Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Review

Just received a copy of a review of my book, by The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

I've been a member of NAHA for years and am delighted that they chose to review it.

"Compact style, easy to read, user format friendly and many beautiful images. An excellent book for anyone wanting to learn more about aromatherapy and as a beginner reference tool for educational aromatherapy training purposes."

Read more:

Thanks, Kelly!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Aged and Ancient Patchouli

Some of you may have read the article about the review of our oils (and packaging) posted on AromaWeb over 10 years ago. I blogged about it last year when Wendy found the DREADFUL pictures of the products.

Last night I received an Email that brought all of that back to mind. A regular client wrote, asking some questions, and mentioned in passing:

"I thought you would get a kick out of this.........
I got into the essential oils for the 1st time about 10 or more years ago. After awhile I packed them up and put them in a shoe box in the back of the closet.. I just started getting back into the oils again and I was putting my new oils I ordered from you with my old oils and realized that even though the label looked different, they both said " Naturesgift" !!! I had no idea I was ordering from the same place I ordered from 10 years ago....I must say the bottle of patchouli I have from 10 years ago smells WOUNDERFUL....."

That just delighted me! (I told her that aged Patchouli is worth FAR more than any new oil she could buy today, and that I wish I had some!)

(and, yes, of course she gave me permission to share!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Okay. Sunday July 19th is my birthday. I would prefer to forget that. But the crew insists we need to celebrate AND have a special sale.

SO... from midnight Sunday morning until midnight Monday morning (pacific time) if you enter a promotional code in the box marked "Promo code/gift cert" and press "Apply" you will receive a 13% discount on almost all of our retail products. Essential oils, carriers, synergies, accessories. Bulk products, clearance items, kits and our special books are not, unfortunately, included. But just about everything else is.

The code?

haveahappy all one word, just as written.

Your discount will show on screen; if it does not, please don't submit the order because we will not be able to apply it retroactively.

Why 13% you may ask? Because I'm 31? well, no. But it's the number that worked out. Can hardly expect us to give my REAL age as a discount after all!

Thanks for helping me celebrate!

Oh...and before I forget... Christi will be on vacation next week. I'll be the one doing everything in the office, processing orders, answering questions, billing orders, everything that she and I both normally do. Your order may be delayed a day or so while I try to keep up with her!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Yahoo Rant - Serendipity - and Economy

You all know, we are an online business. So we communicate online. That would seem really apparent.

We contact clients via E-mail if there are problems with an order. People contact us, daily, with questions, problems they think we might solve, whatever. We get, and send, a LOT of Email.

But, not to Yahoo.

Two typical situations this week, the saving grace being that the second had a wonderfully delightful serendipitous ending.

A health care professional faxed us her license, so that we could email her the Promotional code for the discount. I promptly sent it. A week later she faxed it again. I re-sent the code. Three days later, she emailed, really irritated. I replied, again.

I have no other way to contact her. She has a Yahoo address. She thinks we ignored her. This happens a lot. People write with rather complicated questions, we spend a lot of time and effort answering. They think we don't bother to reply.

but... the good part of the story:

A client had placed his first order. Was very pleased, planned a second BIG order, but had some questions. I answered the questions as fully as possible. Two or three days later, he wrote again, asking the same questions. I answered them. Friday he emailed for the third time wondering if he had the wrong email address (he tried them all.) This time he left a phone number. I called him. We chatted for a long time (yes, I can talk about the oils for a LONG time, are you surprised?)

He mentioned our description of our Hay Absolute, where I wrote:

My dad was born, at the turn of the last century, on a farm in Economy Point, a little village in Nova Scotia. His father died before I was born, and my Uncle Fred took over the farm. Several summers in my childhood we drove from Boston to Economy, and spent a week visiting my Grannie, and Uncle Fred and Aunt Ella. It was an old fashioned farm. A team of draft horses pulled the equipment, and the huge hay wagons at harvest time. I remember the smell of that barn piled high with the dried hay, and riding on the wagon oh so high off the ground. When we sampled this lovely absolute, it brought back those memories."

And he shared that, a few months ago, he had been traveling across Nova Scotia, and spent the night at Economy.

Now, according to Spiritus-temporis Economy is a village of about 200 people. Economy is considered by most locally not only to consist of the village centre, Central Economy , but the areas to the east - Upper Economy, Brown Road, and Cove Road; south - Economy Point; north - Economy River Road and River Philip Road; and west - Carrs Brook and Lower Economy (the later including 'Soley Town').

My dad grew up in Economy point, on the Economy River,over a century ago.

What are the odds that a man interested in perfumery would spend the night there, and a few months later, Google for an oil, and connect with a daughter of Economy Point?

Meanwhile, I am VERY frustrated with YAHOO for refusing to deliver mail. We are not talking spam, here; we are talking responses to mail that their users send.

If you have a Yahoo email address, PLEASE either white list us, or at least check your spam folder regularly. And you might complain to them. We can't!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Face Masks Part 2

The most basic mask:

Cleanse your face using your favorite method.

In a small cup or bowl, pour approximately one tablespoon (1/2 ounce) of your chosen clay. Gradually stir in (1/2 teaspoonful, or 2 mls at a time) your chosen Hydrosol. Stir well, continue to add liquid until a smooth fairly liquid "mud" is formed.

Apply in a smooth layer to face and neck, avoiding eyes and lips.

Relax for 10 to 20 minutes until the clay has totally dried. Rinse well with warm water. If desired, follow with your favorite moisturizing facial oil.

For any skin type:
Use 1 teaspoon of barely warmed honey as part of the liquid. (Warming the honey makes it more liquid.)

For Acnied Skin:
To the warmed honey, described above, stir in one drop of Tea Tree, German Chamomile, or Manuka essential oil. The tea tree and manuka are powerful antibacterials, while the german chamomile is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
Especially for oily skin or acne it helps to remove the mask with steaming washclothes. Add a drop or two of one of the above essential oils to a bowl of hot water, wet the washcloth and gently wring out excess moisture.

For Oily Skin:
You might add a pinch or two (up to a teaspoon) of very finely powdered oatmeal to the clay. Stir in well before adding hydrosols.

A large fresh strawberry, very finely pureed is a wonderful addition to an oily skin mask.

For Dry Skin:
Instead of, or in addition to the hydrosol, and perhaps honey, add 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of your favorite facial oil to the clay. My personal choice is either Squalane or Argan oil, but Avocado oil is a wonderful addition as well. Please note, the addition of a fixed oil will prevent the clay from drying as hard as in a mask composed of just hydrosols and/or honey. Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes and remove with tepid water. You skin will be moist and glowing.

A bit of finely mashed avocado is a traditional ingredient for a mask for dry skin.

Adding 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin to part of the liquid portion of the mask will help draw moisture to dry skin.

For Sensitive or Inflamed Skin:
Consider using Aloe Vera Gel as part of the liquid in your mask.

Please note, these are not hard and fast rules. Have fun with them!

Coming next: Which Hydrosols for your skin?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Skincare Question

Wendy Ashmun emailed, and suggested I might want to post this question in the Blog... so I am!

"Getting your book has gotten me thinking about making skincare stuff again. Specifically, body lotion or cream. My skin is quite dry and prone to eczema -- for a long time, I was using a homemade body butter of 2 parts shea butter and 1 part jojoba, but it tends to separate, and I think I'm ready to venture into the world of emulsions.

I did the research on emulsifiers and preservatives about 18 months ago and bought a bunch of e-wax, potassium sorbate, etc, which has been hanging out waiting for me to come back to it. I've settled on a super basic recipe to start, using just oil (I'm planning to use calendula-infused jojoba), water (or hydrosol), e-wax, essential oils, and a touch of the preservative.

Calendula is in full bloom at my community garden right now, and I think I will go pick a bunch of it, dry the petals, and infuse jojoba oil with them ahead of making it, so that gives me a bit of time to order more stuff for it. I think I will use some English chamomile and some high-alt lavender, and maybe a touch of geranium and rosewood because I love the scent.

So the real question I wrote to ask, is: What hydrosol would you recommend for this?

Feel free to take this discussion over to the blog, if you want!"

My first thought is, no matter what hydrosol you choose, to make sure you sterilize it first. I'd hold it at 175 degrees, covered, for 15 minutes. The hydrosols are a perfect feast for nasties in your lotion.

Having said that...there's a long list that could be helpful. I'm going to list the ones that come to mind, more or less in order.

  • German Chamomile

  • Roman Chamomile

  • Calendula! (If that has worked well for you.)

  • Lavender

  • Helichrysum

  • Owyhee (Artemesia)

  • Blue Tansy (esp. if the eczema has an allergic component!)

I'm wondering if it might not be an idea to get a sampler and try some of the above on the eczema all by themselves at first, to see if any one or combination seems to really help.

These are the things that come to mind first; I'm hoping others will jump in.

Another thought. I'm not sure about infusing in Jojoba. I've not tried it; but I know we have sometimes had problems with some CO2s that will dissolve beautifully in most carrier oils...the structure of Jojoba...a liquid wax... can do some strange things. I'd hate to see you lose all your calendula! Has anyone else infused in Jojoba?

and yet another thought...other carrier oils that are suggested for eczema and/or psoriasis by various authorities: Avocado, Jojoba, and Peach Kernel oils, Borage Seed, Camellia, Cranberry Seed, Evening Primrose, Pomegranate Seed CO2 and Rose Hip Seed Oils.

Maybe another choice instead of the Jojoba if we get feedback that its not the best choice for infusing?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Face masks (or Face Masques) Part I

To start with... which type of clay to use?

The most basic face mask, and probably the easiest to make is a blend of which ever type of clay is suited to your skin type, moistened with an appropriate hydrosol, to make a smooth "mud." Spread the moistened clay over your face, avoid the eye area, let dry, and rinse well with tepid water.
A mask will always help with exfoliation, may dry excess oil, and can help your skin detoxify. There are those who say that the minerals contained in various clays can also be beneficial to your cells.

The "Fun" part of creating a face mask lies in selecting ingredients that are suited to your skin type.

First - Clays:
Commonly available clays helpful for various skin types.
Glacial Clay is composed of particles that are small enough to create a powerful absorption factor for the skin and due to it’s chemical properties it has the ability to remove toxins and bacteria and dead skin cells to leave the skin healthy, purified, and smooth.
It stimulates the circulation, detoxifies, exfoliates dead skin cells while and smothes down wrinkles, leaving the skin soft, smooth and invigorated. It produces erythema (local skin warming), accelerates physiological processes and increases cell regeneration in surrounding tissues, improving skin elasticity and overall complexion. Because of the warming effect, I would avoid using Glacial Clay on very sensitive skin.
Because of its strongly detoxifying effect, Glacial Clay is highly recommended for skin plagued by acne, blackheads, pimples, etc.

Wonderful for oily skin Sea clay draws impurities like a magnet! It provides deep cleansing, tighten pores, revitalize the complexion and help clear problem skin. Sea clay is the best for oily skin due to its high mineral content. Due to its high content of minerals, sea clay draws oils from the skin, and is rich in algaes, macro- and micro-minerals, as well as sodium and sulphur. Sea plants, seawater, sea salt and oceanic clay have long been popular physical-therapy ingredients in Europe. Recommended as medical therapeutic agents as early as 1578, seawater and sea derivatives were administered for rheumatism and general rehabilitation. Sea clay is an important ingredient in body wraps to lose inches and cellulite.


One of the mildest of all clays, French White Kaolin is suitable for the most sensitive skin. It will help stimulate circulation while gently exfoliating and cleansing. It does not draw oil from the skin so is a good choice for dry skin. It is also high in minerals known to be beneficial for oily or blemished skin. It can help heal blemishes and inflammation, while preventing more problems from forming. White kaolin clay soothes and softens the skin and is suitable for all skin types.

Pink Kaolin is the cosmetic clay for normal, sensitive and mature skin. It is the mildest clay and most widely used in cosmetics.
Pink clay is particularly useful for toning dull, tired, or devitalized skin. It also has excellent cleansing properties.

Enough typing for one evening. I'll post suggested hydrosols another day, or you may read the whole article online on our new "information about face masks page"

Saturday, July 4, 2009

You Could Have Heard a Pin Drop

Was musing over an Independence Day blog post, and a friend forwarded this in my Email.

When in England, at a fairly large conference, Condi Rice was asked by
the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example
of empire building' by George Bush.
She answered by saying, 'Over the years, the United States has sent many
of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond Our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.'

You could have heard a pin drop.
There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American.. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room
saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?'
A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea
water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'

You could have heard a pin drop.
A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U..S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a tail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries.
Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English.' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?' Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied 'Maybe
it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you
wouldn't have to speak German.'
You could have heard a pin drop.

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on. 'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically.
Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.'
The American said, ''The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it.

'Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France !'
The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, ''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show
a passport to.'

You could have heard a pin drop.

I know that our country isn't perfect, by any means. But on this day that we celebrate our independence, I am SO proud to be an American, and so grateful for the young men and women who serve to keep us free.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Claying around -

We've been packaging some clays that have been here for a good while. (I used them in soaps, or to color soaps, but we've never made them available before.)

I started working on an info page about clays, and face masks with various ingredients and for various skin types. Of course nothing would do but some of us had to try them out.

Not sure where all the pictures ended up, because I KNOW more masks were blended than I have pictures of...but I thought some of you might enjoy seeing the messes we can get into.

T was working on a combination, for her combination skin... so came out rather Christmassy looking with red and green masks.

Now Sharon, with a white kaolin mask for her sensitive skin, took the "rest quietly for 10 or 15 minutes while the mask dries" very seriously indeed!

Somewhere, on a computer drive there are a bunch of pictures from perhaps 14 years ago, when Nature's Gift was running out of my house.

We had gotten in samples of several clays, and of course Wolfie, Hope and I had to play. We did half of each of our faces with a different clay mask... and when we had just finished applying them... the doorbell rang. UPS delivery, needed signing for.

I guess we took ourselves more seriously then, because we were mortified. Today, in hindsight, its funny.

One of these days I'll finish that page of suggestions and ideas for home made face masks. or masques, if you prefer.