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Posts Tagged ‘lavender’

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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Back to school means back to the routines and schedules; sports, music, homework, et cetera. It also means back to the lice and germs and illnesses that run rampant in many schools.

We had a lice notice from the nurse the second week of school; someone in the class has it. Although we’ve never had an outbreak in our family, we figured an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so we applied a 1:1 mix of lavender and tea tree to the kids’ scalps in the evening and then again before heading to school.  So far so good and we smell great too!  In the event that someone in my family did get lice, I would mix  the same oils in jojoba oil and saturate the hair with it, cover the head with a shower cap and let it soak for the length of a favorite movie.  Shampoo the hair well to get the bulk of the oil out. The end result will be a lovely shiny head of lice free hair! No chemicals.

We are starting to use our Thieves more regularly as the school year also started off with fevers, stomach viruses and general sniffles reported in both schools. Knock, knock on wood, we are still healthy and strong!  We’ll keep up with the Thieves again this winter. Last year we had another successful year of avoiding most of the sicknesses from school.  At just over $40 a bottle I think it’s well worth it for a healthy family, no doctor visits, no prescriptions to fill and no missed days from school.

Another  common complaint among kids is earaches and ear infections. We like to ease the pain and prevent an ear infection from getting worse by using lavender and rosemary essential oils.  At the first sign of any ear pain, I warm up about 1/4 ounce jojoba oil and add a few drops of each lavender and rosemary. Testing for temperature, I gently drop the oil mix into the ear canal using a bulb or plunger style medicine dropper. Once the canal is filled the warm oil acts as an internal heating pad for the inflamed area. The lavender is soothing and calming, the rosemary is very antimicrobial.  As the oil cools, I place a cotton ball at the ear and tip the child’s head over to drain the oil. Then I proceed to the other ear. I find that doing this 2-3 times a day during a painful ear infection is enough to move it in a healing direction. Again, no prescriptions filled.

It’s been a few months since I’ve added any posts. I am hoping to get back to this more frequently. In the meantime, if you have any questions on my posts or need advice on other uses of essential oils please contact me directly at scentedjourneys@gmail.com.

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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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Is there anything better than a nice cup of tea and a piece of shortbread? Yes there is! Shortbread scented and flavored with essential oils. I’ve been experimenting with flavors over the past 6-8 months. I’ve made some bizarre flavors such as black pepper-tangerine, lemongrass and grapefruit-sage, but my favorite shortbread flavor at the moment is lavender-lemon.  Many essential oils are safe for internal consumption and Young Living products will always have the nutritional information label for those that are.

My recipe for shortbread is as follows:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats (ground to a fine powder is a spice/coffee grinder or blender, yeilding 1/4 – 1/3 cup oat flour)

1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter (cold, cut into 1/8″ slices

Pre-heat the oven to 450F. Mix dry ingredients together. Add your essential oil(s) of choice, usually between 5-10 drops of each flavor. Add butter slice by slice and mix on low until the ball of dough forms.

Grease the non-grooved side of the collar of a springform pan and place (closed) on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Press the dough into the collar evenly. Cut out the center with a 2″ round cookie cutter (mine is a flower shape and it works just fine!) Leave the cut out center dough next to the springform collar on the parchment and replace the cookie cutter to the center of the dough making an open hole in the center of your dough. Open the springform collar, but leave it in place around the dough.

Bake for 5 minutes at 450F then reduce oven temperature to 250F and bake an additional 10-15 minutes.  Remove shortbread from the oven and turn the oven off.  Remove the springform collar and score the shortbread with a knife into wedges, only cutting halfway into the dough. Poke 6-10 holes in each wedge and return to the oven propping the door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Let the shortbread dry in the warm oven for about an hour. When cooled, break or cut the shortbread into wedges along the score lines.

Now pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy! That’s what I’m going to do right now….

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I love to travel. Part of the travel experience for me is always scent. Scent is more likely to trigger strong memories than any of the other senses. I remember landing in Belgium when I was 18 years old and thinking that the entire country must smell of cheese! Surprising since Belgium is known for beer, chocolate and waffles above cheese. But the smell that I encountered was definitely one of dairy. I’ve been back to Belgium several times since my year abroad and that familiar smell, almost as the plane lands, is like a welcome home hug from my “other” home country.
One of the down sides of travel is the musty smell of hotel rooms and rental cars, especially if they are not designated “smoke free”. Or the flip side when rooms and cars are so overloaded with chemical fragrance that you can’t breathe fresh air through the cloud of “spring fresh” or “summer breeze”.  For situations like these I always travel with a blend called Purification. Just like it sounds, Purification helps to neutralize odors and purify the air when diffused.  In a rental car I simply sprinkle a few drops on the floor mats. In the hotel, it’s easy to freshen up the room quickly by sprinkling a few drops onto the output of the air conditioning unit and turn it on. Within a few minutes the air will smell better.

Most recently we were in Washington DC for the weekend and the hotel we were staying at didn’t have an “under the window” AC unit. The intake and output were both on the ceiling. After a quick deliberation with myself about gravity and the possibility of applying oil directly to the filter, I decided to simply put the Purification on a tissue and hang it from the grill allowing the passing air to diffuse the oil for me.

Purification blend contains lemongrass essential oil and is beneficial in both repelling  insects and treating bites and stings.  In the home, I fill a wide mist spray bottle with 20-30 drops Purification with distilled water for quick sprays in the rooms or on linens that need a little freshening.  I also put a few drops on the outflow of my vacuum cleaner filter so that I get a scent boost every time I vacuum. The clean fresh scent of Purification is pleasant to most noses.

You can find Purification in either of the Young Living kits Everyday Oils or  Essential 7 or it can be purchase à la carte. You can go to my Oils tab above for info on ordering.

I’ll be traveling again soon, back to my home state of Washington (which smells fresh and green and salty). In addition to the Purification, I’ll bring along Lavender, Peace & Calming blend, PanAway blend, peppermint and probably Frankincense. I may also bring Joy blend to use as perfume or my own perfume blend that contains jasmine, cedarwood and lemon.

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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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