Thursday, January 19, 2012

Health and Beauty -- Peppermint Hair Rinse

This is a nice rinse to follow the garlic conditioner.  Peppermint always makes everything smell so fresh. This is especially good for oily hair.

10 T. chopped peppermint leaves
2 pints soft water ( rain water works well)
2 pints cider vinegar

Put the peppermint leaves in a pan; pour in water and brig slowly to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and infuse for 1 hour.
Strain the infusion and stir in the vinegar.
Pour into bottles, cover, and label.
Use about 1/2 pt. of the rinse after shampooing.

Makes 1/2 gallon

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Herbs and Beauty -- Garlic and Oil Conditioner

My mother went to beauty school when she was 18 years old back in 1945.  She never completed it because she met and married my father shortly after.  Since he had recently returned form World War II they decided to start a family right away. I was born 11 months later.  Mom was thrilled to have a girl so she could try out everything she knew about beauty.  I remember her putting "hot oil treatments" on my hair which was heated castor oil, then she wrapped my head with a towel. and 15 minutes later lathered my head up with a good shampoo. She always followed with a vinegar rinse.   I must say I often got compliments for my shiny hair when I was about 8-10 years old, so I guess it worked. But mostly I loved that bonding time with my mother fussing over me for hours.
This conditioner recipe reminded me of that old fashioned, gentler time,  Mom never used the garlic which is great for healing an itchy scalp with its antiseptic qualities.

10 large cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 c castor oil

Stir the garlic and castor oil thoroughly, cover and infuse for two days.  Strain into a bottle, cover and label.
Massage the oil into the scalp, wrap the head in a towel, and leave on for about 1 hour;  shampoo with an aromatic herbal shampoo.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Herbs and Beauty -- Steaming Facial

Give yourself a facial with steam; it's so relaxing and is good for your skin.
Choose your favorite herbs so the scent will be enjoyable.

2 cups fresh herbs or 1 cup dried herbs ( try lavender, or peppermint)
hot water ( not boiling)

Place the herbs in a bowl, and stir well.
Drape a towel over your head to trap the steam.
Steam your face for 5 minutes.
If your skin is extra dry, massage in a little moisturizing cream after the facial.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Herbs and Beauty -- Mint Astringent

After a gentle face washing with your new herbal soap in the morning, splash on some mint astringent to refresh your face and close the pours. And it smells so good!!!

2 T. chopped mint
4 T. cider vinegar
2 1/2 c. distilled water

Put the mint and vinegar in a jar with a lid; cover and infuse for seven days.
Strain out the mints leaves and pour in the distilled water.  Mix well.
Pour in a clean bottle, cover with lid, and label.
Shake well before using.
Makes 2 1/2 cups

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Herbs and Beauty -- Rose Petal Cold Cream

There's no need to buy expensive night creams when you can easily make your own.  Yes, there's a bit of fuss with the double boilers, but it's worth it, not only for your face but in your pocketbook as well.  This mixture does not contain any herbs, but rather use roses. It might better be made in your gardening season when the rose petals are readily available, saving even more money. It's great for all skin types.

1 1/2 c. of scented rose petals
6 T. olive oil
1 1/2 T. purified beeswax
about 1 t. distilled water

Check the rose petals and discard any damaged ones.
Put the olive oil in the top of a double boiler and heat gently.
Stir in as many rose petals as the oil can take up.
Remove from heat. cover and infuse for seven days.
Strain the oil through a non-metallic strainer, pressing the petals against the sides to extract as much oil as possible .
Melt the beeswax in a bowl over simmering water, then gradually stir in the fragrant oil.
Remove from the heat and add the water, drop by drop, until the cream has the consistency you like.
Pour the cream into a clean jar; cover and label.
Makes 1/2 cup

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Herbs and Beauty -- Lavender Cleansing Cream

If you have dry skin, cleansing with a cream instead of soap is almost a must.  Soap can be quite drying.  This cleansing cream will make your skin glow like a new born baby's and the lavender scent will relax you. It's especially good at night and will send you off to dreamland in no time. Most supplies can be found at a health food store or online.

6 teaspoons almond oil
10 teaspoons grated white wax
3 teaspoons lavender water
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 drop oil of lavender (opt.)

Melt the oil and wax in the top of a double boiler.
Remove from heat, cool slightly; then beat in the lavender water, cider vinegar, and oil of lavender if you use it.
Pour the cream into a clean, lidded jar.  DO NOT REFRIGERATE.

When ready to use, smooth the fragrant milk over your face and neck, avoiding around the eyes.
Remove with cotton balls.

Makes about 1 cup.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gardening on a Budget

Gardening on a Budget

Guest Post: This post was written by guest writer James Lander. Lander is a regular contributor over at couponing site, Couponing. The site provides information on couponing etiquette and frugal living advice.

Gardening is a pastime that has drawn enthusiasts for centuries from all different backgrounds that garden for all different reasons. Many people who garden find it to be a highly positive force within their lives, either financially or simply for the pleasure that it brings. Gardening has experienced a rise in popularity recently as more people not only try to avoid high produce costs by planting their own crops, but as consumers grow increasingly wary of the mass-produced food found in many grocery stores. Then again, there are the gardeners who do it just because growing their own garden is so rewarding.

· Reuse equipment (from the garden and otherwise!) - One of the easiest ways to rack up a big gardening bill is by purchasing expensive gardening tools. Most gardeners only need the basics – some shears, a hoe, a shovel – and these don't need to be brand new every season. Likewise, when you find that you do need to add something to your toolbox, look around your house first to see if you can repurpose something you already own.

· Go organic – Again, not investing in outside materials is a great way to keep costs down, and this applies to the chemicals many gardeners feel are essential as well. By not using pesticides or fertilizers, you eliminate a significant cost for small gardeners. Instead, look into natural pest control options and consider composting in place of using store-bought fertilizers.

· Limit your water consumption – Buy seeds and plants that don't need a ton of water to thrive. Watering your plants throughout the day uses more water than most gardeners realize, and can be a huge financial drain. Consider making your own soaker hose, which allows your garden to be slowly watered all day, versus sprinklers or traditional hoses that waste water and don't get better plant coverage.

· Barter for your seeds – Although many gardeners prefer to start with seedlings, it is much less expensive to buy seeds and plant them instead, so opt for this option when you can. Many gardening communities also encourage a system of bartering and trading for goods and services, which is an excellent opportunity for you to save on allover costs by offering something else of value in place of money.

· Buy in bulk – This strategy works best for experienced gardeners who know what they and their families like to eat. Getting the bulk discount rate on a flat of tomato plants is still a waste of money if no one is going to eat them; if you've got a favorite vegetable to plant, you can often get a huge discount by buying larger quantities at a plant sale or from another independent resource. Nurseries are among the most expensive outlets for plant and seed purchases; look for deals from co-ops, plant sales, and online from individual gardeners.

· Garden together – Not only is gardening with friends or a gardening community more cost-effective, it's more fun! By sharing a plot of land with friends or neighbors, you reduce the amount of materials you have to provide. In addition, being part of a community garden allows you to reap the benefits of your neighbors' success and enjoy a greater diversity of produce in your harvest.

With spring just around the corner, avid gardeners are gearing up for the new planting season, and many are looking to do it on a budget. Frugal gardeners are on the rise; while the work they do may be hard, finding ways to save are easy.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Herbs and Beauty -- Herb Honey Soap

I've had grand ideas before of making soap and either selling it or giving it as gifts. It was going to be my "specialty", what I was known for,  until I found out how messy and dangerous it can be. This recipe is a shortcut and works, smells, and looks just as good. Plan ahead because this formula can take a few weeks to harden.

10 T. grated castile soap (olive oil based soap)
1/2 t. olive oil
2 t. clear honey
2-3 drops of essential oil, such as rosemary or lavender
cupcake papers

Put the grated soap in the top of a double boiler, or a bowl in the microwave set on low power.  Melt the soap.
Stir in the olive oil, a drop or two at a time.
Stir in the honey and essential oil.
Remove from heat.
Continue to stir until mixture is well-blended.
Pout into molds such as waxpaper cupcakes papers, and leave undisturbed to harden. ( may take up to two weeks)
Unmold and wrap in waxpaper to store.

Makes 1 bar of soap.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Herbs and Beauty -- Foaming Bath Oil

Who doesn't love a nice warm bath with Foaming Bath Oil. Obviously, Marilyn Monroe does!
With this simple recipe, you can make your own with your favorite scent, and it's surprisingly easy!

2 eggs
1 c. olive oil
1/2 c. corn oil
1/2 c. almond oil
2 T. clear honey
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vodka
1 T. mild soap flakes
3 drops of essential oil, of your choice

Beat together eggs, vegetable oils, and honey.  Add the milk, vodka, soapflakes, and essential oils, still beating. Pout into bottle, cover, label, and store in the refrigerator.
Add one tablespoon under the faucet when the running the water for a warm, foamy bath.
Makes about 41/2 cups.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Herbs and Beauty -- Blackberry Soft Soap

You might think the next few posts are either a cooking class or a craft class. Actually, I plan on passing on recipes for all things to do with your beauty products so you can make your own at home. Some will use herbs you are able to grow your self and others will be herbs form outside of your geographic area.  For those you might need to take a trip to your local health food store or order online. Have fun!

1 handful of blackberry or eucalyptus leaves
2 pints of water, rainwater if possible
5 T. grated castile soap

Put the leaves in a pan, pour in the water, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and leave to infuse for 2 hours.
Strain the infusion, discard the leaves, and return the liquid to the pan.
Bring to a boil and beat in the grated soap, beating until it has dissolved; then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Pour into bottles, cover and label; store in the refrigerator. Use as a soft soap in your bath or as a gentle hand cleaner.
Makes about 2 pints.

You might also like to visit my cooking blog at An Herbal Bedfellow.