Giving back in 2020

There are many ways in which we can all give back. Sometimes they are big and sometimes they are small. Sometimes the small gifts to others are gigantic. In the past and I know in the future there have been and will be times when I need help. No one can live on planet earth alone. I am a very busy person so I been trying to look for helpful opportunities that are a one time helping situation.

I have in the past donated money to different organizations. I know money really helps a lot but I wanted to be a little more hands on. My wonderful husband found a few places where I could do some good. One that really caught my eye was where I could put my crocheting to good use for those in need. They accept hand made hats, scarves and gloves for the needy. I only know a few basic crochet stitches. I am not great with patterns but I can make a long rectangle so scarves are a go! When someone has asked me lately what I have been making I have told them scarves for the chilly. I have told family and co-workers I don’t like to say for the needy because we all have needs, these people specifically need help to not be cold.

I made a baby blanket for someone last year and had about a half of a skein of yarn left over of each color. I used the pink to make finger-less gloves for a friend. The purple for finger-less gloves for myself. The teal I made into a scarf for the chilly.

In the attic recently when looking for some yarn for the neighbor girl to make herself a poncho I found a blanket I had started about 15 years ago and did not finish. But I did find a half a ball of the pink yarn that matched the partial blanket. So I brought it down and did a few finishing touches. Put on an edge and shell border on the ends. Another scarf for the chilly and less partial projects in the attic.

Does giving back always have to be a big gesture? no. Sometimes its as simple as I make home made bread for my husband and I twice a week. One yeast packet makes two loaves of bread. Since we are not able to eat a whole loaf in the four days before it molds why not give the second loaf to one of the families in our neighborhood. We have four houses out of the seventeen on our street that have four kids in each house. I have been rotating giving out bread to the neighbors. Sometimes I feel silly doing these small things for others but i know that in my simple act of reaching out to the neighbors with a little loaf of bread and a kind word it helps to make me feel wanted and needed and I know that they also feel that way. It helps me keep in touch with the families closest physically to our home and I really think that it helps me feel less intimidated by people around me as well. We are all here to help each other out.

Whether it be bread, scarves, yard work, or something like helping make Halloween costumes for the new family members across the street.

RickabaughReviews encourages all of us to reach out to help someone else, you might be surprised how much it helps you.

Infused oil as a moisturizer

I have been having fun making my gardening useful to me. I have been dehydrating mint and lavender and as I trim them, they grow more.  Which is wonderful until you run out of space for them.  I purchased a large container of coconut oil at Costco just a few years ago and I have really enjoyed using it as a moisturizer for my dry and itchy skin year round. I have a great deal of allergies to the stabilizers used in lotions and have struggled for many years with my hands swelling and breaking out in hives.

I have wanted to find additional ways to use the lavender besides in my tea.  I looked up how to infuse my coconut oil on Pintrest.  The process is super simple and only takes two to three days.

I used a pint mason jar and lid.  I trimmed the spearmint and peppermint fresh.

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I rinsed off the leaves, but have found through the process that next time I will end up patting them dry before popping them into the jar.

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The coconut oil that I have is a solid until about 74 degrees.  So in the air conditioned house it is a solid.  It needs to melt in order to infuse the mint into the coconut oil.  Simple fix was a candle warmer.

I scooped in coconut oil until the jar was filled to the shoulder.  The shoulder of the jar is the top of the jar before you get to the threads where you screw on the top.  So the very top 1/2 to 3/4 inches was not filled.

I noticed when I infused my lavender I did pack the jar tighter with flower tops then I did with the mint leaves.  Thus I got more coconut oil in the jar with the mint leaves and in turn more infused oil.

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I kept the jars of oil at a liquid state for two days.  Also I covered them with a black dish towel.  To keep the light out.  I gently shook the jars back and forth maybe 10 times, 3 times a day, for two days

After 2 days I strained the flower tops of the lavender out and after two days I strained the mint from the infused oil.

The infused oil has gone back to being more of a solid since I took them off the candle warmer.  It has a light fragrance added, not strong or over whelming.  Which is perfect for on my dry skin before bed every night.

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You can see the lavender infused oil on the left, I had started the lavender process one day before the mint infused oil on the right.  I took the photo directly after I had strained the mint infused oil while it was still warm and in a liquid state.

We purchased these cute 3 ounce containers to keep the oil in.  Easy to pass out to friends or sell at a craft fair.  I chose 3 ounce containers, the max that is allowed on a airplane.  Perfect for traveling.

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RickabaughReviews approves of infused oil.

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse

I remember these words that public school worked very hard to instill in us. Throughout my adult life I have been very concerned with recycling when and wherever I can.  With my crafting projects I find ways in which I can use left overs from one project for another two or three projects.  I have more recently in the last few years have been working very hard on donating items in order to live a little bit less cluttered life. But this most recent craft project I am getting reuse some things I have thought about donating and recycling.

We light around one or two candles a day.  We only buy candles when they are on sale. It really helps take the slight chill out of the rooms in the winter. I have been trying to use less plug in night lights around the house, so in the evenings the candles give a nice cozy glow. I clean a lot but dogs will always smell, scented candles help that smell. This is the end result of a burned candle

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I have been making back up candles with the little wax that is left over. I melt the remaining on a jar warmer. Below is a picture of mine, it plugs in. When we have guests over I put this on the kitchen counter to give a nice scent with the fire hazard.

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I am a bit of a cheater when it comes to the wicks when making new candles.  I purchased a box of Hanukkah candles many years ago because I thought they were so pretty and never burned them.  They sure have come in handy.  I put one or two into the empty jar and as I melt wax from other candles I pour it into the jar with the old thin candles.  I have a partially started new candle in the candle cabinet at all times.  The new candles I am making with left over wax are not the most pretty candles in the world but they work and have saved us money.

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Now what to do with all the old empty jars? Well for a while I was recycling them, Then I saw an adorable post on Pinterest and thought they might be cute for my crafts.

First step is getting all the residual wax out of the jars.  My sister in law cleans out her jars with very hot water. I tried it.  I am too impatient for this process to work for me.  I happen to be cooking the one evening and set the empty waxy candle on the stove top next to the burner.  Not touching of course, nobody needs exploding glass.  What do you know it heated up the wax super easy, I just wiped it out with a paper towel. Jar nearly clean.  I hit it with some Windex.

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Perfectly clean now! ( cleaning tip-Windex is amazing on getting sticky, dusty grease off of the fan blades and light fixtures and stove hoods in the kitchen.)

I used to watch little kids in my home and I had a small indoor sandbox for the kids to play with when it was rainy outside.  I had beads, rocks, small sea shells and of course my favorite, small plastic dinosaurs to play with.  I also had a small set of plastic farm animals.  I have been thinking for the last year or so what to do with this and I haven’t had the heart to donate these toys.

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The dinosaurs and farm animals are perfect cute toppers for my jars. So we have clean jars and washed off my sandy dinosaurs.  Got the craft glue and put a little on their feet and sometimes tails. Let them sit a bit on the lids to dry.

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They are totally adorable.  I thought about spray painting the whole lids and dinosaurs all one color such as black but the husband said it will take away too much from their design and fun.  So this is how they will stay.

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Filled with odds and ends will help organize my craft shelves and make it unique to my taste as well as reducing waste and reusing what I have.

RickabaughReviews greatly approves of this super fun crafty, craft organizing project!