We're Moving!

Hello all!  

This is just an FYI that this blog has been migrated over to another spot:

Why would I do this, you ask?  Long story short: I enjoy blogging, but I'm not a true writer.  And I find it difficult to always have something useful to say.  So, I'm migrating the three blogs that I have into one to simplify life and allow me more time to do what I love, which is making great natural, aromatherapy products!  

Please be sure to head over to my new blog and follow along for more updates on RedSunflower Designs and informative posts on aromatherapy and natural living.  I hope you'll travel with me!

Namaste - 



Getting Back to Business

RedSunflower Designs is officially back open for business!  My Etsy shop is open again, and you'll notice many of the changes I mentioned at the end of 2011.  The main products that remain are the body butters, lotions, perfumes, face masks, and milk baths.  Other products such as bath salts and lip balms will be available as limited editions going forward, perhaps a couple of times each year.  

I had promised that I would let you guys know about new products that would be coming, and this is still something I want to do.  However, whenever I post a new product announcement in advance, my creations seem to come to life in other shops.  Unfortunately, I've not found a way around this yet.  So for the moment, all I can say is that there will be new products coming that will actually give more variety in my shop than I've had in the past, and that they will be announced as soon as I am able to get the items posted.  These won't come up all at once, but over the course of the next two months.

Also, I've had a few people ask why all the changes, and I think this is a fair question that deserves a more thorough answer than I've given thus far.  The short and sweet answer is that it was just time for a change.  But what follows is the longer answer. 

Every year, I review all of my product offerings.  What is selling? What isn't?  What do people seem to enjoy? Are there products I need to reformulate? Do some products cost to much to make? These are all pretty standard things most business owners consider when looking at changes to a product line.  But this year there was also another question I needed to consider:  What do I enjoy making?  And this weighed heavily into my decisions.  While I love what I do, I noticed that when I was making certain products, it had become more of an obligation than a joyful experience.  And I don't want to make products that way, or ask someone to buy a product made that way.  So I refined it down to the items I love to make and that my customers seem to enjoy.  I'll also be adding items I have been wanting to include for a long time, but just haven't had the chance to do so.  

I'm really excited about this rebirth of RedSunflower Designs, and am committed to making it better than ever.  I look forward to you joining me for the adventure!

Namaste - 



Fight Dry Winter Skin Naturally

I don't know about you, but every winter it's the same thing: dry, red, itchy skin. Now this is one thing on your arms and legs, but quite another on your face, especially when you wear makeup to work/school/etc every day. As part of my effort to live as naturally as possible, I've been perfecting how to deal with this for the past couple of years, and wanted to share these with you all. So here they are, my tips to fight dry winter skin: 

* Drink plenty of water! I find that making sure I getting alittle more than the recommended 64oz of pure, fresh water in the winter months helps my skin to stay supple and dewy. 
* Moisturizer is King. You definitely want to be sure you're moisturizing daily. Personally, I find I get the best results if I use a lightweight moisturizer in the morning under my makeup, and a heavier moisturizer at night prior to bed. Your skin tends to use the time you sleep to repair itself and it's cells, so it helps if you can give it an extra shot of moisture before it begins this process. 
* Lots of fresh fruit. I know this may sound a bit "nutritionist", but I've found my skin really responds to those healthy enzymes, especially if I include them in breakfast and either dinner or a late evening snack. 
* Use a humidifier at home. The heated air in our homes over the winter is very dry, and especially drying to skin. Using a humidifier can help to combat this. 
* Out with the old, in with the new. This may sound strange to some, but removing those dead skin cells by exfoliating lets the fresh, new skin underneath be seen, which is often in better condition than cells that have been on your face for awhile. I would recommend doing this 1-2 times a week in winter. (If you have particularly sensitive skin, I'd recommend starting at once a week and try to build from there, being sure to pay attention to your skin; twice a week may be too much for you.) 
* Cool it! While a super steamy, hot shower on a cold day feels SO good at the time, that hot water can actually strip additional much-needed oils from your skin. Try to take a lukewarm shower, or as close as possible. 
* Ditch the Itch! If it gets really bad, and you're experiencing alot of itching, use skin care products with oatmeal. Oatmeal helps to not only soothe your skin, but helps your skin to retain it's natural moisture. Here's a quick and easy idea: Make an oatmeal "paste" in a bowl (we're using pure oats here, no additives) and apply to skin as a mask. Let it sit on your skin for 5-10 minutes, or until it starts to dry. Not very attractive while you're doing it, but your skin will look and feel amazing. 
* Don't forget that pucker! Be sure you're using natural lip balms, as these help to protect your lips from the wind and cold (hi, Chicago!). In a pinch, you can actually take a tiny amount of olive oil on your finger tip and swipe this across your lips. As long as you don't overdo, you won't taste it, and it's surprisingly effective. 
* If you're not vegan, consider taking some fish oil. The Omega's in this oil are great for your skin, and a good way to keep your body hydrated from the inside out. 
* Last but not least, don't forget the sunscreen. This is something that is easy to ignore in the winter, but you still get alot of UV exposure in the cold winter months. Particularly if you live somewhere with alot of snow, the reflection of the sun off that white snow combined with the cold temperatures can be really hard on your delicate skin. 

Wishing you all fabulously soft, supple skin during this Holiday season. 

Namaste - 



RedSunflower Designs in 2012

As 2011 draws quickly to a close, I always try to use these last few weeks of the year to reflect on on the year gone by.  How were sales? What could I do to improve my products and customer service, and my offerings?  What, if anything, should go?

Due to running out of a few key supplies earlier than expected and suppliers being back-ordered, I had to go ahead and close my shop early for the holidays this year.  While I didn't want to, I knew that by the time the orders were placed, supplies shipped to me, and I was able to make orders and ship to my customers, it would be right up to the last minute on the holidays, and I didn't want to risk anyone's order not getting to them in time.  But I'm taking this time to really reflect and deeply analyze what I want to do with RedSunflower Designs looking forward to 2012 and beyond. 

I've been taking thorough inventory of what I do and don't have in the way of supplies, and looking at the sales info for the shop.  This has allowed me to really step back and take a look at the year as a bigger picture.  Because of this, I've found some products that just don't sell, or at least not at a sustainable rate.  When the shop opens back up on January 2, 2012, you'll notice some products are no longer being offered:
  • The Magickal Meanderings line is gone. 
  • The facial care line is also gone.  (Please note, if you are a current customer, I will still make the Cream Cleanser, Oil-Free Moisturizer, and a Lightweight Cream Cleanser upon request.  These will be custom orders.)
  • The Chakra line is gone. 
  • Bath teas & the Herbal Facial Steam are no longer available.
  • The Moss scent in the men's line is no longer available.
  • I've really refined the scent options available for oils, butters, lotions and the like.  (Please know this isn't a reduction, but a refining.  There will be LOTS of new and fabulous scents coming; more on this later.)
  • The Men's Aftershave & Shave Gel are being completely reformulated!  The aftershave will no longer be a gel, rather a tonic, and the shave gel will now be a shave cream.
  • All shave creams will now come in a 4oz jar rather than the 4oz bottle.  It seems some people have had problems with the shave cream getting through the pumps because it is so creamy & rich, so I'm going back to the jars, for those who remember.
  • Lip balms will no longer be a regular feature, but more of a special. 
With all this, there will be room for new and improved products!  I'm not quite ready to release the details yet, but it will include expanding my healing line, more men's products, soaps, and tons of things I've had in R&D for months and will finally be able to release. I'll keep you posted!
In the meantime, have a wonderful week, and Happy Holidays!!!

Namaste - 



    Natural Gardening

    In September, I moved from Seattle back to the East Coast, which meant moving from a one-bedroom apt in to a townhouse with a deck and a small (okay, very small) area for gardening, which I'm so happy about!  But the location I live in now has a fair amount of rain, abundant sun, and rich soil, which is the perfect storm for weeds.  I know one woman's weed is another woman's dandelion, but those little buggers choke out my flowers and other plants, and I just can't seem to keep up with them!

    I've been trying to formulate a natural herbicide for awhile; something that won't harm the environment in any way & is safe for me to breathe, but that's still effective in eradicating my weed problem. Here's what I've come up with.

    You'll need:
    • 2 cups white distilled vinegar
    • 1/2 cup salt
    • 1/4 cup powdered citric acid
    • 1/4 cup witch hazel
    • 15 drops lavender essential oil
    • 15 drops chamomile essential oil
    • 1/4 cup wheat germ oil
    Heat the vinegar in a saucepan until it comes to a boil (be sure to open those windows!).  Remove from the heat, add the salt, and stir until it dissolves.  Then add in all other ingredients.  Pour into a large spray bottle.  You'll spray this directly onto the weed that is a problem, especially near the roots.  Apply the solution while still hot for best results.

    This formula is great for getting rid of weeds, even poison ivy, but keep in mind that it will kill any plant it touches, so be sure you're only getting the plants you want dead.  

    Maybe your problem isn't the weeds, but the bugs.  If that's the case, I have a natural debugger.  This isn't a pesticide, as it won't kill the bugs, just keep them away from your home and garden.  Here's what you'll need:
    • a small onion
    • 5 cloves garlic, skin on
    • olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 cups water
    • 1 teaspoon liquid castile soap
    Add the onion and garlic to a blender or food processor and process until it comes to a pulp.  Put the pulp in a bowl or cup, and cover with just enough olive oil to soak overnight.  In the morning, strain off the olive oil into a jar, and add the cayenne.  Allow this to sit for several days.  When needed, add 1 teaspoon of this oil blend to the water and castile soap to a spray bottle.  Be sure to shake before use.   

    Happy Gardening!




    Clean The Car, Save The Environment

    I'm one of those people who loves a clean car, but hates putting all of those chemicals into the ground.  There are natural, mass-produced products out there, but they're out of my budget, and I hate having to buy a product that only has maybe one use.  A big fan of having multi-use products, I came up with my own formulas for a natural carwash!

    You'll need: 
    • a gallon of water
    • about 1/4 cup liquid castile soap
    • 20 drops of essential oil (can be any you want; feel free to set a mood)
    Combine all in a bucket, throw in a sponge or rag, and get to scrubbin'! 

    Next, we wax.  You'll need:
    • 3 tbsp beeswax (could also use soy wax)
    • 3 tbsp carnauba wax
    • 1 cup linseed oil
    • 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • 10 drops citrus essential oil (I recommend lemon or orange)
    In a double-boiler, melt the waxes and linseed oil.  Remove from heat, stir in the essential oils, and pour into a coffee can or other container. (NOTE: Please be sure you choose a container that can handle the heat, so not plastic.)  Let this sit until it's completely setup, 1-2 days depending on the humidity in your area.   Once it's setup, you can either turn the wax out of the can, and apply directly to the car, or use a rag to get some wax and apply this way.  Once waxed, dip a different cloth into the lemon juice, and squeeze dry.  Buff to a shine. 
    And as long as I'm actually in the mood, I guess I should probably clean the interior as well.  Now personally, I love the way Armor All makes the car LOOK, but hate the greasy feel and that weird smell.  So here's my alternative; it's natural but will still help to restore the dashboard.  You'll need:
    • 2 parts water
    • 1 part murphy's oil soap (or similar)
    • 15 drops cedar essential oil (or other, if you like)
    Combine in a spray bottle and shake well.  Spray on the dashboard and other vinyl parts of your car (think doors and windows) and wipe with a cloth.  
    Last but not least, we have to do the windows.  I hate this part the worst, because you're spraying some sort of window cleaner in the interior of the car, making yourself feel like you've been smoke-bombed, and is it just me or does it ALWAYS create horrible streaks?!  Here's my solution to this; you'll need:
    • 3 cups vinegar
    • 1 cup water
    • 15 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
    Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well to combine.  Spray on and wipe off with either paper towels or a chamois.  You will smell the vinegar at first, but it fades quickly, and this formula is amazing!  Completely streak-free with very little effort. Bonus: This formula helps to reduce frost buildup in the winter months.
    Happy cleaning :)

    Namaste - 



    Remove Rust Naturally

    Rust is one of those things I really hate having to deal with.  (When was my last tetanus shot again?)  I do my best to prevent it from occurring in the first place, but sometimes it just happens no matter what you do.  If you have a home and garden, you've likely seen rust on those expensive tools you bought.  If that's the case (or you need a rust remover for other items) here's a natural solution to your problem.  

    You'll need:
    • table salt
    • 1 fresh lime
    • your item
    This is so simple but works SO well!  all you do is lay the tool/item down on a surface that will not be damaged or that you don't care about, sprinkle the area affected with rust with the salt, being sure to thoroughly cover the rusted area.  Then, squeeze the fresh lime juice over the salt, liberally.  Leave this sitting for 2-3 hours.  Come back and wipe off the item, and you'll be left completely rust-free!

    Happy cleaning :)

    Namaste -