Hemp Window Treatments

Hemp was traditionally used as an industrial fiber and has been an important commodity dating back as far as 8,000 years. Hemp has been used to make canvases, ropes and even paper. Hemp was grown as a crop across the early United States. Hemp is has gained popularity as a fabric used as Hemp window treatments due to its low maintenance and clean, eco-friendly approach to home decor.

The Softer Side of Hemp

Although hemp is a tough-wearing fabric, its natural form was too rough and needed to be softened to be used as a window treatment. Natural glue in the hemp, called lignin, needed to be removed. Typically, the method to remove this glue in other fabrics included the use of acids. However, this method weakened the hemp, making it unusable.

It wasn’t until the late 1980s that a softening method using enzymes came about, allowing the glues to be removed while retaining the fabric’s strength. This breakthrough allowed hemp to be made into a fabric to be used in window treatments and a variety of other increasingly popular uses.

UV Rays

The hemp used in curtains and drapes found on the market is organically grown in Europe. Hemp window treatments are well insulated and allow natural light into any room while keeping harmful UV rays from entering the home. Unlike many other curtains, the hemp fabric will not break down from prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays.

Maintenance

Typically, curtains created from hemp are machine washable using warm water and should be hung on a line to dry. Hemp curtains may be placed in the dryer; however, the heat should be set to the lowest setting. If the curtains wrinkle, using an iron on the highest linen setting is recommended. Prolong the life of hemp curtains by not adding sharp creases or pleats, both will cause the fabric to deteriorate.

Environmental Benefits

Hemp window treatments are popular in homes with young children due to recent studies about harmful materials used in conventional window treatments.Along with other organic fabrics, hemp is also friendly to the environment. Hemp is a low-maintenance and fast-growing plant. Hemp produces more fiber than cotton and flax while using the same amount of acreage.

Another benefit to using curtains, drapes and shades created from hemp, is the vinyl mini blinds found in many homes could contain harmful levels of lead that is harmful to children and adults. When they are exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, and they begin to deteriorate causing dust which is contaminated with the lead from the blinds and disbursed through the air.

Hemp Curtains can be purchased from a number of manufactures. You can find them on Rawganique.com for 55 – $109 (with rings).

Organic Hemp Curtains

About Rawganique:

Rawganique.com is a human-scale family business co-founded in 2000 by Thammarath “Touch” Jamikorn & Klaus Wallner on Denman Island. Rawganique offers sustainable products that are pure and sweatshop-free. Rawganique is also a deeply personal website that reflects the sustainable philosophies of its co-founders and customers.Touch and Klaus both live off-the-grid. Their sustainable lifestyle and respect for & humility towards Mother Nature are evident in everything they do. And in a big way, their lifestyle is the Rawganique.com story — small is beautiful, sustainable is abundant, quiet is soothing, natural is healing, pure is nourishing, and simple is bountiful and simply awe-inspiring!

**Disclosure: The above is a sponsored post. All thoughts are 100% my own.

Green Your Halloween With ThredUp Costume Swap

If you have seen some of my first posts you may know about thredUP and how they help you save money by helping you swap your gently used baby, toddler and kid clothes with other moms and families around the US.

ThredUp Costume Swap

 

If you do not know about  ThredUp, it is a program where you pay $5 for a medium USPS Priority Mail box and the cost of flat rate shipping for box of clothing you pick from another program user. It is an amazing clothing recycling program for parents to use. This year (like last year) instead of just swapping regular clothing you can swap out costumes. The program started the 13th of September and is available through October 22nd, so be sure to visit just in time for Halloween.

How does it work?

Mark your calendar the swap will only run until October 22nd.

Build your box and list it as a “Specialty Halloween Box” it will look like this:

You will be notified when someone picks your box and you will then have the address to send it free of charge (when you register thredUP sends you a set of empty flat rate boxes and while even schedule home pick-up!)

To find a costume, browse the various assortment of kids clothing boxes marked as “Halloween Boxes” 

Pick your box, pay $5 plus shipping and the box will be sent to your front door.

Halloween is only 20 days away so be sure to make a stop by thredUP and pick your box today!

Catalog Choice: Green Your Junk Mail

My hubby and I made a move and I made sure to check the box for them to get rid of the junk mail but it did not seem to be enough because we still receive a ton of junk mail. So in an effort to find a solution, other than simply throwing it into the trash, I wanted it to simply stop. If you are running into the same problem of trying to get rid of tons of junk mail then the solution I found may work for you with  Catalog Choice.

About Catalog Choice:

Catalog Choice’s mission is to help people reduce unwanted mail, save natural resources,and protect their privacy. Since launching our free service in 2007, Catalog Choice has grown to serve more than a million people and thousands of companies.

We’ve expanded our service to help people control not only what arrives in their mailbox, but also to protect their privacy and personal information. Many companies work with us to make the opt-out process efficient and effective. Participating companies include catalog mailers, nonprofits, phone book publishers and other advertisers who use Catalog Choice to demonstrate best marketing practices and to honor consumer choice and privacy.

If you make a yearly $20 donation Catalog Choice will help you get unlisted from the unseen sources that you may be unable to find yourself.

We work on your behalf to remove your personal information from third party marketing lists and personal search services.

If you know the company that is sending you the junk mail or even unwanted phone books, you can simply enter in the name of the company or your zip code and make a request.

Click Here to Sign Up

My Herbal Cabinet: Heal-All Herb

When it comes to cold and flu season, it runs rampant through my house! If you are among the many that seek to end their suffering from coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, scratchy throats with the various medications found in your local pharmacy. Purchasing all of the medicines needed to cure what ails you can be costly, financially and sometimes physically. Heal-all is an herb that is a safe, natural and affordable multi-purpose medicinal herb.

When it comes to maintaining your bodies overall health, heal-all is an herb that should be found in your medicinal arsenal for the entire family. Heal-all is also known as Prunella vulgaris, self-heal and woundwort. This is an herb that is generally found growing in the countries of Europe, Asia and throughout the United States. If you wish to grow Heal-all in or around your home this can be easily accomplished. Heal-all is an herb that is very easy to grow and can truly thrive in damp soil in direct sunlight or in the shade.

Preparing Heal-All Flowers to Eat

Aside from using the heal-all flower strictly to heal the body in a medicinal sense, the flower is so tasty it is often used in cooking recipes. Some use it when making salads, soups and even in some stews. If you are using the flower for food purposes, just as you would with the fruits and vegetables you purchase, the flower should be washed. Washing the flower is also good to remove the bitterness from the flowers leaves which is due to them containing tannins. I would recommend using honey to sweeten the tea instead of sugar. Especially if you are using the tea to help soothe a sore throat, honey itself has properties that can kill the bacteria that cause your sore throat.

Heal-All Antiviral Properties

For years, herbalists have used heal-all topically on wounds and taken internally as a tea made from the dried heads of the flower to treat the many symptoms that come along with the cold and flu season: sore throat, fever, congestion, etc. Many studies have been conducted on the heal-all herb and according to some recent studies it has been found the herb has very strong antiviral effects which accounts for the herbs traditional reputation. The flowers extract has been used successfully to control the gum disease known as gingivitis and to treat certain strands of the herpes virus.

Heal-All the Allergy Suppressant

Heal-all is also known for being a solution to suppressing allergy symptoms. If you are an allergy sufferer as I am then you know the symptoms runny nose, itchy eyes and sore throat. Heal-all can be used as eyewash and has even been known to help with pinkeye.

My Heal-All Experience

I personally have been using Heal-all for many years. Last cold and flu season I went through my entire stash of Heal-All, it is a truly awesome herb and I make sure that I keep it in stock at all times. Now heal-all can be found online and in your local new age store (which is generally where I go to find mine).

Yerba Mate Benefits and Making Yerba Mate Tea

Yerba mate is a shrub found in the rainforest of South America. A country such as Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Brazil is where yerba mate can be found naturally. The leaves can be made to brew a strong tea and is a nationally made drink. It is also an alternative medicine source made to counteract a variety of health concerns.

 

What are the Benefits of Yerba Mate?
Yerba mate can be taken in tea form to help neutralize free radicals in the body. Studies have shown that yerba mate backs a larger punch than vitamin C when it comes to protecting cells and reducing the effects of aging on the body.
Yerba mate helps to Diminish Heart Problems and Promotes Weight Loss. A study conducted on healthy adults that are considered overweight, yerba mate, added to other herbs, was found to alter the weight of the adult significantly. Those that consumed the herbal mixture three times a day for 45 days dropped a significant amount of weight. Since yerba mate is regarded as a stimulant for the nervous system it is able to burn calories and breakdown carbs in the body during your normal exercise routine.
They also noted that they felt fuller quickly and their craving for food also decreased. The extract of yerba mate helps to reduce the dysfunction of the hearts muscle which is a condition that is found in those that suffer from a coronary blockage that restricts blood flowing to the heart.
Some of the other benefits include:
  • Acts as a detoxifier to help boost the immune system.
  • Aids in relieving allergies.
  • Increases mental alertness and accuracy.
  • Prevents the growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath.
  • Provides the body with a combination of caffeine and alkaloids to help the body sustain energy. The amount of caffeine in the Yerba mate is comparable to the standard amount found in coffee. However, since the effect of the caffeine is balanced by the various nutritional attributes, the effect of the caffeine in “caffeine sensitive” people the effect may not be the same.
  • Yerba mate is also known to fight against gastro-intestinal disorders by increasing the flow of bile in the body.

How to Make Yerba Mate Tea

Yerba mate is medicinal and a unique herb. It can be brewed as a tea from the leaves and the small twigs of the shrub. Unlike regular teas that are served in a tea pot or kettle yerba mate should be served in a gourd with a metal straw or a ‘bombilla’. You can also purchase mate cups made especially for drinking Yerba mate, they are generally made from metal, wood or ceramic.
  1. Pack the dry Yerba Mate in the cup or gourd half way to the top.
  2. Make sure the powdery flakes are mixed into the rest of the dry mate by placing your hand on the top and flipping the cup upside down and giving it a few shakes. This will help you to avoid the straw or ‘bombilla’ from being blocked.
  3. Bring the larger stems closer to the top of the gourd. This will help filter the powdered leaves. It is best to do this step once you have completed step 2. Keeping your hand on the top of the gourd completely on the side and shake it back and forth. Tilt the gourd with the right side facing up so the Yerba mate remains on one side.
  4. Insert the straw carefully into the empty side of the gourd so it does not disturb the arrangement of the herb and as far from the powdered leaves if possible. Pour cold water into the empty space just before you reach the top of the powder and wait for absorption.
  5. Add hot water just as you did with the cold water. However, make sure the water is not boiling hot since it will give the Yerba mate a bitter taste.
  6. If you are new to drinking Yerba mate and are used to stirring the tea resist the urge to do so. Once you begin drinking through the straw/bombilla you will run the risk of clogging it.
  7. Lastly, make sure you clean the gourd or whichever cup you created the tea in and allow it to air dry.
You can drink Yerba mate cold or hot in the traditional method mentioned above or through other alternatives. An alternative method to making Yerba Mate is to prepare it in your coffee maker, simply substitute where you would put the coffee grinds and put the yerba mate instead.

I have actually made this myself and it is actually really tasty! If you try it let me know by leaving a comment :) I look forward to hearing from you.

Family Safe Homemade Insect Repellent

Insects are not only a nuisance in the garden; they can also ruin backyard barbecues, picnics at the park, etc. There are a few insect repellents that can be made with the ingredients in your own pantry. From flowers to fabric softener sheets, you can make your own completely green insect repellent. Homemade insect repellents are a chemical free solution that is safe for you, your family and the environment. 


Pepper Spray

Homemade pepper spray is a quick and easy solution for pests like ants. All that is needed to make your own home pepper spray is two cups of boiling water, a half cup of chopped cayenne peppers, and let it sit for a few minutes. Remove the pepper pieces by running the mixture through a strainer or coffee filter and let the juices flow into a spray bottle. Avoid spraying directly on flowers and plants.

This is only one method to create pepper spray, try using different peppers and pepper combinations. For example, try mixing equal parts of black pepper, cayenne pepper and hot sauce. Add a couple of tablespoons of cayenne pepper to water and liquid soap. Let it stand overnight and spray as needed among flowers and plants.

Lavender and Mint

If you are tired of stepping outside and becoming a buffet for mosquitoes, rub lavender flowers on your wrists, behind your ears and on your neck. The lavender will make you smell great and keep the mosquitoes away.

A mint-soap spray is another solution to rid your garden of ants. All that is needed is two teaspoons of mint
soap; this can be made at home or purchased from an herbal store, mixed with a gallon of water.

Fabric Softener and Witch Hazel

As strange as it may sound, rubbing your arms, legs and other exposed parts of your body with fabric softener sheets will repel mosquitoes. Avoid this method if you are allergic to fabric softeners or other perfumes. If you expect to remain outside for some time place the sheet in your back pocket for further use.

Witch hazel can be mixed with tea tree oil, peppermint or lavender oil in a spray bottle and lightly mist your body. Mix witch hazel with orange or lemon peels and mint or sage leaves. Add witch hazel to an organic lotion to create a moisturizer bug repellent.

Catnip

Catnip, or any herb from the mint family, can be used to repel mosquitoes. Fill a jar with catnip, pennyroyal and spearmint, fill jar with apple cider vinegar and allow it to sit for two weeks and shake twice a day. Strain the mixture with a coffee filter into a spray bottle and use as needed.