Finally

The store is done. I am still uploading more items to it, but now it is online, running and all is working. Ive made three batches of massage oil, two different batches of soaps, two different salves (foot massage salve with lavender, mint and rosemary as well as all purpose healing salve with calendula, chickweed and comfrey) .. there are some BEAUTIFUL hand dipped tapers from Kootenay Candles, and incense, and more is being added all the time. http://www.terraspiritessentials.ca

Earthy Delights Soap
Earthy Delights Soap
All Natural Healing Salve
All Natural Healing Salve

Well, It’s Been Busy…

It is amazing how much time (and patience) starting up this business is taking.
First of all I’ve been having a nightmare of a time with a webhosting company that I had read GREAT things about.
They advertised in their package that they offer Plesk Sitebuilder, osCommerce, SSL certificates (for $15/year) and a bunch of other included, bundled things. They also said that anyone can make a great online storefront in just minutes.
So, I was working on my site at www.terraspiritessentials.ca (the home page looked great) and when building the actual Eshop, I felt it was lacking the customizing I wanted for multiple item shipping etc. So, I asked tech support if osCommerce was available to use. They said yes, and said they would get it installed for me. Yay! Sounded great. In the meantime I noticed that neither my blog OR my Eshop was showing up through my site. The pages just came up ‘internal error’. So, I put the Eshop on invisible for the time being, seeing as how my items were not ready for sale anyhow, and went about my merryw ay investigating the osCommmerce application.
Well.. that just stumped me. What can I say, I am a noob. I really do not have a clue how to go about doing all that needs to be done to make the site look good.
And about the same time, it seemed my site actually stopped showing up altogether. Kind of cruddy seeing as how I had already been working on business card and label designs through a friend of mine. (thanks again Stephenie!)
Another thing that was annoying me was that when anyone arrived at my website – BEFORE it disappeared – , you would get a blank white page for a moment saying “you are now being re-directed”, and the page that came up would be http://www.terraspiritessentials.ca/site/home.aspx… (did the word SITE really need to be in there? And being redirected made some people feel that it could be a hijack sort of attempt).
So, back to last night. My site was gone. Yay. And NOW I was ready to start selling my merchandise. GAH!
So, trouble ticket after trouble ticket and no response.
This morning, I check my site and it was up! I was so happy to see it, lol… So I went to my control panel to open my Plesk Sitebuilder to work on my store (even my blog was showing up, so I had faith all was well)…. and lo and behold, my Sitebuilder had been deactivated.
Hmm…
So I trouble ticketed again, asking where sitebuilder went. AFter all, in my trouble ticket the night before I told them I did NOT want to use the osCommerce, that I was too crunched for time to worry about its set up, and thanks for letting me run it, but I would stick to my Sitebuilder.
Well, I get a message back saying ‘Sorry, you wanted osCommerce installed and you can not have that AND Sitebuilder’ EVEN though right on the package it says both are ‘included’….
So, now… my site is up and running, looks good, but I can not add anything to the store, or even activate it.
And I paid for this. I cant get the money back for the domain. Nor can I get the 15/ back for the SSL certificate that I found out only today would ONLY work if I used osCommerce.
WHY arent these things mentioned?
It COULD have said ‘SSL certificate and dedicated server available to osCommerce users’… and it could have said there was a choice to publish the site via osCommerce OR Plesk… but no, it clearly says in the info for the beginning site that BOTH are included.
In my trouble ticket, I apologized for the inconvenience and said that I had thought by reading the site that because it said both were included, that I could use both. It did not say I could use only one or the other, if it DID, I would not have opted for osCommerce over the Sitebuilder, as NOOBS like me RELY on things like sitebuilder to do all the work for us. (though I said it kinder than that)
I got a not so nice reply back saying ‘Nor does it say you CAN use them both. If you are not happy with our service , ask for a refund’
HUH? a Refund on a non refundable SSL certificate and a domain name that will now have NO SITE to point at? Especially when most often there is a period of time that you MUST remain at the purchasing hosts site before transfer is allowed? And here I am, 25 days away from having a new baby and Im supposed to worry about finding a new host…. with NO money left.
GRRRR. NOT impressed with Cirrus Hosting.

Anyhow.. HAPPIER stuff.
I made a half dozen tins of Baby/Child Salve. Good for anyone really.
Organic infused oils (infused the oils tonight myself) of Calendula, Comfrey Root, Comfrey Leaf, St. John’s Wort, Lavender essential oil . (all those ingredients are organic), in a base of extra virgin olive oil, beeswax and Vitamin E.

Also, the beeswax candles are available now. All the colours of the elements for the witches out there. 7″ hand dipped tapered candles, 6.00/pair. There are some handmade aromatherapy tea lights as well. And Incense from Surya and Swagat. You can check out some of the items at my freewebs store which i luckily left running…. www.terraspiritessentials.com

Crossing my fingers that tomorrow my site is working again.
Oh! and it’s my babyshower on Saturday 😀

Busy in a non-busy way…

Well, I have been busy shopping for all the merchandise I need to make Terra Spirit Essentials a reality.

soooo just hoping I can get it together and uploaded to the webstore. 😀 (www.terraspiritessentials.com)

Also, I cancelled my Webs. site for Pagans of the Upper Fraser Valley and instead re-directed my terraspirit.org domain to point at the Fraser Valley Pagan Fellowship site. I was not satisfied with Webs. for that sort of service. The pages can look quite nice, yes… but it’s just not necessary.

WordPress has everything we need, and combined with yahoo egroups, it is very functional.

Well, the finger poking is going quite well. Though I notice my sugars are much better in the earlier part of the day. Probably because I’m more active then. I go for a walk daily.

Hubby will be back in the studio soon, when his work schedule allows it.

Well, some musings as a pregnant mother…..

So, yesterday I got the fantastic news that I have gestational diabetes again. I only did the one hour test, but it came back at 10.3, grounds for diagnosis and skipping the 3 hr, which is good because drinking that glucose and sitting for three hours makes me feel horrible, and so I am glad I could skip that part of it. I will begin non-stress hospital tests weekly for this.

29 weeks, 4 days, blood pressure 118/65 a bit higher than a month ago, however, this was also after she told me I would be going to a dietician at the diabetes center and given a meter, and strips and would be poking myself six times a day for two weeks to check my sugars.

Im ok with eating as a diabetic, because as long as I kept my carb intake to ONLY good unrefined carbs and non starchy, not only did I keep my weight healthy, but also kept my blood sugars regulated. I am insulin resistant and processed or white carbs make me crave them unbelievably.AFter consuming them I get tired and sometimes my fingers swell, so I do try to avoid them at all costs.

I eat whole grains, sprouted grains and vegetables in place of pastas etc… how people can say that by eating a lower carb diet you are missing out on ESSENTIAL vitamins?

Do these people honestly think that a low carb lifestyle means eating only fats and meat? My goodness, when you replace your amounts of pasta for example with an equal amount of vegetables or sprouted grains, HOW can they say you are lacking vitamins and fibre?

After one year of altering my eating habits, I was re-evaluated by my previous family physician from where I recently moved from and my bad cholesterol had gone down, good cholesterol was up, blood sugars were perfect, (even my throid seemed to be more within normal limits?), my blood pressure was down to a ‘perfect’ level and I had also dropped about 50 pounds.

The BIGGEST gift to me from that experience was that I no longer craved carbs, sugars or unhealthy things. Food stopped being an addiciton. I had taken control of it and felt FANTASTIC. My energy levels were GREAT, something that never occurred for me when I ate a low calorie low fat diet.

WE NEED fats ,but NOT when we overload with carbs. Our bodies are designed to be able to utilize calories from fats and proteins as energy, but when we feed it carbs instead, our body eagerly uses that form, as it is easiest and our bodies have been mis-trained to do this. As a result, the fats are not used as energy and sit in our blood stream, and they make us fat.

BUT if we used fat as our source of energy and not carbs , we would not have this build up in our body. The more strict, ketonogenic diets have been very productive in dealing with epilepsy and even schitzophrenia,  ( http://www.neuro.jhmi.edu/epilepsy/keto.html . Accessed February 2002.

Lefevre F, Aronson N. Ketogenic diet for the treatment of refractory epilepsy in children: a systematic review of efficacy. Pediatrics 2000; 105: e46.

Sirven J, Whedon B, Caplan D, et al. The ketogenic diet for intractable epilepsy in adults: preliminary results. Epilepsia 1999; 40: 1721-6.

Qin P, et al. Risk for schizophrenia and schizophrenia-like psychosis among patients with epilepsy: population based cohort study. BMJ 2005;331:23)

Whereas the basic lower carb diet helps with the nation’s big time pharmaceutical pocket stuffer of diabetes, as well as certain allergies etc.

If pregnant, you can still watch your carbohydrate intake BUT you must not go into ketosis, the jury is out as to whether or not this is a risk for the fetus, but until then, err on the side of caution and add some fruits, (very high in carbohydrates) a few starchy veggies here and there. Keeping a carb intake of about 150 is what I plan on doing.

So what does this have to do with my intro today? Well mainly I am dreading my visit to the nutritionist because I already know from past experience how dead set against this they are.

The recommend an amount equivalent to two handfulls of vegetables in a meal- ok, thats fine…. a FIST sized amount of starchy carb, and a PALM sized amount of protein.

Ugh.. My last family doctor a young Japanese man who was VERY against the carb pushing done out here, always talked about how we would like to see the food pyramid revised. Talked about how the Diabetic Associations of North America needed revisioning as well.

A relatively recent statement from the spokesman for the ADA (American Diabetic Association) says:

“Low carb diets are helpful for managing diabetes, but they aren’t recommended because the ADA thinks that low carb is too difficult for people to “live with long term.”

And as stated by Laura Dolson from about.com

“In other words, instead of trying to help people follow the diet that is best for them, this prominent organization admits to recommending a diet that is less healthy for diabetics –- a diet that could cause a type 2 diabetic to take more medication, progress to becoming dependent on insulin, or even suffer from any of a number of health problems caused by poor blood glucose control.

One result of this policy is that people who find that low-carb diets work for them in managing their blood glucose end up ignoring the advice of their doctors and nutritionists and striking out on their own in their quest to find a healthier diet. We see these people in our low carb forum. They come looking for help in managing their diabetes — help they are not getting from the medical community. Many people report that the diet they were advised to follow is not effective in keeping their blood sugar controlled.

This stance of the ADA is equally important for those who are insulin resistant (pre-diabetic, metabolic syndrome). In fact, it is probably a misnomer to call people in this group PREdiabetic — it is more accurate to say that they are in the early stages of diabetes. In order not to progress to “diagnosable” diabetes, taking care of their health is vital, and reducing carbohydrate intake is arguably the most important thing they can do to prevent progression of the condition. (Exercise also plays a vital part.)

How do you know if you are insulin resistant? The article Is Low Carb For You? lists many of the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for prediabetes. Anyone with diabetes in the family or a woman who has had gestational diabetes is also potentially in this group.

The ADA should be helping diabetics to find ways to make carbohydrate reduction work, instead of insisting that it can’t be done.” –

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/news/a/adalowcarbdiabe.htm

Laura Dolson is About.com’s Guide to Low Carb Diets, is a health and food writer, and develops low-carb and gluten-free recipes for home cooks.For her complete profile see Here

So, I am hoping that I am not told how important it is to eat potatoes and pasta, etc and that through my poking and keeping a journal of my foods, she can see that I am not harming myself and am able to control my blood sugars for the next 8 weeks until my c-section without insulin. I will keep the blog updated with my sugar/diet results lol… there is of course the cahnge that I might TOTALLY blow the whole sugar thing, but I am pretty confident, with my previous diet experience, that it will be fine.

Making Salves

From http://herbs.lovetoknow.com/Herbal_Salve_Recipes

The basic salve will be a carrier for the herbs that you add to it. The herbs will do the medicinal work, not necessarily the salve base. The basic salve can be made a number of ways.

Base One

* 1 part oil
* 5 parts beeswax

Base Two

* 1 part beeswax
* 4 parts lard or lanolin
* 1 part oil

Base Three

* 4 parts cocoa butter, shea butter, or a combination
* 1 part beeswax
* 1 part oil

To make a salve of any of these, melt over low heat, and stir until blended.

Herb Infused Oil

1 part dried herbs 2 parts oil

Mix in a container and leave in a warm place for two to three weeks to infuse. When herbs have infused into the oil, strain the oil and store, covered, in a cool, dark place. The longer the herbs stand in the oil, the more potent it will be.

Good oils to use are:

* Sweet almond oil
* Extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
* Extra virgin coconut oil
* Sunflower oil
* Apricot kernel oil (for facial salves)
* Grapeseed oil (for facial salves)
* Avocado oil

Always use cold pressed, organic oils for best results.

Healing Properties of Specific Ingredients

* Coconut oil is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is very good for the skin and is particularly good in diaper rash salve, salves for burns, hemorrhoids and the face.
* Olive oil makes a very greasy oil, which smells of olive oil. It is a superior moisture barrier that is best used in combination with other oils.
* Sweet almond oil helps relieve irritation, inflammation, muscular aches and pains and itching. It is a superior emollient.
* Avocado oil is a good base for salves that are used in treating cuts, acne, skin problems and burns. It is great for use with sensitive skin.
* Macadamia nut oil is good for burns, very fragile skin, bedsores and extremely dry, chapped skin.
* Shea butter has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties and is helpful for dry skin.
* Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps with healing. It also is a natural preservative.
* Lanolin helps heal dry, cracked skin and keep it soft and supple.

Remember that essential oil is not the same thing as oil or herbally infused oil. It is a very concentrated form of the herb essence. Generally only a few drops of essential oil are needed in any recipe.

Specific Herbal Salve Recipes

Now that you know how to infuse the oil, and to make the base for your salve, it is time to add the proper herbs for specific use. Many of the herbs, like lavender, are used not only for their healing properties but also because they are fragrant herbs.

When using any herb for the first time, always rub a bit of the salve, or infusion of the herb, on the inside of your forearm to test for sensitivity. Some people who are sensitive to ragweed have an uncomfortable reaction to goldenseal. Doing this simple test can help to avoid such discomfort. Whenever possible, running a skin patch test is a good idea.

First Aid Salve

* 1 part goldenseal oil
* 1 part calendula oil
* 1 part comfrey oil
* 1 drop essential oil of lavender
* 1/8 tsp. tea tree essential oil
* 800IU vitamin E

Use as the oil in any of the basic herbal salve recipes. This is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and promotes quick healing. It is good for use on cuts, scrapes, infections, or just about anything.

Lip Salve

* 1 part lavender oil
* 1 part comfrey oil
* 1 part rose oil (be sure to use unsprayed petals)
* 800IU vitamin E

Use with the lanolin salve recipe. Coconut oil is a good oil to use with this.

Diaper Rash Salve

* 1 part calendula oil
* 1 part lavender oil
* 1 part comfrey oil
* 800 IU vitamin E

Use with the lanolin salve recipe.

Chest Rub

* 1 part rosemary oil
* 1 part thyme oil
* 1 part peppermint oil (not essential oil, homemade oil infusion)
* ½ Tsp. camphor essential oil
* ½ Tsp. eucalyptus essential oil

Use with any salve base recipe

Hemorrhoid Salve

* 1 part calendula oil
* 1 part comfrey oil
* 1 part nettle leaf oil
* ½ part marshmallow root oil
* 2 tsp. powdered myrrh
* 1 part lavender oil
* 800 IU vitamin E

Use with any salve base.

Making Oils

Well, today I am making patchouli oil so that I may make a patchouli salve… so, Part 1 is the making of the oil…. I am using the Dried Herbs, Hot Infused Oil Method:

Fresh Herbs, Hot Infused Oil

*Chop up several handfuls of fresh herbs and place in heavy stainless steel pot.

*Cover with inexpensive Olive oil or Almond Oil (I prefer to use sweet almond oil)

*Gently heat oil until herbs are wilted and remove from heat. Avoid over heating as it will destroy therapeutic qualities. Allow to cool, uncovered

*Allow the plant to sit in the oil for a few hours or overnight.

*Strain well, removing all plant bits. Using a muslin or cheese cloth cloth may be useful.

*Most of the moisture from the plant will have separated from the oil.

*Gently pour off this oil into another pan and gently heat the oil again. This allows any remaining moisture to evaporate. Each moisture droplet will rise to the surface of the oil and burst into a tiny spray. When the droplets have stopped bursting, the oil is free of moisture. This process can take up to an hour or two

*Allow the oil to cool completely. Decant into a sterilized bottle and leave any sediment in the pot. Label (plant name and date) and enjoy.

Dried Plant Hot Oil Infusions

*Coarsely chop clean, dry plant material and cover with olive oil.

*Gently heat for a few minutes, allow to cool completely. Strain all the bits of plant material. Decant into a bottle. Label and enjoy

Cold Infused Oils

This technique is suitable for flowering herbs such as Calendula, Hops, Lavender, Marshmallow, St.-John’s Wort, Melilot.

*Coarsely chop herbs and tightly pack a large jar.

*Fill and cover with inexpensive olive oil. Place lid on jar and leave in sunny place (windowsill, greenhouse, etc.) for 2-3 weeks.

*Strain mixture through a cheesecloth or muslin bag (use an elastic band or string to tie to the rim or a jar or jug).

*Squeeze oil through bag and repeat with new herbs and once-infused oil. Wait a few more weeks, strain and pour into sterilized bottles. Label and date. Enjoy.