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Monday, October 22, 2012

A New Chapter! And Farewell My Friends!

Good morning, All!  This will be the last post of the StarDragonfly Herbals Blog!.  I have thought long and hard about this decision.....honestly, I do not seem to have the time to devote to blogging.  I am sad.  I really enjoyed blogging!  And I loved all the comments that I received from readers.

I did not want to just disappear from the blogging world.  I wanted to say "Farewell!"  Closure is good.  And for me and mine this closure is very good.  As most of StarDragonfly Herbals readers know, I opened StarDragonfly Herb Company (a brick and mortar establishment) in June.  And like the herbs we sell, the store is growing and blooming and seeding and doing all the planty things it should be doing!  And I love it!  I was only going to be open 4 days a week, well, that has grown into 5 days a week.  The hours fluctuate with events that are happening in the small town of Winnsboro, Texas.  So, sometimes the days are very long and busy!  Which is awesome.

Farmer's Market Flowers
at the front desk with
the organic chocolate and
organic suckers!
In fact, a nice lady named Ann has agreed to be my apprentice!  I took a very nice photo of her, but the camera is sitting on my desk.....which is about 20 miles away.  So watch for Ann's photo on StarDragonfly Herb Companies FACEBOOK page.

That brings me to FACEBOOK.  This is what I have been doing.  Every morning I put a photo and blurb about herbs or products in the store or just an inspirational saying in a post.  I have found that this is mini-blogging!  It is fun!  And it helps those following me know what I do and have at StarDragonfly Herb Company!  So please, LIKE StarDragonfly Herb Company on FACEBOOK!  The link is at the top right of the blog.  Oh, I bring that up because I hear this quite often.  "Well, just what does she have in that store?"

And what do we have at StarDragonfly Herb Company?  Lots of wonderful herbs and herbal products!  Let me see if I can give you some examples!

  • Bulk Herbs, medicinal and culinary
  • Spices, common and exotic!  (We have wonderful         Vanilla beans!)

Agatha posing with
Delta Aromatherapy Candles
Vanilla and Lavender.

  • Candles, Delta (which is owned by Cousin Sandra's daughter) and Native Naturals which are local
  • Organic chocolate bars and the absolute best Organic Hot Chocolate mix.
  • Aprons and Tea Cozies from Glynda, The Cozy Kitchen.
  • Red Oak Botanicals (room sprays, creams and salves, lip balm)
  • Time To Thyme Herbals (laundry soap kits, beads, herbal medicines, salves creams, sachets and more)
  • Sister Susan's Face Creams for Cowgirls and Country Girls and my magic salves.
  • Fresh Granola
  • Fresh "Free-range" Eggs from Happy Chickens
  • The Essential Herbal Magazine
Christie, one of the shop "cats"
  • Herbal Tea Samplers-makes a great gift or these samplers are a wonderful way to star drinking herbal tea.  Sometimes it is just so hard to make a decision on which delicious tea to purchase!
  • Herbal lye soaps from Native Naturals.
  • DVD's on the Edible, Medicinal and Utilitarian plants of Northeast Texas!  Awesome videos!  At a great price!  
  • Pan Flute CD by David
  • CD that is a pdf file of the 100 top medicinal herbs.  Great reference.
And so much more!  There is always a fresh pot of herbal tea brewed, so please feel free to stop by for a cup of tea and a chat.  I will even get out the good china!

So, now I am going to officially say "Farewell, Dear Blog Friend!"  If you are local please stop by the store and if you are not, well, next time you are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Winnsboro is about 2 hours southeast of Dallas.  Would love to share a cup of tea with you!  Stay well and please, contact me by email or phone (903-588-4313) if you have any questions.  Will try to help you to the best of my ability!  Herbally, Susan

"I guess it's going to have to hurt, I guess I'm going to have to cry.  And let go of somethings I've loved to get to the other side.
I guess it's going to break me down, like fallin' when you try to fly.
Sad but sometimes moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye."
Carrie Underwood

Sunday, September 30, 2012

No Tea Cozy? Herbal Gift class and a Critter with Good Taste!

Beautiful Tea Cozy!
Photo by
Good afternoon, All!    My theme for the day is tea cozies.  Why?  I was just curious about the whole concept of tea cozies.  They are so English to me.  (Well, and with a last name like Thames, you might understand the fascination with anything British!)

Tea cozies rate right up there with scones, shortbread cookies, and Agatha Christie.  And believe it or not, I do not have a single tea cozy in my kitchen!  I had read the entire Agatha Christie series by the time I was 13.  When I was a kid, I insisted on English riding lessons.  (Yikes, there is nothing to hold onto on that saddle! For me riding a horse with a western saddle is a much safer option!)

Cousin Sandra and I have at least 10 teapots and dozens of mismatched tea cups  and saucers.  I have consumed my share (and more probably) of scones and shortbread cookies.  I have a pair of Wellies, (though in Texas they are just considered "those
Love this Pumpkin Tea Cozy!
Photo by
old green dairy boots"), and I have watched most of the British mysteries on Netflix at least twice.

My herb shop is filled with English antiques, I drink a cup of tea at 4 o'clock daily (with a shortbread cookie or a scone and I wonder why I had  to give my apron maker all my old jeans!), I faithfully read Victoria magazine, but I do not own a tea cozy!  I even have Tea Cozies in my herb shop!  I use one daily when I make herbal tea for customers.....but I don't have one at home.  I wonder why?

Okay, enough of that!  Let's learn something about tea cozies!

You would think that the history of the tea cozy would have started in the 1660's when tea was introduced to Britain, but no, it didn't start then.  And how come the Chinese or Indian tea drinker didn't mention using a tea cozy to keep their tea warm?  Or did they?  And I am just missing this fact.  The lovely Duchess of Bedford was probably the one that got tea cozy use
Anna Marie Russell
Duchess of Bedford
Sept. 3, 1783-July 3, 1857
Photo from
started in England.  (Okay, let's give credit where credit is due!)  The cook or ladies maid that snuck the tea and goodies up to the Duchess's room probably invented some sort of cover for the tea pot because the Duchess and her gal pals got to gabbing and their tea would get cold.  And tea was very expensive at that time.  And the Duke probably got terrible upset if said gabby ladies didn't drink their tea while it was still hot! Red faced, he stomped up and down the lady's chamber, muttering, "After all, Anna, do you think I am made out of money!"  Oops, sorry!

Okay, the tea cozy became popular during the late 19th century because the Victorians  had an obsession of decorating and covering objects? This info is from Wikipedia.

Well, I had some lovely photos of The Cozy Kitchen's Tea Cozies that are for sale at StarDragonfly Herb Shop.  But, wouldn't you know, the camera is sitting on my desk, in the store, 20 miles away.  So, for those of you who follow me on FACEBOOK, well, watch for tea cozy photos this week!


I love this one!

Photo from


Introduction to Basic Herbalism series
Class 1 Creating Herbal Gifts!

Thursday evening, October 11, 2012, 7-8:30 pm
Tuesday, morning, October 18, 2012 10 - Noon

$35.00 per person

This will be the first class of the Introduction to Basic Herbalism series!  And what a great way to get started!
I want this one!
photo from

  • Learn fun ways to incorporate herbs into gifts for family and friends!
  • Learn the medicinal value of herbs that are in the products you will be creating.
  • Receive handouts and recipes!
  • Share your experiences with other class members!
  • Start building your vocabulary of Herbal Medicinal Properties.
  • Students will receive 10% discount on "StarDragonfly" products on day of class.
Class size will be limited, so please call or email to reserve your spot at the herbal work table!

StarDragonfly Herb Company
"The Little Herb Shop on Elm Street"
Winnsboro, Texas

Time to close and do something besides sit in front of the computer!  I think I will make myself a pot of tea (and use a tea towel as my cozy, drat!), grab a cookie, dust off a copy of Agatha Christie and snuggle in for the rest of the afternoon.  That is to say until I have to put on my Wellies and do chores!  Sure wish you were here!  Herbally, Susan

"Under certain circumstances there are few hours more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."

-  Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Photo from

Monday, September 24, 2012

It is almost Thyme for the "Herb" Mysteries Book Club!

Thyme of Death
by Susan W. Albert
This is the first book the
"Herb" Mysteries Book Club
will read!
photo by www.gflibrary.com
Good morning, All!

The "Herb" Mysteries Book Club
Introductory Meeting
Thursday, September 27, 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Join us for a fun evening of herbies and cozy mystery fans, getting together to read the Susan W. Albert, China Bayles Mystery series.  These herbal mysteries are easy and fun reading. China Bayles is a fictional herbalist who owns and operates, Thyme and Seasons, an herb shop in Texas.  Each book contains lots of herbal information and some recipes.  This first meeting will be FREE and please, bring your favorite herbal snack to share with the group.

Sip herbal tea while enjoying this introduction to The "Herb" Mysteries Book Club.  We will be learning about the series, and planning future club meetings.

This Group will meet on the last Thursday of each month at 7:00 - 8:30 pm.

Meeting place:  StarDragonfly Herb Company
"The Little Herb Shop on Elm Street!"
Winnsboro, Texas

Susan W. Albert
photo from www.blogbooktours.com
For more information, please contact:
Susan Thames

If you would like to learn more about Susan W. Albert and her other mystery series, check out her website www.abouthyme.com and subscribe to her e-letters.

The Winnsboro Farmer's Market will be on Market Street all Saturdays in October!

StarDragonfly Herb Company will be open at 8:00 am on Saturday mornings in October!  So, when you are shopping the Farmers Market, just come on across Elm Street and have a cup of herbal tea and say "Hello!"  Will be looking forward to seeing everyone from the market!  

There will be a Farmers Market Bingo game going on during the month of October!  SDHC will have a space on the card!  Make "The Little Herb Shop on Elm Street!" one of your stops!  And there will be a sale on all bulk herbal teas for Bingo participants! 
Winnsboro Farmers Market
Summer 2012

Did you know......that Thyme has been associated with courage since ancient times.  The Greeks, the Romans, the Scottish highlanders, and the knights of the Middle Ages all thought thyme brought one strength and courage! www.health diaries.com  Hmmm, I am sure these fellows needed all the strength and courage they could get, but what I do know is that Thyme tea with mullein and yarrow helped Cousin Sandra when she was coughing because of bronchitis!  Herbally, Susan

jpg. from www.perioddrama.com

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Goldenrod, Another Class! and Elvis in Winnsboro, Texas?

Riddell's Goldenrod
Solidago riddellii
Buckeye Butterfly
Goldenrods, Asters, a thistle and some bugs.
Good morning, All!  Wow!  The last couple months have been crazy fun at StarDragonfly Herb Company!  SDHC has been in business now for 3 months!  I was telling Cousin Sandra the other day that SDHC is like having a young baby.  Right now,   the store NEEDS me and all my energy!  So, for those of you that have missed the Blog.  Well, my sincere apologizes!  And thank you so much for letting me know you missed the Blog and Thank you for all the support I have received from friends, family and customers to get StarDragonfly Herb Company on her feet or should I say get her "roots set"!  Oh, and by the way, SDHC is doing FANTASTIC.  Inventory is growing daily, new customers come in daily and more folks are getting turned on to HERBS daily!  Now that is what I call SUCCESS!

Goldenrod, Tall
Solidago canadensis var. scabra
Now, I will try my best to give the Blog more attention!

First announcement!

Thursday evening was the Introductory meeting for the Introduction to Basic Herbalism class series!  It was a smashing success!  There were a total of 17 of us!  After we introduced ourselves, Nancy of Falster Farms gave us a brief history of Honey and some of it's medicinal uses.  Then we stopped for a short break and Nancy provided us with Chicory tea (to which we added honey and half and half), chocolate covered meringue bites and a very delicious honey and (Young Living) citrus essential oil flavored Kefir cheese.  After our snack we talked about the amazing medicinal properties of Cayenne Pepper  and made a massage oil for cold, achy joints with Cayenne and Coconut oil.

I would like to send a Thank You to Nancy for helping me with this class and being the first speaker of the series and providing us with such yummy treats!

Let me tell you, I have had phone, email and Facebook requests to teach the Introduction to Herbalism class during the day!  So, I know this is short notice but, here we go!

The Introduction to Basic Herbalism class series 
Tuesday morning
September 18
10:00 am - Noon
$15.00 per person

(other classes will be $35.00 and up)

For more information or to register, please give me a call (903-588-4313), an email or get in touch with me on Facebook.

There are 2 more events this week at SDHC!

Native Plant Society of Texas
Winnsboro Chapter
Thursday, September 20
6 - 7 pm

 We love for you to bring your mystery plants and try to "stump" the local "experts"!  Or educate us with some facts about local wildflowers! And you just never know what might happen!  Last meeting, Shawn built a "friction" fire using a Mullein stalk!
All are Welcome!
Watch for Elvis sightings in Winnsboro, Texas next
Friday night!

Winnsboro, Texas 3rd Friday ArtWalk
StarDragonfly Herb Company will have a Speaker!
Karl of Falster Farms
Subject:  Bees and Honey!
6 - 8 pm

Listen, Folks, if you have never heard Karl speak, well, you are missing an oratory from a very fine southern gentleman!  Karl gives a great talk on bees and honey and is funny, to boot!  Besides, Nancy usually shows up with some yummy honey laced treats!
So stop on by Winnsboro, next Friday evening!  Oh, and dig out those Poodle skirts and Saddle Oxfords, get your special guy in that white t-shirt and rolled up blue jeans!  Put a pink ribbon around your pony tail and slick your guys hair back and join us for Fifties Night!  I bet we will be "Rock'in"! Elvis style!

Yes, I have missed Blogging!  There is so much I want to tell each and everyone of you!  But, I will close for now!  Until next time, enjoy this cool weather!  Herbally, Susan

Goldenrod is not only beautiful
a Texas native,
and makes a delicious tea!
But you may not want to dry it in the house!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Steam..WHAT? You say?

Good morning, All.  If you just happened to be in Winnsboro, Texas last Friday, well you probably were witness to the craziness.  And actually, it was rather crazy....because it was Crazy Daze in Winnsboro.  Or for the more civilized 3rd Friday Art walk.  All that means really is that the merchants and citizens get together, keep the stores open late, have great sales and tasty appetizers, lots of wonderful music and a few of us are into keeping Winnsboro Weirder by playing dress up!  (If you have every been in the Austin area, they have a Keep Austin Weird campaign.)

So, on the 3rd Friday of the Month, whether it is full moon or not....a pretty good handful of merchants and citizens, weeeell, let me put it this way, sometimes we don't even know what is going to happen!

Have you ever heard of Steampunk?  Neither had I but let me tell you about it, just in case, you come to Winnsboro and see us all dressed up!

Annie Oatmeal and the beautiful, but dangerous


"Streampunk is a genre that originated during the 1980's and early 1990's and incorporates elements of science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror and speculative fiction.  it involves a setting where steam power is widely used--whether in an alternate history such as Victorian era Britain or "Wild West"-era United States, or in a post -apocalyptic time--that incorporates of elements of either science fiction or fantasy.  (The term "Steampunk" originated in the late 1980s with a cheeky letter to Locus Magazine from science fiction author K.W. Jetter.  Jeter was trying to find an accurate description of works by himself (Morlock Night), Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates), and James Blaylock (Homunculus).  While Jeter coined the word, it was William Gibon and Bruce Sterling that brought the genre attention with the book The Difference Engine (1992).  This info is from the website www.ministry of peculiarocurrences.com).  Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology, or futruistic innovations as Victorians might have envisioned them, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style and art.  This technology includes such fictional machines as those found in the works of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the contemporary authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld and China Mieville."

This info is from Wikipedia.

Always dapper and handsome.  Note the

Mademoiselle!  Straight out of the pages of Art and Espresso!
And just where may she
be hiding her gun?

Hi, Annie!  Watch out she must
have a ray gun in the pocket
of that beautiful dress!

You said I needed what removed?

Okay, now this is just a sampling of the photos I took on Friday.  I will share more with you in the following weeks!  And yes, I did dress up as the mad (as in crazy) herbalist.  Ms. Dandy (Dandelion) Dragonfly.  My costume needs some work.....more metal, I guess, and definitely will have goggles and a gun.  Because a girl just cannot be expected to make a trip through the jungles of Victorian science fiction with out all the right stuff.  

Ms. Dandy Dragonfly....
the "Mad Herbalist/Chemist"
Okay, folks to my credit (or craziness)
I am wearing a wool skirt,
black boots,
a leather vest
and a hat.
I had just returned from a rushed trip to
Quitman, Tx to deal with a TAX issue
in an unairconditioned car
that decided to break down in
104 degree heat.
Oh well,
this is a great shot of a bit of
StarDragonfly Herb Company!

So, next time you are in Winnsboro, stop in and visit all our wonderful shops! We are a crazy lot here in Winnsboro, but we have lots of fun and hope all our customers, family and friends do to!  Until next time!  Herbally, Susan

Steampunk is...a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was.  It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration.  But most of all it is fun!
George  Mann

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Medicinal Mystery Plant and a Cool Soup!

Indian Mallow
Family:  Abutilon 

How many people can really and truly say, I love my job!  Well, I do love working with plants (though admittedly, I am not crazy about gardening in the summer heat), growing plants, touching plants, talking about plants, and making herbal teas and medicinals from plants.  Saturday night, I was so happy to be able to share some recently gained information on this beautiful plant, Indian Mallow.

L and I were enjoying an Ice Tea and music at Liefie's in Winnsboro when a gentleman came over to our table.  He had just learned that I owned StarDragonfly Herb Company.  He was so excited to show me a photo of his "mystery" plant.
Indian Mallow seed pods
When he showed me his photo, "Well, Lo and Behold!", it was my new plant friend, Indian Mallow. Needless to say he was very happy.  So, my new friend from Saturday evening, if you are reading the blog today, I thought you just might be interested in some more information on your "mystery" plant.

Indian Mallow generally grows wild on the prairies and open woods of Central and West Texas.

The roots and mucilaginous bark increase the secretion and discharge of urine.

A tea made of this plant (Indian Mallow) is an effective remedy for treating fevers.  Indian Mallow has a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes.  A paste can be made and applied to all types of abscesses and itches.

Makes an effective mouthwash for toothache and tender gums.

Seeds of Indian Mallow can be used in killing thread worms.   A decoction (made by boiling and steeping the roots) is used for bronchitis, catarrh and biliousness.  (If you have "biliousness" your liver or gallbladder is in distress and producing large quantities of bile.)
Meadow Beauty

The seeds are laxative and very effective for curing piles.  (Another name for hemorrhoids.)

The whole plant is uprooted, dried and is powdered.  In ancient days, maidens were made to consume a spoonful of this powder with a spoonful of honey, once in a day, for 6 months until the day of marriage, for safe and quick pregnancy.  The leaves can be used to treat ulcers, headaches, gonorrhea and bladder infection.

Well, ya'll....keep cool, keep safe, be happy!  Herbally, Susan


“Bowl in a Bag” cooking class
Presented by CHEF NANCY and StarDragonfly Herb Company
Friday, July 20, 2012, (6 pm-7pm)
Location:  StarDragonfly Herb Company

“The Little Herb Shop on Elm Street”
Winnsboro, Texas

Gazpacho is a chilled soup made with chopped
Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers and herbs.
Learn how to prepare this gourmet
Summer soup using fresh, local

“The Bowl in a Bag” cooking class series
asks aspiring “chefs” to bring a bowl, spoon/fork/knife in a zip-lock bag.  Plan to shop and eat supper at the store.   Dessert will be served after class. 
Learn more about CHEF NANCY at
And StarDragonfly Herb Company at

Participants will
Cut, prep & Season
A Farmer’s Market style Gazpacho

Receive 20% off
StarDragonfly Herb Company
Spice Seasonings

Questions or to Register call:
(903)588-4313 or email:  stdragonfly@yahoo.com
Class fee:
$25.00 per person or $40.00 per couple

Texas is neither southern or western
Texas is Texas!
Senator William Blakley

4th of July greeting

Monday, June 25, 2012

It is so HOT, It must be SUMMERTIME!

Roselle or Hibiscus sadariffa
The flowers only last a couple hours
but they sure are gorgeous!
Good afternoon, All!  Summer has arrived!  And is it hot!

I know what we need on a hot day like today!  A glass of iced Hibiscus Ginger tea!  Oops, we don't seem to have any fresh ginger....but Hibiscus tea is delicious all by itself.

"Hibiscus tea is popular as a natural diuretic; it contains vitamin C and minerals, and is used traditionally as a mild medicine. (Diuretic....diuretic herbs help the body shed excess fluids.) 

Dieters or people with kidney problems often take it without adding sugar (be prepared to pucker up, talk about tart!) for its beneficial properties and as a natural diuretic.

Dried Hibiscus Flowers
begging to become a delicious tea!
A 2008 USDA study shows consuming hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure in a group of prehypertensive and mildly hypertensive adults.  Three cups of tea daily resulted in an average drop of 8.1 mmHg in their systolic blood pressure, compared to a 1.3 mmHg drop in the volunteers who drank the placebo beverage.  Study participants with higher blood pressure readings (129 or above) had a greater response to hibiscus tea: their systolic blood pressure went down by 13.2 mmHg.  These data support the idea that drinking hibiscus tea in an amount readily incorporated into the diet may play a role in controlling blood pressure."wikipedia

Refreshing and healthy, plus this Iced Hibiscus
Tea gets the Garden Fairy's Seal
of Approval!

         Iced Ginger Hibiscus Tea

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
one3" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup dried red hibiscus petals
8 cups water, room temperature

Make the ginger simple syrup:  Combine the sugar and 1/2  cup of water in a 2-quart saucepan.  Bring to a boil and let syrup cook for 3 minutes, stirring until all the sugar is dissolved.  Remove the pot from heat and add the grated ginger.  Let syrup cool completely and strain.  Set the syrup aside.

Make the hibiscus tea:  In a 4-quart saucepan, pour 4 cups of water over the dried hibiscus petals and place the pot over low heat.  Bring the water to a slow simmer and let cook for 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for another 5 minutes.  Strain into a pitcher (When I don't use the ginger syrup, I add 1/4 cup honey and 2 packets of Stevia) and add in the remaining 4 cups of water.  Fill the pitcher with ice (I do not add the ice).

To serve, pour tea into glasses and stir in ginger syrup, sweetening to taste.

Oil painting of a White Hibiscus
"In the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, hibiscus, especially white hibiscus and red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), is considered to have medicinal properties.  The roots are used to make various concoctions believed to cure ailments such as cough, hair loss or hair graying.  As a hair treatment, the flowers are boiled in oil along with other spices to make a medicated hair oil.  The leaves and flowers are ground into a fine paste with a little water, the resulting lathery paste is used as a shampoo plus conditioner." wikipedia

The Hibiscus family is very large and not all the members are edible.   The Hibiscus sadariffa is edible and medicinal.  Quite a versatile and beautiful plant.  Roselle or hibiscus is an aromatic, astringent, cooling herb that is much used in the Tropics.  I believe it, because it is the "tea" of choice here on the farm during our long, hot and humid summers!

StarDragonfly Herb Company
"The Little Herb Shop on Elm Street"
Winnsboro, Texas

We have dried Hibiscus flowers in stock and can sell all our dried herbs and herbal teas by the ounce.  Besides dried herbs, we now have hand-spun yarn from local animals and will soon have relishes, jams, jellies, herbal soaps, therapeutic bath salts and aromatherapy candles.  Products will always be changing, so stop by often to see what is new.

Until later....stay cool, love your heart by drinking lots of Hibiscus tea and have a lovely week!  Herbally, Susan

"it's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine....it's summertime!
Kenny Chesney
Rose of Sharon
Chinese Hibiscus