Why I use Spark Naturals versus DoTerra and Young Living

One of the most important qualities of any essential oil company is quality.  The essential oils that we use are absorbed by our bodies, so purity is an important factor.  Many people will advocate for one company or another, stating that their quality is superior than any other company.  While I don’t believe that all companies are created equal, I do believe that there are a handful of essential oil companies that are equally trustworthy.

When I began using essential oils, I started using DoTerra exclusively.  While I don’t have an issue with DoTerra, my bank account did.  Their oils are on the expensive side compared to companies that offer oils of similar quality.  A contributing factor to the high price of oils with DoTerra and Young Living are their pyramid sales design and all of the money that goes towards commission and, at least in DoTerra’s case, points that are earned and used toward free product.

Spark Naturals doesn’t have this sort of sales system, and it shows in their prices.  Along with more reasonable prices, Spark Naturals offers two sizes of essential oils- the traditional 15ml, and a smaller 5ml size.  Purchasing the 5ml size is a lot easier on my budget and allows me to acquire a wider variety of oils.

The other thing that I love about Spark Naturals is their selection of essential oil accessories.  They have glass spray bottles, glass roller bottles, containers for salves, and much more.  They offer books, diffusers, and a large selection of natural bath and body products.  It makes shopping for your essential oil projects super easy.

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Another great thing about Spark Naturals is their oil of the month club.  For only $15.99 each month, you get the featured 15ml bottle of oil shipped directly to you, and shipping is included in the price!

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Although Spark Naturals doesn’t have a pyramid sales system, they do offer an affiliate program.  The affiliate program allows someone the ability to offer 10% off of every order using a specific coupon code.  The coupon code is a win-win.  It gives the consumer 10% off and the affiliate gets a small percentage of commission on each sale.  This type of affiliate program allows Spark Naturals to avoid a costly pyramid sales system while still motivating individuals to use and advertise their product.

If you’re already loyal to a great essential oil company that you trust, stick with it.  If you’re not sure or are searching for an affordable, trustworthy company, I highly encourage you to try Spark Naturals!

Essential Oils for Back to School

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Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again!  I’ve begun school clothes shopping and have received the classroom supply list for the coming school year.  (Is it just me, or do these lists seem longer every year?)  In addition to all of the obvious back to school shopping, now is a great time to stock up on items that will make the transition into school easier.  Essential oils are a great way to boost your immune system, treat viral illnesses, calm anxiety, and increase attentiveness.  I get all of my essential oils and supplies from Spark Naturals.  They give you the option of purchasing a large, 15ml bottle or a smaller, 5ml bottle of their essential oils.  Check out my top 5 must-haves for this school year:

1. Jeddy’s Blend: used for ADD, ADHD, and anxiety

This blend was created by a mom for her son, Jeddy.  Many people have had success with this oil blend, and what a great alternative to medication!  This Spark Naturals blend consists of:  Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, Ylang, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Spruce, Rosewood, Blue Tansy, Frankincense, Vetiver, Patchouli & Fractionated Coconut Oil.

Usage tip: Put this oil in a roller bottle for easy application.

2. Shield Blend: used for immunity support.  Also known as thieves oil, this blend of Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Lemon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary has been used for centuries, dating back to the Great Plague in the 15th Century.

Usage tip 1: Combine a carrier oil with Shield in a 4ml glass spray bottle and use as a hand sanitizer.
Usage tip 2: Combine a carrier oil with Shield and Oregano in a 4oz glass spray bottle and apply to bottoms of feet when ill.
Usage tip 3: Diffuse into the air for a great aroma while purifying.

3.  Bliss Calming Blend: use to calm and relax.

Usage tip 1: Diffuse before bedtime or during times of stress to help in relaxation.
Usage tip 2: Combine a carrier oil with Bliss Calming Blend in a roller bottle and apply to feet before bedtime or a potentially stressful situation.

4. Respire Blend: a blend of essential oils to help open the sinuses and bronchial tubes during times of sickness and congestion.

Usage tip 1: Diffuse into the air while sleeping.
Usage tip 1: Combine a carrier oil with Respire in a roller bottle and apply to bottoms of feet or chest.

5. Lavender Oil: lavender is good for a variety of things, making this one of the most common essential oils used.  It can be applied undiluted to scrapes, cuts, and burns to both disinfect and soothe the skin.  Lavender is a natural antihistamine, so it works well when applied to insect bites. It can also be used for it’s aromatic calming properties.

Usage tip 1: Apply undiluted to cuts, scrapes and burns, as well as insect bites.  It works very well on burns, and the sooner you apply the oil the better it works.
Usage tip 2: Combine Witch Hazel and Lavender in a 4oz glass spry bottle, and use as an insect bite treatment.
Usage tip 3: Diffuse into the air for a calming aroma.

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Essential Oils for Menstrual Cramps

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I’m not one to get menstrual cramps very often, but the other day I was hit hard with pain.  The pain was so intense that it was difficult to walk without doubling over.  Instead of reaching for a bottle of pills, I opted to do a little research and try out a natural method.  In less than a minute after applying the oils, the pain began to dissipate.  In less than five minutes, the cramping was gone. The pain stayed away for about five hours, when I reapplied the oils.

What oils did I use?  ROMAN CHAMMOMILE and GERANIUM mixed with a carrier oil.  Just one drop of each was all I used for five hours of pain relief.

If you want to make this blend for your own, check out Spark Naturals.  I get all of my oils and accessories from them.  Better yet, use coupon code PINTERESTINSPIRATION for 10% off of your order!

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Wire Spool Coffee Table for Outdoors

I literally picked this spool up at the dump!  It is now a nice coffee table with wheels on my deck.

I literally picked this spool up at the dump! It is now a nice coffee table with wheels on my deck.

If you spend any time checking out ideas from making treasure out of trash, you’ve probably seen some of the cool things people do with old wooden wire spools.  Since everyone now sees the value in their potential, they are often hard to find for cheap.  I happened upon this spool while I was at the local dump, and was super excited with my free find!  Since I had no outdoor furniture, I decided to turn it into a coffee table with wheels, which also doubles as seating when needed.

This project was simple, yet the results are a great piece of outdoor furniture.

How I did it:

1. I let my spool dry out in the garage for a few days.  It had been out in the weather and was water logged.  The worst thing I could have done was try to stain or paint a wet piece of wood!

If your spool has been in wet weather, let it dry out for a few days before painting or staining.

If your spool has been in wet weather, let it dry out for a few days before painting or staining.

2. Sand with an orbital sander.  My spool was warped and rusty from being in the weather.  I sanded it the best I could with an orbital sander.

3. Stain or paint with products designed for the weather.  Since I used a dark stain, I decided to stain over the rusty bolts on the spool as well.  So far the stain has stayed on them and it looks way better!

Be sure to stain all the nooks and crannies, especially if it will be totally exposed to the elements.  I couldn't actually stain inside the spool, but I did all that I could on the surface.

Be sure to stain all the nooks and crannies, especially if it will be totally exposed to the elements. I couldn’t actually stain inside the spool, but I did all that I could on the surface.

4. Optional- coat with a polyurethane.  If you do this, your spool will likely hold up to the elements better, but the water will likely lay in the low spots and need toweled off.  Just a stain without a coat of poly should really be sufficient and last a couple of years before it needs reapplied.

5. Add wheels to the bottom.  I chose to add wheels for three reasons.  First, it gave the spool a little more height, which it needed even for a coffee table.  Second, it is way easier to move.  Third, my deck is painted and I didn’t want the paint to get scratched up from someone moving it around.  I actually found these in my garage from a project my husband never got around to.  I like them because the wheels are a softer rubber, which is less likely to scratch  my painted deck.  I chose four because it gives it more stability than three wheels- especially if someone will be sitting on it!  I scored double, because these wheels have little brakes on them, which might come in handy if you will be doubling your spool as a seat.  I must admit that it has a slight wobble, the bottom of the spool is warped so it isn’t totally level.  If your spool does this, you could try putting the wheels in a different place, or sanding down the high side with your sander so that it sits flat.  Honestly, the wobble doesn’t bother me, it holds my coffee cup just fine. ;)

Wheels make it more mobile and way easier to move around.

Wheels make it more mobile and way easier to move around.

Essential Oils to Promote Ear Drainage

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There’s nothing quite as unsettling as pain and pressure in your ears.  I have been battling a sinus infection for the past month, and wanted to share a natural solution that I’ve found to promote ear drainage.  Try it, and I’m sure you will be as impressed as I was when you feel the results!

The method to opening up the ear canal consists of four essential oils applied over a base carrier oil.  Each oil has its own beneficial properties that aid in ear drainage.  Apply each layer of oil in the following way: Around your ear, apply oil from the middle part of your front ear (by the Tragus) around to the middle part behind your ear, then down just under your jaw line, essential writing a Y in oil.  With the little oil that is left on your finger, apply it to the outer part of your ear canal, gently moving your finger to the front/back/up/down, which is said to promote movement in the Eustachian tube and encourage drainage.

Essential Oils for ear drainage: lavender, peppermint, melaleuca, frankincense

Essential Oils for ear drainage: lavender, peppermint, melaleuca, frankincense

I get all of my essential oils and accessories from Spark Naturals.   They have a great quality essential oils and a reasonable price!  Use coupon code PINTERESTINSPIRATION for 10% off your order every time!

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Chain Link Fence Facade

Cover your chain link fence with cedar planks and get a great look for half the cost!

Cover your chain link fence with cedar planks and get a great look for half the cost!

Chain link fencing.  It does the job, yet not very appealing to look at.  After moving into a new house with chain link all around, I knew we couldn’t afford to replace a perfectly good fence just because I didn’t like the way it looked.  I scoured pinterest for some ideas on making chain link more appealing and private.  The method I used is one I saw on various sources online, and all of those sources said how cheap and easy this project is.  After doing it myself (with the help of my husband) I must say that it was NOT easy and NOT as cheap as I had hoped it would be.  However, it was definitely worth the work and money, and I am glad that I did it.

First, I’ll explain how we put this fence together, then I will explain how to figure out what materials you will need to purchase.

Putting the Fence Together:

Make sure you have the following: treated 2×4’s for base, post brackets for the 2×4’s, cedar planks, wood deck screws, level, sawzall, circular saw, power screw driver, hammer, wire cutters(optional), 2×2’s(optional)

Step 1: Place post brackets along top and bottom of fence posts, as high and low as you can.  Make sure they are as level as possible, it is not necessary for them to be perfect as you can adjust accordingly when you attach the cedar planks.  This was the most difficult part of the project for us.  It was difficult to get the bracket edges on the outside of the fence.  We found that it was easier to cut the chain link and push the edges through the openings.  For the posts on the end, we sawzalled the unneeded side of the bracket off.

These are the types of brackets we used for this project.  They come in 2 or 3 different sizes, depending on where you purchase them.  Make sure you get a size appropriate for your fence post.

These are the types of brackets we used for this project. They come in 2 or 3 different sizes, depending on where you purchase them. Make sure you get a size appropriate for your fence post.

Step 2: Attach 2×4’s to brackets with wood screws.  You can use a level to make sure the boards are straight, but we eyeballed it and it turned out fine.

Steps 1 and 2 are complete.

Steps 1 and 2 are complete.

Step 3: Attach cedar planks.  Make sure they are about an inch off of the ground to avoid rotting.  Evenly space them out at least a quarter of an inch apart, more if you like.  The slight spacing allows the wood to contract and expand with the weather.  Use a level along the side of the plank to make sure it is straight.  Every couple of planks place the level on top of the boards to make sure you are attaching them at the same height.

Beginning the cedar planks.

Beginning the cedar planks.

Almost there!

Almost there!

Step 4: If your chain link is short, you may want to attach a 2×2 board to the back of the cedar planks to keep them from bending forward and backward randomly over time.

What do I need to buy?

Figuring out your materials for this project definitely takes some math.  Since everyone’s space is different, I can’t say exactly how much you will need, but I can give you a formula for your own project.

Brackets: You will need 2 brackets for every fencepost you have.

2x4s: You should purchase treated 2x4s that are meant for withstanding the weather.  You will need to measure the length of your fence and multiply it by two.  Keep in mind that 2x4s come in various lengths, most commonly 8 feet and 12 feet.  Your 2x4s will need to meet at a fence post, once side of a bracket holding one 2×4 and the other side of the bracket holding up another 2×4.  Keep your fence post spacing in mind when figuring out your design.  I suggest using a circular saw to cut the boards to size as opposed to a sawzall.

Cedar Planks: First you need to know the width of the planks you will be purchasing.  Most common are 6 inch planks.  Allow half an inch on each side of your plank, and you have a total width of 6.5 inches per plank. Divide the total length of your fence in inches by 6.5 and that is the approximate number of cedar planks you will need.  I suggest purchasing a couple more just in case you need them.  Keep in mind that it’s easier to cheat and squeeze your spaces closer than it is to cut a plank in half!

Wood Deck Screws: four screws per cedar plank.  Why wood deck screws?  Because they are made for outdoors and the weather.  1-1/2 inch or 2-inch screws should be sufficient.  (If you are going to attach 2x2s to the back of your cedar planks, I suggest getting 2-1/4 inch screws so that you can use them for this as well.  You will need 5 screws per plank instead of 4.)

2x2s: You will need enough to cover the length of your fence, minus about 6 inches. (begin the 2x2s about 3 inches in from the edges of the fence)

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DIY Pallet Flag

flag2I’m sure you’ve seen these before.  An old pallet painted like a flag.  I know I’ve seen them around, and with a new house to decorate outside and the Fourth of July coming up this weekend, I figured I’d give my own version a try.  I went for an older, more handmade look but you could make yours however you want!  I’ve included how I made mine in the instructions below…

Items Needed:

Pallet
Electric or Battery operated saw
Sand paper or orbital sander
Red, White, and Blue Paint
Paint Brushes
Brown Paint Glaze or Stain (optional)
Clear Coat, like a Shellac or Polyurethane

How I did it:

1. Decide on how large you want your flag.  Do you want it to be the entire size of the pallet, or do you want to cut some pieces off?  The bottom board of my pallet was broken in half, so I decided to cut off the bottom two boards so that my pallet was more of a rectangle shape.  Be sure that you cut both the front and back of your pallet evenly so that it sits well.  Make sure you keep in mind the construction of the pallet and that you don’t cut it in a way that it might fall apart later down the road.  I wanted my pallet to have an uneven number of stripes, so that there was red on the top and on the bottom, which is another reason why I cut two boards off of the pallet.

2. Depending on the condition of your pallet, lightly sand it with sand paper or do a more thorough job with an orbital sander.

3. Once that is complete, find a clean place to begin painting.  Decide what part of your pallet will be blue and begin there.  You might want to use a ruler or level and pencil in a straight line.  I opted not to do this, because I was going for a more handmade look.  I chose to paint only the top of the boards and filled in the edges and supports with a brown glaze that looks like stain.

4. After the blue is in, paint your stripes red and white.

5. When the blue is dry, paint your stars.  Decide on how many you can fit in each row, whether you want to use a ruler or level, and whether you want to stencil them in or paint them freehand.  Since I went for a handmade look, I purposely made my stars go in different directions and did not use a ruler or level.

6. Once the red, white, blue, and stars are dry, consider using a brown glaze or light brown stain.  I glazed the edges of the boards and put a light coat on the tops of the painted flag, wiping off the excess until it had the aged look that I was going for.  If you really want to go for an old look, you could lightly sand the edges and some of the painted surface of the flag before staining.

My pallet flag before the clear coat was applied.

My pallet flag before the clear coat was applied.

7. When all that is dry, protect it with a clear coat like a shellac or polyurethane.  If your pallet will be in direct weather, consider two coats.  Since mine is semi-protected along the house, I only applied one coat.

8. After you’ve waited until it is completely dry (or as long as you can handle waiting!) place your pallet somewhere where everyone will see it and enjoy the complements!

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