Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

Journal

Making Calendula Balm or Salve

Jane making Calendula Balm

I first became aware of the amazing soothing powers of calendula when my youngest daughter caught chicken pox as a baby. This is many, many years ago now but I still vividly remember the horror of her being so covered with itchy scabs, inconsolable, unable to bear clothing, unable to feed - completely miserable.

A friend suggested bathing her in a mix of oats and dried calendula flowers - so simple I was sceptical, but it soothed her almost immediately - taking the itch out of the pox, allowing her to feed, be held and snuggle into sleep.

Making calendula balm - perfect as a moisturiser, to help with irritated skin, or to soothe insect bites - is incredibly simple.

making calendula salve

You need.

  • Calendula oil (you can make this by steeping calendula flowers in any base carrier oil for 4-6 weeks on a sunny windowsill or you can buy it).
  • Beeswax pellets
  • Essential oils (lavender and tea tree work well)
  • An old glass or metal bowl you don't mind getting covered in wax
  • Small jars

Weigh out your calendula infused oil and add 1/8 of that in beeswax pellets - so if you have 80g oil add in 10g wax.

Carefully heat in a bain marie/double boiler (or put your bowl over a pan of boiling water or in a steamer) or on low setting in a microwave - just until the wax melts. You do not want to overcook the calendula oil as it is sensitive to heat - so it is important to take your time and heat it slowly.

Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding in essential oils - it depends on how strong a scent you want but I find 20-25 drops per 80g oil works well.

Stir well and pour into the jars - leave a gap at the top of about 0.5 cm and leave to cool naturally before putting the top on.

Label.

We have put together a beautiful box of everything you need to make calendula oils and balms from scratch, along with full instruction cards - check it out here

If you are interested in making natural products from herbs and flowers you can sign up below to get access to our e-book library along with my Friday letters.

making calendula salve

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Words matter.  Words matter so much. ⁠⠀
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Yesterday I walked around a new local community garden that I am to be involved in.  I walked the site with Lauren @herbal_homestead (who looks after @katgoldin ‘s market garden at the Gartur Farm School) who is the permaculture consultant for the project.⁠⠀
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The words at the top of this post were the words that were tumbling about as we walked along the stream that edges the plot and discussed the contours and what the potential is for this new space.⁠⠀
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I have missed those words a lot.⁠⠀
Elderberry vinegar, a brilliant natural immunity booster and treatment for sore throats, is steeping in my cupboard at the moment - the colour is so vibrant it is obvious that it MUST be good for you.⁠⠀
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It is one of the things you learn to make in the Simple Herbal Apothecary course in the Studio Club. ⁠⠀
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It is really funny how having a Pay What You Can option for membership has made me feel that I can talk about what you get in the Studio Club without feeling all 'exclusive' (I hate that word because, when you think about it, it actually means that some people are excluded and that we are fine with that).⁠⠀
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The Pay What You Can option has been really popular - second only to the Full Membership - which makes me very happy. ⁠⠀
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I've had a lot of emails from people who had been looking at joining the Studio Club for a while but couldn't justify the cost - because unemployment or illness or caring for others restricts their budget - but who have now been able to join.  So if that sounds like you the details are all on the front page of the website - snapdragonlife.com.⁠⠀
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Time.⁠⠀
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Yesterday I asked a question about luxury and the thing that came up again and again in answers was 'time'.⁠⠀
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Time to just be.  Time to do things for ourselves. Time to be creative or read. Time to focus.⁠⠀
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It made me think - that if we see time is our greatest luxury, why do we squander it so?  I know I do.  I scroll.  I dither. I catch myself almost deliberately doing nonsensical things that waste time to the point that it completely disappears.⁠⠀
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Give me an unexpectedly free evening and my natural tendency is to waste half of it deciding what I want to do MOST.⁠⠀
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What is your idea of luxury?⁠⠀
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I stumbled across a discussion about luxury on a post the other day. It was about whether you could crave luxury in your life if you were also set in “overthrowing the capitalist systems our world is based on”.⠀
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In some ways it was hilarious, and shows what a muddle we get into, but It really made me think about what I count as luxuries in my life  They certainly aren’t what the commenters on the original post defined as luxury - the fancy sports car, the designer brand names, expensive toiletries. ⁠⠀
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Rather, my idea of luxuries are things I want in my everyday life.  Proper coffee, clean sheets for the weekend, tomatoes still warm from the sun - perhaps most importantly, the luxury of time to do nothing more than stare upwards through bright leaves . . .⁠⠀
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What about you?⁠ what are your luxuries?⠀
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Messy edges.⁠⠀
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Pretty much everything in the House Garden and Studio Meadow will stand until Spring now.⁠ I will leave it alone. ⠀
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For in my head I'm not really growing teasels, I'm growing gold finches. 
Yesterday, as I headed down through the meadow to light the studio stove, were dozens feeeling atop the teasel heads.
It is the time of the year to embrace the beauty in decay.⁠⠀
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To look at the soil regenerating.⁠⠀
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The appreciate the beauty of a good compost heap -even when it is composting the cosmos that you had hoped would bloom for a couple of more weeks.
Yesterday the doors of the Studio Club opened up to new members again. ⠀
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If you want to engage more with the natural world, live a more seasonal life, learn how to grow things, make things and also hear good news about inspirational people making a positive difference to the world - then this is the Club for you! ⠀
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There are now three ways of becoming a member - a Full Membership which includes physical products, a Digital Membership and a Pay What You Can Membership. You can find out more about them by clicking though my profile or at Snapdragonlife.com. ⠀
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In less than 24 hours over half the Full Memberships sold out - so if you are thinking of signing up for one of those then I would do it sooner than later. ⠀
Nettles and docks and tansy and meadowsweet. ⁠⠀
Heather and willow and onion skins.⁠⠀
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The journey through plant colours this year is coming to fruition.  Out of frame is a striped jumper on my needles.⁠⠀
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I am hoping to have enough yarn to make something for a newly arrived baby - all the energy of the Scottish hills in something to wear.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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