Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Apple Simmering Potpourri

Simmering potpourri is one of my favorites this time of year! It quickly adds a nice fragrance and refreshes a stale room while adding moisture to the air.

  • 1/4 cup diced apple (or apple peel left from that pie!)
  • 1/3 cup allspice
  • 1/3 cup star anise
  • 6-8 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips or broken sticks
  • 1/4 cup ginger root, dried pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried orange peel
  • 1/4 cup cloves
Mix all ingredients except the apple. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture and your apple dices to a non reactive pot and add 1-2 cups of water. Simmer over low heat or on top of the wood stove adding more water as needed. Store the dried ingredients in a closed container for future use.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Craft Show Season

It has been a busy couple of weeks! It was like the holiday season started the day after Halloween this year. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining! I love the hustle and bustle of making orders and getting ready for holiday farmers markets and craft fairs. My house is full of the scent of balsam, frankincense, myrrh, vanilla and spices. I'm sure there's some lavender in their too, but my nose no longer recognizes it as I have been working with it so much.
This weekend is the Fox Hospital Ladies Auxiliary Craft Show. There are over 100 crafters signed up to do the show! The level of creativity at this show is out of this world. Stop in if you're in the area! I'll be next to Dr Brody's office as usual. The hours are Sat 9-5 and Sun 9-3.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Yarrow is on of those fool-proof perennials that works in most any garden. While it does spread, it is light and airy and the secretions from its roots actually increase the disease resistance of nearby plants! One leaf will help speed up the decomposition of one wheelbarrow load of plant material making it quite useful for those who compost. In the garden, yarrow helps repel, flies, Japanese beetles and ants.
The proper name, achillea millefolium, comes from the warrior Achilles who used the plant to staunch the blood flow in his wounded warriors. In the language of flowers yarrow represents "health".
The Druids used yarrow to divine seasonal weather and it is used to foretell the future with the assistance of IChing.
Personally, I like to dry it for use in flower arrangements. The white variety adds a nice lightness to compositions while the yellow variety adds a substantial golden pop. All varieties of yarrow are easy to dry. Gather small bunches, wrap the base of the stems together with a rubber band and hang upside down in a warm, dry, dark place until dry.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hot Oil Treatment

Giving your hair a hot oil conditioning treatment doesn't have to take any more time than it takes to finish your shower! Simply mix 1/2 cup of olive oil or jojoba oil with 20 drops of your favorite essential oil. Lavender or rosemary are especially nice. Put the mix in a 4 ounce plastic bottle with a squirt top. To use, put your bottle of conditioner in a cup of very hot water while you prepare to take your shower. Thoroughly wet your. Shake the bottle well and apply the conditioning treatments to the ends of your hair only. Do the rest of your shower and finish by washing your hair with your usual shampoo. Your hair will be soft, silky and shiny! Use once a week.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Peachy Oatmeal Mask

Take the time this week to treat yourself to a nourishing, skin smoothing facial mask! This mask is good for all skin types and can be followed by a moisturizer if you like.


Peel and mash one half of a very ripe peach in a small bowl. Add 4 teaspoons of finely ground oatmeal and 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream or buttermilk. Apply to your face and neck avoiding the eye area. Leave on for 20-30 minutes while relaxing. Rinse and glow!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cloves- Syzgium Aromaticum

The very fragrant cloves you find on the spice shelf of your kitchen start their life in the tropics. They come from a tender evergreen tree that reaches 30'. The tree has large, glossy leathery leaves and gets red bell shaped flowers twice a year. The cloves on your kitchen shelf are actually the pink flower buds that turn brown and hard after drying!
Here are some uses for clove buds-
  • use in pomanders and potpourri
  • chew to freshen breath
  • put a clove bud on an aching tooth to help relieve pain until you can get to the dentist
  • infuse as a tea for nausea- gently boil 10 cloves in one cup of water for 10 minutes.
Clove oil is antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic. The oil is quite powerful and has been used in the past to sterilize surgical instruments. Always dilute it before using on the skin. Clove oil makes a great addition to a soap for the kitchen and to add a spicy note to potpourri.