A Bit of Nature in the City and a Bonus DIY

Even though we live in the middle of Manhattan, there is usually enough nature around that it does not feel oppressive.
The beautiful church around the corner has the feel of a country church. Actually, it was built as a vacation church for church members who vacationed uptown in the late 1800’s. Yes, my neighborhood used to be a resort community.
Continuing on the same nature in the city theme, my husband went for a walk in Riverside Park late in the afternoon.

Looking uptown, you get the iconic view  of the George Washington bridge.
I like that the Hudson always smells a bit like the ocean.  That ocean smell always make me feel like I’m home. I grew up hearing fog horns at night.SAM_0930
The community garden was in full late summer blowsy bloom.
Before the real-estate boom, our neighborhood was dotted with community gardens.  They have mostly all been turned into condos. This garden in Riverside Park is one of the last ones left.SAM_0932SAM_0935
I just loved the late afternoon light glowing through the flowers.
When my husband and I first started going out he used to talk about how much he loved late afternoon light. he really has convinced me about the beauty of  golden afternoon light.

I don’t know if this photo captures the crazy proportions of this flower. it looks like a stage prop from the Wizard of Oz.

On our way out of the park we caught a bit of this performance of Shakespeare at the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Memorial.
And now for the DIY hand lotion. If I were a cleverer writer there would be an elegant transition. Instead, you get a clunky transition but a good recipe.
Because I work with fabric, I need to keep my hands smooth. If my hands are dry then I snag fabric as I work with it. Also dealing with fabric tends to pull  moisture from your hands.
Every few months, I make myself some strong hand crème.
This is what goes into it.
The Shea butter is soft and a little greasy. You need to pair it with a fat with a much lower melting point. Cocoa butter melts at body temperature. It smells like chocolate but it is hard to apply when it isn’t hot out. It’s about as hard as paraffin.
I put a bunch of each into a Pyrex measuring cup and heat it up in the microwave for a minute.
After a minute in the microwave it looks like this, I break up the lumps and let the magic of heat retention do the rest of the melting job.
You can see the specialized tool I used for stirring, a butter knife.

Then I add essential oils to the mix. This is what I used. The result smells a little like an old timey scent they might sell in the gift shop of a Colonial reenactment tourist attraction.  You don’t have to use the oils I used.
I poured the result into a variety of tins and set them into the freezer to set.
Here is a completed tin of hand crème.


  1. Thanks for the end of summer tour and the recipe. I might have to give that a try this year.


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