Sunday, September 30, 2012

12 Days of Christmas Crafting - Day One

12 days of Christmas: Creating Aromatic Gifts with Essential Oils

The Christmas holiday season is rapidly approaching (86 days!) and every year I intend to make aromatic gifts for my friends but time gets away too quickly and I rarely match my ambitions, thinking, “Well, there’s always NEXT year”!  Next year has arrived so I put on my thinking cap and began making preparations early and wanted to share some neat ideas in case you, too, would like to share the gift of aromatherapy with friends and family.
The result: over the next 12 days, I’ll be blogging special recipes and blending tips and each day we’ll give you the opportunity to save on a featured item which can be utilized for your own unique blends and creations.
Let’s be clear: I am a tub person, not a shower person.  I don’t even have a shower, just an old claw foot tub, and I love to turn my bathroom into a personal spa with our natural bath salts:  Dead Sea, Himalayan Pink Crystals, African Pearl, and Hawaiian Black Salts. Too hard to pick a favorite, as they are all quite different.  Affordable and luxurious all at once! 

Scenting bath salts with essential oils and vegetable oils is fairly simple but if you are intimidated we do offer a Make It Yourself Bath Salt Kit with full instructions and everything you need to blend and store your creation.  Our PET clear plastic bail jars are tub and shower safe and hold a little more than 16 oz.

 Choose your salt or salts of choice.  Sometimes it is nice to blend several varieties of salts for size and texture.  Smaller salts tend to drain better and are easier to clean from the tub. 
Choose your oil or oil blend considering any contraindications or safety warnings for the individual who will receive the oils.

Ideas:  Lavender, Rose, Sandalwood, Coffee, Rosewood, Vanilla CO2
Okay, you have your salts and oils.  Now what?     
Mixing bowl, large spoon
Add salts, 2 cups or 16 oz
Add essential oils or blend of choice, about 15-30 drops  
Blend and mix well
A carrier oil or liquid castile soap may be added to the mixture for a more salt scrub type effect.  
If using a carrier oil in addition to essential oils, blend the essential oil into the carrier oil.
Close in a container with a very tight lid and store for a day.
If the blend seems too weak, you may add more essential oil at that time. 
Remember to add a personal label with any safety warnings or precautions, such as “Caution, tub may be slippery after use.” (if making a salt scrub.)

We’ve been experimenting with our Coffee Essential Oil in the salts and love the result…not too overpowering, just right!

Salts and Bail Jars are available at special pricing for the next 12 days for our blog readers.  Good luck making your own special creations!
Use the promotional code  craft1  (the number 1) at checkout, press apply, and save 20% on our PET bail jars, and all of our salts, including our make it yourself bath salt kit.  The Salts and bail jars will continue on sale until October 12

Finished Salts, layered and packaged.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Rose by Any Other Name

A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Once upon a time I turned up my nose
when anyone mentioned rose.
Proliferation of lousy synthetic oils
made me choke.

But then I sampled rare rosa alba, white rose,
Evoking scented heaven.
Rosa damascena captured next my senses,
till Rose de Mai stole my affection.
Rose Maroc, Rose Otto,
Select just one? Oh, no! Oh, no!

Bulgaria, Turkey, France
Producing glorious scents
Aromatically divine, nature’s gift
Unsurpassed, sublime! 

Comforting friends
Through smiles and tears
Our mystical rose conveys love
Calms fears

Rose water, rose attar,
Rose petals, rosy dreams
Exotic, Sub rosa
Engulfing my being

by Christi R. Pugh, for Nature's Gift

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Clay pot Vases

I've always used our wee clay pots as passive diffusers.  Have used one in my car, with Fresh Aire, on in a winter clothes storage closet with Atlas Cedarwood oil, one hidden in the branches of an artificial Christmas Tree with Balsam Fir oil...but I've never used them decoratively.

One of our new staff members, Sherry, mentioned in passing that she had filled one in her kitchen with blossoms from her Basil plants, and how pretty and aromatic they were as they dried.

It never occurred to me to use one this way...but they are charming.  Any dried flower would work nicely...aromatic or not.

Sherry, thank you for sharing your creativity!

We have a tiny handful of the terra cotta pots without the cork that seals the top. You wouldn't use the cork to make a vase. They are on our Clearance Page while they last.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lunch on a slow day

After last week's holiday sales this week has been a bit slow. One of the things we've used the time for was a collaborative lunch.

All that wonderful Sweet Basil was from Beverly's garden. She and her green thumbed sisters have been gifting us with goodies all summer. I have never SEEN so much fresh Basil in one place!  

Lots of fresh Mozzarella, lots of tiny grape (or cherry) tomatoes.  Chop the cheese into small pieces, cut each tomato in half, cut up as much basil as you have and then add a bit more.  Tuck it into a hot oven until the cheese melts.  It won't take long.

Out of the oven all warm and melty...  Now, the original recipe suggests serving as a hot dip, with tortilla chips or pita chips or some such.  What we discovered was that there was some tomato juice and maybe some butter fat from the melted there was a layer of liquid at the bottom, far too good to waste.  SO, rather than toasting the slices of french bread that we had planned to use as Crostini to dip the cheese with.

Instead, we sliced the untoasted bread (although we could also have toasted it) several slices per plate, and spooned the wonderful Caprese Dip over the bread.

We do eat well!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More on Molluscum Contagiosum

We love it when we get feedback from our clients.  There are times when our clients feel so strongly about the benefits they've received that they ask us to share.  Shannon from Provo Utah went further than that.  She was so impressed and so grateful about her experience in dealing with her son's Molluscum contagiosum that she wrote the following history and asked us to share it so that other parents might see it.  She sent a portfolio of pictures; I've picked what seemed to me to be the most representative. I hope the details of his lesions show up clearly.
- - - -

In February 2011 I started to notice tiny bumps on my son’s right forearm ( he was about 1 ½ years old at the time). I didn’t pay them much attention. About a month later I noticed that they were getting a bit bigger and there seemed to be a few more than I remembered seeing the month previous. I started to think that maybe he had warts spreading on his forearm. I didn’t do anything about it. As the months went by I really noticed that they were spreading and growing still, and now I wasn’t so sure it was simply warts I was looking at. In July I had a our family doctor (an ND) look at them. By now they were starting to show up in his right armpit and on the right side of his torso (where his right forearm would rub if he wasn’t wearing a shirt. The doctor said that it looked like my son had Molluscom Contagiosum, apparently cause by a Herpes Virus. I asked him what we could do for it and he replied that we could have them burned off (cryotherapy) or surgically cut out, but those both left the possibility of leaving scars and/or not entirely killing off the virus (so the virus would spread and more bumps would start appearing). Those are pretty painful options for a 1 ½ -year-old, and with no guarantee of success! My son had at least around 15 bumps at this time and I just couldn’t imagine that. There were topical ointments that I could try that may or may not work to eradicate the virus and bumps, but my son has such sensitive skin that I didn’t want to try anything harsh. The doctor said that in most cases, the virus died off by itself and the bumps disappeared on their own within 2 years. Basically, I now had a diagnosis but no solution except to wait and hope that my son’s bumps would clear up on their own. So I let them be.

Then around December time I started to get even more worried because now the bumps had spread onto his belly, his other forearm, both of his inner thighs, and behind both of his knees. The original bumps were getting much bigger and starting to turn red, so people were really noticing. Thank goodness it was wintertime; I kept my son in long-sleeve shirts and pants so as not to spread the infection and not to alarm anyone. I knew the virus could be spread by contact and exposure of the viral fluid in the bumps. I started looking for an alternative answer to the harsher surgical options. Lemon Myrtle kept popping up on many websites as a wonderful and effective cure for Molluscum. I was about to take a leap of faith and order it when I came across and read a blog entry warning against using the strong skin irritant called Lemon Myrtle ( Oh, great! Now I was very confused. I took my time looking more into the Lemon Myrtle issue; I didn’t want to irritate my son’s skin, especially knowing how sensitive it already was. Then I came across another blog entry from this company called “More on Molluscum Contagiosum” ( where I saw a proposed blend of essential oils for getting rid of Molluscum. Apparently this blend had worked for someone, according to a quoted case study, and was a MUCH gentler alternative to Lemon Myrtle. I learned through the posted comments below this blog entry that offered a blend of 2 of the essential oils used in this quoted case study: Ravensara in Calophyllum, and that this ravensara oil was a very strong antiviral oil. I also saw a posted comment stating that this Ravensara in Calophyllum mix had cured a young girl’s Molluscum.
This is the information I had when I decided in February 2012 to order the blend. It was a big leap of faith for me. This was the only company I’d found in my search that mentioned these oils, everyone else seemed to tout the greatness of Lemon Myrtle for Molluscum (and I don’t doubt that it worked for many, likely at the expense of some skin irritation). There weren’t many success stories posted for this Ravensara oil blend curing Molluscum, but it seemed worth a try. I was feeling at my wit’s end, having seen these bumps grow and spread over my son’s body for the last year (he was now 2 ½ years old).

I received my bottle of Ravensara Aromatica diluted in Calophyllum Inophyllum near the end of February. I applied the oil blend (by dropping the oil onto a cotton ball until it was moist enough with the oil to spread easily onto the bumps) to my son’s bumps just 2 times (one application on the day I received it and one application on the following day) before I noticed that his skin was turning an irritated red wherever I applied the oil. I stopped using it. Now I was feeling hopeless. I emailed Marge for some guidance, and she suggested that I dilute it into some more golden calophyllum so it wasn’t so strong. We both agreed that if this Ravensara mix was too strong for his skin, the Lemon Myrtle would have been terrible (so glad I didn’t go with it!)! I discussed this all with my husband, and he suggested I try the original blend one more time before I ordered more Calophyllum to dilute it in.

So, exactly 2 weeks after I had made those first applications, I tried it again and there was no skin irritation or redness! I made a few more applications with no signs of skin irritation and so proceeded forth without ever purchasing more calophyllum as a diluent. I’m supposing his skin just needed the time to get used to this new substance. I applied the oil to each and every one of his bumps 3 times a day (morning, afternoon, evening). I changed my application method from using a cotton ball to using a Q-Tip because I didn’t need to use as much of the oil to soak a Q-Tip as I did to adequately soak a cotton ball (I was thinking of how to save money and make the most of this remedy!). Also, it was easier to pinpoint and soak the bumps directly with a Q-Tip and not spread excess oil on the unaffected parts of his skin (which is what happened with the cotton ball).

Within a week I noticed the beginnings of progress: large bumps shrinking in size and some bumps started to turn more red. All throughout the treatment, the oil made the bumps look worse before they started to look better--they took on an even redder appearance, and some would bleed and then scab over before shrinking and disappearing. When this happened, and whenever I saw that a bump was seeping any kind of fluid, I made sure to discard that Q-Tip before applying oil to any of the other bumps so I didn’t accidentally help the infection spread. Or, I’d make sure to apply oil to that bump very last. Making 3 applications a day to somewhere around 60 bumps each time, I went through my first bottle of the mix in 2 ½ weeks. I ordered a second bottle with enough time to start using it right when the first ran out. Soon after starting the second bottle, I decreased the applications to 2 times a day (I was seeing great progress, plus it was hard to keep my son still for the 5 minutes+ needed to cover every single bump). This second bottle lasted me nearly 5 weeks.

I ordered a third bottle of the Ravensara in Calophyllum to continue the treatment without interruption. Eventually I decreased the applications to once per day, and sometimes I skipped the application for the day. With this 3rd bottle, I was dedicated to my regimen for another 4-5 weeks before I realized that there really weren’t many bumps left! A few of the original bumps on his right forearm had left VERY FAINT purplish marks on his skin and a couple of the biggest bumps located on the right side of his trunk were hardly raised at all any more. I continued to put the oil on these purplish “scars” and the trunk bumps maybe once per day; the purplish marks have nearly become invisible, and I’ve deduced that the slightly raised skin on his trunk is skin-colored scar tissue.

I still have about ¼ of the third bottle left (comforting to have on hand), and I am so relieved that my son’s year-long development of these Molluscum Contagiosum bumps could end so well after about 3 months of applying the Ravensara in Calophyllum oil blend. This experience and the AMAZING results are worth EVERY penny I spent on this oil blend. It is a miracle to me, and I’m doing what I can to help spread the word. Looking at my son’s skin now, you would never know what he went through--his skin looks perfect. He’s 3 years old now, and he loves telling me “Look, Mommy! Bumps go away!” Music to my ears.   ^_^

Thank you!
Shannon, RN
  - - - -

When Shannon sent this, she wrote, "Hi Marge, Here is my experience I want to share with you. I'd be grateful and happy if you shared this information with anyone you think might benefit from it... And please let me know if there's anything else I can do to help spread the awesome news!...Here is the last set of photos, taken today September 11, 2012. I stopped using the oil almost 2 months ago, once I decided that his bumps were all gone and he appears to be virus-free!! So his beautiful skin is the end result. Lest there is any confusion: these photos are all of my son; he got potty-trained between the first set of photos and today's photos and that is why he's wearing a diaper in the first set and is wearing underwear in the last set. :-)

Every once in awhile one of you will remind us of all why we continue doing what we do, and how blessed we are to make a difference in people's lives!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Introducing Hobi-Wan Kenobi

The production staff has a new toy.  (Or an new tool, depending on your perspective!)

For years, we have been burning out a big heavy table mixer at least once every two years.  The biggest bowls (5 quart) would hold perhaps 4 bail jars of Shea Soufflé or Baby Balm in one batch.   Consequently, during the cool weather months, we ended up making one or the other product at least once a week.   Noisy, slow, tiresome.  Did I say slow?  Did I say time consuming?

This summer we had a visit from my friend Carla, a professional Chef. After touring the Production Kitchen she had some suggestions.  A professional Hobart Mixer was the first.  He was installed this morning, and christened Hobie-Wan Kenobi.

Michelle LOVES making Baby Balm, and Shea Soufflé, and seems to have claimed it for her own.  She and Sherry were experimenting with what goes where. (Come to find out years ago Sherry used one of these in a commercial kitchen. Her experience will help a lot!)

  (Jim and Marge are checking it out. We are probably the two people who will never use it!)

Surely it will eventually be cool enough to ship Baby Balm and Shea Soufflé.  Next week we're going to make both of them. LOTS of both of them! Lots and lots of both of them.