Foraging rules – by James Wong

Be sure to check with local authorities before you gather fruit, flowers, and foliage in the wild for personal use. Below are a few guidelines that should always be followed when harvesting plants:

  • Don’t pick anything unless you’re absolutely sure of its identity. It is very easy to confuse two plants that look alike or have similar names; or example, harmless, edible, sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata) and toxic hemlock (Conium maculatum) look very similar. Take a well-illustrated field guide with you to help identify plants.
  • Don’t pick alongside busy roads or on agricultural land, because the plants are likely to be polluted or sprayed with pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Remember, pesticides can travel a large distance in the wind so it is important to find out about chemical use in your area before doing any picking.
  • Harvest only as much as you will use, and don’t take more than half the leaves, fruit or stems of any plant. Always leave enough for wildlife  to eat and to ensure future plant generations. If there’s not enough of a plant to leave some of it behind, then don’t pick it.
  • Check with the local property owner before digging anything up: You have a legal obligation to get permission first. Also, it is illegal to remove plants from a national park.
  • Don’t dig up roots unless they are from a prolific plant, such as dandelion. Also be sure not to harvest too many roots from any one area.
  • Never pick a rare or endangered species.

Grow Your Own Drugs: Easy Recipes for Natural Remedies and Beauty Fixes
– by James Wong

How to make your own sunscreen video

I love this video on making your own natural sunscreen from coconut oil, beeswax and zinc oxide powder. If it’s good enough for a fair-skinned surfer, Zach Keenan, then it will be good enough for me in the beaming Australian sun.

It’s important to not cover your whole body in sunscreen as you need exposed skin to absorb vitamin D.

Transition tip: Make your own green cleaners

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Transition tip: Make your own green cleaners.

It’s easy to make your own green cleaners with a few tried-and-true recipes. You’ll be protecting your health by avoiding using toxic chemicals in your home and these are better for the environment. Better yet, you’ll find yourself saving money.

What’s not to love?

Here’s a round up of my posts on how to make your own green cleaners:

How to make your own fabric softener

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White vinegar softens fabric and stops static cling. Add a cup of vinegar to the wash, with a few drops of lavender oil for odours.

Wool will stay soft if washed in warm water with eucalyptus oil.

Other green stain remover products to try are:

How to make your own bathroom cleaner

Conventional bathroom cleaners often contain harsh toxic chemicals.

Washing soda cleans hard surfaces such as walls, sinks, tiles and tubs, but it rusts aluminum.

To remove mould from a shower curtain, mix 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water, spritz on and leave for a least two hours.

Vinegar also kills mould.

Other green bathroom cleaner products to try are:

How to make your own furniture oil

Apply sparingly and buff up to a gleaming shine.

250ml olive oil
20 drops lemon essential oil

Pour the olive oil into a clean dry bottle, add the essential oil and shake well.

To use, place a little oil on a soft cloth, wipe onto wooden furniture and buff to polish.

How to make your own window cleaner

For a smear-free finish to clean windows make up the following solution in a spray container:

1 part white distilled vinegar or lemon juice to
4 parts water

You may like to add a few drops of lemon essential oils.

Spray on the glass and wipe away marks with a chamois or crumpled newspaper.

How to make your own dry shampoo

Here is a great recipe for a natural alternative to dry shampoo. It will help to absorb excess oil and is a convenient quick fix in-between washes.

1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/4 cup of rice flour

  1. Mix together all the ingredients and keep in an air-tight container.
  2. Massage into the scalp and through the hair as needed.
  3. Leave for about 5 minutes then brush out vigorously. You may like to stand over a sink as it can be a bit messy!

Alternatively you may like to ditch your shampoo gradually and know how to go shampoo free (also know as “no ‘poo”).

How to make your own drain cleaner

Conventional drain cleaners usually contain lye, which is a potentially lethal acidic solution that burns the skin.

An old-fashioned plunger will usually do the trick. Place the plunger over the sink hole and create a seal. Pump until the block is gone. You may need to add some hot water and have a few goes.

Here’s a recipe to make your own drain cleaner:

1 cup of baking soda
1/2 cup of vinegar

  1. Pour down the baking soda followed by the vinegar and cover the drain for 3o minutes, or overnight if possible.
  2. Then slowly pour down boiling water.

We keep our kitchen sink clean by tipping used cooking oil into an old glass bottle for disposal, and regularly using Actizyme overnight.

Alternatively try one of these green products:

Make your own craft journal

I’ve been thinking about turning my craft journal template into a gardening journal, but haven’t worked out what the best things to record are. Any suggestions?

A journal is a great source of inspiration and reference for your projects. It is useful if you what to look back and remake a project. You can keep track of your swaps, and maintain an inventory of your supplies and tools. Here’s some instructions on how to make your own craft journal.

Craft journal

  1. Find a folder for your journal and decorate the cover.
  2. Print off the craft journal template [DOC 130kB]  or craft journal template [PDF 84kB]
  3. Decide if you are going to use plastic sheet protectors, if not punch holes.
  4. Add some white paper for sketching and some ruled paper for writing in the journal section.
  5. Decorate the dividers and pages as you wish.
  6. Don’t forget to add photos and swatches of fabric and yarn.

A funky font to use for the divider pages is rope.