DIY Garden Spray

As a city dweller, I take pride in my urban garden. Between veggies, herbs, and flowers, I’ve got containers upon containers of homegrown goodies come summertime. While most gardeners in the ‘burbs and countryside have to worry about a whole slew of insects, rodents, and even large animals such as deer, the most common pest that I’ve come across in the city is squirrels. Ugh!

I love animals of all kinds. I also love using all-natural products whenever possible. As such, store-bought and toxin-filled products just weren’t cutting it for me. I’m not in the business of hurting harmless critters or myself; I simply want them to stay away from my labors of love. After a bit of research, I’ve come up with a recipe to keep the squirrels away without harming them or poisoning my food. 

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. unscented Castile soap
  • 25 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 16 oz. glass spray bottle

What you’ll do:

  • Add the filtered water and red pepper flakes to a small pot; bring to a rapid boil for approximately 5 minutes; allow to cool to room temperature
  • Pour the mixture over a fine mesh strainer; add the liquid to the spray bottle; discard the red pepper flakes
  • Add the unscented Castile soap and peppermint essential oil to the spray bottle; top with filtered water until the bottle is full; apply the lid and give it a good shake
  • Give your plants and the soil below them a good spritz every several days, especially after rainfall

DIY Dry Shampoo

Hellooooo, ladies! If you are an avid dry shampoo user such as myself, you will love this post! I am a dry shampoo junkie. I go through cans and cans and cans. Between work, school, maintaining a social life, enjoying hobbies, and working out, whose got time for daily hair washing and styling?! Quite honestly, I should have invested stock in Batiste a looooong time ago. However, as I’m on a mission to rid my apartment of all things toxic now more than ever, I almost fainted when I realized what goes into that aerosol can.

Upon researching how to make some dry shampoo of my own, I was blown away by how simple (and cheap!) it is to make. As an added bonus, I made mine with peppermint and lavender essential oils. They not only make the final product smell wonderful, but have functional benefits as well. The tingling sensation of peppermint on my scalp is also amaaaaazing! It’s truly incredible how much more I have incorporated essential oils into my life since joining the Young Living community. I have learned so much in such a short amount of time and know that I have only hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of what there is to learn.

Ingredients:

  • Corn starch: adds volume
  • Baking soda: cleanses
  • Peppermint essential oil: anti-itch
  • Lavender essential oil: anti-dandruff, strengthens hair, stimulates hair growth

What you’ll need:

  • A 4 oz. powder shaker with lid (I purchased this one from Amazon and it is perfect for this project!)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 6 drops lavender essential oil
  • Optional for brunettes: 1 tbsp. cocoa powder

What you’ll do:

  • Add all ingredients to the shaker, apply the lid, and shake well
  • Shake the dry shampoo onto the roots of your hair and use your fingers to work it into your scalp; allow to sit for roughly 5 minutes
  • Once 5 minutes has elapsed, brush the remaining dry shampoo through your hair and style as usual

DIY Rosewater

A friend, Arielle, reached out to me to see if I had any good techniques for making rosewater at home. At the time, I had no idea, but being that I love rosewater in cocktails, I was up for the challenge. I researched a variety of techniques and am sharing what I believe to be the simplest, yet most effective method. This project requires only three ingredients and takes only 15 minutes from start to finish.

Aside from being super yummy in cocktails, rosewater can be found in a number of natural beauty products due to its countless benefits for skin and hair. To learn more about these benefits and for more ideas regarding how to incorporate rosewater into your beauty regime, click here

I must note that a 4 oz. bottle of rosewater spray that I purchased several months back had a price tag of more than $10. Meanwhile, the stunning bunch of spray roses that I bought for the purpose of this project cost me only $6. Even more impressive, those roses yielded a whopping 32 oz. of product. I’ll let you do the math. Needless to say, it is completely worthwhile to make your own rosewater.

What other uses do you know of for rosewater? I’d love to hear about any and all ways of putting this beautiful elixir to use!

Note: I used spray roses because they are half the cost of regular roses, but yield the same amount of petals that a bouquet of regular roses would. Either variety will work perfectly. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch of spray roses
  • 4 cups of distilled water
  • 2 tbsp. of premium vodka to preserve freshness (optional but recommended)
  • A quart-sized mason jar

What you’ll do:

  • Remove the petals from the stems and place into a colander; rinse thoroughly
  • Add the petals and distilled water to a medium pot; simmer on low to medium heat for approximately five minutes, or until the petals have lost their vibrant color
  • Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth; discard the cheesecloth and petals
  • Stir in the vodka, pour into a quart-sized mason jar, and store in the fridge for up to one month

Fire Cider

A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of attending a medicinal herbs workshop with my mom. It was hosted by Herban Mama at Greensgrow Farms. Speaking of Greensgrow, I miss my summer CSA! Anywho, at the workshop, we learned how to make elderberry syrup and fire cider. I loved them both, but felt the fire cider to be much more powerful. As such, I decided to make a big jar once it finally got cold this winter. 

Of course, my recipe is based off of Herban Mama’s, and her informative post can be found here. If you’re curious, she goes into the nitty gritty as to why fire cider is so effective. However, in short, its ingredients make for an immune-boosting powerhouse. 

I strive to take a daily dose of fire cider during the cooler months. Generally, that means one tablespoon, but if I feel like I’m coming down with something, I’ll bump it up to two tablespoons. Considering its name, it’s no surprise that you feel the burn on its way down to your tummy. However, its taste is something that I’ve learned to enjoy, and more importantly, it works! I didn’t get sick once last year, and that’s coming from someone who works in a hospital. 

What you’ll need:

  • 5 habanero peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 15 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 a yellow onion, sliced 
  • 1/4 lb. fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 lb. fresh horseradish, roughly chopped
  • Raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

What you’ll do:

  • Fill a quart-sized jar with the solid ingredients and cover with apple cider vinegar
  • Place a piece of parchment paper over the opening of the jar and secure the lid; label and date
  • Allow to cure in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, being sure to give the jar a good shake every several days
  • After the mixture has cured, strain it through a cheesecloth and transfer the liquid to a pint-sized jar
  • Discard the solid pieces or reuse them for a new batch; this can be done up to two times 

DIY Garden Mint Tea Bags

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Last year,  I couldn’t bear to let my garden herbs die off, so I decided to dry them. Thus, I wrote a post detailing how to properly dry fresh herbs (which can be viewed here). Over the past year, I loved having dried basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and tarragon on hand. I love to cook with all of them, particularly in the cooler months. However, I didn’t end up doing too much with the mint.

Well, this year was no different than last year in that drying my garden herbs was a must. Because this year’s mint grew so well and I grew two different varieties – spearmint and chocolate mint, I was left with an abundance. However, because I seldom used last year’s dried mint, I was at a loss as to what I should do with it once it became time to harvest my herbs.

It then dawned on me that using this year’s dried mint for tea was the perfect way to ensure that it doesn’t go to waste. Plus, the tea bags turned out adorable and will make for great Christmas gifts. Simply pair a tea bag or two with a beautiful mug or small jar of local honey for a thoughtful, cozy, and affordable gift.

Note: This project is not limited to garden mint. Any herb, whether store-bought or garden grown, will work beautifully.

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup dried mint leaves, ground
  • 12 tea filter bags
  • Bakers twine
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Washi tape
  • A fine-point, permanent writing utensil

What you’ll do:

  • Add 2 tsp. of dried mint to a tea filter bag
  • Secure the opening of the bag with a staple, fixing one end of a 4-inch piece of bakers twine underneath
  • Roll out 4 inches of washi tape and place the other end of the bakers twine in the center
  • Fold the sticky side of the tape on top of itself and cut the remaining tape away from the roll
  • As pictured, cut a small triangle into the side of the tape furthest from the twine
  • Label with a writing utensil as desired
  • Repeat the previous five steps until each tea bag is crafted

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