The Promise

The promise of Spring is here

buried under the snow of February.

daffodil buds in snow

The earth awakens from sleep.

Just as Jesus can awaken

the frozen darkness

of your soul

Fall, Winter, Spring

and resurrect it

to life

and beauty

and promise.

daffodil bud in snow

Linking up to iPhriday.

127. Bluebirds in January

On the thirty-first of January

I long for warmth — hands and feet always cold…

the sun — so far away it doesn’t even melt the icicles

hanging from the roof,

or the snow on the spruce branches.

spruce trees in the snow

Blue skies?

Mostly the dark gray sky just turns a lighter shade of pale;

morning is only told by the smell of coffee.

The cat takes refuge in the warm dryer.

cat in dryer

 

Yet there are glimmers —

spirit-lifting bluebirds fly around in the snow;

a bit of brown grass shows underneath the pines;

each day brings an extra minute of precious light.

sunset through the spruce

Feb. 3, 2015: Sunrise 7:04  Sunset 5:16  10 hours 12 minutes of daylight… and counting.

92. DIY Organic Hand Cleaner for Oil-stains and paints (that’s actually good for your hands)

I had an amazing brainstorm discovery yesterday — and really? These things don’t happen to me that often, folks! I got so excited, I have to share this with you.

Sanding is hard on hands

Sanding is hard on hands

Since we have been redoing the cottage, my hands have not been lovely. They never were, but now they are worse. Stains under fingernails, oil paint that won’t come off, dry skin from various kinds of dirt and toxins. And now it’s winter!

Off and on for the past two years, I have been experimenting with DIY lotions and creams. I’ve made Lovely Lavender Lotion from Healing Heart Oils; Grapefruit Body Butter from One Good Thing by Jillee; Homemade Lavender Deodorant from Full of Graces; and Olive Oil Cleansing Lotion from Wellness Mama. I recently got really brave and made up my own recipe for Body Bomb from a ratio recipe. All these links are tried and make great stuff from easily available, edible foods and oils, and if you are at all inclined, I encourage you to check them out and make your own. Nothing like being able to eat your hand cream!

Yesterday I was using oil stain on the fireplace mantle that I am messing around with sanding, staining, priming and painting. I’m a tactile kind of person, and I hate wearing gloves. So at the end of the staining session, my hands and fingernails were stained a lovely red mahogany. A good name for a new nail polish?

This is a before picture of the fireplace mantle -- It is currently dis-mantled and sitting on sawhorses in the living room. Look for another post about it soon -- when it is finished.

This is a before picture of the fireplace mantle — It is currently dis-mantled and sitting on sawhorses in the living room. Look for another post about it soon — when it is finished.

I was looking disgustedly at my hands, thinking:

1. I’m glad tomorrow isn’t Sunday; and

2. Hmm. It’s time to make dinner and I’m going to make meatballs with these hands?

I washed my hands with kitchen soap and water, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough. They were still sticky with stain. Mr. H.C. always has wipes I can use, but the jar specifically says “Not intended for personal cleansing.” Hmmm.

As I was stewing about the stain on my hands, the phrase “Oil cleans oil” flashed through my brain. I practically ran into the bathroom to get my jar of newly made Olive Oil Facial Cleanser. I put a good dollop on my hands and rubbed them all over, and the red mahogany stain magically and wonderfully disappeared. Not only did it clean my hands, it made them feel wonderfully soft. After all, this is a facial cleanser!

So I hurried to find a jar that would hold the little cleanser pads that you can buy at drug stores for very cheap. I put half in the jar, and poured in half the oil; then filled the jar and poured in the rest of the oil mixture. Now I have handy little cleansing pads for either my face OR my paint-and-stain-covered hands.

And I finally found a good use for my Vintage Burma-Shave jar that we found in the glass dump on our property last summer!

And I finally found a good use for my Vintage Burma-Shave jar that we found in the Apple Hill Glass Dump last summer!

Here is the oh-so-simple way to make it:

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or expeller-pressed Sweet Almond Oil)
Castor Oil (you can find this in most drug stores)
Essential oil of your choice — I used peppermint; lemon or grapefruit would be nice too.
Cleanser pads
Wide mouth jar with tight fitting lid

Mix the oils together and add a few drops of essential oil until you like the smell. If you are using peppermint, don’t overdo it; it is a facial cleanser as well, and peppermint isn’t always good in the eyes!

Here is the important idea: the castor oil is the astringent, so you don’t want to leave it out entirely, but depending on your skin type or the season of year, you can add more or less to the Olive oil. The mix to start with is one part Castor Oil to four parts Olive Oil. (If you would like to know the specific idea and ratios behind the Oil Cleansing Method, go to theOilCleansingMethod.com for an in-depth discussion and also options for differing oils and ratios to use in your mix.) Wellness Mama also has a very good article on it, and it is where I found my original recipe.

And just because I didn’t want to give you false information, I also tried this again today on my oil-paint-stained hands. (Mr. H.C. said to tell you all that this was stinky, sticky oil-based primer that gave us both watery eyes).

Before

Before

After 5 minutes with my little oil-saturated cleansing pad.

After — Just 5 minutes with my little oil-saturated cleansing pad.

It is also an amazing make-up remover. This wonderful stuff cleans your hands, takes off your makeup, and gently cleans your face — all with the same natural Olive Oil Cleanser. Try it, and let me know what you think.