Friday, March 29, 2013

Treasure Hunting Success!! Victorian Garden Tools

I've had two recent successful treasure hunting expeditions - one in my own back yard. I feel a bit like Dorothy Gale.

Craiglist Treasure Hunt uncovers Victorian Gardening tools

Victorian in Park Ridge, IL
As my readers know - I love going to antique stores, junk shops, flea markets, and searching Craigslist for deals.  One treasure hunt was from the latter. I saw a posting on Chicago Craigslist for "miscellaneous garden items found in my Victorian home's attic."  That called to me both for being garden related - and because anything stashed into an attic had to be valueable enough to store at one point, and there long enough to be forgotted (vintage or antique!) Whoo hoo - I was on the trail. 

I arranged to pick up the items and drove over to Park Ridge, IL. This town was incorporated in 1873. There are so many beautiful homes there. Sure enough as I drove to the address given, I was not disappointed. Yes, I even had to take a picture. Look at how lovely this place it. From the painted lady look, to the nice yard. I love the deck too. It wrapped all the way around to the back. Here they had really done it up nicely making an outside sitting room. The home owner confirmed that the home had been build in 1917 and that he was the third owner - the first two being multiple generations of the original builder! My excitement was so high - I thought there is gold here! Because I loved the house so much - here is a picture of it.

Crocks and vintage cardboard tomato carrier
The gentleman took me into the garage where he had stashed the items - getting ready to put them into the trash if nobody responded to hi CL ad. His trash is my treasure! I paid $60 for all the items. Next to each I've put the value of potential resale There were two crock pots (unbranded - $12 - $30), a cardboard tomato carrying case ($9-$19) those I did see online did not have a top , and several tools including triangle spade ($9), loper ($15?), coal or potato shovel ($25-30), Iron coal or garden shovel ($80), Antique version of today's Hula Hoe ($30? couldn't find comparable), another hoe, and a weeder with broken tip. So if I were to try and flip all these items - I would make maybe $120.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tea Tree Oil - Natural Skin Care

Pre-Treatment Facial Moles
Earlier this year I went to a dermatologist for the first time in my life! I wanted to have a few things checked out. I've had a few moles on my face for 20+ years without issue.  Recently however some of these moles were increasing in the size and roughness of texture. Well luckily the Doctor said there was nothing abnormal about them (not skin cancer or anything like that!). He said removal was "cosmetic surgery" that wouldn't be paid for by my insurance. Further he predicted that the moles would continue to get larger as I got older. ARGH! Like most people, I wasn't too excited about the prospect of having 5-6 moles getting larger on the side of my face. So I googled home remedies for mole removal and stumbled across Tea Tree Oil

After reading several natural medicine websites and blogs I decided to try the tea tree oil because it was inexpensive, readily available at my grocery store, and folks indicated it was pain-free and did not cause scars or skin irritation. I didn't have anything to lose - and really no other options. It sounded too good to be true (and in some cases it was.)

I purchased a 1 oz bottle of pure tea tree oil. Prices varied from ~$4 - $10/oz.  I used the tea tree oil pure; I did not dilute the oil at all.  It was very easy to apply the oil. 

    Pure Tea Tree Oil
  • Clean your  face and applied toner and dry off 
  • Place the tip of a cotton swab into the tea tree oil (it does not have to be fully saturated, you don't use that much)
  • Touch the cotton swab onto the moles / skin tags you wanted to diminish (obliterate!)
  • Let the oil dry before applying make-up (better to just avoid make-up if you can)
  • Do this twice a day - morning and night; during the week. And 3-4 times during the weekend. 
While I read that the Tea tree oil could impact the moles in just a couple of weeks, it was nearly three weeks before I noticed any differences. At almost 2.5 months now since I started the Tea Tree Oil treatment some great changes. The one ounce bottle has lasted me this long! I am treating 7 different moles and each had a slightly different response to the oil.  In one case the mole just started to get smaller in diameter and height until it now is completely even in height to my skin and seems like a small brown scar. In other cases the top of the mole became dried and peeled away. Each peeling making the mole a tiny bit smaller.  In no cases does my skin "appear normal" yet where the moles were/are - but I am super happy with the results. 

Take a look at the before and after photos above - 1 and 2 months. Its not too clear but I hope you can see the reduced size, height, and color of the moles. In the last picture they look completely gone - but I know they are still there! The treatment was well worth the $10!

Before and After results from Home Remedy Mole Removal with Tea Tree Oil

Skin Irritation from Tea Tree Oil
and Skin Cream Application
Here are a few additional helpful hints that I learned along the way - please note that my skin is very sensitive, so I think I may have had more problems than many people...
  • Avoid applying oil to surrounding skin. This skin will dry out faster and peel more than the moles. In one case I ended up with a wound because the skin was so unhappy to have the tea tree oil - however the moles never had that issue.Do not get excess oil into wrinkles - ditto the drying issue above
  • Do not cover the treated skin with band aid, cloth, or apply other cream. This made my skin become very red and irritated in a broader area than just by the mole. Especially bad one night when I thought to put on a cream mask treatment after oil and leave them on for 10 minutes. Please don't even think about that. It was not pretty :(
  • Alternate with Aloe or Mederma (scar cream) as the moles start to diminish. I scar very easily and this seems to help, or at least makes me feel better!
  • This stuff stinks. Not much to do about that.
  • As a post-script, for some moles once they were gone - they never came back. Others I have had to periodically treat with tea-tree oil (2-3 times a week.)

Once I saw that the tea tree oil was effective on my skin moles, I jumped into using it for other skin ailments. I used it on acne with great success.  I had no luck with skin tags at all. 
What's your favorite home remedy? 
Have a great day!

Teresa Marie

Monday, March 4, 2013

Home-Made / Custom Perfume Experience

This past weekend my daughter and I used a Living Social deal to go to Aroma Workshop and create our own perfume.  It was a fun experience and we made a great day of it. However, I was disappointed in the lack of  science in the process. I had previously been to a perfumer in London that provided a great education and experience in perfumes.
Aroma Workshop Chicago 3/13

In my London experience the perfumer explained that essential oils (which may be synthetically or naturally derived) form the basis of your perfume. Each essential oils contributes a 'notes' of the perfume. A good perfume composition requires base, middle, top and bridge notes.  These “notes” are essentially three different levels of scent, each with varying rates of evaporation. The top note is the most volatile, it's the scent you notice first.  The base note is the part of the perfume that lasts the longest. The middle note linking the top and base notes together, and set the type of fragrance family for the perfume — earthy, floral, spicy, woodsy, etc.  Because the essential oils evaporate at different rates, perfume smells changes as you wear it. Without the base note your perfume will not last. In the London perfumer they systematically walked you through the process of selecting notes, and then weighting blends of up to 10 oils to create your fragrance. They said the best perfumes had roughly equal top and base note percentages and 50% middle notes.  In addition, this shop was expert in understanding from your current favorite perfume, what might be a great blend to recommend for you.