I’m back visiting my hometown for a few weeks while my sister is getting married. Between the dress fittings, showers and favor assembly I had the pleasure of visiting a local farmer’s market, where I ran into Stacy – the mastermind behind Meadow Muffin Gardens.
Our home may as well be a sanctuary for unwanted pets since we seem to collect these ''stowaways" who just appear or "throwaways" from divorce or moving situations.
The responsibility of our animals hinders our travels but we do manage camping, hiking, biking and various day trips to points of interest.
Environmental issues are always of interest which greatly influences our lifestyle. Our landscaping is much more geared towards pleasing native plants and wildlife than your typical backyard.
Our greatest achievement is our two children. Our daughter is a senior in college and our son is a senior in high school. Their wings are spread and they are definitely ready to fly.
What got you started crafting?
Growing up on a farm a person either loves it or cannot wait to get away from it. A country girl at heart I have a deep rooted love for all living things and how everything is connected. The need to be in direct contact with plants and the dirt is so very therapeutic mentally and physically.
In dealing with a chronic condition called Systemic Lupus, our family's desire for clean, healthier choices in what we put into and onto our bodies has strengthened. Holistic beauty and skin care has evolved from my own research and dabbling into natural skin creams and salves to deal with a great sensitivity to the sun.
A hobby for years, now that the children are older I have more time to commit to the responsibilities of turning a hobby into a business. So just within the last six months, Meadow Muffin Gardens was born.
What is your source of inspiration?
My source of inspiration are all the wonderful people I have discovered through various forums and other etsy sellers who are also plugging away doing what they love. Such encouragement is needed when life gets overwhelming and you wonder "Just what am I doing?" I don't feel nearly as alone and intimidated by the fear of failure. Now I know that for every mistake I make its knowledge I didn't have before and my mental file cabinet is building.
What have you made recently?
I enjoy making various balms and salves because they begin in my garden. The most recent salve I made was a sunburn balm. Everything in due time. Each season I must wait for the summer solstice and the arrival of St. Johnswort's blooming period. Luckily my St. Johnswort likes where I put it so it returned this year, otherwise I'd have to scout around for wayside wild plants. It takes many, many little yellow flowers to fill my jar and usually involves more than one trip back to the plant site as more flowers come into bloom. For greatest potency St. Johnswort should always be gathered fresh rather than relying on dried as a back-up source.
The flowers are then soaked in a chosen carrier oil for a period of six to eight weeks or until the oil turns a wonderful red color. That potent oil is combined with another infusion that has also been quietly giving up its energies, comfrey root and leaf. Both these herbs are known for relieving inflammation and healing damaged tissue.
Only then can I strain them and proceed with my recipe for this balm so wonderful in relieving the pain of sunburn. I make sure the essential oils are of therapeutic grade from a reputable source since I don't want imitations. I need to know my products are what I claim them to be.
Where do you sell your crafts presently?
I have tried selling at bazaars, farmer's markets and local gift shops, however I have had better success online. My website is www.meadowmuffingardens.com and I have a store through Etsy.com called www.meadowmuffin2010.etsy.com
The online sites can offer information about each product therefore educating the consumer about what makes all natural products superior over commercial skin care products. People interested in improving their health are much more apt to seek out such sources and realize the price tag reflects the time consumed in a hand-crafted product as well as the cost of organic materials.
Why are handmade crafts important to you?
I want to know exactly what is in the skin care products we as a family and my customers are using. If I look at a label on a commercial product and don't understand what I'm reading I put it back. I'm now beyond assuming that these companies are the experts and I'm the simple consumer who assumes they just know more than me. What they know more than me is how to make money by synthetically imitating mother nature and claiming it to be natural.
Almost any scent out there can be chemically imitated. Just look at the perfume and candle industry. Of course they smell good but why do so many of us get headaches from their use?
Labeling laws are very vague in the cosmetic industry.
If I say my cream has the healing benefits of lavender it better be real lavender I am using.
Like a lot of things in life "When in doubt, do it yourself".