Cathy Monrad

Lilac Facial Toner

by cathym on May 14, 2019

by Cathy Monrad

Mother’s Day is here. And in Rochester, especially, lilacs are synonymous with this special day. I decided to make a large batch of this lilac facial toner to give as gifts to all the special mothers in my life.

This toner can also be added to a bath, used as a hair rinse, or spritzed on bed sheets for a lovely scent. 

Quart size wide-mouth glass jar with lid
1/3 cup lilac blossoms
1/3 cup organic witch hazel
2/3 cup distilled water
Spray bottle or clean jar for storing final product

To Make Toner

  1. Dry lilac blossoms overnight on a paper towel until they are slightly wilted. 
  2. Place blossoms in a jar, then add witch hazel and water to jar. Be sure the blossoms are completely covered by liquid. If not, add more witch hazel.
  3. Place lid on jar, then store in a warm location out of direct sunlight.
  4. Let the mixture infuse for two weeks, occasionally shaking gently to mix.
  5. Strain the mixture and pour face toner into a clean jar or spray bottle. The spent blossoms can be composted. 

To Use Toner: Apply lilac toner with a cotton ball or spritz on face after washing. Keep refrigerated if desired. Since the alcohol in the witch hazel acts as a preservative, the toner can simply be stored in a cool place. 

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and bestest garden crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


Glassware Mushrooms

by cathym on April 6, 2019

by Cathy Monrad

Chances are, you have the materials required for this project either sitting around gathering dust or packed away in storage. Thrift stores and garage sale are great places to find the bud vase and bowl needed to create this whimsical addition to your garden. 

I spent some time experimenting with various bowl and bud vase sizes until I was happy with the look, and decided to make a grouping of three with differing heights.  

Materials for each mushroom
1 glass bowl
1 glass vase

Painters tape
Water & weather proof glass adhesive for outdoor use

To Make Each Mushroom
1. Clean bowl and vase throughly, and let dry overnight. 

3. Mark the placement by lightly pressing small pieces of tape on the bowl about ¼ inch from the vase lip. 

2. With bowl rightside up and vase upside down, dry fit the “mushroom top and stem” together by centering the vase in the bowl. 

4. Remove vase and run a bead of glue along the top of it. Press the vase onto bowl within marked area.

5. Inspect for glue seepage. Remove any tape that has glue on it, otherwise, leave tape in place until glue has dried completely—about 24 hours.

Although the glue is formulated for outdoor use, the project will last longer if placed in a shaded location.  

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and exalted garden crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


Wood Slice Wine Charms

by cathym on December 3, 2018

by Cathy Monrad

Keeping track of one’s glass of wine at holiday parties is always a challenge. These adorable wine charms will help your fellow oenophiles distinguish which glass belongs to them.

1 wood slice, approximately 1 inch in diameter and 1/2 inch thick
1 screw eye, 4 x 15 mm
1 stemware loop, 25 mm
Embellishment such as a small sticker
Acrylic sealer

Small nail or wire brad

1. Sand both faces of wood slices until smooth.

2. Use hammer to tap the nail into the edge of the wood slice to make a starter hole for screw eye.

3. Use pliers to remove nail. Start twisting screw eye into hole by hand. Once started, clasp screw eye with pliers and twist wood slice by hand until tight and the screw eye is perpendicular to wood slice as shown in figure 1.

Figure 1

4. Embellish one side of wood slice as desired. I used bird stickers, but if you have an artistic gene, you could hand draw a different design on each with markers.

5. Use paint brush to coat charm with acrylic sealer on both sides and around the edges.

6. Slip stemware loop through screw eye and afix to wine glass stem.

– Not feeling artsy? Use chalboard paint. Simply bypass step 4 and go on to step 5. After the acrylic sealer has dried completely, paint one wood slice face with 2 or 3 coats of chalkboard paint and let dry completely. With a piece of chalk, write a guest’s name or initials on each charm.

– Not into wine? Use a larger diameter wood slice to create an ornament, then use any technique you desire to create a unique holiday keepsake. Instead of a stemware loop, use ribbon or twine to create a hanger.

Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and the self-proclaimed garden crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.