For those of you who read my blog, well, ever, you know that I like to host various writers and artists by making them answer The Questions. Well, for the first time, I am hosting someone who is not a writer, and not an artist in the traditional sense – meet Coreen, a maker of natural balms and salves.
I first met Coreen – well, her salves, really – when my dear friend Brandi Klepfer (who answered The Questions last year) pretty much saved my life last spring by sending me a tin each of Coreen’s Greens Bug Bite Relief and Nature’s Salve. At the time, I was on sabbatical on the coast of Georgia, and working on my book, A Spicy Secret. Not only does the area boast lovely marshes and beaches and history and turtles, it is also home to skeeters the size of helicopters, invisible chiggers, teensy gnats, and all kinds of other bitey bugs. All of which LOVE me. And BITE me. INCESSANTLY. And leave me covered in welts that itch and swell and make me even more insane than I already am (and not in a good way).
Brandi – who is Coreen’s cousin, by the way – sent me a tin of each, and they seriously saved my sanity. This stuff is so awesome. And it smells good. And it’s made with love and care. And all-natural ingredients. And works when nothing else does. So I invited Coreen to answer The Questions, which she did, erm, months ago… and sadly I’m just now getting around to publishing her post. But at least it’s summer, the height of bug and sunburn season, the perfect time to tell you how great these products are and urge you to buy some for your own burns and scrapes and bug bites.
In fact, I could wax poetic (in other words, I could ramble on and on), but I’ll just let Coreen tell you about her stuff her ownself.
14. Obviously, as a creative person, every day is different, but what do you find yourself doing every day?
Something I do consistently is the everyday care of kids, home and juggling a sculpting/painting businesses and a skin care business.
I crave variety, and with homeschooling I am always researching new things for the kids to do or read/learn. Often I find myself wanting to do it all with/for them! I love science and the art of creating something useable. One of my favorite things is to watch Scientific Tuesdays and try some of the experiments with the kids.
(dSavannah note: Well. Whatdya know? I just learned something. I didn’t realize Coreen also does sculpting and painting! Also, Brandi told me that Coreen has three young boys under the age of 10. That’s a lot of energy to corral and young minds to fill!)
15. What inspires you?
The needs of others both inspire and motivate me. To be able to provide something that someone else needs or wants is important to me. To be able to problem solve and be creative at the same time is fun. I also love nature and the breathtaking beauty that exists. I wish I was able to replicate it in a way that would do it justice!
23. Where is your heart home and why?
I grew up near the Mountains and I miss them terribly! I am also a country girl at heart stuck in a big city. I miss the peace and quiet and fresh air. However, at the same time I love the sand and the beach…so I would need that in proximity too!
24. If you could go back and give your 13-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be?
You have all the time in the world, there is no need to rush to grow up. Pay attention to real friends and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself! Oh, and invest that money you earned so you can pay for college instead of having a student loan that will take 15 + years to pay off!
(dSavannah note: Amen! On all counts! I am proud to say I paid my student loan off in three years. No way did I want to give the bank any more money than I had to!)
24a. What about your 20-year-old self?
Take time to refocus and forgive… and stop worrying about who you might have been if you hadn’t made all the unwise choices you made in the past!
24b. Your 30-year-old self?
These are going the best years of your life, in all things give thanks!
These are the best years of your life, as you get older you realize how much you need others and how much there is yet to learn…but you also have the confidence to go forward and the skills to help others do the same.
(dSavannah note: That is so true. I’m now at a place where I don’t worry as much about things like what people think of me. Or my scars. And I’m also more willing to express ignorance if I don’t know something. And I’ve learned that ignorance does not mean stupidity. It just means something else to learn.)
33. Why do you create in your medium/genre? What about it speaks to you?
My focus right now is on making products for those that need help. For example, salves for soothing various skin conditions. I love to take raw materials and make them into something beneficial to others.
(dSavannah note: Did I mention these are *awesome*?!?!? Definitely beneficial! And can you tell from the picture that I use the stuff a LOT? <—- This tin is in my bathroom, I have one in my bag, one in my purse…)
I started when I had babies and they need different ointments for bug bites or diaper rash and then before I knew it others were asking for it as well.
Right now I am making rice bags for shoulder/back pain that you can heat or cool. A friend had made a small rice bag for me when I was pregnant with my second child, I loved it so much I started making them as well to warm up the kids’ beds.
Then I made a large one for my lower back, which was often sore from carrying little ones around. Now I am making them for those with shoulder pain and I hope to have them on the website soon.
(dSavannah note: I am one of the lucky few who actually owns one of these! They smell divine and work marvelously!)
26. I wish I was rich enough to ____?
I wish I was rich enough to help those that are really truly struggling. There are so many people out there that are really trying and are still falling behind. My heart goes out to them. I would like to be able to secretly help them in a way that inspires them to also reach out to others.
(dSavannah note: Me too. Every time I think I have it rough, I see someone worse off than I, and wish there was a way I could share their burden.)
I would also take care of my parents needs, of course, and pay off all debt. If there was anything left over I’d buy a bunch of land and build our off the grid dream house.
22. Would you rather be lost in the forest, the desert, the ocean, or deep space?
The forest! As a kid, my brother and I would build shelters in the forest on our farm. We would also find food to eat, such as berries and mushrooms we knew were safe. We liked the idea of being able to survive and be self-sufficient. Being outside was the best thing and what we did for fun.
(dSavannah note: And it’s a shame more kids today don’t have that experience.)
About Coreen (from her website):
I lived on a farm as a child. We had grass-fed beef to eat, raw milk to drink, fertilized chicken eggs in the skillet and a huge garden to tend. I remember the weeds in our yard, like red clover and comfrey, being considered valuable ingredients for home remedies. My parents and grandfather were determined to provide healthy food and to use helpful material from our environment.
Coreen’s Greens strives to produce high quality, comforting balms and salves made from herbs and flowers to help soothe away the bumps and bruises life sometimes gives us.