Monday, December 17, 2012

Many Benefits of Lavender

Over the years I began being very interested in the benefits and the many uses of the Lavender flower.   Not only does this flower smell nice, brighten up any room, add a unique taste to food and teas, it is also recognized for its many medicinal properties.  Lavender oil is used as an antiseptic, a natural antibiotic, a sedative and to detoxify.

While there are many applications for this wonderful flower, I'm hoping this list will give you a brief but practical overview of some of the possibilities.  I'll be printing out the list for my own information and I'll post it on the inside door of my herbs / medicine cabinet for quick reference.

- Skin Problems (Acne)
- Headaches (rub on temples)
- Digestive Problems (use a tea)
- Scrapes and Wounds (apply a drop directly to the wound - scratch)
- Bug Bites (apply directly)
- Bee Stings (apply directly)
- Scars (apply directly)
- Insomnia (rub a few drops in your hands and rub on pillowcase before going to bed)
- Calms and relaxes (rub a few drops lavender oil on feet to relax)
- Deodorant (rub over armpit area)
- Helps with hay fever symptoms (diffuse the oils in the air or use lavender capsules- find online)
- Helps with dandruff (rub in scalp)
- Repels mothes and insects in linen Closet (add drops on cotton ball and store in linen cupboard)
- Place a few drops in water fountain (refreshes the air, kills bacteria and reduces cleaning time)
- Add drops of oil on cloth and add to dryer to freshen your laundry.

I personally really enjoy lavender in herbal teas, in my bath and in my lip balm.  Some also add the Lavender flowers to a small cotton or linen pouch and add it to dresser drawers or hang it in the closet to keep clothes smelling fresh and clean.

I was also really surprised to learn how good Lavender tastes in Honey.  We had the opportunity of visiting a small Lavender Farm on our Nova Scotia tour last summer.  They had an array of wonderful Lavender items to choose from.  Lavender skin products such as soap, lip balm, cream, massage oils and more.  They had a wonderful collection of candles and other great stuff.  We decided to try the "Lavender Honey".  It was the best purchase ever!  It was sooo delicious!  I had to fight my husband to get the last bit of it.  I would definitely suggest the Lavender Honey to anyone!   I also noticed Lavender jelly - Hmmm... I wonder what that tastes like?  I must try it. 

I never actually tried it, but there are wonderful recipes using Lavender and I actually found this book and the feedback is wonderful.  I must try as well.

Little Tip for the Garden and the Patio:
I've also added a few plants to my garden box to repel insects - they don't care for the odor.  I must say it works quite well.  A friend of mine also keeps Lavender plants on the patio in the summer
for the same reason. 

If you know of any other application for this powerful and wonderful flower, please leave a comment!!

Here's a great, unique gift idea - Lavender plant with cute clay pot- grow it inside too.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New Super Food- Dark Chocolate!

I'm a chocolate nut!!  Although I don't care for sweets in general such as cake, cookies and candy, I do have a weakness for chocolate!  Who can blame me?  It's hard to resist a smooth, silky piece of chocolate with crunchy hazelnut pieces! 

The best part is that chocolate is not only delicious, it's also very healthy!!  Research has shown cocoa to be very high in antioxidants, which is great for fighting off disease.  In fact, chocolate has ranked highest in antioxidants when compared to other fruit juices deemed "Super Foods", with the exception of Pomegranate.

What makes the cocoa bean the new "Super Food"?  The cocoa bean contains polyphenols and flavonols, which are also found in various seeds and fruits.  These components are knows to help against cardio-vascular disease and help keep the arteries clean. 

So, the next time you have a an urge for a sweet treat, reach out for a dark chocolate bar.  It'll make your heart glad!

Check out these dark chocolate, caramels with sea salt.  Yummy!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Handmade Women's Fashion Hats - Millinery

Although the style and shape of hats have changed over the centuries, they never seem to become obsolete. Perhaps it is out of necessity as a warm hat protects us from the cold elements of winter, or maybe it's a wide brim hat that will serve to shelter us from the damaging effects of the sun. It might even be to hide the fact that we're having a really bad hair day.

A hat should not only be worn out of necessity.  A well chosen hat, be it the straw hat, the flapper hat, the baseball cap, the beach hat, the garden hat, the party hat, the wide brim hat or the fancy hat, displays one's personal sense of style and adds the finishing touch to any outfit.

As you probably noticed, women's fashion hats practically disappeared in the 70's, but they have since made a huge comeback with gorgeous designs to suit every style and unique personality.

When I hear the words felt hat, I immediately link it to manufacturers such as Stetson or Henschel.  Like me, you might be surprised to learn that the art of hat making or "Millinery", is actually an increasingly popular art form that is taken on by creative individuals with a flair for design.    Anne De Pasquale is such an individual.

"Anne is from New York City, in the USA. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in textiles. She began her career in NYC fashion by working for designers Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui, and Donna Karan, JLO. With a desire to reconnect with artisan craft, she began working under Theatrical milliners creating hats for Broadway, TV and movies.

Acclaimed by the media, Anne De Pasquale’s designs have been included in "The Best Of " issue of Accessories which noted the “Impeccable blocked hats of Anne De Pasquale as a highlight of The Market NYC”. They also have been featured in various media outlets such as: Good Day New York, The New York Times, and WWD. Anne's hats can be seen on celebrities such as Kate Hudson in the Hollywood."

You can shop for one of Anne's beautiful, artisan hats here at her Etsy Shop "Anne De Pasquale Couture Millinery".  No matter where you are in the world,  you can make an original, one of a kind, Anne De Pasquale hat your own, because she ships these little works of art all over the world.

Anne's motto is: "Free your mind and your hat will follow."

Here are a few examples of her creative work: