Category: Tutorials

How To Make Your Own Polymer Clay Napkin Rings

Working with polymer clay is fun and easy once you figure out what to make with it. Polymer clay is not like play do. It has to be conditioned in order to mold it into something. My favorite brands of polymer clay are Sculpey and Fimo. These can be found at Michaels or any craft store. The polymer clay that I used for this project comes in a square block which is about two ounces. One two ounce square is enough to make four plain napkin rings or two decorated napkin rings. You choose the colors you want to use for this project. This article will help you learn the easiest way to make polymer clay napkin rings.

After you have conditioned the clay by squeezing and rolling it in your hands, you will need to roll out a snake or log shape of clay. Make sure it is not too thin and if your are making a set of napkin rings that they are the same thickness. Once the snake has been formed, turn the two ends up and connect them by gently and firmly pressing together. You will see a line where the two ends connect. Smooth that out with your finger until the clay is blended together with no lines or cracks.

You may bake your napkin ring and leave it plain or you may add decorations. Adding simple leaves and rosebuds are a simple way to make your napkin rings look prettier. You may also choose a more modern design such as adding some stripes or dots in another color. Once your napkin ring is the way you want it to look you may bake it or the set on a baking sheet lined with wax paper at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. After it is cooled you may use your polymer clay napkin rings. You nay add some glaze so that they won’t crack. If you would like to buy a set of polymer clay napkin rings like the set shown in these pictures feel free to check out my polymer clay section.

Tea Tree Oil Facts And Uses

Tea Tree oil or Minocycline is a tetracycline antibiotic. It is used to treat certain kinds of bacterial infections. It will not work for colds, flu, or other viral infections.
Tea Tree Oil (also known as Melaleuca) is a natural antibacterial disinfectant that was commonly used as a general antiseptic for thousands of years. More recently, scientists have confirmed that Tea Tree Oil has tremendous medicinal benefits. 

Try out Tea Tree oil products like soap, lotion, bath salt,and lotion bars.
One use is to cure Lice. Use the shampoo tea tree oil mix to shampoo the hair but don’t rinse. Put a shower cap over the persons head with the shampoo still in the hair. Let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse the shampoo out. Use a lice comb to comb out all of the nits.
Tea Tree oil is produced from a shrub like tree by the name of Melaleuca alternifolia, which is found along streams and in swampy areas in its native land of Australia. In the 1920’s a chemist by the name of Arthur Penfold was busy exploring the properties of native volatile oils, isolating their properties, exploring their molecular structure, and contributing to the chemical understanding of variations within plant species. During his studies in phytochemistry, he found that tea tree oil appeared extremely promising due to its powerful antiseptic properties.  Before Mr. Penfold kick started the commercial tea tree oil industry, native aboriginals were using tea tree oil, and passing their knowledge down throughout generations. Tea tree oil uses are endless, with a long and rich history which continues to this day.
To dilute the tea tree oil use a liquid neutral oil such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil. Mixing with water does no good because it’s an oil, and will therefore separate. You must give it another fat to grab onto. Here are some common uses for Tea Tree oil.
Clear up A Sore Throat

Tea tree oil can help with some inflammation of the mucous membranes, which contributes to the pain of a sore throat. Most importantly it can help fight off an infection. If caught in time, it can also possibly prevent the infection from staying in the system in the first place.

Put 1 drop of tea tree oil into a glass of warm water, swish it around and gargle with it at least once a day. Don’t panic if you swallow a little bit, but try to spit out most of it. You can also add 2 teaspoons of salt which, thanks to osmosis, will draw excess water out of the mucous membranes that can create pressure and add to discomfort.
Fight that Head Cold

When you have a cold that develops into a sinus infection, the resulting pressure and discomfort can be miserable. The sinuses, air filled cavities in the front of the skull, are lined with mucous membranes, and when an infection sets in, an excess of mucous in the cavities creates painful pressure. In addition to this, inflammation of the membranes makes it difficult for said mucous to drain. The anti-bacterial action of tea tree oil can be airborne, which means it can be effective via steam bath.  To clear up a sinus infection, add roughly 5-8 drops of tea tree oil (you can adjust the amount to suit your preferences, but it is powerful stuff) to a bowl of freshly boiled water. Lean over the bowl, being mindful of the steam, and cover your head and the bowl with a towel. Breathe the steam for a good ten minutes at least twice daily to wipe out that nasty bacteria. Keep tissues on hand.
Fight the Fungus

Nail fungus is an unpleasant condition that can cause both physical and psychological discomfort. You can use tea tree oil mixed simply with water, or you can mix it with coconut oil. Coconut oil also has fungus fighting properties that complement the tea tree oil. Melt down a tablespoon of coconut oil and then mix in 4-5 drops of tea tree oil. Store in an airtight glass container out of direct sunlight, and apply faithfully to the affected area once in the morning and once at night every day. You don’t need to use much. You don’t want greasy toes after all and be sure to wash your hands between applications to avoid spreading the fungus.

Clean Minor Cuts and Abrasions

Minor cuts and abrasions can benefit from the antimicrobial action of tea tree oil, which cleanses the area and wards off infection. Clean the area thoroughly with plain soap and water, and rinse any soap off, making sure there is no dirt or debris left over. Mix a drop of tea tree oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and apply a small dab directly to the cut. Rinse clean and reapply 1-2 times daily as needed. You can also smear a bit of the tea tree/coconut oil mixture on the inside of a regular adhesive bandage and place it over the cut.
Repel Pests

The smell of tea tree oil is often times enough to deter pests. In nature, the essential oil in the plant may play a role in warding off potential creatures that would otherwise enjoy it as a tasty snack, so why wouldn’t it work as a bottled essential oil? Add 20 drops or so to a spray bottle and fill with water. Shake and spray around cracks, doorways, and any other potential pest entrances.


DIY Deodorant

If it can deodorize your garbage can, it can deodorize you. There are two types of sweat glands on our body, apocrine and eccrine. Eccrine sweat glands cover most of the body, and really, the vast majority of sweat doesn’t smell at all. Apocrine sweat glands, on the other hand, lurk in culprit areas around the armpits and genitals. They are inactive until puberty and then they decide to make that awkward time of your life even more awkward. The sweat secreted by these glands is thicker than typical sweat, and feeds the bacteria on our skin. It is the bacteria breaking down and decomposing the sweat that releases the odor. See where this connects to tea tree oil? Since tea tree oil fights bacteria, the less bacteria breaking down sweat, the less odor you have to contend with.

Deodorize Garbage/Diaper Pail

If you dread opening the trash (or a diaper pail, if you happen to use one) a dash of tea tree oil might be just the thing to solve the problem. It also helps prevent bacteria from growing.  Add roughly ¼-1/2 teaspoon of tea tree oil to a half or one cup of baking soda and mix the lumps out with a fork. Simply re-cycle a shaker (such as one used for parmesan) and shake into the bottom of a fresh bag to help keep the odor down.
Banish Mildew

Mildew is made up of little fungal filaments and tends to look white (sometimes black), “powdery”, or fuzzy. It likes to grow on surfaces (particularly organic ones such as wood) that are damp and warm. Luckily, most cases are superficial, and can be wiped away easily. In addition to avoiding conditions that encourage mildew (e.g. opening the windows after a shower to avoid dampness and humidity), mix 5-10 drops of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake well before each application. Spray directly onto the mildew and allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes before wiping it clean with a damp cloth. Wipe the spot dry when everything is spic and span. The tea tree oil should inhibit the growth of future bacteria, as long as the conditions are well managed.

 Ease Itchy Bug Bites

Early studies have shown that tea tree oil can play a role in decreasing the severity of what is known as the wheal and flare reaction. When an allergen or irritant comes in contact with the skin, such as the substance secreted by mosquitos, the body releases histamine, a neurotransmitter that causes reactions such as itchiness, redness, and swelling. The reaction on the skin will take place in two parts. First, a raised, red or flesh colored lump, will raise. This is the wheal part of the reaction. Following this is the flare, which is a ring of red, irritated skin that surrounds the wheal. Tea tree oil doesn’t appear to have much effect on the flare, however it did significantly reduce the volume of the wheal. So, it has some effect on taming histamine induced skin irritation. This means that dabbing a bit of tea tree oil (diluted in coconut oil) onto a bug bite can reduce the severity of the initial reaction and soothe the burning itching sensation that is so torturous.

Ease Psoriasis

Psoriasis is characterized by “plaques”, or areas of red, scaly sometimes inflamed skin. These areas develop when skin production is faster than the body’s ability to shed it. There is no cure for psoriasis, but there are things you can do to ease the discomfort and possibly speed the healing of the effective area. Thanks to tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, it is precisely what some people need to find relief. Mixed with coconut oil-which acts as a carrier for the oil and provides moisture to the skin-it can make a healing salve. Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Apply just enough to cover the affected area. Repeat 2-3 times daily as needed.

All-Purpose Surface Cleaner

It’s a bit counterproductive to try and make your counter tops more food-friendly by wiping them down with caustic chemicals. For a gentle and effective all-purpose cleaner, mix 20-25 drops of tea tree oil with ¼ cup of water and a ½ cup of distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake well, spray directly onto surfaces, and wipe down with a clean cloth. Remember the oil won’t mix with the water or vinegar, hence the shaking. Also be aware that it will not be diluted in water or vinegar, so avoid spraying directly onto your skin. While plenty of people are fine and it has never bothered me, some people are irritated by the oil in its “neat” form.
Make a Stuffy Nose Salve

When you find yourself with a terribly stuffed up nose, doing the tea tree oil steam bath is a great way to clear out the blockage. For the times when it’s not convenient to put a towel over your head and lean over a bowl of steaming water, try making a handy little salve to dab under your nostrils to ease the stuffiness. Simply mix 3 drops of tea tree oil with 2 drops of peppermint and 2 drops of eucalyptus oil with 2 tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Pour into a lip balm tin and allow it to cool. Apply sparingly under nose when needed.

Make Mouthwash

Bacteria in the mouth can be a good thing and a bad thing. Mostly it’s a good thing, but when there’s an overabundance, it can lead to halitosis, or chronic bad breath. Tea tree oil with its antibacterial properties can help kill off excess bacteria that is leading to bad breath. Mix 2 drops of tea tree oil with 1 drop of peppermint oil in 1 cup of fresh water. Swish, gargle, and make sure to spit it out!


Cleanse the Washing Machine

If you want to freshen up your washing machine, add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil to the empty drum and run it on the hot cycle to get rid of any bacteria and odor.
Fight Acne

Our skin is a thriving environment full of living microbes. Like the mouth, certain bacteria on the surface of the skin is necessary. On the other hand, some bacteria, such propiobacterium acnes (P. acnes)*can cause breakouts that aren’t so welcome. More so than fighting bacteria (which is only minor cause of acne) tea tree oil’s terpenes penetrate your pores, loosening up blocked oil and dirt that cause whiteheads, blackheads, and those painful red breakouts. Mix a drop or 2 with a smidge of coconut oil and use a cotton swab to apply. Avoid using your fingertips, which just introduces more dirt.

Athletes Foot (anti-fungal) Powder

Arrowroot powder is obtained from the rhizome of several tropical plants, and it is useful in quelling odor as well as providing a moisture absorbing base for this anti-fungal powder. The moisture absorbing part is important, as the fungus that causes athletes foot loves damp, moist places-aka sweaty shoes! The baking soda will also help with odor, sweating, and soothe any itchiness. Tea tree oil is of course the star here, doing battle with the actual fungus itself, and inhibiting its ability to replicate. Rustle up a shaker (you can buy plain ones, or re-purpose one of those parmesan shaker containers) and add ¼ cup of arrowroot powder, and ¼ cup of baking soda. Add 20 drops of tea tree oil to the powder, spreading the droplets out as best you can. Use a fork to mash in the little lumps and then add it to your container. Rinse your feet and pat them dry, then apply powder afterwards. Repeat twice daily. It is easiest to do this in the bathtub or show because it can make a bit of a mess! Use (clean) hands to evenly spread the powder. Shake well before each use, and store in a cool dark place.

 Sore Muscle Soak

As it seems to help with inflammation, it makes sense that tea tree oil would provide welcome relief from sore, tight, inflamed, muscles. Epsom salts, thought to help relax muscles because of its magnesium content (magnesium plays a vital role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles) makes the perfect carrier for the tea tree oil. First dilute 10 drops of tea tree oil in any neutral oil, and mix into the Epsom salt. Fill the tub halfway with warm water, add the salt, and top off the tub. Relax, enjoy, and unwind.

Draw Out A Splinter

A little splinter seems harmless enough, until the skin around it gets hot, swollen, and too tender to touch, making it difficult to work the splinter out. To ward off bacteria and potential infection, add 3 drops of tea tree oil to a teaspoon or so of liquid neutral oil. Add this plus 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a bowl of warm water. Soak your finger for 5-10 minutes to soften up the skin and loosen the splinter, and then work it out by applying pressure just below it. Use a tweezers to grab it when it protrudes, but be sure to get the whole thing and not just break off a piece of it!


Toothbrush/Retainer Cleaner

Where does bacteria love to congregate? Moist surfaces. What tends to be moist and then locked into cupboards or plastic cases? Toothbrushes and retainers. Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil with 1 cup of water. Once a week for your toothbrush, or every other day for your retainer, swish it around in the water to kill bacteria, then rinse with plain water and allow it to dry before locking it back up.
Tea tree oil (TTO) is typically extracted from the leaves via steam distillation, and maintains its potency for roughly 1 year from the date of distillation when properly stored in a dark glass bottle and out of direct sunlight.

Chamomile Benefits

Chamomile is one of the herbs used for calming and relaxing the mind. It is also used to relieve pain such as headache pain and stomach pain. Women have been drinking hot Chamomile tea for centuries as a natural remedy for menstrual cramps and PMS. Though Chamomile will not completely heal you, it will help your mind and body to get some relief.

Hot Chamomile tea with honey is great for helping to soothe a sore throat. Chamomile soap and lotion is great for the skin. This lovely herb is also soothing to the skin. It helps to heal dry skin and problem skin like acne.

If you want to make Chamomile or any type of herbal tea it is pretty easy. You will need to gather some fresh herbs. Don’t pick the herbs and let them sit for a day. They will become dried herbs and won’t have the fresh flavor and nutrients needed for the tea. Gather the herbs right before you are going to make the tea so they will be fresh. Put the herbs in a pan of water. Boil this and let the herbs steep. Use a strainer to pour the hot tea into the cup or mug you will drink from. The strainer will catch any herbs so you are left with the juices and oils left from the herb. If you would like to sweeten your tea like I do, be sure to use a natural sweetener like honey. If you have a vanilla bean, you may wish to grind this and add some fresh vanilla to your tea. This hot Chamomile tea will help relieve pain and help you to relax.

If you have Insomnia or trouble sleeping you may wish to drink this tea. Chamomile tea is also good for helping to cure anxiety, nervousness and an upset stomach. It also helps to relieve muscle cramps such as leg cramps.

Another way to use Chamomile is to gather some fresh or dried Chamomile and put some under your pillow. You may wish to tie a few sprigs together and lay this on your pillow as you sleep. You may wish to make a sachet with the herbs and put a sachet under your pillow. These sachets are also nice to use in drawers or places that you want to smell better.

Make Your Own Scented Bath Salt

I have loved bath salt for years. It makes my skin soft and repairs dry cracked skin. It is even more fun when you can make your own. This is a basic recipe for scented bath salt.

You need 1/2 cup of Epsom salt and 5-10 drops essential oil. Essential oil is best because it is natural. It comes directly from plants and makes your skin have a nice light scent. There are different scents that do different things for your body. Mix together the epsom salt and essential oil. Remember a little goes a long way. You only need one tablespoon of bath salt per bath. To store place in a glass container with a tight fitting lid. You may also place in a ziplock bag and store in a dry place such as under your sink in a basket.

You may also place in a ziplock bag and place that in a sachet. You can crochet or knot a little drawstring bag and place the sealed baggie of bath salt in this. It makes a pretty gift or you may use it yourself. You can also store the bath salt this way in drawers of clothing to be used as sachets. This helps remove musty odors and keep clothes smelling fresh. The scent is light and won’t overpower or cause you to sneeze.

If you wish to enjoy a bath that will help you sleep or make you feel calm use Lavender or Vanilla essential oil when making your bath salt. Add a tablespoon to your warm bath and enjoy a calming soak.

If you want a bath to energize you and make you feel refreshed use Lemon, Citrus or Peppermint essential oil when making your bath salt. Peppermint is very good for awakening the senses and making you feel happy.

For a romantic bath just use an essential oil that has a nice romantic scent.
Men may want to soak in Sandalwood or Patchouli bath salt. Women may want to use Plumeria or rose bath salt. This is perfect for a date night. It leaves your skin softer and with a light scent.

If you have extra dry skin or bruised skin you may wish to soak in a healing bath. Essential oil to make this bath salt would be Lavender or Eucalyptus. These essential oils have many healing properties and will help lighten bruised areas. It also helps to soften even the bottoms of feet which get very dry from walking around. Remember to use a gentle soap when washing. Check out our website for more natural products and tutorials.


How To Give Your Hair A Hot Oil Treatment

Hot oil treatments are great for any type of hair. It is an easy way to revive your hair. Hot oil treatments cause the scalp to be deeply cleansed which helps fight dandruff. This treatment will also help fight and repair split ends. It will also add a healthy shine to your hair.

Hot oil treatments should only be done once every couple of weeks. You may wish to only do this treatment once a month. You don’t want too much oil in your hair. This treatment can be done at home from items in your own kitchen. This makes it more cost effective and you can keep the oil on hand.

Olive oil is the best oil for this treatment. You can find this at most grocery stores. Make sure to get the pure extra virgin olive oil. If you have very long thick hair like I do you will need 1/4 cup. If you have shorter hair you may use less. Be sure there is enough to cover the hair when you pour it on in the shower.

First measure 1/4 cup or desired amount of extra virgin olive. Place it in a microwave safe mug or container that you may carry to the shower. Microwave slightly about 15-20 seconds. The oil will be warm. Take the container or mug into the shower and apply after washing your hair. Your hair needs to be washed and clean for this to work best.

Slowly pour the olive oil starting at the top of the head. Let it run down to the ends of your hair. When this has been done allow the oil to sit on your hair for at least 15 minutes. Do not rinse. This allows the oil to soak into the hair. It soaks into the scalp and roots which cleanses and strengthens your hair. You will notice a difference after one use but if you do this procedure once a month you will really see a difference after 2 or 3 treatments.

After 15 minutes you may rinse the oil out of your hair with warm water. Be sure to wash your face and skin with a gentle soap. Check our website for more products and helpful tutorials.