Rose Infusion

Summer is on. Sun is shining. Gardens are growing. Flowers are blooming. Farmer’s Market is open. It’s lemonade time, Artful Living Blog style. Lemonade is good. Refreshingly floral Rose Rhubarb Elixir is even better! Easy to make, and the perfect pitcher drink for picnic or brunch. Reminiscent of subtle Rhubarb lemonade -sans lemons, of course. Here, dark red Rhubarb stalks are sliced and simmered in water with Rosehips (which add that lemony tartness along with a dose of vitamin C!), then steeped with dried Rose petals and fresh Mint. It’s then strained, sweetened with raw honey, and chilled. Divine over ice. Stay hydrated. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 pounds rhubarb, sliced into ½” pieces (use dark red stalks)
  • 3 Tbsp dried rosehips
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dried rose petals (use organic)
  • 2/3 cup fresh mint leaves (leave on trimmed stems)
  • raw honey, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place the rhubarb and rosehips in a large pot. Cover with water and bring just to a simmer over the stove. Cover the pot. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and add the mint and rose petals to the mixture. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on the rhubarb to extract as much as possible without forcing it through the sieve. Discard the solids.
  4. Add honey to the mixture until desired sweetness is achieved.
  5. Chill. Garnish. Serves 8 cups.

Tips: Use the darkest red rhubarb that you can find. The lighter the rhubarb is, the less pink the drink will be. Deep red, thin stalks give the best color. Add ice cubes infused with flowers or berries and a few rose petals + sprigs of fresh mint on top for a stunning finishing touch.

The Green Witch

The Green Witch: Your Complete Guide to The Natural Magic Of Herbs, Flowers, Essential Oils & More, by Arin Murphy-Hiscock, 2017.

At her core, the Green witch is a naturalist, an herbalist, a wise woman, and a healer. She embraces the power of nature; she draws energy from the Earth & Universe; she relies on natural objects like stones & gems to commune with the land she lives off of; she uses plants, flowers, oils, and herbs for healing; she calls on nature for guidance; and she respects every living being no matter how small.

In The Green Witch, you will learn the way of the Green witch, from how to use herbs, plants, and flowers to make potions and oils for everyday healing as well as how crystals, gems, stones, and even twigs can help you find balance within. You’ll discover how to find harmony in Earth’s great elements and connect your soul to every living creature. This guide also contains directions for herbal blends and potions, ritual suggestions, recipes for sacred foods & information on how to listen to and commune with nature. Embrace the world of the Green witch & discover what the power of nature has in store for you. Equal parts informational and inspired. Green Goddess Gratitude Great & Small Goodread!

Flower Power

Lotuswei Flowerlounge NYC February 13th 2018

Fall in love with the world through poetry, movement, meditation + love elixirs. Dive deep into your own beauty, wisdom + big-hearted love in all its forms. It’s time to bloom! Join Katie Hess, Flower Alchemist of Lotuswei & Author of Flowerevolution, for a flower-filled gathering, a powerful distillation of good vibes featuring mandalas, meditations, elixirs & flower readings with special guests: Poet + Story Whisperer Morgan Farley; Movement Magician Lynda Sing; and Luminary Intuitive Robin Sandomirsky, for Flowerlounge’s one and only East Coast event of the year. Tap into the power of the last days of the Fire Phoenix Year + an imminent New Moon Solar Eclipse with this one-of-a-kind, transformative evening. For rapid growth, accelerated transformation & energetic wow! Tickets here.

Acquainting oneself with Hess’s new book & accompanying card deck “Flowerevolution” + appreciating the Lotuswei range of magical elixirs = great prerequisites for the event.

Flowerevolution: Blooming into Your Full Potential with the Magic of Flowers, by Katie Hess (Author) & Louie Schwartzberg (Photographer), 2016.

 In Flowerevolution, Flower Alchemist Katie Hess & photographer Louie Schwartzberg invite us to venture into the vast and beautiful world of flowers, and learn how they can be used to give us a fuller experience of our everyday lives. This flower-filled guidebook is rich with information, stories, images, and rituals that demonstrate the largely untapped power of flowers. Most people are unaware that quiet, unassuming flowers can amplify our positive qualities and awaken new joy in everyday life, but in fact, flowers are ready to spark us to reach our greatest potential -one that is likely bigger than we can even imagine!

Flowerevolution is designed to open you up to a fresh new world of magic and possibility. In it, you choose the flowers you’re most attracted to from the 48 different profiles, and discover what your favorite flowers reveal about you. You’ll find out how flowers can be used for a variety of conditions, including pregnancy and postpartum, travel and jet lag, and addiction; and learn the answers to the 10 most commonly asked questions about flower elixirs. The book also features ancient and modern methods for harnessing flowers’ unique qualities, including flower baths, elixirs, mandalas, body oils, desserts & more!

Autumn Aura

 Maple Leaf Graham Cookies. The air is crisp, the leaves are turning and festive, and cozy country kitchen aromas are emanating from every open window -it’s an Autumn afternoon in New England! From apple-cinnamon to mulled-cider and woodsy-pine to pumpkin-spice and everything nice, this is the most aromatic and flavorful time of the year. Sweet & spicy seasonal treats & tea + scents = Recipe For Fall!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp pure maple extract
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil

The Artful Living Blog’s favorite wellness teas company with roots that go back to a third generation herbalist named Rosemary Gladstar, has a stellar new tea offering: Organic Turmeric with Meadowsweet & Ginger. Traditional Medicinals artfully blends turmeric, a root praised by healers around the world, with the power of meadowsweet & ginger’s warming properties for an herbal trifecta of ancient wisdom and soothing relief. Perfect Autumn afternoon tea time treat with Maple Leaf Grahams.

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Place all your dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer & combine. Add all of the wet ingredients & mix until everything comes together. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed -depending on dough consistency.
  • Divide the dough in half and roll half out on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Use Fall inspired cookie cutters, cut out shapes. Transfer the cookies on a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet, poke them with a fork few times, and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges just slightly darken. They will harden as they cool. Store in an air tight container.
  • While cookies are baking brew Traditional Medicinals Stress Ease Cinnamon Tea. Serve. Savor!

DIY Autumn Essential Oil Diffuser Blends. No worries if you’re not culinary inclined, you can still let the scents of golden Fall fill your senses and home with these warm earthy & aromatic body mind soul diffuser blends -Pumpkin Spice Latte, Mulled Cider, Autumn Afternoon, Fireside and Walk in the Woods. Diffusing is a stylish and beneficial way to instantly transport the best parts of Autumn to your indoor living space, and create sublime year-round seasonal spa-like magic with essential oils. Best in therapeutic-grade essential oil brands at various price points recommended by The Artful Living Blog to consider when crafting your blends: Young Living Essential Oils, Aura Cacia, dōTERRA, Edens GardenFloracopeia, & Rocky Mountain Oils. Just Breathe!

For More Naturally Scentsational Autumn Ambiance See Previous Post: Scents & Sensibilities.

Golden Petals

Garden Harvest Calendula Officinalis 

Calendula Officinalis is a beautiful golden hued flower with an earthy aromatic that is well-known throughout the world as a powerful healing plant. Its benefits have been used for thousands of years for myriad medicinal applications. It grows easily in most climates and generously blooms brightly Spring to Autumn often reseeding itself, returning again every year. Besides offering beauty wherever it grows, Calendula is multi-use must-have plant most herbalists would recommend growing yourself. This year The Artful Blog planted a ‘Organic Mix Calendula Seed’ from the Hudson Valley Seed Company with a wide range of colors, from almost Cream to Bright Yellow to a Cool Peach color to the classic Vibrant Orange.

 

Homegrown & Handcrafted Calendula Mist Plant Milk

Because Calendula is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, it is often grown to make healing and skin soothing salves. According to Witchipedia Calendula symbolizes love and constancy and is great for wedding bouquets and decorations. It is the traditional “he loves me, he loves me not” flower and is useful for love potions, making wreaths to keep evil and negativity away, and the flower’s petals are also a good addition when creating dream pillows. This season, The Artful Blog decided to craft a batch of Plant Milk with these healing flowers. This Do-It-Yourself mist with anti-inflammatory Calendula and oats, leaves skin feeling soft, hydrated and calm. Great for skin in times of stress and transition. Making a botanical salve or mist is a wonderful way to take the herbaceous flowers that you can grow in your backyard and easily turn them into something beneficial to use year round. Now that’s sustainable!

Ingredients:

1 ounce dried calendula flowers
½ cup oats
8 ounce distilled water
4 ounce bottle with spray atomizer

Directions:

Combine the Calendula and Oats in a French press. In a small pan, bring distilled water to boil and pour distilled water over Calendula Flowers and Oats. Let steep for 10 minutes, plunge and let cool. Pour into a bottle and cap with spray atomizer. Spritz face liberally. Keep in refrigerator for added soothing benefits. Enjoy your handcrafted home-spa remedy!

Wellness Benefits Of Calendula’s Medicinal Properties 

You can purchase dried Calendula flowers from American herbal distribution retailer Mountain Rose Herbs if you don’t have any to dry yourself, and depending on where you live and shop, you might find them in the bulk section of your local natural grocery store. If you’d like to learn more about herbs and the healing power of plants, highly recommend taking a course from the New England-based Herbal Academy -the best in online herbal education.

Art Of The Harvest

Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants by Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis, Ten Speed Press, 2017. 

A beautifully photographed, gift-worthy guide to growing, harvesting, and utilizing 47 unexpected garden plants to make organic pantry staples, fragrances, floral arrangements, beverages, beauty products, gifts & more. Every garden can produce a bountiful harvest! This practical, inspirational, and seasonal guide will help make any garden more productive and enjoyable with a variety of projects using surprising and often common garden plants, some of which may already be growing in your backyard.

Early Mid Late Season Index & Plants & Produce Pages From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

Discover the surprising usefulness of petals and leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit: turn Tumeric Root into a natural dye and Calamintha into lip balm. Make Anise Hyssop into a refreshing iced tea and turn Apricots into a facial mask. Crabapple branches can be used to create stunning floral arrangements, Oregano flowers to infuse vinegar, and edible Chrysanthemum to liven up a salad. With the remarkable, multi-purpose plants in Harvest, there is always something for gardeners to harvest from one growing season to the next.

Oregano Flower Infused Vinegar & Vin d’Orange & Fruit & Herb Wreath Pages From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

Floral Branch Arrangement & Lavender Mint Tea & Rose Water Skin Toner Pages From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

Sage Garland & Calendula Infused Essential Oil & Mid-Season Herb Salad Pages From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

Spring Project Lilac Flower Cream Recipe From Harvest: Unexpected Projects Using 47 Extraordinary Garden Plants.

An ancient French technique, enfleurage is the process of extracting a flower’s perfume into odorless vegetable fat. The process used here is a simple method that will capture the fragrance of Spring in a jar. The cream can be used directly on your skin or to flavor favorite sweet dishes. It is best to use the Lilac’s tiny blooms straight from the shrub, picking them in the morning when they are the most fragrant.

Ingredients & Directions: 

  • 32 ounces extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 10 cups lilac blooms picked from the heads in 2 cup increments as needed
  • Pick 2 cups of lilac blooms. Place the coconut oil in a small saucepan and melt over low heat until it is completely liquefied. Pour the liquid into a 10 by 10-inch casserole dish and allow it to harden. After the oil has hardened, score it with a butter knife. This will help the scent of the flowers penetrate it more deeply. Layer the tiny lilac blooms onto the oil, covering it with 2 inches of blooms. Place a second 10 by 10-inch casserole dish upside down atop of the first one. Use electrical tape to seal the two dish edges tightly, and place the dishes in a dark area.
  • After 48 hours, remove the tape seal and discard the spent blooms. Pick another 2 cups of lilacs, add another 2 inches of flower blooms to the oil, and seal again for another 48 hours. Repeat this process three more times, for a total of five cycles with fresh blooms each time.
  • Scrape up the oil from the casserole dish, place it into two 16-ounce jars, and seal the lids. Store in a cool, dark place; the flower cream will keep for up to 3 years.

Stefani Bittner & Alethea Harampolis Of Homestead Design Collective & Their Previous Books.

About

Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis are the owners of Homestead Design Collective, a San Francisco landscape design firm focused on creating beautiful gardens that provide harvest. Homestead provides design and full-service organic maintenance, harvesting, bee keeping, floristry & composting services. Stefani is the co-author of The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs (Ten Speed Press, 2013) and Alethea is the co-author of the best-selling books, The Flower Recipe Book & The Wreath Recipe Book: Year-Round Wreaths, Swags, and Other Decorations to Make with Seasonal Branches (Artisan 2013 & 2014).  Stefani and Alethea’s work has been featured in San Francisco Chronicle, Sunset Magazine, C Magazine, Los Angeles Times, NY Times, Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens Gardenista.

Flower Moon

Fall Under The Spell Of The Full Flower Moon May 5th 2017. Now we enter the magical month of May. Named after the Greek Goddess Maia, a Goddess of Spring’s growth, warmth and passion, Goddess of both Earth & Sky.

This month’s Moon is called the Flower Moon due to the abundance of flowers of all kinds that bloom at this time of year. Many of these blooms will become fruit and grain for the harvest and many will bask you in their beauty and scent for a short time and then wilt and fade, not to reappear until next year. This is especially true for wildflowers and a suggested activity for this month would be to go on a wildflower foraging hike. Bring a camera or sketchbook and a plant almanac, and see how many plants you can identify, and those you cannot you can later research and see what folklore, medicinal or magickal uses they have. The Artful Living Blog advises against taking any of these plants home with you unless there is an abundance and unless you can positively identify them. Instead leave them for others to enjoy, and allow the blooms to become seeds for next year’s blossoming.

The Full Moon in May brings with it the holiest day in Buddhism, Wesak or Vesak commemorates not only the birth of Siddhārtha Gautama, but his enlightenment or Buddhahood, and his death at the age of eighty. The festival is celebrated in many ways throughout different countries, each country adding its local customs and flair. Another idea for bringing the magic of the season into your life by tapping into the energy of flowers, is to create botanical treats for a tasty Spring Ritual. Many flowers we grow are edible and quite delicious, they also add a touch of novelty and beauty to a dish. You can simply add a teaspoon of dried Lavender flowers to a batch of shortbread or sugar cookies, add Rosepetals and Violets to a cake, or Pansy, Nasturtium, Chamomile or Chive flowers to a Green salad. And remember to spend some time away from the distractions and noise of the modern, material world to sit in quiet contemplation, meditation, and awe.

For more fun with flowers see previous posts: Lilac Love, Flower Style, Sunflower Sunshine, Flower Power Beauty, Chive Blossoms, Rose TrufflesWildflower Wonder, Power Of Roses, Culinary Aromatherapy, Rosepetal Jam, Edible Bouquet, Flower Lovers & Mindful Mandala.