Posts tagged ‘Do it yourself’

Why You Shouldn’t Homestead

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Dance Therapy & Positive Energy Meditation

Build a Composting Toilet for $20 or Less

Wood-fired Water Heater [DIY]

An excellent DIY tutorial.

How to Make a Solar Still

From MotherEarthNews:

Make Your Own Distilled Water

Make your own distilled water from stream or lake water, salt water, or even brackish, dirty water, using these DIY Solar Still Plans. With just a few basic building materials, a sheet of glass and some sunshine, you can purify your own water at no cost and with minimal effort.

Distilled water is not just for drinking, and it’s always worth keeping a few gallons of it on hand. Clean water free of chemicals and minerals has a number of valuable uses:

• Always refill the lead-acid batteries used for solar energy systems or automobiles with distilled water

• Water delicate plants like orchids with distilled water; minerals and additives like fluoride or chlorine that are present in most tap water can harm plants

• Distilled water mixed with antifreeze is recommended for car radiators, as it’s less corrosive

• Steam irons become clogged with mineral deposits unless you use distilled water

The principle of using the sun’s heat to separate water from dissolved minerals has been understood for millennia, salt ponds being the best example of how this knowledge has been put to use in the past. In salt ponds, seawater is drained into shallow ponds and then baked and purified in the sun until all that remains are crystals of salt. In this case, the pure water that gradually evaporated away was considered a useless byproduct, but as far back as the time of the ancient Greeks it was known that seawater could be made fresh and drinkable by this process.

A solar still works like a salt evaporation pond, except that the water that invisibly evaporates is extracted from the air; the minerals and other impurities are left behind and discarded. As the hot, moisture-laden air rises up to the slanting sheet of relatively cool glass sealed to the box, water condenses out in the form of small droplets that cling to the glass. As these droplets get heavier, they roll down the glass to the collector tube at the bottom and then out to the jug.

The box is built from 3/4 ” BC-grade plywood, painted black on the inside to absorb heat. We used a double layer of plywood on the sides to resist warping and to help insulate the box, with an insulated door at the back and a sheet of glass on top.

Finding a good lining or container to hold the water in the inside of the box as it heats and evaporates can be complicated. The combination of high heat and water containing salt or other contaminents can corrode metals faster than usual and cause plastic containers to break down or offgas, imparting an unpleasant taste to the distilled water. The best liners are glass or stainless steel, although you can also coat the inside of the box with two or three coats of black silicone caulk (look for an F.D.A.-listed type approved for use around food). Spread the caulk around the bottom and sides with a taping knife. After it dries and cures thoroughly, just pour water in—the silicone is impervious to the heat and water.

How to Make a Solar Still

We chose to paint the inside black and use two large glass baking pans to hold the water. Glass baking pans are a safe, inexpensive container for dirty or salty water, and they can easily be removed for cleaning. We used two 10 x 15″ pans, which hold up to 8 quarts of water when full. To increase the capacity of the still, just increase the size of the wooden box and add more pans.

The operation of the distiller is simple. As the temperature inside the box rises, water in the pans heats up and evaporates, rising up to the angled glass, where it slowly runs down to the collector tube and then out to a container.

The runoff tube is made from 1″ PEX tubing. Stainless steel can also be used. However, use caution with other materials—if in doubt, boil a piece of the material in tap water for 10 minutes, then taste the water after it cools to see if it added any flavor. If it did, don’t use it.

Turn undrinkable water into pure, crystal-clear distilled water with a home-built solar still.

View step-by-step photos of how to make a solar still in the Image Gallery as well as this PDF of the DIY Solar Still Plans.

1. Mark and cut the plywood pieces according to the cutting list. Cut the angled end pieces with a circular saw or tablesaw set to a 9 degree angle.

2. Cut the insulation the same size as the plywood base, then screw both to the 2 x 4 supports with 2 1/2″ screws.

3. Screw the first layer of front and side pieces to the base and to each other, then add the back piece. Predrill the screws with a countersink bit.

4. Glue and screw the remaining front and side pieces on, using clamps to hold them together as you predrill and screw. Use 1 1/4″ screws to laminate the pieces together and 2″ screws to join the corners.

5. Glue and screw the hinged door pieces together, aligning the bottom and side edges, then set the door in position and screw on the hinges. Add a pull or knob at the center.

6. Paint the inside of the box with black high-temperature paint. Cover the back and the door with reflective foil glued with contact cement. Let the paint dry for several days so that all the solvents evaporate off.

7. Apply weatherseal around the edges of the hinged door to make the door airtight.

8. Drill a hole for the PEX drain. The top of the PEX is 1/2″ down from the top edge. Clamp a scrap piece to the inside so the drill bit doesn’t splinter the wood when it goes through.

9. Mark the first 19″ of PEX, then cut it in half with a utility knife. Score it lightly at first to establish the cut lines.

10. Drill three 1/8″ holes in the side of the PEX for screws, then insert the PEX through the hole. Butt it tight against the other side, then screw it in place, sloping it about 1/4″.

11. Wipe a thick bead of silicone caulk along the top edge of the PEX to seal it against the plywood.

12. Shim the box level and tack a temporary stop to the top edge to make it easy to place the glass without smearing the caulk. Spread a generous bead of caulk on all the edges, then lay the glass in place. Tape it down around the edges with painter’s tape, then let it set up overnight.

To Tiny House or NOT to Tiny House?

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DIY Facial Mask & Beauty Regimen

So I’m not much of a girly girl. I’m not into fashion and clothes and makeup and hair. My teenage daughters are though, and it’s always a struggle for me to find something to do with them that we are all interested in. Then it hit me: natural beauty treatments. I like natural, they like beauty. It’s girly enough to make them happy and not too girly that it makes me want to run screaming from the house. It’s a win-win.

Here are a few of the things we like to make. Links to buy everything are included. We make them, then we hang out talking while they work. My oldest rolls her eyes sometimes and sighs, “Mo-THER!” at me sometimes when I’m talking but she also asks me things like, “What does this oil do?” and “Which of these herbs is best for my skin?” so it’s good enough for me. She’s 18, so really I should be thankful she even talks to me at all.

Natural Glow Honey Cleanser

  • Raw honey (not kidding, that’s all you need)

Dab the honey onto your face with your finger and then spread it out, massaging upward until it covers your whole face. Leave it on anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. (I make the facial mask while we’re waiting.) When your time is up, wet a rag and wipe it off, just like you would any cleanser. It comes off really easily (don’t get it in your hair). You’re done! Honey has so many purifying benefits that it is a natural cleanser, even for problem skin. It even fights acne! You can use it every day, up to twice a day. It might sound silly, but seriously… don’t knock it until you try it. Honey is also a humectant, which means it draws moisture into your skin at the same time it’s cleansing. I love nature.

You could alternately mix the honey with some milk to enhance the softening and purifying properties of this cleanser if you like but it’s not really necessary. This cleanser can be used on your whole body. I do it at least once a month.

mask

Mask is almost dry.

Chamomile & Rosemary Facial Mask

Place the distilled water in a small pot and simmer until hot. Place the herbs in the water and steep about 20 minutes, until the water looks brown like tea (you’ll know when it’s ready). Add more water if you need to. Strain the herbs out and set the herb-infused water aside to cool. When it’s cooled enough, mix the water and clay together, adding more of either until the desired consistency is reached (you want it to be creamy and smooth; if it’s too thick it won’t spread and if it’s too thin it won’t be a good enough layer on your face). Add the essential oils (optional, but I always use them because I have them) and mix very well. It’ll be a dark greenish-grey. Apply to your face and let it dry. When dry and stiff, wet a rag and gently scrub the mask off. Done! You’ll notice a difference right away in how your skin looks and feels.

After mask. I know, I got some in my hair.

After mask. I know, I got some in my hair.

Fuller’s Earth Clay is a natural antioxidant and brightener for the skin. It’s excellent for lightening acne marks and evening out skin tone. Chamomile calms the skin, evens tone and is also a natural brightener. Rosemary increases circulation and tightens skin, and using a fresh or dried infusion of Rosemary is less harsh on the skin than using Rosemary essential oil. Rose oil promotes circulation, renewal and much more. Geranium is good for tissue regeneration, healing and many other things. Texas Cedarwood oil aids elasticity, tightens skin and promotes circulation. Patchouli softens, smooths, heals and all these oils fight aging.

Some variations of this mask include adding a few drops of Tea Tree oil to fight acne and oil, adding some dried or fresh Hibiscus flowers to the water instead of Chamomile to promote young, fresh skin (Hibiscus-infused water will stain your clothes if it gets on them), adding Lavender essential oil to the clay or fresh/dried Lavender flowers to the water to promote circulation, to calm the skin and to soften… the variations are endless.

There are some oils you should not use on your skin, including citrus oils. Yes, they smell great and they have antioxidant properties but they also create photosensitivity on the skin, which can lead to a chemical burn if you go out in the sun. Cinnamon essential oil of any kind smells wonderful but it will also burn the crap out of you. Best to avoid these altogether as additives to beauty treatments. Because of the lightening properties of this particular mask, I would not use it more than once a week.

ACV Toner

All done!

Done! If you’re wondering if this regimen works, keep in mind that I am 35 years old. :)

Dilute the vinegar with the water at a ratio of 1:1. You might find you need to dilute it further, depending on your skin sensitivity (ACV can be harsh if not diluted enough). I use a 1:3 dilution on my face. That means 1 part ACV to 3 equal parts water. So if you were to use 1 cup ACV, you’d use 3 cups water (that would make a lot of toner, but you get the idea). When I use ACV to rinse my hair, I can mix it a little stronger. You can add essential oils to your toner, or infuse the vinegar* with herbs to get their benefits. Rosemary is fantastic for this and so are roses or other flowers. Shake the toner and then apply to your face with a cotton ball or the tips of the fingers.

We usually follow this with a thin layer of plain coconut oil right out of the jar to moisturize. You can do that or try this instead. So there you have it. A beauty regimen you can do with your girly daughters. I use this time to teach them about natural things and they feel pampered and beautified. These recipes also actually work. Win-win!

*Infusing vinegar is very easy. You simply place the herbs of your choice into a jar or container with a lid, heat the vinegar to hot but not boiling and then pour the vinegar into the container, completely covering the herbs. Let it sit for a few weeks in a dark cabinet, shaking once in awhile, then strain the herbs out and use the vinegar. Simple! (Infusing vinegar for eating or use with food requires more care. Doing it wrong can lead to some serious problems, so please research more before attempting it.)

Ridiculously Simple Relaxing Chamomile Tea Recipe

Chamomile has a lot of really great benefits: it’s good for skin, hair, digestion, coughs colds… but perhaps the thing it is known for the most is it’s relaxation properties. One of the best ways to enjoy chamomile is as a tea. I know, I know… technically it’s not tea. But by steeping the fresh or dried flowers in boiling water, you can make a delicious, relaxing tea to drink before bed or as you sit in a nice hot bath. This particular recipe is almost absurdly easy.

You will need: tea

2 tbsp dried or fresh chamomile flowers

2 apple slices 

2 cups water

You simply heat the water to boiling and put it aside in another container.  Add the apple slices to the pot and mash them up as good as you can with a spoon, then add the chamomile flowers. Pour the 2 cups boiling water back in to the pot, cover and let it steep (sit) for about 5 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey or sugar and enjoy. That’s it!

This recipe is very easy to double, triple or half. It’s just 1 tbsp flowers and 1 apple slice per 1 cup of water. Easy! You can also add a teaspoon of dried or fresh lavender flowers to make it even more relaxing, or a teaspoon of coconut oil to get your daily coconut oil in a tasty new way. A little dash of fresh mint gives it a little zip. Experiment and see what you come up with.

Plants That Reduce Air Contaminants

Making Herbal Medicines — A Guide

Anyone interested in learning more about making herbal medicines would do well to download this .pdf file. 35 pages of recipes, how-to and more. Recommended. Download here. You might also be interested in this guide as well.

*NOTE: As with all medicines, you should not take anything until you have checked with your doctor or Master Herbalist. Nothing on this website should be construed as medical advice or a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

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