Art Journal Cover

Art Journal Cover

Playing around with journal covers is one of my favorite things to do. This chipboard cover cost me .99 cents! What a steal! Totally unplanned but the background turned out with a watercolor effect and I LOVE it along with all the texture from the stencils and grunge paste. If you want to check out the full picture tutorial, you can find it HERE. The inside page I made for this journal is HERE.

 

My Top 10 Art Journaling Tools

My Top Ten Art Journaling Picks

I thought I would compile a list of my art journaling must haves along with several tools in my wish list. I use these every time I create and have found that having the right tools make all the difference.

1. Gesso

Gesso is perfect for allowing paint or sprays to adhere to any substrate. I use it to cover backgrounds, stencils or to mask mistakes. It can easily be spread with a palette knife or credit card. To create texture it can be built up in layers or put on thick. Everything sticks to gesso so what is not to love about this stuff?

2. Paper Scraps

I NEVER throw away paper scraps and perhaps that is why my crafting space is over crowded. But what is a girl to do when she is on a budget? My crafting budget for the year is $0. I am not joking. Since we moved I have stopped working so I am using what is in my stash. We moved almost 3 years ago.

Paper scraps are abundant and great as background texture or accents. I use them by clustering strips together and setting a frame for my focal points. I try to pick paper scraps that match the color scheme for my layout but if there are none I use gesso.

3. Vintage Photos/Ephemera


Searching the web for free vintage photo downloads is a great way to build your digital library. I prefer images of children and digitally altered images. If the photo is black and white I like to add a bit of color with paint. I also enjoy working with purchased packs of ephemera.

4. Die Cuts

I don’t own these Celtic motifs but they are top on my wish list for die cuts. Motifs are a great way to help create background texture and interest. I cut several at one time using scrap paper and then store them in my stash. At a later date it comes in handy to have something already cut. If I don’t like the paper I just cover it in gesso and paint away. The motifs can be cut into more than one piece giving you ‘two for the price of one’.

5. Stamps


Stamps are one of my favorite tools for creating background texture and of course, they make great focal images and accent images to any journal page. I couldn’t do without them. In fact, I have so many stamps my goal is to include some of those neglected and forlorn stamps into my journals sometime this year. Some of my favorite stamp companies are PaperArtsy, Stampers Anonymous, and Stampington and Co.

6. Paints and Sprays

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If you have followed me long enough you know that I use paint and sprays in almost every project that I create. Drippy paint is my favorite!! My go-to for paints  are the Fresco Acrylic Paints by PaperArtsy. Their colors are vibrant and have a range of transparencies.

The sprays I use most are Dylusion Sprays, Lindy’s Stamp Gang and Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist.

7. Texture Paste

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Currently, I use Grunge Paste but I also have several tubes of texture paste that I got at a discount store. Grunge/texture paste is perfect for use with stencils. A favorite technique of mine is stamping into the paste and then adding paints and Treasure Gold.

8. Stencils


Stencils are a easy way to add texture by using gesso, paint, sprays, texture paste, inks…virtually any medium. I don’t use my stencils enough but I love it when I do. Crafter’s Workshop has a great selection of stencils along with Stencil Girl and Prima.

9. Embellishments

Lace, twine and fiber are great ways to add texture to any project. I also use chipboard pieces, stickers, metal and anything else I find around my craft area to add dimension. When it comes to embellishing the more the better.

10. Inspiration

Pinterest is one of my favorite sources for inspiration as I am sure it is for many of you. I also frequent my favorite artist’s blogs searching for eye candy. Whatever gets the creative juices flowing that is what I do. I have a hard time creating if I am not in the mood so getting prepared is essential.

Moving on From Grief

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Losing a Child

Today, March 22, marks two years since my baby, Faolan, left this world to be with Jesus. Our Pastor recently said that “the pain of losing a loved one changes over time. In the beginning it seems as though you will never be able to bear it or get through it but as time goes on the pain seems to dull.” How true this is. There are days when I still cry my heart out. But it doesn’t happen a couple times a day  or even every day as it did in the past. If you had asked me two years ago if I though I would be over that initial grieving phase this soon I would have said “no way.” Perhaps having another little person crawling around takes some of the pain away. Or maybe she just occupies more of my thoughts and time so I have less time to dwell and ponder my loss. Most of all I know that my heart has slowly healed because of Christ. I KNOW that I will see my little Faolan again. I KNOW that Jesus cares about my pain. I KNOW that he has been there comforting me along the way, uprooting seeds of bitterness that have tried to plant themselves. I KNOW that He didn’t take my baby from me even though he allowed it to happen. I KNOW how I respond to this trial determines whether or not I will become embittered or a sensitive-hearted woman. I say all this to say… I would not have made it this far had it not been for Christ. He gives me hope and a reason to live. Everyone has tragedy hit sometime during their life. How do you make it through? What keeps you going?

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A Bit About Me

I have written in my profile that I am a believer in Christ. I wanted to expound on that a little.

At the age of 4 I asked Jesus to come into my heart, take away my sins and save me from myself. Even as a tiny child I was able to understand that I did things that were wrong and that I was destined for Hell because of my sin. I am so thankful that Christ’s free gift of salvation is available to ALL who are willing to call upon the name of the Lord.

Fast forward to college. I attended Pensacola Christian College to become a nurse. My first year I met this boy. Up until this point I had never been looked at twice by a male my age. I was chunky and unattractive and I used sarcasm and jokes to get people to like me. I was described by one of my teachers as ‘The life of the party’. So, this guy gave me a second glance and that in itself made my heart flip flop when I was around him. It didn’t hurt that he was good looking. One thing I learned about Christopher in college that made me want to hang onto him was that he loved God. I was going through a rough patch during my sophomore year. Christopher challenged me to make Christ real in my life. To get to know Him and make Him the one that I turn too, not just when I am struggling but in my everyday routine.

Here we are, married almost 11 years later and 3 kids (+ 1 in heaven).  We found out the middle of last year, on my birthday in fact (Happy Birthday to ME!), that at the end of this year my husband loses his job. Despite losing a child, a job and dealing with health and financial issues the past two years, God is Good. He always takes care of us and provides our needs. He holds our hands along the way and tells us it will be ok, eventually. I am thankful to God for the man he brought into my life.  I am thankful that despite all the pain I have experienced these past 2 years, God is faithful.

So, tonight is the night that we celebrate Faolan’s heaven-going ! I made a cake and we will shed tears and remember. My baby has only ever been in Jesus’s arms but I know without a doubt that there is no safer place he could be. One day, I will get to meet him and wrap my arms around him and call him ‘son’. I am very much looking forward to that day.

You can see my Beauty From Pain: Grief Art Journal HERE.

Industrial Human: Art Journal Layout

Tags

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Steampunk Art Journal Page

I am sharing another project that I did for PaperArsty some time ago. I made this page to go inside a altered journal. As you can see, the majority of my page is embellished with stamps from PA and a ephemera style photo. I really loved working with this masculine color scheme and adding a splash of color. You can find the step by step tutorial to this page HERE.

Steampunk Inspiration

I thought I would include a few steampunk themed Projects that I love!

Tim’s February Tag

Gentleman’s Choice

Steampunk Altered Book

Steampunk Adventures

 

 

Hearts For My Man

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Masculine Card

Recently, I wanted to show my husband some love by making him a special card but I didn’t want it to be girly. I have this problem often as I love flowers and pretty images. I didn’t want to dig out all my Tim Holtz images so I challenged myself to use what was on my desk. Here is what I used:

  • a piece of paper with some left over colored spray,
  • a heart stamp
  • colored pens

First, I stamped the hearts, cut them out and glued them down. Next I doodled with some pens and that’s it! I put it in a transparent envelope and I had a romantic yet masculine card for my man.

Who says that cards need to be complicated?

Favorite Masculine Makes

If you need some inspiration, here are a few of my favorite masculine makes from the past.

Go Team

Birthday Card for Tim Holtz

Man Genius

Tim’s September Tag

 

 

Mysterious Lady: Mixed Media Tag

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PaperArtsy Tag

I really enjoy making tags as they are fast and small. It has been a while since I made one but I thought I would share this one today. You can view my step by step tutorial HERE over on the PaperArtsy blog. The Hot Picks stamps over at PA are really fun for anyone that loves vintage style stamps. My favorite part of any project is usually making the background and for this tag I enjoyed adding the tag to the bottom with ribbon.

My Teapot Collection

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The Inspiration

Growing up, I always would drink a hot cup of tea with my mother, no matter the season or outside temperature. My mom would always tell me how she wanted me to stay single so I could stay home and have tea parties with her. Well, I didn’t stay single but  I certainly took up her love of tea and teapots! While the majority of my teapot collection is Yixing clay teapots, her collection consists mostly of vintage tea/coffee pots with a floral motif.  This china cabinet (above), was a gift from my Grandmother. Isn’t  it beautiful? I keep all my teapots and accessories stored here.

The Tea Pots

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This beautiful set of Lusterware I acquired from a nearby flea/antique mall. I am unsure of the manufacturer for this set but I did find out that these artist palette shaped plates are luncheon plates. The cups match and have a fabulous pearl-like sheen.

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I bought the creamer and sugar bowls with the tea cups and luncheon plates at a flea market thinking they were a set. Unfortunately, I don’t think they are a matching set because the plates and cups are without markings and the creamer and sugar bowls are marked Nortake.

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I received this tea set from my parents upon graduation from high school. It is a lovely Yixing teapot with a internal strainer that has different scenes painted on the front and back. My favorite feature is the four, very delicate square cups that match. The Bamboo Gongfu Tea Tray was a gift from my best friend that can be used in ceremonial tea.

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This Turkish Coffee Serving Set is one of my absolute favorite pieces! My SIL gave this to me for Christmas (she knows exactly what I like) last year and I can’t get over the beautiful details and miniature size. And just look at that cute dish for Turkish Delight! It may only fit one piece of candy but lets face it, this is probably the best invention ever when it comes to portion control.

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The Commemorative Coronation Teapot was made to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 50 year Reign. My parents were over in England at the time and brought back this teapot for my Grandmother. She has since passed on and now the teapot is mine.

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I always wanted a cast iron teapot and this one was gifted to me by a friend. It is quite heavy but very sturdy and perfect for a pot of tea with friends. I love that it can be heated on the stove.

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I bought this teapot in Maryland at a fine art gallery while on vacation. I took a fancy to this teapot and thought that there was no way I would be able to afford anything in the gallery but of course I turned the pot over to see the price. I couldn’t make out the numbers so I asked the sales lady.  She couldn’t make the price out either so she gave it to me for what it looked like. Wait for it…. $15. Ummm…yeah, I’ll take a one of a kind teapot in a fine art gallery for $15!!

The next day I decided to meander into that gallery again in case they had anymore amazing teapots at a fabulous price. I turned over a few teapots by the artist of the teapot I bought the previous day and every single teapot was $125 or more. Needless to say, I think the price was supposed to be $150. I left the gallery with a bounce in my step but also feeling sorry for the artist that someone botched up her price tag and cost her a few dollars.

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A close up of the unique details and pea pods on the lid.

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Another Yixing teapot but this one is miniature.

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Yixing Teapot

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Winter Dragon Teapot by Teavana

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I am unsure as to the name of this teapot but this one is from Teavana. My hubby bought this for my birthday when we were first married. It has lovely cast iron tea cups in red to match.

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Cast iron tea cups

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Cast iron saucer in the shape of a lily pad

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Of course, if I am going to show you my teapot collection I must show my tea stash. It is a bit unorganized due to much use. Most of my tea is loose, the rest is  in bags and some of it I blended myself.

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Some lovely tea tins

Well, that is about it. I have a whole other shelf of tea but it doesn’t look very pretty so I will for go that picture. Thanks for sticking with me. I am going to have a cup of tea now 🙂

My Living Room Tour: Bohemian Meets Indian

The Look

If you read my recent book review on The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes you will see a lot of design elements from the Bohemian style as well as Indian elements in my living room. I am linking to products that I purchased online in case you want to check them out. So, grab a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy the pictures.

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I am starting out with my favorite spot in our living room, the “Moroccan Sitting Area.” I have a nice faux fur rug, Handmade Decorative Cushion Covers, Indian pouf ottoman cover, Tapestry , a ceramic elephant, a fern and some rosemary. My oldest loves to sit on the ottoman while doing his reading homework and watching  movies. Because he moves all the pillows around to support his back and feet I have dubbed him my “Little Sultan.” If you are interested in learning how to hang a wall tapestry, my hubby has a tutorial HERE, on his blog.

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We had this buffet made here in Pennsylvania by a cabinet maker. On top I have a pair of Better Homes and Garden Lamps (Walmart), painting (Target clearance for $20), a scarf from Mexico, Wooden Leaf Tray made in Hawaii (Goodwill), antique wine pot (Flea Market), Indian Brass Bell (Ten Thousand Villages), Egyptian Bust Ornament (gift) and a recycled beverage container with silk flowers.

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The 4 season Asian Panels were a gift from my Grandmother. She turned 96 this year and gave away most of her furniture and belongings because she moved in with her daughter. I was blessed to inherit these beautiful panels and this Chippendale sofa. Over the back of the sofa I have a Vintage Tribal Kantha Quilt that is tucked into the sides. I recently purchased this set of 5 kantha quilts and scattered them around the house. I ordered a quilt last year but it never arrived from India so when this set arrived at my house I literally danced around the house!

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I just bought this Solid Wood Hand Carved Accent Table . It is the perfect size for a sofa side table.

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A view of my gallery wall with pictures of my babies. Over the back of my very comfy couch I have a thrown a Kantha quilt for added color and pattern.

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Not the best lighting for this picture but this room is rather dark. Our media center (World Market) is hard to see but it is a simple Asian design that we love. The wall scones (Pier 1 Imports) are really pretty and sparkly but I wish they were electric. The candles are not very secure so I would never light them. Definitely a fire hazard.

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I bought this silver tray at a estate sale for $3. I cleaned it using a easy technique I found on Pinterest. I love this urn that I found at Home Goods. They have the greatest selection of clearance items.

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Another view of my favorite spot. Next to it is a lovely antique china cabinet that I also inherited from my grandmother. It houses my teapot collection which I will show you in another post!

How to Make Kombucha for Beginners

To Start

You do not need any special supplies to start making home brewed Kombucha. All you need is a few basic pantry ingredients and a SCOBY with some starter liquid. First, let me explain the SCOBY acronym.

  • S- Symbiotic
  • C-Culture
  • O-of
  • B-Bacteria
  • Y-Yeast

Kombucha is a probiotic that produces healthy  bacteria and introduces it to your gut. Here is a great article to give you all the particulars of how the bacteria is produced. All you really need to know is that the Mother Culture (SCOBY) introduces the bacteria to the tea. The yeast feeds the bacteria and in order to feed the yeast you need sugar. Easy, right?

Supplies

  • Gallon glass/ceramic jar, sterilized in dishwasher or with boiling water or vinegar
  • white sugar (works best), use 1 cup per gallon of water
  • tea of choice, loose or bags
  • filtered water, 1 gallon
  • SCOBY and 1-2 cups of starter liquid

The Process

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Hot Tea in Brewing Vessel

  1. Begin by boiling your water. Add sugar to your brewing vessel and then pour in hot water and tea bags/leaves.
  2. Allow hot tea to cool to ROOM temperature before adding your SCOBY and starter liquid. High temperatures will kill the culture and your brew will be unsuccessful.
  3. Once liquid has cooled, add SCOBY and 1-2 cups of starter liquid. Not enough liquid can cause your brew to mold so a little more is always better. NOTE: Before touching the SCOBY with your hands, run hands under very hot water. This will kill any bacteria on your hand that could contaminate the culture. Also, do NOT use any anti-bacterial soap on your hands or supplies as this could kill the culture. Some prefer to rinse their hands with vinegar.
  4. Cover the vessel with a paper towel, cheese cloth or coffee filter and rubber band. You want to keep out all pests, especially fruit flies.
  5. Place in a warm spot for anywhere from 7 days to 1 month.
  6. You can taste the brew everyday until it reaches the desired taste. The longer it goes the more vinegar-like it will taste. To taste, insert a straw, gently, underneath the newly formed SCOBY. Use one finger to cover the hole of the straw and create suction. Still being gentle, lift the straw out of the vessel.

2nd Fermentation and Bottling Your Booch

If you wish to do a second fermentation you need to remove the SCOBY and some starter liquid for your next batch. If carbonation is your objective you will need to use and a air  tight container to trap the carbon dioxide. Here are a few suggestions for bottling.

  1. Add the fruit or other ingredients for 2nd ferment to the bottle and fill the rest of the way with kombucha.
  2. Put the cap on and place in a covered area for 2-7 days, depending on how you like it. The longer you leave it the more vinegar-like it gets because it will continue to ferment.I put mine in a cabinet in case the bottles decide to explode. I only do 2 days because we like ours on the sweet side.
  3. After achieving your desired taste, place the Kombucha in the fridge to stall fermentation.

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Bottling after 1st fermentation

If you decide to skip the 2nd fermentation, then follow the same steps as above with the exception of leaving the bottle out of the fridge.

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Healthy SCOBY

Our favorite types of fruit to add to Kombucha are strawberries and peaches. I have tried several different combinations but have yet to come up with my own ‘unique’ concoction. Just play around and have fun!

Recycled Sari Christmas Tree Skirt

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The Inspiration

I know it is not Christmas but I thought I might share a sewing project that I just completed. My inspiration photo for this project was this tree skirt from Anthropologie which is no longer available for purchase. Even if it was available I couldn’t bring myself to fork up $278.00 for this beauty. That is why I decided to take my old tree skirt and make it over. The inspiration fabrics used for this skirt are recycled saris that I purchased off of Ebay at an amazing price. So here is what I did…

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Supplies

  • fabric
  • saris
  • thread
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • old tree skirt
  • pom poms

The Process

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I started out with some beautiful Sari fabric that I bought off of Ebay.

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I used this tree skirt as a the base onto which I sewed my fabric.

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I cut a large piece off fabric, pinned it down and used a embroidery stitch on my machine to sew the fabric to the base.

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After all my fabric pieces were added.

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At the end, I decided I to add some pom poms for embellishment.

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Just a few close-ups

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Beauty From Pain: A Grief Journal

 The Journey

I mentioned before that I dealt with a miscarriage within the last 2 years. You can read about my journey through grief and art journaling in the Summer 2016 issue of Stampington and CO Art Journaling. Here is my journal in it’s entirety with the exception of one graphic picture of my baby.

I hope this can be an encouragement to you. Art can help with the healing process but I have found in my life that the only one that can completely heal is Jesus Christ. My heart still hurts but each day the pain becomes a bit more dull.

I would enjoy seeing or hearing about how art has helped you in time of grief. Feel free to email me.

The Album

I made this album using manila mailing envelopes. Pieces of cardstock were cut to the length of the spine. They were folded in half and attached to the envelopes in  accordion style. A pretty simple technique and it allows for all the pages to open completely.

Warning: Picture Heavy

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My Trader Joe’s Style Sauerkraut: Recipe and Some Fermentation Tips

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Left- My Sauerkraut   Right- Trader Joe’s

The Comparison

Well, my sauerkraut is finally done and it didn’t take me quite as long as I thought it would. I estimated it would take about 4-6 weeks on the counter but I tasted it at 3 weeks and I am happy with the outcome. I compared the taste of the two different sauerkrauts and mine is not as crisp as the Trader Joe’s but it has a very nice flavor. I could definitely taste the garlic and I loved the addition of the cucumbers.

I think next time I may omit the pounding of the cabbage and just allow it to sit and macerate. This in turn will keep the cabbage leaves crisper.

The Ingredients

The How To…

  1. Wash outer leaves of cabbage and discard spotted leaves. Slice cabbage thinly. Toss cabbage with 1 tsp of salt and set aside (about 30minutes) to allow juices time to drain.
  2. Slice cucumbers thinly and peel garlic cloves.
  3. After 3o minutes – 1 hour, toss the cabbage again until you have extracted enough liquid from the cabbage. Some sources say this step could take anywhere from 1-3 days to create enough liquid. Just cover, and toss every now and then.
  4. Next, I started layering my ingredients in the jars, packing in between layers to compress mixture and extract more liquid.
  5. Once the jar was filled 2 inches from the very top I pounded once more to make sure there was enough liquid to cover the ingredients.
  6. Place a weight to keep food submerged. Any food exposed to air increases the risk for mold.
  7. Cover and set on the counter for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. (to keep the good bacteria breeding, it needs to be kept out of the fridge until all the stages of fermentation have been completed)

A Few Tips

I am sure some people have different tips that have worked for them during fermentaion but here are a few I have found from my reading and small amount of experience.

  • Use fresh ingredients
  • Make sure you have the right amount of salt
  • Keep all food and floaties below the water line. Use a weight even if you don’t have a ‘fermentation weight’.Be creative (google fermentation weights)
  • Don’t use tap water as the chemicals can interfere with fermentation
  • Keep it covered and don’t touch it
  • Wait patiently

The Vintage Circus: Altered Book Part 1

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The Vintage Circus Cover

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The Inspiration

I have always loved the circus and of course anything vintage so this was a very fun project for me. It  was a great place to explore background texture and bright colors. It all started with a circus kit that I won, full of lovely papers, stickers and images. From there I decided to make an altered book around the theme. I still have more pages to show so be looking for Part 2.

Book Review: Medicinal Herbs

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The Beginning Gardener

This past year was my first time cultivating a garden on our new homestead. I started off small, unsure of how the plants would handle the soil. Also, I was less than confident in my skills as a gardener. My husband likes to call me  “The Plant Hospice.” Back when we lived in New York I had a garden for three years before ‘throwing in the towel.’ My tomatoes caught the blight, my green beans were plundered by bunnies and  my cucumbers seemed to have a insatiable thirsts.

My recent discovery of natural and herbal medicine has set me on the path to growing my own herbs for teas, medicine and cooking. After buying dried herbs for several years I  know I can grow and dry them cheaper. The enjoyment I have received from performing the process from start to finish is also a reason I wish to continue perfecting my brown thumb.

The Review…

Medicinal Herbs By Rosemary Gladstar is a fabulous book not only for the beginning medicine maker but the beginning gardener. Rosemary covers the basics of herb gardening and medicine making techniques such as tinctures, salves, poultices and syrups. Each herb she features has several easy recipes whether for medicinal purposes, food consumption or beauty treatments. While the step by steps have enough details for the beginner I would have proffered to see a few picture tutorials. Overall, this was a easy read full of helpful information. I always find myself reaching for this book despite my large collection of herbal medicine making books.

A few of my favorite makes from this book were pickled garlic (great natural antibiotic), mullien flower ear oil (for ear infections) and Rosemary’s Famous Face Cream (the only face cream I use).