How to Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls- and why you need them!

Do you have a less than amazingly efficient dryer system?

Me me!! Sadly, I fall into this camp. My husband and i have a stacking system as this is all our tiny space will fit. Well, do yourself and the environment a favor by making some dryer balls! Believe it or not, they actually REDUCE dry time! Plus you can spray them with essential oils and infuse your clothes with a lovely sent!

Benefits:

  • They decrease drying time! As they bounce around, the separate your clothes and allow air to circulate.

  • They’re chemical free alternatives to putting tennis balls in your dryer! (Yes, people actually do that haha)

  • They increase fluffiness & reduce static in your clothes

  • They can infuse your clothes with smell good essential oils- a GREAT alternative to single use, chemical infused dryer sheets!

You can make dryer balls with nothing but wool yarn. However, to make my wool yarn go farther and to get more bang for my buck, my directions involve cutting up an old, thrift store wool sweater. This allowed me to spend $12 on 3 large dryer balls vs $30 on 3 small.

Supplies:

  • skien of 100% wool yarn (choose one not labeled “super wash” or “machine washable”

  • a 100% wool sweater from a thrift store. (Preferably an ugly one so you don’t feel bad cutting it up! haha!)

  • panty hose

  • scissors

  • pieces of yarn or twine

Method:

  1. Cut your wool sweater into long, thin rectangles. Mine are about 3x8.

  2. Create a ball with the wool strips.

  3. Bind the wool ball with the wool yarn. Twist it around tightly to completely cover the ball several times. Tie it off on itself.

  4. To felt the ball, put it in a pantyhose leg. Tie it off the ends with the piece of yarn.

  5. Wash the balls(s) with a load of laundry on HOT. Then dry them on the highest setting you have. Do this twice- or until the ball is completely felted.

  6. Now, they’re ready to roll!! (literally) Add a few drops of essential oils on them before drying your clothes to add  fragrance to your clothes.

    These babies will last your for years! 100+ loads!

Photo Instructions:

Gather your supplies:    * skien of 100% wool yarn (choose one not labeled “super wash” or “machine washable”  * a 100% wool sweater from a thrift store. (Preferably an ugly one so you don’t feel bad cutting it up! haha!)  * panty hose  * scissors  * pieces of yarn or twine

Gather your supplies:

* skien of 100% wool yarn (choose one not labeled “super wash” or “machine washable”

* a 100% wool sweater from a thrift store. (Preferably an ugly one so you don’t feel bad cutting it up! haha!)

* panty hose

* scissors

* pieces of yarn or twine

Cut your wool sweater into long, thin rectangles. Mine are about 3x8.

Cut your wool sweater into long, thin rectangles. Mine are about 3x8.

Create a ball with the wool strips.

Create a ball with the wool strips.

3. Bind the wool ball with the wool yarn.

3. Bind the wool ball with the wool yarn.

Twist it around tightly to completely cover the ball several times. Tie it off on itself.

Twist it around tightly to completely cover the ball several times. Tie it off on itself.

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To felt the ball, put it in a pantyhose leg. Tie it off the ends with the piece of yarn. Wash the balls(s) with a load of laundry on HOT. Then dry them on the highest setting you have. Do this twice- or until the ball is completely felted.

To felt the ball, put it in a pantyhose leg. Tie it off the ends with the piece of yarn. Wash the balls(s) with a load of laundry on HOT. Then dry them on the highest setting you have. Do this twice- or until the ball is completely felted.

Mine could use a few more rounds in the washer to get felted better, but you get the idea!   Now, they’re ready to roll!! (literally) Add a few drops of essential oils on them before drying your clothes to add  fragrance to your clothes.

Mine could use a few more rounds in the washer to get felted better, but you get the idea!

Now, they’re ready to roll!! (literally) Add a few drops of essential oils on them before drying your clothes to add  fragrance to your clothes.

Calendula & Lavender Infused Salve

It’s winter in the states right now! And that means for many of us… DRY, CRACKED SKIN. Well, I have the antidote. And that is this recipe right here! 

I adore this herbal combination! It is healing, soothing, anti-inflammatory, and smells like floral heaven! Calendula is a super flower. It is most often used to treat scrapes, burns, minor cuts, rashes and bug bites. Lavender oil is great to combat acne, soothe dry skin, and reduce redness.

This salve is SO simple to make. The only bummer is that you have to wait 2-3 weeks in order for the oils to infused. But patience little butterfly! It is so worth it.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried lavender 

  • 1/2 cup dried calendula flowers

  • 3, clean, empty 8 oz mason jars

  • 2 cups sweet almond oil

  • 1 ounce beeswax

  • double boiler

Part 1: Infuse your oils

  1. Fill one of the mason jars half way with dried lavender. Fill another 1/2 way with dried calendula flowers/petals. 

  2. Fill the jars with sweet almond oil- ensuring the herbs/flowers are covered completely by at least 1 inch. 

  3. Cap the jar and shake well!  Shake the herbs at least once a day.  At this time, also inspect them and ensure no herbs are traveling above the surface. If they do emerge, they will grow mold and your oil will ruin! After 2-3 weeks, strain through a mesh strainer.

Part 2: Make the salve!

  1. Prepare your double boiler with simmering water. (You can even make a make shift one at home if you don’t have one!) 

  2. Pour 1/2 cup Infused lavender oil and 1/2 cup infused calendula oil in the double boiler. Add 1 ounce beeswax and stir until the beeswax has complete dissolved. 

  3. Carefully pour hot salve into clean jar and cool completely before use. 

Fresh calendula flowers

Fresh calendula flowers

I infused this oil with fresh flowers- but I HIGHLY recommend using dry instead. Fresh goes rancid easily.

I infused this oil with fresh flowers- but I HIGHLY recommend using dry instead. Fresh goes rancid easily.

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Lavender & Citrus Infused Cleaning Vinegar

I’ll let you all in on a little secret… you don’t need a different type of cleaner for every crevice of you home!

The truth is, vinegar does quite well as a multipurpose cleaner! Especially when you spruce it up with things like essential oils and herbs. ;)

You may say- well what about the germs?! Will this kill the germs?! The truth is that our modern society has waged war on “bugs” when in fact, we can’t live without them. Just as we are waging war on our beneficial gut microbiome (the colony of bugs that live in your intestines) with antibiotics, we are waging war on the bacteria around us using harsh cleaning agents. In doing this, we are creating “superbugs”- bugs that adapt and survive and can’t be killed with antibiotics. This has been recognized by the CDC as a huge public crisis and they are now making steps to remove antibiotics from hand soaps and other cleaning agents. Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die. The truth is- we can’t defeat bacteria- we have to foster a symbiotic relationship! Okay, rant over. All to say, vinegar and essential oils clean and disinfect without disrupting the environmental microbiome and creating superbugs.  YAY MOTHER NATURE!!!

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My neighbor has an orange tree that’s making oranges like its her job. I’ve been collecting the peels from the one’s we’ve eaten and used some fresh lavender from my garden to make this lovely scene.

Ingredients:

  • half gallon mason jar (64 oz)

  • glass spray bottle

  • orange, lemon, and/or lime peels- as many as you want/have! The more you use, the stronger the infused smell will be! 

  • 3 bunches of lavender and/or rosemary leaves 

Method:

  1. Collect your citrus peels over a week. (Store in the fridge.)

  2. When you have collect an ample amount of peels, transfer them to your 64 oz mason jar and fill it up  3/4 high with vinegar. Add herbs.

  3. Cover with a cloth and rubber band. Let the peels infuse the vinegar for 3-4 weeks.

  4. Strain vinegar and compost the peels.

  5. To use, pour into a spray bottle until 1/2 full. Fill the rest with water. Use as you would any multipurpose cleaner. (Just avoid using it on stone countertops or wood as it can gradually wear down the sealant!)

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DIY: Homemade Beeswax Wraps

beeswax wraps

beeswax wraps

Beeswax wraps! Have you heard of them? Chances are you have… they’re taking the world by storm as sustainable initiatives take off and public awareness of our waste problem is becoming more widespread. 

More and more, people are more interested and open to more sustainable alternatives. This includes in the kitchen and around or food systems. 

These handy, reusable wraps can replace plastic wrap from just about anything! My favorite uses are : to wrap cheese, to seals bowls or jars, to wrap sandwiches and produce. 
There are a plethora of beeswax wraps that you can purchase online that vary in quality and cost. But you can also make them easily (and cheaply!) at home! 

The beeswax wraps that you can find online are often not just beeswax and cloth. If you make a wrap with only beeswax, it ends up being very stiff and does not adhere to itself or other surfaces well. (Trust me, I’ve tried.)

I’ve done quite a bit of experimenting with various combinations of ingredients and have landed one that I’m very happy with! It is malleable but not too sticky. 

I hope they work well for you!

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Ingredients: 

  • 100% cotton fabric (organic is best if you have it) 

  • 3 tbsp of beeswax- of course, purchasing from a local beekeeper is best! But if you can’t find one in your area, this is a great source: Mountain Rose Herb.

  • 1 tbsp beef tallow (I used Epic brand)

  • double boiler- or a make-shift one like I used (pictured below)

  • metal or wooden spoon 

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry fabric 

  2. Cut fabric into desired shapes and sizes. I cut mine into 8” x 8” squares. The mixture above is enough for one 8 x 8 square piece. Double or triple recipe if needed. 

  3. Grate beeswax. 

  4. Prepare double boiler - filling with water and bringing to a simmer.

  5. Measure lard and beeswax and place them together in the double boiler. 

  6. Allow them to melt together until there are no more clumps or lumps. 

  7. Once the mixture has melted down, remove from heat. Add the cloth to the pan, and using a spoon, work it around until it is completely covered in beeswax. (Be careful! It’s hot!) Remove cloth with tongs and spread out on parchment paper. Allow it to cool. 


    Maintenance: These will last you at least a few months! To clean, simply rinse gently with cool water and mild soap. 

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Herb & Flower Burning Bundles (Repurpose your Christmas tree!)

I have an obsession with bringing the outdoors into my home- I think many of you feel the same way. Whether you actually burn these bundles or not, they are beautiful items to have around the home or to gift to others. 

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My most favorite part of these bundles particularly is that I used bits of evergreen that was going dry. As well as "woody" herbs from my garden. 

Traditionally, burning bundles are made by tightly binding dried woody, resinous herbs that slowly burn. This is a beautiful way to put to use the herbs from your garden! And if you don’t have an herb garden yet, this is good motivation to create one! 

Great herbs to use are white sage, cedar, sagebrush, mugwort, thyme, lavender, juniper, pine, rosemary, lemon balm, mint, and more!

I personally used pieces of fraser fir from a Christmas tree, as well as sage, rosemary and lavender from my garden. I also used rose buds that were dying and about to be thrown out. 

*Note* : Common garden sage is not a safe herb to burn and therefore, I will not burn the bundle that contains is and will use it for aesthetic purposes only. :) If you plan on burning sage, you will need to purchase or grow white sage. 

Supplies:

  • An array of “woody” herbs of your choice. 

  • roses and/or lavender buds

  • cotton culinary twine 

You don’t want to “pre dry” your herbs or flowers- this will make binding tightly more difficult. 

Directions:

Follow the following photos. Essentially, you will tightly bind layers of herbs on top of each other. 

Place bundles in a dry area and wait for them to dry completely before burning. Better yet, string them up upside, down.

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