Thursday, February 19, 2015

2015 - The Year of the Sheep

Happy Lunar New Year! This year is the year of the Sheep (or goat or ram depending on your interpretation).

This year is supposed to be challenging for me but ultimately good luck and romance will prevail - woo hoo!

I hope you all have a wonderful year!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Witchy Green Cleaning - Scouring Powder

This is a re-post of the 4th segment in my Witchy Green Cleaning series.  I hope you enjoy it!! Originally posted January 22, 2104

 If you are like me, cleaning is something that you have to do, not something that you want to do and when you throw in toxic cleaners it becomes something that you hate to do. Well, after last year’s oven cleaning debacle (you can read about it in my original Witchy Green Cleaning post here) I decided that I would be very mindful of every cleaning product I used in my home. Thus, the Witchy Green Cleaning series was born. I researched and tested and researched some more and tested again. I used essential oils and natural ingredients and I am happy to report that after using natural, homemade cleaning products over this past year that cleaning is no longer something that I dread.

My home smells great, is clean and my hands are no longer chapped and dry.

This week I am going to talk about scouring powder. Before I discovered how quick and easy it was to make my own scouring powders I used soft scrub, comet and other similar products.  They definitely got the job done but they are pretty expensive and if I run out it means a trip to the store - ick!

So after a lot of research here is the recipe that I found that works like a charm:

Scouring Powder 
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • ½ cup Borax
  • ½ cup Salt
  • 8-10 drops of Essential Oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons Ground Herbs/Flowers/Spices
Easy enough to do and the main ingredients are part of my green cleaning tool kit so I usually have them on hand. Please note that this is a scouring powder and is not for use on granite counter tops or any surface that will scratch easily. Making your own cleaners is fantastic as long as you use them correctly.

I made a large batch of the basic recipe and then used canning jars to store the different batches I made for different areas of the home. To mimic the shaker top I punched holes in the lid using a hammer and nail and then cut circles out of a vinyl table cloth to cover the top when they are not in use. Using canning jars makes covering the holes easy and decorative, all at once! Another idea is to purchase a box of extra lids and use two, one shaker and then one without holes for storage. You can still seal a jar with two internal canning lids. I plan on storing mine with two lids and adding the vinyl top on those I give as gifts.

Before I get into the variations I made, here is the cost comparison for the basic recipe:
  • 1 cup baking soda - .24  
  • ½ cup Borax - .20
  • ½ cup salt - .08 
Total cost for basic recipe is 52 cents for 2 cups of mix. That is less than a dollar for the entire mix and comes out to approximately 3 cents per ounce. If you purchase your baking soda in bulk you can make this for an even better price per ounce! This product compares to Comet scouring powder which is approximately 5 cents per ounce. Not too bad at all and once you have the basics on hand you can mix up a batch in just a couple of minutes. While the cost difference for this product isn't as extreme as others I've made the convenience of making your own is huge!
Another great thing about making your own cleaners is that you can personalize them for your tastes and needs. For instance, in the bathroom that is attached to my bedroom I wanted something soothing, something that would make you feel relaxed and comfortable and also something that was romantic - of course. So for this area I choose to use lavender essential oil and dried lavender flowers. The magical properties of lavender are peace, tranquility, romance and love. Perfect!

For the powder room, one that my youngest son calls his own and is also used by any guests in our home I choose a combination of clovebud for its ability to drive away negativity and its protective qualities along with sweet orange essential oil which has the magical properties of joy and energy.  Not only is clovebud/orange a powerful combination, is smells divine! When combining essential oils you only use 4-5 drops of each, not 8-10 drops of each and always make sure you test the combination before you put it in your cleaners! To test how two scents work together place a drop of each on a cotton ball and place it in a baggie. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then check to see how the two scents work together.


For my kitchen I choose to use peppermint essential oil with rose petals, it smells clean and wonderful and has the magical properties of promoting action and getting rid of procrastination along with the peace and happiness properties of the rose petals! Definitely something I want in the busiest room of our home!

Not only is this cleaner easy to make is works! Here are the before and after pictures of the sink in my kitchen. This weekend my hubby was making both beer and wine and one of the sanitizes used in the beer making process stains the porcelain of the sink. This cleaner made quick work of that issue!

Here are some other ideas for witchy add-ins:
  • Jasmine: use this in the bedroom since its magical properties include love, sexuality and rekindling passion
  • Basil:  this is great for use in the bedroom and promotes intuition and an optimistic outlook
  • Dragon’s Blood (actually a resin) this is great in any room. Its properties are for power and protection
  • Cinnamon: great for the bathroom as it promotes purification of the body, healing and luck
  • Oregano is nice for any room where you want to feel relaxed. Some of its magical properties are tranquility, luck, protection and happiness.
  • Grapefruit's magical properties are energy and purity, this clean smelling scent can be combined with dried ground grapefruit peel to provide an invigorating cleaner for any room in the house.
Essential Oils

Coffee Grinder and Mortar and Pestle

I prefer to use essential oils when I make my own cleaning products. Fragrance oils are less expensive but I have found that I use less essential oil than fragrance oil and I prefer the scents of essential  oils over the same variety of fragrance oil. 

When grinding herbs and spices for use in my projects I use either the Mortar and Pestle or a coffee grinder that I use only for my artsy endeavors.  The one pictures above was purchased at my local Target store for around $18. 

Please keep in mind any allergies you may have as you create your own cleaners and always test your cleaners on a non critical area before using. I am not an herbalist or a physician, just a simple witch who enjoys making wonderful things!

To see some other amazing scouring powder recipes visit: The Nerdy Farmer Wife

A great resource for making home cleaners is the book TheNaturally Clean home by Karyn Siegel-Maier 

Next up: Witchy Green Floor Cleaners for tile, laminate and wood!

Monday, February 16, 2015

And the Winner is

Sorry this is late!!

The winner of my Grow Your Blog Party prize is...

A Spirit of Simplicity!

Congratulations! If you could email your mailing address to me at AutumnWindReno @  Aol. Com
I'll get your goodies mailed out to you.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a visit!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Witchy Green Wednesday: Witchy Green Cleaning - All purpose Cleaner (Re-Post)

This is one of my favorite cleaners! Hands down! It works beautifully and every time I use it the scent makes me smile. Since I make it myself I can change the scent based on my mood, my intent or the room I am using it in.

This is the third post in my Witchy Green Cleaning series; click here for information on a simple bathroom cleaner and here for information on two simple window and glass cleaners. I am testing all of these products in my own home before I post about them here.

Today I am writing about an all purpose cleaner. This recipe is a little more involved but worth the extra effort.

For a 1 gallon container you’ll need the following:
3 teaspoons of liquid Castile Soap (I found this at Target in the bath soap aisle)
2 tablespoons Borax
2 tablespoons Washing Soda
2 Cups white vinegar
12 cups of hot water
Gallon jug - I bought a gallon of drinking water at Walmart so I would have a clean gallon jug to store this in.

Mix the Castile soap, Borax, washing soda and vinegar in a large bowl. Slowly add the water and stir Allow the mixture to cool. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into a gallon jug.

You can add essential oil to this mixture as well. I chose to only add it to the mix once I poured a portion into a spray bottle for use. This allows me to change up the scent and purpose multiple times without having to make lots of mix.  This all purpose cleaner also disinfects so you can use it just like you would Formula 409 or similar products.

Cost Breakdown:
3 tsp Liquid Castile Soap = .33
2 Tablespoons Borax = .05
2 Tablespoons Washing Soda = .06
3 Cups White Vinegar = .48
12 Cups Hot Water = .17 (from my purchased gallon jug)
Total 1.09
Cost per ounce = .008 – yes that is less than a penny per ounce!

Formula 409 is roughly .18 per ounce. That is a huge savings and the homemade product is environmentally friendly, easy to make and safe to use.

My total initial cost for all of the ingredients that I am using for ALL of the cleaning products I am making was less that $40. It you are just starting out I recommend White Vinegar and Dawn Dishwashing Liquid! Those two will give you plenty of cleaning power for the money! The two most expensive items initially are the liquid Castile Soap and the Vegetable Glycerin which is used as a preservative in the scouring powder I’ll be talking about in my next Witchy Green Cleaning post. While their initial cost is higher than the other ingredients, the amount you use is so minute they will last you a very long time!

Witchy Add-Ins:
With an all purpose cleaner you have so many ways to use it that the essential oils you can use are pretty endless.

Once the weather warms up and the chance for freezing is past I plan on making a small batch to clean the interior of my car and just keep it in there. I’ll be putting in Oregano Essential oil for its protection, happiness and tranquility properties – there are some days when I am driving home in rush hour traffic that some tranquility would be welcome! As you experiment with adding essential oils to your cleaning products always make sure they are safe for skin contact and long term use.

Some other essential oil ideas:

For All-Purpose
Oregano – Happiness, protection and tranquility
Rosemary – Purification, protection and alertness
Peppermint - Rid areas of negativity, create change

Lavender– lavender is great for love, protection, happiness and peace
Peppermint – this is also great for sleep, love and healing
Patchouli – this one is great when you want to spice it up - properties: sexuality, power and passion

Grapefruit – to increase energy, this is especially nice to use to clean the shower during the long winter months!
Lavender - peace and emotional tranquility

Oregano – protection, happiness & tranquility

As you can see from the list above, it is worth making a large batch and putting it into smaller spray bottles so you can personalize the scent or you can just use the base recipe as a fantastic cleaning product!

Next up: A Green Soft Scouring Powder Alternative

*Note* I found this recipe on Cajun Joie de Vivre: For my witchy readers please note that her Christian views are very much a part of her blog and could be quite contradictory to your own views, however, I believe that we are all entitled to our beliefs and her site is a wonderful resource for anyone looking for natural cleaning ideas.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Blessed Imbolc

(Picture from the National Museum of Scotland)

Merry Meet my friends. Today is Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere and today both the night and the day are the same length. Tomorrow the days will begin to grow longer - yay!

I’ll be celebrating this evening with a fire and some champagne – the best way to welcome more sunshine that I can think of, as well as continuing to clean and declutter my home! This will be an ongoing process but what I have found so far is that once I get the excess stuff out of my home I don't miss it (too much) and the energy of the newly decluttered space is so much better!

Imbolc is a celebration of life and as the days grow longer and the earth gears up for spring we will start seeing that new life in the form of buds on the trees and the crocus peeking through the snow covered ground.

The goddess Brighid is honored today as the guardian of home and hearth. The maiden of the Maiden/Mother/Crone aspects of the Goddess, she is the patroness of poetry, arts and crafts, smithing and also of physicians. To honor her you can clean your home of unused or unwanted things, and banish unproductive thoughts and actions from your life. A good spring cleaning is a great way to prepare for the warmer weather and all that it brings to our lives.

Here is northern Nevada the weather has been way too warm for this time of year but I am still really looking forward to more sunshine. I love the long winter nights and the resting period they bring to life but I really like it when I can see the sunshine when I get out of work!

Have a lovely day!