Pueblo & Company – Bead Loom Jewelry for the Mother Earth Inside You

Mexican Rainbow

Mexican Rainbow

My new Etsy bead loom and silver jewelry shop, Pueblo & Company, is growing fast. Last time I updated you, it was brand new and our items were only available on Square Market. But now we’re almost exclusively Etsy.

In case you haven’t visited the Etsy shop yet, it has about 100 hand beaded items. And very soon (maybe even later today), there will be hand crafted silver jewelry such as chains and bracelets.

The bead loom style, which I’ve been in love with since my grandpa gave me an old bead loom set he magically found in his garage one day, fits my “earthiness” side perfectly. And since I’m now in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I’m surrounded by inspiration for the designs.

Guatemalan Garden

Guatemalan Garden

All the jewelry on the site is designed and hand beaded by me. There’s just something about those tiny seed beads and the mostly Native American inspired patterns that merge seamlessly with my life as a writer and an herbalist. Combined with desert living, I’m pretty sure I’m in heaven.

If you get a chance, I’d love to have you visit Pueblo & Company; or check out my bead loom jewelry (and my awesome new city) on Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook…. oh my.

Free Online Herb Classes from University of New Mexico: Curanderismo!

Imagine my surprise when a local news station in Albuquerque, New Mexico covered the announcement of a free herb class through Coursera called Curanderismo! Did I sign up? You know me well if you guessed it took me less than 20 seconds to get online and put my name on the list. The online class, taught by the University of New Mexico, will start on August 18, 2014, and run throughOctober 13, 2014. It’s free to anyone who’d like to sign up. Just visit the Coursera class page for Curanderismo.

If you’re wondering how much work it entails, here’s what’s involved:

• 30 minute Introduction of course and weekly themes
• 20 minute lecture/demonstration videos
• Short quizzes after each video
• Homework including reading of books and articles after each module
Doesn’t sound like much, and as it is with all free university classes on Coursera, no one will flunk you or come to your door and rap your knuckles for not completing homework.
Curanderismo covers traditional medicine from Mexico, Peru, and the United States. Several practitioners from these countries will be teaching throughout the course. If you ask me, it sounds like a fantastic time! I’m counting the days. Let me know if you sign on. I’d love to “share notes” with you!

How to Get Rid of Cockroaches Naturally

dead cockroach

I apologize for this hideous image. I really tried to find a cute cartoon, but there’s no way around it, roaches are ugly. They do look better dead, though, don’t you think?

If you want to learn how to get rid of cockroaches as naturally as possible, you, my friend, have come to the right place. That’s because I’ve been taking the crash course in roach control. In my new home state of New Mexico, if you live within four walls and have a roof, you have cockroaches unless you treat for them. You can put your food in airtight NASA containers. You can scrub the floors three times a day until Mr. Clean shows up at your house and tells you to give it up, already. You can wake up at 3 a.m. and chase them around. But you won’t get rid of them.

A lot of people down here have usual visits from the pest control guys, but I have a little dog who enjoys licking the tile and three birds who would probably hang upside down from the perches, permanently, if we sprayed all over the place. Let’s not even get into the fact that I don’t want the human members of my family exposed to chemicals strong enough to kill bugs capable of outliving a nuclear holocaust. So, what’s a girl to do?

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring soft rock that does some serious damage to cockroaches. The powder is so fine it destroys the exoskeleton of the roach and dehydrates its body. The roach won’t die immediately, but he’ll get that powdery stuff all over himself, take it back to the nest, and get it all over his buddies. Eventually, you might see an uptick in dead little bodies around the house as the roaches come out of hiding to find water as they get thirstier. Not pleasant, but it’ll do the trick. One problem with diatomaceous earth, however, is that even if you get food grade (yes, there’s food grade), it’s still a dangerous inhalant. So if you use it, stuff it way back under the stove, refrigerator, or cupboards. But make sure it cannot be reached or sniffed at by children or pets.

Baking soda is a safer alternative that gives cockroaches worse gas than a burrito festival. You can mix one part baking soda to one part white sugar, then make a paste or soup out of it by adding water, then fill old plastic lids jar caps (like those from a spaghetti sauce jar). Then place the lids around the house, again hiding them underneath things. Again, keep them out of reach of children and pets, although I can’t imagine too many kids or pets would enjoy the taste of baking soda, even when combined with sugar. Roaches, on the other hand, will gobble that stuff up. You can even sprinkle straight baking soda under appliances, where they’ll traipse through the powder and haul it back to the nest. Again, this does damage to the whole group, causing gas and bloating that kills roaches.

One I really like is a little recipe for bug balls. This tasty little treat is too much for a hungry roach to pass up. Since the balls are snack size, they happily roll them back to the nest where everyone can enjoy a bite or two. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 cup Borax (like 20 Muleteam Borax, found in the laundry aisle)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup diced onion (they really dig that stuff)

1 Tbs. cornstarch

1 Tbs. water

Mix everything up and form little balls from the dough. You can put a few tiny balls into an open Ziploc bag or on a jar lid, then tuck them away in the dark places cockroaches like. (Again, keep these away from kids and pets.) The roaches tend to die out of sight, and their loyal family members eat their dead, then they die too. It’s recycling, see.

The bug ball recipe makes about 50 balls, which will last you quite awhile.

So, there you have it. You can kill roaches dead, and you won’t have to tent the house and worry about the Breaking Bad guys setting up shop in your living room. No chemically fumes, no costly monthly visits from the pest control companies. For more ways to do things naturally and chemical free in your home, check out my series of paperbacks and ebooks on Amazon. And if you have any other ideas on how to get rid of cockroaches naturally, comment below or send me an email.


I’ve Been Sneaking Around: Confessions of a Split Personality

This Book is Funny(I posted this on my blog DianeKidman.com yesterday, but true to the whole idea that if you confess something once you get addicted and then have to repeat the process over and over again like bloodletting or other equally vile and annoying things, I felt it was worth confessing here too.)
It’s true, I’ve been sneaking around. I didn’t mean to hide it from you, I really didn’t, but sometimes you just gotta have a little something on the side, you know? Shake life up a bit. Enjoy an escape from reality. Exit the pressures of nonfiction. A little side trip into the realm of fiction writing.
(What did you think I was talking about?)

It’s true, I’ve been doing some writing on the side. A lot, actually, and it’s been going on for years now. My fiction writing days started when I was a wee girl of eight years old. The first long story I have is in an old vinyl coated notebook emblazoned with the word “Disco!” The story is a poignant tale of a rabbit and how he got long ears. It has never seen the light of day.

Neither has any of my fiction, for that matter, until several months ago when I published my first collection of funny short stories. Where are they, you ask? Why have you not been informed? Here’s where my confession comes in: I’ve been writing under the name of Michelle Sandoval when no one was looking. I’d contemplated sharing this with you from the beginning, but the stories that this Michelle character writes are sometimes a bit edgy. There are no herbs involved. And some of her characters even swear.

The first book is an original and unexpected title. It is called This Book is Funny: Humorous Short Stories, Satire, and Scripty Sorts of Things. Most of the stories are quite short, just perfect for reading on your Kindle while waiting in line at the store or sitting on hold to yell at your internet provider who has one more time screwed up your bill, so in order to get your heart rate back down while listening to their crappy hold music, you feel the need to read something humorous to ease the tension building behind your eyeballs.

As Luck Would Have ItSecret Sandoval Book #2 is called As Luck Would Have It: Stories of Humor, Pathos, & the Occasional Farm Animal. These stories are still funny but a bit longer and a bit more sentimental, set in the era of the Great Depression. And there’s a super cute donkey on the cover. Okay, it’s a mule. I know it’s a mule. But do you have any idea at all how difficult it is to find a good photo of a donkey? I came an inch from stealing one off the internet, or just plain stealing a donkey and then photographing it, but then I’d really have something to confess to.

Now that the secret is out and my soul is cleansed, it’s time for me to go back to work. Ms. Sandoval wants to take over and work on that humorous mystery novel we got going. And I plan on converting her to green smoothies, but she’s resistant, this one. I think she’s hiding Oreos under the desk.

How to Eliminate Indoor Allergens & Triggers From Baby’s Room

babyHere is an excerpt on indoor allergens and triggers from my latest book, Mother Nature’s Baby: The Essential Baby Guide of Natural Cures & Chemical Free Living. It’s baby shower season, and this handy paperback (or ebook) is an affordable and helpful addition to any shower gift!

There are many possible allergens within the home, and eliminating them or controlling them can go a long way to staving off allergy and asthma attacks. Reduce your home’s allergens by vacuuming at least once a week. When you vacuum, make sure babies and children are not in the room. Cover all bedding and crack open doors or windows to help ventilate the area, and don’t allow any babies or children into the room until at least an hour after vacuuming. This allows the dust a chance to settle; because no matter how powerful the vacuum cleaner, no matter how great the filtration system, at least some dust will become airborne while you clean. Dust afterward by using a damp cloth and never use spray cleaners for the removal of dust. (You can check the Cleaning With Baby In Mind section of this book for natural DIY furniture polishes.)

Make a good assessment of what’s in your child’s room. Remove whatever dust catching items you can, or keep them impeccably dust free if you can’t remove them; carpets, ruffled bedding, and curtains all hang onto dust like magnets. Stuffed animals do too, and you can vacuum them off with the hose and an attachment to remove as much dust as possible. Avoid using wool blankets or synthetic pillows, and purchase allergy-free bedding. Wash bedding weekly in hot water (130° Fahrenheit) and don’t air the bedding outdoors if your child has allergies to pollens. You can also use allergy proof nylon or plastic coverings on mattresses and pillows to avoid dust mites; those little guys can cause all kinds of sneezing and wheezing. Keep doors and windows closed between 5 and 10 a.m. if pollens are an issue, too. That’s the time when pollens are heaviest and settling.

New carpets and furniture are usually prone to heavy outgassing. While there are some hard-to-find manufacturers that make formaldehyde free products, the average dresser, for instance, could outgas for several years after manufacture. And carpet can be pretty heavy on the VOCs. These chemicals are linked to numerous acute health conditions like asthma, nausea, even cancer and respiratory disease. This can make creating a baby’s room tricky and redecorating the house an asthma reducing nightmare. I’ve gone through it myself, both in creating a chemical free baby room and in eliminating asthma and allergy triggers for the sake of my own health. If my family does purchase new furniture, we try not to get anything with particleboard since the glue that bonds it together is where most of the formaldehyde is. Solid wood is always best when possible, and if you can finish it yourself with a non-VOC varnish or sealant like paint, all the better. Another great option is gently used furniture. Of course, be extra careful with cribs and make sure they’re sturdy, not more than a few years old, and within regulation. But buying used means it’s already outgassed, and as is my experience, you’ll often end up with a much higher quality for a fraction of the price of new. Spending time on a website like Craigslist is enough to turn one away from ever buying new again!

Not everyone can afford a solid wood crib made by the Amish and finished with beeswax. So if you’re completely stuck with a new piece of furniture containing particleboard, you can try using a product such as Safecoat Safe Seal, which is a synthetic product made to block formaldehyde emissions from particleboard. Zinsser Bull’s Eye Shellac is another alternative. It’s from a natural source (the lac bug’s secretions after eating a certain tree sap), and while there are alcohols added into the shellac, those will outgas rather quickly. Just make sure that if you use it, you apply it in a well-ventilated area and wait at least 10 days before bringing the furniture into the house.

If you’re in love with carpet, finding some that’s VOC free can be about as easy as teaching your baby to play Bach for the upcoming church concert. While the CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) claims that carpet actually traps allergens and is therefore healthier for you than hardwood, I’d rather not have any allergens trapped on the floor at all. Call me fussy, but I’ve lived with new carpet, old carpet, and hardwood floor and tile. Hands down the easiest floors to keep clean and allergy free have been the hardwood and tile. We installed prefinished hardwood so we didn’t have to have varnish fumes indoors, and we asked the installer to nail it together so no glue was used. (That’s where a lot of the stink comes from with new carpet and hardwoods.) I vacuum the hardwood floors which does a great job of trapping dust and debris; much more thorough than just sweeping, and it’s faster, too.

For more helpful ideas on raising baby naturally, check out Mother Nature’s Baby, available on Amazon in paperback and ebook!