Snowtime Like Bathtime

Wind gusting to 60mph and temperatures dipping into the twenties has made me think a LOT about a nice HOT bath! Of course I cannot fathom just a plain water bath, so I have to add oils or salts or something! Today I steeped a while in some Raphael's Healing Garden Bath Soak to help get some arthritic relief, but the Cleo's Bath Soak from my last bath left me feeling quite queenly, I must say! Next bath I am going to use my Luxurious blend, but today I thought you might enjoy some recipes you can try at home, or even make as Christmas presents!
MILKY BATH MIX
1 cup powdered milk
1 cup corn starch
1 cup baking soda
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup powdered chamomile flowers *
1/4 cup patchouli powder *
1/2 cup powdered lavender buds *
**If you do not have the flowers, you may substitute 3-5 drops of Essential Oils in place of the powders, just make sure that you mix thoroughly. Sifting the mixture works best to ensure even mixing.
Mix all ingredients together, then package as desired. Use 1/2 cup per bath, allowing mixture to dissolve in running, warm water. Relax and soak in bath for 15-20 minutes.
FIZZY BATH SOAK MIXTURE
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup citric acid
2 tablespoons sweet almond oil (or sunflower oil)
1 -2 teaspoons of your choice of Essential Oil or Fragrance Oil
Combine the baking soda & corn starch in a bowl, you can even add a few drops of food coloring if you want (just be careful to not use too much, you don't want a ring around your tub!). Then add the liquid ingredients and mix well, using a wire whisk, until completely combined. Next add the citric acid and whisk again, until well blended. Once well blended you can press into small balls or into molds. Allow to dry for a few hours, then they will be ready to use or to wrap and package for gifts.
WINTER BLUES AWAY BATH OIL
2 oz Sweet Almond Oil
6 drops pink grapefruit essential oil
10 drops sweet orange essential oil
Mix together well, then use in bath of warm water. Soak for 15-20 minutes, as these essential oils help to chase your winter blues away while the oil softens and soothes your skin!

Tis the Season to Use Hand Sanitizer!

My (young adult) children are recovering from the flu, what the Dr. assumes was the H1N1 variety. Since one of their girlfriends' works with children, and the other works in heath care, they are routinely exposed to nasty germs. But, so are you! If you go anywhere, touch anything, you are being exposed to germs. Handle money, then touch your face and you have introduced all sorts of germs to your body. Hand sanitizing is a first line defense against germs. By simply washing your hands frequently you cut your risk of contracting many different viral and bacterial ailments. Since soap and water is not always readily available, there are hand sanitizers that you can carry in your purse, keep in your car, or keep in your desk. Of course you can buy hand sanitizer at almost any pharmacy or chain super store, but, for anyone concerned with being green, or if you just like control over what you put on your body and use in your home, you can easily make you own! Many, if not most essential oils have antibiotic, germicide and antimicrobial qualities (see the various oil descriptions A-Z from last year!). Below are a few recipes that I have found, not only for hand sanitizing, but for sanitizing your home. While I have not made any of these, the recipes look to be sound and, based upon their ingredient lists, these are ones that I would make. In fact, I do intend to try each one of these very soon. Meanwhile, if you find a favorite or dislike any one for whatever reasons, please let us know in the comments.

Germ Spray

6 drops Eucalyptus Globulus 12 drops Tea Tree essential oil 6 drops Lemon 1/4 cup distilled water Combine all the above ingredients then pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use (oil and water do not like to mix, so you must shake well for this recipe to be effective). This antiseptic, germ fighting spray is great to use, even on cuts and scrapes, but it can also be used as a room spray.

Viral Disinfectant Spray

10 drops tee tree essential oil 10 drops pine (black) essential oil 10 drops white thyme essential oil 10 drops clove essential oil 6 oz distilled water Mix ingredients and pour into a spray bottle and make sure to shake well before each use (remember that oil and water don't like to mix, so to be effective you must shake well).
Hand Sanitizer
1 Tbs. rubbing alcohol
3 Tbs. Aloe vera juice
2 ml cinnamon leaf essential oil
3 ml tee tree essential oil
3 ml lemon essential oil
Mix the ingredients together and pour into container of choice. Shake well.
Since alcohol is a natural emulsifier this recipe does not require shaking prior to each use. Additionally, cinnamon leaf essential oil can be a skin irritant. Should it irritate your skin, try doubling the aloe juice, if it still irritates your skin, double the tee tree oil and eliminate the cinnamon oil altogether.
*This recipe is from Brambleberry's Soap and the Finer Things blog. They state that they based it upon the research in the Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery (2009), available on line at www.sciencedirect.com
Natural Disinfectant Spray

1/4 tsp. French Lavender essential oil

1/4 tsp. eucalyptus globulus essential oil

1/4 tsp. lemon essential oil

1/4 cup vodka

16 oz distilled water

Mix ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle. Shake well before use.

This recipe is great for spraying kitchen counters, cutting boards, and the dish rack. It can also be used as an air freshener and on any furniture that you want your cats to stay off of!

Antibacterial Bathroom Cleanser
2 tsp Tea Tree essential oil 1 tsp Peppermint essential oil 2 tablespoons (may need slightly more) unscented liquid soap 1 Tbs. white vinegar 1 cup baking soda Measure the baking soda into a bowl with a tight fitting lid. Add approximately two tablespoons of liquid soap (you can use castile or regular dish washing soap, unscented is best). Mix well to create a paste-like consistency. If you need more liquid soap, add a little at a time, mixing as you go, until you have the consistency that you feel you can work with. Once you have the paste consistency, add the essential oils and mix well, then add the vinegar (which heps to boost the cleansing powder). To use, scoop out a little cleanser and use a sponge or other cleaning tool to gently scrub tubs, showers, and sink surfaces. A little of this goes a long way. It is a natural antibacterial cleanser that will help you clean your home without hurting the planet!
Hand Sanitizer
3 tablespoons Aloe Vera Gel or Liquid
5 ml Lemon essential oil
4 ml Tea Tree essential oil
2 ml White Thyme essential oil *This is optional
Mix all of the ingredients together, pour into a spray bottle, shake well and use. This recipe can also be used on furniture, but you will want to do a small test patch before using it all over.
*This recipe is from Brambleberry's Soap and the Finer Things blog.
Hand Sanitizer
1 ml White Thyme Essential Oil
1 ml Litsea Essential Oil
2 ml Orange Essential Oil
1/2 Cup Aloe Vera
1/2 tsp. Lecithin
Combine the lecithin and the essential oils together in a small container. Slowly pour the essential oils into the aloe vera, while stick blending the mixture. This will help to emulsify the mixture (think salad dressing). Lecithin is typically found in health food stores and is a natural emulsifier, with a shocking yellow color. This blend will go salad dressing thick and will not easily spray unless the spritzer is very hearty. Because of its lotion like texture, this recipe is best used on hands and body rather than furniture.
*This recipe is from Brambleberry's Soap and the Finer Things blog.

Peaceful Sunday

I am now back in the Fall weather of southern Ohio, but it seems as though I brought some Florida back with us, because today is a lovely 60, sunny degrees! What we in this area call an "Indian Summer", although I do not know why that term is used. At any rate, most of the gorgeous colored leaves are gone now, with lots of sparse limbs sprouting out from the tree trunks, but it is still beautiful in the sun, none the less!
Wherever YOU are today, I hope that you can take some time to appreciate the beauty of the nature that is around you, and allow yourself to bask in the wonder of it all!
For more pictures see http://flickr.com/uniquegarden To make it a bit easier for yourself (as I have over 2000 pictures), click on the set (on the right side) of "Friends and Good Times", then open the Englewood, Florida set OR click on "House, Yard and Scenery" and open the Fall pictures or the Sunset and Moonlight ones!

What You Up To Wednesday

Truth be told, I am actually in Florida, at the beach! I had not planned on this vacation, but I was asked at the last minute and just HAD to accept! I have been collecting sharks teeth, shells, and even an occasional sand dollar. Watching sunrises and sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico and birds....lots and lots of birds. I have truly enjoyed this break, but will soon be back to the Fall in souther Ohio. I heard that it was 40 degrees there yesterday while I sat on the ocean in the 82 degree sun! Man am I gonna miss it here!! lol.
At any rate, before I left, and as soon as I get back, I was/will be working on finishing up the winter, Christmas lines. I have begun making wine charms too (which I actually brought here to work on, but haven't yet managed to even look at yet! lol). I have many more pictures on my flickr account, but here are a few to get you started!

What You Up To Wednesday

The Home Spa Treatment

The long, hot summer is behind us, leaving the long, hard, cold, winter before us. To help make it through, try some of these spa-like recipes in the privacy of your home!!You could even invite friends over and make an entire home spa day!
SALON-TYPE HOT WAX HERBAL TREATMENT
1 cup beeswax (either grated or block)
10 Tbs. sweet almond oil
8 Tbs. virgin olive oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops chamomile essential oil
*For stiff, sore hands/feet, instead of the lavender and chamomile, add
5 drops wintergreen, 3 drops peppermint, and 2 drops of camphor essential oils
In order to keep a steady, even heat, this formula is best done in a crockpot. The wax should be cool enough to use when it forms a crust over the top. Use extreme caution when dipping your hand or foot into the wax. Hot wax will burn! If the crock pot is not large enough for you to fit your hand/foot into, pour the wax treatment into a pan that is deep enough and wide enough for them to fit and use it immediately.
Melt the beeswax in the crock pot on low heat (using medium or high heat can cause a fire!) Once melted, add all of the oils and stir well. Make sure that the wax is not too hot to use by inserting a candy thermometer to test it. 91 to 98 degrees works well. Dip one had/foot in the mixture at a time, then sit back and relax as it dries. Allow the wax to set up, 7-10 minutes is the average time, then peel of the wax. Save the peeled off wax, as you can remelt and reuse it several times. The formula should remain good for about a year, but if it gets too dry or looses its aroma, simply add a little more oil. Store the wax in a container out of direct sunlight.
SPA-TYPE AROMATHERAPY FACIAL STEAM
Steaming is a simple concept that produces a great effect on your skin and your mood. Simply put some water in a pan, bring it to a boil, drop in the proper essential oils and turn down the heat to low. Drape a towel over your head to direct the steam to your face and bend over the steam. There will be enough steam for your face for about 2-3 minutes. Once done, pat the skin dry and moisturize.
Steaming allows you to get the benefit of the essential oils on your skin and in your lungs, while the heat opens the pores and sweats the impurities out of them. Wash your face and neck prior to steaming so that you will work the true grime from the skin, not surface dirt.
For relaxation, peace of mind, cleansing and toning of skin,
use 2 drops each of the following essential oils. Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium and Lavender.
Don't forget about you hair when doing your in home spa day! Here is a spa-quality hot oil treatment that is wonderful for dry hair (do NOT use if you have oily hair), and a Herbal Conditioning Pack that is good for all hair types (when used once a month).
SPA-TYPE HERBAL HOT OIL TREATMENT
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 vitamin E capsule 400U or more (pierce and squeeze the contents into the mix)
1 Tbs. coconut oil
1 Tbs jojoba oil
3 drops lavender essential oil
1 drop rosemary essential oil (may substitute cedarwood EO if prefered)
Mix all together, then rub into clean, towel-dried hair. Leave on for 5 to 10 minutes, then wash out.
Stored in a bottle, this mixture will stay good for 2-3 months.
The following Herbal Conditioning Pack is full of deep conditioners and is great for all hair types when used once a month . It is alike a mud pack without the mud!
SALON-TYPE HERBAL PROTEIN CONDITIONING PACK
1 tbs. coconut oil
1/8 cup sweet almond oil
1/8 cup aloe vera gel
3 Tbs. gelatin mix (mix 1Tbs. unflavored gelatin in 2 1/2 Tbs. of cold water. Stir. Put in microwave to heat water to boiling, then stir again)
2 drops geranium essential oil
3 drops rosemary essential oil (may substitute bay EO if desired)
Mix all together and stir well. After shampooing, put mixture on towel-dried hair. Leave in for 5-10 minutes, then wash out. This mixture does not have a shelf life, so use it as soon as it is made.

Contest

17 Great Prizes Up For Grabs
What is better than having a chance to win a great prize? Having 17 chances to win one of 17 prizes, that's what! What am I talking about? Well, let me tell you all about it! The Stalkers guild, of Artfire.com, has come together to sponsor a treasure hunt.
To enter the treasure hunt, all you need to do is to search the participating shops to locate the
"You Found Me" picture. Keep track of where you find each shops' picture, then submit a list of where you found them on the Stalkers Blog. That's it, easy peesie! You can even enter once a day until the contest closes! WOW!!!! Winners will be chosen from correct entries. Each participating shop is the donor of one
of the prizes, so all the winners should be quite excited!!!
To read more about this, and to get the list of participating Artfire shops, visit the Stalkers Blog
Then Good Luck & HAPPY STALKING!!!!!!!

Make Some Gifts Others Would Love to Receive!

My strep throat is almost gone and I am staying out of bed for more than an hour each day, so back to this blog! With Christmas around the corner, my crafting has kicked into high gear, so I'd like to focus on some items that you can give as gifts, or treat yourself too!
First off, how about some lovely bubble bath? The recipe below is quick and easy, and will provide gentle bubbles, as well as help smooth the skin. Once made it will last for about three months.
GENTLE BUBBLE BATH
1 four ounce unscented glycerin soap bar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp glycerin
1 tsp baby shampoo (unscented is best)
3-5 drops of essential oil (your choice)
Melt the glycerin soap slowly in a double boiler on the stove. Once melted, remove from the heat and add the other ingredients. Stir for a minute. Put in a pretty bottle, add a ribbon if you'd like, and shake before using. It only takes 1-2 tsp. per bath.
GLYCERIN SOAP
Along with the bubble bath, what about some soap? To make a nice, quick, and easy bar, try purchasing a block of melt and pour glycerin and a Christmas mold.
All you have to do is melt the brick in your microwave and pour it into the mold. If you want to make it fancier, add 3-5 drops of an essential oil that is skin safe (as a general rule do not use cinnamon/cassia or citrus oils).
Make sure that you add the essential oil after the glycerin has cooled somewhat. If you want, you can also add 1-2 drop(s) of food coloring. Know that if you use an oil with vanilla in it, it will turn your soap bars a tannish to brown color.
Once poured into the molds, squirt some alcohol over the molds. This will prevent/remove bubbles from the back side of the molds. Allow the molds to sit until they are completely set. This will take three to four hours, or more, depending upon the depth of the mold. To see if set, press on the back of the mold. If the glycerin pushes in at all, it needs more sitting time. Once set, turn the mold over and pop out the bars. Make sure you wrap the soap in plastic wrap so that it will not draw moisture to itself, as that creates ugly "beading" on the bars.
Once wrapped, store out of the sunlight (you don't want them melting before you can give them away!).
So you have bubble bath and soap, now you need to find a creative way to package them. Try looking at your local craft store, or even the dollar store, for potential packages. You can find soap holders for the soap, wood boxes, baskets, or even planters. Be creative and remember that the container can also be a great gift!
Next week, more items you can make at home to give as gifts.

Falling Into Falll

The leaves are mid change here in the southern Ohio valley, the wind has picked up that cool chill, and the days are a bit dreary, yes, Fall is falling into place all around us. In this spirit I have found a few items that really speak Fall! First of all, this cool Artfire shop, Emily Claire Creations has some great items, especially the leaf pendants. My favorite being this leaf. I found these to be quite unique, and you know how I feel about all things Unique! Secondly, remember those fruit pompadours we use to make when we were kids? Well, I came across directions for one today and it brought back so many memories. I swear I could almost smell the clove as I read. So here are the directions. This would make a great project for you and your kids, or even just for you and a private trip down memory lane. They actually can be made quite lovely, with an air of sophistication, depending on your choice of pattern and ribbon. They would make a nice gift, or just a great "Fall" addition to your closet! Take 1 small orange a full bag of cloves 1-3 small cinnamon sticks and about 1 foot of your choice of ribbon Poke the cloves into the orange in a pattern of your choosing. When completed, use a crossover method with the ribbon (crossed at one end and then the other to secure the orange), make a hanging holder for the orange. At the top or second crossover (you may make as many crossovers as you like to make the hanger for your crossover secure), tie one or more cinnamon sticks on the top. Use the remaining ribbon to tie into a hanger at the top. When completed, hang on a Christmas tree or in a closet. These will last for one to three months!

Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

okay, I am going to try this one more time! This post has been mysteriously erased twice now, so I am hoping the third time is the charm!



I could NOT believe it when I awoke the other day to temperatures that were in the low 30's! I was freezing and laid in bed a lot longer than I should have, cuddling in the warmth of the blankets. Winter weather is quickly approaching and along with the cold temperature comes the beginning of cold and flu season. You can, however, create some products at home that will help you and your family minimize, or all together avoid the problems of the season. At the very least, these creations can offer some much needed winter-time relief


To begin with, we all know that we need to utilize frequent and good hand washing techniques in order to avoid the nasty bugs that others leave in/on public items, yet soap and water are not always available. This hand sanitizer recipe is a great, safe, alternative that you can carry in your purse, the car, or leave in your desk at work.






HAND SANITIZER





1/4 cup Everclear grain alcohol or 100 proof vodka


1/4 cup aloe vera gel

If you want to add scent, add 10-20 drops of fragrance oil, or 3-5 drops of Essential oil(s). In fact, if desired, you can even add one drop of food coloring.

Combine all of the ingredients and stir well. For ease of use, store in a bottle with a spray pump. This recipe has an indefinite shelf life and it makes 4oz.






Dandruff is a common scalp condition that occurs when dead skin is shed, producing white skin flakes. In addition to adding a B complex vitamin to your regimen, using one of the following after shampoo recipes should help keep nasty flakes from adorning your nice winter sweaters.





ANTI-DANDRUFF RINSE #1


1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
4 cups water
1 cup thyme infusion 
*to make an infusion; Take 1 teaspoon of thyme and place it in 8 ounces of almost boiling water. Cover it, set aside, and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes before straining and using.*


Mix all ingredients together and use it as a rinse after shampooing. You will probably use about 1/2 of this recipe, depending upon your hair length. You can store any left-overs in a bottle, jut make sure that you keep it in a dark, cool place. It will only last for about 1 week, so make it when you expect to use it.




ANTI-DANDRUFF RINSE #2


1/4 cup tea tree extract
1/4 cup witch hazel
4 cups water


Mix all the ingredients together and use as a rinse after shampooing. You will use about 1/2 of this recipe, depending upon the length of your hair. Store the left-overs in a bottle. It should keep for about 2 weeks.






Unfortunately, almost everyone of us will need a cough formula during the upcoming winter season. Below are two formulas, one is an expectorant and the other is a night time formula.To make the night time formula more effective, consider taking both an Echinacea and a Rose Hip capsule before drinking the tea, then go straight to bed.




NIGHT-TIME COLD FORMULA


2 Tbs. lemon
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup hot water
2 Tbs. 90 proof vodka


Mix all together and drink slowly, then go nightie night! *This recipe is NOT intended for children!




In the following recipe, the onion and the garlic are tough on colds and fevers. The honey and the glycerin help to sooth throats, the vodka helps to quiet a cough, and horehound has been used for almost 2000 years for respiratory relief. If you can find the flower tops and the leaves of the horehound herb, you can make your own extract, OR you can simply use a purchased extract. In fact, horehound is not necessary for this recipe to be effective, but it does make the recipe better, so it is worth the effort to find it. If making this recipe for a child, leave out the vodka.




EXPECTORANT COUGH SYRUP


1 tbs. chopped red onion
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. glycerin
2 Tbs. glycerin
2 Tbs 90 proof vodka
1 tsp. horehound extract




Scratchy or sore throats result from an irritation of the mucus membranes in the throat. To sooth and help settle the irritation, the throat needs to be coated in a pleasant way. The following recipe can be made ahead of time so you will be ready for your family's winter needs. This recipe can be adjusted to incorporate your favorite herbs, vitamins, and or flavors too!




LEMON AND HONEY DROPS


1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1/2 cup water


Line a 9x9 baking pan with aluminum foil (make sure that the foil continues up the sides of the baking pan).


Butter the sides of a 2 quart saucepan. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and honey in the pan. Cook and stir over a medium-high heat until the mixture boils, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar (about 4-6 minutes). Turn the heat down to medium and continue a light boil at a steady rate, stirring occasionally until it reaches the soft crack stage (290 degrees on a candy thermometer). Continue to cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Remove from the heat and allow to cool; over the next 2-3 minutes, stir occasionally. Add the lemon (and/or any other herbs or vitamins you desire). Then pour immediately into the foil-lined pan to cool. As it cools (another 3-10 minutes), you can use a spatula to "mark" your break lines into the cough drops, to make squares in the size you want for individual portions. The marks will stay when set up. If your marks do not stay, the mix is still too hot and needs to cool more; so wait a while and then try again.


Let the pan set overnight. Use the foil to lift it out of the pan and break it along the marks. Package in individual candy wrappers or wax paper, then store the individually wrapped pieces in a large baggie or a paper bag. This recipe will make 100-200 pieces, depending upon the sizes you mark and break. They will last 6-8 months if properly wrapped and stored.


**To pump up the volume on this drop recipe, making it a lot more herbal and holistic, try adding; 1 of each of the following tablets, crushed. Zinc, vitamin C, Echinacea, and Goldenseal. Make sure to add these at the end, stirring them in just before you pour the formula into the pan to cool.





So now that you have your dandruff under control and off of your nice winter sweaters, your cough eased, your sore throat soothed, and you can sleep through the night to spite your cold, what is left to make winter easier to endure? The following moisturizing facial mask, that's what!




CREAMY MILK FACIAL





1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup honey
4 Tbs. powdered milk
2 drops rosemary essential oil





Heat the honey to make it easier to mix, then blend with the mayonnaise, powdered milk, and rosemary essential oil. Use the milk in its powdered form, do not add water to it. If the mixture is still warm from the honey, let it cool for a few minutes first, then stir again and apply to your face and throat. Allow it to set for 15 minutes, then wash off, rinsing with tepid water, and pat skin dry. This recipe has no shelf life, so use it right after you make it.
Okay, this is QUITE frustrating! I created a whole post, with several recipes for dealing with winter woes, and something happened and it only gave the first one. Everything else was LOST!!! It is nowhere to be found. I know that I hit save just prior to posting it!!! ERGGGGG. I will redo this post a bit later today, I am just not in the mood at the moment, sorry!

How many Days til When?

With fall officially here, leaves beginning to turn and the outdoor festivals quickly coming to the seasons end, clothing and minds begin to focus on winters arrival, and the Christmas countdown begins. Of course, for some, it began in ernest the day after Christmas past, but for most it will come with the force-feeding of the retail merchants who begin banging the seasons and holidays into our faces a good three months before the impending date. Hence we have come to expect school clothing trends to be shown in June, Halloween in August and Christmas in September. Maybe I exaggerate a tad, but not much I am sure you will agree.
At any rate, in keeping with this "early" trend, I generally have the majority of my Christmas decorations made by now. In fact, in just a few weeks I will have to have boxes made, tagged and packed for delivery to Christmas at the Cabin, which will open for the season for the season during the Fall Festival of the Leaves in Bainbridege, Ohio. This small town lies between Chillicothe, Ohio and Hillsboro, Ohio on route 50, smack dab in the middle of not much, lol. It never ceases to amaze me each year the number of people that actually find this town and its two stop lights to celebrate fall and funnel cakes! But I digress. As the festival start date looms, I am left with the realization that I am further behind than I have ever been. Where did the summer go? It certainly wasn't full of beach days, sun and fun. In fact, I don't think it was warm enough to swim more than a day or two. Such weird weather this year, which could lead to many jumping off conversations, but I'll just ask, if summer wasn't really summer like, what will winter be like? No matter what it's like, I am sure that Christmas will still come on the 25 th of December and that I am behind in my decoration/ornament crafting. Sooooooooo that is what I will be doing for the next few weeks! Wreaths, ornaments, scrapbook pages, sleighs, cross-stitches, look out, here I come!

Kirkwood Winery Grape Festival

Sorry it has been a while since I posted something, but I have been busily preparing for Christmas, yes I know it's early but I have to have my items for Christmas at the Cabin ready by Oct. 15! And, I was also making items for the Grape Festival at Kirkwood winery in Summersville, WV.
The Grape Festival was this past weekend, and it was quite interesting! I only do a few shows a year, and have not done an outdoor festival in eleven years, so it was quite an experience for me!
It was a two day event, the first being sunny, hot, and quite busy. The second day was overcast, and cloudy, gusting wind at times, and an occasional spit and sputter of rain right up until a half hour before closing, when it became sunny and hot without a breeze to be felt! It is always lovely to pack up while sweating, lol! The weather however didn't derail the fun. There were bands playing, cloggers clogging, square dancers square dancing, guests stomping grapes, kids playing on a giant inflated slide, shoppers shopping and of course a LOT of wine tasting going on!!
This truly was a fun event and different from anything that I have ever attended. To get to winery you have to drive back a windey, country road. The kind that has to be two lanes when another car is coming, but really is only big enough for one car. The West Virginia mountains rising all around you, the drive alone was worth the trip. Then you get to this small clearing and find the winery in the field. There is an empty house in front, then a drive that leads to the office and the retail store (with the owners in residence above the store). A large wrap around porch leads you to a path that goes to the distillery that is on the premises. They offered tours, but unfortunately I wasn't able to leave my space long enough to see it.
This is an annual event, and people came from all over to attend. You certainly could tell that it wasn't their first time to plan such an event. They had a stage set up opposite the store for the bands, and the dancers all performed on the pavement in between the store and the stage. They also had a wine tasting station by the store, where visitors gathered all day long trying every wine that the Kirkwood winery produces. When visitors entered the festival they received a wine glass (the entry fee was $6.00) and a wrist band that entitled them to free wine tasting all day long. My unofficial poll showed a tie between peach and blueberry wine being the female crowd favorite and ramp being the male favorite. I personally thought the Currant, the Blueberry, the Niagara and the Merlot were all tops!!!
To see more pictures from the show, visit my flickr account http://flickr.com/uniquegarden later on tonight and click on the collection link for the Kirkwood Grape Festival.
I had a great time and truly appreciated being invited to attend. If you ever visit West Virginia you should try to include the Kirkwood Winery in your plans! They offer tours all the time, just give them a call, but for a great time you should plan to attend next years festival!

More Rubs, More Scrubs

As you have probably figured out by now, you can use a great many different kitchen and grocery products in your health and beauty regimen. Oatmeal, sugar, ground nuts, and ground citrus peel all make gently abrasive ingredients for scrubs. Experiment to see which feels best for you and which best suits your skin type. When in doubt go with oatmeal, as it is very gentle and helps to soften the skin while gently and lightly abrading, as well as being an agent that helps to reduce itching. As for the carrier oils, which you use can depend upon availability (just about everyone keeps olive oil in the kitchen) or you can go with one that is perfect for your skin type and/or need.
OILS
Apricot kernal oil rehydrates the skin and is great for facial scrubs or massages. It restores the skin's glow and softens the skin. It is a light oil and is great for mixing with heavier oils. Avocado oil is great for very dry skin. Even though it is very heavy, it is easily absorbed into the skin, so use this if you have skin that has a hard time accepting oils. This oil is very nourishing, but the shelf life is short. Hazelnut oil is easily absorbed by the skin and is great for those with oily skin. Jojoba oil is on the expensive side, but it is very similar to the oil our own skin produces so it is easily absorbed. Another plus is that it naturally contains vitamin E, which helps to preserve it and give it a longer shelf life than many other oils. Olive oil (extra virgin) is very heavy so you may choose to mix it with a lighter oil. It is disinfecting and healing, and it is great for chapped, dry skin. Safflower oil is light and very easily absorbed by the skin. Sunflower oil is a fairly light oil. It helps the skin to maintain its natural level of moisture while softening it. Sweet almond oil is a mid weight oil and a great all purpose oil. It can be used by all skin types and it relieves itchiness.
CREAMY FACIAL
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/8 cup honey
4 Tbs. powdered milk
2 drops rosemary EO
Heat the honey, remove from heat, then add in the mayo, powdered milk and rosemary essential oil. Stir well. When cool enough apply to face and neck. Leave on for 15 minutes then rinse off with tepid water and pat skin dry. This must be used when and as it is made.
CORNMEAL FACE SCRUB
5 drops Pink Grapefruit EO 5 drops Patchouli EO 5 drops Lavender EO 1/4 cup cornmeal 1/4 cup plain yogurt Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for a couple of hours before using. Store any unused portions in the refrigerator.
GINGER BODY SCRUB
2 drops Ginger EO 4 drops Peppermint EO 3 drops Rosemary EO 1/3 Cup your choice of a Carrier Oil (like sweet almond oil) 1/4 Cup Cornmeal 1/4 Cup Dead Sea or European Spa salts Mix the salt and the cornmeal together. Warm the carrier oil, mix in the essential oils, then mix all with dry ingredients. Use this in the shower or standing in the tub, but be cautious to not slip in the oil. Apply in circular motions, working from the extremities inward, working towards the center of the body and the heart. Rinse with warm water, then pat dry. This, as with most scrubs, is best used in the mornings because of its invigorating effects.

Rub a Dub Dub, You Can Scrub..in the shower

Orange Zest Body Scrub
1/2 cup Sugar (white or brown) 1/4 cup Honey 1/2 cup unscented bath salt, either Dead Sea or European 1/2 cup Epson Salts 1/2 cup Coarse Sea Salt OR increase the Dead Sea or European Salts above, or mix to make 1 C 1/2 cup orange zest powder
10ml Orange (Sweet) EO 2 Tbs. Grape Seed Oil 2 Tbs. Jojoba Carrier Oil 1/4 cup Shea Butter This scrub has a fresh, clean, orange scent that will uplift your senses as it leaves your skin moisturized, soft and silky.
Warm the Grape Seed and Jojoba oils over a very low flame, slowly, being careful to not burn the oil. Once warm, add the shea butter. When the shea butter begins to melt, remove the mixture from the stove. Stir well and allow the mixture to cool, but not harden. Then add the other ingredients one at a time, in the order shown. Be sure to add the add the essential oil last, and stir well to combine all the ingredients. Then put the mixture into plastic containers and place in the refrigerator to cool completely and harden. The oils will rise to the top and form a soft butter. The other ingredients will settle on the bottom. When it is completely cooled you can scoop it out by the handful to use (make sure you reach to the bottom to get the scrub ingredients, not just the oil). Massage it into your skin from head to toe. This scrub contains a lot of oil, which makes the tub slippery, so be careful not to slip. If you wish, you can place a towel in the tub to help prevent slipping. Happy scrubbing!!!! The shelf life of this product is pretty long even without a preservative because of the honey, essential oil and salt, but be sure not to get any water into it as you use it, or you'll risk bacterial growth. As always, use the freshest oils possible for best results!
Honey Lemon Sugar Scrub
4 tsp lemon juice 4 drops Lemon EO 4Tbs. honey 1/2 cup Sweet Almond Oil 2 1/2 cups Sugar Combine the sugar and sweet almond oil in a large bowl and stir well to combine. Add the lemon juice and stir again. Finally, add the honey and lemon essential oil and stir again to mix. You should have a grainy paste. To use, stand naked in a tub or shower and scoop the scrub using your palms. Begin massaging body, extremities first, in circular motions to exfoliate and cleanse.This mixture is oily and so you will have to be especially careful that you do not slip in the tub! After you're finished, you can cleanse with soap or bath gel as usual if you'd like to remove some of the excess oil from your skin ... which should feel polished and luxuriant after your treatment! You can make this recipe ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator, but allow it sit before use until it reaches room temperature, then stir well to mix before using. It should last a few weeks if you use fresh ingredients and store it in an airtight container.
Gingerbread Body Scrub
1 tsp cocoa powder 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 drops Ginger EO 1 Tbs. Jojoba Oil 1 tsp freshly grated ginger Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix well. To use in the shower, scoop up some of the scrub and rub it in circular motions all over your body. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry. This scrub really smells great!
I am an Auntie for the second time!!!!!!!!!!
Baby Boy, Cooper Doyle Disxxxxxxx was born today at 8:14am! He weighed 8lbs even and was 20 1/2" long!!!! And, of course, he is beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!
I am going to be an Auntie twice over in the morning! Danica, now two years old, will have a baby brother, Cooper, by about 8:30 am. I am soooooo excited and so ready to see if he is any where as ornery as his Father was! lol

Scrub a Dub Dub Take Time To Do A Body Rub!

When visiting any Spa, the integral part of the treatment will be some type of exfoliation. While the techniques may vary, the purpose of exfoliation is always the same. First of all it serves to rid the skin's surface of dirt and oil as it rubs off the outermost layer of dead skin cells. The removal of this layer of dead cells enables the skin to more easily and effectively absorb or react to any products used after the exfoliation process. Therefore the second purpose of exfoliation is that it actually prepares the skin for other, subsequent treatments. It is very important to remember that body scrubbing is NOT facial scrubbing. You need to have appropriate tools for the job, such as; a sisal mitt, a loofah sponge, a stiff, natural bristle brush, and/or an abrasive sponge, a pumice stone and a towel are good to have also. The pumice stone is great for the bottoms of the feet, but not a necessity. Whichever tools you choose to use, make sure that you use your scrubber in a circular motion, beginning at the feet , moving to the legs, the working the hands, arms, shoulders, then down the back and up the torso toward the heart. Apply firm, even pressure but do not apply so much that you irritate or "burn" the skin. As you incorporate a full body rub into your daily beauty regimen (it really should be done daily five minutes is all that you need if done consistently) your skin will build a tolerance to the rubbing and you will be able to apply more pressure, offering a more vigorous scrub. When you are brand new to body rubs, you have to begin by being more gentle in order to avoid abrading the skin. Body scrubbing helps to stimulate and circulate the lymph fluids, which then help to eliminate the body's toxins. A cool water rinse after the body scrub will further help with blood circulation. After the rinse, pat dry and moisturize if you are not performing another type of treatment. Do not skip moisturizing! As previously stated, after the exfoliation the skin will more readily drink in the moisturizer, making it much more effective at this time than any other. Since exfoliation is very energizing and revitalizing, it is a treatment that is really best suited to a morning regimen. As with most recipes for body treatments, the ingredients are dependant upon your needs. You will need an abrasive ingredient along with one that will make it easy to apply to the skin. The various oils used should be chosen according to your skin type and any essential oils used should be chosen to maximize the effects that you desire. You can review what the essential oils are used for by reading the archives. All essential oils are listed alphabetically during 10/08 and 11/08. The next post will review potential choices for the abrasive ingredient in recipes, as well as the various carrier oil choices, along with a few more recipes. Meanwhile, you can find some recipes in the archives for 8/16/08.

Compresses and Poultices

As we know, herbs were the first used "drugs". You can still utilize these natural remedies for a variety of maladies. Since many of the recipes I have offered have focused on essential oils for inhalation, today I'd like to discuss some other ways to use herbs, mainly compresses and poultices. A compress consists of a pad or cloth material(cotton or gauze is the best material choice) that has been soaked in an herbal tea, decoction, or extract and water mixture. After the appropriate tea, decoction, or extract is chosen and made, you soak the pad or cloth fabric in the liquid, wring it out, then apply it to the affected area. Compresses can be used either hot or cold. If swelling, muscle sprain, or a headache is involved, after it is soaked, place the compress in the freezer until it is cold, then apply it. Sometimes it is beneficial to alternate heated compresses with cold ones to help relieve pressure. Compresses are ideal for treating and helping to heal muscle injuries, wounds, and other external pain. To know what herbs to use for your ailment(s), refer to herbal or essential oil charts, where the benefits of the products are listed. The herbs can e used as single notes or you can try mixing more than one together at a time if you are feeling bold! For muscle pains you can try wintergreen, camphor, lemon grass, sage, or eucalyptus teas. For a headache try a cool lavender, chamomile and/or sage compress. For minor wounds or skin irritations, try rosemary, chamomile, thyme or lavender. While almost like a compress, with a poultice you apply the whole herb to an affected area instead of the liquid soaked fabric. First you must boil the fresh herb (roots can be used too), then you squeeze out the excess water. The herb is then placed on a thin layer of gauze, folded to keep the herb sandwiched inside, then laid over the affected area. The poultice should stay in place for for 3-4 hours, then be replaced with a fresh one if needed. Again, the choice of herbs/roots needs to be researched and well thought out, but a poultice of (either one or a combination of two or more) the herbs rosemary, thyme, lavender or chamomile would make a strong healing poultice. Chamomile on the skin helps to reduce redness and sooth inflamed skin, as well as being an antiseptic, bactericidal, and mild sedative. Thyme is reputed to be strongly anti-viral, while also being considered an antibacterial agent and fungicide. While lavender works well on all types of skin problems, it especially worlds well for healing boils, burns, sunburn, wounds, psoriasis, insect bites, and stings. Among many others, Lavender has the properties of an antiseptic, and an analgesic, an anti-inflammatory, a restorative and a mild sedative. Rosemary also possesses many properties, but for the purpose of a poultice it is important for its properties of an analgesic, an antimicrobial, an antiseptic, a fungicidal, and a restorative.

YOU CAN'T CLEAN TOO MUCH

Going natural isn't just for bath and body, it can be for the household too! Here are some easy recipes to help with the household chores. These natural cleansers will help you clean your home without hurting the planet, while the aromas of the essential oils will help to make the chore of cleaning more pleasurable.
ANTIBACTERIAL BATHROOM CLEANER
2 tsp Tea Tree essential oil (EO) 1 tsp Peppermint EO 2 Tbs. (or more) of unscented liquid soap 1 Tbs. white vinegar (optional) 1 cup baking soda Measure the baking soda into a bowl with a tight fitting lid. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of liquid soap (either regular dish washing soap or a natural brand of liquid soap such as liquid Castile soap). Mix well to create a paste-like consistency. If you need more liquid soap to get the correct consistency, add it a little at a time until the mixture is like a paste, pliable but not soggy. Once you have a consistency you feel like you can work with, add the essential oils and mix well again. Add the vinegar lastly, which helps to boost the cleaning power. To use, scoop out a little of the cleanser and use a sponge or rag to gently scrub tub, shower and sink surfaces. A little goes a long way, and the antibacterial effect of the tea tree EO offers extra peace of mind.
CLEANSING BLEND
1 drop lemongrass EO 1 drop lavender EO 1 drop Tea Tree EO 1 drop Citronella EO 6 Tbs. Sweet Almond Oil (carrier)
Mix all oils together well. Then apply daily to keep your area smelling fresh and clean. This mixture will kill odors, bacteria, molds, and fungus, while repelling insects and mice.
DISINFECTANT SPRAY
1/4 tsp Lavender EO 1/4 tsp Eucalyptus (globulus) EO 1/4 tsp Lemon EO 1/4 cup vodka, yes the alcohol kind 2 cups water
Mix all ingredients together and mix well. Shake before use. Use this spray on counters, cutting boards, the dish rack and more. It can also be used as an air freshener and even on furniture that you want to keep cats off.
DISINFECTANT SURFACE CLEANER (non-wood)
1 tsp Lavender EO 1 tsp Tea Tree EO
1 tsp Lemon EO 1 tsp Litsea Cubeba EO 1 tsp borax 2 cups distilled water 1 cup Liquid Soap (unscented) Place all ingredients in a plastic spray bottle and shake well before each use. First spray the surface, then use a soft cloth to wipe clean. Use this to spray to wipe clean all non-wood bathroom and kitchen surfaces.
BATHROOM ANTIBACTERIAL AIR FRESHENER SPRAY
5 drops White Thyme EO 10 drops Citronella EO 5 drops Eucalyptus (Globulus) EO 5 drops Sage EO 5 drops Cinnamon Leaf or Cassia EO 10 drops Lavender EO 10 drops Bergamot EO 10 drops Tea Tree EO 5 drops Lemon EO 500 ml distilled water This air spray is refreshing and will keep your bathroom clean, killing bacteria and viruses. Mix all of the ingredients together and put into a spray bottle. Shake well before each use and spray it every day to keep your bathroom smelling fresh and clean.
WOOD FURNITURE POLISH
Depending upon the level of need and your time available, you can either melt some candellia wax and add a few drops of lemon or orange essential oil for scent, and use this to rub onto your wood surfaces, then buff to shine....
Or just take 1/2 tsp Lemon EO and add it to 4 fl oz of olive oil. Place this mixture into a small bottle and apply it with a soft cloth to your wood furniture, buff to shine. The olive oil will feed the wood, while the lemon will offer a great, fresh scent.