Easy Composting In Small Spaces

If you have ever wanted to compost but don’t have the time nor space to do so; this is the blog topic for you! There are a lot of different options to explore but I would like to share the system I am using with great success. Although, I urge you to try out what best works for your lifestyle and living conditions, and make it your own which is what I have done. The system I chose to create is using the vermicomposting method. I created my own system for my apartment living conditions and busy lifestyle while making it space friendly and affordable.

So what is vermicomposting?  It is the breaking down of organic material using nature and its gardeners: different species of worms. The end result is worm castings which gardens and plants absolutely love. The little gardeners will literally create this “black gold” for you by giving them your leftover organic material such as old lettuce, banana peels, old newspapers, paper bags, eggshells, spoiled rice, etc. In doing so, you are feeding them and leaving less of a carbon footprint on the Earth and helping to reduce our landfills.

So lets get started!! You will need a container to house our little gardeners and compost. The container can be as big or as little as you would like but I encourage you to choose as big as your space will allow. Customize it to the space you are using: under the sink, in the closet, or even in the pantry. I chose a medium Styrofoam cooler with lid from my local store. You will also need to buy a tray to go under the container you choose; this will serve to catch any leachate or liquid that passes through the matter in the container. I chose to buy a second Styrofoam cooler and stack them in each other so that the second one will act as the leachate catcher. 

Next, lets get the gardeners. You can purchase worms online and at your local stores that sell bait and fishing supplies. I would highly recommend getting red wiggler worms as they tend to do well in this type of system and is what I decided to use as well. DO NOT use earthworms as they will not do well in this system. If you can get your hands on at least 100 worms the better but if not that’s okay too. I started with 30 worms but ended up buying 30 more worms two weeks later in order to help speed up the composting time. You will need to also get a small bag of compost to start the system off, if not at least get some old newspapers for beginning bedding for our friends. I used a combination of soil and newspaper as the beginning bedding since I didn’t have access to compost at the time. 

Now, you will need to punch holes or drill holes in the lid of your containers to allow air circulation as well as the bottom and top sides. This is another reason why I chose a Styrofoam cooler since it is easy to customize and make holes in, but choose what works best for you. I also went an extra step and bought screen door screening and cut and hot glued the pieces to over the holes. It helps keep pests out like flies and other bugs that may disturb our little friends and the eco-system, as well as keeping the population of fruit flies down. 

For the next step, cover the bottom of the container with soil or compost if you have some, if not, shred the newspaper and place that on the bottom. You want the soil/compost damp and the newspaper wet as well but not soaking wet. You want it to be the consistency of a well rung-out sponge. Now on top of this you want to add your food scraps and place more newspaper/soil/compost. You want a wet and then dry balance. Next, add the worms to the container and cover them with soil/newspaper/compost. Put the lid on your container and you’re done! Always keep in mind that our friends like the dark and a moist environment. I like to mix my container every two weeks just to check in on them, get air circulation, and to mist it with distilled water to keep the environment moist. 

 

Tips and Tricks I’ve Learned Along The Way: 

  • I like to keep my scraps in the freezer then take them out to thaw when I’m about to put it in the bin. Cuts down on the smell and helps it break down faster,
  • I cut up and make my scraps into smaller pieces so the worms can eat them better and faster
  • Keep a spray bottle handy or container filled with rain water/distilled water to mist the bin.
  • If the container starts to smell your balance is wrong and may need to add more dry materials like leaves, newspaper, etc. It should always smell like a fresh forest floor or rich dirt.
  • To keep fruit fly population down, cover food scraps with soil/compost after placing in bin
  • Watch how much your worms consume and adjust accordingly on the amount you place in the bin
  • NEVER put meat or dairy in the bin. Think of your worms as vegan. When in doubt, don’t place it in the bin. It will save you a lot of stress later.
  • You may want to have a second system going in case your current one gets full or need more compost soon. 
  • Pay attention to your worms behavior. If they are trying to get out or staying out of the bedding. Your balance is off and they are very unhappy. you may need to add water or dry material. They may also just be hungry and you may need to add more food then normal.

Composting is so rewarding and my garden is blossoming because of the wormcastings I place in it now; not to mention my trash waste is less and I feel good knowing that I’m doing my part in helping the Earth. HAVE FUN COMPOSTING!! 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring DIY: Indoor Herb Gardening

 

Have you ever wanted your very own herb garden? Well, now that Spring is approaching, it might be a good time to get one started. Here are a few tips to get you growing: 

LIGHTING: Before you even begin, you’ll want to choose a nice sunny location for your herbs new home. The area should be able to receive between 6-8 hours of light. A good East or West facing window is ideal. If the area that you live in is mostly cloudy, rainy, or you don’t have a window with good lighting. Its time to invest in a clamp light with a grow bulb or grow lights suited for indoor plants. I can’t stress how important it is to make sure to have sufficient lighting for our herbal friends. You don’t want our friends to become the living dead!! QUARANTINE!!! 

CONTAINER: Next, decide on the containers we want to put them in. I would recommend a terra cotta pot because of the excellent air flow it provides to the root system of plants. Just make sure that the matching saucer you choose is glazed over on the inside so the water doesn’t seep out onto any surfaces you place it on. However, any pot from recycled cans, plastic pots, milk jugs, etc., can make a great container as long as there are sufficient drainage holes. DO NOT LET YOUR HERBS SIT IN WATER. You will assassinate them!!  In fact, I even recommend putting gravel or pebbles in the saucer that you place your container on to help with air flow and drainage.

PLANTS: Now, lets go adopt our new friends! I would recommend starting with a grown plant rather than from seed. It will help speed up growing times by months and your more than likely starting off with a very healthy plant. Just make sure that when you adopt your new friends, they have healthy green foliage and are free from pests. You don’t want to invite aliens back to your home to multiply! Choose plants that you will want to use in your everyday life and even cooking. Not sure what to choose, don’t worry, at the end of this article, I will provide a list from easy to hard based on my own experience at growing.  

WATERING: Here is a step I notice a lot of people will skip over or don’t really place any emphasize on. Well, don’t drown your new friends!! Overwatering is a sure way to re-enact the titanic! DON’T DO IT! The best way to tell if they are thirsty is to stick the tip of your finger into the soil and if it feels dry…water it. If you just hate getting your hands dirty, I would invest in a soil water meter from your local garden center or online store. A warning sign is if your friends foliage turns a puke yellow, they are getting too much water. If their foliage turns limp as a noodle, they are stressed and not getting enough water. However, you never want to reach to any of those stages where it takes plant therapy to make them happy again!

SOIL: Okay! Lets put some new clothes on our new friends! When choosing soil, make sure to choose potting soil and not top soil or soil from the outside yard. Soil from outside can contain pests and may not be in good condition, not to mention, it is really thick so it can suffocate or strangle our new friends and you don’t want that. Geez! We just adopted them for goodness sake! If you are unsure about the soil, don’t chance it and just invest in buying soil specifically geared toward herb growing from your local garden center. 

FOOD: Lastly, I want to go over fertilizer. Make sure to provide food for your friends. If not, you will end up with friends that are nothing but skin and bones!! Being in a pot, your herbs will consume a lot of the nutrients in the soil and some of it will wash out between water sessions. I recommend using an organic fertilizer at least once a month. When you choose a fertilizer, make sure to choose one that promotes foliage growth and NOT bloom growth. If you can get your hands on fish emulsion or compost tea, all the better. Who knows, they may have allergies to some things, so the more natural and organic your fertilizer is…the happier your herbs will be.

HAPPY GROWING!!!

   

~List of Herbs~

Easy: Basil, Mints, Bay, Dill, Rosemary, Thyme, Green Onion

Medium: Cilantro, Chives, Parsley, Lemon Grass

Hard: Sage, Lavender, Tarragon, Stevia

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Hot Cocoa 

 

Hot Cocoa is a perfect drink on a cold, chilly day/night. A delightful companion to curl up with on the corner of a couch and escape with your thoughts. If your like me and love hot cocoa, and you’re looking to put a little twist on this traditional drink; here are a few simple ways:

  1. Peppermint– 2 tablespoons milk, 1 peppermint candy, 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
  2. Peanut Butter– 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 tablespoon heavy cream, and 2 Hershey kisses.
  3. Cinnamon Cookie– 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  4. Caramel– 3 tablespoons caramel syrup or 2 caramel candies, and 1 tablespoon milk
  5. Ice Cream– 1 scoop of your favorite ice cream
  6. Coffee– 1 tablespoon of espresso or 2 tablespoons of your favorite coffee
  7. Alcohol (Drink Responsibly)– 2 tablespoons of Baileys Almande Horchata or Baileys la French Toast, 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp nutmeg, and top with whip cream

 

 

I hope these simple additions will spruce up your cup of hot cocoa and ward off any winter woes! Blessed Be! 

 

 

 

5 Ways To Be Thankful

Thanksgiving is a word that should give you a new start and be grateful. Could your life use a little more love and gratitude?

Here are five ways to be thankful: 

  1. Notice the little things in life. You might find that the little things you might have missed turn out to be the most important things.
  2. See things from another’s perspective. What’s it like to walk in their shoes?
  3. Realize that time is precious. Re-align your priorities and remember that time is free but its priceless. Its the one thing we all run out of and its up to you to be the navigator of your life. Set aside time regularly to be quiet and reflect.
  4. Send a thank you from the heart. That’s right! Take a moment to tell someone thank you. Show how much you appreciate them and all they do. Write a thank you letter, send a text, or create an e-mail. Be creative. Studies show that people feel 100% happier after doing so and people who delivered their thanks in person, found a greater level of optimism and fewer negative thoughts.
  5. Give Back. Volunteer some of your time at a local charity. Help out a friend/loved one in need. See if you can work at a food bank or local shelter. Be generous toward those with less and not envious of those with more than you. 

 

Be kind, Be loving, Be thankful!! 

Covet Soaps: Product Review

Today I had the pleasure of sampling a product from a Texas business called “Covet Soaps”. I received a message stating that I won free samples and it would be shipped to me.  I, of course was ecstatic and it would be a nice change of pace from my daily routine of running my own business. The first thing that I love is their description on their Instagram page which says  “COVET your skin & have a FLING with your bath! Creating natural bath treats from our Texas farm house, follow our journey”. The second thing is the word ‘natural’. As all of you know, I am a big believer in natural products and this business had my attention. Hence, I had to do a review to let all of you know about it. A cute little box arrived in the mail and as soon as I opened it, the aroma from the bath flings burst out. Inside, wrapped nice and neat in colored tissue paper, were the samples. The smaller fling was labeled bubble gumrose which smelled fantastic and the larger fling had no label but it did have the company logo on it . The final sample was labeled Sprig Soap. Finally, there was a little card with their social media sites stamped on it.

I used the samples and I loved them!  My favorite, which I am still using in my bathroom, is the sprig soap, I love the texture and it has a lemon clean smell to it which I absolutely love, love, love. Also, it did not dry out my skin after using it.  The large bath fling was great and my favorite part is that it didn’t leave a stain in my bath tub. There was a little after-residue like all bath products but I just ran water over it and it washed down the drain easily.  The best part about the large fling was how it sizzled in the water and I got to squeeze it like a stress ball…lol When you squeeze it, it releases more of their formula into the water making the bath water even more luxurious as it colors the water into an orange hue. Bottom line, I would recommend this business if you would like to try some great products that are natural and great on the skin. Supporting small businesses like this one, helps support the Earth itself! The links to some of their sites are shown below as well as some sample pictures:

https://www.facebook.com/Covetsoap/

https://www.instagram.com/covetsoaps

https://www.twitter.com

 Perfect Halloween Costume 

The day to find the perfect Halloween costume is right around the corner! Perfect Halloween Costume: What does that really mean? Should you dress up as something scary or maybe something cute? For me, I love the thrill of reinventing myself for at least one night of the year. The possibilities of creating an alter ego or bringing back that lost childhood memory. Like Peter Pan from Neverland, you never want to grow up. 

So here are a few tips on choosing that perfect costume: First, make sure that you choose a theme that is unique to your personality. Second, you should feel proud to wear it out in public and wouldn’t mind your grandparents seeing it. Third, most importantly, HAVE FUN! 

There are soo many different places to get a costume. Some people will even make their own from raw materials and fabric. Here in Charleston, SC one of the popular stores to find a great costume at is ‘Spirit Halloween’. I had the pleasure of visiting this place a few days ago and found it stocked with great stuff with a cheerful cashier girl greeting you as soon as you enter. Seeing all the different Halloween decorations put me in such great spirits that I couldn’t help but try on things and touch everything on the shelves. I would highly recommend anyone looking for the perfect costume or just an idea, to visit this place. Regardless, its a celebration to remember with candy, laughter, and great memories being made. Happy Hunting!  

**Address to the Spirit Halloween that I visited: 1812 Sam Rittenberg Blvd, Charleston SC 29407

 

 

Total Solar Eclipse 2017

  Total Solar Eclipse 2017 is almost here, so plan your eclipse party and get ready for darkness! Yep…this is a rare celestial phenomenon that you don’t want to miss since the last one of these events happened in 1979. Total solar eclipse of 2017 is when the moon will be blocking out the sun with a temperature drop of about 10 degrees, and it can be seen from the west coast of America to the east coast. The event will only happen in America on August 21st 2017 and no one from outside the country will be able to witness it first-hand. 

  The phenomenon will last for about 2 minutes and 40 seconds in each spot. As it journeys across the country, it will complete its path in about 1 1/2 hours. However, the total solar eclipse will only be visible in a few states, starting in Oregon. A partial eclipse, which is the darkening of the sky, will be seen by all of America which will last about 2-3 hours. Here are the following states by order that will give you the best views of the event and will have a total solar eclipse: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and ending in South Carolina.

 The Total solar eclipse will begin at 10:15am in Oregon and at 2:36pm in South Carolina. Please make sure to ONLY use approved solar eclipse glasses since viewing the event with the naked eye or unapproved glasses can cause irreparable eye damage. If you miss this August event, don’t worry, you still have a chance to see it in Argentina and Chile on July 2019. Have a safe and happy viewing!

 

  

Soy Wax Candles vs Paraffin Candles

Okay, so you have decided to finally purchase that wonderful candle. Maybe the candle is for yourself or maybe its a gift for a loved one. In the end, you are stuck in the middle of the great debate and must ask yourself: Which candle is a better choice? Soy Wax Candles Vs Paraffin Candles

Before you make a purchase, consider this, what type of wax is being used in the creation of the candle you are purchasing. I personally believe that soy wax is the better option for candles. Here are some of the reasons why: 

Soy Wax is made from natural vegetables and is biodegradable. Yep! that means you can literally wash it away with soap and water which makes spills a breeze to clean up. Paraffin will be a lot more difficult, if not impossible to clean up should a spill occur due to the fact that it is not biodegradable. Generally, soy wax burns longer than paraffin candles and fragrances are usually stronger as well.  You will also be supporting farmers and stimulating the economy by purchasing soy candles; that’s always a plus in my book. Keep in mind, soy candles will not produce petro-carbon soot, that in turn means less soot and healthier air in the household. Paraffin is a  refined gasoline by-product so there will definitely be a lot more soot in the air causing problems associated with soot-deposits. 

Candles help create a beautiful ambience and in some cases, will even set the mood of the environment or person. Hopefully, this blog entry will help make choosing a candle a lot easier and help promote a healthier living for yourself and your loved ones. If you have trouble finding good soy candles to purchase, I have a lot of great choices available in my store. Blessed be!