Orange Paste Wax For Wooden Kitchen Utensils

I had fun developing this one, and you will enjoy making it if you like to cook with wooden utensils. I have a spurtle for stirring porridge, and an olive dipper, both which need occasional ‘oiling’. But I’ve made this up, my whole place smells like oranges, and I like the look…especially on my two breadboards. One is very old and has ‘Bread is the staff of life’ carved around the edges, and the other one is like a puzzle board made from different woods, a lovely thing I bought (but don’t use) from a senior in my neighbourhood. Both sucked the paste up very nicely, then let me buff them to a soft sheen.

  • 100 g.    Beeswax
  • 75 g.      Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 45 ml     Orange Wax
  • 225 ml   Flax Seed Oil
  • 75 ml     Sweet Almond Oil
  • 5 ml       Sweet Orange Essential Oil

Melt all except the Essential Oil together over very low heat, stirring until melted. Stir in the Essential Oil just before pouring into wide-mouthed tins. Lightly cover, and let them sit 4 hours before tightening the lids.

This will make approximately 525 g of a paste wax that is excellent for finishing or caring for wooden kitchen utensils such as breadboards, butcher’s blocks, spurtles, bamboo spoons, etc. Just apply a thin layer of the paste wax and buff. You will find the scent agreeable, and the orange element is antimicrobial.

Soothing Balm For Eczema

If you have struggled for years with eczema or psoriasis, you know how frustrating it is, especially when cold weather exacerbates it. Here is a balm I think you will like, though its ingredients may cost a bit to get you up and going.

100 ml Andiroba, Calendula or Oat Oil
25 ml Borage Oil
25 ml Rosehip Oil
15 ml Beeswax (or Castor Wax, if you are vegan)
50 drops Essential Oil Blend (see below).

  • Sterilize a small glass bottle.
  • Count out your 50 drops (25 if for a child) into the bottle.
  • Heat the oil in a small pot very gently, with the wax.
  • As soon as the wax is melted, take it off the heat.
  • When it just begins to cloud over, pour it into the bottle and cap.
  • Apply to lesions up to three times daily.

The EO blend will be made up of Chamomile, Cypress, Juniper Berry, and Sandalwood (so long as it is not weeping eczema).

Five drops of Melissa, if you have it, may be added to the 150 ml above, but you want very little as it is very powerful.

Turmeric is also anti-inflammatory and may be used in place of the blend (or as a part of it).

People with eczema and psoriasis are often stressed and deficient in B vitamins, so make sure to get whole grains into the daily diet, and make time for fun and relaxation.

3 Ointments

3 Ointments

The following ointments were three of my most popular ointments when I ran Nelsie’s Cupboard as a small online store…

I have been making Calendula Ointment for myself for many years. After my first pregnancy over 30 years ago I started to develop spider veins. I had found some calendula ointment at Thompson’s in Toronto, and the spider veins went away in three months. Meanwhile, I had two friends, Elaine and Bonnie, whose legs were in very bad shape with varicose veins from problem pregnancies, and both were slated for surgery. One had the surgery, but the other started using the ointment herself, and put off the surgery. A year later, the one with the surgery had lumpy scarred legs, and the other had smooth calves with a few blue vein endings showing here and there. These, however, were not noticeable at all under stockings within another year. 

Calendula Ointment (For varicose and spider veins) 

Over very low heat, simmer for 30 minutes: 

1 c. shortening/lard/lanolin 
1 c. dried organic calendula blossoms (I pulverize mine first) 

Strain into a clean, wide-mouthed jar, cover with lid (but do not tighten), and let sit until cold and set. Use up to three times a day on unsightly veins. You should see a difference in about three months, but this can be amazing. 

I made this one up for myself when, having fibromyalgia, my wrists and forearms started aching, and gave some to a friend slated for surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. It decreased her pain within three weeks, when her father started using it on his arthritic joints. A family tug-of-war ensued, they both liked it so much. 

Ointment For Sore Joints/Carpal Tunnel 

Over very low heat, simmer for 30 minutes (do not pulverize the buds, but crush them): 

1 c. shortening/lard 
1/2 c. balm of Gilead (poplar buds) 
1/2 c. St. John’s wort 
3 drops lavender essential oil 

Strain into a clean, wide-mouthed jar, into which you have place the essential oil. Cover with lid (but do not tighten), and let sit until cold and set. Use up to three times a day on sore joints and tendons. This makes a rather smelly ointment, if you skip the essential oil. 

This one was a favourite in Quebec, where everyone seems to have large families. The comfrey speeds healing, and the chickweed soothes, but the children especially love its scent. 

Nelsie’s 3-C Ointment 

Over very low heat, simmer for 30 minutes: 

1 c. shortening/lard/lanolin 
1/3 c. calendula blossoms 
1/3 c. chickweed 
1/3 c. comfrey 
3 drops lemon balm essential oil 
1 drop lavender essential oil 

Strain into a clean, wide-mouthed jar, into which you have place the essential oil. Cover with lid (but do not tighten), and let sit until cold and set. Use up to three times a day on skin abrasions and itchies. 

Comfrey speeds internal healing so much that in the old books, we were advised not to use a poultice or ointment until the wound had been absolutely cleansed of any foreign matter, or it would be healed into the wound. I had used comfrey on kids for years, but once they run off and play, boo-boos are quickly forgotten and I never thought much about it except that it worked. I then saw evidence of the miraculous speed with which it heals. 

Monsieur Raymond, 69, had to have surgery for a hernia, and I drove him to the hospital and later, assisted him back home. I had brought some comfrey, and made a poultice of flannel dipped into the infusion and wrung out (1 tsp. of the dried herb in 1 cup of boiling water, infused for 10 minutes, then strained) and placed on his abdomen, now swollen, around the bandaging. It was not applied to the wound area itself. He took off the poultice after a short while, complaining it was too painful. The swelling had gone down, and there was a vivid blush on his abdomen. He then fell into a deep sleep, and was feeling much better by the time I left him and his employer. A couple of days later he told me he hadn’t used the poultice, he didn’t need it. I saw him a week later, when I was in town again and he was running about doing errands. I chastised him for not resting, as had his physician, but he proudly showed me his abdomen. One would have thought the surgery had been performed months ago, as the healing appeared complete. 

I had previously used the 3-C ointment on his employer’s broken foot, which she was walking on again within a month. She was an elderly infirm lady who could hardly walk without assistance before she had broken her foot, and seemed no worse for wear! 

Witch Hazel: Something Wonderful!

I think Witch Hazel is one of the most wonderful herbs on this planet. Aside from the fact it is a facial toner, reduces swelling, and has anti-inflammatory properties, it has talents that are lesser known.

Before I hit menopause, I suffered from what was commonly (and quietly) known as ‘the floods’. Nothing helped, and the doctors wanted to do a chemical castration with hormones that would leave me with a beard. I nixed that idea, and continued to ruin fabric chairs through overnight pads and Depends.

Then I read a book called, The Menopausal Years by herbalist Susan Weed, and was I ever glad I did. Witch Hazel tea, 3 cups a day, and the floods stopped, just like she said they would. So I consumed a fair amount of Witch Hazel every month, and it worked like a charm, and when menopause finally happened, it was a breeze. Even the hot flashes, kicking legs, and night sweats calmed down. 

Now I find, while doing research for DIY natural cleaning products, that it has anti-static properties for hair and fabrics. You just put Witch Hazel in a spray bottle and spritz your hairbrush, and clothes when they come out of the dryer.

If you want to make a spritz that is also an armoatherapeutic stress-reducing spray, add to it:

  • 1 drop Cypress Essential Oil
  • 2 drops Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
  • 2 drops Patchouli Essential Oil
  • 4 drops Sweet Orange

Just remember to shake before spraying!

Fabulous Lip Stain

Jan Benham, author of the Baby Boomer’s Beauty Bible, uses this neat trick.


  • 1/2 t. of red algae gel
  • 1/8 t. of powdered colourant*

Apply to lips with a lip brush.

*Colourants must be cosmetic grade, and may include carmine powder, micas, or oxide…and if using oxides, should be mixed with an appropriate clay first as they don’t always mix well with the gel.

Stedda Dry Cleaning

My mother was ‘thrifty’ and would rarely let my dry clean my clothes, so she made me do this, something I’ve been doing for many years since to freshen woolens and jackets that are not really dirty.

Put them in a dryer with a wet, wrung-out washcloth. But don’t use a hot setting, only warm, and only for 20 minutes. Hang them up immediately so you don’t have any wrinkles!

If they’ve picked up an odour like smoke, dissolve a little baking soda in the water you use to douse the washcloth first. You can put a couple of drops of essential oil directly on the washcloth, too.

A Tip For A Lovelier Face

One of the nicest little things anyone has given me was a little bottle of primer, from my colleague, Anna, at work. I couldn’t believe how nice it made my complexion look – just as nice as vanishing cream when I was young, but without that slightly heavy feeling.

I found out from author Jan Benham that the big secret to primer (seems like it’s always at least $50 for a little bottle) is silica. Plain old silica.

Oh, how such corporate greed angers me. For only $50+ you, too can have .80 cents’ worth of plastic, petrochemicals and silica…

Well, I don’t need a kilo of silica, so one day at work I tried a pinch of sericite mica in a dab of hand cream on the back of one hand. Everyone could see the difference, but…what was the difference? So I decided to try a tiny pinch of the sericite mica in my daily dab o’ moisturizer (my own, of course). And well, don’t it beat all, I looked like I had primer on, only better. Think primer that is not quite matte, but with a tiny hint of dewy. 

And why not? When I want a foundation, I sprinkle some of my own tinted face powder onto my dab of moisturizer, and it looks great without looking unnatural, feels non-existent, and holds my blush and eye shadows quite nicely (also of my own making). So now when I don’t want foundation, but want to look a little nicer all the same, the sericite is currently parked on my bathroom counter,which is typically crowded with several moisturizers, creams, oils, butters, and other goodies I just can’t seem to resist playing with…

A Gentle Spray Deodorant

Some people like sprays better than creams (though my personal favourite is the deodorant cream I posted). So here is something both effective and gentle.

  • 80 ml Witch Hazel
  • 5 ml Glycerine
  • 6 drops Bergamot Essential Oil
  • 20 drops Clary Sage Essential Oil
  • 20 drops Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 8 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil

Put all of these into a smaller spray bottle and shake well. Recycling small spray bottles is good, just be sure to wash and rinse them well, then sterilize them with some alcohol before filling.