Tripod Thursdays- Soaps

I am missing pictures of 15 to 20 batches, but here are the pictures that I do have. These soaps have all been made this year. When I locate the missing photos, I will update this slide show. Turn up your Smell-O-Vision and enjoy!

What's Up Wednesday - Stomp Out Some Good Summer Foot Care Recipes

Aside from attending my Grandson's first birthday party where, after several days in the high 90's, it stormed and poured down rain on a shelter house full of guests, the only thing I have been up to is the same old, same old. Making soap, visiting forums, and writing about eo's for the book. The only twist, this week I used a couple of plastic containers [that used to hold instant drink mixes] to make some guest size soaps. It was a small batch to try out a sample fragrance,  pinenut and blossoms, and I used annatto seed and spirulina for the coloring. Other than having to cut the container to unmold, as I was too impatient to try and wait it out, they came out quite nicely. The fragrance will probably be a limited edition because I don't see me purchasing it, but these sample /guest size soaps are kind of cute, and what a great way to recycle!
This is the finished soap

From these containers

As a follow up to yesterdays post. I wanted to provide you with some recipes. The first one is not only great for your feet, but is a perfect way to utilize some of your fresh lavender. Don't have any? You can purchase it from several on line sources, or local growers! 


You will need 1/2 cup of dried lavender flowers, 1/2 cup of fresh sage that is finely chopped, 2 cups of water, and 8 drops of lavender essential oil. In a pan, add the lavender and sage to the water, cover and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes. When time is up, strain the infusion through a cheesecloth, toss the solids, and  allow the liquid to cool. Once cooled, add the essential oil and then pat onto your feet (this is great for the hands too). You can repeat as frequently as you like. This recipe is great for relieving tired, swollen, achy, red  feet.  

You can also easily turn the lavender wash into a foot soak, or substituting any other herbs or herbs of your choice, and enjoy as you soak your cares away. Simply take 2 cups of fresh herbs or 1 cup of dried herbs and steep in 2 gallons of boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain the liquid and toss the plant material when time is up. Allow to cool slightly, then place into a foot tub and soak your feet for 20 minutes, then pat dry. 

Foot soaks are easy to prepare and ideal for sore, tired and/or swollen  feet. Try using one of the following, or a combination of your favorites; comfrey, elderberry, pine, rosemary, chamomile or sage.

To pull the impurities from the skin, restore minerals (directly into the skin), and gently exfoliate at the same time, try the Green Clay Foot Mask  Since clay is also an effective heat conductor, this treatment is very soothing and effective as a muscle relaxing treatment for tired, aching feet. To get the most out of the treatment, make sure to use the green clay. The green clay is rich in magnesium and silica, highly absorbent, and makes a good deodorant. To prepare, just mix 1/2 cup of the powdered green clay with 1/2 cup of distilled water. You can lesson the water if you want, you just need to make a thick paste. Then coat your feet with the clay and allow it to dry, then rinse with warm water, and pat dry. Don't forget to then moisturize those piggies! 

Teaching Tuesdays - Stomp Out Some Good Summer Foot Care

While our feet may not show age like the hands do, they support our body weight, pound the pavement, bask in the sand at the beach, walk in ridiculous shoes, have circulation issues, and are often covered with socks and heavy shoes. Unless they are aching or smelling, feet are generally ignored. 

Well, we should not ignore our hard-working feet, and with a few simple steps, we can care for them and ensure their health, just as much as we care for the rest of our skin! 

Of course, as with all other skin care, good health begins on the inside. So make sure that you are eating right, getting plenty of sleep, and plenty of water to drink. 

Of course, common sense works well too, so make sure that your shoes fit  well, and that you wear the appropriate shoes for the activities of the day. 
It is best to purchase new shoes in the middle of the day, when your feet have had time to swell slightly. This will help to ensure that you get a comfortable fitting shoe.

Additionally, here are a few more tips that you may not have given much thought to.

Make sure to completely dry in between your toes after bathing or swimming. Moisture can lead to yeast infection/athletes foot, so we want to eliminate any possibility of that.

Inspect your feet and take appropriate care of any small cuts or nicks. Some diseases, age, and even some skin conditions may impact the feeling in your feet. It is imperative that you take care of small cuts before they become large infections.  

Keep the toe nails and cuticles away from soaps, detergents, and hot water as much as possible. Avoid the frequent use of nail polish remover, it dries out the nail bed and leads to splitting.

Massage and moisturize as often as possible, but daily at minimum. The feet are always subject to issues of poor circulation, massaging not only feels good, but stimulates and increases the circulation.   

Give yourself or get a pedicure once a week or more frequently if you can swing it. 

Do not use a sharp object to remove dirt from under the nails, use a nail brush with baking soda as a cleanser. If your nails are dull and /or yellowed. brighten them with white vinegar! 

Never cut the cuticles (or use cuticle removers), instead, soak your nails in warm water to soften the cuticles, then gently push them back, using a soft, moist towel, or by gently applying pressure with an orange stick. 

Keep your nails trimmed, and make sure that you cut straight across when you cut, to prevent hang nails. 

Soak feet for 20 minutes in a warm footbath before exfoliating.

A couple of drops of peppermint essential oil will help to stimulate the circulation of the feet.

Come back tomorrow for some great recipes to aide in your foot care!   

Make It Yourself Monday-Good Recipes for Summer Heat

As summer continues in all its heat, humidity and glory, I look for refreshing, easy, and cool things to make for meals. lately it has even been too hot to grill out, our normal "escape" from the stove, so that has prompted me to explore other avenues of relief. 

A friend of mine sent me the following recipe that she found at a Costco. She actually made it for a wedding reception a few weeks ago, and says that it is not only easy, but is quite delicious. I am assured that it is not too spicy, rather, just right. A different type of recipe, but one worth trying, and quite intriguing. So grab yourself some chips and give it a go!      

Fire and Ice Salsa

3 cups seeded and chopped watermelon
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper

Combine ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving with chips. 

From the national watermelon promotion board, (yes, they really have one of those!, Lol), here is an interesting side dish recipe. 

Watermelon Havarti Stacks with Dilled Ranch and Grilled Chicken

Watermelon Havarti Stacks with Dilled Ranch and Grilled ChickenIngredients
8 circles 1 inch thick by 4 inch diameter circles of seedless watermelon
8 slices Havarti cheese
6 pieces grilled chicken breast halves, cooled and julienne across the grain
1 teaspoon minced fresh dill, stems removed and discarded
1 cup natural low fat ranch dressing
1 serving (optional) Watermelon & Wine Reduction Drizzle

On 4 serving plates, place one round of watermelon in the center of each plate. Trim the cheese into the same size circle as the watermelon and place one cheese round on each of the four plated slices of watermelon. Repeat with another piece of watermelon and then the remaining cheese.

Clump the julienne chicken in even portions on top of the watermelon cheese stacks. Stir the fresh dill inot the ranch dressing. Garnish watermleon chicken stacks with dressing and an attractive drizzle of the Watermelon & Wine Reduction.

Watermelon & Wine Reduction Drizzle

8 cups watermelon puree
1 cup inexpensive red balsamic vinegar
1 cup red wine
3 cups sugar in the raw
1 teaspoon sea salt

Stir all ingredients together well in a heavy stainless steel pot over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to slow boil, stirring occasionally, until contents are 1/3 the volume than when boiling began. Cool. Refrigerate in a food-safe squirt bottle and use over grilled anything, greens, goat cheese, etc. Makes 3 to 4 cups, which lasts up to 30 days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature to use.
Makes 4 servings.

Actually, there are several unique and interesting recipes, demonstrating just how versatile the summer watermelon really is. Check out the watermelon promotion site , and try out a few! 

Frankly Speaking Friday-Poison Ivy Treatments

Where I live, summer brings us heat, bugs, and cases of poison ivy. But even staying inside, in the air-conditioning, doesn't always mean that you can avoid the poison ivy. After all, your animals can carry the oil in on their fur, you touch them, it is transferred, and the irritation and itching begin! 

But nature has given us the perfect antagonist for poison ivy. It is often called the "touch me not" impatient, botanically known as Impatiens Capensis, and commonly known as Jewel Weed
Jewel weed produces trumpet-shaped flowers, which bloom from early summer to fall. They are under an inch in length and have three petals. One of the petals curls, to form a long slipper, or sack shaped spur. They come in a variety of colors and like to grow near water or in shallow ponds. It's been said that jewel weed grows wherever Poison Ivy is found, but that isn't true. Poison ivy can grow well under most any condition (just like a pest, aye?), be it sunny or shady. However, jewel weed is a shade loving plant, that prefers valleys with rich soil and moist bottom lands. It may sprout in a sunny area, but it will not survive for long in the light. 

There are many ways to utilize jewel weed, but drying it is not practical, as it has a very high moisture content. For this reason, the soaps, salves and sprays that are made from this herbal, are made from fresh or frozen jewel weed. 

One of the simplest ways to benefit from this flower is simply to take the stem, slice it, and slather the juice onto skin that has come into contact with poison ivy. If you get it applied before a rash appears, it generally will prevent any from developing. If you already have a rash, it will help to ease the irritation. In fact, many people use the stem juice as a preventative treatment for poison ivy reactions, and it seems to work well.

When foraging, make sure that you are looking for the orange flowering jewel weed, not the yellow, as the yellow is less concentrated and will probably not offer you the relief you are looking for.
The fresh plant lasts about a week in a sealed container, in the refrigerator. 

You can make an infusion by boiling the leaves of the plant, and can even freeze it for later use. 
Just brew chopped jewel weed leaves in boiling water, until you get a dark orange liquid in your pot. Then strain the liquid, and pour it into ice cube trays. Then, when you have a skin rash, just grab out a cube and rub the affected area with your "jewel cube". It will keep in the freezer for up to one year. 

You can also preserve the infusion by canning it in a pressure cooker. 

You can make a tincture with witch hazel and the jewel weed juice or the infusion previously described. Preparing the tincture in witch hazel will help to prevent mold growth, if you want to keep some jewel juice unfrozen. 

If you want to make soap with the jewel weed, either make an infusion to incorporate as your liquid, or you can just use the jewel ice in place of all or a portion of your liquid. 

You can also make jewel weed ointment. Simply simmer a small amount of jewel weed in a light vegetable oil (do not use olive oil) for 10-15 minutes. Use only a small handful of jewel weed stems per quart of oil, or bubbles of the juice will form in the ointment, and they will cause mold. When time is up, strain out the herb and add a handful of beeswax, to thicken it, and heat until it is melted. Take out a spoonful and allow it to cool, to test the thickness. Add either more oil or more beeswax until it is the consistency that you prefer. Once it is just right for you, remove from the heat and pierce 2 gel caps of vitamin E, and add the contents of one oil-soluble vitamin E capsule, pour into a jar, and allow it to completely cool (with the lid off).

Whatever you do, do NOT make alcoholic tinctures from Jewel weed. Some people have had very bad reactions when mixing and using jewel weed with alcohol. 

While most people use jewel weed to neutralize the poison Ivy's oily antigen, urushiol, it is also an effective remedy for poison oak, okra spines, stinging nettle, bug bites, heat rash, and other irritating plant reactions and other skin disorders. For more than a hundred years, a poultice made from this plant was used to treat burns, cuts, sores, sprains, warts, eczema, and even ringworm.  

What's Happening Wednesday-Herbs and Writing

What's Happening Wednesday? 

I am not sure where you are located, but here in the Buckeye state, the humidity is high and the heat is even higher. July is really resembling August, with several air advisories, and the kind of havoc that only the dog days of summer can create in the garden. Plants are suffering greatly in this heat, so production has been low thus far. This rosemary though, looks none the worse for the wear, so it was off the stem and into the food dehydrator, yippee!

After several hours, the rosemary is ready to be stored in a jar until it is needed for a bath soak or an herbal infusion. In the middle of winter, the house will smell just like the garden, when I pull out herbs to create wonderful blends for balms, soaps and bath blends.

Aside from tending to the herbal pots, this Wednesday will find me in front of the air-conditioner, working on my essential oil book. I am really trying to get it finished for a Fall publishing date, so it is a great excuse for being a cool air hog! Lol 

Whatever you are up to this Wednesday, I hope that you can stay cool while doing it!  

Teaching Tuesday-Completing Your Hair Care Regimen

As previously discussed, there are four steps to great hair care. So far we have discussed, and seen recipes for the pre-shampoo conditioning and the shampoo phase. So that leaves us today with rinses and conditioners. 

As with every other aspect of our health, there are things that we should do, and things that we avoid, in order to ensure the best possible outcome. When it comes down to it, our hair is really a reflection of our over all bodily health. Healthy insides will show in your hair, and your general health and nutrition status will reflect in your hair as well. Eating well, drinking plenty of fluids, and getting enough sleep and exercise should be in the top spots of your "things to do for great looking hair" list. Then, avoiding alcohol, tobacco and over-exposure to harsh elements should be in the next few spots. After those spots are full, all you need to do is to follow a good hair care regimen, utilizing good hair care products. Of course you may be surprised to know that most commercial shampoos and conditioners do NOT fall into the "good for you" category, because they have harsh chemicals and detergents, which tend to dry out and damage your hair. Making your own hair treatments is easy, and the best way to ensure that your hair gets the best, most healthy ingredients.  
Step three in the perfect hair care regimen is the after shampoo rinse. This rinse removes all of the soap and accumulated residue from the hair, while leaving it extra shiny. It is meant to be used each time you wash your hair, so using the right ingredients is key!

This recipe is a basic revitalization rinse. Just take 3 sprigs of dried rosemary and mash it into a jar. Fill the jar with 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and cover. Store the jar in cool, dark place for 1 week, making sure to shake the jar vigorously, once every day. After one week, strain it, keep the liquid and throw away the plant material. Put the liquid back into the jar, and store it until you are ready to use it. Just prior to use, dilute 1/3 of a cup of the rosemary liquid in 3 cups of warm/tepid water. Mix well and then use. Rub the solution into your freshly washed, damp hair and scalp. Rinse thoroughly, and dry as usual. Just be extra careful, cuz, you wont want this getting into your eyes!

If you have dandruff, use this after shampoo rinse to soothe the scalp.
Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 4 cups of water and 1 cup of a thyme infusion. 

*To make the infusion; steep 2 tsp. of dried thyme in hot water, for 5 min., in a cover the pot.

Mix all together, and use about half of the amount, depending upon the length of your hair, as a rinse, after you shampoo. 
In this recipe, the vinegar works as a mild astringent, while the thyme acts as the toner. You should store the left-overs in a dark glass bottle, in a cool, dark place. Use the left-overs within a week.

 Dandruff is a common scalp condition that occurs when the dead skin is shed. It is often referred to as seborrhea, which is an inflammatory skin disease caused by a problem with the sebaceous (oil secreting) glands. It is often 
recommended that you increase your B complex vitamins, along with trying a topical treatment such as this rinse.

Now that you have recipes and directions for proper hair care,  here are a few "hair facts" for you to ponder.

Did you know that hair grows about 1/2 inch per month? But it tends to grow faster in warm weather than in cold, so you may find yourself needing more frequent hair cuts during the summer months.

In the seventeenth century blond was "in" and quite posh. It was a sign of affluence, so the only brunettes to be found were in the working class. But it wasnt just the coloring, it was also the do. It was all about height and adornment. The higher/taller the up-do, the better. In fact, doorway frames had to be heightened to accommodate this trendy safe passage of the ladies and their high hair!    

Remember that hats are sunscreen for the hair!

The scalp is more receptive to treatment when the pores are dilated and the skin is relaxed.

For an all over spa treatment, apply your hair treatment before you get into an essential oil infused bath. That way you can be soaking as your hair is being treated.

Do not overuse gels, mousses, or hairsprays. They can build up, leave heavy residue and irritate the scalp.

Use a wide-toothed comb instead of a hairbrush on your hair, as the brushes bristles tend to damage the hair shafts, causing breakage.

When you rinse your hair, use cool water for the final rinse. This will tighten your scalp pores and leave your hair shinier.

Make It Yourself Monday- Hair care Recipes

Here is another pre-shampoo treatment. This one is especially good for dry hair. All you need is 1 ripe avocado and some mayonnaise! So hot the fridge and get some great hair care. Simply peel and pit the the avocado, then mash it in a bowl. Add 1 cup of mayo (the real kind) and mix it well. Gently massage the mixture into your scalp and hair, then cover your head with a shower cap or plastic wrap, and leave it for 20 minutes before shampooing as normal. This combination of oil and eggs from the mayo, along with the avocado, will give your hair a nice, deep conditioning treatment. If you have any left in your bowl, try rubbing it on your hands! You will love  the way it makes you feel! 

Another pre-shampoo conditioner, suitable for normal hair, is an olive oil scalp treatment. For this one, all you need is 1/2 cup of olive oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. You should use this treatment once a week , especially if your hair has been over-exposed to the elements. The lavender, when combined with the olive oil, will improve your hair's elasticity, and make it oh so soft! Not to mention that it smells great, and the lavender can help with relieving tension and headaches (when massaged into the scalp). In order to get the full benefit of this mixture, put the oil into a pan and gently warm it. Once warm, remove it from the heat and add the essential oil. Mix it well before applying to damp hair. Massage into your scalp well, then cover your head with a shower cap or plastic, and leave on for 20 minutes before shampooing as normal. 

For shampooing, a gentle shampoo, one without harsh chemicals, is recommended. So, in other words, nothing that is currently commercially provided is good for your hair! In fact, it I could find no shampoo without a detergent base at the store. So all of those on the shelf will actually act to dry out and damage the hair. But not to worry, natural ingredients are generally safe and gentle for all types of hair, including color treated and damaged hair.

You don't have to make your own soap to get a great shampoo (but you certainly can!), all you need is to do, is find some pure Castille soap                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   (soap made from 100% olive oil & check the labels, because many now days use filler oils to cut costs!), then a few easy additives, and you are good to go! 

When making and using Castille based soap/shampoo, you need to keep in mind that it is a low sudsing agent. The bubbles that come with the commercial shampoos are made with chemicals, and have nothing to so with cleansing. But if you can't get past the idea that bubbles equal cleaning, or if you just enjoy them, you can alter your soap recipe by adding some castor oil, and then you will get good bubbles!   

A good, easy recipe, one that will work for every hair type in the household, is simply using the liquid Castile soap as the base, and then adding various herbal and/or botanical essential oils to customize it for the various types of hair that you need. If you do not make your own soap, and cannot find a Castille soap (try looking at the health food store), you can use an unscented, uncolored baby shampoo.                                                                                                                       For each of the shampoo recipes below, you will need to use the Castille soap as the base. Choose the additives that are appropriate for your hair type. Then to shampoo your hair, all you need to use is an amount about the size of a quarter. Just put it in the palm of your hand, add some water, and rub together to get some lather going. Then apply it to your hair and work it through. Remember to rinse with cool water, and feel free to repeat, if needed. These shampoos will last from three to six months, so store them in a plastic bottle after you mix them up.  

For normal hair, try this herbal recipe. It will cleanse without stripping the hair of its natural protective oils. These herbs will clarify the hair and scalp, removing nasty residue, while adding shine to the clean hair. 

Mix together;
1 cup of liquid Castile soap (or your plain baby shampoo)
1 tsp glycerin
3 drops rosemary essential oil
3 drops sage essential oil
1 tsp white vinegar

For dry, damaged hair try this mixture of enriching herb and oils. These will  soothe, as well as condition, and this formulation will put that nice, silky feeling back into your hair.

Mix together;
1 cup of liquid Castile soap (or the baby shampoo)
1 tsp glycerin
1 tsp aloe vera juice or gel
1tsp jojoba oil (may substitute apricot kernel oil)
3 drops chamomile essential oil
3 drops lavender essential oil
1 vitamin E capsule (take a 400 unit (or higher) capsule, pierce it with a pin, and put the liquid into your mixture)

Oily hair treatments are a bit tricky because they need to strip the oil from the hair, yet not strip the scalp so much that it signals for more oil to be produced. The scalp needs to be braced, the oil production slowed, yet it all needs to accomplished without being overly harsh or drying. The following recipe should be just what is needed!

Mix together;
1 cup liquid Castile (or the baby shampoo)
1 tsp glycerin
1/2 tsp tea tree extract or oil
1/2 tsp nettle extract or oil
1/2 tsp witch hazel
3 drops each of your choice, of TWO of the following essential oils; orange, frankincese, grapefruit, lemon, juniper, cypress, borage or lavenderThat is a total of six drops of essential oil, three drops each, from two of the oils listed.

Now, you may feel like we have just covered all the hair types, but there are a few more things to consider. Your scalp status and your hair color also impact your formulation needs. 

The next recipe has been especially designed for LIGHT COLORED HAIR care. It is mild enough for daily use.  

Just take 1/2 cup of fresh (or 1/4 cup dried) chamomile flower heads (calendula may be substituted if you want), and crush them into a small glass bowl. Then pour 1 and 1/2 cups of boiling water over the top of the chamomile. Cover the pot and allow it to steep for 20 minutes. Once the time is up, strain it, reserve the liquid and throw away the plant material. Stir 3 TBS of the liquid Castile soap and 1 tsp. of jojoba oil (may substitute sesame oil) into the chamomile infusion. Stir it well, then add 3 drops of patchouli or ylang-ylang essential oil, and mix it well.

For DARK COLORED HAIR, take 1/2 cup fresh (or 1/4 cup dried) rosemary (sage or cloves can be substituted of you wish) and crush in a small glass bowl. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of boiling water over the rosemary, cover and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Once time is up, strain and throw away the solids, while reserving the liquid. Stir 3 TBS liquid Castile soap, and 1 tsp jojoba oil (may substitute sesame oil if desired) into the rosemary infusion. Stir well, then add 3 drops of patchouli or ylang-ylang essential oil and mix again. This recipe is gentle enough for daily use.

For a DRY SCALP, the many healing and soothing properties of Tea Tree essential oil will work wonders. On the scalp, it soothes the dry, flaky skin, and offers bactericide properties. All you need to do is simply mix 2 TBS of the shampoo, either the LIGHT or the DARK hair formulation, with 3 drops of tea tree essential oil. Use the tea tree instead of the essential oil additive at the end of the recipe(s).
Now that we have pre-conditioning and cleansing formulas, we need to follow these with a proper rinse, and then a great conditioner. So come back tomorrow for Teaching Tuesday's, Complete Hair Care! 

Friday- Recipes for Your Hair

This Frankly Speaking Friday, I promised some recipes for hair, so here ya go! And check back on Monday for some others!

We will start with a pre-shampoo conditioner. This one has sage adn wheat germ, and is especially great for thinning and gray hair.

You will need 8 sage leaves that are crushed, 1/2 cup of boiling water, 1 Tbs. of wheat germ oil, and 1 Tbs. of grapeseed oil. Put the crushed leaves in a small jar and then cover with the boiling water. Set it aside for a half an hour, then strain and keep the liquid and toss the plant material. Add the wheat germ and grapeseed oils to the infused water, then pour it into a dark bottle. Rub a small quantity into your hair and scalp. It is better to do this when your head is damp. Wrap a towel around your head and leave it sit on it for 45 minutes to an hour, then shampoo as normal.

You can also just use molasses for a great hair treatment. All you need to do is to take 1/2 cup of molasses, honey or maple syrup and apply it directly to damp hair, making sure to massage into your scalp. Cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic wrap and leave it alone for 20 minutes. Then rinse with warm water and shampoo as normal. This is an easy treatment that will add shine and moisture to your hair! Just stay away from bees. 

Tripod Thursday- Soap, soap and more soap!

My computer is awaiting a part, so the only pictures that I can give you today are the ones that I already have on picasa web albums. Since you probably dont care to see more of my 50th birthday celebration, here is some Ohio scenery. I actually took the majority of these through the windshield of the car on a short road trip. So forgive the glare on a few, and enjoy the drive! 

Caring for Your Hair aka Teaching Tuesday on Wednesday! Lol

Now that the power is back on and the storms have passed, we are going to go back in time and get our our Teaching Tuesday post in. This week I want to address the proper way to care for your hair. 

Beautiful hair comes from healthy hair, and healthy hair comes from within. So the first, and most important step in hair care, is to have a healthy life style. Eat well, meaning healthily, drink plenty of water, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly and stay away from alcohol and smoking. The ill affects of not being healthy will definitely show in your hair. 

Another thing that will show in/on your hair, is the affects of the elements. Just like your skin, hair needs to be protected from harsh elements, mainly the sun. So wear your hat when out in the sun, or you can even use a protective sunscreen that is made especially for the hair. 

Really there are four steps which will lead you toward beautiful locks. First off, use a pre-shampoo treatment. This treatment should be geared toward conditioning your hair, or moisturizing and treating damaged hair. The next step is shampooing, which is necessary for removing dirt and oil residue. Then there is the rinse. This is key in removing the excess shampoo, as well as replenishing the hair with nutrients. Then there is the final step of conditioning. The conditioner will seal the moisture into the hair, as well as serve to protect it from the elements. 

You should apply your hair treatments just before getting into a warm tub. The scalp is more responsive to treatments when its pores are dilated and the skin is relaxed.  Then, on your final rinse, you should use cool water so that the pores will tighten and leave your hair shinier. 

Additionally, it is important to not stress out your hair too much. So it is better to use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush, whose bristles will damage the hair and can easily break the shaft. Of course it is also a good idea to limit your use of gels and mouses, as they tend to build up on the  hair and scalp, and can even irritate the scalp. 

To help you along in obtaining healthy, beautiful locks of love, look for some hair care recipes this Friday and even some more, next Make it yourself Monday! Everything from the pre-shampoo conditioner to the after-shampoo rinse, you can easily make your own!               

Teaching Tuesdays - Soap

It has been storming here all night, and the electricity has been on and off a few times, so I am going to make this short and sweet. I will post the "Teaching" Tuesday post tomorrow, and do the "What's Happening" Post today. Sorry! 

The book is coming along, slowly, but surely. This is the time of year when I begin to prepare for the holiday season. I send my items to Christmas at the cabin the beginning of October, so now is when I start making melting snowmen, glass bulb snowmen faces w/ hats, ornaments, and soap. I also need to do wine and beer soaps, as well as wine charms, to prepare for my 3rd year at the wine festival down in West Virginia. That is always Gully Fest weekend, it's busy but a lot of fun! There are dancers, bands, wine stomping and lots of wine and great food! It is a ton of hard work, but its an enjoyable hard work!

I am still taking questions about essential oils [to answer in my book], so feel free to ask away! 

Be sure to tune back in tomorrow for What's Happening Wednesday is Really Teaching Tuesday! 

Make It Yourself Monday-Tropical Mask

Bromelain is a protein digestive enzyme that helps the skin to get rid of dead cells and dirt. It also helps counteract histamines and even has anti-inflammatory properties. Why am I telling you this? Because you can find bromelain in pineapple! And, on top of all that, pineapple is also a mild astringent and skin freshener. Then, if you add some nice, healing, high in vitamin E olive oil to your pineapple, you have the makings of a great, natural skin mask! Now, for the best, skin-loving mask, you will want to make sure that you use a good quality, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, but yes, the kind you find in your local grocery store will work just fine. Do, however, check the label carefully and make sure that it is ALL olive oil. There are quite a few very deceptive labels out there that lead you to think you are getting all olive oil, when in fact, when you read the ingredients label (the small print), you will see other oils mixed in! 

Once you have your olive oil and some pineapple, all you need to do is to add about 4 large pineapple chunks (or 1/2 a can of drained pineapple) and 3 Tablespoons of olive oil into your blender. Blend until almost smooth, then apply the mixture to your face and neck with your fingers. Leave it on for about 15 minutes, then rinse off with warm water, pat dry, and moisturize as normal! 

Frankly Speaking Friday-The Safe Cosmetic Act of 2011

For many months representatives from the soap making guild, as well as other industry leaders, worked hard to educate the powers that be [in Washington DC] about the reality of being a small bath and body business and/or an Indie soaper. They attempted to educate these legislators about the science of making soap, (and that lye saponifies so it is not present in soap), how small businesses operate, and what would and would not be reasonable in ingredient labeling and ingredient testing. They tried to educate these representatives, and even thought that they were making reasonable progress. See this note by the owner of Wholesale Plus Warehouse, one of the people who had been back and forth to Washington DC. 
When she wrote this message, she was encouraged and it sounded as though there was a light at the end of the tunnel. But a mere two or three days later, the bill was introduced and we found out that the light was NOT the end of the tunnel, but a TRAIN headed our way! 

When the Safe Cosmetic Act Bill made it to the floor, none of the discussed exemptions were included. As the bill reads now, I imagine that ALL small businesses will be unable to comply, In fact, I would even venture to say that  the large companies will even need to drastically alter their way of business, which will not only lead to major confusion for the consumers, but I can see major price increases as a byproduct as well. 

This page will explain why it is not a feasible bill and the basics of how it will impact us. It offers a paragraph by paragraph explanation of the bill.  Then, the petition site highlights some basic reasons to be against this bill. You will find their reasoning here;   look at the "overview" tab.

I strongly urge you to read over the bill in its entirety, and then, assuming that you feel it will adversely affect your freedoms, as well as small businesses such as mine), please go to this link and sign a petition against it. Better yet, sign the petition AND contact your state representatives.  click on the "petition" tab.

For a few more interesting facts relating to safety in cosmetics, you may also want to review this article;

Certainly we need rules, laws and regulations to try and prevent those few bad apples from spoiling our soap pots, but we need reasonable and applicable regulations. We do NOT need people who don't even understand what they are attempting to require, writing the regulations. It is quite obvious that the writers of this bill are ignorant about what they are intending every company to do. If this passes as is, they will put me and most every other small, small business out of business. Larger small businesses may be able to absorb the costs, but at what price? At any rate, consumer choice will certainly be reduced/limited. Consumer confusion will also increase (over the ingredient labels)m and large businesses will likely respond by raising their product prices. This is my take on it, and I could go on, but I have provided you links where much more eloquent writers explain things much better than I. 

Please take a moment to read these and take a stand. Remember, "all it takes for evil to triumph, is for good men [and women] to do nothing."  Be a part of the solution, educate yourself and then take action!  

Tripod Thursdays- Ohio Country Scenery

Here is some beautiful Ohio scenery!  Enjoy!

*Please remember that all photos and written content on this site are copyrighted. They cannot be used or reprinted under any circumstances without the express permission of the owner.*

Teaching Tuesdays - The Government Wants to Limit Your Choices!

The government is trying to put small businesses like mine out of business by introducing new legislation that will make it all but impossible for me, or any other small business (including much larger small businesses than mine!), to continue on, legally! We have had representatives working with them for months, and were promised certain exemptions, so that we could continue to make soaps, lotions, and the like. But, if this legislative bill passes as is, you will only be buying from the major corporations or illegal small ones! Please read this and then write or email your state legislator and tell that you oppose this bill, that you want the choice of where to buy your skin care products!  This bill only serves to limit your choices!
Today's blog post is being postponed. I apologize, but will be back tomorrow with a Wednesday version of Teaching Tuesday! Meanwhile, I hope that you had wonderful family time as you celebrated our Nation's Independence Day!

Make It Yourself Monday-Happy Independence Day!

God Bless you and yours, and God Bless America! 
Remember, Our Freedom was bought and paid for by the blood of many. Be thankful and respectful, REMEMBER!