Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter Blues

The temperature today is supposed to be around 40' today and I am going to go out and look at the hives. Yep, just look at them. A few brave souls might fly around, but mostly the bees will stay in. I am getting cabin fever right about now and want to get my hands in the hives and get my garden started, but there is still about 12 inches of snow covering the garden and the bees are staying in.

I will have to assuage my longing for spring with a few bee magazines and some seed catalogs. Sigh.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Honey of a Lip Balm Tutorial and GIVEAWAY

When I started keeping bees I expected I’d have gobs of bees wax and make gorgeous long taper candles for everyone that first Christmas. Wow was I wrong. I might have had enough wax to make half a dozen votives.

Quickly I realized that there were other luscious gifts the bees and I could make to show gratitude to my family for their supporting my new hobby of beekeeping. I started making hand cream my first year and last year, I began making lip balm.

Lip balm is super easy and makes a welcome gift for everyone on your list. I have tried many different recipes and I really like this one for how consistently it comes out and how well it protects my lips.

You will need:

6 Tbls. Grated Beeswax - it ends up being less than half an ounce grated or pelleted

10 Tbls. Carrier oil - I use grape seed oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower or any light flavored oil

2 tsp. Honey - I recommend using a light local honey

Glass jar and small pot

Eye dropper/ pipette

6 - 8 Containers/tubes 0.15 ml - have more on hand than you think you will need! I have two sources I love here for small orders (with no minimum order!) and here for larger orders.

Here are my ingredients: honey, grape seed oil, and grated beeswax.

I just use a regular grater to grate my wax. It is a pain to get clean afterward, so I dedicate one I got at a yard sale to just wax. If you can't do that, I recommend popping it in the freezer afterward and using a brush to clean under cool water. Hot water just makes the wax sticky.

Put the wax and oil into the super clean glass jar then put the jar in the pot with water. Heat on low until the shreds or pellets melt. This will take a few moments but don't hurry it.

Once the wax is melted, add the honey and stir like a crazy. Leave the jar in the hot water until the honey is well mixed in. This can take a few moments if your honey is crystallized, but keep stirring. I just use my dropper to mix.

Once everything is smoothly melted, you can add an essential flavoring oil if you like - just a few drops. I prefer mine with just the smell of the wax, but I have a colleague who uses peppermint, orange, lemon and ginger flavorings. Ginger is amazing.

Fill the tubes or pots until they have a nice bubble on the top. These aren't my prettiest filling but I was trying to take a picture at the same time! Don't try filling the tubes by pouring from the jar - take my word for it, it makes a mess.

If your lip balm starts to get hard to work with, just put it back in the pot and remelt it a bit. I use a plastic pipette and just squeeze out the lip balm if it cools too much.

Once it cools, put the caps on and label it. I use regular white address labels and cut off the end that hangs over. You can personalized them easily. If you have translucent tubes, use clear labels.

Now for a GIVEAWAY of a Lip Balm Kit!

1 oz of bees wax, 6 lip balm tubes, 1 pipette and 4 oz honey bear

There are two ways to enter, you can comment on THIS post with at least one way that you are going to help honeybees this year (check the right column of my blog for ideas)


become a follower of this blog. Just put in the comments on THIS post that you became a follower.

Drawing will be by random number generator and closes February 28, 2011.