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Category Archives: Make at Home

Decorating with Fairies

As a child I was always encouraged to read (although I don’t know that they meant to read quite so much, so quickly lol) and my grandmother left some books at our house for me.  In with the encyclopedias and natural history books was this tiny book that seemed made for my small hands.  I opened it and fell in love with poetry way back then.  Fairies of the Flowers & Trees, by Cicely Mary Barker, was an old book when I first discovered it.  The “Fairies” series started in 1923 and I believe that the version Grandma had is the one from the ’50s, but as a kid I never looked at that page, so it’s only by looking at lots of old book covers that I found the one I had treasured.



The fairies frolicked in the plants and simple, yet enchanting, poems were usually on the opposite page.  The book cover was worn and the pages had gone yellow with age, but they still had the power to transform the rest of my life.


The concept that a book could be about magical creations from the mind, the style of writing that conveys so much with so few words, and the idea that we should never stop looking for the magic in the world; in the minutiae of every day life, absolutely blew my mind.  I couldn’t wait to get done with schoolwork (I would have been in very early elementary school at that time), because I wanted to lose myself in the world of beautiful creatures and poetry.


It is part of why poetry is still so special to me and why I even had the guts to compete in national competitions. To this day I still love most things related to fairies (except fanfic or some of overly cutesy stuff); as a moving away gift my childhood best friend gave me a fairy figurine that graces the shelf in our living room and makes me smile every time I dust her little upturned tip of the nose.  After joining Pinterest I discovered amazing fairy artwork that people hoarded on their boards and it’s no surprise that Pinterest recommended a board about fairy gardens to me when they started to become so popular.


I fought it.  I really tried.  I don’t garden, I don’t do outdoors (apparently my blood is ambrosia to mosquitoes), and I seldom have ever done anything “trending”.  I’m the type of girl that’s rolling her eyes over the hype or a year late to the party.  This time something trending hit one of my weak spots and I jumped on the fairy garden wagon.  L was really sweet about it, despite finding it really weird that I suddenly wanted to do something that involves something I hate (gardening/outdoors), and we got a cut saucer style pot, soil, some tiny perennials, and a sweet fairy figurine I found on sale on Amazon.  Then I found a gazebo…another fairy to keep the first from seeming so lonely…a dragon…decorative glass rocks for paths or to fill in the spots where the perennials weren’t growing…and on.  Within a month or two even L realized this wasn’t going to be one of my “projects” that I try for awhile and then lose interest once I’ve learned everything about it.


We ended up getting a plastic stacking strawberry pot that is three levels high, has batting inside each level for the base with model train grass and aquarium gravel over that.  Fake seasonal plants and flowers fill at least most of the bottom level, so the mosquitoes have less opportunities to give me massive welts.  One of my best friends gave me a little fairy doorway at Christmas, just before the garden wagon started rolling.  It started out as an entrance into some of my hardbacks that I can’t bring myself to part with.  It quickly took up residence in one of the strawberry plant “nooks” as an entrance to the magical center that is enchanted, so humans just see normal stuff there.  (Yep, I know I sound bonkers, but it IS a post about fairies, so what did you really expect?)  The dragon took up residence in another nook on the middle level, then she soon started guarding these cute little eggs, and some metal “ribbon” (seriously?!  How is metal even in that class?) caged Mama Dragon and the eggs in, with a beware sign that I really need to add some burn marks to soon…Anyway…At Christmas I got L a fire hydrant socket cover in honor of his being a fire fighter (and I need to figure out something to honor his EMT certification; I’m so proud of his EMS work!).  Me being me didn’t even notice that the hydrant cover has the holes in the wrong places for any of our sockets, so it became the second doorway (although it had fallen down and I didn’t realize it until I was uploading the pictures for this post, so it’s the slab that laying across things in one of the nooks in a picture.  *laugh* The top is for the girls and the gazebo, plus rocks L brought back from the Scouts’ trip to Mount Rushmore, and a few little wood slices that I experimented on that became name plates instead.


So that’s the basics.  For most holidays the girls get a renovation with seasonal decorations.  During Fall they had red and burnt orange leaves (fake), acorns, tiny pumpkins, and dark flowers with fake spiders crawling about.  At Christmas they had felt snow, a battery operated fire, a snowman, etc.  For St. Patrick’s (since that’s a favorite holiday for me due to loving my Celtic heritage), glitter edged green carnations, fake gold coins, and such decorated their home.  Now that Easter has passed it’s time to take the glittery eggs out of the scene and change things up.  I’m stumped though.  I think because my mind is constantly going back to thoughts about our adoption paperwork and such, I have no inspiration.  I found some miniature ducks on my old desk (a few being the ones I used for the “Splish Splash” duck soaps I made a few years back, for the long time readers), so I thought I might start a little section with them.  I’m just meh right now though, so I’m bringing it to you readers.  If you have any ideas I would greatly appreciate them!  I have to be budget conscious, otherwise this wouldn’t be an issue because they’d have an incredible tree house *grin*, and as you can tell once you look at the pictures, the planter is big, but there’s actually little space to decorate in.  I’ll probably take out half of the flowers to open up some additional space, but do you have any ideas for some spring decorating for the ladies?  The odd combo of St. Patrick’s and Easter really needs to go.  *lauhg*  I’ve used my product photo shoot props a few times, but I’m not into the idea of army men scaling the planter or strings of beads being draped across things, which leaves my creativity vault empty.  So I’m begging you to look at the following pictures and drop a comment or two on any ideas you have on how to decorate this season (note: names and pictures in the background have been blurred, so that’s why some spots look weird).  I tried to get several sides and a few angles, but it pretty much just came out looking like a weird hodge podge of pictures.  *grin* The fairies, and I, appreciate your help and look forward to making a new enchanting scene that makes visitors smile when they see it as they enter the living room.  🙂



Crafty Wrapping

I decided to try and decorate ornaments to attach to gifts this year, instead of the usual bows and curling ribbons. I thought it’d be a nice touch and would help get me out of my blah wrapping habits. *grin* Anyway, I’ve been experimenting on a variety of regular colored bulbs, regular clear glass bulbs, and tiny clear glass bulbs. Glitter, floor wax, mod podge, stickers, acrylic paint, dimensional paint, and glitter glue have all been fair game. Not always with great results, but it keeps me occupied and being creative while I’ve been pretty much laid up for several days.

Sadly I had a beautiful regular sized bulb done with mod podge and copper and red glitters that shattered. I tried to recreate it small scale with one of the tiny bulbs, but the colors don’t pop as much when small and especially not when photographed. Lol It’s still kind of pretty I think, although only the red really shows on “film” apparently. The copper gleams a bit where light is really hitting, like in the reflection of my ceiling light.


I also did a few solid red glitter tiny bulbs and then one tiny bulb where I mixed green and red glitters, all with the floor wax for the adhesive. I learned during this that glitter throws off the camera’s focus, so most of my pictures are blurry despite my best efforts. Lol At least there’s proof that I tried, though.



I used an acrylic copper paint that looks remarkably plum when pixelated and added some gorgeous golden brown and burnt sienna glittery leaf stickers with little rhinestones around the outside of the bulb. Then I added a first initial sticker to another glitter bulb for a fully personalized little ornament for my niece to remove from her gift and add to her little bedroom tree if she wants, too.



For the dimensional paint and glitter glue I had two bulbs turn out well. Both were very obviously done freehand and I really like them, especially where the paint developed a bubble and left a double line on the black ornament. I think I will try to do a few more patterns with the dimensional glitter since it looks neat and the world needs more glitter. Lol.





I did a few swirled paint tiny bulbs that turned out pretty neat. Two in an attempt at camo and one in pastels. They look wildly different with flash versus plain lighting, so I am posting both versions. I can’t wait to see how they look under Christmas lights. *grin*



Anyway, those are a few of my little projects that I’ve been occupying myself with. I have a few more that are still drying, so I couldn’t take pictures of them, and I don’t want to make this post seriously boring. *grin* Do you like to embellish your gifts? If so, any inspiration or tips you’d mind sharing? In the meantime I hope you have a wonderful day and find a few moments to pamper yourself. You always deserve it.

Another Homemade Cleaning Spray

I’ve been on bed rest for the most part for several days now due to an infection that my whole body is now fighting. Top that off with a phlebotomist that blew every vein she tried to draw from, and I’ve been a bit unsociable. *grin* Since I haven’t been able to do a whole lot I thought maybe you’d like some information about an incredibly easy DIY product I made a while back.

If you go to here
you will get the whole skinny about this homemade cleanser. It’s just warmed vinegar and blue Dawn dish soap. You let it soak in and work some magic.

Here’s where my results are a little less enthusiastic as the pinner/blogger…it did a good job on cleaning up dirt and even Goodyear Grime, as I call it (my husband works in a Goodyear Tire Plant), yet it doesn’t touch hard water stains.

I have been embarrassed about our shower/bathtub ever since we moved in. At first I thought the previous owners didn’t bother cleaning (which, by the way, they didn’t. I think it’s kind of gross to clean the toilet in your new home that first day because the previous owners never cleaned the boy’s “miss”take.), but I’ve fought the dinginess and hard water in that thing for ten years now, so it wasn’t just in need of a regular cleaning. It is the one area of the house I am too embarrassed about to even consider a before/after shot, but you can use that tutorial for that. *smile* This solution did a much better job than any other product I have tried, honestly. Compared to her bathroom I actually had to get out my Scumbuster to put some umph behind the solution, but the extra pressure really helped. It even shined up the faucets and stuff really nicely. It doesn’t clean caulking that has discolored or those fun hard water stains, but it’s not full of harsh chemicals and it’s even safe to get on your skin while you’re cleaning, so I’m impressed it can do this well.

Here’s where it gets good, though. I decided to try it on my seriously messy crockpot. I made crock pot ribs one night and then started the first round of getting sick. My husband tried to be nice, so he filled the crockpot with hot water that night, since the BBQ and juices had formed this brown lining that didn’t want to come off even with a scraper after soaking for a bit. When I finally was able to be up on my feet and get some things done, I was surprised that pot hadn’t grown legs and left the building. It was bad. Thankfully I had the spray bottle sitting there with the remaining solution (I needed 1 1/2 batches for my bathtub and shower), so I sprayed it and laid back down for a few hours. In the blog the user stated she just wiped everything down after the solution sat for a few hours and then rinsed. I tried that on the crockpot and the crust slipped right off! I’m telling you there were stains that disappeared with this one treatment!

I hope you consider trying this out, especially if you have any trouble with chemical sensitivities or have had trouble finding a cleaner that works for you. I honestly think it’ll take pumice, elbow grease, and a miracle to get the hard water areas clean, but for your normal in-depth cleaning, this is a really effective mixture. It’s super easy to mix up and requires very little effort compared to most products.

I hope you have a happy (and healthy!) weekend. 🙂

DIY Glitter Ornaments


DIY Glitter Ornament



I’ve been playing with glitter again and I have to share this with you.  The tutorial is at although I will give you a few tips, so it doesn’t take you as many attempts to make the ornament of your dreams.  *grin*  I know that’s a bigger picture than I usually bombard you with, but that’s just how much I love it.

Ornament Prep

Basically you rinse your clear ornament with rubbing alcohol and let dry.  After it’s dry you squirt a little floor finish in it (although there’s some sticker shock, it barely uses any, so that bottle will last almost forever), swish the finish until it coats the entire interior, and pour the excess back into your bottle.  Sprinkle your chosen glitter into the bulb and either shake or swish the glitter until it coats the ornament.  This is where I have a little input.  I never figured out how she had any to “swish”, since the excess liquid was poured back into the bottle, but I covered the hanger hole with a napkin and shook the tarnation out of it.  Super fine glitter didn’t coat very well, so I had to rinse the ornament and start over another day.  When I switched to the other glitter it dawned on me that I should take  a picture, so you could see the glitter (although it’s not an overly descriptive picture, I know lol), but mostly so you can see the bottle of finish in case you get as confused as me when standing in the store and trying to figure out which one to buy.  So, using the slightly less fine glitter things started out well, but after the bottom was coated in glitter I couldn’t seem to get the glitter to move.  I tried all sorts of fun shaking, rattling, and wiggling, but if you end up with a clump at the bottom, don’t worry.  Just add more glitter!  It takes a LOT of glitter.  I went through half of one of those jars of glitter just on the one ornament.  I tried sprinkling the glitter directly into the opening and I also used a paper funnel.  Once I realized that shaking didn’t actually harm anything, despite the tutorial stating that she didn’t like to shake, I stopped trying to funnel the glitter to the spots that I needed to cover.  Just put your glitter in and treat the ornament like a shake weight.  After a few minutes you’ll have a fully coated ornament.  If you still have some blank areas despite having a bunch of loose glitter inside, then the floor finish didn’t coat that section.  It bites, since there’s no fix at this point, but it happened to me in a tiny spot (notice how the top hardly has any glitter?  I didn’t realize that I had failed to swish that finish along the entrance.  I found that the ornament balanced well on the small Dixie cup and it kept it from rolling about spreading the glittery love across my table.  It’s also a handy little stand for the ornament to sit and dry on, and since it won’t roll my cats are leaving it alone.  *grin* The ring from a mason jar works well too to keep the bulb confined, especially if your dog happens to smack paper cups off of tables with his tail like mine.  The only down side is that it’s hard to get pictures of the pretty surface without dark spots or reflections when it’s too cold to have a curtain open for natural lighting.  LOL

Glitter Ornament

Glitter Ornament


I hope you give this project a try.  Knowing how to prevent the troubles I ran into this project should take you about fifteen minutes.  In the tutorial she also added stickers and things to hers, so imagine the possibilities.  You could bling it out with some little gems, initial them in puffy paint, or do it in green and paint a fun Grinch-styled face on there.  If you have any problems, feel free to drop me a line.  Otherwise, have fun! 🙂

Antique Copper Jar

As promised, here’s the latest “dyed” jar. Although the paint streaked a little, I think this is gorgeous!


A Little DIY Ornament Tutorial

I hope you’re having a good year so far and that your resolution is going strong. My resolution was to work on learning to be proud of myself again and stop focusing on what I lost or am unable to do after I became disabled. Part of that is to do little things to help me feel productive and proving that I CAN still do some things.

In light of my goals I wanted to try some of the many crafty pins I have from Pinterest. I might give them as gifts or keep for us to use, but mostly it was to prove to myself that I actually can be crafty. *laugh* I’ve never thought I could be, although I’ve always done some artistic things. When I saw a pin my stepmother had posted on Facebook about using crayons to create pretty swirled ornaments I thought it sounded like the perfect craft to try.

I had taken a screenshot of her post, which said to melt some crayons inside clear glass ornaments with your hair dryer, so I hit the day after Christmas sale at Walmart and picked up a package of them for around a dollar. That way I wouldn’t be out much if I had one of those days of disasters I tend to stumble upon. *grin* I had everything else on hand, so once I found some gumption I went for it.

Now, I went through lots of pins on Pinterest to find a good tutorial and I never found one. The instructions about were just about it and I’m not going to send you to a site for that. I also think a tutorial that says what not to try could save others a lot of time and frustration, so I’m going to provide it.

First off, make sure you get actual glass ornaments and not the plastic ones that several stores sell that look a lot like the real deal. I promise you that the plastic will distort with the intense heat of the blow dryer. *shaking head with embarrassment* However, if you want to make some creatively shaped ornaments, that would be an easy way to go about it and would be totally unique. *grin* Decorate as you want and voila, an original creation. For this though, make sure it’s the real deal. Second, don’t use a knock off brand. After sacrificing a box of off brand crayons to my xacto knife I discovered that they are incredibly hard to melt. Get a box of Crayola that you can slaughter.

Now I tried a variety of lengths and I found that half an inch chunks worked the best for me. You can cut smaller pieces for extra detail swirls, but they don’t last long, and lengths beyond half an inch tend to stick for a few, which makes bare spots when they do that. (More about that later. Once you’ve cut your chunks on something disposable like old sale ads or something, clean up so that there’s nothing lightweight in your work space. The dryer WILL blow everything off if you don’t have a clear workspace.)

Pop the cap off your ornament and drop in one or two pieces of crayon. I found that two colors at once made some gorgeous designs and made the process a lot faster, although you have to try to keep the two pieces together as you are melting them, since you have to chase the crayon piece(s) with the hair dryer. Before you start the dryer put the cap back on. Trust me on this. When you get going the dryer will blow just right into the hole sometimes and cause a seriously annoying noise. While you’re putting stuff in the bulb you can use a mason jar lid to keep it from rolling around. If you get creative with your add-ins, this can save you a big mess (trust me).

I learned that if you get really creative and add glitter, and that bulb decides to roll, since the top area is heavier, well, those crayons will knock a healthy portion of glitter all over your table. I also happen to know that manly men hate to have glitter accidentally sticking to their things when they go to work, so this little oops has the potential of causing you a bad day. *grin*

The easiest way to get the ball rolling once you’re all ready is to hold the ornament by the top and put the blow dryer at the underside, directly on the crayon(s) and give it a minute or two to start to melt, with the dryer on your highest settings (mine allows for hot heat and high force – warm doesn’t cut it for this project). You’ll start to see a little pool around the edges and it’s much easier to get going once it’s at this stage. (I forgot to get a picture at that point, but I did when I switched colors, so at least you can get the idea.)


Once the crayon starts to melt a little just start to roll the ornament slowly, following closely with the hair dryer to keep it melting, and swirl to your heart’s content. I found it was much easier to control the process by putting the ornament down on a hot pad on my knee and rotating the ornament while keeping the dryer steady. That glass can get really hot and your leg can get burned if you have the blow dryer focused toward it for the half hour or so this takes. Please put something down to protect yourself. I tried the mason jar lid, too, but that didn’t work so well. The pad on the knee worked the best.

Anyway, you will probably have to add more pieces and start the process over if you want as much of the ornament covered as possible. As you will see later I covered as much as I could, but I saw some pins where people just did a few swirls with the melted crayon and had lots of clear ornament showing. The more colors you have and the hotter the overall ornament gets, the more the colors will blend. If you melt colors individually it’s a bit more work, but you get distinct swirls. As mentioned before when a chunk of crayon stops in an all ready colored area the chunk will strip the previous color off and you’ll have a clear spot again. I found that if I kept the chunk there and focused the dryer on it, much like I did to get the whole prices started, and got a little pool of melted color going, then I could swish the chunk around and re color most of the stripped area. No matter how hard I tried every ornament had a few stripped spots. Hey, it’s handmade, so that just shows that a machine didn’t do it. *smile* Toward the end you will have trouble knowing where the crayon is, so you’ll have to pull the cap off and shine a light inside to see where it is. The lighter the colors the easier this is and the last bulb I did was so light that I could just hold it up before a light to see where to focus the dryer.

If you decide to add glitter don’t add a lot of it before you get the crayons started. The glitter coats the chunks and makes it hard for them to melt at the beginning. Get your little pool started and then sprinkle some in. You can also blow the dryer into the opening for a few seconds, sprinkle the glitter in, and then shake the ornament to get the glitter to settle everywhere. Doing the heat inside will make your colors blend a lot more. Just sprinkling in some glitter throughout the process worked the best for me. I used extremely fine, cosmetic safe, glitter that I have on hand, so you may have different results with a bigger and heavier glitter. The only time mine clumped was when I added it to the cold crayons.

One last note – the darker your colors the harder it is to photograph. *laugh* I ended up with one red and green swirled ornament, a second one using the same two colors but more blended, so it looks kind of like camo (hmm, sounds like a great stocking stuffer for my favorite redneck), and then a really pretty light one, where I used pink, white, peach, and iridescent glitter. You have to look hard to see the glitter in the picture, but it has a gorgeous soft (almost gold) shimmer in person. I had one shatter while I was working too, which was another light one, and after some looking I found that there were some fine cracks in the ornament and when I dropped the piece of crayon in I hit one. I found a weak spot in the other light one too, before I started, and made sure to softly slide the pieces in and I kept the dryer at an angle to keep from having direct force on the ornament.

All in all I spent probably two hours working on the four ornaments, which included the time it took to learn that the off brand crayons wouldn’t work and chopping up some Crayolas, so it’s not a really time consuming project. Your fingertips can get a little toasty, but it’s a pretty safe craft, other than the projectile chunks of crayon as you cut them. *laugh* Depending on how the light hits your ornament they can look completely different from one moment to the next, too! The best part, in my opinion, is that the possibilities are endless. Hopefully you’ll give this project a try. If you do, I’d love for you to post the link so I can see your incredible results. In the meantime, here are some final result pictures.





The light one is definitely my favorite. I plan to try some other color combinations too, but don’t know that I’ll ever top that. *grin* Anyway, I hope you don’t mind my going off topic today and being rather lengthy. Happy pampering and stay warm to those of you “enjoying” the wintery weather if you’re getting hit too. 🙂

Last Minute Gift Idea

I didn’t plan to post again until after Christmas, but in case you’re feeling the pinch and wanting to jazz up a last minute, or small, gift, I thought I’d share a neat idea.

I saw a cute idea on Pinterest where someone filled a mason jar with gum balls, with a clean paper roll hollowing out the middle, so they could hide some money in there as a gift.


I thought that this is a fun idea and much neater than just a gift card sleeve or card, and figured I could play with the concept a little. I got a couple of bags of holiday candy, the recipient’s favorite chocolates and then M&Ms for the filler to replace the gum balls. I can’t say what I hid in both jars just in case the kids or their parents read this, but I quickly realized that my gifts were definitely too big to fit in a paper roll. *laugh* This is why the M&Ms came into play, since I’d need some small candy to fill the spaces around the gifts, and I’d need a lot more filler without the hollowed out area. I put a small layer at the bottom, so even if they look at the bottom they won’t have a clue that they’re getting something better than a jar of candy. *grin* I put the gifts into baggies, slid the gifts into each jar and filled around them with the bigger candies, and then the M&MS to fill the holes. I then put a simple label and a little ribbon on each.


No matter what way the jars are turned you can’t tell that there’s a secret hiding in there. A best friend pointed out that if I’m not there when the kids get their jars, then it’d be smart to say something to the parents, just in case the kids don’t discover the true gifts within a few minutes. Smart advice that I thought I’d pass along. I’m definitely one of those people that are too excited by great ideas and fun gifts that I can barely keep them secret long enough to give them to the person, so I plan to be there when the kids get them. *laugh* If they don’t dig in within the first few minutes I’ll suggest that they dig around a little.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday, no matter how/if you celebrate it, and that this fun idea serves as a little inspiration if you need it. 🙂

An Easy Tip

Things have been a bit off kilter lately, so I haven’t been able to check off as many items on my to do list as desired. However, I found a handy bit of info that I want to share. Yet again I’ll be praising the ol’ bottle of plain vinegar once again.

I did a massive cleaning of my supplies cabinet recently and found a bunch of jars that were waiting for me to find homes and purposes for. Some had residue from temporarily holding batches of bath teas and such to be packaged into their bags, while others had started looking weird before I got around to using them to hold product, and I’m ashamed to admit that I had a sink full of these jars when I finished the cabinet. I decided that I wanted to get what labels I could off of them and then try my hand at some mod podge over tissue paper. (Drat you Pinterest for making me feel all crafty and creative. I have enough things that need to be done all ready! I really need to focus on the big things instead of sprucing up some jars. That will make them pretty jars though. Let’s pin that to try out later…) *grin* Since I’m so picky and a (*cough* retentive) perfectionist, I knew I’d get irritated over the residue that I inevitably still have after scrubbing and peeling labels, so I hit Pinterest for some tips from the crafty folks.

Unfortunately I was a little skeptical and didn’t plan to be so excited that I’d blog about this, so I don’t have before pictures. You’re imaginative, so I’m sure you can picture dusty, sticky, and oily jars. Lol. The little jars also had a really weird look to them now, like they had started to brown and develop imperfections in the glass, and it didn’t wash off.

I read several pins that talked about removing labels and gunk off of glass jars, although admittedly I focused more on the natural ingredient ones, mostly because I’ll toss my cookies if I smell bleach and my nails will break off if I play with acetone.

I found three that all talked about soaking jars in really hot water with your preferred standard dish soap (don’t use your “good” stuff that moisturizes your hands and all that stuff. We’re talking about using a plain old degreasing formula here.) and then add some vinegar. Of course the ratios varied impressively (it’s kind of funny how I find trivial things so impressive, but such a difference in opinion gets me all wound up, I guess. *grin*), so I decided to use the grand “whew, we’re starting to smell like I’m pickling, so I think that’s enough” measurement. (Maybe I should be embarrassed by my measuring technique. Hmmm. Nope. Lol.) I used the Bleach Alternative Dawn and probably a cup of vinegar to a sink full of jars and hot water. Then I decided that if it might work in twenty minutes, as most of every version I read did, then I could play on the computer for two hours safely. (I work hard to justify my escapes from reality. Just go with it. *teasing wink*)

Although the bubbles had dissolved and the water was cool, I saw the remains of the labels still stuck on the jars, so I decided to poke at one to see how disappointed I should be. Umm…the tip of my finger, not my nail mind you, pushed the label completely off without any force. Dude. Okay, I was impressed all ready, but figured I wasn’t going to do a happy dance because the usual residue was probably just waiting for me to touch and get all grossed out by. When I rubbed my finger across the spot and nothing happened I’m pretty sure my eyebrow nearly climbed into my hair line. No joke, every label rubbed off with absolutely no force and the few spots that looked like leftover adhesive rubbed right off. After an extra light wash with dish soap I set them to air dry and was astonished by how nice they looked. Somehow this little bath with a mild, natural, acid and my normal dish soap made these jars shine better than they had when I bought them! I mean, look how nice these look…



If you have an embarrassing collection of “I’ll get to it later” jars I recommend trying out this super easy method. I’ve been using vinegar for the base in my household cleaner for weeks now, plus am still enjoying it as a fabric softener, and now I’m tickled to have found yet another way for it to make things easier. So put away the rubber gloves and close that window, because we can now pamper ourselves naturally by having a lot less work. 😉

Homemade Fabric Softener

I’m going a little off format while my soaps are setting up, because I’m so excited about a little item you might like to try out. If you’ve ever taken a peek at my Pinterest I don’t pin very many DIY items other than gift baskets. I prefer to actually try them out as I run across them to see if I actually want to recommend them to others.

One such pin I was skeptical about was homemade fabric softener, especially since it is essentially just vinegar. I’ve compared several of these pins and decided to try the most basic version with terrific results. I decided to cut down the measurements a bit. In a 16 ounce bottle (I actually used a food service bottle that I had on hand, plus I wanted to avoid any possible contamination by using a recycled bottle) I put 16 ounces of straight distilled vinegar with .5 ML of Christmas Eve Cookies FO. Most recipes call for EOs, but I had made 3 batches of soaps with the FO and was in the mood to keep working with it. Lol. I mean, how nice would it be to snuggle into a freshly laundered hoodie that smells like cookies?!

After I mixed the two liquids I dug out my old Downy ball from the dark recesses of the laundry room cabinets since I didn’t want to try to catch the proper cycle to add the mixture directly. (Yeah, I’m lazy, but I’m doing the laundry, so that’s enough work all ready in my opinion. *grin*) I subbed the vinegar in the exact same portions as I used to put in the Downy ball.

I admit that I was skeptical that the laundry would turn out scent free. From all of my use of vinegar around the house I knew that it would get my laundry extra clean, but I can always smell the traces of vinegar. I’m tickled to report that even straight out of the washer the clean laundry didn’t have the slightest hint of vinegar. Now that’s impressive considering my odd superhero sense of smell. *grin* Unfortunately I couldn’t smell the slightest bit of cookies though, so I’ll have to keep experimenting with measurements.

The best part is how soft the laundry was once it was dry!! Admittedly I also had an unscented dryer sheet in there, although I usually use one unscented and one scented sheet. (When you have a flare of a pain condition even scratchy clothing can be incredibly painful, so it becomes habit to go as soft as possible.) I like that I don’t have to use a scented dryer sheet now, especially since it’s one of my triggers for random rashes when I’m sick, plus that’s one less sheet of softener to clog my lint trap. (In case you never heard about it, wash your lint trap screen with soap periodically because the softeners coat the screen and make it less effective. Let dry and when you put it back in it will catch a lot more lint for you.)

I decided to do the ultimate test for my laundry. I used the vinegar in a gentle cycle on my jersey sheets. Gentle cycle isn’t well known for playing well with detergents in our house. Lol. Hopefully it’s that way for others and not just that we have a possessed washing machine that hates me, but that’s a disturbing thought I’ll dwell on later. *grin* After sleeping in the remade bed I can honestly say that this is the softest the sheets have been in a long time. I love jersey sheets because of their softness, but even with the dryer sheets they don’t usually come out as soft as when they joined our household.

A key thing to note is no matter what tips you read about adding the vinegar to the bleach compartment, so you can skip catching the proper cycle, please don’t do it. Vinegar and bleach create toxic fumes when combined. Commercial companies have incredibly smart people wearing lots of protective gear to handle that chemical reaction, so let’s leave that to them. The great part about this is that you may decide you can retire that jug of bleach if you like how to vinegar works on your laundry. I’m delighted to do that since I can’t handle the smell and I know that the vinegar sanitized everything just as well as that bleach would have. Another great feature is that you can now customize the scent to what works well for your household. You may just have to experiment and adjust, but what a great problem to have! To top it off, you don’t have to try and get rid of smells anymore!

You See A Tomato, I See An Opportunity To Pamper

I have almost two handfuls of doctors that I see for my illnesses and to try to get some control over my symptoms. Unfortunately a lot of the attempted treatments fail and the continual changes leaves my body in turmoil, which eventually begins to show on my skin. Since the doctors get paid little nowadays (believe me, before you think they all have mansions, I’m happy to chat with you about the overhead that goes into running a medical office – I ran billing, payables, and communication for one for years, and it’s not as pretty as you’d think), they have to push patients through like it’s a cattle drive. The worst part is when they have a patient with as complicated medical issues as mine, they just don’t have the time to deal with everything. It ends up boiling down to “is the treatment helpful enough to outweigh the negative parts?” That leaves it to me to figure out some holistic treatments for those bothersome side effects and new symptoms that crop up with every change.

For some time now I’ve had to deal with skin changes, such as dry and oily areas suddenly changing, and then switching back up on me once I get a handle on them. Then there are some sudden and really nasty side effects such as sores, patches of raw skin, and boils. Unfortunately most everyone with a chronic illness will deal with at least one of those symptoms, if not all. Thankfully I’ve found one humble produce that I often have on hand that has helped me a whole lot. You say tomato and I say, um, tomato. *grin* Betcha never eyed the leftover slices of tomato from your BLTs and thought they’d make a great new skin treatment. I tried it out of desperation and it worked so well that even some of my scars are improved. I talked to one of my doctors a few days ago about it and after she examined me she said that she couldn’t recommend anything else that would work any better than what I was doing. No medications, changes to hormones, or clinically approved topical ointments that would work any better! What do you think of them a–ahem, tomatoes?

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. You can use the tomato in a ton of different preparations and you’re only really limited by how much you are willing to research (or experiment if you’re that adventurous and daring type *grin*). Doctors and scientists believe that tomatoes have a ton of vitamins that work even if they’re soaked in instead of digested, plus they’re full of antioxidants. While I’d grow bored if I wrote about all of the believed benefits that come from consuming tomatoes, I’m going to focus on the topical benefits. The big guns believe that they can help with sunburns, clear up oily skin, draw pus from pores, wick away pus from where the tomato meets the skin, treat acne, reduce/tighten pores, reduce irritation, soothe skin and inflammation, remove scent (we’ve all heard stories about bathing in tomato juice if you get scent kissed by a skunk), reduce itching, and soothe some topical pain (although logically that’s probably because it’s relieving the inflammation and whatnot). I’m sure there are a lot more benefits that are being noticed and researched, but these are the benefits I know of firsthand. Seriously. And doctor approved. (Although you should always talk to your doctor when considering holistic treatments and you may not experience all benefits as listed, yada yada, and definitely don’t try topical uses if you are allergic when ingesting them!) *settling back into my chair and taking off the imaginary legal hat*

If you want to try it out on a boil you can simply cut a slice off of your tomato (the bottom works perfectly, since you don’t have to worry about the juices and pulp on the bottom side then) and hold it to your skin. I’ve seen a variety of times recommended online, but I honestly left it on until I felt relief since my symptoms all have pain associated with them. The heat from your body will warm the tomato, which I warn you can feel really funky at first and make your nose wrinkle while your toes curl. As long as it doesn’t hurt, it’s well worth it, so keep going.

Now, if it’s a boil and you’ve never had one before, those things are painful and that pus can easily contaminate other vulnerable skin. The tomato works well because the heat and natural acid from the tomato will help the boil come to a head and burst. The pus will soak into the tomato instead of sitting on your skin or seeping into other pores. You may experience a reduce in swelling as soon as this happens (within about half an hour), but sometimes it may take more than one round. Make sure to be careful; be cautious about having anything touch the inflamed skin after the treatment, and be ultra hygienic. Always dispose of the tomato after use and never be tempted to reuse a section, even if you don’t think the head came up. A key tip – wash any clothing and skin that comes into contact with the area, even if it’s just a light swab or glancing touch. You can even try mashing the tomato into a paste and apply that to the boil. Rinse off after the desired time period and put all towels used right into the laundry. This will prevent accidental re exposure. Hopefully you’ll find relief very quickly. Remember, heat brings it to a head while coolness with reduce inflammation and let it finish healing.

For facial acne, tightening pores, and generally clearing your skin, it’s mind boggling how many things you can try. Have fun with this since it’s a great chance to pamper yourself a bit and take some me time! You can have a little spa fun and put sliced cucumber over your eyes while laying slices of tomato over your face. Sure, you’ll look weird, but those gals spending a ton of money to get bird poop smeared on their face for a premium skin treatment don’t look any prettier during their treatment, so don’t worry about it. *grin* You can mash the tomato up and mix it with your favorite plain yogurt that you like to use on your skin. (For me it honestly depends on what I have on hand. I personally don’t swear by one over another, but a lot of people have preferences. Reminds me of a phrase my grandma used to say about people and opinions, but that’s best left unwritten. *smirk*) If you like sugar scrubs you can even cut a chunk of tomato, dredge it in some sugar (raw or granulated – you can research and decide your preference, I prefer granulated white or brown), and rub gently over your skin (although I’d recommend that more for body and not face, since I’m not a big believer of sugar being great for the face). You can even use just the juice from the tomato and mix it with your preferred milk. (Yeah, I’m so not going to argue with anyone over coconut milk, buttermilk, goat’s milk, or whole milk being better than the next. That’s like telling a Coke drinker that all colas are the same – they’ll still wrinkle their nose when they sip the Pepsi and tell you how wrong you are. Nope, not worth it. Lol.) If you feel really awesome and empowered add a bit of honey to your mix for maximum healing and pampering. Apply to your face and allow to sit on the skin like a mask, then rinse and pat dry (read “pat dry”! Quit rubbing when you towel dry whenever possible. *grin* Believe me, your skin will glow in appreciation for your extra effort.).

Hopefully you are inspired to experiment a bit with tomato and see if it works for you. I sincerely hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. If you decide to experiment, please don’t hesitate to leave some comments about it. I’d love to hear about your concoctions. Happy pampering! 🙂

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