DIY Bug Spray – Insect Repellent

We are in the middle of another stretch of hot weather. I went out two evenings ago to water the flowers in the backyard and was immediately besieged by a swarm of mosquitoes. I could literally watch five of them land on my leg at once. I suffered through watering as quickly as I could while waving them away and swatting at the ones that actually landed on me. When I came in I counted 20+ mosquito bites on my arms and legs. The next day, I thought to put on my homemade bug spray first. I was out for longer this time and I watched to see how many would land on me. Only ONE mosquito even attempted to land on my bare legs and arms. I came in after watering for over half an hour with zero bites! Amazing isn’t it. Click the link above and then scroll down for the recipe. It’s easy. Grab a 2 oz. spray bottle from the travel sized toiletry department at Walmart, add a carrier oil, add in the essential oils of your choice, spray directly in your skin (avoiding clothing and eyes), rub in, and watch the mosquitoes stay away from you.

Note: The oils pictured above are the five that I find work the best at repelling mosquitoes. However, you should use Rosemary and Citronella with caution on children and young babies. Use a high dilution ratio for these oils as well as lemon as it is photosensitive and can cause sunburn when exposed to sunlight. Other safe oils to include if you would like to substitute something else for one of these oils would be geranium, catnip, cedarwood or vanilla. Visit http://www.hopewelloils.com to research safety information.

Essential Oil Remedy for Bumps and Bruises

IMG_0977Last summer my two-year old got a nasty bump on her cheek right along her cheekbone from running full force into the corner of a table. Even after forcing her to hold ice on it I could tell it was going to develop into a horrible bruise. We were out of town at the time, so I pulled out my travelling essential oil kit and essential oil quick reference chart to see what I had that might help. I immediately applied a bit of diluted lavender and cypress oil. Lavender is healing to the skin and cypress is good for circulatory issues so I thought it might help. I tell you, I was shocked! The bruise barely developed and after about 3-4 applications in the morning and at bedtime over the next two days it had healed so that it was hardly noticeable. This is my go-to remedy for bruises now. It’s the most effective remedy that I’ve found for healing a bruise. If you get a bad bump mix 2 drops of lavender and 1 drop of cypress in 1 tsp. of olive oil and apply directly to the affected area. Use wisely (read my full Disclaimer here).

Announcing: Essential Oil and Herb Quick Reference Chart

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Front side of chart.

Last spring I created this chart for a class I was teaching on herbal first aid. The chart covers commonly used herbs and essential oils and their properties and gives suggested remedies for common first aid situations and illnesses. This laminated chart is two-sided. The front side is color coded based on the safety of the herb or oil and covers 17 herbs/oils. The back side of the chart is covers 66 ailments and conditions listing the herbs/oils that are good for them. Cautions are listed on the front of the chart.

I’ll be offering this for sale on Amazon this for sale on Amazon in the future, and have plans to eventually offer an expanded Kindle format was well. In the meantime, however,  if you’d like to buy one from the source (me), you can comment on this post you will receive payment instructions via email. Cost is $5.00 (free shipping). The chart measures approximately 7 x 4 inches. It is printed on heavy cover stock and laminated so that you can take it with you so that you’ll know what to do when you are out and about or travelling away from home. If you find it helpful be sure to comment here and let me know.

Back side of the chart.

Back side of the chart.

Color-coded by safety level.

Color-coded by safety level.

Disclaimer: By purchasing this chart, you take full responsibility for any outcomes based on it’s use and release the author from any liability either real or perceived. The author makes no claims as to expected results and takes no responsibility for either positive or negative results. This chart should be considered to be personal opinion and is based on personal research and should be taken as such. It should be used with common sense, your own personal research and should not be considered medical advice. See full Disclosures/Disclaimers here. By requesting to purchases this chart you release the author from any liability and agree to all the terms and conditions in the Disclaimer linked above.

Sneak Peek on my new project…

8.8.13 009Sorry for the blog silence of late. I’m working on a new project that has a time sensitive deadline. Watch for it to appear in the near future. For a sneak peak, refer to my Essential Oil Quick Reference Chart. Want a hint on what’s in store? Imagine a more comprehensive version of this chart (linked above) that includes more herbs too. I hope it will be available soon. For now, refer to the page linked above if you need to know what oil to use for a particular use or application.

See my Disclosures and Disclaimers here.

DIY Olive Oil Hand Soap and Dish Soap

140128_0012This is easy peasy for all of you who aren’t brave enough (like me) to undertake the daunting process of making your own soap from scratch.

With this recipe you can customize your blends, and add your own essential oils for scent and disinfecting purposes.

We avoid all the natural soaps and all the store bought soaps because members of our family react to the coconut oil in almost every natural soap and have very sensitive skin which reacts to the mainstream soap brands. So, once you take out coconut oil as a base ingredient and all the main soap brands and all their irritating ingredients, then you aren’t left with much except coming up with your own homemade soap. However, the process of making my own soap from scratch is a bridge too far for me right now. I’ll make lots of things from scratch (as you can tell from the recipes on this blog), but cooking fats and handling lye with littles around just makes me too nervous. Maybe I’ll try it one day, but right now, soap is one project that I don’t have the time, energy or ambition for. So, this is the way you do it without having to make it from scratch yourself. And I just found out that it has a name. I’ve been making soap this way for the past several months and didn’t know what it was called until recently. It’s a process called “re-batching.” Basically, you’re taking an existing bar or leftover pieces of soap and remake it.

For our purposes, we will be turning a bar of soap into liquid hand soap and dishwashing soap.

Now, if you research DIY soap recipes online, you will find that almost all of them call for liquid castille soap. Now aside from the fact that most of those contain coconut oil as part of the base for the soap – which rules them out for me – the other factor that has driven me to develop this recipe is the expense. Even if buying castille soap is cheaper than buying regular dish soap at the store, liquid castille soaps are expensive and basically, I’m just not willing to pay that much money for them.

So, here’s what I do instead. Note: This recipe is very easily customized to meet your needs so change the ingredients to suit your purpose.

Basic DIY Liquid Hand Soap:
Start with 1 bar of 
Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap (affiliate link, see Disclosures Page). Amazon charges $3.99 per bar for this (you can find 8 oz. bars even cheaper other places online), and you’re only grating 1/2 cup of shavings which is a very minimal amount. So, this recipe will cost you probably less a quarter per batch. To make the soap, start with a cheese grater. Grate enough shavings to loosely fill a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Don’t use the largest shredder but the next size down. Dump the shavings into a small glass bowl. Add your favorite essential oils for fragrance and disinfecting. To decide which oils you want to use, click here for a list of essential oils and their properties. Then add 1 cup of distilled water. (You could use tap water if you’ll use the soap up quickly, but if you don’t use it up fast enough you may find bacteria or mold growing in your soap and have to throw the rest of the batch out). Let the mixture sit overnight. The water will soften the soap shavings and in the morning you will have a lovely, scented liquid soap. Stir the soap and pour it  into an old soap dispenser and you’re done. This recipe will make enough soap to fill a 10 oz. soap dispenser. If you’re not sure what oil blends to use, my favorite for hand soap are geranium/cedarwood or lemon/lavender. If you want to make a moisturizing soap, add 1 teaspoon of your favorite oil (olive oil, almond oil, etc.) to the bottle and shake well. Note: Over time the soap may begin to solidify or coagulate in places so that it looks like there are things floating around in your soap bottle. This is normal and the nature rebatched olive oil soap. If this happens you can just vigorously shake your bottle to remix it. If it doesn’t mix all the way, you can either use it as it is (which is what I usually do). Or if you bothers you, pour your soap into a sauce pan and gently heat it on low (do not boil) and stir until it is all recombined. When it has cooled a little bit pour it back into your soap dispenser.

DIY Liquid Dish Soap:
Follow the recipe above, except only add 3/4 cup of distilled water to the 1/2 cup soap shavings. This will make a more concentrated soap. If using distilled water, feel free to double and triple the batch so that you don’t have to make it as often. The best oils for dishwashing purposes are citrus blends – lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, tangerine. I would suggest using lemon as the main oil as it has wonderful disinfecting and solvent/grease cutting properties, and then adding some other citrus oils based on what scents you prefer (be creative and come up with your own combinations). Probably 12-15 drops of oil total is sufficient for a small batch of this recipe. If you double or triple the recipe, adjust the essential oil amounts accordingly. I should warn you that you won’t see any bubbles in your dishwater when using this soap. Olive oil soap is a very low sudsing soap and hardly makes any bubbles. It will still work fine though. It’s just not what we are used to.

DIY Foaming Mosturizing Hand Soap:
Follow the recipe for the basic hand soap above. Add about a 1/4 cup of the end product to a foaming soap dispenser and fill with water. Add 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the soap dispenser to make a moisturizing blend. Keep in mind that olive oil soap doesn’t foam much. So, I use it for one of my bathrooms, but don’t expect typical results in a foaming dispenser. If you want the typical foam then I suggest using this foaming hand soap recipe.

This basic recipe will work with any bar soap that you like and works well for you skin. Feel free to try it with something other than olive oil soap. The moisture content and sudsing may be different with another bar soap, but try it out. It will save you money and if you use a soap with minimal ingredients it will be better for your skin too.

Homemade perfume, cologne or body scents

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Make your own custom perfume, cologne or body scents. Simply mix your favorite essential oils together in 1-2 ounces of a carrier oil such as olive oil or almond oil. Add more drops of essential oils for a stronger scent or less for a lighter one. Try some of the scent combinations pictured on the Beauty page.

Essential Oil Quick Reference Chart

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Here’s a handy, dandy essential oil quick reference chart for my favorite essential oils. The primary properties of each oil is listed along with cautions and links to the recipes that I use them in. Be sure to do your own research first before using them topically. Otherwise, enjoy their scents in your favorite homemade products.