Archive for Green You

Effortless watering

I’m all for time-saving, eco-friend, low cost, diy, etc.  So with us moving towards using less and reusing what we have used, I found a really nice idea to help me water our gardens.

These little bottles will also help me teach my boys to save water and water plants wisely.

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Water Weeds are killing our river

Our local newspaper, the Daily Dispatch, run this article this morning.

Deadly weeds choke Nahoon river – A noxious water weed is once again choking the life out of the Nahoon River, which is home to myriad species including bass, geese, fish eagles and otters. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), one of the world’s worst aquatic weeds, first threatened the river’s ecosystem last year. Now the out-of-control alien plant has blanketed large stretches of the river, with the worst outbreak occurring near the causeway that links Dorchester Heights to the Stutterheim road.

Residents living along the river bank have now questioned the municipality’s efforts in keeping one of East London’s most popular rivers unpolluted. Joan Hempel, whose farm borders the river, said: “I am dismayed at the state of the Nahoon River. The rapid growth and spread of the hyacinth has already affected the wildlife. “It seems the entire ecosystem is being choked and destroyed by this alien invader plant.” Hempel has sent numerous reports to the Department of Water Affairs hoping to pressure government to act.

“To date no one has responded or reacted to my report. I was hoping to alert them to the alarming spread of the plant. Andrew Lucas, Department of Water Affairs provincial director of water regulation and use, said clearing invasive alien plants was the responsibility of land owners. Lucas said if the land belonged to the municipality, it was the responsibility of the Working For Water team. “I have not investigated the areas myself but the influx usually stems from residents,” he said.

Lucas said residents used the weed, which has a beautiful purple flower, to decorate their ponds and water features. “When it starts to overgrow they dump it in the river.” According to Lucas this reinfects the river system and the problem starts all over again. The water hyacinth has caused a decline in fish populations in Africa. – Taken from Dispatch.co.za  15/02/2011

Ok, so if Water Affairs doesn’t want to help the river then what?  A classic case of passing the buck, our politicians are very good at doing that.  Pity they are not as good at anything else.

I found this info on Wikipedia…

When not controlled, water hyacinth will cover lakes and ponds entirely; this dramatically impacts water flow, blocks sunlight from reaching native aquatic plants, and starves the water of oxygen, often killing fish (or turtles). The plants also create a prime habitat for mosquitos, the classic vectors of disease, and a species of snail known to host a parasitic flatworm which causes schistosomiasis (snail fever).

Solution – I will definitely be sending our political parties a strong email.  What nonsense is this passing the buck, if it isn’t your mandate then help us to get the right people in to fix the problem.  Be part of the solution, Don’t add to it – silly man.

Wikipedia’s article has some interesting results at the end…

Industrial utilization

Since the plant has abundant nitrogen content, it can be used a substrate for biogas production and the sludge obtained from the biogas. However, due to easy accumulation of toxins, the plant is prone to get contaminated when used as feed.

Exogenous

The plant is extremely tolerant of, and has a high capacity for, the uptake of heavy metals, including Cd, Cr, Co, Ni, Pb and Hg, which could make it suitable for the biocleaning of industrial wastewater [7], [8], [9], [10]. In addition to heavy metals, Eichhornia crassipes can also remove other toxins, such as cyanide, which is environmentally beneficial in areas that have endured gold mining operations [11].

Water hyacinth is also observed to enhance nitrification in waste water treatment cells of living technology. Their root zones are superb micro-sites for bacterial communities.[12]

Food for thought - this weed is not all bad, it’s just not any good in our Nahoon river.  An import bit of information, that I will include in my emails.

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Re-think your tampon

I hate throwing away money on disposable items, paper cups, plates, serviette etc are all horribly wasteful and such a waste of money.  I spend well over R300.00 a month on tampons and pads every month during my period.  I hate that thought, I am 28, I started my periods at 13, so for the last 15 years, I have spent a staggering R54 000.00 on flushing things down the toilet.

What a waste of money and resources!

Never one to pose a question without offering a variety of solutions, I found a local answer to a universal problem, Miacup.  It is a menstral cup which I have read about on the web, however there was no company in SA offering this product.  Until I found Miacup.  “Produced entirely in South Africa using imported medical-grade, latex-free silicone rubber, Miacup is a great new alternative to menstrual pads and tampons.”

This little wonder product can be used for years and because your initial outlay is a once-off payment – R340.00, you don’t have to run off to the shops every month to stock up.

An added bonus, there are no harmful chemicals, no fluff, plastic or wrapping to cause damage to your body, eliminating the chance of TSS, fungal infections and general bad ingredients finding their way into your very private places. 

Something to think about when next you visit your tampon box…

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Herbs, Herbs, Herbs

I found this really great, fun site http://www.phuthu.co.za  It is a local SA site with some really awesome pics and interesting stories.  If my browser wasn’t so slow, I would look through the whole site just to see the rest of it.  There are some really useful tips on herbs.  I know we can get most of them at nurseries in SA, I’m not sure about the rest of the world.  When in doubt, ask at your local nursery…

Herbs – Culinary uses and more…

Basil
Basil is one of the most versatile herbs with sweet basil being the most commonly grown. It needs average soil, sun and semi-shade and is frost sensitive.

Culinary uses: Pasta sauces, stews, soups, salads, pizzas or blend basil with pine nuts to make pesto. It goes very well with tomatoes.

Medicinal uses: It is quite useful for exhaustion and digestive upsets such as stomach cramps, constipation and diarrhoea. Drink basil tea to relieve tension and migraines or rub the fresh leaves on your temples for headaches. Crushed basil leaves can be used to take the sting out of insect bites.

Cosmetic uses: Crushed basil leaves will stimulate hair growth. Use in bath oils.

Other uses: Bunches of fresh basil hung in the kitchen will keep flies away. Dried basil stalks burnt on a fire can keep the mozzies away.

Lemon Grass
Lemon grass can grow in any soil and doesn’t need a lot of water. It is inactive during the winter months and sensitive to frost. Parts used: The stems, leaves and essential oils.

Culinary uses: Soups, marinades, stir-fries, curries, salads, coconut milk, rice and as an alternative for lemon rind and to flavour tea’s and drinks. The stems can be kept in the fridge for 2 – 3 weeks if wrapped in a paper bag or wax wrapped.

Medicinal uses: Used in a tea it has a calming effect and can soothe the digestive system and relieve stress.

Cosmetic uses: Makes a good facial steam for teenage skin. Great for treating an oily skin or oily hair: one cup of fresh lemon grass and two cups of boiling water.

Other uses: Insect repellent.

Rosemary
Rosemary will grow in most types of soil but prefers light, sandy soil with good drainage and a sunny spot. It can tolerate cold temperatures. Rosemary has more fragrance if you pick it and leave it for a few days. Rosemary and sage are good friends and will grow well together.

Culinary uses: Meat (especially lamb), bean and tomato dishes (use sparingly as it’s a strong herb). Use the twigs for kebab skewers.

Medicinal uses: Drink as a tea for migraines and cramps. Also treats blood pressure problems, jaundice, vertigo, gout, aching joints, obesity and toothache. Use the oil externally as an antiseptic for sores and wounds.

Cosmetic uses: Good rinse for dark hair, can reduce falling hair and treat eczema on the scalp. Use as a mouthwash and facial steam. Known to remove freckles and wrinkles: Boil 50g flowering rosemary tips in 500ml white wine for 2 minutes. Leave to stand for 1 hour, strain and apply to your face with cotton wool twice a day.

Other uses: Fish moth repellent in cupboards/drawers. The stems will keep your linen smelling fresh or keep mozzies away when tossed in a fire.

Chilli
Chillies are easy to grow and varies from very hot to mild. It requires full sun and rich well drained soil. Water frequently, especially when in flower. Feed with a liquid fertiliser once a week; sensitive to frost. Parts used: Fruit.

Culinary uses: Add to chutneys, pickles, Indian, Mexican and Thai dishes and of course on pizzas!

Medicinal uses: eases digestive problems, chronic pain and cluster headaches.

Rocket
A herb you either love or hate. It likes loose, rich, composted, well-drained soil. Water it well in dry weather, although the roots must not be saturated. Withstands frost, summer storms and cold winds. Parts used: Leaves, seedpods and flowers. Can be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Culinary uses: Soups and stews, salads, sandwiches, sauces, marinades, garnish. Particularly good with tomatoes.

 Medicinal uses: It’s a great tonic, can be used as a cough remedy when boiled in honey, prevents colds and treats fluid retention, anaemia, digestive upsets and bladder ailments.

Other uses: Treat skin blemishes and makes a refreshing foot bath. Can be used as plant food. Add to compost heap or plant around your compost heap.

Mint
Don’t let it loose in your herb garden, it takes over, rather plant it in a pot, not too small. It should be repotted yearly, preferably in spring and watered daily. It needs sun / partial shade, moderate temperatures and rich, well drained alkaline soil. Keep different types of mint apart; prevent interbreeding by keeping the flowering heads cut. Peppermint and spearmint are the two most widely used mints.

Culinary uses: Sauces, jellies, vinegar, green peas, potatoes, garnish or use as a refreshing tea (avoid jewel mint or pennyroyal as they are bitter). Goes well with lamb dishes.

Medicinal uses: Pennyroyal should not be used by anyone suffering from kidney problems or by pregnant women, use other mints instead. Colds and congestion: Pour a litre of boiling water over a cup of fresh mint springs, cover your head and the bowl with a towel and inhale. Make a peppermint tea to help digestion, colds and influenza. Crush the leaves in oil and massage the affected areas for migraines, rheumatism and muscular aches. Use peppermint oil on bruises and scratches.

Cosmetic uses: As a hair conditioner for oily hair, and it can heal rough/dry hands and feet. Add to bathwater to easy tiredness and aches and pains.

Other: Pennyroyal in cupboards and beds as an insect repellent for ants and fleas. Bunches of mint in your kitchen will keep flies away. Peppermint can be rubbed into the skin to keep mozzies away (test on the wrist first).

Parsley
Parsley needs a sunny spot and rich, moist soil. Parts used: leaves and stalks. Don’t grow parsley close to tomatoes or roses to keep them free of insects.

Culinary uses: Soups, stews, sauces, garnishing.

Medicinal uses: Parsley tea treats kidney and bladder infections and can be used as a slimming aid. Don’t take more than one cup a day and don’t use for more than 5 days. Parsley juice can have a soothing effect on eye inflammation and conjunctivitis. It has oestrogenic factors: control menstruation and help menopause. Crushed, warmed leaves will treat insect bites.

 Other uses: Breath freshener after eating onions or garlic.

Herbs: Medicinal uses and more

Aloe Vera
Sunny spot with poor, well drained soil. Grows best in frost free areas. Aloe can be grown in a pot and only the herbs older than 2 years should be used for its properties.

Medicinal uses: Healing of wounds: burns, blisters, sunburn, heat rash. Aloe is known to stimulate the immune system, treats constipation, indigestion, eczema and fungal infections like ringworm and thrush. It should not be used by anyone suffering from piles.

 Cosmetic uses: Can be used in a moisturising cream, shampoos (for dry and itchy scalp) and in suntan lotion.

Chamomile
These pretty flowers makes for powerful medicine. Camomile is easy to grow and likes partial shade and light as well as well drained soil. Pick the flowers often to lengthen its spring life. A great companion for most plants.

Culinary uses: Add chamomile tea to granadilla juice for a relaxing drink, can be served as an after-dinner drink to ease indigestion.

Medicinal uses: Relieves stress, anxiety and digestive problems, improves immunity, treat inflammations of the skin and other skin disorders (surgical wounds), diarrhoea, insomnia, headaches and in babies: colic, vomiting, teething problems, restlessness.

Cosmetic uses: Can makes hair lighter and promotes hair growth. Use in a facial steam or a soak to soften hands. Add to your bath for a relaxing treat or to soothe sunburn.

Lemon Balm
Needs filtered shade and rich, moist soil. Dies down in winter and needs to be cut back hard to encourage new spring growth.

Culinary uses: Teas, soup, milk, custard, sauces, fruit salads, refreshing drinks, puddings, poultry, fish and cheese dishes. It compliments cucumber, celery and asparagus. Freeze in ice cubes to decorate drinks.

 Medicinal uses: Treats insomnia, herpes and digestive problems, cold sores, eczema, depression, anxiety, fear and improves concentration. Soothes insect bites.

 Cosmetic uses: Use in a facial steam (it apparently slows down the aging process!) and improves oily hair. Mix with aqueous cream to soothe aching feet.

 Other uses: Bunches of lemon balm will deter moths. Use green leaves to polish wooden furniture.

Southernwood
This herb needs full sun and grow in any soil although it prefers it dry. Parts to use: leaves and sprigs. If planted near fruit trees it will repel fruit flies and fruit moths.

Medicinal uses: It treats menstrual disorders and has antiseptic properties (rashes, scratches and grazes). Use as a bitter tonic: coughs, bronchitis, mucus, congestion. Eases pain and swelling.

Cosmetic: Use as a rinse for greasy hair, when combed through hair it can stimulate hair growth.

Other: Potent flea and moth repellent. Very effective in potpourris. Sprinkle dried, powdered Southernwood around ant holes to combat ants.

Feverfew
Easy to grow and needs full sun. Parts to use: Whole plant and leaves.

Medicinal uses: A powerful migraine preventive, treats digestive problems, relaxes spasms, reduces fever, has laxative effects, deals with menstrual problems and relieves period pain. Take Southernwood after childbirth to encourage the cleansing of the uterus.

Other uses: Mouth rinse, household disinfectant, moth / insect repellent.

Lavender
Plant lavender in containers (small batches) as it has the tendency of taking over. It likes a sunny spot and dry, well drained soil. Can be badly affected by frost; cover the lavender with grass.

Culinary uses: Flavour jams and vinegar. Great addition to marinades for game. Use crystallised flowers for garnish.

Medicinal uses: In oil as antiseptic for insect bites and stings. A lavender-stuffed pillow aids sleep and will calm a restless child. Lavender tea will treat headaches and relieve anxiety. Lavender water makes a great mouthwash.

Cosmetic: Treats acne. Use oil for massaging muscular aches and cellulite.

Other: Insect repellent: it will repel fish moths and draw butterflies. The leaves and flowers can be used in little netting sachets to keep your linen smelling fresh. Dried lavender leaves and flowers can be used for potpourri. Place on fires in winter for a lovely scent. Spread your washing over your lavender bushes for a lasting fresh smell.

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DIY Makeup and Beauty

I’m all about economical, easy, non-toxic alternatives, so when I find something that would work will in our home and be safe to use in our water recycling system, I’ll definitely give it a bash.  I found some awesome recipes that would be perfect for Valentine gifts. 

What makes these recipes different from others I have found, is that they don’t require any specialised equipment, ingredients or knowledge.  If you are not sure about how to use essential oils, the sales people at the store are the best to ask and will help you as much as possible.  Use natural caution and discontinue use of products if irritation occurs. 

All the recipes can be found at http://www.safecosmetics.org, email me if you would like the PDF version emailed to you. 

DIY Recipes
Show your face, your feet or your muscles some love with safe, natural, toxin-free spa concoctions and personal care products. We’ve compiled some of our favorite safe cosmetics recipes below. Test these recipes out at your very own Safe Cosmetics Party. If you have a favorite recipe of your own, e-mail us! We’d love to try it out and share with others.

Getting Started
The necessary ingredients are usually affordable and not hard to find in organic or natural form. The benefits of making your own cosmetics will be immediately evident: your new products will smell and feel good, and so will your skin. There are no preservatives in these recipes so take a few precautions to avoid contamination by bacteria.

 Avoid touching products like lip gloss with your fingers – instead use a cotton swab to apply. Use products within two weeks, and consider storing them in your refrigerator. Also, exercise caution if you think you might be allergic to ingredients like nuts, avocados or other common food ingredients

For Lips

Beet Red Lip Gloss

Ingredients:
¼ cup beeswax
¼ cup castor oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
beet juice

Instructions:
Melt beeswax, remove from heat and add oils. Add as much beet juice as desired for color. Store in jar. Source


Lip Balm

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons grated unbleached beeswax
5 teaspoons carrier oil (sunflower, castor or jojoba)
6 or 7 drops essential oil (such as lime, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit or peppermint)
1 teaspoon honey, for flavor

Instructions:
Melt the beeswax and carrier oil together in the top of a double boiler, stirring to combine. Remove from heat; add honey and essential oil. Mix thoroughly so the honey does not clump. To add a little color, stir in a tiny dab of lipstick with a coffee stirrer. Pour the mixture into containers; let sit 20 minutes before covering or moving. For glossier lip balm, use 2 teaspoons wax and 8 teaspoons carrier oil.
For Face

Chocolate Facial Mask

This decadent mask is actually an excellent moisturizer – it leaves your skin baby soft. Recommended for normal skin.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons cottage cheese
¼ cup honey
3 teaspoons oatmeal powder

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients together and smooth onto face. Relax for 10 minutes, then wash off with warm water. Source

Frozen Egg & Honey Facial Mask

Recommended for dry skin, this is particularly soothing on sunburned skin.

Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1 tablespoon honey

Instructions:
– Beat the egg in a small bowl until frothy and well-mixed. Slowly add the liquid coconut oil and honey, beating until your mask is the consistency of mayonnaise.
– Take an empty toilet tissue roll and set it on end in a clean bowl. Spoon mixture into the cardboard toilet paper roll. Place tube, in the bowl, in the freezer overnight.
– To use, peel away just the top 1/4 inch of the cardboard roll and smooth the frozen stick over your face (think of it as a push-up pop). Leave your mask on for 5 to 10 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
-Return the cream stick covered with plastic wrap and frozen between uses. Keeps indefinitely. Source

Avocado Carrot Cream Mask

This mask is rich in vitamin E, beta carotene, antioxidants, calcium and protein, ingredients that may help rebuild skin collagen, fade age spots and improve tone and texture.

Ingredients:
1 avocado, mashed
1 carrot, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons honey

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Spread gently over your face and neck, and leave in place 10-15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and follow with your favorite toner. Source

Cucumber Eye Gel

Ingredients:
1/4 large cucumber
1 ounce aloe vera gel

Instructions:
-Puree the cucumber in a blender (leave a little pulp), then strain the mixture into a glass bowl until you have at least 2 ounces. Spoon in just a tad of the pulp from the strainer. Add the aloe vera to the cucumber puree in the bowl and mix lightly. Pour into a clean, sterilized container.
– After cleansing face, stir mixture gently and apply with a cotton ball to under eye area. Avoid the eyeball. The shelf life of this product is very limited by the fresh cucumber. It should be used within a few days, and kept refrigerated between uses. Source: Spa Index
Silky Clay Mask for All Skin Types

Ingredients:
1½ teaspoons green clay (French is preferred)
½ teaspoon kaolin clay
1½ tablespoons aloe vera gel
1 tablespoon rosewater
2 drops rose essential oil

Instructions:
Mix green and kaolin clays together. Add in the aloe vera gel, rosewater and oils. Refrigerate mixture for up to four weeks. Source http://beauty.about.com/od/fragrance/r/claymask.htm

Skin Care for Acne-Prone Skin

Remember, not every cause of acne is the same, so you need to try different remedies and masks until you find the ones that work for you.

Herbal Acne Treatment

Instructions:
1. Steam your face for five to 10 minutes to clean the pores with hot infusions of lavender, camomile or thyme.
2. Rinse your face with honeywater, rosewater or a dilute infusion of marigold tea to tone and close the pores.
3. Do this every day until the skin starts to heal. Source

Baking Soda Mask to Fight Acne

This is so easy to make and can work wonders if your skin likes it.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon baking soda (NOT baking powder)
1-2 tablespoon water

Instructions:
Mix a little together in your hands after washing your face with a mild cleanser and apply gently to your skin. Once you’ve coated your face with the baking soda and water mix, let it sit while you do other things around the house, or relax and read a book. Rinse the baking soda film off your face and feel how soft and clear it feels. If your skin enjoys this recipe, and your acne improves, then you may try it several times a week to help clear your acne. Source

Egg White Mask

This is simple and quite frugal. The mask is supposed to tighten skin and eliminate red spots.

Ingredients:
2-3 egg whites

Instructions:
Separate the yolk from the egg whites. Then whip the egg whites until it is nice and frothy. Apply it to your clean face (using clean hands). Leave on for approximately 20 minutes and wash off with warm water. Source

Egg Yolk Mask

Egg yolks contain vitamin A which is reported to reduce scarring.

Ingredient:
1 egg yolk

Instructions:
To attempt this method of acne treatment, whip up an egg yolk, apply it to your skin for 20 minutes and wash off. Source

Acne Tonic with Basil

Ingredients:
2 to 3 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 cup boiling water

Instructions:
Steep basil leaves in water for 10 to 20 minutes. Cool, then apply to face with a white cotton ball. Source

Blackhead Remover Mask

Check availability of these unusual ingredients before you get started.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup fuller’s earth
1 teaspoon tincture of benzoin
distilled witch hazel

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients and stir thoroughly. Apply the mask to your skin.  Let mask dry and harden, about 30 to 40 minutes. Soak a small hand towel in warm water and lay it across your face.

When the mask starts to soften up, gently rub it with the towel in a circular motion. Rinse with plenty of warm water. Source

Banana Mask for Oily or Acne-Prone Skin

Ingredients:
1 banana, preferably ripe (You can keep ripe bananas in the freezer. Let it thaw before using.)
1 tablespoon honey
An orange or a lemon

Instructions:
Mix the banana and honey together. Add a few drops of juice from an orange or a lemon. Apply to face for 15 minutes before rinsing with a cool washcloth or a steaming warm washcloth. Source

For Hands and Feet

Strawberry Hand and Foot Exfoliant

Ingredients:
8-10 strawberries
2 tablespoons apricot oil (you may substitute olive oil)
1 teaspoon of coarse salt, such as Kosher salt or sea salt

Instructions:
Mix together all ingredients, massage into hands and feet, rinse and pat dry. Strawberries contain a natural fruit acid that aids in exfoliation. Source

Orange Ginger Warming Foot Scrub

This warming foot scrub is great for the winter, and leaves your feet feeling soft and relaxed.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar (white or brown)
1/4 cup sweet almond oil
6 drops orange essential oil
2 drops ginger essential oil
1 level teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper

Instructions:
In a plastic bowl, mix together the sugar and almond oil. Add the essential oils and stir. Add the cayenne pepper last and stir well to mix. To use, sit comfortably in the tub or over a pan of water and/or a large towel to catch the sugar scrub as it is applied. Scoop up a handful of the scrub for each foot and massage vigorously yet with care over heels, ankles, toes, arches and the balls of your feet. Be sure to scrub any rough areas especially well. Don’t forget to rinse the tub well when you’re finished; you don’t want to take a bath in cayenne pepper! Source


For Body and Bath

Coffee Body Scrub

Ingredients:
2 cups coarsely ground coffee
1/2 cup raw sugar or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons massage oil

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients together. Take a hot shower to moisten your skin and open your pores. Using wide, circular motions, rub the coffee exfoliant onto your skin with strong, even pressure. Shower off, pat skin dry and apply a thin layer of your favorite body lotion. Source

Grapefruit Sugar Scrub

Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups white table sugar
8 drops grapefruit essential oil
1/4 cup jojoba oil
1/4 cup liquid castile soap

Instructions:
Place sugar into a large bowl and stir to break up any clumps. Add the essential oil. Add the jojoba oil and castile soap next, a little at a time, stirring after each addition. Mix well and pour into clean container. To use, stand in the tub or shower and massage the sugar scrub onto your skin from head to toe. Rinse. Source

Massage/Bath Oil

Try one of the following combinations of essential oils in a warm (not hot) bath or as a massage oil. Use therapeutic grade essential oils for the best results.

Ingredients:
For relaxing muscles/easing stress:
3 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
2 drops petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
1-2 drops frankincense (Boswellia cateri) – optional

For a sensual experience:
3 drops ylang ylang
3 drops sandalwood

Instructions:
-Draw the bath first, add the essential oils, swirl them around with your foot, get in and relax. Allow yourself 10 to 20 minutes. Do not get the bath water in your eyes, as the oils will sting. Use this formula up to once a day for 3 days a week over a two- to three-week period.
-To create a massage blend, add the above oils to a tablespoon of carrier oil (like sweet almond oil or a “massage base” oil, which is usually a blend of sweet almond, grapeseed and jojoba oils). If you’d like to store the oil for later use or package it as a gift simply use the same ratio of carrier oil to essential oil, and pour carefully into a clean, dry glass jar. Source

Softening Body Oil

Before taking a shower, brush your skin gently. This exfoliating will stimulate blood circulation and aid in skin absorption. For best absorption, apply the body oil while your skin is still moist. This combination is ideal for skin that has been exposed to too much sun or for extra-dry areas, such as heels and elbows.

Ingredients:
1 cup (237 ml) sweet almond oil
1/2 cup (118 ml) jojoba or hazelnut oil (or combination of the two)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) apricot kernel oil
Essential oil (optional)

Instructions:
-Combine the oils in a sealed bottle and gently turn it several times to mix. Apply as needed.
-For an uplifting oil experience, try 3 drops of ylang ylang, 2 drops geranium and 3 drops orange or bergamot. For an exotic oil experience, try 3 drops ylang ylang, 2 drops rose, 1 drop patchouli and 1 drop geranium. Source

Chocolate Bubble Bath 1

Ingredients:
1 cup of unscented bubble bath
1/3 cup of unsweetened soy milk
3 oz. of grated or powdered dark chocolate

Instructions:
Heat the soy milk and add the grated or powdered chocolate. Stir well until melted and blended, but do not boil. Allow to cool. Mix well again just before adding to your bath.

Chocolate Bubble Bath 2

1 cup of unscented bubble bath
1/2 cup of dried milk powder or soy milk
3 oz. of powdered unsweetened chocolate

Mix the powdered milk and chocolate well, until blended. Stir into bubble bath until well mixed. Add to your bath in the amount desired. Source

Red Wine and Honey Bath

The red wine and the honey together clarify and moisten. From the Spa at Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa, Asheville, N.C.

Ingredients:
4 cups of the cheapest red wine available
1 cup of honey

Instructions:
Add wine and honey to bath. Source

Herbal Spa Wrap

Ingredients:
1 cup corn oil
1/2 cup grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Instructions:
Combine ingredients and massage into skin. Wrap targeted areas of the body (arms, legs, back) with a towel to lock in body heat. Lay a heating pad over each treatment area for five minutes at a time.

Bath Bombs

This recipe makes 4 to 6 bath bombs. You can buy molds in craft stores or online. Do not oil the molds beforehand; just make sure they are clean and dry.

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid (do not substitute ascorbic acid)
1/2 cup corn starch
1/3 cup Epsom salts or coarse sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 1/2 tablespoons sunflower or other light oil (like sweet almond oil)
3/4 tablespoon water or rosewater (be careful not to start the fizzing action by adding too much water)
1/4 – 1 teaspoon essential oils
1/4 teaspoon borax as an emulsifier
vegetable or other natural colorant (optional)

Instructions:
Sieve the dry ingredients together until they are well blended. Measure and combine all the wet ingredients and borax in a clean jar. Cover tightly and shake vigorously. Slowly drizzle the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, gently stirring to prevent the reaction from starting. Make sure you mix in all of the wet ingredients. Afterward, you’ll find that the mixture is dry and crumbly and has to be packed in the molds quite firmly to keep shape. The mixture should just start to hold together when pressed in your hand, like slightly moist fine sand. You can unmold the bombs after 30 minutes, and let them dry for a few days before using them. Store them in a dry place.

Bath Cookies

2 cups finely ground sea salt
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons light oil
1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
2 eggs
5-6 drops essential oil of your choice

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Combine all the listed ingredients and form into a dough. Using a teaspoon or so of dough at a time, roll it gently in the palm of your hand until it forms a ball. Form all dough into one-teaspoon balls, and gently place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Consider sprinkling the bath balls with herbs, flower petals, cloves, citrus zest and similar aromatic ingredients. Bake your bath cookies for 10 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Do not over-bake. Allow the bath cookies to cool completely. To use, drop 1 or 2 cookies into a warm bath and allow to dissolve. Yield: 24 cookies, enough for 12 baths. Source
Deodorant

Many people react strongly to store-bought deodorant. What we need is a simple, home-made version!

Ingredients:
8 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons liquid chlorophyll
4 tablespoons vodka
4 tablespoons distilled water
8 ounces beeswax
10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil

Instructions:
Melt wax over very low heat in a double boiler. Mix cornstarch, baking soda, vodka and distilled water well. Add to the melted beeswax and stir until well combined. Add chlorophyll and essential oils. Pour into mold and let it harden. Store in an airtight container. Source

Hair Care

Shampoo

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until well combined. Use like regular shampoo. Discard any leftovers. Source

Conditioner

Ingredients:
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water

Instructions:
Beat the egg yolk until it’s thick and white. Add the oil and mix well. Then add the water into the egg mixture and mix well.  Massage into clean, damp hair. Rinse with plenty of warm water after about 10 minutes. Source

Protein-Rich, Nourishing Conditioner

Ingredients:
1 egg white
5 tablespoons plain yogurt

Instructions:
Beat the egg white until foamy. Gently fold in the plain yogurt. Apply to your hair and let it soak in for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with plenty of warm water. Style as usual. Source

Watercress Treatment for Oily Hair

Watercress appears to work on oily hair because it is rich in iron and phosphorus as well as vitamins A, C and E.

Ingredients:
1-2 large handfuls of fresh watercress
1 cup water

Blend watercress and water in a blender or food processor until well blended. If you have long hair you may need to use 2 full handfuls of watercress. Heat mixture and boil for 10 minutes. Strain watercress, keeping only the liquid. Let the liquid cool and apply carefully to newly shampooed hair (try to get as much excess water out of the hair as possible first). Leave on for 20 minutes. Source: “Everything You Need to Know to Have Great Looking Hair,” by Louis Gignace

Hair Gel

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup warm water

Instructions:
Dissolve 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in 1 cup warm water. Keep refrigerated and use as you would a purchased gel. Source

Hair Spray

Ingredients:
1 or 2 citrus fruits (lemon or orange)
2 cups water

Instructions:
Chop 1 lemon (or orange for dry hair). Place in a pot and cover with 2 cups of hot water. Boil until only half remains. Cool and strain. Add more water if needed. Refrigerate in a spray bottle. Source 

Face Paint and Halloween Makeup

To avoid heavy metals and other potentially harmful unknown ingredients in traditional Halloween face paint, try making your own using food-based ingredients. Remember, foods can cause allergies in some kids: always test your concoctions on a small patch of skin and read up on natural food colorings before sending your little ghouls out for a night of painted fun. And don’t forget that some foods can stain skin and clothes.

Face Paint Made with Natural Food Coloring

Natural food coloring is available at health food stores and typically derived from foods and spices. We recommend reading up about natural food colorings and potential allergies first. Do not substitute conventional food coloring, which may contain synthetic chemical ingredients.

Ingredients:
-Base of safe, unscented lotion (search Skin Deep for safe options) OR pure cocoa butter (available at health food stores) OR safe, fluoride-free toothpaste (search Skin Deep; avoid mint flavors, as they can make skin tingly)
-Natural food coloring (see note above)

Instructions:
Mix a few drops of natural food coloring into the base ingredient of your choice. Test on a small patch of skin before applying to face or body.

Face Paint Made with Food

Make sure young children understand they can’t eat these paints unless you make them without the base. Test a small patch of skin first to make sure your child isn’t allergic to the food you’re using.

Ingredients:
-Base of safe, unscented lotion (search Skin Deep for safe options) OR pure cocoa butter (available at health food stores) OR safe, fluoride-free toothpaste (search Skin Deep; avoid mint flavors, as they can make skin tingly)
-Turmeric, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, beets, avocado, spirulina, cocoa, chocolate sauce, squid ink or other colorful foods, juices, herbs and spices

Instructions:
Yellow: Add 1/4 tsp. and a large pinch of stale turmeric to base.

Pink: Using a sieve, mash the juice from 3 fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, blackberries or beets directly into the base. Or, use a deeply colored berry juice or puree.

Mint green: With a fork, mash 1/4 of a small avocado until creamy. Mix this into your base.

Emerald green: Add small amount spirulina or bright green chlorophyll to base.

Purple: Using a sieve, mash the juice from several fresh or frozen blueberries into the base. Or, use blueberry juice.

Brown: Add cocoa powder or chocolate sauce to base.

Black: Use a small amount of squid ink in base for true black.

White: Mix powdered sugar and water.

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It’s raining, it’s pouring

It’s been raining in our town for most of the week.  I love the rain and it’s doing my garden the world of good, my washing pile, however, is looking to be taller than me.

This makes my bathroom look untidy and makes me sad, looking at this ever-increasing hill of dirty clothing and linen.  With my one son potty training, I have had to find cheap, household remedies for urine smells on linen, bed and clothing.

I use a process of elmination start at the top and work your way down the list until the smell has gone…

Beds, Linen & other furniture

  • Mop up excess urine and dry area as much as possible
  • Clean area with a mixture of white vinegar, water and tea tree oil
  • Let the area dry thoroughly, in direct sun if possible (works best for mattress and linen)
  • Sprinkle area with bicarbonate soda and allow to sit for 24 hours
  • Vacuum off the bicarb and the bed is really to be made
  • Extra smelly touch – for a pleasant, calming smell, I crush dried lavender and rosemary leaves and sprinkle on with the bicarb

Clothing

I found my boys clothing sometimes took 2 washes to eliminate the urine smell.  I adjusted my methods and did the same as with the linen. 

  • Rinse off clothing with clean water
  • Spray affected areas with a vinegar, water and tea tree solution
  • Spin wet clothes in your washing machine – the  dryer the clothes the better
  • Allow to dry thoroughly
  • Place clothes in a bucket with a mixture of bicarb and crushed lavender and rosemary leaves.  Cover with a lid and leave to stand for 24 hours
  • Shake off clothes and wash as normal

I know this sounds like a lot of work, I usually keep a separate bucket in our bathroom for these clothes.  I fill the bucket with water and a few drops of tea tree oil.  I then wash these clothes when the bucket is full, allowing me to wash a full load of clothes instead of only a few items.

Safety Tip:

As with all essential oils, please use reasonable caution and discontinue use if a reaction occurs. 

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DIY Natural Paint :-)

I found this awesome recipe on http://www.diylife.com.   Looking for a gentle alternative to chemical-based interior paint? Stir up this simple, four-ingredient recipe. Milk paint transformed this old cassette cabinet into a charming powder room organizer for storing towels, tissues, and toiletries.

homemade paint

Cavemen did it. The early Egyptians did it. American Colonists did it. And even today, many people are rediscovering the art of making interior paint for the home. In an age of store-bought paints with high performance finishes, you may ask yourself, why make paint?

 For me, it’s the natural, handcrafted look — along with the satisfaction of being self-reliant. For others, it may be because homemade paint is the greenest and least toxic alternative possible to traditional paint. Homemade paints aren’t based upon petrochemicals and they’re far less toxic than commercial paints — even the many zero-VOC paints now emerging on the market.

 The ingredients for homemade paints vary. This recipe consists of lime, water, pigment, and milk.  The easiest to make and least expensive homemade paints consist of milk, lime, and pigment. For additional body a filler, such as chalk powder or plaster can be added. My preferred recipe is simplicity itself: –

homemade paint

Hydrated lime (available at most home and garden supply stores)
Water 
Pigment (powder or liquid)
Whole milk (at room temperature)

homemade paint

Mix lime with water using a putty knife or plastic spatula.
1. Fill a container with one to two cups of hydrated lime. Gradually add water and stir until you have a thick paste.
2. In a separate container, do the same with the pigment powder. For a small batch like this, 2 to 4 tablespoons of pigment is typically sufficient. 3. Gradually add milk to the lime paste until you achieve the consistency of sour cream. Then add the pigment paste and mix thoroughly.

Safety tip: Despite the relative low toxicity of the ingredients, wear vinyl gloves and a dust mask when working with lime and pigment.
Gradually stir milk into the lime paste until you achieve a consistency of loose sour cream.

homemade paint

ADDING PIGMENTS TO HOMEMADE PAINT You can buy pigmentsat many hardware and artist supply stores. Avoid using pigments made from toxic compounds, otherwise you’ll defeat the purpose of making your own paint. Some common toxins used in pigments include cadmium, lead, mercury, and cobalt.

You will have to experiment with pigments to achieve the color you want. Be sure to buy plenty of white pigment, as you’ll be using a lot of it. It comes in two forms: titanium dioxide and zinc. The former is a bit more opaque. You can make many of your own colorants using natural ingredients but the process is a lot more time-consuming than making paint alone.

Also, the colors produced through home-brewed dyes are more subtle than store-bought pigments. If you do want to make homemade pigment, try these methods:

Add water to steel wool for a red rust coloring.
Try simmering everything from berries and vegetables to bark and leaves to create the dyes. Blackberries, for example, make a strong dye. — Brew coffee or many tea to create neutral tones.
Boil peach or crab apple leaves for greens.
Use store-bought juice concentrates, such as blueberry and cranberry, to create pleasing tints.
Use a natural bristle brush to apply the milk paint, and allow it to dry for a few hours before recoating.

homemade paint

ADDITIONAL TIPS ABOUT HOMEMADE PAINT — Milk paint is not as scrubbable as its commercial cousins. In areas subject to spills, apply a protective coat of shellac or oil finish. If you choose the latter, stay green with a plant oil-based finish. — The shelf life for milk paint is short. Store unused paint in the refrigerator. It can be used until the milk sours. Brushes clean easily with soap and water

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DIY Cleaners

I’m always looking for ways to cut costs and save the planet at the same time.  I found these recipes which are very basic and most of the items you will find in your kitchen.  Also if you have a dishwasher, try my dishwasher powder recipe – works like a bomb!

  • Hand sanitizer — For times I can’t get to a sink, hand sanitizer is my best friend. Make your own to save on money and to cut down on waste. All it takes is some aloe vera gel and rubbing alcohol. You can also add tea tree oil to the mix, or, if you prefer something less antiseptic smelling, try lavender oil.
  • Yoga/Pilates mat cleaner — Exercise mats can get pretty gross, so make a habit of cleaning them often. Keep a spray bottle of homemade disinfectant in your gym bag to sanitize your mat immediately after every use.
  • Produce wash — Unfortunately, water is not enough to thoroughly clean produce. To really get the germs off, mix your own produce wash at home. All you need is some water, vinegar, baking soda, and lemon.

Sorry, I forgot to post the recipe for the disinfectant spray – mushy brain moment :)

Green DIY disinfectant

  • white vinegar
  • water
  • tea tree oil
  • plastic pump spray bottle
  1. In a plastic pump spray bottle, add 1/4 cup white vinegar. Vinegar is a disinfectant and it shines up surfaces really well without leaving behind any buildup.
  2. Add about 20 drops tea tree oil to the mixture. This oil will have quite a strong smell, but tea tree oil is a very effective disinfectant. Shake to mix well. Finally fill the bottle with water. That’s it.
  3. You can use this all natural disinfectant cleaner on your counter tops, microwave, floors, in your bathroom or wherever you would use a disinfectant cleaner.

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A few things…

There are a few things in my life that have made life easier and more fun. If you think I’m completely crazy, I don’t blame you, but it is the simple things that make me a happy, happy mommy!

  • My Russel-Hobbs bread maker 
  • My dishwasher
  • A butterfly mop
  • Watching Take Home Nanny
  • Dr Christopher Green’s Toddler Taming
  • Old plastic ice cream containers
  • Masking tape
  • Hand-me-down fabric, linen and home decor
  • A bedtime routine, every day of the week
  • A week-day morning routine
  • Doing the day’s washing every evening
  • Linen the same colour as the bedrooms for each of the room
  • And learning to be more strict with the “Before you leave a room, tidy it”rule

This might help someone, after watching some episodes of Take Home Nanny, I can’t help but feel like we are doing something right with our kids.  Although I still find the whining very annoying and it works on my nerves to no end.

Have a happy recycling day!
Hayleigh

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For Sale – Colours of Love Painting

Once-off painting “Colours of Love” on recycled materials

A wonderful addition to any room, in any home.  The colours bring love and smiles to your life.  Done a local artist, this painting is ready to hang.

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