Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shabby Chic Dog Bed


I went looking for a new bed for Heidi Bear yesterday and couldn't find one I liked. Apparently, if your dog is large you must want plaid, or so the available selection suggested. So, I decided to make one in a fabric to suit our space. Basic sewing skills are all that's needed for this project.

Start with one twin sized egg crate mattress pad. Cut it in half across the short side to make two pieces that are roughly square. Whip stitch the two pieces together with the smooth sides together. This will keep the pieces from shifting around in the cover.

Cut a piece of fabric 38" wide and 74" long. Use a sturdy, washable fabric for best wear. You can use old curtains from the thrift store, denim or what ever suits you best. I used an old slip cover from a sofa we no longer have. I love re purposing from an environmental as well as budgetary standpoint!

Add a 5/8" hem to each of the short sides of the fabric.


Cut 3 six inch pieces of Velcro and pin evenly spaced across the hem on the back side of the fabric. Place it slightly inside the edge and stitch in place.


With right sides together, pin the long ends together and stitch. I serged the edges for extra durability, but it's not necessary if you don't have a serger.

Turn the cover right side out and press. Insert the egg crate foam and press the Velcro together to close.

Voila! One extra large, shabby chic dog bed for less than $20!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Flea Free


I don't like using pesticides on my pets any more than I like using them on the rest of my family. Luckily there is an all natural way to keep your dog flea free- brewer's yeast! I have been giving it to my dogs for over 20 years now, and we have yet to have a flea.

When we brought Heidi Bear home from the shelter she was crawling with fleas so we started giving her a brewers yeast tablet every day . Before long she was flea free without the use of potentially harmful chemicals. I give it to her as a treat once a day. She actually starts to drool when she hears the bottle rattle, so they must be pretty tasty!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Molasses Drop Cookies


This old fashioned soft molasses cookie recipe is full of flavor without being too sweet. It's been a favorite at my house for years. You can use whatever type of molasses you have on hand. I especially like blackstrap molasses as it's got more calcium and iron than the regular.

MOLASSES DROP COOKIES

1/2 CUP SOFTENED BUTTER
1/2 CUP SUGAR
1 EGG
1 CUP MOLASSES
1 TABLESPOON VINEGAR
1/4 CUP BOILING WATER 1/4 CUP SOUR CREAM 3 CUPS FLOUR 2 TEASPOONS BAKING SODA 1 TEASPOON CINNAMON 1 TEASPOON GINGER 1 TEASPOON NUTMEG 1/4 TEASPOON GROUND CLOVES 1/2 TEASPOON SALT
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. Cream butter and sugar
  4. Beat in the egg then add molasses and mix thoroughly
  5. In a separate cup, combine the water and vinegar
  6. Add spices, salt and baking soda to molasses mixture and mix thoroughly
  7. Add one cup of flour, mix well, then water and vinegar and mix well
  8. Add another cup of flour, then the sour cream and lastly the third cup of flour. Mix thoroughly after each addition.
  9. Drop dough by the teaspoon full on your prepared cookie sheet. Leave about 2 inches between each cookie.
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool on a rack.
If you like a sweeter cookie you can sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar before baking or add a little icing after they have cooled. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Make Your Own Bath Salts


Bath salts are a good way to experiment with different combinations of essential and fragrance oils. It doesn't take a lot of oil to fragrance the salt, just be sure you do your homework and use oils that are safe for your skin. Lavender is a nice scent to start with. You can find the sea salt in the spice section of most grocery stores.


BASIC BATH SALTS
  • 2 cups of sea salt
  • 10-20 drops of essential or fragrance oil of your choice
  • color-food coloring is fine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil- coconut,jojoba and almond are nice (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon dendritic salt (optional)
~Blend essential or fragrance oils with the dendritic salt if using. Dendritic salt is very fine and very pure. It helps maintain the true fragrance of the oils. It isn't necessary to use it if you plan on using your bath salts within a month or so. ~Add sea salt and mix well. (add fragrance directly to sea salt if not using dendritic salt) ~To color- add color one drop at a time, mixing well after each drop, until desired tint is achieved. ~To make a more moisturizing salt add one teaspoon of oil at this point. Careful! The tub may get slippery! ~To use, add about 1/4 cup of salts to a warm bath. ~Store your fragrant creation in ajar with a tight fitting lid.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Garden






How peaceful my garden is in the winter - resting, covered in a blanket of sparkling snow.






Sunday, January 3, 2010

Myrrh and Patchouli


Before I get into the uses for these wonderful essential oils I would like to share the importance of doing a patch test before using a new botanical in any of your preparations. It's simple and only takes 15-20 minutes to find out if you or someone else is sensitive to an oil or botanical. Put a drop of the essential oil in question on a cotton ball and dab the inside of your arm right below the elbow. If any redness, itching or irritation occurs within the next 15-20 minutes avoid using that substance in any of your creations.

MYRRH
~Myrrh has a warm, resinous scent that is soothing in states of stress, panic, fear, confusion and apathy. To use for this purpose, place a drop or two of the essential oil in a diffuser or bowl o
f hot water to help disperse the scent throughout the room. A more portable solution is to take a whiff or two straight from the bottle.
~Myrrh is anti-inflammatory, anti fungal, antimicrobial and antiseptic making it a good addition to topical preparations for dry, cracked skin and athletes foot.
~The tincture and powdered forms are commonly used in mouth washes for treatment for gingivitis and canker sores.
~ While it isn't associated with any side effects ,myrrh should be used in moderation and not at all during pregnancy.

PATCHOULI
~Patchouli is a useful addition to preparations for use on the skin as it is anti inflammatory, anti fungal and antiseptic. Put a few drops in lotions and bath oils or with tea tree oil for a
soak for athletes foot.
~If you have a problem with bookworms or silverfish, put a couple of drops on a cotton ball to keep them away.
~Patchouli stimulates the pituitary gland and can increase feelings of euphoria and is an aphrodisiac.
~Patchouli is an excellent deodorant.
~Use as a fixative for other scents when formulating your own perfume or making potpourri.
~Great for keeping moths out of woolens and smells way better than moth balls- that is if you like patchouli.