It’s beginning to feel like Fall… And in less than two weeks the season will officially be here. Bring on all the cozy: the sweaters, boots, scarves, hats, hot apple cider (call me old fashioned but I like it better than PSLs), Fall decor, candles, baking……. all of it. I’ve started adding some Fall touches around the house and as much as I love LOVE candles, I wanted a flameless option to add a seasonal scent to the house.
This little DIY was inspired by none other than the food dehydrator that has been a staple in my kitchen for the past few weeks as we pick fresh herbs from the garden to dry (we have a round one like this one and love it). I’ve seen lots of cute ideas with dehydrated oranges (warning: this may not be the last one you see here 😉 ), and this DIY is a great way to add to the coziness of your home for the Fall by making it smell amazing. You can choose any scent combinations you like, but I really like the smell of coffee and added citrus essential oil to help keep the house smelling fresh. I opted to make a sachet that I can tuck out of reach from the kids, but pouring everything into a jar or vase would also make for a pretty home made potpourri to display (those dried oranges just make everything look pretty). This is also a great option if you’re trying to avoid artificial air fresheners- simply switch up the scents for the season to keep your home smelling fresh.
1 large navel orange
Citrus essential oil
Piece of paper towel or tissue paper
1- 2 cups coffee beans
Lightweight fabric bag (or use a piece of fabric tied at the top)
Begin by cutting the orange into slices not quite 1/4″ thick
2. Place slices into a food dehydrator (or you can preheat your oven to 250 degrees and dry the slices for 2- 3 hours)
3. When the orange slices have dried, allow to cool. Add a few drops to a piece of paper towel or tissue paper.
4. Pop all of the items into the paper bag- the dried orange slices, coffee beans, and paper towel/ tissue paper- and wrap it up so nothing can fall out. To be extra secure tape the seams so no coffee beans fall out.
5. Pop everything into the fabric bag and tie at the top. Pick where you want to have the scent in your home and place the sachet. You can tuck into a closet or add it to a Fall display/ vignette.
As I mentioned, you can also dry the orange slices in the oven at a low temp for a few hours, but I love the option of a dehydrator and the round one we have gets a lot of use. If you’re thinking of buying one, this one is similar to the one we have and works great.
Anyone else looking for some simple DIY gift ideas? Well you’re in luck! Today I’ve got 2 simple ideas to pamper someone special: bath bombs and body butter. Mmmmm sounds indulgent doesn’t it? And the best part is there are no weird ingredients, just simple things like essential oils, baking soda, citric acid, and shea butter (which you can find at soap making supply stores and online). All you have to do is decide what scents you want and the rest is simple- these are even fun projects to make with the kids and they’ll love trying out the fizzing bath bombs for themselves after all their hard work. Plus I’ve teamed up with Pam Lauzon of Young Living to share about some misconceptions about essential oils, so you can learn a little something while you get your DIY on (see that info after the DIY instructions). So who’s ready to whip up some Christmas presents?
1 cup citric acid
1 cup baking soda
½ cup cornstarch
3-4 tbsp melted coconut oil
Spray bottle with water
15 drops of pure, therapeutic grade
Food colouring (optional)
Combine citric acid, baking soda and cornstarch in a bowl and mix together well (If doing two colours or two scents, divide mixture into two bowls)
Add essential oil a few drops at a time and colour if desired and whisk vigorously to stop fizzing
Melt coconut oil and pour small
amounts into dry mixture, whisking continuously to stop fizzing (listen
carefully for fizzing and mix until it stops)
Spray water into mixture, one spray at a time, and mix with hands quickly to stop fizzing. Make sure there is no fizzing sound before you add more water
Add water until mixture holds together when you squeeze a handful in your hands, it should crumble apart still but hold a shape when squeezed together
Press firmly into molds (silicone works well or muffin tips are fine too)
Once tightly packed in, let dry for 24 hours or place in fridge until firm and remove from mold to dry overnight
For gifting, line a box with shredded paper or tissue to prevent the bath bombs from breaking. Tie with a pretty bow and finishing touches like a sprig of fresh rosemary and your DIY gift is ready to go under the tree!
1 ¾ cups shea butter
½ coconut oil
¼ sweet almond oil
20 drops essential oil
Mix shea, coconut and almond oils in a pot and warm on the stove until melted but not boiling (stir until evenly mixed and place in fridge or freezer until firm but not hard).
Use whisk to beat the mixture and add your essential oils
Scoop into mason jar or desired container and enjoy!
To wrap the body butter you can simply tie the container with a pretty ribbon (slip a sprig of fresh greens for a festive touch), or pop into a bag or box. Just make sure the lid is on tight.
Top 3 Misconceptions about Essential Oils
Essential oils are getting a lot of attention these days but there is still some confusion about them- education is key. According to Pam, here are the 3 things people ask her most about.
1. Essential oils can be toxic and
What is an
essential oil anyways? Essential oils are in your home right now! You smell the
oil in the zest of a lemon, in your fresh herbs and that fantastic smell that
comes from your Christmas tree. The oils are the life blood of the plant. They
carry oxygen and nutrients into the cells of the plant and waste out. They
protect the plant from disease and repel unwanted pests. An essential oil
usually comes from steam distillation and is much more potent than an herb.
They consist of hundreds of different chemicals. Some of these chemicals on their
own can be toxic, however in nature they are balanced and the toxic chemicals
are quenched by the other chemicals in the plant. That is the key! The oils
must be of good quality and tested to make sure that the chemical constituents
in the oil are properly balanced and safe, and then used properly!
2. All essential oils are the same
In North America there are no real regulating bodies for essential oils. This exists in Europe but
here in Canada they are considered to be cosmetics. Labels can say pretty much anything.
For example, a bottle can read “Pure” if it contains only 5-35% pure oil. The
term “organic” gets everyone excited but it only refers to the farming
practices and has nothing to do with the quality of your oil. Many companies
use 2nd, 3rd and 4th distillation which is
like steeping a tea bag over and over. It smells the same but it’s weaker. This
brings down the cost and often creates a sweeter smell but don’t be fooled!
Very sweet smells often indicate a poorer quality product. Many companies also use
synthetic oils to keep down costs. You will find these most commonly in soaps
and lotions but also in many bottles of essential oil sold as pure oil. Using
synthetics or low grade oils IS very dangerous, so buyer beware. Do you know
what is in your bottle?
3. Essential oils are “snake oil”
and don’t do anything
If you use
synthetic, or low grade essential oil you may like the smell but you will
likely not see any amazing changes. What you may experience are headaches,
rashes, burns, respiratory issues and more. I often have people tell me they
can’t use the oils due to a fragrance allergy. I always tell people to work
within their comfort zone but from my experience many with fragrance allergies
do not react to pure essential oil.
Want to learn more about essential oils?
Check out Pam’s Facebook group dedicated to helping answer all your essential oil questions: https://www.facebook.com/groups/573135652811774/She’s also got an online class coming up on December 10th if you’d like to learn more from Pam. RSVP at the link below to learn more:
Pam Lauzon has been using essential oils with her family for three years and at first didn’t know the extent to which they could impact health and well- being. Having two kids, one with severe food allergies
and one with respiratory issues, making food
from scratch became necessary for her family and that led to making their own
non-toxic home products to help with issues like eczema. Pam and her family have experienced amazing results in her three years with Young Living and is now
committed to providing the best education to others seeking natural and safe
alternatives. Contact Pam at any time to
setup an in-person or online class to learn more. She also works with doulas, massage
therapists, and chiropractors among others and offers education on a variety of topics
like essential oils for children, pets, hormones etc!
About Young Living
YL is the oldest and largest essential oil company in the world and are at the forefront of essential oil research and education. YL is the only company to own their own farms around the globe, with some located here in BC. The farms are sustainable, organic and ensure that plants are grown where they were meant to grow. Each batch is tested both in house and by a third party to ensure safety and quality.
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**Young Living Lavender Essential Oil is approved by Health Canada for headaches,
digestive discomfort, relaxation, aches, pains, arthritis, colds and cough. It
is gentle and soothing on skin.
**Young Living Lemon Essential Oil is approved by Health Canada for coughs and colds.
It is uplifting and energizing and amazing for cleaning.
I’ve been trying to turn to a more natural lifestyle for several years. This has included changing my food choices and the products I use in my homes, among other choices. As with any shift in lifestyle choices, there’s a learning curve and your confidence grows as you learn more. About two years ago I decided to try my hand at making my own laundry detergent; this was my big leap into trying to reduce the chemicals I use and so began the purchase of items such as essential oils, borax, laundry soda, and copious amounts of vinegar and baking soda. While I’ve had mixed levels of success as I try different mixtures, my homemade laundry detergent has yet to disappoint me (go to the blog’s Green Cleaning page to find out how to make it). And among the other items that have become my go- tos when looking for a natural alternative, essential oils have become something I am using more and more.
While they can seem pricey, they really do go a long way; you only need a small amount for each use. In addition to being used in aromatherapy and to add a desired scent to natural cleaning and toiletry products (vs the artificial chemical scents added to laundry detergents, cleaning products, etc), essential oils have a variety of other applications. That’s why when I was recently contacted by Heather Gibson of doTERRA, I was intrigued to learn more and expand my uses for them. Heather kindly sent me doTERRA’s Starter Kit containing lavender, lemon, and peppermint essential oils. Along with the kit, Heather also included a variety of information about the history and uses of essential oil:
“Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in plants that are extracted through steam distillation or cold pressed and as a result are very concentrated (50- 70% stronger than herbs). Benefits of natural medicines include treating the root causes of an ailment (vs. treating the symptoms), are safe with no side effects and can be used by all ages (whereas many traditional medicines have age restrictions).”
I found it really interesting to learn about the different ways essential oils can be used to soothe and treat a variety of ailments. Will and I have both suffered from severe headaches and anxiety and I was familiar with the use of lavender and peppermint oils to treat these. However, there are countless other uses for these three oils alone:
– Can be diffused in a room or applied to the skin to help you relax and reduce anxiety
– Soothes irritated/ chapped lips and skin (such as burns and diaper rash)
– Soothes bee stings and bug bites to reduce pain/ irritation
– Apply on or around a burn to soothe skin (only apply around the burn if skin is broken)
– Use after hair removal to soothe skin & reduce irritation
– Is safe for use on sensitive skin
– Diffuse in a room to neutralize odors
– Can clean kitchen surfaces such as counters and stainless steel appliances
– Used in aromatherapy to elevate mood
– Can be applied directly to cold sores to reduce irritation
– Use to remove gum, label adhesives, and greasy substances from fabrics
– Take a deep breath to invigorate lungs and increases alertness
– Apply to neck and bottoms of feet or add a few drops to a spray bottle of water & spritz if you’re overheated
– Apply with lavender oil to neck & forehead to soothe headaches
-Rub on stomach or feet to calm indigestion
– Apply with lavender to soothe sore muscles and
– Use with lemon and lavender oils during allergy
In addition, other oils can be used to treat a variety of other ailments, and I found the suggestions for babies and kids especially interesting:
Uses for Babies
Because baby’s skin is delicate, it’s best to dilute
essential oils before applying them onto skin. A good rule of thumb is to
dilute 1 drop of essential oil with 1 tbsp of carrier oil (such as sweet
almond, jojoba, avocado, sunflower, coconut, or avocado oil).
Diffuse 2 drops of melaleuca (tea tree), lemon, or lavender
at bedtime & during the day to help with symptoms
Diffuse 1 drop of
lavender or melaleuca oil to help with congestion during the day
Mix 1 drop lavender oil with 1 tbsp carrier oil & rub a small amount on back & chest
Mix 1 drop lavender with 1 tbsp carrier oil & apply a
small amount to bottoms of feet and to liver area. Put socks on baby’s feet so
they don’t get the oil in their mouth or eyes
For abdominal pain
Mix 1 drop Roman chamomile and 1 drop orange with 2 tsp
carrier oil and swish 1 tsbp of mixture in bath water
Combine 1 drop Roman chamomile oil with 1 drop lavender oil
& 1 drop of whole milk. Swish in bash water to soothe soar skin. Avoid
getting it in baby’s eyes or on face
Uses for Kids
As with babies, it is a good idea to dilute essential oils
before applying them to children’s skin. Diluting 1 drop of essential oil with
1 tbsp of carrier oil is a good rule of thumb.
Dilute 1- 2 drops of thyme or lemon oil in 2 tbsp of carrier
oil & massage a small amount on neck & chest
For the flu
Dilute 1 drop cypress or lemon oil in unscented bath gel
& use at bath time
Dilute 1- 2 drops of lavender or peppermint oil in 2 tbsp of
carrier oil & massage a small amount on the neck, feet, behind the ears,
& on the back
Combine 2 tbsp carrier oil with 2 drops of lavender and 1
drop each of Roman chamomile & melaleuca oil. Put a drop of mixture on a
cotton ball and apply in ear, behind the ear, and on reflex points on feet
For minor burns
Immerse burnt skin in cold water for 10 minutes to cool the
skin. If skin is not broken, apply 2 drops of lavender oil directly to the
burn; if the skin is broken, rub it around the burnt area. Follow with a cool
compress of 5 drops on a soft cloth & hold on burn area to sooth the skin.
For cuts & scrapes
Add 5 drops each lavender & melaleuca oil to a small
bowl of warm water. Use this mixture to clean the cut, then apply 1 drop of
lavender to a band- aid to cover the wound.
For chicken pox
Add 10 drops each of lavender and Roman chamomile oil to 4oz
(1/2 cup) calamine lotion; mix & apply 2x per day
For insect bites
Add 5 drops German chamomile oil with 5 drops of lavender
oil to small amount of cold water. Soak a cloth in the mixture & hold on
bite for 1 minute to soothe skin
A great way to gain benefits from essential oils is to use a diffuser (one of my girlfriends has one and LOVES it). Some of the benefits:
– Reduce bacteria, fungus, mold, & odors
– Help with relaxation & mental clarity, and release tension
– Improve concentration & alertness
doTERRA claims that their oils are of the highest purity and that certain ones can be taken internally in addition to the benefits listed above; the company has a third party test each batch to ensure this quality and purity is upheld. While I don’t doubt the company’s commitment to quality, I found the suggestion of ingesting essential oils to be a controversial one while researching this post:
“There seems to be a misconception that there is
some kind of independent body that certifies oils as therapeutic grade, but to
this date there is no such body, at least not one that is widely recognized.
Does this mean there is no such thing as therapeutic grade? No, but just realize
that any therapeutic grade standard out there right now is an internally
derived company standard. Now this standard may be an overall great standard
and perfectly acceptable to me or any other analyst or aromatherapist out there
but it just needs to be noted that its not an independent standard.”
– Dr. Robert Pappas, Essential Oil University
The Alliance of International Aromatherapists gives this statement on the internal use of essential oils:
“The Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal, or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal). Please refer to the AIA Safety Guidelines for essential oil use.”
I had never heard of ingesting essential oils before and do find it to be an interesting concept. In the materials that Heather provided me there were suggested benefits of ingesting high quality essential oils, such as doTERRA’s, but given the concerns and controversy surrounding doing so I chose not to include these suggestions in this post (however, Dr. Pappas, the man quoted above, is responsible for carrying out third- party testing of doTERRA’s products). If you are interested in learning about these additional applications, I encourage you to research high- quality brands such as doTERRA and consult a holistic healthcare practitioner who understands and/ or specializes in such treatments.
On a final note, Will and I were both impressed with the quality of the essential oils that Heather sent and we followed some of the suggested uses included with the materials that came with them. We both found using the peppermint and lavender oils helped soothe headaches and aching muscles and using them for aromatherapy was enjoyable. Lavender is great for relaxation while peppermint and lemon are good to increase alertness and make you feel more energized. We both look forward to trying out more of the suggested uses as a natural alternative as we have the need to (fingers crossed no colds or flus in this house!).
To learn more about doTERRA and the variety of other uses of essential oils, visit their website.
Heather also provided this link to a video with more information about how essential oils are tested for purity:
If you have any questions you can contact Heather to learn more or click the image below.
A big thank you to Heather from doTERRA for sending me the essential oils and for all of the interesting information on how they can be used. I encourage you to take a critical look at some of the products you use in your home and to learn more about the benefits of using natural solutions, such as essential oils, in your home.