Gift giving

Yesterday, I got a call from my mother in law letting me know that she and her best friend would be at my house in about two hours which was pretty funny considering what I posted here yesterday.  We’d known she was traveling in Pennsylvania and would be stopping by some time this week, we just didn’t know exactly when.  To make things extra challenging she requested a cake as it was her best friend’s birthday.
At any rate, I was feeling all good about myself, having just pulled pumpkin spice cupcakes out of the oven, when I turned to see Beatrix finger painting the back door with mud.  At that exact moment, Judy called to say they would be at our house in about five minutes.
We had a very nice visit, and Judy won the honor of being the first member of our extended family to meet Silas.  Since we were busy visiting yesterday, I want to share a little gift I gave to Summer, my best friend from college.  The gift was in celebration of the upcoming birth of her fourth baby who was born in August.
I started with a simple jar of baby salve.
My girls got to helped to fill a jar with a mixture of comfrey leaves and root with calendula flowers (heavy on the flowers light on the others.)
(The herbs were purchased from both the Bulk Herb Store, and Mountain Rose Herbs as I don’t have a good local source.  Tins for storage of finished product also purchased from Mountain Rose)
After the jar was well filled with flowers, Larkspur added olive oil, enough to cover the herbs.
Following instructions from Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal (out of print, but she does have a newer book that looks similar,) we placed our jar in a sunny spot to steep for two weeks.  At the end of two weeks we placed the jar in a pot of warm water on the stove for about an hour before straining the oil through cheesecloth into another clean jar.  I then placed the jar of filtered oil back in the pot of warm water and added beeswax (pellets or grated) at the rate of 1/4 cup beeswax per cup of herbal oil.  Once the beeswax was melted I swirled the jar briefly and then poured the hot salve into tins.   This salve is great for baby bottoms or can be used as an all purpose salve.
During those two weeks of steeping I added to the gift.  First was a pair newborn sized quick change trousers from Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings.  Silas modeled them.
See, they’re reversible!  (I also used the quick change trouser instructions to make Larkspur’s lined linen skirt recently.  I just didn’t connect the bottom edges as you would for the pants.)
For Summer, I included a skein of Three Irish Girls Lindon Merino so she could knit baby Emerson a pair of sheepy pants, a copy of Kristin Lavransdatter for the early weeks of being in bed, and a little zippered pouch just because. I loved celebrating this new baby, and was so thrilled that I was able to put this all together for my oldest friend (not her age, the age of the friendship!)

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