Growing Season

About two and a half years ago, my boyfriend and I lived in the tiniest one-bedroom apartment with all of my animals. It was a tight fit. And a crappy apartment, but we filled it with a lot of love, and we were friendly with our neighbors. It was a good thing, too, because the walls were so thin that our neighbors seemed more like roommates.

There was an older couple that lived next to us. We were there to help them the day they moved in, and they were always outside working on the plants that grew in their 4 square foot “yard”, so we always said hello.

When they moved, it was sudden and unexpected, and they had to downsize because they were going to live with her sick mother. They gave us all kinds of odds and ends as they were leaving: a shower curtain, some knickknacks, and… a houseplant!

It was the first plant I was ever able to keep alive. And that inspired me to try growing things again. And last year went pretty well. So, here we go again.

The sun is out, and it is finally warm enough to be sitting outside to read a book. It seems like winter is finally letting go. Don’t be fooled, though, we still have a few cold nights in the forecast.

But my roses are blooming.

And my broccoli is growing.

Because of the impending cold, my container garden is still sitting in my driveway so they can easily be pulled in for the night.

It a mess out there. Oh, well, “dirt don’t hurt”.

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Plant Revival

I am not the best plant parent, to say the least. I have neglected my little plants from last summer. Thankfully, they don’t seem too mad at me; they might even forgive me for leaving them in the dark, cold garage all winter.

It’s about time for things to start growing again, so I’m giving it another shot. Last year, most of my plants did pretty well. They survived my care at least.

Last week I went to Home Depot and bought a little lamp, a grow light build, and some seeds. We’ll see how this goes..

This is the light bulb. It had good reviews, and my friend, who is a plant whisperer in comparison to myself, said that it was a decent purchase.

This is my sad little plant setup in the garage. (Excuse my zombie plants. I am ashamed, but I’m trying to make it up to them. ) My boyfriend built me a table for crafting, but, for now, it has been relegated to the plant table. Most of my plants are suggested to get six hours of light a day, so I turn the light on when I get home from work, make sure everyone is hydrated, and turn it off before I go to bed.

Per my friend’s advice, I have been giving each plant a quarter turn a day to help them spread their little leaves.

It seems to be working. Rosemary has got a little green growth. Pineapple sage has a few little sprouting leaves, and you can see from the picture that citronella is bouncing back.

I guess only time will tell.

How to Draw a Bath

One of the things that I have realized in my contemplations in myself lately is that I thoroughly enjoy little rituals; my whole life seems to be full of ritual. The process of preparing makes my favorite things that much more enjoyable.

I love using my French press in the morning because the somewhat lengthy process builds the anticipation and makes my favorite thing (coffee) a reward for my work. My dogs recognize my nighttime ritual: shoes come off, yoga/stretching, a cup of tea, then my general hygiene rituals. As soon as my shoes come off, they go to the top of the stairs to wait for me (they like to sit in the bathroom while I brush my teeth), and then we all go to bed.

I am very disorganized when it comes to things but when it comes to experiences there is a structure that makes me happy.

When I realized this, I started making baths. Drawing them, I suppose. It used to be that when I took a bath, I’d pour a cap full of lavender scented bubble bath under warm water. But it dried out my skin. And just wasn’t the experience that I wanted it to be.

So, to make a bath:

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/2 cup epsom salt

1 tsp sweet almond oil

10 drops of essential oil (2 lemon oil, 3 geranium, 3 lavender, and 2 rosemary)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  1. Heat coconut oil until it is liquid
  2. Add almond oil and essential oils
  3. Mix in epsom salt
  4. Pour mixture under running bath water
  5. Add in apple cider vinegar

I apply a face mask before getting into the bath, light a few candles, and put on some soothing music. Soak for 20 minutes, and get out of the tub feeling gorgeous and nourished.

This ritual works wonders to calm my soul, my nerves, and my skin.

Renewal

I am headed to the end of the first year of this blog. It has gotten away from me more times than I’d like to admit, but I still remember the day it started. My boyfriend and I spent a beautiful, sunny day together at home, and, as the sun was setting, I was at the kitchen table on my laptop. He was cooking and we were talking about plants and composting and tiny houses, and we were talking about our impact on the world.

In the context of that day, I felt like connecting with the whole world. In the context of my life, though, I was exhausted and swamped with work, and that seems to keep catching up to me.

I am so thankful to have my boyfriend in my life. He is the best friend that I could ask for. He might not get the dishes done every day, but he’s there to support me when I need it, even when I don’t know that I do.

Since the last time that I posted, I had a birthday, got a new job, and I’ve put a concerted effort into figuring out who I am and who I want to be. (It is never to late to change. Yourself. Or your mind.)

Life is about to change for the better, and I plan on being around here more.

DIY Face Toner

It’s winter, and the holiday season is here. My skin is suffering from both the weather a bit too much over-indulgence.

I have been scouring the Internet for recipe inspiration for body care recipes, and I came across several recipes for facial toners.

Apple cider vinegar (raw; I use bragg’s) is magical. Ask anyone. It can be used in shampoos, conditioners, taken internally, etc. In skin care, Apple cider vinegar helps balance ph, even skin tone, and help with breakouts (a major problem for me). Apple cider vinegar is the base of this toner, and I added some essential oils with skin benefits for an extra boost.

The recipe:

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

3 tbsp distilled water

1 tbsp aloe Vera juice

4 drops geranium oil

3 drops lavender oil

2 drops lemon oil

Mix and keep in jar in cool, dark place.

Geranium is great as an anti-inflammatory, it helps heal wounds, and benefits circulation. Lavender is calming, helps to treat acne and wrinkles, and speeds the process of healing. Lemon oil is antibacterial and boosts collagen production, BUT it is photosensitive so be careful about applying it and then exposing your skin to the sun.

These are just the oils that I chose, but there are a ton of great options out there. Also, my skin isn’t very sensitive to apple cider vinegar, but yours may be. You may have to play with this recipe to find what works for you.

I have been using some variation of this toner for the last few weeks, and my skin feels great. I don’t feel the need for as much moisturizer and I don’t find my skin to be as oily as it was before. Call me crazy, but I think my skin is brighter, clearer, and looks fresher, too.

Inspiration for DIY Christmas

I was so thankful for the holiday. Thanksgiving brought me a few days off of work and family from halfway across the country. It was a much needed break.

Now that thanksgiving is over, Christmas is getting into full swing. For the last couple of years, my boyfriend and I have talked about doing Christmas fully diy. It looks like we may actually accomplish it this year.

One of the best tools that I have right now to inspire me is Willow and Sage magazine.

I have gathered the materials for a few of the recipes in here, and I think it’s a nice touch for the holidays to give someone you care about products to help them care for themselves.

This is where my jar beautification project started. My boyfriend’s mother and I have plans to make some rose infused aloe for her friends in tiny jars. This is also what inspired me to look into perfume making. They have a lovely recipe for a men’s cologne, and it sent me down the rabbit hole of the Internet to try new recipes and make up some of my own.

This year has been a whirlwind of inspiration for me, and I’m excited to end on a good note with all of the work I’ve out into learning new things paying off.

Pretty Jars

My boyfriend’s mother has been saving all of the tiny little jars that come with her Hello Fresh meals, and we finally came up with some ideas for what to do with them: diy body products.

Since we still have a bit of time to get everything made for Christmas gifts, I’ve been taking my time trying recipes and trying different ways to make the jars more decorative.

Tonight I was attempting some perfumes. I haven’t found exactly what scent I’m going for, but my first few tries turned out okay.

I made quite a mess and felt like a mad scientist the whole time. All you really need are a few roller ball containers, sweet almond oil, and essential oils. Recipes are easy to come by on google and Pinterest, but it’s fun to come up with your own scents. The only recommendation that I have is that if you want to try perfume making, familiarize yourself with top notes, middle notes, and base notes so that your composition works well throughout the day.

Anyway, back to the jars:

1.

This is my least favorite. I used craft tape around the jar (which I already know won’t hold up well if washed) and painted the lid.

2.

I like this one, but it was very tedious. I spent a lot of time matching up strips of patterned craft tape so the seams wouldn’t be as noticeable. I sealed it with a clear coat. The edges look a little messy, too, but I definitely don’t hate it.

3.

This one is my absolute favorite. I get way too excited about craft paper, and I just bought a small pack of floral patterned craft paper. I cut a circle slightly larger than the lid, glued the center of the paper to the middle of the lid, then cut from the edge of the paper towards the lid (20 cuts all the way around), then folded each strip down and glued it to the lid so it would lay flat. This one is the winner, for sure. I love the pattern and it was the neatest method.

Off to bed now, but hopefully I can throw some more pictures up here tomorrow after work.

Carpet Refresh

Accidents happen. When they do, a drop of dish soap, a little vinegar, and a bucket of water get out the stains. 

Unfortunately, the house we live in had problems before we got here. The family who lived here before us had two large dogs who thought the hallways all had restroom signs on them. I’ve been battling carpet stains and a little bit of a sour smell since we moved in. 

For hours at a time, I have battled carpet stains. The biggest problem, I think is that the previous tenants seem to have used an entire can of carpet cleaner for each spot. Perhaps they forgot to actually clean anything, too, letting copious amount of cleaner “do the work” by just soaking in. 

The point being, that between neglected spots and set in chemicals, when I try to clean certain areas of the carpet, no soap is necessary: simply add a drop of water and the carpet suds starts all on its own. It’s almost something like a horror movie, but the demons haunting my house are soap bubbles. 

For those areas, vinegar and water and quite a bit of time seem to work. 

My sister-in-law has been selling Young Living Essential Oils. She got me some Thieves. It smells great and is perfect for fall (I think that anything autumn themed is perfect year-round, though, since everything about this season is my favorite.) 

To freshen everything up after the carpet is clean, I add about 15 drops of thieves to a cup of baking soda (any essential oils will work, I just used thieves this time because I wanted to play with my new toy),  let it all soak in, then sprinkle it on the carpet and let it sit overnight. 


It helps deodorize and helps soak up moisture from the carpet as well. In the morning, vacuum it all up and it’s dry, clean, and smells like a festive wonderland. 

New to Us Furniture

My boyfriend’s aunt and uncle loaded up a moving truck full of furniture a few months ago and were nice enough to stop by on their way south and drop a few things off with us. 

This has been such an oddly busy summer for us, so it took a while for us to find the time to clean everything up and get it moved out of the garage and into the house.  Hurricane Irma was part of our motivation; we needed to clear out the garage to be able to pull our cars in in case of hail or broken tree limbs. 

So, after three hours of work on the furniture and 7 hours of reorganizing, we accomplished our goal. 


This roll top desk needed to be de-spidered and cleaned with some orange glow. It’s a little dry and needs a little more love, but now we have a cute little desk in the living room. 

The globe is lighted. It was a broken gift from a friend who did not pack it well enough for it to survive the plane trip from Seattle. She said that she knew if anyone could fix it, we could. With a little superglue, we have it looking presentable enough. There’s a short video on my Instagram where you can see the crack in it. 


A little wood glue and dusting got this bookshelf back to its glory. The journals that we’re storing on it are the ones my boyfriend has been making and binding by hand. They’re beautiful and now they have a nice little home. 



This porcelain top table was the most daunting task for me. It’s beautiful. There are a few places where time and love have worn through the porcelain and there were rust rings staining it. The paint was chipped and peeled, and the handle on the drawer was in pretty rough shape. 

After reading so many conflicting things online, I figured I’d just cross my fingers and keep trying whatever I could to clean the porcelain. I wiped it down with dawn dish soap and water, then gently scrubbed the top with a little Bar Keeper’s Friend.  Gentle is not necessarily my strong point, so I had to really resist the urge to use brute force to get it done. But it is clean and white again now!

One night while I was sleeping, my boyfriend decided to paint the wood a “fun color”. That color was an abrasive yellow-green. It was not fun. So we went back to the drawing board and ended up with white. He painted the handle a copper-y metallic, which I think is enough “fun” for that particilular table. 


The little seat tucked underneath the table (Cat’s new favorite place) was an old, black side table. The top was particle board and was in really rough shape. We considered deconstructing it and re-doing the entire piece, but figured it was a little too much work considering it was really just for Cat, and she’s not that picky. So he painted it white and did a textured purple finish on top. (See, I’m okay with fun.)

DIY Make-up Remover Pads

One thing that you should know about me is that I am incredibly lazy in certain areas of my life. Especially right before bed. Life gets hectic. 

Right before bed,  I (try to) clean up the kitchen, get everything organized for a very early morning, feed the dogs and cat, take the cat to her liter box, take the dogs out, feed the cat again. And then I’m exhausted, but still need to take care of myself. 

Ever think about how much time you waste on general personal upkeep? Because I agonize about it all the time, especially while watching YouTube videos about other women’s skin care or beauty routines. Who’s got time for that?? 

Anyway, one thing I do to make sure that I don’t get too lazy and skip taking off my make-up before bed is that I keep a little jar of super moisturizing homemade make-up remover pads in the bathroom, or, during particularly long weeks, by my bed. 

Here’s the recipe (that can be tweaked with any soaps or oils that you prefer, but this is the basic one that I use):

4 oz jar

Baby soap (or other gentle cleanser)

Coconut oil (virgin, cold-pressed, and unrefined)

Water

Cotton pads

Pour 1 tbsp of cleanser and 1 1/2 tbsp of liquid coconut oil into jar, add water leaving a little room at the top. Put lid on and shake. Add cotton pads. Voila! 


Now just make sure you remember to use them before collapsing into bed. The cleanser that I use is rinse-free, so depending on what you use, you may need a splash of water afterwards. 

This is an especially great thing to have on hand in the winter, when my skin gets dried out. The coconut oil helps keep my skin soft and clean, and, depending on your skin type, it might help with breakouts, too.