Ranunculus

Welcome to our DIY tutorial for how to make a beautiful and one of a kind ‘recycled garden!’

Here we’ll go through our easy steps of how we created a stunning garden in no time and with minimal expense!

Step 1

Decide what ‘look’ you are going for and find pieces/containers that match your style and plants you’ll be planting. Here we were looking for pieces that worked together, but had an old -time feel to them. (I let my girls pick some of the pieces out so it’s a bit more eclectic than I had envisioned! :) But I love how it turned out! We even found the ‘Reduce, Recycle, Reuse’ sign at a thrift store and added that to the garden!

Check all your local thrift stores and see what treasures jump out at you! Don’t forget to check Craigslist or your local Freecycle page for other local finds. (If you haven’t used Freecycle before I recommend checking it out! I’ve found some amazing ‘junk’ on there and I love being connected with others who also try to recycle things!)

Step 2

If your containers don’t have holes or a way for the water to drain out the bottom, make sure and drill holes in the bottom of the piece so the moisture has a place to go. (Holes about dime or penny size are good.)

We used a drill and dremel to accomplish this as we had a mix of metal and wood containers to drill. My sweet Hubby was so kind to help us with this task!

Step 3

Fill your container with good soil. I used an organic, non GMO soil made locally since we are growing edible yummies in the garden and it makes me so happy knowing we’ll have healthy, ‘good for us’ food in a bit!


Step 4

Plant your seeds or plants in your new beautiful gardens! We cheated this year and bought many of our plants already blooming or started since I was a bit late with this project this year! (Mental note….start in Feb. in the desert as the heat will be on us by late May!) But we did pick out some veggie seeds that will be going into the wooden munition boxes this week so I’ll have pictures of that soon!

Pictured below are some of the flowers that the girls and I chose. The gorgeous footlocker features sweet snapdragons, a geranium, 2 kinds of lavender and my favorite little ranunculus. The tall metal trash can is filled to the brim with a petunia and sweet little viola’s and johnny jump up’s. The vintage suitcase that I fell in love with now holds a strawberry patch on one side and a herb garden on the other! (Can you smell the delicious lemon thyme and pineapple sage from there??) The file cabinets and various recycled pots hold broccoli, yellow and orange peppers, sweet peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers. (Yum!) My youngest just loves the orange marigolds so we mixed those in with the rest of the pansies, violas and johnny jump up’s that we had left. The colander holds 2 adorable marigolds that were so easy and fun to plant. (Note of warning – don’t forget to water this one daily as the water drains so very well!!) One of my favorites was the up-cycled letter holder my Mother in law so sweetly gave me! (Hopefully she won’t mind this use of it!!) We put some ice plants and sweet little lobelia in there and it is just bursting with happiness!

The charm of these types of ‘container’ gardens is that you can make it meet your exact design preferences. If you love rustic designs, you can easily pick out/find older rustic looking containers to plant your garden in. Find old wooden signs and make your own planters from that. How about an old rusty tire rim? (Filled at the bottom of course so your dirt doesn’t escape.) Love the Victorian period?? Find some old teapots or china to use as planters. Or simply go ‘treasure’ hunting and see where your heart leads you!

Our cost so far has been – $60 for the planters. (This would have only been $30 but I found the wooden crates later on and just fell in love with them! The tops of the boxes we took off and they will be used for photo props for Spice Grove Designs!) The plants, seeds and soil cost around $150, but would have only been about $60 if I only had to buy seeds and soil instead of the established plants.

I was so thankful to get to do this with my girls not just to teach them about growing their own food and flowers, but to show them how creative we can be with reusing things!!

Little Gardeners

My amazing helpers!

I hope you enjoyed a walk through our recycled garden and we’d love to see pictures of your gardens! Let us know what you think! How are you recycling things in your garden?

As always, blessings to you friends,and happy gardening!Charlotte

PS. For some more inspiration from someone who is an actual gardener, make sure and check out our last post from our friend Emily at Fleuropean and the amazing difference she is making with her flowers!

Our happy Ranuculus!

Our happy Ranuculus!

Hellebores Headband from Fleuropean

Hellebores Headband from Fleuropean

As you know, we just love Nature and all the beauty found in her here at Spice Grove Designs! Two of the most important things that the business was founded on are sharing the beauty of Nature with others and helping others by giving back! That’s why I was so very excited to meet Emily from Fleuropean!! Not only does she make the most amazingly natural flower arrangements and bouquets, but her heart for others is inspiring! Her graciousness in ‘giving back’ has inspired thousands all over the globe to make others’ lives a bit brighter! Well, I could go on and on……. A big welcome to Emily and Fleuropean!……..(See if you can spot the strawberries, pears and blackberries in her beautiful bouquets!)

Hellebores Buttonhole

Hellebores Buttonhole

1.Please tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

Hi there! My name is Emily. Thanks so much, Charlotte, for the opportunity to share my passion for flowers with you and your followers. How fun!

I’m an ex-pat (originally from California) who uprooted everything shortly after graduating college to move abroad and start a new life with my (now) Dutch husband. About 5 years ago, we bought a rural farm nestled among the rolling hillsides of Belgium. Lucky for me, it came with grassland… some of which I chose to turn into my own little floral paradise.

What started with one flower border quickly grew throughout the years to a decent-sized cutting garden full of roses, dahlias, sweet peas, larkspur, clematis, annuals, and perennials. I enjoy challenging myself each year by trying out new flowers, starting lots of plants from seed, and experimenting with unique varieties. From gardening, a passion for flower arranging and floristry grew. Now, here I am, still working hard in the garden and enjoying using the fruits of my labor in bridal bouquets, birthday bouquets and seasonal arrangements.

2.What makes your business different from other floral shops/gardens?

The thing that makes Fleuropean most unique, I think, is my dedication to remaining personally involved in all aspects of my business. Especially here in Belgium, it’s hard to find a florist who grows their own flowers and strives to create natural-looking, freshly-picked arrangements. Without a little elbow grease, my business wouldn’t be what it is today.

3.What brings you joy/encouragement in your life and in creating your arrangements?

Being able to work in the garden, get my hands dirty, and then see the beauty that nature and I are able to create together… that’s what gives me most pleasure. Working in harmony with Mother Nature gives me never-ending inspiration, encouragement, and joy.

Pear Bouquet

Pear Bouquet

4.Can you tell us more about the lonely bouquets program that you started?

The Lonely Bouquet project grew (literally) straight from my garden. Faced with a surplus of flowers and the dreaded task of deadheading spent blooms, I looked for a way to use the excess flowers in a positive and productive way. After a bit of trial and error, I figured out a fun way to share the fun of flowers with locals… leaving little bouquets of fresh-cut flowers with “take me” tags attached scattered around local villages and cities.

Hoping to get lots of others involved, I created an “International Lonely Bouquet Day” and invited anyone to join in. Before I knew it, there were over 1,000 people all over the world who had signed up to participate. The Lonely Bouquet community has continued to grow since, and we’re already planning our second annual International Lonely Bouquet day for Sunday, June 29th, 2014. Woo-hoo! Maybe some of you guys want to join in as well? :)

5.If you had to choose just one of your arrangements as your favorite you’ve created/made, which one would it be?

Gosh… that’s such a tricky question. I guess my favorite arrangement would be the first of my “fruits and flowers” series, featuring pale pinks and strawberries.

6.What does a day in your garden look like?

Although it varies throughout the seasons, a day in my garden always starts out with a coffee in bed. :)

After I’ve had my fill of coffee and sweets, I head outside to take a peek at what needs to be done. The springtime garden is all about working the soil, spreading compost, starting seeds, and weeding. During the summer and autumn, garden work mostly consists of weeding, deadheading, and flower cutting before heading back inside to condition the flowers and arrange them into bouquets.


7.Where can our readers find you?

Other than my website, I’m most active on facebook. You can also always feel free to shoot me an e-mail at emily@fleuropean.com. I love hearing from fellow flower lovers and interacting with readers! (Make sure you check out the Lonely Bouquet Project on Facebook too for uplifting stories of flowers worldwide!)

Ombre Bouquet from Fleuropean

Ombre Bouquet from Fleuropean

I am truly blessed to have found such a wonderful friend in Emily and am so happy to be able to share her passion for flowers with you!! Let us know if you will be taking part in International Lonely Bouquet Day or just making someone’s day brighter today! Let’s all make a difference! (And someday, I will have to come have coffee with you and see your garden firsthand Emily!!)

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte
Charlotte

PS. Make sure to tune in next week for a glimpse at how Emily inspired us to start our own garden!! (Be ready for some recycled beauties!)

Welcome to our Anniversary Celebration!! Thanks to all of your loyalty and trust in our little company, we are celebrating 3 wonderful years of making designs to inspire your home and heart! How we’ve grown and learned over these years and we couldn’t have done it without YOU!!
Thank You!
Thank you so much for not just your purchases, but your honest feedback, your encouragement and your willingness to share us with your friends and family. We are so thankful to have earned your trust and can’t wait to see where the next three years will take us!!

To say thank you for your support we are having a huge giveaway! We throw the party and YOU win! We are giving away almost $100 in prizes so make sure you enter to win below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prizes for Anniversary Giveaway

1st prize is Our Golden Flowers of Spring Wreath valued at $60.
Usher in Spring with a luxurious wreath!! Beautify your home for Fall with this is lovely 12″ wreath. A simple circle is wrapped in the softest of yarns and adorned with delicious spices which are hand selected by me. I have designed the spices to look like gorgeous blossoms. The luxurious golden – yellow color of the yarn pairs so beautifully with the burgundy of the rose hips. Each ‘flower’ is made up of 5 rose hips with an allspice and white pepper center. It features a delicious burgundy satin ribbon making it ready to hang right in your home. What a wonderful way to spice up a wall in your home!

2nd prize is our Shabby Chic Cinnamon Picture Frame valued at $20.
Display your treasured photo in this lovely frame! This recycled picture frame is adorned with cinnamon sticks hand-cut by me. Some sticks are wrapped whimsically with a pink and brown ribbon. It is lightly scented of cinnamon and would look great in any room. The brown paper is simply in the frame for decoration. This frame would add a touch of spring or cheer to any room in your home as well as a clean chemical-free scent! A great gift for someone special or for yourself!! This piece is approximately 6.25″ wide X 8″ tall and should hold a 4 X 6 picture. There are 2 hanging options on the back for vertical or horizontal views.

3rd prize is a set of our amazing Star Anise Magnets PLUS a $5 Starbucks gift card, all valued at $15!
For this design I have hand selected whole star anise and attached them to strong magnets. They have a light fragrance. I have not ‘sealed’ or varnished them at all to preserve this fragrance. The set will come in gift box of either pink or teal, and wrapped with a complimentary paper.

The contest will run from Tuesday, March 11, 2014 until Tuesday, March 18th, 2014. I will contact the winners by email after they are chosen on the 18th. 3 people will be chosen, one for each prize.  I wish all of you the best of luck and thank you again for making the last three years so amazing!!

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte
Charlotte

ocotillo birds with Thoreau quote

As signs of Spring seem to be peeking out all over in the desert, I wanted to share with you a glimpse of our amazing views! We have 4 huge Ocotillo plants in back of our home and I was struck the other night at sunset with how much the budding blossoms look just like birds from a distance. Aren’t they amazing!?!

backyard birds

A close up of our ‘Ocotillo bird.’

backyard birds, ocotillo in bloom

The ‘flock’ at sunrise.

Perspective is everything isn’t it? Who knew the delight I’d find in some blooming cacti in the backyard? Here’s the important part though……I never would have seen this, or noticed had I not stopped for a second to really see!

From birds to the smallest details in life, so much of our outlook depends on how we perceive each situation we are given. Here’s hoping that you find inspiration and joy in the smallest parts of your vision today!!

sunrise ocotillo birds

Sunset as the 'flock' goes to sleep

Sunset as the ‘flock’ goes to sleep

Take a moment and stop to ‘see’ what you ‘see!!’ You just might find a flock of birds waiting for you!!

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte

Charlotte

I’m so excited to share with you some of the new things going on at Spice Grove Designs!

First we are so excited to announce that we’ve been featured in Woman’s World Magazine! A big step for a little company like us and we are so grateful and thankful for this opportunity!

Woman's World Magazine Feature

“Spice Grove’s handcrafted candle holders add a rustic glow to any table!”

We are also currently working on our wholesale catalog (hopefully out this Spring) so if you have a favorite little shop that you think our designs would fit well in please let us know! We are looking for eco-friendly shops, boutiques, cafes, coffee shops, resturants and gift shops.  We’d love for you to be able see our designs right down the street from you!

I’m so excited about some of the new designs that will be out just in time for Easter and Mother’s Day! (New colors and even some wedding designs!) Stay tuned to see some new photo’s next week.

Wedding name tags

A sneak peek of things to come!!

Lastly, I just want to say a HUGE ‘thank-you’ to all of you! Without your support, encouragement and kindness we couldn’t do what we do!! Have a wonderful week friends!!

Blessings to you,
CharlotteCharlotte

You are LOVED!

February 14th, 2014 | Posted by Spice Grove Designs in Uncategorized - (32 Comments)

Just wanted to take a moment and let you know that……..

You are LOVED!

“If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.”
― Alfred Tennyson

Elisa's Garden

“1 Universe, 9 Planets, 204 Countries, 809 Islands, 7 Seas and I had the privilege to meet you!” ~Unknown

Thank you for being a part of my world! Have a beautiful Valentine’s Day and know that
you are LOVED!

While trying to perfect my latest design for Spice Grove Designs, I found myself in full ‘perfectionist’ mode.

Spiced heart wreath

My newest Spiced Heart Wreath!

The smallest details that no one would notice but me were carefully corrected over and over. Whether it’s the exact shape of a whole star anise pattern that I’m working with or matching shades of coffee beans, I truly strive to put quality forward with every design that I make. It would be simple to just throw an order in a box and call it good, but I want I want to let my customers know that I value them, so the extra time it takes to neatly wrap and package designs is worth it too me. All of this thinking about how I run my business when no one is looking over my shoulder led me to think of something else…….

….my dirty kitchen floors….

Now, I know this seems like a leap, but hang in there with me for a second! :) Obviously it’s über important that I take care of the details in my business whether it’s in a design or customer service, I can’t take shortcuts, even when no one is looking. BUT, how am I when no one is looking with regards to my family and home?

Can I tell you a secret? I’ve been better about keeping a cleaner and less cluttered home this year. BUT I am still horrid at mopping floors….so…..when no one is looking I use my baby wipes to get the worst spills and/or stains off the floor! (pausing for gasps, right?!?) Now I vacuum regularly and clean up spills but a good old-fashioned deep clean on the tile floors doesn’t get done very often. I wonder sometimes if it’s just because no one is looking or for my own sanity with the little ones constantly making a beautiful mess…. Maybe, just maybe, super clean floors every once in a while would let my family know how much I value them!!

Our 100% Recycled Gift Boxes

When no one is looking……

Sometimes the best things in our lives happen when no one is looking. Like the personal goal you set for yourself to live a more healthy life being achieved, or the deadline that you made (barely), or the 5 star dinner you prepared for your family by yourself, alone without crowds chanting your name…. I started to wonder if we downplay these moments all too often. These moments require dedication and faith that what we are doing is worthwhile. They don’t reward with trophies or even acknowledgement but are so very important in development of our character!

How I think and speak about my family when they are not around affects how I relate to them when they are next to me. If my words and thoughts are kind I have a better chance of my actions mirroring that too. In the same way, if I take the time to clean and take care of my home when no one watches (or notices) with a thankful attitude of service then my actions when I’m not alone will more likely be ones of thankfulness for all that others do for me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that in life as in my business it matters, a great deal how I act and think when no one is watching…..

….now to see if this revelation helps with my kitchen floors! Hee-hee!

Blessings to you friends,
especially when no one is looking,
Charlotte
Charlotte

A little well known fact about me……I LOVE football! Not just watching it because my Hubby or family like it – but fantasy playing, Sunday afternoon watching, ‘good luck shirt wearing’ LOVE it!! I love the fact that it brings me back to my childhood of rooting for a team with my Dad. I love that it means being a fan until the end – win or lose. I love that it’s a common interest for me and my better half. I love teaching our girls about competition and getting to show them how to win and lose.

Wedding Broncos

Even got my Broncos involved on our Wedding Day, much to the amusement of my Cowboys fan Hubby!! In my defense I did get him a Cowboys pillow for a Wedding Day present!

Watching the Super Bowl has always been exciting for me (except that I’m sad that the season is about done!) and this year is no exception, especially since my beloved Denver Broncos are playing!! Since I was born in Denver and grew up in Colorado, it’s pretty much a requirement put on your birth certificate that you will be a fan. (I’m kidding about that part!) But I’ve loved watching them through the ‘Orange Crush’ Defense years, the Elway years and now the Manning era. So many memories! Along with those memories are the ones of the fun parties that we’ve had with friends and family over the years. Yummy food, lots of cheering and general fun!

One treat that has been on the list of my ‘must-haves’ for any football party are my Pumpkin Football’s. Delicious football shaped treats of pumpkin and chocolate they are always gobbled up by hungry Dads, Moms and little ones!

Delicious pumpkin footballs

Delicious pumpkin footballs

These easy to make treats make up fast and are gone just as quickly! I recently had the privilege to share them with Brenda over at STRUCTUREbags where you can find the recipe for these delicious game time desserts. (or a quick breakfast because, let’s be honest, they have pumpkin in them so they’re healthy, right!?!) Head over and find the complete recipe here, along with more about these fantastic little desserts! 

pumpkin footballs

Click here for recipe!

Let me know if you try this recipe. It’s a fun one to make with your little ones too! For those of you who watch the game, have a wonderful and safe time! (For those who don’t enjoy football as much – just enjoy the fact that the season is almost over! hee-hee)

Blessings to you friends,
(and GO BRONCOS!!) :)
signature

A Lifelong Broncos Fan

The best Christmas Present from my Hubby ever!!

Looking for some easy and sweet Valentine gifts that are super sweet and inexpensive? We have some wonderful ones that won’t take you any time at all and will be wonderful memories to cherish for years to come! Come on in!

Handprint Memories

Memories of little hands

Memories of little hands

This first gift is wonderful for your children or loved one to create an instant memory that they’ll treasure for years to come. To make the first one pictured above you only need the following items.

Heavy cardstock – at least 60 weight
Regular paper
Felt
Thread
Frame (if desired) I used a recycled one I found at Goodwill.

Step 1-
Trace your kid(s) or loved ones hand print on regular paper and cut out.

Step 2-
Trace the hand print(s) onto your felt and cut out. You can use any color(s) you want. I thought the pink and purple were sweet for our two girls.

Close-up of stitching and text

Close-up of stitching and text

Step 3-
Figure out what design you’d like to create on your heavy cardstock. I wanted to emphasize the difference in size in our little ones hands while showing the love between them so I overlapped them and cut out the heart. (I suppose you could trace the heart and make it perfect but I’m more of a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants’ sewing gal so I just did it by sight.) Make sure you leave room for any wording or script that you want to add to your design.

Step 4-
Pick out a color of thread that either complements or contrasts with your felt. Start sewing a basic running stitch around the edge of your cut out hands. It may get a bit tricky as you don’t want the paper to bend, but if I can do this then so can you!

Step 5-
After the hand prints are sewn on decide where and what you want to say. Very lightly write the words or phrase you want in the design on the paper. (If you are more talented than me you can probably just sew the words on without tracing!)

Closeup of signature and stitching

Closeup of signature by my little one and stitching

Step 6-
Now just sew over the writing using the back-stitch until you have sewn over the wording. I used a french knot for the dot on the ‘i’.  So sweet!  Just insert into frame and you are done!!

For an even sweeter gift, have your little ones write the word or phrase on the card stock for a lasting memory of their adorable hand writing.  We did this idea for Daddy for Christmas and it was a big hit!  I love that the kids can help write and sew if they would like to!

Gift for Daddy with the girls' writing and hand prints!

Gift for Daddy with the girls’ writing and hand prints!

Other EASY and cute DIY Valentine gifts!

Last Valentine’s Day I made all of the below for our girls and my family and they loved them.  Some of the ideas I got off of Pinterest and some I just made up.  Hope you enjoy!

Valentine gifts handmade

Some of the sweet gifts I made for my loved ones last year.

1. Date Jar
Supplies needed:
Mason/Ball Jar
Wide Kraft Sticks
Paint
Permanent Marker
Remnant Material
Thread

A wonderful way to show your loved one how much you value your time with them. Easy to make and really gets your creative juices flowing! Instructions can be found here!

2. 30 things I love about you jar!
Supplies needed:
Mason/Ball Jar
30 Narrow Popsicle sticks or kraft sticks
Paint (if desired)
Permanent Marker
Remnant Material
Thread

I was inspired to make this one after doing the first one above for my hubby. This smaller one I made for my eldest daughter. I labeled 30 sticks with things that I love and appreciate about her. That way she could read one each day of the month. I haven’t pulled it out in a while, but I’m sure it would be fun to look at again. After I made the sticks I simply cut out a circle of fabric out with pinking shears and hand sewed a heart to the fabric at the top of the lid. I then added a ribbon to add some ‘girly’ charm to the gift. (she loved this!) I attached a small heart-shaped note explaining what the jar was to the ribbon with a piece of thread.

3. Knit stuffed hearts
I made these little hearts for my girls with some leftover yarn I had lying around. For my eldest I made them into little hanging hearts so she could hang them on her door. For the little one I just made them soft and squishy with no hangers on them. She loves to carry them around even now!  I just kind of made up the pattern, but here is an easy pattern if you would like to try them out!

4. 52 things I love about you!
I love this idea from Pinterest!! The directions are no longer linked to this pin but here’s the link so you can see the picture! You are basically gluing things you love about your loved one that you’ve written or typed to a pack of playing cards. So sweet and such a fun exercise to list all of the things you love about your significant other!  The photo shows the cards tied with ribbon, but I simply used an O ring to connect the cards.

5. Poem with children’s footprints
I first found this beautiful poem on Pinterest as a free printable but the link no longer works so I’m just linking the Pinterest pin for you! You can easily type out this poem yourself and just add the painted footprints to it afterwards. What a wonderful way to tell Dad that you love him than with the little feet that love to climb all over him!

I hope that you have enjoyed these handmade gift ideas for friends and family! Thanks for stopping by and please let me know if you try any of the ideas! I’d love to see pictures!

Blessings to you friends,
signature
Bio Picture

As you all know, being eco-friendly and using natural spices is a huge cornerstone of Spice Grove Designs. This year I decided I’d like to make that more of a goal for our family too. This means I’ll be trying out making everything from laundry to dish soap. Then I thought I’d do some looking around for all natural shampoos and conditioners since I can’t even pronounce most of the ingredients in my store bought ones. I was sure that with all the focus on ‘natural’ and ‘green’ living that I was sure to find someone who made a more healthy product. (My other concern was how much this would all cost!)

WOW!! Was I surprised at what I found!! A HUGE thanks goes out to my good friend Ann Belonger from Ann’s Herbals for being our expert! I invited her by today to show us an amazingly simple routine that will be good for your hair and your wallet!!

Come on and join the ‘Natural Shampoo’ Experiment

Ann, thanks for stopping by! I have a few questions about natural shampoos and conditioners and switching over to a more natural routine.

Ann's Herbals

1. Is there a natural shampoo that is also eco-friendly that you would recommend?

I am not a big fan of even so called “natural liquid shampoos,” they still may contain preservatives to combat bacteria. They may also contain water. Watch your labels. Anyone with skin sensitivities could have skin reactions to these preservatives. Also any time you introduce water into a product, you are faced with bacteria. You then need a chemical to keep the bacteria out. Here is another thing about water in a product, I don’t like having to pay for any product that the main ingredient is water. Why would I? It’s not economical to pay for a product that is mainly water.
With that being said I like to use a shampoo bar, actually I use my bar soap. It’s not specific to “hair” but I use it as a body and hair soap and I’ll tell you why. It contains no water, no chemicals or chemical preservatives. I use rosemary oleoresin in my soaps to keep the oils from going rancid. There is no water so no worry about bacteria in the soap and it has the most nourishing organic oils. Now you can buy soap bars specifically called shampoo bars that’s up to you. I just find it more economical to use a regular handmade soap with rich moisturizing oils. I think I got off on a rant here back to the question. Using a shampoo bar soap is the most economical and eco friendly shampoo you can get. You have no plastic bottle to recycle and handmade soap is a “greener ” product because it is biodegradable. Chemical soaps basically are “detergents” and are not biodegradable. Did you know the same petrochemicals in commercial soaps/shampoos is used to wash your car at the car wash and to degrease your car engine. Amazing!

Ann's Organic Oatmeal Shea Butter Soap

Ann’s Organic Oatmeal Shea Butter Soap

2. How about a recommendation for natural conditioners?

I am a big fan of apple cider vinegar (yay) as a conditioner. You want a conditioner to make your hair soft, smooth, shiny and manageable, that’s what a vinegar rinse will do . It also helps an itchy scalp, opens up pores and lets your hair breathe. I should mention to take care applying the rinse, it can really sting if you get it in your eyes. If that happens just rinse your eyes really well with your shower water.

3. If I’m switching to a natural (chemical free) shampoo, will there be an adjustment period?

There will definitely be an adjustment period of about two weeks. If you have been using a commercial shampoo there will be a lot of chemical build up on your hair. Many commercial shampoos contain petrochemicals. These are the chemicals that make your shampoo foamy and preserve it. Sulfates, parabens and phthalates are all either derived from petrochemicals or contaminated with them. Scary right? This is why there will be an adjustment period to get your hair healthly and to let it breathe again as chemical based shampoos tend to suffocate your hair. When you start using an all natural shampoo you will notice your hair will have a waxy feel to it, this is your new all natural shampoo breaking down all the build up, opening up the pores and nourishing your hair and scalp.

4. Is there anything you’d recommend to get through this period?

The most easy and economical way to deal with this transition period, to me, is to use a apple cider vinegar rinse. Apple cider vinegar is very good at cleaning out the gunk and restoring your hair to a health state. It makes your hair soft, smooth and gives it a great shine. To make an apple cider vinegar rinse you will need a quart jar and a jug of apple cider vinegar. You can purchase a store brand for about $4 a gallon. Add 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar to your quart jar and fill the rest of the jar with water and wallah! there is your new inexpensive hair rinse and conditioner.
I recommend the first time you use your new all natural shampoo and vinegar rinse to run one rinse through your hair prior to shampooing. Wet your hair again and then shampoo. After shampooing run a vinegar rinse through your hair again, working it through your hair and then rinse with plan water. The vinegar smell will go away once your hair is dry. It’s that simple! I keep a gallon jug in my bathroom cabinet and fill my jar prior to showering, once in the shower I add the water.
Oh by the way you can use white vinegar too I just prefer apple cider vinegar. An important thing to note is frequency of shampooing, one really does not need to shampoo every day. I think the shampoo companies drilled that into our heads quite well. After using a natural shampoo your hair will have a different feel to it, not that squeaky clean feel, which actually is the feel and sound of your hair being completely stripped of any nourishment, but a soft and smooth feel to it. It’s an adjustment remember?

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

5. Any idea’s for people with dry hair?

I don’t have dry hair but many people have asked me about it. Again apple cider vinegar is your go to conditioner for dry hair. Isn’t it just the most amazing thing? Big fan! If your hair is very dry you could go one step further and make a vinegar herbal rinse, using some well known herbs that help with dryness. These include sage, dandelion leaves, comfrey, marshmallow, elderberries, burdock root, just to name a few. Here is how you make a herbal vinegar rinse. Fill your jar (a quart canning jar works well) with your selected herb, fill it to the top. Then add your apple cider vinegar filling it up to 1/2 inch from the top and using a knife to work your herb down and release any air bubbles. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the jar opening and screw on your lid. Next you’ll want to label your jar and date it. Place this jar in a cool dark place (I put mine in my kitchen cabinet my house is always cold!) You can place it anywhere that’s cool and dark but also some place you won’t forget about it. For the 1st week, (your infusion will steep for 4 to 6 weeks) shake your jar once a day just to make sure all your herb is being saturated with vinegar. After the 4 or 6 weeks you will strain your vinegar infusion through cheese cloth or a strainer, I use panty hose, you can buy like 12 pair for five bucks and they work great. Strain your vinegar infusion into another container preferable glass and it’s ready to use. Again label your new jar with name and date. Condition your hair once or twice a week with your herbal vinegar, the same way you would with the apple cider vinegar rinse. If you have extremely dry hair you can wet your hair with the herbal vinegar from your jar or use a spray bottle, wrap you hair up in a towel for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse it out. You may need to do the rinse more often or less often depending on your dryness. You know your hair best so you be the judge.

My Conclusion

my hair

My hair! Comparison pic’s to come in 2 weeks!

I have to say I’ve been a HUGE fan of Ann’s handmade, natural soap for a while. (We use it as well as using it on our kids too!) BUT when she mentioned the apple cider vinegar I was more than skeptical! While I was using vinegar to clean our bathrooms and kitchen I wondered, could this stuff really be that amazing?? (It seems to have a wonderful natural use for any aspect of life!) So I started my experiment and was astonished!!!

My hair is very long and thick so I thought I’d really put all of this to the test go an extra 2 days before trying it. I didn’t even brush it before showering which normally is a huge mistake. It can usually take me about 15 minutes just to untangle and comb through my hair after a regular wash and condition.

I was amazed at how clean my hair felt after using just Ann’s bar soap but still unsure of the vinegar treatment. Holding my breath I poured it on just as she recommended and waited about 5 minutes for it to soak in. Stunned, my hair felt smooth and soft as if I’d just used a regular conditioner BUT without the waxy feel! I was so excited but I still had to do the untangling mess to make sure.

5 minutes later I was tangle free and my hair felt lighter and softer than it had in YEARS!!!! I’m on day three since trying this and my hair and scalp aren’t oily or dry just soft and lightweight! Unbelieveable!! I’m so thankful to Ann for sharing this with us. I’ll do an update after the 2 week adjustment period and let you all know how it feels but I’m pretty excited about it!! (My hubby was amazed that the vinegar smell was gone after it was dry!!) Just think, we can do something healthy for ourselves while helping the environment! A real WIN-WIN!

Are you up for trying something new and more healthy this year? Let me know if you try out this formula! I’d love to hear your results!!

**The vinegar can bleed out the color if you have dyed hair as well as affect permed hair so I’m not sure I would recommend the vinegar rinse for that situation.****I was not paid for this post, I was just trying something new and more healthy!! All opinions contained are my own.***

***UPDATE***
I tried the ‘Natural Shampoo’ and vinegar rinse for the 2nd time today and was just as impressed as the first time! I was left with amazingly soft, manageable and tangle-free hair!! Have you tried it yet?

Blessings to you friends,
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Make sure and come by next week for some handmade Valentine gifts! You won’t want to miss it!

Our new Canella berries

Our new Canella berries

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