The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood: Hope and Lotion


The above cover art is by Amelia Jude (though I messed with it a bit).  See more of her work here.

I have something to tell you, and you’re not going to like it. This is the first time I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale.  Go ahead and book-shame me if you must: I understand.  But it’s not like I’ve been cheating on you with 50 Shades of Twilight, or anything as barbaric–I mean, we’re good, right? Right?

Ahem. Right. Totally cool.

So. Now that I have read it, I can’t believe it’s been sitting oh-so-innocuously on my shelf for years.  A dystopia fueled by religious extremism and the misemployment of feminism? Yes, please.

The inspiration for this project was taken from the following passage:

“As long as we do this, butter our skin to keep it soft, we can believe that we will some day get out, that we will be touched again, in love or desire. We have ceremonies of our own, private ones.”

As Offred mentioned in the text, while butter can work as a moisturizer in a pinch, it does make one smell like rancid milk eventually, and I couldn’t subject you to my neuroses,reading list shortcomings, and rotten dairy all in one post.  Below you’ll find a recipe for homemade lotion that you’ll actually enjoy using.


Homemade Lotion

The following recipe was taken from Wellness Mama.  Here’s the original link.

Here’s my version:


  • 1/2 cup almond oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup beeswax (you’ll want the pastilles)
  • 1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 7 drops tangerine essential oil

*The last two ingredients are just for fragrance; feel free to experiment with your own essential oil combos.  I chose these particular scents  as they relate to the novel: vanilla for motherhood, evoking the heavenly smells of baking in the kitchen; and tangerine for the oranges that were considered such a luxury when they were available at Milk and Honey.


Combine ingredients in a pint sized or larger glass mason jar.

Fill a medium saucepan with 2-3 inches of water and place over medium heat.

Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water.

As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate.

When all ingredients are completely melted, pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Let cool.

Use within 6 months.

Don’t take that silky, smooth skin for granted.


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