Saturday, May 22, 2021

Making the Grayed

Pshew, I am exhausted from battling Blogger and trying to make my blog back to looking like itself after the strange Blogger glitch that shrank my header and then took away my Blog Roll. I am still working on the roll, but I got the header back to a reasonable size. Then I decided, what the hay, I'm going to change to a gray theme for summer. Summer is so hot here that I need a calm, cooling color. 

That battle has lasted for days. I guess I forgot most of my tinkering tips and tricks, but I think it's ready for its debut. I must have hit "Edit HTML" and "Restore" fifty times. 

But first, a word from our sponsor:

black and white mutt dog licking lollipop

That's Sophie, our part Bichon mutt, queen of our household. That dog is the love of my husband's life. She has brought such joy into his life. She brought him back INTO life, really. She is licking her "puppypop," a Tootsie Pop that has been "started" and has the chocolate center exposed. There is so little real chocolate in it that it's not a danger to her, but our vet frowns on letting her have sugary things. She has such a sweet tooth, and we are putty in her paws. You can see ol' Champie the Chiweenie in the background, waiting for his chance to get a few licks in. He doesn't really like it, but he likes to participate. With both of them, I have to hold the stick very tightly because they try mightily to pull it away.

I miss Charm pops! They were only a nickel and lasted for days. I think I had some a few years ago, but either they or I have changed. No chocolate in the middle of them, though.

Today was busy. In the hot weather the front courtyard has to be watered daily. I noticed how the tangerine iceplants hold the water they receive:

water droplets held on tangerine ice plant blooms

Today, my husband wanted to eat at what I call a "dive." He does not eat home-cooked food anymore. I just am glad he eats, although it is less and less and less. I knew the food was going to be bad, but he had his heart set on it. The decor was nice; the food, no. Each chair had a carved, painted scene of Old Mexico. Here is a burro, in one piece.

Donkey carved on chair back.

Outside were some pretty petunias and a rose! The rose is just a partial shot because the sun was so bright I could not see what I was taking. I try to cast my shadow on the flowers I'm photographing, but it's just too bright sometimes. The fiery colors of the rose were gorgeous in real life.

pink and white petunias

rose in the desert

Hope your weekend is going well!

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Driven Almost to "Violinsce"

Hi Bloggie "Frens," as I used to call my visitors back on my Penniwigs blog. I also, for some reason, called everyone my Elven Friends and Donkey Frens. I love donkeys. Donkeys and mules are really bright and have such determined personalities. Or at least it seems that way, of the donkeys and mules I have known.

Well, frens (don't even ask how that word got started), were you with me back when I posted this post, called "Beauty All Around"  (<--- Link but don't bother) or somesuch saccharine title? About a fancifully dressed older Mexican lady from Juarez across the border, a poor displaced musician, starving during COVID? Her only possession her beloved violin, which she would play untiringly, making beauty in order to feed her family, song after song? HMPH. If you did read it and listen to the video, here's an update: IT WAS ALL FAKE.

Grrr, grrrr, gnashing of teeth!

Today after school I went to make a deposit at the school's bank. It's right near where I saw the woman playing the violin the first time. Lo and behold, again in the parking lot, another sign about a starving violinist who had "2 starving kids," another identical set-up with amplifier, another person playing like a cheap version of Doug Kershaw. To those who don't know, Doug Kershaw was from my neck of the woods and was a crazy Cajun fiddler who played with energy, verve, and insane moves. But real music, real moves.

This "violinist" certainly didn't look starving. In fact, he looked pretty plump. And he looked just like the man who last week was holding up a sign begging for donations to help his "dying niece" get medical care for a "rare tumor." I rolled my window down to hear the tune, yep, it was the same tune as before, played exactly as before. Exactly. Per-zack-ly. Just a recording. Oh, I don't know why, but I got so irate. I felt the hair lift up on my head, I was so incensed. And I was grimly disappointed. 

I pulled over and watched a minute. Yes, the next song was just as before, when the lady had played last year. And the violinist "played" with a fury just as she had, but less gracefully, whipping that bow back and forth like a labrador's tail, but not playing a note on the fake fiddle. 

All these "violinists" with the amplifiers are fake. A quick Google search really set my teeth on edge. All these scams, all this fakery, ugh!

Gah! And then to get home to a scene from The Godfather, played out in the tiny courtyard. Take a look at my expensive shatterproof "fiberglass" donkey from a street vendor from Juarez, and to think I felt bad for the man and was impressed by his ability to create "fiberglass" statuary in that border town: 

broken cheap plaster yard ornament

Yes, fake again. It was just Plaster of Paris, coated with a shiny paint. Oh, the perfidy.

I hope everyone is having a good day -- certainly a better day than poor Donkey had. 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Summerthyme Sodas Free Printable Recipe Booklet

One of the few things I was able to get after my mother's death was the contents of her recipe drawer. In it, carefully typed on 4x6 pink cards with our old Underwood typewriter, were recipes my sister had copied from her Home Ec class. One entire set was about sodas, back in the 1950s when soda shops still were popular, right before they fell from favor. 

Most "druggists" also had a small shop and a lunch counter. A common job for teen boys was "soda jerk." They also were "baggers" for grocery stores and pumped gas. It's funny to me, but those grocery stores I felt were so modern could fit in the produce and bakery section of our Super Walmart today. 

Here is a little printable booklet form of some of those soda recipes my sister typed up. Her Home Ec teacher was the daughter of the local drugstore owner, and I think some of these were early "copycat" recipes from the business. I put this up on my old blog, too, I think. I like the Brown Cow one best. Sometimes we called it a Brown Cow, and sometimes we just said "Coke Float" if we weren't going to put the chocolate syrup in.

To avoid the unpleasant part of the foam, be sure to put some of the fizzy soda in first each time. Then put in the ice cream. Then top with more soda. It does cut down on the "sea scum" aspect of a float.

I was surprised to see a recipe calling for alcohol! Even just a tablespoon. It's in the Milk Punch recipe. It has malted milk powder, too. I have a lot of that, in my "prepper" grab-n-go bags. Lots of dry malted milk, because it's very helpful in a survival circumstance. I used to have compressed malted milk tablets but those are rare now. I have uncoated malted milk balls instead, in mylar packaging. 

As always, don't save the images of these printables. Use the Google link, so that they will print the correct size and be clear when printed. Cut them out, punch a hole in the top left corner, and tie with a bit of ribbon or string. This would be a cute gift tied to an ice cream scoop or a handful of paper straws. 

Does anyone else remember paper straws, the first time around? When bored, talking after lunch, I remember unfurling them. They were soggy by that time. Now that paper straws are a thing again and we are newly allowed to talk without masks at our restaurants here, I guess I will be back to unfurling them after lunch at a restaurant! Did you hang the spirals from your ears? I remember my seventh-grade self doing that. 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Use the LINK-Sheet 1 and LINK-Sheet 2 <-------- stored in the Google Drive cloud.

free printable soda shop booklet 1950s retro

page 2 of free printable diy soda shop retro recipes 1950


Friday, May 14, 2021

Well, This is Awful

A big red horrible warning is on my blog, and all the blogs I am trying to visit. Everything was fine, and then between one visit and another, the warnings started. I already had Google scan my blog, and nothing was found, but the warning remains and I so doubt anyone will even see this post. 

For me, the blog is a window to the world. These hackers and destroyers make me so sad. From the pipeline shutdown to doing something bad to an old lady's blog.

Yours sadly,

Holly, the Unmerry Olde Dame  

But, Bee Butts!

The "prickly pear" cactus, also called a "beaver tail" cactus but known to us locally as "nopales," ("no-PAWL-ess") are blooming up a storm! And I have seen some lavender blooms on one plant, which I have never seen before. It will require a foray about ten feet into someone's yard to get a good closeup, but I am going to try.  

You know, if you live in the desert Southwest long enough, you become somewhat bilingual. I can understand almost all of the Spanish I hear, and I use many terms daily, but I can express myself very little. Receptive language is much easier than expressive language. I get messed up with the verbs, saying things that are the equivalent of "I seen it," or "I heared the knock." But I can make myself understood, even if I sound goofy.

A lot of people think the fruit of the prickly pear is called an "apple." It is actually called a "tuna." 

Seems a very strange name! The tunas are not fishy, however, and not near as popular as the pads, the "nopalitos," are. The pads are sliced up and used in many "casera," or "homestyle," recipes, but I can't stand them due to the slime they make. Funny, I can eat okra in gumbo with great gusto, and always get a side of fried okra at Cracker Barrel restaurant, but get weak-kneed at slimy nopalitos, even when it's washed away. Oatmeal makes me queasy. And I just discovered that my beloved mulberries have a bit of a slime problem, too. 

Here are a few more photos of prickly pear blooms. I have not take any photos of the yellow-blooming cactus yet. The yellow is the most common and I believe the most hardy of the bunch, but I greatly prefer the hot-pink and red ones. And those lavender ones! In the photo below, a bee is dive-bombing the blossom.

bee butt in nopal flowers

I got rid of a huge patch of prickly pears in my front yard. I might have kept them, had they bloomed pink or red. It was a very old, very large patch, towering up about five feet, and in my opinion dangerous to the pets. I still haven't replaced them with something else, and we are still finding (ouch!) the spines. But better my foot, than a little paw!

beavertail cactus bright pink bloom

Out in the "raw desert," the barrel cactus are blooming, too. In the second photo, you can see another "bee butt." The bees get in the blooms, and go round and round and round, luxuriating (?) in the pollen and nectar. Then they pop up, punch-drunk.

barrel cactus blooming blooms

I hope you are having a lovely Friday! 

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

An Eternal Blending

An interesting facet of living in "the borderlands" and in an area where three distinct cultures -- Mexican, U.S., and Native American -- existed, is to see the blending of those cultures into a new, hybrid culture.

The "ghost cow"  (<--link) of a previous post stands right outside the cemetery in Old Mesilla. It's a fitting sentinel, as it prepares the visitor for the juxtaposition of beliefs within.

In the cemetery for members of the Basilica of San Albino, the strong Mexican Catholic culture is evident.  Most headstones are in Spanish, and many are extremely modest, yet all richly illustrate the deep faith of the "gente humilde," the humble folk.

san albino cemetery in the blazing sun

Without romanticizing poverty and lives impacted by prejudice, I will say that whenever I have been lucky enough to interact with such individuals, I have been touched. These are the people who have what I call "natural class" and sweet, clear, glass-like hearts.

While our house here was being built, the first time I lived in Las Cruces, I rented an extremely modest house of perhaps 600 square feet in a very tumbledown neighborhood. One next-door neighbor was handicapped with scleroderma and extremely poor, yet she loved to invite me over for coffee in thanks for rides to church. These dear kaffee klatches consisted of a cup of Taster's Choice (because I was company), and a carefully split flour tortilla, with me somehow always handed "the big half." A little saucer of cinnamon sugar was placed between us, and the rolled-up halves were to be stuck in the mixture with each bite. She would barely touch her tortilla to the sugar, eager for me to have the lion's share. Every movement caused this gracious lady pain, yet move she did, to fuss over me. And I have yet to see the match of her hospitality.

san albino graveyard mesilla new mexico

But back to the graveyard. Doesn't that sound strange? Who says that? The ghosts, as the sun nears rising? "Ah, back to the graveyard, my fellow spirits. Day is nigh." I imagine these spirits never being into mischief, but gathering peacefully at the Basilica to say the Rosary for their brethren.

I do have to smile at the designation "Basilica." It was actually declared a "minor Basilica," after much imploring, but they don't use the "minor" part of the name. I do not think God frowns at such an innocent pride.
shrine grave

Mexican tradition has joined with some uniquely U.S. aspects in the San Albino cemetery. There are no typical restrictions of a cemetery here, and free reign is given to the families, yielding a gravesite where a four-foot Virgen de Guadalupe stands guard over silk flowers and little angels playing with pretty pieces of glass. A huge "wall rosary" has been draped on the headstone, and the gravesite has been neatly tiled. The idea of family is taken very seriously here. La familia is tantamount. When I first saw this grave, I thought it had plaster squirrels on it, due to poor eyesight. But no, they are angels with arched wings. But squirrels would not have been a surprise.

If you'll excuse a pun, the grave poverty of this area shows in this cemetery. There is no room for strict codes here.

Virgen de Guadalupe at san albino graveside

Nearby, a patch of outdoor carpet sets a comfortable tone. The yellow-and-green color scheme of a devoted John Deere Tractor fan is seen.
outdoor carpet and john deere theme of grave

A few yards away, a grave is decorated with "calaveras" (skulls), spiders, angels, and crosses intermingling freely. Instead of changing out seasonal decor, some choose to just keep adding more throughout the year.

old world meets new san albino cemetery

Pocket rosaries are everywhere, often simply laid at the base of the crosses. There are many homemade wooden crosses marking graves, with handpainted names and nicknames on them.

simple graves at san albino

Some graves have all wording worn off. Nothing remains but a simple wish it be remembered that here lies a Christian. 

simple worn headstone

So many of the old names are here, the gentle, devout settlers of the region, the original farmers of the valley. These are the same names you will see on the war monuments, including so many on the monuments devoted to those who were on the Bataan Death March, which hit New Mexico very strongly. The people of the area are very patriotic.

I hope these pictures from a desert cemetery have not depressed you, but have cheered you with the knowledge that God has sprinkled the "humble people" among us like gems among the dust.

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Ghost Cow of Mesilla

I was driving down a part of the nearby village of Old Mesilla, when I saw something so strange and wonderful: An ethereal cow looking out from a small pecan orchard and tumbledown house right before the entrance of one of the oldest cemeteries in the area, the San Albino Cemetery. 

ghost cow of mesilla

Once, this holey cow was plastered and painted (maybe it got plastered when it painted the town red), but the weather has reduced it to its amazing inner framework. Whoever made this was a sheer genius.

This is clearly a quality-made bovine objet d'art.

I would dearly love to have this cow in my yard. I always, always wanted a concrete deer in my yard. For literally decades I dreamed of it. My beloved Granny had a pair of concrete deer and I loved them as if they were family members. Hmm, I loved them more than most family members. My family members were not all nice. 

And I would love that crazy cow! 

I have that little donkey in the courtyard, but I want a sizeable concrete animal. I am very unlikely to get one, but I'm going to try! 

burro in the snow

In the Deep South, the concrete deer were popular. When I moved to Arizona, the Sleeping Mexican abounded, despite being horribly stereotypical. 

In the DC area, there were gnomes before gnomes were a thing. I had a neighbor who must have had ten of them. Joking, I offered the loan of a "ten pound sledgehammer" to "take care of his gnome infestation." He was unamused. Yeah, talk politics all you want up there, but DON'T bring up the gnomes. 

In Ohio, I saw endless geese, DRESSED UP in little clothes, depending on the season. It was difficult to reconcile the dour kinfolk I met with the idea of those same people making or buying clothes for plastic or fiberglass geese. "Since when ve spend money on geese? Vat?! Go play in ze snow."

In the Pacific Northwest, I saw many small boats in yards as planters, and what we called "porch sitters:" Life-sized doll people. Or People Dolls. Sitting in chairs, swinging on porch swings, sitting in the boats. And totem poles.

Midland had many fake oil wells and pumpjacks and lots of "Texas Stars" on the sides of homes. 

Here, there are many shrines. The area has an affinity for St. Michael the Archangel, too, so you will see versions of him calmly spearing demons in many homes. But the Virgin of Guadalupe reigns in most hearts and is most often depicted in tile mosaics.

las cruces shrine

virgin of guadalupe mosaic

So, each area seems to have something tacky, er, unique! 

What is in your area?

Monday, May 10, 2021

Walk Like An Egyptian...Onion

Tra la, tra la, some of the Egyptian Walking Onions from the community garden have made "pups" and I have some planted in my garden at home now!

pups on egyptian walking onions

 You may recall, a nice gardener invited me to harvest both pups and big onions to get them started in my garden. I "traded" a big lemongrass clump for them. I also got a Jerusalem artichoke to plant from the deal! Made out like a bandit, as they say!

egyptian walking onions tree onions pups bublets

The pups of these unusual onions are tiny bulblets that grow atop the flowering stalk. They start growing right on the mother plant, and even start making roots. The weight of the developing pups causes the stalk to arch over eventually, and they then anchor themselves in the soil and in this way "walk" aross the garden, gaining about a foot each time. The bulblets ask, "Mother, May I?" take a giant step forward? "Yes, you may."

Each pup can be broken off from the top cluster and planted, and will make an onion plant.

radish onions going to seed

Goin' to seed...ha ha me and the plants both. 

The plot above in the community garden belongs to a REAL gardener. She is letting the Egyptian Onions make their bulblets and also letting her radish, I think, make seed. She has baby radish to eat in another plot. 

The onions are also called "Tree Onions." They look like a Dr. Suess tree!

I am fussing, fussing, fussing over my little courtyard. Some of the new plants were not happy in their places, so I did some switching around. It will be another month before everything hits its stride, I think, and soon I must rig up some shade cloth to shield them from the desert sun. And to think, some in northern climes are still waiting for their weather to warm up and plants to awaken! 

Yesterday I drove hubby to see a little manmade pond on the campus of his alma mater, NMSU. This was put in after we moved from here the first time, so I did not even know it existed until I saw it on a Google map. There were a few ducks, too! And some anglers. Evidently they stock it with trout. 

ducks in the desert

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Ollie Ollie Um-Come-Free

That's how we used to call it: "Ollie, Ollie, um-come-free," but I have heard others say they called "Ollie, Ollie, All Come Free" or "Ollie, Ollie, In-Come-Free." Hide and seek was popular among the kids of our block and the next block over to the west, but we didn't play with the kids from the next block over to the east. Strange, but there were lines of demarcation and we didn't think much about them or cross them. The "Ollie" call was what we shouted to let everyone know to stop hiding and come back out for the "One Potato, Two Potato" count to decide what game to play or who was first or something. When it was a huge crowd of children, we would hold out one fist as the potato. When it was less kids, we held out two fists. 

My little memories of the past amuse me sometimes, and depress me, other times. But there is a blog, and I think he may have a Facebook page as well, that is just astounding to me. For those who love "primitives," it is really a must if you want to really explore the past, especially the colonial past. But this blog is written by a "living historian" who immerses himself in the past. Please stop by his blog if you love history or colonial times or primitives. It is a treat to read and look at, too. Each post could be a chapter or a couple of chapters in a book! Passion for the Past blog.

I took some pictures on my errands this past week. I keep my cheap little phone at the ready and sometimes I have to really force myself to stop or backtrack to get a photo. But with these flowers, sometimes if you come back the next day, the flower is wilted or even gone, or the light is too harsh. So I try to stop and snap a photo if it seems safe to do so. 

I hope you enjoy these blooms! TGIF! Today is First Friday for those of us Catholic, and I am excited to be able to be annointed today in the Sacrament of the Sick. I find it helps me better accept being ill, even if it doesn't alleviate the symptoms. But I hope this Friday finds you "in the pink" as they said in the olde days! 

red prickly pear flower
Red prickly pear blooms
orange cactus flowers
Unusual cactus
ice plant with magenta blooms
Magenta-bloomed Ice Plant
purple weed with bee
Honeybee visiting a pretty wildflower along an irrigation ditch
iris purple and gold
Iris along irrigation ditch
peony white and pink beautiful
A peony in the desert!
pomegranite blossoms
Pomegranate. I can just taste them!
weeping mulberry twisted trunks
Weeping Mulberry. I love the twisty branches!
pecan tassels blossoms
Pecan in bloom. See irrigation water in background?
close up incredible orange cactus blooms

Cactus blooms say, "Have a beautiful day!"

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

hOnEySuCkLe tHyMe

Showing my age again, and my roots way back when blogging was new! It was common on "prim and rustic" blogs to use the mixed capitalization. For some reason, it reminds me of when "knee warmers" and "cummerbunds" were popular, but that was in the 1970s.

Anyone remember that, the knee warmers? Ringing any bells among the belles who read my little bloggie? I had a little pair of red acrylic knee warmers, of knitted fine-guage acrylic, but still; scritchy-scratchy acrylic yarn of the day. And I had a red cummerbund that matched, but of a fine-guage material. Oh, I was so thin. But the advantage was I could wear anything. I was so thin that people felt I had an eating disorder, as I did. Eating disorders were just getting known then, in the 1970s. But I looked well in clothes and I bought the "display" clothing from fine stores in size 3, and took them up. The display clothes were sold for a song at the end of the season, as were the shoes. I had tiny feet, size 5 narrow, the usual display size.

My mind is off and running now! White sales! The White Sales -- we would wait for them and then get our linens. And the department stores had whole floors of china and stoneware and flatware, and so many pretty silver things. The peasant in me chose a Mikasa stoneware design for my first wedding: Strawberry Festival. Funny, I don't have a single piece left and I loved that pattern so much. Strawberries have always made me smile. And my flatware pattern was Oneida American Colonial. Gosh, haven't thought of that in years. 

In New Orleans, we had a beloved department store, D.H. Holmes. Its colors were a light cream and dark chocolate brown. The bags, the boxes, the giftwrap, the name tags were all that color combination. I loved those stores, especially the big store on Canal Street. At the very top floor, there were hats and wigs and the offices. We would take the escalators up and up and up. It always made my heart race a little bit to step on the escalator and start rising. One of my aunts was a "window dresser" for a local department store in a smaller city. She had such style, and store windows in those days were glorious things. 

If I have been slow to comment on your blog, I apologize. I have been very tired and I am also racing back and forth from work taking care of my husband, who has had some procedures done. He's pretty independent in general, but anything out of the ordinary hits him hard, making him more oppositional and not do the things he needs to do to heal and stay healthy. And yesterday I drove a teacher from school to the ER and stayed with her for hours, as I could tell with one look that she had cellulitis starting on her leg, and indeed it was so. She is deeply hypochondriac, but sometimes she does get sick for real. But it all makes for long days and I have little energy, sometimes just falling asleep with my head on the desk where the computer is. 

But I did go see if I could get a cutting from a wild Queen's Wreath vine and a Silver Lace vine. [Success! And I saw a pretty old-fashioned fence it was growing up!] And then I stopped by the church to light some candles.

If you have read this far, you are probably saying, "Cough up the honeysuckle! Where is it?" This honeysuckle vine surprised me! It is growing all mixed in with the wisteria vines at church! Right now it is smothered in blossoms and I did allow myself to stand there and pull off about a dozen blossoms, pinching the end off and pulling the stamen through, carrying that tiny drop of nectar that we dab on our tongues. 

honeysuckle blossoms in cracker barrel syrup bottle

Then of course, just as if I were ten again, I have to suck the open end and get the rest of the nectar out. I can think of so many "wild foods" we ate as children! Gosh, the list is just forever. Pepper plant, honeysuckle, wild onions, wild garlic, grapes, figs, plums, loquats, maypops, rabbit grass, elderberries, blackberries, huckleberries (which I disliked), digging sassafrass roots, climbing to get at pawpaws and persimmons. I know I'm forgetting a lot. 

silver lace vine in las cruces

May the rest of your week be "just as you like it." See you around the blogs!

old fasioned fence child and pail

Kind regards,

Olde Dame Holly

Monday, May 3, 2021

Lavender Wands, Dilly Dilly

lavender wands

"Lavender's blue, dilly dilly
Lavender's green.
When I am king, dilly dilly
You shall be queen."

Once upon a time I had an ample supply of blooming lavender, and a wonderful co-worker showed me how to make lavender wands. This was, oh, perhaps 40 years ago now? 

Alas and alack, I have a very limited supply of blooms this year. Between three small two-year-old bushes, I had enough blooms for three wands.

It's easy to make them, and it's a bit of lore I'd love to pass on.

All it takes is the fresh lavender cut with as long a stem as you can manage (it can have little leaves and side-buds on it); 1/8" satin ribbon or similar narrow ribbon of your choice for a small wand, and wider ribbon if you are lucky enough to make a big wand; and a toothpick to help you move the ribbon among the stems evenly.

Skip down to read about how to make wands! 

But first, some garden news! (1) The Egyptian Walking Onions at the community garden are making "pups" and I have planted some at home. WILL THEY MAKE IT? (2) The lemongrass in my courtyard seems a lost cause. It is not visible any longer! The doggies have eaten it all. I always call one of my dogs "my little curly lamb," and indeed she is like a sheep, chewing grass. The chiweenie was in on it, too. They split up the lemongrass between them: He ate all of it at ground level, and she climbed into the raised beds and ate the rest! (3) The Sweet Meat squash is up and looks like it might make it. 

Back to our wands:

Gently remove any side leaves or side-buds. Work with fresh lavender. The type doesn't matter. If needed, put the cut lavender in water in a vase in the fridge, like the florist does.

ribbon and lavender for lavender wands

I could not put my hands on my plastic canvas sewing "needle," made of plastic with a huge eye for yarn. But that might make the weaving so very much easier.

There are many tutorials on the web on how to make these wands, but many of them are bunk. Why do I say that? They don't share the most basic part of making the wands: YOU MUST HAVE AN ODD NUMBER OF STEMS. The simple over-under weave will not work with an even number of stems. You are going in a spiral pattern, a basketweave, and thus an odd number is a must.

But the other tutorials have nicer photos. I was doing this, oh, around 3:12 a.m. I had intended to do it in the morning, but I had already picked the stems and taken a photo of them with the ribbon,then put them in the fridge. Since I have terrible trouble sleeping more than an hour at a time without having to get up, it seemed like a good idea to get up and make wands at that hour, but it didn't lend itself to clear thinking or clear photos.

Gather as many stems as you want together, with the HEADS of the lavender together. Make sure to have an odd number. Tie a piece of ribbon right under the heads. Don't make the knot too tight. Don't cut into the stems. 

how to make a lavender wand

I just use one piece of ribbon, so I make sure the knot has a tail that extends down several inches. I'm going to tuck that tail in the middle and let it just hang, and let it be covered by the weaving of the other end of the ribbon, and then once I am done weaving and wrapping the unwoven stems about a half-inch to an inch, I use that bit of tail between the stems to tie off the weaving ribbon, and cut the excess from both tails.

The other way is to just make a nice knot and cut, then tuck in the end of another piece from the ends of the stems and coming out from the top of the "cage" described below. 

Making the cage: Once you have the knot in place under the heads of the lavender, you carefully pull up each stem to make a "cage" around the heads. At this point, just pull them gently, one at a time, up and over the flowerheads. You will use the toothpick or your fingers to arrange the stems as evenly as you can. Now turn it over. You are holding the stems and the caged flower heads are at the top. 

lavender wand DIY

Some people with a LOT of lavender make wands that are practically CLUBS. I envy them! If you want to make a huge one, limit your weaving to just the outer stems.

To figure out how much ribbon you will need to cut to do the weaving, I put my fingers together, like two fingers for a small wand (I have tiny fingers), and wrap the ribbon round and round in a downward spiral until it's as long as the caged flower heads. Then I add about two inches. CUT. 

If you are using the one-ribbon method, the other end is still inside the cage, part of the knot that is under the flower heads. Come up under a stem, pull the excess ribbon through, and go over the next stem. Then under the next, over the next, under the next, again and again until you have covered the entire head. Don't overthink it.

This is the part that is difficult. The first few turns are hard to do, and the basketweave isn't very visible yet. You are working from the TOP down.

lavender want showing the "cage"

Use your toothpick to push up and tighten the ribbon as needed. It might be like lacing up a shoe. You pull up some excess, and kind of sequentially pull the slack up between each stem, all the way down. Then wrap the stems without doing any over-and-under once you are past the "caged" part. Pull out that tail and tie an overhand knot with the weaving end of the ribbon.

basketweave lavender wands

Make sure the weaving is pretty tight, because the flowers will shrink as they dry. My darker wands came out much better than the first pale ribbon one I did. The blue ribbon above needs to be pulled and the slack taken out before continuing.

To refresh the scent, just squeeze gently on the woven end of the wand.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and is having a good Monday!