Natural Deodorant Recipe

Homemade DeoderantAfter trying store-bought all natural deodorants with no success, I decided to try my hand at a homemade version again. While I have been trying to eliminate anything un-natural from my diet and products, I must admit that shampoo and deodorant are two holdouts that I have had trouble replacing with any amount of satisfaction. The main issue concerning natural deodorants is this: most of them just don’t work. If anything, in my experience they almost make you smell worse than if you skipped using deodorant altogether. I have had success making it on my own in the past, but I had issues with the idea of using an oil instead of a deodorant stick. Shouldn’t be too bad of a transition in reality, it just needs to soak in before you put on your clothes (and I can be impatient), maybe this will force me to take the extra step and actually moisturize every day (mind races with lotion recipe possibilities)!

This recipe calls for just a few ingredients – coconut oil, lavender essential oil and rosemary essential oil. The best part of this recipe is that it actually works, and it works better than store bought deodorant in my opinion. You will need a sterile container to hold the mixture – a small jar would work best since in warm weather (or a warm bathroom) this would leak out of a traditional deodorant container. Mix 1/2 cup of coconut oil (in liquid state) with 20 drops of the lavender essential oil and 4 drops of rosemary essential oil. Pour into the jar and allow to set up. That’s it!

Caution: Don’t use essential oils if you are pregnant, have epilepsy, hypertension or any other medical issues. If this is the case, try using coconut oil by itself as a deodorant since it does have antimicrobial properties on its own. While essential oils are natural, they still have powerful properties we need to be mindful of. You should research each oil carefully for any potential side effects before putting it on your skin! Never put essential oils on the skin without diluting!

How To Grow A Pineapple From a Pineapple Top

Grow A Pineapple From a Pineapple TopI intended to do this as an update post to show how the pineapple I first planted 2 years ago has progressed, but it seems I never wrote a post about it then.  My little pineapple friend had outgrown it’s original pot, so I transferred it over to a larger home and added a new friend for it in its original place.

To plant a pineapple from the scraps, leave 1/2″ inch or so of the fruit when you remove the top.  Check underneath to see if there are any brown dots around the edges (these are the root buds).  If you don’t, keep removing thin slices of the fruit until you do.  Now carefully remove the lower 1 inch of the leaves so you have a small stem exposed.

This next part I have seen conflicting information about.  Some say to allow the pineapple top to dry for a few days before planting and others say to place it in water.  The little pineapple top below was done with the water method, and it doesn’t look quite as good as planting the pineapple top dry (how I did the larger plant above).  Both plants looked slightly unhappy at first before perking up though, so the smaller plant still might have a chance.  Even though it is a bit dry around the edges, there is some promising new growth in the center.  Either way you do this, water around the outside of the plant and not at the center as it can cause rot.  When planting, do not allow any soil to fall into the center of the plant or cover the stem with soil, only cover up to the top of the fruit.

Pineapples like well drained soil, so you can add vermiculite to the soil to help with this and keep them in a pot that drains.  Water daily to keep the soil wet, but not water logged, for the first week.  Water once a week after they are established and keep them in a place where they can get plenty of sun.

For those in a cooler climate, pineapples can be kept in pots and moved inside over the winter.  They will die if the temperature falls to 32 degrees or lower.  We move ours indoors well before that point to keep them happy.

Growing Sweet Potato Vines From Scraps

Growing Sweet Potatoes From ScrapsSince I want to try growing sweet potatoes in our hanging baskets this summer, I needed to start a few vines. I had a few potatoes that needed some bad spots removed before cooking, so I saved the ends from those for this experiment. They are in a dish with a small amount of water on a table in our sunroom. I can see tiny purple sprouts starting already on two of the ends! I will update again once they have more growth to show.

Growing Celery From Scraps

After our success growing green onions from scraps, we decided to try the same experiment with our celery leftovers. We put the ends right side up in glass dishes and filled them with water to about halfway up the stalk. Once the leaves had grown to about 4-5″ tall we planted them into a pot filled with potting soil mixed with peat.

 

Growing Celery From ScrapsHopefully they will continue to grow and we will be able to enjoy a continuous supply of celery through the coming winter.   It never ceases to amaze me how much can be grown from things we would have discarded.  Very empowering!

 

 

Growing Green Onions From Scraps

Since I already had success growing a pineapple plant from the scraps, it didn’t take an abnormally large leap of faith to think this might work with other leftovers.  I first decided to try this on the ends of some organic green onions.  These are by far one of my favorites, but so expensive!  Not any more… they started to grow within a day once I put them in water!  After a week or so they had large enough roots to transfer to a pot.  They are now growing steadily and we can give a haircut to the plant as needed for an endless (and free) supply of fresh green onions throughout the year.

How To Make Liquid Hand Soap

For those of you who are trying to get away from harsh chemicals in all areas of their life, liquid hand soap might be one of those last few holdouts.  It is hard to make/sell anything in liquid form without adding preservatives to keep nasties from growing in it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make the soap ourselves in small batches as we need it.

Homemade Liquid Hand SoapAll you need is a bar of your favorite natural soap, small pot or crockpot, water and a grater (alternatively a knife and submersion blender will work).   Depending on how thick you want your soap to be, you can use more or less water in your recipe.  For ours I used one part water and one part chopped soap chunks (I had some extra ends from a few batches of soap, waste not want not).  I simply added the soap and water to a mini crockpot and let the mixture heat up.  I then mixed it with a submersion blender… since I am not a very patient person.  I COULD have grated the soap and avoided this, but laziness got the best of me.  After things were fully incorporated, I let the mixture continue to cook for a few hours and poured it into a ball jar (it was still mildly frothy at this point).

How To Make Liquid Soap From a Coldprocessed Bar of SoapThe half soap / half water mixture produces a liquid soap with the consistency of a thin syrup.  It works well in one of the handmade ball jar pumps and I’m sure would be awesome in a foaming pump as well.  If you prefer a thicker soap you could do two parts soap to one part water.  I might try that route the next time I have a few more soap scraps to spare.  If you used an unscented bar of soap and want to scent your hand soap for the season, essential oils are a wonderful route to go – just make sure you check with your doctor first if you are pregnant, nursing or have any other health issues since some of them might effect the body in different ways.

Another quick note of caution – soap projects need their own set of tools that are not used for food… the dollar store is a great place to find cheapie bowls and graters.  If you don’t want to invest in a separate stainless steel pot just for this, you could place it in a microwave safe bowl and warm it in 30 second intervals until the soap melts. :)

How To Grow Ginger

How To Grow A Ginger PlantGrowing ginger in your garden is really quite easy.  Purchase a fresh piece of ginger from your grocery or farmers market.  Look for a large piece with plenty of “nubs” and soak the root overnight in warm water before planting.

If you are in a northern climate where frost is a possibility, you will need to plant the ginger root in a pot that can be transferred indoors in the winter.  Either drill a hole in the bottom of the pot, or place rocks at the base for drainage.

Fill the pot with well draining soil almost to the rim.  Place the ginger root on top of the soil and cover with a thin (1/2″ to 1″) layer of dirt.  Water well and place the pot in a place that gets plenty of sunlight.

Ginger plants like to be watered regularly, but they do best in well drained soil.  When I did this experiment in our garden I tried to grow ginger in two pots, the one that received less water did much better than the one that received too much (that root rotted, an extremely stinky experience preparing that pot for the next planting).

After your ginger plant has matured, you can carefully harvest small portions of the root as needed without killing the plant.  If you are anything like us, we always end up buying much more ginger than we could use and it either rots in the refrigerator or ends up forgotten in the freezer, so having a ginger plant we can harvest from is a much more sustainable option.  If you try this let me know how the ginger does in your own garden!

How To Make An Olive Oil Candle

Ball Jar CandleOlive oil lamps are a beautiful alternative to a candle and can be quite easy to make.

While you can buy premade olive oil candle wicks, they can be somewhat expensive and it is really quite easy to make them yourself with materials you might already have on hand.

olive oil lamp
Materials:
Thick glass container, such as a ball jar
Long piece of wire
Wick (can be made of string or any thin piece of cloth)
Olive Oil
Pliers

Shape the wire into a circle with the pliers, bend one end upward toward the center and form a loop to hold the wick.

Olive oil candle tutorial
Slide the wick through the loop and wrap downward around the wire. The thicker the wick, the larger the flame you will have.

Place the wire and wick assembly into the jar and fill with olive oil until just below the bottom of the loop. Soak the wick completely with the oil and allow the oil to absorb into the fabric before lighting it.

Oil candles are a great alternative in an emergency if you don’t have any wax candles available.  They are also great for everyday use if you love candles, but want a more eco-friendly source of ambience.  Using a high quality olive oil burns with no noticeable scent or smoke and can last for quite a long time.

Remember to always use candles with caution and never leave burning unattended.

Ball Jar Soap Dispenser Tutorial

DIY Ball Jar Soap Pump What you will need:

Ball Jar
Soap Pump (I bought a dollar store soap dispenser and just used the pump)
Glue (Some people use heavy duty dishwasher safe glue, I hot-glued mine)
Scissors, drill or xacto knife

 

 

 

 

 

Take the flat ball jar lid and draw a circle in the center where you want the pump to go through the diameter of the pump (you can eye-ball this). You have a choice now as to how you wish to cut the hole. I started mine with an xacto knife (really watch your fingers if you choose this option) and finished it off with scissors. Others have had success drilling a hole through the lid. Whichever way you choose to go about this, just use caution.

Once the hole has been cut, slide the soap pump through and center it on the lid in the direction you want it to face. Hold everything together with one hand while you glue around the base with the other. If you want things to be extra secure, you could place some glue around the top of the pump before sliding it through the hole as well. I found it easier to put a few dabs of glue around the base to help hold things in place so I could seal it all the way around with glue using both hands.

Ball Jar Soap Dispenser Tutorial Once your glue is dry, just add your favorite soap to the jar, place the lid on top and twist on the band. Done!

I was able to get a pack of 12 Ball Jars for just 8.59 (with tax!) and the soap dispenser at the dollar store, so total cost was right around $1.81 for this cutie.  Not too bad considering these can cost upwards of $20 if you buy them premade.

Happy DIY!