Saturday, July 13, 2013

Lavender, Sweet Lavender

While armchair travelers might dream of idyllic rustic farmhouses or romantic fields of lavender in the south of France, it's easy to forget that there are most likely many charming botanical treasures right in your own hometown.
 So, while time and budget sadly prevent a jaunt to Provence in my immediate future, I was delighted to discover a little gem of a lavender farm mere minutes from my house in Bucks County Pennsylvania, no passport required.
 Lavender has long been hailed for its soothing and medicinal properties as well as for its aromatic flavoring in a variety of drinks, foods and confections. So returning home, I immediately put my little purchases from Peace Valley Lavender Farm to use in some easy DIY projects celebrating this delightful plant.
In the Bucks County area? 
Pop over to the Peace Valley Lavender Farm site to plan a visit or browse their array of lavender based products and gifts.
overlooking Peace Valley Park 
a classic sun hat and lavender drying on racks
The farm features a delightful gift shop with soaps, dried lavender and handcrafted gifts

Lavender, sweet lavender;
Come and buy my lavender,
Cumberland Clark flower song book 1929


the barn and gift shop
Bees all abuzz over the fragrant blooms

Photos CPaul2013

I'm so delighted! This post was a fan favorite the Dedicated House

 Provence in a Window Box
Regular Pennywise readers might have guessed at my fondness for pint size gardens. I don't know if it's my love of all things miniature or my dismal failure rate with actual life-size horticulture, but I find there is something enchanting about a mini garden which can rest easily on your windowsill or deck.
You'll Need:
Small Lavender plants
Potting soil
Well draining container
Small box or milk carton (trimmed to size)
Set of fake fingernails ( I found them at the Dollar Store)
Joint compound
Small stones
Acrylic paints and spray paint
Craft moss
Accessories
No need to grab your polish, we aren't doing manicures. 
To be honest I find those boxes of fake nails a tad creepy, but repurposed they make perfect roof tiles for a petite French farmhouse. 
Spray paint enough fingernails in assorted sizes to cover roof area. I chose a hammered copper and ivory look as I had some of those colors leftover from another project, and then gave them a wash of terra cotta acrylic once "installed" to take down the shine.
Trim carton or box to desired house shape. Mix compound with acrylic paint. (I chose a taupe shade.) Leaving room for any windows or doors apply mixture evenly over milk carton. Insert stones randomly, no need for perfection, as with the real version, a timeworn look adds charm.
I added a few cut popsicle sticks as a door and painting it a French blue once dry.
Attach roof "tiles" using larger ones on the bottom and smaller toward top and let farmhouse set.
                                                       our inspiration: www.dreamstime.com
Plant lavender according to instructions (it likes good drainage) leaving sufficient space for your farmhouse, moss or stones. If you like add a mini painting (I did a quick start of a Provincal landscape) and easel or any other accessories a la Francais.

Lavender Truffles


There are many recipes available online or in cookbooks highlighting lavender's unique flavor, but I thought I'd opt for a surprisingly simple white and chocolate truffle with hint of lemon. Visit the Food Doctors' beautifully photographed site for this and other fun recipes.

Simple ingredients:
I subbed white chocolate chips for solid 

and used the culinary lavender from my visit to the farm.
I covered some in dark and some in white chocolate,
then sprinkled with some extra chopped culinary lavender and garnished with mint

label created using images from the Graphics Fairy
My French is quite rusty but according to "google translate" this hopefully means
Lavender Truffles 

This old $1 cookie tin had seen better days so it got a spritz of sage green and ivory paint 
and a decoupaged vintage inspired label, perfect for gifting

One of the delights of blogging is the opportunity to visit so many wonderful sites, meet new friends and exchange ideas. Of course when a generous blogger offers a giveaway that's just icing on the cake. Recently I was lucky enough to win the most lovely set of notecards, featuring blogger Nan Burger's beautiful pen & ink artwork. You can visit her delightful site and find links to her designs at 

Lovely cards deserve what else but Lavender ink? I stumbled on this most unique idea on the charming Elaine's Lavender Page where you can find the ink instructions, more lavender recipes and lots of lavender fun facts. 


Lavender's Blue, dilly, dilly
Lavender's Green
When I am king, dilly dilly,
You will be queen.
old English folk song - 17th century





32 comments:

  1. Ooooooooh, I just love lavender! I can almost smell it from here! Love your little tin and the graphic you chose. Coming over from Brag Monday and a happy new follower. =)

    Jeanine

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    1. Thanks so much Jeanine!
      So glad you enjoyed the post and delighted you'll be following!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  2. I love that little container garden - especially that adorable little house! I am pinning this to keep it in mind for the future :)

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    1. Thanks so much Sarah!
      I hope you give it a try- It was easy and such fun to make
      Thanks for pinning! :)
      Cheers
      Christina

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  3. Love lavender and your little container Garden would love it if you came by and shared at http://www.onemoretimeevents.com/2013/07/share-it-one-more-time-features-and.html..Hope to see you there!

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    1. Thanks so much Tammy I'd love to!
      Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Delete
  4. Good morning Christina,
    I adore lavender and your wee garden is not only darling but very creative! Your truffles and tea look lovely. Thank you so much for sharing and coming to tea.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Thanks so much Sandi!
      So glad you enjoyed it and thanks as usual for hosting. I love participating in your weekly parties!
      Cheers

      Delete
  5. Ahh, the truffles look almost too pretty to eat! What beautiful post. Love the photos!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment Brandi!
      Actually I took leftover ones to a picnic- and with this heatwave they were not pretty at all when they arrived :( lo
      Cheers!

      Delete
  6. What a lovely lavender farm. It does remind you of France, so idyllic. Love your photos and ideas for lavender. Thanks for the nice comments your left on my lavender pictures!

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    1. Thanks so much Diane!
      I was so delighted to find your post on lavender too!
      I love the scent and color and am always looking for things to do with it-
      I think your timing was better as your plants were more vibrant- my visit to the farm might have been a week or so early and not all of it was in bloom- next year lol
      Cheers

      Delete
  7. Such a charming post! Love the lavender ink! Wouldn't have thought of that.
    Sherry

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    1. Thanks so much Sherry!
      I loved the ink idea as well- of course it's not mine - :)
      Thanks for visiting
      Cheers!

      Delete
  8. This is a lavender heaven post! So many great ideas. Love the miniature garden and the sweet truffles. Thanks so much for sharing with us.
    Hugs,
    Patti

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    1. Hi Patti,
      You're so sweet! So glad you enjoyed the lavender post and many thanks as usual for hosting your delightful parties!
      Cheers
      Christina

      Delete
  9. Oh I love lavender! What a fabulous post!!Thanks for sharing on Project Inspire{d}.. Pinned!
    Nancy

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    1. So glad you liked it Nancy and Thanks so much for hosting! :)

      Delete
  10. The photos of lavender fields are quite stunning, I don't know much about lavendar at all~I had a lavender shortbread cookie once and it was divine~
    Jenna

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    1. Thanks Jenna,
      I have a recipe for lavender shortbread but haven't attempted it yet-it does have a unique flavor - it's new as a cooking ingredient for me too :)
      Cheers
      Christina

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  11. What a very lovely post! Lavender is so refreshing and relaxing. It actually grow very well in my area of Southern California. It overtook my flower bed - about 4' by 6', and I had to chop it down. After enjoying your post, I definitely want to replant it!
    Thank you for linking up with Sunday View.

    Laura

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    1. Thanks Laura!
      Oh how lucky to have a whole bed of it- I bet it smelled divine!
      Thanks again so much for visiting an for your kind words and of course for hosting your linky parties!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  12. How lovely! You are one of the fan favorites today at the Sunday Showcase from the Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Pop on in and grab a feature button. Here is the link to today's Sunday Showcase. http://thededicatedhouse.blogspot.com/2013/07/sunday-showcase-from-make-it-pretty_21.html Hope to see your prettiness again tomorrow at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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    1. I couldn't be more thrilled!
      Thanks so much Kathryn-
      I'm such a fan of your delightful site and always look forward to your linky parties!
      I'll pop right over!
      Cheers!
      Christina

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  13. Just wanted to let you know that I featured your post on Inspired Sunday at www.sundayview.blogspot.com. Just love it!

    Laura

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    1. I'm so delighted to be featured!
      Thanks so much and Thanks for hosting!

      Delete
  14. Christina, I'm so loving all this lavender! I make Lavender Bud vegan soap and it's one of my favorites. Your little cottage is a cute idea, and I wouldn't mind eating one of those lavender truffles next time I'm watching Endeavour! I'm not very good at raising lavender, unfortunately, but this year I do have two very healthy plants that seem (knock on wood) to be thriving. I wish I could find a hardy lavender that would survive our NW Wisconsin winters. Lavender has so many uses, is so beautiful, and has a lovely fragrance.

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    1. Ooh lavender bud soap sounds divine! I could have put a link to your site on here-!
      I'm not a great gardener but my lavender seems to somehow survive my mishandling pretty well- but I could see it not being happy so far north-
      definitely try the truffles- they are very easy to make and perfect with a cup of tea and Endeavor!
      Thanks so much for your visit!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  15. Christina, Love this! Lavender is dear to my heart. I helped out at a little shop on the central coast of ca called Lavender. So lovely and sweet, and that smell! We now have Mexican lavender in our yard because that's what will grow in our area.

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    1. Hi Jeanette-
      How lucky to work in a lavender shop! It's one of my very favorite plants- I have some English lavender in my yard which seems to be growing well despite my lack of a green thumb! :) Mexican lavender is so beautiful and vibrant! I hadn't known how many varieties there were.
      Thanks so much for visiting and you r kind comment!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  16. ooh -- I just did a post on lavender, but I love this one! I think I might be better at pint-sized gardens as well, only having containers! I love how you made the little stone house.

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    1. Thanks Deborah!
      I love all things lavender! The little house held up surprisingly well-
      I can't wait to pop over and visit your post
      Cheers :)

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Love to hear your comments and suggestions!