Saturday, May 5, 2012

Baby Kimono

I just had to share! Heidi is having a Chinese kindergarten graduation party for Conner and she asked me to make Clover "something stylish to wear--and sleeveless." I had so much fun today, I hope it fits.

Since Clover doesn't like long dresses when she crawls--who would?--I made it extra short with little panties to match.

I made the pattern up from a photo, and I had pieces of fabric (can you imagine that!) and scraps of ribbon and bias tape, so the whole thing cost me only a fun Saturday afternoon!
Hope you like it, Clover!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I really want to work on a post for spices and herbs, AND I want to put up a new topic for the week,  BUT, I NEED MORE TIME.  Can I request and extension please?  Let's just say, we have the rest of this week to work on Kelly's topic and then on Sunday I will post the new topic for that week.  Is that ok?  Let me know.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Medicinal Uses of Culinary Herbs

 I was asked to give a class on herbs to the local women of the Relief Society. I am excited at the opportunity and a little nervous. I love to share with others what I have learned, but, I want to make sure I appeal to many peoples lifestyles. So, I will share with you a little of what I will share with them, mainly on culinary herbs and there medicinal values. I have planted 80 herbs, 8 different types of herbs, hoping to get some little sprouts by the time May 8th roles around. These little sprouts will go home with each of the women who would like one.

 So, I first labeled all my dixie 3 oz. cups with initials on the bottoms to know what herbs are in each cup.

Next I filled the cups with soil and watered them with about 3 - 4 T. of water.

Then I placed about 3 seeds in each cup. . . .

And covered them with a little dirt.

Last I covered them loosely with some plastic to keep the moisture in yet enough air way that they don't mold.

I planted Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Chamomile, Parsley, and Garlic.
It is surprising what these common kitchen herbs can offer to the taste buds and to feed to body medicinally.
Mom covered Basil in her blog, so I will refer you to hers for information on that. But, it is highly taken for granted. It's not just a pesto ingredient, but, great as a tea for indigestion, constipation, chest congestion, and bronchitis. In a bath it can soothe tired muscles!
Camomile is such a lovely little flower. I remember walking through an old and abandoned train station on my mission in Argentina. I kept thinking the smell was familiar. I looked down and there covered up and down the tracks was camomile! Lovely! It's greek name means "ground apple". That is a very good description of the flavor of the tea. Apple-y! The flowers is the part that is used. Fresh or dried make a tea and it is good for topical use for soothing skin that is irritated, rashy, heat rash, eczema, cuts, and sunburns. Drink the tea and it is good for indigestion of a nervous origin, insomnia, mood swings, and irritability. It also soothes the membranes in the digestive tract.
Garlic is said to originate from India and central Asia and was probably brought over to Britain by the Romans. Garlic can be in just about anything savory. Meats, vegetables, breads. In my schooling of natural healing it is said that 4 cloves of garlic is equal to a dose of antibiotic. I have found garlic to be powerfully effective. It is a great antiviral. It helps with the flu, coughs, chest infection, bronchitis, and low immunity. It also helps as a supplement for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a blood thinning remedy for circulatory diseases. Garlic is a good and bad name in our house. The kids know it is good for them and will help, but, sometimes it's hard to chew and swallow. :) 
Oregano has a strong flavor that lends itself well to Italian recipes and some Mexican foods. We use the leaves of this herb.  As a tea it helps headaches, menstrual cramps, insomnia, and digestion of rich foods. Also, as with Basil, it will soothe tired and aching muscles and help with rheumatic pain.  Soak a clean cotton cloth in the tea and lay it over the cuts and wounds that are swollen, it will reduce the swelling and help clean the wound. Keep the compress warm.  It is not advised to use oregano medicinally while you are pregnant. As a flavoring in foods, it is fine.
Parsley has a strong flavor as well. Used often as a garnish. It's name in greek means celery rock. The leaves are used in a tea to help with indigestion, fluid retention, and gout. It improves the appetite and improves the assimilation of nutrients. The leaves are high in vitamin C and iron. For colic (gas pains) for people from age infant to 100+, make a tea to drink. Drinking the tea also dries a mother's milk for those mother's wishing to wean their child. Mom makes a great smoothie called Chlorophyll Cocktail with parsley, alfalfa, and pineapple juice. It is an amazing drink, full of nutrition! and amazing flavor. My kids love it! and so do I!
Rosemary means "dew of the sea" because it originates from the rocky coastlines of the south Mediterranean. In the 16th Century, branches of rosemary were tied with ribbons and given to the wedding guests or as New Year tokens of good fortune. Rosemary is most often used with meat
dishes. I love rosemary with roasted potatoes, garlic, and salt! YUMMY! A tea made from dried or fresh leaves help headaches, migraines, tiredness, indigestion, and gas. The leaves put in a bath are invigorating to the body, also soothing for aches and pains.
Sage in Latin means to save or to be in good health. The leaves are used in meat and cheese dishes commonly. I always associate sage with stuffing and poultry. A tea of sage made hot will open the pores and cause profuse sweating, the tea made cold will control excessive sweating. Sage is great for those with digestion weakness or ailments. It is especially good for gas, lack of appetite, constipation and being overweight.
Thyme is one of my favorite plants in my garden. It has tiny leaves that smell this wonderful lemony smell. Thyme comes from the greek word thumus, meaning courage. I love that! It goes well with all meats or root vegetables. I love it in my French Onion Soup! Making a tea from the fresh or dried leaves helps sore throats, coughs, colds, shortness of breath, and hoarseness. It can be mixed with onion and honey and cooked for 20 min. to make a tea for whooping cough. I used it when my house was full of whooping cough. It really made a difference for me! It is said that it works as an antiseptic in this form. That means it stops microorganisms from growing. 
One of the best places to buy your herbs, other than getting them from your own yard, is at a health food store. Most health food stores have a bulk herb section that will allow you to buy those herbs. Look for these there. They are often cheaper and a much higher quality flavor and potency than that of the grocery store. 
I didn't even mention the oils of these plants. They are magical in their uses medicinally. I hope you were able to learn something new, I did! Now when you look at these herbs on your shelves, you can find more than one way to use them!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Growing, Selecting And Using Basil

Basil is truly an incredible herb. It is enjoyed for its rich and spicy, mildly peppery flavor with a trace of mint and clove. Basil is an annual herb belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae (Labiatae) and like others in this family, basil can be identified by its square, hairy stems. There are over 40 known varieties of basil of which Ocimum basilicum or Sweet Basil is the most commonly known and grown. Ocimum is from a Greek verb that means "to be fragrant." The foliage is easily bruised; just brushing against its foliage releases its wonderfully spicy fragrance. Varieties can grow to a height of 2 1/2 feet and are about as wide. Foliage colors range from pale to deep green, vivid purple and even purple laced with goldish yellow foliage. Texture varies from silky and shiny to dull and crinkly. Flowers appear in summer as whorls on the ends of branches and are either white or lavender. Some of the unusual fragrances and flavors include: cinnamon, lemon and anise. Basil is native to India and Asia having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. It is grown there as a perennial in those warm, tropical climates.
With so many attributes it isn't any wonder that basil has become increasingly popular over the years. Being a member of the mint family, it is not surprising to see it recommended for digestive complaints. So instead of an after dinner mint, try sipping an after dinner cup of basil tea to aid digestion and dispel flatulence. Herbalists have recommended basil for years for stomach cramps, vomiting and constipation. Basil has been described as having a slight sedative action, which would explain why it is sometimes recommended for headaches and anxiety.


Basil is surprisingly easy to grow. It is easily grown from seed regardless of whether it is started indoors or broadcast outside in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Basil is very tender and sensitive to frost injury. For indoor culture, sow seeds in a flat, and cover them with a moistened, sterile mix to a depth not more than twice the size of the seed. Space seeds 3/8 to 1/2 inch apart in the flat. Maintain a soil temperature of approximately 70 degrees F. Once germination begins, at 5 to 7 days, the plantlets must be kept warm at 70 degrees F or above and the soil must be kept moist. When seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves, transplant them to 2 inch pots.
Basils grow best in a sunny location and need a well-drained, rich soil. Plants started indoors and hardened off in May can be planted outside to their permanent location and spaced about 12 inches apart. Since moisture is important to a good basil crop, mulching the area will not only discourage weeds but will maintain the moisture level of the soil keeping the plant healthy. Basil prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Fertilize basil sparingly as this decreases the fragrant oils. To encourage a bushy, healthy plant and to maximize production, don't be afraid to prune basil. Pinch off the flower buds as soon as they begin to emerge. Basil will usually have to be pruned every 2 to 3 weeks.


The ideal time to harvest basil and other herbs that are to be dried, is on a sunny morning immediately after the dew has evaporated and before the day becomes too warm. When harvesting basil, cut it back to about 1/4 inch above a node. Leave enough foliage on the plant so it can continue growing healthy.
There are several methods you can use to dry basil; all methods are relatively simple. First dry basil in small bunches by hanging them upside down in a dark, dry, warm, well ventilated room. Use twine, rubber bands or twist ties to hold the bundles together. Second, you can dry basil leaves on screens placed outside in the shade on a hot day. Cover them with cheesecloth to keep the leaves from blowing away. Still another method of drying is on a low setting in the microwave. Lay basil on a paper towel and cover it with a paper towel. It could take up to 3 minutes to dry basil in the microwave. Stop periodically throughout the drying process to turn the basil to help promote quicker drying and to avoid burning. It is very difficult to dry herbs without burning them because of hot spots in the microwave. If you smell the herb as it's drying, chances are you have lost many of the fragrant oils. After drying the basil, store in a sealed, preferably dark container away from the heat.
In addition to the drying methods mentioned above, you can also preserve basil by freezing it in ice cubes (nearest to fresh taste when added to cooked foods), putting fresh leaves in vinegar or oil (most useful in salad dressing), and blending it with oil, cheese, and pine nuts, (walnuts or sunflower seeds) to make pesto. Pesto freezes well for six months. Be sure to "seal" your pesto with a layer of olive oil. Dark opal basil makes a beautiful, tangy purple vinegar. Putting herbs in vinegar captures their flavor for the months when fresh herbs are not available.


Basils can be used in the herb garden, flower garden, as borders plants, in containers, raised beds, and in hanging baskets.
Each variety of basil can add an accent to a garden: dark opal offers stunning purple foliage and mauve flowers; the miniature or bush basil is especially attractive for borders; the ruffled varieties (O. basilicum 'PurpleRuffles' and O. basilicum 'Green RuMes') offer unique textures.
Bring the wonderful fragrance of basil indoors by incorporating them in potpourris, sachets, and dried winter bouquets. The heavily scented opal basil and the sweet scented thyrsiflora basil are particularly good. Other fragrant varieties include: lemon, anise and cinnamon basils.
The best flavor is found in fresh leaves, but frozen and dried leaves are worth the effort also. The leaves can be used cooked or raw. Crush, chip or mince the leaves and add to recipes, or add whole leaves to salads. Sprigs of basil make a wonderfully aromatic garnish. The flowers are beautiful, edible, and also make a unique garnish.
Basil is traditional in Italian, Mediterranean andThai cookery. It is superb with veal, lamb, fish, poultry, whitebeans, pasta, rice, tomatoes, cheese and eggs. It blends well with garlic, thyme and lemon. Basil adds zip to mild vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, spinach and to the soups, stews and sauces in which these vegetables appear.

Basil Species and Varieties
Ocimum basilicum Sweet BasilWhiteDeep greenExcellent in salads, vinegars, pesto
O. basilicum 'Crispum' Lettuce-leaf BasilWhiteVery large, crinkledExcellent in salads
O. basilicum 'Green Ruffles' Green Ruffles BasilWhiteLime grean, serrated, ruffled, much longer than sweet basilExcellant omamantal good accent plant, borders
O. basilicum 'Minimum' Bush BasilWhite1-1 1/2 in.Dwarf, compact foml; good for pot culture and borders
O. basilicum 'Purple Ruffles' Purple Ruffles BasilLavenderDark maroon, shinyStriking omamental; good accent plant, borda, excellent in vinegar and as a garnish
O. basilicum 'Purpurascens' Dark Opal BasilLavenderDeep purple, shinyStriking omamantal; excellent in vinegar and as a garnish
O. basilicum 'Thyrsiflora' Thyrsiflora BasilWhite and deep lavenderBright green, smoothVery sweet fragrance; used in Thai cooking
O. kilimandscharicum Camphor BasilWhite, red anthersGreenCamphor scented; tea taken for stomachaches and colds; not used in cooking
O. sanctum Holy BasilLavenderGray-green, coarseSweet fragrance; excellent omamental; not used in cooking

Jeanne Youger-Comaty. "Growing, Selecting, and Using Basil".  Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet.   Ohio State University.  April 28, 2012.  <>