Monday, June 28, 2010

Homemade Lotion

So, I made lotion. And it was so easy that you could do it too. Really. Seriously, if you have basic cooking skills, you could also make your own lotion. The best part is, that it is eco-friendly, cheap, petroleum free, paraben free, and phthalate free.

First, I found this super easy recipe on The Green Phonebooth. Then, I got some beeswax from the Downtown Farmer's Market. The beeswax I got was in brick form, not the handy little pastilles. So I had to grate it.

For those who don't want to click on the link, here is the recipe:

1 cup distilled water
5-20 drops of essential oils ( I used lavender).
3/4 cup oil (I used light olive oil because it is what I have at home. You can also use grapeseed oil, apricot oil, coconut oil, coco butter, or shea butter).
1/4 cup beeswax pastilles or grated beeswax.

First, I placed the water and essential oils is a blender. Then, I mixed the beeswax and olive oil in a Pyrex measuring cup and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time (stirring in between) until the beeswax was completely melted. The beeswax can be melted into the oil over a double boiler, but I thought the microwave method would be faster and more energy efficient.

Then, I turned on the blender to the fastest speed and slowly poured in the oil/wax mixture. The mixture immediately started to emulsify. I continued blending the lotion for a several more minutes, stopping the blender several times to stir an scrape the sides.

The lotion turned out to be thick, creamy and very moisturizing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


So, I am giving away a pair of Golden Fingerless gloves from my etsy shop: Beatknits. These are a great, eco friendly glove for indoor or outdoor wear.

For a chance to win, follow this link.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

What is made from Oil

In the quest to reduce our dependence on oil, many people think only of conserving gasoline. When people discuss the threat of an oil crisis; transportation, and the impact of the of inhibited transportation on our society, are discussed as the primary impact. However, there are many other products we use in our daily life that would be scarce if our oil supply dwindled. Also, the consumption of these products increases each of our carbon footprints. Here are a few:

1. Plastics
2. Synthetic Fabrics: rayon, polyester, acrylic, nylon, etc.
3. Laundry Detergent
4. Soap
5. Cosmetics
6. Hand and Body Lotion
7. Candles
8. Carpet and Linoleum flooring
9. Ink
10. Crayons
12. Deodorant
13. Glue and adhesives of all types.
14. Tape
15. House Paint
16. Building Materials
17. Insulation
18. Tires
19. Shoes
20. Auto parts
21. Nail polish
22. Medications - Aspirin, Antihistamines, Cortisone and the capsules containing medication
23. Food preservatives
24. Shaving cream
25. Toothpaste
26. Eyeglasses
27. Solvents
28. Roofing materials
29. Balloons
30. Umbrellas

Recycling petroleum products is, at best, a partial solution. Plastics can only be recycled a limited number of times. Soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, health and beauty products and many other products can not be recycled.

Corn or plant based plastics are also only a partial solution. Not all of the products named can be made from plant plastics. The environmental impact of growing enough crops to replace all of these products would be enormous.

The bottom line is that the environmental problems of our time are complex and the solutions imperfect. The best solution is to reduce consumption these products, reuse and repurpose what we can, and hope for the best.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recycling Plastic Bags to Reusable Bags

Check out this video I found showing how to make reusable shopping bags, hand bags, and book bags from disposable plastic sacks. I love this idea and want to try it out sometime soon.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Zero Waste Challenge: The Paper Coffee Cup

I have a paper coffee shop coffee cup to dispose off. Now, if I frequented coffee shops, or if I had planned ahead, the obvious alternative would be to bring a reusable travel mug with me to the shop. It is not like I don't already have several of these at home. But, I hadn't been planning to go, and I didn't take a mug, so it just happened. Now I have a travel mug to dispose of.

Of course, since these paper cups are made for hot beverages, it could be reused several times before disposal. A quick rinse would have cleaned it sufficiently for a second use. But, not seeing the need to transport hot beverages anytime soon, I didn't opt for saving the cup.

This is what I did with my cup. First, I removed the plastic lid and tossed it in the recycle bin. Maybe I could have found a reuse for it, but, my creativity had not kicked in that day, so I had no ideas.

Second, I removed the paper sleeve from the cup and put them in my compost bin. Since it is paper, the cup should fully compost. I am not certain whether the cup contains a plastic lining or not. I will have to see if a have one left once the cup breaks down.

Since it is the dead of winter here in Utah, my compost has been accumulating in 5 gallon buckets outside by back door. Once we get a spring thaw, the cup will go into my new compost pile. Check back next summer to see what is left of my cup.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Zero Waste Challenge

So, for 2010, I will be devoting the year to eliminating waste that goes to the landfill, and reducing the amount of waste that goes in the recycle bin. I think a full year will be sufficient time to find alternatives for both the things I throw away all the time and that infrequent items. I will be evaluating both my the waste I throw away at home and away from home.

Of course, with my greener lifestyle, I have already been taking steps to reduce the amount of waste I generate that ends up in the landfill. These are some of steps I have already taken.

Recycling: of course, recycling is a great way to keep waste out of the landfill. However, the process is still uses a lot of energy and produces pollution. Reducing waste is a better option.

Compost: I have been diligently composting kitchen and yard waste that can be composted including biocompostable paper and plastic items. I have even saved compostables during the winter to start a fresh pile in the spring. I have even brought home biocompostable food containers from eating out to add to my pile. For more information about composting, check out this article.

Using cloths for cleaning instead of paper towels.

Reusable Shopping Bags: I have been diligent about using reusable shopping bags at the grocery store. I will commit to use reusable bags for more of my shopping.

Water Bottles: I carry a water bottle and avoid purchasing bottled water.

Saving and reusing my glass jars, tin cans, metal pie plates, plastic food containers, boxes, bags, and any other containers I can find a use for.

Repurposing: I have been repurposing may items from denim to thrift store yarn and wire hangers to make useful household items.

Donating to Thrift Stores: Usable items that I no longer have a use for, and can not repurpose, are donated to my local thrift store so they can find a second life in another home.

Eliminated the use of paper and plastic plates, cups, and utensils by using real glasses, plates, and utensils at home; even for outdoor parties.

Home canning fruits and vegetables that I grow in my yard in reusable canning jars.

Using reusable holiday wrapping.

Packing waste-free lunches.

For all of these efforts, I still have some items going in the garbage can. Although my can is never full, and rarely even half full, I feel like I could be doing better. Continue reading this year to see more posts on my Zero Waste Challenge.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No More Wire Hangers

Finding myself with an abundance of wire hangers that really aren't all that useful, I decided to turn them into something I can actually use by pairing them up and covering them with yarn. This is a craft project that I have used since I was a kid. In fact, it is a great project for kids.

With the wire hangers I found in our closets, I was able to make seven cute new hangers. This is how to do it:

1. Select two wire hangers that are the same size and shape. Match the hangers up and tape them together in 5 or 6 places. Match the size and shape of the hangers is a little harder then it sounds. From the wire hangers I found in our closets, I have as many hangers that do not match each other as hangers that do. (If you don't have any wire hangers, your friends and family probably do).

2. Select one or two yarn colors that you want to use. This is a great way to use up remnant yarn from other projects. I purchased a bunch of yarn form a thrift store for this project (25 cents a piece; yeah!). Roll a yarn ball about the size of a golf ball.

3. Secure the yarn to the hanger by tying it on in a double knot at the top of the hanger. If you are using two colors, tie the other color of yarn on just below the first.

4. Take the first ball of yarn and pull out about six inches of yarn and make a loop over the top of the hangers. Pass the yarn ball under the opposite side of the hanger and up through the loop. Then pull the yarn tight to make a knot. Pull the knot snug up against the yarn that is already tied on the hanger.

5. If you are using two colors of yarn, make a loop on the other side of the hangers, pass your yarn ball under the hanger and through the loop, and pull tight.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 to tie yarn knots all the way around the hanger. Once you have reached the end, tie off the yarn in a knot and cut.

7. If you want, decorate your new hanger with a bow or pompom.
Your new wire hangers are now sturdy enough to hang a heavy coat. Not only that, but these hangers should last for a long time. My mom has some of these that she made more then 30 years ago that are in great condition.
If you don't need any more hangers, consider donating some to your local homeless or women's shelter. I know that mine are always asking for hanger donations.