Make Your Own Body Products

On “So You Want to Be a Homesteader” Day 22, let’s look at another way to DIY and save money!  Get super clean, chemical free, fragrant, lovely, moisturizing beauty and body products by making your own for your homestead.

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That was the first thing that actually got us hooked on this lifestyle.   In my early thirties I started to get acne.  As an ex-model, I am afraid that my looks became quite a bit of my identity.  Beauty products and makeup filled our bathroom vanity.  The caked on foundation just made my newfound pimples worse, which required more makeup!  Add on chemical laden lotions, face wash, soap, and sunscreen and our family was a walking cancer hazard.  Things were about to be turned upside down.

I read a book about natural beauty and was so inspired by the lovely herbal things I could make, I threw out a trash bag of body products, one of medicines, and one of cleaning products, and not long after became a Certified Herbalist.  I haven’t worn foundation since and my skin looks great (save for a decade-plus older).

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When we went fishing last weekend, I forgot to bring the coconut oil (SPF 16) so the lady next to me at the beach let me slather some sunscreen on my very light skinned girl.  She burnt.  She never burns with coconut oil.  It is a proven scientific fact that sunscreen causes skin cancer, but the industry is just too big to stop.  Retinal A, which is found in many anti-aging products, is the number one cause of skin cancer.  It is time we take our health, our life, and our beauty back into our own hands.  And it couldn’t be easier.  I have attached links to many of my blog posts on how to make body products.  Enjoy concocting your own! (Or my daughter’s website is http://WhiteWolfHerbs.com if you would rather have her make it!)

How To Make Homemade Soap

How to Make Your Own Witchhazel

How to Make a Nourishing, Infused Oil for Dry Skin

How to Make Your Own Sunscreen (stop poisoning the kids!)

How to Make Your Own Lotion (from my shop to your farm kitchen)

Of Sea Salt, the Art of Bathing, and Writer’s Block

Sugar Scrubs and Breaks from Normalcy

Release and the New Perspective

I thought I would cry when the razor came on.  But instead I found myself laughing the rest of the day.  Joy and mirth followed me in awe and shock and relief.

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Struggles, burdens, fifteen hair colors, and my ego fell to the ground.

Release.

 

One’s Daily Tea

JpegCould a simple cup of tea help you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?  Can a simple cup of tea act as medicine?

I drink four cups of tea with herbs in it daily.  Each batch is slightly different.  I will make a month’s worth of tea at a time.  This month’s tea is made up of many herbs that help with the lymphatic system, essentially boosting immunity since I work in a busy apothecary with lots of folks with colds!  I also added plenty of herbs for circulatory and heart health.  A bit of wild yam for progesterone.  And some chai tea to make it all taste amazing (which is also for the circulatory system).

I love this thermos I got from Teavana.  It has the tea strainer built into the top.  I can also easily add ginger, or orange, and honey to my mixture.  I drink more fluids if I have it with me.  Here are some additions to your daily tea, green or black, that will help you achieve your physical goals.

If you want to increase focus and memory so you can get organized– Add 1 part rosemary and/or sage to 3 parts loose black or green tea.

If you want to lose weight– Dry your citrus peels in a paper bag for three weeks then store in a sealed container or freezer bag. Or just purchase dried orange peel.  1 part citrus peels to 3 parts green tea with a little cinnamon added will help metabolism and detoxing.

If you want to help your heart and circulatory system be stronger– Add 1/2 part each; ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom to 3 parts black tea like earl grey or even chai.

To decrease inflammation and boost immunity- Add one part basil to 1/4 part turmeric and 1/8 part pepper to green tea.

If you want to find more inner peace and calm– Combine 1 part each chamomile and lemon balm with 1/2 part roses and lavender with 3 parts Earl Grey.  Delightful.

Simple kitchen herbs and teas can be powerful, safe, and delicious medicine!

 

Simple Christmas Decor

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Decorating for the season is one of the great delights of the year for me.  I adore the fresh greenery and candlelight, the crooked tree (and when you think you have enough lights on the tree, add one more strand), the star alight, the stockings waiting for Santa.

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When the children were little our house looked like North Pole south.  Dollar store trinkets and cutouts, lights, and vintage decorations took over the house and filled the space with cheer and magic.  Visitors were often surprised then enchanted by the decor.  We love holidays in our home.

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As the children grew up and moved out and the dollar store trinkets broke, cutouts tore, things faded, my decorating took on a fresher take.  Strings of fairy lights still capture my adoration (and I refuse to get the LED lights…I will clean out Walmart’s shelves of twinkly lights if I must!) and oil lamps are humble and sweet.

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Places to sit that are cozy and private.  Vintage and children-made decorations from over the years dazzle and cause my heart to swell as I admire funky Santas and photos in homemade frames.  A life of raising children brought forth each season.

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The newest generation is mesmerized by her first viewing of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  Dinner is served on melamine Rudolph plates from Pottery Barn Kids.  She asked Santa for a dollhouse.  The magic continues.  The warmth of the season resonates in our home.

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Decorate simply.  A beautiful tree.  Branches of greens gathered where we got our tree decorate each space.  Light a candle.

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Enjoy the season, Friends.  Even if you had loss this year.  Even if you have sadness.  Let the beautiful joy of the season, the charity, the lights, the smiles, the music, the hope sweep over you and let you rest easy in front of a fire with a good book and a cup of tea next to a well lit Christmas tree.

Embracing Your Wild True Self

Today  is usually when I write about farming.  I will write about it tomorrow.  For this blog and lines of prose are written from my soul and much as a diary.  I am not afraid that the world knows about our ups and downs, about our work, our life, our children.  I write because every cell in my body prompts me to do so after half a cup of coffee.  If my words speak to someone then it was the day to write those words.  Today is not a day to write about watering more.  That can wait until tomorrow, for there is more on my heart today than hoses and rabbits eating the peas.

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No, today we are standing tall, pushing our chins up a bit higher, and embracing the miraculous gift of self.  And the bravery it takes to step out of the mainstream expectations of peers, friends, and society to really become one’s true self.

There will always be biting tongues when you decide to enter your own, to fulfill your destiny, for the mirrors of what could have been reflect and others get defensive.  People hide in their religions and contain themselves in their caves of denial and fear, or regret, and if someone is not just as they are, they must be working for the other side or must be unstable.

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Goodness, how does anyone ever get the nerve to stand up and embrace their destiny, their unexplainable gifts, their sides of enchantment and wild when there is someone in their family or friends ready to snap them back down to their cubicle, church pew, and norm?  This is detrimental to a soul that is traversing this land during this life with really only a handful of minutes finding and discovering their true essence, discovering frequencies above the norm, and seeing the immense beauty in the world that is unexplainable, magical, and beautiful.  Let folks be.  Embrace your own magic.

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There is great harm in not letting someone become their own true self.  There will be work undone, people and animals not helped, blind eyes turned.  But, one cannot convince another to open their eyes, their minds, or their hearts.  I can only speak to those of you that need courage to embrace and become your powerful and gifted self.  Creator by any other name is still Creator.  We are created to be so much more than destructive forces saving souls while killing spirits.

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When you decide to stand up and show your true colors, when you decide to accept your gifts to benefit mankind and the natural world, when you decide that you are pretty incredible, there will be those that do not understand your work.  They cannot fathom what you do.  They cannot see why you are different.  It doesn’t matter.  Stand tall and choose your tribe wisely.  This means that there will be family who are detrimental to your peace and will affect your work.  Release them.  Friends must be friends that accept you for who you are.  If not release them.  Even if you are left with five people, they are your tribe, your helpers in this life, the ones that allow you to be your true self.  We should no longer be afraid of what people think.

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Stand tall.  Embrace your true calling.  When you are doing the work that you were intended to do, every door will open so that you can be your highest self.  The world is really quite enchanting, today notice a few more things you didn’t before…and stand strong.  You are amazing.

 

 

 

Late Summer Spa

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I like how I look this time of year, brown.  I generally resemble a vampire of some sort come February so that lovely layer of color makes me look a bit more alive.  The vitamin D and restorative powers of the sun help my spirit but after a summer of chlorine, hot sun, and a fair amount of crisp wine, my skin appreciates a little restoration itself!.

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After you pull your hair back, place a layer of honey all over your face, neck, and décolletage.  Honey is miraculous in its properties to heal the skin.

Over the honey add a layer of coconut oil.  It might seem unwise to slather oil on one’s face but fear not!  This will not cause you to break out or make your skin greasy.  Coconut oil is a natural sun block in itself.  It also contains saponin which is essentially nature’s soap.  Coconut oil is also restorative to the skin and replenishes giving the skin a youthful, healthy glow.

Let this sit on the skin for a few minutes before hopping in the shower to rinse off.  I used a sandalwood liquid body soap to remove the masque and for added spa effect.

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While you are at it, you may as well pluck your eye brows and curl your hair!  I used hot rollers and my hairspray recipe.  I pinned my hair up with bobby pins so that the curls cascaded down and looked old fashioned.  The next day the curls were loose but still there so I got two hairstyles for the time of one.

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I am always amazed how makeup, even a small amount, can transform one’s face.  I often go without but I noticed in a picture that my son took while I was recording a song for his new album that a smidge of mascara might have made me look more awake!

Make up can be added easily with a few simple steps.

  1. Cover eye and crease with a lighter shade of eye shadow.
  2. Fill in outer half of eye lid and crease with darker shadow.  Apply soft eyeliner to upper lid adding a little flair at the end.  The eyes really pop if you apply eyeliner inside the lower rim or at least close to it.
  3. Mascara to bring it all together.
  4. Tinted lip balm or lipstick streaked up cheek bone then rubbed in cheats as blush.
  5. Lipstick or tinted lip balm finishes the look.

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I still want a day at a spa.  A nice massage, facial, make over, hairstyle with maybe a few lavender streaks, my nails done, and a new outfit but a honey/coconut oil masque, shower, hot curlers, make up, and a new apron works just fine.

The Power of a Compliment

She was shy and reserved, and clearly did not necessarily want to there helping adults move.  Her dark skin was perfect.  She glowed with health.  Her long, long, glistening black hair was in three braids.  She was lovely.  A very young teenager with wholesome cheeks, but not a smile to cross them.  When I spoke at the Indian summer program last week she was there.  No smile, just lost within her own world of shyness.  My daughter was like that.  I understood.  But here we met again to help our mutual friend and still no smile.

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I casually said, “You know you are the most beautiful young woman I have ever seen.”  And she was.  A veritable Native princess.  Beautiful in her own way and a testament of time and grace.  I could see her in a tribe a hundred plus years ago as I could with her tennis shoes today.  She may not have matched the exact modern standards of models but she was prettier than many of them.

“You probably hear that all the time.”  A blush rose up slightly and a smile transformed that beautiful face.  She shook her head no and lowered her eyes, still smiling.

Why do we keep compliments to ourselves?  We may compliment our friends or family but clearly rarely strangers.  Perhaps we feel strange about it or think they will find us daft or odd for just out of the blue telling someone they are beautiful or that we love their hair or clothes or spirit.  It is just amazing what happens if you let yourself go crazy with the compliments.

First of all, you will feel lighter.  Truly, if you feel defeated, devastated, angry, hopeless, frazzled, or heck, even happy, once you utter that compliment, especially to someone you don’t think receives random words all the time, you will feel better.  That you caused a smile, a surprised thank you, or a even a slight blush is a gift you just gave to a fellow human making their journey in this world.  We all need encouragement.

Then you spread the cycle of joy which we need more of out there.  From the awkward teenager to the beauty queen walking down the street (yes, you should compliment beauty queens too, they are just women, we all need compliments) to the older man pushing a walker to the librarian quietly shelving books.  Open your heart and say as many compliments you can each day.  We all know that we ourselves would love to hear more nice things, let’s get to spreading the love.

Soapy Girls and Their Lyes

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Nancy and I have always wanted to learn to make soap.  I have looked at soap making ingredients and have talked with soap makers and after hearing every warning under the sun about blindness, explosions, and eating through skin, I thought in my innate clumsiness that perhaps working with lye was not for me!  Yet, the customers keep asking for soap.  The homesteader in me wants desperately to know how to do everything myself.  Soap making is just one more thing we needed to conquer on our quest as farmgirls.

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My friend, Kathi, innocently put up a picture on Facebook of the soap she had made before Christmas.  I don’t think she expected the barrage of “teach me!”s that came her way.  Among those was me, and Nancy and I signed up for a class.  We were as giggly and excited driving down to Colorado Springs for our class as we would be the first day of school.  Instead of spiffy new shoes and clothes and a book bag, we wore old clothes, stained aprons, and a bag of accoutrements like a scale, and milk cartons.  We also opted to take our own essential oils rather than use fragrances.  I was ready to make cedar, pine, and balsam soap to mimic a soap I pay entirely too much for.  Nancy chose lavender and rose.

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We measured and scooped, not much different from how I make lotion but with many more exact measurements.  The goat’s milk was frozen to slow the cooling of the lye.  We added the goat’s milk and a little water into the pitcher.  We carefully measured the lye. It did not jump out of the cup and raise havoc as I expected.  My skin was still intact and my goggles were a stunning fashion statement for these photos.  Nancy looks pretty hot too.  Outside we went to put the lye in the pitcher with the goat’s milk so not to have the ammonia-like fumes filling Kathi’s house.  It was a gorgeous, clear day and Pike’s Peak in the distance was lovely and grand as we stirred our explosive mixture.  We left it outdoors to cool.

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Back indoors, we measured out our coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, and castor oil.  We melted the collaboration.  Using a handy dandy laser temperature checker we were able to check when the oil and the lye solution each reached 105 degrees.  Then it was show time.  We poured each together and using an immersion blender, whisked the hot combination together.  I promptly lifted my blender too high and sent lye all over Kathi’s counter.  (I told you there was good reason I shouldn’t play with lye!)  Ever calm, Kathi simply wiped it up with a paper towel.  As soon as lines started dancing in a circle around the top we added our essential oils.  We whisked those together and poured them into the mold to set.  The molds were ready to transport home wrapped in a fluffy towel.  We went to grab lunch and a beer.  We were celebrating our new skill!

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Back home the next day, I impatiently waited for the clock to strike fourteen hours after our endeavor.  I carefully unwrapped the cardboard.  Then got more tough and pulled the rest off.  The knife sliced through the soap beautifully as it was still quite soft.  The aroma is of Christmas trees and vacations in a cabin by a lake and I was instantly transported.  Nancy’s is a flower garden, sweet and soft.  We have to wait four entire weeks now before we can try out our luxurious, didn’t blow the house up, soap.  I’ll have some in my shop soon and Nancy and are planning on making much more!

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My Chicken Thinks I’m Sexy and a Few Beauty Dilemmas

Don’t yours?  Haha, actually I am playing second fiddle (what a fitting saying after last week’s post!) to Doug who woos them with green grass in the winter time.  They see him, run past me,  and yell out a joyous, “Daaaad!” to see if they can get some more.  It’s working, he is planning entire trays of grass for them and the new arrivals scheduled to arrive in March.

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Anyways, back to me.  Grandma gave me these curlers a long time ago.  I adore them.  Just hop out of the shower or bath, roll your hair up, fasten with bobby pins, slick a fancy scarf over them and do all your errands in town.  It is a great way to spread unexpected smiles.  Take them out before going out to dinner or before bed and enjoy three more days of luxurious, 1940’s esqe curls.  Last week I forgot to spritz them with any hair spray or gel and they promptly came out leaving only a slight wave and tangles.  So, I am going to share with you today my hairspray recipe so that this doesn’t happen to you!  It is non-toxic, you could drink it if you were in a real fix, but, just don’t.  Spray it on your hair for fabulous movie star curls that look great while pursuing seed catalogs.

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I do enjoy the look of freshly colored red hair.  It’s really not fair that my sister was born with red hair, my daughter was born with red hair, my grandchild will likely have red hair and I have an unidentifiable kind of dirty blonde, but not that pretty, hair color.  I think.  I haven’t seen it in a while.  I barter medicine for beauty at the local beauty salon where a gorgeous, buxom blonde with a great sense of humor, who looks transported out of Texas does my hair and then teases the front to stand high on my head.  I get it done twice a year, so it’s not like I am there all that often.

Then there was the infection.  Okay, so this oughta scare a few color junkies and manicure queens into humble au natural.  Shortly after I got a manicure, pedicure, and hair color done before Christmas, I noticed an infection on the cuticle of my toe nail where she had pushed the cuticle back too far.  It didn’t feel great but I am an herbalist and was able to fix it pretty quickly.  Shortly after that my finger started feeling arthritic.  Swollen, red in blotches, stemming from my…you guessed it….cuticle.  It took me a good minute (love that phrase, stole it from my kids) to figure out what it was.  It wasn’t until my daughters looked at it in horror and said, “Mom, your finger is broken!” that I realized it was a severe infection.  Luckily, I am an herbalist and was able to drink two bottles of my Herbal Antibiotic.  I think there is still a little bit of infection that moved to another finger.  Not cool.  The fingernail polish is long gone.  The dirt under my nails really never left.  And I am stuck with swollen knuckles.  I can deal with no more manicures or pedicures.

Around that time, the hair stylist calls Doug and asks what medicine to take for boils.  Apparently she and her assistant have boils now.  She thinks they got it from an alpaca.  Even though only one of them was around said Alpaca, she thinks that the other got it from the phone.  Hmm. Something is going on at that salon.  Now, my hair did not turn out the color I wanted, it is kind of brassy because the colors underneath just keep peeking through.  A nice chunk of hair fell out a few weeks ago.  The same thing happened to my Grandma with her hair right before mine, but she uses color in a box.  This leads me to think that perhaps if God wanted me to have naturally red fingernails and curly, red hair, he would have made me enter this world looking like that.  And perhaps, swollen, infected fingers and chunks out of the back of my head are not as sexy as previously thought.

So, this year, I am going….gasp….au natural.  No more bartering for magical beauty.  I will be content with my farming fingernails.  My calico colored hair can at least be put up in old curlers with dash of homemade lemon hairspray, right?  1940’s esqe multi-colored hair.  Watch out fashion world…I mean farm world.  This is going to be hot stuff.

Lemon Hairspray

I made this when we did modeling classes for little kids.  You can really get hairstyles to stick with this concoction yet your hair will feel super soft and you won’t worry about inhaling odd particles of something cancerous.

Fill a small, glass squirt bottle ( http://sunburstbottle.com ) with 2/3 vodka, and 1/3 lemon juice then add a few drops of lemon essential oil.  Done, now go curl your hair!