable tunic when worn over a tee shirt and leggings or a cool dress for those hotter days. This Summer I hardly need say I have been wearing it as a tunic, over leggings, with a cardigan!

I would be very pleased with it if it wasn’t for the fabric…..

Fabric & Purchase Details

I bought this material locally from the Button Box in Huddersfield Market.  . It is 100% cotton.

I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest, biodegradable option and, even better, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed.

Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And more reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found here.

Notes On This Cotton – Craft Fabric

kate

It is a silky fabric that creases easily. I mean really easily. I wear it for seconds and it looks like crumpled paper. I am not sure it is a dress making fabric. It was sold in small bales folded on a cardboard board. In a section of the shop called craft fabrics. I think they are mainly used for patchwork and quilting. Is this cotton somehow different?  Rose & Hubble fabrics are sold the same way and the stuff I used for my loon pants worked out fie.  I thought with washing it would soften it as has happened with my loon pants. These are made out of Rose & Hubble cotton. They are now so soft I don’t need to iron them. Actually I never ironed them and while they looked rumpled I could get away with it. Not a chance of that with this top! Still as stiff as a board, needs ironing before I can wear it. Even with my low sartorial standard I feel I have to do at least that. Once on, it creases immediately.

As time has passed it’s tendency to crease has annoyed me more and more. As has the constant ironing.

Pattern New Look 6558

Fixtures & Fittings Cotton bias binding round the neck and arms sold by the meter at the shop.

Made with…

It was cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies  (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating

Natural fibres
Fabric was bought plastic free – no packaging
Supporting a local fabric shop
Homemade by me
Made with plastic free sewing supplies (you can find them here)

Weighs In At

149 grams Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? Share out all the fibres made by all the people on the planet and it works out, (very roughly), 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres. Here are the figures in full.

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Offset Tunic

Bought some lovely organic cotton cambric from Offset Warehouse an online fabric store that sell greener than green fabrics.

Such as this lovely patterned cambric that is

  1. made from organic (uncertified) cotton
  2. hand woven and printed by hand using wooden “hand-blocks”.
  3. The dyes used in the printing are azo-free
  4. The weaving and printing is done in a cooperative and certified Fair Trade by the WFTO.
  5. As it is a hand-made product, the process uses virtually no energy or water!
  6. can be washed in washing machines.

I prefer to use natural fibres because on consideration they are the greenest option, they don’t shed plastic microfibres when washed and, even better, at the end of a long and useful life, I can compost them.

Just in case you need it, here is a quick  intro to synthetic, regenerated, combination and natural fibres here. And the reasons why I prefer natural fabrics over the others can be found in detail here.

More Information

Weave/Knit Type Plain, Woven
Thread Count 46 x 46
width 119cm 47″

Packaging

I had been assured that the packaging was plastic free and it almost was. The fabric came wrapped in tissue paper in a cardboard box but the box was sealed with plastic tape and the invoice was attached to the front in a plastic bag. Sigh!

Pattern

McCalls M6102 1 hour dress. Really easy

Fixtures & Fittings

No fixings needed.

It was cut out with all metal scissors from the C. Booths Hardware Shop in Huddersfield, sewn together using organic cotton on a wooden reel and made using plastic free sewing supplies  (you can find them here).

Sustainable Rating

  • Natural fibres
  • Organic
  • Fair-trade
  • Homemade by me
  • Made with plastic free sewing supplies

Weighs In

At 157g.

Why the weighing? Well this item of clothing is counted as part of my fair share fabrics project. This is a self imposed rationing system. I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? Share out all the fibres made by all the people on the planet and it works out, (very roughly), at 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to my fair share of 3.8 kg of natural fibres. Here are the figures in full.

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The Fulsome Foolish Skirt

We were planning to visit Seville for the Feria, the big flamenco party. To say it is dreey would be understating. I spent a lot of time wondering what I could possibly wear. The flamenco dresses I had seen looked very elaborate featuring different fabrics, trimmings and all manner frou-frouery. Needless to say I possessed nothing like that. Then, while meandering through the Indonesian markets, I came across some very lively sarongs. They were highly patterned strips of fabric featuring a bold use of color and frantic patterning. If, I thought, I was to make a skirt out of such sarongs, it would look extremely ornate. Not frilly but with a general air of exuberance that would make it suitable for a flamenco night out.

So I bought some. They were amazingly cheap but I was assured they were made from Indonesian cotton. They are not. They are synthetic fibres. I didn’t realize this till I got home, tried to iron them and they melted. I was annoyed. Not only did I have to spend hours scraping away at the iron but I don’t like wearing synthetic fabrics. I’m sure you know that synthetic fibres contribute to micro plastic pollution. When they are washed, they shed tiny, non-biodegradable, synthetic fibres into the drains. These are then washed out to sea where they are now polluting the oceans and being eaten by plankton.

Still I thought I could still make the skirt, wear it for the Feria, and never, ever wash it. After all how much demand would there be for such a lively skirt in my daily life? So I copied a pattern for a circular skirt from the internet, sewed it up and tried it on. It hung nicely but it was full…. very full. Draped over my Rubenesque curves it looked rather tent like – by which I mean a big top. It might have worked if I had made it from a different fabric. Something with less pattern and nicer colors. Lord knows what I was thinking but dominant tints were bottle green and aquamarine blue covered in hot pink and purple flowers. It looked funky in the market place as a sarong; it looked insane as a swirling skirt on a wide berthed middle aged woman. So much so I will not be featuring a photo of me modeling it.

So I now have a huge and very ugly skirt which I can never wash and never wear. But as I can’t bear waste so I am keeping it as a permanent pattern for future huge skirts I may wish to make. In fact I used it as the base for my Japanese Fish Wrap Skirt.

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Weight 243g. This counts as part of my fair share fabrics project– a self imposed rationing system where I use no more than my global share of fibres and they have to be sustainably sourced. Whats a global share? 11.74 kg per person of which 3.8 kg is natural fibres. As I don’t like synthetics I try to stick to 3.8 kg of natural fibres.

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Supermarkets & Eating Plastic Free

Once again I am proud to be a zero waste ambassador. Zero waste week is organized by Rae Strauss. Each year there’s a theme. This year it is food waste.

Well you can interpret that how you want and most people have been busy making soup out of peelings and jam from windfalls. Some mighty fine work has been done but I am not to be distracted from my area of interest and, (not surprisingly), the food waste that really annoys me is plastic packaging. So my zero waste week has been a celebration of loose and unwrapped food.

Plastic Free Food

Plastic free food is food that is unwrapped  but for me it also includes

And we will buy all our food….

From Supermarkets!

Now many people think you cannot be plastic free and shop from supermarkets. I agree it is not easy

And let me say right now I don’t like supermarkets. They are killing off the local shops and take money out of the community. But for many people they are the only option. Because they have killed off local shops. Vicious circle. But this is about plastic-free food NOT supermarket politics so I am going to prove that you can eat plasticless and shop at supermarkets.

How to do it… loose-food

If prepared to eat seasonally, traditionally (think meat and two veg with spuds), and cook from scratch, supermarkets if they are big enough to have meat and fish counters can supply you with a fair variety of food. If you are depending on Tesco Express you are going to go hungry.

Bring Your Own Bags

You will also need to take your own packaging. Check out the plastic-free shopping kit here.

Ingredients for a week

I got an a big sack of unpackaged fruit & veg from Tesco,

It included leeks, potatoes, onions, carrots, broccoli, courgettes, peppers. apples, a melon, mushrooms and bananas.

Apart from the peppers (Holland), and Melon (Spain), and bananas (forgot to look), it was all grown in the U.K.

I got loose ginger and garlic from Tesco. The chiles I bought a while ago from the Asian shop but I have seen them loose in Morrisons.

Eggs & oats in a cardboard box.

Back to Tesco’s for lard in paper. Sainsbury’s and the Co-op do butter in paper.

Meat and fish can be bought unpackaged from the counters but I ask that they use our own compostable biobags.

The brown rice I bought loose from Wholefood market sometime ago. White rice can be bought in a box from Lidles.

We also get some cheddar cheese from Tesco. It was cut off the (plastic – wrapped) block but wrapped in our own packaging. The plastic is not in our bin. You can read up on how we feel about this, here.

You can get bread rolls loose from Tesco but I don’t like them much, the co-ops are much better. Lidles and Waitrose do loose loaves of bread. Almost everywhere does croissants. I also used my bread machine and plastic wrapped dried yeast.

More information on all of the above can be found here…

Non Supermarket Beverages

Drinks were tea and coffee which you can’t get plastic free at the supermarket. Milk was from the milkman. Read on…

Fizzy drinks were carbonated water made with the sodastream mixed with homemade ginger and lemon syrup.Read on…

Meals For the Week

  • Porridge with bananas
  • Toast and butter
  • Croissants and fruit
  • Omelette and other forms of egg

Lunch

  • Butties from the shop
  • Butties made at home
  • Veg soup – anything that is looking a bit sad and needs eating up thickened with potatoes. I would prefer to use lentils but I cannot get them .

Dinners bag compost Plantplas

Day One Stir Fry left over steak from Sunday, lots of veg in a spicy tomato sauce served with rice.

Day Two Roast chicken and veg with home made gravy from chicken juices and flour. Wine (plastic lined screw top), was added.

Day Three a rich and meaty stew made with stewing steak served with boiled potatoes. Meat and veg were from Tesco’s.

Day Four Bangers and mash made with Tesco’s chippolata sausages – the only ones they had loose.

Day Five Mushrooms and peppers were added to the left over day three stew to make a rich goulash that was served with rice.

Day Six Bacon ribs from Stockport Market – yes I know its not a supermarket but I felt so sorry for them. Stockport Market used to be huge spreading across the square and down the side streets. Now there are hardly any stalls outside. The indoor market was open for business but there were not many shoppers. I bought some meat, veg and loose sweets. Such a shame.

Day Seven pork from Tesco’s used in a stir fry made with coconut powder that is not plastic free. It comes in a plastic sachet. BUT I made my own noodles. First time ever. So easy!

You can see photos over on Facebook

Help

Trying to go plastic-free – try the plastic is rubbish support group.

More info

Products you can buy plastic free from supermarkets. because sometimes we have to shop there .

A list of shops selling loosefood that normally comes plastic packaged ie rice, pasta and salt

Check out the plastic-free shopping kit here.

The Plastic Free Cookbook

 

 

 

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Creams & Lotions – Recipes

It is so easy to make your own creams and lotion that once you start you will never look back. The advantages are huge;  you get to control what goes on your skin, be way more eco-friendly and save a whole load of cash. You can make almost anything the cosmetic companies sell but without the palm oil, dodgy chemicals and weird colours. Though you can have all those too if you want.

You will need

  1. To make cream you will need the following
    • Oil, butters & waxes.There are hundreds of vegetable oils.Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you. There is an introduction here to fatty acids here.
    • Water There is much talk of using distilled water but I use tap.
    • Cooking thermometer – not essential but VERY useful.
    • Emulsifiers: Water and fat do not naturally mix, you need to use an emulsifier. See below.
    • Preservatives – optional I don’t use it as it cause skin irritations. I have had a (very) few pots of cream go mouldy over a very long time. Can easily do without..
    • Pots to put your cream in.

Before you start you might want to read this introduction to cream making.

The cream making process is simple

  • Mix the oils and emulsifier and heat to a certain temperature.
  • Mix the two together. Ta da.

Except when it is not and you find yourself looking down into a pot of oily soup. And that is down to the emulsifier. It didn’t do it’s job! A combination of VE Emulsifier, MF Emulsifier and Cetearyl Alcohol works every time and can be used to make a wide range of products from thick creams to thin lotions.

  • VE Emulsifier or Glyceryl Stearate is a vegetable-based emulsifier
  • Cetearyl Alcohol is a vegetable based emulsifying wax
  • MF Emulsifier or Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate  can be fermented from lactose (milk sugar)but more commonly comes  from nondairy sources such as cornstarch, potatoes and molasses.

Read more about the above and other emulsifiers here ….

Palm Oil

Please note that all the above may be derived from include palm oil. Be sure to buy from a good practice supplier. For example there should be something this note on Aromantics VE emulsifier “The Palm oil that is used in both in MF/VE emulsifiers comes from suppliers that are either members of the Round Table of Sustainable Palm Oil or a subsidiary company or who are members of FEDIOL which supports sustainability. FEDIOL is a European industry federation based in Brussels”.

You can read more about palm oil here.

Process 

  1. Heat the Fat Stage ingredients in a double boiler ( or a metal pot on hot water)  until above 75°C. Use a thermometer to check
    Boil the water add the MF emulsifier and other Water Stage ingredients.
  2. Keep both hot – make sure both liquids are above 75°C.
  3. Take off heat
  4. Pour the Fat Stage into the Water Stage in a slow steady stream before they drop below  75°C.
  5. Mix well – I use a hand blender.
  6. Allow to cool. Whisk occasionally to achieve a nice creamy consistency. As the mixture cools it  becomes thicker and more creamy. It will reach its thickest consistency when it has cooled down to room temperature.
  7. When the temperature is below 40°C you can add active ingredients
    • perfumes or essential oils
    • magical things to make you look years younger.
    • specialist ingredients to your base to make for example sun tan lotion or self tan.

Pour the Cream into jars and label.

Recipes coconut oil featured

Here are some sample recipes.

Supermarket Cream (My recipe)

You can buy all these ingredient from the supermarket.  I cut the olive oil with the lighter almond oil because I find it rather heavy.

Makes One liter of cream – have a big pot ready!

Fat Stage

  • 25 g VE Emulsifier
  • 20g Cetyl Alcohol
  • 70ml Almond Oil Tesco’s or Asian Shop
  • 30ml Olive Oil
  • 20g coconut oil Tescos or Asian Shop

Water Stage

  • 800ml water
  • 40g MF emulsifier

Fancy Aromatics Recipe

To be honest I think this recipe has way to many ingredients but I like this company, I have used their products many times and think that this will probably make a nice cream.

It is also useful to have a recipe that lists by percentages.

You can experiment and use different oils, or even less oils. Just make sure the percentages stay the same. For example you can cut the thistle oil and use 10% Apricot Kernal Oil.

By percentage

Fat Stage (above 75°C)
2% Cocoa Butter
3% Macadamia Nut Oil
7% Apricot Kernel Oil
3% Thistle Oil
2.5% VE Emulsifier
2% Cetearyl Alcohol

Water Stage (above 75°C)
4.5% MF Emulsifier
69% Boiling Spring Water
2% Glycerine

Third Stage (below 40°C)
1% Preservative 12 or Eco
1% Vitamin E Simulated Natural
2% NFF Complex
1% Essential Oils of your choice

From Aromantics

Rich Tropical Delights Cream (My recipe)

Much easier far fewer ingredients. I cut the olive oil with Almond because I find it rather heavy.

Makes One liter of cream – have a big pot ready!

Fat Stage

  • 25 g VE Emulsifier
  • 20g Cetyl Alcohol
  • 70ml Almond Oil
  • 30ml Coconut Oil
  • 20g Shea butter
  • 10g Cocoa butter

Water Stage

  • 800ml water
  • 40g MF emulsifier

Design Your Own

You can adapt the mix of oils for the above recipes based on your personal preference.

If you want to design you own from scratch, follow these guidelines…

  • Emulsifiers 5-8%
  • Oils 12-20%
  • Water, Additives, and Botanicals to 100 %.

Lotions

If you want a thinner cream add more water at the water stage.

Anti Aging, Sun Tan Lotion & Fake Bake

You can add  specialist ingredients to your base to make for example sun tan lotion or self tan.

Take Care 

  • That everything you use is clean, very clean.
  • Make sure you have enough pots to store your cream in.
  • That you label it – and date it. Believe me you will forget!

Trouble Shoot

Cream too thick? You cannot add more water once the mixture has cooled. This ruins the cream – it will not rub in. You will need to make a thinner lotion and mix your creams to achieve the desired consistency. You can add more oil and mix well. This of course makes your cream more oily.

Buy

I store my creams in old jars but for display  I have bought some glass jars with metal lids.

Aromantics is a good and ethical supplier of ingredients but expensive. I buy a lot of stuff in bulk from other suppliers. Ebay is a good source. Prices vary so do shop around.

Plastic Spoiler

Most plastic base ingredients come in plastic bags but I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients so I consider it a worthwhile compromise.

Making Personal Care Products Hairspray featured

Its quicker then  trying to choose between a hundred different shampoos and it’s really simple, fun to do, so much cheaper  and  I get to control what goes on my  body, where it comes from and what environmental impact it has.

Lots more info here on  toothpaste and other products  

and making other stuff – here.


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Gift wrap reusable and made from old tents

I have to admit to using synthetic tents. I feel this is one instance where plastic really is the best product for the job, (remembers sleeping under canvas and shudders #plasticweuse). But what to do when your trusty old tent is no longer up to the job. Well you could re- use  it to make crinkly sounding wrapping paper. Or if you don’t camp, or sew, you could buy some recycled Glastonbury tent wraps form these guys….

FESTIWRAP

FestiWraps are made from tents, discarded at UK music festivals such as Lattitude and Glastonbury, and then collected by us. Tents that cannot be recovered by charities and would normally be sent to landfill, are collected, cleaned and used to create fabulous reusable gift wrap. The wrap itself is made from two outer layers of tent fabric sandwiched around a piece of ground sheet.  This creates a crinkly sound like paper folding and un-folding, bringing the emotional sounds and experience of a wrapped gift to life.  The fastening cord, which makes the FestiWrap so quick and easy to use, is made from the recovered tent guy ropes. You can buy here.

More

The picture was taken from this website where you can see Glastonbury trash shots.

You can find other gift wrap options here, plus biodegradable sticky tape, string and pretty ties

Some reused plastic sails here

 

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Extracts

Did you know that simply by steeping herbs, peel and fruit in alcohol you can make extracts? I discovered this quite by accident when researching what to do with an excess of leggy lavender from a rampant bush. I found a post about lavender vodka and because I refuse to follow recipes, I used far too much lavender.  Rather than a delicately flavoured beverage I ended up with a murkey liquid which, lucky for me,  turns out to be an extract.

Make Your Own

Extracts are strongly flavoured plant extracts. They used to flavour drinks and food. They are a great way of using up a glut of something and preserving it for use later in the year. They are incredibly easy to make and have to be the easiest way of preserving.

The alcohol used is usually vodka and the general rule of thumb seems to be to buy mid range. Too cheap and the nasty flavour intrudes, too expensive and it is a waste of good vodka. Some recipes also suggest rum.

The method is the same.

Take the herb put it in a jar cover it with vodka and leave in a cool dark place remembering to shake occasionally. Time steeping varies with the herb and the recipe.
Once done you strain off the liquid through a sieve and them some fine cotton.
Here are some steeping guidelines.

  • Lavender – flowers steep for 4 weeks
  • Vanilla use the beans steep for two months.
  • Mint leaves one to two months.
  • Citrus Extracts use the rind of the fruit but not the bitter white pith. Use organic unwaxed fruit. steep for 5 to 6 weeks.
  • Cinnamon bark (sticks) steep for two weeks.
  • Berries  6 to 8 weeks or longer.
  • Apparently extracts will keep for  3-5 years.

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