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Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Celtic Astrology...Holly - The Ruler

Holly July 8 – August 4

Among the Celtic tree astrology signs, the Holly is one of regal status. Noble, and high-minded, those born during the Holly era easily take on positions of leadership and power. If you are a Holly sign you take on challenges easily, and you overcome obstacles with rare skill and tact. When you encounter setbacks, you simply redouble your efforts and remain ever vigilant to obtain your end goals. Very seldom are you defeated. This is why many people look up to you and follow you as their leader. You are competitive and ambitious even in the most casual settings. You can appear to be arrogant, but in actuality you’re just very confident in your abilities. Truth be known, you are quite generous, kind and affectionate (once people get to know you). Highly intelligent, you skate through academics where others may struggle. Because many things come to you so easily, you may have a tendency to rest on your laurels. In other words, if not kept active, you may slip into an unhealthy and lazy lifestyle. Holly signs may look to Ash and Elder signs for balance and partnership.

No Yeast Needed Cinnamon Rolls In 45 Minutes!

Yes! You read right! It really is about 45 minutes start to on the table! Not having yeast in the dough makes it just a little hard to roll these so I put plastic on the counter to assist me. I wipe the counter with a damp sponge, and while it's damp, I lay down the plastic wrap a little bigger than the size I need. This keeps the plastic wrap on the counter and holds it still. (I also do this while rolling pie dough). Mine didn't look so pretty when I cut them, so as you'll see, there is no before photo in the pan before baking. :) If yours look a little odd, or tear while cutting them and lifting them to the pan, do not despair!! They bake up nicely and after the icing who will even notice? I think they might slice better if you refrigerate the dough after rolling and before slicing but who has time for that? Not me! Let's get started!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
6 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt, divided
8 Tbsp salted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I make my own, if you don't have buttermilk on hand see my archives)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a 9-inch round cake or pie pan with 1 Tbsp melted butter, set aside. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt, set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl whisk together light-brown sugar, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/8 tsp salt. Add in 1 Tbsp melted butter and blend mixture together with your fingertips or a fork until mixture is well blended and evenly moistened, set aside.

Measure out buttermilk into a liquid measuring cup and stir in 2 Tbsp melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough forms and liquid has been absorbed, then knead mixture in bowl by hand just until smooth, about 30 seconds (dough will be sticky).

I use plastic wrap on the counter and sprinkle with flour. This works great and you can use the side of it to help roll the dough. Pat the dough with your hands into a 12 x 9-inch rectangle. Brush top of dough with 2 Tbsp melted butter then sprinkle evenly with brown sugar mixture, coming within a 1/2 inch of the border on all sides. Press the brown sugar filling onto the dough. 

Starting on the long side, gently roll dough as tight as you can to opposite end. Pinch the end seam to seal. Roll the log seam side down and cut dough into 8 equal portions.

Place 1 roll in the center of the prepared baking dish, then place remaining 7 rolls around it. Brush tops of rolls with remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Bake in preheated oven 22 - 25 minutes until edges are golden brown.

After baking I let the rolls cool for 5 minutes and then inverted onto a plate, then I inverted onto another plate to have them top side up. I also did not frost, per the request of the Laird of the cottage. He likes to add his own amount of frosted glaze as he enjoys the rolls instead of the glaze soaking into the rolls. This also helps them store better in the refrigerator if you don't consume them all at once. 
For the glaze I just use 3 cups of powdered sugar, add a teaspoon of vanilla, mix and then add milk a tablespoon or so at a time until I reach the consistency we like. We like it thick.

Enjoy! If you make these, please do leave a comment and let me know how you LOVED them!

Do You Make Your Own...

Yogurt? If not, I want to show you how easy it is! Years ago I purchased a Donvier Yogurt Maker and I love it. You can use your yogurt not only in parfaits (which my daughter and I love for Sunday lunches), but in recipes, and to make your own yogurt cheese to use as dips or a spread on crackers, breads, fruits etc. Warning, once you make homemade yogurt you may not want to eat the yogurts sold in the market any longer, but why would you have to? The taste is superb, and homemade is free from preservatives etc! I'll keep it simple with captions to show you how easy it is. Let's get started!

                                                        Bring 4 cups of milk to 190 degrees (I use whole milk) 

I also use my candy making thermometer so I'm certain not to easy! Just keep stirring your milk.

After it comes up to 190 degrees, insert the thermometer that comes with your yogurt maker and cool to the ADD STARTER mark (or 115 degrees)

If you are starting a fresh batch of yogurt, you need starter. I used Oikos yogurt. You need the bacterial culture  for the yogurt.

After your yogurt has cooled to 115 degrees (or add starter line) place 2 tablespoons of starter in one of the cups. Add a little of the milk and stir. Then pour it all back into your batch

          Pour yogurt mixture in yogurt cups and place in yogurt maker. 


Set Timer to 11 hours

Your yogurt is done when timer goes off!

Nice, thick, homemade yogurt! Now just refrigerate for a few hours before eating, and enjoy!

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Lovely Anemone

Anticipation, expectation, dying hope and forsaken are the meanings for the Anemone, derived from the Greek word for windflower. Mythology relates that the anemone sprung from the tears of Aphrodite as she mourned the death of her love, Adonis. In folklore the anemone is believed to bring luck and protection against evil. It has been said that the flower foretells rain by closing it's petals, and fairies were believed to sleep beneath the petals of the wood anemone during the night after they closed at sunset.

Some legends believe the flower to be associated with healing and health, others, notably the Chinese, call it the flower of death and plant it on grave sites.

Sunburn Soother

If you find yourself suffering from a sunburn after these scorching days of summer fun, you may be surprised at this remedy to keep your skin from blistering or peeling.

If your burn isn't bad and you aren't suffering from pain, you can cut an apple in half, remove the core, and rub over your sunburned area for three to four minutes.

If you have a bad burn and are already blistered, take a luke warm bath to soothe the pain. Add one of the following: 2-3 cups Apple Cider Vinegar, 5-8 tea bags, 1 cup baking soda or 1-2 cups Oatmeal. You can also add in several drops of lavendar oil with any of these options. All have been shown to be excellent home remedies for sunburn blisters by relieving the sting and pain. After your bath, apply one of the topical remedies such as aloe.

Remember to use your sunscreen!

Do You Love Handmade...

Dishcloths and washcloths? I do! They last for years and even though mine have faded from many, many, uses and laundering, they are what I reach for when I have a tough job (scrubbing bird baths etc). I like to have enough on hand for both inside and outside jobs and they even stand up to scrubbing the plastic fence we have surrounding the cottage!

I have just added 2 of these cloths to my Etsy Shop and each measures 6 1/2 inches square and is made from the One Pound Yarn. It's 100% Acrylic. (I use both cotton and acrylic dishcloths and find them both to be equally durable and effective.) These are soft, not the scratchy acrylic.
One is in a lovely peachy orange color, and the other in sunshine yellow. Bring some color to your sink area this spring and summer! Handmade dishcloths last for years!

To keep your dishcloths fresh through the day, rinse them thoroughly in cold water after use and hang them on your drainer, over your tap, or over your curtain rod to dry. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist conditions so rinsing the cloths and drying them helps prevent bacteria growth. Then just toss them in with your laundry as they're machine wash and dry.

These make wonderful little gifts for those who love handmade items. Do you live the frugal lifestyle (I try)? These are perfect. There's nothing better than having items that stand up to use for years. No thin dishcloths for me! Do you shop all year for the holidays? Perfect stocking stuffers! Support Handmade!

You can see the dishcloths and visit my shop here:

What's On Sale In July?

Crafty types know that July is a great month to stock up on supplies for their creative hobbies. The Fourth of July weekend is another holiday period in which many retailers offer bargains on big-ticket items as well, so if you're in need of a major appliance you're in luck!

Here's what you'll find on sale for the month of July...

Deeper discounts on summer dresses, suits, shoes and swimwear
Air conditioners (now through September)
Major appliances (Fourth of July weekend)
Barbecue and picnic foods
Craft supplies

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cool Bath For A Hot Day...

An epsom salt bath is the perfect antidote to a hot, stressed, summer day. It’s a bath that incorporates cucumbers, fresh mint, and a bit of floral essential oil. Peppermint has has a soothing and cooling effect on skin irritations caused by hives, poison ivy, or poison oak; it reduces headache symptoms; and it can be used in the treatment of depression. This is a perfect treat at the end of a day of gardening as well!

To a tub of tepid water add 2 cups of epsom salt, stir in 1 sliced cucumber, a handful of torn peppermint leaves (you can purchase peppermint in the produce section of your market if you are not growing it) and an optional 3 drops ylang ylang pure essential oil or oil of your choice. (If you aren't keen on fishing around to remove the cucumber slices and peppermint, tie it up in a bit of cheesecloth and just toss it in your bath.)

One caution about epsom salt baths...make sure to drink plenty of water after one. Your body detoxes after his type of bath and you will start to feel ill if you don't drink water.

Soak and enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Blessings Mix

I thought this mix recipe was perfect to post for the upcoming 4th of July weekend for my friends and family in the USA. Not only is it a wonderful snack, but the meaning behind it is so special and patriotic. Enjoy!

2 cups of bugles
2 cups of pretzels
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of candy corn
1 cup of peanuts
1 cup of m&m's
chocolate kisses

The meaning of the mix:
Bugles-shaped like horn of plenty, a symbol of our nations abundance.
Pretzels-arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Candy corn-the sacrifices of the pilgrims first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernals of corn.
Peanuts-promise of a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
Raisins-harvest gifts from our bountiful land.
M&M's-memories of those who came before us to lead us into a blessed future.
Hershey's kiss-the love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Mix all but the kisses and put into bags and attach this note. Put the kiss on top of each bag. Use as a place setting at the table or make with your children and they can give everyone a bag when they walk into your home.

The Ruby

Gemstones gather light and reflect it back upon us in scintillating dances. They forge a link that invisibly yet inextricably bonds us to our loved ones and the many moments and special occasions of our lifetimes. They are the magical keeper of our stories and histories. Scientifically, the power of a gemstone can be explained. Jewels play with the electromagnetic vibrations that we call light, and the "seeing" can be mesmerizing. The romantic Victorians used birthstones as a subtle means to communicate. Messages of love and devotion were spelled out in jewelry. A ring for a sweetheart might have been set with the gemstones Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, and Ruby, thus encoding the sentiment "DEAR."

For ancient civilizations, the twelve gemstones (now attached to the calendar year for sentimental reasons) were considered to be the earthbound manifestations of great power. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Persians, Incas and Aztecs all strongly believed in the power of gemstones as talismans and amulets. To them, gems were guardians with numerous attributes, curative powers, and could even help the soul to peace in the afterlife.

Ground pearls were added to Cleopatra's wine, so she could drink in their beauty. Sunglasses made of emeralds were worn by Emperor Nero when he watched the gladiators doing battle in the coliseum. In Medieval Europe it was believed that an aquamarine in the mouth provided for safe questioning of the devil and that the wearing of a topaz protected against sudden death. Gems were thought to heal illness, ward off poisons, and bring true love. The custom of giving and receiving these stones is a poignant vestige to the efforts of humanity to comprehend the mysteries of the universe and to summon its aid to safeguard our loved ones.

Associating the months of the year with a specific gemstone has a long history. Every birthstone is a book, whose tale will never end.

Happy Birthday to everyone under the sign of Cancer from Our Scented Cottage! The Ruby is the birthstone for the month of July and it is also the wedding anniversary gemstone for the 40th year of marriage. Here is the information on the Ruby...

Zodiac Sign: Cancer
Cancer dates: June 21 - July 22
Cancer - The Third Sign of the Zodiac: The sign of the Crab
Ruling Planet of Cancer: Mercury
Alternate Birthstones of Cancer: Emeralds, Sardonyx, Pearls and Moonstones

Symbolism, Significance and Properties of Rubies
The properties with which the Ruby is associated are as follows:
Devotion, integrity, courage and happiness
Vitality, confidence and strength
Used to enhance energy, generosity and to bring success

Healing Properties of the Ruby
The healing properties of the Cancer birthstone are reputed to be effective for health problems relating to:
Blood and infection
Increasing positive thought patterns

Stop by again soon!