Left-Overs

What do you do with left-over faux grain sack cotton duck from a ‘foot stool’ re-do???

How about wonderfully *heavenly* scented, lavender-filled, faux grain sack pillows??

I painted different patterned stripes (using blue acrylic paint) –  some thick, thin, single & multiples – on the cotton duck ‘remnants’ (each pillow measures roughly 6-inch X 6-inch). With right sides facing, sew approx 1/4″ seam on each side…remember to leave an opening to be able to add lavender (or stuffing). Add a ‘pretty’ hang tag/label and a hand-crafted clay lamb tag – finally, I found just the right embellishment for my lamb tags!! S-W-E-E-T!

I love how these turned out!

A little something to freshen a little corner…don’t ya think?

It’s lavender pick’n tyme!

Yes indeed…the lavender is ready to harvest! Lots and lots of lavender…

Lavender to enjoy fresh-picked in a vase, tussie-mussies or nosegays, lavender wands, wreaths and more…

Or, to preserve for later use. .. sachets to scent your linens, toss in the dryer, natural moth-chasers for your fiber stash, dream pillows, bath soaks, scrubs and such. And, how about culinary uses?

To pick lavender, look for mature ‘swelled’ buds, perhaps with a bud or two in flower. Too many ‘bloomed’ flowers and you’re a little late pick’n, but still ‘usable’. It’s best to pick (any herbs) in the early morning, after the dew has dried/burned off. Picking lavender helps to shape your plant and assures a second (but not as prolific) bloom for harvest in the early Fall. Think of it as ‘dead-heading’ other flowers in your garden!

To ‘preserve’ lavender, simply gather a small bundle with a rubber band (too much and it may mold) and hang-dry the bundle upside-down with raffia in a well ventilated room – out of direct sunlight!

Or, as an alternative to hanging bundles, use an old screen door/window and layer lavender on the surface of the screen; place the screen on wood blocks or between chairs to aid good air circulation. Garble lavender buds for easy storage!

How do you know when to pick lavender?

To review, the lavender on the left, is a bit past ‘perfect’ to harvest…the buds will fall off the stems as they dry. The buds on the far right are not quite mature enough, but the center stem is just right for pick’n! Smells heaven-ly too!

What do you do with your lavender harvest?

Farm chores.

During the past few months, the weather has certainly been newsworthy, affecting so many lives. Mother Nature has a huge influence on how we go about our day. She not only provides a positive influence ~ hopefully, most of the time ~ but, She is also able to devastate and kill…there is no taming of Her! My heart goes out to all those who are experiencing a loss!

And so we try to work in cooperation with the weather…between the raindrops and swings in temperatures, hot & cold, in an attempt to catch-up with our daily tasks!

 

 I’ve been ‘pruning’ more lavender (see!!!) in an attempt to rejuvenate old, woody plants. I’m willing to sacrifice bloom this year, for healthier, more productive plants next year. We’ve applied more mulch between the rows to minimize weeds.

Oh, my poor ache hands!

The veggie garden is almost planted. The tomato plants and peppers were last to go in the ground for fear of a late frost. Hubby prefers his own stick trellis to tomato cages. 

I’ve been amending my herb garden raised beds with lots of ‘organic’ compost before planting annual herbs, such as basil, parsley and dill. It will provide nutrients and aerate the soil a bit too.

Next, hubby finally finished building ‘Orthanc’ ~~ our little sheep play platform ~~ which the lambs are particularly enjoying! It’s quite entertaining to watch them frolic in the evenings, or tower over ‘mom’ laying below!

I’d love to add a little ‘dog house’ up top some day, like a little covered bridge…when we’ve accumulated more lumber to salvage/re-purpose?

Hubby also hard-wired the electric fence for the sheep/goats. Yeah! “Look Ma-a-a-a-a-a! No more extension cord!”

…and re-inforced/re-built the rams’ breeding pen(s ) for this Fall…with a real working gate too! Last year we temporarily separated the ram pen ~~ into smaller breeding pens ~~ with a hog panel and T-posts and 2-strands of electric wire between adjoining pens. That’s how we managed our 2 rams. I normally only breed a few ewes. Otherwise you end up with a lot of cute sheep and an overflowing wool room in no time! I like this new pen!

Ram’s can be very destructive (see the corner of the pole barn?)…but, I think this new fencing will hold them? Why is it that the ‘grass’ or perhaps the ewe on the other side of the fence is always ‘more appealing’? Or, we want what we can’t have? Two is better than one? The more the merrier? Crazy rams!

The baby sheep and goats are growing by leaps and bounds! They’re getting fat on grass and ma ma’s milk! I’m sharing goat milk with the kids now and making cheese regularly. Two Alpine bucklings have left the farm, another OBE buckling is sold/reserved. I have another Oberhasli buckling I’d love to sell as a herd sire…somewhere? And, yesterday/Saturday we castrated the two Alpine bucklings (who are now called wethers) – I hope we find them a home where they’ll make a very nice pet or 4H project…rather than meat in someone’s freezer. My sweet little goaties! It’s the part of ‘raising milk goats’ that I do NOT like!

As for my sheepies, two of my ewe lambs are reserved/sold, but won’t leave the farm ’til they’re at least eight weeks old. I have another black ewe lamb for sale; I’m evaluating the two ram lambs and considering selling perhaps a black yearling ewe? I’d like to keep ’em all, but hubby gives me the eeeee-vil eye every time I’m hugging & playing with the little wooly fur balls…UGH!

I’ve been doing a few ‘projects’ too, but I’ll save that for another post!

Happy Day! ♥

Sachets

sa·chet \sa-‘sha: n 1: a small bag or packet 2: a small bag containing a perfumed powder used to scent clothes and linens

In my opinion, herbs are magical! These modest looking plants have the power to heal and protect against disease, flavor foods, perfume the body and delight the senses.

Scents, aroma, fragrance… evoke memories, especially florals, perhaps of childhood days when there wasn’t a care in the world.  Since everyone’s sense of smell is different, you really must experiment with different plant materials to find your preferences.  Most everyone likes lavender; it’s a nice relaxing base scent and often used in sachets (but you can use a mixture of your favorite scents).

HOW-TO:

Pretty little sachet ‘pillows’ are a beautiful way to add a lovely scent to any room of your home. A sachet ‘pillow’ may be made from any fine cotton, linen, muslin-type fabric. HINT: Recycle old linens and pretty hankies for pretty sachets!  Simply cut 2-fabric squares (mine are approx. 4X4 inches) allowing for a 1/4-inch seam; print side facing inside. Stitch all around, leaving a 2-inch opening at one end. HINT: You may add a piece of twine or yarn for a ‘hanger’. Once the sides are sewn, turn right side out. I tea-stained my sachets for an ‘aged’ prim look.

A Refresher on Tea & Coffee ‘Dyeing’

Tea or instant coffee can be used to create an ‘aged’ look to your handmades. I like to use Lipton tea or Maxwell House instant coffee.  Put a kettle on to boil. Add 5-6 teabags (depending on the appearance/depth you’d like to achieve) or several tablespoons instant coffee into a bowl, add water and allow to steep. You can use the tea bags to blot your item to be ‘aged’ or submerge the entire item into the cooled bath water. Gently squeeze out excess water/towel blot. Pre-heat oven to lowest setting (about 170 degrees F) and place items on a cookie sheet and into the oven with the door slightly cracked. Check your piece often until desired effect is achieved! Viola! Instant heirloom!

My sachets are filled with lavender and a touch of flax-seed (about 1 tablespoon). The flax-seed makes them feel great…nice and squishy! They stack nicely and look pretty tied in a bundle for a gift and look great tossed in a bowl together.  HINT: Save a 1/2 gallon or  smaller plastic jug, cut off the bottom and use the ‘top’ half as a funnel!  

A few more benefits of scented sachets:

They make a great hostess gift
Linens smell fabulous when used in a linen closet
Freshen your car or office
Eco-friendly
Display near your bed or toss under your pillow to aid in sleep
The scent lasts and lasts, just give a squeeze to release heavenly scent
Toss in your yarn stash as a natural moth repellent
Freshen your closet and clothes or toss in the dryer

LAVENDER FACTS:

Lavender is one of the most treasured herbs. It is loved for its rich aroma and garden beauty.  An effective medicinal herb, it helps relax and revitalize. A favorite herb for bath & laundry since Greek and Roman times. For fiber enthusiasts, a natural moth repellant! English lavender, Lavandula augustifolia, hardiest of the species, is most often used in cooking.

GROWING TIPS:

Lavenders want well drained soil, good air circulation, and as much sun as possible to promote flower production. Lavenders prefer neutral to alkaline soil. In humid climates, coarse sand worked-in around the crown will help the plant dry out. Lavenders require no feeding, though an occasional dressing of low-nitrogen organic fertilizer will make your plants happy. 

PRUNING TIPS:

Lavender can be pruned in the early spring or in the fall (not too late so as to give plants time to harden off before winter). Generally speaking, trim plant by one-third, keeping the typical mound shape of the plant. If you do not plan to harvest the flowers, then a light pruning just after flowering, will be sufficient to promote new growth. Cut each flower stem back to the first or second pair of leaves.

♥blessings!

Sweet Valentine Project

I love St. Valentine’s Day! It’s probably one of my favorite ‘holidays’…if you can call every February 14th, ie Valentine’s Day a HOLIDAY. Besides sheep, hearts are my next best ‘motifs’ to play with. Does that make me a hopeless romantic?

So, I whipped up these two lavender/flax-filled sachets today.

They’re both made with my hand-dyed, hand-felted wool on the one side and a green satin print fabric for the back. I hand-stitched rosebud trim around the perimeter, added a green cord for hanging, and added snippets of lace, bead trim, tea-stained tag, vintage button or/valentine charm to sweeten them up.

 

I have lots more ‘hearts; to make…fun, fun, fun! So, what are you waiting for???

XOXOXO

Word for the day…

GARBLING, TO GARBLE –

Garbling is the old-fashioned and technical term used by herbalists to denote the process of stripping dried herb leaves from their stems, removing the ‘impurities’ such as twigs and stems, yellowed and decayed leaves, fauna, etc. to prepare them for storage and/or use.

The word garble has been around for a while—500 years in English and more in other languages. It was first applied not to communications but to trade goods. It was used to describe sorting the good from the bad.  For example, picking the husks out of a shipment of spices was called ‘garbling‘.

The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that it had different forms within Arabic and that this likely means it wasn’t originally from Arabic. Instead, it might be related to the Latin word for “sieve.”

This meaning was used in English also to apply to people, so that if you were going to decide on membership in a club you would ‘garble’ the applicants so that you would accept your favorites, but not allow people you didn’t like.

The word changed its meaning in English.  Originally sorting good from bad, it soon came to mean mixing bad in to fake more of the good. In other words, traders were evidently trying to pad their shipments.  This intentional contamination of commodities was what lead to the word being used to mean intentionally misrepresenting messages. From there a logical progression would seem to be that unclear messages were called by the same term, garbled, even when the loss of message clarity was unintentional.

Origin of GARBLE

Middle English garbelen, from Old Italian garbellare to sift, from Arabic gharbala, from Late Latin cribellare, from cribellum sieve; akin to Latin cernere to sift. First Known Use: 15th century