Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Blessed? Why, yes! If only you knew the gutters and squats i have crafted from in previous years....
Until now, i whipped out my sewing machine and basket from under the stairs and set it up on my son's wee table as soon as he was asleep. See here.
There is much crafting to come. Mostly sewing. Some to sell, some to gift, with a tote bag from Weekend sewing all cut out and ready to go at the bottom of my pile of sewing. The carrot, anissa-style.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
A purposeful walk. Making a beeline for rockpools and splashable places....
Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson- Pretend Soup: a cookbook for preschoolers and up.
Monday, November 23, 2009
We human critters can get a tad us-centric, me included. So, i love it when nature crashes into my orbit. Like the night when i lived in the French Pyrenees and i couldn’t get to sleep for all the rustling and moving round some critter was doing in the dark. Presuming it was one of the kittens, i turned on the light only to see that an enormous toad had managed to climb up, and was sitting, front and centre on my altar. My neighbour, who used to live in that house (it dated back to 1670 something), swears it had been living in my garden for eighty years.
Or in the summer, when i’d go to water my pots outside the frontdoor and the plant would be on the ground and there’d be the toad buried in the moist soil up to his neck, waiting for a free rainfall.
Anyway, this wee corner of the world is no different.
Here’s a few of our critters from the past week.
Biggest one i've since i've been back in NZ. Came in from the bush one night, right above the toilet...(i peed outside that night)
Jed and i were sitting in the first of the morning sun on the steps to the garden. He picked up a hollow stick and broke it. A very stunned looking gecko fell out and promptly fled, leaving us his tail to marvel at. So cool they can do that. It must've wriggled for half an hour after its owner abandoned it. Jed's face was priceless.
Friday, November 13, 2009
A herbalist trained by old women in Eastern Europe who learnt from their mama’s, who learnt from their mama’s, salvemaking is part of how i celebrate the seasons and the healing powers of plants.
Magic salve is wonderful as a night time regenerative moisteriser, on any sort of skin irritation (chickweed, plantain and calendula sooth upset skin), encourages fast and complete healing of ‘owies’ (comfrey and her allantoin at work), as a lip balm, to ease the callouses i have on my knees and feet from so much playing with jed on the floor and it works wonders on the occasional flare of excema.
It smells divine. Green magical goodness of the comfrey, calendula, chickweed and plantain peeks through the sweetness of bio beeswax, and lavender, rose, benzoin and pine essential oils add their aroma and healing powers. The benzoin acts as a natural preservative.
Store in glass jars away from direct sunlight or heat and the healing powers of summer are yours in a jar for a year or more. Certainly beats paying ridiculous prices for a tiny pot at the organics shop and you know exactly what’s in it and it is all the more effective when you pick the plants yourself.
Here's how to do it yourself. No precise measurements in sight, because thats how i learnt, and well, thats how i am. It’s easy! No pharmaceutical company in sight and your skin will thank you for it. Try trading friends for the plants you don't have in your garden or growing wild near you. Or to identify the plants if you aren't that way inclined. All the plants i have used are all fairly international and commonly found.
To make Anissa’s magic salve:
One litre of good quality olive oil
Three bars of beeswax
Freshly picked herbs – i use comfrey, plantain, chickweed and calendula flowers. Pack a large mixing bowl full as a guideline. Handpick each leaf/flower and check for bugs and disease. Pick early in the day before the oils have dissipated with the sun but after the dew is dried. You need them to be dry.
Essential oils (optional)
Glass or porcelain oven proof dish.
Stainless steel pot
Stainless steel spoon for stirring.
Chop the plants into smaller pieces and put them in a oven proof dish. Pour olive oil over them until barely covered. Set in a very low temp oven for at least three hours and let sit overnight (or even a day or two) to make sure the qualities from the plants have transferred and are carried in the olive oil.
Sterilise your clean pots (wide mouthed ones) ready to receive your finished product.
Drain the olive oil into a stainless steel pot. Push the plant matter gently to expel all the oil but not hard enough to disintegrate it and sully the oil. You should have a lovely planty-green coloured oil. You can smell all the healing goodness in there! Sometimes i bottle some of this oil as massage oil.
Heat your healing oil at a very low heat. It’s important never to overheat the oil as this will destroy it and many of the healing qualities of the plants now held in the oil. Chop your beeswax into smaller pieces and stir in. Add it in separate batches and after each, test to see if the salve will set to the firmness you want by dropping tiny bits onto your cleaned and cooled (pop it in the fridge for a bit) oven proof dish. Test with your finger. Add more rather than less.
When you have your desired consistency, add a teaspoon of benzoin stir well and wait for your salve to cool down before you add 5-10 drops each of your essential oils. Then, pour your salve into your glass pots or jars, leaving the lids off until they cool completely. If they’re for gifts i like to use calendula petals to make a flower on the top of the salve.
Monday, November 9, 2009
There are a few GrowMama bibs up on Trademe at the moment (just for a laugh, not really the right place for them, but hey, it has been said i’ll try anything once. Not true. But, there are a few bibs, trousers and a groovy retro look single duvet cover and pillowcase listed on trademe at the moment).
Hopefully (and yes, shamefully i recall having said this before), i’ll have my etsy shop stocked up over the next few days. All you handmade and vintageloving people: If you haven’t been, browsed, been bemused, amused and blessed by its brilliance by it yet, go see it now. Etsy.com.
Next blog post? I just potted up this years healing salve....mmmm green deliciousness in a jar for all your family healing needs. I'll post pics and a tutorial. See you then.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Loving that its lighter later. Time for a good frolic and explore at the beach in the evenings after supper. We are so blessed to live here. Exploring. Tide out. Rockpools. Anenomes, little fish, crabs, critons, bugs, sea snails, different shellfish, patterns in the sand. Running, tumbling, and racing the wind.
I learn again and again that if i am present in the now, all my lists of things to do, orders pending, plans of business beginning, my complaints of never having enough time, and my resulting feeling of anxiety melt away. They only exist if i dream them into existence. Oh yeah. So easy to forget. Jed, upon observing me this morning, ' hey mama, you need a good cry?' So wise at 2 years old.