Decorating with Leaves


One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to decorate with the colorful leaves. You can do this really easily by dipping leaves into paraffin wax. This makes a very beautiful yet simple autumn touch to your home. Plus it is putting the fallen leaves to good use!

You will need to gather these materials: Paraffin wax, a pan (one that you don’t mind melting wax in), parchment paper, a tray to cool the leaves, a large bowl full of cool water.

Step 1: Gather the best pick of leaves you can find outside, you want them to be bright and in good shape. Make sure they are not torn or wilted. How many you gather is up to you.

Step 2: Arrange a tray lined with parchment paper in order to cool the leaves after they have been dipped. Then set up a large bowl filled with cool water.

Step 3: Melt the wax in the pan on low. Caution: paraffin wax is highly flammable.

Step 4: By the stem, submerge the leaf all the way into the wax. Immediately pull the leaf out, let any excess wax drip off into the pan. Then dip it into the bowl of cool water for about 5 seconds. This sets the wax. Let the water run off and then gently place the leaf onto the parchment paper. Then repeat.
They should last for at least a week, most likely longer.

Decorating ideas: If you have guests over for dinner they look really nice scattered throughout the dinner table and then add some candles to help them shine. This is a great idea for Thanksgiving dinner. Or you can place them on a mantle, on shelves or anywhere in your house or office that has room for them. You could also tie a clear string around the stem and hang them from an archway in your home. They should last for at least a week, most likely longer.

Green Question: I know that burning candles made from paraffin wax isn’t as safe for the environment as soy candles, but for this activity has anyone used a different kind of wax? Feel free to leave a comment.

Fall Weather’s Green Accessories

The rain is falling, the wind is blowing and the sky is gray. Its Fall, and let’s face it, riding your bike or taking walks, doesn’t seem that appealing. Wind blown, wet hair and soggy clothes isn’t that attractive when you’re on your way to work. But the environment is calling us, asking us to help and we want to help.

Here are some tips to get you out on the street again, walking, riding the bike and commuting:

Grab a New Stylish UmbrellaBrelli makes a 100% biodegradable umbrella. Made of bamboo, cotton and a clear canopy.

Slip on a Rain CapeBicycle clothing offers rain capes to protect you from the rain. Easy to slip on over whatever you are wearing. Sorry but they only come in the yellow on this site, but that will keep you safe when riding in the rainy weather.

Pull on the Rain Boots – Yes you can wear rubber boots to work, they come in so many fashionable colors and designs. Check out the fun designs at Kamik.com and when you are done with them they can be tossed in the recycle bin.

Put a new Messenger bag over your shoulder Passchal bags are made of recycled rubber and eco-friendly leather protecting your papers and personal items from the fowl weather.

If the above ideas dont get you back weathering the storm than try this Recycled Raincoat idea from artsandcrafts.today.com.

15 Olive Oil Beauty Uses

We are most familiar with Olive Oil in cooking but did you know that the properties in Olive Oil make it great for your hair and skin too. I was amazed at all the uses I found for Olive Oil and how environmentally friendly it is compared to the chemicals usually used for the same purpose.

In an article by Jean Fisher from WhatsForDinner.net they shared about the benefits of Olive Oil.

Substituting olive oil, a monounsaturated fat, for saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats can:

* Reduce blood pressure
* Inhibit the growth of some cancers
* Benefit people at risk for or with diabetes
* Lessen the severity of asthma and arthritis

Non-cooking Olive Oil uses:

1.) Hot Oil Treatment: Made from Olive Oil, Honey, and Rosemary or Tea Tree Oil, heated and massaged into hair.
2.) Massage Oil
3.) Eye Makeup Remover
4.) Shaving Cream
5.) Fingernail cuticle oil
6.) Apply to lips to relieve chapped lips.
7.) Remove Paint from your skin: Rub olive oil onto the areas you have paint and allow to soak in for 5 minutes, then rinse with soap and water.
8.) Moisturizer: Rub olive oil daily to your dry areas, such as elbows, knees and feet.
9.) Exfoliator: Rub your skin with olive oil, then scrub with sugar or coarse salt, and rinse.
10.) Diaper Rash Ointment: Gently wipe olive oil onto your babys bum to help sooth.
11.) Bath: Add a few drops of olive oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oil to moisturize your skin.
12.) Lice: Apply olive oil to your hair and leave on for 40 minutes then shampoo two times.
13.) Cure an Earache: Use a cotton swab to apply olive oil to the outide of the ear cavity to help aid in earaches or earwax.
14.) Help for Frizzy Hair: Put a small drop of olive oil into your hand and rub your hands together and apply to dry hair.
15.) Stop Snoring: Take a sip of Olive Oil before heading to bed. It might lubricate your throat muscles, and stop the snoring.

Some of these ideas were found at Curbly.com, 25 Alternative Uses for Olive Oil. Some of the others were found at GreenLivingTips.com, Non-food uses for olive oil. For the complete articles and more non-food uses for olive oil click on the links above.

Environmentally Friendly – Cast Iron Cooking

Cast Iron cooking is back. Yes our grandparents and parents were right, cast iron cooking is the best way to go. Not only for its amazing cooking properties but also because, its great for the environment, because it can be recycled and melted down. Cast iron can go from the stove, to the oven, to the grill, and the heat is evenly distributed throughout the pan. And the flavor that is added to the food you prepare in cast iron is outstanding.

Cast Iron Chatter has some great recipes for any meal. I found a few that I will be trying.

If you are currently not cooking with cast iron, I suggest you pick up a cast iron skillet to begin with and give it a try. Cast Iron skillets aren’t expensive, a new one can be picked up for around $20. If you are like me and like to buy used(the whole recycle thing), you can find them at most thrift stores for around $5. That’s not a big investment for something that lasts for years. My mom still has hers from 1960, the year she got married and there is nothing wrong with it. In fact I would rather cook with hers than mine, due to the fact that its seasoned so well.

I found an article at Joy The Baker on:

How to Properly Season Cast Iron

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Position one rack in the top third of the oven. Position another rack in the bottom third of the oven and place an empty foil lined backing sheet on the bottom rack. This sheet will catch any dripping from the cast iron.
  2. Open your windows or turn on your stove hood fan. There may be some smoke, but I’ve never had this issue.
  3. Over a medium flame, rub a thin layer (about 1 Tablespoon) of vegetable shortening, like Crisco, or oil—bacon grease works great, too—all over the inner bottom and sides of the pan with a paper towel and tongs.
  4. Place the oiled pan upside down in the heated oven over the foil lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake the cast iron for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and allow the cast iron to cool to room temperature in the oven. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times for best results.