Thursday, December 24, 2015

Twas the Night Before Christmas!

This vintage book The Night Before Christmas and other Christmas Poems was from our mother's collection of holiday decor. Published in New York by Barse & Hopkins Publishers, there is no date noted within the book. Although at one point it must have gotten wet as it shows water damage, it is still a little cutie and a treasured keepsake.

 As the poem goes, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. We featured these adorable candy mice at a holiday tea earlier this month. Easy to make, simply dip a stemmed maraschino cherry in melted semi-sweet chocolate and place on a tray with the stem (tail) pointing upward. Add a Hershey's chocolate kiss for the face, and tuck two sliced almonds between the kiss and the cherry for ears. A little melted white chocolate is added for the eyes. Perfect for a Night Before Christmas tea party!

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. (One of the several illustrations by Hugo Von Hofsten found in the book.)

Off to bed! It's a big day in the morrow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Take Joy!

I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take. 
No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven.
           No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace.

       The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy. Take Joy.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you, with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.                             Fra Giovanni, A.D.1513

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gingerbread House - sans candy

One of the mom's got in on the Gingerbread House action this year and created this naturalistic woodland cottage. 
Using sliced mushrooms on the roof and filling in with beans and coriander seeds, bay leaves, fennel seeds and quinoa, she created a magical place where pixies and forest elves might inhabit.
It is its own natural wonderland cottage.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Gingerbread Houses

Our good friends host an Annual Gingerbread Decorating day which Angelica and Cedar look forward to with great anticipation. The kids are older now and work with lots of concentration and create houses with some amazing detail.

Years ago it was an event with 3 or 4 participants. Now with exchange students and friends this has grown to quite a production of 10+ houses! All crafted with homemade gingerbread.

The end results are quite beautiful, tantalizingly fragrant and definitely yummy.

The Foreign Exchange student is from Germany. His candy house included the German flag on one side and USA spelled out in crackers on the other side.
Cedar made an "unhouse" using gingerbread scraps and lots of tootsie rolls to make a wintry military scene in amazing detail.
It wasn't all hard work. There was lots of fun too!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Crafting with Greens!

We've had several holiday workshops over the past few weeks that have involved crafting with fresh winter greens. A tree shaped door hanging was the first creative class held in early December. Our handy-man, Mr. Ron, cut out wooden tree shaped bases to arrange a beautiful variety of fresh and fragrant greens to create a pretty tree hanging.

At the next holiday workshop, our crafters created a small table arrangement tucking pine cones and fresh greens into a sweet little basket. The tea room was quite fragrant this afternoon, and a lovely array of arrangements graced the tables as we served a Holiday Tea after the craft was completed. We simply lifted up the plastic covering and whisked away the residual snippets of greens, and set the tables to enjoy tea.

The final holiday workshop for the season involved creating a free-standing table top tree using fresh boxwood, juniper, cedar, and other fragrant greens tucked into oasis. Tiny ornaments were added to the tree for a touch of color. Everyone went home with an instant fragrant decoration, suitable for use indoors or out that will last through the holiday season.

And these events were held in the tea room, you ask? Well, yes, call us crazy! It gets too dark too early to craft outside in December! Yikes! Some ideas sound better on paper!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

Herewith are some holiday shopping ideas as suggested by Molly Sams, our thoughtful and enthusiastic intern:
Interning at The Rosemary House can be dangerous. There are always clever, adorable, and functional products that make it easier to incorporate herb
s into your everyday life. So for me, a novice herbie, it is almost impossible to leave empty handed. And I know I am not the only one!

So if you’re stumped about what to get your earth-loving 20 something cousin, your mother-in-law, or grandmother here are a few ideas.

Perfect for the master chef or the freshman in college, Roastmary has been a part of The Rosemary House since it began. It is a wonderful way to spice up any holiday dish or make your barbeque truly memorable when the warm weather returns.

If you have ever been to Nancy Reppert’s Tea House, Sweet Remembrances, you will remember the scones she made that seemed to be created out of sheer perfection. Well now you can have them at home! Using her recipe book you can recreate all of your favorite dishes and amaze your guests.

This potent little pack of tea may be just what you (and everyone on your list) will need after the holiday season. It is jam packed with herbs that help you relax and unwind after watching your children, grandchildren, or niece and nephew rip apart their presents like wild jackals. The mixture contains passionflower, skullcap, and plenty of other wonderful herbs to help you drift off to sleep.

I’ve noticed some in my generation have begun to enjoy this colonial favorite for its all natural ingredients and fruity flavor. Shrubs are delicious vinegar based drinks that are often added to carbonated water. Another name being haymaker’s punch, shrubs can be a wonderful thirst quencher that has plenty of vitamins and other benefits from the fruits they are made from. Shrubs make the perfect gift for those who are moving to their first apartment or want to explore their culinary inspirations.

Carpet Stuff can be a fantastic way to spruce up a room before company or the first step to spring-cleaning. By sprinkling the powder on your rug and letting it sit for about 20 minutes before vacuuming you can have a fresh smelling home. This can be perfect for a freshman in college who is moving into the dorm room or someone moving abroad who will miss the smell of home.

And a gift certificate, of course!

If you’re still stuck, give the gift of options! A gift certificate to the shop can be a great way of saying, “let your creativity run free!” It gives them the opportunity to buy that book they’ve always wanted, try that DIY syrup, or have a spice haul so big it would make Mrs. McCormick blush.

Happy Gift Giving!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Pennsylvania Senator Visits The Rosemary House

Pennsylvania State Senator Pat Vance recently came to The Rosemary House to film the "Vance Report". She features shops, museums and other unique places to visit within her District. The Senator represents the 31st District which includes Cumberland and York County. The Rosemary House is located in Mechanicsburg, PA in Cumberland County. We were pleased to be one of the businesses recently featured in The Vance Report. Susanna chatted with Senator Vance about the shop, the gardens and some of the special events we hold here. The video, about 15 minutes in length, captures a beautiful glimpse into The Rosemary House. 

To watch the video, follow this link.

Screen shots from the video show Susanna and Senator Vance spending a few moments in the spa section of the shop (above) and in the fairy corner (left). 

There was also a quick stroll in the garden where Susanna spoke about the herb Rosemary, of course! Thank you, Senator Vance for sharing your experience at The Rosemary House!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Deck the Halls! Tree Workshop

One of our first Holiday Workshops of the season featured these unique tree arrangements made with a variety of fresh greens to be displayed on your front door or your mantle. 

In advance preparation for the class, we prepared a thin plywood board tree and covered the front with chicken wire. We also spray painted the base.
We gave everyone some white pine and Douglas fir greens to start a good base. You simple take 3 inch pieces of the conditioned greens and tuck them into the chicken wire. The fragrance in the tea room tonight was holiday delicious!
We always love how everyone's craft takes on a different look, even when supplied with the same materials. The tree on the left has all the white pine facing up. The tree on the right faced all the white pine facing down. Either is correct, simply personal preference. The important part is to be consistent with the direction you choose.
Hard at work in the tea room.  We are grateful Nancy lets us use this space for such messy work!

Just keep working in the greens.  We also used juniper, cypress, Japanese Holly, yew, boxwood, umbrella pine, scotch pine and other fragrant greens.

For a finishing touch, we added some red rose hips, a wee bit of statice and a touch of glittery ornaments.

A great decoration ready to hang outside. Be sure to save the wooden tree frame and reuse it for years!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Annual Holiday Tea

The holiday season for The Rosemary House and Sweet Remembraces kicks off the day after Thanksgiving with our first Holiday Tea. The tables are festive in red and green, the gift shop and the tea room have been decorated, and our favorite seasonal teas (Snowflake and Nutcracker Sweet) are back!

Snowflake is a delicious combination of loose leaf black tea with almond, coconut, and cinnamon bits. Perfect for frosty winter nights. Nutcracker Sweet is a favorite holiday blend this time of year and highlights apple, cranberry, almond and cinnamon in a black tea base. Once everyone has a warm cup of tea at their table, Afternoon Tea service begins.
Our Holiday Tea began with an Apple Cranberry Salad that included Romaine lettuce, fresh apple pieces, Craisins, toasted almonds, Romano cheese and a homemade dressing with fresh cranberries.

The selection of Afternoon Tea sandwiches included a Raspberry, Brie & Walnut in Phyllo Shell, Cranberry Maple Spread on Honey Wheat Bread with a petite tree as topper, Melted Brie & Green Apple Crostini, Cucumber & Radish Sandwich with Burnet Butter, Blue Cheese & Asparagus Rollup, and Cranberry Chicken Salad on White Bread.

Our scones are baking while the guests enjoy their tea sandwiches. The scones are served piping hot and fresh from the oven. The selection for the holiday tea included Traditional English Cream Scones and Cinnamon Chip Scones served with Sweet Cream, Strawberry Butter and Lemon Curd alongside fresh fruit.
The dessert medley included Chocolate Cheesecake, Peppermint Meltaways, and a Cranberry Glazed Cupcake.