Archive | DIY

Whipped Body Butter 2.0

 

Whipped Body Butter 2.0 - 4 easy ingredients.  {TheGreeningOfWestford.com}

 

Whipped body butter 2.0 – why 2.0?  Well, this is a little step up from my simple 1 ingredient body butter.   When you first start out making your own products, the list of ingredients in some recipes can be so overwhelming and, for me, a show stopper.  I don’t want to invest a lot of money in several ingredients when I’m not even sure I’ll like them.  This is little step up and it’s worth it!  Plus the added ingredients are still very basic and can be used in many other recipes.

I love making my own beauty products.  I swear they work soooo much better than anything I have ever purchased.  Even better – I control what goes into them.  Not only can I make them free of toxins and other bad ingredients, but I can add ingredients that I find work for me.  Win – Win!  

Whipped Body Butter

 Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut oil (like this ONE)
1/3 cup cocoa butter (like this ONE)
1/3 cup shea butter (like this ONE)
2 TBSP avocado oil (olive, jojoba or almond oil are all good choices as well)
1 tsp Vitamin E (optional)

Directions:

doubleBoiler

  1. In a double boiler, melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter. You will be whipping this later with a hand or stand mixer so use a bowl that will work.
  2. Add shea butter and let it melt. I find that if I heat shea butter too long or too hot, it gets gritty. It’s a soft butter and won’t take long to melt.
  3. Take off the heat and add Vitamin E (if using) and avocado oil.
  4. Put the mixture in the refrigerator or even freezer and let it cool. Mine took almost an hour in the refrigerator. You want it at a sort of a gel like state. Alternatively, you could place the bowl in an ice bath.
  5. Whip the mixture until it is soft and frothy and completely cooled. If it’s not starting to look like whipped cream, it may need to cool more.  Whip for about 5 – 10 minutes.

Whipping

Notes:  

  • Vitamin E is used as a preservative.  I always add some to anything I’m making just ’cause.  If you don’t have any, it’s not a big deal.  The other oils have a pretty long shelf life all on their own.
  • Essential oils could be added to this base as well.  This is your mix, so add whatever you like – lavender, grapefruit, rosemary….

Easy peasy, right?  

Are you gonna try this?

 

This post has been shared at Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural, Small Footprint Friday

9

DIY Fabric Covered Boxes

 

DIY Fabric covered boxes the easy way!

Fabric covered boxes are so cute!  They make everything look so put together and organized, in my opinion.  

I feel like I am constantly trying to de-clutter and organize my house.   And I really like to try to reuse as much as possible.  

A long time ago, I saved these boxes from an  Amazon shipment that were the perfect size to store scrap paper AND fit in my cabinet.  

Reusing cardboard boxes and making them pretty

Now reuse doesn’t have to be ugly – just look at my Organization board on  Pinterest.  I have been meaning to cover these in leftover fabric for literally years (the fabric is already sitting in the cabinet!) and I finally got to it.

In an effort to get my house organized and de-cluttered, I attacked a storage cabinet in my office last weekend.  This is where I keep all sorts of supplies like scrap paper.  My scrap paper comes from my children’s school work and fliers.  So many of them are printed single-sided.  I seriously shouldn’t ever need paper for the rest of my life!

Anyway. As you know, I am a simple girl.  I like DIY projects, but they must be simple!  This project requires 3 things:

 

  • a glue gun
  • fabric
  • cardboard box

 

I looks around on the internet for other tutorials.  Some called for a fabric adhesive,  which I did not have, others used a glue gun, got one of those, others covered the entire box like a present, but seemed complicated.  When I took out my fabric I realized I only had a long wide strip.  So I went for the method that covers only the sides of the box – the only part that will be showing in my particular application.  Plus, it requires less fabric!

 

Instructions

WrappedBoxSteps

1.  Measure and cut a strip of fabric that will go around the sides of your box.  Allow enough width  so you can wrap the fabric inside the box and on the bottom, covering as much of the inside/bottom as you want.   Line up the fabric on the side of your box.  I chose to start this on a side that would not show so I wouldn’t have a seam.

2. With a glue gun, slap some glue on the box and attach the end of the fabric.

3. Wrap the fabric around your box to meet your starting point.

4. Trim the fabric length if needed.  If you want you can use a little more glue to make a pretty edge.  Then glue this end as well.

 

Step5

 

5.  Flip your box right side up and push the fabric in the box.  Secure the fabric with glue.  I’d like to give you specifics, but I honestly just squirted some glue in a corner and smushed the fabric.  Then went to another corner, pulled the fabric tight and did the same.  I then put a few squirts of glue here and there to make the fabric secure and lay flat.  

Resulting in something like this  Step5Final

 

 

Step6

6. Flip the box over the work on the bottom.  Fold the corners kind of  like when wrapping a present and glue away!

 

It’s not particularly pretty, but no one will see it.Step6Final

 

 

FabricCoveredBoxes

 

And just like that my organization looks a little prettier.!  It only took 2 years to get up the motivation and like 10 minutes of actual work per box.

 

Do you have any quick crafty organizers?

 

This post has been shared at Natural Living Monday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Simply Natural Saturdays

1

Why Conventional Deodorants Stink

Why Conventional Deodorants Stink {The Greening Of Westford}
Ah puberty.  That magical age where your body grows hair in weird places, your hormones rage and you start to stink!  Lovely!   In comes deodorant.  Probably one of the first personal care products you start using as a tween. 
 
But how safe are the typical deodorants/antiperspirants on store shelves?   There has been much about deodorant and the chemicals within, links to Alzheimer’s, breast cancer and the like.
 
The Problem
 
As with all other personal care products, they do not need to be tested before they go on the shelves nor do all the ingredients have to be disclosed.  Some of the chemicals found in  deodorant/antiperspirant are:
 
Triclosan:   Used as an antibacterial in many products.  It is thought to accumulate in our bodies and has been associated with hormone disruption.
 
Aluminum:  suspected to be linked to Alzheimer’s.
 
Parabens:  Mimic estrogen which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer.
 
Once again, there is no conclusive evidence stating that deodorants/antiperspirants definitely cause problems.  But there isn’t conclusive evidence to the contrary either.  I’d rather be safe than sorry.
 
Sweating is Natural
 
We wear deodorant to stop the stink.  An antiperspirant to stop the sweat by blocking the sweat glands under your arm.  They are 2 separate things.
 
Your body is supposed to sweat.  That is one way we release toxins.  Ingredients such as aluminum block the pores to stop you from sweating.   Your underarms are home to a lymph node location.  If your body cannot release toxins from your underarms, your lymph nodes are right there to suck up the toxins.   This is one thing that can be difficult for people to get used to – that wet feeling under your arms.  Honestly, I don’t like it.  And on special occasions, I admit to wearing an antiperspirant. 
 
Changing The Routine
 
Personally, I think our bodies become dependent on deodorant.  Years ago, I found myself increasing my deodorant use and gradually moving toward the clinical strength deodorants because nothing seemed to work.  While using the clinical strength, I finally read the directions and it stated that I should put it on at night to be absorbed into my skin.  Something about that struck me as wrong.
 
I backed off and used a regular deodorant/antiperspirant, occasionally not wearing any at all if I wasn’t going anywhere.  Little by little I think my body adjusted.  A few years ago, I gave up the antiperspirant all together and went with just a plain deodorant.  It worked OK, but I found myself reapplying at the end of the days.
 
Finding a Natural Alternative
 
What I find difficult about deodorants is that each person’s needs are unique.  What works for one person may not work for another.  Some natural deodorants are downright expensive.  I really don’t want to be paying over $20 to try one then have it not work only to go spend another small fortune on something else that may not work.  All the while wondering if I am stinking out my friends!
 
About a year ago, Cheryl of The Whole Body Spa was experimenting with deodorant.  I had the pleasure of being a tester!!!!   I started using her version – cornstarch, baking soda, coconut oil and lemongrass essential oil.  It worked!  This is what I use all the time.  Now, it did take a little bit of getting used to because it comes in a jar and you rub it on with your fingers.  Honestly, not a big deal.  I think of it like lotion.  
 
You can buy this from Cheryl or look up recipes and make your own.  It is quite simple and inexpensive.
 
 
If you are not ready to take the plunge just yet, try these steps:
 
 
  1. Buy JUST deodorant, not an antiperspirant.   At least this way you are still allowing your body to sweat and release toxins.  And no Aluminum.
  2. Go scent free – fragrances usually contain phthalates.
  3. Avoid Triclosan and Parabens.
  4. You can check Skin Deep and Good Guide for health ratings on deodorants. 
 
For The Tweens In Your life
 
I gave some of the Whole Body Spa deodorant to my daughter recently as she is just starting to wear deodorant.  She has no preconceived notions about deodorant so she didn’t think twice about applying with her fingers.  My plan is to start all of my children off with natural products.  They won’t know the difference.
 
Have you made the switch to more natural personal care products?  What are your favorites or ones you find difficult to replace?
 
 
Top Photo By Don DeBold used under Creative Commons license

This post has been shared at Natural Living Monday, Small Footprint Friday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

4

Coconut Oil Does Triple Beauty Duty

coconut oil beauty treatments

Coconut oil is quickly becoming my FAVORITE ingredient in my beauty routine!  Yes that’s right.  Not only can you cook with it, but it is great for soooo many other things.

I have also found Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil which smells incredible!  If you like the smell of coconuts.  Which I do.  It’s $5.99 for 16 oz.

If you are looking for more natural replacements for body lotion, eye makeup remover and eye cream, I have ONE Do-It-Yourself product that will do the trick.  Yes, ONE

Coconut Oil Triple Play

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Coconut oil
1/2 tsp Vitamin E (optional)

Directions:

1. Place the coconut oil and vitamin E in a bowl.  Vitamin E oil is used as a preservative.  however, if you don’t already have some, don’t bother to go buy some.  Coconut oil has a pretty long shelf-life as is.   

2. Whip it (Whip It Good!  I couldn’t resist!)  with an electric mixer.

3. Whip until it is like whipped cream or frosting (about 5-10 minutes).



Place in a pretty (free) jar and you are done!  Fancy up the jar with a cute label and this would make a great gift!  I have actually had friends ask for it.

You could add essential oils if you like, but I like the smell of the coconut.  I have been told by the fabulous woman whom I go to for facials that coconut oil is excellent for your skin!

When I get out of the shower, I put this on my body as a moisturizer.

When I remove my eye makeup at night, I put a small amount on my eyes or on a small flannel cloth and wipe the make-up away.  A little remains which moisturizes that delicate skin around your eyes beautifully.

Not only is this better for your skin, but the price is unbeatable.  That $5.99 jar of coconut oil will last a year at least!

Now, the coconut oil may melt.  Mine did this summer.  But I don’t really mind using it in the liquid form.  It may harden in colder months and you’ll have to scrape at it a bit.  But it melts quickly with the warmth of your hands.  
Do You Use Coconut Oil for Anything?  What’s Your Favorite Use?

This post has been shared at Homesteading Link UpSimple Lives ThursdayYour Green ResourceHealthy 2day WednesdaysFrugal Days Sustainable WaysFrugal Tuesday Tip,  Works For Me WednesdayHome is Where the Heart isWhip It Up WednesdayTiny Tip Tuesday, Weekly Link Up Party, Natural Living Mondays, Wellness Wednesday

22

Why I Chose To Cut The Crusts (Homemade Breadcrumbs)

 
 
Why I Chose To But The Crusts {Homemade Breadcrumbs}
 
 
I never thought I’d be a Mom who cut the crusts off their children’s bread.  What’s the difference?  I figured if I just didn’t start doing it, then my kids wouldn’t know the difference?  They eat wheat bread and really, to this day, don’t know too much about white bread.  
 
So I continued not cutting off the crusts.  As my oldest turned 2, I noticed that she would leave large parts of her sandwiches uneaten – the parts around the crust!  For almost a year, I refused to cut the crusts figuring she would get used to it.  Well, she didn’t.  Finally I gave in.  And you know what?  She ate the whole sandwich.  If I just cut off that tiny edge, I avoided wasting more of the sandwich.  She would always leave a huge margin to ensure her lips did not touch the crust!
 
Now, if I was organized, I could have managed to do something with the crusts as well, right?  At that point in my life, I had a toddler and infant twins.  If I could manage to keep us all feed and relatively clean for the day I was doing great!  So the crusts were tossed.
 
When things calmed down a bit and my second daughter began baulking at the crusts too, I was ready to save them.    BREADCRUMBS were the answer!  Along with all those leftover ends that no one eats or bread that goes stale.   The trick is to use your freezer to make the whole process more doable.
 
METHOD
 
 
 
Save the ends, crusts and other bread “crumbs” in the freezer until I have enough and some time to make the breadcrumbs.  
 
 
 
 

Dry out the bread.  I usually do this when I’m making granola or snackmix.  I use the oven on a very low setting – like 250.

 
Homemade Breadcrumbs
 
 
Let them cool completely.  Otherwise, they might get soggy from the steam when you grind them.  
 
Grind them in a food processor or blender until they are the consistency you like.  The nice thing is that you can grind them as coarse or fine as you like.
 
 
Store the breadcrumbs in freezer.  I keep my breadcrumbs plain and add seasoning depending on what I am making.
 
I use any kind of bread we happen to have left and just mix them together.  Usually that is wheat bread, the occasional hamburger bun or pita.  I have also added crackers or tortilla chip crumbs as well.  I bet certain cereals would work too!
 
The first time I used my homemade breadcrumbs to make “chicken nuggets”, my husband said they tasted even better and asked what I did differently!
 

Have you ever made your own breadcrumbs?  What else do you make yourself instead of buy?


This post has been shared at Your Green ResourceSimple Lives Thursday, and Frugally Sustainable.

10

Luscious Lip Balm Made Easy

Lip Balm Made Easy {The Greening Of Westford}

I really like making my own products – whether it’s food, cleaning, or personal care products.  I like to cook and be creative and this feeds that passion.

Lip balm is so simple!  There are tons of recipes out there.  This is one that I made with my daughters and some of their friends.  It is girl approved!

The basics are really simple – melt a combination of oils together, add scents (optional), pour into a container.
You will use a combination of oils that are liquid and solid at room temperature.  The amount of each will determine the consistency of the resulting balm.

Basic Recipe

1 TBSP beeswax
1 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 tsp Vitamin E oil
scent (optional: try extracts you use for baking like vanilla, coconut or peppermint, essential oils, or honey)

Yields about 1/2 oz.

    Melting ingredients for lip balm {The Greening Of Westford}
  1. Melt the beeswax and coconut oil.  There are a couple of ways to do this.  Whatever you use, you may need to designate as “lip balm making” use only and the beeswax if difficult to clean out.  If you have a bowl you are willing to sacrifice, use that over a pot of simmering water (double boiler).  I sacrificed one of our many mugs.  I set it in a shallow pan of water.  You will need to stir the mixture.  An old Popsicle stick works great.
  2. Once the oils have melted, add Vitamin E and scent (if using).  
  3. Place in a container and cool.
Some Tips:
  • Vitamin E is great for the skin and acts as a preservative.  
  • Honey adds a nice creaminess to the lip balm.  If you use it, you will need to stir until the mixture begins to cool. Otherwise the honey will separate.  You will also need to reduce the Vitamin E slightly.
  • Once the lip balm has cooled,  test it out.  If you don’t like the consistency or want more scent, you can remelt the mixture and add whatever it needs.  For example, more peppermint oil for a better scent or more liquid oil to make it softer.  Go light on the liquid oils and scent at first.  It’s easy to add more of these later, but you can’t take it out.
Remelting lip balm to add more scent or make smoother {The Greening Of Westford}
Because these were in metal tins, I just dropped them into the hot water to remelt.  I wouldn’t try this with plastic containers.

Here is another variation that was popular with the girls.

Chocolate Mint Lip Balm

1 TBSP beeswax
2 TBSP coconut oil
1 TBSP coco butter
1/2 tsp honey or jojoba oil (or other oil)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/8 tsp of Vitamin E
few drops peppermint essential oil or extract

Yields about 2 oz.

  1. Melt the beeswax, coconut oil and coco butter slowly.  
  2. Once the oils have melted, add peppermint oil.  Remove from the heat and add honey/jojoba oil, cocoa powder, and Vitamin E.  Stir until mixed thoroughly. 
  3. Place in a container and cool.
Sources for ingredients
Beeswax can be found at Debra’s Natural Gourmet, Nissitisett Apiary and online.  Make sure you get pellets.  Beeswax is extremely hard so it will be difficult to break off the correct amount if you get a big hunk.
Coconut Oil is available at most grocery stores, including Hannaford, Market Basket and Trader Joe’s.
Vitamin E can be found at any grocery or drug store.
Essential oils are available at GNC and online.
Extracts are available in the baking aisle of the grocery store.
Containers
Any small container works well.  I purchased small 1 oz tins online, but I also used old cosmetic containers and a contact lens case!  Baby food jars would be a little big and not extremely portable, but a good option as well.
Flavor options for homemade lip balm {The Greening Of Westford}
We tired vanilla, lime, coconut, peppermint, plain honey,and chocolate mint.  We loved them all!
Have you ever made your own lip balm?

21

DIY Toothpaste Tube Anything holder


Looking for fun craft with do with the kids…. Look no further! You are already saving toothpaste tubes for the Upcycle It! program, well here is a cute project to make with them. Do your own Upcycling! These could hold pencils, markers, toothbrushes, you name it….. and I’m sure your kids will come up with even more ideas.

Materials:
5 empty toothpaste tubes
scissors
ruler
clear tape
hole punch
ribbon or plastic lanyard
binder clips

Instructions:
1. Collect five Colgate® toothpaste tubes. Clean them by cutting off the bottom and slipping your scissors into the side seam. Flatten them out and clean with soap and water.

2. Cut four tubes to 3 ½” x 4 ½” and one tube into a 3 ½” x 3 ½” square. Fold down the top ½” of the four rectangular tubes and tape.

3. Take one of the four rectangles and punch holes every ½” along the two tall sides and along the short bottom side that is not folded. Use this punched piece as a template and punch holes in the exact same spots on the other three rectangular pieces.

4. To punch the small square piece, line up the short punched side of the rectangle piece with any side of the short piece. Repeat punching holes for the other three sides of the square using the short side of the rectangular piece as a template.

5. Then punch two holes near the center of the square. This will be the bottom of the container and the holes will be for drainage.

6. Match up two large pieces and lace up one side tying it off at the top and bottom. Open it up. On one of the non-laced ends, attach to the next rectangular piece in the same way with the printed sides facing out. Repeat for each additional rectangular piece. When you’ve laced all four pieces, connect the two end pieces together and lace creating a cube with your pieces.

7. Match up the square piece with the bottom of the container. Use binder clips to hold it in place. Lace around the bottom of the container and tie it off. You’re ready to put your upcycled toothbrush holder into action.

If you still have more toothpaste tubes, drop them off at your nearest Upcycle It! location.

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