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DIY: ribbons & rhinestones braided bracelet or choker

Easy Project! Just follow the photos!


Supplies


Knot one end and cut to desired length. I used multiple ribbons, a silver chain, a black chain, and a strand of gold prong set rhinestones.


Braid it. Tie a knot at the other end.


Trim the excess, leaving one chain long on the end. Attach the clasp with pliers and a jump ring onto the short end of chain. The long end of chain will give you options for length when wearing it as a necklace.


Summary:


Wear it as a choker OR double wrap it as a bracelet!



Like it? Share it, please!

I’ll love you even more, if you do!! ๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ™Œ

Your friend, AmberHH

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My Power Gemstone of the Day!

Ammonite! Ammonite! Ammonite!
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The Ammonite is a very powerful earth healing fossil. Its spiral shape symbolizes continual change and evolution. Ammonites have absorbed cosmic energy over eons of time and help to stimulate the life force (Chi) within. Ammonites are often used for activating Kundalini and life path energies. The Ammonite is also often recommended to put in the home to attract health, prosperity and success.

The Ammonite draws off all negative energies. Think of the Ammonite spirals as a filter, drawing in these dense energies which are no longer needed, moving them through the spirals and releasing them as fresh, positive, loving life force energies.

Ammonites are often of gem quality when polished. Physically, Ammonites can help to increase stamina and vitality!

๐Ÿ™‚

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My “go to” pendant of the day is MYSTIC TOPAZ:
Mystic Topaz is a trade name given to (usually) colourless topaz that has had a very thin layer of titanium metal coated to the pavilion of the cut stone. The very thin layer of metal causes interference patterns with light entering the stone, forming a rainbow of iridescent colours, similar to the colour range you see with oil on water.
Mystic Fire Topaz is made through a special process combining science and mother nature to produce some of the breathtaking and vibrant color combinations available in the world in gemstones. This technique is used on genuine natural topaz gemstones to which titanium, (one of the strongest metals in the world), are bonded together at the very molecular level and become one on the surface of the topaz gem stones after the bonding process occurs.

MEANING:
Mystic topaz promotes kindness, compassion and empathy while enhancing awareness, thus helping one achieve dreams and goals and to exert change in their world. Mystic topaz is natural topaz that has been coated to enhance it, therefore, the beliefs that are attributed to natural topaz apply to it. The ancient Greeks believed that topaz was a powerful stone that could increase the strength of the wearer and even provide invisibility in desperate times. Both the ancient Egyptians and the Romans associated topaz with the Sun God. Imperial topaz is the birthstone for those born in November and for those born under the zodiacal sign of Sagittarius. It is also the gemstone that commemorates the 23rd wedding anniversary. Blue topaz is the birthstone for December and is used to commemorate the 4th wedding anniversary. In traditional belief systems, topaz is said to unlock the throat chakra, which facilitates communication and self-expression. Therefore, topaz is thought to be beneficial to artists, writers, public speakers and others who are concerned with self-expression.

๐Ÿ™‚

Family Updates!

Hey, y’all! What’s up? ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
Wow, I could write a bajillion updates (or at least 8 posts) at this point with all of the photos I’ve taken in the last month or two!

I will show you a few highlights, though; it’ll be a condensed overview of what could be 8 individual updates.

(I may double back at a later date to show you actual step by step tutorials on each of the 8 the projects and step by step recipe details, in individual posts.)

1) We made a fun, colorful “puff quilt,” by following this tutorial link: http://handmade-europe.com/2011/11/22/tutorials-quilts Remind me to tell you the backstory of these fabrics sometime!
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2) Garden:
a)My garden, especially the pepper garden, has been flourishing!
b) I submitted one of photos of my peppers to P. Allen Smith’s #ArkansasGrown photo contest and was selected as one of the weekly winners. I received a great prize package in the mail shortly thereafter!
c) I sure enjoy late season rose blooms and playing around with photo editing apps!

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3) One of my favorite herbs this year is Pineapple Sage! I bought it as a little starter Bonnie plant, and it has grown to 3′-4′. I’ve especially liked using it in “Brown Butter Sage Chicken!” I cook it until the Sage gets crispy! Yummm! I follow this recipe link: http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/5-minute-brown-butter-chicken-and-crispy-sage.html

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4) In house decor news, I’ve purchased a new pair of long sofas for the living room and a new coffee table. I posted our old sectional sofa on Craigslist and Facebook to sell, and it sold the first day. However, it’ll be 6-8 weeks until the new LaZBoy sofas arrive! Oops! Haha! The coffee table has arrived, though:

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5) We also decided to paint the ceilings in the foyer, living room, and office a dark green! It doesn’t darken the room, but it does make the 10′ ceilings seem even higher! The Living Room has windows that are almost floor to ceiling spanning one wall, lights in the ceiling fan, and a pair of wall sconces, so it is sufficiently bright! Here it is:

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6) Our 3 girls are all flourishing! We received their benchmark standardized test scores from Spring testing; Caroline and Abigail have “Wow’d” me again! They both scored hundreds of points above state averages in Literacy. They also BOTH scored in the upper 90-99th percentile in every subject, nationally. Amazing, just amazing little girls they are! Caroline, 7th grade, has been invited to participate in Duke University’s talent identification program (TIP!) YaY!! Veronica, 3, stays busy playing with building blocks, puzzles, and her Nabi tablet, patiently waiting to be old enough to take standardized tests, too! Love:

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7) What else? Oh, yeah! We reupholstered another chair! I asked Baby Veronica to me find something green in Hancock Fabric Store, and she picked this green butterfly upholstery fabric, so we went with green butterfly fabric for the chair that sits in the foyer. It’s kind of an entry way into the library. We also covered the desk shroud! See:

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8) This morning, Mitch got up early to make Cinnamon Sticky Buns from scratch for us girls! Lucky, lucky girls we are!! I sure love him! He used the recipe from this link: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/21461/ooey-gooey-cinnamon-buns

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So, that’s what’s been going on around here!

I hope autumn is going well for you and yours, too!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

Fathers Day and Dollhouses and Smiles and

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Click on photo to enlarge it.

Weeee!

Tomorrow is Fathers Day, and I won’t get to see my Dad tomorrow, but hopefully next weekend I’ll get to see him! I’m looking forward to it! I wish I got to see him more. Life is busy though with my 3 girls and their activities, and Dad is busy with work everyday and … you know, time just passes so quickly and before you know it, months have passed. Anyway, in honor of Father’s Day, here are a few of my favorite photos of me with my Dad when I was little! Isn’t he so handsome?! Still is!

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Click on photo to enlarge it.

In other news, my youngest and I found a little treasure at an estate sale, today! I love visiting moving sales, estate sales, etc. You just never know what treasure you may find! I mainly buy glassware, but occasionally I find some sort of neat handmade trinket. That is what happened today!

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At home, we adore Dollhouses. They’re quite time consuming to build though! Whew! Trust me, I’m on my third dollhouse for my third daughter. I know!

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But, today, we found this tiny little golden-ish house that secretly doubles as a storage box and just had to buy it! Baby Veronica, 3, is thrilled with it! Clearly, it is hand constructed of natural materials. It is just too cute! We only paid $2, but I swear I think you could add a zero to that amount and then double it, and it would’ve still been a good deal. It’s just so cute! Did I already say that? That it’s cute? Well, it is!

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It has about enough room to store a pack of playing cards inside of it. I wonder what treasures she’ll store in it in throughout the years… rocks from the playground? Stamps from birthday cards received in the mail? A favorite bracelet? Ticket stubs from events she’ll attend? (An iPhone? Haha!! It fits just right!) Don’t you just adore little places to put little treasures? I do! She does, too! She’s always moving her littlest toys and costume jewelry from one box or bag to the next.

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Click on photo to enlarge it.

We’re in the middle of several fun projects around here, but we don’t have them finished quite yet to show the world a finished product or write a tutorial, so until we do, I’ll just post treasures we find or garden photos or … K? K. And, a big “Happy Fathers Day” to my husband, Mitch, father of our three girls, who makes these projects possible. Love. ๐Ÿ™‚

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
My dad is the BEST:
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This blog post is linking:
Arkansas Women Bloggers ~ Sunday Link Up

Recentness:

At home:

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Glitch:

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Working the concession stand:

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Jogging:

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Frying food for Mitch:

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Yep; I deactivated my fb. It’s probably temporary, but for now, I enjoy the deactivation. I’ll write again, soon. I’ve actually completed several interesting projects recently that are awaiting my writing and found a cool product I’m loving. Just ask W-H-Y, and I’ll tell you what I’ve discovered!

Later Gators’
~Amber

Chicken Kabobs on Rosemary Branches

Do you grow your own Rosemary? In USDA zones 4-6, Rosemary grows as an evergreen. Being in zone 7, Rosemary makes an absolutely lovely hedge. Our Rosemary hedge is in front of our house near the pathway leading to the front door. When the wind blows, the fragrance is sooooo refreshing. I’m always looking for more ways to use Rosemary, and here is one of my favorites: Using rigid branches as skewers for kabobs! It lends a wonderful hint of Rosemary flavor to the chicken without adding Rosemary to the marinade, even more so, if you leave the Rosemary leaves on the branches!

(Clicking on photos will enlarge them.)

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RECIPE

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper or red pepper (preference)
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes
2 cloves garlic
5 small onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, cut into 2 inch pieces
Rosemary Branches or skewers

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, honey, soy sauce, and pepper. Before adding chicken, reserve a small amount of marinade to brush onto kabobs while cooking and more to use as sauce for brown rice, if desired as a side dish. Place the chicken, garlic, onions and peppers in the bowl, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (the longer the better). Skewer onto rosemary branches right before baking!

I bake the kabobs in the oven at 350F on a pan that drains or raised rack. I cover the entire pan with foil and bake until the chicken is done, brushing with reserved marinade occasionally. (The length of time needed for baking will vary according to the size you cut your chicken cubes; larger cubes will need longer cooking times.) Wen the chicken is done, I remove the foil and turn on the top broiler for 3-5 minutes to finish the edges! ๐Ÿ™‚ YUM!

Enjoy!

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^a selfie photo of me and our Rosemary hedge (edited on iPhone, using PicBlender app)
This blog is still currently being created and written via iPhone and iPad!
(Clicking on photos will enlarge them into a new window.)

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
This post will link to blog linkup parties, the party links:
Arkansas Women Bloggers’ Sunday Link Up

I believe

I BELIEVE:: I believe in love stories. I believe in details. I believe that there are no calories in wedding cakes. I believe in borrowing from the past to create a beautiful future. I believe there is always a reason to celebrate. Goodnight, Mitch. I’ll see you more when we wake. I love you. ~Amber

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Garden Boxes, Peppers, Peas, and Okra for kids!

Building Raised Garden Boxes and Watching our kids watching PEPPERS, PEAS, & OKRA grow has kept me in smiles recently! Want a peek at part of what has been happening in our yard this season?

I enjoy every season, but I must admit that being so fair (um, pale) skinned, summer hadn’t always been a favorite. It is amazing how different I feel about summer as my garden interests have grown through the years, especially now that my daughters are interested in raising edibles!

(click on photos to enlarge and zoom!)

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(click on photos to enlarge and zoom!)

4ft. by 4ft. might be the most common dimension for traditional square foot gardening, however we built 6ft. by 3ft. raised garden beds for our daughters’ melons and vegetables in order to minimize cost and minimize waste of material by using readily available, USA cedar fence pickets!!

We are quite pleased with how easy it was to source materials, how easy the planting boxes were to assemble, and how well Bonnie plants and Burpee seeds are performing for our daughters!

We have built a total of 5, so far, but have room for a few more!

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BUILDING THE BOXES:
Basically, we needed the raised beds to be affordable, large enough to plant what we want on our rocky hilltop yard, yet small enough that the kids can reach into the center for planting and harvesting. The kids helped with the entire process, including excavation of the plots where the boxes sit!

Tools for box construction:
power chop saw; cordless drill with drill bit and Phillips head bit; stapler

Supplies purchased:
We bought 6″ wide 6′ long fence pickets (6 pickets per box, the ends are half length pickets)
4inch by 4inch post, 6′ long (cut into 1′ long sections)
Plastic sheeting, 12mil. thickness (keeps water and soil from escaping between the pickets, simulating using much more expensive wider width lumber. DO NOT cover the bottom of the box, as drainage is important!)

Plants and Soil, Manure, & Organic Compost:
Our daughters are interested in trying to raise a variety of edibles! So far, things are going well! We’re already harvesting some things, watching blooms on others, and trying to decide what else to raise as the seasons change!

We are so pleased with our plants, so far!
Here is a peek at the variety of BONNIE Peppers that our kids are already harvesting and BURPEE Sweet Peas we harvested are planted beside our BONNIE Okra that will be ready soon, as modeled by our two older daughters, Caroline and Abigail.

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BONNIE Plants and BURPEE seeds may have just reached a completely untapped, youth market audience for their products in our neighborhood! As far as we’ve seen, we’re the only family in our neighborhood growing vegetables this year. The neighborhood kids seem fascinated when our daughters show them their vegetable gardens and talk about the plants! LOVE!! We’re enjoying ourselves, so it is very rewarding for there to be so much interest in our little gardens! It won’t surprise me at all to see more of this style of gardening start popping throughout these suburban backyards! They’re just so fun! They’re great additions beside our RAINBOW swing set/playground, trampoline, and basketball court!

Next on our “to-do” list? Our middle daughter will be in 3rd grade this next school year, and I hear that BONNIE plants has a 3rd grade cabbage patch program! We’re interested! We’ve never tried our hand at growing cabbage before! It would be fun to try! I wonder if Mitch would be willing to make a few more of these garden boxes for Abigail’s elementary school? ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

We’ll post more updates on other things growing in our gardens and fruit trees in the backyard, soon!

“Later, ‘Gators, and Afterwhile, Crocodiles!”
Your Friend,

~Amber Hamilton Henson

This article is featured in Hat Trick magazine, page 108-111. Click on magazine cover to be re-directed:
Hat Trick magazine

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Linking this post to these great blog parties:
Arkansas Women Bloggers’ “Sunday Link Up”
We Made That’s “Made by Kids! #45”

Kitchen Herbs!

Hello, Springtime in Arkansas!
We’ve sure had a slow, colder than usual start, but alas, it finally FEELS like Springtime!
Having so much rain in the last two weeks has rapidly turned the landscape green, again! YaY! My kitchen herb collection is enjoying a great start this season! Yours? There are few interesting plants in my pots, I think!

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My chives are huge, because they are usually good year ’round in this pot. They went dormant after our heavy Dec25 snow, but came back strong. I lift and divide them every 3 years or so, but I’ll also have plenty of seeds to share in a couple of months after they bloom.

The sage is about 3 years old now; it started as a teeny, tiny little sprout, purchased in a 2 or 3″ pot. It is quite a beauty, now at over 18″ in all directions! (For reference, these pots have about an 18″ diameter. They all receive morning to early afternoon sun, and are shaded by the house during late afternoon.)

Not having a greenhouse and adequate lighting indoors, I’ve grown my basil using Bonnie brand starter plants the last few years and have been really pleased with the results every year! Somehow,around here,each basil plant costs less than a package of fresh herbs at the grocery store. One “Sweet Basil” plant will yield the equivalent of a dozen+ grocery store purchases of packaged fresh basil for me. Furthermore, with things like basil and mint, you’ll find that in Arkansas, you have the option to grow many more varieties than you’re likely to find in grocery stores! Cooking for a family of 5, budget matters. Having been lucky enough to dine in a few fine places along life’s journey, quality and flavor matter, too. When I grow Bonnie herbs, my family gets to eat spectacular, fresh herbs while I save on my grocery expenses! There isn’t a downside for us. Our kids take turns watering them in the mornings, as needed, and we have a system where they take turns for who “gets to” pick basil, snip chives, etc.
They LOVE being involved caring for our edible plants.

New, (well, new to me) this year, I’m growing Bonnie’s CULANTRO. Interesting, yes? I didn’t misspell it. Its spelling is similar to cilantro, as is it’s flavor, but it sure doesn’t look anything like cilantro! You’re going to want to read what Bonnie says about this plant! I’m fascinated! In this house, we LOVE using cilantro in the summer, so having the option to grow a plant with a similar, but stronger, flavor sounds GREAT to us!

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Bonnie provides QR codes on a plant marker with some of the plants they sell. I just use my free QR reading app on my smartphone, and then I’m instantly linked to Bonnie’s website! Bonnie’s QR links each deliver a wealth of information about the plant’s characteristics, how to care for the plant, and recipes using the plant! Even if you don’t find a QR code on your Bonnie plant, I suggest going to their site. I find that the range of information they share for the plants they sell is currently unparalleled.

For example, check out CULANTRO:
OVERVIEW of Culantro: bonnieplants.com~herbs~culantro
GROWING Culantro: bonnieplants.com~growing~culantro
COOKING with Culantro: bonnieplants.com~cooking~recaito

Awesome, right? ๐Ÿ™‚
Bonnie plants and the Bonnie website are AMAZING. If you skipped to this sentence without clicking on their links, you might want to re-think that decision. Go back. Click one or all three of those links.
You won’t be disappointed!
(But, please come back here to visit me again, sometime, too! Really!) ๐Ÿ™‚

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In this photo, you can see my Rosemary filled a bed quite nicely. They are planted in front of the house, beside a path leading to the front door. With even the slightest breeze, it is so refreshing to experience the Rosemary!

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Further up the pathway, you’ll see some of the Wooley Lambs’ Ear that I propagated out of the pot last year. Let’s talk about it, shall we? We shall.

Woolly Lambs’ Ear is one of my absolute favorite plants that I’ve been dividing and sharing for over a decade. There is quite a bit of it spread around downtown, at Our Old Historic House Downtown, and neighboring homes. One of the neatest things about visiting historic areas, is admiring historic gardens. When we moved to our new house in 2010, of course we brought these pots, and since I’d already been keeping some of the Wooley Lambs’ Ear in a pot, I’ve just kept propagating and planting!

What is so special about this plant? I like this plant so much that I don’t hardly know where to start talking about it!

First, it is amazing in children’s gardens. The soft, fuzzy texture is fun to explore. It stands up to and rebounds from a reasonable amount of steppage. It grows into nice, tight border plantings that resist weeds. It attracts bumblebees and butterflies while in bloom. It is low maintenance, and as I’ve mentioned, it is really easy to lift, divide and multiply.

Guess what else?! Historically, the local folklore is that Wooley Lambs’ Ear have been used medicinally and for personal hygiene due to its antiseptic, soothing, and absorbent properties. I can totally imagine that laying their big, cool damp leaves across sunburned shoulders would potentially relieve some discomfort in the summer!

Can it get any better? Other Sources say it can. “Yes, Wooley Lambs’ Ear is edible!” other sources claim. Apparently, according to other sources, some people enjoy Lambโ€™s Ear fresh in salads, gently steamed as greens, and steeped into tea! Their advice says to pick fresh, young leaves for best flavor! Here is what they what they say about Wooley Lambs’ Ear:

“The whole plant (Stachys) is medicinal as an alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried and powdered leaves makes a refreshing beverage, while a weak infusion of the plant can be used as a medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye. It is taken internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart.” Source: Wikipedia

“Lambโ€™s ear is loosely related to Betony (both are Stachys), and is sometimes called woolly betony. Besides the sopping up of blood and use as a [wound] dressing, lambโ€™s ear has also been used as a poultice and has analgesic properties. It was used either alone, or to help hold in other herbs like comfrey. It was often used in the aftermath of bee or wasp stings, and reduces the swelling from both. It was used for centuries as a โ€œwomenโ€™s comfortโ€ for hemorrhoids, menstrual flow, birthing, for nervous tension, and as a skin aid. Itโ€™s easy to see that with the invention of Tylenol, gauze, feminine hygiene products, cotton packing, and make up removal pads, the knowledge and use of lambโ€™s ear for this purpose kind of went out the window. However, now you know you have a natural substitute if everything goes wrong and supplies are not available. Lambโ€™s ear has been used as a natural dye for wool. Boiling the leaves in hot water and then adding a mordant, brings out a fabulous, creamy, yellowish beige. Using the bracts (flower spike) instead of the leaves, a light mauve can be attained. The leaves traditionally have been used in cooking from the West Indies. A lovely tea can be made from the leaves as well, tasting a bit like chamomile. I also have a mole verde recipe that calls for small lambโ€™s ear leaves. When harvesting for food, only choose small, healthy leaves.” -Source: The Chippewa Herald

Lol. It is not a “baaa’ad” plant. Interesting.

Personally, I’m optimistic that we will all be able to continue a path of following MODERN medicine and modern science. I hope I also do my part to maintain and pass along the little known, Folklore trivia about this native plant for the sake of conversational interest and the possibility of cultivating, potential future opportunities for a neat plant, too!

NOTE: Please, do not use me (Amber) or this blog post as reference claiming Woolly Lambs’ Ear is edible or medicinal; I’m merely relaying that other online sources make such claims! I have not attempted to look for historical botanical information for this plant in actual textbooks, if it even exists, nor have I seen a detailed recipe posted by a recognized, reputable chef or commercial kitchen.

You may, however, quote me saying that I think it is a pretty interesting plant to handle and have in the landscape!

So, there it is. Wooley Lambs’ Ear grows in a pot beside all of my edible herbs, even though personally, my family and I don’t eat the Wooley Lambs’ Ear! I’ve never felt compelled to try it, primarily because the texture and scent haven’t struck me as being particularly appetizing. Our Woolly Lambs’ Ear uses one of the pots just because it always has; perhaps it always will? It was one of the first things I put into the pots 10+ years ago, and I enjoy it. It attracts A LOT of wild bees in the summer, which I think is pretty awesome, too.

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I have a few other herbs started, more herbs planted in less photogenic pots, and am always looking for new, interesting (tried and true) edible additions that I haven’t added to my repertoire of care, yet.

What are YOUR favorite kitchen herbs to grow and serve at home?
Do you have suggestions for me to add to my garden?

Drop me a note in my comments section or join our WhatAmberLoves Facebook page!
We may actually start using the page this Spring!
Transformation is in the air!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

(This is a personal blog. All of the opinions here are exclusively my own and were unsolicited. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of those products, businesses, or events that may be featured within posts, although my goal IS to be PR friendly toward such products, businesses, and events that I choose to promote, while simultaneously offering valuable, relevant data, facts, links, or other to my family, friends, and community that may encounter this post. I have not received compensation, product, or payment of any type for publishing this post. In the event that I am compensated after-the-fact, the post will be edited in this section to reflect such compensation. Any reader attempting to duplicate any recipe, activity, craft, or other created by me [Amber] or shown on this blog should be done at the reader’s own risk. Cool? Cool.)

This article is featured in HAT TRICK magazine, beginning on page 98. Click on magazine cover to be redirected: Hat Trick magazine

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Also, Linking this post:
The Trendy Treehouse’s “Share Wednesday”

End of 2012!

End of the year! It is New Year’s Eve! Today, we cleaned house a bit and put away the Christmas tree in order to facilitate a FRESH new year for 2013! Not wanting to leave any project undone, now is as good of a time as any to update this blog, too! Right? Right! The last time I wrote on here, we were making Halloween projects! Wow! We’ve done a lot since then, here a few photo highlights:

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We’re looking forward to 2013 and hope that you are too!

Your Friends,
Mitch and Amber Henson
email: WhatAmberLoves@att.net