Friday, March 27, 2009

Week 5 of the Herbal Blog Contest

This is Week 5 of the Herbal Blog Contest. Friday March 27th to Thursday April 2nd.
The winner from my blog for Week 4 will be contacted by Herbs from the Labyrinth.

Featured this week are moisturizing Lip Balms from Patti’s Potions Natural Soaps, Ltd.

Did you know that most lip balms contain petroleum products that are NOT eco-friendly? This is your opportunity to experience fine natural oils in your lip care experience. Food-grade lip-safe flavorings and essential oils may be used to add flavor to the lip balms. Ingredients: Calendula infused Olive oil, Shea butter, natural Beeswax, Jojoba, Castor, & Vitamin E.

To win two of these luscious lip balms, simply enter by posting a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning! You must enter your email address in the comments to participate. US residents only.

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs.

PrairieLand Herbs

Aquarian Bath

The Rosemary House

Nature's Gift

Torchsong Studio

The Essential Herbal

Garden Chick -

SunRose Aromatics

Herbs from the Labyrinth

Patti’s Potions

Keep coming back and keep entering. We have some great prizes coming up, and we'll be having the contests until the middle of May!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Plant a Fairy Garden Chair

This blog content comes from Karen who enjoys gardening in North Georgia with her granddaughters Mackenzie (5) and Kendall (3). The Mackenzie Garden Products can be found on her website

If you don't have a lot of room in your yard, or just want to add a little whimsy to your garden, try planting a fairy chair. It can be moved around the yard, is easy to maintain, and adds a focal point to an otherwise plain area of the yard.

"Just living is not enough" said the butterfly fairy, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." -Hans Christian Anderson

What better way to invite the "wee folk" into your garden than by creating a special garden just for them. To make them feel welcome, plant a few of their favorite flowers or herbs, and add some natural building materials such as small rocks, twigs or shells for them to make their home. All you have to do after that is simple ... just sit back and believe.

Materials needed for your Fairy Garden Chair:
~Scour thrift stores, flea markets or the neighborhood curbside for an old chair. Remove the bottom.
~Chicken wire. Cut two pieces about 12" larger than the opening of the bottom to allow you to form a basket to place the soil and flowers/herbs.
~Wire cutters
~Staple gun and heavy duty staples
~Sphagnum moss
~Green sheet moss
~Potting soil amended with compost or rotted manure
~Fairy flowers and or herbs- choice of plants will depend on where you intend to place your chair. Sunny spots will require sun loving plants and a shady or woodland area will require shade loving plants.

Directions for planting the chair:
Place the two pieces of chicken wire over the opening of the seat and gently push down to form a fairly deep "basket". Shape the wire over the seat sides and staple underneath being careful to push down any wires.
Line the basket with wet sphagnum moss, placing the green mossy side face down and showing through the chicken wire. Cover the wire completely. Staple the chicken wire to the frame, bending it around to the bottom of the chair frame. Be sure to carefully bend down the edges to prevent any sharp wire from sticking your fairy friends.
Fill the basket completely with your amended soil and plant some of your favorite fairy plants.

Plant suggestions include:

Thyme: This is a must. Thyme will invite fairies into your garden and it is said that fairies hide their babies under the thyme for safekeeping.
Lavender: Lavender is good for all those midnight fairy parties. They can create wonderful lavender infused wine and the scent of lavender is very soothing.
Sweet Woodruff: The delicate white flowers will reflect the moonlight for their fairy dances.
Lambs Ear: What a soft place to make a bed!
Rosemary: Called the elf plant. Fairy lore maintains they are captivated by it. Plant the trailing variety to cascade down the side of the chair.

Primrose: Attracts the company of fairies. Often called the fairy flower.
Bluebells: Lures the fairies into the garden to dance
Pansies: Created by the fairies from the colors of the sky, (blue) sunset (red),sunbeams (yellow), and brown from the earth.
Lily of the Valley: Dainty, bell shaped flowers, perfect for making fairy caps
Forget-me-nots: A pure blue flower associated with many fairy legends. Forget-me-nots represent remembrance.

Care of your fairy chair:
Like all container gardens, the fairy chair will need to be watered more often. Check daily. If herbs and perennial flowers are planted, they will need to be pruned to keep them compact. Also, your soil will need to be refurbished periodically and new plants to replace the annuals.

Fairy garden kits
are the perfect gift for birthdays, Easter, or anytime you want to surprise the little girl in your life. You will probably want to add the fairy garden cookie kit too!

Fairy Flower Tea
2 T fresh chamomile flowers 1 handful fresh mint (any kind) 1 handful honeysuckle blossoms several raspberry leaves Steep in one quart of water that has boiled for several minutes. Serve with delicate fairy treats.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Spring Celebration: Free Victory Garden Issue of The Essential Herbal to Download

Happy Spring to everyone. In celebration of Spring and the new vegetable garden being installed at the White house, I'm giving away a copy of the Victory Garden Issue from the Essential Herbal Magazine here on my blog.

Michelle Obama on the purpose of the white house vegetable garden:
We want to use it as a point of education, to talk about health and how delicious it is to eat fresh food, and how you can take that food and make it part of a healthy diet. You know, the tomato that's from your garden tastes very different from one that isn't. And peas - what is it like to eat peas in season? So we want the White House to be a place of education and awareness. And hopefully kids will be interested because there are kids living here.

We had our own Spring Celebration at the Fair Share Garden in Daytona yesterday. Vendors had a great variety of hand made products. There was an nutrition and veggie growing workshop. The conclusion of the festival featured the Heritage Dancers.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome to week 4 of our Herb Blog Group Contest!

For the week between Friday, March 20 and Thursday, March 26, you can enter simply by entering a comment and your email address in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning a sampler of hand-blended herbal teas from, including one each of the following: Moontime Tea, Lover's Tea, Spring in My Step, FemininiTea, Dandy Lion Tea, Hush-A-Bye, Strong As Nails, SereniTea, SmarTea, DigestiviTea, Nursing Mother Tea, Endo-Liver Tea, Love Your Liver Tea, and Mid-Summer Tea has a wide range of herbal products to choose from.

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs.

Patti's Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
The Rosemary House
Natures Gift
Torchsong Studio
The Essential Herbal
Garden Chick
SunRose Aromatic- Where the winners from week #3 will be listed :-)
Herbs from the Labyrinth

Keep coming back and keep entering. We have some great prizes coming up, and we'll be having the contests until the middle of May!

Friday, March 13, 2009

St. Patricks Day Scavenger Hunt With My Etsy Twitter Street Team

Top o’ the morning to you! We’re having a little St. Patrick’s Day fun here at the Etsy Twitter Team blog! It’s time to “Find the Leprechaun”!

Ten leprechauns pictures (like the one above) are hidden in the item listings in the shops below. Click through the shops to find the leprechauns. When you find one, send an email to with the URL of the item displaying a leprechaun in the pictures. You may enter more than once as long as you have a different URL for each entry.

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Entries must be received by midnight EST on March 16th. Five winners will be chosen by random on March 17th!

The Fine Print: Etsy Twitter Team members and their immediate family members are not allowed to enter. is in no way affiliated with this blog or contest. Must be at least 18 years old to enter.

List of participating shops:

Art by Betty Refour
In My Head Studios
Sandi's Ts
Liv'nGood Jewelry
Firebird House
Rhodes Annals Designs
Emily Claire Creations
Fat Daddy Sweets
Joslin Jewels
Herban Lifestyle
Peanut and Tommy
Nikky Lee Designs
Linda B's Creations
Sox and Patches
Angel Kisses Jewelry
Imogen's Garden
Ambient Lights
Soap Rehab
Huayruro Peru
Bugs 'n Bees
Pretty Cheap
Aquarian Bath
Scrap With Style
Bella Tu Jewelry

And what might you win? Our team donated some very lovely prizes!

From Soap Rehab: Wasabi Ginger Soap Bar is bright, green, and fresh--all the good stuff but without the bite! Notes of eucalyptus, ginger, and top notes of lemon and a hint of mint make for a refreshing clean feeling.

From Fat Daddy Sweets: Wonderfully buttery, creamy sweet goodness. These soft vanilla caramels are handmade, cut and rolled and will cure any sweet tooth!

From Tamdoll: Fabric Button Brooch - Frayed edged fabrics, button sewn on, pin on the back.

From Emily Claire Creations: Shimmery silver chimes with amethyst and moss green cat's eye beads. A silver leaf toggle clasp completes this enchanted ensemble. This bracelet measures at 7 1/4" (excluding the clasp). It is made to wear a little loose, so it may shimmer with any wrist movement.

From Joslin Jewels: Faceted and translucent beads of natural green chrysoprase, each adorned with a sterling silver bead cap resembling a three-leaf clover, suspended from handmade sterling silver ear wires.

Thank you to Sheridan, from Joslin Jewels, who made the great leprechaun graphic for our contest!!

All images in this blog post are copyright to the shops they represent.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Week 3 of Herbal Blog Contest

This week (#3) our herbal blog contest swings over to SunRose Aromatics, where Roe whips up the most delightful of aromatherapy and pampering products. For the week between Friday, March 13 and Thursday, March 19, you can enter simply by posting a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning!!!

Facial Scrub w/ Organic Liquid Soap Set::

Pamper your face with all natural ~
* apricot kernel meal
* organic liquid castile soap

Mix in the palm of your hand & then apply to your face.

A wonderful exfoliate!

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs.

Herbs from the Labyrinth
Patti's Potions
PrairieLand Herbs
The Rosemary House
Nature's Gift
Torchsong Studio
The Essential Herbal
Garden Chick - Dawn Cook won last weeks prize
SunRose Aromatics

Keep coming back and keep entering. We have some great prizes coming up, and we'll be having the contests til the middle of May!

14th Annual Seaside Herb Society Fair Ormond Beach March 28

The Seaside Herb Society Annual Fair is one of my favorite festivals. This is going to be my 5th year attending and 4th year as a vendor. Looking forward to seeing everyone. I learned my lesson last year.. I will have plenty of lavender microwavable neck pillows in addition to my usual soaps and balms. Some of my favorite vendors who will be there include Melanie Palmrose of Almost Ancient Pots. Melanie is from Jacksonville and offers hypertuffa pots and mushrooms, as well as classes on how to make them yourself. Dora from Maggie's Herb Farm will be in her regular spot offering potted herbs. My friend Ciana from the Daytona Beach Faire Share Garden will be there to promote the garden and Celebrating Green.

Location: Riverbridge Meeting House and Gardens northeast corner of Granada and Beach Street.
Admission: Free with ample parking
Description: The Seaside Herb Society will sponsor its 14th Annual Herb Faire on Saturday, March 28, 2009, from 10am to 3pm at the above location in beautiful downtown Ormond Beach, Florida.

* There will be many common and unusual herbs and native plants for sale.
* Vendors from the area will have handmade arts and crafts.
* Baked goods and herb cookbooks will also be available.
* A delicious lunch, for purchase, using different herbs will be available inside the Meeting house; ticket sales for lunch begin at 11:30 am.
* There will be a variety of guest speakers and demonstrations throughout the day.
* Herb Society members will be available for information on growing herbs in Florida and the many uses of herbs.
* The Society members tend an herb garden year round which is on site in the Meeting house gardens.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fair Share Urban Garden & Artisan Market: Spring Equinox Festival March 21

The Fair Share Urban Garden Project will be hosting a Spring Equinox Festival featuring a traditional African Dance performance by The Heritage Dancers & Drummers on Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will feature free workshops for all ages, an artisan market with Fair Trade crafts, natural herbal balms and soaps by Aquarian Bath, “found” or recycled jewelry, and functional pottery bowls for your kitchen, wine glass ID tags, and more.

Schedule of events:

9:00 a.m. Opening of the Artisan Market

10:00 a.m. Chinese Nutrition. Join Cory Trusty of Chinese Therapeutics during a workshop focused on therapeutic use of fruits and vegetables, many of which can be grown in your Florida garden. Chinese nutrition is a counterpart to Traditional Chinese Herbology. Foods are characterized according to their temperature, flavor, functions and contraindications. The benefits of common foods such as celery, walnuts, watermelon and tangerine will be discussed. For more information on this workshop contact aquarianbath AT

11:00 a.m. Starting Your Vegetable Garden with Seeds & Starts with Master Gardener Richard Cherry. Workshop will cover propagating your vegetables from seed, pricking seedlings, and transplanting starts into the garden bed. For more information on this workshop contact The Volusia County Cooperative Extension Service at 386-257-6012.

12:00 p.m. The Heritage Dancers & Drummers performance is led by instructor, Yvette Harley who offers African dance and drumming classes to students of all ages. For more information email culturallyyours212 AT

The Fair Share Urban Garden & Artisan Market is located along side the Daytona Beach Lion's Club at 405 White Street near Daytona State College.

The Fair Share Urban Garden Project is a sustainable urban agriculture program of Salt of the Earth, Inc., a local 501 (c ) 3, nonprofit organization. For more information visit or contact Joel Tippens at fairsharegarden AT or 386-451-9003.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Herb Blog Contest - week 2

Welcome to week 2 of our Herb Blog Group Contest!

For the week between Friday, March 6 and Thursday, March 12, you can enter simply by entering a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning Fairyland Cookie Cutter and Fairyland Recipe Card. Each cookie recipe comes with 1 "friend of the fairies" fairy cookie cutter and fairy sprinkles. Cutters include bird, dragonfly, fairy, gnome, flower, butterfly – she’ll choose one for you!

Garden Chick has a delightful selection of products that are either created by Karen or something she found on her adventures and loves enough to share!

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs.

The Essential Herbal ***
Garden Chick ***
SunRose Aromatics ***
Herbs from the Labyrinth ***
Patti's Potions ***
The Rosemary House ***
Natures Gift ***
Torchsong Studio *

Monday, March 2, 2009

Culinary & Medicinal Uses for Lemon Grass

I gave a workshop over the weekend at the Fair Share Garden's Tree Sale on the medicinal and culinary uses for lemon grass. Lemon grass is a great herb to add to the diet to benefit the immune and digestive systems. In case you missed it, here is the majority of the information that I provided to those in attendance. I really appreciate everyone who came out. Our next garden event will be the Spring Celebration starting at 9 am on March 21st at 405 White Street in Daytona Beach. I will be vending with a few of my friends and there will be an African Dance performance.

Medicinal uses:
Immune & Digestive System Booster: Workers at the Moretele Sunrise Hospice in South Africa have found that AIDS patients who drank lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) tea developed an appetite, put on weight, and become stronger. Lemon grass is high in citral and myrcene, which help it relieve cramps, relieve nausea and stimulate the digestive system especially with the digestion of fats. Lemon grass is also a great choice for moderate immune depletion. Modern life is full of stress and hidden sugars which deplete the immune system and lead to digestive distress. Alcohol is another factor which can deplete the immune and digestive systems. Adding lemon grass tea to you diet is one easy way to help keep your body strong. Lemon grass is also helpful for acute stress on the immune system. It is antibacterial, increases urination and promotes sweating to help reduce mild fevers. This herb is considered a cooling herb by Chinese and Ayurvedic herbalists. Therefore it is a good choice for colds characterized by fever, sore throat, thin yellow tongue coat. To make such a tea, boil one handful of fresh leaves for 2 minutes in one liter of water, let stand 15 minutes, and strain. Drink throughout the day. Refrigerate as needed and use within 24 hours.

Steam Inhalation: For sinusitis, colds, and bronchitis a steam inhalation can be helpful for clearing phlegm. Boil a handful of leaves in a liter of water & inhale. As a beauty treatment for normal skin this method can also be applied. Place a towel over the head to make a loose tent to keep more of the steam in while taking care to avoid steam burns. As a beauty treatment for normal skin this method can also be applied.

Cancer prevention: Researchers at the University of Negev discovered that citral was able to kill lab cultured cancer cells at a concentration equivalent that found in lemon grass tea. The researchers concluded that lemon grass would be helpful for preventing cancers.

Culinary Use:
Teas: Monica Brandies, author of Herbs and Spices for Florida Gardens suggests lemon grass and rose geranium leaves for a pleasant herbal blend. Lemon grass is a 'top note,' which means that the essential oils, which give it much of it's flavor, will evaporate quickly if over heated. For this reason lemon grass is also good candidate for making sun tea.

Lemon Grass Herbal Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar is great for making salad dressing, adding to soups, or stir fry. Why use plain cider vinegar when you can use herb infused vinegars? Herbal vinegars not only add flavor to your vinegar, but minerals as well. Vinegar is an exceptionally good solvent for extracting minerals, vitamins, and flavors from plants. Lemon grass is high in Calcium 3.7%, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, and Vitamin A. Add herbal vinegar instead of regular vinegar to any recipe calling for vinegar. Cooking vegetables with a small amount of vinegar has the added benefit of making minerals from the vegetables more accessible for digestion and absorption.

How to make lemon grass herbal apple cider vinegar: Make sure you purchase vinegar from a reputable brand. You should not be using white vinegar that is 'flavored' with apple. Chop clean dry lemon grass leaves & stalk coarsely. Fill a glass jar to the top with the fresh lemon grass, pack down slightly leaving enough room for the vinegar to completely cover the herbs. Fill the jar to the top with your Apple Cider Vinegar and cover with a non-metallic lid.

Gelatin Recipes: Substitute 1 T of water for mineral rich herbal vinegar in gelatin recipes to add minerals & flavor.

Lemon grass soups: Lemon grass is very popular in Thai soups. When making soups with lemon grass use the stalk and cut it the stalks at an angle to maximize the surface area. Add the lemon grass at the end of cooking the soup so that it does not boil for more than 10 minutes. Remember that lemon grass is a top note and the flavorful essential oils will dissipate quickly if heated for too long.

Simple Lemon Grass Ginger Soup
2-3 stalks lemon grass sliced diagonally
1 medium onion sliced
2-3 slices fresh ginger
1 chicken breast cubed
sesame oil for frying
chili paste
salt to taste
additional vegetables as available
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

Directions: Heat soup stock with salt and ginger. Sautee onions & small chicken pieces in sesame or olive oil until chicken is cooked and onions are lightly browned. Add chicken, onions, and lemon grass and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chili paste to taste.

Coconut Lemon Grass Soup recipe from Dawn Cook:
1/4 cup of Mae Ploy red curry paste (Find at Asian markets)
2 onions cut into 1/2 in. strips
4 cans coconut milk
2 cans straw mushrooms
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 LB. peeled and cut shrimp or cooked chicken chunks Cooking wine or sherry (optional)
Lemon grass stalks 2-4
1/4 cup chili garlic

Directions: Heat high sided sautee skillet or stock pot to medium high heat. Add curry paste and onion. Stir together till mixture heats through. Pour in two cans coconut milk and stir till combined. Once mixture is creamy add the rest of ingredients except meat and season to taste. Bring to a low boil and turn down heat. Let simmer until desired consistency. Add meat and leave on heat till meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with rice. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Mixed Use:
Lemon Grass Infused Oil: Lemon grass can be used to make a herb infused oil in a base oil such as Extra Virgin Olive oil steeped with wilted, freshly harvested or dried herbs. Lemon grass is high in antioxidants which helps infused oils resist rancidity. Use the infused oil for cooking, massage or lotion making. I often use lemon grass infused and essential oil in my Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Balm for aches and pains.

Lemon Grass Extract: An extract or tincture of lemon grass can be made with 80-150 proof vodka or Everclear. Chop herbs coarsely, fill jar with herbs, then cover with alcohol and cap for 6 weeks in the dark. Strain through a coffee filter after 6 weeks and use for cooking or medicinally for colds. If you are out of fresh lemon grass stalks you can use lemon grass extract in soups. Add near the end of cooking. When fresh plants are not available for tea one can use up to a teaspoon of extract diluted in water medicinally for chest colds and sinus congestion for adults.

Lemongrass on Foodista

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