DIY Block Printed Shower Cap

Really? Why make a shower cap when you can get one for a dollar?

Well, here’s the thing. The standard or even so called larger size shower bonnets don’t work for me. It’s not that I have an extraordinarily large head or anything… I just have a lot of hair.

People with locs, you know the struggle is real.

Exhibit A:

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There’s just no fitting all that into a regular store-bought shower cap.

So after so many years of getting my hair unintentionally wet, It occurred to me that I could actually make one. One that will fit my exact situation! Oh happy day!

And being the true DIYer and block printer that I am, it wouldn’t do to just buy fabric. I had to print it myself.

I based the design and construction of this shower cap on a store-bought version I had, which used two layers of fabric: a plastic layer and a ‘cloth’ layer.  For the fabric, what better to use than something designed to go in the shower? Shower curtains of course! I used 2 types of shower curtains to be exact.  For the inner layer I used the cheap vinyl shower lining. For the outer layer I used the ‘cloth’ polyester shower curtain.  I was able to get cut 4 circles out of each shower curtain.

Ps… This post is rated ‘M’ for the gratuitous uses of words like ‘Perimeter’ and  ‘Circumference. Apologies for the flood of  middle school algebra nightmares this may unleash on you…

*You will notice that I have a 2 different prints in this ‘tutorial’. That’s because I made 2 total, before getting it right. That’s what I get for not searching for a tutorial to guide me first. I guess I didn’t think anyone else would’ve been crazy enough to make a shower cap for themselves. So, most of the procedures photos show one print, while the finished product shows a different print. That’s because I goofed up the first one and then didn’t take procedure photos of the second one.

1. Determine the size of the cap. I wanted a cap that would be roomy but not be too big. I settled on 24” wide. This will allow enough room for all that hair/locs.

2. I cut out my giant circles

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3. Chose one of my stamps as well as paint color, then printed a design all over the polyester outside circle..

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The Mister said it looked like an old-lady shower cap.

Wuteva.

(I kinda agree but don’t tell him.)

Next, I layered the printed outside with the plastic inside layer with wrong sides together.  IMG_1580

and sewed a 1/2” seam all around the perimeter, leaving a small opening to flip the printed side out.

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Then I flipped the giant circle right side (printed side) out.

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Once it was turned right side out, I pressed the seam flat and sewed a 1/8” topstitch around the perimeter of the circle.

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Then comes the fun part…the elastic that pulls it all together.

I determined how snug I wanted the shower cap to fit, which dictated the length of the elastic.  I took a measurement of where the shower cap would rest on my hairline. This gave me the circumference that the shower cap needed to be when the elastic was stretched out.  I reduced this length by 2inches (23-2 =21). 21 inches gave me the resting (un-stretched) circumference of the shower cap. This is the length of my elastic. Whew! Clear as mud? And you thought you’d never use math in real life…

I made a casing for the elastic by folding in around 1 inch and sewing all around the circle, leaving about an inch of opening to pass the elastic.

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Once I sewed the seam around, I used a safety pin to pass the elastic through, then closed up the small opening.

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So, like I said earlier, I just kind of winged it, based on a shower cap I already had, but I have since found a much simpler method here, at Whip Up. Go check it out!

Now that I’ve conquered this, I see a night cap in the future…

So, are you game to make yourself a shower cap? I hope so. and I’d love to see it if you do!

PS…if you’re local to the dayton/cincinnati ohio area, I am offering a Block-Printing workshop on June 27th. Learn more here.

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AfroMartha Studio Presents Fabric BLOCKPRINTING workshop!

It’s going down, Friday June 27th, 2014! The first ever Blockprinting workshop hosted by AfroMartha Studios. flyer_withinfo2

I’ve been having so much fun all by myself in the studio I thought I’d share the wealth! I hope you can join me if you’re local…though I’d be honored if you’d make a special trip to Dayton Ohio just to hang out with little ol’ AfroMartha, Smile

So, in this workshop we are going to learn how to use simple foam stamps to print our very own custom fabrics! Do you know what you can do with that information?! Just look below:

Make a gorgeous pillow cover…

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print your own beautiful fabric for your lampshade…

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Beautiful kitchen napkins…

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The possibilities are endless…

I want to empower you (yes, you) to tap into the creativity you already possess. We’re gonna have fun, I promise!

So here are the deets:

Friday June 27th, 6pm – 8pm

Location: Sinclair Lofts Activity room
35 S St Clair St
Dayton, OH 45402

Cost: $35 per person, which includes all course materials!

Purchase tickets below:

5 (plus 1) Secret Weapons in the Kitchen Ninja Arsenal

There are a dizzying array of kitchen tools and gadgets available to the home cook. For people who don’t cook often because they aren’t sure of what to use, cooking can become a terrible chore.  I’m known as somewhat of a Ninja in the kitchen. Every Ninja’s has some tools in her arsenal.  Not having the right tools in the kitchen is like going against an army with a handgun… Ineffective.

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Here are the 5 kitchen tools or gadgets I use regularly.

1. Sharp Chef’s Knife (affiliate link) – A sharp knife is a safe knife, they say. My knife (similar to the one pictured below) has been with me for the past 11 years. The one piece molded construction (like the one pictured below) ensures that there are not rivets to get loose, and no wooden handle to swell. All that’s needed for peak performance is periodic sharpening on my sharpening stone (affiliate link).

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2. Food Processor (affiliate link). I use my food processor just about everyday! With its different blades, It makes short work of chickpeas for falafel, perfectly shreds carrots for salad in seconds,  and chops up frozen okra for Nigerian Stew. I use this tool so much that it lives on my countertop. Another reason it’s my favorite? I got mine (brand new) from my local thrift store or $3, SCORE!!!

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3. Blender (affiliate link) Similar to the food process is my blender. I use my blender to crush ice for parties, make smoothies in the summer, grind up peppers, onions and tomatoes for Nigerian Stew amongst other things. Blenders are another dime-a-dozen thrift store item. In fact they are so ubiquitous that I keep have a spare glass cup portion in case I ever drop and break one.

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4. Electric Griddle (affiliate link) Another favorite workhorse is my Electric Griddle. Pancakes anyone?! I used to slave over a hot stove making one pancake at a time until I experienced using a Griddle. I could have  a stack of pancakes for the whole family within 15 minutes! I also use my griddle to ‘grill’ salmon (just olive oil, salt and pepper, yum!)

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5. Hand Mixer (affiliate link) Of course! One day I will have that beautiful hot pink KitchenAid Stand Mixer. But until then, my super-awesome (thrift store find) hand mixer does justice to my batters: cookies, cakes and even marshmallows!

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So there ya have it. My 5 secret weapons that can take you from Kitchen Ho-Hum to Kitchen Ninja in no time!

Let’s face it, there are a lot of tools and gadgets available to the home cook. It can be hard to cut out the noise and hone in on what is really important. These are the ones I turn to over and again. What tools do you have in your arsenal that you can’t live without. Please share below because I’d love to learn about others.

Coloring Soap Naturally

I’ve been in a very colorful place lately, starting with my textile printing work, and now bleeding into soapmaking.

That has led me to further  refine my use of natural soap colorants. In the past I’ve often  just dumped the herb/spice in at the last minute, resulting in less than impressive results.

Take a look at these gorgeous soaps!

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These soaps were colored with herbs and or/spices. Leaving the ground herbs/spices in results in a grainy texture that I didn’t care for. Instead, I infused my liquid oils with the herbs to get the color then strained out the herbs using a coffee filter in a funnel. This resulted in a gorgeous vibrant color with no grains or streaks.

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The purplish (almost denim) soap was colored with Alkanet root. Strangely, alkanet root is a deep burgundy color, but turns  soap purple. I’m still on a hunt for a natural burgundy color.

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For one pound of soap, I used 1 teaspoon of alkanet root. The peachy colored soap was colored with Paprika. For one pound of soap I used 1 teaspoon of paprika.

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Next time I think I’ll bump up the concentration and see if the purple comes out any deeper. I made my soap in (soap dedicated) crock pot. Hence the rough appearance.

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For soapmaking tutorials, look here.

Making it work: How to have 4 (or 5)rooms in 1

This is not a post about styling your space.

Like most homes (or is it just mine?) there never seems to be quite enough room. In my perfect world, the kids would have their own dedicated hangout area, I’d have my very own craft room/home office/command central. There would be an epic guest room rivaling the best bed and breakfast money can buy. I’d have a palatial laundry room/mud room (ok, ok, maybe not that excessive…)

Alas, fantasy, meet reality.

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My family room is a work in progress, just like most homes.  It could be just a little more styled and decorated. There are a multitude of design flaws, but I’m thankful to have the skills to make it all work. I’m happy, my family is happy, and that’s the most important design element.

Well, back to reality. This particular room has to function as at least 4 rooms, because all the other rooms are taken up. Here’s how I’ve combined everything into this room to make it work for us.

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My family room is fairly large, measuring about 20ft wide by 12 feet deep. As such is functions as:

1. Children’s play and toy storage area.

Anyone who has kids knows how their stuff just reproduces overnight! Since there’s no TV allowed in their  bedrooms, they (along with their things)  tend to congregate in the family room.

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(complete with ikea lawn furniture that the kids fell in love with and each had to have one, yeeah baby!) The middle-ish area is the designated hangout spot, while my stuff and everything else is just kind of pushed to the outskirts of the room.

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2. Guest Room for the occasional overnight guest.

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With just an old box spring and mattress set, wooden base, and some pillows, I have fashioned a daybed that functions as additional seating, and a guest bed when needed. This current daybed is not the final design. Once I’ve completed the project I will post instructions.

3. Crafting space

Of course

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My art/craft/design supplies live in (for the most part) concealed storage all around the room. The bookshelf behind the french doors hold gadgets for sewing and knitting. The slim bookcases that flank my work desk hold other bits and bobs. The lower part of our built-in bookshelf holds more suppplies. My ultimate goal is to have everything contained in bins and drawers to reduce visual clutter.

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4. Home Office

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I work from home at night, and my job comes with a lot of wires as you can see above.

BONUS!

5. Mudroom

Oh yes. This room leads directly to our back yard where we enter and depart the home. A corner of it is also dedicated to being a ‘mudroom.’  Here live school backpacks, winter gear and other things related to entering and departing the home.

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With some clever storage and arranging, you can turn 1 room into 4 (or 5).

I’d love to see how you all are making it work with the imperfections in your homes.

Upside Down Floor Lamp (why not?)

When solving problems in your space, you really have to get creative. Sometimes you really have to dig deep. (No, DUH, right?)

My century old home has a lot of charm and character, along with a healthy dose of quirks…the biggest one being the lack of adequate lighting.

As such I’ve had to add a lot (A LOT) of lamps and other fixtures. Take for instance the family room addition from the 1970s.

There are NO overhead lights in this room at all.  This room is fairly large at approximately 20ft by 12 feet.

Not. One. Single. Overhead. Light.

I got creative.

Thank you IKEA for letting me be Great on a puny budget.  I have purchased a LOT of Hemma cords from you, and without you I would still be living in the dark, for lamps can be expensive!

I purchased this Ikea Trogsta floor lamp about a year ago.

It sat forlornly on the floor the conventional way for the better part of the year. There was, however, one problem. As you can tell it’s composed mainly of paperclips and plastic wrap. The thing was so durn  flimsy the kids would knock it over constantly.  I have a LOT of kids, and as you can probably tell, there’s a lot going on in my family room.

BUT, at $9.99 I had no choice but to shut my face and love it.

After standing it back up for the bajillionth time I decided it was time to do something different. It suddenly hit me that it’s flimsy construction makes it an ideal candidate for turning upside down. Genius!

 

The lamp spine is adjustable, so that meant that I could shorten it all the way down, flip it up and turn it into a cool light fixture.  I even resorted to my favorite item, good ol’ pretty  contact paper to pretty up the plain lamp-shade.

A screwed in a cup hook into the ceiling and fastened 2 zip ties to the base of the lamp and suspended the lamp onto the cup hook. That was it.

No more kids knocking things into the lamp and me having to let out a string of new and improved swear words smile lovingly at the kids.

And we still have light. Cute functional light.

 

So there ya have it folks. Next time you have a design dilemma, look up, down and sideways for your answer!

 

Please subscribe to this blog for more practical yet fabulous goodness!

Frosted Contact Paper on your Windows

#Aviary another view. And yes that is contact paper on the #panes. Try it sometimes, it is #amazeballs cheap and easy Privacy film.

I think my love of contact paper in all its forms is well documented. The stuff sure has come a looong way, baby! There are pretty prints in yummy colors, nice little textures in clear and frosty ones (got a mini project on that later).  Go see one of my favorite projects here.

Well anyway, yes that is contact paper on my window panes. For the first couple of years in my home I was baffled as to what to do with this big gorgeous picture window in my living room. I loved it for the light it gave the room, but I didn’t love the view (my neighbor’s junky house) and I didn’t like that people could see us at night with nothing on it. Curtains of any sort just didn’t seem to look right there either. Plus I wanted to still be able to put stuff on the ledge.

Enter the amazing diamond textured frosted contact paper. I cut this contact paper to the dimensions of each pane of the picture window, and BAM! problem solved!

Try it sometimes, it is amazing… cheap and easy Privacy film.

Hang up those lanterns

#dining #room #window #with #lanterns hung up. Can't wait to see how it looks lit up in the evening.

 

I just love the look of candles burning in lanterns, don’t you! Instead of placing them on a table or sideboard, why not hang them up using cup hooks? That way they still provide the warm ambient light, but they are out of the way of any little people or clumsy folks…