I'm fascinated about the old remedies and concoctions that your great aunt taught you. Do you still dye things? I would be fascinated to learn more about salves, herbal medicines, etc. Those old recipes need to preserved. It reminds me of Joanne Harris books--have you read Blackberry Wine? This was a really fun story to read. Do you have a photograph of how the doll looked with her wings?
Yes, I still do dye things, and as an artist I also use those natural dyes on papers for collages or for mixed media art forms.
Salves...well I haven't made any in several years, but I have been meaning to make some balm, just for dry skin areas. I have to wait for a growing season for that, though, but there are many plants that I can use. I rarely make any medicines, though, but I do have mint tea, and a few other teas when I have the proper plants.
I have not read Blackberry Wine, but now that you mention it, I will try to find some of her books.
No, I have no pictures of the angel doll. It's funny but when we are children, we don't really see the value, and now that I am no longer a child, I do. During the time I was in college, and then through my first years of teaching, I lived in an apartment, and left so many of my childhood things at the home where I grew up. By the time I had a home of my own and brought all those things to live with me, the angel doll was already in pretty bad shape. I do think I could recreate her, though, and might do just that sometime soon. I think Aunt Bett used an old lace curtain for her dress, probably also for her wings, and since the fabric was old to begin with, it did n't have a chance of surviving. Maybe this winter while I am waiting for gardening to begin, I will see if I can possibly turn her back into the angel that she was.
It is so nice to hear from you again. One thing I meant to tell you, most teas and salves are made up of more than one herb. One will be dominant, but there usually will be others included. Teas are the only thing that I ever make that I ingest. But I do make lotions and salves, and sometimes I make things like witch hazel when I remember to gather some during the summer. I don't have a witch hazel tree near me, and have to go to a land reserve to find one. More articles will follow on hair care and perhaps lotions. With those I will add recipes because they are easy to make.
Thanks for writing, I hope you have a good 2009.