Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How Textures Inspire Nature's Child

Honored to be a leader of the Etsy Natural Healers Guild; I love how it motivates me to look at the world in a more natural light.  With my son's birthday this week, I can't help but want to look back at his brief life "so far" through his eyes: a child's viewpoint.

Textures are everywhere.  Seen in pictures: a carpet sample, gingerbread dough, egg shells, a stick on a rock, and bubbles.  Childhood is filled with exploration!  Providing different textures for children to explore or simply being in an environment filled with different textures, helps to build a child's understanding of this magnificent world.

In the kitchen, one may discover oozy gooey things, what is malleable, and different tastes and smells.  Examine how foods can change consistency once cooked or frozen: dried pasta to limp noodles, water to ice, eggs fresh to hard boiled, etc.

Off on a hiking trail, one may discover sticks, stones, fossils, exotic flowers, mushrooms, leaves, pinecones, nuts, berries, moss, feathers, and maybe even some tracks left from local wildlife!

Furthermore, learning about the different textures of materials helps to establish a foundation for understanding which materials may be recyclable: i.e. glass, plastic, paper, tin, etc.

Play is learning!  One concept that inspires parents to homeschool, nature's children grasp and perceive the world around them in a way that can't be achieved simply from sitting in a classroom, reading in a book, or reading on the computer.

Even though my main Etsy motivation is the thought that "100% of the profits made from my Etsy store's sales benefit educational funds for my children.", I still recognize the fact that money can't buy an education like what nature provides us.  As a mother, nature motivates me too; possibly how Mother Nature had intended it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Naturally Color Your Cake Frosting with Dried Hibiscus Flowers!

I have always been mesmerized by the beauty of hibiscus flowers. My beloved Grandpa Bill would grow big hibiscus blooms in his garden and I often remember him picking one for me which I would then put in my hair like one of the beautiful Tahitian ladies in the famous Paul Gauguin's paintings. Below is a painting of a hibiscus flower that I found on Etsy that is absolutely stunning!

 In April, I made this brightly colored Barbie doll cake to celebrate the welcoming of my precious baby niece Lydia. I naturally colored the cake frosting with a homemade hibiscus syrup. Isn't the color vibrant?! The recipe is very simple. All I used was about 1/2 - 3/4 of a cup of dried hibiscus flowers; I placed them in a small pot with about 3/4 - 1 cup of water and I added 1/4 cup of sugar. I simmered this "tea" on low for an hour or so until the liquid reduced down to a thicker solution "syrup". While simmering, I made my buttercream frosting which was just a few sticks of softened butter that I blended with powdered sugar (sweeten to taste). Once my hibiscus syrup was ready, I added it to my frosting and I was amazed at how beautifully radiant the color was! It made a dark raspberry pink color...which was almost red!

Here is an example of what your tea will look like below; you can find these dried hibiscus flowers "Organic Hibiscus Tea" in Etsy shop Happy Earth Tea:

Looking for a vintage Barbie doll for a homemade doll cake? I have some here in my Etsy Shop: Vintage Barbie Dolls.

This blog article was written and contributed by Etsy Natural Healers Guild Team Leader Jessica of Eco-Friendly Freckles