Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Herbal Salve Pouch

Last week I met with my friend Tracey regarding my business. Tracey is a graphic artist and she is going to help me design a logo for my business and possibly change my business name. As we met during lunch, she was fumbling in her bag for my salve - she was having a hard time finding it amongst all her things. She commented that I should make a pouch for my salves so they would be easier to find in a bag, and it could also be sold as a gift set.. That got me thinking and I came up with this: 

Top view

I also made another one with a piece of my hand dyed fabric.

There is a slight problem tho that I thought might possibly happen. Because you have to press down on the snap, if you press hard enough, there is a slight indentation on the tin - I suppose if pressed hard enough, it can damage the tin. I don't want to use Velcro, because eventually, that loses it's effectiveness. So I did some research and came across something like this.

I decided to give it a try. I kind of did it wrong - should've put the zipper in first. 

I'm kind of thinking tho, that something a different shape like the squared pouch I made might be easier to find in the bottom of a bag. I might try making a simple square, zippered pouch to see how that will turn out. I just need to brainstorm and come up with something practical that won't damage the tin - maybe something with a button. I'm not sure what I'll do. I'll give the zipper a try and see how it goes. I'll let you know if I decide on something. 

Anyone have any suggestions on something that could work?

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

EPIC Kitchen Fail!

The other day, I saw this video, about alternative ways to dry extra herbs you might have from your growing season - it intrigued me. I am always looking for fast and easy ways to do things, and thought I'd give this a try. I set out this morning to try the microwave technique. Here is how it started:

It started out with a bunch of sage.

I cut off the stems from the herb.

I separated them by size so they would process evenly.

I started with the smaller leaves first.

Covered and put in the microwave (excuse the mess in there).

Processed it at 20 second intervals, like the video says. This batch took 60 seconds.

They came out pretty good after 60 seconds. Nice and crisp and the leaves stayed whole.

Ok, next size up.

After 20 seconds, you see it starting to shrivel.

After 40 seconds, it shriveled more. Needs one more go around . . .

Then this happened - it burst into flames!!
 Blurry pic from opening the microwave and taking a fast pic.

"Oh, $@#&!!". I panicked a bit as it continued to burn. I closed the door, blocking the air flow and just let it burn.
I opened the door to snap this, closed it quick and went to open all windows 
and turn on all fans.

Done burning. It sure made a mess.

Two sage leaves burnt to a crisp - everything else was gone.

Charred remains.

Microwave turntable waiting to get washed.

So, that was my adventure this morning in the kitchen. I will post on Martha Stewart's site that it did not work, I'll show the burning pic so there's proof that my venture went up in flames. I guess I am going back to my old way of drying herbs - by tying it and hanging it upside down in a cool place for two weeks.

9/7 UPDATE: Because I cut off the stems, I had nothing to tie and hang them with, so I put them on a screen and elevated it off the floor so the air can circulate around the sage. I will leave them undisturbed for 2 weeks and they should be dried and ready for storage to use in the future.

As for the smell - microwave burnt smells are hard to get rid of. What I did and always do when things get stinky is, I put some water in a mug and add some lemon essential oils (about 10 drops) and heated it up for about 2 minutes. That took away most of the smell, the rest will dissipate with use.

Thanks for reading!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Healing Salves


My journey with healing salves started with me always having itchy skin - it was eczema. I had moved to Washington State in 1994 from Hawaii, and for most of my adult life in Hawaii, I always had itchy skin. I could never wear anything with long sleeves. I knew Washington was colder, so just before the move, I bought myself sweatpants and even wearing that was difficult. The fleece side of the pant irritated my legs so bad, I had to wear them inside out. I learned years later that it was my diet that caused my skin to itch so bad.

Fast forward to 1998, a local lavender farm, Purple Haze Lavender Farm was offering classes on making products with herbs. I love lavender and it peaked my curiosity to know that I could learn to make stuff with it. I attended the class and I learned how to make tinctures, salves, and infusions - it was so much fun, I was hooked. My oldest daughter Dawn, was starting Evergreen State College in Olympia around that time. Olympia is about a 3-4 hour drive from where we live in Port Angeles. Every year, we would make the trek up there to spend 1 or 2 weeks with her and got to know the town pretty well. At this one store called Radiance, they sold bulk herbs, books and other goodies that I just loved. During one of my first visits, I came across this book and I bought it. I immediately immersed myself in that book and learned everything I could and started making some of the recipes. That sent me on my way to making and loving salves.

The first bunch of salves I made were from single herbs that had specific healing qualities. At that time, I was having skin issues - I had eczema and would itch all the time. I found out that calendula was great for helping with itch, so the first salve I made was calendula, and I loved it - it worked so well on my skin. The next salve I tried was lavender. Lavender is great for burns and stress and what's so nice about this salve is that the lavender scent never leaves - even after infusing and making something with it, it still has that great lavender smell. I made comfrey salve for cuts, and that was a big hit. I have shared my salves with my family first, then friends and everyone loved it. Eventually I started selling my salves.

There are many carrier oils that can be used with making salve - coconut oil, grape seed oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, and others, but the carrier oil I use is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). It is readily available and if bought in bulk, can be rather inexpensive, and I can get it locally from a natural food store - I always have some in my kitchen as I cook with it, but it is great for your skin also.

Now I'm venturing into making salves with multiple herbs and I have hit upon a jackpot. I make a Healing Salve - my best seller. It has turmeric, comfrey, calendula, and slippery elm. Turmeric is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and is great for fungal issues - it has cancer stopping properties. This spice is very popular in alternative healing. Comfrey as I said above, is also good with bruises, fungal issues, infections and sprains - not for use on infants and children. Along with helping itchy skin, Calendula is great for inflamed skin, fungal issues and is safe to use on infants and children. Slippery Elm has drawing properties that makes it great for acne and boils. I have put all these together into one salve. My husband tried it, he has personal itching issues and he loves it! It got him off of using Noxema. The only issue is staining (underwear), but that outweighs the healing property of what this salve does. I have one friend, Tracey, that I gave salve to as a Christmas present last year, and she has since bought three more for family members back east. They have tried it and wanted to get their own.   

Dawn now lives in Hawaii and has a friend who had a newborn infant and needed something for diaper rash. I researched and found that Calendula and Slippery Elm would work great for babies and I now have a Baby's Salve available. Baby's Salve would work great for adults, as well as infants and children, who have sensitive skin issues. This salve would work great for diaper rash, cradle cap, and eczema. 

I have in the planning, to make a salve for sunburn - which would have lavender and aloe infused in coconut oil and EVOO. I also want to add Myrrh to the Baby's Salve. Myrrh has antiseptic properties and it great for acne, boils and inflamed skin - that will be my Acne Salve. Both of these are on the back burner at the moment and will soon be produced.

All of my salves, along with other things I make (I sew bags and other small things), can be found in my Etsy Shop. Go take a look at what's there and see if anything interests you. Everything I sell has been handcrafted by me - I can custom make most of my sewn items. If you have any questions on my salves, custom orders or anything handcrafted by me, please ask in the comments section or email me and I will be sure to get back to you. Enjoy shopping in my shop and let me know if I can assist you in any way.

Thanks a lot for reading about me and my herbal journey. Hopefully this has interested you in trying one of my salves. I do have samples available and will have smaller sizes soon for sale.

Have an awesome herby day!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!