DIY Turmeric Face Scrub

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I dunno about you, but winter has been rough on my skin this year. Especially my face. And the less sunlight I get, the more I’m prone to breakouts. A friend suggested exfoliating more often might help… So I whipped up a batch of this turmeric scrub, and I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my skin! I’m getting fewer breakouts and have less flakiness.

Turmeric can be greatly effective for acne because it is antiseptic and antibacterial. It reduces inflammation and can even potentially help clear acne scars. It also reduces oil secretion by sebaceous glands, which can really help with breakouts and blackheads.

I will warn you, turmeric has serious staining power! I scrub my face, then wash with a gentle soap and water with my hands, then dry my face on a darker colored towel. Just make sure if you get it anywhere other than your face, you clean it up sooner rather than later.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fine sugar (or, if you have sugar with a larger grain to it, just pulse in a blender or food processor a couple of times until it’s fine)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric

Mix ingredients together until it becomes like moon sand – not greasy, but still sticks together somewhat.

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Apply a small amount to your face and scrub gently. Rinse with a mild soap and water. If there is any coconut oil residue left on your skin, just rub in for moisturizing.

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DIY Calendula Salve

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Welcome to the season of sunburns, bug bites, and gardeners hands. Calendula is a wonderful little golden bloom that offers anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties for the skin, among other things. It also hosts many benefits when consumed internally, but I’ll focus on skin here.

It is beneficial for dry skin, inflamed skin (sunburn!!!), can help with sprains and bruises, can help with diaper rash, is great for healing minor wounds, and even can be beneficial for eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

Making herbal salves it super simple. There are various methods.. I’ve use solar infusions, double boiling, even in a crockpot on warm. I used a double boiler method for this recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Calendula petals (I get mine here)
  • 1 cup organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup candelilla wax (most folks recommend beeswax, but I prefer to leave that for the bees!)

 

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Heat a double boiler on the stove, keeping at a low simmer.

Pour olive oil and calendula into the top pot. Do not put the wax in yet!

Allow calendula to infuse into olive oil for 2-3 hours in double boiler. Remember to check your bottom pot to be sure it still has water every 20-30 minutes or so! Keep the water in the bottom  pot at a low simmer, if it’s a rolling boil, it will just evaporate quicker, not necessarily infusing the oil any better.

After the necessary amount of time for infusion, strain calendula petals out of oil, using a spoon to squeeze any excess oil out of the petals. You can now compost the petals.

Pour the infused oil back into the top pot of the double boiler, and add candelilla wax. Stir until wax is melted and well incorporated.

Pour salve into glass or metal containers and allow to cool, then cover and label.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

THIS POST CONTAINS AN AFFILIATE LINK, WHICH MEANS THAT I MAY GET A COMMISSIONS IF YOU DECIDE TO PURCHASE ANYTHING FROM MOUNTAIN ROSE HERBS. I ONLY RECOMMEND PRODUCTS & SYSTEMS THAT I USE AND LOVE MYSELF.

Vanilla Sugar Lip Scrub

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Anybody else feelin’ the winter cold drying your lips out? I use lip balm pretty generously, but my lips still peel in winter. I’ve been trying to exfoliate them in order to not pick at them when they’re peeling, and this scrub seems to help a lot! And it smells (and tastes haha!) delicious.

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Ingredients and supplies

  • 1/4 cup sugar – I used certified vegan raw cane sugar. The finer the granules, the gentler it is on your skin. As you can see, my sugar had larger granules, but I used what I had and just scrubbed gently.
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (more if needed – you might need to adjust depending on the size of your sugar granules)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional, but sure makes this smell amazing)
  • a small jar or container for storing

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Just mix all the ingredients together, it should stick together and not be crumbly, but not be super greasy either. Put mixture into storage container. Use once a week to exfoliate your lips, then wash off, and apply lip balm (my favorite lip balms are from Hurraw! – I have the green tea scent, vanilla chai, vata, and grapefruit).

Happy winter lip care!

Adventures in Homemade Vegan Yogurt

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I have always been a yogurt lover. I don’t like taking straight probiotic capsules, but I love consuming probiotic rich foods. Vegan yogurt, though… gets so expensive. I purchased some yogurt starter a few weeks ago and began researching making homemade yogurt. I was afraid that I’d need a lot of equipment and that it’d be really complicated. It’s simpler than I thought it would be, and I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned.

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Supplies and ingredients

  • Vegan yogurt starter – I use this one – it’s important to get one that’s made just for plant based milks
  • Milk alternative – 1 qt per yogurt starter packet
  • Thickener – I use 2 Tablespoons organic cornstarch, but from the research I’ve done, I’ve read that you can use agar agar, xantham gum, arrow root, tapioca flour, guar gum, and lecithin
  • Stockpot
  • Thermometer
  • Oven with a warming setting
  • Oven safe ceramic or glass container

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Begin by whisking your thickener with a quart of milk. Pour into stockpot and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer and whisk until it begins to thicken. If there are any clumps from the thickener, try to break them down, or, once the yogurt cools down to 110ºF, blend until smooth, or wait till it’s totally cooled and cultured.

Preheat oven to 110ºF or to a warming setting.

Once yogurt cools to 110ºF, whisk in cultures. Pour into an oven safe container. Place in oven and keep warm, ideally at 110ºF for 8-9 hours.

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When I remove mine from the oven, I like to whisk it or blend it until smooth. Sometimes in the culturing process it gets a little lumpy or gets a layer of skin on top. Once smooth, I pour mine into a mason jar and seal it up in the refrigerator. My favorite way to use it is in smoothies, but you can use it in parfaits, etc. Remember, if you’ve followed this recipe, it’s currently unsweetened, so you may want to add some maple syrup if you’re going to eat it with fruit or granola.

The blog post I found most helpful when I was first researching how to make vegan yogurt was this one, so if there’s something you’re wondering about that I haven’t mentioned here, check this post out!

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DIY Driftwood Wall Art

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So, friends, I’ve had a stack of driftwood in my home office for almost a year now. Seriously. I’ve also got a random stick sitting in a corner that’s been there for more than two years, there’s nothing special about the stick either. I just thought maybe I’d make a wall hanging with it some day hahahaha! I hoard things for potential projects, and it’s not cool. I strive toward minimalism but when I pass some amazing driftwood on the beach I’m camping near, I really struggle to pass it up. I’ve been this way since I was a child. I seriously used to keep or buy every button I could find at garage sales or antique stores (I still have four jars of these buttons, but they totally come in handy), I kept old bedsheets and pillowcases to make dresses out of… But hey, I spent a LOT of my childhood creating. I’ve worn a lot of really ridiculous creations.

Anyways, I ended up with a stack of driftwood. I was inspired recently to turn some of that random stack of driftwood into wall art. I love bringing elements of the outdoors into my home, especially my bedroom (there are a lotta rocks, and plants, and wood, and found butterflies and feathers in there).

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Supplies

  • Driftwood or wood in which the bark won’t crumble off and make a mess all the time, I used three pieces
  • Embroidery floss or yarn
  • Scissors
  • A drill (optional)

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First, select the colors of thread or yarn you’re using. I chose to go nature inspired.

Drill holes about 1.5 inches from the ends of the driftwood on either opposing side of the stick. If you don’t have access to a drill, skip it, there’s still a way you can make this work! Instructions for that will follow.

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Tie your chosen color of thread around the wood.

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Tuck the short tail end of the thread down against the wood, and begin wrapping the longer tail of thread around the wood, covering the short tail. This helps so that you don’t have so many knots that can potentially unravel. When you’ve wrapped as much thread as you like of that color, tie it off in a knot and trim excess thread, leaving approximately a 1 inch tail.

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Try to keep all knots on the same side of the stick so it doesn’t look ragged when it’s hanging and there’s a smooth front side. Unless you want it ragged, then by all means, do so!

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Continue this process with other colors, then on the final color, tie the thread off and trim the end of the thread close to the knot. Continue this with all the sticks you’re using.

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See, here are my sticks! No particular patterns, just arranged the colors as I felt on a whim.

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Next, thread the embroidery floss or yarn through the holes you drilled, tie it off in a knot with a long strand, about six inches, remaining.

If you did not drill holes, just wrap the thread around the stick and tie it off in a knot with a six inch long strand remaining.

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Connect one stick to the other, being mindful of the shape it may create when it hangs (I chose to arranged my driftwood pieces from shortest to longest after I accidentally tied it up with the longest one in the middle and it made an awkward lopsided hexagram shape). Also, be careful to keep all the knots on the back side as you tie the driftwood together. Finally, use a strand of thread to create a way to hang the piece, by tying it to either end of the top stick and leaving slack for it to hang from.

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Then hang it on your wall! Or from your ceiling. Or from your rearview mirror. Kidding, definitely don’t do that. Dangerous. Just find somewhere cool to hang it.

Enjoy!

DIY Halloween Banner

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I’ve been wanting to make a Halloween banner for a while and kept putting it off because I didn’t want to make the letters by hand (lazy!). Then, I was wandering through one of the local craft stores and found a halloween banner that was just black glittery letters that said Happy Halloween. Score! Bought them. And grabbed my stack of halloween-ish scrapbook paper. And, ta-da!

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Supplies

-black letters that spell ‘happy halloween’

-scrapbook paper in halloween-y patterns and colors

-black yarn

-hot glue (or any glue that’ll work on cardstock)

-scissors or paper cutter

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Also, it’s nice to have a lovely friend/cousin to help.

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To make a stencil for the rest of the triangle banner, flip one of the pieces of scrapbook paper over and place one of your letters on it to act as a way to measure the size of the triangles you’ll need. Using a ruler and pencil, draw the triangle shape. I felt pretty comfortable free-handing the angle.

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Cut out your triangle shape. Use it as a stencil to cut the remaining triangles.

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Lay out all your triangles in the order you’d like the patterns to appear in.

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Start gluing the letters onto the triangles.

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Glue the triangles along their top edges to the strand of yarn. I did ‘happy’ on one strand and ‘halloween’ on the other. Remember, if you’re gluing them flipped over, they’ll be in backwards order.

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This is me, with messy, messy hair and my Halloween banner. Happy Halloween week! Hoooo-rahhhh!

Life Lessons I Learned from the Garden

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I gardened a lot this year. A lot, a lot. Gardening is probably my favorite hobby. It’s like a moving meditation, where I’m always in the dirt and learn more by the day/month/year. And then there’s always fresh produce, too.

But actually, gardening this year reminded me of a lot of life lessons, and I thought I’d share a few.

  1. Sometimes you just have to let things go. It can be good to give up on something that’s not working, whether it’s a job or relationship, or a bell pepper plant that just won’t do anything but wilt. Letting go of things that no longer serve you can be wonderfully healthy and uplifting.
  2. Nothing lasts forever. Strawberry season, friendships, etc…. Most often, things wilt or disappear or change drastically. And that’s ok 🙂
  3. Things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you realllllly want to produce large amounts of black carrots… and you only get five or six the whole year. Sometimes you make plans with someone and they fall through. And that’s ok. Expectations will often lead to disappointment.
  4. You gotta put in the hard, often dirty, work to reap the rewards. Planting and raking and weeding is rough on the body, but mannnnn a fresh tomato or cucumber makes it all worth it. Same with life outside the garden. You’ve gotta put in the time and attention for a great job or great relationship or friendship, and you’ll see the benefits.
  5. Spend more time outside. Plain and simple. Whether it’s in the garden or in just lounging on the porch reading. Get outdoors.

Just a few thoughts inspired by the gardens I spent so much time in… Have any to add?