Checking in; Life beyond NaNoWriMo

Mother's Day

Image via Wikipedia

I’m just checking in today; looking to see if there is really life beyond NaNoWriMo.  I suspect there is and felt compelled to do a reality check.  Yeap, life still going on in all it’s glory!

I’m not sure what the tempo is going to be from day to day, so, I’m really playing it all by ear.  I missed postaday2011 yesterday cause I let NaNoWriMo run me most of the day.  Only stopped at all because I’m a grown up (sometimes) and meet my commitments.  Having said that, I found out how great a friend a couple of my friends really are.  My friend in NYC was so cool about my obsession and totally understanding about my delayed response to her text!  And another friend, closer to home cut me some major slack!  seems when I typed our appointment into my calendar all I put was the time….When she arrived I was surprised to see her.  Couldn’t figure out why she was there and she was right on time too!  She graciously rescheduled and went on about her business.  I’m going to have to activate sticky notes again.

I did take time out yesterday to get together with friends and go to a gift making class at YBN!  We had so much fun!  I made bath salts and the toughest thing to do is decide who to give them to.  Denise made a candle and it smells great!  I actually debated with myself for several minutes before deciding to do the bath salts, the smell of the candle is quite inviting.  Some folks would only burn it around Christmas because it is spicy, citrusy.  I’d burn it any time I could get one together with a match; it smells that good.

If you live in or near Crofton, MD go to YBN and take a gift making class.  Check out the website for schedules and costs.  www.YourBodyNeeds.com

Well, thoughts are completely drifting to the novel now and I do have to be ready to leave my little nest at 2 p.m. today, so…

Just checking in;life beyond NaNoWriMo……All is well!

 

 

The Blending Experience

Just a few suggestions for making essential oil blends.

Lavender flowers
Image via Wikipedia

Evidently I must do this without pictures!  Okay, here goes!

Last Wednesday my friend Denise and I pooled our resources and spent a fun afternoon working and playing with essential oils.  Not quite a mad scientists‘ lab, much more fun.  Doubt that we were ever in any danger of blowing ourselves up or gassing ourselves.  We had plenty of raw ingredients and containers to put them in.  Plus, we had recipes we were curious to try, not to mention our own imagination, creativity and curiosity.

Set up took a little time.  Denise already had her act together, impressively organized and ready for blending.  You think I’m kidding, maybe.  She had her oils all in alphabetical order, carrier oils grouped together and bottles with stoppers; all ready to go.  Books and recipes were also close at hand.  Did I forget to mention tags?  She had ’em.  We have talked about doing this since last May, I think.  It was easy to see she was ready to work/play.

All my materials were more or less neatly transported in this cool wooden box that looks like a treasure chest.  My first task was to make an alphabetical list of my collection.  I was amazed how quickly that was done, I’d put it off for so long… can’t say why anymore.  Doesn’t matter now, does it?  When the list was finished, next was carrier oils and other blending ingredients.  As we didn’t plan specifically, I came prepared to blend cosmetic, perfumes or cleaning solutions.  The only thing I was sure of was we were going to blend something.  Last from the chest were my books and recipes, or, and some containers for finished product.  Denise definitely had the better choices, she has been doing this much longer.

The excitement of Finally! doing this was harnessed and we went to work.  We both made a kitchen cleaner deodorizer using lavender, eucalyptus, bergamot and tuber rose in distilled water.  The proportions of oils are determined by the amount of water.   Goes like this:

2 oz distilled water

8 drops lavender

10 drops bergamot

5 drops eucalyptus

3 drops palma rosa

I believe we each did a double batch.  We’re coming into cold and flu season and it’s a good idea to clean the kitchen well.

I made something called Insomnia Buster and neither one of us was sure, just exactly how it is supposed to be used.   A good lesson in gathering info.  It’s a really good idea to gather complete info, or at least note the source in a handy place to ask questions later.  The plan at the moment is to use it diffused.  Could be added to a carrier and applied to bottoms of feet or ear lobes.  Perhaps added to a hot bath.  It smells great!!!

6 drops Clary sage

12 drops lavender

4 drops roman chamomile

12 drops geranium

It is currently in a tightly capped blue-bottle and I think the blending process will have reached peak in the next couple of days.  Once you decide what you are going to blend and then do it, remember to roll or shake the bottle at least once a day for the next week.  The scent alters.  I’m pretty sure it remains the same after that.  I’m learning as I go.

Denise made a blend for trigger finger and, sorry, forgot to get it.  I can if anyone wants to know it.

My third blend was a perfume.  Perfumes are something of a mystery to me and I thought it would be a hoot to try making my own.  Just this once.  If it turns out well, I’ll let you know what is in it.  Too iffy right now and there are still a few weeks before the aging process is finished.  I like it so far.  You do the same with a perfume that you would do with other blends, store in dark glass tightly capped bottle and roll or shake up at least once a day.  Mine is oil based, did I mention that.  I could have use vodka or I think, brandy.  I’m sure the results would be different.  Since I was anxious to try making a perfume and didn’t have alcohol handy, I went with the oil option.  Time will tell.

I am embarrassed to say I’ve forgotten what Denise’s  third blend is!!!!  I took some pictures and was all excited to get this blog written and posted.  Got the pictures to the media library and thought I was all set!  There I go thinking again.  I WILL figure out what I’m doing wrong, until then… As if that wasn’t enough, my handy-dandy little Netbook has been balking at some things lately, or it was a full moon, or Mercury was retrograde, or_____________; end result, I could get to my blog page, just couldn’t do anything but admire it and say, yup, that’s my blog page!  Hurray, today I can do stuff!!!  Not everything I was hoping to, like include the photos from Wednesday.  Oh well, the writing is done!

Essential Oils…how can they help You?

Glass vial containing Neroli Essential Oil

Image via Wikipedia

 

I have delayed talking much about essential oils for a few reasons.  I believe it is very important to be clear and accurate on any information I give out.  Since I first became aware of them I can sometimes, hardly contain myself.  What worries me about talking about them is that in my excitement I may leave out some important bit of information.  The other thing about being so excited is I want to say everything at once and that sure does garble the message.  Here is my attempt to present the information in some kind of order.

The best oils are in dark glass bottles and labeled with the name in Latin as well as English, list country of origin and whether or not it is blended with a carrier oil.  For instance, lavender essential oil is usually  pure, whereas rose absolute will be in a carrier oil, like jojoba.  There are various ways to make an essential oil (draw it from its source), some ways are better than others, depending on the level of purity sought. Cold press is reputed to be best and there is a chemical process that aroma therapists suggest Not to use on skin.  I haven’t attempted this on my own, yet, so I can only report things I’ve read.  Once you have the oil it is best stored away from light and heat.

If you are going to use an essential oil on your skin, most need to be blended in a carrier oil.  The lighter carrier oils, like grapeseed oil, apricot kernel oil, sweet or bitter almond oil are all good choices for massage or bath oils.  If you choose to create your own skin care products you’ll want things like olive oil or jojoba oil.  These two are dense oils and should be used proportionally with the lighter oils.  For instance a TBSP of almond oil+1/2 tsp of jojoba and about three to five drops of essential oil.

Next, especially if you are going to apply them to your body remember that if one drop is good, use ONLY one drop.  More is NOT better!!!!Some of the oils have opposite effects if you use more.  Like lavender.  One drop is relaxing, two keeps you awake and alert.  I am speaking of applying it “neat”, straight from the bottle, no carrier oil.  You can’t do this comfortably with all essential oils.  Citrus oils, if used neat ,tend to produce a burning sensation. Another thing about citrus oils, they produce photosensitivity for some people.  If you already sunburn easily keep looking until you find an oil that will produce the outcome you seek without this side effect.  There are probably several.

I just recently learned that there is such a thing as essential oil poisoning.  If you live with curious, fast moving little children, keep essential stored out of reach.  If you are following a recipe, measure carefully.  If you are using a blend topically stop after about 5-7 days.  Oddly enough the oils seem to continue to work for a couple of days after the last application.

Some authors say don’t take any essential oils orally.  Some suggest adding a drop or two to cold water, or, hot water as a beverage.  I’ve done this with peppermint oil and lemon oil and enjoyed a treat.  I hate plain water.  Had no physical discomfort or alarms as a result of having done so.  What I would say is, try a drop in an 8oz glass of water…if you re curious.  Then you decide.

If you are using oils for pain relief, topical application works best.  I’ve made blends for myself and blends for others.  The blends got used up and each person reported that it worked for what it was designed for.  As a proponent of alternative medicine I find it difficult, yet necessary to refrain from saying too much.  The FDA doesn’t back anything I would say.  And sometimes it’s hard to find suggestions on web pages and magazine ads; what with all the disclaimers required.

Whole Foods has a small section of their stores devoted to essential oils.  Sniff a couple of the testers.  Always keeping in mind any allergies you might have, the scents are intense.  If you really enjoy a specific oil and it is within a price range comfortable to you, try it.  If you don’t like the scent, no matter who told you it’s the best in the world, save your money.  It’s possible you may like it at a later date, then again, you might not.  Meanwhile, there are probably any number of others that you will like.  Those are the ones to try because they are the ones that will give YOU the best result.

Always do a patch test with an oil you haven’t used before or when you blend oils.  I use the inside of the elbow bend. Apply a small amount of the oil or blend and wait 24 hours.  If no itching or redness or other type of reaction my experience has been that it is safe to use.  I believe this is especially important if you are taking prescription drugs.  As a matter of fact, if you are taking prescriptions, find a medical source who has knowledge of both oils and pharmaceuticals.  Better safe than sorry.

There are plenty of books about essential oils.  Read, study,experiment, learn.  Actually, that’s another reason I backed away from the topic.  I’m only a very curious and persistent novice.  My goal here is to offer highlights. I’ve only been actively pursuing the subject for a couple of years.  People have spent entire professional lives in this field.  I feel graced to have found it at all.

There are so many reasons  to use essential oils: health, grooming, gardening, housecleaning, candle making, perfume making, cooking and baking.  They are great to have when travelling.

I find simplicity of use a big plus.  Open the bottle, take a whiff.  If I’d rather not carry the bottle around I put a drop or two on a tissue or cotton ball.  Easier to carry around than a diffuser and always as close as my pocket!  That’s just one example.  So many more come to mind, without effort.  I love essential oils and I’m always finding new ways to use them.

My introduction to these gifts of nature was, most likely, one of the strongest oils for physical wellness.  Oil of Oregano.  I read about it first in a book titled The Cure is in the Cupboard.  It first struck me as a book long advertisement, until I used the product.  Words do not express my delight at the results I got.  I have kept a bottle handy ever since.   The book is available in stores that feature organic products.  I hesitate to say health  food stores, cause I don’t go in them.  In Annapolis, MD there is a store called Earth and Sun; in Severna Park there is a store called Sage.  I’ve seen the book and the product described in both stores.

I just recently started using Zemanta and so there are plenty of places for you to look around, if you are interested.  If you’re not, thank you for your kind attention.

P.S.  the oil shown on the side is Neroli, a citrus oil.  Smells great.  Clear bottle shows color of oil, not good for storage.