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Hilltop Photography Teaser….

Hi everyone, just wanted to give you a quick clip (really quick- 13 seconds is ask you get for now!) of some of the pieces going into the exhibition in November. I can’t wait, I’m so excited!! For now… Enjoy!

New Facebook Page for Hilltop Herbals

For the last couple years, I’ve been aware of another Hilltop Herbals page on Facebook. When I chose my new page I didn’t know about the other one, but over the years I’ve gotten a few comments and likes/follows that are not meant for me. I have endeavored to be sure those people are forwarded to their intended place as I hope they have done with my visitors.

It’s no one’s fault, but I just don’t want there to be any confusion between the two pages and have therefore created a new one for my Hilltop Herbals.

Our new Facebook Page will be called Hilltop Herbal Remedies and is available at https://www.facebook.com/hilltopherbalremedies/ so please visit and update your likes/follows.

I had hoped to transfer my content from the old page to the new page and Facebook, in their wisdom, has decided that my two pages are not the same after all and therefore cannot be merged. I’ve downloaded the page and will keep it for history but all new content will go to the new page.

Thanks for your comments and best wishes over the years!  I’m looking forward to the future with you.

Kathy McCabe.

New Exhibition of Hilltop Photography

I am so excited I just have to share! It’s official now… my patience has been rewarded.

An exhibition of my photography will be showing in November! More details to follow in coming months I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled programs… 🙂

Thanks, Kathy

What Does Glamour Mean to You? GuruShots Article

I’m so excited to have my photo ‘Alayna’ feautured in GuruShot’s Article about Glamour. The photo is at #19 on the list so feel free to go check it out by clicking here or below.

Alayna was such a good model, and so patient with me as I’m learning how to be a better photography. I don’t shoot too many people, but have vastly improved in landscapes, seascapes and more. You can see them also at GuruShots, Viewbug and on the Hilltop Arts Store (photo galleries are below the store categories on the left.)  If you see something on GuruShots or Viewbug that’s not listed for sale on the store, email me and we can discuss your purchase.

Thanks again Alayna for modeling and Gurushots for choosing my photo.

 

 

Well, I finally did it…

I finished my ebook.  I’ve been working on it for years. And for such a short book, its hard to imagine it taking so long. I think it has something to do with fear.

Fear of putting it out there, putting myself out there… Who am I to impart this advice…

Ok, I finally got out of my own way and finished it.  You can’t imagine the racing heart, sweating palms, and the wanting to scream with relief when I hit ‘post’ and announced it to the world.

But, its out there now. for good or evil, its out there. And I’m proud of it.

Grab your copy at Amazon.com or on the Hilltop-Arts store (In PDF format, for US Only since the store is only setup for US orders)

What people fear most is taking a new step or uttering a new word.  Fyodor Dostoyevski (1821-1881)

 

 

About Essential Oils

Everyone knows that essential oils are the next new ‘big thing’ for all natural healing.  Its true that essential oils can improve your health, help your skin, and improve your mood. But with all the different essential oil companies, do we as consumers know the best companies to buy from? The number of companies and brands are staggering. I work with a select few:

Mountain Rose Herbs: excellent company, extremely dedicated to providing the best information possible, and affordable. And they have a huge selection.

NYR Organic offers some very good oils and blends, as well as wonderful skin care products.

Penn Herb Co. is a wonderful company with a long history of providing quality and good prices. My go to for bulk herbs.

In addition to these three, there are hundreds more, and I’m not going to list them here. There are numerous “Best” lists but please do your own research, and pay particular attention to whether the companies have paid to be on the list. For example, I have seen a number of such lists with Young Living Oils listed as their number one pick. Personally, I will not order Young Living Oils, for one thing they are extremely expensive, have been sanctioned several times by the Food and Drug Administration in the US, and do not cure all the diseases they claim. Be very wary and do your own research.

For the record, essential oils are not cure alls, they do not heal cancer, cure diabetes or blindness and so on. Any company that claims their essential oils CURE or somehow reverses conditions isn’t telling you the truth.  Always, ALWAYS dilute oils before using them on skin. If you do take them internally do so ONLY with a qualified practitioner.

Here’s an interesting site about Young Living and Doterra, as being the biggest frauds in the EO game. While I don’t agree with everything on the site, its still very informative about what each of the companies have been cited for previously and the sheer lack of research each company has to back up their claims. This is a big buyer beware!  At any rate, the site is below, enjoy!

 

Essential Oils Scam: NOT a Medical Treatment

Holy Pine Needles!

Holy Pine Needles!

Pine needlesI LOVE PINE NEEDLES!  Ok, I confessed my secret…  I love the way they smell, and their many uses. I forage for pine needles for my Evergreen Balm which is fabulous for sore muscles and cramping muscles. Pine needles have self warming properties which make them especially useful in cramping muscles.  Read more about it and purchase it here. I originally created it for my husband who tends to get horrible leg cramps, then I developed a formula in a tube to take with you – especially for my mother who gets hand cramps – just carry it in your purse! Check it out at the Hilltop Arts Store (and take advantage of the current sale!)

Below is a wonderful article on Pine Needles and their uses:

11 Reasons You Should Go Out Foraging For Pine Needles

Home Remedies

Home Remedies

I’m a huge fan of home remedies! I know whenever I’m sick I’m putting together chicken soup with all the goodies. Turns out there is science to back up that one! My salves and balms are based on home remedies that really work.  I make zesty vinegar (recipe below), bitters, cordials, all for digestion, as well as spice blends that fulfill a specific need at the time. Yes, your home cooking can also be your home remedy.

Kathy’s Zesty Vinegar

I also like to call this my “Digestion Dressing” as it’s ingredients are so wonderful in aiding digestion. Onions are great internally and externally, internally they can help to increase circulation, and externally, either raw or bruised and in a poultice can help sprains and bruises, and inhale the aroma of a fresh cut slice of onion to clear the sinuses (now we know why we always cry when cutting Onions!).

Rosemary aides the digestion in calming stomach cramps, and improving circulation – externally it can help prevent dandruff when used as a hair rinse. (Because there is some speculation that rosemary in large enough doses can help to bring on a late menstrual period, pregnant women should use caution and common sense before taking it).

Dill is a great remedy for constipation, Thyme and orange are also beneficial in helping the digestion. If your digestion seems to be sluggish, add some of this vinegar to your salad for relief!

1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dill seed dried
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
apple cider vinegar

1. Crush everything and place into a pint size jar.

2. Top with Apple Cider Vinegar.

3. Check frequently, top as necessary, but let set for one month.

4. Straining the herbs is not necessary after the month since they are all dried. If preferred, strain and decant to a bottle with cork top. (Vinegar will destroy metal).

Tips
Any combination of herbs can be used. I’ve found it helpful that when using dried herbs, don’t mix fresh herbs into the vinegar. Either all dried or all fresh.

For Constipation: simmer 1 teaspoon bruised dill seed in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Let cool to lukewarm then drink.

Enjoy!

P.S. Read below for an excellent article about great home remedies!

10 “Backwoods” Folk Remedies That Have Survived The Test Of Time

Fake Essential Oils and How to Spot Them

Fake Essential Oils and How to Spot Them

Fake Essential Oils and How to Spot ThemEssential Oils are the newest ‘old’ health remedies and essential oils of all qualities – including fake – are flooding the market. Which is why its more important than ever to be sure you’re getting the real deal. As an herbalist, it is my passion to have the right information to give you, but its also my duty to the best of my ability. Please read this excellent article about how to know good essential oils from bad ones.

I personally use essential oils for aromatherapy, in my salves and lotions, in my baths and so on. I use the highest quality and most organic essential oils I can find. Yes, it can be expensive, but you get what you pay for in my opinion. Always read carefully and if you’re unsure about the oil, ask an expert, or move to a brand you’re more sure of.  As always, use common sense. Follow directions, for instance, many essential oils will cause damage to your skin if you don’t use a carrier oil.

I’m a big fan of Essential Oils from:
NYR Organic (Plus they have some other wonderful products!)
Mountain Rose Herbs

8 Unmistakable Signs Your Essential Oils Are FAKE

 

8 Essential Oil Mistakes Even Some of the Pros Make

I loved the following article and got permission to share it with you. Please read and learn, some mistakes can be painful!

8 Essential Oil Mistakes Even Some Of The Pros Make

8 Essential Oil Mistakes Even Some Of The Pros Make

Everyone makes mistakes; the important thing is that you learn from them, right? But perhaps more important, is avoiding them in the first place!

If you’re new to essential oils, there is a bit of a learning curve, which means learning from others common mistakes can help you master their use quite a bit faster, avoid waste and potential hazards, and help you stay on track to reach your goals.

1. Avoid being so overwhelmed that you don’t start using your essential oils

With so many different types of essential oils (around 100!), and so many varied benefits, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. You know you’d like to start taking advantage of them, but instead, you find yourself unable to make a decision as to which to buy.

The best way to avoid this is to start out small. Choose just a few oils, perhaps three to five (here are the best essential oils for beginners), and work from there. Once you have them, don’t let them sit in a box. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be able to reap all of those benefits.

If you aren’t sure how to use them, start reading. There is a wealth of information online, all you need to do is dig. Just type in “uses for ABC essential oil” into your favorite search engine (or into our handy search form on the right) and you’re likely to find a wealth of advice. You might also talk to experienced oil users, and if you’re one of the few that don’t know any personally, you can easily connect with experts online too.

Another great option is to invest in a good reference book, like Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing and Essential Oils Pocket Reference. Both are highly rated and available on sites like Amazon using the links above for less than $15. Another favorite is The Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy.

Learn about one oil at a time, and before you know it you’ll have amassed a wealth of knowledge!

2. Skipping research before use of an essential oil

You’re suffering from a sore throat, and you remember that your friend told you oregano essential oil was great for soothing it. You don’t remember how she said to use it, and as you’re not feeling very well, you don’t have the energy to find out, so you decided to dab some on your throat. Ouch! That’s a big mistake because oregano oil in its pure form is very strong and high in phenols, so much so that it must be diluted before use. Now you not only have a sore throat, but the inside of your mouth is bright red and burning.

Oregano oil should only be used diluted with a carrier oil, like olive oil, using one part oregano oil to three parts carrier oil. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way.

3. Oil and water don’t mix

When an oil must be diluted, that doesn’t mean it can be mixed with water, because oil and water don’t mix. One well-meaning mom put her young daughter in a bath with eucalyptus oil to help relieve cold symptoms, thinking that since it was going into all that water, there wouldn’t be an issue. But as the eucalyptus oil sat on top of the water, rather than mixing in, it ended up irritating her child’s bottom. Children have thinner skin and are much more sensitive to the effects of essential oils which means they always need to be added to a carrier oil, such as almond oil, before putting into a bath. In some cases, essential oil should be avoided for use on babies or children altogether – if you aren’t sure, ask an expert before using.

4. Don’t let essential oils get anywhere near your eye – and what to do if it happens anyway

There is quite a bit of bad advice running rampant on the Internet as to how to use a particular essential oil. One particularly awful piece of advice is that lavender essential oil will make your eyelashes thicker and longer. Not only is this not true, but putting it on your eyelashes means a close to 100 percent chance that the oil will get into your eyes – obviously, not a good thing. If you try it, you’ll immediately know the reason why – it’s very painful and difficult to get out!

While most people wouldn’t think of purposely putting an essential oil into their eyes, accidents can and do happen, easier than you might think. For example, you bring a little bottle of peppermint essential oil with you to the office, perfect when you need an afternoon pick-me-up. You open it up, take a big whiff, and put it down, feeling better already. But what you didn’t realize, is that some of the oil was on the bottle, and now you have it on your fingers. You rub your eye, and, ow! That stings! A lot.

So what do you do for relief? As mentioned before, oil and water don’t mix, so rinsing your eye out with water isn’t going to help. What you need is a substance that is safe for use in your eyes, and one that will quickly emulsify the essential oil, which then allows water to flush it away. The answer is coconut oil, milk or cream. Use it on the affected eye as quickly as possible, and then you can flush it with fresh water.

5. Using essential oils too much or too often

Always keep in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated. In fact, it takes over 150 pounds of lavender flowers, more than 250 pounds of peppermint leaves and at least 4,000 pounds of Bulgarian rose to make just one pound of their perspective essential oils.

If you use essential oils on a regular basis, odds are, you’re someone who prefers to avoid medication when possible, or limits its use. When a medication is ingested, it has to be detoxified through the liver, and that process takes time and hard work for your organs, often resulting in toxic side effects. While essential oils are natural, the same holds true for them – while they don’t have the same side effects as a drug, just like a medication, each person’s body chemistry is different, and will respond differently to a particular oil, and the amount used. That means that the best approach is to treat essential oils like a medication – using them thoughtfully and sparingly.

6. You’re afraid to ask questions

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that you don’t know everything when it comes to a particular subject. After all, it seems like your friend knows everything there is to know about essential oils, and she started using them about the same time you did. It’s often a matter of pride. But remember, none of us know everything, you’re not an essential oil guru and aren’t expected to be. Not posing a question is far worse than just guessing, and can lead to harmful consequences.

So ask! You can talk to a friend you trust to be knowledgeable on the subject or look for a qualified expert. There’s never any shame in asking questions.

7. Choosing an oil just because you like the scent

While essential oils can serve as a wonderful, natural perfume, that’s not their main purpose as most offer medicinal properties. Don’t just pick out an oil because you like the scent – do your research first and choose oils that can help you to achieve your goals, whether it’s to be healthier, more beautiful or to serve as an ingredient in a homemade household cleaning solution.

Many people enjoy the scent of lavender, but it’s important to know that using lavender essential oil offers sedative effects. That’s a good thing when it’s time to relax and get a good night’s rest, but not so much when you need to get to work or take care of other responsibilities. Peppermint, on the other hand, can boost your energy level, so inhaling its wonderful aroma is not the best idea just before bed.

Once again, do your research before buying, and using.

8. You don’t pay attention to quality

When it comes to essential oils, cheapest isn’t always best. It’s imperative that you purchase only high-quality oils that are 100% pure – otherwise, you’re wasting your money, to begin with, as low-quality oils don’t offer the benefits that a high-quality essential oil does.

Poor quality essential oils, which means oils that have been distilled from poor crops, have additives, have been handled improperly or are old, are not considered therapeutic. You might as well be rubbing water into your skin – or worse, sometimes essential oils that have been adulterated can come with harmful side effects.

Most vendors sell quality oils in sizes of 4 oz. or smaller, contained in a dark colored glass bottle with an eyedropper bulb. You should be wary of anyone selling oils in a plastic or clear glass. If you see the word “fragrance” or “perfume,” or the term “nature identical oil,” be aware that what you’re looking at is not a single, pure essential oil, even if the seller insists it’s suitable for aromatherapy. In fact, that’s a good clue that the vendor knows little about aromatherapy at all.

Here at Natural Living Ideas, we recommend Plant Therapy Essential Oils for their high quality and fair prices. They are available to buy on Amazon from this page.