DIY Fragrances

Vanilla is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve made some vanilla-infused vodka (great for milkshakes!), a double vanilla cake, and a savory roasted chicken with vanilla bean. And this is just one in a series of essential oil posts.  Check out the rest here.

The idea of creating my own fragrance slowly developed over the past year or so after buying a vial of Victory Wolf. A few things about that purchase : a. it does smell just like a campfire! b. I would have never thought to create a fragrance that smells like smoke, but that inspired me to think outside of the “normal” perfume scents, c. I always thought that perfumes contained a bit of hocus pocus, and maybe they do, but with that purchase I realized that they can be just essential oils in a carrier oil.

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This is our first foray into blending essential oils, so we are by no means experts, but happily, our three blends turned out beautifully and we’re excited to share them today. Throughout the post we provide links to a few resources we found helpful for learning about blending essential oils to create fragrances.

With vanilla as our ingredient of the season, we thought it would be the perfect base note to build upon while trying to create some DIY fragrances. Going into this project, my plan was to create three distinct scents: something minty/fresh, something floral, and something spicy & citrus.

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Vanilla Lavender Room Spray

Vanilla is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve made some vanilla-infused vodka (great for milkshakes!) and a double vanilla cake. Today we’re venturing out of the kitchen and using vanilla essential oil. If you like experimenting with essential oils, check out our archive of posts.

It’s been almost two years since we shared a room spray, which is surprising because these are so easy to make and do a fantastic job of freshening up a room without any of the overbearing artificial fragrances found in many store-bought sprays.

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Whereas the rosemary and peppermint created an energizing combination, the lavender and vanilla combination in this spray provides a calming aroma. I added some fir balsam to this spray because I wanted something a little more complex. The fir balsam essential oil does a great job of bringing some of the outdoors in when it’s still a touch too cold to have the windows open here in the mountains.

To further enhance the vanilla aroma of the spray, I used our vanilla-infused vodka for the alcohol.

Ingredients and Hints :

  • 3 ounces filtered water
  • 8 drops vanilla essential oil
  • 8 drops lavender essential oil
  • 8 drops fir balsam essential oil
  • 1.5 ounces alcohol (I used our vanilla-infused vodka!)
  • spray or misting bottle

Pour everything into the bottle, give it a good shake, and spray away! You will have to shake it before every use. Really, it’s that simple!

And as we mentioned in the previous room spray post:

  • If you don’t have the alcohol, you can use all water, but the aroma won’t linger as long.
  • Of course, you can use any combination of oils, and increase or decrease the number of drops depending upon how intense you want the scent to be
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DIY Bath Bombs

 We love mixing and stirring potions around here. Check out the full beauty potion archive here. Click here for our Etsy shop full of lip balms, sunscreens and other natural goodies.

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Today’s post is brought to you Kristin, our middle sister, she’s been known to make a simple craft or two.  She actually makes lots of really neat decor. I think we’ve bugged her enough that she will be contributing here more often. Another thing about Kris? She gives the best gifts! Last year I was gifted the sweetest smelling candles and this year a whole pile of soaps and bath bombs. I’m making a mental note (and a virtual one?!) to get her candle recipe for you too, but we’ll start with what we have and that’s a fiz-tastic recipe for DIY bath bombs. Add that to Webster’s.

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Floral Lip Balm

This is just one in a series of essential oil posts. Read this post if you’d like a basic primer on essentials, and this one for more information about carrier oils. Oh, and if you’d like more ideas for your Valentine, look here.

I have to admit, it wasn’t my idea to create a floral-scented lip balm, as I often shy away from flowery smells in favor of something spicy. Our sister Kristin suggested it, and then I smelled the rose essential oil, and well, now I’m hooked. And what perfect timing, because this is yet another way (in addition to our rose tea, cake, and jam) to give someone flowers for Valentine’s Day without actually buying the bouquet.

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Since this is the first lip balm recipe that we’re sharing on the blog, it’s a little long-winded as I provide some general information about both the ingredients and tools needed to make lip balm at home.

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Invigorating Essential Oil Solution for Instant Sinus Pressure Relief

This is just one in a series of essential oil posts.  Check out the rest here.
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This! This little concoction has made my days in Colorado a little bit better.  I suffer from chronic sinus pain and pressure.  When I travel to locations that are particularly dry like Colorado, my sinuses swell and create intense pressure in my entire face.  I mixed up this invigorating essential oil solution for instant sinus pressure relief.  On a daily basis, it basically feels like my head weighs fifty pounds and whichever way I move it I feel the pressure shift and it causes pain and irritation.  You know that feeling when your ears pop when you travel up or down in altitude? How about the feeling when you know your ears need to pop, but they won’t?  Like your entire head is full of something? That’s what it feels like too.  It’s kind of a bummer and it puts me in a bit of a fog.  I become irritated easier and instead of enjoying moments of calm, I’m focused on the nagging pain.

Dealing with sinus pressure is really a way of life for me.  Sinus pain interrupts my favorite activities like yoga and hiking so I’m always seeking relief.  At home, I sleep with a humidifier running.  I’m always downing liquids in hopes that I’ll hydrate my system.  Anywhere there is steam, you’ll find me standing over it.  I’m constantly putting wet washcloths in the microwave and then laying them over my face in hopes of a few minutes relief.  Sometimes I even resort to Aleve or some other pain medication.  If it’s really bad, I’ll stand under a scalding hot shower until the water runs cold.  Even with access to a steam room here in Colorado, I was looking for a quick solution that would be easy and safe for multiple uses throughout the day.  I looked in a few homeopathic guides and this invigorating essential oil solution is the best remedy I’ve found for instant sinus pressure relief.output_VKzxSs

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Updates

Hey there, I thought it was time to look back at a few posts and share some updates with you. Today’s post includes a success, a failure, and a modification.

The Failure :

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I made a space for native bees, and they never came! I was really bummed, because I was so excited to have Alex, our little bug lover, watch the bee activity all summer. I was also hoping to share updates with you all summer, oh well. Fortunately, the bee house is in great condition, so I took it down for the winter and will hang it again next spring. I’m going to try a different location.

The Modification :

 {warning : dirty glass walls ahead!}

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That’s an close-up of what I did, but let me take a step back and explain. When we lived in PA, I had great success keeping my orchid happy, healthy, and blooming. Then we moved to dry (dry,dry) Colorado, and it became such a struggle. I finally got the conditions right in our rental last year, and then we moved into the new house.

After moving, I was keeping the orchids in a corner of the living room. They were getting plenty of light, but they were dry. I tried to stay on top of watering, and I even added a big pan underneath that I filled with water to try to raise the humidity level in the air around them. Unfortunately, it was just too dry.

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So one day I had the brilliant idea to move them to our shower. The shower in the master bathroom is huge and gets plenty of sunlight. Before starting the project, I did a quick search online for “orchids in shower” and learned that I am definitely not the first person with this idea. And seeing those posts, I gathered my supplies : a wire container to hold the orchids and suction to the wall (we already had this one), some moss to fill out the container and look pretty, scissors, yarn and cheesecloth (I thought I would need the yarn and cheese cloth to create a little bag around my orchids to keep the soil in, but as you’ll see, this was unnecessary).

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The orchids were in plastic pots that sat inside of clay pots. I took them out of the clay pot and carefully cut off the plastic pots. As you can see in the photos above, even without the pots, the orchid roots and soil were solidly contained within a layer of moss. This setup was so sturdy that I didn’t use the cheesecloth.

I lined the wire basket with the green moss and tucked the orchids in the basket, adding more moss where necessary to fill the space. After suctioning the basket to the shower wall, I added a few to the outside of the basket.

*If you’re interested in air plants (the easiest plant to take care of), we showed you how to make an artistic air plant display and how to use them for decorating an outdoor shower.*

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As you can see, the basket sits up high and towards the back corner of the shower. I was worried about it being in the way, but when Calder showered and didn’t even realize it was there, I knew we were safe.

The exciting news is that we have new growth on the orchids. One, in particular, is going crazy and sending up two new flower spikes! I’ll consider this one a full-blown success once we actually have flowers.

The Success :

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Our mold & mildew spray made with essential oils has been the most effective shower cleaner I’ve ever used! We’ve been living in this house for almost 8 months now, and have not had to scrub mildew from the tile wall yet! They are absolutely clean.

And to give you some insight into our shower usage : Calder showers at least once a day, sometimes more if he goes on a long bike ride; I shower about once every 3 days (no joke, but my skin thanks me). I’m the only one that uses the shower spray, so it gets sprayed on after one out of every four showers. And that’s it, no other tricks…. now to come up for a trick to keeping the water stains off the glass walls.

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Lemon Foot Scrub

Lemon is our ingredient of the season! So far we’ve used it in a bucklein barsin a savory pasta, and in the shower. Oh, and there are a couple of lemon popsicle recipes! This is also one of our many essential oil posts.

Hands down, one of our favorite perks at the beach is the outdoor shower. We love it for clearing away the sand after a day at the beach, but we also love to bring sand INTO the shower in the form of scrubs. Today’s lemon, sugar, and sand scrub is the perfect zesty indulgence as we’re looking to make the most of these late summer days.

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Clothes Moths : Our Common Household Pest

Today we mention the use of essential oils to deter moths. If you’re interested in more essential oil posts, check out our archive. It’s also National Moth Week! Want to know the difference between moths and butterflies?

While we love moths and try to live in harmony with nature, there’s something we just can’t come to peace with, and that’s moths eating our clothes (and yarn!). Since it’s moth week, it’s the perfect time to discuss the ugly underbelly of the moth world, as we like to think of them, and offer suggestions for keeping your house free of these pests.

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If you’ve never suffered through infestations from these moths, count your blessings. On the other hand, if you have had the displeasure of trying to eradicate these moths from your house, we’re here to commiserate, and to share our strategies for keeping our closets moth-free.

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DIY Mineral-based Sunscreen

Now that we’ve moved to a higher altitude, I think about sunscreen year-round, but particularly in the summer when we are spending more time outside and wearing shorts and t-shirts. Additionally, I’ve started to have an internal debate about my use of sunscreen, because while I use it every day to protect my skin from aging, I’m starting to think that a little bit of tanning is Ok and even good for my health by naturally increasing my Vitamin D levels. Do you know about the negative health concerns associated with Vitamin D deficiency?

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The other concern I have while using sunscreen are the chemicals found in many over-the-counter products, especially since I’m still nursing little Luc. The problem is that a number of the chemicals in certain sunscreens can enter your bloodstream and some act as or disrupt the natural hormones in our body. The Environmental Working Group provides a detailed overview of both the chemicals and minerals used in sunscreens and the toxicity concerns associated with each. So, what’s a person to do? Read on to find out a little bit more about sunscreens and my current solution…

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Summer Face Oil

We’re exploring the many uses for essential oils for both our home and body. You can see our archive of essential oil posts here. liveseasoned_summer2015_faceoil8-1024x768 copy

Oh my skincare routine has changed throughout the years, and I only wish that I was as gentle on my skin in high school as I am now. Back then I thought my skin was too oily and would never have dreamed of actually applying oil to my face to moisturize and nourish it, instead, I would be drawn to any cleanser that promised to dry out my face. In reality, I’m guessing that all of those harsh, drying products likely irritated my skin, stripped it of its natural oils, and caused it to over produce oil in order to try to hydrate my face and reverse the damage I was doing. Jump ahead ten years, and I slowly came around to the amazingly beneficial characteristics of plant oils for the skin. Jump ahead another couple of years, and I’m now adding some essential oils to my basic routine.

I like to shy away from the camera when it comes to our posts, but if any post calls for a headshot, it’s this one! So I’m putting my face in focus for this post, and hopefully it will stand as a record that I can refer back to when looking at how my skin responds to a few years of essential oil use. I should also mention that I really believe that healthy skin starts from the inside. So while I’ve found these skin oil potions to be effective, I also make it a point to drink plenty of water and eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables.

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