Thursday, April 29, 2010

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Wendy Kelly of Vintage Day. Kelly is the winner of the business card giveaway that I hosted here recently. Kelly will be receiving 500 duel sided, full color business cards from Digital Room. Thanks to everyone who participated in this contest.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Free Workshops in the Garden this Saturday: Weeding and Intro to Solar

Join us at our regularly scheduled Fair Share Garden meetup this Saturday in Daytona Beach for free workshops. Location: 345 White St. behind the Lions club (corner of White & Willis)

At 10 am Bernadette Albright will be speaking on the importance of weeding in the vegetable garden. Don't settle for a low yield vegetable garden by letting water-drinking and nutrient-consuming weeds get in the way. Learn to identify various edible weeds.

At 11 am Scott Johnson of the SolarNetOne project will demonstrate a small off-grid photovoltaic power system designed to provide remote communications, such as for off-grid homesteading. The talk will include info on how to size and scale solar power systems to meet load size, as well as strategies to optimize load equipment for operation from solar power.

Workshops are free, however Fair Share is a 501 c non-profit and donations are welcome.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Win a Set of Business Cards

Happy Weekend everyone. I have a new contest starting on the blog here. The prize is a set of business cards and is sponsored by Who can't use a new set of business cards? These cards can be really useful: from the classic business card, to blogger cards, designer cards, etc.

One Winner will receive:
~500 Business Cards
~2 x 3.5”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.75 x 3.5” (slim card)
~14 pt gloss cardstock, 14 pt matte cardstock or 13 pt recycled uncoated cardstock
~Full Color Both Sides; Offset Press; 3 Business Day Printing

To enter:

~ Leave a comment here about how you would like to use your free business cards.

For extra entries you can do the following:

~ Share this contest on twitter by posting the following: "Win 500 full color, double-sided business cards at @aquarianbath"
~ Become a follower of this blog
~ Join the fan page for AquarianBath on Facebook
~ Make a purchase from AquarianBath leaving a comment about this contest with your order (3 extra entries).
~ Blog about this contest or add the Aquarian Bath blog badge to your blog (2 extra entries).

This contest ends the 28th of April at midnight. Entrants must be 18 or over to participate. This giveaway includes Free Shipping to US Residents. A winner will be chosen using

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Next Day Shipping and Hot Weather Reorganization

Hot humid weather is slowly creeping back here in Central Florida. This means an end to my out door craft shows and soap making until around October. The heat and humidity are very hard on the shelf life of soaps and exposing them just isn't worth it. During the cool season I have my soaps organized in containers such that there are 4 or more of each variety in containers that I take to craft shows, a second craft show box for friend's to take to their shows, plus I have a number of overstock boxes set aside. This system requires a good deal of short term memory when it comes to packing online orders quickly.

With a baby due in a few weeks I wanted to totally reorganize this system for summer and make it easier for me to keep up with next day shipping from my shops. I love getting orders out as soon as possible and often they are shipped the same day that the order is placed. I picked up a number of 'shoe box' type containers for sorting soaps by type, so that they could be labeled and orders filled by myself or a helper quite easily..

I spent a day or two sorting soaps and also salves, perfumes, and lip balms so they would be quick and easy to find. The soaps are sorted by type and each box contains a desiccant to keep out humidity.

With summer weather on the way I will be doing more sewing and you can expect to find more variety of organic flax neck pillows and eye pillows in my shop. The neck pillows are so nice in the summer when stored in the freezer for use after a hot afternoon in the garden or for injuries. I have already restocked some of my neck pillow fabrics. I'm also getting ready for a second wholesale sewing project. I'll be sewing a full bolt of eye pillow liners in a couple of weeks.

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Fun Kid's Activity for Earth Day: Pine Cone Bird Feeders

This year my daughter's birthday coincides with lots of Earth Day happenings. We are having her birthday party at the Fair Share Garden in Daytona. Everyone is welcome for the "Earth Day's Birthday Celebration" which starts at the garden at 11.

Moira and her friends will be getting at head start at her party making pine cone bird feeders. We practiced making on earlier last week to see how it would go. We used the basic recipe from This is a fun activity for kids and is a nice take home party favor; more healthy than candy favors and more eco-friendly than small plastic toy favors.

What you need:
1 large pine cone
2-3 feet of hemp cord
1/2 cup suet, lard, or peanut butter (avoid peanut butter for people with allergies). Some recipes suggest vegetable shortening, but I prefer to use less processed oils.
1/2 cup corn meal
Handful or 2 of bird seed

Tie the hemp cord to the top of the pine cone. This is what you will hang your feeder from. Mix 1/2 cup corn meal with 1/2 cup fat; I would leave that job to adults or kids maybe over the age of 7. Moira had a hard time mixing the cornmeal and fat together. Spread the cornmeal/fat mixture evenly over the pine cone. Next roll the cone in bird seed

Your bird feeder is ready to hang! Try to hang it in front of a window or at least somewhere out of easy reach from cats.

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Wild Bird Rescue and Turtle Day this Saturday at Ponce Inlet

Last week my neighbor found this baby bird in his yard that had been attacked by one of his cats. He asked me if I would take care of it, so I said I would give it a try. My friend Teri who has bird rescue experience advised me to get it to a professional bird rehaber ASAP, because cat attacks always become infected in birds. I searched online for the closest rehab facility and found that it was at Ponce Inlet's Marine Science Center. I love the Marine Science Center. They have a great Aquarium, and like all Marine Science Centers, it reminds me of my fun filled former life in Biology when I was studying Marine Science and living at Friday Harbor Labs in the San Juans. I was very happy that the center was willing to take the bird, because I know their focus is Marine birds, hawks, etc. I had no idea what this bird was, but the woman who was working let me know that it was a baby Mourning Dove that we had rescued. Moira and I were able to see a couple of rescued Pelicans while we were there dropping off the bird.

We were not able to stay until 10 am to check out all the birds, since we had to get Moira to play rehearsal, but I found out that the annual Turtle Day is this Saturday, April 17th. "Turtle Day is a celebration of bird and turtle rehabilitation in Volusia County. As of March 2010, the MSC received 622 juvenile to adult size sea turtles, 13,971 hatchlings and washbacks, and 738 miscellaneous reptiles (gopher tortoises, freshwater turtles and a snake), bringing total number of reptiles received by the Marine Science Center to 15,331 since it opened in 2002." Admission is free for Turtle day which starts at 10 a.m. and ends with wild marine birds and turtles release at 3 p.m. We will be there for the animal releases.

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How does my garden grow? April update

Back in March I posted about Spring planting and what I had planned for my garden. Some of the seeds I planted have come up, while others have not. In between there have been a lot of volunteers coming up and I have planted some starts and new seeds. In the first picture you can see my raised bed looking lush and green and in need of being thinned out a bit.

My butternut squash didn't come up at all from seed. I think they were too old, but the tenacious Seminole pumpkins have come up on their own again. I think I may transplant some to the back yard later. Tomatoes have also come up on their own all over the place, 2 plants surprisingly in a big pot on top of the chicken pen. Of the first seeds I planted this Spring Amaranth and Red Clover have been the best germinators. I am just about ready to harvest Amaranth leaves which should leave more room for the other plants that are coming up in the raised bed like the Egg Plant and Pepper plants starts. I found a recipe for preparing Amaranth leaves last week. Previously I had grown the Amaranth for seed, which is fun, but the winnowing is a bit time consuming. Below you can see the Amaranth leaves up close. I purchased the Amaranth seed from Echo. The plants really produce a ton of seed if you let them.

Down below my mulberry tree I also started some organic snap beans in a big pot. I thought they could grow up the mulberry tree as well as the Fo Ti vine which is currently climbing it. My friend picked up these seeds and also watermelon and lettuce seed which I'm trying out. We have a great new source for organic seeds in Daytona Beach. Check out Access to Organics on Mason Ave if you haven't been there yet.

Here is my easy access front porch kitchen garden. You can see the lush new Stevia leaves in the lower pot. The plant did well overwinter, and I will be picking off leaves to dry soon for teas. I also have rosemary, thyme, pinks and violets on the front porch. Kid toys and crystals tend to make their way into these pots.

Sadly I lost all my Vana Tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum) plants in the freeze, so this year I'm starting over with a different variety of Holy Basil, Green Holy basil, Ocimum sanctum. You can see them coming up here in my basil pot if you look closely.

How is your Spring Gardening going? Is everything planted yet? Are things coming up as planned? Leave a comment. I would love to know.

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Win a Pumpkin Poppy Seed Soap on the Florida Etsy Blog

Like my soaps? Been meaning to try one? Here is your chance to get one for free. The Florida Etsy Street Team is hosting a giveaway of one of my Pumpkin Poppy Seed Soaps, which are 100% veggie, made with home grown pumpkin puree and essential oils of Ginger, Sweet Orange, and Patchouli. Good luck!

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

US Mint: Panorama of the New Garden Bed

Moira and I planted a few more patches of mint in the new US mint bed at the garden today. We now have 3 species of mint in the bed. I'm itching to find a pretty variegated mint like apple or pineapple to add to the mix also. This picture is the best I could do for a panorama. Not quite seemless, but you get the idea from these 3 photos that I merged together; click on the image for a larger view. It's going to look so great when it all fills in.

Luckily there are still some not so strenuous jobs for me to do at the garden (34 weeks pregnant and counting). This morning I also thinned the carrots in the tall raised beds and fed some of the herbs and fruit trees with Alpaca manure. There was plenty of fertilizer for the sage, thyme, chrysanthemum, bananas, loquats, comfrey, lemon verbena, lemon balm, calendula, patchouli, Elderberry, cherry bushes, citrus. What I learned today is that Alpaca manure is like sheep manure, it is mild and doesn't have to be composted before side dressing around the plants. It is so nice to have Embry Riddle volunteers from time to time at the garden. We had some wonderful help with weeding around the spiral and help for Moira with planting my new perilla starts.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Crystal Calhoun of Stars and Crossbones. Crystal is the winner of the 16 x 20 rolled canvas print from Uprinting. Crystal said "Cool! I'd love to use a canvas like that to make a "mini" shop banner for craft shows — the one I have now fits the tent, but it's not a good fit for the table without the tent that I end up using for indoor shows ... ;)" Crystal, hope to see you again as a vendor in October at Green Halloween in Daytona 2010 where I can admire your new mini banner.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring Herbs Blog Party!

Spring is such a wonderful time of year for the herbalist and gardener. I am pleased to present an amazing collection of Spring Herbs blog posts this month. Make yourself a cup of herbal tea and settle in a while to read what others are doing with herbs this time of year. What are you doing with herbs? We would love to know, so leave us some comments. For more information on ongoing blog parties visit the Herbwifery Forum.

~Tina Sams of from the Essential Herbal gives us a tour of emerging Spring herbs in Pennsylvania. Her Anise Hyssop photo is featured in this blog post.

~Cindy Jones of Sage Script also shows us what herbs are coming up in Colorado, and discusses plans for herbal planting.

~Sarah Head of Tales of a Kitchen Herbwife in England shares a richly descriptive post on the first medicines of spring.

~Lady Barbara of Lady Barbara's Garden in Oregon takes us on an exuberant Alice in Wonderland stroll finishing up with a treasury of Violet Magic.

~Beth Brynne of the Garden Meanderings blog in Western New York also discusses emerging Spring Plants.

~Karen Creel of Garden Chick suggests planting a Mosquito Repellant Garden for Spring.

~Visit Maggie McMillan's lovely farm. What beautiful animals she has. Maggie shares about making biiter Dandelion coffee and Dock syrup.

~Yael Grauer of Dirt Time is also "Embracing the Bitter" this month. Check out her post on Horseradish.

~Karen Vaughan of Acupuncture Brooklyn discusses the challenges and opportunities of Spring Time Urban Gardening.

~Here at Aquarian Bath, my contribution to the blog party is Shapshots from my Spring day in the Garden at Fair Share yesterday. You will definately want to check out the new and unique "US mint" bed we started yesterday.

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Snapshots from a Spring day in a Florida Herb Garden

Spring is a great time of year for herbs in Central Florida. There is so much going on in the gardens. Here is just a glimpse of the activity from my time at the Fair Share Garden yesterday.

The herb spiral at the Fair share garden pictured here was weeded and thinned over the last week and replanted with Holy Basil in the bare patches. Last week we had a little incident with a volunteer being bitten by wolf spider in while weeding the herb spiral. This was a more painful than poisonous bite. Fire ants can also be painful problem here for Spring gardeners. Keep an eye out for Plantago species(plantain) when you are out in the garden. You can make a spit poultice with the leaves to take the sting out of the bites; just chew up the leaves to a pulp and apply to insect bites or stings. We used Virginia plantain on the Wolf Spider bite:

Lance leafed plantain also will work. Don't let the blanket flower in the background fool you, it is not a part of the plantain pictured below.

The variegated mugwort (Artemesia speicies from the Bastyr University herb garden) is lush and intermixed with delicate fern-like yarrow leaves in the herb spiral. I like to make infused oils for pain salve with mugwort and decoct it for sprained or strained ankles. My front yard yard is covered with it where it has self-seeded. In about two weeks I will harvest the mugwort and dry it to make moxa and to save whole and dried for use with sprains strains. To use it this way you can simply boil up a pot of water with handfuls of dried mugwort. When the water cools a bit you can soak a towel in the hot water and use it as a wrap around the ankle or bruised and strained area.

I'm still waiting to see if the Neem trees in the spiral will send up new growth after having died back from the winter freezes. However, I am overjoyed to see a hint of new growth in my precious Moringa trees. Look closely to see it! I just found out that 1 million Moringa seeds are on their way to Haiti via a European organization. These trees make a very nutritious leaf, especially beneficial for nursing mothers and babys. They in face have the highest concentration of protein for any known plant and have no known contraindications for use. Last season I didn't harvest leaves from the fair share trees we planted in hopes of collecting seeds. There were plenty of flowers and insects enjoying the blossoms, but no seeds were made. From now on I will stick to woody branches for propagation and enjoy harvesting leaves for nutritional use.

Many herbs like thyme, comfrey, lemon verbena and catnip have survived the winter and are putting out new lush leaves in full force. We will keep an eye on these cool loving herbs and harvest them before the intense summer heat starts in. Yesterday I harvested three baskets full of catnip to dry, and sent thyme home with a Fair Share volunteer with a cough and sore throat. Comfrey doesn't get terribly huge in Florida, though there is plenty for salve and balm making when the need arises.

We started two new herbal projects at the garden yesterday also. The first was to put in a new trellis for a fresh planting of loofa gourds. Here are Joel, Moira, and Giovanni preparing the holes for the new posts. I can't wait for more loofa gourds to use in soaps.

Next we have the grand and ambitious new US mint herbal project. When Joel said he wanted the USA bed the Embry Riddle students built in back in October to be filled with plants that could be left alone and not replanted,

I had to suggest it be filled with mints. The large tires and tree-sized pot at fair share were getting root bound with spearmint and chocolate mint. We broke up the root bound mints and filled this bed with mint sprigs yesterday. It's going to make a great source of mixed mints for herbal tea. I'm going to be on the look out for other nice mints like peppermint and apple mint to add to the bed.

This blog post is part of a spring herbs blog party that I'm hosting. Please check out all the Spring herbal blog posts here.

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