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.