Happy New Year! I do love a fresh start (it’s why I love mornings too). Right now I feel energized to change and to try new things, while at the same time, to simplify and to focus my energies. I know that I can’t possibly keep up with all that I have swirling around in my head, but it’s great to start the year out so earnestly, with all the best intentions. January is a time when I really love to clean up, pare down and develop new rhythms and habits.

Last weekend I gathered all my wooden spoons, bowls, cutting boards and serving pieces and polished everything with spoon oil. Spoon oil protects the wood from drying, cracking, staining and collecting unwanted bacteria. It was a really relaxing activity and would be safe and fun for even small children (the making of the spoon oil would be for adults-only, but the polishing is totally kid-friendly).

Spoon oil is a blend of beeswax and mineral oil and is completely food safe and non-toxic. I made my own, but you can also buy it bottled. I developed my spoon oil recipe after lurking around a few woodworking message boards when we were installing our wood countertops in our kitchen (which are also finished with spoon oil). All you need is natural beeswax (check craigslist or your farmer’s market for a local supply) and mineral oil which is sold in the laxative section of the pharmacy or supermarket (right there next to the milk of magnesia). For every 16 ounce bottle of mineral oil, I used about a quarter of a pound of beeswax (that’s a one pound brick in the photo). This makes a quart jar of spoon oil which should last you quite a while if you’re just treating kitchen items.

In a large sauce pan of boiling water, I placed a quart mason jar with my beeswax (a quarter of a pound) cut into small chunks. Once the wax was melted, I placed another jar with the 16 ounces of mineral oil in the water to gently heat. Then I poured the mineral oil in with the beeswax and allowed them to continue to heat and emulsify, gently stirring until smooth and even. Take your jar out of the water bath, allow to cool and it’s ready to use.

To treat the wood, you may want to sand surfaces that are stained or nubbly with fine grit sandpaper, then simply dip your hands into the spoon oil (it’s a thick consistency) and rub into the wood. Any spoon oil left on your hands can be just massaged into your skin (it actually makes a great moisturizer for weather-beaten winter hands). Allow the wood to sit and absorb the oil for anywhere from a few hours to a few days, then buff dry with a clean cloth. That’s it!

Wishing everyone happy new routines for the new year, whatever they may be.