Autumn and the Herb Garden

I cannot believe it’s the first week of Autumn here, summer seems to gone so fast! We have had a very dry summer, officially reaching drought conditions a month ago and there have been fires in our area this summer for the first time in quite a few years. With Autumn comes the dying off of the garden and I have been busy preserving all the herbs as they also reach their end. This year we extended the herb garden with our last ornamental garden pulled out and planted. I LOVE the herb gardens and learning more about their uses – love cooking with them, using them in soaps and herbal creams and skincare….I still have much to learn but I really enjoy it! This year we have had Mint, Soapwort, Parsley, Feverfew, Nasturtiums, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Peppermint, Comfrey, Basil, Lemon Verbena, Echinacea, Rosemary, Tarragon, Calendula, Thymes, Oregano, Don Quai, Sage and Chives and I have also been collecting wild plants and weeds like Borage, Dandelion, California Poppy, Plantain etc. I don’t grow Lavender yet but I will next year. With a friend down the road with a lavender hedge and a sister with a lavender farm there seems little need right now to grow it.

French Tarragon

French Tarragon

I love using these fresh but need them throughout the year so I have been drying them all, the kitchen herbs are in jars in the pantry, the ones I use for soaps etc stored in many paper bags and boxes.



Last week while out picking Sage and Rosemary I had the great? idea of trying smudge sticks (I am all fingers and thumbs so found these a little fiddly to begin with) A quick look on-line gave me the instructions and these are my first attempts. One thing worth noting if you ever decide to try them – they shrink ALOT. Don’t tie off your ends of string as you will probably need to re-tie them but these are lovely to make and smell gorgeous.



What can be made from the herb garden excites me and if you have ever thought you would like to grow and experiment with them I urge you to do it – I read about them for years but never really did much about it, they are beautiful to use.

Herbal toner

Herbal toner


Dandelion & Calendula

Dandelion & Calendula

I am sorry to see the end of the herb growing season and have been rushing to dry everything….the poor garden is looking rather empty now….tomorrow I will be taking all the basil and making pesto to freeze. I also like to freeze fresh herbs in olive oil in ice cube trays, rosemary, basil and oregano are nice done this way. I had plans to make some seasoned salts too but they are at least dried and I can do this later in the season when not so busy. It’s also a time of seed saving though early days yet.

The front porch seat where things are put to dry

The front porch seat where things are put to dry

Mid January we went away for the weekend and passed through the city where the lovely Gallivanta lives (a fellow blogger) She had told me to drop in if we were down that way as she had a book for me. She had two as it happened and they are lovely ones too 🙂 I very much appreciated them and though I haven’t had time to sit and read too much I know through Autumn and winter I will have my nose stuck in these!


AND, though I really didn’t need the extra work and had to think long and hard about it I started another blog two days ago to be added to my shop site when I can figure out how to do that. On this blog I have always kept to more frugal ideas and recipes but this new one has the recipes for what I sell. Two reasons for doing this…they are nice! and they also show the work and expense that goes into making nice products for sale. Though not exactly cheap to make many use flowers, herbs, weeds and wildflowers so if you are interested in making your own skincare and home products I invite you to follow me here  – It is VERY new and you will recognise a couple of recipes I have shared here at quarteracre.



A Herbal/Floral Facial Toner


This recipe is adapted from The Queen of Hungary’s Water recipe I found in a book of herbal beauty recipes Earthly Bodies, Heavenly Hair written by Dina Falconi. It has the most gorgeous herbal recipes in and I can recommend it, I downloaded it from The Kindle service at Amazon.

Doing a search on this tells me the water was firstly created for Queen Elizabeth of Hungary in the 1300’s, other sources believe it to have been created by gypsies but whatever the folklore surrounding it, it is a most beautiful thing to use. There are many variations on-line so it’s easy to actually just adapt using whatever grows in the garden. Though Dina Falconi suggests it’s use for Normal/Oily Skin I have Dry/Mature skin and I really like using this. It leaves skin feeling fresh, dewy and soft.

You will need Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Witch Hazel, Lavender Essential Oil (optional) and your selected herbs and florals. This quantity makes around 6 x 100 gram bottles which may be too much for the average woman to use but you get the idea of the technique.

Basically you infuse your herbs and petals in raw organic cider vinegar and leave to sit for up to two months. Other recipes have suggested 2 weeks…I left mine for 6 weeks. I used around 2 handfuls of Lavender flowers and leaf, Calendula petals, Rose petals, Violet leaf and flowers, Sage, Comfrey, Chamomile, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Peppermint and a little lemon zest.


Pack into a preserving jar and pour vinegar over, seal and leave to sit. After 6 weeks you have some faded herbs and a very astringent smell.


Strain the liquid through fine muslin (or similar) squeezing to get all the liquid out. Measure and add an equal quantity of Witch Hazel. Add some Lavender Essential oil to suit, I only added around 15 drops to this quanity of liquid. Bottle, it will keep for “many” months though I am not sure how many that means. (Don’t pour it into a jar that previously contained Pickled Garlic as I did with the amount I put aside for me!) Use a cotton wool ball to apply.

I love this recipe, nice to make and lovely to use.


TumbleDowns is on-line!


A couple of you have expressed interest in seeing this so here is the link  It is not quite finished as I still have items to list but it’s up and running 🙂

I am very fortunate to have a most lovely niece and her hubby who did this all for their most hopelessly computer illiterate Aunty who has had them redoing everything she has tried to do herself. Gem and Dave, if you are reading, huge hugs and thanks for your most generous giving of time and skills…and never-ending patience xx


California Poppy and a Salve Recipe


As each new plant springs back to life in the garden, or our surrounding area, I have been researching it to check it’s possible use in soaps….my latest one in California Poppy and I have found some interesting information I thought I would share here plus a recipe I have used it in, a wound balm. I have been using it on a skin irritation I have had for ages and it’s very soothing and gentle, far more so than the lemon balm one which is quite rich.

I am not a herbalist so any info comes from the knowledge of others, this I found on  “The chemical structure of California poppy allows the plant to influence neurotransmitters in the human brain without depressing the central nervous system. The plant is a mild sedative, and although it is a relative of Opium poppy, it is not an opiate; thus, it does not cause dependence. Such action of the plant makes it safe to be used even in children. Along with the improvements in the physical and psychological state of a patient, California poppy has also antimicrobial properties, which explains its use as a topical remedy in the treatment of various skin conditions. It is said to be very helpful in cases of mild muscle spasms, cramps, pain of different origin, headaches, anxiety, irritability, nervousness and insomnia, may improve intellectual capacity, memory, and concentration, especially in the elderly. Topical poultices of the plant’s leaves serve as effective means to heal cuts and scrapes. The fresh root applied directly to the tooth soothes toothache”

I also found this on which has some really nice information on it including ” ….California poppy stabilizes the golden light of the heart, encouraging more self-responsibility and quiet inner development”

Now this sounds like something I could use so I am going to start drinking it as tea (in fact I added some to my smoothie this morning)….who knows I could just end up with a lighter heart, better memory and concentration, be less irritable and have improved intellectual capacity!! I need all those things. I haven’t found any contraindications for myself but anyone who does want to try this needs to research for themselves.

I find it useful to know what different herbs and flowers do, it makes sense to me to try what Nature has provided, rather than over the counter drug and I always get a sense of wellbeing when preparing and using herbs, flowers and weeds for different ailments.

Wound healing Balm:

Last year I made a Lemon Balm and Calendula Balm from a recipe I found At Ecocrazymum but her site no longer exists so I can’t give a link of source. I adapted it and used Comfrey, California Poppy and Calendula. Any 1 of these is a wound healing plant and would be fine on it’s own but I had all 3 on hand. Comfrey promotes fast healing, California Poppy is an analgesic and the lovely Calendula soothes, calms and heals.

First the olive oil needs to be infused with the qualities of the plants and this can either been done by heating gently in a double boiler or slow cooker for an hour  then leaving to cool, or by combining both in a jar and leaving on a windowsill in the sun for two weeks…I already had the oils made up. Strain through a strainer then once again through fine cloth to filter any finer particles.

2 cups of plant infused oil (made from 2 cups olive oil, 3/4 cup dried plant)

1/2 cup of beeswax

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbspn shea butter

5 drops tea tree oil

5 drops lavender oil

Melt the oils and beeswax together gently until just melted. Add the essential oils and pour into clean tins/jars to set. This will last up to 2 years and make around 3 cups.


Restless Leg Syndrome and Homemade Vapor Rub Recipe

I experience Restless Legs Syndrome as a symptom of Fibromyalgia. It starts mid evening and can last until after bedtime, often keeping me awake. Twitching, fidgeting, restlessness, pacing are all part of this wonderful malady 🙂 I have tried lots of remedies for it, the only one I found to work was throwing a tantrum in my room and stamping my feet (quite by accident when I went into my room, slammed the door and threw a tantrum a myself lol). A quieter and more soothing fix to the condition would be nice though!

Last week at work a colleague happened to mention she also had it and had finally found something that worked, Vick’s Vapor Rub rubbed onto the soles of the feet when it starts. I wanted to try this but didn’t want to buy Vicks as its petroleum based. I checked out the list of ingredients in the shop though and looked online to find a recipe. This is a mixture really of what others use. Yes, it has worked for my restless legs which I am really pleased about…the tension and tingling sensations just eased and faded away.


Natural Vapor Rub:

1 cup olive oil

25 grams (1 oz) beeswax

30 drops Eucalyptus oil

10 drops camphor oil

20 drops peppermint oil

20 drops lavender oil


Using a double boiler (or two pots inside each other with water in bottom one) melt the oilve oil and beeswax together.


Leave to cool till the outside is just starting to set then add the essential oils. Mix through thoroughly and pour into a tin to set firm. If it sets too quickly (as mine almost did) or if you decide you want to add more essential oils return to pot to remelt.


An optional oil you can add to this is Turpentine Oil, which is in the original Vicks.


Because this is a blog on frugality I will mention how I buy my oils. I never buy new but buy secondhand when I see them. Part used bottles can be bought for nix at op-shops, garage sales and through online auctions. I have built up a large supply for not alot of money and added these this week (including the box) when I bought them online from a local woman for $25. Over half hadn’t been opened and the remainder had had little use. Good oils can cost upward of $10 a bottle here so this is a huge saving.






Oil pulling for Everyone – How to – Help – FAQ’s – Info – Coconut oil

As a “sort of” beginner of oil pulling I was interested to find out more and this is an excellent article on it for anyone who is interested. I have done this many times in the past for gum conditions but have never kept it up long term so will be interested to see how it goes. When I started it was many years ago and coconut oil was not used, I have always used light olive oil…it’s cheaper and in fact ANY oil can be used which you can tolerate the taste of. I have also read recently that 5 minutes is long enough even though 20 is mentioned as the required time in most articles I have read.

Natural Frugal: Raising 6 kids

Join me, & get Oil Pulling for oh so many oral health & overall health benefits.

Oil pulling is such a easy daily routine with so many benefits, oil pulling is great from kids up to the elderly.

back nfr6k

Get oil pulling, you will love it!

Are you ready to begin an oil pulling routine?  Maybe you are still researching oil pulling, are just beginning your oil pulling routine or even if you have been oil pulling for a while these tips & ideas might just help you get the most out of oil pulling. There is a lot of info in this article to research & links to help get you started, I do recommend, researching it, researching both sides, researching deep & researching it again. Research it, Live it, Love it!

oil pulling

Attention: Step by step directions & my oil pulling routine & testimonials have been moved to a new blog post here

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Scented Coconut Oil Deodorant

I have had a couple of requests for this recipe here tis. The last couple of years I have used this but last summer found it made my clothes a little greasy. I was using too much of it as it was unperfumed and I worried about odour. Putting a scent in means only a light wipe with it…. it’s really effective, simple to make, costs effective and is very gentle. I have read that some people are allergic to cornflour in which case arrowroot can be used.

3 heaped tablespoons of coconut oil

6 tablespoons of baking soda

6 tablespoons of cornflour

8 – 10 drops desired essential oil (or a little of your favourite perfume)

Melt the coconut oil in a pan, add the baking soda and cornflour and mix well to combine.


Add your desired scent and stir well. Poor into a small mold. This doesn’t have to be greased. Put in fridge to harden then run a little hot water around the mold to free. Don’t sit in a container of hot water because it melts quite easily.

This recipe makes about 2/3 cup (I have never measured it) One bar will last me over a month. Store wrapped in waxed paper or a tin in a cool dark place.


Turmeric and Coconut oil Toothpaste

Ok… after talking about it I made some and I like it 🙂 Coconut oil has anti-bacterial qualities and there are many recipes around for the paste which also uses baking soda. I posted a couple of days ago on using Turmeric as a tooth whitener/polisher (which is very effective) and someone suggested I try it in the toothpaste.

3 good tablespoons coconut oil, softened

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp tumeric

Whisk all together well until thick, well combined and creamy. Store in sterile jar. Use on a dry toothbrush and brush gently for a minute over a basin of water (It’s messy)


This doesn’t taste bad. It has a mild flavour, the turmeric takes the edge off the baking soda but is not over powering. Apologies for the poor picture quality (will replace at some stage!)


Turmeric for teeth whitening.

I found this on the internet a few weeks ago. I have thinning enamel on my teeth so they are sensitive, commercial whiteners are too harsh for me and I can’t afford unnecessary dental care so thought I would try this, I have tried it several times….I’m sold!! This is effective, very gentle on teeth and gums and costs just a few cents each time. The only drawback is that it is messy to use and will stain anything it falls on so care needs to be used to guard against this. You will need to use an old toothbrush as it stains them.


Mix 3/4 teaspoon turmeric with a very little amount of warm water, just enough to make a stiff paste. Brush teeth for one minute or so, holding an old towel under your mouth to catch any dripping. Rinse mouth out and clean with toothpaste as normal.

There is a video here which I watched before using it, from Secrets of This is the before and after photos he uses.

Baking Soda around the home

As many of us use Baking Soda in a myriad of different ways I thought I would do a post on it’s many uses. Baking Soda is an economical, versatile and natural ingredient with a mild alkaline level which makes it effective but gentle to use. I generally buy it from the bulk store where it’s cheapest.

How do I use it?

Laundry : I do my laundry with baking soda, 2 tablespoons in a large wash. It cleans very effectively, it’s gentle on clothes, leaves them soft and removes any odours.

Shampoo: I use it as a shampoo sometimes, 1 tsp in a container and I add warm water when I am ready to use it. This froths up so allow for this. This leaves here very soft and removes any residue from products, however my hair is very dry and I find I need something with more nourishment to use this on a regular basis.

Cleaning: I use it with white vinegar for cleaning, or alone for it’s gentle scouring action.

Deodorant: 5 tablespoons coconut oil, 1/4 cup cornflour, 1/4 cup baking soda, few drops essential oil or perfume (opt). Melt the coconut oil and add to combined dry ingredients, add choice of perfuming if using. Pour into a mold and refrigerate till solid. I just keep mine in a container in the bathroom cupboard and it lasts over a month. Use lightly or it will put greasy marks on clothing, and don’t leave somewhere where the sun will shine though the window on it (and yes, I have done this! ). This is very effective and much cheaper than commercial organic deodorants. Some people find the cornflour irritates and arrowroot powder can be used in place of this.

Toothpaste: I have used it as a toothpaste along with coconut oil. This works really well however I found it sets very hard in a jar and a wee bit fiddly to use. This article has instructions and discussion on baking soda/coconut oil toothpaste (someone suggests beating this with an electric beater to make it easier to use)

This makes a great carpet deodoriser. With two dogs in the house who often come in wet etc, I am inclined to use this quite often. Put baking soda in an old shaker container, add a few drops of preferred essential oil and shake well. Sprinkle on carpet an hour or two before vacuuming. It can be rubbed into stubborn areas without causing harm.


Deodorising smelly shoes: Sprinkle liberally in shoes and leave for a while, shake out excess before wearing.

Fridge: In a small dish to get rid of fridgy odours.

For many other ideas, click on this link:

                                            How do you use baking soda?