Category Archives: Body Care

Fall Facial Care


This past weekend we did a lot of making in the kitchen. Our San Marzano tomatoes are finally kicking them out like crazy, so Scott was able to put up 10 pints + 2 quarts of sauce. I made a giant batch of granola (using the The Model Bakery’s recipe) and a loaf of sourdough, again using the Model Bakery’s starter recipe, but using the bread recipe from The Bread Machine Cookbook. It’s a funny, basic bread machine cookbook, but it really has some of the best bread recipes I’ve tried. Being that I mix the majority of my bread in the bread machine and then bake them in the oven in loaf pans, this cookbook works perfectly. Just wish my bread machine could hold a double capacity…are there any out there that do that? I’ll have to look, boy, we go through a lot of bread!

Saturday I was talking with a friend about how we are getting to the age where starting to take care of our face is really becoming more of a priority. Now that the weather is starting to change, I’ve also noticed a change in my complexition. It’s been a little drier and just not looking as vibrant, so with fresh inspiration I went home and made up a batch of Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub and, wow, what a difference it makes. My face feels so smooth today and everything just looks tighter. Have you tried that recipe yet? I want to hear how it works for you.

Though I like saving money and making things at home as much as I can, every once in a while I get in the mood to splurge on some really nice facial lotions and potions. Another good friend who not only is a cosmotologist but a raw food fanatic, gave me two samples to try over the summer and they both were really fantastic. Dr. Alkaitis Organic Day Crème is a great smelling and feeling lotion for everyday and this Osmosis Catalyst AC-11 was what she told me to use at night. She was so passionate about these two products and her skin absolutely glows that I couldn’t wait to try them. They really did work well, both of them. It tighten everything up and closed up my pores, and it make my skin feel hydrated. Make sure to use an old pillowcase if you try the Osmosis serum, because it has some sort of orange colored oil that rubbed off onto my pillow (maybe sea buckthorn oil?). The only flaw is that they aren’t cheap, so I’m saving my money to buy them.

Hope you are doing well today friends!


Filed under Body Care

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

I hope this gives you some inspiration for making a few gifts this season!


Filed under Body Care, Holidays

My Skin Care Routine :: Exfoliating & Nourishing

This change of seasons has really taken a toll on my skin. Yours too? In the last two weeks or so I’ve noticed a definite shift in the seasons and my skin has been so dry. I had run out of homemade body butter a month ago and my skin seemed to be happy with just using coconut oil as a morning lotion for a while, but last week I could tell that wasn’t going to be enough going forward into autumn and winter. My arms were aching they were so dry and my face too, while normally ‘normal’ skin, had big dry flakes on it. Yuck! My arms and legs were a simple fix, I just made another batch of body butter.
My face took an extra step. After a gentle reminder from a friend, I remembered that it’s really important to exfoliate your face a few times a week to get better skin. Without exfoliating your skin will look good at first, as all the dead skin cells cover your pores. But after a short time, those pores will become clogged and then they’ll start break out. That’s not what you want, you want to gently scrub all those dead skin cells away! All last winter I had exfoliated my face regularly, but I had let that habit go over the summer. Sunday night I took a of couple minutes to whip up a new batch of the microdermabraision facial scrub, hopped in the shower and in no time my face was in a better place. Using that facial scrub really does make such a huge difference in my face. And it’s so nice that I don’t have to buy it and since the ingredients are so basic I always have them on hand.

The other thing I’ve been using on my face the past two months is pomegranate seed oil. I’ve been putting it on my face every morning after my shower. That too has made a big difference in my skin! I get a lot of sun over the summer. Despite my best attempts at sunscreen and sun hats, my face gets it’s fair share. This oil has really helped me feel like my skin is healthy and hydrated. Unlike other oily things like coconut oil or shea butter or even olive oil, this pomegranate seed oil does not feel oily. Or even look oily. To me it gives it that natural, hydrated, dewy look that we’re all going for. Pomegranate seed oil is known for promoting skin cell regeneration and is high in antioxidants which help in anti-aging.

Pomegranate seed oil isn’t terribly cheap, but this 2 oz. jar will easy last me 6-8 months of daily use. That to me works out to be a pretty good deal. I’ve never had the best skin. Never will I have ‘porcelain’ skin, yet I’m trying my best to nourish my skin and keep it happy and healthy.
Do you have any winter beauty habits that help your skin stay hydrated?


Filed under Body Care

$50 Pharmaca Giveaway

Every once in a while a company will contact me to do a give away here, but usually I’ll turn them down. If I don’t already shop at the store or buy the product I don’t feel good about sponsoring it here. But a few weeks ago a store I already shop at, Pharmaca, contacted me about doing a giveaway and I had to say Yes! Pharmaca is an integrative pharmacy that carries both mainstream pharmaceuticals as well as all natural products. For a person like me, who tries to approach our healthcare as naturally as we can, this place is a super fun place to shop. We have a Pharmaca here in Sonoma and I go every couple of months to stock up on various things our family needs. I try and only go every couple of months because it’s very easy to go on an overly indulgent shopping spree when I get inside.
Pharmaca also sent me a gift certificate so that I could purchase some things to show you. I went in over the weekend with the thought that school was starting soon and that meant colds were going to start cycling through our house very soon. Just a few weeks ago we had a cold take it’s turn going through the family, but Scott and I stopped it by taking zinc & elderberry lozenges. I bought some more at Pharmaca in a small bag to keep in my purse. These aren’t the same brand as I bought before, but the combination of zinc and elderberry is great at stopping colds, so I have every hope they’ll help us.
A lifetime ago I traveled to Tuscany to study ceramics and my roommate there was from Austria. She was in medical school to become a naturopathic doctor and she had a terrible cold. A horrible, terrible cold and her bed was just a few feet away from mine…I had three weeks left in my trip and I did not want to get that cold. She gave me some echinacea tincture drops regularly to put underneath my tongue (they absorb faster) and I never did get her cold. She gave me my first few lessons in natural health care all those years ago. I know there are other immune boosters and other ways to ingest echinacea, but I prefer to put the tincture drops under my tongue because it always reminds me of her and that dreamy time spent throwing pots in Italy.
I also am trying out this Kick it Allergy for Kids by WishGarden. Our oldest son has been hit again by allergies the past two weeks which activates his asthma. I have no idea what is in the air this time of year, but this happens every year. When I was in Pharmaca, I found two different homeopathic allergy brands that kids could take. I wasn’t sure which one to pick so I casually asked the man stocking the shelves in the children’s section for advice. He was able to give me a well informed answer and help me figure out which one would work best. You couldn’t find that kind of help from someone stocking the shelves at a mainstream drugstore! I hope it helps.
I stocked up on our favorite Badger brand sunscreen. I like them because they have really safe ingredients in them and they smell fantastic. Often we buy the Badger Kids Sunscreen and I was thinking of buying the Badger Sport Sunscreen by Pharmaca since it’s soccer season. But in thinking of an upcoming camping trip we’ll be taking I ended up getting the anti-bug sunscreen.

At the end of the trip through the store I picked up some lavender essential oil, which I had run out of and a bar of chocolate…because well…that’s health food for me!

So about the giveaway:

Pharmaca is offering one $50 gift certificate to one lucky winner. Please note that this gift certificate is good for use in-stores only, so make sure to check that there is a store near you. I’ll close the contest at 9pm pacific time Monday, August 26th and I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, August 27th. Sound good? To enter just leave a comment below and let me know about your favorite all natural health product.  All closed now, thank you!

Good Luck!


Filed under Body Care

A Five Year Giveaway: e-booklet & $50 Mountain Rose Herbs Gift Certificate

Thank you for all your entries, but this contest is now closed.
We try our best to keep things rather simple around here. If it’s one thing I’ve realized over the years is I have a rather low tolerance for busyness. Too many activities packed into one small time frame make me frazzled. Things can’t always be simple and this week feels like a culmination of extra busyness. I’m having a hard time keeping my head on straight. I’m sure you can relate! So I’m going to use this space to show some gratuitously calming photos and to focus us all on good things. Like a giveaway.

As I mentioned a post or two back, this month marks five years of blogging for me. Which is a long time! At least a milestone worth celebrating. So I’ve teamed up with Mountain Rose Herbs, my go to company for buying my oils, butters, herbs and spices, and we’re going to give one lucky winner a free copy of my e-booklet, Simple Hand Crafted Body Care along with a $50 gift certificate! Yippee!
While all this busyness has been swirling around I’ve started to make a mental note of a new box of items I want to order from MRH. We place one big order about three to four times a year. They have such great customer service and run their zero-waste company right in my alma mater town of Eugene, Oregon, which makes my faithfulness to them all the stronger. If you haven’t bought my booklet now, hopefully you will get the chance to win and if you don’t, we’ll continue to celebrate on Friday by having a 50% off sale. How does that sound?
(this a picture of the body butter from the booklet, we use this every single day!)

I’m thinking for my next Mountain Rose Herbs order I need to stock up on both cocoa butter and shea butter to make some more deodorant and I want to learn more about carrier oils. Typically I use olive oil, grapeseed oil or safflower oil for my lotions, but there are so many out there that I want to learn about. I’m thinking that might be interesting to you too, if I made up a bunch of lotions using different carrier oils to see how they felt. I also want to try some new essential oil combinations, so I’ll most certainly add a few to the order. And, if you know Scott, and have seen our entire cabinet devoted to herbs and spices, he’ll fill up our order full of culinary goodies.
So leave me a comment expressing your interest and I’ll call a winner Thursday evening around 9pm Pacific time. If you tweet or share on facebook or ‘pin’ the top image you can get the chance to enter again, just leave me a separate comment for each social media share you used. Much luck to you all!   Closed! Thank you for all your entries!


Filed under Body Care

welcome holidays

Snowflake rainbows
snowflake rainbows

Though we held off for a bit, we now have all the holiday decorations out. This weekend was filled with an invitation to an ornament decorating party, a holiday ballet performance, hot chocolate and ornament making and hanging. I hung my little collection of Swarovski snowflakes across my south facing kitchen window this year. My uncle gave these to us each year for Christmas. He passed away quite young and unexpectedly this past spring. It is a beautiful thing to walk in and see hundreds of tiny rainbows all over our kitchen each morning.

I did a little holiday making today too (from the book of course!). As we’ve increased our children count over the years and they in turn have grown older and busier, my handmade Christmas gifts have decreased. As much as I love the idea of making my loved ones all handmade gifts, time is so limited, I try and keep it as simple as possible. There will be many years ahead of me for hand making. These years are about simplifying and enjoying amidst the December madness. Yesterday as we finished decorating the tree, I sat on the couch reading my new issue of Taproot and sipping my hot chocolate while the three kids danced like crazy to Dr. Demento’s Christmas album. It was loud and chaotic, yet cozy and Christmasy at the very same time. Welcome Holidays!


Filed under Body Care, In the Kitchen

How to Make Hand Lotion with Preservative


I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! We had a very nice long weekend and I was so touched by all the ebooklet orders and the sweet emails that came with them. Thank you! Since I’ve been on a body care making kick I have a few things that I want to share with you this week. The first is about preservation.

About this time of year my Hand Lotion post becomes very popular for the DIY Christmas crowd. And for good reason, it’s a great lotion and so easy to make, don’t you think? However because of it’s relatively short shelf life, I started to research preservatives. And I found one that so far I like. Potassium Sorbate. But let’s back up for a moment. There are, as I have learned, three things that can go wrong when you mix water and oil. Yeast, mold, and bacteria can form. None of them are things you want in your lotion and especially on your skin.

To keep your lotion making as sanitary as possible you want to use clean measuring utensils. You want to use pure water, either well water, rain water or distilled water. You want the container you store your lotion in to be as clean as a whistle. Preferably just out of the hot dish washer.

As you go about using your lotion you want to scoop it out using clean dry hands. Even better, keep this lotion in a pump bottle. Store it in a cool place, preferably the fridge. Now personally, if I keep lotion in the fridge, I’d rarely use it as it would surely be hidden behind a jam jar and forgotten completely. So I keep it on the counter top during the winter, and during the summer, I still keep it out, but I make half the amount, so I use it faster.

I’ve found that this lotion stays stable for me for a good three weeks, however it doesn’t hurt to go an extra step and add a food safe preservative if you are giving this as a gift. Potassium Sorbate is an effective preservative against molds, yeasts and aerophile bacteria. It’s cheap (this bag cost me less than $4), it is easily soluble in water and you only need 1/4t. per lotion recipe. I would say that this extends the shelf life of this lotion to about 3 months.

So once again, my Hand Lotion Recipe with preservative!

How to Make Homemade Hand Lotion with Preservative

1 1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup emulsifying wax (Don’t use beeswax, here’s an easy homemade beeswax lotion recipe)
1/4 cup olive oil (I’ve been using grapeseed oil lately for an even lighter lotion)
1/4 teaspoon Potassium Sorbate
24-36 drops essential oil

Combine olive oil and emulsifying wax in a microwaveable container and heat until just melted. About a minute in my case. Once it is melted, you may add your essential oils.

Then heat water to approximately the same temperature as the oil (again about a minute in the microwave). Then add 1/4 t. Potassium Sorbate. Stir well.

Pour water mixture into oil mixture and give it a good stir with a spoon.

Pour it into a decorative pump bottle, let it cool and you’ll have a beautiful, longer lasting lotion to enjoy!


Filed under Body Care, Recipes

Simple Handcrafted Body Care e-Booklet

I’m so happy to share with you my new (and first!) e-booklet called Simple Handcrafted Body Care! This was such fun to make, from recipe creation to packaging to photography to book design. I enjoyed it all. And I hope you will enjoy it as well.

So what’s in it? Well, there are five easy to make and basic body care recipes in here. There are no fancy, unheard of ingredients nor is there a long laundry list of things you need to buy. In fact most you can find in your local health food store and I don’t think there is any recipe that call for more than five ingredients. Each recipe comes with tips on how you can customize the item to your lifestyle, needs and budget. This booklet is for the beginner and for the experienced. I also created this with gift giving in mind, so there are packaging ideas along with labels that you can print out.
Included recipes are:

  • Honey Kissed Lip Balm – I know I’ve already posted a ‘chapstick‘ recipe, but this one trumps that, I feel. With only three basic ingredients, this feels so luxurious. I put it on every single day and not only does it keep my lips smooth and moist, but it smells and tastes just like honey!
  • Body Butter – This was a fun one to figure out too. I took the basic Beeswax Lotion recipe, which you are familiar with and with one extra ingredient turned it into a sumptuous body butter. Making it into a butter and using safflower oil instead of olive oil, it becomes lighter and less greasy. Now I use it as a daily face cream and when my hair get frizzy I can even use it to tame fly-aways. I also discovered on Halloween, when I went a little overboard with the eye makeup, that you can use it as cold cream! It took every last smudge of sparkly eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara off my eyes.
  • Spicy Aftershave – A few years ago I tried making an aftershave for Scott that called for rum as a base. Not only did he walk around smelling like a drunk pirate, but he said it was sticky. This does not call for rum nor will it make the man in your life have a sticky face. Instead it will make his face feel refreshed after shaving and he’ll smell darn nice too. I’ve included two different aroma combinations with inspiration for creating your own.
  • Bath Salts – Have you tried bath salts before? Boy do they make the bath a whole different experience. This recipe makes the water just a bit effervescent and you step out of your bath with softer skin and smelling oh so faintly of a flower garden. Lovely!
  • Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub – A handful of years ago I bought a microdermabrasion facial kit that cost $50! It made my face feel soft, but it smelled of chemicals and for a little tube, it seemed pretty expensive to me! This facial scrub is every bit as good, but it smells of honey and lavender and my face really seems to glow after I use it. This recipe makes enough to use about a dozen times. I bet you have the ingredients to make this in your kitchen right now!

You know we have three kids and we have to be out of the door, breakfast eaten, lunches packed, early in the morning. To have these things on hand in the bathroom makes those circus-like mornings a bit calmer for me. And I hope they will for you too!

Unlike my previous recipes I am asking for a nominal fee for this booklet. But I also worked to make this an easy to use and beautiful pdf booklet that you can download immediately. With labels included, you can get your holiday gift giving made easily and economically!

Click the button below to get your copy!

Add to Cart


Filed under Body Care, books

A preview of what’s to come on Monday…

A preview of what’s to come on Monday…


Filed under Body Care, books

New in the Kitchen

While I sit here next to the fireplace, working on the Handmade Body Care booklet I’ve promised you and waiting for the furnace repair man to come, I thought I’d show you a few photos from this morning. We had an eventful week as a team of men came and laid down the most beautiful Marmoleum floor in our kitchen, the color of water. Another team of very generous and helpful men came to move an impossibly heavy butcher block from Scott’s childhood home into our kitchen. We scurried to finish painting while the appliances were scattered all around the house and this kitchen is another few steps closer to feeling just like home.

The last bit of stolen sweetness that has been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks is finally draining on the counter top. Scott’s off for a day of clamming/crabbing/fishing with friends, the kids are in school and daycare. All’s quiet and cold. I hope to be back very soon to share news of a finished booklet for you!


Filed under Body Care, In the Kitchen