DIY Tag Archives

DIY Natural Disinfectant

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Watching our baby learn how to crawl before our eyes is exciting, but it’s also hair-raising when I imagine him crawling through the grime of these New York City streets that has been tracked into our house. All germaphobia aside, we are pedestrians in one of the worlds yuckiest cities.

To prevent Leo from rolling around in the muck (and to prevent a never-ending anxiety fest for me) I began researching DIY natural disinfectant sprays that are strong AND safe. While there are many “all purpose” cleansers made for hard, non-porous surfaces on the market (re: my beloved Seventh Generation sprays and wipes), there are few that are suitable for fabrics. I really wanted an anti-bacterial solution that would work for our rugs, couches and pillows as well as our countertops and hard floors.
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Essential oils have powerful cleansing properties, but they can be harmful to the skin (lungs, eyes, etc.) if used at full concentration. Naturally, it makes sense to cut the oils with water, which you’ll find in most recipes, although you’ll then need an additional disinfectant agent to strengthen the mixture.

I found recipes calling for hydrogen peroxide, but further research revealed that peroxide may also abrasive to the skin in high concentration. Many other recipes called for pure vodka…which I thought was strange and assumed would make my living room smell like my college dorm.

Finally, I found a mixture calling for witch hazel on Live Simply. Having fallen in love with the magical healing powers and endless uses for witch hazel through my postpartum recovery, it was the perfect addition.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup witch hazel (alcohol based)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 25 drops lavender pure essential oil
  • 25 drops tea tree pure essential oil

You can use any mixture of the cleansing essential oils, including lemon oil. You can omit the tea tree oil if you dislike the smell. Lemon, Tea Tree and Lavender oils are all safe for use around children.

Mix the solution as follows:

  1. Pour witch hazel + desired essential oil mixture into a spray bottle, shake vigorously to blend.
  2. Then pour in the water and shake again.

Be sure to use a glass bottle for the mixture rather than plastic to avoid any risk of the bottle breaking down. Always spot test your fabrics before use on a larger area!

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Pom-Poms on a Rainy Day

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I bought this wide brimmed Panama hat in the Hudson River Valley at the end of last summer and never had a chance to really wear it because it was the end of the season. As it hung on the wall in my front hallway all winter, reminding me that warmer days would again return, I thought about how I wanted to add some fun color to it to celebrate the coming sunshine. Since its a nasty weekend in Brooklyn, I thought that the best medicine against the indoor-blues would be to create sunny pom-poms on a rainy day.

I love how pom-poms have been showing up on everything from beach baskets to gladiator sandals to straw hats. But instead of buying a piece of the trend, I wanted to learn how to make my own. The overwhelming urge to nest seems to have spilled into the mood to craft, which is great because it is something that I had rarely made time to do—depsite the desire—in the midst of working full time.

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There are many tutorials online showing how to make pom-poms. You can buy kits or make cardboard rings, but the easiest solution I found was using a kitchen fork. I used the steps below to try my hand at making my own:

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The key is to wrap the yarn to the right thickness so that your pom-pom has enough fluff. After you’ve tied-off the yarn ball and you’re done snipping the strands, it’ll be an oblong shape. You’ll need to trim it all the way around to ensure you have a round pom-pom. Tip: if you want bigger poms, use your fingers instead of a fork.

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I opted for warm colors—yellow, pink & orange—to adorn this summer hat, but I have already been thinking up designs for other projects, like a branch wall hanging in the nursery that will feature some blues, greens and aquas. I guess it will be back to the craft store as soon as this seemingly endless rain comes to a stop.

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I’ll be sure to post about the nursery soon, as we’ve been working almost daily to bring it to life.

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Mojito Watermelon How-To

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One of my best friend’s favorite stories to tell is from five summers ago when we were in the midst of a classic New York City heatwave. Back in our airconditioner-less Bushwick apartment, Joe and I were at each other’s throats; the infernal heat thickening our blood and making us crazy. I sent my friend an S.O.S. and she demanded that we drop everything and come to her apartment, a 5 minute walk away. We did as she said and rambled through the streets, dripping with sweat—he in cargo shorts and a well-loved Jordan jersey, me in cut-off jean shorts and bandanas worn as both shirt and headband—to her front door, where we were greeted by a wave of frozen air and a plate of watermelon salad.

Cut to the summer of 2016 (not quite as hot and in which we have an air-conditioned bedroom). It was last Tuesday night at the Beirut concert in Prospect Park, sitting with our other best friends and enjoying a perfect evening outdoors. Just as the show was drawing to a close we were approached by a sweet-faced stranger, holding a platter of salmon-colored shapes. “Do you guys want some mojito watermelon? I made it for the picnic, but I’m not going to take the leftovers home. I’ll just throw it out if you don’t want any.” Of course we wanted some. Not only did she have me at “mojito…” but, as paragraph one of this post describes, I have a very positive history with watermelon dishes. We all took quick bites and gushed over how good it was. Our benefactress rattled off the ingredient list and then disappeared into the sunset. I was hooked and wanted to make it myself.

A Google search yielded mostly recipes for watermelon mojitos (which, OK, also look DELICIOUS), but after some digging I did find a recipe from Country Living that describes how to make this dish. It calls for sugar, which I don’t think it needs at all, so I experimented a bit and came up with my own, similar version. The fact that I can use the fresh mint from my garden really appeals to my farm girl fantasies…here it is!

+ Ingredients +

  • Watermelon
  • Limes
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Mint

+ Directions +

  • Cut up watermelon in nice chunks.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and lime juice.
  • Drizzle with olive oil.
  • Top with fresh, chopped mint.
  • Enjoy chilled

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Ta da!

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Enjoy! xx

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