"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the begining of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Crayon Cozies

Getting around to posting more Christmas gifts.
I got the idea for these cute little things from the blog Skip to my Lou.  She has a really easy to follow tutorial there so check it out!!  I made them as Christmas gifts for the nieces and Piper.  They thought they were so cool!

I changed things up a bit.  I was using scraps of fabric that I had lying around (many old Kozy scraps that were too small to use for Kozy stuff).  I made mine taller because I wanted it to work for my favorite crayons. . . those twistable ones (they rock!!).  Plus I wanted it to be able to be used with colored pencils etc.  So mine is about 7-8" tall and the pockets are like 3-4" tall (so they would fit regular crayons too).

I also figured that the kids wouldn't be able to tie a ribbon to close it.  So I used elastic instead and the kids can easily wrap it around after it is rolled up.  I made the elastic 3" on each side, so I cut 7" and have about 6" of it sticking out.

I also didn't add any interfacing because I was using heavier bottom weight fabrics . . . mostly canvas.  You may want to use interfacing if you are using quilting cottons, but with heavier fabrics it isn't needed.

Here they are all opened up so you can see the contrasting fabric, how I am using my elastic and how they hold the crayons!

They were pretty easy to sew, and since I used all fabric scraps, they were free!!  Not too bad!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kozy Commercial

Ok our little sister Karla (the one who just got married) did this Kozy Commercial for us a while ago.   I have been meaning to put it up and we finally put it on the site so I figured it was a good time to blog about it.

She did this video all on her own, with her friends and some of the cool new prints we have (which she also picked out).

Karla is just so uber cool!!  I mean I like to think I am 'hip' (ok does using the word 'hip' make me a dork? LOL, I am a geek at times) but I pale in comparison to her coolness!!  I jest not.  I am not going to get into it all but you can check out her websites (or google her . . . Karla Jean Davis)
Smart and Sexy Films
Golgotha (the full length movie she did)
Karlas Flickr
Karla on IMDB

Anyway, she and some of her friends got together and made this commercial. Well she shot it and edited it and everything . . . I think they even did the music.

Keep in mind that they had NO ONE there helping them with the Kozys, with proper carries or how to wear or tie, and though Karla has used them with my kids, she is not a mom or 'babywearer'.  So some of the shots are questionable but for the most part, they did a great job.  Wonderful shots of some sweet babies and moms . . . .

I love it . . . I mean it just makes me SO happy everytime I watch it!!!

Kozy Carriers from Karla Jean Davis on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

3 Christmas greeting from the kids!!

Well I had this scheduled to post on Christmas day but for some reason it didn't. So I am posting it now (late).

The kids wanted to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a great holiday season!!

Merry Christmas from my elves

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Who can resist a disco

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Yee-Haw . . . Merry Christmas

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homemade Felt Coasters

The kids made cute lighted jars as Christmas gifts this year, but I saw this idea for making felt coasters in the Family Fun magazine and I really wanted to try those too.

The article called for a roll of cork and self stick felt.  Well I didn't find either.  So I used these cork tiles that I found at Walmart in the office section and we used regular felt squares (super cheap at JoAnns or Walmart) and I used a hot glue gun to glue them on.  Though they weren't hard to make, it would have definitely been easier to use self stick felt.

I did most of the gluing (hot glue is called HOT glue for a reason) but I did let Xian glue some.  I also did most of the cutting of the felt because you kind of have to be precise.  I let Piper put the pieces of felt on the cork but for Arah and Ever mostly I just let them pick out the colors (we tried to use colors to match the decor of the family we were giving them to) and the order of the felt pieces as I placed them on the hot glue and then they patted them down.

 We did 4, 4x4" coasters per family, and to make the wavy lines you have to cut 4 pieces of felt (I made the pieces a little larger than 4x4" each) stacked on top of each other . . . then you can mix and match the colors on each piece of cork and the lines match up because they were all cut the same.  I did wavy lines on the first few but then got tired of them and just did straight lines (of varying lengths) on the others (it was just easier).   Then some I cut into circles using the top of a cup as a guide.

I really liked how they turned out!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lighted Christmas Jars

OK now that our family Christmas party is over I can post about some of these!

I saw these really cute decorated Halloween jars after Halloween.
I was so bummed that I had missed my chance to make them, but I figured that hey, we could just do Christmas jars instead!! 

I really thought the kids would enjoy making them, so we made some for us and then we decided to give them as gifts to family.

I keep most of my glass jars, and it works best with jars that don't have raised writing on the sides (like Mason jars do).  The natural peanut butter jars, pickle jars etc work great.  Different sizes are cool too so even smaller jars like jars you can get mushrooms in or stuff like that are cool, even baby food jars may work if you put little tea lights inside. 

I used tissue paper like in the link above, well, except for the black, that was a streamer (note, the streamers are NOT as sturdy as the tissue paper and rip VERY easily).  And you can get some cool printed Christmas type tissue paper too. 

So as in the link above.  I used Mod Podge (which you can get at any craft store, or even Walmart) painted it on the jars and then laid the tissue paper on in strips (some we did horizontal, some verticle).  Then we went back over it with another coat of modge podge and while it was wet the kids added their own decorations.

The older kids could do the whole thing themselves, for the younger 2 I helped with the glue and/or the strips.  With some I just cut a bunch of squares of paper and let them just stick them where they wanted.   They even added glitter to one.  We used those little shaped hole punches to make shapes to add, and they drew pictures that we cut out and glued on there. They turned out REALLY cute and the kids enjoyed making them (though it was a bit messy and time consuming).

After you are finished, don't forget to do a final layer of Modge Podge

In the end we had a reindeer and snowman jar, a pokemon and Kirby jar and a fish jar.  Then some other random christmas themed jars to give away as gifts.  I decoupaged their name and age and date on a piece of paper on the bottom.

You can put Christmas lights inside them like I did, or they also look really nice with a candle inside too.  A friend says they have little battery operated tea lights at the dollar store, those would work really well.

They are perfect for a window sill and make great handmade gifts!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Homemade Crayon Rounds

Aren't these cute?  I LOVE them! 
I am making Crayon Rolls (or Crayon Cozies, for holding crayons) for my nieces as Christmas gifts (I'll post pictures of those later), but the younger one (age 2) is a bit young, so I was looking for an alternative to give her.  These crayon rounds are the perfect size for her (and Ever).  Of course were she still putting things in her mouth, I would have to reconsider (these look almost good enough to eat, LOL!

Melting and remaking crayons is pretty easy and the kids really enjoy it too.  You can do it any number of ways . . . melt on the stove and pour into molds, melt and pour into a shallow pan and cut with cookie cutters as it hardens (or letting them sit there till they harden, then pop the crayon out of the cutters) or melting in the oven.

I decided to melt them in the oven because I wanted to do multiple colors, and if you melt on the stove and pour into moulds you have to do 1 color at a time (way too time consuming for me).

I saw a site online a while back where they recommended using mini muffin tins and even mixing some colors together (can't recall the site off hand). So that is what I decided to do.

 I can always count on Piper to pitch in and help out.  Actually Arah helped me too.

I pulled out all my old crayon pieces (I keep all the crayons the kids get when eating out too) and we worked at pulling the paper off of them (soaking them in water sometimes helps the paper come off easier).

Then we broke them into like 1/4-1/2 inch pieces and filled the cups to near the top.

I alternated colors.  I did shades of blue, green, red, pink, purple, brown.  And then I mixed yellow and oranges, green and purple and black, grey and white.

I set the oven to 250 and it took about 10 min for them to melt.
I did a 2nd batch a few days later and with that one I had just finished baking cookies at 340 so I shut the oven off, put the crayons inside (with the door cracked opened) and they melted nicely that way too.


After melting I shut the oven off, opened the oven door and didn't touch them till they started to solidify (I didn't want to risk mixing the colors by moving them too much).  But it only took a few minutes for them to get hard enough.  Then I let them sit on the counter for a while till they hardened all the way and they slid right out of the pan.  You can put them in the freezer for a few minutes to speed things up but don't leave them in too long or they can crack (ask me how I know, LOL).

As you can see in the top picture, the top edges are a bit pointy so I took a potato peeler to them to round it out more so that they were easier to color with.

Since the other kids are getting crayon holders I plan to make little drawstring bags to hold these (after my 2nd batch I ended up with 10 crayons for each kid).

Making these was a bit messy, but pretty easy and not super time consuming (especially if you have the kids helping).  I will definitely be making more in the future!

Like I said, they look good enough to eat . . . so keep that in mind :0)

I am making quite a few things this year and the kids are too.  So I'll try to post pictures of everything when I can.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our family Thanksgiving

I finally got the family pictures from my dad!!  Here is the whole Davis (my maiden name of course) clan!!
Well, minus Karla and James as they couldn't get the time off to come up to VA this year (after having just taken 2 wks off for their honeymoon).

Left to Right
Chris (Kristi's husband), Esther (Kim's daughter), Gingie (my mom), Kristi and Jackson, Papa (my dad), Kim and Shiloh, her husband John and next to him G.G. (my grandma) Kim's kids Sarah, Selah and John Wilson, me and Thrace, Charlie, and in front of him Xian, Piper, Arah and Ever, Rodney (Kathi's husband) Roman and Shaefer, and Kathi holding Charlotte.  Oh and lets not forget the dogs.  Kristi's dog Banjo, Ptolemy and Kathi's dog Polly.  We are missing Kims and mom's dogs.

We had a great time as usual!  Lots of great food (I wish I had gotten a picture of the spread, we have amazing food!!)
I was hoping to get some pictures of our family but Thrace was sick.  He was miserable all day (his 6mo birthday) and was in the Kozy the whole day.  He has had a cold off and on for a couple weeks but I guess it caught up with him.  He had a fever and was just very unhappy. I was often without hands even though he was being worn (I had to have my hand on his back or rocking him or letting him nurse or suck my finger or something).  I finally did get to eat dinner, wearing him, eating one handed after everyone had finished, LOL!! Now that I think back, since having kids, like 1/2 of my Thanksgiving dinners have been eaten while wearing a baby!! (wouldn't have it any other way!)  
Anyway, I didn't get to take the pictures I wanted and the ones I did get didn't turn out so well. 
This is our family picture.

It was the one semi-decent one where he wasn't nursing (nursing was the only way he was happy).

I was able to get a shot of him not crying

But that was one of the few times during the day that he was content, and it only lasted a few minutes . . . poor guy.

He was much better the next day when we had Thanksgiving with Charlies family.
Now THIS is the baby I know!!!

Mmmm, I could eat him up!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pilgrim Hats and a Turkey Cake

So I am finally getting around to posting about Thanksgiving.  I know I had mastitis a couple days before TG but I was determined to make this Turkey cake I saw over at the Family Fun website.
I made my 2 butter cakes in bowls (they were the light meat) and a spice cake in a bread pan (the dark meat, and it overflowed all over my oven UGH).  I also made 2 pecan pies.  Then I packed it all up to take on the trip to Lynchburg (just 3 hrs away).  It took us 7 hrs to get everything packed and in the car (so much more work with 5 kids and a dog to take with you).  Then at my in-laws house we (that being me, Charlie and my mother in law) assembled the cake.  Here is how it turned out.

The icing kind of melted a bit on the way to my sister Kim's house where we had Thanksgiving dinner (it was another 45 min or so drive)  But I think it turned out great!! 

I put the 2 bowls together to form the body (after doing some repair work and shaping). Then I carved 1 leg out of the spice cake and Charlie did the other and we skewered them to the body.  I decided to put the legs directly on the plate instead of trying to attach them to my turkey mid body like they show in the instructions. That was Charlies idea and he was right, they never would have held up.  Charlies mom makes cakes for people, so she was very intrigued by the whole thing.  She used her coloring stuff to mix up the frosting color, then she frosted it for me (as I was sewing a dog coat for Ptolemy because it was getting cold out).  I cut the extra cake scraps into squares to make the stuffing and Charlie decorated it with the oranges and cranberries!
Everyone got a kick out of it!!

We also made these cute Pilgrim hats

 The idea was to make them with the kids but they were too interested in watching the new Ben 10 Alien Swarm movie (my sister Karla actually worked on the set of the movie).  We have been waiting for it to come out for like 9mo so they were pretty excited about it.  I did get Piper to help some though.
It was super easy.  Dip large marshmallows in melted chocolate chips.  Place them on fudge stripe cookies (upside down) and then mix up some yellow frosting to make the hat buckles!
All the kids loved them . . . next time I am going to have to make more!

The spread

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Banana Bread

(no pictures this time. I need a new battery charger)

I know there are lots of Banana Bread recipes out there. I have 1 or 2 that I usually make but the other day I thought I would try my Zucchini Bread recipe (because I love it so) and just make it banana instead. It turned out really well, VERY moist. Of course I didn't make it identical, I didn't make it chocolate or add chocolate chips (though you can if you want) and it has a really nice brown sugar/cinnamon crunch in the middle!! Oh and I like to add walnuts! But the bulk of the recipe was the same.

So here it is . . .

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 6-8 bananas (I used 7)
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flower (I use pastry)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (or less) of sugar
  • a hand full (or 2) of chopped walnuts
For the crunchy middle
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl beat softened cream cheese and butter.
Add sugar and beat till fluffy (though with the type of sugar I use it doesn't get fluffy).
Add vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in mashed banana.
In a separate bowl add all other dry ingredients and mix well.
Add the dry bowl to the wet, mixing them together well. Stir in walnuts.

If you wanted to really make it like the zucchini bread you could also add the 1/2 cup of cocoa and chips. I have never tried it though.
Grease 2 loaf pans. Use only 1/2 of the batter, filling each only 1/2 way. Mix the Cinnamon/brown sugar together and
sprinkle over the top, then fill the rest of the way with the remaining batter.
Cooks on 350 for an hour!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mastitis and raw garlic

Mastitis sucks! I mean really it does!! (and those of you who have had it know what I am talking about). It comes on quickly and knocks you off your feet!

The first time I had it was when Piper was like 6mo. I have had plugged ducts before but I knew this was different, I was feverish, achy, in the bed. I sent Charlie out for some garlic (as we were out), took it, and was almost 100% by the next morning. I have gotten it many times since then (that was 7 yrs ago) but I can usually stop it with raw garlic at the first signs of symptoms . . . of course I have to be paying attention to notice the symptoms (and with more kids I find I am more distracted, LOL).

Fast forward to when Thrace was like 3 wks old. I knew I was coming down with mastitis but we were out of town and my mother in law didn't have any raw garlic. By the time I got some I was pretty bad off. I took my garlic, popped some Ibuprofen (really the only OTC med I use, I have to be able to function to take care of the kids) and hopped into the bath (my place of choice when I am achy and shaking and feeling bad). By the next morning I was probably 90% just a little tired.

Fast forward to the night before last. I was not feeling well and was achy. I figured it was because it was late and I was tired. I had a thought "maybe I should take some garlic in case" but I don't like taking garlic unless I have to (not the best tasting) so I thought "naw, I am just tired". Well I woke up yesterday feeling the same way. I was on the phone with Charlie saying "I am just not feeling well, I am achy and my breast is sore" then it hit me . . . duh, mastitis (didn't I say I am more distracted with more kids?). So immediately I took some garlic, then ibuprofen and I felt fine so we headed to a friends house. Well it got worse after that, it came on slowly and the ibuprofen wasn't helping. I ended up lying on her sofa and then she fixed my kids dinner (with Thrace on her back in the Kozy) while I lay in her bath for an hour or 2, delirious and nauseated and waiting for myself to stop shaking and feel better so I could drive home. I call these 'episodes'. I had another one after coming home and getting the kids to bed (Charlie is out of town so I am alone here). I was in the bath and so nauseated and praying "please God don't let me throw up all that raw garlic, that would be horrible". Thankfully I didn't. But I didn't sleep well either.

This morning I was not "better" like I normally am. Garlic usually knocks this out for me but apparently this was a pretty bad case and is going to take longer. I am better than yesterday though (maybe at like 50%), just weak and a little achy (no more 'episodes' so far). But I don't need 4 ibuprofen at a time (which is prescription strength) in order to function. I am trying to rest though since that is the best thing (It is just so hard because I have a ton to do before Thanksgiving). I am still taking the raw garlic, and doing other things (like nursing a lot, using heat, massaging the area etc.). I did also mega dose A and D along with the garlic to help things along. You have to be careful about not overdosing on those 2 but if you take it for a short period it is fine and it does some amazing things. I used it with the kids once (when they had a 102 fever for 5 days) and it took all of an hour for them to show improvement. I have never had to give more than a dose or 2 so no worries about toxicity (which would be mega dosing for days on end). There is some great information from Dom (the Kefir king) here. It is nice to have it as a back-up to try for more acute issues . . . going to a dr is our absolute last resort.

Anyway, I am sure I will be fine tomorrow!

Raw Garlic

I wanted to give a bit of information about using raw garlic for ailments. It really is an amazing plant!! We have been using it for years. Maybe I'll do a whole post on it later. There are other things you can use, like GSE or colloidal silver but garlic is the first one we look to.
Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal! So it works for pretty much everything. Charlie went a whole 18mo without getting sick when he used raw garlic at the sign of any illness. It can cause upset stomach for some people but we have never had issues. The only real caution I know of is that it is a blood thinner (which is why some use it for heart problems or high blood pressure or high cholesterol) so if you have some type of surgery or procedure coming up then it is best not to take mega doses of raw garlic. Apparently it can help with heartburn in some people, but taking it daily (even just a couple cloves a day) for long periods can cause problems like indigestion for some people too (Charlie discovered that after taking 2+ cloves a day for several months). You have to see how your body reacts. I have met a few people for whom raw garlic is too irritating, but most do just fine with it.
Garlic can also cure yeast infections (maybe I can tell you how later) and warts (have heard of taping a piece to a wart to make them go away). I cured a nasty ear infection in one of my dogs with a homemade garlic oil like 8 yrs ago. Add the herb mullein to the garlic oil is even better for ear 'issues'.
There are many more uses for garlic, and some studies done to prove it's effectiveness, you can check out the links below.

How to take garlic
What we do is at the sign of illness, we take 2-4 cloves of garlic. You can take more if you feel you need it. I took 6 yesterday. It is imperative that it is raw, that is the most potent. Pills or cooked garlic in food may be OK for daily maintenance, but it won't stop an illness. And crushing it helps it to work better, so you want to chop it up or chew it. I can't handle chewing it so what I do is chop it in little pieces and throw them on the back of my mouth and chase it down with some full strength grape juice. I hardly taste it. I have heard of others who do take it other ways. Here are some ideas
  • Chop and swallow like I do, with a strong drink like grape juice
  • Chop and swallow with a spoon of honey and water (honey is also beneficial)
  • Chew cloves with a piece of bread (helps with the burn, my friend does this)
  • Chew cloves with apple slices (supposedly it hides the taste and burn)
  • Crush and mix with butter or oil and spread on bread or toast (remember to keep it raw)
The way I take it, it usually takes about 3-4 swallows per clove. I prefer to do it at night, so I am not burping up garlic, but if you are really sick, it is best to take it throughout the day. Yesterday I did 2 cloves in the morning, 2 in the afternoon and 2 at night. I took 2 this morning and will take 2 more tonight.

Garlic is our natural antibiotic. I have not been to a Dr for an illness in, geez, probably 15 yrs. The kids have never needed a Dr or had any abx either. Charlie hasn't in probably 15 yrs too. I haven't needed to use garlic for the kids. I usually do nothing first and let things take their course. You can make garlic lemonade. Make sure not to boil the garlic, just steep it in the hot water. My kids didn't like it when they were really little but I bet I could get the older ones to drink it now . . . especially if I added some ginger!

You can find more information on garlic used through history click HERE and for info on many other uses and studies go HERE

Friday, November 20, 2009

Honey Almond Face Scrub

(excuse the horrible pictures, my good camera's battery charger died UGH).

I know I mentioned this scrub in my post about washing your face with oil.
I use it in the mornings. Actually I really love to put it on before taking a shower, then I leave it on my face and rinse at the end of the shower. It makes my skin feel really good and it tastes good too!!

Honey is SO good for you!! I am anxious to get bees some day so we can produce our own. Most people thing of honey as something they put on their chicken nuggets or use on a sandwich with peanut butter, or maybe as a healthy alternative to sugar. But it is good for far more than that. I could write a whole post about it, but for now just a few things . . . It's antibacterial/antiseptic/antimicrobial properties are good for a wide range of uses. Not only is raw local honey great for allergies, but you can even use it on cuts and burns to heal and prevent infections. Midwives have been using it on perineal tears and it is soothing for other illnesses like colds etc.

For skin, not only does it kill bacteria but it is a humectant and helps to hydrate the skin, it is also thought to be a great anti-aging treatment.

Anyway, go to Benefits Of Honey for info on it's many uses and even some recipes.

Honey Almond Face Scrub

This is so easy to make. I recycle little jars for my oils, homemade ointments and stuff like that. You can use old lotion jars or even baby food, pimento etc. jars.
All you need is . . . .
  • A little jar
  • honey
  • almonds
  • coffee grinder
First thing to do is grind your almonds in the coffee grinder. The amount of almonds you add to your jar is up to you. My jar held like 5 Tbsp of liquid. I filled it just under 1/2 way with ground almonds. Try to get them as small as possible and remove any big chunks that don't get ground up well. You know the baking aisle of most stores has those small packets of nuts for like $1, that is usually a good size to buy.

Then I filled the jar to the top with honey and mixed it all up.

That is it!!

I don't want to add water because water adds moisture and I know that added moisture to homemade items can increase the likelihood of it going bad. Not sure if this would, but it just isn't needed anyway.
Honey IS really sticky but if you put it on a wet face it rubs in really well. So start by wetting your face. It is a nice gentle scrub and feels really good, not harsh at all.

You may find that your scrub needs to be mixed before each use. With natural stuff like this there are not artificial ingredients added to suspend your solids in your liquid. It is no biggie though. I just stick a finger in, mix it up, and then use what is left on my finger on my face.

Finished scrub


Friday, November 13, 2009

Wash your face with . . . OIL!!!

Ewwww, that was my first thought when I heard about people washing their face with oil!! Ewww, that just sounds downright gross! I mean who would want to smear oil all over their face?? And why on earth would someone with oily skin, or who wants to keep their skin from breaking out use pure oil on it? I mean aren't we told that oil clogs pores? And of course someone like me, who usually has oily skin and often breaks out has been told to look for cleansing products that don't have any oil at all.

Well let me tell ya . . . it WORKS!!! I have been washing my face with oil for . . . oh . . . let me see . . . 2-3 yrs. And the Oil Cleansing Method, as it has come to be called, has been used by many, with great success!!

Just a little background on me. I have had skin 'issues' since I hit puberty at 12 yrs old. Yes, I have been struggling with my skin for 22 yrs . . . that is just sad! I have always done everything 'right' too to no avail. You know, you are supposed to clean your face daily, never sleep in your make-up, use oil free cleaner, toner, moisturizer (morning and evening) exfoliate but don't scrub etc. I have tried everything, from natural stuff to prescription meds (that tore up my stomach, that was before I knew better) to Proactive and nothing really helped. Though I will say that the last few years it has been better and thankfully, since Thrace was born my skin is the clearest it has been since I was 12. Not sure if it is age, hormones or just how I am cleaning it now but I suspect it may be a combination. For the last 10 yrs or so I have been using mostly natural products on my face (at least part of the time as I could afford them). But the way I wash my skin now, with oil and honey is by far the cheapest, easiest and actually the most natural of anything I have used before. And my skin has never looked better!!

I'll explain the oil part now and save the honey for a different post.

Why Oil?

Oil dissolves oil! I know that sounds weird but it is true. Your body naturally produces oil, and that in and of itself doesn't cause blemishes. It is the dead skin, hormones, bacteria, dirt etc. that can cause you to break out. When you rub oil into your skin, and open your pores, it allows the oil to get deep down and work out the existing oil and impurities. I have also found that it removes my make-up really well.

What type of oil?

Well that is going to depend on you and your skin type. Some oils that are most often used are Olive, Castor and Coconut. But some people prefer Jojoba, Sweet Almond, Grapeseed, Sunflower seed, flax seed etc. There are many oils with many different properties. Each oil has it's benefits. Olive Oil (yes, the cooking oil) is a moisturizing oil, so good for those with drier skin. Castor oil (found in small bottles at the drug store or in the pharmacy section at places like WalMart) is great at drawing out impurities. Many people like to do a combination of olive and castor depending on their skin type, and this is something you can experiment with. I tried them both, and while they worked fine, I much prefer unrefined coconut oil and that is what I use exclusively now. I like how it is solid and melts with your skin, it is thinner than the other oils, and it has wonderful health benefits for your skin (as well as body). And I just like what it did for my skin.
Choosing your oil is very much a personal thing and you can experiment to find what oil you like best and more importantly what oils your skin likes best.

Here is a quick run down of some oils and their properties
  • Extra virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) - moisturizing, good for all skin types, but especially dry skin
  • Castor Oil - helps draw out impurities
  • Unrefined/virgin Coconut Oil - antimicrobial, antifungal, antibacterial
  • Grapeseed - good for acne and oily skin
  • Jojoba - good for all skin types, especially mature skin and wrinkles
  • Sunflower seed - versatile for all skin types
  • Sweet Almond - soothing and moisturizing, good for all skin types
And there are several more. You can find out more about oil properties at these sites HERE and HERE

If you are anxious to try it now, just start with what you have. Most people have olive oil around the house maybe sunflower oil. Start there and then you can add different oils to see what works best for you.

Another option is adding Essential Oils to your oil for added benefits. Essential oils, diluted in a carrier oil, are wonderfully healing for the mind and body. Depending on the oil you use they can be anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral, so something like, a few drops of Tea Tree in your carrier oil can help with problem skin. I often use Lavender as well or you can use them if you just want to make your oils smell "pretty".
You can find a list of Essential oils and their properties HERE

Washing your face with oil

First, I keep my oil in a separate container. Since I use coconut oil and it is solid (melts with body heat)I keep it in a glass jar (I reuse all my jars for ointments and stuff). Here is my oil jar below. If you are using any of the other oils though it is probably best to keep it in a bottle where you can squirt some out.
I actually keep a few jars of coconut oil around for not only my face, but dry hands, lips and other stuff.

What is involved? OK the short version . . .
  • Apply oil
  • rub
  • steam
  • wipe
  • moisturize
Simple right? OK I'll elaborate a bit (because I am so good at elaborating, LOL).

To start, you want to
use a generous amount of oil, don't skimp. You want to make sure you really coat your face well (ewww, I know sounds gross but stick with me, LOL).

Apply the oil all over your face! It is important to really rub it in and massage it everywhere. You don't want to be too vigorous though, just a gentle massage all over. And take your time to really work it into your pores. If you have on make up, make sure to gently get around your eyes and lashes (and I will often take some tissue to wipe off my eye area after working the oil in so I am not smearing that eye make up all over my face). Many people recommend massaging for 5min or more. I rarely have that amount of time (or patience) so I will only do it for a min or two. But I try to take time once a week or so to spend more time on it. I think taking more time allows the oil to really get deep in your pores better.

Next you will want to open up your pores. Once you have rubbed it in really well, run a washcloth under hot (or very warm) water, squeeze and place over your face. I usually only let it lie on my face maybe 10 sec for lack of time, but if you can sit and relax and just leave it on your face for a minute or so that would be ideal. The heat will help open your pores and let the oil get in and work out the dirt and oil and stuff.

After removing the washcloth continue to massage your face again, working the oil into your pores. I spend maybe another 30 sec on this before I finish up.

To finish, remove ALL the oil. Use your washcloth, rinsing and wiping as needed, to get all of the oil/make up/dirt/dead skin etc off of your face. Don't be too rough, you don't want to rub, just gently wipe. And the washcloth needs to be very warm. If you have ever worked with oil you know that oil and cold water don't do well together.

It is important to remove ALL of the oil from your face. Using the oil for cleaning won't clog your pores but if you leave copious amount of oil on your face it will!! Make sure you get into your hairline, as people have reported breaking out there because they didn't do a good enough job of removing the oil. But don't worry too much about it. It is super easy to get all the oil off, just a few wipes (takes me maybe 20 seconds), rinse, a few more wipes and that is usually all I need.

At this point, if I want to really do an extra deep clean, I will sometimes do a second wash with oil (since my make up is off now) but most of the time I don't.

You may find, shortly after washing your face with oil, that it has done such a good job removing oil from your skin that your skin feels dry and tight. I am a HUGE advocate for moisturizing. For some people they will finish up with putting a drop or 2 of oil on their hands, rubbing it in and then patting it on a moist face. The way I understand it, the oil doesn't moisturize in and of itself, what it does so well is lock existing moisture, so applying it to a moist face or with moist hands is needed.
But you know, I have found that that isn't enough for me, and my skin was getting very dry, so I use a natural moisturizer (which I use after washing my face at night, and in the morning before putting on make up). Your health food store will have plenty of brands to choose from and Burts Bees makes fairly good and fairly natural (always read the labels) moisturizers and they are now found in many regular stores. Again, play around with it and see what works for you. And keep in mind that sometimes it is possible for your face to break out a bit as the impurities leave the skin (didn't happen to me, but I know it can) but it should get better quickly, if it doesn't, try a different oil.

And now, without further delay, here are my before/after pictures!!
I actually put on extra make-up for the first one, though the flash still washes me out so you can't tell so much. But alas . . . here they are.

Me with a face full of make up

Immediately after cleaning my face with oil

I do this every night, and though I am long winded and have typed out a lot of stuff here, it really only takes a few minutes . . . certainly not much longer than washing my face with any other cleanser.
In the mornings I will either just wipe my face down with a washcloth before applying moisturizer, or I will wash it with my homemade honey scrub (honey is amazing for so many thing).

Anyway, I encourage you to try it. I don't think you will find anything more simple or cheap. I love that if I am away from home and forget my oil, I can just hop on over to the kitchen and there is all I need to wash my face, LOL!

For more information, you can google Oil Cleansing Method
Here are some websites.

Oil Cleansing Method

Essential Oils

Coconut Oil

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ah, a wedding in the park!

Wait a second . . . hmmm, something seems wrong here . . .
(That is Charlie, my dh, right and my Bro-in-law Rod being goofy)

OK THIS is much better!!
This is Karla (my little sister) and her new hubby James

OK so finally, I feel like a huge weight was taken off my shoulders. After all of the babies being born, the showers, birthdays etc. we have been so busy (and out of town a ton) since, well, since Thrace was born in May. But Karla's wedding was the last big 'event' and now I have some down time. Well, not that much down time, I mean we do have Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up so this time of year is pretty crazy, but I have a few weeks at least (though we do have an overnight party to go to one weekend, but at least it is IN town!!!).

Karla, is my little sister (and the one responsible for some of our cool new Kozy prints and pictures and video etc.) I joke that she is the famous one because she works for Turner (Cartoon network) used to do commercials on GameTap (think that is what it is called), makes independent movies, worked on the set of the new Ben 10 movie on cartoon network and was on a reality TV show (among other things, LOL). Hey, she is even on IMDB. Anyway, she was the last of us 5 girls to get married. She married Mr James Abercrombie (whom we all love, and knew he was perfect for her years before she realized it herself!! Well, we just wanted him in the family because he is that great!).

She had her wedding in GA (where she lives and we are originally from). So we had to all pack up and travel down there from VA . . . all 24 of us (my grandma wasn't up to the trip unfortunately). It was a 10 hr drive from our house (well, OK much longer with kids, LOL).

All the kids (minus new babies) were in the wedding and I am sorry but they stole the show if I do say so myself, they were SO cute!!

Despite the fact that it was a whirlwind trip (down on Fri, back on Sun) we had a lovely time! The wedding was very cool, the setting rocked and the outfits were fashionably retro. The coolest thing was that it was overcast all day but the sun came out as Karla started to walk down the 'aisle' and stayed out till immediately after they were named husband and wife (maybe a little Divine intervention there?).

Oh, and my favorite part of the whole thing . . . the reception . . . eggs, grits, bacon and biscuits . . . mmmmmm, so good!! Those grits were the best I have EVER tasted!

Anyway on to the pictures!

Karla arriving at the wedding . . . yes, she was ALREADY crying (and it hadn't even started yet). I think she is like Kristi in that way, crying when happy . . . I don't cry so much (though more so now since having kids . . . durn hormones!)

Karla and Dad

Now husband and wife

Piper was cold (it was pretty chilly when the wind was blowing)

The kids (minus Esther, don't know where she was). I told you they were cute!! Imagine them walking down the 'aisle' throwing leaves!

Charlie and Thrace, all decked out!

Me and Karla. I am wearing a silk velvet patchwork kozy that I made (no I am not making more, it was a huge PITA to sew)

Kristi and Karla

All 5 of us. Kathi (#4) Kim (#1) Karla (#5) Kristi (#2) and me (#3)

OK so now that things are settling down (well as much as they can in Nov and Dec) hopefully I can start posting more often

Thursday, October 15, 2009

More Jackson Pictures!

Ok, so yes, I know it has been a while. But seriously I have been so busy here. After Kristi had her baby we had to get ready for a birthday party for the kids. We always have some project to finish before a party, this time we were building cabinets!! We finished them at 7am the day of the party (we went to sleep at 7.30am, woke at 10, the party was at 2, LOL!! Crazy!). We ended up having 9 kids and 4 parents spend the night. It was a ton of fun!! Then, after a few days of recuperating, we had to head out of town again for my sister Karla's bridal shower. We are going to GA for her wedding next weekend! I am so not used to having so much going on! I don't think I have even checked facebook in like 2 wks!! LOL!! I have like a list of things I want to blog about and no time to do it! I try to blog after the kids are in bed (which is my only time to really sit and do it uninterrupted) and I end up falling asleep every night!

Anyway, here are the pictures I promised. Kristi and Jackson in the Kozy. These were taken when he was like 12 hrs old!! I didn't want Kristi to have to get out of the bed but I was anxious to capture his first "ride" on camera so we just had her sit up in bed and tie him on!!

Ah, I love it when they are so close you can just lean over and kiss their little head!!!

Here are some pictures from 2 wks later, at my sister Karla's Bridal Shower
(which we had at Kozy)

Jackson and mama

Jackson and GG
(his great grandma, our moms mom who recently turned 80)

Jackson and his aunt Karla
(our little sister who is getting married next weekend)

The 3 newest grandbabies (numbers 12, 13 and 14). Jackson (2 wks) Thrace (4 1/2mo) and Shiloh (3mo)

OK so NOT Jackson, LOL!! But I had to throw this in because they are cute! Ever and Thrace lying with Polywhirl (the cat who really isn't supposed to be in the house but he is such a good sweet and tolerant cat that sometimes I let it slip).


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