Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cupboard Essentials

Sorry for the silence on this line! I've been incredibly busy with work for my English degree. My Etsy shop is currently on vacation because in July I'm going away to do a study abroad at Oxford University. I've been increasing my study of herbalism. I've expanded my herb garden and my library of herb books and have begun blending teas and making salves for what ails my family. When I harvest my herbs at the end of the summer, I'll be making some tinctures as well. Natural living and wholefood eating have definitely improved my health.
Here are a few of the things I've come to swear by in my cupboard (if I swore):
 -Honey: It's perfect for naturally and healthfully sweetening herbal teas, but it's also great for putting on cleaned cuts and breakouts to sanitize and heal.
 -Baking Soda: Perfect for making pastes for drawing stings and bites. Also a great cleansing agent for when you're making your own natural shampoos.
 -Apple Cider Vinegar: Great for cleaning anything, also a key ingredient to make natural toners and aftershave. Tasty for salad dressings too.
 - Tea tree Essential Oil: One of the best anti-fungal and cleansing oils. You don't have to dilute it to apply it to your skin on cuts and rashes.
 -Lavender Essential oil: Great to splash on your pillow in times of stress, rub on your temples to help headaches, or add to bathwater to help your whole body to release stress.
 -Licorice Root: A perfect balancing agent for nearly any herbal concoction. Once you research it, it amazes you even more. Super sweet and flavorful, helps cure what ails you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Tonics

I've been working on making some new recipes lately. I have a new shaving soap in my shop, a new batch of my classic Sandalwood Vanilla Beer Shave and also a new Birch and Bergamot Beer Shave soap. I haven't listed them yet, but I've made up some travel shave soap in the same scent. The soaps are poured into lidded tins, so that you can carry them in a travel case and use a shave brush to lather up.
Curing in my work room now are two tonics I'm very excited about. The first is a blend called "The Queen of Hungary's Water." It's a collection of herbs that are soaked in vinegar for 2-3 weeks. Then, you strain out the herbs and mix the infused vinegar with rose water and witch hazel. I got the recipe out of Rosemary Gladstar's lovely book, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. I had to make some little variations to the herb blend to accommodate what I had in store, but I have a feeling it will turn out very well. Gladstar says in her book:
"This is one of the world's finest cosmetic formulas..... The Gypsies used it as a hair rinse, mouth wash, headache remedy, aftershave, foot bath, and who
knows what else!"

I think that if I substituted 100 proof vodka or perfumer's alcohol instead of vinegar, it would make a really lovely perfume and body spray as well.

The other tonic I have curing is a variation on The Queen of Hungary's Water called "Four Thieves Vinegar." It's a mix of medicinal herbs and spices cured in vinegar that supposedly was used by thieves robbing plague homes to keep from getting the plague themselves. It can be diffused in the air or splashed on or soaked in. This takes 4-6 weeks to cure.
If it turns out well, I will make them in bigger batches and ready them for my shop and for the market in the spring. Now that I have my rookie year out of the way, I feel ready to go back to the market and really make the best use of my time there.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Stomach Trouble Tea

My father has frequent bouts of stomach ailments. To help ease him through this I make him this tea:
1 Tbs Chamomile (dried aerial parts)
3 cloves
1 cup of boiling water
1-2 tsp of honey
1 tsp of slippery elm
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon

place chamomile and cloves (you may want to bruise them first) into a tea ball or infuser. Pour over the boiling water and let steep 3-5 minutes. After removing tea ball, add honey to taste, then stir in slippery elm until dissolved. (Note that the slippery elm may drift to the bottom if you let it sit to cool, stir up before drinking). Stir in cinnamon. Sip.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Natural Soothing Face Mask

Try my new face mask recipe:
1 tsp French Green Clay
1 tsp Kaolin clay
Gradually add Witch Hazel Toner (Thayers has a great alcohol-free, aloe enriched witch hazel I like to use) until it reaches a consistency that is appropriately both moist and thick.
For especially troubled and dry skin you can add a few drops of honey right before applying, or for a bad break out, mix in a crushed aspirin tablet while the mixture is still in powder form.

This wicks away extra oils while keeping your skin moisturized and helping with dry patches and break outs.
Treat yourself to a facial tonight!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In for the Holiday Season

I've updated my stock with more gift sets for the holiday season. My popular Sherlock Holmes inspired soaps are now available in a set called "The Complete Sherlock Holmes." The set includes Holmes, Watson, Adler, and Moriarty.

I've also made a listing for a bar soap and soap scrubbie combo pack. I knit the scrubbies myself and they fit both the square and the round soaps I sell. It's a good solution to ensure you get to use the whole bar even down to the last little bits.
I also am offering a soap and fragrance combo deal for those that like to pair up the complimentary scents I make.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lost September

This month has flown by. I'm back to classes and extracurriculars, working hard to keep up with my Etsy shop while I do.
I'm already trying to get winter themed items in my shop and gift sets ready for the surge of sales that usually comes in October/November.
I'll be back with updates, new items, and recipes soon!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Homemade Apple Sauce Recipe

I picked a few apples today courtesy of my neighbors, a kindly older couple with fruit trees that sprout more than they can eat. I made some yummy apple sauce with my pickings and thought I'd share the recipe with you, even though it's not completely precise.
You'll need:
6 medium apples
lime juice
1-3 tablespoons of sugar or honey
cinnamon and nutmeg

Cover the bottom of a medium pot with a little water and add a splash of lime juice (or lemon if you're more traditional). Peel apples and cut them up into small pieces, as you do toss them into the pot. Simmer them on low for about an hour, stirring occasionally. When they start to get soft, use a potato masher to start smashing them down. If the apples are on the tart side, add one to three tablespoons of honey or sugar (raw sugar is my favorite) to taste. Spice it with cinnamon and nutmeg. It makes about 8 servings depending on your apples.
Serve while still warm or chill it in the fridge for about an hour.
It goes great with pork or peanut butter toast at breakfast.