Clearly, the picture is a stock photo of a gift basket and not what I'm creating. I'm putting together a raffle basket for the AIA (Alliance of International Aromatherapists) next month. I'm going to include a tea set (pot, strainer and cup), a tincture called "Brain Food," a sugar scrub, probably a couple of lip balms, "Lisa's Sleep Blend" herbal teabags, a lovely Peppermint, Lavender and Tea Tree butter for dry/tired feet and a wonderful mask with red raspberry seeds and rose petals in rose and kaolin clays. The conference theme is "from the garden to the bottle" and so I'm including products both from the garden (herbs) and from the bottle (essential oils) to cover both "top to bottom" and "inside and out."
Since I make a constipation lotion for patients at the hospice where I work, a friend asked me to make something slightly stronger for her. I decided not only to make it slightly stronger but to make it a salve so it would last a little longer. People tend to slather on the lotions and cremes and they tend to be used up pretty fast. It only requires a small amount of thicker salve and so it lasts longer. I used Mango butter and Sesame Seed and Avocado oils as my base, added enough beeswax to thicken it and then put in essential oils of Peppermint, Sweet Orange, Fennel, Black Pepper and a touch of Lavender to round things out.
Then there's the follow-up to my last post about the lotion for the woman with radiation burns weeks after she'd decided not to do any more treatments. Her husband sought me out to tell me she felt an almost immediate difference in the discomfort of her irritated skin and a week later, there was a considerable visible difference. Preaching to the choir, he told me, "That stuff really works."
I was approached to make something for someone who is recovering from radiation burns. Although she's stopped the process, weeks later, she still has remnants of skin burns, itching and discomfort. I make a light body lotion that has as its base Evening Primrose and Tamanu oils and then incorporates essential oils of Lavender (angustifolia), Geranium, Carrot Seed, Frankincense, Helichrysum and Calophyllum Inophyllum (EO form). I chose the photo above because I buy my Tamanu oil from Mountain Rose Herbs but you're not limited to that company if you're trying to decide whether or not to experiment with this terrific oil.
Today I made some solid sugar scrubs as an experiment. I didn't even measure anything. I put about 3 tablespoons of shea butter, 2 tablespoons of coconut butter, and once melted, I added maybe a cup of white sugar and tossed in about 10 drops of Lavender essential oil, 3 drops of Osmanthus and a couple drops of Neroli. I spooned this into six silicone molds of cute little flowers and popped them in the fridge to harden up. They smell delicious and I just used one in the shower. They melt really, really fast so you wouldn't want to let it sit too long in the shower but it sure made my skin feel wonderful. I don't usually fuss with too much stuff in the shower but I might have to make these a regular habit.
What do you do for a relative who asks for help with hypertension and edema but who eats too much salt in his diet and is pretty sedentary? Although we had the discussion about treating symptoms versus the cause, he wanted to try my herbal tinctures and teas in addition to promising to curb his salt intake. I made him a tincture and an herbal tea to brew and he said the swelling was down "dramatically" in two days. So today, I'm making him some more tea as he's run out and hoping he's really and truly working on the cause. My tea contains chamomile flowers, dandelion root, yarrow, ginger root and valerian.
I'm working on adding some new products and pretty nifty selections on the web site. I'm going to take one product at a time and create detailed instructions on how to DIY (with lots of tips you might not immediately thing of). That will take some time to perfect because I don't want to leave out a single detail that you might want to know. Then I'm going to put together DIY kits for the product. You will be able to order both the kit and the instructions or each one separately. This way you won't have to invest a ton of money on something that you might not ultimately enjoy doing. I've been experimenting with various liquid oils, different sugars and salts and exciting essential oil combinations. Each kit will contain a couple of cute jars and enough liquid oils, sugars, salts and essential oils to make a couple of products. After that, I figure you're on your own, but this would also make a nice birthday or holiday gift for friends who are crafty. So, as you can see, my first venture will be sugar and salt scrubs, followed as soon as humanly possible by similar packages for body butters, lip balms, herbal teas, tinctures and maybe even light body lotions.
Today, I'm learning to craft melt & pour soaps. This is my first attempt - a heart-shaped soap to which I added a bit of Rosehip Seed Oil, Lavender and Jasmine sambac essential oils and some pink coloring. There's always a learning curve, even with the most detailed instructions to follow. It's only by doing that you learn what each thing means, and then you need to keep at it to figure out what you want to do to improve on the effort next time. My proportions were a little off as I really had no idea how much of the packaged square bar of soap I needed in order to turn out 3 bars of soap from the molds I purchased. I used a little less than half of the square and ended up with 1 and 3/4 bars. The entire square would probably have made 3 but since I'm learning and they're just for my own use right now, I'm happy with the results. The only other thing I need to work on from this initial effort is the coloring. I intended to pour the melted soap into the molds, add a couple of drops of the pink and swirl it around using a toothpick. However, it sank straight to the bottom of the mold where I couldn't see it. I had to just swirl around and hope it was creating some sort of design. As it turned out, it almost created a pink heart within the white one. Maybe next time I'll allow the soap to cool slightly before adding the color or who knows what might happen if I add it to the mixture in the pan and see what it creates on its own when I pour it.
Body butters are so simple to make and that's what I'll be teaching at the end of February. So today, I made enough 2oz body butter giveaways to make sure everyone gets one. I used Mango, Cocoa and Coconut butters and added essential oils of Lavender, Sweet Orange and Vanilla CO2. If it makes any sense, it smells like a Dreamsicle tastes. Absolutely delicious.
I'm preparing for my second semester of teaching how-to classes at CSN. The first one is "Creating Herbal Tinctures" and I'm giving them a glycerin tincture with Astragalus, Dandelion and Echinacea for a winter immunity boost. I prepare the same thing in both apple cider vinegar and alcohol so they can taste the differences with different menstruums and the same herbs. They also get hand-outs of different herbs they can use therapeutically, a blending worksheet so they have a record of what they make, a list of useful books, a page of recipes and a detailed instruction sheet on how to make a tincture. Fun class.
I'm always inspired to take a fresh look at things on New Year's Eve and then leap off the cliff beginning January 1st to make major changes somewhere along the line. This year, I want to devote more time to making this business viable so I think I'll do some major revisions. I plan to add soaps, sugar and salt scrubs and (back by popular demand) facial masks. There are enough people asking me how to make their own products, that I plan to add downloadable, very specific directions that can be purchased that will teach you how to make your own soaps, lip balms, herbal tinctures, light body lotions, salves ... well, everything on the site. Don't look for it right away as each step will undoubtedly take some time to develop, but definitely check back regularly because the changes will just show up from time to time! If there's anything in particular you'd like to see on the web site, shoot me a note on the "Contact" form. Oh, any Happy New Year!
One advantage of working in hospice is that I get to play with all the therapy dogs. This is Asher, a Corgi.