Growing Cat Grass (Wheatgrass)

If you have indoor cats, a great thing to do for them is to grow some wheatgrass.  It takes little effort on your part, and they love it.

Here are some benefits of having wheatgrass available for your cats:

  • Flushes toxins
  • Helps digestion and breaks down hairballs
  • Help them expel hairballs by throwing them up
  • Lots of vitamins and minerals
  • They love chewing it, laying on it, etc.

And here’s what I use to have efficiency and quality in cheapest way possible:

  • You’ll need a container.  I use this one: Catit Senses Planter.  Here’s why: the cats tend to rip out the grass if you don’t have some kind of grid covering it to prevent them knocking it over and ripping out the whole thing at once, soil and all (the roots get really tangled up and come out all as one blob if this happens with a normal container.
  • Get you some soil.  I use Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, but wheatgrass isn’t picky, you can use any soil you have on hand.  Use 1 cup.
  • Now for the seeds: it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.  Here’s what I personally get: Hard Red Wheatgrass – 5 Lb.  You’ll use about 1/4 cup per planting.
  • You’ll also need some water, and measuring cups if you’re very particular about the exact amounts, but really, you can just eyeball it.

How to plant the wheatgrass:

  1. Gather your ingredients
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  2. Take apart the planter into all three pieces
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  3. Fill the small inner container with your soil.  About 1 cup will do
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  4. Add the seeds.  About 1/4 cup, but a bit more if you want it to grow super thick
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  5. Mix up the seeds with the soil.  Don’t worry if they’re not all entirely covered, they’re not picky about it 🙂
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  6. Put the planter back together, first the green top, then into the outer container
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  7. Add some water, about a 1/4 cup, but I eyeball it.  Just enough to moisten the soil
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  8. Set in a dark place at room temperature (or a bit warm and humid) for a few days while the seeds sprout.  Once that happens, put them where they can get some light.  When the plants get about 2 inches tall, present them to your kitties and watch them fall in love with grass!
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DIY Layered Scented Candle

I had some wax leftover from making chapstick, and figured I’d try making a candle with it!  It turned out awesome, so without further ado, I’m sharing!

You will need:

Get started!

  1. Take your candle jar, and fill it with beeswax (to measure how much you will need), and pour it into a Pyrex measuring cup or other container safe for high heat.  Measure out the same amount again, and set aside
  2. Cut a piece of the crayon for the bottom layer of the candle and add it to the measuring cup with the beeswax.  Use as much or as little as you like, depending on how dark of a shade you want the candle to be.  I used a lot for the bottom layer (and less for the top layer to make it a few shades lighter)
  3. Get a saucepan or another stove-top safe container, place the measuring cup with the beeswax and crayon inside it, and fill the saucepan with water, making sure the level isn’t too high and you don’t get any water inside the measuring cup
  4. Place over medium-high heat, and heat until melted, stirring occasionally with the butter knife
  5. While your beeswax is melting, secure the candle wick to the center of the bottom of your candle jar with a bit of glue
  6. Remove the measuring cup from heat and let sit for a few minutes, then stir in the fragrance: use as much or as little as you’d like (10-20 drops for a smaller candle)
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  7. Making sure to keep the wick straight, pour the now-scented melted wax mixture into the container, it should fill it about halfway
  8. While it cools, repeat steps 4-7 with the other half of the beeswax you reserved in step 1, using either a different colored crayon, or, as I did, adding less for a lighter color this time.  You can also use a different scent to mix in, just make sure it would compliment the first one
  9. Let your candle cool at room temperature, trim down the wick to about a half-inch, or leave it to trim before use
  10. Top it off with a lid if you got one, and store until ready to use 🙂
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CAUTION: Please please please, be VERY careful with handling things in this how-to, they get very hot.  The water is clearly boiling, the glass heats up and can burn you, and clearly the wax is HOT HOT HOT.  Just please use common sense and handle things with care.  Good luck and happy upcycling!

NOTE: The links to the products in this post and others are the ones I personally ordered and used, and are my favorite.  You are of course, welcome to purchase them from another source, or try a different brand, but please ensure you read some reviews first, and get quality, organic ingredients, for something you will be breathing in.

DIY Chapstick / Lip Balm

Being a huge fan of DIY cosmetics lately, I went ahead and did some chapsticks!  They don’t have any ingredients that really expire, so you can make a bunch and they stay good forever!

The amounts I used here make a bunch of tubes, about 20-25, so you can shrink the recipe down to make just a few.  (I get the empty tubes here)

As usual, I use a pyrex measuring cup in a boiling water bath to melt all the ingredients as follows:

OR if you’re like me and like to play around with your recipes, here’s a general guideline:

Then just melt it all down and pour into your containers!

Have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment!

 

NOTE: The links to the products in this post and others are the ones I personally ordered and used, and are my favorite.  You are of course, welcome to purchase them from another source, or try a different brand, but please ensure you read some reviews first, and get quality, organic ingredients, for something you will be putting on your body.

DYI Dishwasher Detergent

This one is pretty straightforward.  It’s cheap to buy the ingredients in bulk, just mix them up, and ta-da!

Here’s what you’ll need.  I’m addicted to Amazon so these are linked to what I used for my recipe, but you can also find most of these ingredients at a store near you (Walmart, Hardware Store, etc.), but I haven’t seen citric acid around except online, so I’d at least order that one.  (It’s all cheap anyway, and will last SOOOOO long)

Ingredients:

People also claim you can add essential oils, and while I’m a HUGE fan of those, I don’t particularly see the appeal of my dishes smelling like lemongrass when I’m trying to eat a steak off of a plate, you know?  Up to you though.  You want your dishes lemony?  Add some freaking lemon essential oils (a few drops at wash time).  I don’t know.  I’m not doing it.  You can.

All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together in a container (I used an old, cleaned-out candle jar so it’s all pretty) and stick a pretty (or not?) label on it.  Here are the labels I use: link.  I also put a spoon inside for easy access.

Here I used 1/2 c. Borax, 1/2 c. washing soda, 1/4 c. citric acid, and 1/4 c. of salt, since it was my first time trying it out.  But next time I will probably at least double the recipe, as there’s plenty room in my glass jar.

When doing dishes, you should use about 1 tablespoon per load, but I won’t tell you how to live.

 

NOTE: The links to the products in this post and others are the ones I personally ordered and used, and are my favorite.  You are of course, welcome to purchase them from another source, or try a different brand, but please ensure you read some reviews first, and get quality, organic ingredients, for something you will be eating off of.

 

 

Simple Facial Moisturizer

EDIT: This one is my favorite BY FAR! You only need a little at a time, so it lasts a while, it goes in REALLY smooth, and smells great!  Not to mention, super easy to make.  No more store-bought moisturizers for me!

Sometimes, less is more, and this one has the base ingredients for a very smooth application, and it won’t clog your pores!  In addition, the oils in this recipe are all known to help with acne, so it made my PMS much less crappy by clearing my breakout and preventing more! 🙂

Here’s what I used:

Same how-to as always:

  1. Heat all the ingredients except for the glycerin and essential oils in a double-boiler (or as I do, in a Pyrex cup submerged partially in boiling water)
  2. Add the glycerin and essential oils
  3. Mix!!!
  4. Pour into your container
  5. Let cool in fridge
  6. Apply the wonderfulness!  You only need small amounts at a time, so this will last you a while 🙂

 

NOTE: The links to the products in this post and others are the ones I personally ordered and used, and are my favorite.  You are of course, welcome to purchase them from another source, or try a different brand, but please ensure you read some reviews first, and get quality, organic ingredients, for something you will be putting on your body.

 

 

DIY Moisturizer with UV Protection

Recently, I’ve turned into a big fan of melting down butters and oils and making my own lotions, moisturizers, etc.  Today I’d like to share a recipe with hand-picked and extensively researched ingredients that are all known to help with acne and have anti-aging properties like reducing and preventing wrinkles, and rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

In addition, I get Prickly Heat (Heat Rash) from living in the desert, and these ingredients really calm it down and make my rash disappear, especially the zinc oxide 🙂

So let’s get to it!  I used a kitchen scale to measure out the larger quantities, and the rest of the oils I measured by drops used.

  • 1.5oz Mango Butter (anti-inflammatory, UV protection, anti-aging, contains antioxidants, etc.)
  • 0.3oz Kokum Butter (healing, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, etc.)
  • 1.0oz Almond Oil (hypoallergenic, anti-aging, rich in antioxidants, especially Vitamin E, rich in Vitamin A – reduces acne, rich in zinc – treats rashes, etc.)
  • 0.5oz Safflower Oil (high in linoleic acid – great for improving the texture and strength of your skin, reduces wrinkles and brightens complexion, combines with the sebum in pores to reduce rashes and acne, etc)
  • 15 drops Lavender Essential Oil (antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, healing, etc.)
  • 5 drops Geranium Essential Oil (antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, healing, etc.)
    – Optional, some may not like the scent
  • 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil (antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, aids in oil secretions – preventing acne, healing, cooling to the skin, etc.)
  • 10 drops Pomegranate Seed Oil (prevents UV damage & wrinkles, reduces skin inflammation, aids in skin repair, protects from sun damage, etc.)
  • 10 drops Carrot Seed Oil (great for acne, rich in antioxidants, anti-aging, regenerative & reparative on skin, etc.)
  • 10 drops Pumpkin Seed Oil (also great for acne, anti-aging, healing, rich in antioxidants, especially in Vitamin E, rich in zinc, etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Zinc Oxide powder (for UV protection) – Optional

You can exclude some of the oils, I used a lot of different ones, but try to at least include one or two of the Essential Oils and at least one of the last 3 oils listed, they have some really great properties.

I combined the first 3 ingredients and melted them down in a Pyrex measuring cup that was sitting in a saucepan with some water in it.  (Make sure no water gets inside the pyrex cup, or whatever container you choose to use) Then I removed the cup from the saucepan and added all the other oils, and mixed it up very well.  I added the zinc oxide powder last, and again, mixed well.  You can use a whisk for this, and add a little of the powder at a time.  I then poured it all into the final containers (I had enough for two and a half of these) and set them in the fridge for a bit, because I’m impatient 😉

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The final result came out beautifully, and is very soft on the skin.  You only need to use a little bit at a time on the face and neck, and it goes on so smoothly, looks and smells great too!

For another recipe, see my previous DIY moisturizer post.

NOTE: The links to the products in this post and others are the ones I personally ordered and used, and are my favorite.  You are of course, welcome to purchase them from another source, or try a different brand, but please ensure you read some reviews first, and get quality, organic ingredients, for something you will be putting on your body.

Upcycle Candles

So, I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to throw stuff away, and I LOVE candles.  So whenever a candle melts down to where it doesn’t burn anymore, I get out a butter knife, and get all the remaining wax out and save it.  Over time, this adds up to a full jar.  I keep the wax in one of the larger candle jars and add to it as I use more and more candles.  The glass jars themselves get washed in boiling water and reused.

Here’s how to save the candle wax and jars:

  1. Get as much of the wax out as you can with a butter knife or other tool and save it
  2. Boil some water
  3. Fill the candle jar with the boiling water to the very top and let it sit
  4. Once it’s cooled, the remaining wax will be floating on top, save that with the other bits
  5. At this point, the jar is pretty much clean and I run it through the dishwasher
  6. For stubborn stickers, I soak the jars in hot soapy water to help remove them

You can reuse the glass jars for new candles, or store other things in them!  The glass looks nice and neat as a storage container.  The lidded ones are great for storing things like spices, provided you run it through the wash a few times and make sure they’re squeaky clean and free of whatever scent the candle used to be.  I just let them through a few dishwasher cycles after following the steps above.

Now to the fun part!  Once you have enough candle wax saved, you can melt it down into new candles.  Upcycling! Yay! Fancy terms for reusing stuff and reducing waste!

  1. IMG_1007Place your glass candle jar with the bits of old wax into a saucepan or other stove pot.
  2. Fill the pot up with water as far up as you can without it spilling over or getting into your candle (like if it’s a smaller jar)
  3. Set it on the stove on medium-high to boil, then turn it down to simmer
  4. Prepare your candle jar(s):
    1. Get however many candle jars you think you will need, just eyeball it.  One large jar made me 3 small candles
    2. Clean and dry the jars, and set them on some old newspaper on the counter or other surface
    3. Glue some candle wicks to the bottom center of the jars.  I used these ones for my small candles.  (Here are some taller ones)IMG_1015
  5. As the wax melts, when you have a good amount of it melted, add some essential oils of your choice and mix with a butter knife.  I went with this Lilac scent.  Some other great scents you can use include Rose, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Strawberry, Peach, Mango, or even Ocean Breeze.
  6. Very carefully remove the jar from the water bath (I use a rolled-up kitchen towel, as seen below) and pour the wax into the prepared jars, making sure the wicks stay straight up and centerIMG_1020
    CAUTION: The jar will be very hot!
    NOTE: If you have trouble keeping the wicks in place:

    1. Use a string to tie to the tip at the center,
    2. Place it across the jar to keep the wick straight
    3. Tape the string to the outside of the jar
    4. Pour in the hot wax
  7. Place the unmelted wax in the jar back in the water bath until you run out of wax or out of empty candle jars (you can always re-melt it again later)
  8. Let the candles cool, and you’re all set!

CAUTION: Please please please, be VERY careful with handling things in this how-to, they get very hot.  The water is clearly boiling, the glass heats up and can burn you, and clearly the wax is HOT HOT HOT.  Just please use common sense and handle things with care.  Good luck and happy upcycling!

NOTE: The links to the products in this post and others are the ones I personally ordered and used, and are my favorite.  You are of course, welcome to purchase them from another source, or try a different brand, but please ensure you read some reviews first, and get quality, organic ingredients, for something you will be breathing in.