Finding Little Moments

To observe, enjoy and create in everyday life

The Beginning of Summer & Book Club

It may not look like most summers, but summer is here. The boys are out of school, the weather is warming up and the days are filled with caring for the garden and going on close-to-home adventures. Had summer gone as planned, our family would have been traveling through Utah this past week exploring some of our nation's beautiful parks. We decided to postpone this bucket list trip and wait until next year. Instead these last few weeks have found us out in the back garden picking bowlfuls of strawberries, cherries and blueberries. We turned them into pancakes and pies and still had plenty to freeze for later use. We've hopped in the car to explore favorite trails that are less than an hour away. We've read books and played games and watched movies. We've celebrated an amazing dad and barbecued in the backyard and watched a pair of chickadees fly to and from their little nest on our back deck. For not going "as planned", summer is treating us all perfectly fine!

I found some time this last month to make and finish one of two quilted throw pillows for the side chairs in our family room. I'm really happy with the scrappiness of the grays and whites. The squares are cut for the second pillow, so I just need to find a couple of free afternoons to make up the second pillow.
And I have been plugging away on my Emoryi Shawl. Today (June 30th) is the last official day of the Crochet Along. I am about four rows from finishing, so I won't quite make the deadline. I did receive the new color to add to the shawl instead of the blue I had shown at the beginning of the month. I'm happy with how this color works. I think it gives the project the pop of color I was looking for. I'll make sure to post when the shawl is finished!

Last week we ventured a little further from home to visit my mom in Central Oregon. It was her birthday, so I think that warranted a trip to see her! She and I took the boys to the Painted Hills for a day trip while my husband had some work appointments. This is the second time we had been to the Painted Hills. You feel a bit like you've driven onto the set of a Western movie. It's beautiful...and in the middle of nowhere! The first time we went, it was so hot that we didn't explore far. This time around, the weather was perfect for exploring some of the trails. We finished off our day trip with lunch in Mitchell, OR. It was a great day!

One last note before I send you off, Kristin from Chicken Librarian will be having an online book discussion in July. We would love to have you join us! This go around we are reading The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. I had read this book a couple months ago and asked Kristin if she had read it yet. She had not, but it was on her to-be-read-list. So naturally it became the next book selection for Chicken Librarian Reads. I hope you will snag a copy of the book, read it (seriously it should only take you a few days) and join us online for a discussion. The online book chat will happen on Thursday, July 16th at 4pm (PST). You can find a link to the Zoho meeting room here in Kristin's post about the book chat: Chicken Librarian Reads. If you can't find a copy at your local library, the link for the book above takes you to Amazon where you can find a free Kindle version of the book. Chat with you soon!

Until next time,

~ Linking with Ginny's Yarn Along

A Little Bit of Everything

A few projects have been keeping my hands busy this month. I joined Cerulean Orchid's Emoryi Shawl Crochet Along and have been enjoying this simple, yet striking pattern as it builds. I have come to a bit of a stand still in the project though as I am not happy with my third color choice. I think the blue I chose, while it goes overall with the other two colors, is not the best choice for this pattern. I feel like it needs a lighter color or a brighter color. Otherwise the whole thing will end up looking a little flat. I ordered another skein in a lighter shade of purple, so I will see how that goes when it arrives next week.

I also finished up a baby quilt to be given to a couple at church who are expecting their first little one next month. I love the scrappiness of this quilt. Looking at these pieces of fabrics, I see some that were given to me by a friend, others that have been used in past baby quilts, and even a few squares of leftover fabric from a dress I made for my niece eight years ago. Quilts like these are always the most enjoyable to work on because they bring back memories of other projects.

While my hands have been crocheting or stitching, I have been listening to some great books! I am following along with CraftLit's current season: Anne Bronte's Tenant of Wildfell Hall. This is a Bronte book that I have not read, and I am really enjoying listening to the story. I appreciate how Heather Ordover (podcast host) walks you through different aspects of the time period, author's life, important plot developments, and character traits to pay attention to as you listen. Another great listen was Quilt Fiction's reading of Aunt Jane of Kentucky by Eliza Calvert Hall. As for paper books, I read and enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance and A Land of Sheltered Promise by Jane Kirkpatrick.

My boys and I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen over the last few months.  We've made pies and cookies and brownies, and yummy dinners, and bread! I have been tending a sourdough starter that has been producing some delicious loaves of bread for us. I swore I would not get another pet, but I feel like the keeping and feeding of a sourdough starter (which is very much like keeping a pet) has been worth it!

Our garden is doing well this spring. We pulled some of our first veggies and berries from the garden this week and have been cutting bouquets of peonies for a couple weeks now. Next to bloom will be the jasmine and hydrangeas. And next to pick should be the blackberries and blueberries. The strawberries we have picked so far (our season is just starting this week) have been delicious! I think we'll be making another strawberry pie tomorrow with some of the berries.

After many weeks of not seeing any of my friends in person, I broke the rules and got together for some one-on-one walks with close friends. I am very blessed to have the amazing family I have. My guys are great complaints here! But, I have missed getting together with a girlfriend and just chatting. Sometimes about current projects, books we are reading, new plants for the garden, or nothing really at all. So getting out a handful of times for a walk with a girlfriend has been a real treasure for me these last few weeks.

I hope this finds you well. That your days have been filled with both productive time and creative time. That you have found ways to connect with family and friends either in person, over the phone or through online platforms like Zoom. And, I hope that you have had some beautiful spring weather to soak up. Fresh air and sunshine is such a game changer!

Goodbye for now,

~ Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along

Vegetable Jail

There are slugs, aphids, squirrels, birds, cabbage moths and a dozen other pests that we try to keep out of our gardens. And then there are the pests that aren't really pests. They are your pets...and yet they can become pests. 
This spring as I have been trying to outsmart the slugs and aphids at their game, I have also been waging a battle with my own pets as pests. They can look so cute and unassuming while they sleep in the sun or pose for a picture. But then when you catch them a couple hours staring at you from the middle of your vegetable bed, they are not such cute little furballs. 

Because of our pets' naughty behavior, this has become my gardening reality. Fencing whipped up out of odds and ends found around our yard. It's not pretty. I want to look out at my veggie beds and see all of the seedlings cropping up. I do not want to see a mini vegetable jail. Because I refused to spend money on fencing to keep the cats out, I ended up utilizing the three different types of fencing that I had stashed in my shed. This will never be a cover photo of Sunset magazine, but it has worked.

Mostly. Now the pup has discovered that she can gently pull the snap peas from the trellis and nip them off one by one. Does your dog like to eat snap peas as well? I think I have lost my entire crop to her. Pests are part of any garden. We just don't like to look out and see our pets playing the role of pest. But it is the reality at times. Isn't it?
How do you deal with your lovable pets wrecking havoc on your vegetable garden? Have you found a foolproof way to grow your veggies and keep all of the furry critters out?

Happy Gardening (with your pets),

Suburban Foraging

While out on a walk with a friend a couple of weeks ago, we noticed some Miner's Lettuce growing rampantly along the parking strip. We both remarked, "Oh, it's an edible!" and quickly snapped up a few leaves. It was only after we each swallowed those little green mouthfuls that I asked, "I wonder how many neighborhood dogs have peed here?" Yuck!

In the early spring there are many, many wild edibles that most of us view as weeds. You will find them growing alongside neighborhood sidewalks, front lawns, flower beds, and pretty much anywhere. There are so many wild edibles growing throughout your neighborhood that you could build a salad for your dinner. 

However, before you put any of these wild edibles in your mouth (this is one of those 'do as I say, not as I do' kind of scenarios) you would want to make sure to only harvest what you can correctly identify, know has not had any chemicals applied, or been peed on by neighborhood dogs. Essentially, I would stick to collecting wild edibles from places that are not in high traffic areas. 

Or, you can cultivate some of them in your own garden. These little violets, which look quite pretty on a salad, are growing all throughout my front garden. I used to despise these violets because they were everywhere. I also have history with this plant that added to my dislike. In college I had a summer job for a retired professor. I kept house for him and worked in his garden. I spent weeks pulling violets from his gardens and swore I never wanted to see another violet again. And here they now grow in my own garden. I did NOT plant them mind you. This year I am trying to view them as the pretty little edible flower that they are and not as a plant to hate. They are slowly winning their way back into my heart. 

Dandelions are another spring edible that are easy to find and identify. Their leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and their flowers make a fun little fritter. And of course there is dandelion wine (I have never tried it. I've only had my mom tell me about it). I have found that our pet rabbits love dandelions, and our chickens do too. Apparently they are the perfect spring green for everyone. If you are not into eating dandelions, consider leaving them for the bees. Or your neighborhood kids who are looking to make a wish. 

One last addition to your Suburban Salad...Bittercress, also known as Shotweed. Beginning in the winter and leaning into the spring, you can find bittercress just about anywhere in my garden. This is a weed that can be eaten raw in salads or on sandwiches. Pick it early in the season before the flowers go to seed. If not, you will quickly discover why it also goes by the name Shotweed (you might consider wearing protective eye wear!). Again, this is a weed that our chickens gobble up.

Two books that I recommend to help you identify what is edible and know how to prepare it would be The Front Yard Forager by Melany Vorass Herrera and Foraging Washington by Christopher Nyerges. Each of these books have great pictures, written descriptions as well as look alikes to watch out for. As the year moves into summer, you will be able to forage wild berries and dozens of other delicious plants.

Happy Foraging,

Building One Another Up

In January I shared with you about a trip my husband and I would be taking through our church denomination to see first hand a ministry project in Monrovia, Liberia. This was the first time (and hopefully not the last) I have taken any trip like this, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have met the women behind the Liberia Women's Empowerment Project. We had heard about this project a few years ago when they were in need of sewing machines to start a project center, and we had wanted to know more about what they were doing. I am sharing with you today specifically because the project is celebrating its first graduation ceremony. Today, on March 29th, 2020,  in the capital city of Liberia, 174 women will be recognized for their successful completion of one of the project's four training courses! 

The Liberia Women's Empowerment Project offers four different training courses for women in the area at three different Nazarene churches. The program began a few years ago when a small group of women gathered at an area church to discuss how to help the women in their community. Many of the women had received very little education as young girls, had no marketable skills and were attempting to raise children on their own. They felt they had no hope. No dignity.
And so, the Project was born out of a desire to equip women with a skill that would allow them to operate a small business or be hired by a local employer. But more importantly, by learning a trade and gathering in community, the women of Monrovia were gaining self worth. They could begin to see that they each had value.

As the project wraps up it's first class, they have been able to offer four different training tracts. Women who come to be a student at one of the three centers are able to learn catering, tailoring, soap making or fabric dying. The catering and tailoring courses are currently 18 month classes that meet twice a week. The soap making and fabric dying are 6 month courses that meet twice weekly. Not only are the women taught a marketable skill while taking a course, but they are also encouraged to be part of a savings group. These savings groups are ones where women can safely save some of the money they earn so that they have the start up costs to begin a business or to purchase needed items for their families. The women are also led through different life skills classes. Other women in the community will mentor the students in homemaking, hygiene and parenting. Through all of this, the women are creating a deeper community with one another. One that is built on learning skills together and having trust in one another.

The final piece to this program is teaching the women small business skills. At the end of training, it is the hope that the women would either be able to have an individual market business or to create a small group business in  their neighborhood. They would be taught about how to make a profit, supply and inventory needs, and other necessary skills to operating a very simple business. Building a business component that is suited to the students is part of the next phase of the project. Brandon and I are hoping to be a help in this area.

Here is a group shot of some of the women at one of the centers outside of Monrovia. It was amazing to spend the day with them and hear their stories. Some of the women there hoping to be able to support their older kids through college and others have young families at home they would like to send to one of the local schools. The local grade schools charge a tuition, and uniforms need to be purchased as well as supplies. It is a costly expense for these families to receive a basic education, but it is one that many of these women hope to give to their children.
The day we were there, many students had come to the center to show us the catering skills they had learned as well as their soap making and fabric dying trade. We were served a delicious lunch of rice and fish with a large slice of cake on the side. During the training, the women can take some of the items made at the school back to their neighborhoods to be sold (soap, fabric, baked goods). The students get to keep a portion of the money made and the remainder is given back to the school to purchase more supplies. So from early on, the women get to practice their business skills.

During our visit, I was able to meet some of the children too. If any of you know me personally, you know that I always gravitate toward kids. It's typically where I feel most comfortable. The two little girls pictured above are daughters of two center students. While their moms were in class, I hung out with these little girls and a few of their friends. After a little bit shyness, we got to chatting. At one point I asked if the girls' moms were students at the school, their responses of how their mamas were learning to cook were so full of pride. This women's empowerment project is not only bringing dignity to the women in the courses but to their children as well.
This second photo was taken on our last day in Monrovia. We came to the center while school was still in session for the day. Many of the centers are multi-purpose. They are churches which offer grade school classes on some days and then the training centers other days. The day we visited was a Friday, so it was 'free dress' day for students. During their recess break, I visited with many of the students. They showed me their homework for the weekend, talked about their favorite classes and then shared with me what they hope to be when they grow up. There were many kids who want to be nurses, a few who wanted to be doctors, CDC workers, teachers, military and two who wanted to be president. Aspirations not really much different from kids in the United States. 

These are the ladies behind each of the centers. They are an amazing, giving group of teachers. Each of these women desire to see their students succeed. They work tirelessly as wives, mothers, business owners, as well as teachers at the centers. And, I am sure there are a dozen other things they are responsible for in their lives. But, they always had a smile on their faces. They are excited about the work being done in their communities. They have plans to improve, expand, and offer more to more women. All of the effort is worth it to them.

Thanks for letting me share a little bit about our trip. It was a quick trip! Not counting travel time, we were only able to be in Monrovia for three full days. Our trip was cut a bit short due to a snow storm, so we missed a visit to the tailoring center. But as you can see above, the tailoring students still found time to sew us custom made tops! The trip, though quick, was a life changing one for me. I was able to see a part of the world that I had never been to before. I was exposed to a community of women and men who have seen multiple civil wars in just a few short decades, who was devastatingly hit with the Ebola virus just a few years ago, who live in a country that ranks 150 out of 159 on the gender inequality index, and who daily experience a life in which I cannot begin to imagine the difficulties. I was allowed to witness a small group of people who are working hard to change the future. And, I was able to see how God works through all circumstances and all people. He uses each of us, if only we are open to it.

If you feel at all compelled to contribute to this project, you can do so here: Liberia Women's Empowerment Project. The project's ultimate goal is to have each center be self sustaining. The women who attend will pay a small tuition, and the items sold will also help support the cost of the centers. But there are start up costs to each of the centers, and hopes to open additional centers. Your financial contributions will help this project get on its feet.
Thank you.

Looking Ahead

I've been quiet here on the blog the last couple of months. Part of that has been because of the holidays and just not having time to sit and write. These past few months were also full with work travel for my husband, doctor appointments for one of my boys dealing with some health issues and some house projects. We did a mini makeover of our front room which started with taking out a large cabinet that held a TV we never used. I also took out other smaller pieces of furniture and some wall hangings. After that I worked on rearranging the room to open it up and make it more comfortable. I am really happy with how it all turned out. I probably should have taken before pictures. Oh well, such is life. Other house projects we've completed have been a similar makeover to our family room (which included purchasing a some new furniture and culling unneeded items) and just some general purges in various rooms of our home. On the list for this winter is to paint our bedroom, the kitchen and an accent wall in our front room.     

Looking ahead to this upcoming year is exciting. I'm not a huge resolutions maker. I do however like to set goals for myself. I suppose they are not so different from each other, but somehow the wording makes a difference. One of my personal goals for the upcoming year is to get outside more (even on the yucky days). I tend to be a fair weather walker/gardener/hiker/etc. So, bundling up and getting out regardless of the weather will be good for me. 
Another goal is to step out from my comfort zone. I like my routines. I like doing things where I can predict an outcome and (mostly) guarantee success. To begin the year with this goal, I started with baby steps. I took a ski lesson with my boys over our winter vacation and went ice skating with my husband. I was nervous as all get out for both of these excursions. I survived the few falls without hurting myself, and I had fun! We'll see how soon I get back out and do these again.
A bigger step out of my comfort zone will be coming up next month as my husband and I travel to Liberia on a ministry trip. I have not taken this type of trip (Brandon traveled to Ghana for a ministry trip a few years back), but I am looking forward to the adventure of it. We will be going to visit a church that began an Empowering Women with Dignity Project two years ago. The goal is to visit the project first hand and to see how more of these schools can be created in Liberia. This program teaches women a trade such as catering, tailoring, soap making or fabric design so that they can then help to support their families. I am looking forward to meeting the people and seeing their work. All of these areas are ones I have an interest in, so it is all very exciting for me. This trip will then lead to some fundraising on our end to help fund the start up of more of these schools. 

Another yearly goal is to find space in the midst of an upcoming busy season of life. Some of you may know that we are part of a church start that began a few years ago. My husband is pastor, and I lead the children. We have been asked to also step in as interim leaders at another local church for what will most likely be the bulk of this year. We are excited to serve in this church. The people we have met so far have all been so welcoming and supportive. I know that this will be a good season for our family here. However, these additional leadership responsibilities will need to be tucked into our weekly schedules. I am working on looking through my current responsibilities and commitments to see what I can step out of or put on pause while we focus on serving in this church. This blog is an example of something that I will be contributing to less in order to create space in my days. It doesn't take much time, but there is the mental time attached to it as well. We'll see how it all works out as the months progress.
What it all boils down to is ensuring that there is still time for space to rest, family, enjoying the world around me, and not being over committed. As simple or as silly as it may sound, I think scheduling days or pieces of days with open spaces will help me reach this goal. I have begun blocking out mornings or afternoons, as I am able to, that will be set aside to create that desired space. Days to be creative, putter in the kitchen, read, hike, go on dates with my husband, whatever the space allows. I'm looking forward to the fullness and the scheduled space of these days ahead.

My last goal for the year is seeking clarity. This one is a bit less defined, which is either ironic or a good thing. Part of it will involve removing things from my life that cause life to be fuzzy or undefined. That can mean something as simple as better sleep and cleaner diet choices for more healthy, clear days. And it will involve more complicated things like considering what my months and years ahead hold for me as our boys get closer and closer to graduating high school and moving on to begin their lives. I know I still have a few years before that season (our youngest is a freshman), but I have been avoiding thinking about it all. To be honest, it makes me a bit sad. The bulk of my career has been the daily care of these amazing boys. What will my days be filled with when they have gone off to college or careers? I think it is time to think about this a little more and seek some clarity. I want to enjoy the years we have left with the boys at home, but I also want to start mentally preparing for the years when they won't be here. It is time to start clearly defining (or thinking about) what my days will be like. As I have jokingly said for years..."I will need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up." I've been a homemaker for seventeen years, and I have loved pretty much every minute of it. I certainly would not change a thing. I have taken on small jobs here and there as they have presented themselves, and I also volunteer regularly as a Master Gardener and lead in our church environments, but my main job has been running our home and family. The years ahead hold excitement for all of us really. Our boys are beginning to seek areas of interest for study or careers, and I will be seeking as well. I look forward to a year of clarity.

How about you? Do you set New Year's Resolutions? Or, do you like to rename them as goals like I do? Is life taking you on any adventures outside of your comfort zone this year?
I wish you all an amazing year ahead. A new year always feels so full of promise, doesn't it?

Family Gift Making

A number of years ago, I can't even remember quite how many now, our family adopted the tradition of making a Christmas gift for extended family members. Throughout the year, we look for ideas of things we could make to gift to grandparents, aunts, uncles and close family friends. Often we will see something in a gift shop or craft store and find ways to make it ourselves. We have made candle holders, cutting boards, soaps, custom string art, crocheted or sewn items, birdhouses, and many, many other items. Over the last few years, we have fallen into a pattern of the guys (my husband and our two boys) crafting a wood project, and I will create something to go along with it. 
Last year we made the gifts you see above. (I couldn't possibly show you this year's gifts...we might have some family members trying to sneak a peek!) The guys made these beautiful trivets with brass nails, and I sewed up some pot holders and dish towels. While we do end up making about thirteen packages for different family members, they do not all end up the same. We might choose different designs or fabrics based on the family member receiving the gift. This is one way to make the gift a bit more personalized. 
This year there has been a bit of a crunch to get out projects completed. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was shorter, our family Christmas party is being held a few days before Christmas, and the boys' school break won't begin until the 23rd. So, we have all been finding spare time here and there to finish up our gifts. The saw has been running, the sewing machine has been humming, and the boys are pitching in when they're available. I can't wait to wrap them up and present them! 
Are you a gift maker as well? What types of gifts are you making this year?   

In the Kitchen This Week

This last week or so I have been able to bake quite a bit. I usually bake something yummy for our Friday night church gathering, and then over the weekend my son Alex and I like to try a new recipes. And of course, there are the staple items that get baked throughout the week: breads, granola, etc. Although I could certainly consider cookies staple items! 
For cookies this week, I baked up a batch of Amish Sugar Cookies found on Our Simple Homestead's site. These really are the best sugar cookies! We have been making them for a few years now, and I love how simple they are to whip up. My son Alex and I had found a recipe for Madeleine's on King Arthur Flour's site. This is a cookie that he and I had been wanting to try and bake for awhile. They were surprisingly simple to make and so delicious! We both thought that the sugar dusted ones were better than the chocolate dipped ones. So, next time we would skip the step of dipping the Madeleines in chocolate. I did use the leftover chocolate to frost the sugar cookies. Now that was yummy! Either of these cookies are a perfect match with a cup of coffee or tea.
One more recipe to share with you is my granola. Granola is such an easy breakfast cereal to make at home. There are probably a thousand permutations of granola and a million more recipes to pair with that. But it really is quite simple...add what you like and omit what you don't like.  Granola is much like soup. I never make the same batch twice. And while no two batches are the same, I do follow the same formula each time I make it. In a large bowl, I place 3 cups rolled oats, a 3 cup mixture of nuts and seeds and 1 cup of melted fat and sweetener (for 7 cups total). You can add any combination of nuts and seeds to your granola: almonds (chopped/slivered/etc.), shaved coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, really whatever you want or have on hand. Once you have these all tossed in a bowl, you need to add some sweetener and fats. Again, here is where you can use what is in your pantry or what you prefer. You can use butter, coconut oil, or a light liquid oil (like canola or safflower). If you use a solid fat, you will need to melt it first in order to incorporate it into the granola. For a sweetener, I typically use a combination of honey and maple syrup. I add 1/2 cup of a fat melted with 1/2 cup of a sweetener. I will heat these together in the microwave or on the stove top before adding to the oat mixture. Other things you can add to your granola would be a dash of salt, cinnamon and/or vanilla. All of this gets stirred together and poured out on a large jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. But again. the temperature really can flex. If you have something else baking in the oven at 375, throw in the sheet of granola with it. Just stir it more frequently and know that it won't take as long to bake. Pull the granola out when it is toasted to a color brown you like. Let it sit on the counter to cool and then store in an air tight container. If you like dried fruit in your granola, stir that in before storing it in the container. If you are looking for something beside cookies to give to friends and neighbors this Christmas, homemade granola would be a good choice. Just make sure to save some for yourself!

Here's a simplified example of the granola I make:
3 cups rolled oats
3 cups total nuts/seeds
1/2 cup fat, melted (butter, coconut oil or light liquid oil)
1/2 cup sweetener (honey or maple syrup)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

Stir dry ingredients together. Add in liquid ingredients and stir to incorporate. Pour granola onto a large baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes. Granola will bake for about an hour, or until desired color is reached. Allow to cool on baking sheet before storing in a container.

What have you been baking in your kitchen this week?

A Weird Obsession

One of the very first natural body products I tried to make was deodorant. About ten years ago, I was on a kick to make more of my own things, and I had read that the aluminum used in anti-perspirants was potentially unhealthy. Plus, there was the money saving factor that came into play with making my own body products. So I thought I would give it a try. But in my attempt to find a homemade deodorant that worked, I failed many, many times. There were numerous times I would dash home in a stinky emergency to reapply whatever failed concoction I had used that morning.
I had become obsessed. I read about and/or tried so many recipes found in books or online in an attempt to find an easy-to-make, inexpensive, kind-to-my-skin deodorant. Some recipes called for ingredients that were just too costly or plain weird. The strangest one I ran across had you soaking grass clippings in vodka to make a homemade chlorophyll infusion...this is one I did not try. The other issue with homemade deodorants is that most rely heavily on baking soda for odor absorption. Many people, myself included, have really negative skin reactions to baking soda. Others sources swore that all you needed was a little witch hazel or a small smear of coconut oil to provide some deodorizing power. I am not quite sure who these folks are, but I needed a little more oomph than that. 
After all of these trials, I thought maybe it wasn't possible to find a homemade deodorant that really worked for me. I thought instead I could find a store bought deodorant that didn't contain aluminum. But again, many of these either did not control the stink factor, included too much of the rash causing baking soda, or were crazy expensive. So I went back to the drawing board. 
Finally a few years ago, I stumbled across multiple deodorant recipes on Wellness Mama's site and noticed her coconut oil based recipe. It used simple ingredients, was inexpensive, and I thought I could play with the amounts of corn starch and baking soda to keep it skin friendly. Her version called for equal parts baking soda and corn starch, but I knew that would be too much for my skin. Instead I cut back the baking soda to half the amount and increased the corn starch. 
I made up a small batch of the deodorant and crossed my fingers. And what do you worked! I did not break out in any skin rashes, I didn't get stinky and I didn't spend a lot of money or time making it. I have worn this deodorant for many years now. And even on the hottest summer days, it has not failed me. So in case you are on a quest to make more of your own products, want to save some money, or are as strangely obsessed with making your own deodorant as I was...I thought I would share this with you.

Coconut Oil Deodorant (based on this recipe)

6 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 to 3 Tablespoons baking soda
4 to 5 Tablespoons corn starch -- Essentially you want your combination of baking soda and corn starch to equal 7 Tablespoons
10 to 15 drops essential oils (if you choose)

Stir these ingredients all together in a small jar. Set the jar in the fridge initially to help the deodorant set up. After it sets, I have just kept it in my bathroom. Use a small, pea-size amount under each arm.

That's it. Pretty simple, huh?

Some additional notes about using homemade deodorant.  In other words, let me pass on more that I have learned in my ten plus years of trying to find a suitable deodorant:
  • Some people have zero rash causing issues with baking soda. And when that is the case, they simply put a little poof of baking soda under their arms and away they go.
  • When you move from anti-perspirants to either store bought or homemade deodorants...there is a transition period. I would recommend making this switch during a cooler time of the year (like now)...not the summer. 
  • If you don't feel like making your own deodorant, we did find that Jason's Tea Tree Deodorant worked quite well and did not contain any baking soda. This is the brand that two of the guys in our family use and like.
  • Coconut oil stays solid at temperatures below 72 degrees. So when the temperatures are warmer, this deodorant will not be as solid. You can move it to the fridge for the summer months if you choose. I haven't had it turn to a soupy mess, so I haven't bothered moving it out of our bathroom. 
  • The longer I have used this homemade deodorant, the more baking soda I can add to the recipe. But I still do not feel that I need as much as the original recipe states. The amount I have included here, seems to do the trick. 
Have you ever considered making your own body products? If so, which ones?