Monday, December 2, 2019

Non-Toxic Protection for Handmade Woolen Gifts: Lavender Essential Oil!

At Pelindaba we are big fans of everything handcrafted, homemade, homegrown...and the like.  We do everything (from plant cultivation to product manufacture) by hand at our farm.  Handmade gifts for the holidays, like knitted hats, mittens and scarves, are right up our alley!

Crafting a knitted gift for someone by hand is a gift indeed!  It takes time (often hours upon hours), effort, skill and affection to create something that will keep a loved one warm during the winter months. 

After winter's use, what happens during the warmer seasons of the year when your lovingly knitted gift is not needed?  Heaven forbid moths find it! 

Lavender Essential Oil is a powerful moth and insect repellant!


Non-Toxic Protection for Handmade Woolen Gifts

Lavender Essential Oil is one of the most versatile essential oils found in nature.  In addition to being a natural insect repellant, lavender essential oil is also a topical analgesic and antiseptic, it's an effective solvent (one of the very first solvents used in the early days of photography - those must have been some sweet-smelling photos!) and, not to mention, it's a wonderful fragrance!

Lavender has a long history of effective insect repelling.  During the periodic plagues that ravaged Europe through the Middle Ages, lavender posies or sachets were worn to mask the scent of death, but the unexpected benefit was that it repelled the fleas that carried the disease!  Lavender, along with other sweet herbs, was also strewn about floors to fragrance the air and keep lice and other insects at bay in domestic settings.  

Fast forward to today, and you'll find lavender is an effective and natural bug repellant for skin application, flea and tick repellant for dogs and cats, and moth repellant for protecting sweaters, winter knits and the wool stashes of knitters and crocheters. 

Lavender Essential Oil Non-Toxic Protection for Handmade Woolen Gifts 

Safe to apply directly to woolens, a few drops is all that is needed periodically for continued and fragrant protection against moths.  

As a natural deterrent, lavender is much better for you, your curious pets and little ones, the environment and your woolens than pesticide-laced mothballs or moth crystals.  It's impossible to get that chemical smell out of knits!

It's best to clean woolens before storage.  Lavender Essential Oil is non-toxic.  It will not kill moth eggs or larvae, so be sure sweaters, hats, coats, etc., are clean and well brushed before storing them with lavender.

Another method of bringing lavender to your woolens is with dried lavender sachets.  A few sachets hung in closets or tucked in drawers will also work well.  The lavender bud, provided it has been harvested late in the season like ours have, will be heavy with fragrance.  Gently squeezing the sachet will break open the buds and release the essential oil. 

Non-Toxic Lavender Protection for Handmade Woolen Gifts

Lavender essential oil is most effective when you can smell it.  As you sense the fragrance dissipating, add a couple more drops of essential oil or give your sachets a couple more squeezes to refresh the scent.  Sachets can last up to a couple of years with periodic squeezing.  Eventually all the essential oil will be released, after which they can be replaced or refreshed by adding a few drops of pure essential oil to the dried lavender.

If you are gifting any handmade knits this holiday season, be sure to include a little bottle of Organic Lavender Essential Oil or a few Organic Lavender Sachets to help the recipient care for the gift you created for them with love for many winters to come.

An excellent gift for friends or family members who are avid knitters, crocheters, spinners or weavers is a larger bottle of Organic Lavender Essential Oil to protect their precious wool collections throughout the year.

Gift Idea - Non-Toxic Lavender Protection for Handmade Woolen Gifts

Even if you aren't the DIY type, you can still gift handmade this year.  We have handcrafted gift ideas for everyone on your list!  Just pick out the perfect gift and we'll send it directly from the farm to the recipient with Free Standard Shipping in the US and a complimentary handwritten (of course!) gift note.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Dressing the Thanksgiving Table

While you are planning your Thanksgiving menu and considering how to dress your turkey, stuffed acorn squash or vegetarian roast, don't forget about dressing your table.  Creating a cozy, festive and fall-feeling tablescape for an intimate party of two to a grand gathering is easy to do with a few props and natural materials.

We asked a couple of our Pelindaba artisans to create a Thanksgiving table decor theme in a variety of gathering "sizes".  Here's what they come up with to inspire your feasting tables.

Create Beautiful Thanksgiving Table Decor


How to Dress the Thanksgiving Table

What you'll need:

  • Something to set the tone - We used a pumpkin colored woven mat to provide a warm, central focused foundation on our wooden table, as well as pumpkins and pine cones.
  • Something to create height - We used variety of differently sized rough-cut tree rounds with the bark still attached to lend a woodsy feel to the look.
  • Something to contain floral arrangements - We used a set of antique measuring cups, a wicker cornucopia and an apple basket.
  • Something to create floral arrangements - We used branches, seed pods, dried wheat, colorful shrubs, a bit of dark greenery and lavender (surprise!).
  • Something to feast upon - We used the fall-colored red and marigold dishes from our farm kitchen.
Consider these materials as inspiration to fuel your personal creativity.

Option 1 - Thanksgiving For Two

An intimate meal for two calls for a tablescape that is low allowing for lively, eye-to-eye conversation.  A few small arrangements in small containers placed on various low platforms creates a dynamic, organic look to support the beautiful meal to be shared.

How to Create Thanksgiving Table Decor

How to Create Thanksgiving Table Decoration with Lavender  Thanksgiving Table Dressing with Lavender

Thanksgiving Table Decoration with Natural Materials

Option 2 - A Cozy Table for Four

A cornucopia, with its symbolism of plentiful bounty, makes a perfect center piece for a larger tablescape.  Here we've filled it to bursting with fall florals supported by varying sizes of tree rounds.  As a variant, fill a cornucopia with small pumpkins and gourds of varying white, golden and dark green colors so that they overflow and spill onto the table.

How to Create Thanksgiving Table Arrangements

How to Create Thanksgiving Table Arrangements  How to Create Thanksgiving Table Arrangements

How to Create Thanksgiving Table Arrangements

Option 3 - For Something Grander...

A larger tablescape can accommodate a strong focal point.  Here the center of the table is anchored with a vertical arrangement bursting with fall color and texture.  To create this autumn arrangement, check out this step-by-step tutorial.  We've also surrounded the centerpiece with large pumpkins, accented with large pine cones and small clusters of smaller cones.

How to Set Thanksgiving Tables with Pumpkins

Ideas for Thanksgiving Table Decoration  Ideas for Thanksgiving Table Decoration

Ideas for Thanksgiving Table Decoration

Ideas for Thanksgiving Table Decoration

You can also bring touches of lavender to the table by tying 4-5 stalks of dried lavender together with a bit of twine or orange and red raffia for each place setting or incorporate lavender into a few of your festive recipes.

One of our favorites for gatherings at the farm are Lavender Berry Canapes.  This tasty recipe is a breeze to whip up to tide guests over until the main event.  Using any type of savory cracker, spread the top with Brie and add a dollop of Lavender Berry Chutney.  Done!

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Friendly Faces of Pelindaba Lavender - and Their Favorite Products

Tucked up in the very upper left corner of Washington State on our San Juan Island farm, we do lavender.  We grow lavender, lots of lavender.  We also harvest it, dry it and distill its wonderful essential oil - which we use as the foundation for the various products we make on site.

But you don't have to trek to our farm to get The Complete Lavender Experience®.  Each of our products are shipped out directly from the farm to our Product Galleries across the country.  In each of these locations, your senses are immersed in lavender - the smell, the look, the taste, the feel, the sound...

Come with us on a journey from coast to coast to meet some of the Pelindaba family you'll encounter at our Product Galleries and discover their favorite handcrafted Pelindaba Lavender products!

Pelindaba Lavender Friday Harbor


This Product Gallery is located in the town on San Juan Island - and only a short 10 minute drive from the farm.  Andrea (who also creates Pelindaba's exquisite lavender glass bead jewelry!) manages this location.  Her favorite product is our Lavender Therapeutic Salve.

"My family uses it as the go-to for healing any skin issue, as well as minor injuries.  It also promotes relaxation as part of my daily bedtime routine as a softening moisturizer for my face and feet."

Pelindaba Lavender Orcas Island


Orcas Island is another part of the San Juan Archipelago.  Only a couple of miles separates it from San Juan Island.  The Product Gallery located on this sister-island is managed by Sonia, whose favorite Pelindaba product is the Lavender Treatment Stick.

"It is a 'multi-tool kit' in one easy-to-use package.  I take it with me everywhere.  Since I have it with me most of the time, I use it (and share it with others) for insect bites or stings, headaches, dry skin, etc!"

Pelindaba Lavender La Conner


Odile manages the Pelindaba Lavender Product Gallery in the charming town of La Conner in western Washington.  Odile's favorite product is our Organic Lavender Hydrosol.

"I love all of our handcrafted lavender products, but my very favorite is the Organic Lavender Hydrosol.  It has so many practical uses.  It's a staple in my everyday life."

Pelindaba Lavender Bainbridge Island


Another Washington State island, just a short ferry ride from Seattle, is home to another Product Gallery, managed by Amy.

"Lavender Hand Sanitizer is a favorite Pelindaba product of mine.  It smells fantastic and, more importantly, sanitizes and freshens hands when washing isn't available.  I keep a small bottle in my purse for on-the-go cleansing needs - very useful to sanitize shopping cart handles.  Everyone always asks to try some!"

Pelindaba Lavender Edmonds


Lisa hosts the Product Gallery located in the heart of the quaint seaside town of Edmonds, WA - just 15 minutes north of Seattle.  Lisa's favorite product is our Lavender Body Butter.

"It called out to me years ago when I visited Pelindaba Lavender for the first time.  The packaging was like a small treasure and gleamed from the store shelves beckoning me to try it.  Since that day I tell all our customers about it.  It's a dream come true for my dry skin!"

Pelindaba Lavender Ashland


Julie (and the adorable Juneau!) are the hosts at the Ashland, Oregon Product Gallery.  Julie's favorite Pelindaba product is our Lavender Treatment Stick.

"It's the most versatile and convenient way for me to carry our luscious essential oil and a moisturizer in 'one' everyday.  I have traveled the world with mine.  Any abrasion, irritation, bug bite or spot where I need moisture or healing, I know our Lavender Treatment Stick will handle it.  It should be called the Lavender Wonder Stick!"

Pelindaba Lavender Manitou Springs


Scott leads this Product Gallery nestled in the beautiful mountains outside of Colorado Springs.  Our Organic Lavender Essential Oil is Scott's favorite product.  

"We diffuse our soothing Organic Lavender Essential Oil every night to help us and our dog relax and sleep more soundly."

Pelindaba Lavender Savannah


The beautiful and hospitable city of Savannah is home to the Product Gallery hosted by Chris.  Her favorite Pelindaba product is the Lavender Body Butter.

"Our Lavender Body Butter offers me such a calming fragrance while soothing my skin.  It's 'relaxation' calling my name in a pretty gold jar.  It keeps me from needing that last glass of wine!  Everyone on my holiday gift list is getting one."

Pelindaba Lavender Amelia Island


Our sister-island on the East Coast is home to one of our Florida Product Galleries.  Pam leads the "lavender charge" here.

"Picking one favorite Pelindaba Lavender product is a difficult task.  If I had to choose just one, it's Lavender Linen Water.  I use it every single evening.  Just a couple of spritzes on my pillow and I sleep like a baby."

Pelindaba Lavender St. Augustine


Luckily for Pam, she gets to pick another favorite as she splits her time between Pelindaba Lavender Amelia Island and Pelindaba Lavender St. Augustine, just 45 minutes south along the Florida coast.  Pam's other favorite is our Lavender Essential Oil Shampoo and Conditioner.

"Technically they are two products, but they are my go-to hair care set.  I love the way it makes my hair smell and feel.  It can be used every day without drying hair out, is great for all hair types and safe for colored hair."

These are all great places to sample our handcrafted lavender products and discover all the attributes of this wondrous plant with our enthusiastic staff.

Lavender's many natural properties are the foundation for all the luxurious and practical products we make at the farm - products for everyday needs of the body, the home, the kitchen, pets and more.

Come visit us at one of our Product Galleries to discover more of our Pelindaba family's favorite uses for lavender, and indulge all your senses in The Complete Lavender Experience®!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Lavender Honey and Goat Cheese Fig Recipe

Lavender is such a versatile herb.  Its delicate flavor is right at home on both the sweet and savory sides of the palate and it can find a place at every meal and in-between.  For those in-between times here is a quick and easy recipe for snacking (or breakfast or hors d'oeuvres or a late night sweet tooth...!).

Lavender Honey and Goat Cheese Figs

Lavender Honey and Goat Cheese Figs from Pelindaba Lavender

How to make scrumptious Lavender Honey and Goat Cheese Figs

What you'll need:

  • Fresh Figs - Mission or Brown Turkey figs can usually be found at local markets
  • Goat Cheese
  • Pelindaba Lavender's Organic Lavender Honey
  • Lavender Herbes de Provence (optional as a more savory variant)

Figs with Organic Lavender Honey from Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Figs are very fragile, so don't be surprised if what you find in your local market are a little marred.  Look for figs that are slightly wrinkled, but still firmly holding their plump shape with stems a bit curved.  Avoid figs that are weeping or oozing heavily from splits in the shrunken skin or are very squishy.

Gently wash the figs and quarter (or cut in half if the figs are on the small side).

Lavender Honey and Goat Cheese with Figs from Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Place figs flesh side up on a baking sheet or cast iron skillet.  Add dollop of goat cheese atop the seeded flesh.  For a more aromatic and savory variation sprinkle the figs and goat cheese with Lavender Herbes de Provence.

Pelindaba Lavender's Organic Lavender Honey and Goat Cheese with Figs

Bake on at 425° F for approximately 10-15 minutes to warm figs and slightly soften the goat cheese.  Place them under the broiler for a shy minute to give the goat cheese a touch of golden brown.

Remove the tender figs from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before drizzling with Organic Lavender Honey and serving.

Organic Lavender Honey with Figs recipe 

If goat cheese isn't to your taste, try a different soft cheese.  Brie anyone?  This is a recipe that begs for experimentation.  So, pop into the kitchen and play around with this delectable recipe and let us know what you come up with!

Lavender Honey and Goat Cheese with Figs Recipe from Pelindaba Lavender Farm



Pelindaba Lavender Honey and Goat Cheese with Figs

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

All About Our Best Exfoliator - Lavender Sugar Scrub

Out with the old, in with the new - skin!   Whether you need to give some attention to tough, summer sandal-clad feet, scrub away wintry, dry skin or simply want to maintain the softness and glow of well exfoliated skin all the time, our Lavender Sugar Scrub is just the practical luxury you need.

Lavender Sugar Scrub has been a staple of our all-natural personal care line for well over a decade - no surprise there.  It is wonderfully efficient and effective as a skin cleanser, exfoliator and moisturizer.

All About Lavender Sugar Scrub by Pelindaba Lavender

Luscious and simple ingredients - shea butter, a handful of moisturizing plant oils and the naturally occurring antimicrobial properties of our Organic Lavender Essential Oil, blended with granulated sugar to provide gentle exfoliation - make for a truly beneficial and effective skin care product.  The chic packaging and clean fragrance make it appealing to everyone.  As long-time sugar-scrubber Carol says... "it smells lovely, but not girly so both my husband and I like it."

Handcrafted Lavender Sugar Scrub by Pelindaba Lavender

Tips for the novice sugar-scrubber...
  • Keep your jar of sugar scrub elevated in the shower.  If you have to bend down to reach it water from the shower will run down your arm and fill the top of the jar with water.  Position your jar on a shower shelf or elevated caddy to keep it shower-water-free.
  • Only use a quarter size amount at a time.  Scooping too much out of the jar and trying to work it into the skin may be difficult to manage and you'll run the risk of losing some down the drain.  What a waste!
  • Use caution when applying sugar scrub in the shower as it can make the shower floor slick.
  • Massage into skin gently using circular motions and leave it on for a few minutes so that the naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids in the sugar can work their dead skin sloughing magic.
  • Extra care should be taken when using exfoliators on the face.  Test a small amount first before using on sensitive skin.
  • Use prior to shaving so that the sugar can slough away dead skin cells allowing your razor closer access to do it's best work.  The oils will provide smooth glide and our organic lavender essential oil will help prevent hair follicle irritation.
  • Sugar scrub makes a great lip scrub, especially in winter when lips are prone to dryness, chapping or pealing. 
  • Rinse with lukewarm water, pat dry and wait a few minutes before dressing to retain the oils on the skin and allow them to soak in providing on-going moisture.
  • Once weekly use is all it takes to keep skin soft and supple. 
Handmade Lavender Sugar Scrub by Pelindaba Lavender with Organic Lavender Essential Oil

The texture is so inviting.  Sweet little granules, pregnant with golden oils, create a unique, tactile sensation when small amounts are scooped out by hand and gently massaged into wet skin.

Lavender Sugar Scrub by Pelindaba Lavender with Organic Lavender Essential Oils
Precise finishing for each jar creates an elegant presentation for treating yourself or others.  Steady hands place labels and deft fingers create intricate bows on each and every jar.  This is one of our favorite products to give as gifts.  The recipient receives so much decadently practical skin care in an all-in-one cleanser, exfoliator and moisturizer.

Lavender Sugar Scrub handmade at Pelindaba Lavender

Lavender Sugar Scrub handcrafted at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

For additional rejuvenating skin care, try our At Home Lavender Spa Treatment or expand your skin regimen with our 5 favorite nourishing and moisturizing lavender products - all handmade at our farm of course!

Gifting Lavender Sugar Scrub by Pelindaba Lavender

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Behind The Scenes : In The Distillery

The "peak of purpleness" at the farm is mid-July - mid-August.  This is the time to see the fields in full, glorious bloom.  They are a sea of vibrant purple!  While they are stunning in color, they have yet to reach their full olfactory potential.  Come the end of summer, when the purple flowers have all bloomed themselves out and the fields have faded to a blueish-gray we reach the "peak of fragrance".  While they aren't as stunning to look at, the fields are so pungent that on a warm, breezy day the fragrance can be smelled from a couple miles away.

Fresh Organic Lavender Ready for Distillation at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

This is the time when lavender, heavy with fragrant essential oil, is ready for distillation.  For weeks during early fall our farm crew spends the days harvesting and distilling and repeating.

Lavender Harvest and Distillation at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Due to lavender's hemispherical shape, harvesting is done by hand with 7 inch garden scythes.  Each and every one of our current 30,000+ plants!  For essential oil distillation we do a "short" harvest.  This means we cut approximately only 6 inches of stalk, unlike our dried flower harvest in which we cut a 12 inch stalk to accommodate decorative floral uses where a long stem is desired.

The 6 inches of stalk we harvest for essential oil distillation is important as it provides small air pockets for the steam to pass through the flower load making for an efficient distillation yield.

Harvesting Fresh Organic Lavender for Lavender Essential Oil at Pelindaba Lavender Farm   Harvesting Fresh Organic Lavender at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Fragrant Lavender Ready for Making Essential Oil at Pelindaba Lavender's Distilery 

Lavender intended for essential oil distillation is taken (by 3 minute wagon ride) directly from the field to the distillery.  Its route skips the drying barn, as it is unnecessary to dry lavender prior to distillation.  In fact, during the drying process some essential oil is lost due to evaporation that would otherwise be captured during distillation - all the more reason to skip the drying step!

The Distillery at Pelindaba Lavender Farm on San Juan Island

Upon arrival at the distillery, the freshly harvested lavender is placed in our 500 gallon steam chamber (the bright orange box pictured above).  Once the steam chamber is filled up and the red seal clamps closed, the boiler is turned on to heat up the water to vaporous state to be piped into the bottom of the steam chamber.

Lavender Essential Oil Distillation using fresh organic lavender   Lavender Essential Oil Distillation using fresh organic lavender

As the water vapor rises through the fragrant plant material, it vaporizes the essential oil.  The mixed oil and water vapor travels through a large pipe into a cooling chamber where it condenses back into liquid.

Making Lavender Essential Oil at Pelindaba Lavender's Distillery   Lavender Essential Oil in the Distillery at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

This liquid descends from the cooling chamber into the separator where basic physics takes over.  Oil being lighter than water, it rises to the surface and is then decanted into UV-protected, medical grade glass jugs.

Once filled with pure lavender essential oil, these jugs will be stored for at least a year (usually 2-3) before use.  This allows the oil to mature and mellow.  Essential oils are similar to wine in this way.  They improve with age!

Just as the essential oil is decanted, so too is the condensed water decanted into large 5 gallon bottles.  It is, however, no longer straight water.  It is now hydrosol.  What is hydrosol you may ask?  During the steam distillation process a small amount of lavender essential oil is permanently bound to the water molecules, producing what chemists call a colloid.  This permanent mixture of oil and water is hydrosol.  It can only be produced by the distillation process and is, effectively, a diluted version of the essential oil making it particularly useful for a wide range of personal care, therapeutic and household care and other uses.

Organic Lavender Essential Oil Fresh From the Still   Multi-Use Organic Lavender Hydrosol fresh from the still

Now that our lavender essential oil and hydrosol have been fully decanted, it's time to open and empty the steam chamber.  This is the most dramatic part of the entire process.  The big, red clamps are loosened and the heavy door swings back... out billows thick, fragrant steam and left-over moisture, colored from the concentrated plant material, drips to the floor.  The entire distillery is engulfed!

Organic Lavender Essential Oil Distillation at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Using pitch forks the soft and damp lavender is emptied and then added to our epic compost pile.  Can you imagine the facials our farm crew gets every day during the distillation season! 

Organic Lavender Essential Oil Distillation

Organic Lavender at Pelindaba Lavender Farn

The whole process - from filling the steam chamber to emptying it - takes about an hour and a half and yields approximately 1.5 gallons of essential oil.  That's approximately 270-300 plants producing 1.5 gallons of essential oil!

It's a labor intensive process requiring a great deal of plant material to produce a relatively small amount of pure essential oil.  This is one reason why pure essential oils are more expensive than their oft-diluted counter parts.  Conversely, pure essential oils, being so potent, are used in very small quantities.  Usually only a couple drops are used for any particular application.  This means a little bit goes a long way and, as the fragrance of lavender essential oil continues to improve with age, there is no concern about spoiling.

All this labor is well worth it.  It's a labor of love we are privileged to partake in so that you can experience the benefit of pure, organic lavender essential oil and hydrosol straight from the source.

Fresh Lavender Harvest at Pelindaba Lavender Farm