10 May 2012

Stuff (as in, the stuff you need)

So, let's say you want to make some fun natural balms/salves/creams/whatever.

Do not eff up your good kitchen stuff, okay?

Here's a quick and dirty list of what you need to acquire for your remedy-making-pile. Acquire it however you would like, I don't care. I prefer to acquire my stuff either through repurposing something in my kitchen that never gets used (I'm looking at you, mix-measure-and-pour gadget), or by hunting down things in a thrift store.

First and foremost, a pot. You only need one, if you know how to clean it. I know what you're thinking. A 5 year old knows how to wash a pot. Well, 2 things. First: No, a 5 year old doesn't. Mine knows how to use a dishwasher. And I'm not putting something waxy in a dishwasher to eff up all my good stuff. Second: Wax is a bitch to get out of a pot.

I would recommend purchasing either an enamel pot or a glass pot. They won't leech metal schtuffs into your goods, and they're marginally easier to clean (not really). Both these types of item seem to be available in abundance at thrift stores, but here's the kicker: if you buy glass you MUST double boiler pretty much everything you make. When I was younger, and still disillusioned into thinking I loved other people's children enough to want to be a teacher, I lead Girl Guides. And we were making firestarters as a craft one day. And we were melting wax on a low heat in a glass pot. All of a sudden KABOOM, glass and wax everywhere, and the stove ignited, and someone threw water on it which made the fire spread and then suddenly we had to actually use the fire extinguisher. MOTHER EFF, it is hard to scrape chemical-y wax off a stove. My point is, double boiler of some sort if you plan on buying glass. So really, just buy a damn enamel pot. They were super popular in the 70s and every thrift store on the earth has them.

Eff Yeah! If you ever find a pot like this, you are now morally obligated to buy it for me. Mine is black with white speckles.

Well, that's item number one....

• You'll also want mixing implements of some sort. I prefer silicone spatulas because they clean well and don't absorb anything. Also, I have about 6000 of them, so I could repurpose some. I don't like wooden spoons because you can't get into corners with them, and they're kind of a one-shot deal because otherwise cross contamination becomes an issue. And sure, it's all natural, but you don't want lip gloss that tastes like eucalyptus.

• A pouring container - it's hard to pour stuff out of a pot without spilling everywhere, so a dedicated vessel with a wide enough mouth that you can transfer pot contents into it, and still pour with some precision is nice. I use a pampered chef mix-measure-and-pour. I don't like salad dressing, so the damn thing had been gathering dust in my cupboard for ages. If you don't want to repurpose your $12 kitchen gadget, that's okay. Pick up a pyrex measuring cup at the thrift store while you're buying your pot. Oh, here's a lesson learned moment. Don't buy one of those squirty bottles from the kitchen section of the dollar store (it looks like an old timey ketchup bottle from a diner, but is white) - your liquids cool and congeal way to fast in those, and you'll lose a lot of precious remedy to them. And they're impossible to clean. So, it's a waste of a buck, and it's going straight to the bin once you're finished because you can't clean it. Eff that.

• A cheese grater. But not your good one. You'll need to grate your wax, unless you are independently wealthy enough to buy wax pastilles. You're never getting the wax rubs off that grater though, so again with the dedicated tool (I used to date a guy who was a dedicated tool. Huh.) Find yourself a sturdy one too - you don't want it to cave in while you grate. I don't like knuckle in my lavender salve, and neither does anyone else.

• I now give you permission to buy something at the dollar store - silicone ice cube molds. They're great for lotion bars, so scope them out.
So effing cute!

• a mortar and pestle that you can clean easily is nice to have, but if you don't have one, it's not the end of the world.
Purty. And yes, that is a Star Wars lightsabre lip gloss in the background. So what?

I got mine from a medical supply place for dirt cheap, and I use it enough to warrant the purchase. At the same time, I'm also a nurse, and I have a child, so I can use it to crush pills too. Because it's glass, it washes up like a dream, and I don't worry about contamination at all.

• a scale is a must. This scale is the best gift I've ever received.
Electric-y goodness, coming to you in ounces, grams, and something else.

My husband, bless him, is a total man. He is terrible at buying gifts, and consquently, he gets a mile long list at Hexmas that says 'Any of these would be lovely, but if you buy them all I will kick you in the eye'. That way he has some ideas, but there's also some surprise for me. I never thought to put an electronic scale on my wish list. I had a kitchen scale already. I hated it, and it was huge and took up half of my kitchen and it was horribly inaccurate, but I had one. But because he knew I hated it, even though it wasn't on my Hexmas list, he bought it for me. Everyone was horrified because they thought it was a 'hey Fattie, lose some weight' present. I love it because it meant he'd noticed I'd been losing weight, and recognized the corrolation between me weighing my food and losing weight. And he noticed that our scale sucked and through deductive reasoning, was able to buy me a gift. AND I can use it in the creation of awesome things too. So yeah. Electronic scale if you've got one, but you'll need a scale of some sort anyhow.


• Measuring cups and spoons. DEDICATED, because they'll get covered in stuff that while lovely and natural maybe shouldn't be directly ingestion. Like clove oil.

• Something to annoy your cat and distract you while you wait for things to set, infuse, magically turn into medicine, etc.
So dreamy. And yes, my cat is fat. What are you saying?

This is my boyfriend Thor. He's a god. He's brilliantly sexy and hot and while Chris Hemsworth is pretty, he's not what I'd always envisioned Thor to be when I was a little girl dreaming about Thor. I thought he would be broader, and a bit rougher. I like a bit of rough in a man. Anyhow, Thor doesn't have a 'whoops-there's-my-aussie-coming-out' accent, and so while I certainly wouldn't kick Chris Hemsworth out of bed for eating crackers, I save the good stuff for really-Thor. If he ever shows up. Did you hear that Thor?

Anyhow, I digress.

Actually, that's kind of everything I can think of right now. I think I'll go play with Thor some more.

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