Those who are familiar with my work understand that I value the simplicity of time-honored traditions as they involve patience, heart and aligning with nature.
As a child and young woman I was fortunate to live among woodlands and a pristine watershed and it was there, surrounded by nature and my beloved land that I came to understand the nuances of the natural world and how this world speaks to us. I observed and listened and Mountain Spirit Botanicals evolved from this understanding and my work reflects the offerings of our natural world.
To assist my love of time-honored traditions I've collected vintage books from various cultures containing both folk lore and recipes for the care of home and garden as well as remedies for sustaining health and beauty - listed below are a few that I love ...
Note: ingredients for "old time remedies" can be found in nature, our kitchen cabinets and at times, our garage. Natural ingredients are effective, cost pennies and inspire us to pause from our "daily doings” to create simple, effective products for our home as well as for our beauty rituals.
1). Japanese women have beautiful complexions: I'm a strong advocate of skincare being “food for the skin” and here’s one Japanese recipe using seaweed to keep complexions soft and toned:
Recipe: Place 2Tb. of Dulse in a small muslin bag (a cotton hankie will do, tie up the ends) and place the bag in hot water for 5 minutes to soften. After cleansing the skin rub the bag over your face, neck, décolleté’ and allow the essences to be absorbed into the skin (Kombu may also be used but this variety will have to be soaked for at least 20 minutes to soften). I always follow this seaweed rinse with Mountain Rose Facial Oil and the combination produces a toned, radiant complexion. https://mountain-spirit-botanicals.com/collections/frontpage/products/mountain-rose-facial-oil
2). While living in the Catskill Mountains one aspect of winter that I enjoyed was “its Citrus time in the Tropics”! Oh how I love Ruby Red grapefruit, Navel oranges, Tangerines, Limes and Lemons. As most citrus peels are thrown out, this recipe invites us to peel the fruits - dry the peels - store them for a "Winter Citrus Bath".
Recipe: Place one handful of dried peel into a very hot bath (to soften peels / release their essence) and when the water has reached a temperature you’re comfortable in, soak for 20 to 30 minutes. A Citrus bath will warm, improve circulation, moisturize, and soften rough skin … all while perfuming you with a most delightful scent. For a luxurious finishing touch, moisturize with “Mango Blossom Moisturizer” http://mountain-spirit-botanicals.com/bath-body/moisturizers
3). An effective house-hold recipe that I’ve discovered is “how to restore wooden furniture” (without a polyurethane finish). I’ve worked on 5 antique pieces using this formula (chairs, tables, frames, file cabinets) and the results are truly fantastic.
Recipe: First wash the wooden piece using a damp cloth and soap (I use Murphy Oil Soap). Mix 2/oz. Linseed Oil and 1/oz. Turpentine and rub gently into the wood using fine steel wool (on sections that might be rough or stained rub vigorously - I’ve been able to remove water damage with a little “elbow grease”). Leave on for two days allowing the wood to absorb the blend. After two days apply a cream polish (recipe follows) … let dry and buff off. Voila!
Furniture Cream Polish: ¼ Cup liquid soap + ¼ lb. beeswax + ½ cup water + 1 cup Turpentine. Warm the water and dissolve the soap in it. In another pan, place beeswax into Turpentine and warm gently until wax is melted. Pour soap mixture into Turpentine mixture, stir until blended and then store in containers. You’ve now created a beautiful formula for all wooden furniture. (I like to add a few drops of Cedar Wood or Lavender essential oil into the blend).
Note: late autumn in the mountains (or when a garden in your zone comes to rest) is the time to clean tools and store them for winter and this formula is also beneficial for garden tools. Clean the blades; sharpen edges where needed; lightly sand and clean wooden handles and then apply the Linseed / Turpentine mixture (listed above) and leave on two days and buff off.
My garden tools have been well used for over 20 years and continue to serve me well; in caring for my tools, they serve me well and we’ve become “old friends” as we’ve planted gardens in numerous environments creating habitats for wild-life and enriching our natural world.
I’d be lost without nature, my gardens, bird-song and my pitch fork and spade!
Final note: here's an interesting audio given by Botanist and Ph.D Biologist Robin Kimmerer on understanding and communing with nature. http://www.ttbook.org/listen/89401
Elise Muller, Proprietor / Artisan