Archive for ‘Green Lifestyle’

2014, April 28

A couple of natural air freshener ideas

Nothing beats being able to open a window in the morning and only close it before going to bed at night. However, that can’t happen every day just yet as the weather’s still a bit sassy. Here are a couple of ideas for natural air fresheners for those days when you’re stuck at home during bad weather.

To freshen the smell in a room we can use an aromatherapy lamp and natural essential oils or simply prepare ourselves a spray by mixing up some water and our favorite essential oil in a spray bottle.

Depending on the mood we want to set we can change the essential oils to benefit from their different properties: for a peaceful sleep we should use a lavender spray, sprayed around the room and even onto the sheets; or if we’re working on a project and we need to concentrate, rosemary will help; and to provide a cheerful disposition we should give citrus essential oils a try.
Another solution is to use cinnamon, cloves, citrus and other aromatic spices to freshen the air as these release their scents quite well if you add hot water.

IMG_0394

One of my very favorites methods is slicing limes in half and sticking cloves into them. They look cute enough, and as a bonus also act as a mosquito repellant.

On the other hand, we mustn’t forget that during Spring-Autumn, fresh flower bouquets, aside from being very beautiful and decorating the room, can smell very good; and we can replace fresh flowers with pine twigs during winter. Another idea is to use small satchels filled with sawdust which you can drip scented oils onto – they will keep the scent fresh for a few weeks.

If we want to remove various unpleasant odors, especially from smaller places, like the pantry or the fridge, a bowl with a little bit of baking soda in it will do the job.

Year-round air purifiers can be found in the form of plants as well. Among the recommended species are the Ivy, Ficus, Philodendron, and Azalea. 

What methods do you use for air fresheners around your house?

2014, February 24

Mason Jar Matchbox

Mainly, I don’t camp out.
Sure, one-day trips with outdoor cooking are fine, but as far as a stay overnight in a tent goes – Estrella doesn’t do that.

Even though a few hours looking at the stars would be romantic, and sitting around a camp fire with friends is fun, I am way too crept out by an array of bugs and spiders, etc., wild animals and such pitch blackness being around me to actually sleep outdoors.

The few times I went to summer camp, we stayed indoors overnight. I still recall way-too-accurately the time when, flashlight in hand and all senses in overdrive, I ventured out in the middle of the night for a visit to the outhouse.
I couldn’t see anything past the weak light stream of the flashlight, it had rained earlier so the grass was all slippery, three things happened nearly all at once: in the exact moment a raindrop reached my nose from the tree leaves above me, I reacted (like I assume everyone would) by shining my flashlight above my head and spotting a HUGE spider in its web, just as a friend reached out and touched my shoulder.
Honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t jump out of my skin then and there! You know, like they do in some cartoons (“Tom & Jerry” comes to mind).

Anyway. My urge to make a mason jar matchbox is only slightly related to camping; it is much more related to the fact that our matches absorb too much humid air whenever we have clothes air dry in the bathroom and/or kitchen, thus not igniting when we need them.
Plus, I also have this fear of fire that keeps me from wanting to strike matches to ignite too many times in a row, for they ignite unpredictably.

Hmm… I’m coming off very scared-bunnyish today, aren’t I? Oh well. Being perfect is overrated ;) Here’s how I decided to fix the problem of not having dry matches.

page mason jar matchbox

Mason Jar Matchbox

Wash one small mason jar, peel off labels and leave aside to dry well.

Once it’s dry, take your strike-on-the-box matches and fill up the mason jar.

Cut off and affix a piece from the side of the matchbox onto the mason jar lid. That way you’ll have a secure surface to light the match.
I only had small boxes around the house, so I cut off a few and used double sided tape to affix them onto the lid, but I’ll buy a larger box next time we need matches, and will cut out a circle from its side and change it. Which is a good thing, as these things do get worn over time, so you can just replace when ever you buy more matches.

Add some embellishments on the jar, if you want to, like a ribbon, tag, label, etc., secure the lid onto the mason jar and you’re done.

Happy crafting! ;)

2014, February 10

Wintertime Sore Throat Tea Base

I have recently seen this older article on the a little life blog, and have immediately decided to make it myself. It was the perfect thing to add to my War Plan Against the Sniffles.

We had two jars of honey nearly finished, and as always, had an extra lemon in the house that I could use. Plus, it’s a seriously easy recipe that goes a long way when battling the sniffles!

page wintertime tea base

Wintertime Sore Throat Tea Base

Cut up one lemon into thin slices into a jar, then add about one and a half cups of honey (I used half Acacia, and half Floral Honey to empty two nearly-finished jars). Stir gently.

Refrigerate until a sore throat asks for some soothing, hot tea or for when ever you’re craving a fragrant and yummy drink on cold nights.

Add 2-4 teaspoonfuls of the tea base into a cup, pour boiling water over it, then get all warm and cozy in bed so you can bounce back from the sniffles!

If you want to, you can add a few mint leaves, or some ginger for extra flavor, and as an extra measure against your cold.

Stay healthy! ;)

2013, December 23

Deep Conditioner for Winter Hair – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 I have to come clean and admit to the fact that when I’m in a hurry or tired, I skip a lot of beauty steps. These include, but are not limited to: applying make-up, looking into a mirror before leaving the house, straightening my hair, actual hairdo aside from simply pulling it into a half-up or a ponytail, and so on. Seriously, I have no issue whatsoever to walk around or go to work without, for example, any make-up, not even eyeliner applied. I only regret it later, after running into people to whom I look like I haven’t slept in three weeks ;) But then promptly forget and repeat in a few days.

This is fine generally; during winter however, my hair demands attention. It likes being pampered just as much as I like to be when the weather’s all chilly and staying indoors with a cup of delicious S’mores Hot Chocolate seems like the best plan of all time.

My usual hair washing routine consists of:

  • brushing my hair well before washing
  • shampoo, rinse
  • applying a hair mask when I have time to (I’ve tried many, but most of all love the Mediterranean Olive Oil Conditioning Hair Mask from Avon)
  • pulling my hair into a bun atop my head and leaving the hair mask in for 15 minutes
  • rinse off hair mask
  • wrapping hair in a towel and waiting another 15-20 minutes
  • drying with a hair dryer (since I’d get a cold if I don’t)

(Now that you can see this takes the better part of an hour without the actual drying, I think you “get” why I end up skipping the hair mask step.)

Watching MissGlamorazzi’s YouTube channel more often this December, I noticed she posted the recipe for a deep conditioner she uses. It sounds perfect for Winter, and especially for the weather we’ve been having this month!

It sounded super easy, so I gave it a try, and my hair thanked me. This conditioner really moisturized my hair, it looks nice, is all soft and silky to the touch. In her styling tips at the end of her video, Ingrid suggested straightening one’s hair, but I’m leaving that until tomorrow and for New Year’s when I’ll actually style my hair more interestingly – probably one of these two hairdos.

page deep winter conditioner

Deep Conditioner for Winter Hair

-3-4 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp regular milk (or you can use half & half for a creamier texture)
-Half a banana

Measure ingredients into a microwave safe bowl – don’t worry about the separation of the oil and milk. Add the banana in small chunks.

Warm in the microwave (do NOT cook!) for about 30 seconds, then break up the banana pieces really well.

Bring to the shower with you, apply on wet hair and leave in for 5-10 minutes while you wash your body.

When rinsing, make sure you don’t get any of it in your eyes, and that you’ve rinsed out all the banana pieces from your hair.

My hair tends to get oily fast, especially during Winter from having to wear hats.
So I applied this conditioner mainly to the ends of my hair, and only combed through my hair near the scalp with my conditioner-covered fingers once or twice.

Happy beautifying! ;)

2013, December 22

Writer’s & Book Lover’s Christmas Tree – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 2013 is close to an end, and I am reading more (have already completed my reading challenge), especially seasonal books. Not sure why I haven’t had as many on hand in past years, but this year I’m going all out!

At the moment, I am reading “A Cup Of Cozy”, a collection of short Christmas mysteries and holiday recipes, and I’m loving every piece of fiction – not to mention the recipes – in it! It is currently free for Kindle (at the time of writing this, 22.12.2013). The price doesn’t even begin to give it value, so I highly recommend you download a copy ASAP!

Speaking of reading and of books…

I think I saw my very first book Christmas tree three years ago (I know that I have shared one in my X-Mas greeting blog post in 2010). Needless to say, I have wanted one of my own ever since!

Today I took a little while and gave it a try. Now finished, I am absolutely in love with my little book Christmas tree and how personalized it is to me! <3

Let me know if you’ve ever built one, and do share pictures if you have any!

book christmas tree-1

Writer’s & Book Lover’s Christmas Tree

As many books as you can find
A string of lights and any other decorations you desire
Your patience; but it’s worth it!

Start by sorting your books depending on size. I found that it helps a lot to know where to look, when needing to even out surfaces.

Then, start stacking your books by creating a larger base and working your way up to its top.

Not sure what other advice to give you except to just start stacking the books and you’ll see as you go how it shapes up, where you might need to re-stack, and what books to add next – our libraries are vastly different.

When you’re happy with how your book tree looks, decorate with lights, tinsel, garlands and any other decoration you desire.

(I topped mine off with a little snowman I received from a friend, and my “Know where you’re @” bookmark.)

Happy book-tree building! ;)

2013, December 21

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments –part 2- #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1Like I said yesterday, when bringing into your home the huge boxes marked “X-Mas” after a year and awaiting them to again become the center of attention, you might be surprised by your findings.

Some of your ornaments might need a fresh look.

Below are the ornaments I upcycled today. They look beyond cute!
I finished eight yesterday, and had four more ornaments to upcycle this morning.
To my luck, I also found some Lace to “dress” a couple of them and after finishing those, wondered what to do with the last two ornaments.

I wanted something interesting, something fitting for a writer!

Thought I’d give decoupage a try this time and made a few writerly ornaments with some calligraphy on them.
What do you think? Every writer’s dream? ;)

decoupage christmas ornament

Writerly Christmas Tree Ornaments

old Christmas ornaments
decoupage paper, rice paper or napkins
scissors
ribbon
other decoration if needed

As a base, cover the whole surface of the ornament with dull hobby paint (or glue) in a few layers.
Cut the desired pattern as accurately as possible.
Separate the calligraphy patterned napkin, only the top layer will be needed the pattern part, the rest of the napkin can be disposed of.
After the primer dull paint coat has dried, brush a coat of adhesive varnish on the entire surface.

Then gently place the cut napkin pattern and smooth out any wrinkles. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth, it gives a more antique look if it’s a bit wrinkly.
Coat the entire surface once more when you are done, so the napkin will be completely covered with adhesive paint.

Happy crafting! ;)

2013, December 20

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments – #12DaysOfDIY

12 days of xmas blogging-1 When bringing into your home the huge boxes marked “X-Mas” after a year and awaiting them to again become the center of attention, you might be surprised by your findings.

There might be Christmas ornaments in those boxes which don’t end up on your tree when decorating. They might have outgrown your style, you might not like their color, or you might have gotten bored with them, even though they bring nice memories of Christmases past.

Let’s fix that with only a few easy steps! ;)

I’m sure you have scrap pieces of fabric laying around, maybe lace, old knitted socks or scarves. Working at the curtain shop, I found quite a few fabric scraps I brought home just because. As soon as I saw some of my ornaments, I knew just what I could do to bring them to new life while putting to good use my fabrics.

page fabric ornaments

To my luck, I also found some lace to “dress” a few of these.

lace fabric ornament

Upcycled Christmas Tree Ornaments

old Christmas ornaments
fabric scraps
scissors
ribbon
other decoration if needed

Cut squares of fabric two inches larger than your ornaments.

Wrap gently around the ornaments, pulling the edges towards the top.

Secure with a ribbon and tie bows, add leaves, buttons, dried berries or other decoration if needed.

Happy crafting! ;)

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