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by Erin Weaver

Fifty years ago, most of the women who farm would splash their faces with water in the morning and stride out the door without a second thought. But these days, with the help of online shopping and affordable products, just about every farmgirl usually has some form of beauty routine. Whether you’re a simple moisturize-and-go kind of woman or a serious beauty addict, you can find ways to make your products multifunctional. Trying multiple uses for your products can be a fun experiment, minimize the bulk of your makeup bag, and save you money. These 8 multi-use tips will give brand new beauty functions to products you already own.

Homemade BB Cream

BB creams offer a light skin coverage that’s perfect for the summer months. Instead of buying a whole new product every summer, simply combine a couple of pumps of foundation with your daily moisturizer for a light, natural-looking BB cream.

Easy Deep Conditioner

To make a luxurious deep conditioning treatment for your hair, warm up some of your usual conditioner in the microwave until it has a runny consistency. Smooth it over your hair (making sure it’s not too hot first!) and leave it to soak in for 30 minutes for perfectly silky tresses.

Aftershave Balm Primer

Men’s aftershave balms often contain glycerin, the same ingredient as many expensive makeup primers, and they’re far cheaper. Try stealing some of your man’s balm next time you’re doing your makeup.

Loose Powder As Dry Shampoo

If you’re out of dry shampoo but you don’t have time to shower, a loose or translucent face powder can word as a stand-in. Sprinkle it onto your roots, rub it in, and let it absorb any excess grease.

Lipstick Blush

A simple swipe of lipstick across the cheeks can act as a gorgeous blush shade if you blend the product in well enough. A small amount goes a long way, so this easy trick saves you money and space in your makeup bag.

Lip Balm Highlighter

If you’re a fan of the recent highlighter trend, you’ve probably found yourself addicted to glowing up your face with those pretty (but often expensive!) iridescent powders. In a pinch, a swipe of lip balm can give you the same shimmery effect.

Brow Products As Eyeliner

Eyebrow pencils and gels usually work perfectly as eyeliner, giving a complementary depth of color to your eyes while looking more natural than liquid eyeliners. They also tend to be finely pointed enough to give you good control over your makeup application.

Hairspray For Setting Spray

Setting sprays which promise to keep your makeup in place for hours are great, but they aren’t really necessary unless you regularly wear heavy makeup all day. A quick spritz of hairspray can serve the same purpose at a much lower cost.

At worst, these tips will give you a quick stand-in for when you run out a product you need. At best, they’ll give you a cheap, multifunctional replacement for something you usually buy. And when a friend asks what you’re using? It’s your secret!

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Oh, we are all about…

Winter Gardening: Pruning Your Fruit Trees

What a delight fruit trees like apple, pear, cherry, and plum are to the beginning gardener. They come in all sizes and varieties and provide colorful blossoms in the spring and delicious fruits in the summer and fall.

The most important care you can give your fruit trees is an annual pruning. This will boost your harvest of top-notch fruit, keep your tree healthy, and manage its size. You’ll need a good set of hand clippers or “shears” and a set of long-handled “loppers” for higher branches. Your first pruning should come when you plant your bare-root fruit tree, most likely in the spring or the fall. After that, late winter is the best, when the tree is dormant and the leaves are gone so you can see where to cut. You should never prune in the spring, when the fruit tree is growing actively and its sap is running. You are likely to cause bleeding and open the tree to infections.

When pruning, you want to avoid flat cuts or the stubs will collect water and invite disease. Cut at a slant about one-quarter inch (a little under one centimeter) above a promising bud (that is, a bud that will produce a branch headed in the direction you want), a promising side branch, or a main branch.

When you are pruning your fruit trees, you are aiming for producing a tree in a spreading shape, without branches too close to the ground, and thinned so the sun can get through the leaves and ripen the fruit. For trees that bear heavy fruits like apples and pears, you want to encourage what is called a “central leader,” a strong middle branch from which other strong branches grow. Thin the branches along the center trunk by cutting right at the trunk so there’s plenty of space between them. Do the same for each secondary branch and so on until you get to the outermost branches. When choosing where to thin, look to cut away branches that are mostly vertical or too close to other established branches. For trees that bear lighter weight fruits, such as cherry and plums, prune for an open center. You want to encourage three or four branches along the lower part of the trunk spreading out to form a vase. The secondary branches can then be treated as they are in apple and pear trees. Whenever you’re doing your pruning to shape, also remove damaged wood back to a live branch, take off a few older limbs before they become too big, and cut off branches that have crossed and might rub.

The one exception to the rule about pruning only in the colder months is the case of suckers. These are fast-growing shoots that grow along the roots of a fruit tree. These will not grow into healthy fruit trees but will compete for resources with your tree. Suckers should be treated as weeds and lopped off at the base or mowed over as soon as they appear.

Pruning your fruit trees once a year is an easy chore that will keep your trees blooming and attractive and help ensure a robust crop.

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