Slow Cook Tea Warmer Recipes


Tea warmer + Ramekin + nice smelly ingredients = Long lasting air freshener

A strange post I know but about two years ago I looked up “Slow Cooker Air Freshener”. I love the smell of slow cooker food and I had an idea for an essential oils blend version. This was where I first saw the Ramekin slow cooker recipes for air fresheners but it seems not as many people get adventurous with it. Everyone kind of sticks to the standard, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange slice with peel recipe. It’s nice and all but there’s so many others you can try.

Here are a few of my favourite recipes. Though you can kind of do this in a regular oil burner, a Ramikin is best. I use my teapot warmer and find it can freshen up to a quarter of my house which is quite impressive given the size and design of my home.

A quick note, always use cold water.

Lemony Lavender

1 whole cutting of lavender, leaves, flowers, stems and all. (You could also use half this, depending on the size of your lavender bush. The leaves tend to shrink a bit.)

5 Lemon Myrtle Leaves (if no lemon myrtle, lemon peel is a good substitute or lemon essential oil 3-5 drops)

Water (I prefer to use distilled water)

This blend is refreshingly relaxing. It’s a very positive smell and bound to earn compliments.

Lemony Rosemary

1 Sprig of Rosemary

5 Lemon Myrtle leaves or lemon peel or lemon essential oil. 3-5 drops.

Water

This blend I find makes my family hungry. Everyone loves the Rosemary smell mixed with lemon. It’s a bright and uplifting smell. Some have commented that it gives them a bit of a boost of energy.

Lavender Rosemary and Myrtle

1 Lavender stalk. Use only the lavender leaves. Basically all the green parts plus stems.

1 Sprig of Rosemary

3-5 Lemon Myrtle leaves (Best to use Myrtle)

Water

This is lemony with a stronger rosemary undertone. For whatever reason the green leaves of lavender can smell very similar to rosemary. It’s not quite the same but it sort of is. This recipe appears to be the most popular. It’s warm, citrusy and gentle.

Rose

Fresh, first thing in the morning rose. Dark red gives the best scent.

Water

Try to use the whole rose. If you don’t have access, regular old rose tea will do. This is a slow and gentle freshener. It takes a while to heat up, the smell slowly disperses throughout the room and gently fades after a while. Can be reheated but may not produce the same amount of smell.

Lavender

Lavender flowers, fresh or dried

Water

Much the same as the rose recipe. Goes will in bathrooms. I recommend bruising the flowers for a quicker smell.

Full Lavender

Whole lavender. Leaves, flowers, stem.

Water

Produces a lovely lavender smell with a rosemary like hint. Very nice, very gentle and relaxing. Of course you might nit to chop it up a fair bit. For best results, bruise the flowers.

Not Quite Lemon

Lemon Leaves (as much as you can fit, chopped up)

Water

This is a very delicate and gentle lemon smell. It lasts longer than the lemon peels and travels far throughout the home. I’ve had many compliments for this blend because it’s pleasant but not overpowering. It’s good for those times where you want a hint of smell to make your home seem a little fresher even though it’s already clean.

Not Quite Lime

Lime Leaves (as much as you can fit, chopped up)

Water

Pretty much the same results. Can be reused up to about 3 times.

Plain Rosemary

1-2 Rosemary sprigs

Rosemary flowers (if in bloom)

Water

Slow cooking this is very nice. I do find it tends to make my family hungry and I start getting requests to cook more roast lamb.

Cinnamon

1-3 Sticks of cinnamon

Water

I think this goes under appreciated. It’s spicy, warm and just smells delicious. Very nice and strong smelling and disperses slowly through the air. It takes a long time to extract from the wood but it can be reused multiple times before it wears off.

Cinnamon Star

1-2 Cinnamon sticks

4-6 Star Anise seed pods

4 Cardamon pods (Optional)

Warm and slightly licorice scented. Refreshing and pleasant.

Clary Sage

Leaves and Flowers (enough to fit half way in the ramekin)

Water

I love clary sage. I love the smell. It’s definitely an underappreciated herb. I’d describe it as strong, pleasant and very herbal smelling. Being slow cook style, it progressively gets stronger as you let it do it’s thing. Best used in a large room. I prefer the kitchen or dining room.

Patchouli

Use the leaves, fresh or dried

Water (cold)

Beautiful and musky, it’s a very pleasant scent to slow cook just for the smell of it.

 

So far, these are all my favourites. They’re all quick and easy and most of these I’m either growing or can find in the pantry. I started using these because I’m sick of chemicals and sick from using stuff in cans and bottles from the shop. That and I am a very allergic person.

I love smells and perfumes but I’m horrendously allergic to so many. Using these I get all the benefits of it being safe to use, organic without the harmful chemicals or allergic reactions. With commercial stuff I get either asthma, heyfever or a combination of both.

Even though this isn’t a new or original idea, it does seem to me that a lot of people are unaware of just how much they can do with a simple tealight candle and a few items from their garden or cupboard and get hours of refreshing smells without harming anyone.

Air fresheners don’t have to be complicated and they certainly don’t have to be expensive. I love making them and I absolutely recommend giving it a try. Especially if you love a particular herb. Slow cook it in some cold water in a ramekin and see what happens. You might be surprised!

 

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Knitting With Chopsticks


This was something I did in the 90’s as a kid. I started knitting around the age or 6 or 7. My favourite was s small circular loom because it was easy and the results were fast. However being a kid I frequently lost my plastic knitting needles.

My alternatives (being mostly poor growing up) Chopsticks or HB pencils. But there is the ever pressent issue of the burs causing a problem. Sticky tape doesn’t work well and not all of us have some kind of varnish. My solution has always been to dip my homemade knitting needle in nail polish.

The nail polish also helps make the chopstick ends a little more slippery and it covers all loose burs that can pull on your wool. But being a chopstick you will likey end up with an odd shaped uneven work. I prefer pencils. I generally scribbly them blunt and polish them.

I would share a photo but I can only take pic’s with my phone at the moment and nowhere nice to take a snap but if I take a good pic I’ll update this post for sure.

I’ve seen a lot of suggestions but none for using nail polish. It’s simple, cheap and effective when you’re in a bind and can’t go out and buy a new set of needles. You can also colour your homemade needles anyway you like as well. I use to stipple mine. I haven’t done it in years until yesterday when I realised all my knitting needles were gone.

I dug through my drawers, grabbed a sharpener and sharpened my chopsticks. After I got them as sharp as I liked I used a nail file to sand them smooth. Then I just simply dipped them one by one in my nail polish bottle. I just use a cup to stand it upright to dry but I find blue-tac works well too.

I’ve now started a new project. It’s been semi successful. Mostly a lot of restarting. I’ve been crocheting for years on and off and more or less forgot everything about knitting except 3 ways to cast on.

Anyway I thought I’d share that little tid bit with you guys. Some of you might find it interesting.

 

Lemon Leaf Tea


Will looking up homemade multipurpose cleaner I wondered if I could do the same with lemon tree leaves. I already knew they were non toxic and I assumed they had all the goodness of lemons. Plus my tree has only just started to bare fruit. The fruit is far to young to pick. That’s how I stumbled onto posts about lemon tree leaf tea or lime leaf tea. I looked it up some more and did some research before trying it out

I was very pleasantly surprised. I would like to research it some more though. It tasted like lemon flavouring without any acidity or bitterness. It was very mild and very nice with honey.

I really enjoy trying out new teas like this. Especially natural tea or tea you can make at home. I plan to buy some dwarf fruit trees this year. Mostly orange, pink lady apple and a lime tree. I’m also sick of some of the rediculous prices. Having lived somewhere that use to grow oranges I know that quite often leaving them on the tree is like self storage. It feels as though it fruits all year round and I miss having that luxury of fresh non-chemically treated fruit.

Last year I got a food dehydrator and started making orange chips. I thought about it though and decided I’d rather be doing it with home grown oranges. Fortunately Bunnings still sells miniature fruit trees from time to time. They currently have a lime tree so that’s the first thing I’m going to buy this week.

 

Homemade Soy Milk Using A Slow Cooker


I’ve always enjoyed slow cooked anything but what lead me to using a slow cooker for soy milk was because my stove is awful. The element only heats on one side on all of them and it’s hard to cook things at an even temperature. My first milk batch was too raw. Second attempt had an under taste of burn. The bottom slightly burned. And since I can’t get a new oven I had to think of some other way to cook my homemade soy milk. I thought, why not the slow cooker? It wouldn’t over boil and foam wouldn’t rise so why not? First I googled if anyone had and I couldn’t find so much as a blog post so I went with what I knew and the results where beautiful. It made the perfect soy milk. It also doesn’t have a raw bean taste like my other milks had. I put in some vanilla bean this time for flavouring and slow cooked it on high for 2hrs. I’m going to be making my soy milk this way from now on.

Below a picture of my slow cooking soy milk. 1 cup of hydrated soy beans, 3 and a half cups of filtered water. 1inch vanilla bean.
Soymilk

Journal Making: To Sell Or Not To Sell?


Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Firstly, take a look at these INCREDIBLE handmade journals on Etsy.


A number of friends have asked if I am going to sell my journals or if I will turn it into a serious business adventure and sell them regularly. I am very on the fence about selling them for a number of reasons. The main one is the competition and being handmade and my first time, I have yet to learn a good way of trimming and the finer points of book binding plus, my art is not only not very popular and an acquired taste in most cases. I’m not very design savy or up to date with what’s hot and what’s not as far as designs and cover art goes. I am more artwork orientated rather than design and knowing how to place things.

If I were to consider it I would use Etsy over ebay. The listing costs a fraction of that of ebay and I feel much safer there as both a seller and a buyer. So many on there are so professional in every aspect as well as kind. The overall environment is very friendly and user friendly. And there really are the best of the best handmade items on Etsy and their alchemy feature, wow, just wow. I love the alchemy feature where you can ask for something custom made. I use to use my etsy to sell prints and paintings and other things I’ve made like bookmarks when I was into making things. But it’s hard. It’s very, very, very hard to sell anywhere and to get a client base which usually starts with people you know. And it takes a lot of commitment. You have to do a lot of advertising. This isn’t a bad thing, many have made a great living from it. But you have to see why I am put off from selling my journals.

I don’t have that kind of time to put into advertising and I don’t know lots of people and I don’t have much family, and getting my name out there to people has proven to be near impossible over the years which is very disheartening to anyone that might consider selling anything, and I especially don’t have the money to do it. But if I were to consider it, I would offer the alchemy option because we all like different types of journals with different grades of paper and finding the right one for you is almost impossible! I personally hate to go journal shopping. I love journals a lot, don’t get me wrong there. I’ve found two in my life, and I spent $25 on both and they are so good I am scared to write in them because of the fear of running out of pages and loosing that joy to write and have to attempt to find another like it. So I made some for myself. But some people have taken a liking to them and want the one they saw. I would hate to deny them so if they ask of course I would make it and send them one.

The types of journals I want and like don’t even exist where I live and if they did they’d be expensive. I’m even considering putting together my own art journals now. I liked the books I use to get in primary school where one page was lined the other was blank and so on and so forth. I love super thick pages in my art books because I never know when I will suddenly decide to use my watercolours on it or break out the calligraphy kit and start inking traditionally. I’m very spontaneous as a writer and even worse as an artist. I’ve been dead asleep before and leapt out of bed to write. I have a book next to me while I sleep just in case I should ever have the need to do that again but I always seem to have the wrong book available which is why I like the convenience of the one lined one blank system.

I also like to make books to handwrite manuscripts and storyboarding. I prefer to keep mine together and have it tabbed. I’ve tried others ways and the amount of fraying that happened was beyond a joke. I told a few people this and they said I should sell those but it’s simply not that easy or simple. I’ve found the 90% of the time, most people buy journals from the design a lone or the design is the main focus. I’m guilty of this myself and later I regret it because the paper is usually so very poor in quality. I’ve since then learned to feel the paper and I actually know what kinds of texture to go for and even just from feeling the thickness I can tell if it’s right for me or not.

Another factor that I thought of when making these journals and whether or not to sell them was pens. I LOVE to write in felt tipped pens and draw with them. I prefer real ink pens as opposed to biro ink or gels. I HATE gel pens with a passion because of the number of times I swore it was dry but it smeared across the page. I am so fussy about having a clean page that this really grates on my nerves. I thought about the possibilities in making a journal with thick yet absorbent paper. What stopped me? The cost of said paper. Funnily enough I found a bundle of card stock that I forgot about and I made a journal from that and it suits me perfectly. It’s thick, good to go over with watercolours and easy to print on if I want lines. Cover art prints out ok. Not amazingly as the digital version but still pretty good. And then that tiny negative voice speaks up and plants seeds of doubt everywhere. It’s that doubt that holds me back from selling or giving it a go. So this is where I stand. I have ideas but am to frightened to take the step and take a chance.

I even had an idea for a watercolour diary/journal unlike others. For documenting purposes and learning or remembering techniques. I’d make it landscape sized, half of it on the one page would have boxes and space to write and the other blank. The boxes for colours you definitely want to use again and space to write down what you did to get that colour and extra space for annotations. But the question of whether or not others would find it as useful, still remains. This is the question that always holds me back from selling anything.

Cat Cow Journal


http://fav.me/d3auf3d

Here’s my third journal that I’ve made. I lost count of the pages but my guess is about 40. It’s more a practise journal. My first one was all lined paper from left over paper, my second was half lined and half blank unlined paper and this one is all unlined paper. Sometimes when I am at my desk I need to just quickly jot down or doodle an idea so I made one of these for myself . This is what I’ve been doing lately other than working on storyboarding and practising drawing movement and at various angles.

I would have loved to have posted more video’s but I’ve been very busy working on this script me and my friend have been writing together. But when I get something good going, I’ll be sure to record it and ramble about it =D

Book Binding: Home Kit


I haven’t made my own video for this, but I did find one made by someone else already. Now my machine that I bought which was really cheap and came with plastic covers, backs and spines can do up to 150 pages. The reason that I bought mine, was to bind my manuscripts AND storyboards together. It doesn’t matter if you are a manga artist or comic book artist or any other kind of artist where you require a lot of notes and storyboards, binding can be a blessing even if it’s just a few pages. It’s not a cost many of us are willing to go and pay for professionally. Where I live, it’s not that expensive to get a book bound with those plastic clips, but in all honesty, the price you pay for the plastic spines is less that what they charge you for drilling the page holes and putting it together when you can just do it yourself for much less.

I’ve tried the clips, I’ve tried paper clips, I’ve tried binding it myself which was to messy and time consuming and cost me more money that the paper itself did. In the end, after a while through vigorous referencing, they either fell apart or started to wear and fray quicker than I would have liked. If you are serious about making a graphic novel, storybook or writing your own book, these machines are worth it and even if you’re not serious or have no plan to get published, it’s still worth it. You can neatly stack your work with your other books on a bookshelf instead of in a box under your bed never to be seen again.

My other reason for getting this machine, was to make my own journal. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to make my own journal or art book with pages that don’t suck and a cover that I genuinely like. I also like to have one drawing page and one lined page for notes. I hate to write on art paper because I feel like it’s a waste of art space. It’s also excellent for storyboarding, concept art and character design. You just jot down your nots on one page and doodle it up on the other and then you have everything in the one place instead of two separate books ^w^