Well. That will teach me to boast that I managed to get through a whole winter without getting sick. Now I have a sore throat, a cough and am feeling very tired. Some bug or other decided to teach me a lesson in humility! Bleh.
I did get some work in the garden done this weekend. It was quite pleasant out even with the alternating sun, cloud and a drip or two of rain. At least the temperatures are finally mild and forecasted to stay that way for awhile. I got both of the woad types transplanted, along with some salad greens seedlings and the pea seeds are in, including the poles and nets. Before April 1st this year! Yay! T-Man was working on expanding my dye garden further so now I have oodles more room to plant in. Maybe I need to plant more Japanese indigo seeds? I wonder how close together they need to be?
So now I have some pots free to transplant some of my tiny indoor babies into. I just seem to cycle them around. New for this year is cabbage and we’ll see how they do. These are small ones as the regular-sized cabbages take up too much space. And T is building me a box to plant butternut squash, also a first. He took out one of the laurels beside my garden and the box will go on the remains of the roots rather than try to dig down. It gets a fair amount of sun there anyhow. We’ll see what happens. Every year is a different story.
As well as mucking about in the dirt, I finally got around to making some “potions” with my supplies from Voyageur Soap & Candle:
Clockwise from the top-left that’s Hemp & Oat Infused Cream, Shea & Hemp Body Butter (already dipped into!) and Black Cherry Lip Balm. This time I didn’t put scent in the cream or butter and just left them natural, though I’m tempted to mix at least one jar of the cream with lavender and sweet orange just for fun. The slight green tinge in the butter and cream is from the dark green organic hemp oil which is common to both recipes. It made the cream a lot darker than it usually is. I’m happy my potions all turned out well and T-Man’s been using them too.
The Hemp & Oat cream recipe comes from my friend Sandra and is the most complicated because it has so many ingredients. Over a dozen items with lots of careful measuring necessary! Besides all the ingredients you also need a good scale that weighs in at least half-gram increments and a thermometer. You gently melt the butters, waxes and oils in one container in the microwave:
- 37 g Hemp Oil
- 28 g Vegetable Glycerin
- 16 g Sweet Almond Oil
- 18 g Shea Butter
- 18 g Mango Butter
- 7 g Vitamin E 1000IU
- 18 g Calendula Oil
- 10 g Stearic Acid (may add less for thinner lotion)
- 25 g Emulsifying Wax
- 3.5 g Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) as a natural preservative
Don’t overheat or you’ll compromise the ingredients! When everything is melted, cool to 140F. While that’s happening, in another container heat to the same temp:
- 150 g Oatmeal Water (soak raw oatmeal overnight, pressing to remove infused water)
- 150 g Aloe Vera Gel
You can use a stick blender or I use my craft blender to whip the hot oils while slowly pouring in the hot oat/aloe mixture, just like making salad dressing. Not edible though. Finally add:
- 2 g Germall Plus as a preservative
- Essential Oil or Fragrance Oil for scent, if desired
Blend some more, then pour into jars and allow to thicken and cool. This recipe makes about 1 lb. or 8-2 oz. jars. This stuff is super-great for healing and moisturising anywhere. Totally worth all the fuss of making it.
The yummy lip balm recipe is here on Voyageur’s blog. I reduced the recipe by 1/5 to make 50g for 6 little jars. I also subbed black cherry for peppermint since it burns my lips uncomfortably. So I guess that makes it not-quite-organic but I’m happy with the results. The recipe for the Shea Nut & Hemp butter is here. I made half of the recipe for just one 75g jar. Only 3 ingredients! I like it for my super-dry feet and itchy shins. It’s easier to spread on the skin than straight shea butter.
There you have all my not-so-secret recipes. The initial outlay for ingredients is quite steep but usually allows me to make more than one batch of everything – depending on what size containers of each that I buy. Watch out though because many items have a limited shelf-life so I try not to get too carried away and to plan on using them up within a year or so. The jars are also available at Voyageur. They have such fun stuff there! Really. I’m finding myself inspired to start making everything from scratch.