Botany Barn – Where has the Babbling Botanist Been!?

logo with bb-01

Hey Babbling Botanist readers! It’s been a really quiet winter from me on the blog, and I am excited to let you in on one of the reasons why. This winter I spent a good chunk of time on my other hobby (OK one of my other hobbies, it seems I have a lot these days), and turned it into a bit of a side business. I’ve been busy soap making this winter and I’ve opened a store on Etsy called Botany Barn, where I am selling handmade goodies like soaps, lip balms, and other handmade cosmetics that I will gradually be adding to my product lines. In line with my love of homegrown organic foods and preservation, I make Botany Barn products with almost entirely organic ingredients, natural colorants and scents, and make products that are not only good for you, but good for the planet. It has been so much fun getting this going, and I wanted to let you all in on it and also give a shout out to my Uncle Scott who named the store, and my friend Laura who made the awesome logo! Who knows if Botany Barn will take off, but it certainly kept me sane during the ecology and preservation off-season. 🙂 I hope to get back into blogging this summer though (between running Botany Barn and working as a Field Ecologist!) But anyways, if you are interested in where I’ve been this winter, check out botanybarn.com!

Here are some of the things I currently have available:

Three pack of small soaps. I really enjoyed taking adorable photos!

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The five different soaps I’m starting off with. From left to right: Butter Me Up!, Lavender, Peppermint, Nude, and Let’s Face It!

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Butter Me Up!

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Charcoal facial soap

Face 1

Lavender

Lavender 3

Peppermint

mint 1

Nude

Nude 2

Five lip balm flavours!

lip balms

Thanks for sticking around during my absence, and you’ll hear from me again soon!

Lip Balm

Lip balm is probably one of the easiest homemade cosmetics you could try, and it is so worth it to make yourself. It’s way cheaper than store bought, has no weird ingredients you can’t even pronounce, and you can customize pretty much whatever flavour you want.

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The basic lip balm recipe is 3 parts of liquid oil to slightly more than 1 part beeswax (more if it’s really hot where you live). You can basically use whatever food oil you want; nutty oils, flowery oils, olive and coconut are awesome choices. You can also add a little shea butter or cocoa butter too if you like, and these can just be added in addition to your 3:1 ratio. Melt all the ingredients, add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice, and a couple drops of vitamin e oil and wham bam you have a delicious balm that will turn you against store bought forever! I find that sometimes over time with temperature changes the ones with Shea or cocoa butter can start to kind of separate or get a weird texture, so might need a little extra beeswax, but the coconut plus liquid oil plus beeswax ones have never given me a problem and are so awesome!

So, while I encourage you to explore different recipes, here are two of my favourites, modified from mountain rose herbs (which is also a great place to get ingredients).

Peppermint Cocoa Lip Balm
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of beeswax
15 drops of peppermint essential oil
A few drops of vitamin e oil

Grapefruit or Orange Coconut Lip Balm
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon beeswax
15 drops grapefruit essential oil
A few drops vitamin e oil

These recipes will fill about 10 regular sized tubes of lip balm, or less if you are doing larger containers of course. I halved it for this since I was doing 2 flavours and wanted to try them out, so I made 5 of each.

How to make it:

Combine all the ingredients except the essential oils and vitamin e in a glass container double boiler and heat until melted. I have used a ball jar for this purpose that I set in a small pot of water on the burner, but you can use any glass jar you desire. One with a spout is way better, like a glass measuring cup. I spilled way less when I started using one with a spout – silly me!

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Once all the ingredients are all melted and mixed, remove from heat, quickly add the essential oils and vitamin e oil, stir, and then pour into your containers. I bought these tubes on amazon for like 15-20 cents each, or you can put it in whatever little tin or container you want. Try to move quickly, especially if it’s chilly in your house, or it starts to harden on the side of the jar. Even filling 5 I started to have it harden a little so move as quickly as you can.

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And voila – that’s all there is to it! Explore and try new recipes, it’s fun! Not sure where to find these items? I get the coconut oil in the healthy food section at the grocery store, and vitamin e oil and essential oils can usually be found at health food stores. For items I buy online, click on the links embedded in the recipe above which are mostly for amazon, or check out Mountain Rose Herbs. For the cute little labels below I actually used file folder labels.

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