Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Making Potpourri

As our gardens are winding down, it's time to think about some of the crafts we can do to keep it with us over the winter. Some are for sustenance and health, and some are for pleasure. Potpourri is beautiful fragrant stuff. I happen to think that equals sustenance.
Making Potpourri
It is fun and easy to make potpourri, especially if you have kept dried petals fromthe garden. There are just a few "rules" to follow, and the rest is a matter of imagination.
The first decision is choosing a color scheme. What is the predominant color? Where will the potpourri go? And even more important, what scent will it have? Some options would be woodsy, floral, citrusy, spicy, or exotic. For the sake of instruction, we will talk about a woodsy blend.
Begin by fixing the scent. This should be done a week or more before adding it to the botanicals. Orris root granules are an excellent fixative - absorbing and holding the fragrant oils.
In a jar, put 1/2 ounce of orris root, perhaps 1/4 ounce of oak moss, and some hemlock cones, sandalwood chips, frankincense tears, or any mix of these ingredients to make about a cup (these ingredients are woodsy, and just orris root is fine too). Pour about 1/2 ounce of essential or fragrance oil into the jar and shake thoroughly. For a woodsy blend, one might try some balsam fir, pine, frankincense, and patchouli oils. If the intent is to get the benefits of aromatherapy, only essential oils may be used, as fragrance oils - while smelling lovely - have no such effect.
Now mix together the botanicals. Pine cones, cinnamon pieces, citrus peels are all a good start for this one, as well as rose hips, with evergreen needles, oak moss, and some colorful flowers thrown in to perk it up.
If the fixatives have been mixed for a week or so, they can be added to the blend, and the fragrance will last for a very long time - up to a year or more.
Florals would generally use more color, and the fragrances would be light and flowery. Lavender, rose geranium, ylang ylang, for example, with some vanilla or musk to round it out.
A spicy blend can be made up almost entirely of spices - cinnamon pieces, cardamom pods, allspice, coriander, ginger, cloves, etc. Orange or lemon peel look good in there Use corresponding oils, and this blend can also be simmered.
Exotic blends include lots of vanilla, sandalwood, patchouli, vetivert, musk. Colors can be whatever strikes you as exotic.
Finally, you can do whatever you like. Add seashells - interesting pods you find - pebbles... it's up to you!


Michele said...

I love this! The picture is so pretty.

Tina Sams said...

Thanks Michele :-) - the results of my digging around in an old dump (bottles) and picking things from the garden.

Cindy said...

Great advice Tina, I'll need to cut some more flowers for potpourri.