It's been wild and woolly weather here and definitely time to get the snuggly Winter woollies out, if you'll forgive the pun!
Of course here in Sunny Queensland in the Sub Tropics, Winter is short, but don't be fooled! The thermometer still plunges to single digits Celsius, and when the Westerly winds come a knockin' you'd be a fool not to rug up!
This was the Winter sky in our part of the world yesterday at around 4pm. It looks like a watercolour, doesn't it? This was taken with my iPhone, through a glass door, so I can only think that explains the odd watercolour effect. I can assure you it's real.
I've been meaning to make this hand crafted Wool Wash, ever since I saw some of the ways it's being gifted at The Christmas Challenge over at The Bluebirds are Nesting. I particularly loved the way Rachel had packaged hers, and she was my inspiration for this project.
I'd never thought of gifting Wool Wash as part of a hamper, but once you've made some and tried it yourself, you'll appreciate that it's comfort-and-snuggles in-a-bottle.
I made up a batch of this one and used it to hand wash some woollens that had been stored over the Summer months, and my daughter could not wait to wriggle into her newly laundered jumper.
I've also hand washed my beautiful baby blue vintage pure wool blankets in it, and they are so comforting to snuggle into now...supremely soft and warm. I scented the batch I used for them lightly with copycat Chanel No 5 oil from Wellington Fragrances, and the combination of the Lux Flakes and the gentle addition of the Chanel No 5, is to die for! Not only does the room smell divine, but curling up with them is like being enveloped in a cloud of sensory heaven!
Pure wool is of course the lightest and warmest thing of all. If you see these vintage blankets in your travels, grab them! I noted with interest here that my friend Annabel found some not so long back as well, and when she looked up the price new, it was in the hundreds of dollars. Yet they're frequently available at the thrift stores for around $12-$20. I have many like this, as well as some of the old style pastel, checkered ones, and we adore them.
When I bought these, they were musty and dirty, and quite flat and scratchy looking. But a dunk in the tub with half a cup of my wool wash, and a dry, laid flat in the Winter sunshine, and they were transformed! So don't be put off if the ones you see are not pristine. They are easily revived, and with care, will last you many years. Annabel transforms hers into heirlooms with her beautiful embroidery which you can see here. That's beyond my capabilities, but I'm thinking that simple ribbon rosettes or whipped stem stitch initials, could make these more lovely.
Now, there are as many variations on home made hand wash as there are items to wash it in. My variation is simple...
NOTE: If you have printed this off within the first 8 hours of my posting it, please be aware that I have changed the soap to water ratio. When I made this batch this morning, I thought I'd miscalculated so added more soap. Now my wool wash is a solid lump inside the bottle. Gotta laugh! Please adjust your ratios accordingly or reprint this now. Thankyou.
Mimi's Hand Crafted Dainty and Delicates Wash
Makes about 1.5 litres/3 pints
1 cup Lux Flakes or 1 cup grated white soap
1/2 - 1 cup hair conditioner
2-3 cups boiling water
Up to 20 drops of your favourite essential oil if desired
Several recycled jars and bottles in which to decant your wool wash
Add the soap flakes to a large jug, and gently pour in the boiling water. Whisk well until the soap has dissolved. Add the hair conditioner, and whisk again until smooth. Add the essential oils if using them.
A couple of hints...
Now the first thing with this is, that some hair conditioner I've used has been quite thick, and I haven't had to use as much of it in my wool wash. Half a cup has usually done the trick. Some hair conditioner makes the wool wash smell 'funny' and the essential oils have been a necessity to make it smell pretty again. I don't know why. Most commonly the more expensive the hair conditioner, the less successful it is as a wool wash additive, surprisingly enough! So use an inexpensive one, preferably one that is white, and if it has it's own delicate scent, you shouldn't need the essential oils at all.
The second point to note, is that depending upon the consistency of your hair conditioner, you might find you need to add either more water or less, to gain the right pouring consistency for your wool wash. I actually prefer it quite liquid as, to me, there's no point in having a 'liquid' wool wash, that you then have to swish around in the water to mix. That said, it is more successful used in a pouring consistency from a bottle, and a scoop-able consistency from a jar, so again, you make the choice.
And thirdly, the wool wash needs a gentle shake before use to redistribute the ingredients, as they do separate on storing.
Here's one I did in a recycled sauce bottle...
I only recently received this fabulous customised ribbon I'd designed and ordered, and I love the lavish touch it adds to any packaging. Well worth the small expense..
I think it's very 'me'...
And here's one in a canning jar, with a big double satin bow...just as pretty.
I spotted these little crocheted booties at a haberdashery store recently, and knowing they were beyond my realm of experience with crochet, I snaffled them for a new baby in our social circle. Along with the wool wash, and a polar fleece rug and hat, they'll be a lovely gift. Don't feel like you have to 'do it all'!
As you can see, adding lush trims and the sweet swing tag, that I've made available for you as a free PDF printable, turns something very ordinary, into something lavish and beautiful for gifting.
My little swing tag is based on the cute vintage Italian advertising picture at the top of my post and you can find it here....
I trim mine to size and paste them to a manila luggage tag. These are available at stationers for around 5c each. Of course you could just paste them to any project cardboard, or glue directly to the bottle or jar. I like them like this though.
Have I convinced you? Will you made some prettily scented and hand crafted wool wash to your gift stash?