Friday, May 30, 2014

DIY Bug Spray and Anti-Itch

I have been trying to find a more natural bug spray option for the last few years. The past two or three, I've just bought whatever "natural" bug spray happened to be at the store. Usually, it didn't
do a great job in our mosquito-plagued back yard. The girls and I must be really sweet, because we get bit a lot. As I've become more educated on tick-borne illness, I have been trying to avoid ticks like crazy too. The effects of tick-borne illness can be devesating. 

Anyway, I have gotten into essential oils lately and wanted to develop an oils based spray that would be suitable from kids 3+. Before I share my recipes, I do want to do a quick PSA about EO safety. 

First, there is so much misinformation out there that is is overwhelming to sort through. However, I am a sorter by nature and a researcher by training! The best resource I've found has been Robert Tisserand's book "Essential Oil Safety". Now this book is pricey, so I also depend on this website Lea Harris is a certified aromatherapist and has some awesome information here, including dilution charts, lists of essential oils to avoid/use with children, and some great age-appropriate recipes. In my opinion, one cannot be too careful with essential oils. They are highly concentrated and should be used with proper education---basically do your research! Since I have started learning, I have seen so many cases of misuse that it sorta knocked my socks off--in a bad way. 

Ok---I'll get off my soap box and on with the recipes. 

First the Bug Spray:

In a 2oz bottle (use glass and a darker color is best for preserving your oils), combine:

1% dilution 
 Texas Cedar wood 3 drops
citronella (citronella java) 3 drops
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) 2 drops
Tea Tree Oil (melaleuca alternifolia) 2 drops
geranium 2 drops (pelargonium graveolens) 

Fill the rest of the bottle with witch hazel. You will want to shake this vigorously before spraying each time to mix the oils with the witch hazel. We tried this out on my parent's farm this weekend with great results. When my hubs didn't wear it, he ended up with a tick. The patchouli is supposed to be a tick repellent. For young kids, try to spray mostly on their clothing,especially. If you are using for adults, away for a day of hiking in the woods, you could use 24 total drops for a 2% dilution. Oils are happiest cold, so you can store this in the fridge when not using. It will be fine in your bag, just won't stay potent as long. 

Now, if you get those pesky bug bites, heat rash, etc, use this recipe: 

In a 2oz bottle combine, 

5 drops lavender (lavandula angustifolia)
2 drops Frankincense (boswellia frereana) 
3 drops Tea Tree (melaleuca alternifolia)
Fill the rest with witch hazel. You will also want to shake this one vigorously before spraying. 

With all essential oils, it is better to start with a low dilution and work your way up to get the results you want. Most of the the time it only takes a small amount to get a desired effect! Also remember higher dilutions carry more risk for sensitazation and be extra careful with dilutions of kiddos! 

Hopefully these will make your summer much easier! They've already improved ours! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

DIY foundation and deodorant!

In my quest to create my own natural products, I made a DIY foundation and deodorant this week. Both have worked really well for me and I'll give you a basic run down of how I made them. They were much easier to do than I thought! 

First, DIY foundation---you can find the full recipe and instructions at I won't retype all of that here! Her website is awesome! 

Ingredients for foundation and where I found them:

Organic cacao powder- Whole Foods 
Zinc Oxide powder- Amazon
Almond oil- Whole Foods 
Shea butter- Whole Foods 
coco butter- Whole Foods 
Liquid Vitamin E- Whole Foods 
Beeswax- Whole Foods 
organic cinnamon powder- Whole Foods 

You basically create a double-boiler; I used a glass pyrex bowl. Another little item you will need is a kitchen scale. I got this one for $20 at Target and it works great. 

Melt all the oils and butters together and then add your powdered ingredients. The foundation sets up really fast. I used my 4oz mason jars. This recipe makes 4oz and I divided it between two jars to share with my BFF. I also made this pretty light as I am pale, pale, pale! You can add as much cacao powder as need to get the tint you want. Scratch Mommy has instructions for doing that! The Zinc Oxide also adds an SPF of 20, so you get sunscreen too! You can apply using your fingers or a makeup wedge. I'd call this a light coverage foundation, more like a tinted moisturizer for me. You'll still need a concealer to hide any blemishes! Oh, and it smells great! 

Now, for the deodorant! This is also a recipe from You can go to her website for the full instructions. One reason I chose her recipe was because it doesn't contain baking soda, which is an irritant for a lot of people. I have been using Toms and it does irritate my skin from time to time (plus it still has some icky chemicals). 

This recipe contains:

Coconut oil- Trader Joes 
jojoba oil- Whole Foods 
Shea butter- Whole Foods 
Beeswax- Whole Foods 
Arrowroot powder- Whole Foods 
Liquid vitamin E- Whole Foods
Diatomaceous Earth--(this is a powder substance and you MUST use Food Grade!) Amazon---and you may want to order a smaller box....I apparently ordered the jumbo and can make deodorant with it for the next 100 years! 
Essential oils: I used lavender and tea tree oil (melaleuca--it has great anti-microbial properties)

You use the same set up as before with your kitchen scale and double-boiler.

^^^kitchen Scale


It gets all meted up and I poured into my 4oz jar. This also set up really quickly. I love the scent with the lavender and tea tree oil. You could also use patchouli or geranium would be nice too!  

How does it work? I have to say this worked better than Toms for me! Usually if I am really active, I have to reapply, but I didn't have to with this. I applied it with my fingers, which isn't a big deal. It feels nice! I felt like it was too liquid to pour into deodorant molds...there might be a way to hack that though! Remember that this deodorant is not an antiperspirant, so it won't stop you from sweating but it willl keep you smelling nice. Also, be aware that if you are switching from a conventional deodorant to a more natural one it may take several days before your natural version functions at 100%. I've experienced this with Toms and crystal deodorants. This is super healthy and easy to do! 

Stay tuned for a post about bug spray and an anti-itch blend! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

DIY Foundation Powder

If there is one thing I never pictured myself doing, it was making my own beauty products. I am a pretty down-to-earth, simple girl who doesn't wear much make-up, but when I do I want something natural and also something that doesn't break the bank! I've been shelling out way to much $$$$ on expensive, natural make-up that still has some of the chemical ickness that I am trying to avoid. So, when I stumbled upon the blog "Scratch Mommy", I was pretty thrilled to see some awesome looking recipes for foundation, sunscreen, deodorant, etc. While I was checking out her foundation recipe, I clicked on the link to a facial powder recipe that she uses and decided to try it out! You can check out the recipe and the how-to, including a video here: Live Simply 

The powder includes these ingredients:

I'll list them and where I bought them:

-Cacao Powder (organic) Whole Foods
-Arrowroot Powder (organic) Whole Foods
-Liquid Vitamin E (organic and non-GMO) Whole Foods
-Ground Nutmeg (organic) Whole Foods
-Ground Cinnamon (organic) Whole Foods
-Ground Ginger (organic) Whole Foods
-Bentonite Clay - Amazon
-Lavender Essential Oil- DoTerra

Following the directions are pretty easy and the recipe yields about a cup of powder. I bought cute little 4oz. Ball Mason Jars at Target to use as containers and filled them both. The powder (with the original recipe on the blog) is a light shade, perfect for a red-head like me! You can add additional Cacao to get the right shade for your skin tone and test on your arm as you go. I really love the light feel of the powder and the smell is heavenly! So far it is working out great and the supplies I purchased should make many more jars of powder at a fraction of the cost I was paying before---and I'll be healthier too :)

The finished product! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cosco Chair Makeover

This past Saturday two of my best friends and I hit some antique stores after a fabulous tea at the 
Greentree Tea Room, here in Lexington. One of my favorite stores is a booth-type store where I have found several goodies. Towards the end of our trek, I spied this vintage Cosco step-stool chair. I have to admit I debated getting it, but the fact that I have wanted one forever and the great price sold me. My bestie, Savannah, owed me some cash so she had the proud right of purchasing this lovely! It's all mine though:). 

While we were checking out, I remarked that I was thinking of painting it "pink". The cashier looked at me like I was crazy, but when I told her about my vintage Pyrex collection, I think I earned some cred. 

Anyway, I carted her home and started to dissemble her---when I need hubby's help I just start doing something and he'll come to the rescue. He finished taking it apart and after a coat of pink spray paint,  matching Gooseberry, of course, the chair is as cute as a button and looking awesome in my breakfast area!