The fairy folk residing in Meadow Sweet Grove have come up with some yuletide doings that you may enjoy each day, leading up to Christmas Day; as a means to celebrate this magical time of the year!
Though we are into Fall now; the roses are still blooming here in the Grove, so I thought I would try my hand at some cheap and cheerful, homemade skin care. Here is my recipe for "Quick and Easy Rose Petal & Witch Hazel Toner":
You will need:
2 handfuls of fresh rose petals
1 covered dish
metal tea strainer and funnel
2 same size containers
1 dark glass bottle
Step 3. Measure out an equal amount of pure witch hazel to your rosewater. Pour both the witch hazel and rosewater together into a dark glass bottle, cap tightly and shake gently or rotate bottle to mix. Store in a dark, cool cupboard. Apply to skin with a cotton ball.
Rosewater is anti-inflammatory and has anti-bacterial qualities and so soothes irritated or acne-prone skin. As a natural astringent; it tones skins and tightens pores as well as reducing the appearance of wrinkles. It is also used to hydrate, revitalize and moisture all skin types as it balances the serum of the skin. Witch hazel has similar benefits as it pertains to toning, tightening and cleansing the skin.
And since the beautiful Queen Cleopatra is said to have washed her face in rosewater and indulged in milk baths heavily laced with rose petals; as part of her beauty regime ... I think that is good enough for me to incorporate some rosewater into my daily skin care routine!
Bibliography: Magical Powers of Rosewater for Glowing Skin, Read & Digest, 2020
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2020
Time to Go Thrifting
Many people may have made a New Year's Resolution this January 1st to "clear the clutter" and get organized. When taking those unwanted items in for donation to your local thrift store or charity stop - do make sure you check inside the store to see what's on offer.
Many people donate unwanted Christmas presents in January or donate the items that those gifts replaced. Sometimes they donate better quality items than the new replacements they received!
For example, someone might donate their "out-dated" English bone china dishes or funky 70s Japanese stoneware. For the lover of antique, retro, quality or just plain eclectic dishware -- your local thrift store becomes a treasure trove!
Charity shops often have promotions too, like any other retailer, at this time of the year, to make up for low sales - so make a note of those dates and bring your donations in on those discount days.
Some Thrifty Tips
January is also a time of year when many people are cutting back on their expenses. For some, there is more tax deducted off the pay cheque starting in January. Others overspent at Christmas, or feel the need to take a holiday somewhere warm. Whatever the reason for a light wallet in January - there are many thrifty ways to stretch your dollars.
~ Reuse food containers in your kitchen ~
Isn't it silly that we buy containers to freeze or store our food in - when we throw perfectly good containers into the recycling bin every day? Containers that are already bought and paid for. Recent news has led me to believe that many of the items we faithfully recycle are not being recycled at all - but shipped to other countries for disposal in their landfills and even oceans. This, of course, defeats the purpose of recycling which is to keep the items out of Mother Nature's belly!
Here's a number of re-uses for those many containers that make their way into your home:
The best! Use for dry beans and lentils, pasta, popcorn and rice. Sterilize the jars and lids in boiling water and freeze homemade applesauce and crushed tomatoes (make sure you leave a good inch or so at the top for expansion). Use for non-food items like: nails, screws, tacks, beads, paper clips, seed pods and any other small items that need organization.
Yogurt, margarine, sour cream, cream cheese, and those funky plastic take-away/delivery containers - anything that is packaged in an opaque plastic tub can be re-used. Use them to freeze left-overs, extra tomato sauce and chicken broth. Keep them handy to send guests home with left-overs, children to school with cut veggies, cookies and cupcakes for school parties and for numerous other non-food uses like: crayons, craft/painting supplies, pet food - just don't get the two mixed up!
Bread Bags & Cereal Boxes
Those many bread bags basically replace plastic wraps! Okay, they don't "cling", but many food items we wrap up don't need that feature. Use them to wrap cheese and to freeze extra portions of raw meat like ground beef and chicken. Cut them in half and use them to wrap sandwiches and snacks for lunches. Collect dry seed pods in the summer or fall and shake the bag. All the seeds will collect beautifully in the bottom of the bag (I learned this trick from a wonderful old Yorkshireman). Talk about thrifty! He even cut up his empty cereal boxes for a re-use as shopping lists.
~ Join a Local "Buy Nothing" or "Gifting" Group ~
If you are on Facebook, do a search for a "buy nothing" or "gifting" group in your local area. The premise is usually that everyone posts pictures of items that they are willing to give away for free. Read the rules carefully as each group is different, but usually, you are required to post a picture and short description of an item you no longer need. People express interest by commenting on the post and you pick a recipient and leave the item on your doorstep for them to collect at a pre-arranged time. You likewise comment on posts of items that others are gifting in the hopes that you will be the lucky winner. I have met some wonderful people this way and have received many amazing household items ... and helped to de-clutter my own home in the bargain!
One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2018 / edited 2019 & 2023
February 14th - St. Valentine's Day = Love
Starting with the Roman Festival of Lupercalia, moving on to the Greek mythology of Venus, Cupid & Psyche and culminating with the Christian story of St. Valentine ... it's always been about Love! Winter is ending, Spring is beginning ... love is in the air. The Meadow Sweet Grove fairies love cheeky vintage Valentines ... like the one to the left! With their playful play on words - they really reflect the essence of Valentine's Day with flirtatiousness, fun and comradery. Of course, the industrious fairies also love to turn the scraps, trimmings and clippings that they saved during the year into one-of-a-kind home-made card creations as well!
~ Save your scraps ~
Set aside a shoe box or large envelope and collect scraps throughout the year. Cut out beautiful pictures from magazines, cards, advertisements, tags, packaging, wrapping paper, stickers from address labels, stamps - you get the idea! Save little bits of cloth ribbon from chocolate and nut packages, cut buttons off clothes too worn to donate and anything else you find pretty. Once you get going, and truly look at everything in your hand before you drop it in the trash or recycling bin - you will be amazed at what you have available to you - for free!!
~ Making the cards ~
There are countless ways to make your card - and absolutely the sky is the limit! Here's one option for a flat card, with message on the reverse, that can be displayed by "propping":
Et voilà! Instant, pretty, unique and free Valentine's Day card. Children and the youngest fairies, of course, love making their own cards ... and some of the not-so-young ones do too ...
Meadow Sweet Grove © V. Buchanan 2017 / edited 2021
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Meadow Sweet Grove