How did summer come and go so fast? Since it’s my favorite season, I’m a little sad to see summer go! But I’m welcoming fall by thinking of all the things I like about this season of change. After the lazy days of summer and vacation time, it seems like the arrival of fall Continue reading
THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED-congrats to Marge K on winning the giveaway copy! I’m reviewing this new book on home organizing from the Editors of REAL SIMPLE, and I also am doing a giveaway for one copy of it! Continue reading below for details on how to enter the giveaway!
I think I was meant to have this book! From the beginning of this year (actually, even before that), organizing and simplifying have been on my mind a lot. It’s this year, though, that I’ve really become serious about it. So this new book, The Real Simple Method to Organizing Every Room and How to Keep it that Way is just what I needed! I Continue reading
As I mentioned in a recent post, I’m wanting to move toward a simpler, less-cluttered life. And for the fall season, I’m thinking about how I can decorate and still keep things simple. Decorating with natural things is appealing to me because after you’re done decorating, you can recycle your natural decorations in a compost pile. Or you may be able to work it into your decorating for the next season (pinecones, for example, work great for both fall and Christmas decorating).
I made the centerpiece shown above with some small pumpkins and dried hydrangeas–they make such a pretty fall combination! I just placed the pumpkins in a shallow wire basket and filled in the empty spaces with the dried hydrangea flowers. This arrangement can work as a centerpiece. Or display it on a coffee table or sideboard.
As you’re doing your fall decorating, you may be doing a little cleaning, too, like cleaning your windows before the cold weather sets in or cleaning your floors. So here are some tips if you’re needing some nature-themed decorating inspiration and simple DIY natural cleaning ideas:
- Create a welcoming home entrance by decorating your front door with a wreath made with colorful leaves and/or other fall foliage. Pinecones or gumballs from a sweet gum tree make a nice-looking wreath too.
- You can also use items from nature (pinecones, branches of colorful leaves, gourds, pumpkins, or pots of autumn flowers) to add a natural touch to your decor throughout your home.
- Display fresh fruit in a bowl or basket. Apples look great in wooden bowls and this makes a great fall table decoration or centerpiece.
- Candles make everything cozy and beeswax candles are a good choice because they are long-lasting and burn clean. Soy candles are clean-burning, too.
- Lanterns also add a cozy feel to your decor, whether you use real candles or the battery-powered ones.
- Using seasonal pillows and throws on chairs and sofas is an easy way to add an autumn feel to the furniture you already own. You can carry the “natural look” through by using pillows and other accessories made with natural fabrics like burlap, linen, and cotton.
- Use a burlap or linen table runner in your dining room and decorate with displays of small pumpkins or gourds, or a “bouquet” of colorful branches of leaves.
- Wicker baskets add a natural, rustic touch and are great for storing odds and ends or for displaying potted plants in.
- Use fresh seasonal flowers in a vase or potted flowers throughout your home and on your porch for a punch of color.
- Use dried herbs and fruits from your summer garden in an herbal potpourri mix to add natural fragrance to your home. In the potpourri shown above, I mixed dried orange slices with cinnamon sticks, fresh rosemary, and fresh oregano. I let the herbs dry right in the bowl, and they still have a great fragrance after they’re dried. You can also create a mix of dried citrus peel from oranges and grapefruit (cut in smaller pieces or strips), cinnamon sticks, and/or dried apple and orange slices. Or mix herbs like dried lavender and rosemary (and some eucalyptus if you have it) and display in a small bowl.
- Another use for dried herbs–if you have a wood-burning fireplace, you can toss dried rosemary and lavender twigs into the fire to create a nice aroma.
- Before you add any seasonal window decorations, clean the glass with a DIY vinegar and water mixture. Use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, or for dirtier windows, use equal parts vinegar and water. Put mixture in a spray bottle and shake to mix.
- For a natural, light, general cleaner around the house (on things like countertops and tile floors), mix 2 Tablespoons of baking soda in 2 cups of warm water. Add in a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a soft fragrance.
- Use a linen spray on your bed sheets to add a soft, relaxing fragrance to the bedroom. Just put 1 cup of water (you can use distilled water, too) in a spray bottle and add 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil; shake to mix and then lightly spray on linens. Shake this mixture each time you use it (as you’re getting your home ready for fall, you may also want to turn your mattresses and vacuum both sides, just to keep things fresh).
Hope you are having fun decorating for fall! Do you have any natural decorating tips of your own?
Who would have thought that black tea could be used as a window cleaner? I think it’s a great idea–so many people drink it, so they have it on hand, and it’s a great eco-friendly alternative to conventional chemical-laden cleaners. I didn’t come up with this idea myself–the tea experts at Choice Organic Teas, makers of organic, fair trade certified teas, told me about it and sent me some samples of their black tea to try it out! They sent me their Classic Black, English Breakfast, and Wild Forest Black teas–any black tea should work for making the window cleaner.
I used the Classic Black tea and found that this window cleaner is really easy to make. I was also surprised at how well it cleaned my windows! Here’s how you make it:
BLACK TEA WINDOW CLEANER
What you’ll need:
- a clean, empty spray bottle
- 3 tea bags of black tea
- 1 cup of hot water
Directions: Steep tea bags in 1 cup of water for 4 to 5 minutes; remove tea bags and let brewed tea cool. Pour the cooled tea into your spray bottle. Spray on windows and mirrors and wipe thoroughly with a paper towel or cloth.
That’s all there is to it! it’s nice to be able to clean your windows using natural ingredients instead of chemicals, isn’t it? This sure comes in handy for spring and summer cleaning! Have you ever tried making your own window cleaner?
One of the things I love about this DIY face cream is that it’s so simple and easy–and has just 2 ingredients that just about everyone has on hand–a banana and some milk! I found this recipe in my review copy of The Complete Guide to Natural Homemade Beauty Products and Treatments (Robert Rose, softcover). This book includes 175 easy-to-follow recipes for a variety of skin and hair care items. And all the ingredients in these recipes are chemical-free, using natural ingredients like aromatic and medicinal plants, flowers, fruits, and essential oils. For example, there’s a Rejuvenating Bath recipe that includes dried sage, thyme, and eucalyptus leaves, along with patchouli and sandalwood essential oils. And a Lemon Hand Cream that’s made with shea butter, apricot kernel oil, castor oil, and lemon essential oil.
I decided to try the Nourishing Banana Cream for the face because it was such a simple recipe that we all could try without having to buy any special ingredients. This is actually more like a mask than a cream, because you just keep it on for 3 to 4 minutes. It really does make your skin feel nice and soft after you wash it off–it felt so refreshing, too! If your skin is dry, you’ll probably want to apply your regular moisturizer after you rinse this banana face cream off.
Here’s what the book says about bananas: Bananas are good for beauty, both inside and out. They contain a host of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamins A, C, and E and potassium. So pamper your face and try this out when you get a chance! 🙂
NOURISHING BANANA CREAM from Natural Homemade Beauty Products and Treatments
Makes 1 application – works best for normal skin
- 1/2 ripe banana
- 3 Tablespoons milk
Slice banana. In a small bowl and using a fork, mash banana with milk to form a paste (I actually found it easier to mash by putting the ingredients in a baggie and mashing it with my hands)
Using fingers, spread banana mixture over face and neck. Let stand on skin for 3 to 4 minutes.
Rinse off banana mixture with lukewarm water. Gently pat face and neck dry with a towel.
Isn’t that easy? I used a medium-size banana and it made plenty of “cream” to apply; in fact, I had some extra. So I saved the rest and used it in a smoothie!
Have you made any DIY beauty products with simple, natural ingredients?