I'm completely out of my herbal balms and I miss them! Right now I'm infusing oils for more batches. Arnica is the most recent herbal infusion I have brewing. I know it's fabulously good for bruises and such, but the dried herb is rather expensive so I've never tried it before. But recently I was wandering around my local Mexican grocery store to get one of the staples of life, corn tortillas (the real ones), and a little bag of dried arnica caught my eye. I had never noticed the shop carried it before, probably because I'm so focused on my beloved tortillas, but it got me pretty excited. (Really, I ask you, who else goes to a Mexican market and comes out with bath and body ingredients?)
I am using the slow method of infusion, letting time and sunlight do its thing on the arnica. I've heated infusions up on occasion, but it often leads to deep-fried calendula petals, crispy lavender buds and things like that. It's better for me to stick to the patience method. ...And then there was the time that I was in the same building when someone was making an experimental batch of arnica balm (no, it wasn't me). The shortening/arnica mixture in the saucepan overheated--it may have even been forgotten on the stovetop. The stench of scorched and blackened balm was incredible and lingered. And lingered. Did you know that blackened arnica smells vaguely like the worst burned popcorn you ever smelled? (There may have been multiple errors in that little experiment....)
And then there was the comfrey that I was so excited about but afraid of overtaking my yard... It promised to be invasive, and I was looking forward to having all the comfrey I could handle.
And finally, speaking of all things natural, here is a soap I made recently using only natural coloring that I call Spiced Orange. I'm super happy with the way it turned out!