Drying Elder flowers & berries, Roses, and creating tinctures & an infused oil

As spoken about before, I love collecting berries and drying them. This has now extended to flowers. Our lovely Elders have been in full bloom, so I collected some of the creamy sprays to make tinctures from. Some had also started to become berries, so I thought these might be good for a transition-type tincture – PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THE UNRIPE BERRIES ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR INTERNAL USE. I intend to use the tinctures mainly for aura and energetic sprays, and for cleansing baths.

I’m really loving getting so connected to nature again, and finding new ways to bring Mother Earth’s bounty into my life in magical ways. I’ve been making sprays for a few years now, along with oil mixes. At least I won’t get the raw berry bits clogging up the spray bottle mechanisms now!

Here are some pictures of the Elder flowers and proto-berries before and after drying. They were particularly fiddly to get off the stems, and I still have to remove the flowers from their stalks to make up the tincture. I will be leaving them to ‘soak’ for at least two months before filtering them.

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elder berry

My second project was to dry some of the lovely Roses we have. As some are highly scented I thought they would be nice to add to Jojoba oil to make an infused oil. Because we had warmer weather at the time they didn’t take too long to dry.

roses_01

It’s deceptively easy to make your own tinctures and infused oils. For the tinctures I used English potato vodka, and for the Rose-infused oil I used a Jojoba base because it doesn’t go rancid easily.

Advent Calendar for my brother

Question: What can you do to make something your 26 year old brother will actually like?
Answer: Advent calendar filled with money!

I saw some pretty ideas for envelope Advent calendars on Pinterest and thought I’d make my own version. My brother is notoriously picky about presents and usually just wants the money so he can buy his own stuff. It makes for a pretty boring gift-giving experience, so I decided I’d make the Advent calendar with money in for each day. That way he could either open up one envelope per day or open them all on Christmas day and it seems like he has more presents. He has opted for the latter, so my board is currently sitting all sparkly and pristine, awaiting the carnage to come on Christmas day. Poor calendar.

I wanted to use materials that I either already had or could re-use. It’s a slightly more eco-thoughtful way to do things, and can save money on costs too.
I started off with a cheap cork board and covered it with brown paper. I then pinned on some jute fabric with glittery red stars, and added some old red cotton ribbon which was my Nanny Grethe’s. I cut lengths of string and tied them around pins and stuck them in the back of the cork board frame.

The envelopes are just the little ‘wages’ envelopes you can buy in stationary shops. I made sure to get the plain ones so I could decorate them. I used some old Christmas stickers that had been waiting to be put to work for years quite some time, and some number stickers I bought from The Works.
I put the money in each envelope, but decided not to glue them shut so they can be re-used in the future. They are attached to the string with little wooden pegs. Just hook the envelope flap over the back of the string, stick the peg on and voila!

The final touch was a money ‘jar’ I made using an old tablets bottle, some of Nanny Grethe’s old ribbon, some stretchy sparkly cord from a previous Christmas, a little holly embellishment, and a label made from leftover brown paper. The peg was a broken one, so now has a use.

I had a lot of fun making it, and you could even adapt the idea with different themes for different people, age groups or belief systems. Most importantly my brother seems to like it. That’s win-win for me.

advent-board_2016_copyright

Lincoln Christmas Market – including the Medieval Market!

Lincoln Christmas Market – including the Medieval Market!

I made it! Last year mum wasn’t well enough so I didn’t go, and even though I had a migraine overnight I was determined to make it this year. The Lincoln Christmas Market is usually the highlight of my year. It’s spread out across the top of the city, winding through streets and even invading the Cathedral and Castle grounds. If I’ve been feeling ‘bah humbug’ about Christmas music this event usually cures me of it.
Sellers from all over Europe attend, so there’s usually quite a wide variety of items to look at.
Because many of the items are handmade I have included names and links to websites or pages where possible.
The photos are a mix of mine and mum’s, depending on who had the better photos. Most of the buildings photos are mum’s.

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Northern Tamarisk is now on Etsy!

After several months of procrastinating due to health issues and fear I’ve finally decided to dip a toe into the Etsy waters. My re-named Etsy shop now has three items to start off Samhain, and I will be adding different pieces over the coming months. My focus for now will be devotional jewellery and prayer-bead strands, but I would also like to expand into altar/shrine kits with Deity statues (mostly Egyptian) who are looking for a new home.

I am currently only offering shipping to the UK, but when I’ve had a little more time to get my bearings I hope to offer my products for sales outside the UK as well.

Click on the links to be taken to the product pages.

NorthernTamarisk on Etsy

Dark God Devotional Strand

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Underworld Deity Pocket Strand

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Lava Skull Bracelet – currently available in 17cm, 18cm and 20cm

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