Have you ever experienced stress or anxiety?
Uh, if you haven’t then please tell us your secrets to life! But for most of us, these feelings can seem inescapable at times. The answer, my friend, is to get out of our mind and into our body. DO something. CREATE something. Focus on a DIY task and suddenly your mind isn’t spiraling into worst-case scenarios anymore. Oh, and after you create a DIY project, you generally feel quite satisfied with yourself!
Are you in a rut with family fun activities?
We have been there before. It can be challenging to think of healthy activities that can engage the whole family. There is so much more beyond TV, screens and the same old board games. Sports and reading are always great healthy options - but often they are done solo, and not necessarily a bonding experience.
We have collected a few of our favorite DIY crafts that are fun for the whole family.
All end with a useful final product, though remember it is the journey of making it that is most rewarding! Some of them even provide an excuse to get outside and engage with nature. DIY crafts are so rewarding by empowering ourselves and our children with new skills and a self-reliant attitude.
Cleansing Room Spray:
☼ What you’ll need:
- A jar with a tight-fitting lid
- Distilled White Vinegar
- Access to trees (Pine, Bay, Eucalyptus are best)
- A strainer
- A spray bottle
☼ Step 1: Have a snack.
Munch on your favorite citrus! Grapefruit, oranges, clementines, etc. Maybe make some lemonade while you’re at it. Just make sure to save the peels and place them in your empty jar.
☼ Step 2: Take a walk
Go outside. Look up. What is growing up above? Can you grab a few handfuls of freshly fallen pine needles, eucalyptus leaves, or bay leaves? We are going for fragrance here so if you don’t have access to the trees mentioned, take a look around with your nose and see what you come up with. If possible, ID the plant before you harvest. Make sure the plant isn’t endangered and also that it won’t irritate your skin upon harvesting it. Gather a few handfuls to take home.
☼ Step 3: Fill the jar
Crush or cut up the leaves you have gathered and place in the jar with the citrus peels. Pour distilled white vinegar over all the leaves and peels to make sure nothing is poking out and exposed to air. Tightly place the lid on. Label with exact ingredients & date.
☼ Step 4: Do a dance
Take the jar and hold tightly with both hands. Do a dance and shake shake shake it up. The more agitated the mixture gets, the more the plant matter gets released into the vinegar.
☼ Step 5: Practice Patience
Set the jar in a dark, cool spot. Let sit for at least 2 weeks.
☼ Step 6: Celebrate
For the final step, you will strain out the liquid from the plant matter. Compost the plant matter. Save the infused and fragrant liquid. Place infused liquid into a glass spray bottle. Mist away and celebrate your refreshing and cleansing home-made room spray!
Why make a refreshing & cleansing room spray?
Well, to be honest, many air fresheners contain synthetic and toxic ingredients1. When you make a room spray at home, you know exactly what you are spraying and breathing in. You can truly create air that feels fresh and healthy to inhale.
☼ What you’ll need:
Your favorite dried perennial herbs* ~
Lavender, Rose, Peppermint, Chamomile , Rosemary, Jasmine Flowers, Lemon Balm, Green Tea, Orange Peel, Cinnamon Bark, Ginger Root
* Don't have these on hand? Got herbal tea bags ? They'll do just fine !
A muslin bag, cheese cloth, or pantyhose
3 tablespoons of shavings of cocoa butter, shea butter or coconut oil
☼ Step 1: Gather
Aim for 1 cup of dried herbs ⤅ You can keep it simple here, and just use dried lavender petals, or green tea, or you can concoct any blend that excites you. Herbs in your kitchen cupboard are totally usable here!
3 tablespoons of cacao, shea butter or coconut oil ⤅ This ingredient is not absolutely necessary, though it adds a lovely silky feeling to the bath and will help prevent the warm water from drying out your skin.
☼ Step 2: Place
Place herbs and 3 tablespoons of shavings in a bowl and blend well. Then divvy up amongst 4-5 bags ⤅ muslin bag, a double layered cheesecloth that can be tied with a string, or even pantyhose that can be used as tea bags!
☼Step 3: Soak and chill
Ok maybe this last step is a solo step, maybe it's joint depending on the age of your kids. Either way, tie your bath tea over the faucet of your tub so that the bag hangs just below the running water. Turn the water on and let it fill your tub. Soak for at least 20 minutes to absorb the benefits of the herbs transdermally (i.e through your skin).
Why make a silky bath tea?
Well, the stress relieving benefits of soaking in a bath are undeniable.Reducing stress not only helps you feel better emotionally, but it also allows your body to cope with physical stress better. There is a strong relationship between our nervous system (where stress operates from), our endocrine system, and our immune system2. Soaking in a relaxing bath, coupled with beneficial herbs calms the nervous system and thus supports our endocrine and immune system.
Beeswax Food Wraps:
One of our favorite zero-waste lifestyle tips is the use of beeswax food wraps! We write about this tip, plus other zero-waste tips in our blog post, New Years Resolutions For Your Zero Waste Voyage.
Choosing decorative fabric as the base allows you to get creative in this fun and practical DIY craft hobby! Save them for yourself, and make extras as gifts for friends and family.
Why make beeswax food wraps?
Proper food preservation and management is a huge issue when it comes to a sustainable future. Higher income countries, like the U.S and Europe, see about 50% of food end up in landfills where it canNOT compost. This statistic is huge (3). With food preservation, like by using beeswax food wraps, we can save food for later use and not further contribute to landfill use with seran wrap, ziplock bags or aluminium foil.
None of these projects catch your eye? We have some more inspiration for you:
- Take our zero waste quiz to discover practical, climate-reversing habits and/or projects you can take on
- Take a shot at making an echinacea tincture. A functional project that can be used to boost your family's immune system
- Sometimes baking a batch of cookies is just the project the family needs. And these cookies have a secret perennial ingredient - trees!
- Kim, S., Hong, S. H., Bong, C. K., & Cho, M. H. (2015). Characterization of air freshener emission: the potential health effects. The Journal of toxicological sciences, 40(5), 535-550.
- Glaser, R., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. (2009). Stress damages immune system and health. Discovery medicine, 5(26), 165-169.
- Stancu, V., Haugaard, P., & Lähteenmäki, L. (2016). Determinants of consumer food waste behaviour: Two routes to food waste. Appetite, 96, 7-17.