The simple life. Some pursue it out of a sense of duty towards the earth. Others down-size for economic reasons. We simplicity-lovers have our different motivations.
Some of my best motivations regarding simplicity are found in the picture above. The picture shows raw materials for my hand and face "cream". And here are the blessings inherent in the process of making it...
1. To store it, I re-use a glass container, rather than buying a product in a plastic bottle that will have to be thrown away. Also, there are many questions regarding the safety of using/consuming things that come in plastic bottles.
2. The ingredients are, with the exception of olive oil and vitamin E oil, all things that come from a local economy. Rosemary, jewelweed, and roses come from my garden. Beeswax and raw honey are available from the honey-seller at the farmer's market.
3. I melt the ingredients together by putting them into the oven after I cook, thus using the remainder of the oven's heat energy for a new task (these ingredients are best combined at a low temperature anyway).
4. The process of supplying my own cream is a creative process, which enhances my sense of volition and purpose.
5. Using about 2 cups of olive oil and 4 little sticks of beeswax, 2 tablespoons of Vitamin-E oil, and 1 tablespoon of raw honey, plus free herbs from my garden, amounts to an abundance of cream at a rock-bottom price. I'm embarrassed to tell you how much I used to spend on face and hand creams for just a few months' quantity, but let's just say it was often more than the price of a nice dinner out.
6. It's the best product I've ever used. Not always for its consistency (it can sometimes have little bits of solid beeswax left that I have to "melt" between my fingers when I apply the cream), but definitely for its outcome. My skin is always smooth and keeps its moisture, and the cream gives a slight iridescent look which is lovely. I can also use it on lips, hands and face, which means I don't have to go for multiple products.
In a sense, these blessings are inherent in many aspects of the simple life. Blessings of quality, creativity, economy, health, stewardship and bounty. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Instructions, Sort of, to Make Cream (balm, really):
1. gather herbs and flower petals, leave whole and put in about 1 cup olive oil
2. put all in glass dish and put in very low oven, crock pot, or dehydrator, under 200 degrees; you don't want to boil the oil
3. leave for a few hours until oil is fragrant; remove herbs
4. add 4 small sticks (about 1 x 3 inches or so) of beeswax to oil along with honey and vitamin E oil and return to low oven
5. stir beeswax and oil occasionally with fork to try to blend; it will be a little stubborn and not necessarily want to mix. Add more oil, up to another cup, to get desired consistency. The whole process can take a few hours (especially if you use the "leftover heat" from another oven usage). Be patient and don't hesitate to experiment.
Face and hand cream raw materials photo, by L.L. Barkat.