Lavender SoapWritten by Judi Singleton
Lavender is a traditional cottage garden plant. Its gray-green spikes of foliage and purple flowers provide color all year. Since Middle Ages, dried flowers have been one of main ingredients of potpourri. Fresh sprigs are included in herbal bunches known as tussie mussies, which have been used for hundreds of years to mask unpleasant odors and ward off illness. Today, "talking bouquets" give new meaning to popular phrase, "Say it with flowers." A tussie-mussie or word poesy is a small circular nosegay of flowers and herbs, tightly gathered and designed to carry a special message in language of flowers. The traditional tussie-mussie is composed of fragrant herbs surrounding one central flower, a rose.The language of flowers spans world of ancients from Greece and Turkey to Aztecs of South and Central America.
In England during Elizabethan times, judges carried tussie-mussies into their courtrooms to protect against "gaol fever." Today judges at England's highest court, Old Bailey, celebrate this tradition by carrying a tussie-mussie into court six times a year. During Victorian era tussie-mussies were carried close to nose to ward off stench in streets and plague and were composed primarily of scented herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and rue. The age-old custom of strewing pungent herbs on floors of homes was thought to protect gentlefolk from germs and provide herbal fragrances - early aromatherapy.
The Victorians also turned flower giving into an art. It was common practice at beginning of a courtship for suitors to give their intended a tussie-musssie. Floriography, art of sending messages by flowers, brought a new dimension to tussie-mussies. Dozens of floral dictionaries were published listing meanings of each flower and herb. The symbolic meanings were adapted from classical mythology, religious symbolism, ancient lore, and a bit of creativity on part of floral designer. The study of botany and discovery of new plants from all over world brought new and exciting ideas to this language of flowers.
The plant may grow to a height of 3 feet, but there are dwarf forms for edging which reach only about 10 inches. The stems are thick and woody, and become straggly if left unpruned. The leaves are long, spiky, and very narrow, and branch out near ground. To keep lavenders beautiful year after year, prune them in early spring or fall, or at harvest. Low growing varieties should be cut back 1 to 2-inches. Taller varieties (3 to 4-feet in height) should be pruned back to approximately one-third of their height. Pruning helps to keep these plants from becoming very woody. The Sunset Western Garden Book recommends beginning pruning regime during second year's growth. The tiny tubular flowers are Learn to grow, harvest and maintain beautiful lavender plants. This booklet also shows you how to cook with lavender and use your harvest to prepare simple medicines, in crafts, and to make fragrant potpourri.
What is Scrapbooking?Written by Edward Santosh
What is Scrapbooking?
Do you remember those days as a kid pasting newspaper clippings onto paper and bundling dozens of papers together with some fancy ribbon or a string? Do you also remember all of your hard work falling apart two months later?
Now there's a grown up way to save and preserve your treasures: Scrapbooking.
The concept behind scrapbooking hasn't changed since grade school. You can still place photographs, newspaper clippings, poems, and tickets into your scrapbook to display and preserve your memories.
However, scrapbooking techniques and tools have matured substantially since you were a kid. Scrapbooking albums have replaced messy bundles of paper. These albums are generally bound or placed in a three-ring binder. In this way, your hard work won't fall apart. Furthermore, new specialized covers allow protection from outside elements.