calendula oil

March 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

We’ve been having the most gorgeous, warm weather the past few days here in Vermont. I’ve been feeling the pull of spring, the earth calling to be loved, tended and planted with a bounty of seeds.  I’ve been told that Vermonters don’t put anything in the ground until Memorial Day weekend….Memorial Day weekend folks! That’s at the end of May. I come from Georgia where you can grow year round without really needing a greenhouse. Since we don’t have a greenhouse here and we have to find a new house in May, there’s not much we can do to get a garden ready for now.

So we’ve been working with plants in a different way until we find our dream spot and can put up a greenhouse and get to the gardening!  Papa and little O have started lettuces, and other herbs inside since we have huge sunny windows by the woodstove, so our little seedlings won’t get cold. They’ve also been growing lots of wheatgrass and sprouts.

This weekend we started some calendula oil.

First we sanitized the jars in boiling water.

Then we set them in the oven to dry. When making herbal oils, it’s important to not have any water in the jars to prevent molding.

Then we gathered our supplies.

Then we stuffed the jars to the top full of dried calendula flowers and then filled them with olive oil.

Here’s a birds eye view.

Time for lids.

The jars will sit out for a few weeks. Every so often we’ll give them a shake and then we’ll strain them and keep the oil. We’ll bottle the oil and use it as is for topical cuts, scrapes, etc. Some of it I’ll use for salves and lotion bars. Calendula is so good for the skin! And as we transition out of winter and into spring, we are in need of some yummy oil for our dry skin.

Calendula is really easy to grow in your garden or in containers. Since we moved across the country and didn’t take our garden with us, we bought a big bag of calendula flowers for very little money and hardly put a dent in it for this project.


Getting Crafty

March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

March is National Craft Month, or so I’ve been told.

work is CRAZY busy and I’ve been itching for some crafty time lately…

as I sit at my desk today, day dreaming of all of the craft projects that are on my list I look down and see this.

my basket that I take everywhere filled with past knitting projects that I now enjoy daily.

2 hats, because I might need 2 at some point…it’s cold here in Vermont. :), arm warmers, and a scarf from my mama.

I know that even though I’m not crafting at the moment, I breathe in and feel comfort and inspiration having all of this knitted goodness next to me.

I’m almost finished with O’s waldorf doll…so stay tuned for that posting this week!

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

First of all I have a confession to make…I’m addicted to shopping, plant shopping that is. I drool over seed catalogues and rarely leave empty handed when I venture to one of the big box store’s with the hubby for his random building supplies. It seems like this spring, the one plant I keep bringing more and more of home is Lavender. It’s one of my all time favorite smells and it’s a gorgeous plant to have around the house and in the garden. I don’t quite have the patience to grow lavender from seed yet so I’ve been stock piling different varieties and this fall we can take cuttings to root and have more lavender in the spring. {Who doesn’t want more lavender?} One of my favorites I’ve found is the fern leaf lavender. It’s got amazing silvery leaves and it’s totally different from the more common lavender.

Last night on our walk home from the garden, I cut back some of our already well established lavender plants. There are lots of flowers on them, some at their full ripeness and other baby buds. I had to resist the urge to cut them all and walk home with a gigantic bundle of lavender. I trimmed the older buds and left the little ones. The birds, bees, and butterflies love them so I wanted to leave some for our fellow friends. Trimming the lavender’s older flowers will also help the plant’s energy go towards new blooms and make the plant more bushy and full.

So what to do with those fresh and lovely smelling flowers? Dry them of course, for future crafts and projects. When I first started learning about plants and herbs and how to dry them I was told to hang them upside down in a paper bag away from light. Well, that might be a great way to do it, and I did try that several years ago, but honestly, I want to see and enjoy them. Hanging herbs and flowers bring so much beauty to wherever they are and help my inspiration stir around what I want to use them for when they are ready.

I looked through my yarn stash and pulled some gold cotton thread that I love to use for embroidery and wrapped it several times around the lavender and then hung it in my kitchen window. Some of the projects I already have in mind are flax and lavender eye pillows, using the flowers when wrapping presents, lavender oatmeal bread, and lavender infused oils for baking and for body lotions.

Now I just wait for the lavender to dry and dream of my other flowers in the greenhouse and garden that I can also craft and create with. I’m so looking forward to our bounty of zinnias, calendula, celosias, poppies, false indigo, sunflowers and many more. I plan to use them all for crafts, medicine and dye plants for fabric, and even play with paper making with the dried flowers so the paper can be planted and grow new life.

April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here’s my favorite duck egg that we dyed for Easter. {You can click on it to make it bigger.} It looks a lot like mama earth to me and it jump started my desire to learn to dye again. Our intention for Easter was to dye our duck eggs naturally. We spent the morning gathering plants from the woods and garden and boiled them in pots, watching them to see what colors would emerge. After a few hours, nothing was happening and we started to get discouraged. I realized I want to read more about this art of dying with plants. So here’s the book I’m getting myself as a late birthday present. The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes.

This book will fuel my dying projects in a few ways….

For Christmas I was given money to spend on amazing hand-dyed hemp fabric to make a new wardrobe with. Well, I waited too long to use it and the amazing artist whose fabric I had been drooling over for months, closed her shop. In my search for something similarly inspiring, I haven’t found anything I like. So I think I’ll use the money to buy some un-dyed hemp fabric and create my own colors, and then use the fabric I create to inspire the pieces I will sew.

I also intend to grow as many of the plants as we can. I spent all day yesterday starting flower seeds in our greenhouse. We plant according to a Biodynamic calendar which uses the planetary and star alignments to determine the most ideal times to plant things in four categories; roots, flowers, leaves, and fruits. So as we sow our seeds for food, fiber and fun I’ll share our journey.

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