Tuesday, 6 February 2018


Catnip ( Nepeta cataria)

Parts used: Flowering tops, leaves.

Catnip is often used for wind or colic. It soothes upset stomachs, indigestion and stress-related problems. Because it contains tannins, it is also good for diarrhoea and inflammatory bowel problems. In the respiratory system it is helpful for coughs, bronchitis and asthma.  Another use is it helps reducing fevers and bringing out rashes in irruptive infections such as measles and chicken pox.

It is an antiseptic and staunches bleeding and speeds healing of cuts, bites, burns, scalds and bruises.

How to grow:

Catnip is a perennial shrub, traditionally thought to excite cats. It has attractive, aromatic, grey-green foliage and grows to a round 60 cm (2ft) tall. 

Propagate by sowing seeds in spring, taking softwood cuttings in spring or dividing the plant in late summer. It prefers well drained soil in full sun. 

Protect from cats if necessary.


Catnip (or catmint) is a herb suited to relaxing the nervous system, it has calming qualities  and a handful of dried catnip steeped in boiling water makes a good tea to calm down after a stressful day, drink before bed. A teaspoon of honey will take away the woodsy flavour.

In other uses catnip is useful as a repellent. Mice dislike the scent, catnip in sachets or planted around doors outside will keep mice away. The plant is also useful as a insect repellent.  A spray can be made using catnip & basil:

1/2 cup fresh catnip and basil leaves chopped
1 cup witch hazel

Any of the following essential oils: Citronella, lemongrass, basil, lemon, or eucalyptus.

Water for diluting.

Place catnip and bail in jar and pour the witch hazel over the herbs. Close the jar and leave in a dark place for 1 week. Strain and the infused witch hazel should stay fresh for up to a 1 year.

The spray:

Fill a small spray bottle half way with infused witch hazel add 3 to 4 drops of essential oils and fill the rest of the bottle with plain water, cap and shake.

Shake frequently before and during use. Spray lightly on skin to keeps bugs at bay.

CAUTION: As always be careful about using herbs. Never use while pregnant. Be careful when using on young children. And always test a small patch on the skin first to see if a reaction will occur. See your doctor first to check if it will react to any other medications.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

cottage journal - rambles

Cooler days means I'm sorting through my embroidery stash and thinking about what to embroider and crochet. I'm having a bit of a blank with art at the moment, so I painted a still life without mixed media.

I've also been out and about. Cleaning homes, petting pets, and losing a bit of weight with the 10,000 steps program. I can't see progress there yet, but I'm walking faster with less resting along the way.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Bouquet Garni

Bouquet Garni

Spices and aromatic herbs lend flavour to most savoury dishes, including soups, broths, stews, and sauces. Bouquet garni are small bound muslin sachets filled with herbs to savour food during cooking especially slow cooked food, but should be removed before or during serving.

Aromatic Dishes
To make a bouquet garni cut out a piece of muslin 6 inch 915cm) across and place some herbs and spices in the centre. Gather the bundle together and tie with thread or raffia.

Bay, parsley, and thyme are the most usual ingredients for a bouquet garni but you can combine any herbs and spice you choose to suit the dish you are making.

A blend of lemon peel, parsley, celery leaf, cardamon and saffron goes well with rice. 

Fish stews are best with star anise, lime, parsley and dill.

Far Eastern dishes are enhanced by a bouquet garni of basil, chives, oregano, and bay. 

For lamb, bay leaves, rosemary, crushed garlic and orange peel will give any lamb dish a special hint of herb flavour.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Cottage journal inspirations

Just some pictures from around the home, nothing fancy.

Simple hand embroidered from vintage embroidery designs to make up into sachets for some potpourri.

Indulging the sweet tooth...not too many. I'm working on dieting.

Flower Salads

Several common flowers are edible - and add an element of colour and surprise to an ordinary green salad. Not all flowers are edible, though, so make sure the ones you choose are, and wash and dry thoroughly before using. Common flower edibles include Nasturtiums, roses, borage, marigolds, squash flowers, and violets.  

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Rose and Spice Potpourri

This mixture has a dusty appearance because of the spices. A few perfectly dried rose buds, whole dried miniature roses or  dried petals can be used on the sides and tops of glass jars to brighten this beautiful but simple potpourri.


4 cups dried rose petals
1 cup mixture of freshly ground cinnamon, cloves and a little nutmeg
1/2 cup orrisroot powder ( Note: I used a couple of ground chips of rose resin as a fixative instead of orrisroot powder)
10 drops rose oil
Rosebuds, whole roses, or petals for decoration


Mix rose petals and spices thoroughly with your hands. Blend oil and orrisroot powder together with your fingers and add to the petals. Put mixture into an airtight container and allow to mellow for 3 weeks before transferring to jars or bowls.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Basic Lavender Sachet recipe

Basic Lavender sachet recipe

This recipe may be used alone as a sachet or as a good base for other sachets. It will remain fragrant for a very long time.


8 cups lavender flowers (dried)
1 tablespoon orrisroot powder (as a fixative to keep the scent)
10 drops lavender oil

Crumble the flowers and mix throughly with the fixative. Add lavender oil a drop at a a time and blend through the mix with your fingertips.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A walk in the park

The wartime rations continue, porridge is the staple for morning breakfast. I did some researching on line and during the 1940's, war in Australia, we weren't as harshly rationed as the Brits.  However, every one wanted to do their part for the war and agreed to do some rationing. We also had more choice as Australia did, at the time, grow a lot of it's own food and wasn't reliant on other countries to bring in food. 

While out and about, I managed to take a walk to one of our local gardens. We are currently in school holidays and the carnival of flowers is on show. This peacock display looked very fancy with all flowers.

They had a band playing some old time music and places where you could sit out to have a nice cold drink, which was needed today as the day did warm up.

I also was over at my garden 'lottie, and they were having their annual plant sale too. I didn't buy anything. There were a lot of people having a look as it was obviously a good day to be out and about. 

The carnival of flowers will run all week, so there's plenty of time to go and see all the flower gardens and displays. Just watch out for the Magpies.

I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.


Catnip ( Nepeta cataria) Parts used : Flowering tops, leaves. Catnip is often used for wind or colic. It soothes upset stomachs...