Achillea

achillea

DRY-flowers: Achillea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – Type species; Achillea millefoliumAchillea is a group of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae described as a genus by Linnaeus in 1753. The genus was named after the Greek mythological character Achilles. According to legend, Achilles’ soldiers used yarrow to treat their wounds, hence some of its common names such as allheal and bloodwort.

The genus is native primarily to Europe, temperate areas of Asia, and North America. The common name “yarrow” is usually applied to Achillea millefolium, but may also be used for other species within the genus. These plants typically have frilly, hairy, aromatic leaves. The plants show large, flat clusters of small flowers at the top of the stem. The flowers can be white, yellow, orange, pink or red and are generally visited by many insects, and are thus characterised by a generalised pollination system.

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BABY ROSE SUGAR SCRUB

bath-cubes

Have you ever received roses that were stunningly gorgeous, only to be sad when they age? Well, I found the perfect solution to making our favorite rose bouquet last a little longer!

Baby Rose Sugar Scrub.

With just a few simple and inexpensive ingredients, a food processor, a pretty jar, and a few rose petals, you can make a beautiful DIY gift for yourself or for somebody you love!

For this DIY sugar scrub recipe, you will need:

  • 1.5 cups of plain white sugar
  • 1/4 cup of baby oil
  • 12 rose petals
  • a food processor
  • a pretty jar

Here’s how this magical little rose scrub comes together:

petals

bath-cubes

A food processor is a fancy machine! But, if you don’t have a big old food processor, have no fear! Be creative- try a blender or try mixing it by hand! This is a no fail sugar scrub recipe. I prefer the mixture to be fluffy. If you prefer a smoother sugar scrub, simply add more baby oil. The sugar fluffs it up, the oil smooths it out.

Aside from being gorgeous, roses are *thought* to contribute to our well being. Roses are my very favorite flowers: red, white, pink- I love them all.

Don’t you think this Baby Rose Sugar Scrub would be a beautiful gift? Me too!

 

 

 

 

 

VAPORIZING SHOWER CUBES

bath-cubes

Feeling stuffy? Feeling a little cold coming on? Or do you just feel like a little pampering? You’re going to LOVE these easy homemade vaporizing shower cubes. They are very gentle, yet the vapors help soothe a cold and cough. I happen to love using them just because it’s crisp and cold outside. You only need 4 easy to find ingredients and an ice cube tray. You might already have all of these ingredients in your kitchen! If not, a quick trip to the grocery store will have you covered.

This is a beautiful handmade gift idea….

To get started, you will need some measuring spoons and a mixing bowl. Don’t forget your ice cube tray! Pick one up at the dollar store if you don’t already have one.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of corn starch
  • 4 tbs. of BabyRub (baby VapoRub)
  • 1-3 tbs of water
  • Ultra fine white glitter (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine the baking soda and corn starch.
  2. Add in 4 tbs of the Baby Rub
  3. Mix until fully combined.
  4. One tablespoon at a time, mix in the water. You don’t want it to be runny because it needs to harden. If you accidentally make it too runny, that’s ok! Just add more corn starch.
  5. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray.
  6. Sprinkle a little bit of the fine glitter on top (optional but a great touch for gift giving!)
  7. Let it dry overnight.
  8. Gently remove the cubes from the tray. They are soft and break easily, so don’t twist and turn the tray too much trying to remove them. Just a little loosening will do the trick and they will come right out. Keep them in a pretty cup (as pictured) or carefully place them in jars and hand them out as gifts!

If you happen to add the glitter like I did (anything with glitter makes me instantly happy) then it will look like this as it is drying. You can find ultra fine glitter at a craft store.

The end result is beautiful!  Keep this near the shower in a pretty glass cup. The steam in the shower will release a wonderful vapor effect as the cubs melt down the drain. Your entire bathroom will smell like a little spa!

COUGH or COLD ?

If you feel a cough or cold coming on, you must try using these in the shower. While they won’t cure your cold, they will definitely help soothe any irritation you have while you shower. You’ll love these so much! They are gorgeous, easy to make, fun to use, and are perfect DIY handmade gifts!

 

bath-cubes

 

 

Fizzy Epsom Salt Bath Cubes

bath-cubes
Here’s a super easy way to make your own bath cubes out of epsom salts!  These little guys make great gifts, and are an inexpensive alternative to bath bombs.
Let’s get started!  You’ll need:

*  1/4 cup water
*  4 cups epsom salts
*  5-10 drops of essential oil, such as eucalyptus or spearmint
*  Silicone ice cube tray
*  Bowl + spoon

HOW TO

  1. Stir ingredients in a bowl until combined.
  2. Scoop up a spoonful of the mixture and drop into the silicone mold.
  3. Pack tightly with your fingers, then add another scoop and pack it down.
  4. Follow this system until you’ve filled each mold in the tray to the top.
  5. Let it sit overnight to a few days.
  6. Turn the mold upside down and gently push the silicone in to remove each cube from the tray.
  7. Put in a jar or sachet to keep near the tub, or toss a few in some warm water and enjoy!!!

LAVENDER BATH CUBES

bath-cubes

I first made these Lavender Bath Cubes with the intention of giving them all away,  but after sampling one or two, they’ve found their way to the top of my list of bath time favourite. Family and friends all agree and so each year I need to make a bigger and bigger batch. Not that thats a problem though, because they’re very quick and easy; this melt and stir recipe couldn’t be more simple and the fragrance is heavenly!

When you use these lavender bath cubes, you will find they melt quickly as the bath runs and when you sink into the silky, steamy water, any tensions and stresses of the day are immediately forgotten. Coconut oil is so wonderfully moisturising while the epsom salts soothe and relax –  and with all that lavender, it’s probably best to have this bath just before bed, so you’ll have a peaceful, deep, sleep too!

lavender bath cube ingredients

lavender bath cubes

LAVENDER BATH CUBES
PREP TIME; 1 hour
TOTAL TIME; 1 hour
Recipe type: Luxury Lavender Bath Cubes
Cuisine:         Kewalin Resort
INGREDIENTS
  • 500ml coconut Oil
  • 500g baking soda
  • 500g epsom salts
  • 100g cornflour
  • 30 drops lavender essential Oil
  • A handful of dried lavender
  • You will need 6-8 ice cube trays to use as a mold. (depending on how big the compartments are)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Start by standing the coconut oil in it’s jar, in a pan of simmering water until it is melted.
  2. Mix together the baking soda, epsom salts and cornflour in a large bowl.
  3. When the coconut oil is completely melted, stir it into the powder ingredients.
  4. Blend together well, if it seems too dry add a little more coconut oil ( you could also use almond oil if you just need to add a few drops).
  5. Add the essential oil and scatter in the dried lavender flowers.
  6. If at any time the mixture seems to stiffen, you can stand it over the pan of hot water just to loosen it up a little.
  7. Spoon the mixture into the ice cube trays, levelling any excess off before it starts to set.
  8. After 30 mins in the fridge, the cubes will be harden and you can tap them out into a large container to store, or bag them up straight away for presents.

fizzies

HOW TO MULTIPLY TOMATO PLANTS

I’ve been growing my own tomatoes for years but can’t believe that I’ve only just found out how to multiply your tomato plants in this way!

How to make more tomato plants

This handy trick appeals on so many levels: the cuttings needed to make the new plants are just the unwanted side shoots from the original mother plant, that would normally just end up on the compost heap. So you are not sacrificing anything, just putting the whole plant to good use. This method is also a lot quicker than planting direct from seed, because the little plantlets will give you a head start.

When I read about this propagation method I knew it would work, as I had some great results last summer making lots more basil plants . But since I grow them outside, and we live in the UK, I thought it might take too long and it would be too late to actually produce any ripe tomatoes.

I needn’t have worried, because the cuttings in the picture above were put in water on a bright window sill for only one week, and tomato plants grow so quickly, they’ll be ready to plant out and flowering in no time at all.

 

Method

  • It all starts from the mother plant, so you need a good quality organic tomato plant that is the cordon type, not the bush variety. This means they grow upwards from a central stem with side branches which bear long trusses of tomatoes.
  • This type of plant needs support from a sturdy cane and to be tied in at regular intervals as it grows upwards.
  • The side suckers appear at the junction between the main stem and the side branches, and if left to grow the plant puts too much energy into leaf growth and so the overall yield of tomatoes will suffer.
  • Just pinch or snip them off when they are around 3-4 inches long and put them straight into a clear bottle of water.
  • Keep them in a bright window and in a few days you will see lots of tiny roots sprouting from from the stem.
  • Allow these to develop for a week or so before planting into potting soil in the usual way.
  • It’s so satisfying to make more plants instead of just throwing the cuttings away.

HOW TO MAKE MORE BASIL PLANTS

How to make more Basil Plants for free

Basil seeds are very easy to germinate, but they are so tiny which makes the seedlings very fiddly to handle. Here’s how to make more basil plants for pennies and guarantee a good supply of basil all season long. All you need is one starter plant,  water and a sunny window sill.

Try to source a good quality organic basil plant, because this will be the mother of lots of little baby plants and you’ll be eating them all Summer. It’s best to get it from a garden centre rather than one from a supermarket which often don’t have very well formed root systems, but if you can’t then a supermarket one will still work well.

  • Make sure you keep your mother plant in a generous pot in plenty of light because basil does love the sun. Once the plant is established and growing well, pinch off two or three shoots before they get too leggy.
  • The shoots should be about 3 – 4 inches long, and you should cut them just below the first leaf node, which is where two side leaves branch off.
  • Pinch off the side leaves but leave the tiny little ones right near the stem.
  • How to make more basil plantsPlace the cutting in a clear glass bottle (an empty sauce bottle would be perfect) and fill with water.
  • Place in a bright space, make sure it gets plenty of sunlight (a window ledge is ideal)
  • Keep the water topped up and change it every few days or if it starts to look cloudy.
  • This works with two cuttings per bottle and after a week you should start to see tiny little roots appear. Sometimes  you get the odd one that refuses to root, but just discard it and try another, most will work fine.
  • Allow these tiny roots to grow and multiply until they are around 2 inches long and ready to plant into small pots of compost.
  • Keep these baby plants well watered on the window sill until it is warm enough for them to go outside after the risk of frost is over. Repeat this process every 6 weeks or so to ensure a constant supply.
  • This method should give you plenty of basil for salads, pasta sauces and pestos right through the spring, summer and well into the autumn. And if you have too many baby basils, they make a lovely little gift too.
  • You can use this method of propagation to multiply your tomato plants too, they are very quick to root too!

 

  • How to make more basil plants

Guide to Grow Lavender in Tropics

cgl1

Is it possible to grow lavender in tropics? Is there any tropical lavender variety available that grows in hot and humid climate? The answer is yes! I grow lavender in tropical Thailand as a short lived perennial and an annual herb but need to care it more often, especially in summer.

Lavender Varieties

I had the need to experiment, went to local nurseries in Isan ( North-East Thailand ) but could not find any lavender plant growing here in this rural part of the country, so I asked my brother ( living in France ) to bring some seeds.

French lavender (Lavandula dentata) does well in warm climate.

Lavandula dentata is a species of flowering plant in the Lamiaceae familynative to the Mediterranean, the Atlantic islands and the Arabian peninsula.

Growing to 60 cm tall, it has gray-green, linear or lance-shaped leaves with toothed edges and a lightly woolly texture. The long-lasting, narrow spikes of purple flowers, topped with pale violet bracts, first appear in late spring. The whole plant is strongly aromatic with the typical lavender fragrance.

Its native habitat includes low hills with limestone substrates amidst other shrubs. It is present on Madeira and the Canary Islands.

One of several species known by the English common name French lavender (see also Lavandula stoechas), it is commonly grown as an ornamental plant and its essential oil is used in perfumes. Like other lavenders, it is particularly associated with dry, sunny, well-drained conditions in alkaline soil. But it will tolerate a range of conditions, though it may be short-lived. The cultivar L. dentata var. dentata ‘Royal Crown’ has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit. It requires some shelter in frost-prone areas.

The plant is used in Murcia as an herbal remedy for stomach ache.

Common Spanish names include: alhucema inglesaalhucema rizadacantuesocantueso dentadocantueso rizadoespliego dentado, and garlanda.

Planting Season

In colder zones Lavender should be planted in spring or summer but in tropics growing conditions are different. Sun is more intense in summer and afterwards it rains, which increases the humidity level and makes intolerable for the plant to thrive that is why winter is the best month to plant lavender in tropics.

Finding Right Location

I grow lavender in pots, so that I can change its location during heavy rain or when the temperature rises up. Some I’m growing on ground, and had to take care to plant it in a location where it’ll be saved from wind, heavy rain and heat, not receiving full sun, especially in afternoon as the sun in tropics shine more intensely and it can scorch your plant. Planting under some trees is a good idea.

Planting and Care

Since I’m growing lavender from seeds, I had to sow seeds in early winter and had to place the seed-tray in full sun. Seedlings will germinate in two to three weeks; transplant them in a favorable location in a well drained potting mix using compost with bonemeal and lime both of equal amount in a total of half cup. Also add sand if your soil is heavy and clay rich.

Before transplanting I made a 50 cm. mound of soil to plant lavender in it. This is the best technique to restrict soggy and water logged soil and improve air circulation. I have to take care about watering, and water only when soil becomes dry. I don’t need to fertilize lavender but if I want, occasionally add some compost in the growing season.

Southern Thailand; Rail link for Trang, Satun, Phuket aired

UntitledFrom Bangkok Post: 14 Sep 2015

Transport planners are looking into a new rail route linking Trang with Satun and Phuket provinces as part of efforts to boost tourism to the South. The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning will speed up a feasibility study of the proposed route, said director Pheerapol Thawornsupacharoen. The rail line would pass through three provinces known for their seaside and marine tourism attractions, and is part of the southern transport infrastructure development plan. European tourists are among the targets, though planners say it will have local economic benefits as well. Mr Pheerapol said a separate feasibility study is also underway for a proposed “romantic route” linking Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi and Trang by road, which targets key popular destinations for couples.

He said his office would work with the Rural Roads Department, the Highways Department and the State Railway of Thailand on the projects. The new routes were devised after the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking asked the government to commission new routes along the southern coasts. Mr Pheerapol’s office found the transport routes could be integrated into the land transport development plan for the southern provinces, and could also benefit transport of goods, particularly local products. The Trang-Phuket rail line study will be sped up as it will enable the cheaper transport of goods by freight train, the director said.

It could also help secure Thailand’s position as the region’s leading marine tourism destination, he added. The Transport Ministry has previously studied a possible East-West rail corridor connecting Surat Thani on the Gulf of Thailand sea coast with Phangnga and Phuket on the Andaman coast. The link aims to cut transport prices for tourists travelling to both coasts. Mr Pheerapol said a better choice of transport connections could make the tourism industries on both coasts more competitive.

In 2012, 24 million tourists visited the southern coastal provinces, with around 80% of them travelling to popular attractions in Surat Thani, Phuket, Phangnga and Krabi. Mr Pheerapol said the “romantic route” project had the potential to pull in couples from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Agencies are focusing on proposals to build a light railway from Phangnga’s Tha Noon district to Phuket’s Tha Chalong intersection, via Phuket International Airport, he said. The 60km-long light rail route will also join the planned East-West rail corridor in Phangnga, he added.

Mr Pheerapol said his office has been in talks with the Highways Department over constructing the light railway from a flyover on top of the median strip of Phuket roads. This would avoid expropriating privately-owned land. It was yet to be decided whether the local administration organisation of Phuket or the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand would be responsible for building the light rail route, he said. The construction budget has not yet been disclosed. Mr Pheerapol said he expected a decision to be made this week on the project, which will be open to private sector investment under a public-private partnership (PPPs).

By the end of the year, details of the project will be finalised and sent to the Office of the Commission for the Management of Land Traffic, he said. The commission will consider the design and decide what kind of PPP investment will be suitable. Mr Pheerapol said the Transport Ministry was also looking at the feasibility of upgrading Phuket’s transit system.