Quilts, Gifts, Decorating, Restin' & Relaxin', Pampering
Kids Fun Stuff
Crafts for the
Kid in all of us
Heart of our Home
Recipes, Crafts, Cookbooks, Tips, Gifts
Craft Books, Antiques and Collectibles, Gardening and more
From the Porch
Helpful & Handy Tips
Kitchen, Outside Help, Individual Items
Crafts & Gifts
About Us Folks
Flowers & Woods
Comfy Country Creations
P.O. Box 10181,
Imagine the world without the natural smells of flowers and herbs. For hundreds of years, Mother Nature has provided us with her bounty to keep away disease, improve our home environment and embellish our gardens. She has graced us with scented oils for massage, relieving depression and arousing passion.
The Egypt of old used scented water to wash royal barges. The Greeks and Romans threw flowers over the floors of banquet halls not just for the aroma, but to ward off insects and pests. Let's not forget their famous baths. They included scented preparations here too. It is said that the monks of Saxon Britain spent a countless amount of time tending their herb gardens and using their harvest to heal the sick.
Similarities still exist between people who avidly use flowers and herbs today and the woman of the house during the sixteenth to eighteenth century. Still rooms were a very important part of every home during these medieval times. This was a place to dry the harvest of flowers and herbs, ready them for future use as scented waters, tonics, salves, teas, tincture and what we know today as potpourri. Today, we still gather and dry fresh herbs and flowers, distil them and make them into such items as pomanders, sachets and other enjoyable fragrant mixtures, fragrant mixtures for additions to our homes or to give as gifts.
You can bring the scent of your garden indoors and have your home filled with the fragrant mixtures of your still room. Mix, stir and add some chopped herbs and perhaps a few drops of scented oil and you will be transported back in time.
Hearing the word potpourri, one thinks of a mixture of flowers, spices and other fragrant items. Literally translating the word from the French it means rotten pot! The French originally made potpourri by curing or fermenting layers of salt with fresh or semi-dried petals and whole flowers in a crock. This created an exceptionally strong and ever-lasting scent.
As families passed different recipes down, the name of rotten pot was replaced by the more pleasing name of Sweet Jar. Today, potpourri can be made by using either the dry or moist method. The infinite combinations of flowers, spices and herbs that can be mixed together for a relaxing, refreshing, or sensual result can be achieved by acquainting yourself with the basic ingredients and guidelines.
Ingredients are mixed and matched to create a scent you find pleasing. You may add a little more or a little less of the ingredients; however, the end result will still be potpourri.
Herbs and leaves are used in making fragrant potpourri. Some, like Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender can become far more fragrant when they are dried. Some of the other herbs suitable for either method are: Wormwood, Mints, Myrtle, Southernwood, sweet scented types of Geraniums, Sage, Lemon Balm, Bay, and Basil.
It would appear over the years, the most important ingredient for either a moist or dry potpourri are sweet scented rose petals. Other flowers suitable for either method are: Wallflowers, Violets, Honeysuckle, Lavender, Peony, Carnations, Pinks and Stocks to name a few.
Flowers may after drying fade to look like the color of other flowers. If you are taking the time to make your own potpourri, take the time to make it pleasing to the eye as well as the nose. Dried Forget-Me-Not, Hydrangeas, Marigolds, Zinnias, Baby's Breath and Nasturtiums will be most effective in transforming your potpourri to a colourful, scented mixture
Spices, Woods and Citrus Peel
Woods, spices and various citrus peels will add a more full-bodied scent to any potpourri.
Common sweet spices used are cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. For a faint Oriental scent, add anise, coriander and cardamom.
Any spices being used in either dry or moist potpourri should be coarsely ground in a mill or pounded in a mortar. It should be noted that powdered spices quickly lose their scent and can spoil the appearance of a dry potpourri that is displayed in a glass container. The powder tends to stick to the glass making it cloudy. Add whole cloves, small pieces of whole mace or cinnamon stick - whole or broken after the crushed spices have been mixed into the other ingredients. It should also be noted that not all spices are compatible with each other; however, successful spice combinations will enhance your potpourri.
There is a selection of woods that are very appealing to the senses and will add their scent nicely to your mixtures. Some woods are available in powder form or in small chips. Sandalwood will give you a sharp, bitter scent. Sassafras will be spicy while Cedar is a pine like almost antiseptic in smell. Santal will give you a warm sweet odor.
The peel of such citrus fruits as oranges, lemons and limes when dried will add color to a mixture of spices. The process by which to make your own citrus peel is easy.
These are usually only added to dry potpourri to enhance the scent. . Essential Oils are readily available, however their quality can vary. Your potpourri should be mixed well after each drop of oil that is added. This will ensure the scent you are trying to achieve will be the one you will end up with rather than a mixture with a very strong, unappealing odor.
Moist potpourri uses salt as a preservative. Old recipes called for Bay Salt. Today, you can use non-iodized sea salt. Create a mixture of equal parts of coarse and fine salt. Dry in a low oven for several hours before using.
NOTE: There are flowers that even when dried correctly, will lose their scent. Adding a fixative will help to preserve the volatile plant oils.
Prepare one of our recipes and fill your home with the aroma of your own pot pourri.
Pines & Needles
Check out our other related articles and pages.
Herbal Scents - for your closets and drawers
Lavender Baskets - made from fresh lavender sprigs
Cinnamon Shapes - make for yourself or as a gift
Crafters Gallery - crafters and artists display and share their creative talents.
Lavender Sachets - lavender sachets to make
Crafts Kids Can Make
Please share your favorite craft project with us.
Send them to Comfy Country Creations