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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!