Thursday, May 20, 2021

Nature's First Aid - the medicinal and therapeutic uses of lavender


Few flowers or plants have been used in the multitude of ways lavender has been.  First harvested in the wild by inhabitants of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea – its native habitat – lavender came to be specifically cultivated in herb gardens for its many medicinal and therapeutic properties.

Nature's First Aid - the medicinal and therapeutic uses of lavender

Lavender was notably featured in “Physica” – the 12th century treatise written by the extraordinary medieval abbess, Hildegard von Bingen and believed to be the first definitive European manual on the use of herbal medicines.  She found it particularly beneficial in the treatment of what appear to be migraine headaches that accompanied some of the visions she described in her writings.
 
In addition to these soothing properties that led to its widespread use as a sleep inducer, lavender’s all-natural disinfectant properties also found widespread use in the prevention of skin and wound infection, long before anyone knew anything about microorganisms, let alone antibiotics.  Similarly, the discovery of its dramatic topical anesthetic properties led to its use as a salve for treating burns, insect bites, skin irritations and other symptomatic rashes.  Lavender's anti-inflammatory properties also assist in skin healing and reducing scar formation.  These interesting and well documented natural therapeutic uses of lavender have received increasing attention, particularly in an age when many are looking away from artificial chemicals for both therapeutic and preventative healthcare products.

Taking lavender's powerful medicinal and therapeutic properties into consideration, we've curated a list of our favorite products to include in your lavender first aid kit.

Organic Lavender Essential Oil

Organic Lavender Essential Oil


It all starts here.  All of lavender's medicinal and therapeutic properties are derived from it's essential oil.  Among all the herbal essential oils, Lavender Essential Oil is somewhat unique in that it is one of the very few essential oils that can be applied undiluted directly onto the skin with no toxic effects.  As such, it is highly effective as a topical antiseptic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory in many common therapeutic situations.

As a topical anesthetic:

  • superficial cooking or baking burns
  • bee stings or bug bites
  • abrasions
  • pimples

As a topical antiseptic and anti-inflammatory:

  • preventing wound infection
  • treating pimples (utilizing lavender's natural solvent property as well!)
  • minimizing scar formation during healing processes

Lavender essential oil is also a known anxiolytic —a highly effective anxiety reducing agent in both people and animals.  As an added benefit, apply a couple drops of lavender essential oil under your patient's nose to help soothe them with each inhalation.

To ensure optimum quality, unlike many others who buy their oil from "bulk sources" with no clear production history, all our essential oil is Certified Organic by Washington State Department of Agriculture and distilled right here on the farm exclusively from the lavender flowers we grow ourselves in our own San Juan Island, WA fields.

Organic Lavender Hydrosol


Organic Lavender Hydrosol


Our organically certified 100% pure Lavender Hydrosol is produced during the steam distillation of essential lavender oil on the farm.  Lavender hydrosol is a natural and (technically speaking) permanent colloidal suspension of a small amount of essential lavender oil in a large volume of water.  Also known as floral water, it is an ideal vehicle for bringing the properties of lavender essential oil to a variety of therapeutic needs.

  • For rinsing, cleaning, and promoting rapid healing of skin abrasions and cuts
  • For soothing on itching skin associated with sun or wind burn, eczema, dryness and aging
  • As a preferred wet wipe for infant and adult personal hygiene (particularly useful in healing and preventing diaper rashes)

In addition to these uses, lavender hydrosol brings the solvent, disinfectant and insect repellent properties of lavender essential oil to an equally wide range of household, work space, pet, plant, automobile, boat and other care applications.

Lavender Treatment Stick
 

Lavender Treatment Stick


This is our must-have for deploying the natural antiseptic and powerful topical anesthetic properties of lavender essential oil in a convenient stick delivery system for easy application and portability.  For quick, on-the-go care, our Lavender Treatment Stick is an excellent way to treat cuts, bug bites, abrasions and burns and to soothe headaches, joint aches, sprains and bruises.  It also doubles as a skin and lip moisturizer as needed.  

Parents and caregivers especially appreciate this easy-to-apply delivery system for use with little ones.

Lavender Hand Sanitizer

Lavender Hand Sanitizer


A means of sanitizing the hands is a must for any first aid kit.  Our alcohol-free and alcohol-based versions of Lavender Hand Sanitizer take full advantage of the naturally-occurring antiseptic,  disinfectant and solvent properties of lavender essential oil. 

Note: Given that lavender’s efficacy specifically against the Covid-19 causative agent has not yet been definitively tested under laboratory conditions, we cannot and do not make the claim that the alcohol-free version of our hand sanitizer offerings is appropriate for protection against that agent.  To learn more about lavender as a sanitizing agent - click here.

Nature's First Aid - the medicinal and therapeutic uses of lavender

For centuries, the ability of lavender essential oil to treat, limit or even prevent a wide spectrum of diseases and disorders caused by antimicrobial agents — bacterial, fungal and viral — was informed by everyday observation by healthcare deliverers and populations at large.  The arrival, over the past two to three hundred years, of synthetic chemical alternatives that were easier or less expensive to produce in large quantities largely displaced this use of lavender essential oil.  People in general turned to synthetics because they were more readily available, less expensive or indeed in some cases more effective.  As many are now looking for alternatives to artificial chemicals in everyday use products, lavender is — as it has been for millennia — ready to provide preventative and therapeutic care. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Perfect Match - Lavender and Chocolate

 
One of the most widely enjoyed culinary lavender pairings is lavender and chocolate.  Each, on its own, is delightful and can be partnered with many other flavors across the taste spectrum, but bring these two together and ...wow!  Each flavor elevates the other without diminishing any of its own complexity or potency. 

For chocolate lovers and lavender lovers, the pairing provides a unique taste adventure of lightly floral notes that blend beautifully with the rich notes of chocolate creating a singular experience.
 
Organic Lavender Chocolate from Pelindaba Lavender

Our Organic Lavender Gourmet Chocolate is made with the organic lavender that we harvest from our own certified organic fields and certified organic chocolate from Rainforest Alliance certified farms.  Rainforest Alliance is a well-respected international non-profit that works across business and agriculture, building alliances to help ensure the protection of the environment and wildlife and to improve the livelihoods of cocoa-producing farm families.

Taking into consideration the spectrum of flavor preferences and because it would never do to have just one chocolate and lavender pairing, we have embraced the maxim "more is better" with three pairings to suit everyone's palate.

Organic Lavender Dark Chocolate

 
Like a good glass of red wine, Organic Lavender Dark Chocolate warrants particular savoring.  Deeply rich and decadent, this chocolate is lifted by the lightly sweet notes of the lavender.  There is no bitterness to experience when enjoying this dark chocolate, nor any guilt as the health benefits of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate are well documented.  In fact, as red wine boasts the same benefit, pour yourself a glass to accompany your Organic Lavender Dark Chocolate for a "healthy" dessert.  You're welcome!
 
Organic Lavender Dark Chocolate

 

Organic Lavender Milk Chocolate

Fair warning... Organic Lavender Milk Chocolate is sweet and smooth and far too easy to gobble up.  The natural sweetness of lavender and the sweetness of this milk chocolate are equally enhanced by one another creating a flowery, strong lavender experience. 

Organic Lavender Milk Chocolate

Organic Lavender White Chocolate

This is the lavender chocolate for those who don't like chocolate.  Our Organic Lavender White Chocolate contains none of the cocoa solids that are found in dark and milk chocolates.  This staff favorite is a sweet flavor retreat that is well-worth taking.  The velvety, creamy texture with sweet, subtle nutty and vanilla undertones supports the lavender through the entire taste journey.  If chocolate isn't appealing to you, may we tempt you with this "unchocolate" that pairs beautifully with lavender?

Organic Lavender White Chocolate

Each bar of our Organic Lavender Gourmet Chocolate is both GMO and gluten free and 1.25oz of deliciousness!

If you are new to lavender and chocolate's glorious union, we recommend trying all three flavors.  They are all so different — give your taste buds all of their options!  Then start exploring the mouthwatering wider world of lavender and chocolate... Lavender Hot Chocolate, Lavender Chocolate S'Mores, Lavender Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and the easiest and tastiest — Lavender Chocolate Brownie.

If you are, like we are, an avowed lavender and chocolate lover, let us know in the comments below how you prefer to experience this beloved flavor couple.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Risotto Style Yukon Gold Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary


The thick creamy texture, the perfectly paired flavors of butter, herbs and cheese and the robustness of potatoes and onion make this dish as elegant as it is comforting.  When we first came across this recipe in Sharon Shipley's The Lavender Cookbook, we were hooked at first bite.  It's perfect as a vegetable side or as the base for additional vegetables or meat as a main course.  Left-overs are quickly devoured in the morning with eggs and toast.  The recipe will serve 8, but we have found that it's a good idea to plan on second helpings!

Risotto Style Yukon Gold Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary

The recipe calls for fresh rosemary.  While it can certainly be prepared with dried rosemary, it's worth the effort to source some fresh.  The resulting flavor is remarkable.  Pop out to the garden, or maybe your neighbor's garden down the street, to snip a couple of springs. 

 

Risotto Style Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary


Serves 8
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Pelindaba’s Organic Culinary Lavender
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients for Risotto Style Yukon Gold Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary

Combine the milk and the broth in a small saucepan.  Bring to just a simmer over medium heat.  Keep warm over low heat.

Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until translucent.  Add the lavender, rosemary, and garlic.  Sauté for 30 seconds.

How to make Risotto Style Yukon Gold Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary Recipe

Add the potatoes and sauté for 2 minutes.   Slowly pour in the warm milk and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

How to make Risotto Style Yukon Gold Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary 

Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender and the liquid has become very thick and creamy.  

Stir in the cheese and butter.  Season with salt and pepper.  If desired garnish with fresh rosemary and shaved Parmesan. 

Serve while warm and deliciously rich and gooey.

Risotto Style Yukon Gold Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary

More lavender-inspired recipes as delicious as this one are available in our cookbook, Culinary Adventures with LavenderHappy eating!

From “The Lavender Cookbook” by Sharon Shipley

Monday, December 28, 2020

Raise Your Glass of Sparkling Aromatic Lavender Punch

 
A celebration calls for a special beverage to fill raised glasses.  The aromatic flavors of lavender, lemon, sage and ginger create a sparkling punch that is bright and light to toast a New Year or celebrate any special occasion. 
 
Raise Your Glass of Sparkling Aromatic Lavender Punch

Sparkling Lavender Lemon Sage Punch


For the ice ring:

  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh sage 
  • just boiled water

For the punch:

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 6-8 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups gin
  • 2 cups ginger liqueur
  • 2 cups Organic Lavender Simple Syrup (recipe below)
  • 6 cups unflavored sparkling water
  • 2 bottles chilled sparkling wine

Lavender Lemon Sage Punch Recipe

Notes:
  • You will need a Bundt pan to create the ice ring and a large punch bowl or equivalent vessel large enough to accommodate the ice ring.
  • Each of the aromatic flavors — lemon, sage, ginger and lavender — can be dialed up or dialed back depending on your flavor preference.
  • Think of this recipe as a guide.  Much like mixing any cocktail, it's both art and science.  Taste your brew regularly as you concoct it and tweak as your palate dictates. 
  • The punch, without the sparkling water and wine, will store well in the refrigerator for several days to ease the day-off preparations.

Step 1: Make the ice ring

Arrange the thin lemon slices and sprigs of sage in the bottom of the Bundt pan.  Fill the pan to within 1 1/2 inches of the top with warm water that has been recently boiled.  (Warm, boiled water will freeze clearer than cold water for a more attractive look.)  Freeze for roughly 12 hours.

Step 2: Prepare the punch

Muddle the lemon zest, sage and sugar.  If a muddler and a cocktail shaker are not to be found in your kitchen gadgetry, a bowl and a wooden spoon will work just fine.  Gently mash the zest, sage and sugar until the sugar begins to turn a yellowy-green.  Add 2 cups of warm water and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Let it sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to infuse.  Add the lemon juice and stir.  Strain the liquid through a mesh sieve into your large punch bowl or similar festive vessel.  Stir in the gin, ginger liqueur and lavender simple syrup.

Step 3: Serve

Remove the Bundt pan from the freezer and dip the bottom into a bowl of hot water for few seconds to loosen.  Hold a plate over the pan and invert so that the ice ring now rests on the plate.  Lift the Bundt pan off and carefully transfer the ice ring to the punch bowl.  Gently add the sparkling water and wine and slowly stir just enough to combine.  Add a couple sprigs of lavender (dried or fresh) to the glassware for an extra festive flare.

Cheers!  Santé!  Skål!  Kippis!  Proost!  To your health and happiness all year long!
 
Celebrate with Sparkling Aromatic Lavender Punch
 

Organic Lavender Simple Syrup


Ingredients:

Directions: 

In a small sauce pan, combine water and sugar.  Heat over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved and remove from heat.  Add lavender in a tea infuser to the heated syrup and let steep.  Remove lavender when the syrup has completely cooled.  If you do not have a tea infuser, add the lavender to the hot syrup, then strain the syrup through a fine mesh colander when cooled.  You now have a delicious syrup ready to be added to your favorite summer fruit, lemonade, juice, coffee, tea, cocktail or cider!

Sparkling Aromatic Lavender Punch

Monday, December 14, 2020

Spiced Lavender Ginger Bread


A holiday favorite from our farm kitchen, this spicy loaf made with ginger, cinnamon, cloves and, of course, Organic Culinary Lavender is a lovely treat to accompany tea time or an afternoon coffee break.  It is deeply spiced and deliciously moist, each bite is a taste of the holidays.  Make a loaf for you and your family to enjoy and a second batch as mini loaves or muffins to gift to the neighbors.  Who doesn't love a little festive home baking at the holidays?

Spiced Lavender Ginger Bread Recipe

Spiced Lavender Ginger Bread

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 hot water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup lightly ground Organic Culinary Lavender

Spiced Lavender Ginger Bread Recipe

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan. 
 
Step 2: In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.  Add the brown sugar and cream until mostly combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated.  Add egg and molasses and beat lightly until combined.  Slowly add the hot water while lightly beating and continue to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated.
 
Step 3: In a separate bowl, sift or whisk the remaining dry ingredients together until well blended.  
 
Step 4: Add the blended dry ingredients to the butter, brown sugar, egg, molasses and water in small increments mixing well after each addition.  Continue to mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated, until all the large lumps have been broken up.  Avoid over-mixing.  The batter will be thin.
 
Step 5: Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean — approximately 50-60 minutes for most ovens.
 
Step 6: Allow loaf to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Once thoroughly cooled decorate with a simple finish of a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle glaze or simply serve with a generous dollop of lavender whipped cream.

Vanilla Drizzle Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water (more as needed to achieve a drizzle consistency)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

Orange Drizzle Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice (more as needed to achieve a drizzle consistency)

For either glaze, mix until smooth and drizzle over thoroughly cooled loaf.  Allow to set before slicing or wrapping up to gift.


From our farm kitchen to yours and to whomever you share this festive, easy to make treat with — Happy Holidays!

Spiced Lavender Ginger Bread Recipe

Sunday, November 29, 2020

A gift guide for all the loved ones on your list

 
It's beginning to look a lot like the season when generosity and good cheer abound through the exchanging of gifts.  Thoughtfulness, consideration and love are imbued in each gift that is selected with someone special in mind.

With a such a bountiful line of lavender-based products handcrafted with love at our farm, gift giving is easy at Pelindaba Lavender.  There is probably something for just about everyone on your list who appreciates small batch, artisan goods free from harmful ingredients and that promote healthy living in a healthy environment.
 
Let's find the perfect gift to put under the tree or send to all the special people on your list this holiday season.
 
A gift guide for all the loved ones on your list


For wellness and relaxation...

Treat a loved one to a luxurious, lavender soak with a variety of bathing adjuncts from Lavender Bath Salts and Bubble Bath to Lavender Sugar Scrub and Body Powder.  Or give the gift of supple, well moisturized skin with our ever-popular Lavender Lotion and Body Butter.  

Relaxation may be what's needed most for some on your list.  Good thing lavender is a natural stress reducer and anxiety reliever!  A Lavender Eye or Neck Pillow, heavy with rice and fragrance or a lavender massage makes a calming, restorative gift. 

Wellness and relaxation gifts for all the loved ones on your list

For cooking and eating...

Edible gifts are always popular.  The chefs and foodies on your list might enjoy our savory herbs and spices or our sweet chutneys and sauces to complement our lavender cookbook for their own adventuring in the kitchen.  Gifts that are readily enjoyed like lavender cookies paired with a lavender beverage — your choice of organic tea, lemonade or coffee — are good to have on hand for when a small gift is unexpectedly needed.

Cooking and eating gifts for all the loved ones on your list

For chocolate...

Need anyone ever say more?  Probably not, but we will because lavender and chocolate is truly our favorite flavor pairing ever.  The ultimate lavender chocolate gift has to include Lavender Hot Chocolate, Lavender Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce, Lavender Chocolate Chip Cookies and Organic Lavender Gourmet Chocolate - white, milk and dark.  All three chocolate flavors are a must so that the chocolate lover on your list can sample all three.  How else will they know which their favorite is?

Lavender chocolate gifts for all the loved ones on your list
 

For a fragrant home and peaceful sleep...

If there is someone on your list who appreciates practicality, a selection of our chemical-free household care products are just the thing for the natural home.  Fragrant gifts to enhance the tranquility of "home" are rarely a miss in our stressful times.  Diffusers, essential oil candles and lavender mists are just the thing to bring aromatherapy to a loved one's living space and to encourage restful sleep.

For the stockings...

Special treats to find in one's stocking might include an Organic Lavender Sachet, a bar of Lavender Soap, a Lavender Wand for a touch of whimsy or an exquisite handmade ceramic dish from a local ceramist.  For everyday usefulness a bottle of Lavender Hand Sanitizer or a pocket-sized Lavender Lip Balm.

Lavender home and candle gifts for all the loved ones on your list    Lavender gifts for all the loved ones on your list

For Gift Giving Made Easy...

Sometimes things just need to be quick and easy.  We understand.  This is when we step in and curate a lovely collection of our farm-made products and wrap them up in beautiful packages that are ready to gift.  All you have to do is write a gift note.  You could even select an art card inspired by the farm to keep the lavender theme going.  Another quick and easy option is a gift certificate so that the lucky recipient can chose exactly what they would like at their leisure.

Lavender gift collections and gift sets for all the loved ones on your list
 
At Pelindaba Lavender we love sharing our love of lavender and we love seeing others do the same through a gift.  If you would like more lavender gift ideas, we got 'em!  

It's always a good idea to order early to avoid unforeseen carrier delays and to ensure your gifts arrive on time — especially during the busy holiday season.  Please don't hesitate to reach out if you'd like some assistance making your gift extra special.  Happy gifting!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Holiday Decor Ideas - Festive Front Door Swag

 
One of the reasons we love decorating for the holidays is that holiday decorations can be just about anything to fit just about any style.  From ultra modern to minimalist to gilded lusciousness to vintage technicolor to rustic country and [insert your personal aesthetic here], a festive flare can be added to bring cheer and fun to end of the year celebrations.

Since we love decorating for the holidays, we wanted to share some the ways we like to bring a welcoming touch to our front door decor.  As there is no "right" way to decorate for the holidays, we hope you'll take these ideas and make them yours by using a your favorite bow color, materials or accents. 

Holiday Front Door Swag Ideas


 The first step for all festive front door swags is to gather the materials. You will need:

  • green floral wire
  • clippers
  • base foliage
  • accents
  • ribbon

For our base foliage we usually use fir, cedar, yew or pine.  Anything that is sturdy and dense will create a good base for a holiday swag.

Accents can be botanical and decorative.  They are used to bring extra visual interest and depth to the swag.  Botanical accents could include eucalyptus, holly, ivy, small lichen covered branches, fern, salal, dried flowers or seed pods, decorative grasses, dried citrus slices and anything else that tickles your creative fancy.  Decorative accents might be holiday ornaments, spray painted magnolia leaves or small branches, tinsel, wooden beads strung on twine, spray painted pine cones, etc.  Your imagination is your only limitation.

Your choice of ribbon is also entirely at your whim.  We recommend a sturdy, wide ribbon so that the bow size will be in balance with the overall size of the swag.  Wire-edged ribbon is also very helpful for making large bows.  (We'll show you how to make a big, beautiful bow below.)  What if bows aren't your style?  That's ok.  Practically bows help to obscure where everything is bound together at the top of the swag, but this can be achieved by tucking in a sprig of holly or securing more of your decorative elements at the top of the swag over the floral wire wrapping.

The options are practically endless.  We'll show you some of our favorite combinations.  You can use them as inspiration to select materials that appeal to you.  Whatever you choose to put together will be perfect!

  
 
To make the base of your holiday swag, select several largish branches that are relatively flat.  We usually use fir as the base for ours.  Lay the branches on top of each other with the largest on the bottom to create a tapered look that is wider at the top than the bottom.  Wrap the ends of the branches securely with floral wire.  Trim any errant branches as needed to maintain your "upside down tear drop" shape.



If your branches look a bit sparse or if you have a hole in your base, you can add smaller branches as needed by wrapping floral wire securely around the top of the branch you are adding and tying it to branch above the hole.  It's a good idea to add in smaller branches to the backside of the base to keep the cascade affect on the front side.  Don't be afraid to use plenty of floral wire to keep everything securely attached.  It's green so it will disappear into the foliage.


The next step is to curate your botanic accents.  Create small groupings of accents to add to the base.  In this example we are using dried lavender (perhaps you have some lavender that you harvested from your own garden and dried this summer!) and dried poppy pods.  Cut down the stems of your accents so they are easier to work with and wrap the ends securely with floral wire.  Leave a long tail of wire to secure it to the base.   
 
Tip: When arranging the grouping of accents, stagger the lengths so that the dried flower heads and seed pods (or whatever you are using) are positioned at slightly different points rather than being two uniform.

Create 3-5 small groupings (odd numbers are more visually engaging than even numbers) and position them throughout the base.  Keep an eye on the overall visual balance.  Are the groupings placed evenly through the base — side to side and top to bottom?

Tuck the ends of the grouping of botanic accents into the base so they aren't visible and secure them with the tail of floral wire you left when creating the grouping.

Add whatever other natural accents you wish at this point.  Here we added a few moss and lichen-covered branches to ours and secured them at the top with floral wire.  If needed, tuck a few small branches of the base material into open areas or to cover the ends of your accents, and secure with more floral wire.


  

Next add any decorative accents you are using.  For this example we used wooden ornaments and secured them into the base with floral wire.

Let's make a big bow to finish it off.  We recommend having about 4-6 feet of ribbon to make a statement bow.  We'll show you how to make the bow we used for this example and then you can tweak it to suit your tastes.

How to make a big, statement bow

 
Step 1: Allow yourself 6 feet of ribbon.
 
Step 2: Turn the end of the ribbon away from you.  Grasp the ribbon 2 inches from the end and the ribbon in front between your thumb and fingers so that you create a 4-5 inch loop on the left side of your hand and the end of the ribbon leaves a 2 inch tail on the right side of your hand.

  

Step 3: Continue looping the ribbon away from yourself (this will cover up the end of the ribbon) until you have 3 loops on each side of your hand that are approximately 10 inches across.  It can get a little cumbersome to hold all of this in one hand.  Think of it like holding a bunch of playing cards in your hand.

Step 4: After your last right side loop, bring the ribbon to the center and add it to the ribbon you are already holding (as if it was one more playing card in your hand).  Leaving an 8-9 inch tail, cut the ribbon with your free hand.

Step 5:  Draw the ribbon loops you have been holding in your hand together so that loops gather and scrunch together and your tail is hanging off the back.

Step 6: Using the trusty floral wire, tightly wrap the center of the loops where you have been holding them together.  Wrap it a bunch of times to ensure it is secure and leave a long tail of floral wire to secure the bow to the top of the swag.

Step 7: The tail of ribbon can now be wrapped around the center of the loops a couple times to cover the floral wire.  Tuck the end of the ribbon into the back of the bow and secure with the tail of floral wire before attaching the bow to the top of the swag.

Step 8: Fluff the loops of ribbon if they became a bit squashed (this can easily happen when assembling a wired-ribbon bow) and gently tug the top loops up slightly and the bottom loops down slightly to create full appearance.

To hang the swag we suggest attaching a loop of, can you guess? — floral wire to the back where the base branches are secured together.

Another holiday front door swag combination we particularly love, because it uses materials common around our San Juan Island, WA farm, is fir and cedar for the base with lavender, salal and madrona branches for the accents and finished with a simple gold bow.

For a different take on a festive combination we also like cedar as the base with eucalyptus, gold painted branches and lavender as the accents and topped with a green and metallic bow.


We use a lot of lavender because, well...we're all about lavender.  But this is where your creativity and personal holiday style should come into play.  Choose a base material, accents and ribbon that suits your preference.  Anything goes!  Just have fun, that's the most important part.