31 January 2012

Set Sail With a Gadanke Journal

By now you most certainly know that we love being on the road, taking pictures all the way from beginning to end. Our daughter is the chief chronicler and takes care of our travel journal. Not that we had one. Up until now.

In fact, I didn't even know you could have a special journal for your travels. But thankfully there is Katie of Gadanke who handcrafts those fabulously entertaining journals out of recycled paper.

Katie makes a travel journal for you that prompts you to notice more than you regularly do. She invites you to smell things, to remember sounds and tastes... No! There's nothing regular about such kind of journaling. The vacation taken with this journal is one in a lifetime, I am telling you. I know because I have а Gadanke journal right in front of me right now. I can touch it, I can smell it. And it smells of the sun and the wind in the sails. 

This travel journal is such an extraordinary idea that I wish to share with all of you. The small but delightful stack of paper can make even those who have no special attitude to traveling fall in love with it. Can you imagine 60 pages of journaling space?

It has a mini calendar, a map to point out where you were, space to paste travel stubs and receipts, pockets to collect smaller bits of memorabilia, there are even star stickers to rate your experience!

But what I find extraordinarily clever are the creative writing prompts that set you in such a humorous mood that you are bound to have fun, whatever happens. For example, the lines I cannot wait to get filled up are right below the sentence:
For the record
we were not lost,
we were merely enjoying the views!

Who hasn't got lost on a journey! We surely do often but ah, the sweetness of those secret encounters we were unprepared for will now be documented. Thank you, Katie!

I can't wait for our next trip. I want it to start tomorrow. No, I want to get going today. I am getting the goosebumps thinking of all the little details my daughter can write in that journal. Honestly, I envy her because it's hers now. And I promised only she will get to write in it, and stick photos and tickets. Why, oh why was I so quick to promise?

Katie makes other journals too. I want to have them all but I could make do with these three for starters:

They are all thoughtfully compiled to help us look behind the curtains and beyond our expectations. I would love to be able to be so inspired each day of my life. Now I know that thanks to the creative genius of Katie of Gadanke many of us will be able to explore their own Universes.

From today until Sunday, February 5th Katie is offering a generous discount to all Kanelstrand readers. use code KANAL10 to get 10% off your order!

And hush, don't tell this to anyone but Katie is that super awesome person, who I can't stop talking to. So, just for you, here is her twitter and facebook page. And, she also has a blog about home making. She is your new best friend, I promise.

Me? I know I'm going on a simplification journey tomorrow. What about you? Where are YOU going tomorrow?

30 January 2012

10 Simple Ways to Go Green

Going green is not something that requires extra energy or efforts. In fact, it embodies a straightforward philosophy of life that can be applied to any person living anywhere in the world. While some of us naturally live a greener life, others need to make a deliberate effort at greening but hey, it is neither hard, nor scary.

Green has become something of a universal password bound to make consumers buy whatever products have the green/organic/eco-friendly label. But when you come to think of it, over-consumption is what got us here so why not put buying aside and concentrate on frugality for a change.

Here are several steps you can take along your green journey that will not only help you save the planet but some cash too.

Walk more, drive less
If you can walk or bicycle to work, why not do it? It is good exercise, gives you a couple of minutes to get in the mood and it's free. Add to that zero emissions and it tops the list.

Use public transport or carpool
Not all of us are lucky enough to live close to work, so in the cases when you have no other choice but to travel, use public transport or join a carpool. Both options save you money and reduce carbon emissions.

Reconsider your attitude to paper
You can stop printing in the first place. I recently stumbled upon a blogger giving frugality advice that was recommending printing them out. It is my opinion that trying to write things down or saving them on the Internet to have easy access from virtually anywhere is more environmentally responsible apart from being frugal.

Reuse paper. Ever since I remember myself we've been reusing paper pprinted on one side. It is easy to shred sheets of paper and use them for little notes or big ideas.

Oh yes... and give up paper towels. Most of thhe times you can do the job even better with the help of a cotton cloth that can eb washed and reused for a long time.

Avoid plastic
Anywhere, anytime think of what you are buying. If there is an option, go for the non-plastic pack. Watch your trash and sort your plastic for recycling but more importantly try to use less of it. Visit Beth Terry's website My Plastic-free Life to learn more about the consequences of plastic, and to follow her journey on reducing the amount of her plastic trash. Weaning off plastic is a fundamental green deed that can save the lives of a number of marine animals and birds.

Reconsider cleaning products and cosmetics
For every chemical out there, there is a natural replacement that works equally well or better but is not dangerous either for you or for the environment. If you take the time to learn and actually make your own cleaning products, soap and shampoo you will be saving a considerable amount of money and your health. Let's not forget that all chemicals that get washed away take the long journey from your home to the oceans, and settle in fish that we subsequently eat, so... whatever we do, we do it to ourselves (ignorance can't save us here).

Turn off the (energy saving) lights
Undoubtedly you should already be using energy saving bulbs or LEDs. If you are not, just buy some and change your old ones. Your wallet will thank you. Then, turn off the light when you leave the room. It will spare you even further on bulbs and energy bills.

Unplug appliances when not in use
Keeping your electronics plugged in standby not only adds up to your energy bill but also to the radiation in the house. Make sure you power them off completely to save you a substantial part of your energy bill.

Use less water
Take shorter showers, close the tap while you'r ebrushing your teeth, use bath water to water your plants - easy frugal ways to be green and earth-minded.

Dry your clothes on the line
The sun has the amazing quality to actually disinfect your clothes while they are drying. This is not only free and healthy but also green.

Grow your own food
The advantages are countless. You will know where your food comes from, you will have an emotional connection to what you are eating - something we all need, you will have an excuse for spending some time out. Even i you have the smallest of gardens or no garden at all, you can do this and make sure you eat healthy. The grow your food inside movement is in its swing right now because it helps people get back to nature even if they live in a small apartment.

The way I see it, green life is nothing more than simple, sensible life. We just need to get rid of what city life has instilled in us and keep our human roots even if we are to grow up and flourish in the grey concrete jungle.

What steps are you taking to make your life greener and how are they affecting your financial situation?

28 January 2012

Weekend DIY: Valentine Crafts

You may think there is time until Valentine's Day but you're wrong. The two weeks will roll like a tiny marble and before you know it you will be celebrating with your loved one! But no celebration is complete without a handmade gift!

Here are two unusual handmade gifts DIYs that you might find interesting.

The first one is by Michelle of the Blue Moss Girls. Wouldn't it be lovely to make an edible ring for Valentine's and gift it to anyone with a sweet tooth?

Photo: Bluemossgirls
The second one has something edible about it because it can be used as a cake topper... a wedding cake topper, I mean. Well, The question can always be popped on Valentine's Day and with such a gift who can say no?

Photo by Brittany via BrooklinBride.com

How are you getting ready for Valentine's Day?

27 January 2012

Knit a Square, Send Some Love

Have you ever thought that by simply knitting a square you might help a child, orphaned by AIDS? Yes, you can! You can make a big difference to an African  child's everyday with just as little as some stash yarn and a hook or needle.

Photo: Aaron Phelps

There are an estimated 1.9 million AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa. 500 children a day are made orphans by the combined ravages of AIDS and poverty. Most of them are left to fend for themselves in shanty towns. Governments and charity organizations do what they can, but it is not enough.

My lovely friend Laurie over at Kitty's Fiber Journey brought this to my attention. She is on a mission to knit 500 squares by June 1, 2012 but she needs our help! Let's join forces for a good cause!

Why squares?
Because they can be easily connected to each other and turned into blankets. That is how your love and craftiness will help warm an African AIDS orphan's heart.

How you can help
Knit/crochet a 8” (20 cm) square and send it to Laurie. She is so into this project that she will reward you with a coupon to her brand new online yarn shop Hands with Hearts. So by giving a bit of your yarn away you will be getting some back. Isn't she generous!

Also, don't forget to grab her button and post it on your blog to help spread the word!

All you need to do is knit. 
Turn your passion into warmth and care for someone on the other side of the world.

Visit Kitty's Fiber Journey to learn more and get Laurie's address, so you know where to send your squares.

Me? I'm already crocheting mine. How about you?

25 January 2012

The Solar Storm and the Aurora

The biggest solar storm in eight years hit Earth last Thursday. Doomsday aficionados were disappointed yet again because big as it was, it didn't have any impressive effect on the Earth apart form the amazing beauty in the sky. All around the top of the earth, solar particles colliding with the earth's magnetic field created an Aurora Borealis that was a sight to remember.

This image by NASA shows the creation of new solar active regions following the solar flare eruption. The loop structures are made of superheated plasma, each one several times larger than the size of the Earth.

While the solar storm interfered with satellite transmissions and forced some planes regularly flying near the North Pole to change route, the lucky dwellers of the far off northern regions of the Earth were able to witness a massive light show in the evening skies.

My dear friend Mary of Inside My Hideaway was the first to ask me on Tuesday if we managed to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis but alas, the skies above Southern Norway were way too overcast. That also means that I didn't have the chance to make a single photo myself but thankfully there weren't clouds further north and further south and I can show you some stunning Aurora photos by other watchful eyes.

Northern Lights over Trondheim, Norway on 22. January 2012 taken by Schwebbes
Northern lights above Kvaløya, Norway on 23. January 2012, taken by Lars Tiede
Northern lights above Sweden on 24. January 2012, taken by razaonetwo
Northern lights above Finland on 22. January 2012, taken by Janne
Northern lights above Reykjavik, Iceland on 23. January 2012, taken by Matthias Burch
Northern lights above Fairbanks, Alaska on 22. January 2012, taken by Jason Ahrns
Northern lights above Inishowen, Ireland on 22. January 2012, taken by leppre

Truth be told, I am envious of everyone who had a good view in the past few days and managed to take a glimpse photo of that surreal light show in the sky. I must confess that witnessing Aurora Borealis is one of the most intense experiences for someone interested in nature and the world around. It is unforgettable even for those uninterested!

I remember sitting on the roof with my husband one exceptionally cold October night in Iceland, celebrating our first wedding anniversary with an incredibly colorful and mind-blowing display of the Northern Lights that seemed to go on for an eternity. A show that I knew was staged just for the two of us. At some moments the Aurora resembled this photo:

Northern lights above Fairbanks Alaska, 22. January 2012, taken by Jason Ahrns

As if I was watching a 3D movie, only it was real, I could have reached out and touched the dancing lights but I was afraid not to spoil the moment, not to miss a thing and I stood still next to my husband, freezing under the Northern sky that was talking to me.

I still remember how humbled and in awe I felt that night and I wish you all to have a chance to see the Aurora with your own eyes one day. You will never forget it, I promise.

Mary, this video is for you:

Auroras 22.01.12 Birtavarre Norway from Ørjan Bertelsen on Vimeo.

Mystic Orb Giveaway

There is exactly one week left to the beginning of the Simple Living Challenge on the Kanelstrand blog and there couldn't be better timing for today's giveaway. It is sponsored by Taryn and Jeff Wilson of Mystic Orb.

I have a confession to make. I think I am in love with these guys, just drop by and read their blogs, yes, they have two: Mystic Orb and Wooly Moss Roots. You will find so much simple, heartfelt inspiration that you will wonder where they have been hiding so far. Where? In the forest, of course! 

Taryn, Jeff and their baby Bracken live a simple, back to the basics life in their mountain homestead. Their life flows with the seasons: 
  • Spring brings nettles, fuzzy little chicks, singing frogs, and planting seeds.
  • Summer brings garden bounty, berry picking, clothes on the line, flowers in bloom, open windows and bonfires at night.
  • Fall brings food preserving, celebrating harvest, gathering firewood, apple pressing parties, and baskets of huckleberries and chantrelles.
  • Winter brings fires in the woodstove, savory soups, books full of adventure, a slower pace, quiet contemplation and warm cups of tea!

You can feel their connection to nature when you see their mind-blowing wood carvings. These people love wood! Take a look yourselves, jump to the Mystic Orb shop and the Wooly Moss Roots shop. You will find intricately carved pendants, earrings, home accessories and wooden buttons in so many types of wood and with so many patterns that you will want to have them all. At least I do and I am not in the least surprised to learn that their motto is FEED THE JOY.

But what makes me like the Wilson family even more is that they like to give and when they do, they do it from their hearts. This week's giveaway prizes are worth $87!

And Taryn and Jeff want to give a chance to three of you. Yes, three lucky Kanelstrand readers can win:

A gorgeous pendant carved in reclaimed birdseye maple burl wood, worth $45.

Stylish eco earrings made out of reclaimed sassafras wood, worth $12.

A unique magnet with a reminder that simplicity is sacred, carved in huckleberry root burl wood, worth $30.

In the meantime, while you are filling out the rafflecopter widget, bear in mind that both Wilsons' shops will be offering a generous 15% discount for the week of the giveaway. Use coupon code KANELSTRAND15 at checkout and choose a gift made with love! You only have time until February 1st, when the discount will expire.

The giveaway ends on Wednesday, February 1st 2012 and is open Worldwide. You will not be eligible to win if you only fill out one of the two mandatory entries.

Good luck everyone!

24 January 2012

Simple Weather Forecasting

Living a deliberate life deepens our connection to nature, making us prone to its intricate changes not only through the seasons but during a single day too. I was surprised to learn in a recent talk with an elderly couple living in a village (i.e. close to nature) that they knew next to nothing about reading nature's signs and forecasting weather. This made me wonder why I, the city kid knew that when sparrows bathe in the sand it means that it will rain. Or that when birds are flying low the pressure is low as well.

Apart from some basic cloud-watching and air-smelling skills though, I don't have much more to offer but I found a very rich infographic about how to forecast weather without gadgets that brings out an array of curious methods.

Two weeks ago we witnessed a crazy sunset in Southern Norway that made us stop the car while driving back home. You cannot simply drive under an intensely red sky that is reflecting in the calm red ocean, can you? You need to quiet down and in turn reflect on this extraordinary beauty. alas, i don't have an actual photo to show you but it looked something like this only way much more intense and bright, and without a single cloud.

Photo: kanelstrand

Unlike many doomsday aficionados professing the world's terrible end in 2012 we didn't worry at all and thankfully, because I found a very common explanation of the stunning phenomenon:
If you see red sky during sunset looking to the west there is a high pressure system with dry air that is stirring dust particles in the air, causing the sky to look red. The dry air is heading towards you.
See? Plain high pressure combined with dry air! Long live watchful eyes and science! The world is saved!

Read on to learn even more on how to get by perfectly well without weather forecasting gadgets.


Do you have a secret way to forecast weather? Share it with us in the comments!

23 January 2012

The Kanelstrand Sponsors in January

Please welcome the January sponsors on Kanelstrand! They all have got some amazing eco goodies for you! Please, take a moment to get to know them, like them on etsy and go through their shops - almost all of them are having fabulous sales right now and you might get a good bargain on quality eco-friendly goods.

Do You Like My Hat?     shop | blog | facebook | twitter
Although I learned to knit very young around 5 or 6 years old, I did not become "a knitter" (someone passionate about the craft) until my mid thirties. About two years ago I discovered natural fibers and now knit with nothing else. These fibers can be expensive however and people may shy away from them. That is why I began my Etsy shop. I make accessories that use less yarn so they will be more affordable and more people will discover these fibers. My motto is "everyone deserves a little luxury".

Buying socially and environmentally responsible is also very important to me. On my search for natural fibers I discover wonderful companies, big and small, who are working hard to empower women. Any small thing we can do to reduce poverty and illness particularly for the children of the world is very important to me. People who produce natural fibers are also concerned with the environment, how to properly treat the animals, how to produce and dye wool with fewer or no chemicals, using plants to create yarns. These are the topics that I discuss on my blog.

I am at the very beginning of this experience, but would quit my day job today to devote myself to this full time!
* * * * * *

Barnwood4u     shop | facebook

Stay at home dad working with reclaimed wood, handcrafting heirloom quality home decor and furnishings. Never had a clue when I was younger that I would end up as a woodworker. Started part time 16 years ago and went full time April 2011.

Our shop creates unique earth friendly home decor ranging from simple wall shelves to entertainment centers. Pictures frames 8x10  up to 28x22, and a few even bigger. Each piece will have it's own unique character from it's previous use. Nail holes, knots,knot holes and imperfections are just a few of the characteristics our products have. 

Coupon code FALL2011 gives you 10% off your entire order.

* * * * * *
Fia Naturals     shop | blog | twitter | facebook

Welcome to the world of vibrant colors where glass, natural seeds and earthy stones are mixed together to give you a stunning unique handmade jewel full of love!

Women can be beautiful and respect the planet Earth by using all natural eco-friendly jewelry.

Most of my beads are from Africa. Add a beautiful eco-friendly African fabric gift-wrapping or jewelry pouch to your purchase!

Use coupon code ECOJEWELRY to get 10% off your entire order.

* * * * * * 

Cherry Walls     shop | twitter | facebook

Veronica is a Seattle based designer, small business owner, wife and mom. My small company specializes in creating wall decals for contemporary interiors and baby nurseries. Our decals are only original, made here in the USA and we are proud to offer some of the best quality decals on the market. Hope you enjoy!

Coupon code 10CHERRY  gives you 10% off your entire order.

* * * * * * 

Skyejuice     shop | blog | twitter | facebook

If you are looking for wedding or bridesmaid jewelry with a dash of colors, look no further. From pearl cluster bracelets to colorful gemstone earrings, I offer a wide variety of designs and colors for you to choose from that are suitable for any weddings and other occasions. Seriously, I have like over 100 pearl colors and can be mixed into a million different color combinations!

Wear something in color today and feel good about yourself. :) Use coupon code KANEL10 gives you 10% off your entire order!

* * * * * * 

Belle Terre     shop | blog | twitter | facebook

Belle Terre use only organic oils in their natural handcrafted soaps, lip balms and related products. They also use minimal and recycled packaging, and commit 5% of our sales to charity. All of this means you can enjoy our products with peace of mind, knowing that not only are they great for you, but they are also helping to create a cleaner and healthier world for everyone.

With coupon code GIVEAWAY15 you get 15% off your entire order.

* * * * * * 

The Hairy Peach     shop | blog | facebook

My name is Meeling and I'm a foodie. I love to cook but more importantly I love to eat! I come from a food background of Dutch influence with a little Indonesian thrown in for good measure. I love to try new foods and have had the opportunity to travel and experience some great local flavors.  Good food and wine are some of the best enjoyments in life. I hope you'll follow along with me as I share some of my food experiences with a little bit of life thrown in!  

* * * * * * 

Evaelena     shop | blog | twitter | facebook

I am an artist who likes to make things and I am passionate about vintage. I sell a range of interesting vintage items that I consider has good design, fine craftsmanship or is amusing and unusual. I make jewelry out of vintage souvenir spoons and vintage pieces. No two are ever alike and I love the idea of wearing something about a sense of place that comes from another time.

With coupon code KANEL20 you get 20% off your entire order.

* * * * * * 

Red or Gray Art     shop | blog | facebook

I am a redhead with a touch of gray hair .. my shop name! The pieces are gently created using repurposed stone . cloth . paper . wood offered to you from the earth, many pieces are one of a kind .. all are unique, which is the joy of handmade!

With coupon code REDORGRAY10 you get 10% off your entire order.

* * * * * * 

Jezzy Belles     shop | twitter |

One of the most basic tenets of green living is reusing and recycling. Taking old things others have thrown out and have no use for anymore and giving them a second life. Jezzy Belle's is filled with gorgeous vintage goodies to help you do just that!

* * * * * * 

Betsy & Bess     shop | twitter | facebook

Eco friendly purses, handbags, and accessories, made from repurposed, upcycled, and recycled materials, down to the zippers, buttons, and pockets. Nothing goes to waste!

With coupon code KANELSTRAND you get 10% off your entire order.

* * * * * * 

HerbanLuxe     shop | twitter | facebook

Myra is the Chief Makeup Developer and owner of HerbanLuxe. She learned how to craft makeup while growing up in Puerto Rico with the guidance of her abuela who was an herbalist. She grew up in an environment where everything we needed could be gotten from the backyard, literally – including makeup. About 10 years ago it became a business. In 2007,  she appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show as a finalist in her search for the next big idea.  In 2009 she sold her business AND NOW caters to her favorite group of people, savvy Etsy shoppers who appreciate all that goes into making anything handmade.

* * * * * * 

Adrienne Audrey shop | blog | twitter | facebook

Adrienne Audrey Jewelry is a collection of handmade jewelry and accessories hand crafted by Adrienne in her home studio in Washington State. The colorful and feminine collection is inspired by nature, fairy tales and uses materials such as lace and beads.

When Adrienne is not working on new jewelry designs you can find her blogging over at Crafty Little Gnome where she shares fun projects for the home and garden. 

Coupon code KANEL20 will give you 20% off everything you buy in Adrienne Audrey jewelry shop.

* * * * * *
Hapee Monkee     shop | blog | twitter | facebook

This is a visual-candy store that offers glossy postcards and unique still life, landscape, food & travel photography. I hope it gives you and your home joy & happiness. The photos are perfect as gifts to friends & family or just for you because they invite you to 'come and see beauty in every day events'.

With coupon code BEHAPPEE2011 you get 10% off your entire order.  

* * * * * * 

Thanks to all amazing Kanelstrand sponsors for another month of creative collaboration and generous discounts! All funds raised by the ads go back into spreading the word about handmade and green living, and promoting the Kanelstrand blog.      

20 January 2012

Bliss Through Innermost Simplicity

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Browsing through Beth Terry's Facebook page the other day I stumbled upon a video that made me stop and wonder. The questions it arose were numerous. The calmness it exuded - immaculate.

Diana and Michael Lorence have lived in a 144 square feet (13 square meters) house they call Innermost house in the mountains of Northern California for 7 years now. It is the latest of many small houses the couple has occupied over twenty-five years, all for the same reason – to live a simple life of reflection and conversation.

They have no electricity, no source of alternative energy, no refrigerator and no oven. Instead they have one cast iron pot, a lovely library and a lot of candles.

They don't live off the land but they live in harmony with it. As Diane says in the video, she went to the woods seeking emptiness. What she found was completeness.

Watch it and let's talk!

The more I learn about the small house movement, the more I find this lifestyle luxurious in a weird way. Who can afford the revolutionary break out of modern society, after all!

Tell us what you think:
  • How did you feel watching the video? 
  • Do you think you could live as simply as the Lorences?
  • Would you live in a small house with young children?

And my own simple question:
  • Living in a house without electricity when and how do you use the Internet and a computer? Here is the Innermost House website.

18 January 2012

Melissa Love Giveaway

After all I learned about plastic and the toxins found in clothes and even children toys, I make a deliberate effort to ensure that any gifts I am giving to children are safe and toxin-free.

In a bid to help you make a lovely handmade gift to a little friend of yours, today I have teamed with Melissa of Melissa Love to give you a chance to win a custom doll from her magical shop.

Melissa is designing the cutest fabric dolls out of cotton and felt, and they even have removable clothes. Just imagine the smile on your child's face once they touch the soft and friendly dolls (I am sure I would have been smiling if I had it as a kid!)

So, jump on in straight on the giveaway! Melissa is offering a custom doll, worth $25 to the luckiest of Kanelstrand readers. Once you win, you will be able to choose:
  • gender 
  • hairstyle 
  • hair color 
  • eye color
  • skin color 
  • clothes fabric
and Melissa will make it for you - a unique doll that will suit your requirements to the last stitch!

The giveaway ends on January 25th, 2012 and is open to residents of the United States and Canada. There are 2 mandatory entries and 5 additional ones. To be eligible to win you need to fill out both mandatory entries and as many as as you like from the additional ones.

The winner will be emailed and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway.

Good luck. everybody!

17 January 2012

Banana Peels Against Acne

Do you remember when last spring I pronounced baking soda my greatest discovery of 2011? I know we are only just beginning with 2012 but I have a feeling I've made an even more revolutionary one! Banana peels!

I know they have long served their duty well and 90% of humanity has already slipped on at least one banana peel in their lifetime but they have another, more powerful ability that concerns our beauty.

Not only you can use bananas in a rejuvenating and moisturizing face mask, but you can keep just a small part of the peel to heal acne. 
Photo: Karl Faktor
What makes bananas priceless in the fight against acne is the potassium and the antioxidants housed within their peel. They have the ability to drastically reduce skin irritation, swelling and redness, as well as to diminish the visibility of scars.

So, right now you are just 5 steps away from an acne-free face:
  1. Eat a ripe banana (you know how beneficial they are for your overall health, don't you?)
  2. Cut a small piece of the peel (approximately 1,5 inch).
  3. Rub the inside of the peel gently over the irritated area. Rub for about 5 minutes or until the inside of the peel gets brown. Replace and throw away the banana peel once it is entirely brown.
  4. Clean the skin around with lukewarm water but let the banana dry out on the affected area to do its magic.
  5. Repeat at least 3 times a day.
Apply daily to visibly reduce your acne. You will be surprised by the fast and glorious results and the clear skin you will be awarded with just a few days later. In fact, you will see the first results just overnight. 

After we discovered banana peels at home we waved goodbye to all commercial anti-acne treatments.

Check out my field study and see the amazing results of banana peels on acne in just 4 days!

Did you enjoy the banana peel method?

Buy my book, Banana Beauty - 7 steps to better skin and hair for as little as $4,99 and gain instant access to 7 effective natural masks you can make at home to rejuvenate your skin and hair!

16 January 2012

7 Green Ways to Deal With Static Hair

It was a day like any other in January - beautiful, quiet, and cold. We went out to check on the beach and take some photos of the orange skies above. But believe it or not, I don't have a single decent shot and I blame my hair for that. It was flying all over, sticking to my face, to the camera lens and on to my gloves. I had forgotten what static hair was but I guess it was time for me to remember.
Photo:  herm007

Since I guess many of you are often in the same situation during the cold months I decided to share some tips on how to deal with static electricity in your hair.

Reasons for static hair
The main reason for the accumulation of static electricity in your hair is lack of moisture. Winter is THE bad-hair-season because of the challenges set to our hair by the air and some other circumstances:
  • The air indoors is drier than normal due to increased heating. 
  • The air utdoors is colder than normal.
  • Hot showers you are tempted to take dry your hair and skin.
  • The chemicals in shampoos and conditioners (designed to moisturize your hair in a vicious, toxic way).
  • Your hair gets even drier by blow-drying.
  • Now addextract the fresh fruits and vegetables that you eat from spring to autumn, leading to decreased intake of vitamins and minerals.
And there you have it - lifeless dry hair sticking out and making you look like an urchin.

How to deal with it
The most important thing you have to do to prevent static in your hair is to keep it moist. And that you can do without store bought shampoos, conditioners or anti-statics.

Use a hat in the cold weather so that you don't subject your hair to low temperatures.

Try to humidify the air inside. I will not offer you to buy a humidifier though. A very cheap trick that I've been using for years is to place a thin neck bottle on the radiator and let the water evaporate thus humidifying the air. It works perfect!

Take showers with lukewarm water in stead of hot. You will save your skin from drying out as well.

Don't use shampoo. Go for baking soda, or any other natural ingredient shampoo that might be sold in your local health shop, or choose from etsy, but don't use regular shampoo. The chemicals in it will not only dry your hair out but will do much more damage than you imagine.

The same goes for store-bought conditioner. Don't use it! Mother Nature has already created everything we need to be beautiful and healthy, just use what she has to offer. The internet is abundant in natural homemade recipes for moisturizing conditioners.

Try to avoid blow-drying your hair. This is seriously killing it. Let your hair air dry instead.

And last but not least, make sure you are eating healthy. Not just for the sake of your hair but for your whole body and mind. Drink a pill or two of fish oil a day. The Omega-3 is your best friend forever.

Edit: Another simple way to deal with static hair that was suggested by Kanelstrand reader GracieLou. Here is what she says:
This may sound slightly odd, but something I learned many years ago for combating static is... a good ole dryer sheet. I kid you not! You just run it through your hair with some pressure a few times and voila! It can also help for flyaways sometimes too! =)
Thanks for your advice, Gracie! We will surely try this out!

How has your hair been doing this winter? Do you have a special treatment for it?

14 January 2012

Weekend DIY: Paper Flowers

Amidst the January darkness I am dreaming of flowers, don't you? And since I don't like plastic flowers I'd rather make paper ones. In the size and colors of my choice. A girl can dream, can't she?

Here are three amazing projects for paper flowers, which are on my to do list this weekend.

I like the casual look of the first flower. It is seemingly humble but carries the power of the written word because it is made out of old dictionary sheets. I just love the symbolic nature of the flower. And look at that vase, gorgeous, isn't it? Head on to ocasiocasa for the instructions.

The second one is a romantic Ranunculus flower bouquet that I fell in love with the minute I saw. Although there is no free tutorial for it, the Sunny And Stumpy etsy shop is offering the supplies and the tutorial for $115. That is one precious bouquet, isn't it!

The third one is a stunningly enormous rose that can be made out of creep paper. Drop by to the Green Wedding Shoes for detailed instructions.

What are you making today?

12 January 2012

Scandinavian Winter: January in Norway

I have mixed feelings when I think of January. Although it is a rather definitive month - one that marks the beginning of a new year - I feel undecided about it. It could be because with its arrival the festivities are over, or because I prefer sunsets to sunrises but to me it is just the beginning of a long period of awaiting Spring.

January is cold. And although days are getting longer and brighter, the sun rarely shows up. This year there isn't even snow in our South Norwegian forest, so we cannot take our usual cross-country skiing trips following animal footsteps. The lack of snow though prompted me to look for past January beauty and I will share it with you today.
Enjoy the snowy January in years past, the way I've seen it on the South Norwegian coast.

Read more about Through the Looking Glass project.

Enjoy previous entries in the series.