Lavender

Lavender Sachets: Victorian Air Fresheners

Posted by on Jun 7, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Herbs, Lavender | 22 comments

Lavender Sachets: Victorian Air Fresheners

I’ve been researching Lavender use during the Victorian Era and this has turned into a fascinating project. Queen Victoria was passionate about lavender and insisted on having it used throughout the castle. She believed lavender meant cleanliness and that it purified the body and spirit – we now know she was right on – lavender does indeed have antiseptic, antibacterial and restorative properties. Of course this meant that lavender was used in lots of different ways – for cleaning, grooming, fragrance, cooking, medicinal, and lavender sachets. With all these items using lavender to choose from, I decided that My Etsy Shop would only feature items based on Victorian products, starting with lavender sachets. Lavender Sachets – Victorian Style: Lavender Sachets were an effective way to keep homes free from bugs and smelling nice. A gentle squeeze of the sachets was enough to release the fresh, clean lavender fragrance. Sachets were hung from doorknobs in all public rooms to freshen the air; Decorative ones were hung from the arms of chairs for the same reason; Small sachets were slipped between the sheets in linen presses for the clean fragrance and to deter insects; They were a required item for the bedroom: Several were tucked in with the bedding to deter bed-bugs; One or more were hung from bedposts to clean the air; Small sleep pillows were placed on or under pillows to ensure restful sleep; Sachets were placed in wardrobes and drawers to keep insects out; Quite often a small sachet could be found in a woman’s reticule; Daring young women would tuck little lavender sachets in their cleavage; Small sachets were often tucked in with a lady’s stationery. Lavender lost a lot of its appeal during the mid to latter part of the 20th century when cosmetic companies developed their chemical products and clever marketing encouraged the consumer to buy. Fortunately we are becoming aware that chemical is not the way to go and many of us have returned to natural, homemade products. I’m enjoying the research into Victorian times and find it interesting to design products for today based on items from the past. Another item is already on the drawing board which I’ll share with you next month. For now it’s lavender sachets because they are as useful today as they were in Victorian times. Talk to you again next week, Lenie If you enjoyed this post, others will too. Please...

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Mosquitoes Bugging You? Banish Them

Posted by on May 29, 2016 in Frugal For Everyone, Health and Safety, Herbs, Lavender | 28 comments

Mosquitoes Bugging You? Banish Them

Mosquitoes  are no longer merely summer’s party-poopers, they have turned into dangerous guests. While we know that many mosquito-borne viruses have been around for centuries there are two serious ones that have impacted North America in recent years. West Nile Virus: Symptoms range from very mild to encephalitis/meningitis to death. Transmitted to birds, horses and humans. Most at risk – the very old and the very young. Zika Virus: May cause neurological defects in babies, muscle weakness, paralysis and death. Most at risk – pregnant women. It is therefore essential that we do what we can to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes – Preferences: You know how you’re hiking with a group of friends and the mosquitoes like one person best? There is truth to that. Some people do attract mosquitoes more than others. Carbon Dioxide attracts mosquitoes and of course we emit carbon dioxide when we do anything – breathe, talk, walk, or eat. Breathing is rather necessary but maybe we could talk or eat less while outside? The more you sweat, and the older the sweat is, the more mosquitoes you will attract. Exercise produces sweat and panting (release of carbon dioxide). For the very active person a strong mosquito repellent will probably be necessary. (See the Consumer Report Paragraph at the end of this article). For some reason mosquitoes like people with blood type O while anyone with blood type A will be last choice. Anyone with high uric acid levels tend to attract mosquitoes. If you fall in this category, up your Vitamin C and Citric Acid intake. A couple of tablespoon apple cider vinegar added to citrus juice/fruit salad/salad dressing will help balance things out. For many people beer is the drink of choice during the summer. Unfortunately, unless they want to get bitten, they may have to change their beer to lemonade, at least while they’re outdoors. Mosquitoes – Prevention: While it’s impossible to eliminate every mosquito from your yard, there are steps we can take to make our yards less appealing to them. The most obvious one – remove all standing water. This includes empty planters, wheelbarrows, old tires, bottles, cans and other containers left laying around, unused wading pools, pool covers, bird baths. Keep gutters/storm drains free from debris, cover rain barrels with fine mesh.  Any water features should have a pump to keep water moving. Add lots of mosquito repelling plants to the flowerbeds and along walkways – Lavender, Lemon Balm, Basil, Marigolds, Lemongrass, Citronella, Catnip, Spearmint. Banish them while you’re enjoying the outdoors: Throw a few Rosemary stems on the BBQ. This adds flavour to foods while keeping mosquitoes away. Place a variety of pots with mosquito repelling plants around the deck or patio and use one as a centrepiece(s) for your patio table.  Add a few drops of pure Citronella oil to beeswax candles. Do not buy the cheap citronella candles or rings found at Dollar stores. They are ineffective and toxic. When sitting outside, place a fan behind you. Mosquitoes are very light and the breeze will just blow them away. Ways for you to be less appealing to mosquitoes: Wear light colour clothes – the darker the clothes, the greater the chance mosquitoes will find you. Mosquitoes have a great sense of smell and are attracted to scents. Best not to use anything scented – perfumes, soap, shampoos, etc. If possible, wear long sleeves, long pants, hats and socks. Don’t wear baggy clothes that could trap mosquitoes and so be carried indoors. Use the right kind of mosquito repellent applicable to the situation. Mosquitoes –  Repellents: Mosquitoes...

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Lavender Seasonings, A Gourmet’s Delight

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in Lavender | 29 comments

Lavender Seasonings, A Gourmet’s Delight

I love lavender and had been searching for ways to make more use of it. Thanks to Jessy Troy & #MyBlogU I discovered Lavender Seasonings. Lavender Salt, Lavender Pepper and Herbes de Provence have been used in Mediterranean and French cooking for years but here in North America we have only recently started catching on to their potential to turn a so-so dish into something spectacular. Flavoured seasonings are normally used as finishing seasonings, added immediately after cooking/baking is finished or when the food is being served. Try sprinkling some lavender salt on warm meat at serving time. Some of the salt won’t have melted before eating and gives an unexpected ‘flavour pop’. Sprinkle some on bread right out of the oven – most of it will melt right into the bread leaving only a few crystals showing. Lavender Seasonings – Lavender Salt Recipe: 1 Tbsp. Dried Lavender Buds (Organic culinary use: Lavandula Officinalis or Lavandula Augustifolia). 2 Tbsp. Coarse Sea Salt (There is NO organic certification for sea salt at this time, at least here in North America) ½ Cup Coarse Sea Salt Grind the lavender and the 2 Tbsp. coarse sea salt in a spice/coffee grinder until it becomes powdery. Add this mix to the ½ cup of coarse sea salt and shake or stir really well. Pour into a jar with an airtight lid or a spice dispenser and store in a dark place. Shake well before using. This will keep for up to two months. Lavender Salt uses: Sprinkle on warm homemade bread, scones, crackers Sprinkle some on garlic or cheese croutons next time you serve Caesar’s salad Add to any kind of chocolate baking: cookies, cake, brownies, frosting, pudding Especially great sprinkled on caramels or chocolate fudge Spices up all kinds of lemon products: lemon loaf, lemon pudding, lemonade Just a sprinkle livens up fresh fruit or fruit salad Use as a vegetable seasoning – turns baked potatoes or squash into a gourmet treat Salt the rim of cocktail glasses or sprinkle a little on your next glass of lemonade There is one thing to remember about Lavender Seasonings – they should be used sparingly, so start light and taste as you go. Just enough enhances a dish, too much destroys it. Lavender Seasonings – Lavender Pepper Recipe: 1 1/2 Tbsp. Coarse Sea Salt 1 Tbsp. Dried Culinary Lavender Buds 1/4 cup Black Peppercorns 1 Tbsp. White Peppercorns 4 Whole Allspice Berries Grind the lavender and the coarse sea salt in a spice or coffee grinder until it becomes powdery. Grind the peppers and allspice berries until they’re cracked and coarsely ground. Add the lavender/salt blend to the cracked pepper mix, blend well. Pour into a jar with an airtight lid or a spice dispenser and store in a dark place. Shake well before using. This will keep for up to two months. Lavender Pepper Uses: Mix with light olive oil or sour cream to use as a dip for chunks of crusty bread, cheese fingers or crudites Sprinkle some on a plate and roll a cheese-ball in the pepper until well covered Meat seasoning, rub or marinade, goes especially well with lamb For poultry, blend with unsalted butter and rub on and under the skin before roasting Great for white fish or salmon with a dash of lemon Lavender Seasonings have been used in Mediterranean and French cooking for years. It seems we North-Americans are more timid when it comes to trying new methods and seasonings. Fortunately the younger generation is more adventurous and willing to try new ways and thus the increased...

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Lavender Spa Treatments – DIY

Posted by on Nov 1, 2015 in Lavender | 32 comments

Lavender Spa Treatments – DIY

With the following recipes for Lavender Spa Treatments you’ll be able to create a luxurious Spa experience at a fraction of the cost. I use lavender in the recipes since the spa experience is meant to make you feel pampered, beautiful and relaxed and nothing does that better than lavender. Spa treatments have many health benefits and, that being the case. it only makes sense that ingredients used in the recipes are natural and organic. Glass or ceramic dishes should be used for mixing any kind of lotion or potion with plastic spoons used for the scooping, measuring and stirring. When you go to a Spa you will have a choice of one or more of the following treatments: Body scrubs and wraps; Facial treatments; Hands and feet treatments; Hair treatments; Luxurious soaking bath.   Lavender Spa Treatments for Body Scrubs and Wraps: A body scrub improves skin health and exfoliates, removing the top layer of dead skin. A lavender sugar scrub does this really well, leaving skin smooth and glowing. Lavender Sugar Scrub – Mix together 2 Tbsp. white sugar, 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, 1 Tbsp. crushed, dried lavender buds (or 1-2 drops pure lavender essential oil). Rub the scrub all over your body – starting with the arms and legs, working from the tips inward to the torso and from the heart out and down the torso. This gets the blood flowing to all parts of the body. Leave on for 10 minutes or so, then rinse off under the shower, starting with warm water and ending with cold. Pat dry. Be careful you don’t scrub too hard – you want to be firm enough to remove the dead skin – at the same time you don’t want to rub so hard as to cause bleeding. Moisturize – After the sugar scrub it’s important to moisturize and one of the most nourishing, anti-aging moisturizers is simply pureed avocado. Slather this all over your body, leave for 10 minutes and then rinse off under the shower with the warm to cold water treatment. Wraps can be duplicated at home but I find the work and mess involved defeats any benefits. Wraps and massages are better left to the professionals.   Lavender Spa Treatments for Face: A facial steam opens the pores which helps push out oil and dirt, kind of like washing from the inside out. It’s easy to do and can be done over a dish of hot (not boiling) water on the table or my preference, using the hottest tap water and leaning over the bathroom sink – no muss, no fuss. Finish the steaming by splashing the face with astringent – cold green tea or apple cider vinegar – then gently patting it dry. From there you can either move on to a gentle clay mask (not a facial scrub) or moisturize.  Facial Steam – Start with washing your face the way you normally do. Fill the sink with the hottest water from the tap and add 1 Tbsp. dried lavender buds (relaxing) or 3 chamomile teabags (calming) or 2 peppermint teabags (headache/sinus relief). Place your face over the steam at a comfortable level, then enclose with a large towel to trap the steam. Slowly and deeply breathe the steam in through your nose and steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Follow with a cold astringent to close the pores and keep impurities from re-entering, then gently pat dry.   Lavender Spa Treatments for Hands and Feet: The foot and hand salt scrub removes dead skin cells, improves circulation, invigorates skin and encourages healthy new...

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Lavender: Health Benefits and Uses

Posted by on May 3, 2015 in Gardening, Health, Herbs, Lavender | 36 comments

Lavender: Health Benefits and Uses

Lavender is my very favourite herb, which probably doesn’t surprise anyone who’s been following my blog for a while. I’ve used it in all kinds of ways, from sachets tucked inside my pillow case, to lavender vinegar for a hair rinse, to a soothing lavender-oatmeal bath (how-to at the bottom of this post), and more. When I found out about the pollinators declining, I decided to enlarge my lavender garden to attract more bees and butterflies. But is seems that my decisions never fly solo – each one leads to another one. In this case, the decision to learn more about lavender’s many health benefits. It was believed in ancient times that adding lavender to baths added not only a pleasant scent, but also purified the body and spirit. We now know that lavender, when inhaled, produces a calming, sedative effect, which makes it easy to understand why the ancients held those beliefs. Note: Where it refers to lavender essential oil, it means pure essential oil, not the synthetic stuff found in pharmacies and other retail outlets. That oil doesn’t have any healing properties. Lavender oil is very strong and incorrect use can damage the skin. For home use it is recommended that lavender oil be mixed with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, to alleviate risk. Start small – 2 drops of lavender oil to 1/2 tsp. coconut oil. Where below it states lavender oil, before applying it to skin remember to mix it with the carrier oil. Lavender and aromatherapy: The reason lavender promotes relaxation is because it slows the activity of the nervous system.  The more relaxed we are, the better we feel and the more able to fight off headaches, depression, nervous disorders and exhaustion. The right amount of sleep is needed to maintain good physical and mental health. Lavender can often help achieve the relaxation necessary for a good night’s sleep. In one sleep study of the elderly, it was found that putting a few drops of lavender essential oil on their pillows often increased sleep regularity without the need for stronger sleep aids. Placing a lavender sachet inside the pillow case works as well. Lavender and the digestive system: Lavender (a member of the mint family) is of great benefit to the digestive system. Lavender tea can relieve indigestion, nausea, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can also improve the appetite. To make the tea: Pour one cup of freshly boiled water over a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers. Cover and let steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink. Do not use the essential oil. It is toxic if taken internally. Lavender and skin ailments: Holistic doctors treat skin ailments such as acne, fungal infections, wounds and eczema with lavender essential oil. To do so at home, use the lavender oil mixed with the coconut oil. Lavender and pain: Acupuncturists and chiropractors often use lavender oil when treating patients – a massage with essential oil has been proven to reduce joint pain. (A warm lavender/oatmeal bath can also help – directions below.) Lavender is currently being studied for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is already known that the  essential oil can be used as an effective natural antiseptic to treat minor cuts and scrapes. Never pour essential oil on an open wound. Lavender and circulation: Lavender improves blood circulation which of course has many positive benefits. including: Decreased risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis; Important in diabetes management; Fewer leg cramps. Lavender and other benefits: Massage with essential oil can improve concentration, learning, reduce anxiety and level out mood disturbances....

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