Saturday, August 27, 2011

If you're looking for a fun new blog to follow...

Check out:

DIY projects ranging from recipes to fashion, what more could ya ask for?!

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

A little "Leave of Absence"

Hello All! First of all, please let me say THANK YOU sooo much for each of your continued support. I can't believe December will mark 1 year that I've had this blog.

Due to my upcoming due date (I reached full term Friday, yippeee!) I am going to have to take a bit of a hiatus. I'm not stopping the blog... there's SO much I still want to make and so many topics I still want to research/post about (I have scribbles with ideas and reminders all over the place of unturned subject matter I have left to explore) but I just don't want to commit to anything I'm not certain I can deliver on right now. I have already slowed down tremendously on making products and I feel pretty certain that it will all come to a screeching halt right after baby comes. Once we get into a groove, I plan on starting everything back up ASAP when I can fully commit.

I can't give an exact time frame, and I'm hoping to sprinkle in subject matter here and there as I can, but please know that my mission (and you all) wont be forgotten!! I feel like I say this way too much, but thank you all so much for your continued patience and support. I have been hearing so many stories recently of family members and friends that are trying products off the blog and catching the passion to start making products from home, that it makes this sooo much harder to walk away from right now (even if only momentarily). Please keep with it (maybe using this time to catch up on old postings and products?) and PLEASE pass along anything you discover along your journey. I have no idea how to say this without sounding over-the-top and as corny as physically possible, but each of you (and your feedback) are literally my inspiration. THANK YOU!!!!

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Norman Rockwell "The Waiting Room"

Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you and scorn in the one ahead.  ~Mac McCleary

Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  ~John Quincy Adams

One moment of patience may ward off great disaster.  One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life.  ~Chinese Proverb

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First thoughts on making shaving cream and final thoughts on shaving cream

Here is the recipe I used (with accompanying instructions)

*with my notes

Natural IngredientsA homemade recipe consists of a few essential ingredients. Everything should be easily found at a natural market, such as a Whole Foods store.

Four tablespoons of an essential fatty acid-rich oil. Sweet almond, jojoba, and apricot all work really well. *I used grape-seed oil*
Two tablespoons of a natural skin nourisher and moisturizer, such as shea butter, cocoa butter, or beeswax.
*I decided to add a few drops of vitamin E since it is so fab for skin*
One and one-half cup of water; use a distilled or filtered water for the purest source.
One teaspoon of baking soda, which acts to soften and protect the skin.
Four tablespoons of castile soap. Castile soap is vegetable oil-based, usually from olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil. It can be found in liquid form, which is easier to use for this shaving cream recipe; in bar form, simply grate the soap. Dr. Bronner's is probably the most popular manufacturer of this eco-friendly, natural product.
One-half cup of either aloe vera gel or honey, this ingredient is optional, but really beneficial for people with sensitive skin. 
Essential oils, again, they are an optional, natural aromatic. For men's shaving cream, use three drops of pine essential oil and three drops of bergamot; for women's shaving cream, use three drops each of rose essential oil, and lavender. *I used lemongrass essential oil (I had purchased previously for homemade body spray) b/c it is a "relaxer" and unisex scent*

How to make shaving cream? First heat the oil and skin nourisher over a double boiler at a low heat. Stir until the mixture is clear, then pour into a large bowl and let cool. In another pan, heat the water, then add the baking soda, and castile soap, stirring until completely diluted. Add the aloe vera gel or honey to this solution and stir. Pour the soap mixture into the bowl with the now room-temperature oil and skin nourisher. Add essential oils if desired. Blend everything very well with a hand mixer, or throw into the blender. For best results, blend for two minutes, stop, and then blend again for another two minutes. *Beware, blending causes this mixture to foam and increase in amount considerably. I strongly recommend letting the blended mixture "settle"- letting the foam die down, before transferring to container(s)*

Store the cream in an airtight container in a dry, cool location. This natural cream can be stored for about three months; none of the ingredients are perishable but oils such as sweet almond and apricot have a limited shelf life. This is a great opportunity to reuse old jelly jars or pickle jars. Wash well with soap and warm water to get rid of any odor residues. Not only is this homemade shaving cream wonderful for personal use, but also makes a great eco-friendly gift for someone else.

Grapeseed Oil, Castile Soap, Shea butter, honey, vitamin E and lemongrass essential Oil
Parts and Price
Organic Shea Butter (if chosen): $7.99
Organic Grapeseed oil (if chosen): $3.99
Organic Castile Soap: $3.99
Essential Oil of your choice: (prices vary considerably depending on oil chosen and size of oil)
Raw Honey: (prices vary considerably depending on size of raw honey)
Total: approx $16 (assuming you have none of these ingredients on hand previously) 

The Process: Easy enough. I just mixed ingredients (as described above) in two separate jars, then soaked in a hot water bath (boil water in a larger bowl, then place a smaller bowl inside that bowl for mixing. Just make sure no water from the larger bowl gets in your mixing bowl!) while stirring. Once your two mixtures have cooled, combine and blend. I chose to do this in a blender and, as I mentioned before, it foamed and expanded considerably. If you wait a few minutes the solution dies down and becomes much easier to handle.

Complaints: Again, if you don't have any of these ingredients at your house already, it's an investment. Luckily ALL of the ingredients easily serve multiple purposes and have several uses, so I don't see any money "wasted." Due to how many products I have made from home now, each product is becoming much less of an investment for me. Also, the more knowledgeable you become about each ingredient the more you learn what can be substituted for what and what can be left out, etc. Other than price, I was alarmed at how thin the mixture is. I would hesitate to call this a shaving "cream" but more of a shaving "serum" or "liquid." It is a bit watery which can make for harder application.

Compliments: Easy to make and ingredients were easy to find. Also, although the solution is thin, it feels AMAZING when used. I don't think I will even need to use lotion on my legs the days that I shave because this is so ridiculously moisturizing. My Husband used it on his face and loved it. It feels (and smells) very light and refreshing. It serves its purpose (protecting your skin from the razor) while having an added bonus of actually being good for your skin. One batch of this made enough for my Husband and I to each have 1 full jar.

My Final Thoughts:
Cons- Up front price you have to pay if you don't own any of the ingredients, how thin the mixture is.

Pros- Easy to make, it REALLY works. Also, every ingredient is natural, chemical free, and beneficial to skin health. No hard to pronounce ingredients. Next time you're in the shower, grab your can of shaving cream and see how many ingredients it has + how many of them you know. I checked the back of mine and got to ingredient #2 before having no clue what was in it. All of these unnecessary ingredients going onto your skin and into your pores. Also, if you go the organic route (purchasing organic shaving cream to eliminate some unwanted chemicals) you will see that they run anywhere from $7-$20+ dollars for smaller portions than you're accustomed to. 

Overall- This product is an investment, but because of how much it will get used, I can justify it. I also love how nourishing it is to the skin. 

Bottom line, it works.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

What I will be making next...a homemade shaving cream!

There are a ton of recipes for this and I haven't quite narrowed down which one I am going to use yet, but I can assure you that they all look MUCH simpler than I anticipated. I have to use "sensitive skin" creams and still never feel completely satisfied, so I'm excited to see if this may be the answer! I will be making this on or before 8/1/11.

A product for guys AND gals! yay!
Stay tuned!

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*Side Note* Cornstarch for heat-rash and sweat control

If you're one of the lucky states this summer suffering from an unholy heatwave, you may be looking for natural remedies for a heat-rash or excess sweat, try cornstarch! It draws out and absorbs the moisture in your skin and creates a soothing/cooling feeling. It can also be used in areas where sweat pools to keep it dry. This may be one of the reasons our home-made deodorant (with cornstarch) works so well!

Another tip; bone up on your spinach intake, or take some flax seed oil. Foods rich in essential fatty acids (salmon is great too!) will help you get over your heat-rash in less time.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Benefits of Lanolin, Vitamin E, Honey, and Vegetable Glycerin

If you're like me, you like knowing the "whats" and "whys" of the different products you use. Like "why is that good to use" or "what exactly does that do?" So I've taken the main ingredients for the lip-gloss and broken down those answers for you below. These are very brief descriptions, but will give you an idea of the part each ingredient plays. Click the product name for a link with more information.

Lanolin: A waxy oil derived from sheep's skin. This ingredient traps moisture into the skin and draws humidity from the air in, creating a great source of hydration for skin/hair.

Vitamin E: An antioxidant that has great benefits whether ingested orally or applied topically. Can reduce acne, help to reduce scarring, work as a protector against sun damage and other pollutants, also moisturizes skin.

Honey: When applied to skin- attracts and retains moisture, has anti-inflammatory properties that can help heal wounds, filled with anti-oxidants that fight off free radicals giving it an anti-aging property.

Vegetable Glycerin:  An earth friendly, popular cosmetic additive. A natural source of moisture that also retains moisture making it a great skin softener. Not only makes skin look good, may have a positive affect on skin conditions.

So now you know a little more about these products (yet another bonus of making products from home, you can recognize and customize every ingredient in your products, no unnecessary preservative or chemicals)!

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