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rainbowgardener
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It's starting to look a lot like Christmas

Here's my annual Christmas crafts thread. So far I had just been in preparation stage, gathering and drying herbs, canning salsa, and a bunch of different jams and jellies.

Today I started mixing up some herbal tea blends and putting them into little tea cannisters. In the process I got inspired. I've done the teas for a couple years already. So far I have just followed the recipes I found (there's a thread here somewhere with herbal tea recipes) which are different combinations of familiar garden herbs: lavender, mint, bergamot, chamomile, anise hyssop, etc.

Suddenly my mind opened up and I started walking around seeing what I had in my garden and looking them up. Aster flowers, chrysanthemum flowers, marigold flowers, and geranium and raspberry leaves can all be used in teas and I have lots of all those. And if I brew up the chrysanthemum and marigold tea/infusions, they can then be used as the basis for jellies! Chrysanthemum jelly, don't you love it?!

So that's my next project, harvesting a lot of flowers! I already today picked and dried a bunch of raspberry leaves, but still want to do more (more! more! :) ). It was fun, almost a physical sensation of my mind expanding and realizing I don't have to be limited by the recipes I found!

Other Christmas crafts will be soaps, candles, lotions made with my home made essential oils. This year maybe I will do some herbal oils or vinegars.

Once I started thinking about geraniums, I realized that geranium oil (geraniol) is a good mosquito repellant. I didn't think of it soon enough, don't have that many geranium leaves left, but I will remember for next year, to make my own bug repellant.
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DoubleDogFarm
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Stop it! :twisted:


Eric :lol:

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rainbowgardener
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I did make the chrysanthemum flower jelly. Our mums are deep maroon, so the jelly came out a lovely deep pink.

It occurred to me that I have to STOP even though there are things I would like to try that I haven't done yet. I have 20 jars of jelly made: purple basil jelly, green basil jelly, strawberry-anise hyssop jam, blackberry-sage jam, sage-apple jelly, lavender jelly, chrysanthemum flower jelly. That's more than how many friends/family we might give Christmas presents to!! What ever is left I can try next year.

I have 18 of my little 2 oz canisters filled with herbal teas in 8 different blends. That's ok, they are small. I have some 4 oz canisters ordered that should be arriving soon. I will fill a few of those and then say STOP on the tea making too.

I think I'm starting to get a little obsessive about I should use everything my garden produces! But I can't really do that unless I am going to start selling stuff...

In the meantime it is time to start haunting thrift stores for baskets and move on to soapmaking ...
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applestar
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Sounds wonderful! It must smell wonderful in your house too. :D

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LA47
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Wheew! I haven't even started thinking about Christmas yet! All I do is baking and make various candy for gifts. :oops:
High Altitude Gardener zone 4B or 5A

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rainbowgardener
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This will be my third year of making gift baskets filled with homemade jam/jelly, herbal teas, soaps, lotions, candles and/or whatever else I get it together to make, including some baked goods like lavender biscotti, lavender chocolate brownies, etc (anyone sensing a theme here? :) ).
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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rainbowgardener
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Currently I have put up 22 canisters of herbal tea blends, 10 different varieties, 2 different size canisters. And 2 dozen jars of jams, jellies, syrups, salsas in 9 different varieties. Still thinking about doing some apple butter then -- On to soap and lotion making! And I decided my new thing for this year would be canisters of little individually wrapped candies in several varieties. Then the last thing I will do before Christmas is baked goods. How about anise hyssop tea bread, anise hyssop and almond butter cookies, and my old favorites, lavender biscotti and lavender chocolate brownies.

Who wants to be on my Christmas gift list? :D
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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edelweiss
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HANDMADE

I make different homemade presents. For example I make candles, decorated year round cards with envelopes (decoration from flowers,leaves, hand draw),crochet and knit scarfs,mitts and socks for the homeless, women shelter and anybody who is in need... yes even for my family and relatives. I bake over 5000 Christmas cookies, variety of cakes including the well known Baumkuchen (ship it off to all my family members and friends). Sending it off is soo $......But the joy and the fun I have is just unimaginable.I also go in winter around and shuffle drive-ways, who ever is in need.Well everybody has different ways to brighten up Christmas and these are just some of my ways! :D
''On your way through life don't worry if you stumble now and then. Only worms can't fall down.'' Jean Pare

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tomf
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I am going to give Chia Pets to every one. :roll: NOT!

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pinksand
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What an amazing idea! How are you so motivated?

I don't know if it's possible to put into words, but what does chrysanthemum flower jelly taste like? I just can't even imagine.

I officially need to start growing lavender, you have my mouth watering :shock:
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"The earth laughs in flowers" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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