Daily Archives: July 25, 2012

Summer of Alchemy : : the Good & the Bad

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A while back I posted that I had deemed that this summer I was going to experiment around with more homemade body care & natural cleaning recipes. My first move was researching, which found me with two very promising books from the library: Clean, Naturally and Soap Book, both by Sandy Maine. They both looked so promising at first, full of interesting essential oil blends, nice layouts, easy instructions. I was motivated to start experimenting.

Being that our house was being invaded by ants that week, I set out to make an all purpose soft soap that was advertised to keep bugs at bay. I carefully grated a bar of Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap, softly boiled it with a mint tea I made from our garden, added in some baking soda & borax, and completed it with a few dashes of tea tree oil. I stirred it gently, so pleased with the lovely smell and the alchemy that was simmering away on my stove. I promptly cleaned all the kitchen counters with it that evening with gusto, so happy to hopefully have found a solution to our ant problem.

The next morning I woke up and not only were there many more ants crawling around our counters, but the ‘soft’ soap I had made turned rock hard. How I’m going to ever get it out of that jar is beyond me. I quickly deemed that recipe a failure.

Moving though these two books, I soon became concerned that every single soap recipe calls for Crisco and that almost all cleaning recipes called for sodium lauryl sulfocacetate. Now I know that there are worse chemicals on the market than SLS, but why use it if there are so many natural cleaning concoctions that don’t call for it. And why Crisco, when you can use a variety of so many other good oils?
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So I moved onto a lotion recipe that used both beeswax and honey. It was called Queen Bee Lotion, a great name! I’ve learned in my experimenting over the years that it’s very important to follow the recipe as written the first time through. Then should I feel good about the results, I can start getting creative. And it’s also a good idea to half the recipe amounts, so as not to waste expensive ingredients if things should go wrong. Very luckily I halved this recipe because look how it turned out. At first I became alarmed because it never set up, it stayed very liquid. And then the next morning I woke up and found it full of mysterious white dots! Would you want to rub this into your skin? No thanks!
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With three strikes against these books, I returned them, thankful that I didn’t buy them. Very luckily though I quickly followed up with a body butter recipe from a book I did buy, Organic Body Care Recipes: 175 Homeade Herbal Formulas for Glowing Skin & a Vibrant Self, and I have to say it’s divine! The best lotion I’ve made to date. But I’m not ready to share just yet. Now that I’ve followed the recipe exactly, it’s time to get creative and put my own spin on it and then I’ll share it with you.

Let the Summer of Alchemy continue!

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