DIY: potpourri & sachets
Stop right there, don't think homemade potpourri is anything like the chemical laden store bought over fragranced stuff. Making your own is not kitschy; it is a good way to have on-going odor absorption and a light fragrance in areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Making it is simple. Choose your container, add your base items, and then enhance with a few drops of essential oils. You can stick with base dried herbs, flowers, and spices, but things like pinecones and pine branches also hold oils nicely and add bulk. Be sure not to buy the pre-scented chemically treated pinecones from the craft store. You can find untreated pinecones from online suppliers, or if you collect your own, be sure to clean thoroughly and place in your oven on the lowest setting for an hour or so to dry and de-pest before using.
I dry herbs from my gardens all summer long, so I always have plenty of dried fragrant herbs and flowers to use in sachets, teas, and potpourri. I grow things like bee balm, anise hyssop, lemon verbena, lemon balm, different kinds of mint, rosemary, lavender, and more. I dry them in my dehydrator all summer long and store in airtight containers in my herb cabinet. I also like to dry citrus peels and rounds for use in tea, and those items also work well in sachets.
To make potpourri, fill a container with your dried herbs and flowers of choice. Good herbs to dry for this include lemon verbena, mint, lemon balm, anise hyssop, lavender, rose petals, bergamot heads, rosemary, and any type of dried citrus. This blend looks lovely when you combine the peels and flowers and leaves. For some additional fragrance, add a few drops of essential oils to the mix. Lemon, lemongrass, lavender, sweet orange, and spearmint all are wonderful.
Experiment to find your own favorite blend. I tend to make different blends for the guys in the family which have more of the pine, fir, rosemary, juniper, and citrus, while I enjoy lavender, citrus, patchouli, cedarwood, etc. myself.
Another use for your essential oil enhanced dried herbs is sachets. Gently crush your herbs of choice in a clean bowl, mix in your essential oils (a binder can help retain fragrance longer, so if you have it, try adding a small spoonful of ground orris root into the mix, although I have even used frankincense powder), and spoon into pre-sewn rectangles of fabric (leave one end open to fit the herbs). Stitch closed and use in your drawers, shoes, or closet. Refresh with a few drops of essential oils as needed.
I made sachets with herbs from my garden for holiday gifts, but made sure to make a few for our own house. They are tucked into the master closet, the mud room by all the shoes and boots, and in the front coat closet. They help keep things smelling fresh. I may insert them into my pre-teen sons boots once or twice too. Ahem.
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I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, certified permaculture designer (PDC), organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two young adults in south central Wisconsin.