Friday, May 14, 2021

Using fresh herbs and a free pattern...

 I'm very much a lover of herbal teas, but the ones I like are those which use herbs fresh from my own garden.

At the moment my teas contain any mix of three types of mint, as well as olive leaf and lemon balm - all nutritious with their own unique healing properties. With the addition of ginger, lemon and raw honey you can make the most delicious herbal brews for any time of the day or night. 

My favourite morning tea is mint and ginger, which I brew in a small Bodum coffee press (it's only used for herbal tea). Mostly I choose spearmint or common mint for this tea because I already have fresh ginger for that extra zing, though sometimes I'll brew a ginger mint tea with just a trickle of honey and a squeeze of lemon.

Mint teas are excellent for the digestion and to quell nausea, and ginger has similar properties with the addition of being an anti-inflammatory. 

Lemon balm, ginger and raw honey is delicious too. Though a member of the mint family, lemon balm tastes quite different with it's lovely citrus flavour, and is wonderful as a calming or bedtime tea to aid sleep and rest. 

 I had never considered olive leaf as a tea until recently, when we learned that the olive tree we planted more than two years ago would probably never yield fruit in our climate. It's a beautiful tree and I love brushing by it's willowy branches on the way from the laundry to the clothesline each day. 

Fresh olive leaves are full of vitamin C and have more antioxidants than green tea! Olive leaf tea is also beneficial for relaxing or easing arthritic pain; reducing bad cholesterol; lowering glucose levels and blood pressure; as a heart tonic; helps fight infection; and stimulates the immune system. 

Once I discovered all this I was thrilled we had planted an olive tree, regardless of whether it ever fruits or not (highly unlikely it will). The thing to remember with olive leaf tea is not to boil it, just let it steep in a pot - the longer the better when it comes to health benefits.

You can add ginger to the leaves while it steeps, lemon balm is good too...or just lemon and honey. You may even prefer it without anything else, just the olive leaves. 

Our garden has so many different herbs, and I use a variety every day in salads, teas, soups, roasted vegetables and even biscuits (cookies). What herbs are you growing and how are you using them?

I finished my linen and Tilda tea cosy last night and am rather pleased with it. Though the colours aren't really my style, that does not detract from the pleasure I gained making it. 

Before sewing the front and back together, and adding a lining, I added running stitch through the appliqued leaves and a line of very light turquoise stem stitch between the green linen and the floral fabric. A little loop at the top for lifting off and on the pot, and binding along the bottom edge were the final touches.

I made this for a tall white tea pot we often use when Blossom and the children are here because Cully May and Rafaella 'always' ask for a second cup of tea and this way we don't run out. 

Thought I'd show you another tea cosy I made many years back for Australian Homespun Magazine. They asked me to design a 2-part project which would run in consecutive issues of the magazine and I immediately thought of a tea cosy and matching tea cupboard.

This tea cosy ties up at the sides which makes it easy to use on different sized tea pots. The front and back of the cosy have the same design. 

This is the matching tea cupboard, something I thought would make a great gift for a tea-lover...

When you open it up there are embroidered pockets to hold tea bags for all types of tea.

I haven't released this pattern for many years but if you're interested just let me know in the comments and I'll pop it in my Etsy Shop. 
Or if you have a collection of old Australian Homespun Magazines you'll find the patterns inside the March and April 2011 issues. 

At the time, here on my blog, I shared a free pattern to make a set of matching coasters, so I thought I may do that again! 
These are cute and quite simple to sew with a bit of applique, hand embroidery and quilt binding to finish...

Use the link below to download the pattern.

Hoped you enjoyed a little wander along Tea Lane this week. I could wax lyrical about tea for months and share so much with you, but as you are probably aware, tea is not everyone's cup of tea! Later in the year I'll switch the topic to coffee, another beverage I enjoy, though these days it's decaffeinated beans that we buy for our coffee machine as we've found our hearts do much better with it. 

I've one final token of tea week to show you...this cute little tea-cup needle-minder!

I found it on Etsy when I searched for one 'just out of curiosity' and was thrilled to find it right here in Australia (not always easy as most things I like are overseas). 
The shop owner, Donna of Designs by D and M, posted it off to me immediately so I received it in time to show you this week. If you're an Aussie who likes cute magnetic needle-minders just pop over HERE to her shop for a browse. 

And that stitchery you can see a peek of? I am remaking a very old block of the month from 2013 for next year, but every block has been altered and I've included applique this time 'round cause you know I'm rather fond of applique in everything. This version is much prettier in my opinion, and I'm using scraps from my Tilda stash too. But more about this in a few months. 

This weekend I'll keep stitching those blocks, plus continue with my Hydrangea blanket which is coming along very nicely now. I've just begun the second repeat of colours...

Next week I shall finally have a Q & A post because I get so many questions and it's much easier to answer in one post than scattered through many. Bless you all and may your own weekend be relaxing, fun, brimming with kindness and friendship, and of course - overflowing with the everlasting love of God. 


PS: I apologise for all the unanswered emails over the past couple of weeks...time got away from me and my family must take precedence, which I know you understand. xx


Lin said...

I am very much a coffee girl but I do enjoy a big mug of lemon and ginger in the afternoons - I must try adding a sprig of mint! My herbs are farly basic - I do love lemon thyme which gets used a lot and we have an enormous bay tree so bay leaves are often used. The tean cosy looks great. xx

Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
This tea week went fast ! Lots of fun stuff ! Thanks :)
Your first photo with all the herbs would make a great poster/card for the kitchen.
Mint and ginger is a favourite, especially after the evening meal.
Olive leaf tea..that's a new one. Thanks for the tip.
Your Tilda green tea cozy looks great :)
Enjoy your colourful creative weekend with family
hugs, take care,

Tammy said...

Good morning what a lovely post for you today. I love herbal tea made from my herbs as well. I have mint, anise hyssop...which I love the anise hyssop it is my favorite to use, lemon balm, sage , thyme rosemary even at times goes into the tea as it is antibacterial properties.. Sorry not to post much of late as my Momma had surgery and I am at her house taking care of her. I am enjoying tea week immensely. Love your needle minder also...

Águeda said...

Thank you for sharing so much wisdom about tea. Your teapot is beautiful. A hug.

Carol in Texas said...

Jenny, please tell me how you use your herbs in making tea. Do you bring them in fresh from the garden, rinse them and put them into the teapot to steep after adding boiling water? I love tea but have always just purchased tea bags. Carol in Texas

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Carol, yes, just as you said. Pick the leaves, rinse quickly under cold water, then pop in the pot with boiling water to steep.

Anita said...

I would love to see the pattern for the tea cupboard in your Etsy shop. Thank you. And thank you for all your generosity in sharing your free patterns. The etiquette of high tea was very interesting as was the video you shared. God bless and keep you.

Unknown said...

Hello Jenny, Your little matching tea cupboard is simply exquisite! You have such a talent for making the most beautiful and practical things I have ever seen! I would L*O*V*E* to purchase the tea cupboard pattern if you would be so kind as to put it into your shop! I really enjoyed your explanation of high tea, and I always feel such gratitude whenever I receive a new blog from you. I can't say how much I love all your work, especially your letters to your fans! Thank you so much for all you do, and God Bless You with such happiness as ever He has given to anyone! Please do not retire or stop writing. You are such an inspiration to us all.

Ondrea said...

I used to grow lots of herbs and make my own tea but haven't done so for many years. Your tea cosey is lovely and the girls must feel very special with the tea times you have together. The crochet is coming along beautifully and the colours are so lovely together. Very cheery.

Lorrie said...

I love my little herb garden and use herbs frequently in my cooking. I drink lemon balm and mint teas frequently. Just this week I picked lots of oregano and thyme to dry for the winter. Our rosemary bush is huge and I use it fresh year round, especially with roast chicken, or when I bake focaccia bread.
Tea is what I drink every morning, never coffee as it doesn't agree with me. Have a blessed weekend, Jenny.

Lorrie said...

Oops, the Jenny slipped out - Have a blessed weekend, Jennifer!

Annabel said...

Jenny your Hydrangea blanket is divine! And Im in love with the little needle minder. It is like jewellery for sewing. I really believe in the goodness of Olive Leaf Extract. So Olive leaves are wonderful and I never knew this until the last few years. You can make an extract in the same way as you would vanilla extract. I am just finishing a crochet blanket. It was all one colour for my Grandson. I am thinking to do a Hydrangea one but in colours I have which would be kind of shabby chic colours. It could work! xxx

Winifred said...

Just picked some lemon balm to make some tea and thought I'd check it out about the benefits. Sadly I've discovered it's not good for you if you have an underactive thyroid! Typical!!!!!

Now I'd better check the olive leaves, just repotted my little olive tree so hope it's OK or I'll just have to stick to lemon & ginger which is lovely.

diana said...

Oh my goodness I had never heard of a needle minder! How wonderful because I never put mine in the same place❤️

Susan said...

Miss Jennifer, you never owe me an answer to anything, and should never feel guilty over not getting to me. Friends stay friends, whatever else is going on. I was so interested to read about the olive leaves. We don't have a tree now, but they grow happily in the desert and I think I will have to plant one! I make my own herbal teas, too! Another common ground. =) I use a lot of lemon grass, because it's easily available here and nicely lemony. And spearmint is my favorite mint. Right now, I just have a fairly large rosemary plant growing. It seems to be happy here, and comes back yearly, snow and freezes or not. The blanket looks so cheery, and I can just imagine all you sweet girls using your tea cozy and the wonderful tea pot.

Brenda H said...

I have only used homegrown mint for tea-and I dried the leaves before using. So many of you mention using herbs from your gardens, and I’m wondering if you use fresh leaves? Please advise as to this process. Also, you mentioned the ingredients for chai (maybe in the newsletter?). Do you have any suggestion for a starting amount of ingredients? I would like to try making my own, but have no idea of how much to use of each ingredient. Thanks so much. I enjoy all your writings and your patterns. I have blessed several friends with gifts of my finished embroidery projects.

Jenny of Elefantz said...

Hi Brenda,
I use the herbs freshly picked, never dried...though I may try drying some for storage.
For the chai tea you only need a small amount of each spice. A couple of cloves, 2" piece of cinnamon, one star anise, a thin sliver of ginger, seeds from one cardamom pod.

Unknown said...

I also would love the pattern for the tea cupboard. Please add it back to your store.