Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Take a Break: Do Something with Your T Shirt Collection

When I first started writing this post, it was a bright and sunny day. That all changed with Irene on Sunday. I live in one of the "island towns" in Vermont. I didn't have a lot of time to go back over this. However, just in posting this, it reminds me of the importance of "taking a break."

We all have T-shirts that we no longer wear. Some of us, like my husband, have drawers full of them. You can: bundle them up and drop them off at your local fabric recycling center; put them in a Good Will box; or donate them to used clothing store. They also make good rags. However, they can be used to make all sorts of things.

A friend of mine had a party for her daughters’ friends and told them to bring two T-shirts they no longer wanted. The kids cut off the sleeves and neck and had the thrill of sewing three seams and left the party with their very own pillowcase.

Several of the kids became inspired by their sewing experience and turned their old T’s (and some not so old ones) into pillows. A small child’s T shirt, with the sleeves left on, makes a very interesting looking pillow, particularly when a 10 year old is doing the sewing.

For some new ideas about what to do with your T shirt collection, check out the following sites:

T-shirt Makeovers

Very cool scarves

T shirt flowers

3 in 1 T Shirt Dress/tunic top/skirt

Friday, August 26, 2011

Be Prepared

Given the earthquake and the looming hurricane Irene, it’s a good idea to go over basic preparedness procedures. This is an update from the January 2010 post, where I wrote about how to prepare for a disaster. This is particularly important when one or more people in a family are dealing with chronic conditions.

Below are some additional items that are not included in the previous post:

ICE your Cell Phone: Make sure you cell phone has an “in case of emergency” in the contacts list. Be sure to include several people.

Know How to Text: If you haven’t learned to text message on your cell phone, now’s the time to learn. Following the earthquake, it was easier to reach people by text messaging than by cell phone or landline.

Program Numbers on Speed Dial: Have emergency numbers, as well as neighbor or family member who can respond immediately, on speed dial

Have a “to go” bag in a handy place, where you can grab it if you need to leave suddenly. Keep the following up to date and in the bag:

Print version of a Personal Health Notebook While it’s great keeping one on-line, if something happens and you can’t access the internet, a paper copy will supply needed information to emergency personnel. At the very least, have the following written down:
- Name, address, phone numbers and who to contact in the event of an emergency
- Allergies-include those to medications, food and environment
- Diagnoses that you are being treated for. Be sure to everything such as hypertension, type II diabetes, high cholesterol, gout etc.
- List of prescribed medications that you are taking. Include dosage amount and when you take them. For some conditions it is critical that you be given your medications at the same time daily. Some providers will provide notes for just this purpose.
- Contact information for medical provider and hospital where you receive care. If you use more than one provider and/or hospital, be sure to list all of them and what each one is used for.
- Basic information about yourself-height, weight; blood type; religious preference; advance directives
- Copy of health insurance
- Photos of self and family.

• Medications: Both prescribed and regularly used “over the counter” medications. If it’s possible, have a week’s supply. If that’s not possible, have at least two days worth. If your medication needs to be kept refrigerated, include a box of “instant cold” packs. Be sure to include bottled water for taking pills.

• Medical supplies: Anything you generally use should be included, such as needles for prescribed injections; catheters; bandages etc.

To learn more about preparing and planning for emergent situations, go to the FEMA website.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Take a Break: Draw with Willow

This past week, I was fortunate to spend the afternoon in my town’s local cafĂ© talking to the author and illustration Willow Bascom. Over 20 years ago, Willow developed lupus after the birth of her third child. This caused a stroke, which left her hands very compromised. As a project for her hand therapist, Willow drew a paisley pig that became the inspiration for her book Paisley Pig and Friends: A Multicultural ABC. It is the book that you want as a “read aloud” for your children and grandchildren.

Recently Willow completed an activity book to go along Paisley Pig. After it was completed, she realized that this was the workbook she wished she had to help recover from her stroke.

Lucky for us, Willow has included some activity pages on her website that you can download and do. So take a break and draw with Willow.

If you aren’t in a drawing mood, I found myself fascinated by a clip my brother sent me where you can watch the International Space Station being assembled. Amazing!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Creating a healing environment

Do you have a place where you can be that makes you feel wonderful? For me it’s water. If I could live anywhere, it would be by a body of water large enough to have tides and an endless horizon. I can spend hours happily walking the beach or sitting and staring at the waves. Ahhhh….

The ancient Greeks must have had similar feelings as their temples to Asclepios, the Greek god of healing, were all associated with sacred springs, whose waters, they believed carried the healing powers of the Earth spirits. Patients seeking the god’s help in finding a cure for their ailment first drank and bathed in the waters of his spring. They would then “sleep” in the temple, where they would be given healthy food, exercises and dream interpretations to help them heal. Sounds a bit like going to a spa, but these “temples” were the first hospitals for healing.

If the distractions and distortions around you, the jarring colors and sounds, could shake up the healing chemistry of your mind, might your surroundings also have the power to heal you? Dr. Esther Sternberg, a neuroimmunologist at the National Institute of Mental Health, asked that question and found through her own experiences, as well as research, that it can.

After an extremely stressful period in her life, Sternberg developed arthritis and went on to learn how to reverse it by visiting Crete where an Ascleios Temple once stood. In her book Healing Spaces, she describes how patients in the hospital heal quicker if their window faces nature, as well as other studies which show that the mind body healing process, as well as the development of disease, is very much impacted by the environment in which the person lives. "Wherever you are in the course of illness or healing, your physical surroundings can change the way you feel and, as a result, can change how quickly you heal. In all these contexts, communication between the brain and the immune system is vital."

While I may find that being around large bodies of water makes me a lot less stressful, this isn’t necessarily the case for everyone. Think about a place that made/makes you feel peaceful and content. Once you have captured that feeling, what was it about the space that most resonates with you? Remember the smells, sounds, how it looked, colors and most importantly how well it made you feel. What aspects of that can you recapture for your day-to-day living space?

Since the ocean is a very special place for me, I bring home rocks that I have collected at the beach and place them in my office and in other parts of my house. The touching the rocks, as well as their smell, can brighten my day. I’ve painted my office a light sea green and I have pictures of some of my favorite seascapes just above my computer.

Regardless of setting, step one is to reduce all possible stressors. This can include noise, odors, visual items, including clutter, as well as people. No time like the present to limit or eliminate the “energy vampires” in your life.

Having recently spent the night in the hospital, where I stared continually at a “pain chart,” if you are creating a healing space for someone in the hospital, it’s important to see things from the perspective of the person lying in the bed. Is there a window, artwork, or something that can reduce the visual stressors? If not, think about creating an art feature to refocus attention.

There are lots of ways to create an environment that is healing for you or for someone else. It does not have to cost a lot of money, or any money at all. Simple measures liking keeping the place uncluttered, clean, bringing the outdoors in-there is always something outside that will look good in a vase- and having it smell nice –baking soda can do wonders- can do a lot to improve your mood.

Consider the following resources:

What Can I do to Create a Healing Environment

Creating a healing environment for Yourself

Is your home a healing place?

6 Ways to Create a Healing Home

Creating a Healing Home Environment

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Take a Break and Dance

I have always loved to dance. Marrying a musician, who plays in a dance band is a bit frustrating, but there are all kinds of dances you can do by yourself, or even if you are sitting down. Not only is it fun, but it’s great exercise to boot. In fact, Step In the Name of Life has developed a whole step/line dance program to keep people healthy. In some of their videos, listed below, you’ll see that one of their dancers uses a cane.

Dance alone or with a partner. Don’t have your favorite oldies? No problem, go to Pandora www.pandora.com and select what you like. In can be just as simple as putting in your favorite song and Pandora will create a whole play list for you for free.

Below are a variety of video links to teach you different styles of dance.

In the words of Tracy Turnblatt from “Hairspray,” “Let’s dance!”

The Madison: Having been in the original “Hairspray” movie as a pre teen Mom extra, we danced the Madison at cast parties, on the set and the “counsel members even danced it at the primer in front of the Senator Theater. The dance was featured on a local Baltimore dance TV program called “The Buddy Dean Show.” This is a clip from the Buddy Dean Show but is easy enough to follow.

Electric Slide

Achy Breaky Heart Linedance

Mashed Potato Time with Dee Dee Sharp http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=mQBKpV9emKc&feature=fvwp

The Loco Motion-Little Eva: Follow the dancers in the back line.

Step in the Name of Life Videos
James Brown

Michael Jackson Shuffle

Tootsie Roll

Homey Dance

How to Step Dance

Beginner Salsa Dancing

Zydeco Bounce Line Dance

Can’t Wang Wit It Line Dance

Zumba Fitness Basic Steps Demo

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Looking good Improves how you feel

One of the highlights of our HIV women’s retreat was our “look good feel good” night. We would bring in hair stylists; make up specialists and even people that provided tips on ways to dress. Every body looked terrific by the end of the night and many kept up the changes long after the retreat was over.

How you look can impact how you fell and how you feel can impact how you look. If you take a quick peek in the mirror and think, “train wreck, “ those negative feelings about your appearance can ultimately make your feel less healthy.

Side effects of treatments (medication, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation etc.), the condition itself as well as aging in general can take quite a toll. Yet, with a bit of guidance and some trial and error, it is possible to significantly improve how you look, which can lift your spirit.

I’ve worked with a number of people undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, who with some make up tips and new hairstyles or wigs look so much better that people, who may not be aware of the current situation, will comment, “whatever you’re doing keep it up!”

One of the pioneers in helping patients is Look Good Feel Better, which was initially designed for women with cancer. Today the program is offered at many cancer centers as well as having an excellent “how to” website for women, men and teens. Check to see about scheduled workshops in your area. Not only will you receive personalized care, you’ll leave with a lot of free product.

For those who have difficulty with the use of their hands due to arthritis, tremors or other conditions, as well as for people who have permanently lost eyebrows or sustained other significant changes, such as scaring, there is the option of permanent (micropigmentation) cosmetics. As one person noted, “choose your permanent make up specialist as carefully as you would choose your surgeon.” Check with your medical provider for recommendations before undertaking such a treatment.

Consider the following:

• Visit your local make up counter and ask for a free make over: Let them know the types of issues that you are dealing with so they can make suggestions about what might work for you. Unless these are products you use all the time, and you are just looking for some tips on better ways to use them, don’t buy them at this time. Leave the make up on for at least several hours or longer to make sure your skin doesn’t react to it. This is also a good way to decide if you like the look at the end of the day.

• Participate in a “make over” party: This would be a fun and beneficial activity for a support group meeting. Mary Kay, and Arbonne offer in home consultations to groups. An area spa may be willing to donate an afternoon to your group, so don’t hesitate to call and see what they might be willing to do. Again, if these are not products you generally use, wait before making a purchase.

• Check with the medical center where you receive your care as some programs have staff and volunteers that can provide assistance in this area. Some programs will include adaptive equipment to help you apply cosmetics.

• Connect with the local chapter of the condition specific organization (e.g. American Cancer Society) and ask them for information on programs, types of cosmetics best to use for people in your situation etc.

• Not all cosmetics are equal and in fact, some can be harmful. Lotions that promote high levels of something, such as vitamin A, can be unsafe. For example, someone with hepatitis does not want to use a product that has a lot of vitamin A, which can be harmful to the liver. Check with your medical providers about what you may want to consider or avoid. Ask for samples of items as many medical centers, particularly cancer centers, are given items for patient use. Check the safety of products that you are currently using or are considering at Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.

• Check out on-line resources for make up tips, best wigs etc. Some links to help you get started:

Web MD’s Slideshow: Look Younger Secrets that Work

Coping with Lupus Skin Care

Beauty Tips for Cancer Patients

How to Apply Makeup During Chemotherapy (video)

Tips on Makeup to Hide Scars

Beauty Ability: Written by a woman with a spinal cord injury, the purpose of this blog is to “help women with disabilities realize their awesomeness.” Lots of tips and suggestions

If you have some tips to provide on “looking good,” please post them to this blog or to the Healing Whole Facebook page.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Take a Break: Make anything you want a chalk board using homemade chalk paint

Sorry this wasn't posted yesterday. We didn't have internet service in my area.

There are so many neat things you can do with your own chalkboard, from writing notes to let family know where you are going to acting as a pill reminder. A small brightly colored item would be great to give someone in the hospital and leave by the bedside. This way they can let people know how they are doing and visitors can leave notes of encouragement.

You can make your own chalk board paint, in any color you like, by mixing together 1 cup paint and 2 T non sanded grout. I just purchased some at Home Depot-small size was less than $5. Paint it on, lightly sand when dry and get out the chalk. Check thrift stores for old trays, vases and other items that you can paint and leave a message. In your local craft store, and even places like Walmart, look for wooden die cuts. Paint with your favorite color, drill a hole if needed, and make reusable gift tags.

Check out the following websites for ideas and more “how to:”
Make your own Colored Chalkboard Paint

ECStewart Designs/How to Make Your Own Chalkboard Paint (Video)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Organizing Community to Aid Those affected by aging, illness and/or injury

This post is dedicated to Bev, who has helped to keep so many of us in the Old Time music community connected over the years, first using letters and then e-mails.

With the graying of the “baby boom” generation, as well as once terminal diseases now treatable as chronic conditions, the need for communities to organize to support those who are ill, injured or aging is paramount. While it is up to the person dealing with such issues, and their families, to make choices about the care they receive, this can be emotionally, physically and financially overwhelming. Further, insurance covers some things and not others. In today’s economy, most adults are working, including many who in past generations would have been retirees. Women, once the primary caregiver in their families, are now an established part of the workforce and it’s not as easy for them to stop and be a full time caregiver.

In generations past, community would take care of one another, as there were no such things as social service agencies, community action groups etc. We have evolved into a society that believes we should “let the experts do it.” Unfortunately, many of the organizations that were designed to help with such needs are folding, can’t keep up with the demand and not infrequently tell potential clients, “while you qualify for services, you’ll be on a waiting list.”

The good news is that we have tools at our hand that past generations didn’t have, which can make it much easier to organize and help one another. People do best when they feel they are needed, so volunteers will come forward if they know how to sign up, there isn’t a lot of “red tape” involved in becoming a volunteer, they are not overwhelmed with responsibility and believe that what they are doing makes a difference.

While we may not have the community skill sets that our forefathers had, we can learn and we have quicker ways of doing so thanks to things like the internet, television and continuing education.

Community can be defined in a number of different ways. It can be a distinct neighborhood in a large city, a rural town, a suburb, an apartment complex, senior housing, or even a network of friends. However, the end result is the same-a group of people who are connected and wish to remain that way regardless of injury, illness or age.

Below are six basic elements that help people heal and maintain their health. The more a community (as you define it) can organize around these components, not only will it reduce the overall cost of care, but it significantly increases the chances the person will remain part of the community.

How you use this information will very by where you live, how you define community, and what resources already exist. You can read this post from the viewpoint of what you can do as an individual to help your community, or use it as a way to begin a community discussion.

Keep in mind that if you want to see things change, it starts with you. This post is a place to begin the discussion about the needs of those who are aging or have a chronic and/or life threatening and how community can help. Keep it going by posting your ideas, suggestions or things you are doing in this regard to this blog and/or to the Healing Whole Facebook page.

This is a work in progress, and I will be happy to update this periodically.

Organized support. The two questions that people ask when they learn that someone has been injured or newly diagnosed are “How are they,” and “What can I do to help?” To both these questions, the simplest approach is that a good friend and/or family member(s) establish a Lotsa Caring Hands website. This is a private, web-based caregiving coordination service that allows family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues to create a community to assist a family caregiver with the daily tasks that become a challenge during times of medical crisis, caregiver exhaustion, or when caring for an elderly parent .Each community includes an intuitive group calendar for scheduling tasks such as meals delivery and rides, a platform for securely sharing vital medical, financial, and legal information with designated family members, and customizable sections for posting photos, well wishes, blogs, journals, and messages. This is a free service and does not take long to establish. Further, people who do not use the web can be paired with those that do, so that their services are included.

Even if a person lives in another town, this is still a good way for them to understand what is going on and what they can do to provide support-e.g. send gas cards to people who are signed up to do a lot of the driving, arrange for a weekend away for the primary care givers. For other ideas see How to Respond When Someone is Ill or Injured.

It is now possible for community organizations, such as churches, civic clubs, schools and social groups to establish a Lotsa Helping Hands page to coordinate volunteers to help those in their specific communities who might be in need. Many communities now have listservs and on-line bulletin boards, which can help connect volunteers to those who have specific requests, such as rides to a medical appointment. If your community doesn’t have something like this yet, try starting a free Facebook Community Wall.

Information: There are two types of information that people need. The first is resources in their community, county and state that are available to help them. Providing it in a handout form, with a more detailed website, blog and/or Facebook page will make it possible for more people to access it. Places where people gather, such as churches, civic groups, chambers of commerce, town and city offices, schools, libraries, hair salons, and office buildings should be made aware of web activities and have handouts available. While most states now have 2-1-1, the information and referral service helpline, there are often community based services they may not be aware of. Use the template of the “Getting What You Need Checklist,” tailor it to meet the needs of your community. Check out “Getting What You Need Checklist: Cavendish edition,” to see how one community has adopted it.

The second area is health information. While the internet is a wonderful resource tool, there is a lot of misinformation, outdated materials and sites that are nothing more than snake oil. In fact, health scamming escalates when it’s a chronic and/or life threatening condition. Helping people find the correct health information in a format they can understand can make a world of difference in how they will deal with their health issues.

Having worked on a librarian outreach project for several years, I know that people turn to their friendly librarian over other community resources, including the local health center or hospital, for both health and community information. In fact, there is at least one graduate school, which offers a combined MLS (masters of Library Science) and MSW (masters of Social Work) degree.

Libraries can increase their responsiveness by:
• Weeding health related books on a yearly basis. Ask your local health center, or someone similar, to do this for you. Also ask them to provide recommendations, extra copies of material etc. Do not believe that more is better and leave out of date books on the shelf as it can be hazardous.

• Book marking appropriate medical sites on patron computers, including e-patient sites. Again, talk to your local medical provider about their recommendations.

• Contacting local chapters of national health organizations (e.g. American Cancer Society) and obtaining current materials, which are generally free.

Places of worship, salon/barber, bar/pub, place of employment are others place where people turn for help and information. There is no need to reinvent the wheel if the library is already doing a good job in providing health information and there is a good resource handout that all can use. However, since people will gravitate to free computers, identify where those are in your community, and bookmark where possible.

Personal health journal. This can be done on-line, or in print. This is recommended for three reasons:

• There is a growing e-patient movement, whereby people with similar diagnoses share information about their condition as a means to better understand what treatments and approaches might be helpful for their condition.

• It helps the person and caregiver keep track of who the providers are, what meds are being taken, what they might be allergic to, what’s been tried etc. This is a very helpful tool in situations where several family members may be providing care for an individual, such as elderly parent. This way, everyone that needs to know what’s going on (e.g. who the doctors are, latest lab work, medications etc.) is kept informed.

• Even with the move toward “paperless offices,” information isn’t always available during office visits, and doesn’t always transfer when you visit a different practitioner.

Having designed a print “Health Notebook,” we found that the highest users were caregivers. People experiencing a health crisis were also more likely to use one, but again they would ask their advocate and/or family member to fill it out for them.

Communities can assist in the process by providing training on use of a personal health journal in print or on line.

Learn More
Managing Health Information Online: Yours/Theirs

Being an e-Patient: Social Networking for Health

Advocacy: The health care system is a maze that many become so confused by, they don’t get the care they need. Further, medical appointments can be traumatic and it’s very helpful to have an unbiased person taking notes and reviewing them after appointments. A “friend with a pen” can make for a much better visit.

Some condition specific organizations provide advocates, so that is a good place to start. A community may want to develop its own set of advocates and/or train family and friends how to do this.

Learn More
Health Advocate-Who, What, When and Where

How to be a “friend with a pen.”

Support Group: Study after study shows that people who participate in support groups do better. Today, with the availability of the internet, on-line support is available 24/7. This is also the dawning of the e-patient age, where patients are actively involved in helping to study what works and what doesn’t.

Communities can help by providing resource information about locally occurring support groups, links to the local chapter of national organizations (e.g. American Heart Association) and being willing to offer free space where such groups can meet.

Learn More
Being an e-Patient: Social Networking for Health

Finding Support on-line

National condition specific organizations

Well Being: In 2008, nef (the new economics foundation ) was commissioned by the UK Government’s Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Well-being to identify a set of evidence-based actions to improve well-being, which individuals would be encouraged to build into their daily lives. In reading the Five Ways to Well Being below, assess how well you and your community enables its members to achieve these and what can be done to improve opportunities to increase well being for all.

Connect: Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
• Are there places in your community where people can gather such as parks, playgrounds, cafes? Are they handicap accessible? Are these places inclusive, where everyone is welcome or are they restricted in some way?

Be active: Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
• Are there places in your community where people can walk, ride bikes and engage in other outdoor exercise? Are they handicap accessible. Does your community offer community and school vegetable gardens? What about sliding scale fees for fitness and well-being classes (Bone Builders, yoga, mindfulness) and/or gym memberships?

Take Notice: Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savor the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
• Does your community offer seasonal events, such as harvest festivals in the fall, or a holiday bazaar? Are these events handicap accessible? Does everyone in the community feel welcome?

Keep Learning: Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favorite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
• Are adult learning opportunities available in your community, or in a neighboring one? Do people take advantage of them? If not, why not? Does you community have a time banking system, where in exchange for your time and ideas, someone can teach you how to do something? Are there community theater, art programs and other such activities available that anyone can participate in? Are these opportunities available to all?

Give: Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
• Is there an easy way for people to volunteer in your community? Are new people made to feel welcome as volunteers? Are there a variety of ways people can participate regardless of age, gender and abilities?

Learn More
Healing the Whole Person: Ways to Increase Well-Being

Additional Resources
Aging in Place

Caregiver Resources

There are also a variety of topics that have been highlighted on the right hand side of the Healing Whole Blog

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Take a Break: August Holiday Gifts to Start Now -2011 Edition

In August of 2010, I posted five items to start making for the holiday season in December. Here are five ideas for 2011.

Fudge in Cookie Cutters: No you aren’t going to make fudge now for December, even though lots of candy companies are well into their holiday production. Instead, start looking, while holiday items from last year are 75% off, for metal cookie cutters.

There are many holiday fudge recipes, but the marshmallow http://southernfood.about.com/od/fudgerecipes/r/bl40214h.htm variety is pretty fail proof. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Place cookies on it, just as you would if you were cutting out a cookie. Pour the fudge into each cookie. While soft, decorate with M & Ms and other small candies. Let harden. Wrap and you will have given two gifts in one-fudge and a cookie cutter. Actually, include a note card, with a pretty ribbon, and write that the cookie cutter can be hung on their Christmas tree with the enclosed ribbon.

Other uses for Cookie Cutters: Use them to mold Rice Krispie Treats or cut out brownies and decorate. Whether it’s a brownie or fudge, small peppermint sticks make good “trunks” for your Christmas trees.

Popsicle Bracelets: There are lots of popsicles around, so this is the perfect project for summer.

Frame a Game Board: Games like Candy Land, Monopoly, Clue and Chutes and Ladder are often available for cheap at flea markets, and tag sales. Purchase one with a decent board and frame it. Attach game pieces to the back, so someone can play it if they want it. Great present for a friends that you may have played the game with as a kid.

Water Balloon Candle Holders

Environmentally friendly cleaning products: An ideal gift for the friend that has everything, or the one that wants to be a lot “greener,” or consider it for members of your support group, who shouldn’t be exposed to harsh chemicals anyway. I have given various members of my family what I think are superior cleaning tools that reduce chore time, save money and yield good results. People liked them. Starting in August, you have time to test out different formulas, pick up spray bottles and containers and even harvest herbs that will make sachets that are moth and beetle repellents. To get started, check out Naturally Clean. Include your “recipes” so they can make their own.