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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Elderberry Syrup with Vanilla and Cloves. Recipe for Immune System Boost!

elderberry syrup recipe

I decided to make a small batch to test a new recipe for elderberry syrup. It turned out great. I spiced it with a hint of cloves and vanilla, and now we have a super potent, completely natural immune booster to protect us from the flu and colds this season. I pour a little bit in a glass and fill it up with sparkling water for a refreshing dinner libation. 
Here's the recipe:


400 grams (14 oz) elderberries, cleaned from twigs
1/2 apple
1 dl (1/2 shy cup) water
3 cloves
1.2 dl (1/2 cup) sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix berries, apples (cut into large chunks), water and cloves in a sauce pan. Slowly bring to a boil and let it simmer for 20 min.

elderberry syrup recipe

When the berries have released their liquids, pour the mixture into a juice strainer positioned over a pot, or a strainer covered in a couple of layers of cheese cloth. Let it sit for a few hours. Do not push on the berries - let gravity do the work.

elderberry syrup recipe

Pour the juice back into the sauce pan, add sugar and lemon juice and let the syrup come to a boil. Make sure that all the sugar is dissolved and discard the foam (if any) on top of the syrup. Add vanilla and stir.

Pour into perfectly clean and dry bottles and seal. You can also let the syrup cool, pour it into a container, and freeze it. Depending on how much sugar you use, you can freeze in ice cube trays and use as needed. If you use a lot of sugar the mixture will not freeze. If you want the syrup to last longer, use a larger amount of sugar.

Voila, and enjoy!

Also, check out my Etsy shop if you fancy:

Friday, October 23, 2015


ripe elderberry mexicana

  Coming back from work today, tired after a week of stretching the limits of what I am physically really able to able to, I realized that I needed to go out and pick something. Harvest. 

Every summer I take Lilian with me and spend one whole month in Sweden. I was born and raised on the west coast of Sweden and it was only 14 years ago that I moved here, to Oakland, California. Being able to go back and visit is an absolute necessity for me. There is such a stark contrast between the life I live here and that month that we spend with family in the forest, in the ocean, on the smooth granite rocks or in the comfort of my moms house and garden, eating all of the edibitities that it has to offer! 

One of my favorite things to do there is harvest. I find it to be extremely soothing, meditative and generally therapeutic. I'll harvest anything: blueberries, lingonberries, currants, chanterelles, porcini. I'll pull up potatoes or carrots, and I feel like the fumes I've been running on for the past few months are replaced with fresh, truly green and all around organic fuel.

So, I pick Lilian up from school and we go to see if there are still Elderberries out there to be picked. It turns out that still, late in October, elderberries are hanging from the branches of the Sambucus Mexicana - The Mexican Elderberry tree.

ripe elderberry mexicana

 Mexican Elderberry grows everywhere in the Bay Area. Coming from Sweden I was used to ripe Elderberries being black and shiny, but the Mexican Elderberry  has a light blue frosted appearance when fully ripe. And you do want to make sure you pick them ripe, if you intend to eat them. All of the parts of the elderberry trees are poisonous except for the flowers and the ripe berries. You will not die from eating unripe berries, but it might cause you a severe stomach ache.

Elderberries have a natural strong antiviral effect, among numerous other benefits. When the flu comes around this year, we are armed to the teeth! I store my elderberries away in the freezer, take them out as needed and make a delicious syrup out of them. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Velvet Acorns

velvet acorns

One day, a few months ago, I was cruising along in my neighborhood when I noticed a beautiful European Oak tree with large bountiful acorns hanging from the branches. I filed this memory away until a couple of days ago, when I had an idea. 

acorn caps

I have a craft fair coming up. For several years now I have been making velvet pumpkins with real stems. I remembered the oak tree, and realized that by now, the acorns might have fallen, and with them their beautiful caps.

velvet acorns

 In addition to my velvet pumpkins this year, I will be selling these little gems: velvet acorns with real acorn caps. 

Peep into my etsy shop:

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


natural dye wrap

For a long, long time I have been thinking about making scarves and wraps. Having had a lot on my plate for the past few years, the idea was put on the back burner, but resurfaced this past spring when I found myself with just a little bit of extra money. I decided to get some high quality, light weight organic cotton fabric and started experimenting with natural dyes. This is the result so far! I have found three colorways and three sizes that work for me. I love the chemistry part of the process, and the fact that they all come out a little bit different.

natural dye indigo scarf
This is my large size scarf, dyed with natural organic indigo.

natural dye cotton wrap madder cebracho cochineal
The salmon color, dyed with a mixture of organic madder, cebracho and cocineal.

natural dye cotton wrap logwood

...and the purple color, dyed with organic logwood

Here's a link to my Etsy shop:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Autumn Birds

yarn birds

It's october 12, and it's HOT here in Oakland. I've been home today, and will be, every Monday, from now on so that I can work on my Etsy Shop and all of the things that I really want to do. I'm sitting here in my little apartment up in the trees, on the second floor, spying on the squirrels hurrying up and down, back and forth, to gather as many acorns as they possibly can, only to bury them in my flower pots and forget about them.

Somehow, in this October heat that we call "Indian Summer", I am supposed to muster up some Autumn-feelings. Get in the mood for the season. I've been lighting candles at night, planning my daughters Halloween costume and yesterday we went to a pumpkin patch. I'm still waiting for the triggers to trigger and inspire me, but in the meantime my little yarn bird friends do their part from their home on my wall.