Free Shea Body Butter Recipes eBook

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Free Holiday Body Butter Recipes Ebook with a DIY Homemade Pumpkin Body Butter Recipe

The ebook, Holiday Body Butter Recipes: Simple Body Butter to Make and Give: Homemade Body Butters for Every Occasion, is free today from Amazon! Includes a recipe for a seasonal DIY Pumpkin Pie Body Butter Recipe! So how can you resist? Download this kindle ebook free for a limited time here.

Also available today at no cost is a similar title, Homemade Shea Body Butter Recipes for Beginners: All-Natural Quick & Easy Recipes to Eliminate Eczema, Acne, Dry Skin, Stretch Marks, Sunburn & More. You can get that book here.

The Soap Making Bible is an invaluable resource for beginning soapmakers and is free today from Amazon!

If you also love soapmaking, be sure to get The Soap Making Bible, also free today. It includes beautiful, print friendly PDF’s with soap recipes, instructions, troubleshooting tips and more. Add your own notes to the prints to personalise your soap making bible even further. It also includes invaluable tips like the most common mistakes that many soap makers encounter so you can avoid them. This ebook includes troubleshooting tips and easy to follow instructions designed for beginners along with a great collection of homemade soap recipes. Download The Soapmaking Bible here.

If you don’t own a kindle you can still get these kindle titles. Simply download Amazon’s free kindle reading app here. It works on most computers, tablets and smartphones.

(If you missed out on these free ebooks – these free kindle ebook offers come and go rather quickly generally lasting only a day or two – no worries. Simply visit Amazon’s best sellers in Crafts, Hobbies and Home here for a list of all current free ebooks in this category and click on the Top 100 Free tab.)

Things to Do for a Date Night That Don’t Require Money

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As Valentine’s Day has long been prized as a consumer holiday in the United States, it can put pressure on couples to spend money – even if it’s money they don’t have. But Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about expensive dinners, flowers and chocolates.
Things to do for a date night that don't require money - Realistic romantic ideas that couples can do together without spending a penny
Photo Credit: Rebecca D. Dillon, author of Soap Deli News Blog

It seems like so many things have changed now that technology has replaced books and libraries, land line phone conservations, and play time has become indoor video game time – even television has replaced family time. Additionally, as a society, many of us have become so focused on consumerism we have lost sight of the important things – those little things we had and did together before technology made everything immediate and easy. Lots of people don’t seem to appreciate the simple everyday, mundane things the way our parents and grandparents did. We have forgotten how to appreciate life for the gift it is and don’t feel fulfilled unless we own more than we can actually afford. This lifestyle of easy credit, technological advances and living beyond our means has become the norm. And now that we are in a recession people are feeling their pockets pinched or have lost their jobs and are struggling to continue living beyond their means.

Knowing so many people are still out of work despite continuing look, the families that are working or on a fixed income but still struggling, and even those of us who have all we need and even the things we want, but want to remember what’s really important in life and get back to basics – to the way things were before the noise of telephones, computers, video games, and television. I wanted to find ideas for couple date nights that really truly didn’t require any money at all and at the same time didn’t leave anyone feeling slighted because they don’t own a tv, a computer, or even a car.

So I posed the following question to friends and family through my social networks.

“What date night ideas do you have for couples who have only the basics and no room for a budget budge? I want to hear your date night ideas for a couple that does not own a working television or computer, cannot do outdoor activities due to bad winter weather, cannot drive anywhere as either gas is too expensive or they don’t own a car, do not own board games and have no money to buy them – not even a deck of cards. Money is also out for grocery trips and alcohol. What are your ideas?”

Some of the responses I got were as follows:
DIY Ideas for a Romantic Date Night That Don't Cost a Dime
Photo credit: Lime Lane Photography
  • Read a book to one another – either one on hand or borrowed from the library.
  • Assuming you own a deck of cards, play strip poker. 
  • Listen to music – like the “golden oldies” of your childhood and dancing.
  • A dinner of beans and rice, Hollywood music, dancing under the moonlight and a candlelit massage.
  • From my sixteen year old son – writing or drawing your feelings for one another or – and this shows you how awesomely geeky my son is – write a computer program that does the same.
  • Sex. (You had to know that one was coming.)
  • Asking one another more intimate questions about their lives.
  • Make your own board games or a deck of cards with paper, pen and everyday objects. Play charades or Pictionary with pen and paper. The person who loses makes the winner and him or herself dessert.
  • Painting. (No paints? Is there something in the house – like paprika – that can be added to water to create a pigment?
  • Plan a dream vacation together – even if it’s not an option in the near future.
  • Camp out in the living room with a tent – either real or one made from furniture and sheets. Light candles, make smore’s or whatever is on hand, and tell ghost stories.
  • If musically gifted, craft a song together.
  • Have an indoor picnic with sandwiches and cocoa and discuss creative ideas.
  • Invite over other couples and have a mystery murder night where you organize a cluesque play. These are fun and you can do them in any time period for little or no more as they are more about imagination and intrigue with your closest friends. A reader would hold hers in the Victorian period.
  • Work on a diy project together.
  • Give a spaghetti dinner an Italian theme and play Sinatra or Dean Martin and cook a spaghetti dinner together. Decorate the kitchen or dining room like an Italian Bistro.
  • Think bath tubs and massages and let your imagination run wild.
  • Take a bunch of old photos out of storage – whether digital or hard copy – and make a memory scrapbook of your time together. Remembering better times and even leaner times can help acknowledge strong bonds and overcoming challenges together.
And of course I have been brainstorming for ideas of my own. When I was trying to come up with ideas I went back to the things I did as a child for ideas. I could take nothing and turn it into a happy world of fantasy and play.
I remember digging up dirt and mud in the yard and mixing it together with grass to make pinch pots that I dried in the sun. Then I’d serve dinner with large leaf weeds as salad and the seed tops of plants as beans. I also made grass dolls.
I would draw out foods on paper along with dishes and silverware. Then I’d create menus that I gave to my family and would serve them dinner in the hallway on the floor where I’d created my restaurant. 
I took newspaper and masking tape and aluminum foil and made a mermaid’s fin to fit myself – it was the 80s and Splash was huge! – and then wore my bikini with my mermaid’s tail to start off a magic show that I invited all the neighborhood parents to. I introduced the show by jumping out the tail and becoming a “human” and then me and all of my friends performed magic tricks right on the back deck of my house. 
I even created my own science museum once by gathering interesting objects I found in the woods behind my house – including an opossum skull! I displayed everything in my tree house neatly lined up on a table with cards that stated what each object was. 
I loved playing with Hot Wheels cars too, so I would tape pages and pages of paper together and draw roads and houses and parking lots for them to drive on. 
I made my own paper dolls for myself and my friend, Jenny, that we could cut out and play with. there were even scenes to cut out and set up. We each had a character – one was Autumn and one was Benita – and I think (it was a long time ago) my character was named Autumn and hers was Benita. 
For a class project in elementary school Jenny and I created a slide show together of a story we wrote and illustrated. We photographed the illustrated pages of the story and had them made into slides – film strips were so big back then! – and then recorded the story onto cassette tape. I made the “beep” that indicated when the next slide was to be shown using my Magical Musical Thing. (Does anyone else remember those?) 
During good weather I’d take chalk and draw roads all over the cul-de-sac for my friends and I to “drive” on with our bikes. I even drew parking lots and houses that you saw from a bird’s eye view so every room in the house looked like you could interact with it. I had so much fun drawing couches and toilets that you could sit right down on!
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could regain that childlike enthusiasm in our everyday life? I thought it would be so I pulled some of my own ideas from my past experiences and thought of ways to apply them to the here and now. But I also pulled from things I’ve experienced as an adult that always make me smile. 
  • Dance like no one is watching. It’s a popular saying, but if you really consider it and can actually do it, it feels so amazing. I used to dance in my bedroom with the music blaring but I never danced in front of anyone at all. I was that girl that stood shyly by the reception table or sat on the bleachers during a school dance. I was a wallflower – though I imagine that the people who know me now that didn’t know me back then might find that hard to believe. I did not dance publicly in front of anyone until I was in my 30s. And once I started, I didn’t want to stop. I literally started dancing for me and danced like no one was watching. And now I have the best time dancing when I do. So just dance. If you and you’re partner can’t dance – do it anyway. Learn together. There’s no better way or better time to dance then in the here and now with someone you love. Do it dressed up like you are going out, but then stay in.
  • If funds don’t allow springing for a special date night dinner, make a regular dinner special. Eat by candlelight. Design your own special place mats – together – for the event even if it’s on paper. Serve paper lobster tails with your beans and rice. Dress up your dishes for the occasion by drawing your favorite memory with your partner onto your mugs or dinner glasses with a Sharpie. Drink water out of wine glasses. But for every step you take to create dinner, do it together. Want a surprise for one another? Create your surprises in separate rooms at the same time. Then play twenty questions to see if you can guess your partner’s surprise before the reveal!
  • Bring summer to you by covering the windows with paper and then drawing a spring or summer scene – whatever your favorite season – on the paper together and color it in. Then camp out indoors or pretend you’re at the beach.
  • Do what you usually do but explore ways of doing it without any electricity or modern conveniences. How many creative ideas for day to day living can you come up with and execute together? Dig out that book of survival skills you have in case of a zombie apocalypse and learn how to become more self sufficient together. 
  • Create crossword puzzles or word searches for one another with words and clues that are relevant to your relationship together. 
  • Write a radio “play” together that includes homemade sound effects. (I remember doing this when Star Wars came out. One of the children’s magazines I read had a script to go bar and instructions on how to make the sounds so they sounded realistic.)
  • Turn books and other everyday objects into building blocks and see who can build something that stands the tallest.
  • Give one another tattoos with non-toxic markers. (I actually did something similar to this once and took my colored Bic markers to a local bar on karaoke and let people color in my tattoos. Everyone ended up drawing their own tattoo creations onto everyone else.)
  • Work on DIY project together. See what kinds of materials you have around and research fun things to make with those materials. Or raid the pantry and cook up something you’ve never made before like marshmallows or caramels or creative jello desserts.
DIY Zentangles Valentines Projects - Create Zentangle Hearts with Your Significant Other and Decorate Your Home for Valentine's Day
Photo Credit: Punk Projects Blog
  • If weather permits, use chalk to draw a game board – chess, checkers, etc. – on a sidewalk or stoop and use rocks and other items as game pieces. 
  • Use pages from old magazines to piece together your dream home room by room.
  • Make weapons from office supplies and have a pretend war. (There is actually a free ebook available right now on this very subject called Office Weapons.) 
  • Create a paper fish aquarium and fill it with hand drawn paper fish and coral. Each of you can make a kissing fish then pair them together! 
How to Make Banana Oxidation Art - Source:
Photo Credit: Instructables
  • Draw images of one another as a couple onto bananas then photograph and frame. You can easily draw on a fresh banana with a toothpick and your image will “magically” appear later. There’s also a video tutorial on how to do this at Instructables. Don’t have bananas? Draw caricatures of one another.
  • Create a comic strip or comic book together about some of your amazing adventures – real and imagined – that you’ve had together. This is a creative way to document your favorite memories without photography or the expense of a scrapbook and supplies.
  • Create a “museum” of your memories together by finding objects that are sentimental to you, arranging them on a bookshelf and attaching little notes to them in regards to the event or why they are special.

The possibilities of things to do while staying in are endless. You just have to have a little imagination, an appreciation for the little things, and be fearless in the face of silliness!

If you’re looking for ways to save money either to necessity or by desire to simplify your life, I highly recommend the book, How to Save Money at Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to Cut Spending, by Kim Parsell. It’s currently available as a free ebook download from Amazon. (You can download the free kindle reading app if you don’t own a kindle. I use the app on my macbook.) You can also find a few ideas in my blog article, Frugal Ideas for Saving Money

If you’re looking for homemade Valentine’s Day gifts to make and have the extra room in your budget, I hope you’ll check out my diy ideas for homemade Valentine’s Day gifts. And remember that by buying and shopping locally and from small business owners, you are helping families and communities right here at home to live better lives.

Do you have other creative ideas for a winter weather date night that doesn’t cost a penny? Then please share your thoughts in the comments for the benefit of others looking for things that they can do together!

Books for a DIY Lifestyle – From living frugal to homemaking, organizing and decorating for the holidays

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Books for a DIY Lifestyle - From living frugal to homemaking, organizing and decorating for the holidays

Books for Living Frugally

Looking to live a more frugal lifestyle? Then I recommend checking out the book, Back to Basics. Regularly $12.95 for the print edition and $8.20 for the digital edition, you can instantly downtload the ebook to your Kindle or your own device with the free Kindle reading app if you don’t own a kindle.

This book contains information on why we are in debt, how to live a truly rich life, how to save money on most things, traveling on the cheap, the art of de-cluttering, how to make your children earn their gifts, how to create beautiful gifts from ordinary items, how to save on everyday household bills, growing your own food, natural beauty and making your own beauty products, natural herbal remedies for common ailments and more!

This book is a great resource for those just starting out on their own and those who have undergone a recent income change. It contains a lot of solid, basic information that serves as a foundation we can all use along with links to helpful resources on the web.

My favorite section – obviously – is chapter 20 on how to make your own beauty products. This section includes recipes for a basic balm, baby ointment for rashes, powdered blush, quick and easy hand cream, facial masks and scrubs, after shave lotion, basis soap, toner, toothpaste, nail anti-fungal oil, soothing joint ointment and more. You can get this resourceful book here.

Other informational books that you might like.

Homesteading Magazines

You can also check out back issues of Backwoods Magazine which include resourceful information and projects for homesteading, personal independence and self-sufficiency. Issues available include:

  • Backwoods Home Magazine – May/June 2009 (#117) – Contains information on fascinating people and detailing how each makes a living in today’s down economy; how to survive difficult economic conditions by practicing a variety of self-reliance techniques; making homemade pre-mixed foods; living on less by simplifying your life; using whole wheat in various bread recipes; tips on how to stretch your food budget; a garden primer; and more.
  • Backwoods Home Magazine – Sep/Oct 2011 (#131) – Information on building a homemade 12-Volt DC generator; how to extend your garden’s growing season; starting a small-scale sawmill business; making bean, rice, and chicken soup; how to cook with millet; making buckboard bacon; how to keep a sharp edge on a knife; and more.

Additionally you may enjoy: Backwoods Home Magazine – Nov/Dec 2009 (#120), and Backwoods Home Magazine – Jan/Feb 2011 (#127). You may also like the books Homesteading Ideas For Growing What You Eat In Your Garden (No BS Guide On Homesteading And Self Sufficiency) and Food Self-Sufficiency: Reality Check.

Free DIY Customizable Printable 2013 Calendar featuring Owl Artwork from 43 Artists Around the World

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Free Printable 2013 Calendar featuring Owl Artwork from artists around the world - Customize and gift!
This is the time of year that everyone starts buying calendars for the upcoming new year. However, if you’re a fan of owls, you won’t need to buy one – you can print your own! My Owl Barn offers a free printable owl calendar that features owl artwork from forty-three different artists from around the world. You can customize this calendar by choosing the image you want to appear for each month of the year. Print one for yourself and a few more for friends and family! Plus these calendars are perfectly sized to include with Christmas cards or tucked inside of stockings. Download your free printable 2013 calendar here.

Now that your 2013 calendar is taken care of, let’s not forget those holiday gifts! Be sure to take a peek at my Holiday Gift Guides and Christmas Stocking Stuffer Gift Ideas. Then peruse the collection of free printable holiday gift tags and wraps featured below to bring it all together!

Free Printable Holiday Gift Tags Stickers Gift Wrap and Cards

1. Free Printable Kawaii Inspired Holiday Gift Tags from Soap Deli News | 2. Cute Printable Holiday Gift Tags or Sticker Set from Soap Deli News | 3. Printable Love Inspired Gift Wrap and Gift Tags from Soap Deli News | 4. Free Printable Labels for Soaps from Soap Deli News | 5. Free Printable Owl Note Cards from Soap Deli News | 6. Free Printable Fun Holiday Gift Tags from The Bride with a Blog | 7. Printable Holiday Gift Tags from Orange You Lucky | 8. Free Printable Holiday Gift Tags from Blush Printables

Want even more fun and free printables for every occasion? Be sure to follow my Printables Board on Pinterest! It includes a little bit of everything including printable mustache notes and jam jar labels for your diy gifts! Also be sure to visit Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen now for my pre-holiday sale and to shop the best selection of handmade bath and body products!

How to Make Soap – DIY Melt and Pour Soapmaking Recipes with Photo Tutorials

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How to Make Soap - DIY Melt and Pour Soapmaking Recipes with Step by Step Instructions
Ready to spend another weekend getting crafty? Why not learn how to make soap! The ebook, How to Make Colorful and Fragrant Soap at Home: Unique Soap Making Recipes With Step by Step Photos  by Lyubomyr Yatsyk, is available for instant download to your kindle or device with the free kindle app! This book contains nineteen melt and pour soap recipes with step by step instructions and photographs. A few of the projects include making Transparent Soap with a Heart Inside, a Soap Snowflake, Massage “Orange in Grapefruit” Soap, Banana and Ginger Soap, Sugar Scrub with Lavender, Gentle “Berry Yogurt” Soap, and Chamomile Soap! There’s also a tip section at the end that covers some of the common mistakes made during melt and pour soapmaking. This is a great book for a beginner who wants to try their hand at crafting melt and pour soaps and experiment with different methods. Buy this ebook now from Amazon!

Don’t own a kindle? Then be sure to check out the awesome new Kindle Fire HD. Or download the Free Kindle App for your iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Window Phone 7, Blackberry, iPad Tablet, Android Tablet, and both Windows and Mac computers.