Important! Some comments got blocked unintentionally…

I was horrified and disappointed this morning to find 3 comments that WordPress had blocked as spam, putting them in a queue for moderation. I’m so new with WordPress – the blocking was unexpected and unintentional. And I’ve revisited my settings (which were supposed to block only a couple words that I find offensive…).

I hope you will go back to Choices and read Valerie’s comments. My sincere apologies for this.





Well, here’s a post that a little bit of a departure for me. But it’s also important.

All the hoopla – politics. And this blog is not about that. It’s about DIY, sewing, companionship, sharing, finding the joy. But I also know that everything blends in with everything else. We are all multi-dimensional human beings.

So I’ll say this. ‘Whatever’ suits me. One of the greatest freedoms I enjoy is thinking and saying what I please. And demonstrating that how I choose. As long as I do that with due respect for people around me, and for the laws and process that I’ve accepted and cherish, I’m in a good place.

All of that being said, I want to share a decision I’ve made, which is to cancel my affiliation with Pattern Review. After 5 years of participation, I just discovered that discussion on the PR forums cannot include political or religious content. I was taken aback when a discussion thread about Melania Trump’s inaugural gown was deleted by the forum moderator, for being a political topic. Subsequent discussions – that are not being deleted – refer to her as a model, and have been permitted to continue.

Melania Trump is the First Lady of the United States. I cannot fathom the reasoning of discussing her impact on fashion, her choice of American designers, and so on, only in the context of her having been a model. And I find it to be a very distressing and disrespectful treatment of her as an individual and as our First Lady.

I regret every one of the 150 dollars I have spent to be a Friend of Pattern Review. I have deleted all my reviews, and I’ve requested cancellation of every trace of my membership.

And that is the choice I can and have made.

With a lighter heart, I’m back to sewing. Bye for now – Coco

Sewing thingies for the sewing room…

New year, cleaner loft? ummm. No! But I did take time to brighten it up a couple days ago.

First, my pin cushion. Much loved, much used. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have a ‘roll’ that fits right in front of my machine. And is long enough for me to segregate my pins by type.

I made my first one back in 2011, and it was looking pretty drab after 6 years. So, a new one. I took the oldie apart, both to re-use the sand bag that was inside and to retrieve any lost sewing needles. The latter was gratifying – I rescued 12 needles, most of them self-threading needles that I use all the time to sink thread tails.

The pin cushion is easy to make. It’s basically a rectangular bag, finished at about 7″ x 3″, with a opening on the side for inserting the innards.  Inside, on the bottom, I have a fabric bag of super-fine sand that I found at PetsMart (bird department). The bag is sewn from a high-thread count fabric and hasn’t leaked at all. On top of the bag, poly batting and fiberfill, stuffed in until I just couldn’t stuff any more. And the opening is just hand-sewn to close.

Those sewing needles. Usually they’re on a magnetic card that’s stuck on the metal base of my lamp. This works great, because they’re right at hand and not populating my pin cushion. I still see this Singer notion at JoAnns, it comes with a few needles and is very inexpensive.

Next up, a notions tray for the little things I use constantly at the machine. Seam ripper, measuring tape, long tweezers, Frixion pen, hem gauge, 7″ ruler, spool caps…lots of stuff 🙂 I’ve been using a pasta bowl from my dinnerware, which bugged me no end. Making a quilted fabric replacement was easy peasy, I should have done this sooner.

The materials are simple: A top, bottom, and batting layer, all cut at 10″ x 12″, then sewn as a bag, turned right side out, and quilted. 

Ta dum!

I’ve made these trays so many times as travel gifts. Most of them are smaller, about 7″ x 5″ – they pack flat and have snaps to close the corners. They’re great for holding jewelry, change, and keys on a hotel nightstand. And in my living room right now, this one has the notions I’m using while basting a bunch of quilt blocks.

I’m glad I took the time to spruce up the loft, but it was just exhausting. LOL – actually I’d rather be sewing.

Bye for now! Coco

Beauty post! letting that hair go grey…

Oh, the angst of giving up hair dye and going naturally grey. The decision was easy – the execution was a pain!

I’ve colored my hair since my mid-thirties. With naturally black hair (from my Dad, with a bit of Native American on my Mom’s side), I didn’t get grey hair – I got white hair! And I colored it, even though I always disliked using hair dye. The smell, the time it took, and the feeling that I wasn’t doing my hair or scalp any favors.

However – vanity is a powerful persuader. And during my working years, grey hair on women was largely perceived as an indicator of age, not experience. So I kept it colored. In my fifties, I had it done professionally, every two weeks, and had dark blonde hair!

In June of 2016, I decided to go grey. And here’s a photographic progression of that little journey:

August – low point! 
That first step, getting rid of the dye load in my hair, way back in June, was critical. I didn’t want to have it stripped professionally. Or to use color removers from the pharmacy. So I did a couple of interesting shampoo sessions with a paste of Dawn dish washing detergent and plain old baking soda. With very long rinses to let the color escape from my hair. Amazing! 
After that, it was a matter of time and patience. My hair was short when I started – I only needed to grow it out about 2.5″ to do a total changeover. So I wore a lot of hats throughout the summer. My hair was distinctly yellowish, with a tinge of orange. Aaack! And I loved trimming it. Seeing the white start to predominate, after 3 months, was lovely.

By October, I was there. And I was also beginning to realize that my pretty white hair could be sabotaged and yellowed by things like mineral deposits from my hard water, colorants and additives in hair products, and even heat from a hair dryer or curling iron (it oxidizes minerals on the hair shaft => rusty hair). 

To share what’s worked for me:

I found a good residue-removing shampoo, one that I can afford – Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo (in supermarkets and pharmacies). And I use it once a week, or any time I notice dinginess in my hair color.

The rest of the time I use Shiny Silver Shampoo and Conditioner from One’n Only. For this one I have to go to Sally Beauty, but it’s close-by. And it’s sold all over the place on the web.

The last challenge – a styling product. I threw out all my hair gels, sprays, and mousses. They were good products but I could see the yellow the instant I used them. Still, I do like a little something to lift my hair. Enter Got2B Spiking Glue by Schwarzkopf. I can use a little, slightly wetted in my palm, or a lot, for that rocker hairdo. It’s great stuff and easy to find in the supermarket and pharmacy.  

And here’s a tip, for the occasional extreme maintenance requirement (and this works for yellowing beards and mustaches as well) – the hydrogen peroxide/baking soda hair mask. I didn’t even try it until all the dye was gone from my hair, because I was afraid it would make it freaky orange or Ryan Lochte green! but it’s benign on my hair now, and it’s very effective at removing discoloration and brightening the white and grey. I use this little formula from LiveStrong…

You can use this on your nails, to whiten them! Or as a toothpaste… Honestly, baking soda is amazing.

And how about white vinegar – I sometimes pour a solution of white vinegar and water over my hair as a final rinse. It dries with absolutely no odor, and it simply feels good.

Whew – that’s about it. I hoped you enjoyed this little foray into the world of beauty, maybe even picked up some ideas 🙂 And if you’re taking this step into natural hair, go strong!

Ciao! Coco