Friday, March 24, 2017

Herbs 101: How to Use Your Loose-Leaf Herbs for Healing + As Medicine + For Fun


Here I am writing from my dream shop and I have a dream-wall of herbs to the right of me exactly as I imagined them, plus more on the way! I have a few regulars who come and buy herbs for healing at home. These well-researched visitors don't think beyond tea, so store visitors without herb-knowledge are completely clueless. I didn't realize building my "wall" would result in constantly hearing, "So what is all that, is that tea? What do you do with those? What is this place?! Are you a witch?!" 

Tea?! No, my children! Use your...IMAGINATION!

There's an astounding array of ways to use your powdered and loose-leaf herbs! More than I learned after 2 years getting certified on clinical herbalism and from a lifetime of tinkering with them! I'll be experimenting with ways to use them for a lifetime, but here are my favorite ways to use your herbs as plant medicine (and fun!) as of now: (Listen to this as you read!)

Healing Edibles
1. Powdered: grind, stir 1/2 tsp (to start) into water & drink
2. Syrup: Cook into syrup, cold/cough fighter + supplement
3. Tea Blend: Get creative and mix and match for flavor profile & medicinal benefit
4. Spice Blend: Powdered or not, again, mix & match for a blend that heals and flavors beautifully
5. Fermented: Ferment an herbal tea blend for a probiotic & healing herb boost
6. Edible Herb Oil: Infuse herb into oil for flavor and internal healing
7. Electuary: Stuff your local honey with herbs, the constituents go into the honey, take as needed
8. Herbal Vinegar: Stuff your vinegar with herbs and use for a daily health boost
9. Bitters: Herb infused alcohol. Flavor drinks/coffees + as medicine. Mine are a best-seller.
10. Soup Mix: use herbs as your base for a soup mix, yummy and healing.
11. Root Beer: Root beer was originally made from sarsaparilla to heal tummy troubles. Play and make different fun blends that heal with herb roots and parts!

Just some of my herbs are on Etsy, I'm adding more to Etsy and my local shop all the time.

Skin Healing
12. Poultice: A maceration of herb applied directly to a wound to heal or pull out poison
13. Face Scrub: Make a blend that's skin-healing, rub it on yo face!
14. Face Mask: Mix a blend with a mud mask
15. Herb Oil: Infuse your herb in oil, the oil absorbs the constituents, put the oil on the skin for healing
16.  Lotion: Use the herb oil in your lotion recipe for extra skin-healing lotion
17. Hydrosol: Collecting the herb vapor, higher level stuff, but the result is very healing herb water

Wound Healing & Medicine
18. Salves / Balms: Infuse your herb into your oil, blend with wax to make your salve or balm
19. Tincture: Infuse your herbs in a base of alcohol, glycerine or vinegar, take by dropper as needed
20. Pills: Grind your herbs and put inside capsules
21. Bath Salts: Add herbs to epsom salts (calming) you absorb the constituents through your skin!
22. Decoction: When you boil rather than gently infused your "tea" blend, reserved for the tougher plant parks like barks and roots

My joke with customers is that they can take red pill with me and see how deep the rabbit hole goes by signing up for my classes. You can add essential oils to these mixes to compound them, combine the methods to make new substances, there's so much you can do with herbs! As evidenced by my serial career and hobby hopping I'm a creative busy-brain that thrives needs new stimuli and creativity to thrive and in this career I have boundless ways to play with plants to make beautiful healing goodies. Add that left-brain research to the right-brain label and packaging design aspect and my mind is happily and well-fed.

Playing with herbs can be a hobby, a way to keep your family healthy, a way to restore your health and energy, whatever you want it to be. And it's a hell of a lot more than just tea! I hope you'll take the red pill with me as I share tips and tricks on how to use the over the coming months.
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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Simple Zodiac Choker DIY: An Elegant, Simple Design for Everyday Wear or Gifting


I made it a resolution to do as much crafting as possible outside of work, but crafting for work is so fun I haven't let myself do any personal crafting yet! So instead of a for-home craft (those will come) I'm sharing something I really enjoyed making to sell at my local shop at while traveling at expos and outdoor markets and event: zodiac chokers!

I bought the zodiac sign charms on a whim, I'd fallen in love with the 70s style images on each one and finally had a vision for how to use them. It's so easy to make similar charm-chokers of your own.

Materials: Charms, Jump Hoops if charms don't have them, Faux Leather Cord, Jewelry Pliers

You charms may come equipped with jump hoops, mine did not. Hopefully you're just hooking one jump hoop on to your charm. If you're making these as merchandise like me you may spend over 12 hours WITH the help of a paid employee to get 'em hooped, haha! (So worth it, though!) (I have a tutorial on how to close a jump hoop here.)

String your charm onto your cord.

 Then tie the ends! You can get creative here and glue beads, add extra charms to ends, whatever you like! I wanted to keep mine minimal and let the charms really shine and just closed mine with knots.

One of my favorite parts of making new merchandise is designing the packaging! This is the live view of my desk right now, I'm taking a break to wrap some of these up between working on websites then fitting them neatly in their protective plastic sleeves. I can't wait to premier them at our outdoor market tomorrow but you can see them on Etsy too!

These look really good on, go with many outfits and they make excellent customizable gifts for friends, too.
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Friday, March 10, 2017

Designer Travels: Jacksonville Florida Downtown, Hidden Industrial Chop House Peeks

My favorite part of traveling is gathering that delicious new stimuli. It's essential to the being of a creative person! And luckily, it doesn't have to be expensive at all. Just "traveling" and exploring new things in your neighborhood or back yard can be sufficient. I recently had the opportunity (as a member of USGB) to tour a historic building in my city. Located downtown, it's undergoing renovation to become The Cowford Chop House.

View of the back of the Florida Theatre from the rooftop of the future Cowford Chophouse

View of the building from the outside.

I love seeing spaces in states of decay and/or being rebuilt. The foundations are inspiring, you imagine the possibilities.

It's fascinating to see this space in that transitional state of what it was and imagine what it will be.

And fun to see downtown from this high vantage point, too! well as spires on a rooftop that have been struck by lightning dozens of times over the long years since this historic building's construction.

This inspires to get to doing a little more urbexing and historic site hunting. The texture and juxtaposition of greenery and urban decay in these old buildings is beautiful to shoot, but it's also a peaceful way to soak in some inspiration.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February Behind-the-Scenes: Business and Life is Moving Crazy Fast, Need Nature

Another month of 2017 FLEW by, it's almost scary how fast! I was looking back at posts and the last Business/Life lately update feels like just yesterday!

Customers and events like crazy all February. I appear so infrequently in the blog that I'll point out that's me in the first shot in the yellow dress. This month I made a point to casually snap photos of more customers and visitors.

This month we did 7 expos, had some big in-store sales events for Valentines Day, and added a LOT of new products to our shelves and line-up.

I'll be teaching a workshop at our local public library's new "maker's space" in March and behind-the-scenes I'm working on workshops for or store and behind.

It's exciting to be in a time where people are going back to their roots, looking for natural ways to heal. There is SO much interest in what we're doing right now, it's hard to keep up.

All the growth is exciting but as I look back on this month I see I didn't give myself time to slow down and take it in.

Photos from a recent walk at our local arboretum with Jill, maybe the only time walking outside all month? Other than to work, of course!

I need to really photography milestones (and not just quick shots for social media), take time to celebrate them, take time to be in nature, walk, mediate.

It's been non-stop work for me, a problem I let myself get into that constant-work rut constantly.

I hope to make Spring a season of springing forward and working hard on the business, but in shorter bursts so I get to what really matters: Traveling, relaxing, just living. I'm proud of the work we've done but my nerves are shot from it too, give me your healing powers, nature! I can't wait to fit in some quiet making/journaling time for March.

*First shots in this post from my Body&Soul & Blog Instagram accounts
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