It’s All Cool

Time has flown in more ways than one. Here we are halfway through summer, and today is the one year anniversary of this blog! I haven’t been able to write much in the last few weeks, and I know I’ve missed a lot. Things have been happening – things I needed to take care of – but now they’re done, and it’s all cool.

A major project has been revitalizing my Etsy shop. I chose a fresh new name, thereby uniting my shop, blog and Facebook page with a single identity. After careful consideration, I finally settled on Gillyflower Faire, which resonates with me on multiple levels: it’s a little bit archaic, a term for a marketplace, a nod to the Wee Folk, and a description (hopefully) of my handmade baubles. So, I said a fond farewell to Wood So Wild, and set about the many tasks necessary to incorporate this change.

I’ve added many new listings to the shop, including a line of beaded jewellery. The beaded pieces feature genuine gemstones – each chosen for a specific meaning – or wood or glass seed beads, accented with sterling silver and other metals. The styles are sleek and uncomplicated – the type of jewellery I like to wear. And I enjoy working in themes, so I’ve done a few chakra/rainbow pieces, evil eye talismans, and even some using Canadian gems to celebrate this country’s 150th birthday! Here you see just a few examples; there are many more to come.

This flurry of change and activity, combined with the sultry summer heat and the lack of air conditioning at home and in my now-defunct car, has left me in a sweat. My internal temperature control has been broken for years, and now, at this stage of life, it takes very little (stress, or any ambient temperature above 0° C) to turn me into a raging inferno. My friends and co-workers, being kind souls, tell me that when I’m in the grips of a hot flash, I don’t actually show it – aside from my frantic fanning of any item within reach – but I don’t see, or feel, how that can possibly be. You ladies of a certain age know precisely what I mean.

I’ve written before about a few items I keep handy to combat those uncomfortable moments. I continue to use arrowroot powder, either as-is or scented with a few drops of essential oils, as a herbal body powder. Arrowroot powder, also known as arrowroot flour or starch, is made from the powdered rhizomes of several types of tropical plants, notably Maranta arundinacea. It was once used to treat poison arrow wounds, hence the name, and is used as a food thickener as well as in cosmetics. Natural and safe, lightweight and silky, it’s the perfect alternative to cornstarch or talc. Arrowroot powder is inexpensive and found at bulk food and grocery stores.

The batch I made this summer has a fresh, invigorating herbal fragrance and uses essential oils known for their antiseptic properties (lavender, thyme) to combat nasty, sweat-loving bacteria, as well as ones reputed to relieve menopausal symptoms (clary sage, grapefruit). If you can get the shaker top off and on again, go ahead and reuse an empty baby powder bottle. I found 4 oz. plastic shakers at one of my favourite suppliers, Voyageur Soap & Candle Co. Here’s my recipe:

Talc-free Herbal Body Powder

  • small container with shaker lid
  • arrowroot powder
  • essential oils of lavender, Roman chamomile, clary sage, white thyme and pink grapefruit, or use your own favourite combination

Fill container halfway with arrowroot powder. Add 5 to 6 drops of each essential oil. Cover top of container and shake to combine. Fill the bottle with more arrowroot and snap on the lid. Shake thoroughly. Use as a body powder, avoiding eyes.

Another way to beat the heat is a cooling body mist. I found this recipe on Pinterest and dressed up my bottle with snowflake stickers. This lovely-smelling mixture contains soothing, skin-loving witch hazel, which constricts blood vessels to create a cooling sensation that lasts for several minutes on the skin. It’s especially good on hot, tired feet. You can keep the mist at room temperature or in the refrigerator for an extra icy blast.

Peppermint Mist Cooling Spray

  • 2 oz. glass spray bottle
  • 2 tbsp distilled water
  • 2 tbsp witch hazel
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil

Combine water, witch hazel and essential oils in bottle, add cap and shake thoroughly before each use. Do not use on the face.

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Taking the Chill Challenge, Naturally

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Beat the Heat: Create your own Hot Angry Woman summer survival kit!

It’s the dog days of summer, and the mercury won’t come down. It’s really difficult to stay cool and comfortable – I call it the Chill Challenge – especially if you’re a woman “of a certain age”. If, like me, you no longer have a working inner thermometer, are unable or unwilling to take HRT, and feel as radiant as a blast furnace, try some of the simple, drug-free coping devices I put together. Here’s what’s in my Hot Angry Woman survival kit:

  • Small plastic fine mist bottle with tap water. Keep one at home, carry another in your purse and spritz away any time you feel the dreaded Flash coming to call.
  • Cooling essential oil spray (keep ready-chilled in fridge), made from therapeutic-grade essential oils diluted in distilled water. I used a few drops each of peppermint and pink grapefruit (to cool and refresh), chamomile and rose geranium (to calm), and the resulting scent was lightly herbal. Clary sage, if you like the smell, is also supposed to be useful for menopausal symptoms, and lavender is calming – although I find it’s a “warm” scent. Experiment with your own blend!
  • The same oils went into a shaker of arrowroot powder (available at bulk food stores) to make an absorbent body duster. Silky arrowroot is talc- and cornstarch-free, and you only need to add a few drops of each oil – or leave unscented. You can refill a travel-size baby powder bottle (provided you can figure out how to replace the shaker contraption; they can be tricky).
  • A roll-on perfume oil in a light summer scent is a refreshing pick-me-up. I made my own using a fractionated coconut oil base and adding a blend of fruity citrus essential and fragrance oils. The ingredients and bottles can be purchased at health food and natural product stores as well as online. **Caution: citrus oils can cause photosensitivity; make sure perfumed skin is not exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Stay hydrated! I picked up this beautiful purse-sized reusable water bottle, just right for battling the blaze on the go!
  • It also helps to keep a small ice pack-filled cooler or lunch bag and plenty of drinking water with you in your car.