Oct 21, 2010

Happy Autumn!

This Saturday, Follette Pottery will be hosting an art crawl from 10-5. Participating artists will set up on the grounds of Follette to display and sell their work. I will be doing fiber arts demonstrations (spinning, weaving on an inkle loom, needle felting, etc.). I will also have handspun yarn and all natural bath and body products for sale, including cold process soap.

Leslie is hosting a Wallypop giveaway on her blog, Pixiepine. Take a look at her blog and see how you can enter to win a reusable produce bag!

I received the soap nuts from Maggie's Pure Land that I won in a giveaway on Sirpa's blog, Kaiku Lifestyle. I used them today and I loved them! I will write a review in a few weeks after I've used them for a while.

Sep 24, 2010

Gnomes


These are some little gnomes I made recently. They are very simple, just acorn caps and peg people. I ordered my peg people from Casey's Wood Products. Peg people are fun for children to decorate and allow for plenty of open ended play. You can use wool, fabric, paint, objects from nature, and many other things to turn your people into anything you want them to be. I decided to keep these simple, since they will be going to California soon as a 4th birthday gift for a little boy. He can decide if he wants to keep them like this, or give them faces and clothing.

What kind of crafts are you working on lately? Leave a comment and let us know!

Jul 6, 2010

Summer photo contest winner!

Corrie Alvaro of North Carolina won the contest with this photo of her little boy, Judah, enjoying an apple on the porch swing. Visit Corrie's blog at www.corrieberrypie.blogspot.com and her shop at www.corrieberrypie.etsy.com! Congrats Corrie! Corrie will receive one bar of my handmade soap.


Here are the other photos, thanks to everyone who entered! Thank you Leah for choosing a winner!


Brenda Vance took this photo of a newborn llama on her farm in Colorado within an hour of his birth. His name is Chocolate Chip Delight and his mom (also pictured) is Miss Congeniality. See Brenda's beautiful fiber and handspun yarn at www.splitrockranch.etsy.com.





Angie, a homeschooling mom from Florida sent this photo that her daughter Hunter took. Hunter is 15 years old.


Anthea Krook of Australia took this photo. Anthea is the editor of a beautiful zine called Spoonful, find it at www.spoonfulzine.com.





My friend Alyssa DeGraff sent this photo. Alyssa currently lives in Kansas City. You can see more of her photography at www.flickr.com/photos/missiealyssie.





This photo was taken by Crystal Garcia, who currently lives in Texas.


No one who currently lives in Louisiana entered the contest. Maybe next time?

Jun 29, 2010

Summer photo contest-win a bar of handmade soap!




To celebrate summer, I'm having a photo contest. Submit a favorite summer photo (must be taken by you), and I will post all of the photos on the blog. I will let my sister (who has taken photography in school) decide which photo is her favorite, and that will be the winner.




The winner will receive a bar of my handmade soap. If you win, I will get in touch with you and let you choose a bar from one of my current batches. All of my soap is made from scratch with the cold process method, using all natural ingredients (I never use a melt and pour glycerin base, or synthetic fragrances).




To submit a photo, send it to me- woolgypsy (at) gmail.com by July 6. I will post photos on the blog as they come in, and announce the winner next week! If you don't win and would like to buy some soap, visit my shop!
The contest is open to anyone, so feel free to enter even if you don't live in Louisiana!

Happy summer!

Jun 26, 2010

Apr 19, 2010

Handmade Life: Bath and Body Products


I've decided to do a series of posts about making "handmade" a part of everyday life. If you are living naturally, you have probably already figured out how fun it can be to make items that you need or want. If not, this series will include ideas, resources, and encouragement to get you started! Another option is purchasing items made by others, if you don't want to make your own. I will include links for that as well.

Making your own bath and body products is a great way to make sure that you're only putting safe and natural ingredients on your skin. My favorite product to make is soap. Handmade soap is is rich and creamy, and doesn't dry out skin. When I make soap, I use fresh natural plant oils such as olive, coconut and palm. I add essential oils, organic herbs, and additional oils as well, depending on the type of soap I want to make. If you are interested in soapmaking, I encourage you to give cold process soapmaking a try. This means you will need to use lye, but no true soap is made without lye. Melt and pour glycerin that is sold in craft stores was made with lye, and chemically stripped from the soap, making it a by-product of commercial soapmaking. Because of this, it is usually filled with all the same chemicals that commercial soap contains. You can't control the ingredients in a glycerin base, making cold process the best choice if you want to make safe, high quality soap. Lye is needed to turn the oils into soap, but then you allow the soap to cure for 4-6 weeks, and lye is not present in the fully cured bar of soap. I also avoid pre-made glycerin bases because I don't feel that it would be as rewarding as making it from scratch!

Other options for do-it-yourself products include deodorant, lip balm, herbal salve, body butter and sugar scrub. All of these are easier than soap, and would be a good place to start if you want to make your own products. Save small containers, such as baby food jars or lip balm tins, and use these for your products.

Resources:

Deodorant & lip balm recipes
http://livingnaturallyinlouisiana.blogspot.com/2008/11/i-am-not-dirty-hippie-party.html

Recipe booklet and product labels to print out: purchase emailorder #11
http://www.kingpod.com/

Herbs, essential oils, carrier oils, butters, containers: Mountain Rose Herbs
www.mountainroseherbs.com

My etsy shop (you can find my soap here)
www.woolgypsy.etsy.com

Sirpa's etsy shop (she makes heat therapy wraps, as well as booboo pals for children!)
www.kaikulifestyle.etsy.com

You can also search etsy for any other bath and body products, so many shops offer wonderful items!
Do a google search for recipes as well, lots of great recipes can be found online.

If you have an idea for this series, let me know!

Apr 18, 2010

Egg shell seedlings

Planting seeds in egg shells is fun and eco-friendly. I will post another photo in a few weeks, when my seeds have sprouted.

First, prepare your egg shells. Shells should be broken carefully at one end, keeping at least half of the shell intact. Rinse with water and set aside to dry.

When you're ready to plant, put your shells in a carton, and fill each shell with a high quality soil. I used organic seed starting mix. Put a seed in each shell, and a small amount of water. Be careful not to over water.

When the seedlings are ready to be planted in the garden or containers, the shells can be planted with them. Crack each shell before planting so the roots don't get trapped.
The shell will gradually compost in the soil, and provide nutrients to your growing plants.

This is a fun activity for children, they can grow their own little gardens while learning about caring for the earth.

If you have an eco-friendly garden idea, comment here or get in touch with me! I will be posting more ideas in the future.

May 13, 2009

Attachment parenting - a good blog!


Hi from the middle of boxes! We are packing like crazy and moving in a couple of weeks to California. I wanted to recommend this wonderful blog about compassionate parenting. And you know what, it turns out that the writer lives actually close to where we are about to move! Anyway, here is the link.

Compassionate Parenting

For you interested in the subject and looking for more to read, check out also my other favorites:

Unconditional parenting

Enjoy Parenting and the free Daily Groove newsletter

Bye!

Sirpa

Apr 14, 2009

Substitute Farmer

Tom and Lorrie Faber (of Briarhill Farms) sent this email to me today:

"I am looking for some one to train to take care of my farm and animals if we should need to go out of town. We don't very often go anywhere but it would be nice to have someone just in case.
They would need to be early risers, patient (goats you know), and trustworthy.
I would need someone willing to come out and let the animals get to know them and maybe willing to do the chores once a week or so to keep the animals comfortable with them.
They would be dealing with chickens, goats, pigs, and rabbits. Feeding all and milking the goats.
I would possibly be able to pay a small amount but would rather trade fresh milk, eggs, organic veggies, etc.
It would be nice to have at least 2 people for flexibility.

Thanks
Tom & Lorrie Faber"
http://briarhillfarms.bravehost.com

If anyone is interested, please contact them through their website or email me.

Apr 7, 2009

Color eggs naturally

As Easter is approaching, I read today in Mothering magazine's newsletters tips about how to dye eggs naturally instead of using those unnatural food colorings. For instance, you can use beets for pink, boiled spinach for green or tea for brown. Read more here.

In Finland when I was a child we painted the boiled eggs with brushes and ate them later. I have never dyed them like this, maybe I will try now. I bought organic eggs from sale today.

Apr 1, 2009

Ruston Farmers market opens on Saturday!

Ruston Farmers market starts the season earlier this year, April 4! This month's theme is “Come Dig into Spring” with us! Don’t forget to bring your extra seeds and plants for a seed swap this week­end. They will have some knowledgeable folks on hand to help answer questions about gardening.

Please note: The Ruston Farmers' Market will not be able to take recycling at this time. Please ask the Welcome tent for information on where to take your plastics, paper, metal, and cans.

RFM website

How exciting: New moderator for the group and the blog

Hi everyone!

We are going to move away for a year. We are moving from LA to L.A. (California) so if the blog name was Living Naturally in LA I guess I could keep posting. I am lucky to have found someone who will take over the blog though, so no worries!

The blog moderator will be Rachel. I am very glad to leave this to her, I think she will do great. I will miss this blog though so I might visit from time to time and let you know how my no-poo-experiment-that-turned-into-a-permanent-hair-washing-solution is going. You can also visit me in my Kaiku Lifestyle blog.

This still is a group blog so anyone from the Living Naturally in Louisiana group, write to livingnaturallyinla @ gmail.com / to the Yahoo group if you want to start writing to the blog. It is possible to write also anonymously.

I wish the group and the blog can be a place where anyone wanting to live a more natural life in Louisiana can find support, ask questions, get answers and discuss subjects that interest them.

I wish you all the best and talk to you soon, I hope. Live naturally!
Sirpa

Mar 27, 2009

Bradley class series starting again in Ruston

Crystal Garcia's Bradley method birth classes are about to start again in Ruston! She has still a couple of spots available. Register for classes starting on April 16th (Thursday nights 6-8 PM) now! More info and contact information on Crystal's website.

Bradley Classes offer a comprehensive curriculum. Bradley Method® classes cover it all: nutrition, exercise, being more comfortable during pregnancy, the coaches role, introductory information about labor and birth, advanced techniques for labor and birth, complications, cesarean sections, postpartum care, breastfeeding and caring for your new baby.

Our classes cover a few topics that are rarely discussed in other classes like: how to reduce the need for an episiotomy and the likelihood of a tear, how to avoid needing a cesarean, how to make the best of it if a cesarean is necessary, and what the coach should do if the baby is accidentally born in the car.

Mar 17, 2009

Ecofriendly alternatives for tampons and pads.

20 billions menstrual pads and tampons are discarded each year - just in the USA, according to Green Living Tips. The good news is that there ARE more ecofriendly alternatives for tampons and pads! Have you ever heard of the menstrual cups and cloth pads? Someone mentioned them in the comments of the previous posting and I realized I haven't posted anything about them.

One year ago I started using a menstrual cup (in my case Diva cup, a brand name, there are different ones) instead of tampons and I am extremely happy with it. It feels comfortable, clean and secure (after I learned to use it, I have a tip though: don't choose white summer dress to wear the first few times you try it). I love it that I can use it over and over again. For me, it feels so much more comfortable than tampons or pads. It is supposed to last for up to 10-15 years. They have two models - one for women under thirty and who haven't had a baby and the other one is for women over thirty / have had a baby). Read more here and google for more info.

I have also organic cotton cloth pads and find them comfortable and easy to use too. Mine have wings with snaps so they stay quite well in place. I bought mine in Finland, but you can order them online. They are easy to wash, I usually wash them with the cloth diapers in hot water.

Read more from Green Living Tips article too.

Mar 16, 2009

Home made laundry detergent and soap nuts.

Do you make your own laundry detergent? I am almost out and I want to start making my own. Do you have a good recipe? I have been looking for one online. The recipes often contain borax and I am somehow suspicious about it, is it safe to use?

I have been using from time to time the ultimate natural laundry detergent, soap nuts, instead of detergent. The soap nuts are little nuts that you put a little bit crushed in a mesh bag to the laundry machine. You can use them twice. They don't leave really any smell to the laundry but if you are allergic to nuts beware.



I don't think they have worked that well for REALLY dirty laundry though. I use them for laundry that is only a little bit dirty and doesn't have bad stains. I guess then stains need to be treated well before (gall soap for instance is a good natural stain treatment, but it definitively isn't vegan). My friend told me that some of the soap nuts are better than the others, so maybe I just had bad ones. Google "soap nuts" if you want to try them or read more.

From soap nuts you can boil also a soap liquid to clean your hair for instance, I guess it can work for other things too. I tried it but I think I am sticking in my baking soda and vinegar.

But yes, to my original question, can anyone help me with a good natural laundry detergent recipe? Liquid or powder, doesn't matter.