Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

The Conscious List - Weekend Links

Soulbase Magazine for Conscious by Chloé
Credit: Soulbase.

Happy Friday!

What are you up to this weekend?

I'm going mushroom hunting on Saturday and will not tell you where, don't insist :) I'm also gonna try and attend a guided meditation on Sunday, wanna join me?

I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few things that made my week and a couple links from around the web...


In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links - marked with an * - and that any purchase made through them may result in a small commission for me - at no extra cost for you. Thank you so much for investing in sustainability and supporting my work!


Have you read, made, watched or listened to something worth sharing with us this past week?

Habit Shift - Women-Owned Natural Skin Care Brands I Love & Support

Berlin Skin Skin Care for Conscious by Chloé
Credits: Berlin Skin

Lately my skin has been feeling drier than usual and my skincare routine hasn't been able to do anything about it.

Maybe it's the change of seasons, maybe it's the move, maybe it's the water in my new home. But anyways, it was time for a switch!

I like to keep a list of brands and products I'd love to try some day. I prefer not buy them in advance as I want to make sure that the products I use are the freshest possible (natural products usually have a shorter shelf life).

So without further ado, here's a list of women-owned natural skin care brands I love & support:

Natural Science Beauty

Natural Science Beauty Skin Care for Conscious by Chloé
Credits: Natural Science Beauty

I met Natural Science Beauty founder Kelly Casey a couple years ago and got to sample her products at local shops here in Portland. Natural Science Beauty is a handcrafted, organic, and wildcrafted body care line that nourishes your skin's natural glow by using plant-based and food-grade ingredients. Natural Science products are scented with essential oils, bringing pure nutrition to your skin and good vibrations to your day.

On my shopping list: Matcha Velvet Face Mask

lagom body co

Lagom Body Co Skin Care for Conscious by Chloé
Credits: lagom body co

As a woman-owned and herbalist-operated company, lagom body co. is proud to procure the majority of the ingredients in their skincare from north american farmers, growers, and distillers who care about the land and growing their own plants and herbs whenever possible. I once attended a gathering at Kristen's house - where I had the chance to participate in my first flower mandala - and have been following her work ever since. Kristen's approach to formulating skincare is a synergy of thoughtful creation, vibrant ingredients, and healthy plants that, together, translate into beautiful, natural products that you can add to your daily ritual for truly healthy + balanced skin. I am bummed she's moving to the other side of the country (hint hint, there's a moving sale going on!), but I cannot wait to follow her new adventures closer to family.

On my shopping list: Nirvana Daily Face Cream

Berlin Skin

Berlin Skin Skin Care for Conscious by Chloé
Credits: Berlin Skin

I was once gifted a sample of Berlin Skin's sandalwood cream at an event 2 years ago and have been obsessed with it ever since. The minimalist aesthetics definitely caught my eye and helped me remember the brand when I was on the lookout for a new skincare routine. I absolutely agree with founder Monica's german grandmother’s age-old advice: keep it simple and don’t strip the skin of its natural oils.

On my shopping list: Cocoa Eye Butter


This post is not sponsored.

Have a Blissful Weekend #34

OHMEED for Design Love Fest Terrazzo Desktop Background for Conscious by Chloé
Credit: OHMEED for Design Love Fest.

What are you up to this weekend?

I'm very excited to go on a car camping trip in Eastern Oregon. It's been ages since I last spent more than a couple hours in the wild!

I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few things that made my week and a couple links from around the web...

  • Questions to ask a partner at dinner.

  • This French Indie playlist.

  • Get rid of junk mail (and don't forget to do it all again every time you move :)

  • How amazing is our friends' yurt?

  • My friend Vanina launched her own podcast, The Ecopreneur Show! Give her a like and follow!

  • Pretty ceramic taper holders.

  • This week I'm reading this book * (see my 2019 reading list).

  • My new free desktop background. I have a whole folder dedicated to desktop backgrounds and changed the settings so the image changes every 30 minutes.

  • I've installed a TUSHY in my bathroom (I missed the bidet from my old rental too much). Get 5$ off yours with code 5OFFTUSHY at HelloTUSHY.com *

  • Small kindnesses.


In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links - marked with an * - and that any purchase made through them may result in a small commission for me - at no extra cost for you. Thank you so much for investing in sustainability and supporting my work!


Have you read, made, watched or listened to something worth sharing with us this past week?

Make Your Own - Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

As a lover of clothes and a sustainability advocate, I try to do my best to “Buy less, Choose well, Make it last” - in the words of visionary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood.

This means asking myself whether I really need something new, shopping second hand or supporting brands whose values I share (ethics, environmental practices, quality), and taking great care of the things I allow into my life.

Today, I’d like to focus on that last part.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Slow Living

In today's fast paced world, and in our throwaway society, where it ends up being cheaper to replace something broken by buying a new version, repairing, mending, and repurposing are pretty radical acts.

Over the past couple years, I've honed skills that used to be passed from generation to generation (sewing, mending), learned that 90% of the carbon footprint of a garment happens at home - and subsequently replaced my laundry products with chemical-free and biodegradable ones (to protect our rivers and our wildlife), started spot cleaning (to space up laundry loads), favored the cold wash cycle (almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water) and air dried my laundry (to save energy and benefit from the whitening and antibacterial power of the sun).

And ultimately, I started experimenting with natural dyes.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Mindful Living

What does natural dyeing have to do with caring for your clothes and the environment?

Besides the fact that, contrarily to the dyes used in fast fashion, natural dyes have no negative impact on the environment (once you're done dyeing a piece of clothing, you can literally dump the content of your dye bath into your garden), natural dyeing is an inexpensive way to extend the life of your clothes.

Whether you fell out of love with a dress, the color of a pair of pants faded, the white of a tee yellowed, or you stained a shirt to the point of no return, dyeing your clothes yourself is a great way to give a new life to a piece of clothing.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Skill Learning

Elizabeth Suzann pieces already come in a wide range of colors, from intense blacks to earthy terras.

But wouldn't it be great if you could create your own colors?

Whether you already own an ivory or flax piece or just wanna go crazy and order a new one, natural dyeing is a wonderful way to make ES pieces even more personal.

Natural dyeing is a slow process, a great occasion to reflect on the environment that surrounds you, and a game of patience. It forces you to pause for a moment, evaluate the resources you have within arm's reach and take the time to take care of your possessions.

It's also an inexact science. Your dye vat will react differently according to the material your pot is made of, the PH, and finally, the nature of your fabric.

I had great expectations for this experiment, from vivid pinks to sage greens, but the elements decided otherwise.

I ended up with a gradient of blush and rust, a palette I'm not mad about at all.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Process

For this experiment, Elizabeth Suzann sent me the following pieces, which had not gone through the brand's very strict quality control and were meant to be sold during a sample sale.

Fabrics

Cotton and linen are cellulose fibers (they come from plants); silk is a protein fiber (which usually comes from animals).

You can read about the fabrics used at Elizabeth Suzann here.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Material

The same pots and utensils should not be used for dyeing and cooking. It is also recommended to use gloves when manipulating the dyes, as some might be irritating to the skin.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Fabric Washing

All ES garments are washed as a final step to the production process. But if you're dyeing a piece you already own, make sure you wash it with soap and do an extra rinse to remove natural oils and chemical residues, and ensure a more even dyed color.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Fabric Treating & Mordanting

While some fibers naturally contain tannins, which help bind the dye to the fabric, others, especially the cellulose kind, need some assistance in order to evenly absorb and ultimately hold the dye. Mordants serves that purpose. Soybean protein is a natural type of mordant and prevents the use of chemical ones, such as alum and other metallic salt mordants.

To make 1 liter of soy milk, you need 125 g of soy beans and 1 liter of water.

I had a total of 1581 g of fabric, so I needed approximately 4 l of soy milk, hence 500 g of soy beans.

Weigh your fabric to figure out how much soy milk you'll need to pretreat it.

Soy Milk Recipe

  • Soak the beans overnight

  • Put the beans and water in a blender and blend until smooth.

  • Strain the milk through the muslin cloth or milk bag

  • Add the pulp back into the blender with some fresh water and blend again

  • Strain the milk through the muslin cloth or milk bag and add it to the first batch.

Soy Milk Mordanting

  • To mordant 400 g of fabric, you need to dilute 1 l of soy milk with 5 l of water in a bucket.

  • After washing and rinsing the fabric, put it into the soy milk bath and make sure it's fully submerged.

  • Leave it for 12 hours. Stir it once during this period of time.

  • Remove the fabric from the bucket, squeeze the excess liquid, put the fabric on spin cycle in your washer and hang it to dry. This step is very important as you want your fabric to have an even coat of milk.

  • Store your bucket of milk in a cool place so it stays fresh. Give it a stir before using it again.

  • Once the fabric is dry, dip it quickly into the milk a second time, spin it in the washer and hang it to dry.

  • Repeat this last step on more time once the fabric is dry.

  • Wait one week before dying the fabric to allow the soybean protein to bond with the fibers.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Gathering Dyestuff

Pretty much any plant and event kitchen scraps cans be used to create a dye bath.

Collect dyeing material from local farmers' markets, grocery stores, save them from your kitchen (and keep them in your freezer until you've gathered enough) or forage them in your neighborhood.

For this experiment, I used the following dyestuff:

  • Spruce cones - foraged two streets down from my house

  • Rosemary - from my garden

  • Avocado skins and stones - saved from my kitchen

  • Turmeric - bought in bulk at my local co-op

  • Madder Root powder, which was given to me by a fellow natural dyer

Other favorites include dandelions, nettles, red onion skins, etc.

Extracting Dye

  • Place your dyestuff in an aluminum pot and cover with water. If you're using a powder dye, place it in a muslin drawstring bag first.

  • Let simmer on low heat for an hour. Add more water if it evaporates.

  • Experiment with heat and see if you can extract more color.

  • Turn the heat off and let the liquid cool.

  • Strain the liquid through a sieve or remove the muslin bag.

  • Repeat the process a second time with fresh water if you want to extract more dye and then combine the two batches.

  • Pour the dye back into the pot and heat for an hour to get the mordanting benefits from your aluminum pot.

  • Turn off the heat and leave the dye in the pot for 24 hours before dyeing.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Dyeing Fabrics

Before you do anything, know that Elisabeth Suzann sends fabric swatches and scraps if customers request them!

It's a great way to test dyes before you submerge your precious ES pieces into a concoction without knowing what the outcome will be!

As you'll notice different fabrics put into the same dye bath will produce drastically different results.

Or you can trust the process and, like me, simply go for it and embrace the unknown.

  • Dampen your fabric (to make sure it will absorb the dye evenly) and put it into the dye pot.

  • Heat very gently for an hour and stir frequently.

  • Turn the heat off and leave to cool.

  • If needed, turn the heat again to obtain a darker color.

  • Remove the fabric from the pot. Squeeze the excess dye and hang to dry in the shade. Colors should not be exposed to the sun to preserve their brightness.

  • Wait for at least one week before rinsing. The longer you wait, the longer the color will last.

  • Rinse in lukewarm water. Wash with natural soap and leave to dry.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Fastness & Care

Without the use of chemical mordants or tannin-rich plants, naturally dyed fabrics are subject to fastness.

The best way to care for these is to spot clean, space out washes and handwash them separately with natural soap.

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Final Thoughts

As you've been able to tell, natural dyeing is a very slow process - about 3 weeks from soaking the milk to wearing your newly dyed garment.

It might seem overwhelming at first, but, should you want to make this a recurring activity, you'll quickly realize that you can have multiple dye baths going on at the same time. Soy milk and dyes can be stored in the fridge for a couple days for further dyeing sessions.

You'll naturally start storing food scraps and foraging plants without even thinking about it.

The only risk is that you might want to dye everything around you. I am currently considering dyeing a whole bunch of napkins for the end of the year celebrations and may or may not have dyed all the white sheets in my house...

Natural dyeing resources

Technique & Inspiration

For this particular experiment, I followed the instructions featured in the following book (available in electronic format):

Other favorites include:

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé

Supplies

Natural Dyeing with Elizabeth Suzann by Conscious by Chloé


This post was graciously sponsored by Elisabeth Suzann. Thanks for supporting the carefully selected brands that support Conscious by Chloé!

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Have a Blissful Weekend #33

Sarah Shabacon Ikea Mandal Headboard DIY
Credit: Sarah Shabacon.

What are you up to this weekend?

I'm attending a women in creative industries event (#WomenInWoodlark) and cannot wait to see familiar faces I haven't seen in months!

I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few things that made my week and a couple links from around the web...


In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains affiliate links - marked with an * - and that any purchase made through them may result in a small commission for me - at no extra cost for you. Thank you so much for investing in sustainability and supporting my work!


Have you read, made, watched or listened to something worth sharing with us this past week?