Category Archives: Uncategorized

DIY Birthday Banner

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DIY Birthday Banner

I have wanted to make celebrating birthday’s and holidays as eco-friendly as possible. Usually this does not require any extra money. It simply means not buying disposable products, which saves money. It means making foods and beverages from scratch, which again, saves money. Not buying a lot of trinkets and toys that won’t get used – saving money.

Every now and then, you’ll need to invest a little bit more money, however, to keep celebrations simple and reusable. In the end, it does save money, though. 😉

Rather than buying crepe paper year after year, why not use some scraps of fabric and ribbon and make a bunting banner? You can create any shapes you want: Rounded, triangle, square. You don’t even need to make shapes! Maybe you use cotton, maybe you use wool felt! You don’t have to use fabric, either. You can use paper as well (and by the way, THIS is my favorite version I have seen of these!). Or make mini chalkboards. Or let your imagination run wild and do something else!

Instead of buying a plastic sign that declares excitement for the birthday or holiday, you can make a banner from fabric, which will last much longer than the flimsy plastic signs. That’s where this post comes in! This is an image-transfer banner.
I’ve created a banner on the cheap that will last for years to come. 🙂 Here’s a quick, easy tutorial. I hope the pictures are clear enough for you.

You’ll need:

  • sturdy cotton fabric, I used cotton duck
  • sewing machine
  • thread
  • laserjet printer with ink (not inkjet)
  • computer paper
  • orange essential oil (you can also use Citrasolv, but it does not have good ratings on the Environmental Working Group’s site)
  • q-tip
  • butter knife and possibly spoon
  • table

Start with the piece of fabric. Wash, dry, iron. Cut  to desired size, with a bit of extra for seam-allowance. I measured and cut mine to 40″x 25″.

On one side of fabric, roll 1/4″ and iron-press. Roll over the same side, another 1/4″ and iron-press. Sew in place. Repeat on remaining three sides.

Print desired words, pictures, etc. onto paper with laserjet printer. Make sure that any words or pictures that you want to show in its correct orientation on the banner are printed backwards.

For my project, I used free flourishes from FontSpace and free Hobbiton fontwork from the same place.

Once printed, cut out the letters and pictures, leaving about 1/2″ of ink-free paper around the print. Place sewn fabric on a table. Arrange the cut papers on the fabric banner (ink-side down), to get an idea of the proper layout. It may be helpful for you to take a picture of it, so you can remember the placement.

On one piece of paper at a time, drop orange essential oil, spreading with the q-tip. Make sure to cover all of the printed area. It will show up quite well at this point. Work quickly. 🙂

As soon as you’ve spread the essential oil on the paper, hold onto the edges of the paper with one hand and apply gentle but very firm pressure with the smooth edge of the butter knife in your other hand. Or, have another person hold the paper while you use the butter knife. Repeat for each piece of printed paper.

When you have finished, wash the banner and dry it. You could add eyelet to the corners, to hang up for display later, or you could use ribbon and clothespins. Either way would work.

Here’s my banner hanging up to dry! Perfect for Christmas, birthdays, and more.

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Nisan Natural Living ~ Cleaning

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Hello, and welcome to the start of my year-long series about making your life greener and healthier!
In the month of Nisan, I want to focus on natural cleaning in our dwellings.

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I used to run a shop with homemade, natural cleaning and cosmetic supplies. It did quite well and the items worked SUPER well, but honestly? Schlepping items isn’t my thing. I found myself wanting to give it away to friends, family, and strangers in financially hard times.

Either I or one of my family members use these items in our home or have and liked them on a longer-term basis.

I hope they may bless you and others in your life! These help(ed) me save so much money over the years while helping me save time that simple baking soda and vinegar requires of me for scrubbing. With 4 kids, homeschooling, making everything from scratch, and studying for my Nutritious Movement certification, I need not only eco-thrift, but time savings, too!

A big note. You’ll note that you won’t find homemade laundry soap on this list. I used to use and sell a clean version of Homemade Laundry soap, for around a decade. Every 6=9 months, I would need to do a deep clean on my washing machine, getting rid of a filmy grime build up that I’d not had with the synthetic detergents I’d used before. I did think something of it, but not enough to question the massive money savings. Then a friend passed an article on to me long after I had closed my store up. After a few months of mulling it over, watching my machine, and researching more, I decided to purchase a “eco friendly” detergent from our local storeless co-op. If you are interested to read what spurred that decision on, you can read about it here.

Liquid Dishwasher Soap – I ONLY use a tablespoon of this, which only fills the detergent holder about half way. I prefer a liquid dishwasher detergent over powder, but the powder I made/sold is excellent, too. It is just a matter of my personal preference!

Powdered Dishwasher Soap
~ I can’t remember what website I found this on anymore, but if you recognize where it is from, please let me know!
I kept a terracotta hunk in the glass jar for this to keep it from clumping/hardening.~
Ingredients
2 cups borax
1 pound baking soda, one box
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup dendritic salt
1/2 cup citric acid
40 drops citrus essential oil
Directions
Put all in glass container, mix, making sure to blend lumps in well. To use, put a tablespoon or so into each cup of the dishwasher. Use white vinegar in rinse dispenser. May also use like Comet to scrub counters. (Makes 3 pounds.)

Hand Dish Soap – use lemon instead of citric acid. If you are concerned about some of the ingredients, as I was, take a look at this article!

 

I used to make this All-Purpose Cleaning Spray until I read this. Now, I just follow the instructions on Sal Suds and things come out MUCH cleaner than they were with the previous recipe… when I thought it was doing so well (and it was, compared to the toxic stuff I had been buying way over a decade ago!)

 

Serious Oven Cleaning Formula
~It’s messy, but very effective and much safer than using the “self cleaning” feature.~
Ingredients
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup washing soda or borax
1 pound baking soda
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup white vinegar
10 drops thyme essential oil
10 drops lemongrass essential oil
Directions
Combine first three ingredients in glass bowl. Add just enough water to make paste.
Remove oven racks and preheat oven to 250F for 15 minutes, then turn off and leave door open. Carefully spread paste on oven walls with a sponge or cloth and allow to set for 20-30 minutes.
Combine vinegar and essential oils in spray bottle and shake well. Spray on oven walls and wipe clean. Rinse well.
Note: If you have a lot of baked on grease or food splatter, you may want to use steel wool to scrub those areas. Use a bit of extra salt if necessary.

Stain Spray
Ingredients
3/4 cup Castile soap
3 ounces glycerin
6 tablespoons borax
20 drops peppermint, or tea tree oil
6 cups water
Directions
Put 6 cups water into half gallon jug. Add borax first and shake gently. Add remaining ingredients and shake gently. Carefully fill jug with remaining water. (Makes gallon.)

Carpet Deodorizer
Ingredients
2 cups baking soda
5 drops tea tree oil
5 drops lemon essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
2 teaspoons dendritic salt, optional
Directions
In large bowl, add baking soda and then essential oils. Mix well. Add dendritic salt, if desired. Put in clean cheese shaker. To use, shake evenly onto carpet. For basic maintenance, allow to set for 20-30 minutes, then vacuum. For flea treatment, let set for several hours, then vacuum. Empty contents of vacuum into outdoor trash immediately.

Windshield Washer Fluid
~We only use this in warmer months, as it will freeze in the winter. This is not a “save” area, but an ecological one only.~
Ingredients
1 ounce liquid castile soap
1 cup vodka
water, to fill
Directions
In a gallon jug, mix all ingredients. Fill windshield washer fluid dispenser in car as needed.

Natural Insecticide – I use this indoors when ants invade, in places that diatomaceous earth isn’t practical, like the kitchen counter near the sink.

Happy New Year

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How important is it for modern Christians to understand the Biblical Hebrew calendar? I’m not sure. I just know that as I learn more about the Biblical months, the more in awe I am, the more intricate I see God’s plans, the more miraculous I see the every day, and the more I feel a sense that it is important for us to know… His signs.

The Biblical Hebrew calender is based off of the lunar cycle, acknowledging all the governing lights, including stars!
Genesis 1:14 tells us that the lights of the heavens were given to us not only to mark the passing of time, but also to mark celebrations for His people AND as signs.

Nisan is the first month of the Biblical year. It begins on the Gregorian calendar (devoid of marking God’s signs) on March 17 – happy new year!
Nisan is connected to the tribe of Judah – the fourth-born son of Leah and Jacob. After three other sons that Leah desperately thought would draw her husband to finally love her, she had Judah and she said, “now I will praise the Lord.” It was as though she knew her husband would never choose to love her and she chose to praise God anyway. She bestowed that strength on her son, Judah, as well.
In Genesis 49:8-12, Jacob blesses Judah and says (NIV version), ““Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him. The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. His eyes will be darker than wine, his teeth whiter than milk.”
Nisan is the month of Passover. Many of us do know that it is a celebration in the Hebraic faith of the Holy Spirit passing over the homes of Jewish families who had sacrificed a lamb and marked their doorframes with it’s blood, when the Plague of Death of the Firstborns went throughout Egypt – sparing their families. It is a celebration of their liberation from Egyptian slavery.

Here we have, culminating in the first month of the Biblical new year… the lion and the lamb. I am sure there are quite a few Followers of Christ that know this, but I am quite new to learning about Biblical Hebrew months and this connection of the lion and the lamb made me tear up!
And that is just one aspect of only Nisan.

 

Natural Living Through the Seasons

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This is a perpetual Hebrew calendar by LuftmenschDesign – go here to purchase

I often see New Year posts about going green. In the spirit of the Biblical new year, in Nisan, I’d like to start a collection of posts about being more natural and intentional in our lives, from month to month.
Each month will have a theme/rhythm, with thoughts, tips, and links I have found helpful through the years.
Eventually, the collection of these posts will be added to my pages, above, to collect it all in one place.

Here’s my tentative themes for each month:

Nisan (March-April) – Cleaning

Iyar (April-May) – Healing

Sivan (May-June) – Giving

Tammuz (June-July) – Worship

Av (July-August) – Home Building

Elul (August-September) – Nourishment

Tishri (September-October) – Home Learning

Cheshvan (October-November) – Parenting

Kislev (November-December) – Rest & Rhythms

Tevet (December-January) – Reduction

Shevat (January-February) – Celebrating

Adar (February-March) – Strength

 

I hope you will join me as I share the things I have learned, and am learning, about being more reliant upon natural things God has provided us and less on synthetics

Tolerating Tolerance

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Through time, I continue to have compassion for women that stay with a man that has confessed to have molested children. My tolerance for their staying, wanes however, even as the love and compassion remains.
Tolerance as we now use the word, is NOT a good thing. It is tolerating something you feel to be wrong. We rarely use this word to mean “I tolerate her chewing her nails at the table” any more.
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Perhaps you are a racist and you “tolerate” people of color, or hate children and “tolerate” the smallest of humanity. Perhaps you support war and violence or theft of property.
Even in the event that you are a racist or you are ageist or some other generalizing-of-hatred thing, the problem with advocating tolerance is that no one has to grow or change or be anything better or different. In our minds, “you do your creepy/weird/different thing there and I will leave you to it, and I will do my good thing here and you leave me to it.”
It really robs us of community in reality.
In the event of a woman staying with a child molester, she is letting him know through the act of staying that he can literally do some of the most heinous acts – betraying a child’s trust through physical exploitation in any sexualized way (a kiss on the mouth, a breast grope, a slide of the hand over the groin, etc) – and she will basically look the other way and “stick it out” with him. I HAVE been there. We tell ourselves this is “God’s way” (nope, it’s not) or “who will love him like I do?” (maybe no one or maybe a thousand others… so?) or even, “if I don’t stay, he will only get worse” (he’s already worse and you enable him to think you’ll be there no matter how sh*tty he choses to be).
I loved a child molester. Without understanding/knowing the end results, I did see his grooming, his mind games, and I downplayed them to myself and to others. The reality was, my love was not actually loving. It takes acknowledging that it is something rotten within us to see it is not actually Christ’s love to be “tolerant” in *many* situations.
Don’t take this as me blaming the female for what her male partner does – it’s all on him that he is doing it. She does not cause him to be a child molester. She is simply deceiving herself in every reason she gives herself for her staying, believing tolerance equals love or that tolerating evil is somehow good and holy.
My tolerance for that tolerance is stretched thin – and I am tired of trying to pretend like tolerance in the way we use it any more is a “good” thing.

There are many social and political situations that I currently see this “tolerance” for evil and harmful practices advocated for, and I am, quite simply, done with it.

Time, Rhythm, and Eternity

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I’ve been very slowly reading my way through Time From Creation by Gael Bataman (it is 99 cents as a Kindle read and way more than worth it!). It’s been an interesting read and, even when I haven’t flowed with all of it, it has definitely helped me find a more sane rhythm to life, seek God through His own creation rather than human creation, and to study a different area of living that I have not taken time to before.

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One of the things I have been encouraged to do is incorporate a phenology wheel into my Bullet Journaling space. This has become multi-purpose for me:

  • I have stopped charting my temperatures for ovulation and menstruation and instead, am watching my body’s signs and rhythms without any devices to “track” for me. Even with a few miscarriages since having Zoe (pretty sure because I “cheated” on Paleo after having her), my cycle is interestingly in sync with the lunar cycle and my heart concerning where I put my energies – sometimes with the new moon and sometimes with the full moon!
  • I have started being mindful of the lunar month lining up with the Biblical Hebrew months and have started learning those months, as well as tracking the Gregorian time keeping system (eventually I want to let go of Gregorian time-keeping, but I don’t know as others would allow that possibility).
  • I continue tracking my moods and energy levels, but in this combined and flowing format instead of a grid tracker that is on a separate page of its own.

Another thing I have decided to do because of reading through this slowly is to stop “scheduling” myself, our home learning, etcetera, and instead create rhythm in our lives. Knowing that through the lunar month, I have different energies/focuses for about 7 days at a time, I create my rhythms of activity through that knowledge. Schedules are rigid and infringe, at least after awhile. Rhythms create peace and allow for freedom and flexibility, for my very type 4 brain.
Rather than fight the natural rhythm of the lunar calendar, the seasons, I want to flow with them…. we are a part of them, after all!

We are starting to honor our desperate need for rest – daily, weekly, seasonally.

I haven’t even gotten through half of this book yet, and it is already inspiring to shift my perception of healthy living and rhythms in pretty noticeable ways.
I will try to follow up when I finish this book and give a review of it in totality.

Here are a few of the resources I use to put together my Bullet Journal phenology wheels:

State Holydays

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Over Memorial Day weekend, Daryl and I met a military family while we were at the rental house. The wife brought up the holyday and I shored up through prayer. But it was in that blessed interaction, I realized again how unfamiliar that average American is with these holydays.
These are moments for reflective sorrow – men lost their lives, believing they ensured your freedoms, believing things men who are unwilling to get their hands dirty themselves told them, believing the blood upon their hands was outweighed by the end result of humans across the sea not doing something anymore – at least, for a little while. Perhaps long enough for their children to move out of the house.
Her heart was troubled by a local store on FB wishing everyone “A Happy Memorial Day!” She couldn’t understand how this had become a day for hot dogs and swimming pools opening and getting tipsy with your neighbors, all while everyone was laughing and celebrating. She contacted the store and told them how horrifying that message is to military families.
These holydays are not for rejoicing. They are, for many people, days for reflection and sorrow that lives were lost… lives that God loves. God doesn’t divide His love between Americans and Brits, or Australians and Kenyans. He loves each one, and murdering a Swede or a New Guinean is as much murder as an American or German. It doesn’t become not murder, not lives stolen, simply because the borders don’t surround you.
I can’t light off fireworks during Independence Day any more than this sweet wife could fathom doing it on Memorial Day. Any war or bloodshed holydays are not a time for rejoicing, but weeping and shame and gnashing of teeth.
The irony of it is, how many people joyfully celebrate state holydays such as Independence Day, in which “our people” rebelled against the governing authority of England, and claimed our own sovereignty. These same people claim that if you don’t like the government here… “if you can’t stand behind the troops” – which is far worse now than what England was doing before 1776 – then you can always leave and “stand in front of the troops.” They clamor at more domination from a government they pretend to celebrate liberated them from the likes of British rule taxing our tea.

It is a depressing irony, rich with more than most will allow themselves to fathom.