Saturday, April 30, 2011

May Day

When I was young, my grandmother used to mention that it was May Day on May 1st. I never was quite sure why she held this day as important in any way, so I decided to do a little investigating on May Day. All I knew was about the children dancing around the May Day pole, but I never gave much thought to its significance as far as history goes. So this is what I found out about this day.

Well, it is a fact that May Day, which the children do enjoy with all vibes, is not an overly prominent holiday in America. Yet, it does have a long and notable history as one of the world's principal festivals. The origin of the May Day as a day for celebration dates back to the days, even before the birth of Christ. And like many ancient festivals it too has a Pagan connection.

For the Druids of the British Isles, May 1 was the second most important holiday of the year. Because, it was when the festival of Beltane was held. It was thought that the day divides the year into half. The other half was to be ended with the Samhain on November 1. Those days the May Day custom was the setting of new fire. It was one of those ancient New Year rites performed throughout the world. And the fire itself was thought to lend life to the burgeoning springtime sun. Cattle were driven through the fire to purify them. Men, with their sweethearts, passed through the smoke for seeing good luck.

Then the Romans came to occupy the British Isles. The beginning of May was a very popular feast time for the Romans. It was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers. It was in her honor a five day celebration, called the Floralia, was held. The five day festival would start from April 28 and end on May 2. The Romans brought in the rituals of the Floralia festival in the British Isles. And gradually the rituals of the Floralia were added to those of the Beltane. And many of today's customs on the May Day bear a stark similarity with those combined traditions.

May day observance was discouraged during the Puritans. Though, it was relived when the Puritans lost power in England, it didn't have the same robust force. Gradually, it came to be regarded more as a day of joy and merriment for the kids, rather than a day of observing the ancient fertility rights.

Roots of May Day celebration in America:

The Puritans frowned on May Day, so the day has never been celebrated with as much enthusiasm in the United States as in Great Britain. But the tradition of celebrating May Day by dancing and singing around a maypole, tied with colorful streamers or ribbons, survived as a part of the English tradition. The kids celebrating the day by moving back and forth around the pole with the the streamers, choosing of May queen, and hanging of May baskets on the doorknobs of folks -- are all the leftovers of the old European traditions.

Hope you find this interesting, the only remembrance that sounds familiar is the part about hanging the May basket on the door . I don`t remember her doing anything in particular or special on this day. It was probably just a celebration of Spring to her.

I have found some gorgeous springtime finds in shades of purple on Etsy today, enjoy!

Happy May Day!

And For Mothers Day remember to use coupon code
 when shopping at 
Au Naturelle
to save 10 percent off your purchases.

And if you`re making a soap purchase you will receive a free drawstring soap bag with your purchase throughout the month of May.

If shopping at Scorpion Moon Designs
use coupon code
and save 10 percent off of your purchase.

As Always
Keep It Clean!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roses /RoseWater / New Finds On Etsy

Today I felt like gathering some information on roses. I want to make my own rose water, so in turn I decided to investigate roses more closely. This is what I found .

The Rose

The rose is perhaps one of the most powerful symbols in the metaphysical world.  The gift of a rose is also one of the simplest ways to say, "I love you" without too much hocus-pocus.
The element associated with the rose is Water, so it is particularly friendly to the astrological signs of Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio. Both Mercury and Venus rule this flower. A bath in rose petals or rose water (which is distilled from the buds) is said to attract love to the bathing beauty.
The rose historically  is associated with Cupid, Eros, Adonis, Aphrodite, Isis, Hathor, and Demeter. Rose water and rose petals are often used in magical rituals to honor these gods and goddesses.
Although red roses are traditionally seen as symbols of lust and love, the flower also has a long association with such qualities as purity, compassion and divine perfection. The white rose in particular has an affinity with the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit.
The color of the rose is also significant. Red roses symbolize love, sex and passion. Pink roses suggest friendship, joy, gratitude and fun. Yellow roses can symbolize enthusiasm, but according to some folklore, the yellow rose can symbolize deception or "the perfect crime." Orange roses signify enthusiasm, passion and a lust for life. White roses are symbolic of significant landmarks in life (such as death, birth and marriage), unconditional love, purity and innocence.
Rose water is used in cooking spells and added to curries and cake mixes to infuse the dish with good spirits and love attracting qualities. The water is also splashed on the skin (but not around the eyes) to give you a complexion as dewy as the flower.

The recipe for making the rose water is as follows, but be sure to use these simple preparation tips first;

  • Rose petals must be freshly picked and have no pesticides or chemicals used on them.
  • Pick the roses just after the morning dew has evaporated, about 2 to 3 hours after sunrise.
  • Use only the petals, not the stems or leaves.
  • Wash the petals quickly to remove any bugs or specks of dirt and immediately process with one of the methods below.
  • If you don’t grow your own roses, ask at the local florist or Farmers Market for organic roses.

Old Fashioned Rose Water Recipe

Items Needed:
Rose Petals
Distilled Water
Enamel Pot (any size)
  • Fill the bottom of an enamel pot with the rose petals a few inches deep. Pour distilled water over the petals until they are just covered.
  • Turn on heat for the water to be steaming hot, but do not boil. Let the water steam until the petals have lost their color, the water has taken on the color of the rose petals and you see rose oil skimming the surface. This will take approximately 60 minutes.
  • Strain the water and squeeze out the liquid from the rose petals, this is your rosewater.

Homemade Rosewater – Quick & Easy Recipe

  • For every 1 firmly packed cup of rose petals, pour 2 cups boiling water over top. Cover and steep until the liquid is cool. Strain, squeeze out the liquid from the petals, and refrigerate the rose water in a sterilized jar. Now as far as shelve life goes it will vary from a few months to a year. If you will be using your rose water as a facial astringent, simply add 1 part rubbing alcohol, vodka or witch hazel to 10 parts rose water. Simply put use one ounce of the alcohol base to 10 ounces of rose water.

Have fun with it, the benefits on your skin are very rewarding.

As you can see I also found these lovely photographs of roses by different artists on Etsy and this necklace is wonderful isn`t it?
Don`t forget Mothers` Day! Every Mom loves roses!

Thats all for now!
As Always 
Keep It Clean!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Shop Of The Week / Vintage Finds

Today I have my shop of the week pick! Its no secret that I love vintage! I get my appreciation for it from my late grandmother. She kept everything proudly. Maybe I should reword that, she kept everything she loved proudly. Everything vintage has a story to tell. If only the pieces could talk to us. They have seen holidays, birthdays and all special occasions.

My shop of the week is called 86 For The Home

The shop on Etsy is brimming with vintage finds from the Martin III rocking horse, to the painted picnic basket, red bicycle and the great toy car. These have got to be memorable treasures to all of us.

And more vintage finds galore! If you love vintage then you`ve simply have to check this shop out! 

Everything vintage to me brings back a certain memory. Take for instance the green picnic basket. This brings back memories of my grandmother, whom I`ll always miss dearly. Her favorite color was green. When we were kids, she would set up a picnic for me and my sister and brothers for lunch and call it a picnic out in her yard. What fun memories we have! This is how we keep people alive in our lifes with these loving memories. Memories are what makes us who we are. The lives we live create the next generation.

Now I`m getting too deep! But it gives you something to think about doesn`t it? Everything you say and do reflects on the person or people around you.

Enough reminiscing! Although I must admit, I have a lot of wonderful memories!

I have more great vintage finds to share!

Thats all for today!
I hope you find things on Etsy to bring back the fun memories you might have from your past.

Enjoy your day!
And As Always
Keep It Clean!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Monday

Yesterday was a very nice day! It ended up being quite warm. But I`m not complaining, its better then the rainy gloomy weather we`ve been having.

My family celebrated Easter, along with my brothers` 40th birthday! Its hard to believe my youngest brother will be 40 on Friday. But then again, I have to be reminded of my own age.

I am wrestling with an idea of re-entering the job market. I was employed by a large corporation for 13 years until they suddenly fazed out my position.

I want to continue to run my Etsy shop at the same time. Au Naturelle  Remember I`m only wrestling with this idea right now. Its such a big step to possibly take, since I`ve been out of the job market for almost probably going on two years.

We shall see, I will continue to wrestle with this idea for a week or so and see where I end up with it.

Well, moving on, I`ve got to get out and fertilize my flower beds this week.

Here are some tips that I found to help me. Maybe they can help some of you also.

  • Take a soil sample to your county extension office or a landscape center to test its nutrient content. A soil test is the foundation for making an informed decision on the type and quantity of fertilizer to use. Soil that is deficient in iron will benefit from a liberal application of bone meal. Follow the instructions on the package label.

  • 2
    Research the types of plants already established in your garden or those you wish to add. Many different species of plants have different nutrient and soil requirements. As an example, azaleas will flourish with a dose of Epsom salts added to the soil in the fall to encourage spring flowers.

  • 3
    Fertilize to feed and encourage new growth and flower production. Most flowering plants will benefit from one to two applications of fertilizer during the growing season. The first application should be made in spring when new growth appears or when planting. Apply one pound per 100 square feet of garden area. Work it into the soil.

  • 4
    Add organic compost to flower beds to help retain moisture and encourage growth. Spread a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic compost on the garden and work it well into the soil. As the compost decomposes, it will gradually add nutrients and avoid fertilizer burn.

  • Now believe me I am by no means a green thumb kind of girl, but I would like to get my flower beds looking good. So hopefully these tips will help me and any one interested in fertilizing your flower beds.

    Also the lilac bushes are budding nicely, I can`t wait to pick those beauties and fill my vases with them. They are one of my favorite flowers and so fragrant. They fill the rooms with wonderful scent. A few more weeks and they`ll be ready for picking.

    Well enjoy the day!
    And As Always!
    Keep It Clean!

    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Happy Easter

    Good afternoon! Rainy and Damp here in Connecticut! 
    Let me stress the word DAMP
    Anyways the grass and flowers love it!
    I just wanted to wish everyone a 
    Happy Easter!
    Hopefully things will dry out for Easter services and Easter egg hunts tomorrow.
    It would be nice if it was warmer also.
    I would also like to thank all of my customers for buying my handmade products from my shop on Etsy.

    ~~~I am having a free giveaway at this time. With any soap purchase you will receive a free muslin drawstring soap bag for storing and using your soap.~~~

    Also remember with any purchase use coupon code~SPRING10~ at checkout and save 10 percent off your entire order.

    I will be introducing a couple of new items in May!
    One is an Aniseed Lemon lip balm and the other is a heavy duty gardeners hand cream that I`ve been formulating. So be watching for these two new items!

    Today I will feature a  few new finds on Etsy shops that I`ve come across.

    This fantastic Napa Barrel Stave Magazine/Wine Basket!

    Along with this gorgeous fine crafted jewelry chest!

    Check out these shops for fabulous crafted wood goods!

    Thats all for today!
    Heres` a recipe for some spicy deviled eggs for those Easter dinners.
    Deviled Eggs are an Easter tradition after all.


    6 hard cooked eggs
    1 tbsp. fresh parsley
    1 tbsp. scallions, minced
    1 small jalapeno pepper
    1/4 cup Miracle Whip
    1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1 tsp. Dijon mustard
    1/2 teaspoon cilantro (optional)
    pinch cayenne pepper
    pinch chili powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon horseradish, grated
    1/4 teaspoon celery seed

    Slice each egg in half crosswise. Scrape out yolks saving contents in a bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard and blend together. Add remaining ingredients to combine.Spoon approximately 1 tbsp. of the yolk mixture into each egg half. Sprinkle lightly with chili powder and paprika. Garnish with a sprig of parsley.

    And As Always
    Keep It Clean!

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Earth Day Is Friday - Free GiveAway

    Greetings to All Today!
    We need some sunshine, its been  gloomy this April.
    I know they say April showers bring May flowers! 
    But this is ridiculous!
    Enough Already!
    Well moving on now!

    Earth Day is Friday!
    A few facts about Earth Day!

    • Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch a TV for three hours - it's equivalent to half a gallon of gasoline.
    • Earth Day is a relatively new holiday and was first celebrated on April 22 in 1970. More than 20 million Americans participated in this first Earth Day celebration
    • Earth Day was founded by a senator of Wisconsin and the day is credited for creating the environmental movement.
    • April 22 is the first official day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere and of Fall in the Southern hemisphere and was chosen to be Earth Day for this reason.
      • Never underestimate the importance of recycling: if every newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year. Unfortunately only 27% of all American newspapers are recycled.
      • More than 20,000,000 Hershey's Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.
      • Only 11% of the earth's surface is used to grow food.
      • The world's first national park was started in 1872 at Yellowstone National Park in the US.

      Just a few facts that I wanted to pass along to give us all something to think about. We can all make a difference in one way or another to save our planet.

      I also have a few items in my shop on sale for Earth Day until May 1st.
      They are lavender sachets, dandelion gift bags and a set of note cards with the vintage bottle collection on them.
      The vintage card set is on sale for $4.00.

      The dandelion gift bags on also on sale for $6.00.

      And finally on sale are the lavender sachets for $7.00.

      I also have a giveaway going on now throughout the end of May.
      With any soap purchase you will receive a free muslin drawstring soap bag.

      Thats all for today.
      As Always
      Keep It Clean!

      And For Earth Day

      Keep It Green!