Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bountiful Booty on Ebay - and more!!!

The wonderful Piglottie has been holding fabulous yarn auctions in aid of the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity (and in support of my own fundraising efforts for the Rainbow Trust) all summer and auction winners have been lucky to snap up some real gems (someone even donated some Socks That Rock!).

Her last lot of booty is being bid on already over at the Crafty Threads 'n' Yarns Forum, so be sure to check them out - there is even a Knit Picks Options set up for grabs (on second thoughts don't check that auction out, I want those)!

And now I am excited to announce that Kerrie at HipKnits has added her support by both donating yarn to Piglottie's auctions AND setting up not one, not two, but THREE HipKnits CUSTOM-DYED YARN auctions on ebay (RIGHT NOW!!!).

They are as follows:
Auction 1:
8 x 100g skeins of HipKnits aran weight 100% silk yarn, each 100g skein is approximately 180m and will be hand-painted in colours of YOUR CHOICE!!! The yarn knits to a standard aran weight gauge of around 18 stitches and 24 rows to 10cm using 4.5mm needles.

Auction 2:
2 x 100g skeins of HipKnits 4 ply (sock) weight 100% cashmere yarn, each 100g skein is approximately 458m and will be hand-painted in colours of YOUR CHOICE!!! The yarn knits to a standard sock weight gauge and can be used for any pattern calling for 4 ply/sock weight yarn. 1 skein is enough for a long pair of socks or a small shawl, 2 skeins will make a lovely big shawl.

Auction 3:
1 x 100g skein of HipKnits lace weight 100% cashmere yarn, each 100g skein is approximately 1372m and will be hand-painted in colours of YOUR CHOICE!!! This is more than enough to make a gigantic shawl.
Don't let any of these fantastic offers pass you by, and remember, its for a really good cause!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still Going Ahead

To all those who have checked, I can confirm that the trip to Peru is still going ahead, despite the recent earthquake. The Earthquake itself was further south than we are going, but the trip organisers are keeping tabs on things. The official line at the moment is:

"Following Wednesday’s earthquake in Peru’s central coast region, we would like to reassure you that this does not affect any of our trips. The worst-affected areas are south of the capital, Lima, and a long way from Cuzco and the Andes trekking region. Any impact on Lima’s services will be resolved long before our first groups fly there en-route to Cuzco next month.
Our thoughts are with those who have lost homes and loved ones following the earthquake."

I am of course extremely sad for all the people whose lives have been affected and to be perfectly honest, quite apprehensive about visiting Peru, but I am glad that we will not directly encounter any of the affected areas, I am not sure that I could handle such devastation. It isn't that I don't care, I just don't think I could cope.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Nature AND Nurture

I guess some things naturally go hand-in-hand, like gin and tonic, wine and cheese, champagne and strawberries (sorry, there's a bit of a theme there...), anyway, what I have found since I started my training is that appreciating the outdoors means protecting all that is natural. I'm gradually getting greener in my ways, but I've also rediscovered my appreciation for natural and organic skin care. I used to be really good at avoiding products containing SLS/SLES, but if you shop in local supermarkets and chemists, its difficult to keep up with your good intentions. Thanks to my pal G (whom I should add I got into natural products in the first place), I've been uncovering a array of products that I can order online (often without paying any postage) and I can honestly say they've been life altering.

Among my favourites are Dr Hauschka for my face, Faith in Nature for my hair, Lavera for sun protection, Jason for shower gel and Avalon Organics for deodorant.

Why am I so in love with these products?

Well, I've had quite a few compliments on my hair since I started using Faith in Nature and unlike other SLS/SLES-free shampoos that I've tried in the past, their products really, thoroughly clean my hair but also leave it soft and shiny - shinier than any of those awful silicon-filled products like Pantene or anything else that gets endlessly advertised. Its a pet peeve of mine that so-called Herbal Essences don't appear to contain even a trace of a herb! If I was going to get all hot and bothered in the shower (over a shampoo that is), it wouldn't have anything to do with these chemical-filled nasties, but Faith in Nature can get me pretty excited!

Dr Hauschka products, which are a really treat, not only leave my skin clean and clear, but they are also extremely relaxing to use. I love getting to the end of the day and immersing myself in all manner of oils and unguents crammed with essential oils and plant extracts. At the moment I actually look forward to taking my make-up off!

The real winner for me though, the complete revelation, is the Jason Satin Wash Shower/Bath gel. I have very dry skin and occasional eczema, and have NEVER found a shower product that left my skin feeling comfortable and as a result have been addicted to the strongest body moisturisers and oils I can find. I'm always itchy after showering and can get itchier as the day goes on, sometimes even after applying loads of creams. This is why I got into soap-making last year, although soap-making requires a lot of time and effort so I prefer to reserve it for gifts and special occasions. Anyway, the Jason Satin Wash is the first product I have EVER used which doesn't leave my skin all dry and sore and in need of some serious TLC. I can just wash and go! ;-) I get really wound up when I see adverts for body washes by Dove and Imperial Leather which suggest all manner of added ingredients will leave your skin like silk or cashmere, because when you look at the list of ingredients, usually the second biggest (after water) is SLS/SLES which dries your skin out terribly. Never mind silk extract, if you've already washed in a big helping of drying SLS/SLES, if you have dry skin, nothing is going to get the moisture back. Satin Wash however leaves your skin soooooooooo much softer than any of those heavily advertised washes and, curiously, as the day goes on, my skin seems to get softer!

I can honestly say you can keep your Clinique and Clarins, dump your Dove and anything by Pantene can just push-off, there is nothing (absolutely nothing) like a bit of natural!