Simple Ideas for Homemade Potpourri Gifts
Fragranced gifts are always popular and, with the wide availability of essential oils (natural oils obtained from plants), easy to make. Here are a few ideas for creative and individualized gifts that I have sourced from the Internet and other sources.
Pot of homemade potpourri
A pot of homemade potpourri makes an individual aromatic gift. Some of the recipes for homemade potpourri can be quite complex – the simplest I have come across is that by Jane Lake, and is given below, with a few amendments from me:
You will need a large clean storage jar with a close fitting lid, scissors/secateurs to cut an assortment of coloured and fragrant flowers or leaves as they appear in your garden, and a sunny window sill.
Suitable flowers include daffodils, lily of the valley, lavender, violets, bleeding hearts, roses, geranium, honey suckle, sweet william, pansies, viola, veronica, phlox and clover. Simply cut a few blossoms off each flower when they arrive in the garden and add to the jar. The leaves of herbs, such as bay, rosemary, lemon balm and citronella can also be added – harvest these just before the plants come into full bloom as this is when they are most pungent and contain the greatest amount of natural essential oils.
To add a tang, you can also add the cut up dried peel of oranges, lemons and limes. If you have some eucalyptus that is past its prime, wash off the dust, pull off leaves, and add these leaves to your potpourri flower jar as well.
The drying process is simple… you just let the blossoms dry out in the jar with the aid of the sun shining through your window. Before you add more blossoms, stir the lower layers of potpourri with a kitchen fork or spoon, and add the new blossoms on top. Don’t pack the blossoms and leaves down too tightly – you want plenty of air space to encourage quick and complete drying. You can mix and match your flowers – you might like to have one jar predominantly of roses, or another packed with mostly lavender. You could also do one just with bay leaves – for cooking purposes.
The fun is in experimenting.
When the natural fragrances of the flowers and leaves begin to fade, the potpourri can be refreshed easily by simply adding a few drops of essential oils. You could also supply a small bottle of an essential oil as part of your gift.
If you are unable to make your own potpourri, why not buy an unfragranced variety, put it in an attractive jar and add a few drops of essential oil? such as Lavender oil.
Alternatively, you could make potpourri sachets (see below)
Fragranced potpourri, whether homemade or shop bought, can also be made into gift sachets. One way of doing this, avoiding any sewing, is to tie it up in cotton handkerchiefs.
Wash and iron the handkerchiefs. Pour about 1/2 cup of potpourri into the centre of the handkerchief. Gather up the ends and either wrap a rubber band around the part near the ball of sachet or tie it up with strong cotton. The sachet should be tightly enclosed. Tie a matching ribbon around the band, making a bow with long ends. If you make the ribbon long enough, then it could be used to hang the sachet in a cupboard or wardrobe.
As an alternative to a handkerchief, you could use a square of muslin or any thin material, though you may need to hem the edges or trim them with ribbon or lace.
You could include a small bottle of essential oil with the sachet, for refreshing the potpourri once the fragrance begins to fade.
If you are unable to make your own potpourri, why not buy an unfragranced variety and simply add a few drops of essential oil?
Always popular as drawer fragrances, lavender bags can be made in the same way as the sachets described above.
Cut the stems of lavender just before the flowers start to open and hang them upside down for a few days for them to dry before rubbing them down to remove the flowers. Once made, the bags should remain effective for 1–2 years.
The ideas listed here are not only fun to do, but also make ideal and, above all, individual gifts. So, give your friends an aromatic Christmas this year!
Bonar A. Herbs. A complete guide to their cultivation and use. Club Book associates, 1985
Alix Williams writes about using unique aromatherapy Handcrafted Gift Sets with Essential Oils. For more information regarding Aromatherapy gift ideas with Essential oils, please visit: http://www.aromatherapy-stress-relief.com copyright © 2006 Alix Williams (CUS Busting Ltd)