Making Simple Body Lotion

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I started making my own body lotion about 15 years ago when I entered naturopathic medical school. I was extremely wary about the ingredients in store-bought products – even some of the ‘natural’ ones. Like sewing jeans, making body lotion was something that seemed really complicated, but turned out to actually be quite easy. I took advantage of my time in the school’s herb lab, and the expertise of professors, to learn this important skill. There are a number of different approaches to making lotions and balms, but my favorite comes from renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar (https://scienceandartofherbalism.com/).

You will need the following equipment:

  • Blender
  • Stainless steel, glass, or enameled cast iron saucepan (NOT non-stick coated or aluminum; these pans will leach stuff into your final product)
  • Silicone spatula and/or plastic/wooden spoons (use same principles as above)
  • Container(s) for final product

You may want to get separate equipment for product-making (many people do), but I reserve my essential oils for the final product so I have never needed to do this. However, be mindful if you are sharing wooden spoons between food prep and product making – you don’t want your lotion smelling like spaghetti sauce.

This is the recipe I use:

  • 3/4 cup of Carrier oil of choice (olive, sesame, almond, apricot kernel, grapeseed, avocado, etc. You can combine more than one.)
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut oil
  • 1/2 to one oz. Beeswax (you can use shea butter)
  • 2/3 Cup Purified water
  • 1/3 Cup Pure aloe vera gel
  • 1-2 softgels of Vitamin E (completely optional)
  • 10-30 drops Essential oil(s) of choice

HERE’S THE PROCESS:

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Weight out beeswax according to desired thickness of final product. If you use pellets, you can measure them out; I find that one generous tablespoon of pellets makes a nice medium-thick lotion. You can adjust accordingly. Don’t make it too thick, especially if you’re using a pump bottle. Trust me. I went with 1/2 ounce this time and it was a runnier consistency that is perfect heading into spring.

I originally bought my beeswax at Bulk Apothecary (https://www.bulkapothecary.com/). But the past few years, I’ve been using amazing beeswax candles, and a lot of beeswax is left over when they’re done, so I save it for my lotion. There are many online sources, so it should be fairly easy to track down.

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Combine carrier oil, coconut oil, and beeswax in your saucepan. A double boiler is probably better, but I’ve done fine with just a saucepan. Place it over low heat, stirring constantly until everything is fully melted. The INSTANT the last beeswax becomes liquid…

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Pour the melted oil/wax mixture into your blender. Place the blender in the refrigerator.  You will be waiting for the mixture to cool down. This step can take up to thirty-ish minutes, maybe more, maybe less. The point is to check it regularly, until it gets to the desired consistency…

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You want it to be thick and creamy. If it’s thick like lip balm, it’s too thick. If it’s runny and warm, it needs more time. You want it to be opaque, and about the consistency of flavored yogurt or pudding when it comes out of the fridge. Don’t worry – if it’s somewhere between runny and stiff you’ll be fine. If it does get t0o thick, just put it back into the pan, melt it down and try again.

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While you were waiting – or right this second – combine your water and aloe vera gel. Add the contents of the vitamin E capsules, if you decide to use them. Just use a pin to prick a hole at the end and squeeze out the contents into the mixture. Now is the part where the magic happens…

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Turn the blender on low speed. Slowly pour the water mixture into the center of the vortex. You will kind of stir the surface to help the mixture blend, being careful to stay well away from the blades (unless you have a Vitamix or some similar high-powered machine).

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You can now add your lotion to the container(s) of choice. You will end up with about 20 ounces total. I recommend adding essential oils to the final product, in the actual container. There’s really no need to make your equipment smell like Ylang Ylang or whatever. The amount and combo of essential oils you use is completely personal. Play with it. Start out with one or two you like, add a few drops, then add more if you prefer. I find that lavender combined with something citrus is nice. Keep in mind that this is a natural product without preservatives. Make sure your container is clean, and it is probably best to keep a smaller amount in use and store the excess in the fridge.

Lotion making isn’t that complicated. Yeah, the clean-up is a little messy, but you won’t be doing it that often. Plus, you get the satisfaction of knowing each and every ingredient and their source, being able to tailor-make the formula that you desire, and experience the pure joy of saying, “I made this!”

TIPS FOR CLEAN-UP:

  • First, wipe as much lotion off your blender and equipment as you can with dry paper towels (or zero waste alternative).
  • Next, repeat with dish soap and fresh paper towels, but NOT water. Water repels grease and if you go straight to soap and water, things will stay greasy.
  • Finally, now that you’ve cut through the grease, you can place the soapy items in hot water, and the greasy stuff should come off more easily with additional soap.

I think you will love this approach to lotion making. The water content makes this formula truly hydrating. If your lotion isn’t too thick, it works well on the face. Have fun!

FAVORITE SOURCE USED:

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Things I Make

Galaxies

At the end of the day
When all is said and done
I’m still over here
You’re still over there
Galaxies of stars
The distance between our hearts
Please don’t make me choose
Between the universe and you

I don’t want it to be pain
That binds us together now
I don’t want this cluttered space
Full of pretty, ephemeral things
I don’t want the stars
To become a thing I hate
I don’t want to choose
Between the universe and you

Why can’t you feel
That I still need you here
Why must you paint the sky
Yet leave me in the dark
I’m trying to reach out
But stars slip through my hands
A thing that isn’t real
I need you to be real

Galaxies of stars
The distance between our hearts
I’m still over here
You’re still over there
When all is said and done
And the day has passed beyond
I don’t know how to choose
Between the universe and you

stars.jpg

About Me

Red Fleece Hoodie Dress

Well, it’s been slow going lately, but I have to admit, I like it. It’s nice not being on Instagram much and I’m enjoying just taking my time and not cranking out one project after another. I’m pretty sure I’m going to keep things this way, as it’s nice to have reclaimed the balance in my life. My REAL life, that is. That being said, I’m still meandering my way through my stash.

This fabric came from Austin Creative Reuse this past Summer. It’s a lightweight sweatshirt fleece, and since red is one of my favorite colors and I’m obsessed with all things Southwestern, it was an easy sell. I mean, check out that price:

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I decided to finally make View C of McCall’s 7688, a nice variation of a slip over hoodie that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile:

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I had already made a cropped version of View D, so it was exciting to get more use out of the pattern without having my wardrobe look redundant. I decided to turn it into a longer tunic dress. I simply eliminated the bottom band and used View D as the guideline for length, adding a few inches for my height. I couldn’t be more pleased with the cozy results:

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Now, I need to finish my winter jacket and I just cut out a new pair of Dawn jeans. Where will I find the time???

Thing I Sew

Those Walls

She doesn’t yell like that anymore
Her voice shook the walls
I cowered inside
My gossamer wings
Fell to the floor
Rainbows turned gray
Rivers ran dry
I don’t sing songs like that anymore

She doesn’t scream with words anymore
Her eyes, made of stone
Stare hard, straight ahead
Building those walls
Out of ether and air
Invisible daggers
Fly at my heart
She doesn’t fight using words anymore

There’s a fault line down there
Under the floor
A crack in the earth
Just waiting to snap
Don’t make me go in
Please, don’t make me go
There’s an earthquake in there
No safe place to stand

She doesn’t yell in my face anymore
Stand, hands on hips
Saying the things
I cannot forget
Though I cover my ears
Her voice in my head
I don’t live in that house anymore
Yet the ghosts of her screams haunt these walls

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https://akronartmuseum.org/collection/Prt174

About Me

In The Beginning

There was a time
Before I was born
Thousands of lifetimes ago
When God spread their hands
Over the vast
Expanse of the dark and unknown

Then as God spoke
Equations poured out
Translating themselves into light
The Spirit and I
Danced in the void
For all we had known was the night

There was a time
Before we were born
Still a twinkle that shined in God’s eye
And then God exhaled
Breath turned to Life
Perfection made flesh, yet Divine

At times I may dwell
Again in the void
The need for Creation anew
The Spirit yet moves
Though night presses in
Something’s about to begin

Genesis_1-27

Forever
About Me

Uncommon Angels

Uncommon angels
Dwell in uncommon places
Where only the heart can see

As I reach into nothingness
I’m embraced by a somethingness
Something far greater than me

I try to believe
I yearn to understand
How I can fly with only one wing

But uncommon angels
In uncommon places
Work better when they are a team

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About Me

Red Western-Embroidered Retro Top/Jacket

Well, as per usual, I made sewing plans and then completely changed them at the last minute. I bought McCall’s 7996 with the intention of using some burgundy denim to make View A:

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I still want to make the dress, but this pattern has good bones and can be hacked into so many cool variations. I would also love to do a version with a full, gathered skirt.

Next thing I knew, the denim had been cut into a skirt, and View A was being hacked into a retro 40s/50s work shirt. When will I ever learn?

I used a red cotton poplin(?) I found at Austin Creative Reuse:

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There was just enough for this project, which seems to be the case for everything I make lately. The sewing goddesses are smiling upon me. I had so much fun with my retro western blouse hack a few months ago, that I decided to try my hand at ’embroidery’ again. First order of business, I traced the yoke pattern pieces onto scratch paper, then hand-sketched the design I wanted. Then I took an Exacto knife and created a stencil:

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Next, as I did the last time, I went over everything with a very tight zig-zag sitch, the same setting used when making a bar tack on jeans:

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It’s far from perfect, but there is no way to adequately express the amount of hard work that went into it. Each and every stitch had to be torn out and re-worked at some point. What you see above represent three days of my usual sewing time. Now you know why I operate by the mantra ‘progress not perfection.’ After I put these pieces together, I realized that the leaf design looked like maple leaves and the colors are the same as the Canadian flag, so I started calling it my ‘Calgary Stampede Shirt.’ Then, I referenced the Tom Petty song “Waiting Is the Hardest Part” on Instagram, and the commenters inspired me to call it my ‘Tom Petty shirt.’ So shall it be.

Here are some progress shots:

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I used bias tape along the edge of the yokes. I like to use what I have on hand.
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All finished, except for pearlized snaps. I had to order a new batch. Waiting sucks (hence, the Tom petty reference).
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The back is my favorite part. The only thing missing are the snaps on the wrist bands.

And, the finished product:

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I love retro Western fashion!

Thing I Sew