Tutorial: (simple) Natural Hand Lotion

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I think I'm having some reaction to the soap at work. From the time I get there my hands are red and cracked. Gross. Top that it with still being cold out and my hands were looking about 10 years older than they are. I don't even want to describe the cracking and peeling between my fingers that was going on...

So I decided to make some lotion. I wanted something easy. Something so natural that it could be eaten. Something with ingredients that I could pronounce and also tell you what they were or where they came from. I also wanted something INTENSIVE. This stuff is intense. Not one of those watery lotions. You can always add some extras to it if you want essential oils in it. I used orange blossom water instead because I wanted something that definitely wouldn't cause a reaction on my skin.

If making lotion sounds intimidating just wait. If you can make a smoothie you can make an awesome hand lotion.

Take a double boiler...

Add some coconut oil and olive oil...

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Grate in some beeswax...

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Melt it all together...

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...until its totally clear...

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Add the water to your blender and slowly drizzle in the oil while the blender is going...

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Like magic it becomes lotion! Bottle up and enjoy.

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Natural Hand Lotion

What you'll need:

1 cup distilled water, orange blossom water, rose water, or even tea (you can find orange blossom water or rose water in many grocery stores in the ethnic isle)

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup olive oil (or jojoba oil)

2 Tablespoons Vitamin E oil (from the vitamin caplets, but you can just use olive oil instead here if you want to!)

1/4 cup grated beeswax, don't pack the cup (it was less than 1/4 of an oz for me)

optional, 3-4 drops essential oil of your choice

A Blender

A double boiler or microwaveable bowl

A jar for your lotion (a mason jar works fine, but glass is the preferable container here.)

If you're going to use a double boiler put about an inch of water into the bottom pan. Put the top pan on top. Add the coconut oil, olive oil, and beeswax. Turn your stove onto high and heat up until the beeswax is completely melted. The mixture will be completely clear when it is ready. Set aside for 3-5 minutes to cool slightly.

(If you're using the microwave put your coconut oil, olive oil and beeswax into a microwave safe bowl. Heat at 30 second intervals until completely melted. Set aside for 3-5 minutes to cool slightly.)

Add your water (and optional essential oils) to the blender. Turn your blender on to a low speed. Take the top cap off your blender lid. Add the vitamin E oil to your cooled oil/beeswax mixture.

Now slowly drizzle the oil into the blender. It will look a bit funky at first and then all of the sudden it will thicken up and look like lotion! When you're done adding the oil put the cap back onto the lid and turn up the blender to high for about 20 seconds.

Pour into a nice clean jar. Let the mixture cool all of the way down now before adding a lid.

Important! Now add some hot water and a couple of drops of dish soap to your blender. Blend for 60 seconds or so and rinse out. Repeat if there is still a lot of goop in there.

Now go enjoy your lotion! (and fix those nasty cracked hands!)

By the way, my hands are way better now.

Oh yeah, this stuff may separate and get gross if you don't use lotion very often. You can half the recipe!

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Tutorial: Turn a Wine Barrel Into a Planter (perfect for trees!)

Tutorial: Turn a Wine Barrel Into a Planter

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This...

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...into this!

First of all you will need some old wine or whiskey barrels. You can search online for some but shipping costs will be the killer. I would first check with local wineries to see if they sell their old used barrels.

Tools you'll need:

Circular Saw (or jigsaw can work, too!)

Drill with 1/2" or larger drill bit

Screws or nails (optional but good to keep the barrel rings in place)

Ear plugs and eye protection

1.) Choose where you are going to saw the barrel. Angle the saw accordingly to follow the angle of the barrel.

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It worked out to have the circular saw guide follow the second barrel ring from the end. (Pictured above.)

2.) Slowly saw around the barrel making sure to keep your guide against the ring. You should rotate the barrel as you saw. Be careful and do not do this in a hurry. (You should have on your ear and eye protection during this step!)

You will have two planters from one barrel - The very large deep part that is perfect for trees....

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and the shorter part of the barrel that is perfect for herbs, flowers, and growing salad greens!

3.) Drill water drainage holes into the bottom of both of your new planters.

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We put 3 holes into the bottom of each planter.

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4.) Optional, Put either screws or nails under the barrel rings and above the rings so that you keep the rings from shifting. The rings can move if you don't do this and the barrels may bow out or even split open if the rings come off. 

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5.) Add in dirt and plant your plants! We put in a mixture of potting soil and some planting dirt mix with fertilizer in it.  It took 1/2 cubic yard of dirt to fill two large planters and two small planters. Since we had four wine barrels we need to get some more dirt this weekend!

We planted some fruit trees that I bought a week ago. One is an apple tree with 4 branches with different varieties of fruit grafted onto the trunk. The other is a cherry tree with 3 varieties of fruit.

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We still have two more large barrels so we are planning on getting a plum tree and a pear tree! I'm excited but this is quite a learning experience. I have no idea what I'm doing to be frank. I've went and asked advice from the local nurseries so I think I will just continue to find information from everyone I can. I think these plants are off to a good start.

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Tutorial: Magic Paint Board

Tutorial: Magic Paint Board

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Here's a great little project for any budding little artist (or big one! I actually really like playing with it.) Its brush stroke paper put inside an old repainted frame (sans any glass.) What you do is paint on the brush stroke paper with WATER and watch your design magically appear. Then it slowly dries and fades away. My baby can paint on it anywhere and I don't have to worry about her trying to paint the walls with actual paint like mommy does. This is a super easy and cheap project that anyone can do!

What you need:

Old frame - the paper I bought is approx 8.5 x 11 so the frame was big enough for that. You can cut the paper down to size, no biggie.

Brushstroke Paper

 - I bought mine at

Oregon Art Supply

. You can actually call them and order some - its a great deal and they are super nice!!!! 1-866-683-2787

Glue stick

Spray paint (for the frame, of course this step is optional.)

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1.) Take the back board out of your frame as well as cardboard inserts.

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2.) Cut your brush stroke paper to size if necessary.

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3.) Glue the paper onto the cardboard insert of your frame (if you didn't have that piece in your old frame you can glue it to the back board or cut a piece of thin cardboard [like from a cereal box] to size.)

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4.) Optional. Spray paint your frame! I used a glossy pink color but use any color your heart desires. (I actually didn't do this step until after I had put it all together and then decided it needed paint. So I then had to take it apart, paint and put it all together again.)

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5.) Put the brushstroke paper back into the frame.

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6.) Make sure the glue has dried before painting on it and then GO CRAZY! Paint it with water and then when it dries you can paint it all over again.

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