Saturday, March 28, 2009

Beauty Berry, a Natural Insect and Tick Repellent

Denese had an interesting blog post with free resources for folk remedies, and one of them caught my eye, Old-Time Mosquito Remedy May Work Against Ticks, Too. Using crushed beauty berry leaves has long been used by Mississippi natives to repel both mosquitoes and ticks.

I buy plants from my local native plants society twice a year, and three years ago I planted a Beauty Berry bush. I will definitely be trying this; we have a lot of ticks and mosquito here in coastal Virginia.

I recently bought some organic citronella oil from Mountain Rose Herbs, so I'll be using this as well. They have dog and cat pet collars using natural herbs as a flea repellent which I'd like to try. Even though we use a monthly treatment on the pets, they still seem to get ticks and fleas. My cat likes to roll in one particular place on our patio, so last year I spread diamateous earth in that area. It's a natural bug killer. It works by dehydrating the exoskeletons of the bugs. It may have helped, but it couldn't have hurt. I'm willing to try something natural this year.

I'll post my results during the summer.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring in the Garden

A few early bloomer's in my garden:


Christmas Rose(Hellebore)

Veggie: broccoli

...and a few shells on a garden table from a recent trip to the beach.

Not pictured, but our witch hazel and Japanese Rose(yellow) are just about to blossom.

Free Shakespeare Audiobooks

"To be, or not to be--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep--
No more--and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to." ~ Hamlet

Shakespeare Monologues, Volume 4 :Hamlet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing, Julius Caesar, Richard III, Queen Margaret from Richard III, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V , Antony and Cleopatra, and As You Like It.

Free to listen to online, and fully downloadable.

All seven volumes available here at Internet Archives.

I download these to a Sansdisk compact flash memory card(AKA: Thumbdrive), and then to my mini-laptop. It's great to listen to in the car.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Green Living: Homemade Cloth Grocery and Clothespin Bags

Debbie of Homemaking Dreams is at it again making those pretty shopping and clothespin bags.

Check out her Etsy Store.

The Diligent Scholar ...

and his faithful pet, Erwin.

Blooming Liquid Soap Tutorial

I saw this craft over at and decided to try it. My daughter now has renewed motivation to use soap when she washes her hands. It's difficult to see, but I also added a purple cornflower. The artificial flowers were snipped off two bouquets purchased at a dollar store. I got the green apple soap there as well.

See Decorative Liquid Soap Pumps for instructions and pictures. They added glass marbles to theirs, and cut the stems shorter.

Paper Doll Puppets

These paper doll puppets are so cute! By coincidence, this crafter happened by my blog last week, just as I was browsing her Etsy shop. She also lives nearby in North Carolina.

These will go fast at just $3.00. It would cost me more just to buy all the pretty paper if I were to do this myself.
Check out her shop at End of the Day Crafting.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Make Your Own Paper Flowers

These were very easy and quick! I used the wrapping paper from a box which I received for my homemade vaporizer liquid ingredients.

You'll need:

-Thin paper(ex: packing paper)
- Scissors
- Water color or food dye
- Glass bowl
- Glitter spray(optional)

- Take the paper and simply cut into circles, each circle should be progressively larger than the next. You should be able to see each layer peaking out about an inch. Don't make perfectly round circles, a little uneven and sloppy is good.

- As you cut them out, stack each of them from small to big - about six.

- Then grab the center from the bottom and gently shape(crumple) into a cone, pinching the bottom from the center tighter than the rest. Gently manipulate the petals to make them look like a real flower by pulling down the outer petals. Voila, you've got a flower!

To color them, place a few drops of color into a bowl of water, then using a small spoon, ladle small amounts of the colored water over the flower, hold it upside down to get it to run out, and to dye the underside. Another way to do it is to place a wadded paper towel into the colored water and squeeze it over the flower. You will get a subtler effect doing this. The pink and white one above was done this way.

***Don't soak the flower too much, or it will wilt into a ball of wet paper. If you don't get the color you want, wait until the flower is dry and dye it again, or even layer the colors for more depth.

I dried mine upside down with a clothes clip attached to the pinched area on the underside. This is the area where a stem could be attached, so it's pinched and pointy. When they are almost dry, spray with glitter spray. I use a gold glitter spray purchased from the Walmart craft area.

See more projects and recipes at the Make-it-from-Scratch Carnie.

Free Homeschool Curriculum: St. Patrick: The World's Greatest Missionary

From CurrClick:

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner. I have put together a Holiday Helper just right for the busy parent. There is no preparation (except for easy, yummy soda bread), just time together to enjoy. There is a biography of Patrick that is rich and engaging, rare illustrations for study and learning, a recipe for real Irish soda bread and an essay you and your children won't want to miss, entitled, "The Real St. Patrick".
What's inside:

* The Real St. Patrick: An essay by Charles Mack
* St. Patrick, A biography from Our Island Saints
* Picture Study: Three In One
* Picture Study: St. Patrick Expels the Snakes
* Mapwork: Map of Ireland
* Recipe: Irish Soda Bread
* Copywork: St. Patrick's Breastplate

Click here.

Also see: Saint Patrick and Irish Children's Stories, Activities and Music

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tutorial: Recycled Silk Flower Pin

I've seen different versions of these silk flowers on Etsy, and I've always wondered how they made them.

Here's a nice tutorial.

The silk in this project could be harvested from silk blouses found at thrift stores. I often see fabric scraps or damaged silk blouses for a bargain at the thrifts.

Here is another tutorial only with deconstructed artificial flowers. I think I'd like to try these on a hair clip as well.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saving Money on Vicks Vaporizing Steam Liquid with a Homemade Substitute

Our pediatricians have always recommended steam vaporizers with Vicks for the little ones when they get a stuffy nose and congestion. Unfortunately, the liquid Vicks is really expensive and only last us three nights. I began buying the Rite Aid brand which was still over $6.00 for 4 ounces, and not quite a strong.

I was researching homemade vaporizing steam liquid when I came upon a possible alternative to the store brought liquid - eucalyptus leaves and camphor liquid. I read that the liquid eucalyptus oil is not recommended for the vaporizers, so I purchased the leaves.

I love Mountain Rose Herbs organic products, so I ordered from them. I've mentioned them here on my blog before in other posts. I've decided to add the company to my sidebar because I trust their certified organic products, and their prices are good.

A little about their bulk organic herbs & spices:

"Our promise to you, that the line of bulk herbs and botanicals
offered by Mountain Rose Herbs are...

True certified organic by OTCO
Certified Kosher Through Earth Kosher
Free from irradiation, ozone treatment, sulfites, gasses and other sanitary chemicals
Unsurpassable in color, depth, taste and aroma
Ethically wildharvested when not certified organic
Processed and handled according to strict organic standards
Grown, harvested, processed and handled by fun, knowledgeable and caring people
Lab analyzed for quality, safety and true botanical identity"

So here's what I purchased: a pound of organic eucalyptus leaf($7.00) and one ounce camphor essential oil($5.00).

I am not sure how much of the eucalyptus to add, so I'll begin with a tablespoon at a time, and a few drops of the camphor.

The pound french green clay pictured was for me. I use this for homemade facial masks.

I'll be sure to update this post with my results.

6/22/09 Update: Don't Bother with the eucalyptus leaves in a humidifier! These had no scent at all. The camphor drops on the other hand worked like a charm. I've used it for at least three colds, and I still have quite a bit of the camphor left, so it's a better deal for us than the bottles of Vicks which last only two nights.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Crafting with Vintage Images: Victorian Paper Doll House

My three year old daughter and I began making this paper doll house with vintage images from this post, 1903 House Beautiful today. There is no floor yet, just some incomplete walls. It's a work in progress. We may add more rooms, but for now it's just one.

Frozen store bought pizza boxes are so handy with paper crafts. We glued the printed images to these boxes, and shaped them into this house with the help of clear packing tape. The bed is made of the folded edges of the pizza box with a paper towel sheet and pillow roll.

I'm thinking about adding a fourth wall which would fold down for play, and adding some handles to the box for toting around. I'll probably rip the handles off a paper bag I am using to store the pizza boxes. I'll cover the walls with clear contact paper when I'm done so it will last a while.

What about color? I have a black and white printer, so this will either need to be colored or remain black and white. I may selectively color nature scenes on the outside.

I've already selected some more vintage images for the outside walls, a vintage family, and some more furniture pieces. The pieces aren't exactly to scale; I'm better at more abstract art! Exacting measurements and getting things to scale are not my forte. I'm lucky to get a straight line here and there.

It's been fun planning the rest of the project. I'll post more of our little house under construction as we progress. I had to stop when the little one tried to run off with the scissors and began unraveling the packing tape. Fun crafting with a three year old is about 10 minutes! She'll enjoy the finished product for longer periods of time; I'm sure.

The vintage pictures here are a few potential ideas for the outside, and family. There is a man, but I can't find him at the moment. I shrink the full page images of people and things down to wallet size, and the backgrounds to 5X7 using Google's Picasa.

All images are in public domain from Google Books.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Make Your Own Hair Clips

These children's hair clips are made using alligator clips. See tutorial. I plan to try these soon, and I think I'd like to add some danglies to look like Japanese hair accessories. You could even spray paint them and add doo-dads. I think I might also like to add found shells and sea glass; I've got a pickle jar full of these.

HT to Tip Nut

About Me

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I'm a homeschooling mom of two, a teen and a little. I hope this collection of mine helps you as much as it has helped us. I have an Etsy shop here: And a blog: