My first introduction to calendula (Calendula officinalis) was in the late 1990s when I was living in Ireland. I worked at a factory as a floater, and would switch between production lines making circuit boards, and testing finished products, soldering wires, folding cardboard boxes for packaging, and basically anything else that was needed. My hands were constantly working, and would dry out easily. Nothing could keep them moisturized, and the combination of using them so much and their constant dryness left my hands covered with tiny cuts.
Finally, after weeks of dry, irritated, and cut-up hands, I walked to the local herb store and asked for any suggestions.
"Calendula oil!" was the unanimous answer.
I had never heard of calendula oil, and at the time, had only on occasion used oil on my skin. I had an after-shower oil from a big name brand, but that was it (looking back, it was probably a blend of alcohols with a small amount of natural oils). I was still new to natural products.
I was told that the calendula would heal my cuts so fast that I needed to add something to it that had antibacterial properties. The women working in the shop guided me to the essential oils and advised adding tea tree oil (this was also my first experience with straight essential oils).
I went home with my little bottle of calendula oil, and my bottle of tea tree oil, put the two together, and massaged it in. Being new to oil, it was a weird sensation to oil my skin. It was greasy at first, but it felt good. I carried that oil with me, and put it on several times a day. A few days later, my skin was back to normal, and all the tiny cuts were gone. Like magic.
I was totally in love with calendula.
Reminder: I'm not a doctor. I'm just a girl who loves herbs, and likes to tell my stories of how I use them. This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease.
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I'm taking part in an Instagram Challenge called March Meet the Maker. Joanne Hawker started this challenge in 2016, but I only heard of it this year and jumped in late, just a couple days ago. Joanne set up each day with a different prompt, and makers share photos and stories related to that prompt. Today's prompt is "design process", and since this is my favorite part of my job, I wanted to share more than an Instagram post would allow.
Each type of product I make has a slightly different design process, depending on whether it's a lip balm and I'm creating new scents, or it's an aromatherapy blend where the ingredients are therapeutic, or it's a limited edition body product that is completely new. But they all start the same - an idea. Usually followed by the question, "how can I make this scent with just natural ingredients?"
Two years ago, I was browsing in a bookstore, and I picked up a book on their bestsellers table. I liked the way the book looked and felt in my hands, and I made a split second decision to buy it just before they closed, completely unaware that what I felt was what the book was about - an item sparking joy in myself. The book was Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Though the KonMari Method is about following your heart, not necessarily your instincts, I'm so glad I picked up that book!
I love stuff. I love to collect things, especially old things. I love the memories they hold, the connections they remind me of, and the history they contain. I am comforted by always having useful things around in case I need them. It's rare I ever leave my house without a bag (although I do try to challenge myself sometimes).
Over the last couple of months, I've been joining new groups and meeting a lot of new people, especially other women in business. When asked what I do for work, I usually end up stumbling over my words a bit, unable to decide between a few different ways to answer.
I make lip balm is a good, basic answer but not the whole story.
I'm a herbalist* and aromatherapist and I make products is a better description of what I do, but it feels like I'm selling my brand short.
I own a small natural skincare and aromatherapy company is my favorite straightforward answer, but it's often met with questions like these:
"Like day creams and night creams?"
"Do you make under eye serums?"
"Do you have something for these wrinkles, haha?"