2017 oh my

Well, as much as I wanted to push ahead with herbal formulas, life got in the way. For people who dream of owning a house, I say.. ROFL good luck with it! Yes there are pros but people don't talk about the cons very much and homeowners know it can be rough going in so many ways. So many!

I have made time for research and preparation and plan to turn the gorgeous cold oil infusions into salves as soon as I have a clean dry workspace. I worked hard at tinctures this summer and my new adventure is Kratom, an interesting herb.

Happy New Year!

Hi. It's a new year, if you follow the Gregorian calendar. I actually feel like nature's year end is around Halloween. The astrological new year is the first day of spring, but I feel like nature is already well on it's way by then. Coming in a few weeks is the Chinese Year of the Monkey which claims to be filled with mischief and will be a great year for some (rabbit-me!) and less so for the wilder types. It's about time is what I say. Hopefully cooler heads prevail throughout the world. We need cool heads. I could use them in my life too.

I digress as usual. About Simspice products: It's all still on hold because I have not figured out legal issues yet as well as deciding on the direction I am heading. It is mind boggling, the details to consider! I really need a brighter bigger space to work in also and that in itself is more than I can figure out at this juncture. While I am taking the right herbs for menopause, it really feels like mentalpause. Ugh.

I WILL put a few items up for sale - if you keep in mind these are small artisanal batches and that I am not trying to cure anything. ;)

Cedar incense trial number two went swimmingly! It smells like a sage, cedar bonfire. While smelling and burning well...the shape and form needs work for sure.

Slippery elm pastilles trial number one went well also, but again they look funny and will need work..maybe a new flavour also.

Wound wash / boil blaster made from pennycress and myrrh is fabulous but again..it contains vodka so I'm not sure about a few details. As also the cardamom raisins for indigestion.

This website.... YES it will be changed and easier to navigate. I need to figure out the commerce pages. I'm getting there.

Wishing everyone a really great year.

P.S.  Yay, I completed the Intermediate Herbal Course from Herbal Academy of New England. It was really amazing, long, but amazing. The human body is a miraculous work of nature!

Salves

Hi. Bear with me (bare?) I have ordered envelopes and still need to set up payment methods here. Shouldn't be much longer. The spearmint salve is lovely. My neighbour had a huge gash on her hand..used the sore salve..it's barley been a week and it looks like a small cut.
The last batch of spruce salve I unfortunately added too much neem oil. The medicinal qualities are potentially improved but the scent of spruce is mostly gone. Sources of spruce sap are not good at the moment.

Many friends have tried the Smooch lip butter and love it but keep asking for a lip balm tube instead of jar so I will be doing that soon. The castor oil formula is so softening and the mandarin oil is unique and unoffensive as many other balms are these days.

ok..namaste all.

Is it time to move to the country?

It's such a big step. Am I ready? Fantasies of farm style kitchens with a wood stove and pantry abound. Have I watched too many datelines and 20/20's and think I will be murdered while I watch TV? Um, yes. Hey, times have changed. I haven't even started on harsh winters and storms and tight times etc.

Yet...the trees call me. Foraging for herbs and sap and sunshine and peace... maybe yes, it's time.

Greetings September!

Some people love summer, some love other seasons..lol. Fall is the best, best best!! Being a spice lover it's not really a surprise. Not having tried pumpkin or squash until my mid twenties, I have a very different take on fall. I think of clove infused red cabbage. Trying to make it without half a cup of bacon fat is challenging. My Oma's red cabbage was glossy and good..lol.

A few more steps..

OK, I've got some fabulous ointments made, a few labels done but holy moley, still a ways to go before you can order them here. Ingredient lists and descriptions also on the way.

Hope you have had a great summer. It's been long and hot and complicated for me.

Salve Names

Just to be spicy..every single product I make will start with the letter S. Sore Salve. Spruce Salve. Spearmint Salve. SoftE Salve. Sprinkles. Shelve Sachets..etc.

The plantain salve I'll name S.W. Salve, short for the German translation, Spitzwegerich. There are subtle differences across the ocean. The German plant is narrowleaf plantain but I am to understand they are very similar. My Mom told me that as a child in Germany after the war they were pulled out of school for a literal field trip to collect plantain for the soldiers wounds. That's the other reason I changed my mind. An homage to the old country.

The Plantain is Cookin!

Big day I must say! I've been so busy dealing with house and garden issues that I finally created the time to wild harvest some huge plantain leaves and set them up. I grew up a bit north of Toronto and again amazed at the subtle differences that the Hamilton climate (100km s) makes. Plantain is triple the size here...which is great as it's not the easiest to harvest.

So I wasn't going to use any fresh herbs in my salves because the risk of spoilage but I listened to my intuition that just kept insisting. I will be keeping it separate though. I'll upload photos soon..of the lovely concoction of olive and hemp oil and chopped plantain in the slow cooker.

It is amazing how complicated packaging, labeling and marketing is. If I move again...and people who know me will gasp... yes I probably will be moving to something more rural.. then I could easily give a whole room to packaging..YIKES! So far it is very enjoyable..just too much to do.

There are a bunch of issues I want to write about also, and still struggling with just opening up. I stopped watching Dancing with the Stars because is was so over the top but got back into the last season because of Suzanne Somers, or so I thought. Rumer Willis stole my heart and when she dedicated her trophy to victims of bullying I vowed to address it. I will. I am grateful. I still can't. I'm barely starting to function at 51. That should say something. I despise making excuses but as it was said to me..these are explanations, not excuses.

OK...now on the hunt for pine sap. Messy messy. Yay!

SPRING YAY! Full steam ahead!

Oh I say yay, but gardeners and property managers would all agree, SO MUCH WORK! Stupid joint pain has me at less than 50% capacity. Well I've also taken on more projects no surprise.
Staining the deck, building a huge planter box, painting a mural on the shed and last but not least, taking an online Herbal Course. Luckily my mind is still up at 80 or 90%. LOL.

The discovery that I have ADD has been a life changer. I was born in 63 and I don't know about anyone else but I hadn't really heard of it or considered the possibilities until the early 2000's. (another downside of not having kids is being out of the loop). So my ability to compensate and innovate is so good that I have fooled most of the people in my life that I am ok. Social anxiety may even have been born out of hiding ADD. The internet NOW is very helpful for information on managing it.

While I said full steam ahead - thinking about the ship analogy.. (ADD makes me think more of a popcorn machine of thoughts...a popcorn machine you can't turn off).
About the ship... I was reading something in Psychology Today about how the happiest and most successful people have reinvented themselves later in life. It went on to say how so many people stay too attached to the identity and dreams of their twenties. So interesting and I agree and am knee deep in reinvention. Dear gawd it has been painful though. I often think in metaphors and when a therapist a few ago said, changing the direction of your life is like steering a big ship.. .it's going to take time. (more research and work - big launch of brand- summer 2016)

Do you ever think of life like a big ship on a voyage? The decision leave behind professional art (that never went anywhere and wasn't fun) and move towards herbal medicine is what I'm referring to. Wow, I've been collecting art supplies for 30 years.

The ship stops at ports to get supplies for planned destinations, go long distances, the water changes, many storms, sometimes great damage happens to the ship. You have to get rid of some cargo, stop and make repairs AND...sometimes change direction completely and sail into waters that were not part of the plan. Sometimes leave behind much that is familiar. The imagery keeps going for me. I even thought, if you stay too long for a rest, holes will form in the hull, maybe critters will gnaw at you....nope gotta keep moving.

The storm was epic. Barely made it. It happened while docked making repairs. Too much cargo on board made it worse. I had to set sail while broken to find a safe place to repair. So I have big patch-up jobs in my sails and I can feel the ache of leaving familiar water before I've even gone far but there is a strong wind blowing and it's forward movement for the first time in many years.

Relocation-complete

Well..my stuff, cats and self are here but there is a whole lot of work to do. That's ok because I'm up for it...at a slower pace than I would like. It's great to be free of the ball and chain the last house was and hopefully Simspice projects can finally move towards completion.

Tins and labels are here for the salves - just need to design the labels and order the oils and get cooking! That sounded easy..a few months really....and I have hardly figured out marketing....AND a full description and explanations for wound care need to be posted here. No problem ;)

I'd like to develop a table shake/sprinkle....an alternative to cheese for the health conscious. 

Keep smiling
Simone

 

The Environment

We in Ontario have an election coming and it's slim pickins. Well, confusing pickins. (what am I a country hick all of a sudden?) Green party is the way to go because as it has been said to me, without an environment there is no economy.

I want people to know that just because you grew up with a certain set of beliefs doesn't make them right. We have gotten very complacent about cruelty to nature. You can become callous about difficult things (roadkill, industrial farming, pollution, etc.) eventually not even noticing them until one day you realize - WHAT YOU DO TO NATURE YOU DO TO YOURSELF!! So...why wait? 

When you put pesticide or herbicide on your lawn or crop, you WILL be drinking a percentage of it in your water a year from then. When you drive by a dead skunk on the side of the road with your kids in the car and shrug it off you are teaching them that all wildlife is not important. When you buy discounted meat at the grocery store I don't even want to tell you the cruelty you are eating (and promoting). And if you go to Marineland or zoos or horse races or the like, well... I ask you.. WHY? How is an animals's natural life worth your entertainment?

Maya Angelou and Oprah have often said, "when you know better, you do better"  We know better. Time to do better. We as creatures on this planet are stewards.

"Nature reaches out to us with welcoming arms, and bids us enjoy her beauty; but we dread her silence and rush into the crowded cities, there to huddle like sheep fleeing from a ferocious wolf.

Every thing [sic] in nature bespeaks the mother. Th sun is the mother of the earth and gives it its nourishment of heat; it never leaves the universe at night until it has put the earth to sleep to the song of the sea and the hymn of the birds and brooks. And this earth is the mother of trees and flowers. It produces them, nurses them, and weans them. The trees and flowers become kind mothers of their great fruits and seeds. And the mother, the prototype of all existence, is the eternal spirit, full of beauty and love. "  Kahlil Gibran

http://www.targetearth.org/about/bible_and_environment.html

Shifting Gears and New Directions

So...the summer is already more or less here and I am apparently getting ready to sell my house. This is my last flip. When I say flip, I have to add that my experience "flipping" houses has been far from what you see on TV. It has been more labourious and also more spiritual than I imagined. I actually have to stop because I physically cannot do it anymore. I would suggest to anyone, do not do it unless you have an army. I say spiritual because in some ways I feel like I have given the gift of my creativity ...left it behind...and have really enjoyed that part. I know people may well have just dug up my gardening effort within weeks of moving in but oh well.

The time has come to change focus and let life be a bit simpler. I just had an image of myself making ointments and it didn't look simple. Fun, yes! You know I was just watching Super Soul Sunday with Oprah doing an old interview with Maya Angelou and there was something about saying thank you when you really don't want to because what is happening is still a gift from God. Indeed! Wow the last few years have brought me to my knees and there will now be a new chapter and plans are being rewritten. It is hard to say thank you for so much pain but I'm getting there.

Oh, I said "apparently" because I've been enjoying my home now that I've staged and decluttered. Figures. Also my efforts to create a toad friendly backyard have really paid off. Yesterday I saw one with orange speckles and it was so friendly. 

Honouring Maya

Everyday since Maya Angelou passed I have cried. No, all of the tears are not sad, some are great gratefulness. Anyone who has seen her speak or read her words will know what I mean. I still remember seeing her on Oprah many, many years ago. What a force!

As a woman who has struggled with confidence and also with feminist ideals (and the lack of both in my life and around me) no one has been a better role model than her. I move forward with her voice in my heart.

Random Beauty Advice

I guess I have a superficial side too. Here's the deal...there are always three choices regarding our looks... we can do, or not do, things to make us look better, worse or neutral. Wouldn't you want someone to tell you if your going in the worse direction? I would.

I painted eyes and faces for years and have also been trained as a retoucher and a hairdresser and have been told I have an "eye" lol. What the heck, I'll just go for it!

Rule number #1 - Do what you want and what make you feel happy and beautiful. This is the bottom line. You truly do not have to follow trends.

2. Nothing beats great grooming.

3. Heavy Rimmed Glasses - look much better with a minus prescription than a plus. Keep in mind you are trying them on with neutral lenses and you're probably smiling. Heavy rimmed glasses look a lot less attractive when your not in a good mood, magnified! 

4. Almost no one over 30 looks good with unnatural red shades of hair colour.

5. Unless you're 16 or it's a wild party - only natural tones of make up are flattering. This is a bit of taste issue but I think if ones eye goes right to make up or jewellery and not your face you have failed in whatever you were going for (or are hiding)

6. Height and hair length - Very short people don't suit very long hair - very tall people might not look so great with a buzz cut.

7. Hiding your flaws is a slippery slope and at least half of people get the opposite result. For example - Adding a bob to hide a heavy jawline just brings all the attention there. Go longer or shorter - AWAY.  Or heavy bangs to detract from a largish nose again will draw all the attention where you don't want it. 

De-Growth

I'm going to have to elaborate another time but I listened to something on CBC radio a few days ago and my mind is just churning around so many thoughts and emotions and passions about this. First I feel De-Growth is an awful name for something very wonderful. Sustainability is really what the issue but it's more isn't it? It's a whole cultural mindset. This is such a big and heavy topic..yikes! In many ways we have been pretty much brainwashed to consume..I can speak only for Ontario..since birth. Anyone can see, that our ways are not sustainable on a finite planet. It's f'n math. There seems to be a lot of delusion going on. What is up with that?

OK..I'm not a gamer but I know enough to know about levels and powers and the ilk. Bear with me..you work hard repeatedly on one level, gather special powers and gifts to help you when you rise to the next level, right? If you mastered every level of a game...ideally you could help a newbie at level one. Do you see where I am going? Our behaviour - in western culture is like endlessly acquiring powers and gifts at level one and being too comfortable and lazy to move up a level...from material to character building then to spiritual and/or morality building and for sure ultimately back to helping newbies!

Health Tips

We live in uncertain times....or do we? I think the past had more going for it in terms of intuition and nature, and the present has the science and the evidence. Why not put them together?

I suggest we do not live in uncertain times. Modern day North American culture has it's flaws sure (guffa) but if you take a minute to read your history books, we have things pretty good right now.  Having said that, there are plenty of things we can do to ensure a better and longer life. 
I have no formal training (yet) so this is all for your entertainment.  *wink wink*

#If you are to put nicotine and other medicinal patches on your skin - take seriously everything you put on your skin! Many products - most - have phenols and parabens and other things that your liver has to process. Simple rule...would you eat it?

#Don't wear an aluminum based deodorant unless you have to. Yes, there are times and for some this is a lot, nevertheless, when you do not have to, do not. For days off and cold winter days I suggest the natural deodorants or just lotion.

#There is plenty of evidence that all artificial and some natural SCENTS are carcinogens. Use as much unscented everything as you can stand. (this is the candles, the sprays, the shampoos and conditioners, body creams, perfumes, household cleansers, laundry products..etc.) If you have to use them do not inhale deeply.

#Love your liver. It's funny how little we care about our liver when it's the most important organ you can control. It is your life filter (and chemical manufacturer and regulator) Everything you do goes through it. Food, emotions, liquids, smells, skin creams and eventually air. Be nice to it. Let go of anger when you can...breathe through it...believe you have control of yourself and let go. Drink a little less alcohol and a lot more water. Stuff as much herb tea in you as you can take. (ginseng and camomile excepted) 

Try to eat bitter raw greens in your salad a few time a week. (dandelion, arugula, endive)
Eat as little animal fat as you can. Butter being the best, pork fat the worst.

#The secret is out. Sugar is worse than fat. Sugar is everywhere and will kill you years before fat will. Even my grandfather (1907-1996) told us it was pure poison. These days it hides in places you wouldn't expect like fast food french fries and jarred tomato sauce.

 

 

Super Soul Sunday

Thank GOD there is at very least this little snippet of superb television.
#LoveMaya The marvelous and brilliant Maya Angelou was on today. In my next life I want to be her child or pet or friend...etc.

"When you get, give. When you learn, teach."

"Daring and loving and strong and kind." Describing her son, "a good human being" she says.

'She has faith like a rock. You can stand on it." Her son describing her.

"Your crown has been bought and paid for. All you have to do is put it on."
  Maya Angelou quoting James Baldwin

Goethe

A Few More Thank You's to Muses

The dear sweet late great Gwendolyn MacEwen. That Goodbye song hits me like her poetry did....like little jabs at my Achilles heel...good but tasting of copper and making me feel weak and strong simultaneously. She was at the same time ahead of and behind her time. She was ethereal. It's funny..thinking of her now...I have always had the same attraction to Greek and Moroccan and Egyptian men (and countries). She would have also loved Oded Fehr.

The newest is Kelly Rae Roberts. I see real joy in my future that I did not see before her words came into my life. Well her art teased at me first. Gosh..so lovely. She also has that magic key-giving gift that Clarissa Pinkola Estes has. I encourage everyone to march through the jungle of life, aggressively with enough vigour to find Those keys that are specifically yours. ONLY you can find them.

Have you ever read and Rumi? The word love is synonymous with Rumi.

here's a little taste..........

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Rumi > Quotes

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” 

“Be empty of worrying.

Think of who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open?” 
 

“This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet.” 
 

“A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.” 
 

“Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others' faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty.
Appear as you are. Be as you appear.” 
 

“This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor...Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” 
 

“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.” 
 

“Sit, be still, and listen,
because you're drunk
and we're at
the edge of the roof.” 
 

“People want you to be happy.
Don't keep serving them your pain!

If you could untie your wings
and free your soul of jealousy,
you and everyone around you
would fly up like doves.” 


“Two there are who are never satisfied -- the lover of the world and the lover of knowledge.” 

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.” 

“I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons,
knocking on a door. It opens. I've been knocking from the inside.” 

“Suffering is a gift. In it is hidden mercy.” 


 

 

Thank you...

As I move into a whole new chapter of life, I feel the need to thank my muses and mentors.

Why not start with Oprah. I watched potentially half of all of her shows...shift work has few perks, but that's one. I'll go into more detail another time but specifically when I went to see her live at Copps..2012 ...I think... the message that helped me tremendously in getting to a/this good beginning..... when giving back..yes you can do it YOUR WAY! 

She also said..."Your life is speaking to you. What is it saying?"

So..on her new network one evening I saw her speak with George Lucas. I know who he is. I knew a little about him but that interview might be one of the most important things that I've heard...well..ever. I cannot actually quote him at the moment but the gist was.....when you have a dream, a need, a calling, a vision...sometimes you need to disregard EVERYONE-> your best friends, family...mentors...everyone...you MUST follow your own self.

Next is Andreas Vollenweider. Only Enya can take me as deep into another level. He is pure genius. I seldom listen to him anymore which is a shame. When I first heard him played at an outdoor astrology conference about 1985 I was changed. That kind of beauty is sometimes more than I can take....but knowing of it gave me great hope in a dark time.

OK... I can't go on without mentioning the wonderful Deepak Chopra. (and sexy) I have not once heard that man utter a word I didn't wholeheartedly agree with. Brilliant and awe-inspiring!

My bible is "The Prophet" Kahlil Gibran. The one thing I would take to a deserted island.

Moving towards the feminine..mystique ;)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes is not a regular human. I know sounds funny. "Women Who Run With The Wolves" is not a regular book. It was more like being give a special key or power of insight. Be careful, don't read it unless you are prepared to get somewhat angry at (modern) North American culture.