Monthly Archives: December 2013

Knitting and Reading

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I’m not quite ready. Each year I envision that I’ll have all my Christmas busy work mostly done in November, so that all of December I can easily move through the month, baking and decorating and listening to good holiday music. Every single year for about 7 years I’ve had that grand plan in place from January to October. Then November rushes by as fast as any month can with hardly a moment to prepare. This year I did pretty good. I didn’t fuss much over what to get anyone, I bought quickly and with firm decision. But there are always so many loose ends to finish up! Oy!
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The kids opened their advent calendar the other morning and declared (that day) that there were only 8 more days until Christmas Eve, which is when my entire back seized up and the countless loose ends went spinning through my head. Yesterday I woke up with excruciating pain bolting through my back thanks to the bolt of reality I was shocked with the day before. Nothing on my to-do list involved not moving, so I went about my day, but boy when those kids got in bed, I sat right down in that couch with a heating pad on my back and my knitting in hand. I’m still working on Relax, which is still a fitting name for a garment. The knitting work isn’t all that relaxing as you work back and forth working front and back separately. There’s a lot of purling involved, as much purling as knitting…and as I’ve said before, Elizabeth Zimmerman was right, no one wants to purl if they don’t have to. The Madeline Tosh yarn is incredible. Rain Water it’s called.
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Yes, I’m reading Taproot, but I’m also reading Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison. Though it’s the base of the movie by the same name, this book is actually a collection of three short stories, all which I’ve sunk right into. He’s certainly become on of my favorite story tellers. It’s amazing to me how good writers can combine words so beautifully.

We had a long series of freezing weather last week, which took a hard toll on our citrus. We must have had a hard freeze three years ago, right before we moved here, because the three citrus trees that were here looked dead when we moved in. Two came right back to life. The lemon tree especially. We babied that thing and this year it finally seemed to be thriving with hundreds of lemons all over it. And then the freeze hit this year. The poor thing. We wrapped with with both christmas lights and sheets. It will make it, but it sure does look pathetic now. The second unknown citrus was about to reveal it’s character to us as it had finally set fruit, but it took the brunt of the freeze and looks as dead as can be. The lime tree looks bedraggled and the kafir looks kaput. A tough winter for our citrus.

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Filed under knitting

How to Make 10 Easy Body Care Recipes


Each year I think people are going to get tired of getting my homemade lotion concoctions. And maybe they are, but many are nice enough to say that they enjoy them. They are so darn fun & easy to concoct that I keep making them year after year. It just feels part mad scientist, part baker, part, mystical herbalist, and part artistry rolled into one project. It’s fun. I thought I’d do a big post to show you a list of all the things on this blog that make great & easy gifts.

These things for the most part, whip up in a snap. You can make them up to a few weeks to months in advance and usually, if you are like me, you can whip them up the night before you see your intended and loved giftee. The best part about these recipes is that you can keep them as simple as you like. Make them simple just like the recipe states, or you can get creative. Infuse oils with herbs, add as many different essential oils as you can imagine.  Experiment and have fun!

My only advice I suggest you follow is to use sterilized or new containers to keep your handmade body care items in. Dirty jars will make all sorts of uglies breed in your beautiful lotions. Don’t worry though, keep it clean and you’ll have nothing but success.
First up is the most popular:


This is a great ‘intro’ recipe if you are new to lotion & potion making. It comes out perfect every time and takes literally seconds to make. Printable labels are below the instructions.



Chapstick is a great stocking stuffer!



When I need a thicker lotion and don’t have enough time to make a body butter (below) I whip this easy beeswax lotion up. Some call it a lotion, some a cream, others a salve. It is what you make of it. This makes an excellent base recipe if you are curious about exploring with adding other ingredients. Try adding a little shea butter or cocoa butter. Maybe substitute a little jojoba oil for the olive oil. Maybe almond oil, maybe a mixture!



If you have a loved one with eczema or severly dry skin, make this whipped eczema lotion for them! This makes a perfect present for someone with chapped hands or scratchy elbows.



I have been wearing this deodorant everyday since 2008 and it hasn’t failed me yet. This is a great gift for those seeking an alternative to chemical laden deodorants.

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Next up are the items from my little booklet Simple Handcrafted Body Care. The aftershave my husband has been very happy with. He’s used it for the last year and has been asking me for more. The bath salts are a favorite among my bath taking children. It does wonders for softening up my poor daughter’s tough, dry skin spots.

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This body butter, from the book, I use daily. It’s my very favorite lotion to use after a shower. It keeps my skin super soft and I love being able to be creative with the ingredients. It’s a more involved item to make than my lotions but it’s very much worth it! You will love it.

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The microdermabrasion facial scrub is awesome! I use it all the time. It really does do fantastic things to your completion. Best of all, the base ingredients I always have on hand in my kitchen and it’s easy to customize with scent.

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This lip balm, hands down, has made me happier than anything I’ve ever bought. Really, and I’ve bought a lot of lip balm in my day! I use this daily too. It makes a perfect gift for pretty much everyone you’ve ever thought of giving a gift too. They’ll appreciate it, I can pretty much guarantee it.

Need some Christmas canning jar labels? I’ve got those. Click on the graphic to download the pdf:
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I hope this gives you some inspiration for making a few gifts this season!

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Filed under Body Care, Holidays

They’re Here

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So we’re in it, aren’t we? The holiday season. I had big plans of showing you all the things you can make for your loved ones and I plan on doing that in a day or two, but today, well, let’s take a pause from the shopping/making madness. Here’s a peek out of our kitchen window the past couple of days. The starlings are back, though it seems in smaller quantities than the previous couple of years. It’s quite a sight, watching them swoop and land. Take off at once and sail through the sky. The noise of them overhead sounds almost thunderous. They make us all stop in our tracks.
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In another few days, we’ll talk crafting and baking. There’s plenty of time, don’t worry.

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Filed under Life in Sonoma