How To: Crochet A Wire Hanger

I am all about reusing things rather than throwing them out. Reusing means you aren’t buying something new, saving resources AND money – a win-win situation! With this in mind, I created this tutorial for crocheting yarn around wire hangers to make them non-slip.

I’ve had great luck with these for wide-neck tops as well as spaghetti straps and tank tops. It also greatly reduces the wire hanger pushing through knits that are hung. However, if you really need a padded hanger, these probably won’t work. 

These are the basic instructions – feel free to play around with the yarn, the size crochet hook, and the stitch you use. Change things around and see which results you like the best.

For this project you will need:

Wire hangers like you get from the dry cleaner. (We could have an entire discussion on the hazards of dry cleaning, but we’ll save that for another time.) If you don’t dry clean, or have no wire hangers, ask around. Most people simply throw them away. 

Leftover yarn. I use about 15 yards per hanger, but what you need will vary depending on the yarn, the size hook, and the stitch you use. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough – simply switch to a different yarn part way through. Don’t have leftover yarn – ask anyone who knits or crochets for some leftover bits (and offer to make a hanger or two for them in return). Check out thrift stores. Any type of yarn will work; thicker yarn will give you more padding. For this project I used leftover acrylic yarn.

Crochet hook. Pick a size you are comfortable with and see how it goes. Switch around to get the look you like best. I used a size G/6 (4,5 mm) crochet hook because of the type of yarn, and I also wanted a fairly tight stitch.

Instructions:

 

 

Attach yarn to hook with a slipknot.

 

 

Place hook, with yarn attached, in center of hanger with yarn going over the TOP of the wire. Reach UNDER the wire with the crochet hook and pull up. Two loops on crochet hook.

 

Next, reach hook over TOP of hanger wire and pick up yarn with hook and pull through FIRST loop on the hook ; two loops will then be on the crochet hook:

 

 

Again, reach hook behind top wire of hanger and pull up yarn and pull it through both loops on the crochet hook:

 

One stitch made.

 

 

 

You continue making stitches by reaching to the FRONT of the wire to pull up first loop; then reach to the BACK to pull up yarn and go through first loop; reach to BACK again, pull up yarn and go through both oops on hanger. If you crochet, this is a single crochet stitch, but instead of pulling the yarn through the stitch on the previous row, you are doing it around the wire hanger.

Repeat around hanger to where two ends of wire are twisted together to begin the hanging hook.

You can end here by cutting the yarn and tying off. If you wish, you can continue in the same stitch around the hook (carefully work over area where wires are twisted). Work around hook almost to end. Cut yarn, leaving long tail, and pull through loop on hook. Take remaining yarn tail, wrap around end of wire hook and glue in place. I prefer to work around the hanging hook because I believe it gives a more finished look – although when I’m short on yarn and this is just for me, I won’t!

 

There you have it – a crocheted wire hanger!

 

 

Click here to download a printable copy of this tutorial!

I hope this is helpful. Please leave a comment with any questions.

Homemade Ginger Ale

I have always liked the taste and tingle of ginger ale, and have also found it helpful to settle my stomach.

Fresh ginger can help with bloating, gas and that general uncomfortable feeling of being too full. What better way to get real ginger into you than by making your own ginger ale! When you make it yourself, you know and control the ingredients going into it; the ingredients are easy to find and, best of all, it is easy to make.

For the recipe I use one by Kami McBride of LivingAwareness.com. She has two different ways to make your own ginger ale. The first requires a juicer, and if you have one, it is a great way to quickly whip up a batch whenever you want or need it. win_20161201_11_08_53_proThe second method only requires a grater and a pan. This is the recipe I use and I love it.

Watch the video to see both methods. Here are some of my notes:

win_20161201_11_17_13_proAfter you bring the grated ginger to near boil, you let
it soak for 1-2 hours. The longer it soaks, the stronger the flavor will be. For a milder taste, either soak it for about an hour, or use a different ratio of syrup and water when mixing.

Any unflavored fizzy water will work: club soda, seltzer, even fizzy mineral water (although these DO have a taste to them). For more information on the differences, read this article.

I made this in a half batch; keep the proportions the same and it works fine. Likewise, you win_20161201_14_03_07_proshould be able to double it if you need more for a get-together.

I found that a 1/2 batch gives me about 3 servings at the strength I like. So when I make a batch, I freeze about 1/3 of the syrup in ice cube trays, then store the cubes in the freezer. That way I always have some on hand to quickly thaw out and drink. To thaw I place them in a small saucepan over low heat and stir occasionally. I find that when they have melted, they are still a bit cool and ready to drink. KEEP ON EYE ON THEM TO BE SURE THEY DON’T GET TOO HOT AND “COOK” MORE.

Again, you can make a large batch if you want and freeze it. You’ll learn how much syrup (or how many frozen cubes) you’ll need to get the taste you like.

Next step is to grow my own gingerroot to use for this and other recipes. I have a piece planted in a pot; time will tell how it turns out.

I hope you try making your own ginger ale. Please share your thoughts in the comments!

I Can Hear You Now! Removing Ear Wax Build Up

This article may contain affiliate/distributor links. If you follow the link and purchase something, I will receive compensation for it. I only recommend products that I use and like. 

earI had known for several weeks that wax was building up in my left ear, and that eventually it was going to need to be removed or my hearing would be blocked. (I know this because it happened to me before; in fact about 15 years ago, my hearing was completely blocked. After trying to live with it for several months, I finally went to the doctor and had it cleaned out.)

However, “things” kept getting in the way. (Hurricane Matthew, I’m talking about you!) So when it got pretty stopped up and began ringing, I knew I had to do something.

First, I wanted to stop the ringing until I could get it cleared out. I have read that Helichrysum essential oil is good for reducing tinnitus, but I didn’t have any on hand. I did, however, have Panaway essential oil blend, and one of the ingredients is Helichrysum. I mixed a couple of drops Panaway with a couple of drops of castor oil, and gently rubbed on the inside and outside of my left ear, and on the mastoid bone behind the ear.

Let me be clear: I rubbed it on the inside of my outer ear; I did NOT put it into my ear canal.

Within 5 minutes, the ringing was reduced, and within 30 minutes, it was gone. What a relief!

Then I was able to go about cleaning out my ear. I tipped my head to the right, pulled back on my left ear to open up the canal, and put a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide into my left ear. I stood like that for a minute to let the peroxide begin to dissolve the wax. I then put a cotton ball in my outer ear to keep it in while I prepared the next step.

I heated water in the microwave for about 10 seconds. You want the water to be body temperature, so depending on your microwave, you may need more or less time. I took a syringe (NOT a needle, just the syringe part), I filled it with water, leaned forward over the sink, pulled my left ear back, and squirted the water into my ear. What drained out went into the sink. I repeated this process about 4 times, until the wax was flushed out into the sink. (I wiped the sink out with a paper towel to keep the wax from going down the drain; it could stick to the walls of the pipes and help clog them up!)

Ahhh, that’s much better. I can hear you now!

I tipped my head to the left to drain out any remaining water, then to finish, I put a few drops of DIY Swimmer’s Ear in to help dry it out.

The lesson I learned? I need to do this 1-2 times a year just to clean my ear out BEFORE it gets to be a problem. If I notice my ear blocking up a bit, and I have no symptoms of any kind of nasal infection, I need to be proactive and do this clean out.

 

 

Rest and Breath

rest-and-breatheThis year has been one where I have dealt with a number of health challenges. The biggest lesson I have learned out of this is I need a different way of caring for myself, to help prevent what I can, and to help me heal from what I cannot prevent.

Last spring I had cataract surgery on both eyes and a tooth extracted within a month. The tooth extraction followed two infections and a failed re-do root canal…and THREE rounds of antibiotics. And in the midst of all that, I was diagnosed with hypertension.

I finally realized the best thing I could do was lay down and rest each afternoon. I started by lying down and closing my eyes. Sometimes I’d listen to a podcast; sometimes I’d rest for about 30 minutes then read. Sometimes I’d read first, then take a short nap.

And one day while reading, I came across this quote:

“To rest is to heal.”
Lilias Folan
Lilias! Yoga: Your Guide to Enhancing Body, Mind, and Spirit in Midlife and Beyond

And that confirmed what I already suspected: I needed to rest to allow my body a chanced to heal. And not just from the surgeries, but from the antibiotics, from hypertension, from trying to find a medication that would work for me, and from the stresses of life.

So I’ve continued the practice of lying down in the afternoons and resting. I’d like to do it ever day, but reality steps in and my goal is for more days than not. I thought that meditating might be a good thing for me, but wasn’t sure how to do it. With time, I’m begun a practice of lying down, closing my eyes, and simply focusing on my breathing.

I’ll inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of 5 (which, as I relax, often becomes 6 or 7). I may do a few a first where I inhale through my nose and exhale through my mouth, but switch to doing all through my nose.

After a few minutes, when I can feel my body relaxing, I will go back to breathing naturally, and just count my inhales and exhales. Inhale – one; exhale – two; inhale – three; exhale – four, etc. until I get to 10. Then I begin again.

If I lose count, I simply start over. No judgement if my mind wanders, I just go back to counting. I’m not trying to think about anything or solve a problem; in fact I’m trying to do the opposite: get my brain to shut down, so I can truly relax and rest. And heal.

Most interesting thing I’ve found is that after about 20-25 minutes, I “wake up”. While I sometimes do drift off for a few minutes, I am usually not asleep, although I am not fully awake either. Once I can feel I am “waking up”, my brain kicks back in, and it is time for me to get up.

This works quite well for me. A few weeks ago I was at my desk trying to get work completed so I could be finished for the day, but kept running into problems and distractions. I finally realized the best thing I could do was to lay down and breathe. Thirty minutes later, I’m back at my desk, refreshed, and able to focus and get things completed.

A great reminder of the importance to rest and breathe.

Proper breathing technique is important to, and easy to add into your day. You can read more at Every Breath You Take.

You may also want to try Balancing Breath to help you both calm down and re-energize.

Solar Oven Cooking

 

Since I live in Florida, a.k.a. The Sunshine State, I want to try using a sun-on-surfsolar oven to cook with. I love to bake bread, but the thought using the oven on hot (even warm) days makes me cringe. Add to that the cost of the natural gas to use the oven, and the extra electricity to run the air conditioner to cool the house…it only makes sense to use what is free and in abundance outside.

Research on the internet has provided solar ovens to buy and instructions to DIY. So I want to reach out to anyone who has a solar oven, either purchased or made, to give me your feedback. What do you like/dislike about the oven you use and solar cooking in general? What would you do differently? Did you start with a homemade version then upgrade to purchase one? Recommendations on brands? Anything else you want to add, including telling me I am crazy??

I’ll probably combine all the advice and tips in a future post, along with what I learn, to help others who want to do the same.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

DIY Liquid Hand Soap

 

liquid-hand-soapHave you heard the recent news from the FDA? They have banned the marketing of certain ingredients commonly used in antibacterial soap.

“Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER). “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”

This is not new information. In December 2013, the FDA announced they were studying antibacterial soaps to determine if the benefits outweighed the risks.

So what can we do to help stay well and avoid catching or spreading infectious diseases?

First, wash your hands following the procedure recommended by the Center for Disease Control .

Next, mix up your own liquid hand soap to use in my kitchen. I took two recipes (this and this) and created my own:

liquid-hand-soap-mixingIn a glass jar put:

1/4 cup distilled water
1/4 cup castille soap

In a spoon put:

1/2 Tablespoon sweet almond oil
20 drops Thieves essential oil blend* (or create your own blend with essential oils that you like)

Add to water and soap mixture in the jar and stir until thoroughly blended.

Pour the liquid soap mixture into a glass or porcelain container with a pump.

Note: This mixture is thinner than what I am used to.

*Thieves essential oil blend is made of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary essential oils. It was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the dead and dying. You can purchase Thieves blend through my link – just search for Thieves or any essential oils or blends you like.

 

Itch Relief Spray for Bug Bites

As much as we can try to avoid bug bites (see here for my attempts to find an outdoor blend for keeping mosquitoes away) they do happen. So, having a blend on hand to take the itch away can be very handy.

Outdoore Blend #1I originally made this Purification and Lavender Outdoor Blend to keep mosquitoes away on a camping trip. It wasn’t as effective as I had hoped, but I later realized it might work well as a spray for itchy bites. I took it along on the next camping trip, but I (thankfully) didn’t need to use it until after I got home. The evening I returned, I had very itchy bites along the inside of both feet. I assume that I walked through something in the yard while watering the plants. They were very itchy! So I sprayed the blend on both feet and rubbed it in.

And it helped quite a bit. Slight itching, but nothing I felt I needed to scratch. After about 3 hours, they were itching again, so I sprayed thoroughly before going to bed. Over the next two days, I found I needed to spray a couple of times a day to keep the itching under control. I am pleased I found something to ease itching, and a way to use the Essential Oil blend.

Another option would be to put a drop each of Lavender and Purification in a few drops of a carrier oil and rubbing it on. This would allow you to apply to a few itchy bites.

Have you found a good solution for bug bites? Please share in the comments!

Outdoor Blend for Mosquitoes Part 2

This is the second article in a series about my attempts to find an effective DIY Essential Oil blend to keep mosquitoes away. You can read about the first post here.

Camping trip #2 was in August 2016.  Interestingly, the mosquitoes were not nearly as bad as the previous month, so while there were mosquitoes and a few landed on me, there wasn’t the swarm flying around me as the month before. My boyfriend even noted that he hardly had any bites, although he noted that he did spray himself quite thoroughly with Off.

The first night I used this blend I had tried the previous trip. It did seem to keep the mosquitoes off of me, although there weren’t that many. Since Lemon EO is photosensitive and will interact with sunlight, you want to avoid the sun for 10-12 hours after applying. While this blend may work well for evenings, I wanted something I could use during the day.

So, the following morning when I was sitting outside and noticed some bugs flying around, I applied a blend I adapted from one I found on Dr. Axe’s website.

In a spray bottle add, in equal parts:

tea-tree-and-lemongrass

Witch Hazel
Apple Cider Vinegar

Then add:
7 drops Melaleuca (Tea Tree) Essential Oil
7 drops Lemongrass Essential Oil

Shake well to blend before each use.

 

I sprayed it on, and overall wasn’t bothered by bugs, although again, they weren’t as bad as last trip.

I am sitting outside at home as I write this. It is late evening, and a few bugs are flying around me (perhaps attracted by the light from my computer screen). So I got out this blend, took off the spray top, and let it sit to diffuse into the air around me. It does seem to be helping!

One thing I have noticed with all the blends I have tried is that if I miss any area with the spray, the bugs WILL find it. I began spraying the blend on, then rubbing it around on my skin to cover as much as possible. That seemed to help keep them off me, although not necessarily away from me.

Overall I am pleased with this newest blend, and am looking forward to trying it out again. I am also researching other blend to try to see what works best with my body chemistry. If you have a blend you like, please share in the comments.

Outdoor Blend for Mosquitoes Part 1

This is the first in a series of posts about my attempts to find an effective Essential Oil blend to keep mosquitoes off. You can read Part 2 here.

 

My boyfriend and I love to go camping, but trips during much of the year in Florida can be marred by mosquitoes. We usually have a campfire going, and have tried citronella candles and tiki lamps. These help some, but we want to find a more effective solution, and something we can use when we walk around the camp grounds and at home.

I’m on a mission to find Essential Oil blends that work for both of us. Since we have different body chemistries (we can be sitting beside each other, and he is bitten relentlessly while I’m not), it is likely that we’ll each have our own blend. He is also not completely on the EO bandwagon yet, so I’m looking for blends that work for me and will then see if they work for him.

There are many DIY blends on the internet; just search on Google or Pinterest. I’m starting with blends that use the EOs I already have, and as I purchase more, try new ones. Yes, this is going to be an on-going, long-term project!

So let’s begin. In July 2016 we went camping for two nights. I took along two DIY sprays to try. Here’s what I tried and what I experienced:

 

Spray Blend #1

Outdoore Blend #1In a spray bottle I combined:

Lavender – 5 drops
Purification – 10 drops
Distilled water to fill the bottle.

I used this one the first evening. Seemed to be fine (and smelled good!) until the mosquitoes really came out about sunset. Man, they were EVERYWHERE! They were flying around me so much I finally went inside.

I will note that some did land on me and I got a few bites but nothing bad. I noticed that they were finding areas where I had not sprayed. But the buzzing around my face and head finally got to be too much to handle.

I also got up about 1:00 am and went outside to watch the fire. (We also got to see the black bear that came to check out our campfire, but that is another story!) I took the spray out with me, and anytime I felt a mosquito biting me, I sprayed the area, and sprayed in the air around me.

I did notice that where I was bitten did not itch or otherwise bother me the next day. Lavender and Purification are both good for bites, and that may be what I use this spray for in future. 

 

The next evening, I tried a different blend.

 

Spray Blend #2

Outdoor Blend #2Combine in a spray bottle:

Purification – 8 drops
Peppermint – 5 drops
Lemon – not sure how many drop. (I had an empty bottle of Lemon that I put the Purification drops in, swirled around, then put in the spray bottle.)
Distilled water to fill the bottle

*PLEASE NOTE – Lemon essential oil that is cold pressed is PHOTOSENSITIVE. This means if you put it on your skin and go in the sun, you may develop a reaction. Please allow at least 12 hours between applying it to skin and being in the sun.

I used this blend the second evening, making sure to use it after I was going to be out of the sun, and to allow plenty of time before being in the sun the next morning. There seemed to be far fewer mosquitoes around me, however, I may have gone inside before they had a chance to get bad.

 

Conclusions – 

I need to use the Spray Blend #2 again to further test it. While I won’t use it during the day, because of the photosensitivity of Lemon essential oil, it is worth trying again at night.

 

Additional Notes – 

I mixed both blends in small, plastic spray bottles I bought for this purpose. I know many people don’t like to use plastic, and once I find blends that work well for us, I’ll switch over to glass spray bottles.

 

There are pros and cons to using plastic, and you need to research what you feel is best for you. Reasons why plastic may be an option for you:  First, they are inexpensive and easily found. Second, because there is only a small amount of oil stored in them, they oils are less likely to break down the plastic. You don’t want to keep these for long term use, but for short-term they should be fine.

 

Know your personal comfort level and preferences and choose the type of spray bottle accordingly!

 

Now, it’s your turn. What have you found effective for keeping mosquitoes away? Please leave a comment and share, I’ll add it to my list to try!

Reuse Essential Oil Bottle – Rollerball

Rollerball bottlePeppermint was the first Essential Oil (EO) I discovered, and I used it often during my migraines. I would inhale it and put it on my forehead.

And because I use Peppermint EO often, I have a lot of empty bottles that I cannot bring myself to throw out. Yes, even though I teach people to declutter, it just seemed there should be a way to reuse them. Also, but bottle wasn’t truly empty. Since I had not washed it, there was still residual oil in there, and I would often let the open bottle diffuse .

At last, I had an a-ha moment: put a few drops of Peppermint Essential Oil and carrier oil in the bottle, add in a rollerball insert, and roll it on my head! I even added a label to indicate the carrier oil and EO in there.

Oh, how I wish I had thought of this earlier!

To insert the rollerball, you need to remove the insert that comes in the bottle, place the rollerball in the opening of the bottle, put the rollerball cap on, and press down while tightening the cap. That pushes the rollerball insert into place. Check to be sure it is securely in place before using.

The same idea can be used for other empty essential oil bottles. Add a few drops of the original essential oil or blend, carrier oil, and a rollerball insert. I think I’m going to do this with Panaway next for my finger joints.

What essential oil or blend will you try? Leave a comment and add a photo!