Month: August 2014

Seasonless Tights

 

The last time I was in the store buying those little capri tights for summer, I saw this new (to me?) phenomenon advertised as “seasonless tights” — they appeared heavier than your regular panty hose, but lighter than traditional opaque tights. Still, they looked hot (not physically, but mentally) for high summer.

Now it is late August, and my legs have zillions of mosquito bites from gardening and look a bit frightful! I really don’t feel confident exposing itchy, welty bare legs. Also, the students are back, and I like the formality of stockings with dresses for work during the academic year. It was time to try these newfangled seasonless tights, and I picked up two pairs to try out because they had a buy 2 for $12 deal going on 🙂

I’ve been wearing them for the last two weeks and I LOVE them! They are just the right  combination of sheer and opaque, are comfortable, and have given some polish to my beginning of the semester outfits.  I’ve been washing by hand and hanging to dry after each wearing, and that system allows me to always have stockings to wear each day even though I only have two pairs.

Once the weather gets cooler I’ll go back to my regular, thicker tights, but these have been a lifesaver for these upper 80s temperatures!

A++++++ use of 4 coupons (2 per pair) in my opinion 🙂

COUPONS REMAINING

Clothing: 30 out of 66
Soap: 24 out of 36
Tea: 3.5 out of 10

 

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Home Made Translucent Powder

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Another winning recipe I first found on Pinterest!

I threw this concoction for a translucent face powder together last weekend in a very small quantity — just one tablespoon of French Green Clay and Cornstarch and a healthy pinch of cocoa powder — fully expecting for my skin to turn green from the French Green Clay after application and to look like an alien.  After I brushed it on I was surprised how nicely it blended into my skin and how pleasantly matte my face was. I did need a road test, though — maybe I really was green and couldn’t tell! I wore it to go for a nature walk with my husband — the flowers, bees, and frogs would like if I was green and not make fun of me!

Little did I know my husband planned a test of his video camera when we were out walking. I dreaded seeing the footage, not only because I hate having my picture taken, but I was fully expecting to be green as Elphaba in Wicked! Imagine my surprise when I viewed the video and saw not only that my face wasn’t green, but after tromping around the woods for hours I wasn’t shiny.

I wore the powder all week at work and had the same positive results. It was Orientation week at the college I work at, and I felt polished and completely not green as I ran from building to building with transfer credit packets and helped 284029834 new students and their parents not have a meltdown.

Gosh I love replacing things that have a zillion questionable ingredients with something I make myself which has three ingredients, two of which I had sitting in my baking cupboard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victory Garden Update

Ah, it’s Tomato Time! The other day I had so many tomatoes from the garden that I didn’t know what in the world to do with them. Don’t worry, I figured it out! I ate them fresh every day, slow roasted (cut small tomatoes in half, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, put on a little fresh thyme, 300 oven, 3 or 4 hours) over 20 of them for a great addition to all kinds of foods,

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blanched, peeled, diced, then froze over 10 cups of them for future stews, soups, and sauces, and gave some to friends. It looks like we will have an additional abundance of ripe tomatoes over the weekend, and I plan to make a fresh tomato sauce (gravy for the Italian Americans). It’s a little labor intensive but so, so good — last year my husband told me he had an out of body experience when I served it for our Sunday Dinner, so obviously it’s worth the work!

I’m also doing something I’ve been wanting to do for years — seed saving! The lettuce has bolted, flowered, and now has little puffball seed pod thingums. It was fascinating to watch the process. I had no idea lettuce got so TALL and covered with tiny, pretty flowers like this!

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If you look closely on the right — you see the pointy looking closed flowers with the larger bottoms? The seeds are inside there! What I’m doing is cutting the plant, putting it upside down in a paper bag, and letting it stay there for a few weeks to get nice and dry. I’ll then remove the seeds and let them dry a little more on a towel.

This weekend I’m going to clear the entire bed of the rest of the seedy (shouldn’t seedy be a compliment?!) lettuce plants and plant some fall greens. I’m thinking a few rows each of kale, Swiss chard, arugula, spinach, and some of the newly liberated lettuce seeds!

I also want to tell you a little bit about my Wild Garden. When I first started gardening, I didn’t know anything! I grew up surrounded by concrete. There were zero trees on our street and no grass anywhere. So of course, my first attempt at building a raised bed was less than perfect.

I purchased cinder blocks and built an 8×8 square and filled it with dirt on my first try at a garden. I quickly realized that once it became productive it was near impossible to get to the center of that 8×8 square to harvest, weed, and water. Ooops. Now, all of my beds are 3×3 or 6×3. Lesson learned. But, what to do with this 8×8 space filled with good organic dirt? I decided to let it go wild! I thought it would provide places for creatures to have their babies and sleep, some food for them, and my own little experiment of “what would my yard look like if we just let it be natural!”

To my neighbor’s eyes, I bet this section of my yard looks REAL CRAZY. But my creature friends love it! The plethora of plants that usually get called weeds and eradicated seem to attract the most bees, birds, and butterflies! This year, the mulberry tree that seeded itself started producing berries — the birds went wild! Also, this year is the first year that bull thistles bloomed. The butterflies and especially the bees are over the moon with happiness with the bull thistle!

 

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I understand that after they flower, birds love the seeds inside. I can’t wait to see this!

There’s more — but this is already long enough. I’ll do another Victory Garden update soon. ❤

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Coupon Count

Yikes — I finished my wonderful 32 oz bottle of Dr. Woods Black Soap in 4 months.

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This is because I use it not only in my bath and to wash my face and hands by the sink, but I also keep refilling the soap dispensers by my husband’s sink, the downstairs bathroom sink, and the kitchen sink! I guess when you think of this one bottle filling five soap dispensers over 4 months, it makes sense. I also like the idea that my refilling is saving at least 10 (!) plastic pump bottles from being purchased a year. I know we used to buy 2 per sink a year minimum!

I think the highest compliment you can pay to a product is repeat purchasing it, and that’s exactly what I did — a new bottle of Dr. Woods is beside the tub.  That’s four soap coupons to subtract! I do it with pleasure — I love this stuff. My skin loves this stuff! I love the simple ingredient list. It fills all of my soap needs, and I haven’t even started to use it for household cleaning and other uses yet!

What I’m finding even more interesting, though, are the personal/household care items I’ve bought that don’t fall into soap coupons, really. I got more Soap Nuts for our laundry. My initial tiny cardboard box of 100 nuts has about 20 left, I so I thought I should spring for the box of 350 — these, with a glug of vinegar (again, not really something to charge soap coupons for) should wash our clothes for over a year!

I also got some French Green Clay. I figure one shouldn’t be charged soap coupons for something like this, just like I wouldn’t use soap coupons for potting soil  or molding clay!  I will use this clay for facial masks, and I also found this neat recipe for a translucent powder on Pinterest that I want to try. I also saw that many people include this in their homemade deodorant recipes. I bet there is are tons more uses once I do additional research. Let me know if you use French Green Clay and what you use it for!

Additionally, I purchased Vetiver, Rosewood, and Vanilla Absolute essential oils for my concoctions. Again — combinations of oils, grasses, pods — not really a soap coupon. Just as I don’t charge myself soap coupons when I get olive oil or vanilla beans, I don’t think they really apply here. I hope to use these essential oils to add fixative properties and complexity to my perfume experiments, but each oil has other properties and benefits I will explore (except for the vanilla absolute — it’s a pure sensory indulgence!).

What do you all think — should products like these be included in soap coupons?

Honestly, I think I should be rewarded for blending my own products and using raw materials instead of purchasing finished commercial products. In retrospect, I kind of think that Argan oil, for example, shouldn’t have counted against my soap coupons. As long as I don’t go on a raw material rampage, buying up hundreds of essential oils, every base oil, and countless varieties of clays (which I won’t — I too conscious of how wasteful that would be!), I think that this little nudge/reward for using and creating from simple ingredients is a nice way to keep me on an environmentally friendly path. And isn’t that the ultimate goal of this experiment?

COUPONS REMAINING

Clothing: 34 out of 66

Soap: 24 out of 36

Tea: 3.5 out of 10