Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Little oil joys.

1) I've had general grunge on my snow-white refrigerator for some time. My daughter slaps on a sticker and leaves behind a residue that collects dust and defies my cleaners and microfiber clothes; the handle develops a faint beige cast as dirt sinks into its somewhat porous surface (smart, designers-- make the HANDLE out of a texture that collects dirt). Solution? 3 drops of lemon oil on a little scrap of paper towel. Took a little steady rubbing, but man. It sparkles now.

2) Tonight: headache flickering at the edges of my vision from a busy day shopping and traveling; I need to work on the computer for a bit. Ibuprofen STAT? Not anymore! Peppermint on each temple, and a bit wiped under the nose. Headache faded away within half an hour or so.

3) Tempestuous bedtime toddler. Drop of lavender massaged into soles of her feet; within twenty minutes, she's sleeping. Can't prove it's related, but it was surprising to have her give up the struggle so quickly.

4) That all-purpose cleaner I mentioned the other day? REALLY WORKS.

I am so enjoying learning about these oils and their amazing abilities. Based on the successes I've had thus far, I've decided to invest a little more heavily. I ordered over a dozen new ones from Aromatics International this week. The day they arrive is going to feel like Christmas.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

homemade "Oxygen" cleaner.

Really. Some of these are so simple I feel guilty sharing them.

Homemade Oxygen Cleaner

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide

Just soak the clothing in it for 20 minutes to overnight and then wash as usual.
This will not harm fabric like bleach, and doesn't seem to harm colors either.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lemon eucalyptus insect repellant

Google "lemon eucalyptus" insect (including those quotes) and you'll be able to read about studies that show this oil is most effective as a mosquito repellent.

There is currently only one brand available in the U.S. that's using this oil as its active ingredient-- it's called Repel. I searched high and low for it this spring for my daughter, who attracts mosquitos like mad and then gets horrid red welts for weeks afterwards. She scratches them (even in her sleep), they bleed and don't get well, she gets more every time she goes outside... it's an ugly scene.

I bought the oil at the health food store (Aura Cacia, fairly poor quality brand but possibly okay for this purpose) and have been hunting to find a recipe to create a spray with it. Finally found one here.

Homemade All-Natural Mosquito Repellent


1 ounce jojoba oil

3 ounces vodka - Any type of vodka will do, but higher proof vodkas tend to work better.

1 teaspoon lemon eucalyptus essential oil

1 4-ounce spray bottle


Simply add the vodka and oils to the spray bottle. Make sure to shake the bottle well before using as the contents will settle.

Directions for Use

Spray on liberally before going outside. Reapply every 1-2 hours. Just as with commercial products, this mixture should not be ingested.

The author said it needs to be reapplied every 1-2 hours. Since we don't often stay outside much longer than that in the summer, that'll do just fine. No bugs, no toxic chemicals on my babies! (Always test for irritation on the forearm before rubbing an essential oil concoction all over you or your kids-- you know that, right?)


Homemade Fabric Softener!

I've been avoiding fabric softener for over a year now because I heard that there were a lot of heavy chemicals in it. (Sorry, that's all I know-- no specifics!)

Thing is, I'm sick of my towels being so rough. I found this today and I think it's worth a try. I sized the recipe down quite a bit so that I could fit it into a spray bottle without having the extra in a separate container.

Homemade Fabric Softener (yield: around 2.5 cups)

1.5 cups water
.75 cups white vinegar
.5 cup hair conditioner

Mix this in a container and stir. Do not shake it will cause foaming. Use the same amount you normally use in rinse cycle or spritz on wash cloth and throw in dryer.

Works great!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent-type Stuff.

I went hunting for a good dishwasher detergent recipe tonight-- I'm finally out of my Cascade tabs and have been experimenting, trying to find a recipe that works for my dishwasher and hard water. (Read here for a quick summation of why it's a good idea to avoid standard dishwashing detergent. Also, it doesn't smell nice.)

The standard 1 part Borax to 1 part Baking soda doesn't work for me-- it clouds up the dishes terribly and doesn't clean the silverware well.

The recipe below came from a woman named Lynn at The New Homemaker. And guess what? ESSENTIAL OILS are involved. (I laughed when I found the recipe... EOs are stalking me, even on unrelated Internet searches!)

My modifications are below.

In a plastic container with a firmly fitting lid, mix:
1 cup borax (20-Mule-Team Borax, available in any supermarket)
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup citric acid (available in brewing stores among other places--if you haven't tracked it down yet but must try this formula, use two packets of Lemonade-Flavored Kool-Aid, ONLY lemon, or you'll dye your dishwasher! and ONLY unsweetened Kool-Aid!)
30 drops citrus essential oil--lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, or a mixture

Put all of it in the container, shake it up.

To use, put a tablespoon or so into each cup of your dishwasher. I've found I no longer have to use the scrubbing cycle but can get by fine with the short cycle, thus saving even more money. On average, it looks like this is about 8 cents a load compared with Cascade at 22 cents a load. Compare it with EcoVer or Seventh Generation and it's a steal. I have also started putting some of this in a shaker canister--the one I have we got at a restaurant supply, it's aluminum and was made for popcorn salt. I use it to clean my sink and anything else that I'd normally use Bon Ami on. Works great, and the essential oil makes it smell fantastic.

My "modifications":
The original batch I had did not clean well- at 1.5 tablespoons per load it didn't leave gunky stuff on everything like 2T did, but it did leave a haze all over everything.

Enter citric acid, purchased at the health food store, 1 lb for $5.99 (about 1.5 cups- 6 batches' worth). Also enter Washing Soda, found at a local grocery store for under $3 a 55oz box, to replace the baking soda and hopefully up the cleaning power. I'm mixing this up right now and will report back on efficacy.

I also put in five drops of lavender oil and ten drops of lemon (mine is wildly strong) rather than the 30 drops of citric recommended.)

Boy, does my kitchen smell nice.


All-Purpose Cleaner

Found this here.

This came from Karen Logan's "Clean House, Clean Planet". I mixed up a batch to try it one day and haven't used commercial all-purpose cleaners since. Good essential oil combos are tea tree and peppermint, orange and cinnamon, and lavender and lemon. Keep out of reach of small children as the borax is somewhat toxic.

16 fl oz (change servings and units)


* 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
* 1 teaspoon borax
* 1 1/2 cups very hot distilled or purified water
* 1/4 cup castile soap or 1/8 cup liquid dish soap
* 10-15 drops essential oils


1. Mix the vinegar and borax in a 16oz spray bottle.
2. Fill bottle with the water and shake to dissolve the vinegar and borax.
3. Add soap LAST and then scent with essential oil.

Use as you would any all-purpose cleaner. This mix can get quite soapy so you might want to have a cloth wet with just water handy to "rinse" with.


Dilution of EOs

Just came across a helpful chart in's free Intro course that I wanted to save for future reference. It's vital to dilute most oils before application to keep from irritating the skin.

(Guess you can see which of my interests has got most of my time these days... I am severely neglecting that little Etsy shop.)

Amount of carrier by weight Number of drops of essential oil
  1% dilution 2% dilution 3% dilution
1 oz 5-6 drops 10-12 drops 15-18 drops
2 oz 10-12 drops 20-24 drops 30-36 drops

The next obvious question is, how do you choose which dilution to use?
1% Dilution — Used for children under 12, and seniors over 65, pregnant women and people with long-term illnesses or immune systems disorders. A 1% dilution is also a good place to start with individuals who are generally sensitive to fragrances, chemicals or other environmental pollutants.
2% Dilution — Use for general health supporting blends for skin care, for natural perfumes, bath oils, and for blends you like to use everyday.
3% Dilution — Use this dilution when creating a blend for a specific, acute health concern, such as pain relief or getting a cold or flu.

When making larger quantities of blends such as 3 oz and above, you can begin by using less essential oil than suggested above, and see if that works. We find that we don’t need to keep doubling the amounts as we make larger quantity blends in order for them to be effective.

I broke these down for smaller amounts below:
1% dilution: 2-3 drops/tablespoon; 1 drop per 1/6 oz of carrier
2% dilution: 5-6 drops/tablespoon; 2 drops per 1/6 oz of carrier
3% dilution: 7.5-9 drops/tablespoon; 3 drops per 1/6 oz of carrier
(Possible volume equivalent: If 1 oz carrier = 2 Tablespoons, 1/6 oz = 1 teaspoon)


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Young Living, multi-level marketing, and finding alternatives.

I am not a joiner. It's not in my nature. My introduction to oils came from a respected friend who's using Young Living products-- which seem to be excellent. However, they do not test (or at least do not publish) tests on each batch of their oils, and the company is set up in a Multi-level marketing, Amway-type setup (which means that they have to make loads of profit to pay each level of distributors, all the way to the top, on every purchase). Their promotional materials, many of them available at the website and on YouTube, are beautiful and slick as well.

Then I looked through a couple of publications sold on their website (and via other bookstores, including Amazon). The Essential Oils Desk Reference and the book Healing Oils of the Bible look at first to be independent publications-- but once you begin reading in depth, it's obvious that the authors have a very deep connection to Young Living and its products. I don't mind a company publishing books on its products, but these give me the vibe that YL is publishing books and then trying to make them look as if they were independently researched and written. I don't think so.

All of this makes me a little uncomfortable.

Nonetheless, my first purchase of oils was through Young Living-- sorta. Rather than go through their website, I purchased a brand new "Everyday Essentials" kit via Ebay. The retail price was about $150; I paid just under $75 for my set. However, since then I've found references to several companies who seem to be highly regarded as well-- and their oils are much cheaper, or the bottles much larger, for a similar amount of money.

Here are a couple of examples of price comparisons as of 07.2009:

Aromatics International:
Cedarwood, 1/2oz/15ml, $10
Lavender, 1/2oz/15ml, $14
Myrrh, 1/2 oz/15ml, $20
Ravintsara, 1/2 oz/15ml, $15
White Lotus Aromatics:
Cedarwood, 1/2oz, $5 (wild harvest) or $7 (organic)
Lavender, 1/2 oz, $6.44
Myrrh, 1/2 oz, $15.21
Ravintsara, 1 oz, $8
Young Living:
Cedarwood, 1/2oz/15ml, $12.83
Lavender, 1/2oz/15ml, $24.03
Myrrh, 1/2 oz/15ml, $85.20
Ravintsara, not available
*YL prices are discounted by 25% if you're one of their "distributors"-- ie, you've paid $40 or purchased certain pricey kits that include membership in the organization. I listed their original price because the cost of buying into the program would take a very long time to work itelf out in purchase of oils-- at least for me.

I have no issue with the apparent quality of Young Living oils-- to my very untrained eye and nose, they're excellent-- but I just don't like the business model, their secrecy on quality, or the relatively high prices.

Both Aromatics International and White Lotus Aromatics were recommended by professional aromatherapists on several discussion boards; AI, in particular, has every batch of oil they purchase tested and publishes those results on their website for anyone to peruse. They seem absolutely passionate about ensuring quality in all their oils, and they have a free "intro to oils" course online for beginners.

It makes me happy that my research has provided me with at least a couple of alternatives. Now to settle in and start experimenting with the oils I already own-- instead of spending more time racking up lists of purchases I'd like to make next!


Friday, July 3, 2009

oil profile: Lavender

Lavender was my first essential oil to obtain; it's considered the "desert island oil", the one you'd choose to take with you if you could bring no others. Its wide variety of claims give a beginner plenty of chances to experience the benefits of essential oils without having to invest heavily in an array of different oils.

Here are ten common uses recommended by

First Aid
For minor cuts and scrapes, apply one drop of pure lavender essential oil directly to the wound (after the wound has been cleaned), then dress with an appropriate bandage. For deep cuts or wounds, consult your doctor or a licensed clinical aromatherapist before applying essential oil. Lavender helps to regenerate tissue and can cause healing from the outside in if used too quickly - again, make sure to consult your physician or a licensed clinical aromatherapist for advice.
For mild burns, place a few drops of lavender essential oil onto the dressing that will be placed over the wound. Also be sure to use any appropriate salve as directed by your physician.
To help reduce problems with insomnia, simply apply one drop of lavender essential oil to the edge of a pillowcase. Take deep breaths, and relax from your toes all the way to your head, focusing on all the major body parts along the way. Eventually, your body will become "trained" to the effects of the essential oil - usually within a week or two -- and you will notice a significantly faster reaction with continued use.
Place 20 drops of lavender in a warm bath and relax. 5-10 drops may also be used in a vaporizer for inhalation. If a bathtub or vaporizer isn't available, simply apply 3 drops to a cotton ball and inhale as needed. If you face a stressful daily commute, car diffusers work wonders: place 5 drops of lavender essential oil onto the pad and plug the unit into your cigarette lighter.
Lavender's analgesic properties help to reduce sunburn pain, and lavender is also useful in the sunburn healing process. For large, lightly burned areas, use about 15 drops of lavender essential oil to 1 tbsp of distilled water and dab gently over the entire affected area. For smaller, more severe sunburns, apply lavender essential oil neat (directly) to the area - but make sure that you only use a drop or two, since essential oil is extremely potent.
Household disinfectant
Lavender has superb antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, making it a great household disinfectant. For cleaning sinks, tubs, or toilets, sprinkle baking soda and 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil onto a sponge and scrub away. After you're finished scrubbing, rinse the area well. For washing floors, countertops, etc., simply add 60 drops of essential oil to a bucket of warm water, and wipe or mop as needed.
Lavender helps to reduce inflammation, regenerate skin tissue, and promote healing of bruises. To ease inflammation, place 5 drops of lavender essential oil into a bowl of cold water, wet a washcloth in the lavender solution, and apply as a compress to the affected area. After using the initial compress, apply a drop or two directly upon the bruised area once a day until the area has healed.
Colic or tummy aches in infants
Place 1-3 drops of lavender essential oil into 1 tsp of carrier oil (such as jojoba or sesame). Rub the oil mixture gently onto your baby's tummy and lower back in a clockwise direction. Repeat this procedure every few hours until the symptoms subside.
After a long day, place 10 drops of lavender essential oil into a hot footbath and soak for 30 minutes. Lavender has a well-earned reputation as a restorative - you'll be surprised how much better you'll feel!
Insect bites/bee stings
Place one drop of lavender essential oil directly onto insect bites or bee stings. Lavender's anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling, its analgesic properties reduce pain and itch, and its healing properties encourage tissue repair. Frequently, you'll hardly notice the bite at all if you apply the oil immediately after being bit or stung.

...pretty hard to believe that one oil could do all that, isn't it? And smell so good to boot.

Greenfeet recommends two books by Julia Lawless and Valerie Ann Worwood at the end of this passage. I've already got one of Worwood's books on its way to me now.


Bath fizzers, exfoliating scrub, linen spray.

Is there anything you CAN'T find a YouTube video about?? I'm currently steeping myself in all these great essential oil videos. Fantastic.

Lavender was my first essential oil to purchase; here's a helpful, basic little TV interview with a Young Living associate that gives three simple gift/pampering recipes using lavender. For my own ease of reference, I've written out the recipes below.

Bath Fizzers
a. 2T baking soda
b. 2t citric acid
c. 8-10 drops lavender oil
d. spray bottle containing water

Mix a-c; use spray bottle to dampen dry mixture into a moldable consistency.
Press into candy molds, ice cube trays, or shape into small balls by hand.
Invert onto waxed paper and let dry thoroughly until hardened before packaging.

Linen Freshener
a. 4-8 drops lavender essential oil
b. 4 oz distilled water
c. small spray bottle

Combine a & b in the spray bottle; shake before spraying to make sure oil and water are combined thoroughly. Use as a room freshener, linen spray, etc.

Exfoliating foot scrub/Body soak
1/4 c sea salt, epsom salts, or raw sugar
1/4 c enhanced vegetable oil complex (v-6 or massage oil)
1-3 drops lavender essential oil

combine all three ingredients, stirring thoroughly; store in sealed container.


Fuzzy Finds What, Exactly?

Hmm. A new blog.

I have a neglected little personal blog, the sad younger sister of one I had years ago that received all kinds of attention and regular posts. It languishes over at, the product of our move away from Florida (and full-time ministry) into an old house in my hometown where I hoped to put down roots and thereby forget all the indignities which we suffered in our previous life. It's intensely self-focused, a little defensive even. That was what I needed back then.

It served its purpose, and still does-- about twice a quarter, when I want to write something for my kids to read someday or think through a difficult moment inside my brain.

But I have new reasons to start recording information online again, and I'm excited to open this little spot to record that journey.

I have two new passions of late, things I'd like to pursue further.

One of them is my new little vintage shop at Etsy, which gives me convenient license to buy things I love but don't have room for in my home. They say it takes time to build a clientele there, so I'm trying to cheerfully ignore the fact that I've yet to make a sale. :) If it works, I hope to be able to make a little extra money and joy by acting as a kind of Flea Market Shopper for folks who'd like to enjoy my finds. This is a fabulous part of the country to find great vintage items cheap. So, this address will be a place to chat about that journey, those finds, and about how I use vintage finds in our home-- in hopes that others will find it inspirational. (If the Etsy shop falls flat, I will likely to continue to babble about this, because I'm pretty adamant about using old things rather than buying newly produced ones, and pretty certain that my my vintage stuff is better-made/more long-lasting/more earth-friendly than consuming new stuff at Target/Wal-Mart/etc.)

The other is one that's surprising me, because of my suspicious nature. I am not one to take up a fad or be easily convinced that some new Thing is the Key to Health. I love cultivating a simple lifestyle for my family, but I have a healthy suspicion of what I think of as Health Food Store Babble. I usually turn a fairly critical eye on these things.

But a friend invited me to a little class on the use of therapeutic-grade essential oils, and I'm fascinated. For one thing, they're completely natural and very effective at cleaning your home; you can make all kinds of your own cleaning supplies, scrumptious air fresheners, insect repellants, and much more out of materials that are simply and purely derived from familiar plants. (ie, They smell awesome and won't fill your home with unknown chemicals.) As a gardener and mother of two precious toddlers, I really dig that.

The other side of the coin is the health benefits of using essential oils-- what I'm hearing is that they penetrate the cells of our bodies completely differently than other substances (like chemicals and medicines), that they connect with our brains in instant and mysterious ways, that we may be able to cure many of our bodies' illnesses-- minor and possibly major-- with these oils. I just checked out a book from the library that examines the uses of essential oils and aromatic plants in the Bible. It occasionally makes some pretty outrageous claims, but on the whole, it is absolutely fascinating. I feel like I'm being introduced to a whole new world of knowledge, and I need a place to record all the things I'm learning and picking up here and there. Why not do that online in a place where others may benefit from it too?

So I'm lumping all my current fascinations-- vintage shopping and decorating, gardening discoveries, home-care revelations, knitting adventures, and essential oil recipes and knowledge-- right here into one little blog. Fuzzy's Finds.

Perhaps someone other than myself will find it entertaining. If not, I'll enjoy jabbering and sharing photos with myself over here in this little corner. Like this little urchin from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I'll keep relentlessly hunting down my treasures and bringing them home to this little blog-- whether they're appreciated by anyone else or not.