Pictured are 2, 4 and 6 oz tottles. In the very near future (hopefully by the end of December), I will have revamped the web site yet again and will only be offering light body lotions and body butters (meaning no cremes - but all the other good stuff will still be offered, like the herbals, lip balms and pet products) - all in these white containers. The lotions will be in 2 and 4 oz tottles or 8 and 16 oz pumps. The body butters will all be in 2 or 4 oz jars. In the past, I did my blending in someone else's creme. However, I spent a lot of money last spring to learn how to make lotions and butters from scratch and that's what I plan to do moving forward. Although there may be slight differences from batch to batch, they will be as near to natural as I can make them from start to finish. Now won't that be a treat!
You'd be amazed at how many little things can go wrong when making batches of butter cremes. I have one tricky part that I never get quite right and one mixing part that I finally conquered today. The tricky part is figuring out exactly when to put the distilled water and glycerin in the microwave to coincide with the oil phase of the mixture. One needs to be 120 degrees and the other 135. I find myself reheating one or the other over and over until they both end up where they need to be at the same time. Then when it's time to actually mix the water phase into the oil phase with the blender, I forget that the pan I'm using is really too small and when I turn on the stick blender, I end up with a mess all over my counter. Today, though, I managed to get pretty close on timing the temperatures and remembered to transfer everything to a bigger bowl and, voila! Gorgeous butter cremes. One's for the feet - appropriately called Happy Feet and it has Shea butter, Olive oil and Jojoba and is scented with essential oils of Peppermint, Lavender and Tea Tree; the other is just a great mental relaxer called Bliss and it contains Mango butter, Sunflower oil, Rosehip Seed Oil and essential oils of Lavender, Bergamot, May Chang, Myrrh and Vetiver.
Remember that herbal tea blend I talked about a couple of blog posts back that I didn't think did anything? Well, I was wrong. I'm not sure why this time was different; perhaps I didn't steep it long enough last time. However, this time, I steeped it quite well and then drank it ... well, most of it. I discovered that the reason it made me not want to eat was because it made me slightly nauseous. I went back to study all the herbs I had in it and I think I had one too many "bitters" and diuretics and the blend was too much. Also, the taste was certainly not something I was going to drink every day - not willingly. So now that it's down a couple of tablespoons, I added in a teaspoon of cinnamon bark flakes and 2 teaspoons of Chamomile flowers. I figure this will help water it down and add some flavor and digestive soothers.
I don't drink so I don't like the idea of tincturing with alcohol. Also, many of my friends ask me to create things for their dogs and I don't fancy tincturing in alcohol for them, either. However, I want to make something they can keep for awhile without it going bad but also use an effective preservative that will pull the most out of the herbal materials I'm tincturing. Fortunately, I have a good teacher through my herbal studies course and she suggested a technique she uses for children. She taught me to do a "glycerin transfer." This involves making an alcohol extract, straining it, putting it in a pot with an equal amount of glycerin and heating it very, very gently until it has reduced by half. The alcohol will have burned off, leaving the extract in the glycerin. Perfect - both for me and for the pets I'm working with.
One advantage of working in hospice is that I get to play with all the therapy dogs. This is Asher, a Corgi.