Lavender Salve for the Hands-On Project


July 26, 2012 by lytlejoc

Hello Friends.
After a long hiatus I have finally found the time and space to get off my butt — or on it, I suppose — and give an update.

I flew to my home coast on the east side of Canada about a month ago with teeny tiny Toby in tow. I have made my big sister’s house “home base” for now and did a bit of couch surfing among my other two sisters and cousin’s places while waiting for my poor husband to complete the long haul from BC. After almost a month due to about 12 days of being broken down in Northern Ontario, he has arrived with our other (four-legged) baby and what belongings we didn’t store or chuck. And so we made it! We are ready to get down to business at our seaside home.

Well… almost. We’ll be living in a camper trailer while we do some upgrades to the 90 year old house before we can comfortably move into it, and before we can even move into the camper, we have to do an awful lot of fandangling to get that to be livable too. It’s filled to the brim with our stuff, since it doubled as a moving trailer, and so we have to take everything out and put it into the storage shed on the property before we can fix it up just right for a family of 3 plus dog. We will also need to have it hooked up somehow to our 90 year old well which will require the assistance of our brand new gas generator as our house is powerless for the time being.

The to-be-torn-apart Indoor Living Room. No living ones in here…

And by powerless I mean, of course, that there is no electricity: the power has been cut from the pole for insurance purposes. It’s uncanny how deadly silent a house is when there is no electricity humming through it.

Another important aspect of our lives to arrange is that Toby, for a very small human, has quite an impressive amount of large things that need room for set up. The camper, though big, is a mite too cozy to house all of those very bulky yet very essential things and so we will be setting up a borrowed screen tent with a big outdoor rug to make an open-air sort of living room. The screen tent, however, has proven to be perplexing. We tried in vain for an hour to set it up the other day. The results, while slapstick, were nil. That task, needless to say, is still on the to-do list.

All fandangling aside, I cannot wait to get myself more permanently onto the property. The house itself is charming, quaint, and deliciously eerie. It’s been standing vacant for about 13 years (the wall calendar in the kitchen was stalled at January 1999) and everything inside would lead you to believe that whoever lived there simply got up one day, packed all her clothes and walked out, carefully locking the door behind her.

Just as we found it. You can sleep with the (silver)fishes in here.

And indeed, this is pretty much what happened. The last resident was a lady who had lived there with her family for many years and then retired to a seniors home where she passed away. Her family had extracted all the belongings that they wanted and left everything else as she left it behind, then put the house up for sale.

It felt extremely strange to walk through the silent, dusty rooms and look over the old furniture and random curios, kind of like the house was holding its breath and waiting to see what I would do first. I actually walked around and assured it that we would be as respectful as we could and that we would love it very much. You know… in case anyone was listening. It really did seem the perfect place for a ghost to hang out; a case full of old country 8 tracks and dusty vinyl albums sat nestled by the armchair next to an unfinished embroidery hoop, and a fuzzy blue housecoat hung mutely behind the curtain in the tidily made up bedroom. The dishes were neatly stacked in the kitchen cupboards, ready to serve the next meal. On my second visit, I found a bible and a hymnal sitting on the couch with the previous owner’s name written on the flyleaf and I can’t say for sure but I have a foolish and creepy suspicion that they were not there on my first visit.

Found this in the attic. We were told it’s a spinning wheel, but it looks more like a swift to me. Either way, I’m keeping it.

So now I’ve sorted through the lot and set aside some things to keep, and Scott has emptied out items that can no longer be used. We’re almost ready to start gutting the place – after we can park our little selves into the camper, of course. But there is still no end of weird and interesting things to pick through, including a barn and basement full of rusty tools and bottles filled with mysterious liquids, bearing labels that warn you to have whiskey on hand as an antidote in case of accidental ingestion. The basement even has a coal room, complete with coal. It’s a huge job. But we’re up for the challenge.


Now that’s out of the way, I feel the need to post something DIY related. Scott transported across the country my “apothecary”, as I like to call it, and so when it arrived, I gleefully pounced on it and began experimenting again. My hands, as I’ve alluded to before, are ravaged by a lovely form of dermatitis called Dishydrotic Eczema, something that dermatologists can’t do much about other than shrug at you in helpless sympathy and write up a scrip for a corticosteriod, and even that only works for a short time. Hand washing aggravates the condition, and because I’ve been touching god-knows-what in the old house and because I have a messy little baby, I’m forced to wash my hands obsessively. This has resulted in dry skin and a painful network of angry cracks on my hands. I found a pin on Pinterest recently detailing how to make a natural kind of petroleum jelly and since Vaseline worked for me before, I thought I’d try the more natural route. And being a compulsive recipe-tweaker, I put my own spin on it to make…

Healing Lavender Hand Salve

In its full glory. My advice is to leave off the decorative lavender buds because they just make a mess when you use it.

You’ll need:

Lavender buds – about 1 tablespoon

Olive Oil – 1/2 cup

Beeswax – 1/8 cup. I used pellets but you can grate some if you only have a block.

Pour the olive oil into the top of a double boiler and add the lavender buds. Let this heat slowly until you can smell the lavender and the oil is quite warm. Strain out the lavender buds and add the beeswax, heating again until the pellets (or shavings) are melted. Pour this whole concoction into a sterilized jar and let it cool. Then use it! As often as you want. I try to use it every time I wash my hands. While it’s by no means healed the pompholyx part of this annoying affliction, it’s been miraculous in managing the dryness and cracks that I’ve been fighting with in the last few weeks. The lavender gives it a nice little antibacterial kick to speed the healing. Or I like to think so, anyway. A word to the wise, though: try not to run your hands through your hair right after you’ve applied this stuff. My hair might be getting a bit healthier, but I look a tad greasy.

Now, how about you? If you give this a shot, tell me how it works! Any suggestions for improving it?

Be well, friends. It’s good to be back.


6 thoughts on “Lavender Salve for the Hands-On Project

  1. Pam Hynes says:

    I believe you are right in saying your find is a swift. That’s the first thing I thought it was, even though I didn’t know the proper name for it. I looked online and found one very similar to it. I’ll send you the link to the picture.

    As four the house, I love the lazy man’s or in this case woman’s light switch in the bedroom. Looks like something I might rig up!

    I still think you should consider writing a book!

    Love, Aunt Pam

  2. Pam Hynes says:

    I have to check the box!

  3. tuckamoredew says:

    I think that object is also known as a skein winder. That’s a great attic find. Are there any vintage bicycles on the premises? 🙂 Good luck with the big project.

    I’ve had a few nasty bouts of eczema, also related to child care etc., but I never did find a sure-fire cure, although a few were definitely concocted here in the house for me.

  4. kim says:

    How exciting to find treasures in the attic! No idea what that thing is, even after you give it a name…..will have to google.
    Glad to hear you have your family together at last. Heard there was also a little ding a ling bang with poor Scott and Garrett. Hope everyone is ok.
    As for your salve, I will give the receipe to my mom and see what she says.
    take care,

  5. donna says:

    can you use coconut oil instead of olive oi?

    • lytlejoc says:

      Hi Donna, thanks for reading!
      I think the answer to your question depends on what kind of climate you live in. If you are somewhere lovely and warm where coconut oil stays in liquid glory all the time (like Hawaii, for example), then yes. If you are somewhere less tropical and you tend to use a spoon to scoop out chunks of coconut oil, then I would say you would probably be better off infusing the coconut oil with the lavender, letting it cool and using it like that. If you do want to use the beeswax anyway, I think it can still work, but you will have to use less. Start with 1/2 Tbsp and if it’s still a little soft for you, just melt it down again and throw in another 1/2 Tbsp. (That’s the beauty of working with this stuff: unless you burn it, you can rework it as much as you want!)
      Hope this helped, and please do let me know how it works if you try it out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 331 other followers

As long as I just give it a shot...

%d bloggers like this: