24 Fri, 2011 § 5 Comments
Have you made your own deodorant yet? I am still loving mine…except…occasionally, my under arms became mildly irritated & (unattractively) red, especially when heavy perspiration hits.
I researched & discovered baking soda is a common irritant for many people. Ashley said she initially experienced irritation, but eventually it went away. After a full batch, I still get it from time to time — strange it only happens sometimes. For my second batch, I could have reduced the amount of baking soda, but I decided to leave it out all together. I did not adjust any of the other ratios but simply left it out — no more rashes! I put it to the test in Bikram & climbing over the weekend & pushing high intensity intervals this week: no irritation at all, no odor. It might even smell better this time around…
I like the coconut scent & how the oil feels on my skin. When I’m cooking with it (plain coconut oil, not the deodorant), I don’t even bother rinsing or wiping it (completely) off if it gets on my hands; I just rub it in & let it soften my skin.
I added another skin-nourishing ingredient to this mix of deodorant: remember the cacao butter (also known as cocoa butter) I ordered for making raw chocolate? I added a little for its healing effects on the skin. It adds a nice cocoa scent & feels nourishing.
Also, filling an old deodorant crank container doesn’t work; I think the homemade deodorant is too soft with the coconut oil. If it worked for you, please share; but ours wouldn’t rise & lower after the first time. I filled an old body butter jar with the deodorant & apply it by hand. This works much better.
Milky with an espresso-like finish from the cacao, this looks & smells so good.
Coconut Oil Deodorant with Lavender & Cocoa Butter
perfectly fills a 6.7 oz container
- 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 4 vitamin E capsules
- ~20 drops lavender oil
- ~5 drops tea tree oil
- 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
- 1 oz cacao/cocoa butter, shaved & melted
Shave & melt cacao butter using a double broiler, or in the oven on a low setting, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, combine & stir coconut oil, vitamin E (squeezed from capsules) & essential oils together. Add arrowroot powder & stir until evenly combined & smooth. Add the melted cacao butter & stir again. Pour into a 6.7 oz jar or container with a wide mouth. Refrigerate to harden.
Due to the heat of summer, we keep ours in the fridge & remove it for a few minutes to soften before applying.
Have you made your own deodorant yet? How did it turn out?
15 Wed, 2011 § 2 Comments
It is more rewarding to make my own anything from scratch, even if it’s just to scrub away germs.
The ingredient list is sort of scary once you start looking more closely at conventional cleaners. The “natural” ones don’t always work as well, aren’t always as natural as they portray & can be on the expensive side. I like how my own cleaners & detergents work, feel safer using them & am reducing our household waste even more by making my own (ie reducing the amount of packaging we consume).
Before we left Utah, my spinning instructor gave me a few recipes, one of them being for dish washing detergent. I have been waiting for ours to run out, so I could finally give it a go.
Most of these ingredients come in large containers & can be used to make multiple batches as well as for other household cleaners, such as laundry detergent which I plan to make soon. At the bottom, I have noted where to find the less familiar ingredients.
Dish Detergent for Machine Washing
~$4.37 = less than $0.10 per load
- 1/2 citric acid
- 1 cup Borax
- 1 cup Super Washing Soda
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
Combine ingredients & store in a sealed container. Use 1 T per load. As a rinse aid, pour distilled vinegar into the aid dispenser.
Notes: After storing it, mine clumped together a little, but that may have been because I forgot the salt when I initially mixed it. Either way, it still dissolved in the wash & cleaned our dishes wonderfully. We washed & save an old, unmarked protein powder container as well as the scoop to store & measure our detergent.
A couple weeks ago, I was distracted searching store after store for the detergent ingredients & suddenly ran out of liquid dish soap. I realized I already had nearly everything I needed on hand, so I decided to throw together this liquid soap as well.
Lavender & Lemon Liquid Dish Soap
- 2 cups warm water
- 3 T liquid castile soap
- 2 tsp vegetable glycerin
- 2 T distilled white vinegar
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops lemon essential oil
- 5 drops tea tree oil
Combine ingredients in a bottle & shake gently. Use about 1 T per sink full.
Notes: I used unscented castile soap because it’s what I had, but feel free to use your favorite scent. Lavender would be nice. This is thinner & does not sud like traditional soap, but it will still clean dishes. It seems to do a better job at cutting through grease. You can leave out the vegetable glycerin if you can’t find it & don’t want to order it. The lavender, lemon & tea tree not only smell lovely but have antibacterial properties as well.
Citric Acid ~ Natural Food & Supplement Stores (most expensive here; I got it on sale $2.99/4oz), Nutsonline (best price $3.99/lb), Brewing & Wine-Making supply stores (good prices)
Borax ~ Target ~$4.00 for 76 oz (multiple batches)
Super Washing Soda ~ Ace $4.29 for 55 oz (multiple batches)
Vegetable Glycerin ~ Vitacost $3.99 for 4 oz (multiple uses)
Essential Oils ~ Natural Food & Supplement Stores – essential oils can be expensive; but because they are concentrated & you’ll only ever use a few drops at a time, they last a long time. (multiple uses)
Liquid Castile Soap ~ This is becoming easier to find; I’ve seen it at Natural Food Stores as well as Target. Again, it is sort of pricey, but I watch for it to go on sale & buy a large container. I use it to make all of my cleaning products, to clean wounds & for various other uses & have yet to go through my 32-oz container. A small amount goes a long way. (multiple uses)
Do you make any of your own cleaners or detergents?
23 Sun, 2011 § 6 Comments
[fyi I HATE the word armpits, but “smell under my arms” just didn’t have the same ring to it. ;)]
For those of you dying to know what my pits [eh, cringe] smell like, I am confident you would be pleasantly surprised by a calming whiff of lavender, a bold essence you might not be able to place & a detection of…nuttiness?
Coconutiness, that is.
I am terrified…absolutely petrified…of Aluminum. Is my fear warranted? Maybe, maybe not; but the fact that it is considered a toxic chemical & has been linked to several diseases like… Alzheimer’s & cancer….makes me nervous.
So just stay away from it, right? Well, most commercial antiperspirants contain Aluminum Salts, namely Aluminum Cholorhydrate? It does a stellar job at suppressing perspiration; but ladies, what tissue extends up into the armpits? Breast tissue. A little too close for comfort for me.
While there are now oodles of alternative, “natural” deodorants out there sans Aluminum Salts, the delicate skin under my arms has always been sensitive. It took years — & a brilliant suggestion by my father, surprisingly — to finally try & then fall in love with Dove deodorant, seemingly simple & pure. It has been the only one not to cause painful, red breakouts under my arms. Even some the natural deodorants leave break outs & many have sticky, weird textures; worst of all, I always smell like soup. Seriously. Dave gets such a kick out of the fact I think I smell like Lipton soup. He disagrees, but I think he is trying to spare my feelings. Gross, who wants to smell like broth?
So it seems my options are A) smell like broth. B) stick with Dove & not think about the “trace amounts” of Aluminum seeping into my skin. C) finally get around to making my own — I have been hanging on to an old, cleaned out deodorant container for months for just this purpose.
I had looked over a few recipes & went with Ashley’s version & added another essential oil for its natural antibacterial qualities…but it also promotes sweating, which is counter-intuitive when making deodorant. Guess what? Sweating is GOOD for us. That is one way our bodies eliminate toxins.
As a teenager, I was mortified by any degree of sweat not the direct result of playing sports. I have finally come to terms with sweat. No antiperspirant comes close to cutting it when I am active anyway [I sweat like a guy!]. As long as I do not stink, I am ok. I have not been sweating any more with my homemade stick than I do with commercial antiperspirant, so I will stick with this formula for now.
Only six ingredients — all of which I keep on-hand anyway — & my own deodorant was born. I wanted to try it out for a couple weeks before passing it along to you; I love it.
You can use cornstarch, but I prefer the more natural + less processed [+ talc-free] arrowroot.
Refined or unrefined (retains more nutrients) if you want the coconut scent — I went with unrefined — this is also great for your skin! I rub it on in the shower before my final rinse to soften my skin; no need for lotion even in AZ dryness when I do this.
Lavender essential oil
Contains natural antiperspirant qualities. If you have never used the oil before, start with a spot test to determine any reactions — do not forget to dilute before applying directly to skin! I also add this to my homemade cleaning spray.
Tea Tree essential oil
Natural antibacterial/fungal qualities. Sometimes I add this to my kitchen & bath laundry. It is also an effective first-aid remedy for cuts, burns, insect bites, infections, etc.
Vitamin E [capsules]
Also great for the skin & helps reduce water loss; I keep the capsules on hand to “doctor” wounds & ugly, climber’s cuticles. It smells weird when I apply it alone, but you cannot detect it in the deodorant.
Homemade Deodorant with Lavender & Tea Tree Oil
Double Batch — Dave needed deodorant too after all.
Fills two tall [2.6 oz]deodorant containers + a small tree cookie cutter 🙂
~$3.00 per deodorant [I did not factor in the oils because I used so little]
- ½ C arrowroot powder
- ½ C baking soda
- 12 T coconut oil
- ~12 drops lavender oil
- ~10 drops tea tree oil
- 4 vitamin E capsules
Combine all ingredients.
Mash with a fork until smooth or until completely combined. [I warmed the coconut oil to make it easier to combine & get “smooth”.]
Add more essential oil if desired.
Crank down empty deodorant container until it is all the way at the bottom.
Pour mixture in, cap & refrigerate until solid.
CRUCIAL: Slap on an inspiring sticker — something that is worth reminding yourself every morning & every time you apply your deodorant.
*Remember – It will become very soft around 76* from the coconut oil. Store in a cool place or even in the fridge. If you keep it in the fridge, make sure you leave it out a few minutes before twisting it. We were anxious & I think we both stripped ours out; now we are applying deodorant with our fingers! 😀
Maybe my anxiety over Aluminum is unnecessary; but if I can find an alternative to a substance in question, why would I not go with the safe bet? Plus, it is always rewarding to make your own anything…even if it is for stinky, sweaty…armpits 😉
Do you make any of your own toiletries?
29 Wed, 2010 § Leave a comment
On Christmas day, one of the first items on the agenda was taking a family photo. We had to document what a beautiful family we have before the little ones could even think in terms of getting messy. This is becoming sort of a tradition — my mom is set on updating our photo often it seems — which I think is nice.
The second priority — ok, maybe it was farther down the list after food & exchanging gifts — was a “family activity” like decorating gingerbread houses. That was a little more involved & wasteful than I wanted though. I was set on these cookie trees by Nienke but could not find the right star cutters. World Market was my best bet, but then Dave spotted a paint-your-own tea set. I immediately agreed with his sentimental, “aw…look…for Daiqri.”
With my hands covered in
Daiq’s mess paint, I didn’t get photos of the creativity in action — even with a professional photographer in the house! [I should have bribed for his services.] Sometimes a girl just gets caught up in having fun with her niece & let’s the blogger in her hibernate a moment.
Even with one spill incident, I think mom’s carpet survived for the most part; & it was fun to veer from the traditional for a few minutes Christmas day. Plus with all the goodies around, it’s a good idea for me to keep my hands as busy as possible for as long as possible…but not too long.
Before we left for our holiday weekend, my hands were busy with something else: playing with my current spice obsession. You will figure it out if you haven’t picked up on it already.
I spotted my stash of forbidden rice in the pantry [I wonder if I can find it in AZ] & wanted to try something a little different. It’s a nice, sticky rice, & while it is not necessarily my favorite rice, it lends a dark, pretty purple to the plate for a fun change.
Forbidden Rice with Saffron
- 2 T Earth Balance butter
- ½ tsp pepper
- ¼ tsp cumin, ground
- ½ tsp saffron, soaked in a little milk or cooking water from rice
- sea salt to taste
Cook rice according to directions.
When the rice is about 20 minutes from being done, melt the butter in a small sauce pan or skillet.
Remove from heat & stir in the other spices.
Cover & allow to steep 15 – 20 minutes.
When rice is finished cooking, pour the butter mixture over the rice, cover & let sit ~10 minutes.
Fluff rice & stir to mix spices.
I love the complexity of saffron & usually keep the rest of the meal pretty simple. This paired really nicely with diced butternut squash, carrots & cauliflower roasted in olive oil, salted & peppered [a little basil also goes well with saffron].
The orange & purple really popped when we added bright green edamame pods to the meal. I figured out the best way to cook frozen ones, which I will share when we make them again. For leftovers the next day, I sprinkled bee pollen over the rice & laid out a green mat to give you a sense of the pods. Now I really want edamame again.
What fun, reoccurring or newly created, traditions did you enjoy this season?
24 Fri, 2010 § 8 Comments
When Dave & I were preparing for our first Christmas together, I was really set on finding actual knit stockings…until we spotted these at our favorite import store.
We fill each shoe with small gifts on Christmas morning. They are fun & different than stockings, but our favorite part about these are the stories they tell.
Each winter solstice, before our night hike, we paint our shoes. We each commemorate a signifying aspect, memory or overall theme for that year through our painting. In the end we may end up with a neatly-tied-together scene or a fun, mish-mosh collage of our life stories. There is no way of telling, but the making of our stories is sure fun — in every aspect.
My star & tree were more symbolic, telling of new beginnings & finding harmony & balance through nature’s example. 2009 is a more literal image of our expanding family as Bodhi chases a recently adopted Eisley [she was our early Christmas last year].
Dave’s book is a year of introspection, reading & sharing information between us. We learned a lot about each other & ourselves that year. His joined “bands” & holly represent his Christmas Eve proposal to me that year — he was very sneaky because he painted that before he proposed.
From our three weeks together in Thailand to our desert wedding to moving to Arizona, how do we portray 2010?
Before our hike on Monday, we turned on Christmas music…pulled out the brushes…got our shoes ready…had our visions in mind…then realized we had left the paint in another box that was still at Christine’s. 😦 boo.
Looks like our shoes will be accompanying us to my parents’, so we can borrow mom’s paints & create on Christmas Eve — wait, if you are reading this now, then that is tonight!
I hope you are already enjoying your holiday celebrations!
Do you have a similar tradition of “journaling” through art or craft [it doesn’t have to be during Christmas]?
22 Wed, 2010 § 5 Comments
Apparently if you have aspirations of becoming a successful bank robber, move to Arizona. On the two month anniversary of our AZ move, the second bank [since we moved here] was robbed. I did not know you actually could still rob a bank! Does this happen where you live?
It was sort of fitting — tragic, yet fitting — that someone had broken into the Chase bank while I was across the street at Michael’s tediously trying to create simple, pretty cards with a personal touch that would not break our own bank.
I like making my own cards, but anyone who has ever scrapbooked, knows paper & embellishments add up quickly. I spent hours debating over a couple different card-making routes I could take. [Seriously. Picking out paper & crafts is like Christmas for me though.] I thought I had narrowed it down — & wasn’t 100% happy with either — when I stumbled across this idea while perusing the close-out bins. Ok, so they are the $1 bins, which I was hesitant to tell you; but these still turned out pretty cute regardless of the price tag.
I fell in love with the whimsical birds & trees. All I needed was to start with a cute card, add a 3D “Happy Holiday” sticker & stamp the inside to dress it up a touch. It is still pretty simple, but I was going for simple. I usually think less is more.
Did you know that stamps are expensive? Did I tell you I also nabbed this for $1? Depending on the ink & embellishment powder, these could be spring leaves…or summer leaves…or fall leaves…or festive gold leaves.
Perfect for every season. This was a point I really liked; because even though I loved a couple holiday stamps, they were at least 4 — if not 8 or 12 — times the price & could only be used for Christmas.
I had never used embellishing powder [a.k.a. glitter] before & thought this little set [also $1] was the perfect chance to try it out. Super easy: just make a stamp using the ink pad, immediately sprinkle glitter over the entire image, then gently shake/tip the glitter off & back into the jar. It is “messy” — I’m sure I still have glitter hiding in my hair & will probably be wiping it from the kitchen counter until July, but I like the way it turned out. I just don’t know if any of the glitter will actually survive the mailing process…here’s hoping.
I do not think this is some brilliant craft. I just wanted to show you how simple it is to add a little something extra to a store-bought card…& it doesn’t have to cost a lot either if you are willing to hunt a bit. 😉 Ribbon or buttons are often a nice touch too.
p.s. I am the queen of upcycling cards to create new cards — I don’t know if Dave thinks it is funny, cute or weird — but I just hate waste & have fun trying to be creative & thrifty. Most of our gift tags this year were from cute cards I got for my birthday. You can’t even tell. I’ll show you next time it happens.
Do you ever make your own cards? I would love ideas!
9 Thu, 2010 § 4 Comments
Dave loves wind chimes.
When I saw this awesome hanging planter in my favorite consignment store in SLC, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.
Getting my hands on chimes was more difficult than I thought it would be. I took these from a broken wind chime I finally found on sale at Lowe’s of all places.
I chose simple, elegant beads that would reflect the light & create the perfect…TING.
It turned out just like I envisioned.
From that spark of inspiration when I first glanced the planter to carefully selecting each bead to
painstakingly lovingly tying each knot this project was all about the person I was giving it to.
Dave loves that something as powerful as the wind can be reflected in the simple & beautiful sound of chimes. That is what I hoped to embrace, & he was in my thoughts throughout the entire process.
That is what made this gift so special…plus it held a pretty fern. 😉
Hopefully, he enjoyed it.
I wanted to share it with you after a new friend I met through the blog asked if there were any favorite gifts I had made. Now I’d like to hear about any special gifts you’ve made for someone. Tell us about them here in the comments or link to your own post.
I’m also looking for a little inspiration as the holidays approach…I’ve hit a bit of a lull.
9 Tue, 2010 § 11 Comments
The only needles I was familiar with growing up were on the sharp end of a cactus. I knew how to work a “hook” & crochet a bit, but knitting alluded me. Just a few years ago, I would often stop by the yarn store & browse colors & textures…& play make believe. What could I make with these? A new chalk bag? A lovely sweater? A simple headband? I would scan the learn-to-knit class schedule & debate over whether I should just do it already.
Then I met Ashley.
Honest. Sincere. Outspoken. Thoughtful. Driven. Intelligent. Reliable.
She Climbs Rocks…& she Knits.
How perfect is she?
So my best friend taught me to work the needles & this simple practice has truly enhanced my life.
Lessons I have/am learning on the needles:
Contentedness. I picked up on the “knitting” aspect fairly easily; my fingers were not getting “purling” though, so initially I just “knit”…scarves…perfectly content at my skill level or lack thereof. Enjoy the moment & don’t get too ahead of yourself.
Appreciate & acknowledge others. Knitting is a time-consuming & expensive pastime. Many charge high rates for lessons & help — as they should. Does Ashley know how grateful I am that she took the time & had the patience to teach me & correct my mistakes? Does she realize how much her basic instruction & introduction to the needles added to my life? We need to make sure people realize what they mean to us & what they bring to our lives.
Don’t over think — let your intuition have a crack at life. I dropped the needles for a few months & didn’t make time for knitting while focusing on other things. When I picked them up again, the “knitting” clicked; but, I couldn’t quite remember “purling”. It had been so difficult before; how was I ever going to get it without my tutor? Watching tutorial videos online, I debated between English & Continental styles; I would think I had it, then just confuse myself further. Finally I closed my browser & simply grabbed some yarn & needles. My fingers knew what to do. They could “purl”…I just had to let them. In our western world, it is easy to over-analyze & have to logically reason every aspect of life & our decisions; often we will come to [more accurate] realizations sooner if we just trust our ability to sense it.
Working outside my comfort zone. As “content” as I was to simply “knit”, branching out from basic scarves to more extravagant scarves to less-than-ordinary wash cloths to mittens to headbands has expanded & brightened the experience. Whether I am teaching myself to cable, increase/decrease, create a thumb hole or read & follow more advanced patterns, the next step always makes the basics even more fun. Pushing beyond what we are comfortable doing — whether it turns out like we expect or not — is the only way to grow & progress.
Sometimes I am the type of person I want to be….sometimes not. I have learned a lot about myself while knitting, like where my patience lies. Some days I will sacrifice comfort for stark pain as Bodhi sits, enraptured, on my forearm. Try to knit with a 13-lb cat sitting on your arm. Ouch. I tell myself it’s forearm training for climbing 😉 Really, I just like bonding with Bodhi. Other days, Dave has to hold me back from inflicting serious harm on the mischievous whiskered twins’ [Christine’s cats] during their reign of terror.
Mind you, this was securely hidden in the bottom of my bag & discretely tucked away. Ten minutes — ten minutes alone, & they had found & completely unraveled & tangled my lovely ball of yarn. We can only take each day & moment as they come…& try to make actions that are in line with who we want to be. [I don’t want to be a person who kills cats 😉 ]
Tedious labor is good for the soul. Knitting is methodical. I love listening to audio books & embracing the chance to expand my knowledge; sometimes, I enjoy sitting in silence, simply experiencing the yarn coming together. I spend a lot of time in my head, letting my mind wander. Find quiet “you time”, not only to destress, find peace & inspiration, but to become acquainted with yourself. It’s important to be able to stand your own company. 😉
[I have to give credit here. Though I had typed this up before seeing Nienke’s life lesson post, she said it in her #3 better than I could…& I was inspired to reword my title. Thanks Nienke.]
Experience life & share that with others. It is amazing to watch the strand become more. This is life. You start simply, with one strand — one idea or notion — & create beautiful experiences interwoven & connected. I love sharing this with others. As the holiday approaches, I have been anxious to finish Dave’s scarf so I can begin working on gifts. I am excited to share those here, but won’t be posting photos until after Winter Solstice. I would love to share these with anyone who is looking for a little inspiration for simple knitting projects though. Just email me if you can’t wait until January!
Speaking of gifts…
enjoying the experience…
& developing patience…
Homemade Nut Butter
but not just any old buttah —
Homemade Double~Roasted Maple~Kissed Peanut Butter
- 1 C Peanuts, unsalted [I could not find raw, hence the “double-roasted”]
- 1 T Maple Syrup
Drizzle maple over peanuts, toss & spread onto a cookie sheet.
Roast in 350*F oven ~10 minutes until lightly golden & maple has started to crystallize.
Cool slightly, but it’s ok if they are still on the warmer side.
Into the food processor…&…go!
First, it will become a meal.
Eventually, the oils will start to break down into a thicker, more moist meal, but will still be crumbly.
Continue processing & scraping down as needed.
As the oils break down further & become thicker, add
- 1 T Maple
- 1 tsp sea salt
& keep processing…
It seriously take ~15 minutes for the oils to completely break down into that creamy goodness.
Definitely a lesson in patience…which might not be as pointed if I had a regular food processor which I could walk away from…but since it broke, I have to use my mini food processor with the Smart Stick Hand Held Blender attachment.
That’s right; I have to hold the button the whole time.
It’s almost there!
I often begin to lose faith & question if it is really breaking down. Stop? Give up? No. Just keep doing what you are doing — it will work.
There is something so rewarding about reaching that creamy, glossy state…
& sharing it with others.
So now find a cute container.
Add an extra special touch.
Give it to someone who will appreciate all the labor & love that went into making something so seemingly simple, yet decadent.
~ Happy Birthday Mom ~
[I hope this reached you safely & you enjoy it.]
What are your quiet, “me time” pastimes? Do you make gifts?