The spa pantry you already have

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I know that I go on and on (and on!) about how easy it is to make all your own lotions and potions at home. And I also know that some of you don't believe it! I decided I needed to review with those Doubting Thomas' (Thomasinas?) just how easy it is and that the ingredients I use are probably already in your pantry!

What started me on the Make-It-Yourself journey were two things: A good friend, Linda Singh, an expert of gardening, herbs and cooking and then my finding a simple recipe for Foot Cream. Linda introduced me to the wonders of aromatherapy and the healing factors of herbs and spices. She has been generous enough to share not only her limitless knowledge but also many recipes for all kinds of lotions and potions.  The Foot Cream recipe was found one day while I was browsing the Internet and I thought, "Gosh, I can make that for all my book club friends for Christmas!" I decided that the Foot Cream needed Foot Scrub and Foot Wash, and, well, you can see I was out of control! The fun part was how well received it was and how much my friends appreciated a gift that was homemade and worked!

In the beginning, I had a little shelf in the kitchen where I stored my unscented creams and essential oils. After it got to be a little messy, I bought a large, wired basket so I could just pull it out of the cupboard and have everything right there. When I started buying ingredients and containers in bulk, I had them stored all over the house-kitchen, bathrooms, broom closets, even under the bed! Out of self-defense, my husband had a little room made up for me in the garage for storing all my 'stuff!" What a luxury to go into that lovely room, grab stuff, mix it up and Done!

What I like about the things I make is that most of the ingredients I needed were ones I already had! Please understand that I really did start simply. The only essential oils I used for quite a while were lavender and peppermint. These particular oils can be found most anywhere on sale and are favorites of both men and women. Combined in lotions or bath salts or even an air mist, they make an easy and inexpensive gift for just about anyone for any occasion.

Aromatherapy is another adventure! If you Google 'essential oil blends' you will be amazed at how many places you can go to learn about aromatherapy and which blends create relaxation, stimulation, bliss, uplifting and all kinds of other moods! I have even Googled 'essential oil romantic blends' for Valentine's Day Massage Oil and got many wonderful, fragrant blends. You can find essential oils at most Bashas', Whole Foods, Sprouts or natural food stores. I suggest you go to the suggested stores and smell different ones to see which appeals to you the most. I buy mine in bulk at the website of www.mountainroseherbs.com. I have tried several companies and this particular site has the best quality and is very reasonably priced. Buying larger volumes of essential oil is much less expensive. Keep in mind that most of the recipes call for 'drops', so whatever you buy could last for a long time and make bunches of presents!

I made up a list of what I think you would need to create a Spa Pantry. If you have all these ingredients on hand, the possibilities will be endless! I also included some basic recipes for you to consider keeping in mind that you can use whatever essential oil you wish depending on the mood you want to encourage.

I don't claim to be an herbalist or an aromatherapy expert; but I can claim to be a person who is very intrigued by the whole concept and have turned it into a very enjoyable hobby!

Spa Pantry

Ingredients:
unscented body cream (Cetaphil, Trader Joe's Body Cream)
unscented body lotion (Cetaphil, Trader Joes, Body Lotion)
nscented glycerin soap (Trader Joe's)
olive oil
almond oil
Jojoba oil
sugar
baking soda
salt (Epsom, Kosher, and Sea Salt-both large and fine cut)
powdered buttermilk
Witch hazel
rubbing alcohol
essential oils (lavender, peppermint and lemongrass are popular scents)

Tools:
bowls
measuring cups
measuring spoons
mixing spoons
bowls
whisk
funnels
containers: jars and bottles can be found at Cost Plus World Market or you can find a variety of inexpensive containers at www.sks-bottle.com.