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Perfectly Imperfect Life..........

Monday, October 25, 2021

Simple Herbal Décor


What to do with herbs besides using them in cooking?
 
They're easy to grow, beautiful, fragrant, 
full of health benefits, and are incredibly versatile! 
Herbs are best known for their medicinal and culinary uses,
 but there’s so much more you can do with them.

From spray disinfectants to wreaths and garlands, 
custom herb salts, there's something here 
for every room of your house.

Here's just the tip of the iceberg to get you started.

*Harvest early in the morning just after the dew has 
dried off the leaves for strongest scent.
 Be sure to wash herbs and let dry completely.  
Be sure herbs have not been sprayed with anything.

Rosemary

 Rosemary is an evergreen perennial in zones 9 or higher. Upright varieties of rosemary are considered more cold hardy than prostrate varieties. Rosemary prefers to grow in hot, arid climates with intense sunlight. They can't tolerate wet feet, so proper drainage is essential.
Propagate by taking approx. 10'' cutting from the parent plant. It should be a healthy stem that’s grown in the current year. Cuttings should be planted in good soil with good drainage.


* Make a simple Heart Wreath by forming a wire coat hanger into a heart shape then attaching fresh Rosemary branches to it.


*Sprinkle dried Rosemary needles over your carpet prior to vacuuming to freshen the room naturally.
*Bundle Rosemary branches together for a room deodorizer while drying them.

*Make Rosemary Oil by filling entire jar with fresh Rosemary. Add Olive Oil until it just covers all the Rosemary. Replace lid on jar and leave to steep in a completely dark place. Leave for at least a month, longer will be stronger. Strain the oil and your homemade Rosemary Oil is ready to use. There are many uses for Rosemary Oil.
 --I add 10-12 drops of Rosemary oil for every ounce of shampoo or conditioner in the container. This nourishes and strengthens hair on a daily basis or anytime you wash your hair. A recent study tested and compared the effects of Rosemary Oil and Minoxidil (2%) on hair loss and found them to be equally effective. 

Lemon Verbena

When it comes to lemon-scented herbs, Lemon Verbena has the most intense oil concentration per square inch of plant material.

Lemon Verbena loves warm weather and is hardy in zones 8 - 11.
Lemon verbena typically drops its leaves when temperatures 
dip below 40 degrees F, entering dormancy.
Water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. 
Roots do not like being constantly wet.
Propagate by cutting an unblemished 3''- 5'' softwood stem tip from a Lemon Verbena plant. Make a 45 degree cut about 1/2'' below a leaf node. The best time to do this is during late spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. This is the time of year that stem tips carry the highest concentration of plant hormones.

*Due to it's strong fresh scent Lemon Verbena makes great sachets. A simple no sew sachet is to take a handkerchief, add dry Verbena to the center, 
fold up corners and tie with a coordinating ribbon.
Even dry it has a strong Lemon scent.
Place in a drawer or hang on a door knob

*Lemon Verbena oil can be made the same way as Rosemary Oil.
*A great addition to your potpourri.
*Add some leaves when making Candles.

Bay Tree

Choose a spot that has full sun to plant your Bay Leaf Tree.
Bay trees have a very shallow root system, 
so watering should be frequent, especially during summers.  
Bay is hardy in zones 8 through 10. 
Bay trees are easily propagated. Bay Tree propagation begins by taking cuttings, do this in summer when the wood is green and pliable. Take three or so cuttings at least 6'' long. You want the cutting to be firm but the wood should be easy to bend. Strip off all leaves from each cutting except the top two or three. Dip stems in rooting hormone and place in small pots. within a couple of months you should have rooted cuttings. Give them an easy tug, if you feel resistance you have roots!

*Harvest some Bay Leaves to make a lovely Wreath. You can use either dry or fresh. Fresh leaves will dry on Styrofoam wreath form.
Start by gluing leaves on form, then tucking the next leaf under the last.
Continue until entire form is covered.

*A great craft for kids is to string fresh Bay Leaves into a garland. 
No right or wrong way, poke threaded needle through leaf to make garland as long as you want. 

Just like stringing popcorn!

Sage

Sage is a hardy perennial with pretty, grayish green leaves. It grows spikes of spring flowers in different colors, including purple, blue, white, and pink. Sage should be planted in full sun with well draining soil as it won’t tolerate sitting in wet soil. 
Be sure to water the young plants regularly until they are fully grown so that they don’t dry out. They’ll need a consistent moisture supply until they start growing quickly. They are happy in zones 6 - 9.
Sage can be propagated by placing a stem in a glass of water for a few weeks, mature roots will develop. When there a good amount of roots, you can plant in the ground. 

Drying Sage

 *Making Sage Bundles/smudge bundles. You can also use different types of herbs that dry well like lavender, juniper, pine, rosemary, cedar, and even roses!  You can use as many or as few herbs as you like. The size of your sage bundle is totally up to you and 100% custom!
Gather your fresh herbs, with the stems as flush as possible.
Add any type of floral petals, small roses, or anything that will dry well on top. 

Take your string or twine and secure the end of the twine to the thickest stem by tucking it in slightly, but also leaving a small tail to circle back to at the end. In swirling motions going upwards, tightly bind the herbs together.

As the herbs will shrink when they are dry, you’ll want to wrap them super tight to ensure the twine stays in tact. When you get to the top, spiral down in the opposite direction to make and “X” with the twine. Secure the wrap by tying a knot with the tail you started with and tuck in any excess string. If you'd like to can trim the ends to make it look neater.

*Sage Posy is an easy little gift you can make. Gather a small bundle of cut Sage, wrap a paper doily around it and voila! 

Sage has been dried and used for millennia across cultures to clear the air, bring protection and peace, and raise the vibration of any space.  The smoke is considered to have cleansing properties that extend from the physical into the metaphysical realm. You can use your bundle as home décor or once your bundle is dry you can burn it to release the fragrant smoke.

Calendula

Flowers grown in your garden or purchased from the store can be made into a lovely smelling and decorative potpourri.

*Potpourri can be made with flowers or Herbs or both.
Strip fresh petals from stems and place in a single layer on clean paper towels. Leave until dry in an area with good ventilation and no direct sunlight.

Once dry you can mix petals together, and display in a basket, bowl or anything you'd like.

Should you not be lucky enough to have an herb or flower garden,
I do have several varieties in my Etsy Shop.



Friday, October 22, 2021

Solar Garden Orb

 

You know when you see something and just know you can make it into a great project?  When I saw this empty round bottle I knew I had to keep it.

I woke up in the middle of the night finally realizing what I could do with it! A solar Garden Orb....yeh, I'm a sucker for those solar lights!


I decided I would cover it with pennies. Grabbed supplies needed - the bottle, pennies, and my GE Silicone. A staple supply I ALWAYS keep on hand. It's perfect for outdoor projects. It adjusts to the temperature and hasn't failed me yet.


This has to be the easiest project to do. Just glue the pennies onto the bottle,


I covered a section at a time. They can slide, so I kept the bottle upright for the section I was working on and let dry overnight.  


It doesn't matter which end you start at - top or bottom. Keep adding round and round. 


Even though I was trying to keep the current section upright so the pennies wouldn't slide...at times they did. I used tape to hold them in place until dry.


The bottom can be kind of tricky. After all it will be the top of your orb when finished, so you want it to look nice. If you're bottom happens to work out to be able to cover it in pennies consider yourself lucky! If not you can decide how you will go about finishing it. Either leaving an open rim or nudging the pennies to hang a little over the side.


Once I had the bottom covered, I placed my penny jar on top to keep them in place and be sure they made good contact since this bottom was a little concave,


Finished...almost.


I stuck a string of solar lights down into the bottle,


Voila!
Now to figure out where to put it. 


After walking around my gardens I decided to place it in my garden bike's basket.


Love it! It looks great from the street!

My kind of project:
Easy
I can work on it when I have time
Recycled a bottle
Very inexpensive
Looks great
- and best of all -
light without electricity!

More projects here

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Remember Her

 

Youth Dew bath powder. That was her scent. It was her trademark.
Before she died we used to tease her about her fragrance powder because all little old ladies wear Youth Dew. She was one such little old lady.
You always knew when her shower had finished because the entire downstairs would smell like that unforgettable Estée Lauder classic. Eau du Granny.
And now that smell is gone forever.
When she died, she took the whole era with her. That’s how it works. When an elderly person passes, we lose a period in history.
We didn’t just lose an old woman. We lost all the American women who dusted themselves with smell-good powder. We lost women old enough to actually remember wearing white gloves to go to the IGA.
We lost all those motherly reminders to sit up straight, not to hunch, and to chew your food exactly thirty-two times before swallowing.
We lost a generation of homemakers who brought deviled eggs to Little League practice, made pretzel salad for Boy Scout meetings, watched Perry Mason on Saturday nights, and kept an ashtrays on the nightstands beside their Bibles.
She was the best of her kind. She was a period in culture. And her bath powder shall be smelled no more.
After all, young women aren’t going to start wearing bath powder. No way. Most young people have never even heard of such antique finery. Not to mention, big perfume companies rarely include fragrance powder products in their lineups anymore. It’s just not hip.
Neither are pearls. She always wore pearls. Women like her wore strings of cultured pearls for attending PTA meetings, or for mopping the kitchen floors. It’s just what they did. So goodbye pearls.
And goodbye, Nat Cole records. Goodbye, era of songs with lyrics written by lyricists who had a basic grasp of the English language. Goodbye, music that wasn’t expressly about sex.
Goodbye, Frank and Dino, singing with eighty-piece back-up bands comprised of legit musicians. Goodbye, tunes you could actually dance to, as opposed to today’s dance music where you’re supposed to dance by yourself as though you’re having a brain seizure.
Goodbye, foxtrot, bossa nova, and waltz. Goodbye, “Fly Me to the Moon” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” “Girl From Ipanema,” and “Moonlight Serenade.”
Farewell, Perry Como, Julie London, Eddie Fisher, Nancy Wilson, Peggy Lee, and singers of yesteryear who didn’t need auto-tuner software to stay on pitch, or thong underwear to get your attention.
So long, neckties and ladies wearing hats to church. And goodbye to sharing hymnals with your siblings on Sunday mornings. Goodbye to Sunday dinner (which was always eaten at lunchtime, but never called lunch).
Hasta la vista to daughters learning to darn socks. Goodbye dresses.
Oh, dresses. We are going to miss you most of all. Once upon a time, ladies wore dresses. And not just for funerals and prom. No. Dresses were everyday items.
Your mom awoke in the mornings, took a shower, bath-powered herself, lit a Camel, and slid on a house dress. This is how it was done.
The American woman of yore had dresses for all occasions. There were day dresses, church dresses, picnic dresses, formal dresses, funeral dresses, yard-work dresses, dresses for wedding receptions, beach dresses, and dresses for changing light bulbs.
There were A-line dresses, shifts, halter dresses, apron dresses, jumper dresses, slips, poufs, wraps, tents, maxis, gowns, shirt dresses, and sundresses.
But wait, I’m not finished.
Strapless dresses, drop waists, trapezes, layered dresses, pencils, bodycons, princess dresses, empires, column dresses, high-lows, jacket dresses, bouffants, polos, peplums, one-shoulders, blousans, tunics, and tea-lengths.
Goodbye, iced tea with little mint sprigs. And we will miss you pimento cheese made in a mixing bowl. We will never forget you chicken divan. Rest in peace, pear salad.
Goodbye to reading the newspaper instead of checking your smartphone. Adios, thank-you notes.
Au revoir, “Guideposts” magazines dating back to the 1950s, covered in dust, kept in Mama’s bathroom reading basket.
Sayonara to kids saying “yes ma’am,” and “no sir,” and “please.” Goodbye, homemade biscuits—now replaced with store-bought tube biscuits that are unfit for feeding to Labradors.
Bye-bye, Emily Post volume on the mantle. So long, sterling saltshakers only used for company. No more finger sandwiches.
Gone is the era when young men opened car doors for women. Farewell to the days when Mama didn’t refrigerate butter, mayo, ketchup, or eggs.
Each time an elderly person dies we lose more than just a person. We lose folkways. We lose another slice of American Regionalism. We lose their melodies, their wardrobes, their accents, and their unique styles of humor.
We lose everything they loved, everything they learned, their accumulated wisdom, and their quiet voices telling us everything is going to be all right.
Truthfully, now that she’s passed away, sometimes I’m afraid we’re losing these wonderful things forever. I’m afraid it’s all gone. But this morning, in the supermarket, I caught the distant scent of bath powder. A smile grew on my face.
And it all came back to me.

~ Sean Dietrich

Saturday, August 7, 2021

How to Hang Outdoor String Lights

 

The end of Summer is just around the corner and you may want to savor those last warm nights outside on the deck or patio. There’s nothing like solar string lights to create a warm ambiance for a magical outdoor eveningYou don’t need professional design experience to light your outdoor space attractively with solar string lights. Just follow these steps to hang outdoor string lights and create a space for entertaining and relaxing that will be the envy of your neighborhood.  

1. Choose a Straight Light Brand That's Always in Stock

It’s tempting to grab a few strings of outdoor lights in a post-Christmas sale and call it a day. The problem with that is that if you need to replace a bulb or decide you want to add a few more strings to your space, you might not be able to buy more lights of the same type. Ditto if you grab a box of no-name string lights in order to save a few bucks. It’s wiser to buy a reputable brand of café or bistro lights that are sold all year round. You can get them at most big-box home stores. Don’t forget to pick up an extra box or two for replacement bulbs, just in case. 

2. Take Glass Bulbs Off Patio Lights Before Hanging 

If you’re hanging glass string lights, take the delicate bulbs off the string before hanging and set them aside somewhere safe. You don’t want them banging against each other while you’re trying to hang the strings. You also don’t want to shatter an entire string’s worth of lights when you drop the string on the ground. Once your strings are hung and your connectors are secured, you can screw the bulbs back in. 

3. Secure String Lights with Coaxial Staples 

Coaxial staples are the best tool to secure string lights to wood, like trees, deck railings or the outside of your home. You can buy them by the bag at most home improvement stores. Make sure you get the right size staples for your strings. 

4. Decide Where to Secure the String Lights First 

Decorating an outdoor space with string lights can be logistically difficult. You’ll need to plan a layout that minimizes the need to install new posts, as well as one that works with your existing number of power sources. As much as possible, plan your string layout to use existing features like trees, deck railings and the exterior walls of your home, garage, gazebo or outbuildings. 

Choose a brand of string lights that allows you to connect multiple strings, so you can drape them across open spaces or wrap them around trees and still have enough to reach the outdoor receptacle. Common big-box store brands allow you to connect as many as five strings of lights, so you can get as far as 60 feet away from a power source with your lights. 

5. Choose to Cross or Not to Cross

In rectangular and square spaces, crossing string lights overhead can look really interesting. But in irregularly shaped spaces, you may want to stick to a design in which strings of lights fan out in a wedge pattern from a single point. Grab some paper and a pencil to experiment with different designs for your space. Think about how the lights will look in the daytime as well as at night. 

6. Secure Multiple String Lights with Tape 

When you have multiple strings of lights connected — especially more than a couple — the weight of the lights and the drape of the strings can lead to connections coming loose. Secure connectors with electrical tape to keep them from coming unplugged and ruining your careful lighting design. Use electrical tape the same color as the cord to tape connectors together. 

7. Leave a Little Slack 

Outdoor lights hung above an open space look best when they’re draped with some slack in the middle of the string that allows it to hang down a bit. Achieve this look by making sure that the hanging points at either end of your string of lights are level with each other. Then leave a little slack in the middle of the string instead of trying to pull it taught. 

String lights are a stylish way to spruce up your outdoor entertaining space and add some much-needed illumination for those summer evenings out on the deck. With a little planning and the right tools, you can decorate your patio, porch, deck or garden with string lights in no time and have an outdoor space you’ll be proud to show off to family and friends this summer. 

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