I learned about Poppy Swap early on, even registered my business, but finally this week I opened my shop - it was one of my New Year's Resolutions. In many ways, gardening - and herbs - have saved my sanity. Over and over and over. In my "past life" as an activist I used herbs when stressed or when I couldn't sleep or to fend off or get rid of a cold. When I went through menopause (I'll be 60 in March), I created my own "Crone Tincture" that started with Motherwort who volunteered in my yard (isn't it wonderful how herbs somehow know when you need them and just appear?) and then added in many others. What a relief! I took it for about 2 1/2 years until I knew I didn't need it anymore. I remember when I first learned how to make tinctures - many years ago. I couldn't believe how easy it was, and how much money I saved. Then I went crazy and made tinctures out of everything, and I gave many away but unfortunately to friends and family who really had no idea how to use them, and I think they were even a bit fearful of the strange smelling, strong tasting brews. I know many of these gifts never got used and I quickly learned that just because I can make something (and give it away), doesn't mean I should. Now I'm more realistic and allow my needs, and those of my friends and family, to determine what I make and to whom I gift it. Really, it was wasteful and even disrespectful of the wonderful healing plants.
Over the years, herbs have been my greatest teachers. The best part is growing them, or finding them in the fields and woods, and getting to know them personally. Not just "what can they do for me", but as beautiful, alive, spiritual beings regardless of how they may be used by humans. No matter how long we've worked with herbs, there's always something exciting and new and miraculous to learn.
Even though I've only been selling herbal goodies for a year, I've been making them for many years now. My first salves were very basic, and even now the most basic is often the best. And my skin creams have taken several years of trying this and that, giving them away, getting feedback, making changes, and so on. It used to be that when I was blending the waters and oils to make that perfect cream, each time I felt like anything could happen. Will it come out right? Will it feel good? Will it separate or not? Each time felt like the first. I do have the process down now, and my batches are consistent from one to the next - for which I'm grateful. But I still get giddy when I'm creating a new product. Figuring out what I want it to do and what are the best ingredients to accomplish it can take days or weeks of brain storming, listening to my intuition, waking up with an ah-ha feeling that I've gotten it and today is the day to blend. I just love it! I also love suggestions from family and friends. My Rose Cream, for example, was suggested by my friend Chris. So I made it after ordering the best quality rose otto and absolute I could afford. And Chris was right! It's beautiful. My Beautiful Breast Butter, which is not on Poppy Swap yet, was inspired by dandelion flowers and Lady's Mantle and created for the fun (and beauty) of it. Some people think it's a bit strange, but others just love it. After all, we have to treat ourselves well.
I hope you'll check out my shop, and I welcome ideas and suggestions.