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Archive for the ‘Face and Body’ Category

Sweet Heart, Soft Hands

I often refer to what I do with Scented Journeys as “playing”.  The other day I had some ladies over to the house to “play” and in addition to having a wonderful time, we also made a few items that are really helpful this time of year. Craft time is important long after nursery school is over!

Sometimes it feels as if no matter how much lotion and cream you apply to your hands they still feel dry and cracked. I find this to be the case particularly during heavy gardening season and during dry winter months.  The solution is not necessarily to be found in the aisle of the drugstore, it’s actually in your baking cupboard. Let’s make a sugar scrub!

Sugar scrub is useful for gentle exfoliation and is an excellent and intense moisturizer due to the natural humectant properties of sugar. Sugar scrub can be used on your entire body, including your face.

While commercial options are plentiful the basic recipe is so very easy why not make it yourself? Why subject your subject your skin to chemical colorants and artificial fragrances when the two basic ingredients already smell so great. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and the result only gets better!

I have the following flavors available on my Shop page: Lavender, Joy (a beautiful floral blend) and Citrus.  Or find an empty container and follow the simple recipe below.

Sugar Scrub Recipe

2:1 Sugar to jojoba oil by weight

Essential oil of choice to desired strength

Take a small amount of the sugar and oil, massage into hands, feet, face. Rinse gently and enjoy the new found softness!

Note: I always use organic jojoba in my recipes because I find it to be excellent for the skin and very versatile. Any other carrier oil should work just as effectively.

Perhaps this Valentine’s Day you’ll surprise your sweetheart with sugar and fat in a slightly different form. Luckily, this kind won’t find its way to the waistline so you can use as much as you want!

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For the past two years I have been playing with this idea of really making Scented Journeys into a business.  My response to that ever-present question of “What do you do?” or worse yet, “Are you back to work now that the kids are in school?” is usually something along the lines of “Well, I started this little hobby-business….”.

Scented Journeys started for me as a hobby, making my own concoctions of essentials oils, base oils and butters. But as with any journey, the path changes. Now I have customers! I have started to keep at least a small inventory of the basics and have had a presence at a handful of craft fairs with very positive results!

So, as the next question from folks is usually “Can I order your stuff online?” it’s time for me to respond to that too.  I have set up a very rudimentary ordering system on my Shop Page. You can fill out the form which will generate an email to me with your order.  At this time I am only offering lip balms in a variety of fun flavors and my new seasonal oil called Modern Magi.

Modern Magi is my own fun take on the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the newborn babe of Bethlehem.  In a base of organic jojoba oil I have blended frankincense and myrrh with some tiny gold glitter flecks which shimmer gently when applied to the skin. I think a tiny sparkle on the neck, collarbone and shoulders is fun this time of year! In addition to being fun, this blend has the potential to make this holiday season less stressful as both frankincense and myrrh have grounding, meditative properties. Will you be om-ing in the aisles of Target, not likely, but it might take the frantic edge off of an otherwise hectic time of year.

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Warm and spicy?  Bright and vibrant? Both descriptions describe one of my favorite essential oils:  Frankincense.

Frankincense  is distilled from the resins that are harvested from a very hardy, shrub-like tree in the Middle East and North Africa. Superficial cuts are made on the bark so that the tree bleeds “tears” of resin that dry up over a few days. Harvesters return to scrape the tears from the tree and the resin is then steam distilled to produce the essential oil. The trees are not harmed by this process.  I can relate very well to this process because as a child growing up in the Pacific Northwest I would often play with the bubbles of sap that were just underneath the bark of the Douglas Fir trees that grew abundantly on our property.  These are the playthings of children who grow up with 5 acres of trees, but not a single neighbor under the age of 50!!

Frankincense trees

Frankincense is good for so many things particularly cuts and wounds, respiratory problems both chronic, like asthma, or acute like bronchitis. Frankincense has excellent anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-tumoral activity. It is an excellent skin toner and very beneficial to aging skin. And based on it’s history, it must be good for diaper rash too! Just kidding… it actually enhances spiritual awareness and meditation which is probably more likely the reason it was a gift from the wise men.

I use Frankincense blended with Lavender in my facial moisturizer and because of it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties  I like to apply a few drops at the base of my neck and allow it to drip down my spine, just to be on the safe side.  And if I do have any respiratory discomfort I will apply Frankincense directly to my chest, usually blended with a little Lavender and Eucalyptus to help calm the bronchial muscles and open up the airways. On cuts, scrapes or other open wounds I will apply it directly and have never had any reaction other than very mild stinging, more mild in fact than that of hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or iodine!

Many plants that survive harsh climates or strong elements have a very potent and powerful essential oil for humans and can help in overcoming some “harsh environments” of our own.   Essential oils are produced by the plant to protect it from these very dangers it encounters every day and can be used by us for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing and protection.

At this time of year my primary supplier of oils, Young Living, offers a free 15ml bottle of Frankincense for purchases over 225PV. I always look forward to this time of year and take advantage of this offer because Frankincense retails for over $91! I usually use this promotion to stock up on other regularly used oils like Lavender, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Thieves and Rosemary. Stored in their original bottles and kept in a cool environment essential oils will last for years and years.

Please contact me directly if you’re interested in learning more about Frankincense or other essential oils.

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It has been a busy fall of testing new body care recipes, playing with new essential oils, taking classes and getting ready for my first craft fairs! Back in August I decided to sign up for a two day fair at our local arboretum in December. Then an opportunity came about to also do a vendor fair at my daughter’s elementary school in November. Thinking that there was a month in between it would be feasible to do both. Funny how the calendar works though… Mid-November and the first weekend in December aren’t exactly a month apart! Yikes.

So, I’ve been spending the last few weeks madly making batches of body butter, lip balm, waterless hand cleansers, facial spritz and moisturizers, blemish serum, a newly formulated anti-wrinkle cream as well as some standard green-cleaning products and aromatherapy room sprays.

My wintertime body butter recipe uses a coconut oil base which is solid at room temperature but gets nice and soft quickly for easy application to dry winter skin. Coconut oil absorbs nicely into the skin so you don’t feel greased up.   The batches I’ve made for the fairs are a wonderful all purpose Lavender-Rosemary and a more earthy but exotic Rosewood-Cedarwood. YUM.  I’ll post my summer time body balm recipe as the weather warms. You don’t want to use a coconut oil base for summer balms because coconut oil melts at 76°F which would end up a goopy mess in hot humid NJ summers.

My Winter Body Butter recipe:

46 grams coconut oil, 4 grams jojoba oil, 5 grams beeswax per 1 oz body butter tub. 3-10 drops essential oil or blend to desired strength.

Another fun thing I’ve been working on are lip balms! Dry cracked lips be gone with fun flavors like Vanilla Citrus (yes, think Creamsicle!!), Green Tea Spruce or Rosemary-Peppermint. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how fun lip balm would be to make so I only ordered 100 lip balm tubes! I have a feeling the lip balms will fly off my table at this first craft fair!

My lip balm recipe:

50% jojoba oil (or other base oil), 35% beeswax 15% Mango Butter.

Rosemary-Peppermint is a 2:1 ratio

Vanilla Citrus has a vanilla bean infused jojoba oil + Citrus Fresh blend to strength.

Green Tea-Spruce is a green tea infused jojoba + Spruce essential oil to strength.

This month, you can find me at the Woodland Avenue School Holly Berry Boutique on November 18th 6:30 – 9:00 PM

Next month you can find me at  the Frelinghuysen Arboretum Craft Fair on December 4th and 5th 10 AM – 5 PM both days sharing a table with my friend and fellow crafter Magdalena Urbankova who makes really lovely tote bags and children’s clothing from re-purposed fabrics.  While you’re at the arboretum, stop in to see the amazing Gingerbread Wonderland!

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We were invited to a pool gathering over the weekend. Given that it’s halfway through the summer and despite our light complexion we didn’t get too crazy with sunscreen application. So, when we got home in the evening, we three girls all had some swimsuit lines and pink undertones to our skin. No problema! We’ve got Lavender!

Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile oils and has been referred to as the Swiss Army Knife of essential oils.  If I were only allowed to carry one oil with me (which I practically am when I fly, and since I can no longer fly with an actual Swiss Army Knife) it would be lavender. It is relaxing, calming and balancing. It relieves headache, burns, cuts, scrapes and insect bites/stings. It is disinfecting, purifying and an antiseptic. And it is extremely balancing for the skin making it an excellent addition to your skin care regime for all skin types.

To treat a sunburn I use the following routine: Cool, repair and moisturize.  Cool the sunburn by spritzing the area with a lavender spritz made up of 15-25 drops lavender essential oil in a 2 ounce mister bottle filled to the top with distilled water. Repair the area by applying lavender essential oil directly to the skin. Pure lavender essential  oil is extremely gentle to the skin and I have always used it undiluted, however if you are concerned about applying oils neat (undiluted) then skip to the next step. Moisturize with 10-15 drops lavender oil in a 1 ounce treatment pump filled to the top with jojoba oil (this oil is in my opinion the best oil to put on human skin, but you may prefer to dilute in sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil or another carrier oil of your choice).

By the morning our pink had mellowed to a healthy glow and we were ready for more summer fun!

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