Saturday, November 27, 2021

Sacred Suppers ~ Snippets

 

Dearest homemaker,

Let us not underestimate the powers of love and spiritual growth that a home cooked meal served side-by-side provides for the family. There is nothing like a satisfied taste bud to bring about joy. There is beauty in this time around the table, when hands are clasped and a prayer of gratitude is given. This valuable age-old tradition, is a sacred part of the “old paths” of the New Testament believers who also gathered in one accord. The “fruit” that came forth from that fellowship was nothing less than amazing… Which blessings will be bestowed on your family when you take the time to serve a meal around the kitchen table?

🍞 🧺 🕯 

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers…. and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”
 ~Acts 2:42-43b



Monday, November 15, 2021

DIY All Purpose Floral Salve and Lovely Lip Gloss ~ Great Gifts


“If we allow our "high creativity" to remain alive, we will never be bored. We can pray, standing in line at the super market. Or we can be lost in awe at all the people around us, their lives full of glory and tragedy, and suddenly we will have the beginnings of a painting, a story, a song.” 
~ Madeleine L'Engle

There are times in a homemaker's life where she may feel stagnant and dull. Though this is far from true, I have found that living creatively and maintaining little projects along the way, add an immense amount of joy to the homemaking role. THERE IS NEVER TIME TO BE BORED! In this case, I have been looking at all my beautiful dried flowers with a desire to use them in a lovely way. This salve came to mind as all of these favorites are excellent medicinal herbs for women's skin care as well as quite aromatic for the feminine heart.  I’m excited to share this “ode to femininity” salve which will make for an all-purpose skin healer and lip gloss. I’ve named it my “floral salve”.  

 

To make this, I placed an equal amount of each of the following flowers to a clean jar (you can use any size jar you want in order to get the yield you want). Leave about 1 - 2 inches headspace at the top of the jar to leave room for the oil to cover the herbs. 

- 1 part of dried rose petals
- 1 part of dried chamomile
- 1 part of dried lavender buds
- 1 part of dried calendula

Next I poured in extra virgin olive oil (you can also use a good quality almond oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil and/or grape-seed oil).  Cover the flowers in the oil by at least 1-2 inches (making sure they are completely submerged the entire time. To keep the herbs covered, I usually shake the jar once a day or so). 

This is a very flexible recipe and I encourage you to use what you have. If your apothecary has lavender and chamomile, just use those. With the addition of essential oils at the end, you will still have a fine and worthy salve! I am the queen of making do and I encourage you to do the same if necessary (during certain times in my budget, it is necessary). 


Screw the lid on firmly and let the mixture steep in a warm, sunny spot for 2 - 3 weeks (you can cover the jar of oil with a light cloth if you want to avoid direct sunlight). I usually place my infusions on my kitchen sill. When the time is up, strain the solids through a fine cheesecloth or a piece of thin cotton/muslin to remove all particles. I found that double straining with a second time through cotton works best. Pour into a clean, dry jar and measure out the amount of oil you have.


In a double boiler, gently heat your (measured out) floral infused oil for a few minutes.

(To bypass excess clean up, save up some of your discarded canned food tins to make a disposable double boiler (that means you don't need to clean up the wax residue after - you just toss your can!). Just add a few inches of water into a sauce pan and place your clean can inside. Add the wax to the can and you have a makeshift double boiler!)


Add in 1/4 c. of beeswax for every 1 cup of oil you measured (you can also add in some shea butter at this point for extra moisturizing abilities).


Stir occasionally until everything is gently melted together. I use a wooden skewer to stir so that it can be thrown away after for easy clean up.Remove your mixture from heat.  I divided my mixture in half at this point so that I could do half as all-purpose skin salves and half as tinted lip glosses. 

*Now is also the time to add in some coloring if you would like to make a tinted lip gloss that is shown in the pictures. It isn't necessary to add in the color, but it is fun. Once your beeswax and oil solution is melted, simply add in some lipstick (there is no ratio to this, just go by sight). I used an all-natural lipstick color that my daughter purchased which was too dark for her. Once it was added to the solution, it was a beautiful hue. But to be honest, it is very light on the lips (so don't expect a dark color, it is a lovely light gloss). This is also a great way to use up the bottom of the lipstick tube if you are a lipstick wearer. Just go in there with a toothpick or something to remove the excess and melt it into the warm solution. I used a whole tube of lipstick for one cup of floral oil. 


Once your mixture is removed from heat, stir it a bit to cool it off as you don't want to add the essential oils to a hot mixture (it will evaporate the oils). But you don't want it too cooled off as the oil mixture will start to set into a salve (if this happens, just warm it up again)!
 
Now -- stir in the essential oils. For the basic salve recipe I would add 10 drops of your favorite floral essential oil to every cup of your infused oil to give it a stronger potency of medicinal benefits and a longer shelf life.

For instance, I had a yield of 2 cups of oil. I used the following essential oils which are excellent for our skin:

- 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of chamomile essential oil
- 5 drops of geranium essential oil
- 5 drops of rose absolute (you can use rose essential oil if you have the luxury or Palmarosa essential oil)

This equals 20 drops of oil - AKA -  10 drops of essential oil for every cup of floral oil used.


I usually stir the solution for another minute before pouring the warm liquid into lip gloss tins (0.5 ounce), salve tins (1.0 ounces), small canning jars or even recycled baby food jars. The salve will firm up within the hour or so.


This all-purpose skin salve can be used for many concerns such as bites, burns, stings, rashes, cuts, inflammation, chapped skin, wounds and/or dry skin conditions. It should last for six months to one year if stored in a cool, dark location. The lip gloss can simply be used as a lip moisturizer. I think these would also make lovely gifts for the sweet women in your life.

Happy herbal homemaking! 

❤ JES


Thursday, October 28, 2021

A True Home ~ Snippets

A true home...

built with prayers, sweat and tears,

a place to alleviate life's trials and fears.

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
~ Matthew 7:25

🤎

Dearest homemaker, continue to quietly build up your home, your efforts are never in vain. It takes guts, strength and determination but with His help you shall triumph through the bad weather.

Pictured: Savory spinach “parable”  pie 🥧

Monday, October 25, 2021

September 2021 Homemaking Newsletter (Autumn Nesting)


“I was brought up to believe in the modern myth that housekeeping is only drudgery, and the housewife is a downtrodden martyr. I thought that any seemingly contented housewives were only ‘making the best of it.’ When I first began housekeeping in my own home, I felt that I had entered the ranks of the mistreated.

After a time I began to realize, to my amazement, that I didn’t feel at all downtrodden, and that I was thoroughly enjoying myself. I began to look at other domestic ‘martyrs’ from a new angle, and I have learned many things.

I have found that there is romance in housework: and charm in it; and whimsy and humor without end. I have found that the housewife works hard, of course–but likes it. Most people who amount to anything do work hard, at whatever their job happens to be. The housewife’s job is home-making, and she is, in fact, ‘making the best of it’; making the best of it by bringing patience and loving care to her work; sympathy and understanding to her family; making the best of it by seeing all the fun in the day’s incidents and human relationships.

The housewife realizes that home-making is an investment in happiness. It pays everyone enormous dividends. There are huge compensations for the actual labor involved…

There are unhappy housewives, of course. But there are unhappy stenographers and editresses and concert singers. The housewife whose songs I sing as I go about my work, is the one who likes her job.”

~ Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…”
~ Ecclesiastes 9:10a

Greetings gentle reader! I've been homemaking with all my heart because He said to. Do you join me in the Titus 2 forces? If so, perhaps you would care to read along in another monthly update in which we chat about books read, things watched, homemaking projects and any other ponderings which do not fit into its own post. It is simply an old-fashioned homemaking newsletter. 


As we enter fall, we did our final preserving of "meat in the summer”...

I’ve processed 14 pints of freshly-caught-by-husband, bluefin-tuna. I pressure canned it with homegrown jalapeños, Himalayan pink salt, freshly ground pepper and topped the jars with olive oil. I can’t wait to open that first lid… HERE is the instructions for pressure canning the tuna that I used.

"There be four things which are little upon the earth
but they are exceeding wise:
The ants are a people not strong,
yet they prepare their meat in the summer…"
~ Proverbs 30:24-25


Sometimes a quiet morning spent measuring, pouring and packaging is tender therapy for all the loud things of this world. When you infuse this time with prayer, it can be powerful therapy. 

I’ve made these botanical perfumes as gifts for some lovely women in our church. I call them "relaxing rose perfumes". 

To prepare this all-natural essential oil blend, place 3 tiny dried rose buds inside a 10 ml glass roll-on bottle. Add 2 tsp. almond oil (or carrier oil of choice), 3 drops of geranium essential oil, 2 drops of Peru balsam essential oil, 1 drop of lavender (or frankincense) essential oil and 1 drop of sandalwood (or patchouli) essential oil. Top off the bottle with more carrier oil if necessary. Put on roller cap/lid and shake well. Your “relaxing rose” perfume is ready to use!

And now, you have also successfully bottled up some lovely aroma-therapy!


I've also begun infusing some of my favorite flowers in olive oil to make a lovely, floral, feminine salve. Here is the tutorial. These too, make lovely gifts!


As you can see, as the garden dwindled down, I became involved in many herbal homemaking projects. These prairie candles were so enjoyable to make and I shared the tutorial HERE in case you are interested. 


I've also been enjoying some autumn nesting… There are many methods to embracing the change of seasons in the home. It is probably one of the most enjoyable of the homemaking arts! My preference is in embellishing with everyday “replacements”. I’ve been a little squirrel packing away fall treasures in anticipation of my favorite season. Here is how I’m infusing autumn into our home:

- I’ll be replacing my every day dishes with this thrift-store “curated” collection of plates in browns, yellows & oranges. There are four different designs but I think they “match” beautifully.

- The cottage printed plate will replace a summery rose plate I have hanging on the wall. This will bring “warmth“ into the kitchen (shown in action on second-to-last picture on this post).

- I’ve collected a few secondhand baking dishes at thrift stores in browns. I will be using these to serve our meals. One is a vintage Pyrex & the other is a brown glass dish which came in a sweet custom-sized wicker serving basket!

- I have brought out my beeswax tapers & brass candlestick holders to enjoy once again.

- I’ve saved our butternut squash harvest to make our favorite soup come October. In the meantime, they are a lovely seasonal centerpiece.

- I will now be using the autumn inspired no-sew “prairie napkins” I made (shared below). It’s always fun to introduce new linens into the fold.

- I’ll be removing the white summer linen sheets and bedding and replacing them with a darker print sheet set and heavier down duvet.

- And lastly, I placed all my autumn inspired (thrifted) fabrics in a basket in order to prepare some projects for the home (this is written for accountability 😉). I had recently done a deep cleaning with some reorganizing. When I went through my closet, I saw all the secondhand sheets & flannels I found for great prices. But it isn’t great when it becomes clutter! Therefore, this will be my seasonal sewing basket (now you are my witnesses). I must produce!

What are your cozy home plans?


I repurposed another thrifted vintage fitted sheet into a set of “autumn prairie” napkins (without sewing)... I’m in love with this “snip-and-rip” process! I had made a set for spring and have used them constantly. I can’t wait to bring in the “new” fall collection. It’s so enjoyable to prepare handcrafted items for your home each season (especially when it costs next to nothing).

When I had purchased the secondhand sheet set, I really only wanted the flat sheet (I’ll share that project once finished) but since the fitted sheet came with it, I was obligated to put it to use (it’s in my frugal OCD nature 😉).

This set of napkins took me five minutes to measure and rip-to-size along with a slow evening spent pulling off excess threads. 

A step-by-step tutorial is shared HERE if you are interested.

These simple napkins give me such pleasure! To turn something obsolete into something useful plain gives me the happy homemaking chills ✨ have you felt that thrill I’m speaking of? when you repurpose little items to embellish your home life?

When purchasing something brand new and mass-produced, there is truly no comparison to the joy one gets from creating something from a castaway nothing.

“…it was not what one had that was important,
but what one made.” 
~ Elizabeth Goudge


I have also been baking up a storm. It seems like the moment the seasons change is the moment that oven becomes alive again after the heat of summer. I always double the recipe for my cookies and freeze the extra for impromptu company. It comes in so handy! 

“It is true that all men are created in the image of God, but Christians are supposed to be conscious of that fact, and being conscious of it should recognize the importance of living artistically, aesthetically, and creatively, as creative creatures of the Creator. If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry, and be sensitive to beauty, responsive to what has been created for us.” 
~ Edith Schaeffer

Perhaps this explains my love for pretty plates, lace curtains and dainty linens. It is a practical form of homemaking art that we can adorn our homes with. Why limit beauty to just paintings and portraits on the walls? Some of us like to sprinkle it into all our little tasks and rituals as a daily act of love. With the existence of thrift stores, it is possible to be a domestic artist in even the leanest of household budgets.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much…”
~ Luke 16:10

Pictured: freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (another work of homemaking art ☺️).


As far as books and movies go, my daughter and I have been on a fall frenzy and cozied up with popcorn and rented a Hallmark film called "Autumn Dreams". It was sweet and everything you expect in a Hallmark movie. We've also been reading lots of old home decoration books that we have found thrifting. It truly is a time for nesting. 

P.S. I added some new labels in our Etsy shop this month! These dainty calico printed labels are 2.5 inches (and are waterproof and removable) and could be used in so many ways: pantry labels, canning labels, homemade product labels, crafting labels, etc. Just wanted to share!

Pictured below: "Autumn nesting"... the replacement of that one “cottage” plate on the wall turns summer into cozy fall… 


Dearest homemaker, 

Now more than ever, the home needs to be a place of peace. Perhaps even a place of Aw and wonder as we face such ugliness in the world. The home should feel safe, comforting and most importantly, sacred. That each person who enters knows they have entered a refuge from the current reality. It is the way to show our children that THIS is what is “normal” and good. That there is so much difference in these walls from the world’s that their souls will instinctively know that God resides here and they will have a strong desire to be here also.

"My people will dwell in a peaceful habitation,
In secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places..."
~ Isaiah 32:18


With that being said, what about you dear reader? What wholesome and lovely things have you been reading, watching and/or working on? As always, recommendations are much appreciated as hearing about your homemaking endeavors always inspires me! Also, I have been having trouble with my links. If you decide to click on any of them, would you mind letting me know if they are proper (in other words, do you find you end up where you expect to)? I am trying to troubleshoot this... but in the meantime I'm...

Happily homemaking,
♡ JES


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