Search This Blog

Monday, November 30, 2020

24 Days of Christmas Project

Christmas is going to be a bit weird and different for most of us this year. All the more reason to celebrate and gain some comfort and normalcy and maybe even joy. I’ve decided to try and post something each day from December 1st to the 24th, whether it’s a craft, a recipe, a song, poem or story, or even parts of The Christmas Story itself. Please feel free to jump in with your own comments, crafts, recipes…you name it. Or maybe even start your own 24 Days of Christmas Project. The first post will go up tomorrow.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Personalized Perfume

Back in the spring, when I was reading Better Meals for Less Money, by Mary Green, I came across a recipe for homemade cologne. Well, not exactly a recipe, she just listed the essential oils and their proportions, but I was still intrigued. Would it smell anything like the original cologne from Germany, I wondered? And could it really be that simple?

I finally got my hands on the necessary combination of essential oils and tried it out. Here you are: 

1 part lavender essential oil

1 part bergamot essential oil

1 part sweet orange essential oil

1 part lemon essential oil

I dropped that into the water in my diffuser and let it run. It did smell good, light, clean, and suitable for anybody.

Back in the day that would be added to alcohol (according to Google, triple-filtered vodka works best for this) until it was as strong as you wanted it to be. I used 4 drops of each oil to 100 ml of alcohol and found it smelled good when applied but left no lasting scent. That wouldn’t be a problem if you were using it to splash someone’s temples when they felt faint (the traditional use for cologne) or were suffering from a personal heatwave (it is cooling) but for scenting handkerchiefs (also traditional) you’d need considerably more. I also found the oil kept separating out so you need to give the bottle a good shake before applying.

Other uses? Again, according to Google, people are using essential oils to scent hand sanitizer. The cologne version works well for this. I’ve also experimented with equal parts peppermint oil and grapefruit oil, which is very refreshing. And the addition of the oils makes the sanitizer somewhat less drying. You can mix and match to suit yourself--start with one or two drops and add more as needed. Just be sure the oils you are using are safe on the skin—I understand cinnamon can burn. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Basic Recipe for Biscuits and More

Just finished reading Ontario Teachers’ Manuals: Household Management by Ontario Ministry of Education, published in 1916. Home Ec sure was different back in the day. No mention of sewing, knitting or other handiwork other than as something students could do while waiting for something to cook, but they were learning how to cook complete meals, from bread and soup through to roast and dessert. Also taught were housecleaning, laundry and home nursing. My first years of home ec involved nothing more challenging than making muffins and an apron.

I came across this recipe in the manual for basic biscuits with variations and thought I’d post it. I haven’t yet tried these myself but certainly intend to. At the moment, getting some cookies baked is more pressing.


2 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons fat (butter, lard, or dripping)

About 2/3 cup milk

Like most old recipes, they don’t bother to give any directions as to how to proceed, how to cook, or how much it makes. My guess, based on similar recipes is:

Combine the dry ingredients. Cut in the fat. Stir in the milk. If it’s sticky, drop by spoonfuls, otherwise roll out and cut. A 350° oven is usually a safe bet. You’ll have to keep an eye on things to figure out how long to bake for.



Add 2 tablespoons of sugar after the fat is added.



Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ cup of fruit (currants, raisins, peel, or a mixture of all) after the fat is added.



Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and use one egg and only ½ cup of milk. Beat the egg until light, add to milk, and use this for liquid. Form into round cakes about eight inches in diameter, and cut into quarters.



Add ½ cup of fruit to the scone recipe.



Same as scones but double the amount of fat.



Use the basic recipe, leaving out the fat.



Use the basic recipe to make the dough that encases the fruit.