I’m an herb collector. My pantry shelves are lined with jars of everything from butcher’s broom and witch hazel to marshmallow root and violet leaf. I buy them in bulk, arguably compulsively. I burn them, drink them, cook with them, bathe in them. I write quick poems & prayers with them. I give them as gifts—as teas, salts, and infusions—packed in amber bottles, weck jars, and muslin bags. And I’ve teamed up with Makr, a new design app for the iPad, to create beautiful labels for my herbal creations! I’m a woman obsessed. When I downloaded the app I spent the whole day designing labels for everything (caramel, pesto, jam, pickles…), menus, place cards, recipes cards, and gift cards & tags. You can even import your own photographs, drawings, and logos. And then they’ll professionally print them for you & send them in the post. Or you can print them at home. It’s basically the best thing ever for creatives that don’t happen to be graphic designers. If it’s a printed thing, you can make it. On Makr. Hence the name. Makr is generously offering a special for Local Milk readers—you can enjoy a free Makr credit and 20% off a print order! Just register with the code LOCMILKFAN and enter the same code at checkout. You can download the Makr app here—and you can check out my project that you see here and customize it to make it your own! So get thee to tea blending & designing! In celebration of making and friends far & near, I’ve created a little virtual tea party here. The recipe for the seer’s tea blend & muffins can both be found after the jump!
I designed this label for a potent herbal blend intended to relax & open the mind. I crafted it to send to some long distance friends. The internet is like that—you find yourself dear friends with people you’ve never seen in the flesh. So what is there to do but mail a package, a small physical interaction in this digital world? If everyone lived near by, I’d have a proper tea party. Well, proper my way. Which is largely improper. Sage would burn, the kettle clarion would sound, and homemade blends would steep in vessels of ceramic and glass while humble muffins baked in the oven. The table would be as it is—strewn with herbs, clippings of budding spring and crystals—smoky quartz and apophyllite, and no doubt my bag of runes would make their way to the table as we sipped lightly honeyed tea out of handmade cups. The simply sacred. The muffins would be eaten decidedly hot, fresh out of the oven. My new oven. My gas oven. Yes, these little rosemary roasted strawberry & buttermilk muffins were the maiden voyage of my new range. You’d think I’d roast a pheasant or something. Nah. Muffins. Wonderfully moist muffins spiked with rosemary and tart, jammy roasted strawberries & vanilla bean to go with my flowering tea.
I actually didn’t have a stove for almost three full months until today when it was finally up and running 100% after a few minor adjustments, and during the dark, ovenless days I took comfort in herbs and their folklore. I’d boil water in the microwave that hulked in my dining room floor and brew tea for friends when they came round or for myself when I’d meditate in front of the fire. We’d sit in the floor and drink. My life was chaos. But I had my herbs. I’m sure whenever anyone renovates anything it’s chaos. Especially when a cook renovates their kitchen. But I don’t bounce back from chaos well—it creeps into my head with strange tentacles. I get disoriented, listless. There seems to be no wall between my internal reality & external, mess in either breeds mess in the other. So, I took to mapping my friends in the stars, reading the synchronicity around me, and making tables of the properties of herbs, both mystical and medicinal. Trust me when I say the damiana & mugwort in this tea are key.
The house fell down around my head over the past three months; the oven, my compass, was missing. No kettle for the morning, no frying egg. No late night biscuits. It was like being so far under water you don’t know which way is up and down. It may sounds like I’m being facetious; I’m not. Cooking is something that has always been a coping mechanism for me. It’s always there for me, even when nothing else is. Cooking isn’t fraught with self loathing & doubt. Cooking is safe. I’m good at it. So I like it. It’s that simple really. Without it, I’m aimless. Things just aren’t the same. I think I lived off of bananas, bread, and candy. It was ugly. But I took respite in blending. It calmed me. My “Seer’s Blend” is for relaxing, for anti-anxiety, for sleep. It’s also for opening the mind, for invoking a multi-dimensional consciousness. For tuning your third eye to the synchronicity. To help you read the poetry of events, signs, and symbols around you. If you wish. Or it can just be for sipping while relaxing with a strawberry muffin. Astral travel is optional.
A reminder that you can make your own labels or find my design (as well as pretty much any other printable you can imagine from gift tags to business cards) on Makr, and they are generously offering a discount for you guys—a free credit and 20% off a print order. Register with the code LOCMILKFAN & enter the same code at checkout. Download the app here if you’re interested!
This was a sponsored post, and I was compensated for my participation. All opinions, stories, and ramblings are, as per usual, my own. Seriously, this app is freaking awesome.