lip balm

Making our own lip balm is easier and faster than preparing dinner most nights. Even with highest quality ingredients, making it is cheaper than buying it, and one can make it just so. What’s more, melting oils and waxes and watching them set is ever so pleasing.

Sourcing your ingredients and some good tins is the trickiest bit. (Locals, we are particularly fond of places like The Soap Dispensary in Vancouver, and Self-Heal Herbs in Victoria for this stuff!)

We made this with young friends recently (with the elders in charge of melting ingredients) and it took no time at all.

There’s not much to it:

1 tablespoon shea butter 

1 tablespoon coconut oil 

2 tablespoons sweet almond, hemp oil, or olive oil  

2 tablespoons beeswax, grated, or up to 4 tablespoons if you prefer a firm, less oily balm 

optional: 1/4 tsp edible oil/extract such as peppermint, orange, vanilla 

Melt the butters, oils and wax in a double boiler, or a heatproof bowl set inside a pot, above an inch or so of water, set to very low heat.
Once melted, remove from the heat and then stir in the flavoured oil.
Pour the mixture into tins and let it set without lids until morning, or chill it in the fridge if you’re in a hurry.

Like making soap, a little effort once a year or so is all that’s required to make what we need. I like that I can refill the containers, too, when we run out. Nothing wasted.

honey lemon

Having been hopelessly ill last winter, the worst in memory, this year I’m stocking up on traditional cold remedies. I’ve put up medicinals: rosehip cordial, elderberry cordial, elderflower cordial and elderflower honey. I’ve made a nettle tincture. I have my neti pot and my epsom salts and my skin brush. Just one more thing. A very simple remedy, the equivalent of taking your umbrella out in the hopes that just having it might mean you won’t need it.

honey-lemon © elisa rathje 2011

Honey and lemon. It’s made as you would expect, inspired yet again by my beloved copy of Sloe Gin and Beeswax.

honey-lemon © elisa rathje 2011

I used a funnel to fill a jar half full with beautiful local Sussex honey. The lemons were filtered through a jelly bag to remove seeds and pulp. Then I gave the bottle a great shake, corked it, and popped in the fridge just in case. That’s probably unnecessary. I look at that beautiful amber each time I open the fridge and appreciate it. It’s the sort of thing that’s so easy to throw together as needed, but somehow I’ve always run out of honey or forgotten the lemons when we really need them! If we develop a sore throat the honey lemon remedy is ready to pour into hot water, perhaps with a slice of ginger infusing it. One more wish for good health this winter.