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Do you grow the most beautiful flowers as part of the landscape and think, “Wouldn’t these look beautiful on the breakfast table?” And from the time you bring them inside the clock starts ticking because you know this simple farmhouse aesthetic is very short-lived. So how do you keep the flowers fresh for as long as possible? Let’s start with the way you cut the flowers, it makes a big difference. Use a shear or sharp knife and avoid smashing or tearing the stems. This interferes with the water uptake and can reduce the longevity of the flowers. Cut at an angle so the ends don’t sit flat on the bottom of the vase.

Steps to Take After Cutting the Flowers

Once you have cut the stems of your flowers, place them immediately into a clean container. Don’t be tempted to use a vase you just used without properly washing it, it may still contain bacteria that can multiply quickly and block the flow of water from the stems. Next, remove any foliage that lies below the water line. Decaying foliage shortens the lifespan of the flowers by contributing to the build-up of bacteria. Fill the clean vase with lukewarm water before placing the flowers in it.

At this point you can add either a flower preservative or this homemade recipe: 3 parts water to 1 part 7-up soda, plus a few drops of bleach. The bleach really helps to inhibit the growth of bacteria. A bit of sugar from time to time will help keep flowers smelling wonderful too. (Source: Huffington Post.)

Now since we’re talking about longevity, and as fabulous as a vase full of cut flowers looks in a bright sunny window, you probably should keep the flowers in a cool spot in your house and not expose them to direct sunlight. Also avoid placing the vase near hot drafts and heat from electrical lights or appliances as well. You may even want to consider placing your fresh flowers in the refrigerator overnight to extend their lifespan. Warm air and direct sunlight dries them out and speeds up the process of decay.

Continue to Recut the Stems

Cutting the flowers an additional one-half to one inch allows for a greater intake of nutrients as well. Plan to recut the stems every three days so they can continue to take in fresh water. Additionally, make sure that you change the water and add more flower preservative or the bleach and 7-Up mixture at the same time.

You took the time to plant, grow and care for your favorite flowers. Go on, bring those lovelies inside if you want to. They will brighten up your home for sure.

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Natural Beauty: 3 Homemade Face Masks For Sensitive Skin

Ingredients found in store-bought beauty products can be too harsh for sensitive skin, leading to irritation, eczema or even allergic reactions. Making your beauty products from gentle and natural ingredients is a safe way to take care of sensitive skin. Here are three homemade face masks for sensitive skin.

Banana, Oatmeal, and Honey Mask

Bananas contain antioxidants and other nutrients that help to fight the signs of aging. Oatmeal is a natural cleanser and exfoliator often used in homemade face masks. Honey helps to soothe and repair damaged skin while leaving your face feeling soft and moisturized.

To make the mask, mash a ripe banana using a fork, then add 1 tablespoon of honey. Add the oatmeal 1 teaspoon at a time (up to 6 teaspoons), mixing until all of the ingredients bind together and you have a thick paste. Apply a thick layer of the mask to your skin and leave on for half an hour. Rinse and cleanse your face as usual.

Cucumber and Milk Mask

Cucumber is well known for its ability to soothe and freshen the skin. It is also an astringent that can help to remove dirt and dead skin cells from the pores. Milk is an excellent skin cleanser and moisturizer that will leave your skin feeling soft and silky.

To make the mask, use a juicer or blender to extract the juice from half a cucumber. Alternatively, you can peel the cucumber and strain it through a sieve or piece of cheesecloth to remove the juice. Mix equal parts of cucumber juice and powdered milk to form a paste. If the mixture is too runny, add a small amount of milk powder or bulk it out with oatmeal. Apply the mixture to your face and leave on for at least 20 minutes. Rinse the mask off and use cleanser or toner to remove any traces of the milk.

Simple Egg Mask

Eggs are packed with nutrients and are among the best ingredients for homemade beauty products. The egg white removes excess oil, tightens the skin and cleanses the pores, while the egg yolk is great for nourishing the skin.

Merely whisk one whole egg and apply a thin layer to your skin. If you prefer masks with a thicker consistency, you can add some oatmeal, powdered milk or graham flour to make a thick paste. Leave the paste on for at least 10 minutes, then rinse off and cleanse your face as usual.

Homemade face masks are ideal for people with sensitive skin, as all the ingredients are entirely natural and are unlikely to harm your skin. However, even natural ingredients can sometimes cause skin reactions for some people, so it’s best to test the mask’s components on a small patch of skin at least 24 hours before applying them to your face.

Next week, we’ll take a look at 3 homemade masks for oily skin. Stay tuned!


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