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Playing For You From Our Scented Cottage


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Lovely Anemone

Anticipation, expectation, dying hope and forsaken are the meanings for the Anemone, derived from the Greek word for windflower. Mythology relates that the anemone sprung from the tears of Aphrodite as she mourned the death of her love, Adonis. In folklore the anemone is believed to bring luck and protection against evil. It has been said that the flower foretells rain by closing it's petals, and fairies were believed to sleep beneath the petals of the wood anemone during the night after they closed at sunset.

Some legends believe the flower to be associated with healing and health, others, notably the Chinese, call it the flower of death and plant it on grave sites.

Sunburn Soother

If you find yourself suffering from a sunburn after these scorching days of summer fun, you may be surprised at this remedy to keep your skin from blistering or peeling.

If your burn isn't bad and you aren't suffering from pain, you can cut an apple in half, remove the core, and rub over your sunburned area for three to four minutes.

If you have a bad burn and are already blistered, take a luke warm bath to soothe the pain. Add one of the following: 2-3 cups Apple Cider Vinegar, 5-8 tea bags, 1 cup baking soda or 1-2 cups Oatmeal. You can also add in several drops of lavendar oil with any of these options. All have been shown to be excellent home remedies for sunburn blisters by relieving the sting and pain. After your bath, apply one of the topical remedies such as aloe.

Remember to use your sunscreen!

Do You Love Handmade...

Dishcloths and washcloths? I do! They last for years and even though mine have faded from many, many, uses and laundering, they are what I reach for when I have a tough job (scrubbing bird baths etc). I like to have enough on hand for both inside and outside jobs and they even stand up to scrubbing the plastic fence we have surrounding the cottage!

I have just added 2 of these cloths to my Etsy Shop and each measures 6 1/2 inches square and is made from the One Pound Yarn. It's 100% Acrylic. (I use both cotton and acrylic dishcloths and find them both to be equally durable and effective.) These are soft, not the scratchy acrylic.
One is in a lovely peachy orange color, and the other in sunshine yellow. Bring some color to your sink area this spring and summer! Handmade dishcloths last for years!

To keep your dishcloths fresh through the day, rinse them thoroughly in cold water after use and hang them on your drainer, over your tap, or over your curtain rod to dry. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist conditions so rinsing the cloths and drying them helps prevent bacteria growth. Then just toss them in with your laundry as they're machine wash and dry.

These make wonderful little gifts for those who love handmade items. Do you live the frugal lifestyle (I try)? These are perfect. There's nothing better than having items that stand up to use for years. No thin dishcloths for me! Do you shop all year for the holidays? Perfect stocking stuffers! Support Handmade!

You can see the dishcloths and visit my shop here:

What's On Sale In July?

Crafty types know that July is a great month to stock up on supplies for their creative hobbies. The Fourth of July weekend is another holiday period in which many retailers offer bargains on big-ticket items as well, so if you're in need of a major appliance you're in luck!

Here's what you'll find on sale for the month of July...

Deeper discounts on summer dresses, suits, shoes and swimwear
Air conditioners (now through September)
Major appliances (Fourth of July weekend)
Barbecue and picnic foods
Craft supplies

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cool Bath For A Hot Day...

An epsom salt bath is the perfect antidote to a hot, stressed, summer day. It’s a bath that incorporates cucumbers, fresh mint, and a bit of floral essential oil. Peppermint has has a soothing and cooling effect on skin irritations caused by hives, poison ivy, or poison oak; it reduces headache symptoms; and it can be used in the treatment of depression. This is a perfect treat at the end of a day of gardening as well!

To a tub of tepid water add 2 cups of epsom salt, stir in 1 sliced cucumber, a handful of torn peppermint leaves (you can purchase peppermint in the produce section of your market if you are not growing it) and an optional 3 drops ylang ylang pure essential oil or oil of your choice. (If you aren't keen on fishing around to remove the cucumber slices and peppermint, tie it up in a bit of cheesecloth and just toss it in your bath.)

One caution about epsom salt baths...make sure to drink plenty of water after one. Your body detoxes after his type of bath and you will start to feel ill if you don't drink water.

Soak and enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Blessings Mix

I thought this mix recipe was perfect to post for the upcoming 4th of July weekend for my friends and family in the USA. Not only is it a wonderful snack, but the meaning behind it is so special and patriotic. Enjoy!

2 cups of bugles
2 cups of pretzels
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of candy corn
1 cup of peanuts
1 cup of m&m's
chocolate kisses

The meaning of the mix:
Bugles-shaped like horn of plenty, a symbol of our nations abundance.
Pretzels-arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Candy corn-the sacrifices of the pilgrims first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernals of corn.
Peanuts-promise of a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
Raisins-harvest gifts from our bountiful land.
M&M's-memories of those who came before us to lead us into a blessed future.
Hershey's kiss-the love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Mix all but the kisses and put into bags and attach this note. Put the kiss on top of each bag. Use as a place setting at the table or make with your children and they can give everyone a bag when they walk into your home.

The Ruby

Gemstones gather light and reflect it back upon us in scintillating dances. They forge a link that invisibly yet inextricably bonds us to our loved ones and the many moments and special occasions of our lifetimes. They are the magical keeper of our stories and histories. Scientifically, the power of a gemstone can be explained. Jewels play with the electromagnetic vibrations that we call light, and the "seeing" can be mesmerizing. The romantic Victorians used birthstones as a subtle means to communicate. Messages of love and devotion were spelled out in jewelry. A ring for a sweetheart might have been set with the gemstones Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, and Ruby, thus encoding the sentiment "DEAR."

For ancient civilizations, the twelve gemstones (now attached to the calendar year for sentimental reasons) were considered to be the earthbound manifestations of great power. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Persians, Incas and Aztecs all strongly believed in the power of gemstones as talismans and amulets. To them, gems were guardians with numerous attributes, curative powers, and could even help the soul to peace in the afterlife.

Ground pearls were added to Cleopatra's wine, so she could drink in their beauty. Sunglasses made of emeralds were worn by Emperor Nero when he watched the gladiators doing battle in the coliseum. In Medieval Europe it was believed that an aquamarine in the mouth provided for safe questioning of the devil and that the wearing of a topaz protected against sudden death. Gems were thought to heal illness, ward off poisons, and bring true love. The custom of giving and receiving these stones is a poignant vestige to the efforts of humanity to comprehend the mysteries of the universe and to summon its aid to safeguard our loved ones.

Associating the months of the year with a specific gemstone has a long history. Every birthstone is a book, whose tale will never end.

Happy Birthday to everyone under the sign of Cancer from Our Scented Cottage! The Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July and it is also the wedding anniversary gemstone for the 40th year of marriage. Here is the information on the Ruby...

Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Cancer dates: June 21 - July 22
Cancer - The Third Sign of the Zodiac: The sign of the Crab
Ruling Planet of Cancer: Mercury
Alternate Birthstones of Cancer: Emeralds, Sardonyx, Pearls and Moonstones

Symbolism, Significance and Properties of Rubies
The properties with which the Ruby is associated are as follows:
Devotion, integrity, courage and happiness
Vitality, confidence and strength
Used to enhance energy, generosity and to bring success

Healing Properties of the Ruby
The healing properties of the Cancer birthstone are reputed to be effective for health problems relating to:
Blood and infection
Increasing positive thought patterns

What's In Season For July?

There is nothing better for you than eating fresh fruits and vegetables as they come in season. If you're not lucky enough to have your own garden, here's what you'll find in season at the Farmer's Market for July.

July: Monthly Produce
(n = newly in season; p = peak of season; w = winding down)

basil n
beans, green
corn p
cucumber n
cucumber n
eggplant n
okra n
onion, red p
onions, Sweet Vidalia, Walla Walla w
peppers, sweet/bell n
squash, summer p
tomatoes n
blueberries p
currants n
cherries w
figs, Black Mission, Calimyrna
oranges, Valencia n
peaches p
asian n
bartlett n
French butter p
plums n

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Easy Orange Marmalade...

Do you love marmalade? If you've a couple oranges, some sugar, and a little time you can make your own. It's easier than you can imagine as long as you don't over boil it. If you have a candy thermometer on hand, do use it. It's easier to bring the mixture up to 220F degree boil and know it's done, than to eyeball it and have caramelized oranges. I know this from experience. Note I made a small batch with 2 oranges so no canning required.

2 oranges
2 cups of sugar

That's it! No need to use pectin or any other setting agent as oranges have plenty of pectin in them already.

Use a peeler to remove the thin layer of the zest off each orange. Peel the white pith off of each orange and discard.  Chop oranges and add the peels. (I used oranges with no seeds, but if your oranges have seeds, do discard them after chopping your oranges).

Whatever amount of oranges you're using (I used 2 cups) measure the same amount of sugar.

Put in saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring so the sugar does not burn.

This takes about 20 minutes or a little longer depending how high your heat is. If you have not made marmalade before I suggest using a candy thermometer. Bring mixture up to 220F degrees and you're done! (If you don't have a candy thermometer smear a little drop on a plate after 20 minutes or so and if it's thick enough for you it's done!)

Pour into a heat proof glass container, cool, and it's ready to eat! Store in refrigerator.

Did You Know...

That in days gone by, giving someone an orange blossom meant the same as saying to them "your purity equals your loveliness?"

During the Victorian era, flowers adorned nearly, clothing, jewelry, home decor, china plates, stationary, wallpaper, furniture and more. Scents of flowers had their own meanings and though the Victorians loved them, a gift of a scented handkerchief might be given in place of actual flowers.

The flower symbolism associated with the orange blossom is innocence, eternal love, marriage and fruitfulness.

Stop by again soon!