Wednesday, 24 June 2009

10 Top Uses for Lavender

This is a list of my 10 favourite uses for lavender, both the flowers and oil. As i mentioned in my earlier post No Room For Towels I grow and use lavender A LOT and thought I would share some uses for this wonderful and versatile herb. If you want me to expand on anything just leave a comment and I'll post more information for you, otherwise I fear this post would get ridiculously long if I wrote a "How To" for each of my suggestions :)

In no particular order:

1. Sleep pillows. Well known for it's relaxing and mildly sedative properties it makes wonderful little pillows to smell at bedtime when your trying to drift off to sleep. You can also add hops to the stuffing as they work well with lavender and are thought to be good for combating insomnia.

2. Lavender Sachets. Fab for scenting draws, wardrobes and stored clothes as well as being a good deterrent for fabric moths who hate the stuff. It's also a good way of recycling scraps of fabric.

3. Cleaning Spray. This is a simple all purpose cleaning spray that I first saw on "How Clean Is Your House" a while ago, and I now use in place of my white vinegar recipe. Lavender is antibacterial so is really good for cleaning; 1 pint of warm water, 2 tbsp of bicarbonate of soda and 10 - 20 drops of lavender oil (depending on how strong you want it to smell), mix in a spray bottle and use.

4. Lavender water, made by infusing the dried herb in boiling water and leaving until cool, then straining and bottling. It is fab for healing minor cuts, grazes and burns, can be drunk hot or cold as a calming tea and remedy for all manor of ailments from digestive problems to colic, can be used as an antibacterial mouthwash, added to the bath water, used as a hair rinse, even added to your cooking. I keep mine in the fridge alongside my rosewater infusion as the coolness also makes for a good compress for headaches.

5. Lavender biscuits (much like my dandelion biscuit recipe found here) just substitute the dandelions and infusion for dried lavender flowers and lavender infusion.

6. Lavender Soap. Adding the oil to a melted soap base will utilize the properties of lavender for washing. If you want it to have exfoliating properties just add the flowers themselves as well.

7. Pressing the flowers as they dry for use in arts and crafts work well as they are substantial, do not fall apart and are not as delicate as a lot of other flowers. The single flowers dried also work well added to homemade paper and smell lovely too.

8. Incense. Burn the dried flowers alone for meditation or add to incenses for any number of outcomes. I always use lavender in my multi-purpose incense as well as a whole host of other recipes.

9. Lavender Salve. Fab for use, like the water, on minor cuts, grazes and burns, lumps and bumps when the kids fall over and great for preventing and helping to heal nappy rash. It's very cheap and simple to make, you heat, in a bowl over water, some petroleum jelly. Add the lavender flowers and gently infuse for a good 30 mins, strain the liquid and leave to cool in a little jar or pot. Once cooled use as needed.

10. Candles. If you make spell candles yourself at home like I do then the addition of oils and herbs into the wax not only means you don't need to annoint the candle itself and/or roll it in herbs but can become a powerful tool for the working at hand. If adding the dried herbs though be careful not to add too many as you wouldn't want them to catch fire and become a hazard.

Hopefully there is something there for everyone to try now that the lavender is in full bloom and ready for picking. If you are lucky enough to have access to some that you can pick don't forget to dry it too as it lasts well, keeps it's scent and the harvesting encourages new growth in the plant, so you may just get even more flowers right through to September.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Zoo Day

Yesterday Beth and I went to the Zoo for a "Starting School" information and fun day, leaving the boys at home to take care of themselves. It's the first time us girls have gone out like that in ages and we had such a great day. It was really well organized with a ton of activities for the kids to do and of course entry was free for the day. Barring Beth being sick on the bus on both journeys it was really good fun.
Here's Beth covered in stickers in front of a snoozing lion. She loves lions, her favourite toy is this little lion she has had for years. All the fur from it's mane has been pulled out, it stinks of drool and sweat and has been stitched back together so many times.
The only animal pictures I have are of the lions and tigers because she decided that, although we were at the zoo she didn't want to go and see any other animals as she was having too much fun at all the activity tents and playground. At one point she did ask if she could go and see some pigs though and was quite disappointed to discover that there were none there, being as that we weren't at a farm.

"Princess Bethany"
"Dinosaur Bethany"

There was also a dressing up pile, the dinosaur costume was definitely the best even though it took a while to get her into it, lol.

All in all a fab day, she had fun, I had fun, it was gloriously sunny, our picnic didn't get too squashed and she cannot wait to start school. A resounding success! The only down side was the state of the house when we got home ;)

Monday, 22 June 2009

My Solstice

We had a really good midsummer. My husband is an atheist so usually I am on my own celebrating the seasonal cycles, though he has come to respect my craft, this year he even wished me a Happy Solstice! I spent the day with my hubby and kids in and around the house, saying a few blessings in the garden. Having decorated my altar a couple of days ago I made a sun disc (behind the chalice) of card and sunflower seeds - which was really quite calming and therapeutic - painting it in yellows and oranges as a sun symbol for the solstice. During the evening I drank sweet mead and did some arty stuff including the below painting of my fey guide. I know it's not that great but I am totally rubbish at painting body forms and faces so it's a bit cartoony but will serve as I have been meaning to do it for ages.

It's been lovely to read about everyone elses Soltices, sounds like you all had good ones too.

BB x

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Midsummer Musings

5 things I have to be thankful for:

1. my wonderful family; husband, children, parents, grandparents, aunts and cousins (not forgetting our cat and rat)
2. always being provided for; it may often be tighter than tight, particularly at the moment, but we always get by and have what we need.
3. my friends both online and offline; I'm quite a shy person in 'real life' (I've had a lot of bad experiences in the past) but the people who are my friends I hold very dear to my heart and will keep them there forever.
4. good health; and I don't just mean mine :)
5. you guys; who have been there for the last few months as I've made a go of this whole blogging thing, who have commented and messaged me (on twitter and/or facebook) with such lovely things to say about my blog and who have been writing such wonderful blogs themselves, that I have enjoyed reading immensely. Thankyou )O(

This brings me quite nicely to this weeks wisdom, something which I think we are all guilty of from time to time, I know I certainly am:

It is all too easy to stress and worry about the things we don't have, so remember to give thanks for and appreciate the things we do have - it's probably more than you realise.

Worry Dolls

Anyone who follows me on Twitter may have read my tweet the other day about how I intended on making some worry dolls. Well these are my take on them and I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. They are super simple, no arms or legs but are pretty sweet and quite small (the length of 1/2 a cocktail stick). As you can see I made 6 in different colours and each has a different gemstone chip attached to it's middle, from left to right they are peridot, amethyst, citrine, garnet, carnelian and sodalite.

I decided to make them to clear my mind, and the intricate work and fun I had doing it in itself helped to ease my worries, of which are plentiful at this current moment in time. My daughter also loves them and has been begging me to make her a set too, which I will do when I have the time. Plus I need to make a little pouch to keep them in.
Yesterday I went arts and crafts shopping, and among other things picked up the above reel of mini ivy leaves, which I thought would probably make some nice headresses/circlets. Hopefully I will experiment with it soon.

On a side note I want to wish everyone a Happy Summer Solstice (I will post another day about what we've been up to today) and a Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there past, present and future.

Love and light to you all x

Friday, 19 June 2009

No Room For Towels

It's finally that time again. I spent about 15 mins outside this morning harvesting my lavender and to look at the 'bush' you wouldn't know it. There is so much more outside, so hopefully I'll get another couple of good crops in the coming weeks when the newer flowers get ready to pick.

I absolutely love Lavender, it is probably my favourite herb because it is so versatile and can be used for so much, not only spells but cooking, cosmetics, medicines and cleaning too. I am lucky enough to live in a house that has a well established beautiful mass of it in the garden and it produces a wonderful crop every year.

I pick and bunch the lavender up (today's lot made 8 large bunches) and hang it in my airing cupboard to dry along with all the rose petals I can spread out in there. It makes the cupboard smell gorgeous, unfortunately though there is no room for my towels which sort of get shoved to one side for a couple of months while all my herbs dry.

I'll try to remember later on to do a post with some of my favourite uses for dried lavender, because I really do use these beautiful, fragrant flowers for just about everything :)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A Quick Update

First off a quick apology to anyone who I'm following that is not on my link list of blogs I follow. I will get round to updating the list soon, it's just been a hectic time at the mo' hence the lack of recent posts.

Not sure why but I'm just knackered at the moment, I actually fell asleep for 45 mins after I got the baby into bed today, I think things have finally caught up with me as it's been non-stop and very stressfull.

I went for a open day thingy at the primary school that Beth has been accepted to for September. It was so great to see her getting on with the children and teachers, I just can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. I know all us mums say it all the time, but it kinda hit me the other day that my baby girl, isn't a baby any longer. She isn't even a toddler any longer (and I'm not sure when that happened), she's growing up, and doing it so fast and becoming such a beautiful, kind hearted person, I'm so proud of her :)

Finally I'm happy to announce that I won £10 on the lottery tonight, nothing major I know, but after so many days of bad luck and just general crap, today at least I seem to be heading in a upwards direction.

Blessings all xx

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Natural Fly/Insect Trap

Natural Fly/Insect Trap:

In a clean glass jar put a generous squirt of washing up liquid and mix with some sweet vinegar such as apple cider vinegar. Using an elastic band or some string attach a piece of netting or some cling film with a few holes punched in it with a pencil for the flies to get in.

The idea is that they think the sweet vinegar is something yummy to eat, fly into the jar and get trapped in the jar because of the washing up liquid in the fluid.

Weekly Wisdom

If life gives you lemons
make lemonade

We all have times in our lives when things go a little (or a lot) sour, one thing after another seem to send us spiralling downhill and it feels like life is out to get you. You start wondering "What have I done wrong" and just can't see the way out. But what I have learnt and what I believe is that these 'lemons' in life are sent to test us on our journey, they ultimately make us who we are, and in experiencing the negative we can appreciate the positive. Things will always get better but usually the universe needs to see you take some action to acheive this. Just as you need to back up a spell with positive action in the physical, to better your situation you often need to take some steps, no matter how small to turn those seemingly bad things into positives. These 'bad things', and I use the term loosely as a figure of speech as I think that things are generally not 'bad' as they all have a purpose on our path, can be turned into 'good things' and with a little effort often reap the biggest rewards.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Twitter Button

Just a quick not to say that I noticed my twitter button wasn't working so have finally got round to putting in a new one (left hand column under the blog archive). Feel free to follow me and as long as you are 'real', not automated, not spamming and not trying to convince me to sign up to anything or get me to look at "HOT!" pictures of yourself then I'll be sure to check out your page and follow you back x

~got the button from here~

Monday, 8 June 2009

World Ocean Day

Well, it's World Ocean Day today and at cinemas over the UK you can see "The End Of The Line" to help raise awareness about the Oceans and particularly the impact that fishing has been having. For more info take a look at

So please spare a thought for our oceans today, a part of the earth that is so important but so often overlooked. Living by the sea I often see how it is abused by people and the most frightening thing is that what I see is the very tip of the iceberg. If you are looking for a meditation or global issue spell to weave, why not send out some positive healing for our seas today, blessings x

Sunday, 7 June 2009

A Surprise Afternoon Outside

It was a surprise afternoon outside because when I woke up this morning it was grey, damp and looked set to rain for the whole day. Then after my mission going shopping this morning the clouds just disappeared and the afternoon was glorious. So once the little man was in bed me and Beth ventured into the garden to repot our veggie plants. It was almost as if the sun knew my intent (as it had been there in my mind for the last few days to do some gardening this afternoon). We spent a couple of hours outside sorting things out and as my daughter would say, making the plants 'comfy', and about half an hour after we went back inside it greyed up and by dinner time it was raining again ;)

All in all a very productive and happy day and just because I seem to have got into the habit of taking pictures of the roses in our garden and posting them for all to see, here's some more, taken today:

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Sacred Spaces

Another great topic from Sunfire, I guess I will share with you a little about my own 'sacred spaces' for I have many and they all have one thing in common that really makes them sacred.

First and foremost I guess is my kitchen, it is my main sacred space where I do all my spells, pray, bless, make and do. I have a large granite windowsill in here where my main altar is and all my witchy things in a huge double cupboard, plus another double cupboard of crafty things for the kitchen, like ingredients for candle, soap and paper making.

Then upstairs I have another altar, my faery altar. A space where I light a candle or two and meditate, consult my oracles and contact my guides.

Most powerfully I have my astral sacred space, which is really like an extension of myself, a place where I feel completely secure and at home, where I can request guidance, commune with the universe and deities or just go to recharge my spiritual AA's ;)

And finally is what I would deem to be the most important..... While it is all well and good and nice to have a beautiful altar physically in the room with you it is not what makes the space sacred, which brings me nicely to the sacred space that we all have. It's our transport in life and you may have often heard it regarded as "your temple", yep that's right, your body.
Whether you realize it or not, your body is your most sacred space. It houses your soul, your mind and your life and all too frequently comes under abuse. After all what's the point of having an altar if you have no physical self to use it? You make a space sacred with intent.

To anyone else my kitchen is well...just a kitchen, but to me, when I am in it it is an expression of my life as a witch, where I create and craft, work spells and a little homespun magick where many others would set out a ritual at a designated altar. Plus, experience has taught me that all you really need to create sacred space is within you; a simple circle casting with the mind or a journey inwards to your inner temple (which can be anything you want it to be, there are no limitations as there are in the physical) and your good to go. So throw away the view of the materials, rituals and recommendations in the books that are all too often seen as "necessary" for the craft, and embrace the only thing you really need.....YOURSELF, that way your sacred space can go anywhere and everywhere with you with no baggage of it's own.

Topic inspired by

4/06/09 post - Sacred Space

Psychic Overload

Is that even possible? It certainly feels like it at the moment as my sixth sense is working overtime. Don't get me wrong, I love being connected to it but this week in particular it is working in new ways. Is anyone else experiencing this at the moment?

I've always been able to communicate freely with my guides and higher self, I've always heard their voices, felt that familiar tug in my heart and had a pretty spot on intuition, but now I've started to have visions!? Nearly every day this week I've seen something which has happened later on that day. This has only ever happened to me once before and that was a precognitive dream that I had. These visions, however, have been just popping up during the day. Never about anything major, in fact at first I tried to dismiss them as wishful thinking, even though I know better than to do that but after the first one came true I noticed they all were :)

Also as a related event my creativity has skyrocketed this week, today in particular (probably down to the full moon) I have just had a mass of ideas, so much so I have had to carry around a pen and paper with me.

Best of all I feel really linked to the universal life force, it's strange isn't it, how some days you just can't escape that feeling of interconnectedness and knowing that no matter what happens it will all be alright in the end....

Weekly Wisdom

Think globally, act locally
need I say more?

Friday, 5 June 2009

Bargain Buy

Just thought I would share with you all my bargain buy of the week. I found this little black ceramic cauldron in a charity shop the other day for the measely price of £1.50 and just had to have it.

It is larger than my mini iron cauldron that I have downstairs in the kitchen and just the right size for scrying and mixing a decent amount of a brew or potion together. It is now sitting proudly upstairs on my faery altar as though it has always been there. I love browsing the charity shops. I have picked up so many different unique craft items from them over the years.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Summer Pot Pourri

To celebrate the arrival of summer I decided to make a summertime pot pourri today for our front room mixing mixed rose petals, calendula petals, slices of dried lemon and orange along with some rind of each and a few drops of orange oil. Bursting with colour and fresh scent I love how the lemon and orange slices evoke feelings of the sun's growing strength.

I have a special large dark wooden bowl that I use for decorating our dining table with some seasonal decorations whether it be pot pourri, baubles, trinkets, candles, fruit and veg or whatever I am inspired to put in there at the time. Doing this really gets me reflecting on the seasons, weather and natural world both while I'm doing it and during my day to day life, reminding me, even on the stressful not so nice days, that there is a whole world bursting with colour, warmth, scent and life just outside my doors.

♪ ♫ Summer, summer, summertime ♫ ♪

Summer is finally here and nature is in bloom. It always cheers me to see all the gardens come alive (even though I dread the full heat of summer as it usually makes me feel nautious and brings on my migraines). On the way to pick Beth up from playgroup I saw about five elders in flower, in our garden the roses are opening and our lavender bush is begining to flower once again. It won't be long before my airing cupboard is full of drying herbs and flowers.

There is a fabulous rose garden round the corner from us in a public memorial park that I will try to get to and take some pics, they have roses there in just about every colour, it is really beautiful. The above pics are from our garden.

My salad veg seeds are growing well too, the young lettuce leaves are ready to start picking and have been added to sandwiches and salads galore at the moment, while the cucmber and tomato plants are steadily growing strong.

Happy summer to everyone, hope you are all blessed with good weather and cheer :)