Sunday, December 18, 2011

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week

Sunday morning in the Catskills (view from my living room window)

As you may recall, a few weeks ago I posted about some homemade bath goodies I had made. Last week I shared with you a recipe for almond oil cleanser and today I'll be showing you how to make a great moisturizer to go with it.

Basic Moisturizer
This is another great recipe from the Winter 2011 issue of Herb Quarterly. I absolutely love this moisturizer because it's so rich and creamy without clogging my pores or making my skin feel greasy. I gave some to my sister to try as well, and now her and her boyfriend are obsessed with it (and I've heard my Mom has been stealing it too haha).

I've been using the almond oil cleanser and this moisturizer every day for about two weeks now and I've been really happy with the combo. My skin has been super soft and smooth--none of that nasty flaking that happens so often during the cold winter months. I highly recommend both of these! Plus, they're really easy to make!

1/4 cup sweet almond oil (or light sesame or sunflower oil)
1/4 cup stearic acid powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup distilled water

Combine the oil and stearic acid powder and heat gently in the microwave (or on the stove) until melted. Combine the baking soda and water and heat up until it's roughly the same temperature as the oil mixture (but be careful not to let it come to a boil). In a blender or food processor, add the oil mixture, then slowly add the warm water mixture until you have a light cream. (After trying it this way, I think it might have been easier to just mix by hand because it made a big mess in my blender, but try it and see what works best for you.) Let cool completely (you may need to stir it a few times while it cools to keep the oil and water from separating). Store in a clean container in a cool, dry spot. (The recipes says it makes 12 ounces but my batch filled two 4-ounce containers.)

To use, massage a small amount into clean skin after cleansing.

Next time I make a batch of this moisturizer, I would love to try adding some essential oils to give it a fragrance. Instead of using as a facial moisturizer, I'd instead use it as a body cream. If you end up trying this, please let me know how it goes!  :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shipping and Holiday Sale

I know I'm already a day behind on my Tip of the Week and I promise that will be posted later today, but first I just wanted to post a quick reminder.

Monday (12/19) is the last possible day I will be able to ship orders out in time for Christmas so please be sure to get any time-sensitive orders placed either this weekend or Monday morning! Also please note that Parcel Post is no longer available for delivery before the holiday, so be sure to leave me a note if you need it by Christmas so that I can ship it Priority for you (in some cases this may increase the shipping cost, but I will let you know before I send it out).

Also, don't forget to enter coupon code CANDYCANE for 20% off your entire order! This sale will be up until Monday night!

It's begun to snow now, which means it's time for me to cuddle up for a bit with my coffee and a book. I'll be back later today with my Tip of the Week, where I'll show you guys how to make an all-natural facial moisturizer to go with the almond oil cleanser recipe I shared last week :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Coupon Code--20% off!

Christmas is fast approaching, and as a special thank you for shopping at Candles By Nature, I'm offering 20% off ALL items in my shop! All you need to do is enter the coupon code CANDYCANE when you check out and the discount will be applied automatically.

And don't forget that the last day to ship in time for Christmas will be Monday, December 19th! As always, let me know if you're ordering as a gift and I'll be happy to include ribbon and a gift tag so that it's ready to give!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Still Shipping in Time for Christmas!

My boyfriend works at our local post office, so he was able to give me the skinny on shipping things out in time for the holidays. According to USPS, we should be able to continue shipping US orders in time for Christmas until Monday, December 19th.

Lucky you, this means you still have about 5 days to pick up some gifts at Candles By Nature! ;)

My only disclaimer: My current shipping estimates on Etsy are based on Parcel Post shipping to offer you the best rates. For some locations in the US, Priority shipping may be required in order for your package to arrive in time for Christmas. Once your order is placed, I can get a more exact shipping estimate based on your zip code and will let you know.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pomegranate Winter Feast

My Pomegranate Sage teacup candle was featured in a lovely Treasury called "Pomegranate Winter Feast". Click here to check out the other great items in this Treasury!

You can find my Pomegranate Sage teacup candle in my Etsy shop here.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your Sunday!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week

Last weekend, I made some homemade bath goodies. Among these, was a facial cleanser made from sweet almond oil and honey. The recipe below comes from the Winter 2011 issue of Herb Quarterly, a wonderful publication chock full of great tips and recipes for pretty much anything you can think of.

Almond Oil Cleanser
This cleanser is perfect for dry skin because the sweet almond oil is extremely moisturizing while still light so that it doesn't clog your pores.

2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup sweet almond oil

Mix together all ingredients by hand until well mixed (I used a 4-ounce container, which worked perfectly). To use, place a small amount in the palm of your hand and massage into your skin. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.

Just a little personal note...The first time I used this cleanser, I was a bit disappointed in how long it took to feel like the oil fully rinsed off, but once I dried my face I noticed that my skin was left feeling wonderfully soft and moisturized. So, don't be turned off by the first impression--this cleanser is definitely worth it, especially during the winter months when your skin is prone to becoming dry and irritated!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ice, Ice Baby

I awoke to a beautiful world of snow this morning, so I wanted to put together a Treasury to share with everyone the winter wonderland we're enjoying right now in the Catskills.

Here's a sneak peek:

Icy Hues

$38.00 USD

$24.00 USD

$16.00 USD

$32.00 USD

$30.00 USD

$34.00 USD

$25.00 USD

$14.00 USD 

For the full collection, please visit here and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Who Loves Doctor Who? I Do!

My dear friend Ryan has been asking me for ages to do a Doctor Who-themed Treasury, so this afternoon I finally sat down and picked out my favorite items from fellow Who fans.

Please click here to check it out and let me know what you think!

In the meantime, here's a little peek for ya:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Winter Wonderland

My Winter Wonderland teacup candle was just included in a great Etsy treasury, featuring plenty of winter-inspired goodies, perfect for gift-giving or for yourself. Check out the Treasury here, leave some love, and take a peek at the great Etsy finds!

Remember, shopping handmade is way more fun than schlepping around a mall, plus the gifts are always unique and heartfelt! Visit my shop for many more teacup candles, upcycled/repurposed candles, and much more ;)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Homemade Bath Goodies

Today my boyfriend and I spent the afternoon making some homemade goodies for ourselves (and as testers for what will ultimately become Christmas gifts for our friends and family). I'll be including a few of the recipes as my weekly tips, so here's a sneak peek:

The first few projects we worked on were based on recipes I found in the latest Herb Quarterly. I've always been really picky about the products I use on my face (soap, toner, moisturizer) so I like testing out different natural varieties to find a perfect fit for my skin. So I was really excited to find recipes for an all-natural facial cleanser and moisturizer.

This almond-oil cleanser felt a bit greasy when I first used it and the oil itself didn't seem to completely rinse off, but once I dried my face, I found the remaining oil to be just right to keep my skin feeling moisturized and clean. I followed up with my regular alcohol-free witch hazel toner and then finished with my homemade moisturizer.

This moisturizer is luxuriously rich, yet feels extremely light when applied to the skin. I tried it about an hour ago and my face feels so soft it's wonderful!

The next Herb Quarterly recipe was for a tea tree counter scrub, which is basically just a mixture of baking soda and tea tree oil. I sprinkled a bit of the scrub on our kitchen counter and it did seem to deodorize the surface. I'm going to continue using this throughout the house and I'll let you guys know how it holds up!

Our last Herb Quarterly project is a moisturizing, calming balm. This balm uses a beeswax base and includes relaxing oils including lavender, bergamot, and clary sage (although we decided to use lavender and ylang-ylang because that's what we had on hand). We're still in the process of finishing the balm since we have to wait for the lavender buds to infuse into the base oil. It's not the finished product, but it sure looks pretty!
We also made some cocoa butter soap, topped with oatmeal for exfoliation and scented with my Witch's Brew fragrance (one of my boyfriend's favorites). This soap came out so nice, I'm really psyched to give these out as gifts!

And, finally, we made our own customized shampoo, scented with rosemary and juniper essential oils (my favorites). I'm really excited to try out the soap and shampoo later today, I'll let you guys know how I like them!

Completing these projects only took a few hours and we both had a lot of fun working and learning together. Plus, it's always so satisfying to use natural, healthy products that you've created yourself! If you're interested in making your own creations, I highly recommend you do it. See if a friend or family member wants to help--it's a lot of fun to work with someone else  :)

Aromatherapy Collection Price Reduction

I have some exciting news for you guys! I'm constantly looking for ways to reduce production costs while still maintaining the quality of my products. In particular, I've been searching for more cost-effective options for my Aromatherapy Collection so that I can offer these great candles to my customers at more affordable rates. And, alas, I've been able to find a way to pass my savings on to you lovely shoppers! 

All 4-ounce candles in my Aromatherapy Collection are now reduced from $7.00 to $6.50! I'm planning on keeping these prices for as long as possible. And since I'm always on the hunt for better deals (just like I know many of you are, as well), my hope is that sometime in the near future I can further reduce the prices for you!

Please be sure to check out my Aromatherapy Collection in my Etsy shop and remember that you can always contact me on Etsy (or right here on my blog) if you have any questions or would like to request custom items. Happy Sunday!  :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week

Today is part 2 of my segment on recipes from the Fragrant Waters workshop at the Cooperstown Farmers Museum. For the first part, I shared a recipe for lavender water and now I'll show you guys how to make rose water.

Like lavender water, rose water can also be wonderful in baked goods and can also be used as a natural facial toner when made without alcohol.

Rose Water
3 1/2 quarts water
1/2 quart vodka (any cheap vodka will do, no need to buy the expensive stuff!)
12-15 drops all-natural rose essential oil

Pour the vodka into a container large enough to hold at least 4 quarts of liquid. Add 12-15 drops of rose oil and shake vigorously. Add enough water so that the total mixture is about 1 pint shy of a gallon. Shake again. Add the remaining water to make 1 gallon. Filter the water using a coffee filter, then pour into amber glass bottles to store (the dark bottle helps keep the mixture from spoiling).

Treasury: Great Gift Ideas Under $10.00

My Pomegranate Sage teacup candle was just featured in this great collection of gift ideas--all under $10! Be sure to check it out here and leave some love, if you're so inclined  ;)

Great gift ideas under $10.00

$8.00 USD
$5.00 USD
$4.00 USD
$4.00 USD
$6.00 USD
$4.00 USD
$5.00 USD
$8.00 USD
$3.00 USD
$4.00 USD
$3.00 USD
$8.00 USD

$0.20 USD
$3.99 USD
$4.00 USD

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday and Holiday Sale!

Today is Cyber Monday, which means tons of awesome deals in many online shops. It's definitely a great day to get your Christmas shopping done, or to pick up some presents for yourself while they're on sale  ;)

Don't forget that all 4-ounce candles in my shop are now 20% off! This sale will last until late tonight, so be sure to check it out!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Sale!

For all those who plan to do their Christmas shopping on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and/or Cyber Monday, I'm offering 20% off ALL 4-ounce candles in my shop, including my Aromatherapy Collection. All of my seasonal and year-round 4-ounce candles are now marked down from $4.50 to $3.60 and my Aromatherapy Collection candles are reduced from $7.50 to $6.00.

The sales ends Monday night, so be sure to check out the shop and grab them at these awesome prices while they're available. Happy shopping!  :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving is Almost Here!

Thanksgiving in my family is always a big deal, with the promise of a table full of food, family, and friends. My mom is the type of person who lives by the motto "the more the merrier" so there's always plenty of extra food for any last-minute guests. She also loves sending everyone home with leftovers, so she makes way more than we could ever eat in one dinner. Every year I look forward to helping her prep the food and then sitting around the table enjoying everyone's company.

Oh and did I mention my Mom is an awesome cook? The food is definitely my favorite part about Thanksgiving haha. Even now my mouth is watering just thinking about her famous stuffed mushrooms...yum! What's your all-time favorite Thanksgiving food? (Everyone has one!)

While you're thinking about your favorite Thanksgiving fare, don't forget to check out my Thanksgiving sale items in my shop!

I wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Aromatherapy/Botanicals Tip of the Week

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at the Cooperstown Farmers Museum (click here for details on all of their upcoming programs), where we learned how to make several wonderful recipes from an old pharmaceutical book, Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Processes (which can be found on Google Books if you're interested). The "Fragrant Waters" workshop was held in the historic village's pharmacy building, which was originally built in 1832 and owned by Dr. Freeborn Garrison Thrall in Hartwick, NY.

Cooperstown Farmers Museum Pharmacy

The building itself is an amazing piece of history--the folks at the Farmers Museum even went as far as to build historically accurate shelving units and work-counters based on building plans from old pharmaceutical guides. I swear, the second you walk in there you feel like you're transported back in time, it's so neat.

That atmosphere only made this workshop even cooler because, not only were we lucky even to have someone teaching us historic recipes, but we were doing it in an authentic 1800s pharmacy, complete with a cozy wood-burning stove and shelves upon shelves of beautiful glass bottles holding all sorts of natural concoctions (made by the resident "pharmacist" in the Village, of course).

For the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you the recipes that we learned during this workshop. They can also be found in Encyclopedia of Practical Receipts and Processes on Google Books, along with many, many others.

So, let's kick this off with my favorite of the bunch: lavender water! Because this lavender water is made with alcohol, it's really more suitable for culinary uses, but you can also substitute the alcohol for water if you want to make a lavender water to be used in a bath or on your skin. If you do replace the alcohol with water, just note that the liquid will eventually spoil since the alcohol would normally act as a preservative.

Lavender Water
3 1/2 quarts water
1/2 quart vodka (any cheap vodka will do, no need to buy the expensive stuff!)
25 drops all-natural lavender essential oil

Pour the vodka into a container large enough to hold at least 4 quarts of liquid. Add 25 drops of lavender oil and shake vigorously. Add enough water so that the total mixture is about 1 pint shy of a gallon. Shake again. Add the remaining water to make 1 gallon. Filter the water using a coffee filter then pour into amber glass bottles to store (the dark bottle helps keep the liquid from going bad).


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Sale!

Thanksgiving is now only one week away (can you believe it?)! To celebrate the holiday, I am offering my Apple Orchard and Plumberry candles at a discounted price until Friday, 11/25.

Apple Orchard smells just like fresh, crisp apples! After just a few minutes of burning, you'll feel like you're walking through an apple orchard on a cool autumn afternoon.

Plumberry is a unique, yet somehow still traditional, fragrance. with hints of clove, raspberry, pear, and—of course—plum. It’s a bit sweet with just the right amount of autumn-inspired spice.

These two scents are absolutely perfect for the autumn season and would be a wonderful addition to any family gathering or for everyday occasions. Be sure to pick them up before the sale ends!