Lavender Wand

I like the smell of lavender, but dried lavender is very fragile and tends to shed the wilted flowers and other bits as it dries. A common solution is to create a small sachet and sew the lavender inside, a less common (but more fun) solution is to make a lavender wand.

Start with fresh lavender. You want to select long stems with flowering ends. Depending on the thickness of the stems gather 7-21, it just has to be an odd number.

lav1smTake a foot or so of ribbon, and tie the heads together in a bunch.

lav2smThen turn upside down, and carefully bend the stems back over the flowers. Try not to bend them too sharply, and ease them into position.

lav3smUse the backward bent stems to create a cage with the flowers inside.

lav4smCarefully start to weave the ribbon over and then under each stem. As long as an odd number of stems are used, each round should be offset by one, making a basket weave pattern.

lav5smContinue to weave until the head of the wand is completed, and the flowers are encased. Then wrap the remaining ribbon around the stems to make the handle of the wand and tie off.

lav6smAnd hocus pocus, a la shazam, you have your very own wand, suitable for banishing stale drawer smells and for use as a ward against the anti kitsch.

lav7smHand crafted items have a special kind of magic all their own, especially when made with love by someone you know. The time, effort and care that is put into a homemade gift adds something that just can’t be replaced by sweatshop mass production.

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Crochet – Simple Granny Square (Left Handed) Part 2

IMG_0479Start with a little square from part 1.

IMG_0481Chain 3 (just like earlier at the beginning loop).

IMG_04842 double crochet (2 dc) in the same space created by the 2 ch hole in the previous row.

chain 2 (2 ch)

IMG_04853 double crochet still in the same space made by the 2 chain hole in the previous row. This makes the first corner.

IMG_0487Chain 2, then  3 double crochet, 2 chain, 3 double crochet all in the same hole at the corner.

IMG_0488Repeat twice more for the other two corners, then connect at start with a slip stitch and fasten off.

IMG_0490Successive rows follow the same pattern, chain 3 to act as the first double crochet in the new row.

IMG_0492Then double crochet twice to complete the first triplet.

IMG_0493Alternate the 2 chain (2 ch) and 3 double crochet, using the holes left by the 2 chain in the previous row. At the 4 corners, do 2 groups of 3 double crochet with a 2 chain between them in the 2 chain holes.

IMG_0494Successive rows follow the same pattern.

IMG_0496As many rows as desired can be added. I find 5 rows make for a nice size.

Simple Granny Square

Start: 6 ch, join into loop with sl st.

Row 1: Through loop, 3 ch, 2 dc 2 ch. (3 dc, 2 ch) x 3. sl st and fasten off.

Row 2: Through 2 ch space in previous row, 3 ch, then 2 dc. 2 ch. (In next 2 ch space in previous row 3 dc, 2 ch, 3 dc, 2 ch) x 3.

Row 3+: Through 2 ch space center of the previous row, 3 ch, then 2 dc. 2 ch. At the corners 3 dc, 2 ch, 3 dc, 2 ch in 2 ch space at corner, and between the corners 3 dc 2 ch in each 2 ch space in the previous row.

IMG_0498

IMG_0540

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Crochet – Simple Granny Square (Left Handed) Part 1

IMG_0499A simple granny square is one of my favorite crochet patterns. They are great for using up scraps of yarn, and can be worked on individually and then assembled into a larger project at your leisure.  There are many variations but this is the one I use.

IMG_0447Chain 6 (ch 6).

IMG_0450Join ends with a slip stitch (sl st).

IMG_0453

Chain 3. The basic pattern is 3 double crochet, then chain 2, and repeat. This chain 3 will act as the first double crochet in a set of three.

IMG_0464Double crochet twice (2 dc), completing the first triplet.

IMG_0470Chain 2

IMG_04713 Double crochet (3 dc). This will form the first corner.

IMG_0473Chain 2, 3 double crochet, chain 2, 3 double crochet, chain 2, slip stitch and fasten off to complete the row (2 ch, 3 dc, 2 ch, 3 dc, 2 ch, sl st fasten off).

For the first round, all four 2 chain spaces will form the corners. One nice thing about this pattern is that once the row is started with a 3 chain 2 double crochet, the pattern is 3 double crochet, 2 chain, repeat until you work your way back to the start of the row. The corners are formed by making 3 dc, 2 ch, and 3 dc in the same hole from the previous row.

IMG_0476This will form the inside of the granny square.

IMG_0477You may want to make them as you go, or in batches. I like to have some around to fill spare moments with.

Onward to Part 2

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Crochet – Double Crochet Stitch (Left Handed)

The double crochet stitch (dc) is twice the height of a single crochet stitch (sc), and has an additional yarn over (yo).

IMG_0458In this example, the stitch will loop the entire ring. An alternative would be to pass under only the top two strands.

IMG_0459Yarn over (yo).

IMG_0460Pass the hook through the material.

IMG_0461Yarn over (yo) again.

IMG_0462Pull the yarn over loop through all but the last loop.

IMG_0463Yarn over (yo)

IMG_0465And pull though to complete the stitch.

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Crochet – Chain Stitch (Left Handed)

The chain stitch (usually abbreviated “ch”) is about as simple as a stitch can get. It is often used as the first row in projects.

IMG_0442The “G” hook (4.25 mm) is my favorite size. I’ve recently switched to using the thicker handled ones, which do seem to be less fatiguing and easier to use for long periods of time.

IMG_0443Start a chain by making a loop over the hook, the short end should cross over the long end, so it can be trapped in the next step.

IMG_0445Put the yarn over the hook (yo).

IMG_0446And pull through. There should be a loop around the hook, and the first stitch below.

IMG_0447Yarn over (yo) and pull through to repeat the stitch. A series of chain stitches is known as a chain, and is used as the starting point for many patterns.

Another example:

IMG_0465Start position

IMG_0467Yarn over (yo)

IMG_0469Pull through.

IMG_0470Chain stitch complete.

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Grubbycup Stash MIRON (violet glass) herb jars.

The fine folks over at mypharmjar.com  have come out with a special “Grubbycup Stash” edition of herb storage jars. These are made from MIRON (violet) glass, which blocks out harmful light rays and protects the herbs inside. The lid has a handy humidity/temperature readout to assist in curing and proper storage.

The small 100 ml for smaller amounts (sensor not included on the 100 ml)

MIRON glass stash jar.

There are other sizes as well, for example this 500 ml is a nice sized jar for personal use.

MIRON (violet) glass jar

And for those who enjoy bragging rights, there is the mighty 2 liter apothecary jar.

MIRON apothicary jar.
2 Liter Jar

I really like how the jars came out. The glass is a very dark violet blue that almost looks black. There are a variety of sizes to meet individual needs, and the humidity/temperature gauge is a handy touch. Very handy for keeping a little catnip or other herb within reach without light damaging (or displaying them) as with a clear container such as a mason jar (which perform much better when kept in a cool dark drawer).

Inspired by the alchemical violet glass used in ancient Egypt and in the middle ages in Europe, MIRON violet glass has an interestingly distinctive look. They are usual enough to act as a conversation piece in certain circles, especially if you happen to have one of my handmade pipes to accompany it.

Grubbycup’s Stash Herb Jars – “Everything else is just a jar”

When ordering, enter the coupon code “grubbycup” for 5% off.