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Friday, October 24, 2014

3 Natural & Simple Toner Recipes

I've been seeing a lot of toner recipes on Pinterest lately and wanted to try a few out. I especially wanted to use some of my herbs that I grew this summer in our small garden. The first recipe you'll see listed is actually one that a friend and I came up with while brainstorming natural recipes together. Its a great one for acne. The sea salt really helps to dry up your problem areas and lavender and tea tree are both well known to help your acne troubles with their wound healing capabilities. I did find this one to be on the drying side of the spectrum, but I think if your having quite difficult acne issues that this is the one to use.

Acne Fighting Toner

1 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake well. Salt will dissolve.

The second toner, I have not personally tried yet, but lemon balm is antibacterial making it a good option for acne fighting toner as well. It is refreshing, stimulating and tension releasing. It can also help regulate periods. This toner will not be as drying as the one above, so if your acne is milder I would choose this one.

Lemon Balm Toner

1 clean hearty sprig of lemon balm (dried is fine)
3 oz of witch hazel

Insert lemon balm into spray bottle cover with witch hazel. Allow to steep for 10 days. Remove lemon balm and discard.

This third toner was actually a mistake. I meant to make a thyme toner, but instead made rosemary and I'm about half way through the bottle and really like it! I read here that its great for acne too! And it not only fights acne but lightens dark spots as well as toning the skin and easing dryness! I think I'm liking this toner more than the others as far as skin care benefits go! Although rosemary is often used to help hair growth as it stimulates the hair follicles, so if you have facial hair issues, maybe steer clear of this one. As for me I'm actually trying to grow out my eyebrows, so this is a plus!

Rosemary Toner

1 clean hearty sprig of rosemary (dried is fine)
3 oz of witch hazel

Insert rosemary into spray bottle cover with witch hazel. Allow to steep for 10 days. Remove rosemary and discard.

I'm still dealing with some acne, not nearly as bad as it was, but I'd still like to be using an acne fighting toner. Next, I want to try this recipe, I'll let you know how it works!

Will you give any of these recipes a try? Which one would you choose and why?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hats, Hats, and more Hats!

I am back! Sorry for skipping out on everyone the last week.  I was enjoying my vacation in Maine, far too much. 

(This is the cove behind the house I was staying in. It was so beautiful.)

Now, onto knitting!
It is that season again.  The chill is back, and we would like to keep our heads and ears nice and warm this year.  As a knitter it is no problem.  As long as you have some needles and yarn; you can whip up a nice head topper in no time. 
There are scores of ideas and patterns for hats everywhere you look. Simply search on Pinterest: Knitted Hat.  You will find thousands of styles, colors, and levels.  The best thing about hats is it can all be up to your own interpretation! You don’t have to follow any rules when knitting a hat.  It can be knit flat, and seamed up the side.  It can be cinched closed.  You can decrease, or you can start from the top and increase.  You can have ribbing, you can have a cuff, and you can have a pom-pom.  It is your decision and they are endless.
Simply rally your circular needles, or your DPN’s and get to work.  So don’t be scared.  A typical hat shape is simply a long tube that is cinched closed on one end. 

So, to introduce you to knitting hats, I have written a pattern, or “guidelines” if you would prefer to knit a simple hat. This pattern if followed to the tee, will create an adult sized, slouchy beanie.  But, the design, the color, the size, it can all be up to you. As you can see below, I have made this hat in many different versions.  So don’t be scared to stretch your designing fingers, and create something new!

Beanie Hat

Using a worsted weight yarn (I knit my hats in Wool of the Andes found here)
Cast on 35 stitches onto three double pointed needles, or 105 stitches onto a circular needle, placing a marker after each set of 35 stitches.
Work in knit one; purl one rib until your hat measures 4 inches. Or work whatever style ribbing you like.
Knit one row, increasing every 6th stitch, giving you 40 stitches per needles, or 120 stitches in total.
Continue knitting, working whatever pattern you choose, until your hat measures 9 inches from cast on. If you would like a fitted hat, or an even longer hat, knit until it is 2 inches from desired length.
Next work your decreases as follows: 
Row 1: Knit 1 stitch, knit two together, knit to last 3 stitches, knit two together, knit 1 stitch.  Repeat for each needle. If using circulars, work these decreases before and after each marker.
Row 2: Knit one row.
Repeat above two rows until 30 stiches remain.  Bind off by taking a needle and yarn and running it through the live stitches on your needles.  Pull the yarn to cinch the opening closed.
And there you have it, a nice winter beanie! Top it off with a crazy pom-pom, or leave it looking classy. If you are knitting a hat this winter, post a photo on instagram with the #hatsandmorehats, or comment below. We would love to see what you come up with.

Since it is almost Halloween/Harvest time, I can't help but add a few festive patterns to this post:

Pumpkin hats are so tempting to make:

This fox ear pattern, (written by me) which can easily become cat ears or more:

These adorable tiny pumpkins:

This crazy, but extremely festive Halloween vest:

Thank you for reading!

Interested in staying up to date with my projects? Follow me!

Instagram: gaquade

Friday, October 17, 2014

Beetroot Lip Tint - Homemade Beauty Fail

I'm sorry if this title is misleading, this is NOT a diy on how to make a lip tint, but an actual recording of my failed attempt to make a lip tint. Yep, that's right, my FAILED attempt to make a lip tint. I don't want you to think I always make all of these perfect body products, because I don't. I don't think that my blog comes across as such, but I want to be really real with you, so that first you don't make the mistakes I made and because its kind of fun hearing about how people messed up, it somehow makes you feel better, not in an evil way.

So, here is what happened. I read all of these great Pinterest recipes on how to make a beetroot lip tint with vegetable glycerin and even saw some recipes on Etsy. The vegetable glycerin was supposed to preserve the beetroot juice, but that did not happen. Now if you wanted a quick all natural lip tint, by all means just grate up some beetroot and your good to go, its actually a better colorant than Benefit Cosmetics Benetint (which I am currently using). Now, what happened with mine is that it oxidized turning the once beautiful deep red tint into an ugly brown. This didn't happen right away and so it took a little while for me to realize that it went bad. 

In the meantime I had bottled the concoction all up and put it on my Etsy shop. It is now taken down, because of course I can't sell something that is bad, but I was sorely disappointed. I thought maybe I could work on a lip gloss tint to make up for the lip tint, but I was disappointed in that as well. I tried food coloring (turned out orange), I tried beetroot juice (turned brown the next day), and I tried beetroot powder (way too gritty and not good coloring). So, I've been looking into what else I can use and I'll let you know when I find something I like. 

But, for now I have to be content that I failed at making a lip tint. But, I am going to leave you with a few ideas from Humble Bee & Me, she has plenty of lip tint balms that look great.

Have you ever tried to make a natural lip tint/balm? I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pantry Organization Ideas

I'm on a mission, I feel like I've said this before, but I am. I have set a goal for myself to have three months worth of post's in the books. Then I figure I can work nice and slow on one post a month and stay ahead of schedule. I've read that this can work nicely, especially when you have a vacation or sick child and just can't find the time to blog. So, I'm looking forward to writing vigorously in the next couple of days for you!

But, right now I'm really frustrated because it is yet another late day at work for my husband, and I wanted to go to a soap making class tonight and was hoping for some help with my daughter. His job goes with the school year, so he has normal hours in the summer and then crazy overtime in the school months. Its been difficult, definitely more on him than on me because he's so exhausted. I hate to see him like this, but I also know that God is working in him during this difficult time. He has many opportunities to share God with others and I just pray that soon he can either a job change or learn how to set boundaries at work that people can respect. He's the kind of man that doesn't want to upset anyone and bends over backwards to make people happy. He is such a wonderful man, and now I've started this paragraph upset but ending it just so happy that I'm married to such an incredible man. 

Well, that is not what this post is about! It is about Pantry Organization Ideas! And the reason being its about ideas rather than an overhaul, is because my pantry is in a tight space and I couldn't get a good overall view of it in the camera finder. So, I'm going to show you a few of the things I did to get my pantry organized!

First I used some antique crates that had compartments for organizing my nuts and dried fruit. The box adds some character to the pantry and pops of color. I used another one as a cold and flu box, its stored with ginger ale, crackers, soup and an elderberry elixir.

I was super excited after completing this small project and wanted to do it to all of my crates, but withheld myself! I took an antique crate (a new one would work too) and screwed in four casters, one on each corner. I used rotating casters so that I could maneuver the crate in and out of my pantry.

Now these you have probably seen on Pinterest somewhere, but when I thought of it, I hadn't seen anything like it. But, even though its not a bright new idea, I'm so happy with them! 

I used Rust-Oleum Chalkboard Paint to paint the lids of my pasta sauce jars, it probably took about a good three coats.

Then I cured them by rubbing chalk all over them and wiping it off with a paper towel, so that some residue was left.

Then I used a Liquid Chalk Marker Pen to finish the lids with the name of the item. I'm so happy with how these turned out. The chalk pen is so handy and worth the price, because you can get that chalky feel and look without the mess and sloppy hand writing. 

I even put the chalk paint on some plastic containers, there was a raised design right in the middle that worked perfectly for the paint. 

Overall I'm so happy with the outcome and enjoying being more organized! 

If the chalk painted lids interest's you, check out my Pinterest Board on Organizing for more creative ideas!

Let me know what you thought of these ideas!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Monthly Beauty Love: Batty's Bath

I thought it would be fun to share a monthly beauty product/item with you once a month, because my head has just been full of different beauty products that I've really been enjoying lately.  I'm just in love with this first product that I want to share with you (pictured above). I started using Batty's Bath products early this year and have just grown to love them. Her products and even herself has inspired me so much this year in my own homemade personal care items. So, not only has my skin benefited from her items, but my knowledge of natural care items has as well.

I found her BB cream through Etsy. I was looking for a natural alternative for the drug store BB creams. I had tried several BB creams and all of them either did not sit well on my skin, made me break out or just had bad ingredients that I didn't want on my skin. But, I was struggling because I loved the idea of a BB cream (I still want to try and make my own), I don't like caking on the foundation and BB cream was my way out of that with still getting some coverage.

But, I must warn you that this cream IS NOT make up like your typical BB creams found at the drug store. The tint is so light that it really just matify's and barely evens out your skin tone. What I like about it is that its a great moisturizer for when I don't want to wear makeup and also great for applying her mineral makeup onto. It takes any shine off your skin, especially if you have oily or acne prone skin.

It comes in a small glass bottle and doesn't seem like very much, but I want to say that I'm on my second or third bottle this year. And the price is not bad at $16, not when you consider that your paying for high quality ingredients that will not harm you or your skin in anyway, but will only contribute to making it cleaner and brighter.

The next product I'm excited to try from her line will be the mineral cream concealer. I also want to try combining some of her mineral makeup with her Facial Primer and Daily Detox Moisturizer for a more concealing BB cream (more of a makeup look). Her mineral makeup so far has only improved my skin, no clogged pores, I love it! 

Now, I can't completely attest to how well her products work for acne, as my hormones have been so out of whack with this pituitary tumor (got started on medication though, so things should be getting better!). So, a lot of my acne has been hormonal and nothing that I could control at that point. But, I feel great knowing that I'm using all natural products on my skin and only doing it good!

I hope you try out some of her stuff or at least found this helpful in spurring you on to check out other natural skin and makeup products!

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Soothing Oatmeal Bath Milk

First, I apologize for not having a post this past Friday. I completely forgot because my younger sister (the one who writes the amazing post's on knitting) was in town and this could be the last time I see her in a few years as she has the opportunity to travel overseas. So, needless to say I apologize, but I'm not sorry, because it was time well spent! Also, because she is on vacation her post on knitting has been delayed. We will hear more from her on Tuesday October 21st, so mark your calendar!

Also, I'm having camera troubles and don't know when I'll get it fixed, so don't be to hopeful to see a Friday post. I'll try my hardest, but can't make any promises. I'm trying to pull together what pictures I have, but it just isn't working out so well. This post was all I could gather without the pictures looking absolutely horrible.

So, that's my little update so far, maybe I'll just be writing about my health issues in the near future since that doesn't require pictures! (Just kidding, I don't want to bore you with my health issues too much!)

I'm really excited though to start sharing more of my homemade personal care products that I've been working on. I want to say that it has been a little over a year now that I've been working on making my own products and I'm really excited to see how far I've come. I definitely have a long way to go, but its fun to see that I'm learning certain herbs names and properties and turning out some really fun products, you can check out some of them on my etsy shop. I will hopefully be blogging and sharing about all of the featured products and even giving the recipes, so stay posted!

This recipe that I'm going to share today, I hope to get set up on my etsy shop soon, because I believe in it so much! It is the most relaxing and soothing bath soak I've had in a long time. What I like most about it is that it doesn't leave me feeling all itchy and dry like a commercial soap. It is the perfect combination of detoxification and moisture. Below is a picture of each ingredient and I give further explanation of each below.

Dry Milk: provides slight exfoliation, lactic acid gently loosens dead skin leaving a glow to your skin if buffed away. It is also soothing and moisturizing. Read more here.

Oatmeal: is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it helps with itchy dry skin by normalizing your PH level, it also cleanses and locks in moisture. This is great for sensitive skin making this bath soak perfect children. Read more here.

Kosher salt: great for sore muscles, increasing circulation and purification by releasing toxins. Read more here.

Lavender essential oil: this oil is not only relieves stress, anxiety and insomnia, but is soothing to skin irritations.

Soap: I added this for extra cleansing properties and a little bit of suds!

Oatmeal Bath Milk

3 cups milk powder
1 cup finely ground oatmeal
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 Tbs grated soap of choice (I used one of my homemade bars of soap)

Mix the ingredients together and put about a 1/2 cup to a full cup in your bath tub and enjoy! I stored mine in an antique Crisco jar and use the old ball lid to measure out the mixture. My daughter loves to pour the mixture into the water! Most of the above products can be found on Mountain Rose Herbs website, which you can access through the affiliate link on my sidebar, if you make a purchase I will be compensated and my blog will be supported! Thank you!

Do you use a bath milk? Do you make any of your own bath soaks? I would love to hear about them!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Menopause at 28?!

I know that this topic is way off from my recipe post's that I was trying to do, but my husband has been so busy lately that I have to taper off on those for now. So, I thought I would fill you in with what has been going on with me physically. I know that I mentioned I've been having some hormonal issues, but haven't really delved deep into what's been going on because I really didn't know myself. I kind of have a better idea now and thought it would be good to document how I've gotten to this point.

 It started at the beginning of this year with a missed period. Then a second missed period. I was not happy about this because we had been trying to get pregnant for about six months, also I have NEVER missed my period. So, I called my midwife and asked to have my thyroid retested since I had had issues with it in the past. Every test returned normal and by that time I had gotten my period back, my midwife told me to just keep trying. 
After about two months I started missing my period again, so I went to a natural doctor thinking I just needed my hormones balanced. She took some tests and those showed that I was pre-menopausal, talk about scary! I wanted to have more children, so this was not good news. But, she started me on some supplements and wanted to see if those would balance things out.
 In the meantime, I went to the gynecologist for a regular exam and told her about what had been going on and some of the other strange things I had been noticing going on in my body, she totally disregarded everything and made me feel like I was crazy for complaining! But, she did decide to check my prolactin level all because my mother-in-law asked my why they wouldn't do an MRI to check my pituitary for a growth. So, to put my mother-in-laws mind at ease the gynecologist did a prolactin blood test. Turned out my prolactin was elevated and I even got it checked a second time just to be sure. Then I had to go in for an MRI, I won't even go there, except to say  that if your scared of small spaces like me, its no fun at all. Well, the MRI showed a cyst of some sort and I was referred to a neurologist. I met with him yesterday and he was still not completely sure what kind of growth it is, so I have to see an endocrinologist to verify. In conclusion, I was kind of relieved to know that there was something and that I wasn't just making up all of the things that were going on in my body.

I don't want to bore you to death so I will try to do another post on this topic later, but I do want to leave you with just a few things that really helped me figure out that something wasn't quite right.  My only hope is that some of you can glean from my experience and take control of your body and just know what is going on and why. From knowing when your ovulating to more problematic issues like mine, I think its important for us to know how our bodies work, because there is help for so many issues now, even PMS!

Here are my symptoms that helped lead me to this point:

    Irregular periods, Lactation, Vertigo, Headaches, Swelling on nipple, Increased urination, Waves of emotion, Acne on jawline, Weight gain, Exhaustion, Body odor, Itchy skin

    Other resources:

Through all of this crazy hormonal imbalance I have definitely grown an appreciation for how complicated our bodies are and also a desire to let others know what I'm dealing with and what I've learned so that you can take charge of your own health. I think its so important for us not to ignore our bodies and even the smallest things shouldn't go ignored. 

Have you ever experienced anything like this? If so I want to know!

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