Monday, May 20, 2013

We Got A Puppy! We Got A Puppy!

In case you did not pay attention to the title: We Got A Puppy!
Like most of the sane and mentally balanced people of this world, I love a cute and adorable puppy. If you don't happen to like puppies, then I'm sorry, there is something totally wrong with you and you should really seek counseling. Or take meds for that kind of condition. Really, God didn't create you that way, I promise. He created puppies and made them so cute and cuddly and sweet that He had to had to had to of meant for us to like puppies!

This little adorable puppy is Ginger
She is a mixed breed terrier with a spicy, sassy and smart personality

We were given her on 05/16/13 and she is 10 weeks old
                                                  How could I not fall in love with this face?!

  Mercy cuddling with Ginger

John John checking out his new friend

Our eldest dog tolerating this new interloper

 The car ride to her new home.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Upcycled Window Seat Cushions

In our kitchen, we have these two window seat cushions that came with the house. They are these awful dark red brick pattern, with a floral piping edge. There were curtains and valances all through the house that matched these, too. But that is another story.

This is to give you an idea of what it looked like. I ripped the covers off (they had velcro closures) with great disgust and decided they were not going to stay a moment longer in the kitchen. Matter of fact, we had naked foam cushions for about a week or so. Yep, I'm perfect that way!
What you see above is now our dog's bed in front of our fireplace. I stuffed it with old pillows and poly-fill I had in the shed. Now we don't have to pay $20 or more to get a bed for our great, big, lovely hound.

So what did I decide to use to recover the cushions? Well, here I had a delima because I didn't exactly have the right amount of material on hand to cover both cushions. I contemplated covering one side in one fabric and the other side in another fabric but I decided this would be waaaaayyyyyy too much effort and take way too much time! Keeping upcycling in mind (this where you take something you already have and turn it into something new vs. recycling, which is reusing something you already have to do the same job again), I pulled out some curtains I had bought at the thrift store for like $5 to hang in my son's room eons ago. They worked for about four years. Not bad for $5.

My husband cut to size some mdf we had from when we took our son's old captain bed apart (because it was falling apart and his cousin gave him his solid oak captain's bed) for me to use as a base, since the curtains weren't quite big enough for me to cover both sides of the cushions.

Using my hand-dandy electric staple gun that can shoot tacks or staples, I stapled all around the edges, then the corners, folding the fabric edges over and stapling them down, too, to provide more stability. That last part was my husband's suggestion. Don't you just love it when God blesses you with a sexy AND smart husband? I might keep him around...

And Voila! Ta-da! And all of those other words!
I ended up with two new to me cushions for the kitchen. Ignore my toe in the bottom of the picture and revel with me in the joy of upcycled things and the fact my left shoulder and right thumb ache from my ministrations upon the above cushion! I am still in the process of redoing the area of the window seat, so you will have to wait (patiently!) for pictures to come soon (by soon, I mean in the next year or so!). Hope you enjoyed this picture demonstration of upcycling brought to you by the company of me, myself, and my husband. Tune in next time for more unbelievable stunts and spectacular wording! 

Picture Tutorial-Upcycling Your Wardrobe

I don't know about you, but I need a new summer wardrobe and the budget so ain't gonna make that happen. I'm not one for spending lots of money on clothes anyway. I don't shop department stores. I might shop at Wal-mart and Target on occasion for clothes, but the place I have frequented since I was a child at the side of my mother, is the thrift store. It is like a huge treasure trove to me. But I still want clothes that are unique, fit my style, and don't make me look like a dork. I really don't like looking like a dork. You can if you want. I won't say a thing...I'll just think it really, really loud! Haha

So where to start in making clothes unique and beautiful: the nooks and crannies of your drawers and closets. You might have something perfect. Like this little beauty.

Picked up at a yard sale. Paid like a buck or two for it, maybe. I love the color and the unique design.
But what to put it on?
This question presented itself over and over for a year, but I found the perfect specimen waiting in the bottom of another drawer (an abandoned project, yep, I do those)

It has a zipper closure on the back. I love the retro feel to it and turns out it is an authentic retro piece, not to mention my favorite color: olive green.

 How much did this authentic retro shirt cost me?
Read it and gasp!
Yes, that does say 79 cents. 
But it had been in my project drawer for so long, I consider it to be free.

To get started on my project, I took a sharp pair of scissors and cut the center flower out, snipping only the threads on it, not on the other flowers.

 I found some embroidery thread that matched almost exactly. When in doubt use a shade or two lighter. I separated the threads (there are 6 strands) to where I was working with only 2 at a time.

I pinned the flower chain around the neckline and used a running stitch to tack down all of the edges
 This is what it looked like from the wrong side of the shirt.
This is when I still had pins in it. But you get the idea.
 I had to cut the last flower off at the end, to allow for the zipper opening, but I turned the loose threads under and made sure they were fastened down securely for when it is washed. This will only be hand washed though. I certainly don't want to ruin all of my hard work!
When I was done, I was left with two extra flowers (one is pictured in my hand, above) so I used one of them to tack down with the matching thread onto a yellow headband I already had.
Crocheted flower chain: $1?
Shirt: $0.79
Headband: $0.25?
Total cost: $2.04.
I know, I know!
I don't have a pic of me wearing it yet. I totally forgot the camera the day I did!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Living with Essential Oils-Allergic Reactions and Mouthwash

I've decided to change up the way I've been doing the blog a bit, to avoid boredom. Oh, you may not be bored; if you aren't then I feel much better, something I'm doing must be entertaining. However, I am getting bored with it. I mean, all I'm doing is describing my day, hour by hour to you. How can you stand that?!!! LOL Don't get me wrong, I love my life. I love living it. I love having it to live. But I've already lived through whatever I'm posting about so its kinda redundant to me. Remember I told you I get bored easily and have issues with carrying things through to completion, but as far as I am concerned my family will be using essential oils the rest of our natural lives, so that is a bit much for me to blog about day in and day out without going certified crazy! Notice, I specified certified? That is probably one of the only reasons people read about my life (other than wanting to know more about using essential oils) is because there is something about reading the screw-ups of someone crazier than you that makes one feel at least a teensy bit normal. Haha

One of the reasons for the change up is that I've got a few other projects going on. I always do, I'm notorious for reading several books at a time, doing several projects at a time, and always having a few figurative irons in the fire. One particular project I will also be blogging about soon, so as to not spend hours per day doing nothing but blogging, I will post about our lives using essential oils probably once a week to highlight, well, the highlights. That will free me up to post about some upcycling I've been doing with things from my closet, my sewing stash and the thrift store. My body is shaped a lot differently now than it was, so clothes don't exactly fit correctly, so I've been changing up some things I already have and getting some new-to-me things to alter. I can't wait to post about them! Just to give a hint, I turned a dress with a too-tight bodice into a skirt for me and a tube top for Mercy. I'm also redoing a few things in our kitchen, which takes time, and may end up being a few more blog posts.

So since its been far too long since I've posted I'll try to give you a quick run down of some of the things we've done.

I made some mouthwash. I guess I should say I made two mouthwashes. The first one was just warm water with sea salt and a drop of Thieves essential oil in a glass bottle with a lid. The second was based on one I saw in a book called Aromatherapy, a lifetime guide to healing with essential oils by Valerie Gennari Cooksley. 
It had one cup of strong chamomile tea, brewed. Take a teaspoon of honey and add two drops of Peppermint essential oil (remember to only use oils you can ingest, like Young Living oils, message me at to order any at my price), one drop of Tea Tree oil and 2 drops of Lavender essential oil to the honey. Then add the honey mixture to the chamomile tea. Adding the essential oils to the honey first causes the honey to act as a carrier and allow the essential oils to mix with the liquid of the tea. Otherwise they will just float. Store this mixture in an airtight bottle out of sunlight and shake well before each use. 
You could also add Fennel essential oil and Geranium essential oil, but I didn't have either of those two, so I couldn't use them. You can't drink or eat for twenty minutes after using this mouthwash according to the book.I should have added a drop of Thieves into this mixture, but didn't think about it at the time. I will on the next round though, because the Thieves has really helped with the tooth pain I'd been having. I was even able to eat a honey bun (I know! It's processed food, but it was so good!) without doubling over in pain, tears streaming down my face. It didn't hurt at all, matter of fact.

Another thing I've done is get an organic tooth soap from a company I'm a fan of here in our local area. The owner is a fellow homeschooler and my son just adores her candles (especially the quirky robot shaped one he slept with for an entire year); alas she has moved to Georgia, but she has an internet site, Cheeky Maiden Soaps. This tooth soap is made with clove essential oil, which helps numb mouth pain, and also has coconut oil in it. I love it, because it foams up when you use it and its not overly abrasive. This with the mouthwash is really good, although not the bestest tastin' stuff around according to Tim and John. My mother-in-law bought the mint version and really likes the taste of it.

John has had several scrapes lately. He is a boy afterall! Although I wish he was as indestructive as the rubber he seems to think he is. We've been using the same Lavender essential oil diluted with olive oil that we use on the kids at night to help them sleep, to apply to John's scrapes and they've looked a lot better and takes the sting out of it, which prevents the cry fest that sometimes accompanies said scrapes.

Mercy has had a few more stomachaches, hiccups, and gas pains that the Peppermint essential oil diluted in olive oil has helped with. She has also had a struggle with concentrating on her schoolwork here lately. I'm sure its because we are so near the end of the school year, but we certainly don't want her to bring down her good average with a few bad grades. She has been using Peppermint and Frankincense essential oils behind her ears and across her toes to help her focus and concentrate. Even this afternoon, I saw a significant difference after she had applied it. I just wish I had thought of it earlier in the day!!!

I have also been using Frankincense on my surgical scar from where I had my mastectomy last August. Frankincense isn't cheap, but I got a 5ml bottle of it in the starter kit I bought. Normally I wouldn't use something so “expensive” on a scar (I've got plenty of others to prove this point) however, this particular scar I need to stretch as far as it will go when I have reconstruction, so to me it is a safe and sound application of it. Frankincense is supposed to fade scars significantly and many women have raved about how it decreases under eye circles and puffiness. I haven't tried that yet, but I may.

Between the bath scrub I posted about before and the Frankincense, my scar is flat, without ridges and smooth. I do hope this helps when I have my next surgery. Hopefully the doctor won't tell me my skin is too soft and smooth! Lol

Several days ago I took around the yard and pulled a few weeds. Then two days ago I went out to my square foot garden (I have two boxes) to weed them for the vegetable plants I unintentionally bought (I got eight plants for less than eight bucks!). Something that I came into contact with caused a stinging, burning rash on my inner forearms. Yes, I wore gloves. But that didn't protect me and my uncovered arms. I also got some in my eyes and nose because my eyes started itching horribly and I was sneezing, sneezing, sneezing. Then the inside of my nose started itching like ants were crawling all inside it and stinging and biting as they went in circles. I was miserable! I washed off, but the damage was done. I have no idea what the weed was, but I know it was not stinging nettle. This weed's habit was like baby's breath, but with thicker, bright green stalks that stuck to you like glue. It also had yellow flowers instead of white.

I applied Lavender to my arms and immediately the stinging and burning stopped. If I hadn't of been so uncomfortable it might have been kind of neat. The other two things I didn't really know what to do about because it can be dangerous to use essential oils too close to the eyes or mucus membranes according to all of the warnings I see over and over. I took Lavender internally with Peppermint and Lemon in a capsule and applied Lavender behind my ears and on the inside of my cheek. I also applied Purification to my neck and Thieves on my chest. I was determined to beat this stuff, but the next morning I was still rubbing my eyes violently and sneezing. My nose was even worse. The inside felt singed and quite like my tongue felt during chemo last year; burnt. I continued using the Lavender topically and internally. My energy was gone, too. Like all of the sneezes were ripping my energy right out of me. I slept and slept like before I started all of these oils, but my body was tired of it all. I finally ended up taking some tylenol sinus to help all the oils get a hold and eradicate whatever that weed was. From what I read, the first time your body comes into contact with something it sees as a virus it develops a reaction to fight it, producing histamine. The next time you come into contact with it, your body will most likely respond with more symptoms. Hence my second reaction, apparently. Most people just call it hay fever, hives, or rhinitis. I called it misery.

I discovered something in this Aromatherapy book, though. It was a nasal soother. One part warmed toasted sesame oil, one drop of Tea Tree oil, and two parts pure vitamin E oil. Mix together and swab inside the nostrils with a q-tip. Some of these things are like being a kid seeing the circus for the first time. You think it couldn't possibly work, but somehow it does, and it is amazing and incredible and leaves stars in your eyes. I might not have had stars in my eyes, but I was certainly amazed at how instantly, instantly people, my nose was fine. I do have to admit the smell of toasted sesame oil inside of my nose was weird, really weird and the smell came back each time I subsequently had to blow my nose (another weird) but I was okay with that if the pain and torment was gone. This is one treatment I plan to use again if ever necessary.

The eye thing I never really figured out what to do about, but use a cold compress and use my prescription eye drops. Maybe I'll come across something in the future, but I most certainly am going to try to keep away from the un-named weed!

I even got a book from the library about gluten free living. I don't think we're really ready for that step yet, but little by little we are kind of heading that direction with the diabetic diet. I really like a lot of the recipes for diabetics, even though I am not one. Grandma is, and so we all are pretty much on board for that train, except maybe more sweets than she is supposed to eat. I love just about all kinds of food, especially indian, chinese, japanese, and other asian foods, which is among some of the healthiest given the amount of vegetables and fresh foods. Tim is having to grit is teeth and smile through this, cause there isn't so much meat and starch as there once was and he doesn't like too many vegetables. But I do win some, like chickpeas. Everybody in the house likes chickpeas. Score!!!! May God grant me patience in searching for more healthy things my family will eat!

Friends of Mine