Saturday, November 21, 2015

#Holiday Schedule

I have so many things on my plate right now and I love it.  I always function better with almost too much to do.  No time for procrastinating and a great time to gain some focus. My ability to multi task with the best of them has diminished but..... my ability to focus on one thing at a time and do it well has increased.  And I make sure to schedule plenty of fun, enjoyable activities as well.
It's a busy time of year for many with family, feasts, parties, shopping and celebrations.  I worked retail for many years and I would do my best to avoid the crowds and rush completing many tasks and chores very early in the season.  I would then spend the rest of the year enjoying this time and feeling bad for all those around me freaking out.  It gave me the calm to be more present with my customers.
Now that I have my own business I want to bring that calm into the mix.  Comfy chairs and rockers by the giant windows with the sun streaming in, a pot of tea always at the ready and a dish of really indulgent chocolates to nibble are always waiting in my studio.  And I hope the fact that I just love - LOVE - love being there is felt by all who enter.  It is my play space.  I forget who said if you love what you do you don't work a day in your life. This is so true.  I can't wait to get there and create, experiment, share, teach and talk to folks wandering the historic building or coming to see me.
A soft place to land

I will be there every Sunday from now until Christmas.  Plus extra days and events.
Black Friday is get out in Nature Day and I'm planning to walk with the Winsted Rails to Trails Volunteers on their City Walk Tour.

Saturday, November 28 is Small Business Saturday and I will be open from 11 to 4 along with many others in the Mill including Tina's Baskets, Walk in the Woods, Air Borne Creations and RR Model and Hobby Shop.
My Whiting Mills Community

December 5 & 6 is open studios at the mill from 11:00am to 5pm. It's one of the most unique and interesting artist communities in Litchfield County.
You will enjoy over 50 artists, crafters and specialty shops featured at Whiting Mills, along with guest artists, live entertainment and free refreshments.
You will have a chance to win a t-shirt stating  "You have been through the mill."
Also Lippincot Van Lines will have a drop box for non-perishable food items, toys and clothing to benefit Fish, Inc. and Family Strides.

December 13, I will have all the ingredients to make your own milk bath.  Fill a pint size jar with your custom blend to keep or give away.  The first jar with recipes and instructions is $25.00 each additional jar is $7.00.

December 20, the studio is open from 11 to 4 for last minute shopping or a quiet spot to sit and relax.
And if you are to overwhelmed to leave the house you can find all my skin nourishing products on line.
I hope to see you at some point in the coming weeks.
Blessings, Kim

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#Peace and Love

November 4 is the blog blast for peace day.  I have participated for years.  I am usually good about writing my post ahead of time and just posting on the day.  This year I spaced prior to the day.  I am having a hard time keeping focused on more than one thing at a time.  I set down my crown as the Queen of multi tasking.  But, peace is important whether I blog on the correct day or not.

The theme this year is "Peace and the power of love."  Sounds simple at first.  But, as I dive deeper into my thoughts it occurs to me how over used the term love is.  We only have one word for love and it becomes a catch all for many types of feelings.  I love potatoes - never met one I didn't like, I love my handsome hubby, my children, my friends, plants, trees and learning among an entire array of things, but I don't love them in the same way.
Loving people is so much more complicated than being enamored with your favorite slice of pie. I don't have to think about enjoying the pie. Loving people is a choice.  Some days it comes easily, other days not so much.  I love my kids.  There is not much I wouldn't do for them but some days I don't like them very much.  When they are rebelling, mouthing off, making poor decisions (in my opinion), etc.  I love them anyway.  They can express themselves because they know no matter what I will love them.  It is their safety net.
Taking that a step further how do I love the stranger on the street, the annoying co-worker, the bully, the person who doesn't like me? And that I believe is the key to peace through the power of love.  Some days I am successful at it.  Other days I fall terribly short.  It's a choice.  Each day I wake up and say thank you.  I try to live from a place of gratitude.  I try to choose love and when I do that brings a sense of peace.  If I can bring joy to one person and that person brings joy to the next from one loving act, peace would spread like the ripple effects of a stone thrown into a calm lake.  What if we each chose love?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My love of #Aprons

My father-in-law recently sent me the following e-mail.  OK, I skipped printing the part that said to pass it on and a few other silly comments but, it really did bring me back and make me think about my aprons. 

"I don't think our kids know what an apron is. The principle use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few.
It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material.
But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids..
And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.
I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron - but love"

I don't remember my Grandma wearing an apron but I do remember my Auntie wearing hers (she still does) whenever she was in the kitchen.  And I can tell you like me it's a lot.  It protected her clothes and gave her a spot to wipe her hands.  I think her love of cooking landed right in my heart.

I have a few aprons of my own.  The first I made in Girl Scouts.  It was for our sewing badge -a reversible patchwork apron.  We learned basting, pinning, hand and machine sewing.  But most of all I learned I HATED sewing.  I will sew a button back on but other than that safety pins and duct tape work wonders.  Having someone take pity on me for using safety pins worked a few times as well.  But, my smartest move was to marry handsome hubby who loves to sew.  But, I digress.
My apron - sewing project 1970 something

The second apron I bought two decades ago.  I was in a cute little kitchen shop on Cape Cod with my boyfriend at the time.  It was beautiful - floral, heavy material and pockets.  It hung in my kitchen for years.  And then one day, many years later, I realized that maybe it would work better if I put it on.  That realization  came with having kids and making supper as soon as I came home from  work.  When I was single I could come home, change my clothes and putter before making dinner.  A little splash here, some grease there didn't matter to my comfy clothes.  But, it did to my work clothes.  This is the apron you will see me walking around my studio in.  It has served me well.  And I still think it's beautiful - even with a few stains and a small rip in it.  I love the pockets for stashing things in and the heavy material that nothing soaks through.
My blue floral apron

I also have two aprons at home that I use regularly when cooking.  One a present from my hubby - a little herby, witchy vibe and the other has a raven on it and says Ravenous.  As you can see they are well used.  And now that I have learned the appeal of my Auntie's apron I have to stop myself from collecting a few more.
My well used home aprons

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Whiting Mills #Historic Building

Whiting Mills - View from Holabird Ave. Parking Lot
      Winsted, settled in 1750, was formed at the junction of the Mad River and the Still River.  Winsted is part of the town of Winchester and derived it's name from the towns of Winchester and Barkhamsted when the congregational church moved from the hill to the valley forming the the First Congregational Church of Winsted.  The beautiful stone church is still located near the Winsted green.  Winsted is one of the first mill towns in Connecticut. 
      The Winsted Hosiery Company, founded in 1882, was a small manufacturer of men’s hosiery and occupied two red brick industrial buildings and a stone building on Whiting Street. The company later expanded its products and by 1936 became the largest hosiery manufacturer in Connecticut. The company’s red-brick industrial complex exemplifies the Italianate and Renaissance Revival design influences on manufacturing facilities around the turn of the century. The designers of the Winsted Hosiery buildings developed pragmatic solutions to the needs of a large manufacturing facility, maximizing natural lighting through open plans and continuous rows of windows. 
     On a tour of the building my childhood neighbor told me how her grandmother worked at the mill.  She would take home scraps of wool, dye them and braid them into rugs for her home.  
    In June of 2004, Whiting Mills, LLC was established when Jean Paul and Eva Blachere purchased the 135,000 sq ft complex. The historic Whiting Mills building was turned into artist studios. There are now more than fifty studio spaces occupied by herbalists, master artists, photographers, wood workers, cabinet makers, craftspeople and a railroad hobby store.   The majority of which are on the third and fourth floors.
Sign at entrance in back parking lot

    The Mill is set up a little quirky but that is the charm of it as well. The four floor building is built into the side of a hill and has a ground level entrance on each floor.  It can make it a little confusing for first time visitors.  If you enter from the main parking lot behind the building you are on the third floor.  These studios are numbered in the three hundreds.  The old freight elevator is located across from Tina's Baskets & Woven Art. If you take the stairs located next to this you will see a sign that says this way to the second floor.  Don't be confused - you are actually going to the fourth floor.  The studios her are numbered in the four and five hundreds.  That's right, the five hundred series of studios is on the fourth floor.  
Sign directing you to the stairs that lead to the 4th floor

Sign in stairwell pointing to the 4th floor
If you enter the building from the Holabird Avenue side of the building (the parking lot next to the firehouse) you can enter on three different floors.  Entrance 210B towards the bottom of the hill will bring you in at the second floor and the Northeast Farrier Supply.  You can take the stairs from here to the third and fourth floor.  Going up the hill entrance 210A is a small section of the third floor and hosts several artists.  There is no way to get to other parts of the building from here so to continue your tour you must exit the building and enter another way.  At the "top" of the hill you enter the five hundred series on the fourth floor.  The four hundred series of studios is just down the hall.

   I am located in studio 418. My large windows face the west and I receive tons of afternoon sun. I was told that people might have a hard time finding me around the corner in a hallway with two other artists but follow your nose.  The latest soap creation wafts through the halls and will lead the way.  
A view of my windows before moving in

My studio (418) with the windows in the background

Friday, October 9, 2015

Women Healers #Bookreview

     I am an herbalist. I am a bookaholic.  The two seem to go hand in hand.  I love to read.  A few novels here and there, biographies more so and books that I read with a highlighter in one hand the most.  I have a mini library in my house.  The books I save are mostly what I would call reference books.  A shelf filled with poetry and some of my favorite novels on another.  My herbal books are my prized books.  Many of them are signed.  This thrills me to no end.
     I am usually reading multiple books at once.  Put one down and digest the information while I start on another.  I actually do finish most of what I start.  It just may take a while.  This summer I finished multiple books.  Yeah me. One was Women Healers of the World: The Traditions, History, and Geography of Herbal Medicine by Holly Bellebuono.
     The book is beautiful with lots of pictures.  It is an oversize coffee table book that you actually read. She introduces one type of healing modality at a time and then references women in this area of expertise.  Some are contemporary and she was able to interview them for the book.  Others are from the past - recent and ancient - and oh so relevant.  The book includes stories(histories, facts) about Hildegard von Bingen to Rosemary Gladstar, from Western herbal traditions to native nations, folk, shamanism and so much more.  She ends the book with recipes for basic herbal remedies.  I thoroughly loved the book.  I learned about my herbal heroes, I got to know some of my herbal sisters in a new light and I was introduced to women I hadn't heard of before.  There are many sidebars that explain the etymology of words, and go into detail about different herbs and places.  It is chock full of information.
     Holly taught at the New England Women's Herbal Conference this year.  She also had a booth in the emporium with her books and herbal treats.  And..... I was able to have my book signed.  Swoon!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Souper #Workshop

     I have taught soap making classes many times.  I am comfortable there but, it is time to stretch my wings.  Slowly moving towards sharing all I have learned about the plant world.  I continue to learn and grow and sometimes feel stuck in the mire of never knowing enough.  But, this year at the International Herb Symposium I looked around and thought I have arrived (not at a final destination but at a point in time). After ten years of study I feel like I know something, more than a little something and it is time to pass it on to more than just my family.
    I'm starting with my first love - cooking.  I am making a big pot of chicken soup. It is after all the what soothes all ailments, right?  I will have it for my students to enjoy while we talk about the ingredients I use to boost the immune system and add that extra something.  Class is Sunday, October 25, from noon until 2.  Sign up at my facebook  event or message me here.
     I will provide the recipe or the bones of my recipe for everyone to take home.  I can honestly say I have never made my chicken soup exactly the same way twice.  But, the base is the same; a good free range chicken, organic vegetables and lots of herbs.  From there the possibilities are endless.
Chicken Potato Soup

     My chicken potato soup started after my daughter's open house at the high school.  She is taking culinary this year and they were doing a baked potato fund raiser.  I was gifted a pile of baked potatoes.  I scooped out the insides for the soup and make potato skins for an appetizer.  As the week went on the soup morphed as I added the leftover vegetables from dinner to the pot.  A little sauteed squash here, some chopped green beans there  and it just became more delicious as time went on.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


I just love having this golden beauty growing in my flower bed.  Sunshine in autumn that brings a smile to my heart.  Goldenrod or Solidagois good medicine as well.  Before the flowers are spent, preferably as they just start to bloom harvest them.  Make them into a tea.  Dry them for a winter tea that brings back some of that golden energy.  Make them into a tincture.  I combine this with tinctures of elder flower and catnip for our family decongestant.

Many think they are allergic to this beauty.  It is not so...  She waves her gorgeous flowers high and proud but to breath in her pollen you would need to stick your nose into the blossoms and breath deeply.  It is the rag weed that often hides behind goldenrod's beauty that flings her pollen in the air and causes itchy watery eyes and a runny nose.  Sip some goldenrod tea to alleviate the symptoms.

She is also used for kidney disorders and stuck chi (energy).  I invite you to take some time to get to know her.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Here and Away

August, that amazing month of time way that moves like a speeding train.  I spent a wonderful, rejuvenating week in Hilton Head, SC with my hubby and daughter.  I arrived home to my son visiting for two weeks.  He is on leave from the Marine's before being deployed.  I spent a day with my daughter shopping for school and turning her deep brown locks of hair into electric lizard green.  You need to pick your battles and I figure this is a rather harmless rebellion.  And though I am home physically I'm not sure I have fully arrived.  And then we are off again.  Well, my daughter and I are off to the New England Women's Herbal Conference.
It has become an annual pilgrimage.  My beloved teacher introduced me to the conference ten years ago.  The following year I brought my oldest daughter.  When my youngest was old enough that I didn't need to watch her every second I included her as well.  The girls enjoyed one conference together before my oldest flew the nest.  This will be my youngest's sixth conference.  It has been inspiring to watch her grow at this event.

This conference feeds my soul in ways I just can't fully describe.  I am surrounded by women interested in herbs that I can talk with, share with and learn from.  I get to take class after class with teachers from around the world.  I can meet the authors of the books I devoured.  I get to see that they are as human as I am.  I play and explore and come home with a renewed fire inside.  I reconnect with friends I have made over this past decade.  And I truly mean friends not just acquaintances.  The music, the dancing, the shopping, the learning, the connecting, the laughter, the tears...  the bathroom parties, the long dinner lines visiting, the million little things, the sharing all of this with my daughter...  all of these and more nourish me on a deep level.
The conference also signals the end of summer break.  School has started, the schedule slows a little and I will be drinking in the autumn abundance before the winter hibernation.  I will be in my studio more often.  Regular Sunday hours will be back.  Classes will be scheduled.  New ideas will make manifest. Ashe, Ashe!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Traveling Muffins #Recipe

August is a PTO month for me - Personal Time Off.  I have done some work and will do a little more before the month is done but in between will  be some much needed time away with family.  I started the month at the Health, Wealth and Home Expo.  It was a beautiful week end, I met some amazing people and left feeling grateful.
Today I cleaned the house from top to bottom while hubby detailed the car.  Then I made a batch of traveling muffins before heading to the spa.  Nothing like a good massage to start a vacation off right. I made the first version of these muffins many years ago for something to munch on in the wee hours of the morning before stopping for breakfast. And by wee hours I mean the middle of the night to most people.  They were a big hit and now are part of our family's traveling tradition.
I have tweaked the recipe a little here and there but this is the version I made this morning.
Traveling Muffins

Blueberry Coconut Muffins
AKA Traveling Muffins

Note:  all the ingredients I use are organic.  And my FIL loved these even though he claims to hate coconut.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup cane sugar
4 tsp lemon zest
2/3 cup raw milk (or heavy cream)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin tins or use cupcake papers.

Beat butter, sugars and zest until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time; beating after each addition.   Add milk and mix.  Add flour and beat until just combined.  Stir in coconut and gently fold in blueberries.  Using a large kitchen scoop (ice cream scoop) fill muffin tin.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Makes 24 muffins.

Friday, July 24, 2015


I have been blessed with many teachers in my life.  Actually I think everyone is a teacher in some way and I feel blessed to recognize that in so many.  I love to learn.  I would be a full time academic student if that were a vocation. Instead I am a full time student in life - through books, nature, classes and the people that surround me.
I am reading Women Healers of the World By Holly Bellebuono at the moment and one common theme is that all the woman had been taught by their mothers and grandmothers.  My ancestors have taught me many things but not so much about the herbs.  My Grandpa had a huge garden and I learned to eat a varied and fresh diet. Food was central to family gatherings and I learned my love of cooking from my Auntie.
Over the years I picked up tidbits of information from varied sources.  My poison ivy remedy comes from an old boyfriend's grandfather, a wise old farmer.  One of my oldest and dearest friends is a master gardener and I work for her in my off time.  I am paid in plants. My garden reflects those happy moments.
Odessa (payment from Time for a Garden)
I took a soap making class in a shop located in an old gardening shed.  I took classes at a local store in many subjects including introduction to herbs as medicine.  I was hooked.  This is where I met my first formal herbal teacher and now dear friend Rose of Walk in the Woods.
I studied with her and continue to learn from her.  She is truly an inspiration.  She doesn't just talk the talk but walks her walk.  Her knowledge of plants, gardening and medicine of the people is a gift to everyone she meets.  She can be a subtle leader or in your face and nudges you to think for yourself.  She introduced me to my first New England Women's Herbal Conference. That first year we went together. It was magical being with so many like minded women learning about our plant allies and dancing by the fire.  I haven't missed a conference since.  This year we attended the International Herb Symposium together. It was her first time attending (my third).  The base she helped me develop gave me the confidence to take the advanced herbal class at Sage Mountain.
It was there I met a new tribe of women that I am blessed to call friends.  We travel many miles and to many classes and conferences where we get to see each other again.  We keep in contact in between and continue to learn and inspire each other. The circle keeps growing, spiraling and at the center is love and the plants.

Friday, July 17, 2015


     I love rosemary. It is one of my favorite herbs to cook with.  A little chopped up in marinades is a pure delight.  Not only does it taste good but it has a toning and calming effect on the digestive system. Thought to help with the breakdown of fats it is often cooked with heavier meat dishes.  It is a circulatory and nervine stimulant making it helpful for tension headaches.  Externally it can be used to ease muscle pain and sciatica.
     Added to a foot bath it encourages good circulation, dilates the blood vessels in the feet and draws the blood downward away from your head often alleviating stress headaches.  This along with a cold compress on your head often stops migraines.  Combine it with lavender, sage and hops for a wonderful foot (or bath) soak.
     Rosemary is often used in skincare recipes.  It is part of the Queen of Hungary's Water a wonderful astringent lotion that has been hailed as the first herbal product ever produced and marketed.  Rosemary combined with calendula blossoms, raspberry leaf and sage make a wonderful steam for oily skin.
     Rosemary is used to stimulate hair follicles and may be used in premature baldness.  It may not reverse the process of balding but will maintain good circulation and promote healthy hair growth.  The essential oil is is used for the treatment of dandruff.  I use rosemary as a hair rinse.
Rosemary in my garden

     Rosemary is great for darker locks and helps if you have oily hair.   For light colored hair you can substitute chamomile flowers. In the summer when I can grow rosemary (I rarely can get it to over winter even in the house though I keep trying) I will cut fresh sprigs.  In the winter I use dried rosemary to make my rinse.

Rosemary Hair Rinse
Fresh rosemary 3 to 4 stalks or a handful of dried rosemary
Organic  Live Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Rosemary newly steeping

I bring the water to a simmer and pour over the rosemary.  I let it steep for a long time (all day or overnight).  I strain out the herbs and add 1 part ACV to 3 parts rosemary infusion.  I have a quart spray bottle that I keep in the shower which makes measuring really easy.  You could add a few drops (2 to 3) of rosemary essential oil at this point if you like.  I usually don't. After shampooing and rinsing my hair I spray my hair completely with the hair rinse and rinse my hair again with water.
Rosemary Hair "Rinse"

Friday, July 3, 2015

Soap Making #Classes

Making soap
I have so much fun making soap.  It's a fairly easy process once you know how to do it.  I would love to share that knowledge with you. My next class is scheduled for September 27, 2015 starting at noon.  Or you can turn any of my studio days into a soap making class. Classes can be for one student or up to eight.  I'm in the studio on the following Sundays, September 13 and 20 and October 4, 18 and 25 from 11 to 4. If Sunday doesn't work for you I'd me more than happy to find a day that does.
Classes involve making a batch of soap together, directions and resource sheets for you to take home and a bar of soap for you to enjoy.  The fee is $25.00 per person.  Classes run between an hour and a half to two hours.  Studio 418 is located at Whiting Mills at 100 Whiting Street, Winsted, CT.  Contact me here. or leave a comment or message me on facebook.
Set up for a day of soap making

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Going with the Flow

I was at the Norfolk Farmer's Market yesterday.  It was a beautiful day.  A lovely mix of farmer's and artisans were there.  Everyone was happy and helpful.  Everyone pitched in to erect Ez-ups which are not so easy to put up alone.  Market goers were a wonderful mix of people.  I am so grateful for the day and the opportunities to talk to and meet people.

One woman came up to me and asked if I was busy on Sunday (today).  I said I would be in my studio.  Hear me out she asked.  I'm hosting a Ladies Spa Day & Luncheon at the local community center.  Our soap and lotion guy pulled out of the event at the last minute.  Would you help us out?  Much to her relief I said yes.
She filled me in on the particulars and gave me the flier and her contact information.  Right near the top of the flier it says there will be natural soaps and lotions.  How disappointing her event would be  without them.  I'm glad I could help out.
So, I won't be in the studio today making soap.  I will be stopping in late in the day to unpack my car and tidy up a bit.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Norfolk #Farmer's Market

Saturday, June 27, from 10 to 2, I will be at the Norfolk Farmer's Market.
Located at 19 Maple Avenue
Norfolk, CT

I love spending time at the farmer's markets.  I get to meet new people plus I get to shop for local fresh produce and meat.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 8, 2015

International Herb Symposium #IHS

     The summer madness has begun and my daughter still has one week left of school.  This past week end was the Open Studios & Block Party at Whiting Mills where I have my studio.  I lost count of the number of people, kind, enthusiastic, enjoyable people who crossed my threshold.  Saturday I hosted my friend Jeanine from Gemini Moon Designs.  She left one of her gorgeous mirrors in my studio for all to see and one lucky person to purchase.  Stop by and take a peek.

   This week end I am headed to the International Herb Symposium.  This gathering of herbalists from all over the world takes place every other June at Wheaton College in Norton, MA.  This will be my third time attending and this trip I get to car pool and room with my dear friend, teacher and mentor Rose of Walk in the Woods.  I will see my herbal sisters from from various classes we have attended together and bonded over.  A group of women who when I see our pictures the flood of our laughter comes pouring back.  Women who are part of my tribe (much like my shimmy sister tribe).

     And the cherry on top of a week end spent with great friends, sisters of my spirit, is a week end spent in classes with teachers who impart, inspire, and challenge me.  The days will be long and full, it will be exhausting and glorious.  The campus is beautiful and to be in that setting with so many that care about the plants....
     I return to refilling my "shelves", farmer's markets, health expos, studio time, vacation, time with my son who will be home for a few weeks and ending the season at the Women's Herbal Conference with my daughter. My life is full and I am blessed!  I hope you join me for the journey, if only for a moment stop by for some joy filled madness. Check out my Where I am Page for dates and times.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


A Great BIG Thank You to everyone who came out for the open studios and block party at Whiting Mills.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

#Bugbite Relief

I had time to play in my studio last week and I was inspired to make a bug bite relief salve.  Some organic calendula that I infused in olive oil which is great for the skin.  Calendula officinales helps with inflammation, minor cuts, bruises, strains and burns.  This was mixed with a little beeswax to give it firmness and organic essential oils that are also great for skin irritations.  I poured it into lip balm tubes and let it set up.  And, the best part is if you mix it up with your regular lip balm it's OK.  Everything in it is great for your lips as well.  That is the beauty of using all natural ingredients thy can serve multiple purposes.  My cuticle salve can be used as an unscented lip balm.  All of my lip balms can be used as cuticle salve.

You can pick up any of these at Whiting Mills Open Studios and Block Party or you can order on line. And while you are at the open studios event stop by studio 336 home of my friend Rose of Walk in the Woods.  Among her many amazing artistic and herbal offerings she has bug spray available.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Whiting Mills Open Studios and #BlockParty

It will be here before we know it.  The open studios and block party at Whiting Mills.
This will be my first one in a studio of my own.  Last December I was a guest artist in studio 336 home of Rose at Walk in the Woods.  I am so excited to introduce my space to the world.  I am fully stocked with product and since opening the studio in February I have three new soaps and more in the works.  Stop in and pick your favorite. Treat yourself to some skin pampering love and enjoy a cup of tea. Plus I am thrilled beyond words to be hosting Jeanine of Gemini Moon Mosaics on Saturday, June 6.
Purple Recycled Glass Pendant
Colorful Beaded Mirror

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Flanders Farm Day

 May 16, 2015 10 to 4
5 Church Hill Road
Woodbury, CT

Welcome to farm day 2015

Food, Crafts, Vendors, Exhibits and Events

THE NORTH BARN: Flanders Agricultural Learning Center and home to Buz Russell’s Farm & Rural Life Museum

Barefoot Books
Dale Bloxsum
Dawn Hill Designs
Macaroni Kids
Live farm animals
Percy Thomson Meadow
The Hippie Chicks

Garden ROW:  

4-H Dosey Doats Dairy Goat Club
CT Invasive Plant Board
CT Woodworking Club
Earth Tones Nursery
Livin’ Country
Pomperaug Valley Garden Club
Potato Planting Demo with Gina & Eli Gardella
Roger’s Creative Originals
Wildlife Table
Woodbee Folk Art

Chainsaw carving
Fishing Activity with Trout Unlimited Naugatuck Pomperaug Chapter

Flanders would to thank the Department of Agriculture for letting us use their costumes.

Welcome to farm day 2015

Food, Crafts, Vendors, Exhibits and Events

Studio: Visit the Van Vleck Studio & view founder Natalie Van Vleck’s original art work.

Avid Concessions LLC Italian Ice
Fiber Arts: Spinning and Weaving
Handmade Fiber items by Jan Locke
Pat’s Baskets
Raven’s Edge LLC
Raven’s Gate Primitives 

Egg basket making
Rug hooking demo
Tractor Rides all day

Corner of flanders & church hill road:
Woodbury Ambulance

Stop by to visit the Flanders Country Kitchen to get fried dough, hot dogs, homemade macaroni and cheese, chili or fruit salad. There are also cookies donated by the Flour Garden.

Flanders would like to thank you for coming out today and we hope to see you at one of our many events including our  Trail Run on Friday, June 12, Summer programs, our Auction in October or wreath making in November/ December! Like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on events and check out our website,

Saturday, May 9, 2015

#Flowers #Salad

Hop on over to When Weeds Whisper to see the newest things to bud, bloom and inspire a salad from my yard.  A few dandelion greens and blossoms, wood sorrel and violet blossoms will add great flavor and color to my Mother's Day salad.
Newest bud popping through

Monday, April 27, 2015

Diary of a #Cleanse part 3 of 3

Day Four
I slept until 5:30 which is sleeping in for me.  I'm an early to bed early to rise type of woman.  Sleep has not been an issue with the cleanse.
I started my day by melting 8 teaspoons of ghee in a half cup of almond milk.  This doesn't bother my stomach at all.  For the rest of the day though no matter how much water I drink, kitchari I eat or how many times I brush my teeth I still feel the ghee coating my mouth.

It is here I must confess that the cleanse I am doing is a modified version of the most strict cleanse offered.  There are more beginning cleanses discussed in the e-book that include fruit and protein.  It also gives you options if the ghee is too much.  A cup of ginger tea is recommended and not increasing the ghee each day is another option.  I would definitely read the entire cleanse through and not base it solely off of this diary.  I'm only touching on the highlights, my impressions, feelings and family reactions. 

It is Saturday so I headed off to my belly dance class.  Luckily it was a slower paced class than normal as we worked with veils.  I did feel a little light headed a few times but, the spins can do that to you as well.  I came home and raked out the last of my flower beds much to the chagrin of my daughter who helped me only because she wasn't given an option.
After dinner I drank my 12 ounces of prune juice.  I have no problems eliminating so I opted for the more gentle option.  Plus I just couldn't wrap my head around drinking Epsom salt no matter what it was mixed with. I love snacking on prunes but had never had prune juice.  It is thick and sweet and if I wasn't drinking it for a purpose would have cut it with water.
I followed that with a hot shower - OK a warm shower.  I like my showers on the cool side so this was really hot in comparison.  The first option is a warm bath but I didn't pick that for several reasons.  First, the tub is in my daughter's bathroom and she cleans her own bathroom.  Second, with our water pressure it would take an hour or more to fill. And lastly, I really don't enjoy baths.  So, warm shower it was.  After rinsing I rubbed/massaged coconut oil on my body starting with my feet and working towards my heart.  I then washed with some yummy homemade soap by this fantastic soap maker I know (shameless plug).  I toweled off and put on some comfy pajamas.  I curled up on the couch with blankets and a heated pad on my tummy.  And just in case the prune juice wasn't enough I sipped a cup of smooth move tea from Traditional Medicinals.

I went to bed earlier than usual and about an hour later the very audible gurgling started.  Gurgling like I have never heard before.  Many trips to the bathroom over the next hour and I was able to sleep through the night.

Day Five:
Even though it is called a four day cleanse it is really more like six.  The day before you should eat a little lighter and if you are a huge coffee drinker I think you should remove that before starting.  The day after you should eat light as well.  I have to say I'm craving grilled chicken and a salad.  My notes say I should take "digest and clear." for the next thirty days.  I could not find reference to this product in the e-book but different digestive aids to help balance the digestive issues such as gas and bloating and help improve fat and sugar metabolism by boosting more bile acid and pancreatic enzyme flow.
I decided to skip my coffee for awhile and switch to dandelion root.  The bitter springtime root feels right intuitively and it is a wonderful liver tonic.
I woke up feeling good and had a normal (for me) bowel movement.  I sipped a cup of roasted dandelion root infusion.  I'll have a light breakfast and my grilled chicken and salad for supper.
I've lost 4.7 lbs. I'm hoping this has kicked up my metabolism and I shed a few more pounds through exercise and proper nutrition.
I'm glad I did this for the experience.  Will I be doing this again?  I don't know.   I tend to eat seasonally and listen to my body. The cleanse wasn't hard.  It wasn't exciting or life changing either. I didn't lose energy or become super crabby as I've heard can happen when foods are eliminated.  But, I eat very little sugar except what is naturally in vegetables and fruit and I've already greatly reduced my consumption of breads, pastas and grains.  It just feels better when I stick lean clean protein and organic fruits and vegetables with lots of good herbs in the mix.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Diary of a #cleanse part 2

Day two:
I started my day with 4 teaspoons of  ghee melted in a half cup of almond milk. My last day of the week cat my  accounting job (YEAH!) and I packed up the same fare.
Hubby and daughter were having ham and eggs for dinner.  I asked if hubby wanted a bagel with that. He gave the whatever you want to do answer.  I came back with, "What I want to do is bite your head off - a simple yes or no would be helpful."  Bagel it was.
I was really tired and obviously cranky.  I remembered one of my classmates had scrambled an egg into her kitchari for some protein and to make it through.  I did the same and added lots of greens.  My daughter said I could pretend it was a burrito.  I opted to think of it as an omelet.  I did feel better after dinner.

Day three:
I started the day with 6 teaspoons of ghee melted in half cup of almond milk.  Sipped some water and headed to my girlfriend's house for our Friday morning 6 AM walk.  I had more energy than I'd had in days.  By the time hubby got home from his midnight shift at 9 I was on my second load of laundry, the plants were watered, the bathroom cleaned, the house vacuumed and I had enjoyed a bowl of kitchari with steamed rainbow carrots on top.
I'm pretty sure I will not achieve the goal with water but I'm trying.  I'm supposed to drink half my weight or half my ideal weight in ounces.  I'm getting close.  It's not that I hate water.  I drink water every day.  I just can't drink that much of anything.  Plus the whole moving into the bathroom is not an option I want to consider.  
The amount of water it feels like I need to drink

My energy stayed up all day and I didn't want to bite anyone's head off.  Wondering if it was a combination of cleanse and accounting rather than just the cleanse getting to me.  This is a very real possibility especially since it was my first week back after vacation.
I had more time than the previous two nights so I steamed up a big batch of broccoli and pea pods to add to dinner.
I must admit that I normally have a voracious appetite.  I can never remember to feed a cold and starve a fever or the other way around so I feed them both.  There has never really been anything to make me loose my appetite.  This cleanse has done it.  Not in a sickening type of way but in a rather boring type of way.  I know I can change it up with my steamed vegetables but lets face it kitchari and steamed vegetables three meals a day with no snacks and water is not very exciting.  I'm eating slower and can actually push the plate away when I'm full.  And I really haven't been starving.  I'm not feeling deprived in the amount of food.  I am satiated.  But, for someone who loves to cook and doesn't make the same dish twice for weeks or even months this is really rather bland.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Diary of a #Cleanse part 1

I am, taking a 3 week end class on Ayurveda with the lovely Kate Gilday of Woodland Essences. Our last week end is soon approaching and one of my homework assignments was to do a cleanse.  We had several to choose from.  I chose the quick four day cleanse as I wasn't sure how I would fit a 12 or 16 day cleanse into my life at the moment.  The cleanse is a modified version of Dr. John Douillard's  4 Day cleanse.  "It is designed to reset the body's ability to be a better fat burner.  Fat is the body's calm, long lasting, mood stabilizing, detoxifying, repairing, rejuvenating and endurance fuel.  The cleanse will support the body's natural ability to burn fat and detoxify itself."  Straight from my notes.
I thought it helpful to record my journey as I've never done this before.

Leading up to the cleanse.  
I read my notes.  I checked out Dr. Douillard's website and downloaded his e-book on the four day cleanse and read it. I'm kind of geeky like that. I picked the kitchari recipe I wanted to use and made sure I had all the ingredients.  I shopped for fresh organic vegetables, prune juice and dandelion tea.  I stopped drinking coffee and any other caffeine  products four days before starting. This is not really hard for me as I indulge in only one cup of coffee a day.  Warning need to go out to the family if I reach for a second cup - the energy level is more than anyone can handle.  I do miss it on the days I moonlight as an accountant - it seems to keep those synapses firing and focused. The day before the start date I ate light and simple - lots of fruit during the day and fish with steamed vegetables for dinner.  I explained to the family what I was up to and that they did not have to join me.
Compiling the ingredients for kitchari

Night Before:
I made a batch of ghee (clarified butter) as I would need this throughout the cleanse.  I made my first batch of kitchari.  I went with a kitchari that is tridoshic (good for all constitutions) though it is especially good for pitta (which I am). The red are the places I switched it up.

Mung Dal Kitchari
1 Cup yellow mung dal (split mung beans)
1 Cup basmati rice
1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp. unsweetened, shredded coconut (4 Tbsp)
1 small handful cilantro leaves (or more)
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
6 cups water (4 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water)

Wash mung dal and rice twice.  Soak the mung dal for a few hours if you have time (1 hour), then drain.
Put the ginger, coconut, cilantro and the 1/2 cup water into a blender and blend until liquefied.
Heat the ghee on medium in a large saucepan and add the blended items, turmeric and salt.  Stir well.
Next mix in the rice, mung dal and the 6 cups water.  Bring to a boil.  Then cover, leaving lid slightly ajar, turn down the heat to simmer and cook 25 - 30 minutes, until the dal and rice are tender.  This will be a little soupy.

Day One:
I started my day with 2 teaspoons of ghee melted in a half cup of almond milk.  Packed my kitchari up in two containers; a small one for breakfast and a larger one topped with steamed broccoli for lunch. I filled two water bottles with warm water and a travel mug with hot water.  I headed off to work.
I ate the kitchari and finished most of the water.  By then I was hitting the bathroom on a regular basis and it was coming out as clear as it was going in.  Lovely visual I know.  I was tired when I got home.  A lazy no energy kind of tired.
I grilled two beautiful grass fed steaks for my hubby and daughter and served it along side some kitchari and corn.  I had my bowl of kitchari with broccoli and lots of greens stirred in - kale, spinach and Swiss chard.  My daughter said it was awful and could she put it back in the pot.  My hubby looked at me with all the sympathy he could muster and said, "I'll eat this little bit but I can't believe this is all you are eating for the next three days."
Now, I don't find it bad tasting.  It's rather mushy so the texture gets to me after a while.  The second batch I made I doubled the coconut and was more generous with the cilantro.  Even though you don't taste the coconut this seems to help.  I also realized I should only be soaking the mung dal and not the mung and rice together.  Batch three I added a little more ginger and more cilantro.