Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team Back to School Sale

The Etsy Twitter Team is having a back to school sale now through September 7th. Have a look and see if you find anything you need. Aquarian Bath is offering a free lip balm with the purchase of 2 lip balms of equal or lesser value during the sale. Just leave a comment with your 3rd balm during check out. Not sure what to try, how about my Fever Blister Balm as one of your choices? This is a very cooling and soothing balm with Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon Balm and St. John's Wort, made especially for people with lip sores.

Be sure to check out the Etsy Twotter blog for all the other great offers. I especially like these tote bags from HandMadeBySandi. Mention 10% off using "Back to School" in Notes to Seller. Sandi will donate portion of proceeds to Back to School items for kids!

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Fair Share Garden Progress Report

I am relaxing after a busy morning at the Fair Share garden. We accomplished a lot today. The most exciting part for me was planting two of my Neem trees that have out grown their pots. They were about 4 or 5 feet tall. When I first got them they were tiny in a flat rate priority box. I was inspired to plant them in the ground after a friend told me that his Neem tree on Daytona Beachside grew so huge than he had to cut it all the way back so that it would not over shade his other plants. I believe he said that the trunk was about six inches across. I had been under the impression that Neem was too sensitive to withstand Central Florida winters. I'm very happy to know that it can go directly into the ground and be left uncovered during the winter.

Joel, Jason, and Moira did a great job planting.

Here is one of the Neem trees, planted, watered and in it's new home in the Fair Share Herb Spiral. Neem is an amazing medicinal tree from India which has a number of uses. I use neem oil, primarily in salves and in my Neem Oil Shampoo Bar that I formulated for people with dandruff and other scalp problems.

In addition to planting the Neem trees Jason also added the dates to the Sundial.

This morning the videographer from Project Hope also dropped in to finish the B-footage for the final shoot at the garden. Project Hope is producing a half-hour documentary on how to plant a vegetable garden. This film will be distributed freely to promoting backyard gardens as a way to stretch food budgets during hard times. Moira and I both had a few minutes on camera. You may only see my hands picking pumpkins or beans, but Moira had a very important role demonstrating to kids how to eat yard long beans fresh out of the garden.

We also had a chance to make plans for the upcoming Hallowgreen event which will be taking place October 31st in Daytona Beach. There will be a number of kids activities and fun. Be sure to check back later for details.

Fair Share also has a new website. You can check it out at The website is complete with a blog and links to our new Twitter page, Facebook Fan page, and Facebook Cause page. Please feel welcome to join us!

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Activity of the Day: I Just Made a New Soap Mold!

I'm so proud of myself. I just made a new soap mold. It was a little bit of an afterthought, because my main project of the morning was to make plant presses. I figured that I might as well pick up the materials for a redundant mold while I was at the hardware store though. This is the second soap mold that I have made. My husband helped me with the first mold, but my design for that one was a bit awkward. That one works, but it is kind of bulky. I use it for double and triple batches. I designed the new one based on a similar one that I had purchased, which is simple and easy to use. This one is just a bit deeper that the other small mold I have. This mold will be used mostly for small batches of soap.

Moira was my helper today. She is my sanding specialist who is also learning to build craft projects at Home Depot. Home Depot has a great program to offer free kid's craft projects the first Saturday of the month.

This mold is perfect for making bars that fit nicely into Kraft soap boxes. Putting soaps into boxes is Moira's other big thrill. She is my #1 employee!

Visit Aquarian Bath on Etsy.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Public Service Announcement: ALL True Bar Soap is Made with Sodium Hydroxide AKA Lye

Soap is created through a chemical reaction called saponification. Saponifiable substances are those that can be converted into soap. Sodium hydroxide or "lye" (NaOH) is a caustic (alkali) base. During saponification the alkali base such reacts with a fatty acid side chain of an ester molecule from a fat or oil. Oils and fats are fatty esters in the form of triglycerides. When Sodium Hydroxide is used a hard soap is formed. The alkali (OH group) breaks the ester bond and releases the fatty acid salt and glycerol. The fatty acid salt has a hydrophobic (water fearing) and a hydrophilic (water loving) end. In this way the molecule (soap) can mix with oils or water to act as emulsifiers thereby mixing with water and oils to clean. Many people ask if soap can be made with out lye OR claim that true soap can be made without lye. The answer is no, true soap cannot be made without using lye.

Modern cold process soap making yields a glycerin-rich soap. This kind of soap was once called 'lye soap'. Many people think of lye soap is unpleasant and harsh to use. This is because in the past people made soap with too much lye, and it remained in the bar of soap irritating the skin. Without the scientific data and scales available today, the soap makers of the past approximated the amount of lye to add to the fats. If not enough lye was added, the mixture was soft and not usable. If too much lye was added, some extra lye would remain in the soap but the soap could be used. Therefore, the preference was to add extra lye to ensure the soap would be usable. Using modern calculations and methods, when made correctly, no lye remains in the bar of soap.

All bar soaps and shampoo bars are made at AquarianBath are made with Sodium Hydroxide.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Happy Art Day! Enjoy A Few Beautiful Artists

The second Friday of August is Art Day! I hope you can take some time today to appreciate or create some art! I would like to take this day to celebrate some of the talented artists I know. I hope these works will brighten your day.

I love dragon flies. This is a mixed media paperweight by Pimp and Paint. Be sure to check out her beautiful blog.

Below a print by Tamara Garvey of Savannah Georgia: Sapphire Sky with Birch Forest.

The beach photograph is one of Barbara Gordon's Aquamarine Dreams photos. I love all of her beach photography.

Below is a photo by a local artist Buddy Hatcher from the Art Consortium Group that I belong to. We show together the first Friday of the month in Daytona Beach on Beach Street. This Blue Heron shot was taken at the Port Orange Bridge. Buddy has this image available as a photograph matted or framed or as a print on a canvas.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to Become a Master Herbalist in Thirty Years or More -- Part II

In the last few years I've come across a number of people taking or teaching "Master Herbalist" programs. It always makes me cringe to hear the phrase. It is counter intuitive to me that one can become a master by taking a year long program. To me a master herbalist is someone who has had many years of practice. One of my herbal heros is Hua Tou. Even though he was the most famous herbalist in China during his time, he disguised himself to learn from other herbalists anonymously. I now tell the students in my classes, some of whom are in Master Herbalist programs, that I am a Junior Herbalist. Hopefully after reading this article, you can understand why.

How to Become a Master Herbalist in Thirty Years or More -- Part II by Paul Bergner, North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, Medical Herbalism Journal

Mastery of any topic is attained after years to decades of becoming fully engaged not only in the field, but being constantly engaged with a level of rigor and practice that steadily expands and also deepens understanding of the facts and principles of that field or topic. The master brings the subject completely alive in their own being and experience. Ultimately their career is characterized by various threshhold events of understanding and insight which contribute new understanding for the current generation and a legacy for future generations. Those thresholds are made possible by an intuitive synthesis of many facts and observations during the career leading up to them. This process among the teachers and leaders and innovators in a field is how that field stays current and alive throughout generations.

The 10,000 hour rule

A study of classical musicians at a Berlin academy of classical music investigated students in three tracks in the school: The Star track, headed for world fame in classical music; the middle track, headed for the St Louis Philharmonic; and the teacher track, less skilled and headed to teach music in high school. Researchers asked the simple question: How much weekly practice time have you put in year by year since your started playing your instrument? The results: star track musicians had put in at least 10,000 hours of practice. The middle track had put in 8,000 hours but none had put in 10,000 hours; and the teacher track had put in 4,000 hours, but none had put in 8,000 hours. This is now being called The Ten Thousand Hour Rule in popular culture, and people are claiming mastery for having showed up for work for 10,000 hours (about 20 hours a week for ten years.) There is a big problem with this kind of thinking, however. Musicians put in practice time with rigor such as scales, mastering all keys, and chords within them, as well as developing progressively more difficult techniques and progressively more sophisticated pieces for performance, while at the same time keeping well practiced in the basics. They don't just
play what they already know, they grow constantly, in addition to constantly honing the basics. Just punching the clock is not enough. I am sure the a Rotor Rooter Man can claim 10,000 hours of snaking toilets, but this is not progressive development of ability and insight. Or to put it another way, one stand-up comic criticized a rival saying: ?He says he's been doing stand-up for twenty years; I say he only did it for 1 year and then repeated that year nineteen times. In the herbal field, we have herbalists lecturing at conferences who are giving essentially the same lectures they were 20 years ago; herbalist-physicians practicing by rote administration of set formulas; herbalists writing books full of information they read in other books and which they have never demonstrated to be true in their own experience. So our questions for mastering herbalism are:

1) What kinds of activities or study count toward the 10,000 hours and progressively develop skill and insight in the practitioner?

2) How can we avoid becoming comedians who repeat their same jokes for twenty years without growing or developing new repertoire.

In this series of articles, I am not calling for standards for licensing or approval by any regulatory body or accrediting agency. I am an educator, with 36 years of clinical experience, 20 years teaching, and 15 years running a teaching clinic, supervising thousands of cases over that time in addition to my own clients. I'm now in my elder years, eligible for social security, and at this stage I could care a fig whether the government or anyone else approves of
me. And I am very much focused on how to train a younger generation of herbalists in the routines and practices and attitudes that will lead to mastery instead of decades of bad jokes. I believe the future of Western herbalism will depend on this kind of work to a much greater extent than reframing what and who we are for the sake of acceptance by authority, however necessary or valuable that may seem in the short term.

I've thought about the above questions deeply, and will give my thoughts in the third and final part of this article. Meanwhile I thought I would put this out on the lists for discussion. Every
herbalist, and especially every master of herbalism is not on the same track, in fact mastery implies to some extent uniqueness and being out-of-the-box. So there is not one answer to the above. A master of wildcrafting and medicine making is on a different track that a master of clinical herbalism, a clinical herbalist practicing in the physician-model will have a different set of ?scales? to practice than a clinical herbalist practicing in the hygienist/nutritionist model. Teachers will have routines of practice and preparation that are unique to teachers. True mastery of botany is essential for a master of wildcrafting, it is not for a clinical herbalist, and so on.

So I put the question for discussion: What are some of the routines, practices, disciplines, and attitudes that can lead to progressive development of an herbal career and lead to mastery in the field?

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Autumn Herb Classes at Maggie's Farm in St. Augustine

The new autumn class schedule is out at Maggie's Herb Farm in St. Augustine. We had a great time over the weekend making Tinctures Liniments and Syrups at the farm. There were 11 students in the class, and they had fun choosing different fresh herbs from the farm for their tinctures and liniments.

Many of us when home with flats of new herbs. I picked up herbs for myself and the Fair Share garden including Stevia, Lemon Balm, Thai Basil, Comfrey, Aztec Sweet, Dwarf Myrtle, Skullcap, and Houttuynia.

The following are the descriptions for the classes that I will be teaching in the fall:

Herbal Remedies for Cold and Flu Season October 10th 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM Saturday
Come enjoy a day at the farm learning herbs and remedies for home health care just in time for flu and cold season. We will be making a Cough Syrup, Teas, Soup, a herbal "Vick's-type" Chest Salve with farm-fresh herbs and pure essential oils. You will also learn to make Fire Cider for congested sinuses! Your Instructor is herbalist Cory Trusty, who has background in Traditional Chinese herbs. She will introduce you to colds and flus according to Chinese diagnostic and treatment methods. Bring a sack lunch $35 fee

Herbal Spa Day for Hair and Body: Shampoo Bars, Spa Soaps, Hair Rinses & Deodorants! October 24th 10:00 AM-2:00 PM Saturday

Herbalist and Soap Maker Cory Trusty of Aquarian Bath will lead a workshop on making Aloe Shampoo bars, Spa Salt Soaps, Conditioning Hair Rinses and Deodorants. She will discuss safety basics of Soap making and various ingredients. Learn the difference between Shampoo bars and Spa Salt bars versus regular body soaps. Join in harvesting and processing fresh Aloe vera and preparing oils for soap making. Each participant will go home with recipes, a full sized Aloe Shampoo bar and Spa Salt soap made during the workshop. Students will harvest fresh herbs from the farm to make their own conditioning hair rinses and deodorants. Bring a sack lunch. $40.00

Herbal Aromatics! Natural Incense & Perfumery Class. November 14th 10:00 AM-2:00 PM
Saturday Join us for an introduction to incense and natural perfumery. We will be making all natural cone incense with dried herbs and resins, as well as a room spray, cologne, and solid perfumes with pure essential oils. Learn the properties of various essential oils and how to combine them to repel pests, freshen a room, and more. We will be working with a variety of dried herbs including those available at the farm including Lemon Verbena, Lemon grass, and Patchouli. Bring a sack lunch $45

Herbal Bath & Body Holiday Stocking Stuffers Class! December 12th 10:30– 2:30 Saturday

Join us for a fun-filled day of sipping herb-mulled cider and creating herbal holiday gifts for friends and family. We will be making 4 sets of stocking stuffers with each gift bag including: 2 Peppermint and 2 Cinnamon stick lip balms in old fashioned metal slide tins, 4 Herb-infused Winter Dry Skin Shea butter balms infused with fresh picked herbs, and 4 sets of herbal bath teas. We will also make herbal decorations with fresh Rosemary to take home for ourselves! Bring a sack lunch. $40.00

Call the farm to preregister: phone 904-829-0722

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Fair Share Sundial Video

While I was out of town teaching at Maggie's Herb farm this weekend the Fair Share Garden volunteers finished the Rainbow sundial. Check out Jason's video of the the sundial creation over the past three weeks.

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