While I was visiting my family, Jeffrey finished up a room for us to move into. We've wanted to move upstairs right over the wood stove since we put it in. It'll be a warm and soothing - cat free, dog free and construction free space! Usually when we go into town for groceries, we'll stop at the resale shops or garage sales along the way. We picked up some pretty decent solid wood end tables for $5, the dresser for I think $20. Jeffrey found the window at a discount building supply place and did all the trim himself out of pine. The quilt was made from a lady a mile down the road that runs the diner and the little pine picture frame with handmade dried onion flowers is from my friend Mary Ann as a going away present. It matches the window frame perfectly. The painting to the left was a gift from my grandmother. It was in the scrap pile and I found it a few years ago when I lived there. She hated it and wouldn't let me take it like that. She lightened the sky and added some details. The sky was ominous dark and purple and I loved it, but she wouldn't let me have it without the yellow in the sky and lights in the windows. The yellow in that sky matches the paint that Jeffrey covered the room with and I really love it, insurance paid for that. We are really trying to fix up this place and hope to sell it to pay for part of the build of the new earth sheltered house. If we have to keep this one for a while though, we'll have some nice space to live in till we can sell it. If Jeffrey's mother moves up here with us there will be plenty of room.
Two days before my trip to Houston, I put old sunblock on my face. A few days before that, I noticed some light brown spots on my forehead from some ancient sun damage and I wanted more coverage than just the hat. Making my own sunblock is not too far down on the to-do list and there are some great websites out there to help, but i hadn't gotten to it yet. In the mean time I made the mistake of using the old sunblock. My face broke out with light, itchy, lumpy splotches all over my cheeks. Oh no!!!! I gave my niece a natural beauty care kit for her birthday and I didn't want her to see me like this! It took 2 weeks for my face to start looking and feeling normal again. The last week of it, my skin was dry, patchy and itchy. I haven't used anything but goats milk soap, some occasional Cetaphil face soap and Hazelnut oil for the last 7 months or so. I bought the Cetaphil before I stopped using most beauty products and the bar just never slims down. I keep it on a ceramic soap dish under the sink, wet my facial scrub pad and wipe the top of the bar only a few times. That soap lasts forever that way. When I run out, I need to figure out a better all-natural soap to use on my face. I only use it a few times a week though. Most of the time, I just use the goats milk soap. My face has never looked better or been so clear. I almost always had something going on with my skin.
The goats milk soap must have a lot of butter fat in it because I also use it for my shampoo and conditioner. I tried it as shampoo for an experiment with no additional conditioner and loved how my hair came out. Then I tried it with Ivory and then a seaweed soap, my hair was impossible to comb out with my fingers. I haven't tried it with any other natural soaps yet, but have a few lying in wait. So I'll try it with the others too. I tossed all the lipstick and started using Burt's Bees lip gloss for a while, but now I'm very happy with just goats milk lip balm. I used to put lipstick on all day long. Now that craving is gone since I've started using just the lip balm and my lips have stopped peeling.
I also stopped using face, hand and body lotion. After the shower I dry normally but just lightly pat my face, forearms and hands dry leaving plenty of moisture. Then I put a dime size amount of hazelnut oil in the palm of my hands, coat my wet hands with it and rub up to my elbows using the water on my skin like it was body lotion. Then I pat my cheeks, neck & forehead with my palms, comb out my hair with my oiled fingers making sure to rub the end of my hair and finally drying my hands by wiping them on any dry body part like my knees or heels. I use Hazelnut oil when the oil is going on my face because it has astringent properties. When I'm just washing my hands or have washed dishes, I usually only shake the excess water from my hands. Then I put a little olive or almond oil on them and rub the water and oil on my arms. There is a homemade face mask and lotion that I occasionally use but there really isn't much of a need for that. The face mask is just a tablespoon of goats milk (you can use any type of milk) with a little flour. It was suggested that I should use besan flour (chickpea), but I can't find it here so I've just been using the lightest flour I have. Make it very thin and apply very thinly to the face. When it dries, I put a warm wet washcloth on my face for a few seconds and then rinse off. I follow with hazelnut oil. I was told to rub it off with my hands, but I have never gotten that to work. I'm sure I am not doing something right. Then a few times a month before bed, I sometimes put a little all natural body butter on my hands and feet. That is the extent of my beauty regimen. My skin is really thriving with this treatment and my toiletries bag on my flight was an empty film canister 1/4 full of hazelnut oil, 1/2 a bar of goats milk soap, a toothbrush and a toothpaste sample from an old dentist visit. I want to start brushing with baking soda, but I can't get over the taste yet. I hate the taste of baking soda! I am saving a ton of money and my skin has never looked better.
On my trip before last to Houston, I sat with my friend Sonali's mother, Swapna. She was visiting from India to see her new grand-daughter. When I found out she was coming to town, I asked Sonali if her mother could teach me some homemade beauty care. They invited me over for lunch and Sonali translated Bengali from the lips of this beautiful woman wrapped in a sari. She taught me the simple face masks and skin care. Maybe one day I'll see if she'll let me share more of these lovely recipes. Sonali has the creamiest, clearest skin of anyone I have ever met. I asked her about it last year and she gave me one of her mother's recipes for face lotion using milk. I loved it! So when I found she was coming in town, I had to meet her. She cooked lunch for me and I made homemade granola for her. When I arrived and gave her the granola, she smiled and loved the decorated mason jar. Then we sat for lunch, she cooked chicken. I'm allergic to chicken so I couldn't eat it. She laughed because she's diabetic and couldn't eat the granola because of the sugar and butterscotch chips. She quickly cooked up something else and along with all the side-dishes and naan, I was happily stuffed to the gills. She gave the baby a massage with almond oil from head to toe. Every day the baby received a warm bath and an oil massage right after. It would put her right to sleep. The baby's hair was so beautiful and her eyelashes gave hint to the budding large "Betty Davis" eyes. These she got from her mother Sonali who has incredibly deep, large eyes that would make anyone jealous. Then Swapna explained several beauty tips to me and answered all my questions. After a while she sat and crocheted and I sat on the floor at the end table and kept asking her more questions. Then it dawned on me I was learning at her skirt hem as women have done for thousands of years. So I thank Swapna for teaching me this incredibly valuable lesson that I will keep with me always. I hope to share it with as many people as will listen and Sonali for letting me in on her beauty treatment.
Some makeup companies have a pink ribbon on their products and in their campaigns to bring awareness to cancer. In my opinion, it's highly likely that it's their ingredients that are partly if not fully to blame in breast cancer and in who knows how many other health and skin problems. Some people have switched to mineral make up. My friend has rosacea and uses all natural mineral makeup. Now though, with so many companies getting in on it, you have to be careful with mineral makeup as well. "Recent UK studies advise of strong health risks when using Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) in nano particle form in powdered mineral makeup" . There are all natural mineral makeup companies that do not use nano particles and they are easy to find online.
I just decided not to use any makeup at all. I won't use anything that has parabens and it's almost impossible to find anything that goes on your skin that doesn't have parabens. There is so much garbage in these lotions and creams. Makeup companies spend a whole lot of money trying to make women feel that they really need their products and it has become the norm to use chemical filled makeup and lotions on the largest organ of the body. People have been decorating and beautifying themselves for thousands of years all over the world with natural ingredients. I doubt if our ancestors used an ingredient called methyl or propylparaben. They used oils, fruits, natural dyes and paints. There are numerous all-natural makeup and beauty products online to choose from and websites available about making your own beauty products at home.
The last two times I died my hair, I used henna and it was a deep red. It was beautiful. My friend Samyu uses henna and on her thick dark hair, it adds a rich, red deepness. There is a residual henna perfume coming from your hair for a few days. It is a hair dye that conditions your hair and dyes it without harmful chemicals. There are many ingredients you can add to the henna paste depending on the desired shade and conditioning level. I don't use commercially produced and boxed henna hair dye and just use henna powder. A tea is made with the powder along with egg, yogurt and lemon following a recipe from my friend Samyu. If I could put my hands on her recipe right now, I would share it. There are many others to be found online. "It has been recorded historically that ancient civilizations dyed their hair using plants. Some of the most well known are henna, indigo, Cassia obovata, senna, turmeric and amla. Others include katam, black walnut hulls, and leeks ." - from Wiki
Several friends that we made here are also working on making home made soaps and lotions with goats milk. It's somethign I am trying to actively learn, but there hasn't been a big rush since I'm happy with what I'm using now. I know it's going to run out though, and I need to learn from my friends soon. It's amazing how many people I know are working on the same things that I am working on. We all seem to be in cheese and soap making mode with the abundance of goats milk. Even at the diner this morning, one of the farmers that happened to try the same pruning method on his tomatoes that I'm trying this year was asking me about goats milk cheese. He's trying to learn to make it too and we've both already made cottage cheese. So we talked about rennet for a while. Going for breakfast down the road once a week is a lifeline to this area. You find out what everyone is working on and many times, there is someone around to answer any sort of question you can throw out. I learn more from one of these weekly meetings than I ever did at the "weakly" corporate company meetings.