Category Archives: DIY

Beginner’s Homemade Cold Process Soap Tutorial -Oatmeal Lavender

Hello Lovelies,

This week we are making homemade soap! We love making our own natural products. It saves us a ton of money and is very rewarding.

Here is our You Tube video on how we make oatmeal lavender soap using essential oils. It is in depth and a little long. Hopefully this will inspire you to make your own! Don’t forget to subscribe to our new channel.

Homemade Soap Video

DIY Garden Project Using Things Around Your Home

Hello Lovelies,

We all have stuff laying around our home that just sits there.  Untouched, unmoved, and unloved.  Over the years, I’ve been notorious for placing things around the yard that makes an obstacle course for my husband when he mows the grass.  He was having to edge around these things and it made the job much more tedious.  Trust and believe, I heard it each and every time haha! After much thought, a round of garage organization, and trying to figure out a way to tackle this problem, I had an idea!!!

The idea was to make a separate and unique space.  I have a small yard unfortunately as we live, right now, in an HOA.  Ugh!  Not ideal, but hey this is only temporary.  Seeming this is temporary, we are unable to make drastic changes.  So I came up with a DIY project that was pretty much FREE!  We had spare wooden boards in our garage.  No idea on where it came from, but we had numerous long boards just sitting there perched against the corner.

The Plan:

There were two corners to play with.  They are at the far ends of the yard.  One gets full sun from early morning to maybe mid-day.  The other is shaded in the early morning and full sun mid-day to sunset.  In Texas, the hottest part of the day is late mid-day.  So this made it much easier to choose a corner to build my garden.  This space would prevent plants from burning and that corner already had a sun shade due to our Hibiscus trees needing some protection from the Texan sun. Some of the potted plants already had sun damage so this project was long overdue.  I took a few boards and wiped them clean, wiping off cob webs and debris.  I found this was easier with the paint brush I was about to use.  I set up my patio chairs next to each other so I could paint and not have to stoop over.  Taking spare paint, I painted the boards a dark chocolate brown.  TIP: Any paint will do.  Interior, exterior, new, or old.  This chocolate paint is at least 10 years old.  The garden won’t care I promise!

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Before

These boards were then placed across the corner, sectioning off the corner completely.  I hammered two small nails at the bottom of the fence on each side to act as an insert so the boards did not move that much and they would stay upright.

I had medium sized rocks we had pulled from the front beds which I then used to add interest and further keep the boards upright.  Especially in the middle seeming there are two boards together.  Keep in mind this project was free, while i know I could’ve bought a bracket or something to screw them together, this would’ve taken a trip to the store as these were not on hand.

I laid a roll of plastic that was left over from a last minute purchase a few years back when we had to scramble due to a surprise frost.  It was an entire roll of plastic.  I cut it in strips and laid it down to suffocate the grass and any weeds.  This was the base.  It was important to not have weeds or grass showing because this space will be dedicated to pots only.  Nothing will be planted in the ground.  Be sure to cut around any large pots that you are unable to move.  I had two large 20″ super heavy Hibiscus trees I had to do this with.  I used a pair of scissors to sporadically poke small holes around the plastic for drainage as I didn’t want mold or stagnant water to form.

Cedar mulch has always been our go to especially in our front beds.  It helps to repel bugs.  We had two and a half bags leftover from last Summer and this made perfect cover for the bed.  We also got use up what was leftover from a previous project thus freeing an entire corner of the garage.  Major score!

Next, I just gathered all of the pots around the yard, in the ground decor, and Dollar Tree decor finds that were never used or put up.  In the end, this was a fun project taking just a few hours. It sectioned off a space for potted plants and solved the obstacle course problem.  Being frugal can be as simple as re-using, re-purposing, or using up whatever you have that is leftover.  Train yourself to look at a rock, or a piece of wood, or broken dish and see its potential.

Because everything has 9 lives!

 

After

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It’s Flu Season! How to Make Homemade Herbal Cough Drops

Hello Lovelies,

It has been some time!  I very much missed writing, but after all of the holiday chaos, we now have all had the flu.  One by one we were attacked by sickness.  We battled the dreadful flu by using herbal medicine and herbal remedies.  One of the ways we dealt with the annoying and never ending cough is with homemade cough drops.  These drops are so yummy and super easy easy to make.  They contain natural properties that quickly suppress the urge to cough and soothe inflammation in the throat.  Combined with other remedies, the bulk of the flu only lasted about 3 days for each of us.   Don’t get me wrong, we have residual symptoms still, but the heart of it didn’t last long.

You Will Need:

  • 1 tbs Peppermint Leaf
  • 1 tbs Chamomile
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tbs Ginger Root
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 3/4 cup Raw Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Tapioca flour or Cornstarch

You can use teabags if you don’t want to spend additional money by buying loose leaf.  Just simply break them open.  The ginger root you can substitute with ground ginger, just be sure to use a little less as it can be very potent.  In my opinion, using grocery store, cheap honey isn’t a big deal because this mixture will be cooked and heated.  Any good properties in the honey will be killed during the cooking process.  So why waste the money?

Combine the peppermint leaf, chamomile, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl with 3/4 boiling water.  Steep for 10-20 minutes making it a medicinal infusion versus what one would consider a light tea.

img_1374Strain and pour the infusion into a small pot.  Add 3/4 cup of raw local honey and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Do not stop stirring or the mixture will burn.  This is not yummy.  I used a laser thermometer but you can certainly use a candy thermometer.  Basically, you are caramelizing the honey and making it into candy.  Bring this mixture up to 300 degrees while stirring the entire time.  A whisk works perfectly.  As the temperature increases, the mixture will thicken and get darker. Once the mixture reaches 300 degrees, pull it off the heat and let cool for a few minutes stirring occasionally.  It will resemble warm caramel.  As it cools it will resemble warm taffy.

Lay out a piece of parchment paper and drop dollops of the mixture and let cool slightly.  You still want them pliable as you want to roll them into balls.  In a plastic container, add 1/2 tsp of Tapioca flour or Cornstarch and roll the cough drops in the flour to avoid sticking.  This will also keep moisture away from the drops.  As they cool, they harden.  Store in an air tight container and use as needed.

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They taste like a strong caramel and really strong honey.  They will keep as long as stored in a cool dry place completely sealed.  You can experiment with different herbs, but this recipe for my family works the best and it was what I had on hand.  We try to be as natural as possible staying away from processed sugars and synthetic chemicals.  Especially when you are fighting an invader in your body, why would you add something that is practically the same thing back in?

 

Each ingredient serves a purpose.  Ginger is very warming to the body and great if you have chills while peppermint has a numbing effect.  It helps with that aching body feeling and can really help break up mucus and phlegm. Chamomile boosts the immune system while relaxing the body from all of the work it is doing to heal itself.

Time to Make:  About 30 minutes 

What are you doing to combat the flu?

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How to Make a Chaste Berry Tincture

Hello Lovelies,

DISCLAIMER:  I have a few male readers, so if you are male, this post isn’t for you.  Sorry guys 😉

Often times women have female issues, whether it be balancing, or even some support.   In researching, I have found the amazing Chaste Berry.  It is said to be great for PMS, PMDD, PCOS, and numerous other ailments and symptoms.  Chase Berry goes by a few names, but one common name is Vitex, which is popular among those trying to conceive.  I am not a doctor or a healthcare professional, so please do some research before trying. In my case, I bought the Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine which you can find on Amazon. It is a fantastic book and very informative!

Per the American Family Physician website at www.aafp.org,  Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus), or monk’s pepper, is the fruit of the chaste tree. It is native to western Asia and southwestern Europe, and is now common in the southeastern United States.  It has been used for more than 2,500 years to treat a variety of conditions. In ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, it was used for many gynecologic conditions.

With our homesteading venture, we have made many changes to how we live and heal ourselves.  People often tackle a few changes but are those changes really worth the trouble if you only change a few things?  It is like exercising everyday expecting big results and not changing your diet.  It is counter intuitive. Recently, we have made the decision to add Herbalism to our skill set.  An act of producing your own medicine for common ailments such as colds, flu, burns, and wounds to name a few.

Out of all of the ways to use Chaste Berry, I chose to make a tincture.  An herbal extract of the berry.  Chaste Berry tinctures do not work overnight.  They must be taken over a period of time.  A tincture is an alcoholic infusion which extracts medicinal properties of plants, herbs, roots, berries, and flowers, basically the entire plant. Any part of that plant can be used and may be used for different uses.

Here is what you will need:

  • Glass pint jar with a lid
  • Whole Organic Dried Chaste Berry
  • 90 or 100 Proof Vodka (some use Brandy)

With a mortar and pestal, grind the berries coarsely to expose as much surface area as you can.  This makes sure that all of the goodness of the berry is extracted. Fill the jar half way with the berries and fill the jar up with Vodka.  As it sits, you may have to top off with more Vodka because the berries will reconstitute and absorb the alcohol.

 

Shake well and store in a cool, dark place upside down. Let sit for 2-3 weeks, then strain the berries.  Put the berries in a food processor and puree them.  This ensures that you are getting every possible property out of the berry.  Add back in your jar and let sit for another 2-3 weeks.  Then strain and compost the berries.  For my own purposes, I use 1 tbs twice a day in the morning and at night.

Herbs, berries, and roots can be found at the Bulk Herb Store or any natural health store.  I am not sponsored in any way, this is where I got a lot of the herbs and berries that we use. In natural food stores, I found they were kept over by the bulk spice section and not within the supplement section.

Total Cost:  Estimated $6.25

For the books I have purchased and the many methods of herbal extraction please visit the Herbalism Page.

Easy Smokin! Nothing Tastes Better Than Food That’s Smoked

Here is an easy, frugal way to smoke your food that won’t break the budget.

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Smoking food can be costly especially if you purchase those big bulky smokers. We lack available patio space and it really is not a good idea to put something that heats up on a grassy area. It not only kills the grass (which I hope happens because grass is useless, but don’t tell my husband that!) but it can start a fire. We went the frugal way instead to not only save money but space as well. This works in a pinch and takes less than 5 minutes to make and in less than 10 minutes…you’ll be smokin!

Here is What You Will Need

  • Aluminum foil

  • Small wood chips or shavings

Tear off a piece of aluminum foil about 12 inches long. Fold the aluminum foil in half to get a 6 inch piece. Now, fold a seam on 3 sides pressing tightly leaving one side open for filling with wood chips or shavings. Fill the open end with wood chips about half way. Any more than that and you risk the packet opening or not smoking properly.  Trust me. Fold a seam on that side to close your packet. Lay the packet flat on the counter and using a knife, gently poke a slit which will act like a vent. Place on the hottest corner of your grill and let the grill heat up. After about 5-10 minutes, smoke will be coming out of the vent and you are on your way to deliciousness. This doesn’t last very long, so I don’t recommend using this technique with expensive large pieces of meat such as brisket or a roast. But this works wonders with wings, chicken tenders, fish, veggies, or burgers. Make sure you don’t peek too much or you will let the smoke escape.

Smokers can cost hundreds of dollars and if you are like our family, this is a once in awhile thing. To us, an expensive smoker isn’t really such a frugal purchase. By buying a small bag of wood chips or shavings, you will spend around $3-$4 per bag lasting you as often as you use it. Aluminum foil is a pantry staple and most have this on hand. This not only saves money, but also time and space. Perfect for a balcony grill or small patio. If your grill is larger or if you are smoking a lot of meat, you can make more than one pouch or make it larger to suit your needs. Once done, simply let the packet cool off completely and toss. Seeming these chips are heated and may contain drippings or food particles, they are not suitable for composting. 

Wood chips or shavings come in a variety of flavors and sizes. You can find flavors such as walnut, pecan, pear, apple, hickory, or mesquite to name a few.

Total Cost Breakdown

Bag of wood chips or shavings $3-$4 per bag

Smoker between $40 to more than a few hundred dollars

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Let’s Get Social!

Everyone is on social media these days and often people are pressed for time. All blog posts automatically upload to our Facebook page. Our page also includes posts that you won’t find on our blog. Spontaneous projects, impromptu meals, and everyday happenings. Don’t forget to share the love!

Questions Lead to Knowledge

Everyone is frugal in their own way. This is how we’ve learned everything we know. From blogs! There is a plethora of knowledge among the blogging community. Learn from those around you, those who inspire you, and those with a common goal. Feel free to open discussion on posts, ask questions, and let’s have some fun ;P

DISCLAIMER: Being frugal generally means not spending money or pinching pennies. Our goals do not include a fancy camera or lighting. All content and pictures are ours created with a cell phone, natural or indoor lighting, and around our own homestead. If you would like to use an image or post, simply ask and give us credit. Easy peasy!