mullein + sparrow, a handmade, holistic apothecary
Summers in Vermont are beautiful. We wait patiently for the ice and snow to recede and then, yes! Summer, in all its glory. What we fail to remember, is that as soon as the temperatures rise and the ground warms… mosquitos. I have woods in my backyard and a slow trickling stream so it is mosquito heaven. If I want to do anything outside in the evening, gardening, entertaining, or even walking the dogs I have to wear bug spray. And I hate it. The intense chemicals, the sticky feel, having to shower immediately when I come inside for fear of touching anything in the house. Then I saw this.
Aromaflage is a fine fragrance that also repels insects. A healthy alternative to chemical bug sprays it is free of DEET, chemicals, and parabens. Originating from the Southeast Asian jungle, Aromaflage’s original scent (pictured above) combines notes of citrus fruit, warm cedarwood, silken vanilla, and nourishing Vitamin E. It is a sweet and happy scent, which reminded me a bit of a creamsicle. This is not the normal type of scent that I go for, but you know what? I really like it, and on my dog walk in the woods yesterday, there were mosquitos all around but they would not land on me. Sold.
If sweet is not your thing, Aromaflage also has a “Wild” fragrance (pictured below) which combines notes of spicy cardamom, warm cedarwood, and snappy spruce. This scent is more me, though honestly I would wear either. Thank you Aromaflage, summer is saved!
I loved this chair the moment I saw it. When I saw the price tag I really loved it. Normally it’s quite the opposite. The Brommö chaise from Ikea is stylish, functional, AND affordable. So affordable. The sleek and modern design lends itself to any space, inside or out, and because it’s foldable and portable you can easily use it for both. A perfect accent chair for in and out.
In spring, the earth seems to sing its pleasure at the retreat of the frost and snow, as if awakened from a spell. The songbirds arrive and start each day with their giddy banter, where a month earlier there was just hush. In Vermont this transformation comes quick, one minute we are shrouded in ice, seemingly the next the trees are festooned with blooms. Happily this is where I find myself this week, when the lilac blossoms are bursting and the air is sweet with their intoxicatingly joyful scent.
I am now lucky enough to have the luxury of a large old lilac hedge on one side of our garden. I no longer have to sneak round with pruners in hand, hoping to gather enough of this fleeting indulgence. This year, with blooms at the ready, I decided to see how else lilac can be enjoyed. Which led me first to food…
Lilacs are edible, their intense scent making them a perfect choice for infusing into other things. The very simplest of these is Lilac Sugar.
Clean, dry lilac petals
A lidded container or jar.
Simply layer the lilac and sugar in a jar and set it in a cool dark place for a few days, shaking it occasionally. I used 1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of lilac petals. After a few days it is ready to use. It’s perfect for baking, to rim a cocktail glass, swirl into tea, or add when whipping cream to top fresh berries. I can’t wait to come up with ways to use it. A beautiful way to save the season.
All images by Joanna Revers of FINDING SHIBUSA.
I have been a fan of floral designer and stylist Amy Merrick for quite a while. Her flowers are sublimely nostalgic, moody, and feminine. Beautiful, every last detail. I was so pleased to see her collaboration with West Elm on a collection of ceramic and sandstone vases. Simple shapes, subtle textures. I love how the swirls of the sandstone add movement and dimension. Yes please.