Thursday, 29 November 2012

On the 2nd day of DIY...Perfume Oil

I LOVE botanical perfumes! There is nothing better to me than catching an occasional whiff of a beautiful aromatic oil! How do I love thee, let me count the ways....

1. Natural perfumes work with your body chemistry, evolving and exposing its many layers in a very subtle way.

2. Botanical perfumes are your own personal smell. People will need to be in your personal space in order to smell it. Unlike synthetic fragrances which can assault your senses from across a room, natural fragrances are uniquely holistic experiences to both the wearer and anyone who is intimately close to them.

3. Botanical perfumes can be created on a whim! You can blend together pretty well any essential oils you want. Of course, I personally recommend a little more thought and care go into your blend otherwise you won't want to wear it. There are a few considerations to make when putting together a perfume blend.

So before we begin, here are a few questions to ask yourself...
What kind of scent so I want?
What mood am I trying to create?
Who is it for? What smells do they like?
Solid or Liquid?

Once you've answered these questions, you are ready to begin. Let's just say for the sake of argument that you are making a stocking stuffer for a young lady or teen. They might like something a little sweeter than a more mature person. So we are going to want our blend to be fresh, sweet and fun.
Grapefruit oil is said to be a scent that makes people seem more youthful, so I want to include that. I also want to add a bit of floral that's not too heavy, so I will add a touch of Ylang Ylang. We also need to make sure our perfume has some staying power so I'm gonna use a touch of Vanilla CO2 (oil soluble). You could also use a drop of Vanilla absolute but is is going to settle out to the bottom of the bottle or separate out of a solid because it's not oil soluble. If you don't mind having to shake your perfume each time you use it, go ahead and use it but I'd probably leave it out of a solid formula.
And just because I like it so much, I'm going to put a few drops of Bergamot in too! It's such a bright, sunny scent that just makes you feel good!

For our base I like to use a combination of Jojoba and Fractionated Coconut oils. They don't go rancid like typical carriers and they are very light and readily absorbed by the skin. Not only that, but they will actually have skincare benefit and make your skin feel softer and smoother...and who doesn't want that!

So here is an overview of the supplies we will need:

1 -5 mL glass roller bottle
2.4 mL jojoba oil
2.4 mL FCO
20-30 drops essential oil blend of choice

Our blend...
8 drops grapefruit oil
8 drops bergamot oil
4 drops ylang ylang oil
2 drop vanilla CO2

If you find this too sweet, you can dilute your ylang ylang first to 10% dilution in a separate vessel using 1 drop of essential oil to 10 drops of base. Then add one drop at a time to your preference.

Any formula can be adjusted to suit your preference.

Once you have your blend made, it's time to mix!
Pour the base into your bottle, careful not to spill!
Add your essential oil blend to the bottle, one at a time. Be sure to swirl before smelling your creation to let the essences mingle a bit, otherwise you'll only smell the last thing you dropped in and won't get the true scent.

Cap it properly and begin to mix by rolling it between your palms and gently flipping the bottle upside down several times. Try not to shake the bottle. We want to treat our blend with some respect!

Once you see an even colour in the bottle (no 'oil strings' as I like to call them) Let your blend sit for about a week so that the notes can mingle and synergize to each other. Trust me, this all important step makes your blend more cohesive and harmonious.

You can also dress it up by packaging it in an easy to make pillow box (that tutorial is coming up next!) and wrapping it with some beautiful ribbon.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

On the 1st day of DIY...Bath Salt Soak

We begin our 12 Days of DIY series with probably the easiest thing a person can make themselves. This is a tutorial I designed originally as a guest blogger for Christine & Company's "Ask the Expert" Series earlier this year. It's super easy to do and you can adapt it to include any scent you want or colour. All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store. For colour, if you don't have any soap colourant  handy, you can use food colouring instead.

This DIY Bath Salt Soak Tutorial is a great project to do with the kids, it's fun and clean up is a breeze! Click here to view this wonderful tutorial.

Happy Gift Making!!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Making holiday gift giving more meaningful

With the holidays fast approaching, I am preparing for the onslaught of frustrated holiday shoppers, fighting for parking (when I just need to go to work), and the crowds of pushing and shoving people all for gifts that people will forget they got in a month.... oh wait, that's not what I had in mind!

While it's nice to get all the material stuff one could ask for, all the money that gets spent at retail stores tends to go into very empty notions meant only to sedate the recipient into a false sense of material satisfaction. How do you feel when you get the typical holiday gift compared to the occasional really heartfelt gift that someone took the time to put love and life into- just for you... I don't know about you, but that gives me the warm and fuzzies!

If you don't have the time to do-it-yourself, why not consider skipping the mall and instead opt for something unique from any of the wonderful handmade and vintage shops on Etsy? This is a treasure trove of one of a kind, unique hand crafted items which many artisans have poured their heart and soul into making for the right person. For those who are looking to create more meaningful gifts to give this holiday season, I have planned a "12 Days of DIY" Holiday gift making series. We're gonna have lots of fun making awesome gifts that are easy on the wallet and will score big brownie points in the thoughtfulness department. We will explore gift options that use ingredients and materials that are readily available at your local grocery, health food or craft stores. I'm even gonna show you how to create your own eco-friendly giftwrap! Get ready to have a fun filled holiday that gives you as much as the person getting!


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

The Bath Lover's Ritual...

I LOVE baths! I actually have cravings for them! If I want to truly feel pampered and reconnect with myself and my sense of well-being... for me nothing beats a good long soak with lots of bubbles, fragrant essential oils, rich butters, detoxifying salts, dried herbal tea concoctions....or whatever else my little heart desires. A bath in my house never consists of plain ol' water. It just isn't done!

The art of the aromatic bath has roots dating back to Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Her bathing rituals included soaks in fresh milk, rose petals, jasmine flowers and other exotic aromatics. Today, we use the very same ingredients to create a hydrotherapy experience that does much more than just help make us clean.

With the right set of ingredients, aromatic baths can be used as to aid your personal wellness for whatever it is you need to balance. For some, aromatic bathing is a deeply spiritual way to purify the mind, body and soul of negativity and prepare one to connect with deity/spirit/God.... For others, it can be a way to relieve stress, uplift mood, be a time for meditation or simply a way to pamper and nurture the skin.

A lot of mindfulness goes into a bath 'ritual'. It's not just running some water, throwing in some smelly stuff and sitting there until you're a prune. To get the most out of your bath time ritual, consider the following when preparing for your spaaaah time...:)

1. Choose your ingredients... What do you want to experience today? Are you trying to relieve stress? Is it your 'womany' time of month? Is your skin in need of some TLC? Did you pull a muscle? Overindulge during the holidays? By customizing the ingredients for your bath according to what you are trying to balance, you will get the most benefit from your experience. Some ingredients are better suited to certain times. Below are a few recipes to get you started. I encourage you to do lots of research on various ingredients before selecting them as they may not be for everyone.

2. Clear time...You can't have a relaxing experience and focus on your healing if you are running through your 'to do list' in your head! Find a time that fits your schedule best. It could be at the end of the day, once a week, on a day off...It doesn't really matter as long as you have time to be undistracted for at least 20 minutes. Try to make it a time when you don't have anything else really to do afterwards...before bed is my favourite time!

3. Set the mood... Light dimmers are awesome for this! Have low lighting so you don't have eyestrain. If you like, light up an aromatherapy candle or 2 in a safe area of the bathroom where they won't get knocked over. If using a scented candle, try to stick to aromatherapy ones that use essential oils instead of fragrance oils. And be sure they do not interfere with the scent of the aromatics you've chosen for your bath. Get your 'bath blend', towels, robe, slippers and after bath oil or moisturizer ready so you don't have to go searching for things. Last but not least, close the bathroom door.

4. Prepare your space... With everything ready, run a warm bath. Try to avoid making the water too hot as this will zap the skin of hydration and prevent you from having the most comfy experience possible. Put your chosen bath blend into the tub as appropriate. If using bubbles or herbal bath bag (under running water), if using salts, milks, bath bombs or melts (place into full tub just before getting in).

5. Prepare yourself... This is so important! You need to be in a state of receptiveness in order to absorb all elements of the holistic experience you are about to have. Take a few deep breaths of your blend as it wafts in the warm vapour. Give yourself a chance to clear your mind and find yourself in just that moment. Give thanks to yourself for allowing your body, mind and spirit this healing time.... okay, now you're ready to hop in! Do be careful entering and exiting if you've chosen ingredients that can make the tub slippery.

6. Enjoy the hydrotherapy... Feel yourself become immersed in this bevy of goodness... a cocoon, if you will of wellness. Breath deeply to let the essential oils into your limbic system and absorb into the body. Feel the sense of the ingredients going to work on the areas that need help. Feel the tension melting, muscles relaxing, mind calm, skin getting nourished. Be fully and completely in the moment. Use the time to meditate if you wish, reconnect with your energies focusing on your breath and feeding the body prana (life force energy). Feel the auric body as well as the physical be cleansed of any energy blocks, negativity, emotional blocks....

7. Finishing your ritual bath... Once you feel that you've achieved a sense of balance, clarity, calm and wellness, it is time to release the water. Remain in the bath for a bit as the water drains. Imagine all the 'junk' you just lifted from yourself sinking down through the pipes leaving only a being of perfect health. Imagine all that junk returning to the earth where the energy is made neutral. Feel yourself lighter, fresher, peaceful. Exit the bath carefully, pat dry with a towel. While your skin is still damp, apply your favourite after bath oil or moisturizer. Wrap yourself in a warm, cozy robe, put on your slippers and snuff out the candles.

Go make yourself a cup of your favourite tea, rest and bask in the beautiful warmth of wellness you've gifted yourself!

(Don't forget to clean your tub of any residue later on.)

Now THAT my friends is what you call a Bath Ritual! Happy bathing!


Ginger Milk & Honey Warming Bath
This sweet and spicy blend is a great one for warming up the extremities in winter and giving a sense of comfort

Use 1/2 cup per bath

 1/2 cup milk powder (whole, goat or coconut)
 1/4  cup honey powder 
 1/2 cup dead sea salt
 4 drop ginger eo
                               6 drops cardamom eo
                               6 drops ylang ylang eo
                               3 drops clove bud eo
                               2 drops vanilla absolute

*Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing. Contains essential oils that may be irritating to sensitive skin. Use  caution. You can reduce the amount of essential oil to half of desired.

 Lavender Therapy Mineral Soak
Perfect for promoting relaxation and soothing the senses after a long stressful day

Use 1/2 cup per bath

1/2 cup dead sea salt
1/2 cup epsom salt
1/4 cup baking soda
50 drops lavender eo

Garden Soother Herbal Bath Tea
This lovely bath tea uses the natural aroma of dried plants and flowers for a delicate, yet effective aromatic experience

1/2 cup whole oats
1/4 cup calendula petals
1/4 cup plantain leaves
1/4 cup rose petals
1/4 cup lavender flower

**All rights reserved. Recipes here are the property of Alchemy Lifestyle & Wellness and may not be copied without written permission.