Welcome to Lydia McCauley's Garden of Simples Blog

The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get from it, but what they become by it. - John Ruskin

Lydia McCauley and Kurt Scherer are owners of STONEHOUSE ARTIFACTS, offering Treasures from Colonial India. Online Here.

Our shop is located in Bellingham, Washington. We welcome you to come and visit our small estate, enjoy the grounds and share a cup of Chai.

Friday, May 23, 2014


Use the Coupon Code:  Memorial2014  at checkout.

You must use the code to get the discount!

Sale ends Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

Remember the Coupon Code:  Memorial2014  when you checkout.

~~~ Happy Memorial Day ~~~

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Cottonwoods have started to blow.  It's time.

Painting by Herbert James Draper, 1897, Private Collection

Gather ye roses while ye may
Old time is still a flying
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying

(From a poem by Robert Herrick)

Rosa Rugosas at our home, StoneHouse.

You'll need a ceramic bowl.  I'm using a Wedgwood Ironstone Soup Tureen form the 19th C.

Pick flower petals from the bush and place them in the bowl.

Grand-dog Jackson is wondering what we are doing.

The Hansa Variety of Rosa Rugosa has a double flower.  
I think it is the strongest rose scent and works so well with this recipe.
You may use any older variety of rose for this potpourri.    

You'll need some coarse ground salt.  Any type will do.

Sprinkle the rose petals with 1/4 inch layer of salt.

Find a plate, or a few small saucers to use for weight on top of the petals.
I'm using willow ware saucers from Japan.

Gather more rose petals daily and add them to the bowl.  Remember to add a salt layer each time.  
Keep layering petals and salt until your bowl is filled up.
Use the plates to weight the layers.
Cover the bowl.

In a few days you'll notice that the petals will give off liquid.  No problem.
Just let the petals, salt, and liquid settle.
If in a few weeks you have lots of liquid, then pour it into a small bottle.  
This may be used in your bath. 

After about four to six weeks your potpourri will begin to dry out.
 The salt will hold the beautiful scent of the rose.

This very old recipe for potpourri gives a gentle, natural scent all year long.

I'm keeping my potpourri in the library, on top of the piano.  
I'll be able to stop and smell the roses every day. 
 : )

How To Make Cottonwood Oil, Part II

Cottonwood Oil Infusion

It's time to strain the cottonwood oil!  

It's been six weeks and the apple blossoms are on the trees.

Find a good strainer, a nice large bowl, and pour out the cottonwood pods along with the oil.  

Stir the pods and leave them in the strainer for a while.

Pour the delicious scented oil into a jar and cover.

Your oil is now ready to use.  It can last up to several years if it is tightly closed in a jar.

The longer I keep my Cottonwood Oil, the richer it smells.

Each year has it's own particular scent.

Cottonwood Lotion is available at Garden of Simples Shop.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman
Leaves of Lily
Leaves of Lilac

So nice to have leaves returning in the month of May.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

StoneHouse Artifacts - Treasures from Colonial India
Opening Summer 2014 in Bellingham, Washington

Here's what's going on in the shop.  Kurt has just started hanging the drywall.  I always enjoy seeing the skeleton of a new project.  It will be covered over within a few days.

Morning walk around the estate - couldn't get any greener.  The tipi poles await their cover.  Lilacs are happy at meadow's edge.

Have a look at some of the items we will be offering at the shop.