Teardrop Luminaries Made of Wax

These plain, yet elegant luminaries are simply fantastic. They are simple to make, easy on the environment, not sharp if broken, and if one doesn’t turn out right you can simply remelt it and try again.

Wax Luminaries in Different ColorsIn addition to all of those wonderful attributes, they will fit into almost any decor; and are one of those little touches that can make a room come alive.

If you want to customize them up try adding some pressed flowers, ribbons, or other small decorations in-between the layers of wax as you’re coating the balloon.Experiment with other shades and tones of wax as well; you might just find something that fits perfectly into your decor.

Adding essential oils or scents are also a fun option if added right before dipping -especially if you plan to use real candles inside of them. I would hold off on adding a lot of scent however, as the oils might affect the hardness of the wax.

Glowing Wax LuminariesThe creator of the video suggests using tea lights, votives in votive holders, or battery powered candles withing these luminaries as they can be melted by too much heat, but if you want to release scents you’ve added a little heat is fine.

They also recommend using regular balloons instead of water balloons if you’re worried about the balloons popping before reaching the size you desire.

Happy crafting everyone!

Terminology used in Herbal Medicine

This post will help you understand the medicinal properties of herbs and essential oils.

Remember to never use an herb or oil without knowing its properties, and how it affects a human body.

Abortificant– An agent that induces or causes premature expulsion of a fetus.

Acrid– Having a hot, biting taste or causing heat and irritation when applied to the skin.

Alterative– An agent which produces gradual beneficial change in the body, usually by improving nutrition, without having any marked specific effect and without causing sensible evacuation.

Analgesic– A drug which relieves or diminishes pain; Anodyne

Anaphrodisiac– An agent which reduces sexual desire or potency.

Anesthetic– An agent that deadens sensation.

Anthelmintic– An agent that destroys or expels intestinal worms; Vermicide, Vermifuge

Antibiotic– An agent that destroys or arrests the growth of micro-organisms.

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Safety when Using Essential Oils

Essential Oils are highly concentrated chemicals with complex structures. They are powerful, so care must be used when working with them.

Ginger OilMany drugs come from the volatile compounds found within plants; and, like drugs, if used too frequently, or at the wrong time, they can do more harm than good.

Unless you are certified in aromatherapy, essential oils should be used externally only due to many being toxic if ingested.

The following oils should only be used in moderation and for short periods at a time:

Basil, Bay, Camphor, Juniper, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Coriander, Fennel, Ginger, Hyssop, Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Thyme, Valerian, Tuberose

A few oils are phototoxic which means they can cause senstivity to sunlight. Be cautious with them on the skin if you are exposed to sunlight frequently.

They are listed below:

Angelica, Bergamot, Citronella, Ginger, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Orange, Lemon Verbena

Lavender and Nutmeg OilsIt is a good idea to not use any essential oils during pregnancy unless under the care of an experienced therapist, but these oils should particularly be avoided:

Angelica, Basil, Birch, Cedarwood, Citronella, Clary Sage, Cypress, Fennel, Geranium, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Tarragon, Yarrow

Although most essential oils can irritate the skin when undiluted, these oils are particularly irritating. Make sure to dilute them very well before using on the skin:

Angelica, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Ginger, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lemon Verbena, Nutmeg, Orange, Peppermint

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Food Blogger of the Month: Dec. 2012

Hello friends! Welcome to the first installment of a segment I am very excited about. Each month I am going to interview a different food blogger, who I think is top notch, to help my readers discover wonderful recipes, helpful tips, and new outlooks on food.

This month I got in touch with the creator of the first food blog I ever followed. It is such an honor to have her participation in my project.

The Lovely PigamithaPigamitha Dimar is the amazing writer, photographer, and cook behind Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook. She currently resides in Medan, Indonesia; and is a medical student. Where she comes up with the time to create wonderful food, photograph it, and put everything together on her blog as she goes through clinicals, studies, and attends class is a mystery to me.

Regardless of her busy life she does not disappoint on her blog. Everything looks and sounds completely amazing. She also photographs every step to ensure that her readers have a clear reference as they follow her recipes.

The questions that follow were sent to her in a survey form which was not a live interview. I figured it would be best for her to work around her schedule and give her a chance to answer at leisure. At any rate, enjoy the interview!

When did your passion for food begin?

Goodness, where do I begin? I was about 7 when I saw this movie that got me into the world of gastronomique. It was a scene where a guy came inside a diner looking for a job. The owner then asked him, “Do you know how to cook an omelette?

Ramen with a Beautiful Egg on topHe then started to chop up green peppers and onions, then he beat an egg with a fork inside a metal cup. He proceeded to make a fluffy omelette [in a whirl of movements] with soft centre, which the owner took a bite of. Of course, as it would in all movies, he got the job. And no, I never did find out the title of that movie. I couldn’t sleep after watching it. My first ever cooking escapade came about the next morning in the form of a messy sunny-side up. From then on I’ve continually raised the bar for myself in terms of techniques and the varieties of ingredients used.

What inspires you to create recipes?:

Creating recipes is actually a new experience for me. I used to cook by instinct and no measurements. After that it was all about altering others’ recipes that I found while browsing the internet. But as time goes, I wanted to create my own dishes and I find that it’s easier to recreate something if I write down exactly what and the amounts of things I put in.

When did you begin blogging about food?:

I had to go through my archives for this – it was on the 25th of November, 2009 🙂

What is one of your favorite go-to recipes on your blog? Why?:

Hoddeok (호떡)Hoddeok the possibility of things you can stuff inside that thing is pretty much endless.
(Author’s Note: How could you NOT want to eat those constantly in all shapes and forms??)

What is one of your favorite ingredients to use? Why?:

Flour, naturally. Because it’s the building block of the majority of food I make.
(Author’s Note: You can see why I like her food so much.)

What is one piece of equipment you can’t live without in your kitchen? Why?:

If I have to choose one, I think it’ll have to be a really good, stainless-steel, sharp knife.

Some encouraging words to share with other food lovers:

Everybody has to eat. So chances are each and every one of us already have some sort of experience in the kitchen and will have already known a recipe or two (unless, of course, you live in a sprawling mansion with butlers and maids at your disposal. But I digress…). Take that basic recipe for scrambled eggs and try throwing in ingredients like sautéed zucchini slices or sun dried tomatoes. It will really build up your confidence and will make you want to try to cook other things. As for food photography, 50% of it is trial and error. Some foods look good with a close up shot, others with overhead shots; it really comes down to you taking the time to get to know the dish and what angle it looks best in, just like you would with a human.

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Brioche BunsThere you have it. A wonderful interview from a creative and talented young woman. You can follow her at the link below, and I highly recommend you do so. I’ve never been disappointed by one of her posts, and I doubt you will be either.

Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook

All Photos in this article are from Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook