Recipes for Natural Healing Oils & Salves and Other Fabulous Projects for Summer

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Recipes for Natural Healing Oils & Salves, DIY Herbal Pillows and Designing Your Own SoapsRecipes for natural healing oils and salves, diy herbal dream, pillows and designing your own homemade soaps. These are just a few of the treats you’ll discover inside the special, limited edition Nature Knows Best issue of Mary Jane’s Farm Magazine is now available from Mountain Rose Herbs. This special issue is the product of a collaboration between Mary Jane and the employees at Mountain Rose Herbs that contains diy articles and recipes for Herbal Health & Beauty, Herbal Cleaning, and the Herbal Garden along with tasty herbal ice cream recipes, toxic free mama & baby, quick & healthy breads, and much more. You can purchase this special issue from Mountain Rose Herbs while supplies last. Plus don’t forget to shop Mountain Rose Herbs for all of your organic essential oil and soapmaking needs.

If you’re delving into learning how to make homemade soap the old fashioned way with lye (alkali) and natural butters and oils (fats,) be sure to visit my DIY Cold Process Soapmaking Tutorial. I also have recently created a tutorial for making your own handmade wood loaf soap molds where I also give you the skinny on where to purchase lye!

Natural Allergy Relief from Stinging Nettles

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Stinging Nettle Leaf Can Help with Allergies and Also Aid In Treating Other Illnesses and Conditions - Natural Herbal Home Remedy for AllergiesAllergy season seems to be especially bad this spring with more and more people suffering from allergies even while on allergy medications that are supposed to block symptoms and offer relief. So I decided to do a little bit of research to find alternative methods that are said to offer relief from seasonal allergies. One particularly interesting home remedy that I discovered and plan to try is stinging nettles. Nettle leaves can be steamed and eaten in salads and pastas or used in teas. Folklore has long praised their healing powers. Due to the natural composition of nettle, drinking stinging nettle tea can actually relieve allergic reactions to common pollen as well as relieve hives caused by allergic reactions to plants. Stinging nettles tea is often used to treat respiratory and urinary problems as well as aid in the recovery of conditions such as eczema, asthma, sinusitis and rhinitis and can help to diminish susceptibility to the common cold.

To create a tea comprised of stinging nettle leaves, prepare as you would any other herbal or loose leaf tea and pour 6-8 oz. of boiling water over one Tablespoon of dried organic nettle leaves. Allow to steep 10-15 minutes, sweeten if desired and enjoy. To create an infusion, boil one quart of water and pour over 1oz. of dried nettle leaves allowing to steep four hours to overnight, then strain and consume. Alternately, you can also purchase a natural nettle extract made with a 2:1 ratio from fresh nettle leaves. Or you can buy nettle leaf capsules if you dislike the taste of stinging nettle.

Even more interesting than helping to reduce nasal allergies, is the assumption that nettles can also help to naturally prevent osteoporosis. It’s believed that the silicone naturally present in stinging nettle helps to increase bone density. Crafting a hand blended tea using equal parts horsetail, oat straw, alfalfa and stinging nettle and drinking a cup everyday can offer preventative care. Simply steep one Tablespoon of blended herbs in 6-8 oz. of boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes, strain, sweeten if desired – I love the natural sweetness of the stevia plant – and drink.

Overall however, nettle leaves are rich in nutrients our bodies need and contain many essential minerals including iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Nettle is approved by the German Commission E for internal and external use in the support of inflammation. It is prized for it’s diuretic properties and it’s support of the lower urinary tract and can help to prevent and treat urinary tract infections. However, as with any herb, you should avoid stinging nettles if pregnant. As stinging nettle does act as a diuretic and can lower blood pressure, you should consult a doctor before using stinging nettle if you are taking diuretics or other drugs meant to lower blood pressure.

Also be sure to try my natural home remedy for nasal congestion by crafting your own natural Breathe Easier Salve.

What are some of your favorite natural home remedies for allergies and nasal congestion that you find really do work?

DIY Herb Garden Markers – Homemade Mother’s Day Gift Idea

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Herb Garden Markers DIY - Upcycled Craft Project Made From Popsicle Sticks and Washi Tape - Easy Craft for Kids and Homemade Mother's Day Gift IdeaWith spring in full force and planting underway, now is the perfect time to whip up some garden markers for your new plants! This herb garden marker is so easy to make with materials you probably already have on hand. Plus, they’re simple enough the kids can craft some for all of mom’s favorite plants as a homemade Mother’s Day gift!

Herb Garden Marker Craft Project

Materials for making your own diy herb garden markersWhat you need:

popsicle sticks, one for each marker
scissors
washi tape
packing tape
permanent marker

Homemade Thyme Garden Marker - Homemade Mother's Day Gift Idea Even the Kids Can Craft

What you do:

Start by cutting the bottom end of each popsicle stick into a point. Then wrap the top section of the popsicle sticks with washi tape. I used complimentary patterns and colors of washi tape for my thyme herb marker, using a solid color of washi tape where I wanted to write the name of the plant. I used scissors to cut around the top edge of the popsicle stick for a cleaner look. Then I simply wrote the name of the herb onto the washi tape with a permanent marker.

Once I had the garden marker the way I wanted, I covered the washi tape decorated portion of the marker if packaging tape and then cut around the popsicle stick to seal it from rain. Alternately, should have some on hand, you could also seal the garden marker with a clear, outdoor acrylic sealer.

Handmade Garden Marker DIY - How to Make Simple Herb Garden Markers with Washi TapeAll that’s left is to place your garden markers in your garden by their corresponding plants or into pots of plants you plan to gift.

The Bath, Beauty and Home Fragrance Giveaway

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Some of my favorite handmade products are those geared toward bath, beauty and home. Therefore I thought it’d be fun to offer a giveaway to my readers for a chance to win a selection of handmade products within those categories! To put this contest together, I joined up with three other great artisans – Blackberry Thyme, Still Water Candles, and Face. Body. Feet. One lucky winner will receive handmade products from all three of these shops along with a selection of handmade soaps from my own shop, Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen.
Handmade White Tea and Ginger Goat Milk Soap from Rebecca's Soap Delicatessen

Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen was founded in 2001 after my handmade soap addiction got the best of me. I specialize in creating handmade shea butter soaps and lotions. When I’m not whipping up soaps, I love to listen to local live music, visit my city’s farmer’s market, read when time allows, and come up with fun and crafty new DIY projects for my blog, Soap Deli News. I am a proud single mother of a teenage son who is both a talented soccer player and a new driver in training. (He got his learner’s permit this summer!)

For this contest, I’ll be giving away three of my newest handmade soap bars – Handmade Lemon and Basil Shea Butter Soap, Handmade White Tea and Ginger Goat Milk Soap, and Handmade Coconut and Lime Goat Milk Soap. ($18 value.) In addition, you can also save an extra 25% off all sale products from Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen when you use coupon code: BACKTOSCHOOL through September 30th, 2012. Buy as much as you want and never pay more than $6 in shipping!

Handmade Pumpkin Spice Soy Candle from Blackberry Thyme

Teresa, of Blackberry Thyme, is offering one of her luscious, Handmade Pumpkin Spice Soy Candles as a prize! ($8 value.) Heavily scented and dye free, this hand poured clean burning candle is a rich fragrance blend of cinnamon and clove with vanilla and coconut. (Be sure to read my review of Teresa’s candles that I posted a while back after making a purchase from her!)

Teresa opened her shop, Blackberry Thyme, in November 2007 as a way to create extra income for her family. She has always loved sewing and crafting and Blackberry Thyme allowed her the chance to be creative and remain a single, stay at home mom to her two children. Teresa specializes in hand crafting eco-friendly 100% soy wax candles, wax melts and handmade soaps. You can find her products both on Artfire and Bonanza.

Handmade Pamper Herbal Facial Steam from Face. Body. Feet.

Jacqueline, of Face. Body. Feet., is giving away one of her natural, herbal facial steams! The Pamper Herbal Steam consists of natural botanicals including chamomile, rose buds, lemongrass, passionflower, orange peel, and jasmine flowers blended together for a deep aromatic facial cleanse when added to boiling water. ($8 value.)

Jacqueline got her start into natural beauty after discovering Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Craftsin the library one summer.  Within it’s pages was a simple, natural bath tea recipe that Jacqueline thought would be fun to make. She purchased the herbal ingredients she needed for the recipe, and then made several lavender bath tea bags for her and her husband to try. All she remembers about that night was that she slept like a baby.

During Jacqueline’s research for natural ingredients and recipes, she discovered Etsy, an entire online marketplace for handcrafted items. After visiting Etsy’s bath and body section and seeing all of the great products people were offering, the seed was planted and Jacqueline started her own natural bath and body business, Face. Body. Feet.

Handmade Lilac Air Freshener in Jelly Jar from Still Water Candles

Janelle, of Still Water Candles, is sponsoring two of her delightfully scented Jelly Jar Air Fresheners for this giveaway – one in Lilac and one in Vanilla Sugar. These 4oz. air fresheners come in a cute jelly jar with a daisy cut lid to let the fragrance out. These air fresheners make the perfect substitute for areas where you can’t burn candles such as the dormitories, cars, or the office. They last much longer than candles and make adorable gifts. ($16 value.) Make any purchase from Still Water Candles through October 31, 2012 and use coupon code: 20FallSale to receive 20% off your purchase.

Janelle is 22 years old and recently graduated with a math degree. When she’s not making candles she enjoys reading, cooking, and walking her dog. Her shop, Still Water Candles, started out solely as a candle shop. However, since it’s conception, it has slowly evolved to also include sachets, air fresheners, and reed diffusers. She named her shop after one of her favorite verses, Psalm 23:2-3: “He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul.”

The total prize value of this contest is $50. If you’d like a chance to win, simply enter via Rafflecopter below through September 28, 2012. This contest is open to USA residents only, ages 18 and up.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DIY Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin and Hair

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Beauty Gone Wild eBook - Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin and Hair - Natural DIY Bath & Beauty Recipes

Since I discovered the kindle app for my macbook and realized I can read kindle books on any device whether I have a kindle or not, I have been regularly checking the list of Top 100 Kindle eBooks on Amazon. There are some really great ebooks books that end up on that list.

Today, however, there is a DIY Bath & Beauty book on that list I thought I’d share with you. The book is titled, Beauty Gone Wild! Herbal Recipes for Gorgeous Skin & Hair (Herbs Gone Wild!) by Dianne Kidman. It contains a selection of easy to make homemade bath and beauty recipes for natural skin care, natural hair care, natural hygiene, and natural perfumes – all made with natural ingredients, herbs and essential oils. So be sure to check it out and add it to your growing collection of natural bath and body recipes and books! And don’t forget you can always find a terrific selection of natural, organic herbs, essential oils, butters, and other bath and beauty ingredients at Mountain Rose Herbs.