The Garden

As I was walking outside today, I realized that I hadn’t walked through the garden just to look for awhile.  So I went to take a look.

This year we have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, asparagus, herbs, and some lettuce.  Everything seems to be doing very well!

_MG_0419

The garden

_MG_0420

We have some tomato blossoms…

_MG_0427

…and some tomatoes!

_MG_0435

Actually, quite a few tomatoes

_MG_0437

Asparagus

_MG_0441

Most of the asparagus looks like this

_MG_0444

Lots of butterflies!

_MG_0447

Busy bee in the thyme

_MG_0456

Thyme

_MG_0457

Cilantro

_MG_0460

Apple mint

_MG_0461

Butterfly!

_MG_0471

Lavender

_MG_0475

 

_MG_0477

Our parsley is about two feet tall now!

_MG_0480

Orange mint

_MG_0482

Lettuce

_MG_0488

We have some cucumbers like this…

_MG_0491

…some like this…

_MG_0494

…and some with flowers!  Another butterfly

_MG_0496

I found this interesting cucumber blossom

_MG_0508

And had to take many photos of it!

_MG_0509

 

_MG_0501

Look at all these little cucumbers!

_MG_0506

 

_MG_0512

 

_MG_0511

Climbing

Lots of Lotion

I love lotion.  At least, I love making lotion.  I don’t use it a whole lot, mostly because I forget.

I first tried making lotion, oh, a year and a half ago.  And it didn’t quite work – the water and oils separated.

Then I thought about whipping it.  I had heard someone talking about whipping it while it cooled.  I thought, “Well, maybe that will keep the oils and water together.”

So right before our trip I whipped up a batch, using the same recipe that failed last time.  And I whipped it while it cooled.  At least, most of the time.

And it worked!  It made a lovely lotion with a gorgeous consistency.

When we got back, I made another batch of lotion, but this time I altered the recipe slightly to use some herbs and and essential oil that I knew where good for eczema.  The lotion came together as expected, and I think it does help with the itching, although my eczema patches seems to be growing (possibly), but this may have nothing to do with the cream.

On Monday I made this magnesium lotion for my mom (I’m using it too!).  I was amazed how it thickened so quickly with the stick blender.  I could see the color changing as I blended it.  As a side note, I think I used 3 parts sweet almond/olive oil, and 1 part shea butter/coconut oil with a little cocoa butter mixed in.

Then yesterday I made Tangerine Chocolate Hand Lotion for a friend’s birthday.  I was really happy with how it turned out – it smelled good enough to eat!

Here is the recipe, adapted from the one given to me by a friend.

Try making lotion.  It’s not hard at all.

Tangerine Chocolate Lotion

1/4 c. water
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/4 c. sweet almond oil (or other liquid oil, see note)
1/8 c. cocoa butter (I used the wafers)
1/8 c. coconut oil
2 Tbsp. grated beeswax (pellets would probably work)
11-12 drops tangerine essential oil (or whatever scent you want)

(Note:  You can use any liquid oil(s) that you want in place of the almond oil (1/4 c.) and any firm oils in place of the other firm oils (1/4 c. total). Just know that the color of the oils will affect the finished product’s color.  I wanted a whiter lotion, so I picked clearer oils.)

Melt the oils and beeswax together in a pot.  Meanwhile, combine the water and baking soda together in a pot.  As soon as it boils, combine it with the oil mixture, whisking all the while.  Transfer to a bowl, and let cool for a little while (I can’t remember – 15-20 minutes, maybe 1/2 hour?).  Add the essential oils.  Using a stick blender, blend for a few moments.  Let rest awhile, and smell.  How does it smell?  Does it need more tangerine oil?  Add and mix until it smells good.  If it smells good initially, just beat it once more.  Pour into a jar or other clean container.

Alternately, pour the warm oil/water mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer, and beat with that until desired consistency is reached, stopping to smell occasionally and add essential oils accordingly.

Enjoy!

 

_MG_0111

Making the eczema lotion – the herbs I used, chamomile and violet leaf

_MG_0115

The essential oils I used (glad I took a picture, otherwise I wouldn’t have remembered!)

_MG_0117

All done!

_MG_0119

I’m Back!

This week was pretty relaxing.  I know I didn’t post a whole lot, but that wasn’t exactly because I was busy.  I could have made the time.  I’m not sure why I didn’t.

Today Mom picked up a bunch of plants at the produce stand – they were $5 a flat.  She purchased some peppers – cayenne, pablanos, and bell – tomatoes, and a bunch of herbs.  Lavender, orange mint, some Greek basil, rosemary, Mexican tarragon, French tarragon, and thyme, to name a few.  I love thyme.  I just buried my nose into it and inhaled.  We were able to plant the peppers and the herbs in our raised beds.  I had a few more basil plants that I had started that needed to be planted, and between them and all the other herbs I planted, I feel “herb rich.”  It’s quite a delightful feeling.  A treasure chest full of flavor.

I also made some lemonade.  I love lemonade.  We had some at Pastor’s party, and it made me want to make some.  Well, it really made me want to drink some.  Which means I have to make some first.  And I did have quite a bit at the party.  But, as has already been stated, I love lemonade.

Yesterday I was able to remill some soap that we had had sitting around for awhile.  I grated the bars of soap up, put them in a pot with a few tablespoons of milk, and put that over low heat until it melted.  Once it was nice and sticky (and looking rather akin to mashed bananas), Meiling and I added some essential oils (grapefruit, lemon, and orange) and some oatmeal.  We had an old mini muffin tin, and I poured the soap gloop into that.  I put it in the freezer for a little bit, removed them from the tin, and then relocated it into the fridge for a little longer.  They should be ready to use now.

I saved some of the grated soap and combined it with some dried chamomile flower heads, oatmeal, and lavender and geranium essential oils.  I tied this little mixture up into a square of cloth with a piece of yarn.  It is my little face scrub.  I moisten it up and rub it all over my face.  It works quite well.

_MG_9989

The supplies for my face scrubby – yarn, cloth, and a soap-based filling

_MG_9994

Right before tying it up

_MG_9998

All finished!

_MG_0004

The kittens – aren’t they cute!  The one on top is my favorite.  They are wild, so we only got to hold one once.

_MG_0013

Lemonade

_MG_0017

The herbs

_MG_0019

Aren’t they so pretty?

Aromatherapy

Lately I have been reading a great book titled Aromatherapy.  It is by Kathi Keville, who has been researching herbs and aromatherapy since 1968, and Mindy Green, who has worked in the natural products and complimentary health care industry for about 40 years. 

This book not only covers therapeutic uses of essential oils, but also has chapters covering massage, facial care, body and hair care, and cooking with essential oils.  I am currently reading the chapter on cooking with essential oils.  I especially enjoyed the chapters on massage and facial care.  The chapter on facial care gives instructions on how to give a facial, which is something I want to do in the near future (my mom is looking forward to that:)).  Giving Mom a massage with oils will be very fun.  The recipes for lotions and creams look great, also.

Since reading this book and receiving encouragement from friends, I have been using essential oils more often.  Some of my favorite things as of yet have been using lavender oil for headaches, peppermint oil for stomach aches and nausea, and lavender and marjoram oils for sleeping.

For a headache, take lavender oil and rub it across your forehead and temples, and at the base of your neck.  This doesn’t work for all headaches, but it usually helps me.  My headache is usually gone within ten minutes!

When my stomach is feeling yucky, I rub peppermint oil diluted in almond oil over my stomach.  If I start feeling really sick, I will also smell some peppermint oil, either right from the bottle or I’ll put a few drops on a tissue and use that.  You can also put the tissue with the peppermint oil on it in your pillow while you are sleeping, and then you can have a peppermint pillow!  To dilute peppermint oil, use a 2% dilution, which is 10-12 drops for every ounce of carrier oil (I usually use either almond or olive oil).

The other night I was having a hard time sleeping.  I had gone to bed around 9:15, and it was 11:20, and I still wasn’t asleep!  I took some marjoram and lavender oil (since my aromatherapy book suggested them), put a few drops on a tissue, then tucked the tissue in my pillow case.  I also used an essential oil blend called “Anxiety Release,” which I put on a tissue and tucked into the slats of my sister’s bed above me.  I started feeling sleepy almost instantly, and was asleep in 40 minutes.

Note:  Although the Aromatherapy book has some really good information, it also discusses some mature subjects.  Please use discretion.