Category Archives: From raw materials

Make Your Own Rosemary Water

I have been working on a couple of new face cream recipes using infused apricot oil with herbs/flowers from my garden. I thought the lotions would be even more nourishing if I used my own herb/flower waters instead of the rosewater I usually buy So, this morning I gathered a bunch of fresh rosemary from the garden and made rosemary water. It was so easy that I want to share what I did with you so you can make it. You can also use other herbs or flowers but just about anyone has rosemary growing by them.

Rosemary is rich in antioxidants that nourish the skin and help prevent premature aging (such as droopiness and age spots). It has antiseptic and astringent properties making it a natural face cleanser and toner. Rosemary essential oil is used in shampoos to promote hair growth.

You can use your rosemary water as a face toner or body mist. You can also use it in cream recipes instead of distilled water.

  1. Gather about 6 handfuls of fresh rosemary. I left the rosemary leaves on the stems.
  2. Get your biggest stainless steel or glass pot and place a medium glass bowl in it (I used a round Pyrex dish). Place the rosemary around the bowl and cover it with distilled water (just enough water to cover the rosemary).

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    Ice covering the lid.
  3. Place the lid upside down on top of the pot and fill it with ice (I used a glass lid since that’s the lid that fit the tightest) . Turn the stove on low heat and let it come to a simmer (don’t let it boil). Once the ice has melted (it took about 20 minutes), I removed it and added more ice.

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    Steam rich in essential oils from the rosemary rises to the lid, condenses and drips into your glass bowl. Do you see the drops?
  4. I changed the ice twice and then I turned the stove off and let the rosemary water cool inside the pot before taking it out.

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    You can see the rosemary water in the glass bowl.
  5. Once your rosemary water has cooled pour it into a glass jar and keep it in a cool place. It will keep for 6+ months.

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    About to pour the rosemary water in an amber bottle.

What do you plan to make with your rosemary water?

Venturing in Liquid Soapmaking

A few Tuesdays ago, I decided to make liquid soap using my crockpot. I have made liquid soap before on a stove but wanted to try another method.  I followed the instructions of Sally Hornsey in her book “How to Make your Own Soap”. It took about three days of on and off work (all in all I spent about 5-6 hours) for me to get the right consistency of soap. It was too thick at first so I ended up adding a lot more water then she recommends to dilute the soap paste.

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For the liquid soap, I used almond oil, coconut oil and Shea Butter.

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Once I had the liquid soap base to the right consistency, I used some of it to create a dish soap and a body wash. For the dish soap, I added a few drops of lemon essential oil since it has cleansing properties and I like the smell.

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For the body wash, I used the general guidelines from Mountain Rose Herbs. I combined the following ingredients together:

1oz of Aloe Vera Gel
3 oz of homemade liquid soap
3 oz of spring water
1 tablespoon of rose infused jojoba oil
15 drops of ylang ylang and rosemary essential oil
1 tsp of sea salt

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The result is a white body wash that smells heavenly but is still a little bit too liquid, so next time Ill use more salt. But I love using it regardless as it leaves a nice scent on my skin.

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I am in love with the liquid soap and am looking forward to making more. I am even thinking of including it in my shop. Would you be interested? If so, dish soap or body wash?

Another great resource for making liquid soap in the crockpot: http://ourlifesimplified.com/house/soap-recipes/homemade-liquid-soap-the-easy-way/

*sorry for the picture quality, they were taken with my phone*

New Soaps- Spring Collection

About a month ago, I had the idea of creating a “Spring Collection” for my soap. So, I researched some scent combinations and natural color options. I came up with four soaps (I have made three of them so far). I picked colors that remind me of the spring such as green (leaves coming out), dark orange (tree bark and buds), tan (the earth) and red (first flowers of the season). In my mind they come together like in a painting representing a Spring morning (note to self: paint what I imagine). Furthermore each soap has a special characteristic.

Green Swirly Soap- this is colored with Parsley powder and scented with Lavender, Rosemary and Juniper Berry essential oils. I add parsley powder to the soap at two different times to get different greens and swirled them together.

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Honeycomb Soap- the natural tan color comes from the honey and the ground oatmeal. I left it unscented. I used bubble wrap to create the honeycomb design while the soap was cooling.

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All About Shapes Dark Orange Soap- The dark orange color comes from orange peels. I scented it with Cinnamon and Lavender essential oils. I used different molds such as milk cartons and coffee cans as molds and also cut up some older soap to create some designs in the square bars.

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Red Soap- not made yet

This line will be available for sale through Local Roots (if you live in Atlanta, get the app (available the 1st week in March), Ill deliver the soap to your house 🙂 ) and my Etsy shop.  It will be release Mid-March.

 

An Awesome Weekend Spent Outside Learning

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Our set up (mine is the one on the right)

This past week and weekend I attended the Florida Earthskills Gathering.  I had an awesome time learning, hanging out with friends, meeting new people, dancing, singing, walking, camping, etc. There are not enough words to describe how much I like going to these gatherings, they always make me feel like I am at home among people that share similar interests and lifestyles.

This time I learned a variety of hand skills such as Naalbinding. It is an ancient technique for making socks, mittens, etc that predates crochet and knitting. It originated in Scandinavia. The beginning can be a bit confusing, but I found it pretty easy to catch on. I also took a class on finger weaving, which for some reason was harder for me to catch on  but I do want to try it again at some point.

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I also learned to make a rug with cloth and a toothbrush needle. This is really easy and quick to make. It does use a lot of cloth but I have enough old clothes/fabric, I think, that I can use. I am also going to make one with the plastic bags I have to take with me to future classes (to keep my butt dry).

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I went on two herb walks and they were both great and entertaining. The first walk was with Green Dean , which, if you live in Florida, I would highly recommend you check him out. He does a lot of walks throughout the state.  On the last day, I went on a walk with Doug Elliott. It was highly informative and entertaining; not only did he teach us about a variety of plants but he also sang songs and told stories. I also highly recommend taking his classes and checking out his books. Plus, I saw my first bald eagle so that was awesome!

I also took a class on fermented foods. Even though I have been fermenting a variety of foods and learning as I go, I wanted to take an actual class with someone. So, I took Marissa Percoco’s class and it was awesome! One of her mentors is Sandor Katz.  We got to try 19 different fermented foods, including cocoa nibs and bamboo.  The class gave me tons of ideas on what to make next, the sky really is the limit. So, I am looking forward to many new fermented creations. I highly recommend taking her class if you can.

Some other cool things that happened at this gathering:

  • I got a massage
  • I sold a bunch of my stuff in the Ancestor tent
  • I met new people and got to hang out with friends I only see at the gatherings
  • I got to know the First Aid folks quite well. I had hurt my finger prior to the gathering and they took great care of it and me. One of the herbalists there was the Herbalista, which if you live in Atlanta I would check out.
  • I probably walked several miles a day from and to camp, up and down hill
  • Stewart and I took a Contra Dance class on the last night and it was so much fun! I don’t think I have ever been so dizzy! It was lead by Michael Ismerio and a local band played.
  • I got to spend 5 whole days outside which was awesome and very much needed

I am looking forward to the next gathering.

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1st rug finished. We are using it as a bathroom rug.

Hearts Everywhere- from Soap to Sewing

I am not into decorating for the seasons except a little for Christmas (Christmas lights with ornaments hanging from them and a wreath on the door). But this year with my body care business and my sewing classes, I jumped the wagon and incorporated hearts in a few places.

It started with these pink hearts:

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I fell in love with their pink color. I used French Red Clay (Australian Red Clay is known to give a deep red color, I can’t wait to try it) to get that pink. It was my first time using clay to color my soap and I liked it, the color seems more soft and subtle.

My favorite thing about playing with different natural coloring mediums is that the final color of the soap is not always determined by the original color but by its chemical reaction with lye and/or oils. (I always make an 8oz batch of soap when trying new coloring mediums). I am looking forward to playing with a variety of clay to color my soap in the future.

I decided to embed the hearts into a bigger piece of soap and loved the way they turned out.

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In my sewing classes, my students have been making mini heart quilts. They all turned out super cute and the students enjoyed making them. They will also be hand sewing some smaller hearts to add to their pencil case.

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