Art Elements July Theme Challenge – Flowers.

I have missed not participating in the Art Elements challenges lately but life seems so busy these days. The theme this month is flowers.

Whilst sitting in the garden watching the bees on the lavender bushes I had an idea that I thought might suit the challenge but not take up too much time. It’s a little different to what you might think I would do for a flower challenge.

You may already know I like to make my own soaps, lip balms, lotion bars etc. One thing I find with soap is the scent doesn’t last as well as I would like. While I was sitting I was thinking if I could infuse my olive oil for soapmaking with lavender flowers, and would it last longer. Then I started thinking about the huge rosemary bush and some Corsican thyme that was flowering right by my seat. I love the way the smell wafts up when the breeze catches it.

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I went to pick some lavender, which is not an easy task, the bushes are at the other side of a low fence, which I had to climb over. From here the ground slopes off to a wall and a 4 foot drop to the road. It’s a nightmare to garden, it’s south facing and dry so it has become a low maintenance rock garden, lavender thrives there.

I started cutting my flowers, I have 3 varieties of lavender but some looked past their best, I happily cut and smelled the flowers taking in their scent, then I felt my foot stinging, when I looked down I had ants crawling up my legs and biting my foot where they had gotten into my flip-flops. I made a hasty retreat with a meagre bunch of lavender flowers. It was so much easier picking the rosemary and thyme.

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These were all left to dry for a couple of days before infusing in oil. The rosemary and thyme were put in a pan with oil and warmed up, then left to stand a while before straining.

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The lavender flowers went in the slow cooker with the oil for a couple of hours, then it sat overnight to cool before straining.

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The scent wasn’t as strong as I’d hoped but it was definitely there, maybe I needed more lavender, but I wasn’t going to pick more with those pesky ants about.

Next I set about making ‘crockpot’ castile soap (google to find tons of recipes) using my lavender infused oil. Here it is at the start of cooking, having blitzed it with the hand blender.

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After about 40 minutes, (stirring every 10 minutes,) it becomes translucent, thick and jelly like, ready to go into a mould. I forgot to take the photo 🙂 but here it is cut into bars, it has a light lavender smell, I hope it lasts but only time will tell.

UntitledBack to the rosemary and thyme oil; my intention was to make some lip balm and use the rest for cooking but my family said they didn’t like it. So I could make more soap with it, or just use the oil on my hair and skin. My husband’s Aunt told me a long time ago rosemary was good for the memory, I believe the quote “Rosemary for remembrance”comes from William Shakespeare.

UntitledHaving looked on the internet it seems to be good for a lot of things, I’m going to try it as a tonic for my thinning hair, it’s also good for arthritis and Raynauds syndrome which affects me in the winter. I think it smells, and tastes lovely, I like it drizzled on bread.

I made some lip balm, it’s 1 part beeswax to 1 1/2 parts oil, melted in a double boiler. I used a lot of lip balm last winter, it’s great for the hands as well. If it’s too stiff when it sets just melt it down and add a few more drops of oil. The little jars get reused, and are so easy to slip into your pocket or handbag.

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Now I’m off to see what everyone has made for this lovely floral theme, why not go and take a look?

About eganj1

Obsession making arts crafts, and all things creative
This entry was posted in kiln fired art and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Art Elements July Theme Challenge – Flowers.

  1. Cat says:

    I wish I had a scent screen, it sounds so good! 😀
    Sorry about the ants ….

  2. I enjoyed reading your post, what a great contribution to the theme! Plus I might even try to make something with the rosemary on my balcony – such an enduring plant it is 🙂

  3. Kathy Lindemer says:

    I enjoyed reading your post. I discovered that the sandy soil where i live is perfect for growing lavender and I have 2 different varieties that I am having success with. I plan to add a few more next year so maybe I will try doing something with them next year, You inspired me.

  4. Laney says:

    I bet your kitchen smelt divine! I too had an ‘issue’ with a colony of ants having stopped to ‘faff’ with the lawnmower I had failed to see I had stood on their nest which I had taken the top off with said lawnmower so they were not best pleased with me. I got a couple of nasty nips from them! I would be interested to know how your hair tonic works as I have baby fine and thin hair 😉

  5. Marsha Neal Minutella says:

    Thank you for participating this month. I love that you shared your process of working with flowers from your garden and how to infuse them to be used every day. You know – your post makes me realize how much smell is part of a garden landscape too. Not only how things smell when in bloom, but also in the fall when they start to decay (if you ever plant Nasturtium and then after first frost, there is definitely a strong decomposition scent added to the fall air). So very interesting… 🙂

    • eganj1 says:

      I can smell my garden in Autumn right now, it’s not a bad smell is it? Just a bit like good compost which will make things grow again the next year.

  6. The soap and the lip balms sound marvelous. Sorry the ants got you while picking the lavender. I have some lavender growing in my garden and although I have never made soaps or lip balms I did use the lavender to make a simple syrup so that I could make a lavender martini! It tasted divine;-)
    I boiled the lavender in the sugar/water for a couple minutes then let it sit for a few hours before straining. The lavender scent and taste remained quite strong for a few days.

  7. The soap and the lip balms sound marvelous. Sorry the ants got you while picking the lavender. I have some lavender growing in my garden and although I have never made soaps or lip balms I did use the lavender to make a simple syrup so that I could make a lavender martini! It tasted divine;-)
    I boiled the lavender in the sugar/water for a couple minutes then let it sit for a few hours before straining. The lavender scent and taste remained quite strong for a few days.

  8. jewelsofsayuri says:

    Have you tried toasting bread with that thyme and rosemary oil or stir fry baby potatoes with it? I guess if you cook with the oil and add salt and pepper/paprika in the end it would taste great. I always wanted to try making my own soap and lip balm (and perfumes) even though strong natural scents make me wheeze. I really admire those who can do it. Looking at your pictures, I feel tempted to try my hand at soap making.

  9. eganj1 says:

    The soap is very gentle, I love it even if it’s unscented. I wash my hair with it too but I have short hair.
    I love the rosemary oil on toast, and I am sure my fa lily wouldn’t notice it if I cooked with it.

  10. alycat55 says:

    What a great take on the theme Jill! I planted lavender on a small slope a couple years ago, will have to see if it survived the heat wave this year when I go home in October. Sometimes I throw some Rosemary twigs into the barbecue coals (yes, old fashioned here). Hope your feet healed from the ant bites :/. Oh, thanks for these recipes, I will try them!

    • eganj1 says:

      Thank you, it’s so satisfying making these, I’m not sure how green it is to make these but I’m not buying soap or shampoo these days. I use coconut oil to remove my makeup, and I make a great lotion bar too.

  11. Everything looks delicious! I’d love to try and make my own toiletries, I did try lip balm once but it set too hard, I didn’t know about adding oil. You’ve inspired me to give it another go!

    • eganj1 says:

      I would have another go Caroline, if it sets too hard just melt it down and add a bit more oil. I made one with some tangerine oil in it last winter, it was lovely.

  12. Hope Smitherman says:

    What a perfect way to interpret the theme! I love that you actually USED flowers and herbs in your artistic efforts and do hope the scent stays longer than previously. Here’s hoping those ant bites heal up. They always seem to find me too, so I feel your pain.

  13. lesleyhw says:

    What a lovely way to participate in this theme…your soap looks delicious and I just wish I could smell it.

  14. susankennedy65 says:

    What a great idea to make soap with lavender for the theme! Fantastic interpretation of the theme, and I love lavender! Sorry about the ants!

  15. You are a true Renaissance Woman! I adore rosemary, lavender is lovely… I would drizzle that on bread as well. I hope your soap holds up well – do you ever decorate with more blossoms! Or would than have meant tackling the ants again – no thank you!

    • eganj1 says:

      Thank you Jenny. I thought about adding lavender flowers but decided against it as I didn’t want to clog up the shower plug hole or have them go into the septic tank. They would look pretty.

  16. Tammy Adams says:

    How lucky you are to have fresh herbs to sit among and to use for cooking and other things. I wish my monitor had a scratch’n’sniff feature so I could smell the lavender soap and the rosemary/thyme oil.

  17. Perfect for the Art Elements Challenge imho! Every time I see a post about soap making, my interest is piqued, and your post about adding scented flowers to the process only adds to my curiosity. I hope I find time to give it a try one of these days.

  18. sarajo wentling says:

    What a fun project!!

  19. Pingback: » July Theme Reveal: Flowers

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