"He causeth the grass to grow for food, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth a man's heart." ~Psalm 104: 14-15


Warm & Spicy Winter 2014: Homemade Winter Potpourri {4 recipes}

Part 2 in the Warm & Spicy Winter 2014 Series

Ready to make some Winter Potpourri? I'm glad to share the delightful scents of this chilly season with you! Grab your herbs, it's time to get started!


DIY Homemade Winter Potpourri

First, you should know that you don't need to be particular about these potpourri recipes (nothing like baking!). You can substitute and change whatever suits you. If you don't have it, don't worry! Pick something else, or leave it out. :]

Next, choose from the following recipes for a combination of pretty and wonderfully fragrant winter potpourri!

Vanilla cookie

  • Vanilla (extract is a less expensive option than whole vanilla beans)
  • Wood Chips (oak or maple, cherry or manzanita)
  • Pearly Everlasting (sometimes called "maple flower")
  • Whole Hazelnuts, Almonds (in the shell)

Holiday Berry

  • Rosehips (dried or fresh)
  • Lemon Peel (dried or fresh)
  • White Carnation heads (dried or fresh)
  • Dried Elderberry, Cranberry, Hawthorn Berries,  Mulberries, etc

Christmas Tree

  • Fir or Pine (clippings from a tree work great! small rounds, bark, needles...)
  • Mulberry/Cranberries
  • Rose Petals
  • Mini Pinecones

Cocoa Mint

Giving your Potpourri as a Gift

These mixes would be so lovely combined with the Scentsational Holiday Gift Jar method of jar gifting! When you've put your candle (homemade anyone?) in the canning jar and added the potpourri mix around it, you can decorate your lid with festive red ribbon or add a touch of pretty color with a spring of berries (just tie them on with your gift tag/label).

Know how to mix a scent that lasts:

Potpourri posts on making use of what you have:


Next in the series will be a Holiday Mix of Potpourris (Christmas & Winter Potpourri Recipe Round-up)!

This post shared on: Front Porch Friday, So Much at Home, The Art of Home-Making Monday, Homemaking Party, Wellness Wednesday   


Warm & Spicy Winter 2014: Candle-Making Links

Ever since I started brainstorming for the Autumn POTpourris post, somethings been nagging at me. So I've dreamed up this post mini series! To start with, I'll brief you on my recent job...


"Candle Dipping Lady"

Shortly after I began my potpourri brainstorming, I started working for a small business run by a friendly local family. The job is messy, busy, and so fun! I get to "play" farm, old fashioned living and crafter! First it was candle dipping - I became the official Candle Dipping Lady - and later included shopkeeping, beading, taking care of the animals, with a hint of potpourris... I love it!


Blog Hop: Wildcrafting Wednesday Christmas Edition!

Holiday Christmas Fun: Blog Hop

How fun! The ladies who host Wildcrafting Wednesday have shared their code this week, so instead of being a link-up hosted by only four blogs, it's a "blog hop" so everyone can share their special Christmas Edition 2014!  I've gotten some pretty fun inspiration from them over the years (especially from Woodwife's Journal posts, and this year it's been Entwife's Journal that's kept me coming back), and am pleased to share the Wildcrafting Wednesday 2014 Christmas Edition blog hop with you now. :]

Welcome to a very special Christmas Edition of Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Christmas is a magical time of year that brings memories of family and traditions and food and celebrations! It's a time for gathering and sharing things we hold dear. It's a time of renewing time-honored traditions and maybe finding a few new ones too. In honor of this Christmas season, we've asked our favorite bloggers to share their
  • favorite holiday crafts, 
  • DIY gift ideas, 
  • home-made decorations, 
  • traditions, 
  • favorite memories, 
  • and real food recipes.
Who knows, you might even find a new favorite yourself. :) 

Click here to view the Linky Tools list...


Good Medicine: A Thankful Heart {sketch}

According to Vintage Remedies Family Herbalist, Professor Walter B Cannon did a study of football players from which he concluded a link between mental state and physical health (being related through the gut and digestion, which have been found to affect immune system).

Good medicine, according to the wisest man in history:

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.  -King Salomon

What makes us cheerful?


Thankful Giving: Autumn Potpourri - A DIY Mason Jar Gift

 I was thinking about how special some people are in our lives. They sacrifice their time, money and effort to prepare for us. Whether that's our mother & father raising us up in the fear of the Lord, our friend baking us a batch of cookies for a treat, someone stopping on the side of the road to give our car a jump-start, or a pastor's wife bringing hot soup when we're not well... we can probably each think of sometime in our life when we've been cared for and blessed by someone else's sacrifice.

Photo Credit: BHS

 When I think of the sacrifice someone has made for me, I want to likewise bless them. It's not always possible. But sometimes - it IS.  Let's create a little something this year to thank our hostess next time we are graced with an invite to a meal, or even to go out to coffee and enjoy the relaxation of a cordial conversation. It doesn't have to be to a great Thanksgiving Day Feast. But it can be. Let's do this!

Photo Credit: BHS

 You can whip a these together for just a few bucks and without a big time hassle. (The supplies can be found at dollar stores or craft stores, and the DIY part only takes a short time.) I love that, because then I can invest more into the spices for my projects, and even make jars for several of my dear friends!

  Join me over at Bulk Herb Store Blog for the rest of this project - I've shared three scrumptious potpourri recipes, as well as some links, and step-by-step instructions on how to make your own

scentsational holiday gift jars!

Then come back and see 4 Homemade Winter Potpourri Recipes here at A Gypsy Herbal.

Photos Credit: BHS

 And one last thing. Since this post is all about thanking people who've shared their lives or given from their time, I'd like to state my thankfulness the precious ladies at BHS Blog for sharing their talent and beautiful photos!

What ways do you show your thankfulness for those who've sacrificed for you? 

Shared with: The Art of Home-Making Mondays, (Sep. 2016), Monday's Musings, Mama Moments, Modest Monday, Inspire Me Monday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Homemaking Link-up, Capture Your Journey Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Natural Family Friday, Front Porch Friday ...

Another Awesome Autumn Link List (Nov '14)

Autumn must be my favorite time of year...this is the fourth round-up style post on the subject! (You can see the other round-up posts on Our Favorite Autumn Idea and Recipe lists.)


Awesome Autumn Activities

 Gift Jar Ideas:

      More Fall Foods

      ~ Edibles?

      Pretty Fall Things

      Enjoy your November and the rest of this Awesome Autumn!! 

        Sharing over at: The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Tuesday with a Twist ...


        Warm & Cozy Fall Foods & Recipes Oct 2014 Round-up

        Since we've had so much interest in our Autumn 2013 round-ups, we decided to share some of our new favorite seasonal links with y'all this year!  This month we'll focus on seasonal foods and recipes. Here are about 50 links that should help you stay warm and cozy ~ Enjoy!

        Round-up Oct '14

        Hot Drinks & Spices



        Pumpkins & Squash


        We've gathered recipes, crafts, and outdoor adventure ideas on our Autumn pinbarod, but keep an eye out for another Autumn list coming to the in November.

        Shared at: The Art of Homemaking Mondays, (Sep. 2016), Mama Moments, Natural Living Mondays, Monday's Musings, Homemaking Party, Homestead Barn Hop, So Much At Home, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday with a Twist, Homemaking link-upWildcrafting Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Real Food Fridays, Natural Family FridayFront Porch Friday ... 

        This post was featured on Natural Family Friday

        Which is your favorite to cook with: Apple, Pumpkin, or Roots? 


        What I didn't Know About Bats ... until they moved in!

        There are a few reasons I'm sharing this post, mostly because of advice I've heard since finding out that bats were apparently the culprits, not mice, in the incidence of squeaks in my ceiling... Said advice almost never took into account that these bats had been living in my house while I was sleeping in there. The significance of this will be noted below, but it's Rabies Awareness Day ... please be informed!

        4 Benefits of Herbs in Your Home with Your Daughters

        Did you know it can be simple to spend less than an hour to inspire and enjoy your daughters?  You sure can! Including your girls in a special herbal project time can be very beneficial. 


        How I Used an Hour in My Home: Herbs with One of the Girls

        We spent an hour -or less- on this project. Started by looking through an herbal recipe e-book, picked a recipe that would help us that day, and then got out the herbs we found in the recipe. Celeste helped me mix up that herbal tea...

        I let her have the fun of measuring and mixing; she really liked that! She made sure to double check amounts as she went on, using a separate dish to measure into - just in case - and then combined everything together by adding to our little jar, lidding and shaking.

        Celeste helped me put together this tea blend from Herbal Nurturing.
        Get the e-book by Michele Augur (of Frugal Granola), for details on amounts and herbs.

        Four Benefits of Working with Herbs in My Home with one of the Girls:

        1. We got to spend some quality time together, working on a productive activity.
        2. She experienced accomplishment in a small-scale, fun way.
        3. She now has this sweet memory of working with herbs.
        4. Bed-time was easier for the little girls, knowing they'd get to taste "her" tea! 

        "Her" tea to share with the little girls before bed.

        Have You Spent a Great Time With Your Girls on an Herbal Project? Share in a comment below!

        NOTE: see Tuesday's post for my list of "bed-time" herbs.

        This post shared on: Natural Family Friday, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Monday's Musings, Mama Moments, Capture Your Journey, Homemaking Link-up, Simple Lives Thursday ...


        Researching & "Bed-Time" Herbs

        General Herbal Study

        When making use of herbs, it's important to study how to use them safely and learn about what they do. When choosing herbs, use herbs you don't have allergies to, that combine well with each other, and in the right proportions for the body and need. (Don't just throw a bunch of plants together and hope it all comes out well!)  

        "The competent physician, before he attempts to give medicine to the patient, makes himself acquainted not only with the disease, but also with the habits and constitution of the sick man." -Cicero
        (You can see my list of favorite books for a place to start studying for yourself. I suggest checking these out from your local public library. Then you could pick your favorites, make a list, and save up to add them one-by-one to your own personal library. Also, there are many online resources you can read through for free!)

        My List of Bed-Time Herbs

        I'm gathered together a list of herbs... With a some farther research, I can chose from this list which of these I want to use in bed-time tea blends. I'm gathering information on herbs that aid in sleep, help prevent nightmares, and calm nerves or muscles. (This is not a recipe; I'm not just throwing all these herbs together.)

        • thyme
        • lemon verbena
        • rose petals 
        • chamomile 
        • lavender
        • lobelia
        • passion flower
        • valerian
        • St John's Wort
        • catnip
        • hibiscus
        Do any of these grow in your yard or garden? 

        Come back Saturday to See Saturday's post on how I made a fun family event out of putting together a bed-time tea

        This post shared on: Capture Your Journey Wednesday, Naturally Living Monday, So Much At Home, Homemaking Link-up, Wildcrafting Wednesday, The Homemaking Party ...


        Little kitchenette on hold {on not complaining and flying rodents}

        The next post about my little kitchenette is well on it's way, but there's (another) problem. Bats. Bats - as in, the flying little rat creatures that may or may not carry rabies. Yes, those little creatures have invaded my little abode. What I thought was mice in the ceiling seems to have been a less furry problem. When the guys opened a hole to put in a mouse trap, it seems to have given the flying creatures the perfect entrance. It is located right at the ridgepole, just above my loft bed. So I've fled -for a short time, Lord willing- to my sister's place.

        When a little feral-turned-tame kitty brought fleas into the house, I had thought those were a hassle. Now? Let me tell you, fleas over bats...um, yes please! (I found a few natural ways to rid kitties of fleas, including DE, because of issues with flea poison.  And I got a large bottle of Eucalyptus essential oil.)

        With those problems in mind, I wanted to share a story with you that I read as a girl. I'm reminded of it over and over throughout the years, and especially when I'm soo soo tempted to complain about circumstance - like having fleas and bats in my house! (I'll leave my thoughts on Pollyanna thinking to another post, another day.) Jacqueline of Deep Roots at Home has already shared the flea story on her blog, so I leave you with a link to that post:

         Betsie and the Fleas

        (This story is by Corrie ten Boom, and comes from the time she and her sister spent in the dreaded German concentration camp Ravensbrück, during World War 2.) Seriously, go read the story-it's sure sticks with you! *click here*

         And hopefully by World Rabies Day you'll get to read a more detailed kitchenette update!  Update: September 28th

        Read more about my kitchenette: Unpacking (Kitchenette Gets Plumbing), Kitchenette Update part 1, Kitchenette Update part 2: My Favorite Cookbooks , Kitchenette On Hold (and Not Complaining), Bats in the Belfry ...

        This post is shared on: Monday Musings, Mama Moments Monday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Modest Mom Blog ... 


        Blueberry picking (sans bugs)

        Went out blueberry picking for the first time. (That's when we mixed up some of this essential oil bug repellant, to keep the chiggers, mosquitoes, and ticks at bay. Sure did the trick ~ only got one bite the whole morning!)  I picked that pail (almost) full that you see above! :]  (It was 3/4 of a gallon.) After eating my fill for the rest of the week, I took the remainder home to my family at the end of my trip. Mama had fresh blueberry muffins for her birthday gift.

        Lesson learned out there? 

        If you don't like the taste of the berries as you pick them, you wont want to eat them later either; look for a sweet bush, then pick the darkest, plumpest bluest berries you can find.

        (Also, a bug repellant that is excellent will even keep bugs away from a mosquito magnet such as myself.)

        What do you do with your fresh blueberries? Do you have any favorite blueberry recipes? 

        This post is part of the following link-ups: The Homemaking Party, Simple Life Sunday, Mama Moment Mondays, Capture Your Journey Wednesday ...


        A Little Travel Tip

        I learned something useful from a nameless man (we can call him Mr "Wildlife" for this story), and thought it helpful enough to pass on to you. Here's what I picked up this trip...

        In Search of a Travel Pack

        I recently needed to acquire a new bag. It had to fit certain requirements. I couldn't be too short, it had to be wide enough. It needed to be a backpack with at least one shoulder strap (over shoulder), preferably two (old fashioned backpack style). And, most importantly, it couldn't be bright and eye catching. The idea is simple one-bag-travel. Everything needs to fit, without excess space to invite unneeded extras.

        I was imagining the cost of this new bag. But then, new wasn't on the required list. So, this old bag. That makes a sub-list; if it's used (and cheap) it is not absolutely necessary that it be durable (as long as it would last 24 hours without falling apart or loosing it's contents). On the other hand, if it is new (and costs more than an old used one) it should be durable and resilient enough to last for years.

        I finally found it!

        It's dark, wide enough, tall enough, and not too big! Everything fits like a glove; it's perfect! It did have some straps (with extra ones added on to those), but all were removed easily enough.

        Little Travel Tip

        The final thing that came with this pack?  It also came with wordless travel advice: always bring along extra large safety pins. How so? Well, on a side zipper was a tag. It clearly stated that the former owner was a wildlife fellow. He seems to have made good use of this bag; even adding strap extenders, tagging it, and then leaving 2 large safety pins attached to the zip-pull on the very front of the bag. Hmm. Well, they certainly had potential (and were useful to Mr "Wildlife" for something), so when I removed all the extraneous straps and tags, the pins stayed. They wouldn't added any noticeable weight, and I a use for them could come up...

        Take Large Safety-Pins on Your Travels: You'll probably use them

        Not two hours into the trip this bag was destined for, I found use for those pins! It's worth passing on the idea, so when y'all are traveling, you'll know to pin a couple extra large safety pins to your bags; they're almost certain to be useful as lightweight carabiners! 

        A Little Travel Tip: Safety Pin = substitute carabiner!

        Just be careful not to clip something too heavy with them; you don't want it to come tumbling down and an inopportune time! (pictured is an empty water bottle on it's way to be returned to it's forgetful owner) :]


        Kittchenette Update part 2: My 5 Favorite Cookbooks

        Well as I wrote in part one of my little kitchenette up-dates, I was so excited about my new arrivals coming, that I thought sure I'd take pictures of everything! But since living life (getting rid of fleas and mixing up some remedies for bug bites) sometimes gets in the way of that, I'm just briefly sharing a bit about the cookbooks in my kitchenette today.

        Favorite cookbooks

        These are the books I go to time and again knowing I'll find good recipes, frugal options, and good ol' fashion methods. Half sit on the shelf in perfect reach in the kitchenette, but a few require getting out the computer. (In the future, I'd much prefer to get hard-copies. But since I was so much on-the-go when I added a couple of these titles, kindle was a great option.)

          The best cookbooks I have and the ones I'd recommend to everyone:


        Find these and more of my favorite books on my here on my Books page, or over on my Library pinboard.

        Read more about my kitchenette: Unpacking (Kitchenette Gets Plumbing), Kitchenette Update part 1, Kitchenette On Hold (and Not Complaining), Bats in the Belfry ...

        What are you favorite cookbooks? Do you take them on long adventures with you? 

        Shared on: Monday's Musings, Capture Your Journey, Front Porch Fridays, The Homemaking Party, The Art of Homemaking Mondays.


        Managing Bug Bites with Herbal Remedies

        This post is exciting because I've found multiple DIY recipes and remedies that are helping me managing a variety of bug bites!

        I seem to be a regular bug magnet, and if that wasn't bad enough, I also react to some types of but bites. (Keep reading and you'll find a link that talks about "Skeeter Syndrome".) I get bites when other people don't even notice any bugs. Fleas will leave me with multiple when others in the family barely notice they were there. Some bites (like from midget flies) turn into awful welts that drive me crazy for an entire week at a time.

        Needless to say, I've been searching for natural ways to deal with these pesky reactions. After compiling recipes and links for a couple years, I've recently tried out even more great finds. Now I'm privileged to share my favorites with you in BHS Blog's current series on Herbal First Aid.

        So, click to read a nice selections of wonderfully soothing, relief giving ideas for

        Managing Bug Bites with Herbal Remedies @ Bulk Herb Store Blog


        More links:

        • A Christian Herbal has a nice info-graphic for Naturally Treating Summer Ailments.
        • There's also a neat Itchy-Stick for Bug Bite Relief at The Nerdy Farm Wife.  (I especially love her idea of using an old tin can for the bee's wax melting!)
        • Find these bite remedies, plus natural DIY bug sprays on my pinboard: Bugs!

        What do you do for bug bites? Have any other ideas you can share with us? 

        This post shared on Front Porch Friday, Natural Family FridayThe Art of Home-Making MondaysNatural Living Mondays, Mama Moments MondayMonday's MusingsSo Much More, Homestead Barn Hop, Simple Life Sunday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Homemaking Wednesdays, Count Our Blessings, Simple Lives Thursday  Capture Your Journey Wednesday, ALN's Best of Home Remedies 2014 ...  


        Trying Recipes: BHS's Black Drawing Salve

        This recipe is by Alexis of Herbal Trading Post (she shares her recipe @ Bulk Herb Store Blog).

        One of my favorite Herbal Remedies that I've tried out in my search for to help manage all these summer time bug bites! The texture is amazing, and the salve is working! (To find out what kind of bite I'm finally seeing heal using Black Drawing Salve, watch at the end of the week for my post about managing bug bites!)

        Shared on the Art of Home-Making Mondays, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Natural Family Friday ...


        Kitchenette Update (part 1)

        Here it is! Lookin' so much better, don't you think?

        "Chaconut" Ice Cream!

         Have you heard? It's National Ice Cream Month! That's right, we have a whole month dedicated to that creamy delicious treat! (Thanks President Reagan!) With that in mind, I'd like to introduce you to my favorite ice cream. It includes 3 of the most delicious things I can think of: chocolate, cream, and coconut!


        This recipe was inspired by Marilly Beard. She has a recipe in her e-book Just Making Ice Cream called "Almond Joy."  I bought her e-book after looking over a friend's copy; it's the best for homemade ice cream!



        I took her recipe, adapted it to fit my ingredients and personal preference, and now I have my own ice cream recipe. The flavor of my creation is delicious, but the name Almond Joy just isn't quite right. Tastes more like "Chaconut". :]

          My "Choconut ice cream" recipe:

          • chocolate bar (blend into powder first for texture)
          • 1 pint organic cream
          • 1 pint raw milk
          • 2 fresh eggs
          • almond butter, to taste
          • coconut, shredded
          • vanilla extract (extracted into rum for the full flavor
          • pink salt (or celtic sea salt would do-some sort of unrefined sea salt if you can)



          First blend everything together till combined.* Then put in Ice Cream maker, following the simple instructions for your machine. Remove and eat when ready!
          *For Whipped Nut Cream: First blend the cream and egg whites. Then add in egg yolks and the rest, blending till smooth and creamy.

          This ice cream only take me about 30 minutes total to make! It's totally a DIY summer project! :) Fast, easy, and so YUMMY!


          3 Ways to Have Fun with Herbal Dye @ BHS! + More Here

          Do you love color, flowers, and all things natural, but you’re not sure where you can get a good natural dye? Well we have the answer you’ve been looking for.

          You can go outside and pick your own! (Or easily get some – dried & ready for you – from Bulk Herb Store.)

          That’s right, you can use ordinary plants and flowers to bring a variety of color and fun to your DIY dying project. First, let’s talk herbs and preparation. Then we’ll get to three ways you can have fun with herbal dye!

          1. Flower Pounding
          2. Dying Fun things with Herbal Dye
          3. Herbal Tie Dye

          Finish reading 3 Ways to Have Fun with Herbal Dye over @ Bulk Herb Store Blog!


          Looking for more on dying?

          There's a detailed article by Helen at Growing Color on Mordanting, if you're interested in learning more complex mordanting methods. Or read Kitchen Dying at Tartan's Authority for information on using alum and iron mordants. But today on 3 Ways to Have Fun with Herbal Dye we're looking at using salt or vinegar.

          Photo by Bulk Herb Store
          Photo by Bulk Herb Store
          Photo by Bulk Herb Store
          Photo by Bulk Herb Store

          Herbs to use? 

          You can find my affiliate link in the side bar, if you're interested.

          Other natural things can make great dyes too! Avocado skins can make dusty rose, red cabbage for a purple, onion skins make a nice yellow, and the list goes on!

          Hope you get out there and discover more ways to have fun with Herbal Dye as you "learn and live well"!

          This post is shared on: Natural Living Monday, Wildcrafting Wednesday @ Entwife's Journal, Wellness Wednesday Link-up @ Richly Rooted, Capture Your Journey @ Joy Dare, Barnyard Blog Hop @ The Prairie Homestead, Homemaking Link-up Wednesdays @ Raising Homemakers, Fabulously Frugal Thursday Linky Party @ A Life in Balance, Simple Lives Thursday @ Homespun Oasis, Front Porch Friday @ Preparedness Mama, The Art of Home Making Mondays, Natural Living Monday, So Much At Home, Mama Moments, Monday's Musings, Homestead Barn Hop, Mountain Women Rendezvous, Inspire Me Monday, Simple Life Sunday, About Elderberry {Information, Recipes, DIY's} ~ Herbal Link Up ...