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Eat your Flowers!

Flowers can be used for a multitude of dishes from garnishes to salads. For a great summer treat try freezing petals in ice cube trays filled with water for a lovely addition to your favorite lemonade or iced tea! Although this seems to be a new trend eating flowers has been going on for centuries. The first mention of people consuming flowers was as far back as 140 BC. Also many veggies we eat are really flowers broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes and broccoflower are all flowers. The spice saffron is the stamen from the crocus flower, and capers are unopened flower buds to a bush native in the Mediterranean and Asian nations. So you most likely have been eating without even knowing it.

A list of common EDIBLE FLOWERS:

Angelica                         Anise Hyssop
Apple Blossom               Artichoke
Arugula                           Bachelor Buttons AKA Cornflower
Banana                           Basil
Bee Balm                       Borage
Burnet                            Calendula
Carnation                       Chamomile
Chicory                         Chives
Chrysanthemum             Cilantro / Coriander
Citrus                            Clover
Dandelion                      Day-lily
Dianthus                        Dill
Elderberry                     English Daisy
Fennel                           Freesia
Fuchsia                         Gardenia
Garlic                           Geraniums
Gladiolas                      Hibiscus
Honeysuckle                Hollyhock
Hyssop                        Iceland Poppy
Impatiens                     Jasmine
Johnny Jump Up          Lavender
Lemon Verbena           Lilac
Linden                         Mallow
Marigold                     Marjoram
Mint                            Mustard
Nasturtium                  Oregano
Okra                          Onion
Orange Blossom         Pansy
Passionflower             Pea
Pineapple Sage           Primrose
Radish                        Red Clover
Redbud                      Rose
Rosemary                   Rose of Sharon
Runner Bean               Safflower
Sage                           Savory
Scented Geranium       Snapdragon
Society Garlic             Squash Blossom
Sunflower                   Sweet Marigold
Sweet William             Thyme
Tuberous Begonia        Tulip
Viola                           Violet
Winter Savory             Yucca

How To:
There are a few cautions one should remember before harvesting any flowers:
Do not harvest any flowers that could have been exposed to animal excrement, that have had insecticides or fertilizer sprayed on them, or are from the side of roads where they have been exposed to trash, carbon monoxide etc.

Harvest your flowers in the morning.

Next, bathe the flowers gently in a salt-water bath.
Immediately drop them in ice water for 1 minute. Gently pat flower dry on a towel.

For best results, use your flower petals immediately 


Article by Beccijo, The Enchanted Cupboard

A few lovely flower theme items from our members to add to your Nature Table:

ThisCozyLife

 

Alkelda

 

Woodmouse

 

Please leave a comment and share with use how you eat your flowers!

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Eat Local – Support your Famer’s Market

Friday is an exciting day as I plan to do my shopping in the morning at my Local Farmer’s Market. I love all the fresh and yummy food but I also love getting to talk to the local farmers. Since we are in the planning stage of our future farm the local farmers are a wealth of information. Supporting local businesses is the best way to improve the economy.
I also like to find plants that are not going to be at my “big box” garden center. I picked out some berry bushes and the kids got popcorn plants. We love getting to see how these new items will work in our garden. It is also great homeschool research work for the kids to look up how to care for the new plants. So this week skip the grocery store and shop at your local farmer’s market. Find local Farmers Markets in your area, LocalHarvest.org!




Produce you will find in the Spring:
(some of these are not found here in the East but may be found in your area)
Baby Lettuce Mixes ~Early Spring and again through Summer and Fall
Broccoli ~ Early Spring and again in late Fall and Winter
Broccoli Raab ~ Early Spring and again in late Fall and Winter
Fava beans ~Through early Summer
Fennel ~Early Spring and again through Summer and Fall
Garden Peas/Petit Pois ~Through early Summer
Morels ~Maybe be found as early as late winter depending on the weather
Mustard Greens ~Early Spring and again in Fall
New Potatoes and then other varieties ~Through Summer
Radishes ~Early Spring and again in Fall
Ramps ~Also known as the Wild Leeks of the Appalachia
Snow Peas ~Through early Summer
Sugar Snap Peas ~Through early Summer
Asparagus
Amaranth Greens ~Through Fall
Artichokes ~ Spring and again in early Fall
Arugula/Rocket ~Through Fall, but most tender in Spring
Carrots ~ Spring and again in late Summer
Celeriac Root
Chives ~Spring through Fall
Collards ~ Spring and again in Fall
Dandelion Greens
Fiddlehead Ferns
Garlic ~ Spring and again in Summer and early Fall
Green Onions, Sweet Onions such as Vidalias
and Other Varieties
~Through Fall
Lemons ~ Spring and again in Fall
Mangoes ~ Spring and again in Summer
Pineapple ~ Spring and again in Summer
Rhubarb ~Through Summer
Sorrel ~ Spring and again in Summer and Fall
Spinach ~ Spring and again in Fall
Turnips ~ Spring and again in Fall
Watercress ~ Spring and again in Fall
Apricots ~Through mid Summer
Blueberries ~Though Summer
Boysenberries ~Through mid Summer
Cardoons ~Through late Fall
Chard ~Through Winter
Cherries ~Through early Summer
Loganberries ~ Through mid Summer
Olallieberries ~ Through mid Summer
Plums ~ Through early Fall
Pluots ~ Through early Fall
Raspberries ~Through early Fall
Strawberries ~Through early Summer

Post by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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For Love of Dolls

This past weekend I got to spend 3 wonderful days with a fellow team mate, Dayanara from Pin Pon. We spent our time crafting, eating yummy food, and watching crazy reality TV. When the rest of the family was asleep D. and I would spend hours talking and crafting.

Free Form Cutting
An Artist at work

Watching her hands work as she lovingly brought the dolls to life was magical. We shared fabric and collaborated on combination of colors, so much fun! I loved to see her work with just an idea in her head… no pattern just free form cutting. Almost as if the doll had already been in the fabric and she was setting it free.

Finished Doll, Miss Kitty
D. dog guarding the supplies

The following day we had great fun setting up a photo shot with the kids. My daughter had the best day getting to do dress changes, she was in princess heaven! The boys and dogs got in on the action  too and we all had a great time. At the end the we all promised to do it all again!!

D. setting up the shot. Swing Top by Imogen’s Garden
Apron by Pin Pon
Rainbow Playsilk by The EnchantedCupboard

Post by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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A Knitted Friend Born from Love!

Every child loves to have something to snuggle and love. I still have my first teddy bear a hand-me-down from my brother but my bear was so loved he hardly has any fur left. For my own children I wanted something that was a little different. I didn’t want something born from a factory.

For my daughter I wanted something made with love, something she would cherish and keep forever. I wanted something born from the love and imagination of the maker. Something made with loving hand that gently took some beautiful yarn carefully selected and then lovingly stuffed with the same care.
 

Etsy is a great place to find such items and Sara was just the right artist to create this toy for my daughter. Words from the artist; “Knitting is my passion – the colors, the textures, I love it all and hope that you do too! My favorite things to knit are animals…” If you don’t know these wonderful toys from sight, then you must take the time to look in a lovely shop, Woolies by Sara.

I highly recommend these wonderful woolies for your next gift giving. Need another reason? Just check out Sara’s feedback to know how much her customers, not just me, love her work. Read what some of her adoring fans have said…

Cutest sheepie I have ever seen! They dont have a button for how positive this sheep is! Thank you so much. She will be loved for years and years :0) she turned out wonderful!”

The best, softest, sweetest monkey! He looks lovely in his purple overalls and he is dearly loved by his new owner! Thank you! The best things do come in brown paper packages tied up in string!!”

He is so adorable I can hardly stand it! He really has so much character, he’s a welcome addition to our home :)”

This is a true and honest product review, all items reviewed were purchased by the writer of this post. Beccijo Neff

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Nature Table, Keeping it Organized

In the post yesterday I did a craft with kids on how to make these great Seasonal Organizing Storage Boxes

Here are some other great ways that you can store your Handmade items:

Cotton, Knitted Wool, and Organza Bags
Fun Theme Fabric Bags

Today we took some time to organize our Nature Table items. It is important to inspect your handmade items at this time to see if they may need to be repaired or cleaned. Check out this post about how to care for your handmade toys.

Sorting and cleaning felted wool toys.

Cleaning and re-waxing if needed to the wooden toys.

We ended up with some unwelcome guest who thought the fairy could use some company! It is hard to get the kids to focus on our task and they often try to wander away but the dog is harder to get him to work, :).

Not a good helper!

Finally we organized by season! We collected the toys and lined the bottom of the box with that seasons playsilk. Some items were added by themselves, while others we placed in cotton or organza bags.

Autumn

Summer

Labeling was our final step before putting them in their new home under the Nature Table!

Article by Beccijo, The Enchanted Cupboard

Do you have a great tip for organizing your Nature Table toys? Feel free to share with us your ideas and comments!

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A Crafty Nature Table Storage Idea

I am always looking for ways to store things that is not only functional but is also beautiful! I came up with a great idea to store my seasonal Nature Table toys and playsilks.

Here is what you will need:
4 wooden photo boxes – $10 each at your local craft store
An assortment of non-toxic paints
Stamps in a variety of seasonal themes

I decided to only paint the lids to keep the colors from not over whelming the whole Nature Table space.

I painted only one coat so as to let the wood grain show. I picked Green for Spring, Yellow for Summer, Brown for Autumn, and Blue for Winter.

Next use the stamps to decorate. Once the lids dry give then a coat of non-toxic finish or simple use a beeswax finish.

Come back tomorrow to see how we organize and store our lovely Nature Table treasures using these great boxes.

…Just a little side note from the farm, we had to take a brake from our crafting cause the kids found their first salamander! I often told them about my days growing up on the farm and looking for salamanders! They were as happy as can be!

Article by Beccijo, The Enchanted Cupboard

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Nature Table, The Mess of It All

Everything gets a little messy from time to time even our beloved Nature Table. Sticky hands and messy play can do a little damage but never fear all can be cleaned. With a little care your natural toys will last many lifetimes.


Unfinished Wooden Toys:
Regular care: Clean with a damp sponge, but do not soak unfinished wooden toys as they will absorb water. Alternatively, wipe gently with a cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol. Wood needs to have its natural moisture replenished in order to prevent it from drying out, warping or cracking. The best way to keep your wooden toys hydrated and well-nourished is with a natural oil or wax, like plain mineral oil or beeswax polish. Periodically rubbing with oil or beeswax will help refresh the wood and provide some protection.

Stains/Discolorations: Fine-grade sandpaper may be used to remove any discolorations/stains (from food, crayons, markers, etc.).

Water Damage: Fine-grade sandpaper may be used to restore the toy to its desired smoothness if the toy has been exposed to water and become rough.

Finished/Painted Wooden Toys:
Regular Care: Wash gently and quickly with soap and water. Please do not soak them.
Stains/Discolorations: Spray and wipe with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water.
 Play silks
 Recommended care: Hand or delicate cycle cold wash, hang or air dry.
 Felted toys
Care: Spot clean with a damp sponge do not soak in water.  Best kept indoors.

There are other great items from our team members on the NaturalKids Team website:
http://www.naturalkidsstore.com/cat_tables.html

Please leave a comment and share with us some ways you celebrate spring!

Article by Beccijo, The Enchanted Cupboard

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Nature Table, Spring

Mother Nature gave her best for April’s Fools Day, this is what I woke up to:
Even thought it may look like winter outside it defiantly looks like spring on our Nature Table.
 We set the table with a Spring Silk and then added our fairy treehouse.
Next we added lovely spring items in like mushrooms and bushes.
The fairy house is staged for company.
The spring fairies brought gifts for the children.
Every one had a new item to love!
Last we added the new spring animals to the table.
Happy Spring!!
Items on Nature Table Can be found at:
Felt Fox and Bunny by Muddyfeet
Wooden Raccoon and Wooden Skunk by justhatched
Wooden Deer Family by Dadswoodentoys
Wooden Acorn Gnome by katsinthebelfry
Spring silk, Wooden Fairies, Wooden Flowering Bushes by TheEnchantedCupboard
There are other great items for your Nature Table from our team members on the NaturalKids Team website:
http://www.naturalkidsstore.com/cat_tables.html
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Nature Table, The Sounds of Spring

On Sunday morning you would think it was Christmas here in our house as the sounds of 4 excited children ring out of our rafters. The night before, the Nature Table will be cleared of all signs of Winter and we will clean and pack our items away. Once the children are asleep the Spring decorations will be brought out and a few new items will be left by the Spring Fairies to add to our table this year.

This year, my mother and niece will be joining us for our celebration. Since this has not happened yet, I will share with you today our Spring Ad from the NaturalKids Team. As with the Nature Table, our ad changes with the seasons. This lovely collection of handmade items can be found in out team members shops. There are so many delightful items in our shops you may need 2 tables.

Rocks and Pond by http://www.etsy.com/shop/MuddyFeet
Mushroom House by http://www.etsy.com/shop/cutelittlething
Bendy Princess by http://www.etsy.com/shop/dannielle
Green Play Silk by http://www.etsy.com/shop/birchleafdesigns
Bunny by http://www.etsy.com/shop/fairiesnest
Pink Felt Doll by http://www.etsy.com/shop/alkelda
Hedgehog by http://www.etsy.com/shop/dayanra
Trees, Wooden Fairy Doll, and Shy Playsilk by http://www.etsy.com/shop/theenchantedcupboard

There are other great items from our team members on the NaturalKids Team website:
http://www.naturalkidsstore.com/cat_tables.html

Please leave a comment and share with us some ways you celebrate spring!

Article by Beccijo, The Enchanted Cupboard

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Nature Table, Adding Nature

I like to change our Nature Table each week. It is so important during the long winter days that the children have something to look forward to at the beginning of the week. Sometimes it may be to bring out a few new items to add to the table or it could be a complete change of scenery. This week I did a more natural look to the table with our little bears coming out of their stacker den.

Another thing that we love to do is add bits of nature to our scenes. The boys have been gathering items from our yard to add to the table. Before we moved to the country we use to go to a large park that had nature trails to collect our items. We added to our basket sticks, rocks, pine cones, and pine branches.

The kids love to get on the floor and just play with these or add them to the table. Many times I find them just sorting the natural items into piles, sometimes by item, sometimes by size. Kids just really love to touch and feel thing from nature, it “grounds” their spirit!

Here is our final table this week the kids have added a few of each of the items even using the pine branch as a tree. I hope you have enjoyed our table this week and will share with us a link to your blog showing your winter table or a favorite memory.

Article by Beccijo, The Enchanted Cupboard

Need some new items to add to your winter Nature Table check out these items:

JustHatched
DadsWoodenToys
chimera