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Monday, April 27, 2015

A Frugal Li'l Road Trip Basket

Goodman and I often take short day-trips around the area and like to take a few things with us ... like real coffee cups, a thermos of good strong coffee and maybe a snack or two so I needed something other than a grocery bag to hold the cups and snacks.
Y'all know I like practicing frugality whenever possible.  And now, more than ever, it pays as so often when buying something new the quality you expect just isn't there.  I found just what I needed at a tag sale last year. The price on this li'l basket with a padded liner was just a few dollars so I snapped it up and took it home.

The elastic closures were shot, but it was in good shape, otherwise. It really just needed a good cleaning and some sprucing up.  Love the padded liner complete with hot/cold pack.

So I scrubbed the basket clean and washed the liner then got busy making a few flowers and leaves with polymer clay...
 I used these tiny cookie cutters to make the flower shapes. 

Baked them in the oven and let them cool...

 Then used a glue gun to apply them to the lid of the basket.

 And those little elastic ties were replaced with new ones that I perked up with more flowers and leaves.  I'm very happy with it.

 Goodman gives me a strange li'l grin when he sees it in the backseat of the car, but I don't mind. ;)

Hope you're enjoying lots of spring blossoms.
Bearded Iris
And birds, too.
Fastidiously clean Mockingbird

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Putting the Smack on Poison Ivy

They're beginning to fade now, but here is another bouquet of our violets.

I've long believed if we have a health problem there must be a natural, safe remedy for it.  We don't always find a natural remedy for everything, but sometimes we find one that is so good it must be shared.  I've just returned from my annual spring trip...

... to a family drugstore in Sweetwater, Tenn. where I buy a homeopathic inoculation for Goodman that prevents the dreaded bane (for him) of summer, poison ivy.
No affiliation, just appreciation.
 They make Rhus Tox every year for their customers who prefer to be free from the rash caused by contact with the poison ivy plant.

 Since the first time he took the inoculation Goodman has not had one bout with the rash. He now takes Rhus Tox every year, and it's much cheaper than a trip to the doctor if the rash gets out of hand. The best part is it's a totally natural way to prevent the rash.  If you don't live in E. Tenn. just google it as it's available even on
Shown are three separate doses that prevent poison ivy infection for approximately one year.

I always enjoy my trip to Sweetwater as I drive by this nifty place.
click for bigger pic

If you're ever in the Sweetwater, Tenn.  area  you might like to stop by Sweetwater Valley Farms on Lee Highway in Philadelphia, Tenn. They make a variety of cheeses and ice cream, and their operation can be viewed through large windows in the store area where they offer the products for sale.  No affiliation there, either.
click for bigger pic

Here's hopin' you're enjoying a rash-free spring and summer.  :)

Shared at: Good Fences

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Sweet Wonderland of Violets

 It's a very good year for violets here in the western foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains so I gathered a few and made some violet sugar and syrup with them - there are so many ways to enjoy them...

Gathering them is fun and easy; just stoop and pluck them to your heart's content. There's no need to move around much they are so plentiful.

 After washing I drained and patted dry two cups full of petals..

 And whizzed them in the coffee mill with one cup of sugar for a beautiful cup of violet sugar to sprinkle on cupcakes or cookies.  I might even add a bit to my afternoon tea now and then.

A small nosegay of the blooms and leaves in a tiny bottle is uplifting, also.  Violet sugar in a shaker on the right.

 The sugar is sweet and useful, but I also wanted to make a syrup with the abundance of flowers.  I steeped two cups of whole flower heads in two cups of boiling water overnight then added 1 cup of sugar...

 To make two cups of violet syrup.
 (Note:  When I reheated the steeped water to add the sugar it caused the violet water to turn grayish blue so I added a few drops of red food coloring to perk it up a bit.  (Ahem, I may have overdone it just a bit. O.O)  The syrup can be added according to taste to cold sparkling seltzer water for a light, refreshing summertime drink.

In other herbal news I'm putting together a little first aid travel kit and needed a few small tubes of antiseptic/analgesic salve so I followed these directions...
To make them...

Using a straw and my homemade plantain salve that I use for insect bites and scratches. There are tons of antiseptic salve recipes online.  (I don't remember which I used for my salve.:)

Our Confederate Violets wanted to say hello, too  :)

Have a wonderfully violet scented week, Y'all!

Shared at:  HomeAcre Hop, Wildcrafting Wednesday, The Maple Hill Hop, Roses of Inspiration