Making Lavender Oil

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Lavender steeping in oil. My Lemon Yhyme and Rosemary are in the background

Lavender steeping in oil. My Lemon Thyme and Rosemary are in the background

Last summer was the wettest summer my area had experienced in many years. Most of my plants and vegetables could not handle all the rain being dumped upon them. I lost all of my vegetables except the pumpkins, my lavender plants suffered horrendously as well.

Once I realized I was losing my lavender plants I waited on a dry day. We didn’t have many. I then harvested every bit of the lavender as I could. Once picked I wondered how was I going to preserve this smell-tastic plant.

I decided to make lavender oil. I also made rosemary and lemon thyme oil. To make the oil is easy. But it is a long process. I know how to make the oils, been doing it for several years. I decided to check out Pinterest to see if I could learn anything new about the process. What did I learn? Seems there are a whole lot of ways to make herbal oils. Some of the things I read made me go, “WTH?” so I left Pinterest deciding to go with my own way of doing it.

When I was a teen I spent some time with a family I knew. The grandmother had been raised deep in the North Carolina mountains. I must tell you her upbringing was very interesting, oh the stories she told. She shared a lot of her knowledge with me, my young short attention span mind tried to soak up as much as it could.
I have remembered a few things, some of them useful, some strange wives tales and a little bit of stuff my family did not approve of.

Two main things have been put to use many times over the years. One was how to ‘read’ cards. Yes I can tell your future with a regular deck of cards. Am I accurate? Who knows? I did it for fun in my younger years. I rarely read cards anymore but the knowledge is still there. Taking up space in my brain that more useful stuff could be occupying.

The second main thing I learned was how to make herbal/essential oils. I will share that knowledge with you now.

Sunlight is a no-no. Some Pins I read required the oil concoction to steep in sunlight. I was taught you must let it sit in a dark cool place for a few weeks because heat from the sun would destroy the essential oils in the plants. Is this 100 percent true? I don’t know I do know the woman who taught me had been doing it that way her whole life and her mother before her and her mother before her and so on.
Any oil can be used but if you are wanting to capture the scent of a plant use a light scented oil. I did go against this bit right here, only because the only oils I had on hand were olive and coconut. Coconut is a solid like lard so I used the olive oil. It was a light olive oil so the smell was not as strong as most olive oils. The olive oil scent was still pretty noticeable. But I was able to make it work. Now if you are making oils for taste/cooking nothing beats rosemary steeped in olive oil. Yummy.

The lavender oil turned out rather nice, with the olive oil having a noticeable I had to repeat the process twice. Now I must warn you homemade essential oils are not going to smell as strong as store bought essential oils. Even though the smell isn’t strong I still believe this is a good way to bring a part of your fragrant garden indoors so you can enjoy year round.


 

Lavender Essential Oil

Fresh cut lavender.
Glass canning jar with lid. If you have a tinted glass jar with a lid that is even better.
Oil (a light scented oil, like safflower or canola)
A cool dark place

Cut enough lavender to fill a glass canning jar. Rinse your lavender of any dirt. Let dry completely. I let mine dry overnight on a clean towel or a stack of paper towels.
Stuff the jar full of the clean dry lavender.
Pour in enough oil to cover lavender completely.
Screw on lid tightly.
Put jar up in a cool dark place.
Shake jar every few days for two to three weeks.
Strain.
Done.
Store the jar away from heat and sunlight.

Now since I used olive oil after my two weeks I strained the oil and you could just barely detect the scent of lavender. I did happened to have one lavender plant that was refusing to die so I still had some blooms available. So I cut those blooms, rinsed, dried them then stuffed them into the jar of my weak scented lavender oil. Again in a cool dark place shaking the jar every few days. I let it steep for thee weeks this time before I strained the plant material out. Steeping a second time did the trick. You could still smell the olive oil but the scent of lavender came through strong.

I use my lavender oil in my whip coconut lotions. As a massage oil. As a treatment on my scalp and hair. I’m down to my last little bit, I’m going to use it in a body scrub. I will share how to make that with you later this spring. Or summer since it looks like mother nature is going from winter to summer and just skipping over spring all together.

How long does it keep? Well that depends on how you store it. Trust me you will know when it goes bad, the oil will have a rancid smell. Most of my oils last several months. I have had a few go bad within a few months, but on those I did use low quality/cheap oils to begin with.

Lavender oil about to be used in whipped coconut oil lotion.

Lavender oil about to be used in whipped coconut oil lotion.

Now you can use hard to find expensive oils, that is up to you. But me, I feel if the ingredients cost more than what you can purchase the finished product for, it’s not worth it. Some projects I will go buy things I wouldn’t normally buy but most times I make use of the items I have on hand. If you have read my other posts you know sometimes making do (substituting) items doesn’t always work out. Those instances don’t bother me, I learn from them. Life is an adventure, throw out the owners manual and just do it your way. Unless you’re a surgeon than maybe it is best to stick with the rules.

Good luck on your essential/herbal oil making. If my process does not appeal to you. Hit up Pinterest, there are many different ways to make your oils.

This post is done. Now go forth and pin. Pin your heart away.


 

Why are you still here? How can you have your own Pinteresting adventure if your still here? “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”

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Signs of the Apocalypse

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Last September I stumbled upon this darling spooky Pin. It was a wood post with direction signs to scary locations. I knew I could do this, I just needed a little help from my man.

Halloween Sign from Pinterest:

Halloween sign from Pinterest

Halloween sign from Pinterest

Link to Halloween sign Pin

When will I learn? I have had a few pins go bad over the years, the worst were the ones my husband had a hand in.
Remember the pin where someone dug a little trench along their flowerbeds, lined it with landscape rubber runners then filled the trench with white rock? It looked really good. I showed the picture to my hubby then I began to explain what we needed to do along with the supplies we needed. He put his hand up to shush me, “I got this,” he assured me.
It turned out so bad I didn’t even take a picture of it. I lived for weeks with fear that the landlords would see it and ask us to move. Thankfully it is now covered in grass, all evidence gone…for now.

With the spooky sign I was determined to keep control. Get the wood I needed, along with some paint and stencils for the lettering. Within five minutes of entering Lowes I lost that control. I know where I went wrong, oh if only I could go back in time to warn my delusional self.

I lost control the minute I opened my mouth and asked, “What size boards do you think we need?” What my husband heard was, “please take over this project and dazzle me with your manly awesomeness”.

I wanted to get a small can of paint, we got spray paint. The wood for the sign the hubby decided we would use some fence wood left over from another gone wrong project. The lettering? No stencils for me just black sharpie and bad handwriting.

Let me share with you all the problems with this Pin.
Problem one: well, letting him run the show, obviously.
Problem two: the wood just soaked up the spray paint. I lost count of the cans we used.
Problem three: we couldn’t agree over the destination names. eventually I did win that battle. Bless my evil heart.
Problem four: Sharpie. That’s all I’m saying.
Problem five: see number one
Problem six: coating the sign with a clear sealant. I wanted to do several layers to make this thing last. After all that work I didn’t want the first rain to ruin everything. We did one coat.
Problem seven: I suggested cutting the bottom of the post into a point so we could drive it into the ground. Again I refer you to problem number one.

The hubby could only drive the sign into the ground so far because…wait for it…no pointy end. So every gust of wind knock the damn thing over. All in all it did turn out decent but nowhere near what I envisioned.

wood

Our Halloween sign

Our Halloween sign

 

 

Did I learn my lesson? Yes.
Will crap like this happen again? Sadly yes.
Will I one night smother him in his sleep? No because I need someone to kill spiders and other bugs that invade my space.
Do I love this man? Yes, with all my dead heart. That is why I will still involve him in my projects, he’s my best friend.

So on this Pinteresting adventure the Pin didn’t go wrong, the man behind the plan was the problem. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. We had fun together. In the end, isn’t that what life is about? Going through this world, the good and the bad with the one who has your heart, (even if it’s in a jar buried in the backyard).

My fall display with Halloween sign

My fall display with Halloween sign

Gardens, not just for hiding bodies

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 Some of today’s blog is about things I’ve seen on Pinterest and some things I’ve pinned. All are about the garden. I was looking on Pinterest last week in the gardening section while the husband was watching something boring on TV. I see this strawberry planter, it is a little late to plant strawberries but I thought that would be a great project for next spring. I show the picture to my husband and say, “what you think about doing this in the spring?” He looks at the picture, nods his head and looks back at the TV. Little did I realize his brain was hard at work.

“What are the measurements?” he asked. I clicked on the Pin and of course it’s a dead link. But the caption on the Pin says something like ‘Strawberry garden bed by the square yard‘. He studies the picture for a few minutes.

Next thing I know we are at Lowes buying stuff for our strawberry bed. Everything except strawberry plants. We choose some trailing annuals to plant until spring. Lowes is always an adventure, Hubby likes to get in get stuff and get out. You put me in the garden center and I am there for a long time. I will fill the cart with plants walk around some more than replace all the plants I’ve chosen with other plants. And I’m always in search of flowers that are black. Usually with no luck.

Hubby, me and power tools is a funny/bad combination. Funny for me bad for my man. He always hits his thumb sometime during a build project. I always laugh. I had several hearty laughs during this project. Since we used guess-aments on the measurements our bed turned out slightly different then the Pin. But I must say I love it! We like most people struggle with money so our budget only allowed a few plants and we could only plant just one side. I can’t wait until I can fill all four sides with flowers.

 21e52e3735bffd6a4078c557ccb13052 2013-06-01_15.25.35 our planter

 This spring I saw the suet cage bird nest thingy pin. Thingy being a technical term. You take an empty suet cage sill with yarn, ribbon and fabric scraps. Hang outside and the birds use all that stuff to build their nest. I filled my suet cage, hung it up and birds flocked to it grabbing up materials. My daughter jokingly said “What if all those birds are in other peoples trees?” she so jinxed me. Somewhere are people enjoying some people awesome bird nests. I did find one nest in my crab apple tree with a dash of color. I was disappointed until I saw baby birds. Baby birds! How can you not be happy about that? Well turns out you can…baby birds are loud and apparently don’t sleep. But thankfully that last only a few weeks.

2013-03-22_10.54.24-2 IMG_2166

 I love my yard. It is work in progress. In past homes I would follow design rules about gardening and I was happy with my yards but not in love with them. When we moved to our current home I decided to plant what I want where I want. Now I LOVE MY YARD!

Here is my little herb raised bed:2013-05-28_19.42.44

My BAHs, big ass hostas:2013-05-28_19.43.31

My awesome planter in the spring with bulbs and now with a mix of plants:

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Shady spot under tree. This is the first year so everything is small. In the next few years it will be full of hostas and ferns.

2013-03-16_15.52.47 2013-06-07_18.12.05 

So my advice, leave the bodies out of the garden they keep better in the trunk anyway.

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