In honour of a day that was a little warmer (minus 2 instead of minus 26) we had a picnic style lunch. It's refreshing to have a meal which is fresh and light. It's also nice to use up odds and ends from the fridge!


A beautiful, roaring fire beckons me to curl up with a book or craft and just forget about my to-do-list.

Pressing Flowers

Pressing flowers and other Plantae, is a very calming craft. I received a flower press from a dear friend, and recently began my first batch of flowers. I'm using a bouquet of flowers given to me by my grandmother, and I am happy that I am preserving their beauty forever.

It's amazing how many various creations can be made from pressing flowers, vegetables, roots, stems, and other plants. Pressed art can be used to decorate cards, pictures, paper, calendars, and much more.
The pressing method is fairly simple, but can vary depending on the species, and on personal preference. For most plants, flatten the flowers, petals or what-have-you using your fingers and then lie in tissue paper or newspaper before closing in a book, or flower press for about 4 weeks. Remember that the angle the sample is flattened will be the same when it is dried, so feel free to arrange petals to better show the flowers' beauty. A large book, which is low in acidity will work fine, but the benefit of a press is that you can tighen the corners, which creates a more even distribution of pressure, and allows you to control the pressure amount.In approximately 4 weeks I will remove the pressings and attempt to create some cards with them.

Happy crafting.


The significance of the wreath goes back at least as far as the Greco-Roman world, where they were used for a variety of purposes. In Greece, a wreath served as adornment for "occupation, rank, achievements and status," (Wreath, 2010). The modern day Olympics still uses the wreath to symbolize victory (picture the olive brach headdress). In Roman culture, the wreath symbolized the arts, literature, education and the government. Christians have been using the wreath as early as the 16th century, where the wreath can represent everlasting life and the coming of Christ.

With so many electric lights in the neighbourhood, wreaths are a welcomed and refreshing sight. I decided to try my hand at a few wreaths which are shown below. I did some web searches to find our how to make a wreath and combined various tips from different sites and a few of my craft books.

I gathered my materials; metal wire wreath frames, sparkly faux berries, silver bells, ribbon and green gardener's wire for fastening (I used wire cutters to size the pieces).
Then I went on the hunt for the perfect greenery sprig trimmings.
To create the wreath I used sprigs about 9 in long, and arranged them around the metal frame. I fastened them to the frame using my gardener's wire, and trimmed any stray bits. I experimented with the accent berries and ribbon..

I really enjoyed creating this ancient craft. The creative possibilities are endless: wreaths with clothespins holding pictures, wreaths made with peppermints, with fruit (dried or not), with flowers, wreaths made entirely of bows, or bundles of roots, branches or sticks. Remember that the green will fade, but you can add fresh sprigs every year to the frame, which makes this craft recyclable too!

Happy decorating!

Wreath. (2010, November 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:38, November 24, 2010, from

Essential Oils

Some days as I complete my morning coffee ritual, I also light a tea light under my oil simmer pot. I have a few oils on standby such as pure peppermint and a blend of vanilla and cinnamon. It's quite amazing how the aroma of vanilla can calm, or cinnamon can invigorate. Peppermint smells delicious, and reminds me of the holidays. It's a simple way of creating a warm, comfortable home, while at the same time providing healthy benefits for the family.

Essential oils, when diffused into the air, improve air quality. The oils work when simmered, because they release negative ions which then help to cleanse the air by weighing down dust, and other particles. There are other bonuses too. Applied topically or by diffusing, certain oils, such as Tea Tree and Eucalyptus or Lavender can actually kill bacteria and viruses.
Each essential oil has a healing property to it.

Tea tree oil is antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral and can be used as a disinfectant. To get the benefits apply directly to skin infections, pimples, burns and small wounds. For its cold and flu fighting properties, diffuse a few drops in a diffuser or in a simmer pot. This has become a staple treatment when my daughter has a cough, and works wonders.

Lavender oil is antiseptic, antibiotic, antidepressant, antiviral and toning among other properties. It can treat eczema, pimples, burns and cuts or small wounds. Applied to the face after cleansing, the Lavender oil works as an astringent, toning the face. The oil is useful in labour, or when a migraine occurs. I've also used this oil to treat mild ear aches.

There are many other essential oils; Rose, Eucalyptus, chamolmile, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, lemon, mandarin, rosemary, sandalwood, ylang ylang.....All have the benefit of medicinal qualities.
Whatever your aroma preference, there is an oil or oil blend out there for your home. Essential oils are very concentrated substances, therefore not much oil is needed to reap the benefits. If you would prefer not to use candles there are other ways of diffusing oils, such as using an electric diffuser.

As with all medicinal treatments please be safe and follow all labels and directions, or the advice of a health care professional.

Allison England. 2000. Aromatherapy and Massage. Healing arts press, Rochester, Vermont.
Safaei-Ghomi, J and Ahd, A.A. 2010. Antimicrobial and antifungal properties of the essential oil and methanol extracts of Eucalyptus largiflorens and Eucalyptus intertexta. PHARMACOGNOSY MAGAZINE. Vol 6, Iss.23. pgs. 172-175.