Make your own cold cream & face mask

__________________________Recipes_____________________________ MINTY COLD CREAM Used to remove grime and makeup. The oil and shortening will glide the dirt and make-up off your face, while the aloe sooths and helps to cut the oils. The mint also helps to take the oils off the skin, while toning it. This is an easy recipe to make at home and will be good for about two weeks. __Ingredients__ 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (the thick vegetable kind, not animal) 1/4 aloe vera gel 1 tsp olive or avocado oil 1 or 2 drops essential oil of peppermint, or spearmint, or both __Directions__ Warm the vegetable shortening until it melts, then remove from heat. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then fold into the aloe vera gel. Then add the olive or avocado oil. Continue to fold for at least a minute, add the essential oil(s), and stir for another full minute. Put mixture into a jar or tin and store in the refrigerator. FACIAL MASK This is a good mask for any skin type, but is especially good for dry skin because it does not over-dry it. The peppermint oil clarifies the skin. There is NO shelf life to this blend. You need to use it as you make it. ___Ingredients__ 1/4 cup soy powder 1/4 cup unflavored yogurt 1 to 2 drops peppermint essential oil __Directions__ Mix the soy powder and unflavored yogurt to make a paste, then add the peppermint essential oil. Pat onto your face and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse off with water, and look at the glow! You should be able to find all the ingredients needed for these recipes in the grocery store, the pharmacy, a health food store and/or a craft store. *These recipes are from the Good Earth Bath, Beauty & Health Book written by Casey Kellar

Reference Materials

The Good Earth Bath, Beauty & Health Book by Casey Keller is an awesome book full of recipes that you can easily, and quickly, make at home. Oils and Perfumes of Ancient Egypt by Joann Fletcher gives a rich and interesting history of oils, herbs and flowers, and their early uses. Additionally, I enjoy browsing the website They are a commercial site, but they offer an online hyper text of the 1931 book, by Mrs. M. Grieve, A Modern Herbal. This makes for 860 pages of information on medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic herbs. It includes folklore, cultivation, and economic properties. Even reading their product descriptions will give you an education! Since most of my reference materials were borrowed from the library eons ago, I'll have to dig my notes out of storage for more titles. As I do, I'll add more of my favorite reference books.

All about Essential Oils

An Essential oil is the natural substance that is extracted from flowers, herbs, grasses, shrubs, trees, citrus, resins and spices. Now days this is USUALLY accomplished via a process called steam distillation. Modern advances in machinery have made this a more economical and less time-consuming way to extract the essences of these plant substances.

The quality of the oil is dependent upon the method of extraction. Cold Pressed - is where heat is reduced and minimized throughout the batching of the raw material. This helps the oil maintain its original state, constituents, and depth. Temperatures are rigorously controlled to ensure that it does not exceed 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Although not a practical method of extraction for all vegetable oils on the market, it is highly regarded as the extraction method of choice.
Expeller Pressed - is a natural, mechanical extraction and processing of oils where a small amount of heat is produced simply through the frictional heat created by hydraulic presses. This is usually around 120-200 degrees Fahrenheit and makes the oil suitable and economical as a base for cosmetics because of its fairly undisturbed molecular state. It also makes a fine food grade oil.
Refined - A fully processed oil where it has been exposed to all methods of refinement including a flash fluctuation in temperature as high as 450 degrees and winterization as low as -30 degrees, deodorization, which removes the heavy and often unsettling odor in oil, and finally bleaching, where natural clays and other mediums are used to alter or remove an oils color, and scent. This makes for an economical oil in cosmetics and body care products, but it is not the healthiest as a food grade oil.
Partially Refined - A process where only some of the methods available are employed to produce a manufactured oil. Only one or two of the three available methods are used in a partially refined oil. These include, but are not limited to; deodorization, winterization and natural bleaching. These methods are used for oils which have been known historically to go rancid quickly, and they are also used to further stabilize an oil or remove its heavy odor and deep color.
Unrefined - A process of mechanical extraction and screen filtering where no additional refining process has taken place. This ensures the finest quality product and makes the oil the most exquisite for food and cosmetic preparation. The unrefined process helps oil retain a rich, strong flavor and color that is true to its natural state. Unrefined oils are always darker in color and richer in scent.

Before the onset of machinery, the method of making EO's was time very consuming and involved encouraging the plant material to disintegrate. If you are going to hand make you own EO, this is the method to use. It also is called cold press. In this method, as the plant material disintegrates it leaves its "essence", in the form of moisture, in a small amount of carrier oil. This essence, or liquid, is drawn out and preserved in the oil as the plant body or fiber basically "rots", away. Some manufacturers still use this method for a few of their oils, although, they have machinery to speed the process along.

No matter how the extraction is forced to occur, or if it is in a factory or your home, the end product is called an essential oil. Your supplier of EO's will most generally list their method of extraction in the product description. While the commercial methods generally make for a fairly uniform fragrance potency, any home made EO will not (usually) be as strong as the commercial methods, simply due to efficiency of machines. Simply increasing the number of drops in your recipe will compensate for the lower strength of your fragrance.

If you want to try making your own EO, you will need to have a good carrier oil on hand. You should choose one that has a long (natural) shelf life and as little of its own odor as possible. You should not use "just any old" cooking oil. I like a half jojoba and half apricot kernel oil blend myself, but you can experiment and find your own favorite.

You'll also need about 4 cups of whatever you are wanting to process. Make sure it is FRESH, not dried. I suggest lavender because it is readily available in the summer and I love it, but you choose whatever you like best. You can choose from herbs, spices, citrus peels, grasses, shrubs, trees, or resins. You need only to make sure you use the correct part of your choice. For instance; use the buds for lavender, the leaves for bay laurel, the peel for citrus, and the wood and plant parts of cedarwood. Do not use anything treated with pesticides. If you are unsure, wash and DRY before using. Make sure that you remove all moisture from your choice of material before you use it. If not, you will be likely to create mold instead of a FO.
Also choose a meaty material, one with little water content. If there is mostly water in your choice it will not mix well and will not produce a quality FO.

Take your herbs or flowers, or whatever you chose, and (with gloved hands) gently bruise them. This makes them open up. Now place the bruised material in a jar or container. Pour aprox. 1/2 cup of your carrier oil over the material you chose. Use as little oil as possible, but make sure the there is sufficient oil, as you will not be reopening the jar until it is completed. After the oil is added, close the jar and shake for at least one minute. This really starts the bleeding of the substance into the oil. You must now find a nice dark spot in the house, and leave your jar there. Once a week, take your jar out and shake it for a minute or two, then return it to its dark place. After a month, remove it and strain the oil through a cheesecloth. Everything but the clear, essential oil you made is thrown out. Store the oil in a dark, glass bottle. As long as you keep it in a cool, dark environment, it will remain good for 12-18 months.

While I have garnered my information from years of reading and research, I will be digging out the books and posting some for reference material the next time I'm on here. Until then, I'm going to go bruise some grapefruit peels and find a bottle, cuz all this remembering how has made me miss doing my own!

The Humble Beginnings of UniqueGardenEssences

You are driving along an old gravel road, windows down, enjoying the fresh country air on your face as the breeze flows in and hits you. Suddenly you notice that the air is filled with a sweet, light and slightly elusive fragrance. You inadvertently close your eyes for a moment, inhaling deeply. As you capture the scent in your lungs, it forces the corners of your mouth to begin to curl upwards, forming an unconscious smile. A gentle feeling of peace and warmth flow through your body. A sense of relaxation overtakes you. No you know why you went out of your way to drive this lonely, old, bumpy road....and you are glad that you did! Long before scientists speculated, ancient man was aware that certain scents could provoke specific emotions and even alter particular bodily conditions. For hundreds of years it was common practice to use herbs and flowers to treat conditions and heal the body. For centuries this knowledge was passed down from generation to generation. Many books were dedicated to preserving this knowledge, but somewhere in the supposed advancement of civilization, this knowledge was set aside to make room for "progress". Now, thanks to a ground swelling movement, many are looking at ways to preserve our Earth and return to all natural ways to live. In doing so, we are once again exploring the healing methods of old and affording Mother Earth the opportunity to to provide us with her natural way to good health. I began with a small herbal garden on the south shores of my Buckeye Lake (Oh.), which quickly morphed into a large herbal garden! This was over eleven years ago and it didn't take much before I became hooked on what, besides cooking, could be done with those herbs. Since I was always a veracious reader, even before I became a RN, I quickly educated myself on uses of herbs and flowers for healing, as well as for sensory stimulation. That is when I decided that I needed to DO something with those herbs, especially the lavender that was again, overgrowing my garden. That would be when I got the bright idea that I could make my own essential oils. Little did I realize at the time, but this was to become the start of a whole new business venture for me. My first batches of essential oils were started in old baby jars, which I then placed under my bed (they must be in a dark place for several weeks to distill). Of course not everything went smoothly. In fact, my first batch of essential oils spoiled. After three weeks of patiently waiting, I opened the jars and found that my plants had molded. Frustrated but not dissuaded, I had to go back to the books, study some more, and begin again! Eventually though, I did it! I actually made my own essential oil (of lavender). I was so proud, even though I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with all of it, I knew I wasn't finished. So I decided that I needed/wanted to share my oil. At this time I was working in management, as a Nurse. Since all Nurses wash their hands many times during the day, it finally hit me one day as I was looking over charts at the Nurses' station. I glanced over at the desktop and noticed a bottle of hand lotion at each end of the station, and another in the drawer, yet the Nurse that entered the station went to her purse and got a bottle from there. Looking over the ingredient lists, I noticed that they contained alcohol. Curious, I checked out more labels at the store that night. Most all of them contained alcohol, which made NO sense to me because alcohol dries the skin! Of course this meant that I had to hit the books again. After a lot of research, I made a plan for making my own! I began by hitting the kitchen and testing different combinations of oils and butters, then I experimented with varying herbal additives. I would jot down the recipe as I went along , when I remembered too!, then put it on myself, a friend or two, if I could, then go to bed and wait to see what my skin looked and felt like when I got up. If I liked a certain combination I would wash my hands repeatedly, dig in dirt, and anything else that I could get into, just to test the recipe further. I then talked various friends and family into doing the same, just so that I could see what the recipe could/would handle. Eventually I hit upon, what I feel is, the BEST lotion that you will ever use! The [secret] combination that I found moisturizes deeply, yet stays on the skin throughout repeated hand-washing! I was amazed at how smooth and silky my skin felt and how little product I had to use to achieve that smoothness. Such a little bit goes a long way, and it LASTS longer than the store products. There was no constant reapplying ! Of course I had to test market the lotion on my staff because I thought I might be delusional, lol. But it turned out that I wasn' least not about the lotion! That was the beginning of my little cottage company, Unique Garden Essences. It was a one product shop, selling mostly to my friends and Nursing staff for about a month. Then, while in a staff meeting, it was brought to my attention that a diabetic patient needed a treatment for cracks in the heel skin. The team had already tried many traditional and prescription products, but they were not producing results. Although we wanted to try a natural approach, we were unsure where to find one. At that point I decided that I should be able to find something that would work from my garden, so once again, I hit the kitchen and began experimenting in earnest. After a few failed recipes, I hit came up with the product that I call Heel and Elbow Cream. I saw immediate results on myself, then gave some to a friend to test, and when she called me the next morning reporting that she also saw immediate results, I took it into work. It took some time, but it worked on healing the patient it was created for.
It actually is a really neat product, as it presents in a solid state, yet melts when it comes in contact with warm skin. The herbs that are used in it heal and moisturize the skin, and a very little goes a very long way! The best part? It is all natural and safe for everyone to use! As you probably can tell by now, one thing [frequently] leads to another in my life, and in my business. It wasn't long before my two product shop grew to become a shop of about twenty different products, with at least 100 different essential oils. I found that I truly LOVE mixing and creating new products and new scent combinations. I can often be found in the kitchen, testing and experimenting away!
While I no longer make my own essential oils, I am fortunate to have found a supply of the finest, purest, (most often food grade) quality essential oils. For the times when Mother Earth doesn't provide an essential oil for the scent (like baked bread or bubble gum), I stock high quality fragrance oils. Any herbs or flowers used in the creation of a product come from my garden or the garden of a personal friend (thank you Cora & Sherri!). I will slowly, albeit surely, be adding descriptions of herbs and essential oil, and what they can do for you. I will also be adding recipes that you can whip up at home! So, please, come back and visit again! I make what I love and I love what I make. So come visit me @ or and enjoy something from my garden to you! For jewelry and crafts visit my uniqueXpression shop @ For all natural dog treats visit me @