Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Fabulous Junque Tip: Making Your Own Air Freshener

Here's a quickie tip on making an air freshener for your home. I have to give DaHubster credit for coming up with this one. He mentioned that when we grate our Fels Naptha bars of soap (for making laundry detergent), there's always little chunks left over that we don't grate for fear of grating our fingers, too.  So I've been cutting them up with a knife. He said, "Why don't we put them in a jar as an air freshener?"  if you've ever grated soap before, you know that the "clean" smell of it gets in your nostrils and doesn't leave for quite a while. So, I grabbed a small jelly jar, a lid, and some screening and Viola!

this particular one sits on my kitchen window sill, and I gotta admit, it does a pretty darn good job of smelling good. I can smell it every time I'm at the kitchen sink.And it looks pretty too. Homey.

This will probably work on any bar soap that you like the scent of, and a great way to use up the last bits of the bars of soap in your shower. Just rinse off the soap scum, chunk it up, and put it in a small jar with some sort of an open lid.

Good idea, Honey!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - Dyeing My Hair "Naturally"

Since the girls (Vino and Jay Beez) and I are doing the "No-Poo" experiment, I thought I'd also see what's what with dyeing my hair "naturally." I am what used to be known as a "dishwater" blonde, meaning it's a color that isn't yellow or brown, but somewhere in between. it's almost like there's no pigment in the hair at all, but it isn't white, either. It's like clear but with a shadow to it. In the summer time, it usually gets some nice red-gold highlights, though. So basically, I've been dyeing my hair a light strawberry blonde for years. It's not a matter of lightening or darkening of my hair, it's just adding some actual color, and I look pretty good as a redhead (Rawr).

I'm also a lazy hair-dyer, because as the red fades (and it always does pretty quickly) it leaves behind a blonder color than I normally am. So I tend to dye it once about every 3 months-ish.

But since the "natural" ways are becoming more and more a part of my life, it makes sense to see if there's a "natural" dye that I can use along with my new no-poo lifestyle.

So, off to the interwebz I search of how to do this crazy thing without looking like a Katy Perry freakazoid.

(My apologies to Katy Perry, but if y'all catch me with powder blue hair, just put a bullet in me, 'k? thanks.)

And since I'm usually at work when these wondermous brainstorms hit, I generally Google what I want to find, and then poke around for a website that I can access from my very picky work computer.

(Can you believe they restrict access???  I mean, really, what am I supposed to do all day?? Work? Sheesh.)

I managed to come up with a few websites (that I could see) that basically gave the same information:

(Edited to add: The following are vague ideas that I got off the interwebz, don't go trying these stuff unless you are an adult, and fully understand that I am not responsible for what happens to your hair.)

Blondes: use chamomile teas, crushed marigolds, or lemon juice, and sometimes adding vinegar to whatever mix you come up with.

Brunettes: black teas, crushed walnut shells (carefully - that stuff REALLY stains), dried sage leaves, honestly those lucky brunette have a lot of options.

Red-heads: Henna (which has always scared me, I've heard horror stories), Red teas like Rioobos, Buccaneer, or cranberry juice.

Hey wait.

CRANBERRY JUICE???  I am so there.

After work on Friday I went to the grocery store and stood staring at the juice aisle.  I really wasn't willing to grab a jug of Ocean Spray and call it a day. For one thing, most cranberry juices are a cocktail - meaning they use the juices of cranberries, but also, apple, grape, and pear. To me, that would seem to be weak and ineffective for my hair dyeing purposes

I briefly flirted with the idea of heading over to the freezer section, picking up a bag of frozen cranberries, and steeping it and pureeing it to try, but that just seemed like so much work. (Remember, I'm lazy)

Then I found a bottle of PURE cranberry juice in the organic aisle. No water, nothing but the pure juice of cranberries, not even concentrated.

I get excited.

It was $9.00.






Go home.

Eat dinner. Shower. Wash hair in my crunchy-goodness No-poo fashion.

Stare at the jug of cranberry juice, wondering if I am going to turn my hair pink.

 The cup I brought into the bathroom with me to pour the juice onto my head seems ineffectual. I mean, how am I going to keep it from running off my head?  The interwebz didn't tell me about this!

I suck it up, lean over the bathroom sink and start soaking my head in very expensive, but pure cranberry juice.

It sloshes everywhere. On the floor, on the wall, on the sink. I can't keep it in my hair, and I refuse to use the whole blasted bottle to saturate. On the towel that I was using to keep it from running down my body. It's making the towel a very pretty pink color.

I finally get my hair saturated with the juice, and it's running down my face is pretty pink rivulets. It gets in my eyes, and that stings. A little bit.

I then the get the bright idea to have my husband wrap my head in plastic wrap.Since he's not a girl, he was frankly was embarrassed by the whole thing. But he loves me, and so gave it the old college engineer try. He (mainly) got the job done, but it was a minor comedy routine that I'm glad there was no one around to witness.

I managed to sit with the juice on my head for a good half an hour. Then I rinsed it out, rushed to the bathroom mirror, and...



Maybe there will be a little red showing when it dries.

Wait a bit...go back and look. Still nothing.

I give up waiting for it to fully air dry and go to bed.

I get up in the morning, go and look at the crazy bed-head that everyone gets when they go to bed with wet hair (we all get this, RIGHT? It's not just me, RIGHT?)...and still no red. Nary a glint.

Same. Old. Hair.

Oh well.  Back to  the drawing board.

Or at least look at decent websites that show accurate, or at least logical information, like this one from Mother Earth News  (if I could get that website to come up at work, I'd probably never get anything done).

Before I spend more money  on red teas that I will never drink, and probably won't work on my hair, I should just suck it up and try the henna. At least in that article, it says I can control the amount of henna I use, and I can cut it with chamomile, so I don't go too dark auburn.

And that Mother Earth News article has a great tip for how to actually rinse your hair: lean over a big ol' bowl to save the rinse as it goes thru your hair. And it said to run the rinse through your hair 15 times.

Genius! Why didn't I think of that???

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile

So, my steam mop bit the dust a little while ago, and man that bummed me out.  I had gotten so used to whipping it out to clean up after the herd.  It was a Shark model, before the pocket one came out, and I just didn't feel right about spending $125 for another one if it was going to break in less than 2 years.

The Shark mops have a problem with flimsy handles - you have to pump the handle as your mop in order to get the steam to come out, and as the handle is plastic, it tends to break easily. Shark even sells replacement handles for their product - they *know* it's a problem.

Unfortunately, the mechanism that releases the steam into the mop is what broke on mine, and there was no way to fix it.  :(

So after an exhaustive internet search, including extensive reading of consumer reviews, DaHubster and I finally decided on the
It has some great reviews, and a decent price - one that I can live with if it doesn't last the 2 years my old Shark steam mop did.

We also finally FINALLY bought the Tattler Reusable Regular Canning Lids and Rubber Rings - 12 Pack. I've been hearing about them for awhile now, and have heard some people that I trust (ie: Jackie Clay, from Backwoods Home Magazine), that yes, they do work. Year after year. We got both regular and wide mouth lids.

I cannot wait to start using these new re-usable lids this year. And we will have plenty off opportunity to, as we are finally adding the raised bed along the back fence, and at least one other raised bed in the "back 40." There will lots of great veggies growing in this years garden!

I love it when things finally come together.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - The Great "No-'Poo" Experiment-Part 3

So, I asked the girls (Vino & JayBeez) to update me on their 2nd week of No-poo'ing.

If you are just coming into this blog for the first time, and have no idea what I'm talking about, please read these 2 blog posts first:

Musings from the Junque Pile - The Great "No-'Poo" Experiment-Part 1

Musings from the Junque Pile - The Great "No-'Poo" Experiment-Part 2

First up is Ms. Vino:

I've come to the conclusion that for this no 'poo to work on my head, I have to modify it.
As in using real 'poo once every two weeks or so.   I will be using a sulfate-free brand.

The water and BS is just not cutting thru all of the moisturizers I HAVE to use on my hairz.
My frizzy mop requires SOME sort of leave in conditioner.... be it store bought or the mixtures of
olive oil/coconut oil or home made remedies that I've been finding.  More on that in a few.  :)

I do like the BS plan.  It's the ACV rinse I'm not totally sold on.   Maybe I still need to tweak the amount used
or how often I use it.   I WILL still have it incorporated into my routine.  If nothing else, it will make any
'poo and 'ditioners I purchase last much much longer, using them only once or twice a month! 

Speaking of frizz --- Mrs. Junque found a recipe for mashed bananas and avocado.   I tried it Saturday morning.
It called for 1/2 a nana and 1 avocado.  Mash well and apply to hairz.   I covered with a plastic cap and a hot towel.
Left it on for several hours.    When I unwrapped to take a shower, it smelled of fresh banana bread.
Not a bad thing.   LOL
Rinsing took FOREVER.   Lesson learned ------ use food processor or blender to make a smooth paste.   My mash
was still a little lumpy.  Heh.

I finally decided to use a small bead of 'poo to help remove the stubborn bits, and a glob of conditioner to help smooth out the strands, as I could barely rake my fingers thru my mop.  
I air dried, and this time did NOT use my mega wide comb at all.  Finger scrunched and left it alone.  
A light misting of oilve oil on the surface and done.    I was quite happy with the results.

In conclusion, I'm in favor of these natural routines.   I will be using them.

Tune in next time for the search of a decent, more natural way to cover gray roots.  ;-)
*heads off to brew more strong Earl Grey tea and coffee
And now Jay Beez's, whose detailed reports can be read at her personal blog: The Geeky Momma:

I seem to be in no-‘poo limbo.
I love –LOVE- this process, but I have yet to find the perfect ratios for me.
Yes, I found it for a fleeting second there on Day 3, the thing is that I added water to a mix that I had already been using. So lord knows what those ratios actually were.
After day 4 I decided to see how long I could go without washing my hair. I made it to day 5. My hair was still amazing, but my scalp was driving me batty.
So I went back and mixed up another batch, this time 2 c water to 1 tablespoon BS/ACV respectively.
Still a bit too strong, but I’m getting closer.
What I am noticing is that I will more than likely will have to continue washing my hair every other day. Not for my scalp, my dandruff is amazingly under control ever since I’ve been on this experiment, but for the tips of my hair.
My hair is just insanely long and my natural oils just can’t reach the tips if I wash every day. The ACV mix needs to be weaker since there’s more of a heavy build up rather than a moisturizing effect.
I have added a teeny bit of baby oil to the tips of my wet hair and it is helping tremendously.
I can't wait until I have all of this down and I can just have a normal hair routine again.

And lastly, me. The Humble Junque:

I'm really trying to not wash my hair every day, as I am trying to get the sebum in my scalp to stop over-producing - which is what causes that greasy looking hair.  I was trying to go for an every other day, with slowing it down to 2-3 days, but man, it's tough! My scalp seems to like being an over-producer. I guess me being a slacker my whole life,  my body has decided that in this one area it was going to be a winner.

Oh well, I'm still on the every other day schedule of washing my hair with BS and water, with a ACV rinse. And I'm probably going to have to keep adjusting the amounts of BS vs. water, because there have been a couple of times when afterwards, my hair still didn't feel clean.  I'm sure it was, but it just didn't feel that way.  it feels thicker, it clumps a little more than it should, and there a lot of poofy-ness on the ends that I'm attributing to the same problem Vino has with over-volume and frizz. And it's quite possible that a haircut might help tame a lot of this, as I haven't gotten one since before Christmas (did I mention I was lazy?). I should probably go for one soon.

I have to say that I'm not 100% sold on the no-poo yet. I've tried water washing, and I do not like how my hair feels.  And I have not gotten rid of my itchy scalp yet, although it is WAY better than it was before.  I've tried using less BS to see if that is my problem (as has been reported by other bloggers who have gone thru this, and I don't believe that it helps. it certainly doesn't make my hair feel clean.  I don't know, many I'm still too tuned into how shampoo makes me feel.  But I will keep plugging on, trying to get it right for me.

And as an aside, tune in later this week, when I will post my own first feeble attempts to dye my hair naturally. Whoooo boy, this is gonna be fun.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Junque Yard - Spring has Sprung Early!

It is amazing to me how early spring is this year.  We had a very mild winter (they say it happens every 10-11 years or so, and we were due). The weather man said on the news yesterday morning (friday) "3 weeks ago today we got 4-8 inches of snow.  I remember that, and the day after started a warm trend that has carried us through till now. Today will be the first day it doesn't quite reach 60 degrees. And we are only a few days into true spring!  It makes me feel humbled and grateful, even though it's weather, and really, who controls that? Who exactly am I being grateful to?

Anyway, before I got off on a theological rant, the end result of 3 weeks of BEAUTIFULLY warm and sunny weather is that the trees and flowers have fairly BURST into fruition. On my commute to and from work I see all manner of trees that look like they have split a gut flowering. It really does look like they violently pushed forth their leaves and blossoms. Particularly the younger trees. The older, larger trees seem to be holding back, as if they know not to rush these things.

Even in my own pitiful bulb garden, I have hyacinth that are so flower-laden they are falling over. I have one sprightly daffodil, and several tulips that bloomed before reaching their normal height. The result is shorter, yet cheerful tulips that warm my heart every time I pull into my driveway.

Last weekend, we started planting seeds. We started our tomatoes and peppers in old blister packs that we've saved from years prior. We also planted our lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, and kale in long planter boxes that are close to the kitchen door - which allows for quick access when making dinner.  The spinach and chard both have sprouted, and we should be able to eat those in about a month or so.

The only other thing I've done this early in the season is to remove about 50 strawberry plants from their bed. I did this so that daHubster could line the bed with timbers, and we dumped several bazillion gallons of compost, in effect raising up the strawberry patch a few inches, giving me a place to plant my butt while I tend the strawberries, and giving the strawberries themselves some good fertilizer.  I replanted them the same afternoon, so no strawberry plants were lost in the making of this project.  I predict that I will have tons of yumminess come June's picking time.

Yesterday it rained hard, though still pretty darn warm. It's foggy outside - I can hear the foghorn's going crazy on the lake. But it will soon burn off, and be another great spring day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - Household remedies

This is one of those forwarded emails that I got a hundred years ago, when email was carved into rocks and thrown at your best friends for fun. I've had the opportunity to use most of them, and they all work, for the most part. They are not harmful in any case, so try them at your will, and remember, your mileage may vary:

Eliminate ear mites.  All it takes is a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's ear...Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days. The oil soothes the cat's skin, smothers the mites, and accelerates healing.

Kills fleas instantly...Dawn dishwashing liquid does the trick. Add a few drops to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations. Good-bye fleas.

Rainy day cure for dog odor ...Next time your dog comes in from the rain, simply wipe down the animal with Bounce or any dryer sheet, instantly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

Did You Know that drinking two glasses of Gatorade can relieve headache pain almost immediately-- without the unpleasant side effects caused by traditional "pain relievers."

Did you know that Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns?

Before you head to the drugstore for a high-priced inhaler filled with mysterious chemicals, try chewing on a couple of curiously strong Altoids peppermints. They'll clear up your stuffed nose.

Achy muscles from a bout of the flu? Mix 1 Tablespoon of horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes, then apply it as massage oil, for instant relief for aching muscles.

Sore throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms. Alka-Seltzer begins eliminating urinary tract infections almost instantly-- even though the product was never been advertised for this use.

Honey remedy for skin blemishes ... Cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a Band-Aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works overnight.

Listerine therapy for toenail fungus. Get rid of unsightly toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash. The powerful antiseptic leaves your toenails looking healthy again.

Easy eyeglass protection... To prevent the screws in eyeglasses from loosening, apply a small drop of Maybelline Crystal Clear nail polish to the threads of the screws before tightening them.

Cleaning liquid that doubles as bug killer ... If menacing bees, wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets get in your home and you can't find the insecticide, try a spray of Formula 409. Insects drop to the ground instantly.

Smart splinter remover.  Just pour a drop of Elmer's Glue-All over the splinter, let dry, and peel the dried glue off the skin. The splinter sticks to the dried glue.

Hunt's tomato paste boil cure... cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

Balm for broken blisters... To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine.  A powerful antiseptic.

Vinegar to heal bruises... Soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour. The vinegar reduces the blueness and speeds up the healing process.

Quaker Oats for fast pain relief... It's not for breakfast any more! Mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute, cool slightly, and apply the mixture to your hands for soothing relief from arthritis pain.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Musings from the Junque Pile - The Great "No-'Poo" Experiment-Part 2

In my last blog post, I named the players in the great No-Poo experiment. In this one, we are gonna tell you how week one went.  Jay Bee started a little later in the week than Vino and I did, but it's all still good. 

I should also let you know that Jay Bee is chronicaling her results at her own blog, so if you want more details go to ThaGeekyMomma and enjoy. it's fabulous.

But first a quickie description of what we are using and the amounts:

To wash your hair and scalp: Rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of Baking Soda (BS) mixed with one cup of warm water. Wet hair, apply and massage into scalp. Let sit a couple of minutes, and rinse well.

To condition your hair: 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with one cup of warm water. If you have dandruff, don't massage into scalp, concentrate on the length of your hair. Let sit a minute or two and rinse.

That's it. Easy, huh? 
Here's a look at how it went:

Jay Bee
Day 1 ‘poo-free
In order to keep this blog from being super uber long I’m just going to link you to my hair stats on my blog (

It took 20 minutes from start to finish getting everything together. That’s including taking time out to take pictures (that never loaded on to my pc) every step of the way.
I decided to reuse my shampoo and conditioner bottles since I had conveniently run-out just was we were deciding to give this whole no-poo thing a try. I do have to say that the time it took for me to rinse them out had me thinking that considering the length of my hair there was no way I took this long under water when I rinsed out my hair. And then I got a little grossed out at the idea. 

I mixed
No-Poo: 2 cups of spring water to 2 tablespoons of baking soda
“Conditioning” rinse: 3 cups of spring water to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
Dandruff rinse: 1:1 cup ratio of spring water & white vinegar

1        Brush out Hair: I need a bristle brush. The plastic bristle brush is not going to cut it for distributing the natural oils to the tips of my hair.
2        Dandruff rinse: Since dandruff is a concern of mine I did a bit of research and found the most recommended rinse. It is to sit for at least 1-2 minutes.  Don’t forget to Open. A. Window!!! Tilt head back when applying and do NOT allow your hair to frame your face while doing this. You will get dizzy if you do not head my warnings.
3        No-poo: I need to get used to not having it suds up. I kept adding rinse to my scalp because it didn’t feel like I was “washing” my hair. It did feel nice on my scalp & face. Use Room Temperature Water. That cold water on the scalp first thing is… yeah it’s a doozy. The ends didn’t feel too dry or tangled at the end. I wasn’t desperate to add conditioner like I usually am.
4        Conditioning Rinse: Use Room Temperature Water. It bares repeating. Cold water. Not fun. There is a light smell, but not unpleasant. Didn’t feel as soft right off like conditioner does. Couldn’t detangle my hair in the shower like I usually do.
5        After Towel Drying: My hair didn’t feel as different as when regularly washed. I was able to braid my hair after detangling it again. I did have to comb it out once again. My hair does seem to require more time and attention after washing, but that could be attributed to my OCD when it comes to my hair or the adjustment to something different.

I was keeping this experiment from The Hubs because he’s always so skeptical about thing and I wanted to at least get t done before he knew about it. When I told him about it the first thing he said (more like whined) was, “Are you going to start smelling like vinegar now?!?”
I picked up my hair. “Smell”
He carefully sniffed. “Ok.”
I had to laugh, but it’s true so far no vinegary smell.
At this point I’m still winging to continue with it. After doing the math I spend about $50-$75 a month on hair care products. If this works out I would be paying $5 for at least 2-3 months of hair care –that’s including the dandruff rinse.
My wallet really wants this to work out. 

Vino: I had waited 3 days since the last actual shampooing to start this.    Rinsed very well with warm water, used a very wide toothed comb to smooth out.    I think I squirted about a cup of the BS solution slowly into my scalp, massaging every few squirts, concentrating on my front hairline and natural part.   Rinsed well, using the comb again. I then used about 1/2 a cup of the ACV rinse, aiming for mid-shaft and the ends.   Remember, I added the essential orange oil to offset the pickle smell.   I let it sit as I cleaned my body, then did a cool water rinse of my hair.   Towel dried, air dried.     Added NO OTHER product. 

Ended up with clean, soft, EXTREMELY FRIZZY hairz.
Day 2.   Skipped the BS, got hairz wet, sprayed ACV on, decided not to rinse out.    Towel and air dried, and used a touch of sulfite free leave in conditioner.    Slightly better frizz control.

Day 3.   Same as above, but worked some olive oil into my hairz.

Day 4.   Another cup of BS wash, similar to day 1 episode.  I'm now leaving the ACV in without rinsing.  Noticeably softer hair, but still frizzy.  Could be the weather contributing....(rainy and humid)

Day 5.   Water rinse, ACV rinse.... now trying Coconut Oil sparingly as a leave in conditioner.   My hair is very fluffy! I need to tame the volume and steer away from Big Texas hair!!

Today is Day 6.   It will be a no BS day.   I'm going with every 3 days there.  I don't have oily scalp or dandruff issues.   I may try some big rollers to tame the frizz.   

Me (your lovable blog host): I too didn't wash my hair for a couple of days. I could do that because it was the weekend, and I wouldn't gross out my co-workers.  I did my first wash late afternoon on a Sunday, hoping that the oil monster wouldn't attack my hair overnight, so that Monday morning wouldn't see me scrambling to wash it again.

Day 1: Mixed the stuff and used it  much like Vino described.Because there’s no sudsing action, it didn’t feel like I was really getting anything clean, but after I was done, and the hair was dried, it looked and felt pretty darn clean. I noticed that as it dried, it was extremely soft, and way more curlier than normal. I might like this!

Day 2: I wet my head down well, but didn't wash it. The grease monster seems to be at bay for the moment. No itchiness with the scalp, for which I am ever grateful.

Day 3: I was late getting ready for work, but attempted to do the BS and water and rinse under the faucet bathroom sink. I highly recommend that you do NOT do this. Unless you have a very small cranium, which I do not. It was just impossible for me to rinse all the BS out of my scalp, and that led to very itchy issues during the day.

Day 4: Wet head again, and spritzed on some ACV and water. Good to go. I am  noticing the texture of my hair is changing. Not oily per se, but it's like the strands are kind of banding together. It doesn't look or feel bad, just different from what I'm used to.

Day 5: I'm used to washing my hair every day, sometimes every other day. I'm kind of hoping I might be able to go 2-3 days without washing it, because let's face it, it takes a little more time to mix up the BS and water before showering each day. We found an empty squeeze bottle to mix it in, and I'm hoping to maybe get 2-3 uses out of  batch.
Bonus addition of the not-so-very-talkative Hubster:

He likes it.  A lot.

Ok, so that's a wrap up our initial first week of trying the No-Poo method.  Next week, we'll update how it's going for us all!

From Jay's Blog