Monday, April 30, 2012

It's a project!!!- vintage book wreath

When I was looking around the Internet Saturday I came across this really cool project for a wreath.

I am a little afraid of decorating our apartment because I feel like I will overwhelm things and make it look tacky.  Now, I'm sure this is just my OCD, but none-the-less it's a worry of mine.  So far I have a few family pictures hung and an awesome picture of NYC that I got from IKEA for $5!  Other than that the walls are bare (so sad).

I dream of making some drapes for the sliding glass door, but that's a project for another day.  Today is wreath day.

I got the idea from here and I made a modification because I didn't want to buy paint.  We have the BEST used book store right down the street from us that has a great vintage section.  I wanted the wreath to have a very authentic feel, so what better way than with an actual vintage book.

If anyone's interested, the book is called The works of Rabelais. It doesn't have a published date, but online it says 1929.  I feel kinda bad for ripping the pages out, but it's in the name of art!

Here's what Wikipedia says about this man "He has historically been regarded as a writer of fantasy, satire, the grotesque, bawdy jokes and songs"  Well ok then!

I digress, let's talk about the actual project at hand.  I started with a circular piece of Styrofoam

After ripping out the pages (carefully) start rolling each page and gluing them to the back of the foam.

After you have the back done it should look something like this:

Here it is flipped over:

From there you want to start rows all around.  The site here has instructions on how to glue each row.  When you are done with the rows it should look a little something like this:

After that you can fill in any empty spaces to make it look more full.

Here she is all hung up.  I have to say I am pretty proud of myself, and I feel a little more comfortable with decorating. (That's the NYC picture on the left of the wreath.)

If you are a die hard reader like me, this is right up your alley.  I really think that having an actual vintage book made all the difference.

Total cost of the project was $13 (the foam was $7!), but the book has enough pages to where I can make at least 2 more, or maybe I can find something else creative to do with it. The girl on the site said she found the Styrofoam at the Dollar Tree, but I didn't look there.

I hope this post was informative and somewhat entertaining ;)

Until next time, I hope you all get crafty!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Homemade dishwasher detergent

If anyone read the post of my newest obsessions, you will know that I'm trying to save money and our health by making products myself without chemicals.

The first thing I wanted to try was dishwashing detergent. I wanted to try this because dishwasher soap can get pretty expensive.

I've tried only one recipe, and I'm happy with it so far.  I'll keep using it and update if I find something better, but so far this is what I am using:

Homemade dishwasher detergent:

* 1 cup washing soda 
* 1 cup Borax (Borax and washing soda are both natural disinfectants and mild abrasives.)
* 1/4 cup salt (reduces the effects of hard water)
* two packets of lemonade flavored Kool-Aid (ONLY lemon and ONLY unsweetened!)

Mix everything together and use 1-2 tablespoons per load.  I use 2 because I think we have hard water.

If you are looking for an inexpensive rinse agent, use vinegar.  You can also add about a cup of it to the bottom of the dishwasher before washing.  This will also wash your dishwasher as it washes the dishes! Don't worry though, your dishes won't smell like the vinegar.

Coming up: homemade deodorant and toothpaste.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My new obsessions

People, I have to tell you a little about myself.  I have ideas and plans all the time, but fail to follow through, and if I do, it's for a short period of time.  I don't know, maybe my mind can't sit still.

I guess you could say I know a little about a lot of things.  In the past few years here are have been a few things I have picked up, and put down:

Playing piano
Making flower pens
Exercising (I know, this is common, it's still on the list though)
Makeup (buying and making)

I have made a resolution to stick with things longer, and I think I will be happier with myself.

One thing that has been with me for a while now is cooking/baking and making my own products.  I've done a lot of research, and I think I'm ready to take it a bit farther.

Now for the meaning of the subject of this post, my new obsessions.

I have been reading a lot about Coconut Oil and Dr. Bronner's Castile soap.  I will share with you some great things about both of these products, so read on if you are interested in hearing awesomeness!

Let's start with Coconut Oil.  Apparently this gem has been used widely for many many years now.  Who knew!  I'll start with a link to a great site that has good information on it's greatness.

Here are just some wonderful things I have found on the Internet that  Coconut Oil is good for (I'm not sure if I need to capitalize the "C' or the "O", but it's so awesome I will!)

Personally I've only tried making the toothpaste, but you can be sure I'm going to try the rest.

Face moisturizer-  It can also help with skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin conditions.
Stress relief- Massage a bit on your forehead and relax.
Digestion- use it in your food.  Saute some veggies. You can eat it straight out of the jar too!
Fitness- it's been showing to boost metabolism, help your thyroid and increase energy.
Healing- put it on a scrape instead of a topical medicine from the store. It protects the scrape and helps with healing.
Hair Care- it's seriously the best conditioner.  Be careful tough, a little goes a LONG way.
Did you know that it's Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Anti fungal, Antiviral and Improves nutrient absorption??
Eye cream – apply under the eyes to reduce puffiness, bags, and wrinkles. Use on the lids in the evening.
Pre shave – it will prep skin for the pending damage caused by shaving.
Aftershave – it will help heal your skin after shaving without clogging pores.
Deodorant –  alone it can be used as a deodorant, but even more effective in combination with cornstarch/arrowroot powder and baking soda!
Hair Gel/Defrizzer – rub a little between your palms and either scrunch into hair (for curly hair) or finger comb in through from scalp to ends (for wavy/straight hair).
Toothpaste – there are numerous recipes out there but I just mix coconut oil, peppermint oil and baking soda and dab a little of the mix on my toothbrush.
Make up remover – use a cotton swab and a dab of coconut oil and you would be amazed at how well it works!
Chapstick – just rub a little into lips and it not only acts as a softening agent but it also has an SPF of about 4 so you get a little protection!
Massage Oil – pretty simple; grab some and rub!
Lubricant – it is an all natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant. Not compatible with latex!
Stretch Mark Cream – it is great at nourishing damaged skin. It may not be the magic stretch mark cure but it will help.
Diaper salve – very comforting on a rashy bum with no harsh chemicals. Also safe for cloth diapers.
Cradle cap – it will not only nourish your baby’s skin, it also helps eliminate cradle cap. Just rub a teaspoon onto scalp daily.
Body scrub – mix coconut oil and sugar together and rub all over! Rinse off and your skin will be super soft! You can add in essential oils if you would like a specific smell.
Bug Bites – when applied directly to a bug bite, coconut oil can stop the itching and burning sensation as well as hasten the healing process.
Swimmers Ear – mix garlic oil and coconut oil and put a few drops in affected ear for about 10 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day and it usually works within one or two days.
Insect repellent – mix coconut oil with peppermint oil extract and rub it all over exposed skin. Keeps insects off better than anything with Deet! Tons safer too.
Great for dogs and cats for general wellness. Just add a teaspoon to their water bowl daily.
Goo Gone – just mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to the “sticky” area and let it set for a minute. Then scrub off with an old toothbrush or the scrubby side of a sponge.
Chewing Gum in Hair Remover – just rub some coconut oil over the stuck chewing gum, leave in for about 30 minutes, then roll the gum between your fingertip. Voila! It’s out!
Baldness – apply three times a day to affected area of hair loss. Coconut oil supports cell regeneration. 
Burns – apply to burn site immediately and continue applying until healed. Will reduce the chances of permanent scarring and promotes healing. 
Mole Remover – when applied after an apple cider vinegar compress for several weeks, moles have been known to “slide off” or just disappear. 
Oily Skin Fix – prone to oily skin or an oily T-zone? Use a pea sized amount underneath makeup or alone to reduce the appearance of oil. 
Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose making it great for both diabetics and non-diabetic. 
Nausea – rub some coconut oil on the inside for the wrist and forearm to calm an upset stomach. 
Make healthy Magic Shell ice cream topping.
Oil pulling, this site is interesting to find out about it.  I might try it sometime.
For nursing mothers, consuming coconut oil will help increase your milk flow.
If you’re prone to nosebleeds, coat the inside of your nostrils with coconut oil regularly.
Take a spoonful to help with heartburn, acid reflux, or indigestion.
Massage into your nails and cuticles to help strengthen them.
It's also linked to helping with Alzheimer's disease <3

Information compiled from herehere and here.

This is just what I've found so far, I can imagine what more research will unleash.  I'm ready to go buy more!

Now, on to the next obsession, Dr. Bronner's Castile soap.

This wonderful soap comes in 8 scents: peppermint, almond, citrus, eucalyptus, rose, tea tree, lavender and baby mild (for the little ones.) I have only purchased the peppermint scent (because I LOVE peppermint) but I really want to get some rose next.

This is what I have found that you can use this soap for:

Body/face wash: mix with water.
Toothpaste: just a couple drops will do.
Hand soap: mix with water.
Fruit wash: use a bit with a lot of water and wash away!
Dish soap
Disinfecting counter spray
Household cleaner: normally a ration of 1:40, or 1:20 for heavy duty cleaning.
Pet shampoo
Cleaning make up brushes/paint brushes
Washing clothes

Basically you can replace all of your soaps/cleansers with some form of this soap.  Imagine how much money you will save!

I bought a 16 oz bottle for $11 at Target, and from the small amount you need to use in each recipe, it seems it's going to last me quite a while.

I'm thinking the Rose for body wash and hand soap.  Oh, or peppermint... 

I hope this post was helpful to some (or at least one person.) I will make sure to post about my individual recipes and my thoughts.

I will leave you with 2 products that I made this weekend:

First is the toothpaste.  I combined 3 tablespoons each of Coconut Oil and baking soda with 25 drops of peppermint essential oil.  I like it.  It's definitely different, and you can tell there's baking soda in it, but for only having 3 natural ingredients in it, it's amazing.  Coconut Oil is great for your teeth and gums, and the baking soda will whiten and keep them clean.  

The other thing I tried is a shower cleaner.  I needed something to fight the soap scum.  I came across the recipe of equal parts of vinegar and dawn soap.  I sprayed this in the shower and let it sit for an hour or so.  The soap scum scrubbed off so quickly and easily.  I think what I'll do from now on is spray this in the shower a few times a week and just rinse, no scrubbing needed!

Well, there you have it.  An in depth post of my newest loves.

If anyone tries one of these 2 things and loves them, please let me know.