Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Take me to the Sea

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”  Anais Nin

“Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” - L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


“The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure.” - Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

“In still moments by the sea life seems large-drawn and simple. It is there we can see into ourselves.”  Rolf Edberg

“And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.”  John F. Kennedy

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Silver and Shells

I found these great patina goblets and silver candlestick at a thrift store yesterday and decided to make them into little vessels using moss, shells, and feathers. I think they'd be great center pieces for a dinner.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Just Breathe

Life throws us lots of challenges that often suck up so much of our energy.  Lately, I've been going through some personal issues that have been very stressful.  I've always turned to yoga to help me find my center, quiet my mind, and bring balance into my life.  After a long hiatus I have recently found my way back to yoga and as always it's my saving grace.  One of the hardest challenges I find in practicing yoga is breathing.  Sounds simple right? But it's amazing how we don't really breathe correctly.

Breathing is the most basic activity of human life, and it is also the foundation of yoga practice. Yoga breathing is sometimes called pranayama. This two-part word contains “prana” which means “life force,” and “yama,” which means “control.” In other words, yoga breathing is about having control over the life force of breathing. Breathing, of course, is the most natural action, since nobody has to be taught how to do it. It is fundamental to life.

Yoga breathing balances your parasympathetic nervous system. This is your “rest and digest” system. It’s what makes you relax and recuperate. These days, we’re so over-stimulated, we’re always in a state of “fight or flight” (your sympathetic nervous system). Too much stimulation leads to an over dominance of sympathetic tone. Breathing can change that. Concentrating on inhaling while expanding the diaphragm and abdominal muscles is energizing, while concentrating on exhaling and “letting go” of negativity is soothing.

When you control your breathing, it builds your lungs. When you exhale, it calms your mind and helps stress go away. Tension is expelled from the body, helping the body achieve the relaxed state where meditation can do its positive work. A relaxed body and mind help a person progress on their spiritual journey and leave behind negative responses to the stresses of everyday life.

I encourage you, especially in times of stress, to just....breathe...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Love of Lavender

Over the weekend I received a huge shipment of dried lavender for a wholesaler I purchaser from out in California.  Opening the box was like Christmas morning for me....the scent! OMG...there is nothing more beautiful smelling then the smell of fresh herbs- lavender in particular.  I was so inspired all weekend that I decided to share some facts, tales, and photos from my weekend inspiration. Happy Monday indeed!

It is thought that the name of the plant comes from the Latin "lavare," to wash, since the Romans used to bathe in lavender-scented water. It was found refreshing and it was in this role that the herb was to be valued for future centuries.

 Records show that monasteries used lavender medicinally and it was listed as such, as far back as 1301.  The Lady of the Manor used lavender for culinary and medicinal purposes and kept a still-room for staff for preparation for use.

The easiest way of perfuming a room, is to place it in pots or vases, either loose or in bunches. I have bags of lavender on a few door handles, and they give of a beautiful scent as I enter the rooms.

"Pot-Pourri," is literally translated from French- meaning "rotten pot," because this refers to the original method of making it. Fresh or semi-dried flowers and petals would be layered in a crock with salt to cure or ferment them, thus, preserving an exceptionally strong and long-lasting scent.

Pot-pourri making became popular in England not until the sixteenth century when spices for underlying fragrance and ingredients for masking scents became widely available. Mixtures were kept in bowls throughout houses.  In small houses  that dampness seeped in through with high windows and mud floors, they were essential for sweetening the air.  The sharper scented herbs such as lavender and rosemary were added to these bowls to keep away infection.

Scented ink will give a delicate, intangible fragrance to your personal letters, a fragrance that will waft out as soon as the envelope is opened and will linger mysteriously over the pages.  If people only wrote letters now a days...

Lavender flowers are making a comeback as enhancements to both the flavor and appearance of food. Lavender was often used during Tudor and Elizabethan times in the preparation of a wide variety of dishes and was a particular favorite of Queen Elizabeth I.  The palace gardeners were required to have lavender flowers available at all times which was used to make Conserve of Lavender (a mixture of lavender flowers and suger) and sweet Lavender Tisane (a drink made with lavender flowers, boiling water, and honey)

Blossoms and leaves can be used instead of rosemary in many recipes and crystallized flowers make beautiful cake decorations.  Lavender used in the kitchen is primarily fresh blossoms or "culinary lavender." Culinary lavender is lavender buds harvested just before flowering, it is when the oil concentration in the bud is the highest.

 Written records of the use of lavender for medicinal purposes date back as far as 60AD with the writings of Dioscorides.  At one time lavender was virtually essential in the medicine cabinet.  It was used to relieve many medicinal problems such as headaches, fainting, hysteria, stress, insomnia, muscle aches, bug bites, rashes, colds, chest infections, etc.

Lavender oil does have antibiotic properties effectively killing many common bacteria.  Lavender oil was used extensively during WWI & II whenever medicinal supplies became scare to prevent infection as well as a pain reliever.

The sedative effects of lavender are well documented in medicinal tests demonstrating its effectiveness in reducing caffeine induced hyperactivity as well as increasing length of sleep by ingestion or inhalation. Lavender in lotions and oils placed on burns and bee stings aids in relieving the pain and is used in massage oils to aid in relaxing muscles.

and in saving the best for last.... WHO can resist this?

Or this amazing detail...

Have a lovely, inspired week