Friday, October 28, 2011

Witch's Brew

There's only three days until Halloween. Can you believe it? I can't! This is my favorite holiday of the year, and I'm really excited for Monday (although, how lame is it that Halloween is on a weekday this year? Bleh.) that Halloween is fast approaching, my Witch's Brew candles will soon be leaving the store. I only have THREE left--after that, they'll be gone, so be sure to drop by my Etsy shop or Zibbet shop and pick them up before it's too late!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week

In the few weeks that I've been doing these Tips, I've noticed I haven't yet done one specifically for aromatherapy, so today I'm going to focus on the use of eucalyptus in aromatherapy.

In addition to being a beautiful plant, eucalyptus is also a really useful tool in aromatherapy. It can be helpful for a variety of ailments, including joint and muscle pains, poor circulation, and arthritis. However, at the request of my mom (who seems to always be suffering from sinus congestion), I am going to provide you all with a super quick and easy recipe for clearing stuffy sinuses.

My mom had asked me to create an essential oil blend that she can carry around with her to use whenever she needs, so I purchased a small 1-ounce bottle. I figured this size would be small enough for her to carry in her purse and take wherever she goes. As the carrier oil, I used jojoba oil because it's what I had on hand. Plus, jojoba oil is really great for moisturizing the skin, so if she wanted she could even place a few drops on her wrists instead of just taking a whiff of the oil in the bottle. To the jojoba oil, I added some eucalyptus oil. You can adjust this to your preference, but I put enough in hers so that it would clear her sinuses.

If you don't want to carry around a bottle of oil or you want something a bit more soothing, you could also inhale the eucalyptus fragrance as a vapor (like a homemade Vicks Vaporizer!). Simply boil water, add 2-3 drop of eucalyptus oil, and keep your face over the hot water, covering your head with a towel to keep in the vapors. When doing this with eucalyptus oil, be especially careful not to open your eyes because the oil can irritate them. This is particularly nice when you have a cold during the winter because the eucalyptus helps open the sinuses and the warm vapor helps soothe any irritation.

That's all for today, come back next Friday for my next Tip of the Week!  :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Zibbet Shop

In an earlier post I had mentioned Zibbet, an online shopping site for handmade and vintage items (similar to Etsy, but it's free to use for sellers which is awesome). I had stayed active on Zibbet for the first few months but didn't have much luck so I kind of allowed my shop to fall to the wayside, i.e. all of my items became expired and my shop was depressingly empty. It's been nagging at me for quite awhile now and today I finally hunkered down and worked on getting my items updated again.

Check out my new and improved Zibbet shop! Buying on Zibbet is just like Etsy--you can either use PayPal or any major credit card. The search features and navigation are pretty similar to Etsy as well, but Zibbet definitely has it's own style. When you have a spare moment, spend some time browsing Zibbet. There are a lot of really great shops on there and it's worthwhile to explore another option if you've become tired of the overcrowded feel of Etsy.

PS--Just a little hint to fellow sellers...if you already have an Etsy account, you can export all of your items from Etsy directly into Zibbet! This page will tell you how. Once your items are exported, all you need to do is tweak the shop section, categories, and shipping profile and you're good to go! I was so relieved to find that, it saved me hours of copying my items individually from one site to the other ;)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week


You know that icky feeling in your stomach that you sometimes get after a big meal? Or after eating something that your body just didn't agree with? For most, a stomachache would mean a trip to the medicine cabinet or drug store for some Pepto Bismol. But it turns out, there are plenty of natural herbal remedies out there that work just as well, if not better.

According to Earthy Family, the seeds from herbs such as dill, caraway, fennel, anise, coriander, and cumin all help to relieve gas. This explains why many Indian restaurants offer candied fennel and anise seeds after the meal. Earthy Family recommends placing a spoonful of the seeds in a mug with boiling water and allowing it to steep for five minutes to create a tea. Not only does this sound delicious, but I'm sure it would be a great way to cure an upset tummy.

An article on LiveStrong also recommends drinking chamomile or ginger tea to soothe indigestion and stomach cramps. Peppermint tea can also be especially helpful after a big meal it calms the muscles in your stomach, digestive tract, and intestines.

My favorite suggestion of all is the use of rosemary because that's my all-time favorite herb. According to LiveStrong, you can make a rosemary tea by steeping 2-4 grams of dried rosemary in boiling water, then straining before drinking. This should help with bloating, cramps, and indigestion. Yay, now I have yet another use for rosemary! ;)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week


Earlier this week, while brushing my teeth, I was pondering what I should talk about for my Tip of the Week. This prompted me to remember that I should really go back to using my homemade toothpaste instead of the artificial junk I would buy in the stores. So, with that in mind, this week's Tip will be minty fresh (I love my cheesy little quips haha).

Mint is an awesome everyday herb that is actually pretty easy to grow, too. (Check out this site for some tips on growing your own peppermint and spearmint.) As an oil, mint is great for use in cooking, baking, and making drinks. Medicinally, mint is probably most commonly known for its role in aiding digestion, which is why you may find some restaurants offering mint teas after a large meal--perhaps that can be an upcoming weekly tip!

But for now, I'd like to focus on my original inspiration for this post, which is the use of mint in making homemade toothpaste. When I first looked into making my own toothpaste about a year ago, I was a bit concerned that I might be missing out on some important things, like flouride, that you often find added to commercial toothpastes. But after researching several different sources, I found most agreed that you typically would end up getting enough flouride from your drinking water, so there's not really much to worry about in using your own toothpaste.

Almost all of the recipes I found called for some combination of baking soda, peppermint oil, glycerine, and table salt. I wasn't able to find the original recipe I had used last year, but this one from is pretty darn close:

How to Make Natural Toothpaste
  1. Mix three parts baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) with one part table salt (sodium chloride).
  2. Add three teaspoons of glycerine for every 1/4 cup of dry mixture.
  3. Add enough water to make a thick paste. If desired, a few drops of peppermint oil may be added to improve the taste.
  4. Apply and use just as you would any other toothpaste. Store unused toothpaste at room temperature in a covered container.
(When I made mine, I didn't use glycerine, which made the mixture more like crumble than a paste, but it still works.)

Here is another recipe from Glenbrook Farms that is a bit more involved, but it's a tooth powder, which might be even better than a paste because it will keep longer. Plus, it calls for some really interesting ingredients such as myrrh powder and raspberry leaf. I haven't tried this one yet, but it's definitely on my to-do list now!

(Yields about 1 cup) 
1/2 cup Baking Soda 
1/2 cup bentonite clay powder
11/2 teaspoon Myrrh powder
1 teaspoon dried Raspberry leaf
1 teaspoon dried white oak bark powder
1 teaspoon flavoring herbs of your choice (Fennel, Peppermint, Spearmint, in powder form)
5 drops Essential Oil of Tea Tree

Pour the Baking Soda (soda reduces the acid level in the mouth. High acid creates tooth decay) and Bentonite clay  powder into a medium-size mixing bowl.  Add all the dry ingredients, including the Myrrh powder,( which helps to prevent periodontal disease)  to the Baking Soda/Clay mixture. Mix well with a wire whisk. Add the Tea Tree oil, again mixing well. Place a clean cover over the bowl, covering it completely. Let sit overnight. The next morning, mix well again . Package in an  wide-mouthed jar. It will last indefinitely if you keep moisture out of the package.
To use: Wet your toothbrush, then sprinkle a small quantity of toothpaste powder onto your brush. Brush thoroughly and gently in an up and down motion.  Rinse, Feel the natural clean!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Winter Scents!

For all of you folks who like gearing up for the holidays ahead of time, I have now posted my winter scents. You can check them out at my shop, but here's a sneak peek: 

Get in the holiday spirit with this gingerbread scented soy candle! Smells just like yummy gingerbread baking in the oven. Topped with real cinnamon for an added special touch! 

Have you ever smelled mistletoe? Even if you haven’t, you’ll recognize it immediately. This blend of pine and berry is the perfect Christmas scent for your holiday gatherings or just for a great winter fragrance at any time. 

Winter Wonderland
This blend of peppermint, eucalyptus, patchouli, and cinnamon will take you on a stroll along a snow-lined path through the wintry woods.  It’s the perfect scent for a cozy winter evening at home, to bring the snowy outdoors inside—without bringing in the cold!  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Vintage Halloween

I love everything Halloween, especially when it's vintage. Here's a little Treasury I put together with a bunch of cute, retro Halloween-themed items for you to enjoy! Please stop by my Treasury and leave let everyone know which is your favorite!

$5.50 USD
One Dozen Spooky Vintage Halloween Tags  Witches Owls Black Cats Skeletons Pumpkins
$6.00 USD
Distressed Shabby Chic Vintage Halloween Hang Tags Labels Gift Tags with Ribbon Set of 3
$3.00 USD
Custom Vintage Halloween Owl Invitations -- Set of 10
$15.00 USD
Halloween Note Cards: Vintage Halloween Pumpkin Set of Four Blank Cards
$6.00 USD
Vintage Halloween Witch Mirror Compact - Witch and Goblins
$7.84 USD
Belt Buckle Vintage Moon Halloween
$20.00 USD
Jolly Halloween Vintage Halloween Postcard Pin
$18.00 USD
Spooky Vintage Halloween Cat Necklace
$25.00 USD
Screen Printed Vintage Halloween Owl Pillow
$16.00 USD
Vintage Halloween Witches Spider Ghost Skeleton Cat Bat Celebrate Banner Tea party Flag Burlap Postcard Digital Collage Sheet Images Sh187
$3.99 USD
2 Halloween Owl & Cat Candy Dishes in Black and Orange 1950's Vintage design
$115.00 USD
Vintage handmade Ceramic Pumpkins Adorable Trio Pappa, Mamma, Baby
$12.00 USD
Vintage Halloween Garland Retro Masks Banner
$22.00 USD
Vintage Halloween Themed OOAK Original Mixed Media Art Board, The Witching Hour
$50.00 USD
Witchy Hat Handmade with our signature crepe paper fringe, vintage halloween ask about our matching halloween banner/bunting
$24.00 USD

Halloween Picture Project

Last time I was at my local craft store I found these adorable Halloween-themed scrapbook papers. I don't do scrapbooking but I am such a sucker for anything Halloween or autumn, so I bought them and figured I'd find a use for them sometime.

I decided to buy four 5 x 7 frames at the dollar store to frame the papers. To jazz it up a bit more, I printed a few stencils of Halloween-y images--bats, a witch, a moon, and a crow. I used two of the papers as backgrounds and the more decorative two papers for the actual shapes.

It was a fun, quick, and inexpensive project but I really feel like it makes a big difference on my living room wall and I love it. If you have en empty wall that you're not sure what to do with, try picking out some scrapbook papers and creating your own Halloween scene!