The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Just blooming lovely
The Lockyer Valley’s best will be on show at the Laidley Quilt and Craft Expo, including some sweet lavender
ANNE Young is lucky to have hundreds of lavender plants to make her craft.
But you only need one bush in your garden to get started on some wonderful craft items combining sewing, your imagination, and even a bit of time in the kitchen.
The Lockyer Valley farmer and husband Gary will be at the Laidley Quilt and Craft Expo in September showing off their wares and revealing some of the secrets behind using the fragrant flowers.
Anne and Gary operate Holmwood Produce, a property in Thornton in the Lock- yer Valley, and make a range of lavender-based products.
Anne says using your home lavender bush (or buying bunches from the flower markets) is a great way to get started, but first up, you’ll need to dry your flowers correctly.
“To dry your lavender, cut the stems and hang a bunch upside down until they dry,’’ Anne says. “The oil collects at the base of the flower so when you hang them upside down you are keeping the oil within the flowers.
“Once they are dry, brush the heads under your hands and you’ll get the pods.’’
Turn these pods into fragrant moth-repellent sachets, drawer refreshers, or eye masks. For eye masks, you can mix 50/50 lavender to linseed (from the supermarket).
For a warming heat pack that you can put in the microwave, try 50/50 lavender to dried wheat (purchased from the produce store) or barley (from the supermarket).
Stitch this mixture up into some beautiful fabric and you have an item to warm sore muscles.
Freezing the wheat, linseed or barley for a few days before using it is a good way to kill off any bugs, Anne advises.
Pantry moths can be repelled using a 50/50 mix of lavender and cloves.
But it wasn’t always about lavender for Anne and Gary.
“We started off with olives because they grow quite readi- ly in the valley, and I read that lavender is a good companion plant,’’ Anne says.
Two big floods in the past five years means all their plants are newly planted.
One acre of lavender is under production, with varieties such as French lavender, Lavendin (a hybrid between French and English), and a spring-blooming lavender, to cover all of the flowering seasons.
Anne and Gary will be joined at the expo by many other local crafters giving demonstrations in quilting, needlework and more.
Now in its 31st year, the expo is the centrepiece of the Lockyer Valley Spring Festival, which is held at Laidley and in-
cludes displays of vintage trucks and engines and an orchid show, as well as plenty of craft stalls. Quilt Expo, Uniting Church Complex, 45 Patrick St, Laidley (admission adults $3, children 50c), September 10-11 (9am-4.30pm), September 12 (9am-3pm).