Migraine Tincture

Disclaimer:  The instructions I offer here in this post (and in all my posts about herbs and home remedies) are what I use personally at home. Of course the standard disclaimer goes: I am not a doctor and don’t prescribe medicines or herbs, this is just what  we have done here for generations with great results.  


I do occasionally suffer with a Migraine headache. They aren’t as bad as they used to be and I chalk that up to menopause. Yes, the “M” word actually does offer a few benefits.  But I still get them now and then and they really do hurt.  They seem to be worse in the fall and winter so I thought I’d share with you how to make a tincture that will help with these nasty headaches.feverfew tincture

I have used Feverfew for these headaches for over 20 years. I just go outside, pull a leaf off and pop it in my mouth. I bite down on the leaf and though bitter, the oils in the plant usually relieve the pain before it gets started good.

But in the winter when the plant isn’t growing outdoors and my brown thumb rears its ugly head with my indoor herbs, I was out of luck.  And since I’ve been on somewhat of a Tincture Kick lately, I figured, why not?

I don’t particularly like tincture taste, it kind of burns. I could make tinctures with glycerin, but I prefer to use more old fashioned ways so I use vodka or pure grain alcohol or even brandy.  The alcohol pulls the oils from the plants and its the oils that do the trick.

Now, Feverfew is quite bitter. I don’t like it either but I figured if I put some other herbs in the vodka with it, it might taste better. I used Feverfew, Spearmint and Lemon Balm.  Spearmint and Lemon Balm are often used for headache as well as Feverfew.

I mashed equal amounts of the herbs into a half pint jar, covered with vodka let it sit for about 4-6 weeks.  Now its winter time and I have strained the liquid off, put the used herbs in the compost bin and bottled up the liquid in a dropper bottle.

At the first sign of a migraine, which for me is the aura, I’ll start taking the liquid, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time.  I’ll increase the dosage if needed. Many herbalists recommend using 30 drops every 2 hours for an acute attack and 30 drops 2 times a day to prevent migraines.

Feverfew contains a sesquiterpene lactone called parthenolide.  Parthenolide is believed to be the primary active chemical responsible for alleviating both the severity and the frequency of migraine headaches. For more information about how Feverfew works on migraine headaches see the article at Webmd


The picture below shows the kind of dropper bottles I use. That’s elderberry tincture on the plate.

dropper bottles







You can purchase Feverfew, Spearmint and Lemon Balm at Mountain Rose Herbs. I am not an affiliate these are just links for you to use if you like.   They also carry tincture bottles and droppers.



My Homemade Cough Medicine








Here is my homemade cough medicine recipe.  I make a quart jar of this every year and we go through it in about 3 months. It will keep nearly forever at room temperature.  I find that it feels good on a sore throat if it is heated up before administering.

We also take it dissolved in hot tea, its delicious!

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar ( Bragg’s is great)
2 tablespoons honey (local raw honey is best)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add 1/2 tsp if you can stand it, its good for you!)
1 teaspoon grated, fresh ginger. Peel first.
Mix well, store in a tightly covered jar at room temp. Use a teaspoon at a time, as needed, for cough and/or sore throat. It might be too hot for small children so reduce the hot pepper accordingly.

Grammies Garlic Oil

Disclaimer:  The instructions I offer here in this post (and in all my posts about herbs and home remedies) are what I use personally at home. Of course the standard disclaimer goes: I am not a Dr and don’t prescribe medicines or herbs, this is just what we have done here for generations with great results.

garlic oil




I’ve got an ear ache today and since I was out and about I thought I’d stop and get some garlic oil capsules. Then I remembered: I have HOMEMADE Garlic Oil in the frig at home! Yay!

I made it about 2 months ago. Other than someone eating a few cloves, its still there waiting for someone to need it. I sure do today.

Here’s how I made it and how I used it.

Peel enough garlic cloves to fill a half pint glass jar. If you don’t want to peel each one individually, try this:

Real Simple – How To Peel Garlic Cloves Quickly

Your Mileage May Vary.

After you get your half pint jar filled with peeled garlic, heat some olive oil. You’ll need a little less than a cup, a half pint holds one cup and the garlic will displace some of that. Don’t heat the oil to a boil, just get it hot to touch.

Pour the hot oil over the garlic. Let the jar cool to room temperature, put a lid on it and store it in the frig. If you store it at room temperature it will grow mold and junk.

It will be ready to use almost immediately but the longer you let it sit the stronger it gets.

To use it, spoon out a small amount of the now-congealed oil.  Let it melt.  Put about 3 drops in the affected ear followed by a cotton ball.

spoon of oil





I don’t recommend using this on babies or little children unless you’re sure your child won’t be bothered by it. Garlic oil tends to be very warm in the ear. Not burning but if there is inflammation in the ear, it could burn pretty badly when you put it in.

The wonderful thing about Garlic Oil is that it will kill bacteria both in your ear and in the rest of your body. When you feel yourself coming down with something, try taking garlic oil capsules or your homemade oil, about three times a day til you feel better. Or til someone asks if you’ve been eating at an Italian restaurant.





Homekeeping 101

Everyone needs a little help now and then. If you need some information and a bit of instruction on basic homekeeping duties or if you know someone who is newly married or planning on setting up housekeeping, check out my eBook,

“Homekeeping 101″

When printed off, in color, the Homekeeping 101 eBook makes a great gift!

homekeeping 101 print







Often today, women begin homekeeping without the luxury of already having the knowledge they need. They have to learn as they go, a little here and a little there.

Thirty years ago, when I became a wife and started keeping my own home, I was already prepared and had trained for my new career. My Mother and Grandmother taught me with diligence and care all the homemaking skills that I would need for this new era in my life.

Since I can’t come and teach you in person, this eBook will teach you some basic homekeeping skills. –Sylvia

My 21-page ebook covers these topics (and more!):

  • Help with Creating Routines for Cleaning Rooms
  • Cleaning Methods for Rooms
  • Bed-Making Tips and Methods
  • Basic Household Schedules
  • Natural Cleaners
  • Essential Oils: A Primer
  • Deep Cleaning Routines
  • Laundry Primer and Tips
  • Special Laundry Needs: Wool Care & Ironing
  • Caring for Rugs
  • Household Tips
  • Washing Dishes
  • Recipes — Roasting Chicken, Making Stock, Boiling Eggs, Homemade Crackers and more!
  • Tips for Cleanliness


Click here to purchase Homekeeping 101

How To Wash Dishes By Hand

Not sure about how to wash dishes by hand? Here is an easy primer from the CHK Homekeeping 101 eBook to get your started. Almost everyone has washed dishes by hand, but did you know that there is a method you can follow to make it more efficient and easier?   Here’s the method, its what I do ….    dishes
• Scrape all food from the dishes into the trash or other receptacle.
• Rinse off excess food from the dishes.
• Stack the dishes according to kind: plates, glasses, silverware, cups, etc.
• Make two sinks of water–one with soap at the hottest temperature you can stand on your hands, the other with clear, clean water for rinsing. Add a couple of teaspoons of bleach to the rinse water if desired.
• Make a place on a counter for clean dishes, preferably at the opposite side of the sink from the stacks of dirty dishes.
You will wash the least dirty dishes first and then move on to the most soiled ones. This keeps your dish water cleaner as you go.

If you have burned-on food, you may want to soak those pans or dishes while you are washing the others. Even if you don’t have an automatic dishwasher, it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of automatic dishwasher liquid on hand. Pour a little of this detergent on burned on foods and allow to soak. The burned food and carbon comes off very easily. Depending on how burned the food is, you may have to soak it for several hours. At any rate, it beats standing and scrubbing for hours!

Begin by washing plastic ware. Wash well and rinse. Let it sit to dry or towel it dry (children are very handy for the latter!). Next wash the glassware. Use a scotch-brite pad or other small cloth to wash the dishes.

Rub the outside and then the inside of the glass. Be careful not to put your hand so far down in the glass that it breaks. Get most of the bubbles os off the glass before rinsing. Rinse the glass in the rinse water by immersing it several times.

Place the glass on the prepared area and allow it to air dry if you have used bleach. Air drying allows the bleach’s disinfectant properties to kill bacteria. If you have not used bleach, your dishes can be dried immediately.

You may also rinse dishes in hot running water. It’s not possible to disinfect them this way, but it does do a good job of getting rid of streaks and takes away the trouble of refilling the rinse water when it is too soapy.

Next move to the cups, saucers and silverware. Be sure to clean between the tines of the forks well using your scotch-brite or cloth. Rinse as directed above. Wash the plates and serving platters next. Then move to the pans and cooking pans. Ideally, the pots and pans you have cooked in are washed as you are cooking and moving food from them into serving platters. “Clean as you go” is a great way to manage your kitchen.

Having the pots and pans already washed before dinner also gives you a break when it’s time to wash the dishes and you are tired.
If you have cast-iron, be sure to dry them completely before storing them. I like to dry them with a clean towel and then place them on a hot burner on the stove for a few minutes. When they are dry and hot, I rub some shortening into the inside and handle of the pan and continue to heat it for a few minutes. This gives the pan a quick seasoning and keeps it non-stick for longer.

If you have air-dried your dishes, you can put them away whenever they are completely dry. Don’t allow moisture to remain on the dishes though, mold and bacteria can grow. If you are going to towel dry your dishes, use a clean, absorbent, dry towel. Thoroughly dry the dishes and put them in their storage places.

Now wipe down the counter tops and behind the faucet. Use the dish water to clean the sinks. Wash out the sinks after you

scotch brite

let the water out, scrubbing the inside of the sink with your scotch-brite or cloth.

Wash out your cloth or scotch-brite with some bleach and water and place it in a small dish or other receptacle to dry. Dry the counter tops with your dish-drying towel and hang it to dry

The Wisdom To Survive

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees on a ruined place,
Renewing it, enriching it,
If we will make our seasons welcome here,
Asking not too much of earth or heaven.
Then a long time after we are dead
the lives our lives prepare will live here,
Their houses strongly placed upon the valley sides,
Fields and gardens rich in the windows.
The river will run clear,
as we will never know it,
And over it, birdsong like a canopy.
On the levels of the hills will be green meadows,
Stock bells in noon shade.
On the steeps where greed and ignorance cut down the old forest,
An old forest will stand,
Its rich leaf-fall drifting on its roots.
The veins of forgotten springs will have opened.
Families will be singing in the fields.
In their voices they will hear a music risen out of the ground.
They will take nothing from the ground they will not return,
whatever the grief at parting.
Memory, native to this valley,
will spread over it like a grove,
and memory will grow into legend,
legend into song, song into sacrament.
The abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling light.
This is no paradise or dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.
Wendell Berry

Harvest Homekeeping Decorating Idea ~ Votive Holders

This is an old post but I brought it out because these little votive holders are so cute and easy to make!

All you need are some of those little gourds that look like pumpkins, a small sharp knife and a votive candle.


First cut off the top of the gourd. Hold your knife at an angle and cut into the gourd. Its a little tough so be careful.


Once you have the top cut off and the seeds and pulp cleaned out, check to see if you need to trim the inside of the cut out hole so that a votive will fit.


Once you have the top cut off and the seeds and pulp cleaned out, check to see if you need to trim the inside of the cut out hole so that a votive will fit.


You can use a small ice cream or dough scoop to clean the seeds and pulp out of the gourd.


Put your votive in the carved out gourd……


And light the candle. Try grouping several of these little beauties for a warm, inviting harvest table decoration.

You Can Decorate Your Home For Fall – Inexpensively







Do you decorate for Fall?  I do on a small scale. Mostly I use natural items that I find outdoors and things I have on hand. The main idea for Fall decorating is to bring warmth and comfort into your home.  Decorating doesn’t need to be expensive or trendy. The way you decorate should brighten your home and make you smile.








I remember decorating for Fall when I was a new bride. We lived in an apartment and I brought in some pine cones and evergreen twigs I picked up on the sidewalk on my way home from work one day. I placed the  cones and greenery in a wooden bowl and I had instant happiness.








Bring out the afghans!  Fall is the time to bring out fuzzy blankets, afghans and throw rugs. Use deep colors like red, orange and brown, yellow and rust. Tuck a flower arrangement under a desk or table, a small grouping or candles on a bookshelf for some unexpected color and cheer.








Put away all the objects of summer and bring in dried flowers, pine cones, drift wood, dry leaves, apples, berries, dried corn and pumpkins. I love to decorate with natural materials but it can be a beautiful idea to invest in some great looking artificial items to decorate with. Save your decor from year to year and add to your treasures as you can.








Something as simple as red apples in a wooden bowl is a beautiful addition to your holiday decor.








Dollar stores and Thrift stores are good places to look to find leaf shaped dishes, deep red and orange colored plates and candle holders for using in the Autumn.








And speaking of candles, what a wonderful way of adding warmth and beauty to your home, place candles around singly or in groups.







A lovely little candle holder can be made by hollowing out the center of one of those small pumpkin-shaped gourds. Just pop in a votive and you have a sweet little light.








Find some plastic “stained glass window” treatment at your local home store.  Then put some of it on a window that doesn’t have a great view. It will allow light in and warm up the room. Best thing about it: It can be removed and reused!









Look around your home and pull together things that remind you of Autumn. Use those things to decorate and add warmth to your home.  Be cure to check out the yard too for tall grasses, pine cones, pieces of interesting wood and rocks that you can bring in and incorporate into your decor.  An Autumn colored tablecloth can really dress up your dining areas.  To make an inexpensive table cloth, measure your table and purchase the appropriate amount of Autumn themed fabric.  Trim the edges with pinking shears or hem.

Glass containers filled with interesting items make a great decorating element.  Use nuts like walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and acorns to fill different sized containers and then group them for a beautiful Fall arrangement.







This is one of my glass chickens surrounded by a berry wreath. It’s one of my most colorful and favorite Fall decorations.


Add a vine or a base of dried leaves to a pumpkin for an instant centerpiece or consider purchasing handpainted, manufactured pumpkins like these from Piper Classics


Have fun decorating your home for Fall!