Friday, 16 March 2012

Time to kick Winter out the door...

Spring is here! I think. She's been a bit of a tease this year, what with the hail, snow and general cold nastiness that has crept in. Granted, it's only March. But be that as it may, we still have a certain expectation, like more sunlight, an increase in our vitamin D intake and thoughts of gardening.

With every fresh snowfall, every hail and wind storm and every downpour, we seem to feel another layer of depression and bleakness take hold. So, in order to remove that energy that we really don't want to carry with us into the fresh, new Spring of 2012, we are going to cleanse our home.

In the spirit of Feng Shui, which I dabble in, we cleanse with a white sage smudge stick. After opening a couple of windows (to allow the negative energy out), I light the stick, and with a large feather, fan the smoke around each room, paying special attention to corners. This moves the chi, which is energy life force. Energy gets stagnant and stops moving. Smudging, chanting, ringing bells and clapping are all ways to move the chi to create fresh opportunity for you and your family.

Anyway, while I smudge, I say a positive chant as I go, "I attract love, peace and prosperity", is my standby. When I have my kids join me, I have one clap and one ring our Tibetan bell as we go as well. No chance of any chi escaping that racket!

We go around the house clockwise and then 'herd' all the negative energy we've collected out the living room window. Done! With much of Feng Shui, it's about your intent. If it's honest and pure, it will work. So fill yourself with some positive light and go cleanse that energy!

Spring will officially be here before you know it!

Monday, 5 March 2012

No more poo in our shampoo!!!

I recently bought organic shampoo. The same organic shampoo I had bought for over a year. I figured that because it said it was organic, I was good to go. The first six ingredients (all essential oils) were organic, the rest were unpronounceable and there was even sodium laurel sulfate! I have become disheartened by the labeling on the products we purchase. We have to be so careful and knowledgeable of what is in the products that we put on and in our bodies!

So I took it upon myself to make my own. Here is the first one I found:

1 tsp nettle leaves
1 tsp horsetail
1 tsp coltsfoot
1 cup spring water
30 ml liquid castile soap
1 tsp almond oil
2 drop lavender oil

Crumble herbs and place in glass container with a lid. Boil the cup of spring water and pour over herbs. Cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and add lavender oil, mix. Store in a glass bottle for up to 6 months.

I found this recipe to be very watery and a lot of it was wasted before it even got to my hair. I found that when I did use it, my hair didn't feel clean at all. Now, as one wise friend reminded me, its the chemicals in the commercial products that make our hair clean. The sudsy bliss that indicates to us that our hair is now clean- chemical. I needed to change my thinking- but I was going to do it with a different recipe.

Here's the new one I found:

1/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup liquid castile soap
1 tsp almond oil
10-20 drops essential oil

Mix in a bottle. Good for one month.

This ended up being a thicker product that actually lathered! I was thrilled with the thicker consistency of this product, as well. I also found, in the styling process, it was best that I skip the mousse. I am a hair stylist and not using product is really a big adjustment for me.

Since I had purchased the herbs to make the first recipe, I didn't want to waste them. My wise friend suggested I infuse the almond oil with the herbs and add that to the new recipe. Brilliant! Here is the new recipe:

1 tsp nettle leaves
1 tsp horsetail
1 tsp coltsfoot
Enough almond oil to cover

In a small crock pot, place herbs and almond oil. Allow to cook for a few hours, stirring occasionally. Let cool and strain into a bottle.

1/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 liquid castile soap
1 tsp herb infused almond oil
10-20 drops essential oils

Combine ingredients and mix. Pour into a bottle. Good for one month.

By Jove, I think we got it! Now....conditioner!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

The squirrel is out of hibernation...

Spring! I do believe it is definitely on the way! We had a day that, other than the wind, was beyond fabulous. So it was today that I looked around and realized that not only did I have unfinished projects awaiting my attention, by I was creating more for myself! And I still have to make shampoo, conditioner, toner, cough syrup and more lip gloss! It's like the squirrel in my brain came out of hibernation and wants to get BUSY!!!

So, I decided, I better get on it. My family is helping me make a bird bath, bird feeder, stepping stones and  redo the back yard, including creating a veggie garden, but here is the trick: we are doing it all (or at least, most) of it with recycled materials. I reclaimed 2x4 frames that were used to ship product on pallets to create raised beds (still collecting, so will post when I have everything I need) and we will be making a deck from pallets heading for the dump.

Our other goal is to do as much as we possibly can with what we have. My hubby cleaned out the shed and we even found more plant pots that will grace our yard as well this year. Can't wait to start posting!

Stay tuned!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

What?!? More laundry?

So in my last post I talked about the homemade liquid laundry detergent I made. It's fab! But then I would slap in a chemical, scent laden non-biodegradable sheet in the dryer. This went against what I'm trying to achieve! So I made my own.
This concoction consisted of: 6 cups of water, 3 cups of vinegar and 2 cups of hair conditioner. To keep everything as eco friendly as possible, I used a natural conditioner from Whole Foods. I had my kids smell different bottles and the berry and mint scents definitely got the thumbs down. We found an herbal smelling one that we all agreed was going to be the best.

I blended it all up and soaked every crocheted dishcloth I had. I chose them for a couple of reasons: 1) my family would recognize that they were dryer cloths and not put them away with the rest of the dry load, and 2) they are an open weave that would accept the concoction well.

 I soaked 17 cloths in total. They hung above the bathtub for THREE DAYS! It took that long for them all to dry. They felt a bit stiff once they were dry and they softened considerably once they've gone through the dryer the first time.

Now, one recipe I found for homemade dryer sheets included only rags and store bought liquid fabric softener. Once you soaked rags in the softener and let them dry, each rag would last 12 loads! 12! I'm not sure if mine will last that long, but it has certainly been fun trying it out. This could be great in the Winter when line-drying isn't an option. In the Summer, a Downey ball with vinegar would another idea, although, I would love to find an alternative to a plastic ball in my washer.

Hair conditioner is partially designed to stop static in the hair, so it should in the dryer, too. If you find that static is still an issue, I've read that a ball of aluminum foil will fix that. I'm going to keep one handy just in case...if nothing else, to allow our kitties to be petted without fear of static shock.

Happy (safe) experimenting!

Monday, 23 January 2012


Laundry detergent has to be one of the most costly items that we have to purchase. I normally try to buy the most environmentally friendly product I can at the lowest price point possible. I am on a serious budget, after all. When I discovered the four main ingredients: baking soda, washing soda, borax and soap flakes, I started making my own.

The first recipe I used was a simple powder, mostly consisting of washing soda, soap flakes and borax. With this formula, you needed a full CUP of it per load of laundry! While very environmentally friendly, it was also very expensive! I abandoned that one almost immediately.

Then a friend sent me a YouTube link to a video on how to make your own liquid laundry detergent. I watched it, thinking it must be pretty tricky to require visual instruction, but it wasn't. It was very easy and very cost effective!

So here it is:

First, boil 4 cups of water in a saucepan. Slowly add 1/2 cup of soap flakes. Turn the heat right down. You only need to dissolve the soap flakes, not cook them, and as soon as you start to add the soap flakes, the water will froth like crazy and if your water is still at a rolling boil, it will make a mess! Trust me, I now have a burner that smells weird when I turn it on.

In a large bucket, add 12 pints of warm water. Now add the hot soap water. Break up any soap clumps as you see them.

Add 1 cup of washing soda.

Add 1/2 cup of borax.

Mix it all up really well and let it sit for 24 hours with the lid on loosely.
This is what the finished product will look like. 

Keep in mind that there are no stabilizers or other chemicals that make commercial detergents rich and creamy. This will have a slightly gelatinous texture and will have white 'floaties' in it. That's okay. It's supposed to look that way.

 To save me from searching for the recipe when it runs out, I wrote it on the side of the bucket. And the question you all want answered:

Yes, it works very well.

I've had some messy loads to do and it got the job done! Which is great because this recipe is for a LARGE bucketful. So, I started using this detergent and as I threw my clean load into the dryer (it's winter, I don't like frozen clothes) and realized in order to combat the static (which tortures our kitties every time we pet them) is with dryer sheets! I was aghast that I had missed that detail! So next adventure: fabric softener and static cling destroyer! 


Saturday, 21 January 2012

2012- the year of change

I've been aching for change for some time-I just wasn't sure how to go about it. Our recycled jewelry business is great, but there's more to us than that. We grow herbs, study rocks and crystals, are flexitrian and we surround ourselves with people who share their wisdom. We also mediate, belly dance and CREATE!!!

My goal is to learn and share. I will be making alternatives for the chemical laden products we often bring into our homes. Then I will test them on my family and post the whining here. Change is hard, especially when you're used to the way commercial products work. We've grown accustomed to the way they smell and their consistency. Mass produced isn't better! Besides, learning how to make your own cleaners is so satisfying!

Can't wait to get at it!