Bee Balm Tea

Cooking and Household, Gardening

Mybee balm, which I am so happy is vigorously growing, was shading out another plant, so I had to pull a small amount of it to let this plant grow, too. I made the bee balm leaves into a tea. I got the seeds here (Baker Creek Perennial Bee Balm Spielarten Mix) and they have about a year of growth now. I can’t wait until they finally bloom!

P1040640 - CopyBee balm tea has a refreshing, gentle lemon flavor and is the lightest green possible without being totally clear. If I were to make it into a tea blend, I would make sure that the other ingredients impart some amount of color to help me determine when the tea is properly steeped.

Radishes: from Seedling to Snacking!

Gardening

Last fall, I was very lucky to wander into the dollar store just when the clearance seeds were running. I don’t like to purchase dollar store seeds at full price because they just don’t germinate reliably and there are so few seeds per packet, but at pennies, what’s the harm in trying it? I purchased spinach, which I have already blogged about here, and a packet of radish mix.

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I planted them in a row. After thinning them, I put the radish thinnings into a recipe! My goal is to waste as little as possible.

The radishes were ready for harvest in just a month. Here they are, sitting on top of my white yarrow plant:

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I confess, they did not make it into a dinner. I washed them off and had them as a snack that afternoon. They were so tasty and zesty! (And I’m the only one in the household who likes them.)

Delicious Dandelion and Violet Salad from Garden Weeds

Cooking and Household, Gardening

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Not all weeds are unwanted. Some are delicious. I use dandelion and violet flowers in my cooking when they are available. I use some caution with harvesting violets, for while they are common and easy to find, I want them to stay in my garden and become even more numerous. I only harvest a small amount of violet leaves or flowers at a time, and I take extra care to spread the harvest across the entire garden so I don’t wipe out one plant. With dandelions, I am far less careful. I can pick all of the dandelion flowers and find more again tomorrow. I think my neighbors would prefer that I pick as many of my dandelions as I can.

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I believe that part of making a tasty meal is making it look appealing. This salad consists of dandelion flowers, violet flowers, and spinach all from my garden, and also some carrots and button mushrooms from the fridge. It tasted great with a light Italian dressing I already had in the fridge. Yum!

Completed Viking Embroidered Sage Linen Wrap Dress

Sewing

Finally, I’ve completed my linen wrap dress! The embroidery is along the neck-edge, the back seam, and the side seams all the way down. It fastens with a tie inside and another tie outside, both made of the tiniest self scraps pieced together. It is comfortable and airy, the perfect house dress for 2020 late spring into summer. Linen is a fantastic warm-season fabric, as it is wicking and highly breathable, so it can handle a humid summer or a warm spring day.

Wild Violets Back for Another Year

Gardening

This photo was taken a little while ago. Now, the plants are bushy and about 1 foot tall!

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When I first started this garden, I was pleased to see the little wild violets survive tilling and re-establish themselves in the new garden bed. I think those plants could survive the end of the world.  They have yummy leaves and little flowers that have sweet-tasting centers, and both parts sometimes go in my salads and other recipes. Euell Gibbons claims they are high in vitamins.

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To ensure that I have wild violets in my garden every year, I leave a minimum of 2/3 the flowers I see. The flowers hide under leaves, so I know I’m leaving more of that. I take a couple flowers and leaves from all over the garden to ensure I don’t wipe out any particular plant. This year, I only made a few salads including violets in hopes of making the plants even stronger and more numerous next year.

Angelique Tulips, Early in Their Bloom

Gardening

My beautiful tulips have bloomed again this year! Early in their bloom, they are the palest pink, and they grow stronger in color as they mature. Angelique tulips are my favorite variety of tulips. I love how frilly and delicate they look. I got a bag of them at a hardware store a couple of years back, but I’d plant a whole field of these if I could.

Hiding in the background you may see wild violets and dandelions. I let both of sometimes-called weeds live in my garden so that I can harvest and eat them.

Sage Linen Wrap Dress: Viking Embroidery

Sewing

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I have chosen the viking style of embroidery as seam ornamentation because linen was one of their traditional fibers. I find the viking style of embroidery very beautiful, particularly the scrolling flowers of the Mammen find and the ornate Birka cap. Both of these styles, while gorgeous, might be biting off a bit more than I can chew when embroidering an entire dress for the first time. Herringbone stitch variations were very popular in the age of the vikings.

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I have added an additional layer of herringbone stitch to the seams I wish to ornament. The bust darts, for example, will not be decorated, nor will the small amount of piecing on the hem have any more attention drawn to it. The side and waist seams, however, are now beautifully embroidered with a herringbone stitch variation.

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I also hope to embroider the wrap neckline, arms, and possibly the opening edge of the skirt if I have enough embroidery thread. Time will tell.