August 2009

Chocolate Warmth

August 28, 2009

I got you on the title, didn’t I?

I know what you are expecting, warm chocolate cookies, banana and chocolate bread. Nope, sorry. Today is warm chocolate lavender oil.

When I had my first son, infant massage was on it’s way back as a method to calm and soothe babies (and I think their parents as well). Jacob and I would always end our evening with a bath, and he loved to float with his ears immersed in the water (they say it replicates the sound of the womb). Before we would get into the tub, I would plug my heating pad in and place it under two towels to warm them up. As soon as we were out we would dry him off, and then place him on one towel, with the other over top. My husband and I took a class right after he was born, and we had our nightly list of massage techniques to use for different issues that might be going on at the time.

Jacob loved it, and to this day he will not go to bed without his massage (“Mama, don’t forget the chocolate oil”). Obviously as children get older, the way that we massage them becomes very different, but some warm oil on the boys backs before bed, or on their tummies when they are not feeling well, or a good head massage when the day has been a bit overwhelming always seems to work.

I love anything having to do with a spa, but not being able to afford going much leaves me with the need to try and recreate it myself. My mom and dad still tell the story that growing up, I loved candles and bath salts like most women love shoes.

Colorado, for all of its beauty and fun and adventure, has the disadvantage of being insanely dry. Oils, lotions, and heavy moisturizers are a daily part of life, and a few years back I was trying to find an oil that would really work for the winter months. I decided to just go ahead and experiment with different types of heavy moisture protectors like shea and cocoa butter. What resulted was a very simple, but delicious oil that makes our skin feel so yummy in those dry months.

I really like having home made oil in the house, mainly because I think that the cost of bath products is crazy, and also because I want to know where something is coming from that I am putting on our skin. I am sure that there are 1000’s of recipes that can be googled for making your own, but I thought that I would share one from our family that always seems to make everyone smile.

Chocolate Lavender Healing Oil
Equal parts of avocado, jojoba, apricot and grapeseed oil
4-8 oz of cocoa butter
3 oz of shea butter
1 large scoop of dried lavender, chamomile, and calendula
Vitamin E

Using a mason jar size of choice, add your oils and shea butter. Cocoa butter can be hard to extract, so if needed, use a double broiler method to soften the container, then cut the cocoa butter into small pieces and add to oil.
Add the herbs, stir to combine, and either place the jar in a crock pot of hot water on high over night, or in a pot of simmering water for 2 hours. If using the stove method, please do not allow to boil.
Once the jar is cooled, strain the oil through cheese cloth, bottle it your desired way, and top with 6 drops of Vitamin E.

My dear friends and family are always in search of more oil every once in a while, so we make up a big jar a few times a year and then give them away as birthday party favors, or stocking stuffers. Having said that, your oil will only last around three months, so using the size jar that works for you is best.

Infants skin is so delicate, and their little pores can become clogged very easily. For our little ones, we used a combo of apricot, olive oil, and the herbs above, and then steeped it the same way. We did not introduce the heavy chocolate oil until they were over a year.

Using massage has become a great transition tool for us in the evenings, and it just feels cool to know that they love their “chocolate oil” so much. I have to say, it makes the room smell amazing, and I use it as much as they do.

I hope you enjoy

Tomorrow we are joined by Shelley Caskey for our artisit at work series. Monday the Vintage Swap will be up, and I am so excited to get that going


To Serge or Not to Serge

August 27, 2009

My phone lines went down this morning, so I had to go the library with only the pictures that I had already taken to do this post. Please excuse me for getting this up so late 🙂

We finally painted and covered the paper maiche bowls that we made last week, and we experimented with one of them and tried using fabric, rather then tissue paper to cover it. We were going for an Autumn patchwork kind of feel, and the boys love how it turned out. I may try and add some gesso to it to see it that will finish it off a bit smoother, but all in all I think that it came out pretty well. One more item down for our Autumn nature table.

Remember how the bias tape and I had trouble getting along? Well, I have a much bigger relationship issue that I need some help with. My serger and I have spent YEARS of fighting together, and it is starting to wear thin on my nerves.

My great friend, Bernadette and I try and get together weekly for a bit of sewing, and yesterday she was determined to get the serger and I to patch things up. This was to absolutely no avail, since the machine never seems to want to do anything that I ask of it. I don’t know what it is, but it seems silly that for as much as I love to sew, serging seems to be beyond my talents.

Here is my question, can anyone tell me why I am getting this little bunch of thread in the beginning of my serging? Neither Bernadette nor I could figure it out, no matter how many ways we changed the tension. I know that many of you use your serger with love and affection, so I am just wondering