Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Insect Repellent Candles

Due to the fact we live in a tropical environment we deal with insect issues pretty much year round. To me it is a small price to pay for being blessed to live here but I am always up for trying new bug repellent methods. My hubby likes to sit on the back porch to relax and read often has several store bought bug repellent candles burning while he is out there. Awhile back I had come across and saved this link DIY Survival Candles with the intention of making them at some point (our electricity also goes out periodically).  So it dawned on me why not make them with essential oils that will deter insects. According to the above link a candle in an 8oz jar should burn for 40-50 hours. With the exception of the essential oil part that I added the following is according to the above link.

You Will Need
Soy Wax Flakes - 5lbs (I got mine on Amazon)
Canning Jars - I did 1 dozen 8 oz. jars but you can use any glass jar
Wicks and Tabs - I bought my wicks already pre-tabbed on Amazon
Essential Oils - 1  1/2 oz.
Double Boiler - If you do not have one, you can place a pot in a larger pot of water (this would almost be better as the double boiler I have could not fit the amount I was making so I had to do it in batches)
Wooden tool to stir with. I used a large wooden popsicle stick

There are several different essential oils that are good insect repellents, you can choose to do all one or a blend of different ones. Some good ones are Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Lemon Eucalyptus, Cedarwood, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Peppermint, Basil, Rose Geranium, Cinnamon Oil, Thyme, Lemon, Orange, Pine.

Because we not only have a problem with mosquitoes and flies but also roaches. I chose Citronella, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Lavender.  As far as what brand essential oil, you can read here Essential Oils my favorite brands but honestly (I know I will get a little beat up for this) because I am not rubbing this into my skin or anything I have no problem going with one of the cheaper brands.

First prep your jars. Personal opinion is that it is a bad idea to pour burning hot liquid into unprepared glass jars. :) Fill a large pot with water, place jars in the pot so they are covered and put on medium heat. Let them sit in the pot with the burner on while you continue on to the rest. If you are going to be doing this a lot you might want to invest in some canning supplies. I already had them on hand because I like to make my own jam. At a minimum a jar lifter and jar funnel would be helpful. Canning utensil set on Amazon

Melt wax in double boiler or improvised double boiler.

Pot of canning jars should be boiling by this point. Turn off burner and remove jars. Cut wicks to just above rim of jar and place in jars. They probably will not stay in place to begin with but we will take care of that later.

Once wax is melted remove from heat. Add essential oils and stir well. Essential oil has a tendency to sink to bottom so it is imperative that you do not do this step until wax is removed from heat and that you stir it thoroughly.

Fill jars. (you may want to transfer to a pouring device to do this step, I already had a canning funnel so did not find that necessary.) I do not fill it all the way to the top but leave room for a match book or small box of matches to go in each one.

 If it starts to harden before getting them all filled you can place pot back in the hot water and re-melt. Now you can make sure wicks are centered. If they are not staying in place you can set a popsicle stick or similar item across top of jar with wick resting against it. Let set and harden. Once they do harden you can trim the wick so lids can be screwed on. I made a dozen although if you fill jars to the very top it will make less.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Homemade Natural Sunscreen

I have been wanting to make my own sunscreen for ages and finally did so last week. I was so excited. This is just another part of the continuing attempt to get some of the unnecessary chemicals out of our life. I break out when I use certain run of the mill store bought sunscreens and my son is sensitive to many of them as well in other ways. We have at least been using a "natural" store bought one but I wanted to go one step further. Over the past year or so I had come across two different recipes I liked and decided to take what I liked from each and kind of combine them into one recipe. The first one I got from Keeper of the Home and the second one I got from Native American Nuritionals. Because of being rubbed into the skin I would suggest using a high quality brand of essential oil. The brands I like are doTerra, Native American Nutritionals, Young Living and Mountain Rose Herbs.

1/2 oz. beeswax granules
2 oz. shea butter
2 oz. coconut oil (has natural SPF)
1 oz. zinc oxide powder (natural SPF)
1 tsp. sesame oil (natural SPF)
1 tsp. natural/organic aloe vera liquid. I use Aubrey Organics Pure Aloe Vera
10 drops carrot seed essential oil (warning carrot seed oil has a very strong smell)
10 drops copaiba essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil

(the essential oils and aloe vera are not absolutely necessary but I think are very beneficial)

Place beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil and sesame oil in a double boiler and melt together. If you do not have a double boiler you can use a glass pyrex bowl sitting on pot with boiling water. Remove from heat.

Add aloe vera, zinc oxide and essential oils. Using a stick blender / immersion blender, blend mixture together, getting out any clumps and whipping it up a bit. I then poured into a mason jar and let cool on the counter top.  (this is a double batch)
We have been out in the sun a lot lately and have used this quite a bit. It works like a charm! The only thing I might do differently next time is use a bit less beeswax. Seemed just a bit thick to me but rubbed in well. Due to the mineral zinc oxide (which is what helps with protection from UVA cancer causing rays) it does leave you looking a bit pastey looking but I will take that over the cancer causing chemicals in most store bought sunscreens. Hope you enjoy and please let me know if you try it!

Carrot seed oil is high in beta-carotene, is a natural sunscreen and is great for skin care and is also good for the liver and lymphatic function. Again though it does have a strong smell!

Copaiba essential oil is not only good for skin protection it is also an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, disinfectant, and diuretic. It helps with colds, coughs, chills, bronchitis, catarrh, and aids lymphatic flow, intestinal infections, eases vomiting, diarrhea, nervous tension, stress problems and anxiety.

Lavender essential oil is a great essential oil that I even keep in my purse to take with me wherever I go.  According to Native American Nutritionals it is beneficial for skin conditions, anti-spasmodic, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, acne, arthritis, rheumatism, insomnia (may be excellent), tachycardia, phlebitis, mouth abscess, indigestion, flatulence, nausea, lowering blood pressure, fluid retention. Has assisted in elimination of waste through lymphatic system, pre-menstrual and menopausal problems, thrush, hair loss, dandruff, burns, stretch marks, minimizing scarring, herpes, diaper rash, ulcers, cankers, allergies, asthma, athlete's foot, boils, bruises, wounds, dermatitis, earache, chronic fatigue syndrome and boost immunity.
May assist with tonsillitis, eczema, fainting, cuts, headaches, hysteria, irritability, moodiness, insect bites and stings. Also lice, ringworm, sunburn, muscular aches and pains, abdominal cramps, colic, dyspepsia, flu, fears, change, insecurity, inner child, restlessness, depression, PMS, shock, vertigo, sciatica, nerves and stress (by balancing extremes of emotions, it may contribute to emotional equilibrium). May increase cell growth (apply to wound or before having an operation to area going to be operated on, may assist the skin to heal and rejuvenate).

Myrrh - Natural Sunscreen

A friend of mine had mentioned as a natural protection from the sun being able to put a little bit of Myrrh essential oil in the crook of the arm. I did a little research and found others saying similar things. So I put 12 drops of Myrrh essential oil in 1oz of carrier oil (I used fractionated coconut oil) and I thought church family camp would be the perfect time to try this. Now the first day I used my homemade sunscreen but the second day I tried this. I put it on twice throughout the day and while I did get sun I did not get sunburned when normally I would have. I rubbed some in the crook of my arms, my ears and wrists. Will definately try this again although am still nervous to try it on a blistering hot day. Maybe if it is a blistering hot day I will try it for short periods of time first. Now I am not sure if it does anything to help against UVA (cancer causing) rays, and will have to look more into it.

Myrrh has a lot of other great uses as well. According to Native American Nutritionals website it is beneficial for anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, underactive thyroid. Helps with diarrhea, dysentery, viral hepatitis, ulcers, bronchitis, asthma, expelling mucus, toning lungs, vaginal thrush, menstrual difficulties, stretch marks, cleansing obstructions in the womb, recovery from illness, relieving the itch and irritation of weeping eczema. Also, fungal infection (athlete's foot, candida, jock itch and ringworm) chapped and cracked skin, mature complexions, wrinkles, hemorrhoids, gum infections, gingivitis, mouth ulcers, sore throat, boosting immunity (stimulating the production of white blood cells). It is beneficial for voice loss, toning digestive tract reducing stomach gas and acidity, apathy, no incentive, use to enhance and strengthen spirituality, purify spiritual environment, prepare for teachings, balances upper and lower chakras, enhances visualization, brings up deep hidden emotions, awaking awareness, fear, overcoming irritability, calming, emotional coldness, soothing, supporting, connecting.
 This link talks more about it as well as contains recipes of blends to make with myrrh.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Homemade Lip Balm

The other day my son asked to put chap stick on the grocery list because his lips had been dry.  I already had the ingredients on hand to make chap stick because of leftovers from other things I had made, so figured why not. Glad I did! It was easy and I am enjoying it. The only thing I did not have on hand and needed to order were the chap stick tubes. I got mine off of Amazon but you can also get them from Aromatics International. I used a recipe I got from a class I took at Aromahead Institute. The recipe said it makes 24, mine made 22 but I did have a little spillage do to operator error. :) Also the recipe called for Orange Essential Oil but instead I did half peppermint and half orange and love the way it turned out. Because it is going on your lips I would suggest a high end brand of essential oil. If you would like to know more about the oils I use or have questions please feel free to contact me.


  • 1 oz of beeswax
  • 1.5 oz of coconut oil
  • 0.5 oz of shea butter
  • 1 oz of jojoba oil (I did not have any so used almond oil)
  • 20 drops of Orange essential oil (I did 10 drops orange, and 10 drops peppermint)
The recipe says that it will about 24 tubes, if your tube is about 5 ml (1/6 oz). I came out with 22 but I did have a little bit of spillage and lost some in trying to figure out how to get it in the tubes. :)
Melt the coconut oil and beeswax in a double boiler. (If you do not have a double boiler you can use a pyrex glass bowl and set it up in a pan like a double boiler). When everything is melted, add the jojoba and stir with a glass stirring rod, (if you do not have a glass stirring rod, a wooden skewer works too) then take off the stove. Add the shea butter and stir again until the shea is melted, then add the Orange oil and pour immediately into lip balm tubes.  Okay here is where it took some figuring out for me.
At first I used a turkey baster to suck in the mixture and squirt into the tubes. And it actually worked pretty well until it started hardening on the inside of the baster and I could not get it all back out of the baster. Kind of a fail.

So then I got out this tiny funnel I have for when I blend and pour essential oils and poured it in that way and it worked great. I got the funnel and glass stir rods and most of my essential oil supplies from Aromatics International.

After you have them poured in the tubes. let set for several hours and Voila! You have chapstick! These make great gifts too. :)