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Herb Awareness 2013 – Queensland Herb Society annual herb-extravaganza

Herb Awareness… 
1 DAY ONLY – Don’t miss out!

Sunday 12th May 2013

For everyone who wants to learn more about growing and using herbs.

• Discover a large variety of medicinal and culinary herbs and plants for sale.
• Browse a wide variety of stalls with herbal products including preserves, coffee, teas, spices, skincare, bush foods, wineries and all sorts of yummy delights.
• Relax and revive at Café Sage for delicious, home baked, herb inspired food and beverages.
• Enjoy a wide variety of FREE demonstrations, guest speakers, talks and workshops.
• Special Guest Speaker for 2013: Annette McFarlane! Our very own local gardening expert is an author of four books, radio broadcaster, writer and teacher – and if that’s not enough, in her spare time Annette can be found tending her own large, productive garden complete with herbs, vegetables, fruit trees, chickens, ducks and sheep! Annette’s knowledge and passion for all things in the garden is sure to inspire us all.
• A great day out for Mum on Mother’s Day!
All this and much more awaits you at the Queensland Herb Society Annual Herb Awareness!
1 DAY ONLY – Sunday 12th of May 2013 from 9am to 4pm at the Albion Peace Hall, 102 McDonald Road, Windsor.
 * A great day out for Mum!*
Entry by Gold Coin Donation only!
(Please note: No EFTPOS and only limited Credit Card facilities available)


Herb Awareness Guest Speakers

9.30am – 10.30am

Greg from Farmers Choice Organics putting together a 3 tier herb planter.

The demonstration will cover choosing the right herbs for each level and the orientation of each level.

Also the different soil combinations required to successfully grow 9 herbs together in the same planter.

11.00am – 12noon

Key Guest Speaker – Annette McFarlane – Garden writer, author of four books, broadcaster and teacher – Annette’s knowledge and passion for all things garden is sure to inspire us all.

12.30pm – 1.30pm

Valerie will be cooking up one of her special curries at lunchtime!

2.00pm – 3.00pm

Lise Racine from The Herbal Gardener is going to talk about the preparation of a therapeutic tea, decoction and demonstration of herbal steam facial baths.


Herb Awareness Demonstrations:

10.30am – 30 minutes – “Dogs are Natural Herbalists”

Karen from Natrapet will talk about herbs to grow, how to medicate through their food and correcting their pH.

12.00noon – 30 minutes – “Making Herb Coated Goat Cheese Pops”

Debbie from The Chilli Patch showing how to make goat’s cheese pops. They are simply goat’s cheese rolled into balls and then coated in spices, dukkah and fresh herbs. Ideal for a party starter.

 1.30pm – 30 minutes – “Making Calendula Cream”

Elene from Natures Herbs for Health is a member of the NHAA as a Medicinal herbalist and runs her own home clinic. Elene will show us how to make Calendula cream with some information on how Calendula works topically and internally. She might also talk about Nettle (her favourite herb) and how this can work towards alkalinity in the body.


For more information: email 
phone Debbie on (07) 5426 8299 
or visit closer to the date for event timetable.
Come along, bring a friend and experience Learning by Sharing.

Preserving old recipes


You may remember that I like making my own cordial for the family.  When you want something more flavourful than water, nothing beats a homemade cordial on a hot, hot day.  Yes I know that a lot of you are only just getting over a surplus of snow, but where I am it’s a bit on the warm side.  Oh, you know…….you can drink cordials hot too!!!  I love hot elderflower cordial.

In the past I have put up recipes for elderflower cordial, rosehip cordial, and rhubarb cordial.

Yesterday a friend put me onto these old recipes from Australia’s colonial era, and I am very excited about them.  Can’t wait to give the “Rasped Lemon Sherbet” a go.

A refreshing drink from our colonial past | Photographer: | Jacqui Newling

The article also talks of an event where “Colonial gastronomist, Jacqui Newling, is revealing the lost arts of the domestic ‘stillroom’ on Sunday in this hands-on workshop and exhibition by the NSW Historic Houses Trust.” If I was local I’d be there like a shot.

Do you remember me talking about starting a stillroom book in 2011?  Here you’ll find the original post to refresh your memory.

“Once upon a time houses and estates had stillrooms, which by it’s basic definition was a room that contained a still.  This was the place where the lady of the house, or her household staff, made remedies and preserved foods for leaner seasons.  Many distillations started out as medicine and later became popular as recreational beverages such as liqueurs.

A stillroom book would contain recipes, family health information, treatments tried, but also notes and inspirations, things of importance to the household, anything and everything that would be meaningful to the next generation.  These books were handed down the maternal line and were prized possessions, some were even later published.”

Last year I posted on Comfrey Cottages about the book I started and what I put in it.  Just last week, Leslie from Comfrey Cottages showed the beginnings of her project and gave me serious stillroom book envy.

Just like I am excited about these old recipes coming my way, our present day recipes will one day be just as precious to those who come after us.

How would you feel if you suddenly found a stillroom book from your great-great grandmother? Wouldnt that be amazing?  The insights into her daily life, dreams and tragedies – surely a valued possession for you and those who come after you.

Once again, I would love to encourage you too to write down your family health histories, remedies gleamed from neighbours or distant aunts, your favourite inspirational quote, share experiences of what worked and what didn’t, make notations about particularly great harvests from the garden and what you chose to make with it.

Herb First Aid


Early last month I posted ‘A Herbalist’s View – Approaches to Colds and Flu’ by 7Song on the Herbology Facebook page.

7Song tried to “make it more comprehensive than just listing herbal medicines by discussing a number of considerations of being ill with these respiratory viruses. It is 10 pages long and covers treatments and dosage strategies, constitutional approaches, formulations, categories and herbal remedies.”

These 10 free pages proved really popular with the Herbology crowd, resulting in lots of comments and plenty of shares.

So I figured that all Herbology readers would definitely be interested in 7Song’s ‘Herbal First Aid’. Over 20 years experience of natural first aid is now at your disposal 🙂

Herbal First Aid with 7Song

John Gallagher from Learning Herbs says:

“I had a MAJOR revelation seeing 7Song in action.
I had only learned basic home first aid with herbs. You know…bumps and bruises. Cuts and scrapes.

What 7Song does opened an entire new world to me. I mean…

  • What do you do in a SERIOUS first aid situation?
  • How do herbs work in first aid really?
  • Do they work at all?
  • How do you prepare yourself?
  • How can you help when you are in large groups of people?

7Song has used the Rainbow Gathering as a lab for his own herbal school for decades. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn street medic skills in a group of folks open to using natural remedies.”

‘Making Herbal Remedies’ FREE on Kindle

Making Herbal Remedies‘ was the very first book in the Herbology At Home series of guides to natural health. It is also the most popular book of the series. I have never offered it free before, but this Christmas I think it’s time to give a little back to the people who make Herbology the success that it is. This offer has already been picked up by Free ebooks and Tips, and it expires at midnight on December 24th. Since is big enough, it probably has it’s own timezone, but I believe it is midnight Pacific Standard Time.

I hope this will see you through until the New Year when there will be more Herbology to come.

Happy Christmas & a Wonderful New Year


Making Cinnamon Stick Santa

….and here is the last of my trio of cinnamon posts.  After Cinnamon Ornaments and making Cinnamon Candles,  it is now time to use the rest of all those cinnamon quills and pieces of cassia bark to make some Cinnamon Stick Santas.  I know, I know….not everyone goes for the Santa thing, but these guys are really cute.  You can call them St Nicks, or Knecht Ruprecht, or Father Winter if you like.  All I know they made my boys smile and were fun to make.

Red craft paint
White craft paint
White puffy paint or fake snow paint
Black craft paint (I used a black Sharpie instead)
craft glue

The process is easy enough.  Paint I wide band of red for the hat, followed by a smaller band of pink for the face.  I did not run the pink right around, preferring my face to just be in the front.  Once these two are COMPLETELY dry, you can add the eyes (and mouth if you like), and a long bushy beard.

You could try running the beard all the way down the quill, or you could paint a red ‘coat’ on as well.
I gave Santa a smile on the bigger cassia bark pieces, but left it out on the smaller quills.  No coats for my guys as I wanted the natural bark look.

To finish them off, add a blob of glue on the back or inside the top and attach a ribbon for hanging.  The colours stand out beautifully on the fresh evergreens.

That’s the last exclusively cinnamon post, I promise.  Not saying that other posts won’t have cinnamon in them, just not ONLY cinnamon 🙂

Ok, I am off to make some potted lemon balm shrimp for a post on my Knights At My Kitchen Table blog, which has been neglected even longer than Herbology had.  Pop by tomorrow, the post should be up by then 🙂

Stay herbal

Cinnamon candles

Since I went a bit overboard with the amount of cinnamon I bought for the last Cinnamon Ornaments post I have a couple more cinnamon related projects to show you.

This one is the absolute easiest, no craft skills required at all…..but they make great decorations or decorative gifts.

I had a bag full of large cassia bark as well as the more traditional cinnamon quills, so in the photo you can see that I covered a large candle in the cassia, a smaller one in the cinnamon, and for those who don’t have the right sized candles, a glass votive candle holder which can also be used for tea lights.

The process could not be easier.  Find a candle you like to use, put an elastic band around it (not too loose, not too tight), insert cinnamon quills all around, and finally tie with a ribbon or raffia to hide the elastic band.  Done!

The same process goes for the glass candle holder.  If you are using one of these, look for something that has pretty vertical sides.  I tried doing it with sloped sides and it doesn’t really work.

That’s it!  Easy as…

Only one more cinnamon project to come, I promise 🙂

Stay herbal

‘Tis beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

It has been a very long time since I last posted. A lot has happened, a lot of blog post potential passed through and never got recorded.

In the smallest nutshell version:  Over the past few months I have been hit by some fatigue bug, and I also rediscovered my art.  I probably don’t have to point out that it really sucks coming up with all sorts of inspired ideas and not having any energy to do anything about it.  Anyway……onwards and upwards….

So, just in time for the silly season, lets have a look at some seasonal herbal gifts and decorating ideas.

This first one seems to make the rounds every so often, but I had not tried it before.  Who had the idea to make a dough out of cinnamon and apple sauce?  Were they cooking/baking and the cinnamon slipped?

Cinnamon Ornaments

I looked through the myriad of recipes online and grabbed the one that made the most sense to me. Then I stopped by my local Indian spice store where I bought way too much cinnamon – powdered & quilled.

The process is easy enough: Equal amounts of ground cinnamon and applesauce are mixed into a cookie like dough.  Some recipes add a couple of spoonfuls of white glue, I didn’t.  I did however play with the scent.  Crushing up a few allspice berries, cloves and a good grind of fresh nutmeg was a wonderful idea, but a complete waste of time.  The large amount of very fragrant cinnamon overpowered the smell of the other spices.

Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper.  Don’t make it too thin, they will be impossible to lift off and may shatter after they have dried.

From here it is just a matter of using for favourite cookie cutters.  Get the kids involved too. Do not be tempted to eat the dough. I may have been that silly to test it in case the kids wanted a nibble, and as much as I love cinnamon…..burning the flavour into my tongue was not fun *laughs*

I liked the idea of letting the ornaments air dry for a few days, but with our ridiculous humidity at the moment (heatwave didn’t you know?) it became necessary to dry them in the oven instead.  In case you think that they look a little too tanned, yes….I may have overcooked them.


Recipe I used:

  • 1 c. cinnamon
  • 1 t. nutmeg
  • 1 t. allspice
  • 1 t. ground cloves
  • 1 c. applesauce

Combine dry ingredients. Add applesauce a little at a time, mixing thoroughly. Roll out and cut shapes. Allow to dry 4-5 days. Or dry in a slow oven for 2 hours. Paint after completely dry.

Given all the cinnamon supplies I still have, I’ll have to come up with more seasonal cinnamon ideas for you.


Homemade Health, Hay House, Sydney Gardens & more

Since the book launch …..

Things have been pretty crazy since May this year.  Once Homemade Health made it onto the shelves I was pretty busy with the promotional stage of the journey.

Herb Awareness 2012 was a great success. This annual event held by the Qld Herb Society found me speaking to a lot of new readers and I even got to meet Costa (The crazy host on ABC’s Gardening Australia) who loved the message of the Herbology At Home books and he even bought up a stack of them 🙂

Then it was time for a radio interview with Clair Levander on 4BC, tea appreciation classes with May King Tsang, a presentation at Noel Burdette’s Spring Fields Garden Centre, oh….and of course the Virtual Book Tour that happened globally at the same time. It was huge!!

I thought I would finally get a bit of calm back in my life when …….

Hey hey, Hay House !

Thanks to all you beautiful people who follow Herbology on Facebook I was able to win a ticket to the Hay House Writer’s Workshop which was held in Sydney on the 27th of August.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about (why are you not following on Facebook?) – Hay House is an international publisher, and they were running a competition on Facebook where people could enter their idea for a book. If their idea was shortlisted as something Hay House might be interested in, it was put to the vote on Facebook where the highest number of comments and ‘likes’ got the winner a ticket to their Sydney event.

My idea was shortlisted (yay) and a whole lot of lovely people voted for my entry.

I wont bore you with a blow by blow account of the workshop, but it was very informative, I met lots of succesful authors, and I now have the opportunity to lodge a proper proposal of the book idea that won me the ticket in the first place.  The proposal that will get picked up will get an international publishing deal and a nice $$$ advance.

*cross your fingers for me*

Sydney was not completely without herbs though.

On my first day in town I headed straight over to the Botanical Gardens to check out their herb gardens.  The beds were laid out beautifully and I can imagine the abundance of colour, structure and fragrance……if it just hadn’t been the middle of winter!!! I did make sure i took some photos though as even in winter Australian gardens don’t die down completely.

Gorgeous sundial with herbal art


And now……

Usually I like to have the electronic versions of my books ready at around about the same time that the print versions hit the shops.  This time around things got away from me.  With Amazon’s various Kindle devices the formatting got a tad more tricky and I kept putting off having to learn new coding.  (Can you blame me?)

Homemade Health on Kindle


Finally though, it’s done!

To celebrate this little milestone, and your patience, I made the Kindle version free for 5 days.

Admittedly I did expect there to be quite a few people taking advantage of a free Herbology At Home book, but I had absolutely no idea that there would be 31,000 (!!!!) downloads at the end of the 5 days. How amazing is that?

Homemade Health on Kindle – No longer free but still great value at $4.99.

Now don’t say you don’t have a Kindle e-reader.  Amazon is way ahead of you and offers Kindle apps for your computer, smartphone, tablets and iEverything.

Read Kindle books on your phone, computer or tablet




What’s next?

Well, hopefully a lot of interaction with you, the Herbology community!

Other than that, later this month I’ll be presenting at the Women’s Publishing Network on the topic of running a Virtual Book Tour. Hoping to rescue my kitchen garden after a particularly dry winter and in general get down to offering you guys more herbal goodies along the way.

For now my dear herb lovers, I hope you are all well and getting on with plenty of herbalicious acivities.

Stay herbal


Homemade Health is finally on Kindle

Sorry my electronically inclined friends, I know I took a fairly long time to format Homemade Health for the Kindle e-reader. Your wait is now over!

To celebrate this new tick on my to-do list I am running a promotion on Amazon which offers the book for FREE for 5 whole days.

If you haven’t got a copy yet, or if you would like an electronic copy as well, head on over to either or to get your free copy of Homemade Health.

Homemade Health ebook free on kindle

Homemade Health is a collection of home remedies straight from a time, not so long ago, when people went to their garden or kitchen pantry before going to a doctor.

Some tried and true, some quirky, but all based on natural remedies your grandmother knew and most likely used on a regular basis.

* Healing properties of common culinary herbs

* 43 common ailments

* 160+ remedies with recipes

* Common & botanical names

* Harvesting & preserving

* Making herbal remedies at home 



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