Recipe for All Natural Simmering Potpourri

Do you love the smell of Christmas? Who doesn’t? This recipe for all natural simmering potpourri uses homemade ingredients and spices that are easy to find at the grocery store. Add a beautiful hand-crafted gift jar and you have the perfect inexpensive homemade Christmas gift or stocking stuffer!

Simmering Potpourri:  Holiday Simmer Fragrance

Simmering potpourri is easy to make. You can purchase all of the ingredients or make some of them yourself.

  • Dried lemon and orange peels: This recipe calls for dried lemon and orange peels. I save lemon, orange, clementine and tangerine peels. While the peels are fresh, I use a sharp paring knife and scrape off as much of the pith (white) material from inside the peel. Then, I cut the peels into small squares and place them on a paper towel spread out on a plate. Place the peels in a single layer and place the plate of peels in a dry, warm location for a few days. When they feel dry to the touch, add them to your herbal storage jars. Leave the top off to keep them dry. Conventionally grown fruit is fine to use for simmering potpourri. Use organic fruit if you plan to add the peels to tea mixes or use them in recipes. Dried lemon and orange peels are also available at some specialty grocery stores.
  • Cinnamon sticks: You will need approximately 6 to 8 cinnamon sticks. I buy mine at the grocery store. I can even find them at the dollar store on some lucky days!
  • Bay leaves: Grab them from the spice aisle at the grocery store.
  • Whole cloves: A can or bottle of whole cloves can also be found at the grocery store.
Some of the ingredients for the simmering potpourri mixture.

Make the Jar

First, you will need a clean, empty jar. You can use a mason (canning jar) or recycle a glass jar. The jars in this picture are from olives (the tall jar) and artichoke hearts (the small jar). Rinse empty jars with warm, soapy water. Soak them to get the labels off and use nail polish remover to remove any residual glue from the outside. Place the jars in the dishwasher (if you have a dishwasher) and run it through a regular cycle with your dishes.

I spray paint the jar lids using gold, green, or another festive Christmas color. Do this outside and put cardboard or newspaper on the ground to catch the excess spray. One coat covers most jar lids, although the artichoke heart jar lid was a dark blue and required two coats.

Next, you can paint the outside of the jar using acrylic paints. I left the small jar plain and painted dogwood blossoms on the tall jars. It’s up to you how you want to decorate them!

Fill the Jar

Now it’s time to fill the jar. Place layers of simmer potpourri ingredients in each jar:

  1. Broken cinnamon sticks – add 3 broken sticks (6 halves) or more for a larger jar.
  2. Lemon peel – add a layer
  3. Orange, tangerine or clementine peel – add a layer
  4. Cloves – add a layer
  5. Bay leaves – place 2-3 bay leaves on top.
  6. Place the lid on the jar. Tie with a decorative ribbon, piece of burlap or string.

I like to make tags to tie to the jars with the instructions on how to make the potpourri. You can download and print a tag, below. Print it onto regular printer paper and cut to size with scissors. Feel free to adjust the size as needed.

Enjoy!

Happy gardening, keep growing!

Download the tag, below, and resize as needed to give with your gift. Try it at home first to make sure you have the proportions of the spices to your liking and of course, don’t use it if you are allergic to any of the ingredients (or the gift recipient is allergic).

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Make Storage Jars for Your Herbs

Finding good storage jars for my dried herbs and flowers wasn’t hard at first. I used old canning jars, handed down through my husband’s family, that were not suitable for food preservation. As I ran out of jars, I needed an inexpensive solution.

This is my pantry and my herbal apothecary. I have a mix of jars right now, from left to right:

  1. Modern mason jar
  2. Old-fashioned canning jar with glass lid
  3. Recycled glass jar

 

The recycled glass jar is now my favorite and my go-to for pantry storage. It’s a spaghetti (pasta) sauce jar. I save old glass jars – spaghetti or pasta sauce, olives, jelly, you name it – and then transform them into pantry storage jars.

  1. Clean thoroughly inside and out with liquid dishwashing soap and water.
  2. Peel off as much of the label as you can. If it doesn’t come off easily, soak the jar overnight in water. Remove with a paint scraper.
  3. Remaining label or glue can be removed with nail polish remover (be careful if you have a manicure or you’ll remove that, too!).
  4. Place the jar in the dishwasher and run it through a cycle alongside your regular dishes to remove any lingering odors from the jar.
  5. Place strips of masking tape on the clean, dried jar to outline a rectangle.
  6. Use a sponge or firm tip paint brush and chalkboard (chalk) paint. Paint a square on the jar.
  7. After the paint is dry, carefully peel off the masking tape.
  8. Use a piece of chalk to mark the contents.  You can re-use the jar by wiping off the chalked-on label after you have refilled it with different herbs.

My pantry is filling rapidly with these recycled jars. I paint them and use them for gifts, too! You can also decoupage them and glue trimming like ribbons or burlap onto the lid to make them extra festive.

For the cost of a bit of paint and soap to clean the jar, you now have a simple storage system for dried herbs, flowers, beans, rice, and any dried product. Recycled jars are NOT suitable for long-term storage of perishable goods, steam or pressure canning.

Happy gardening! Keep growing!

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Herbal Bath Salts with Aroma Foundry Essential Oils

This simple recipe for herbal bath salts creates a delightful, fragrant addition to your bath that will nourish your senses and pamper your skin. I received samples of Aroma Foundry essential oils in exchange of an honest receive, and I’m delighted to share with you both my thoughts on these fine essential oils and a recipe to make herbal bath salts.

Herbal Bath Salts

A friend of mine once quipped that there are two types of people in the world: bath people and shower people. I am most certainly a ‘bath person.’ I grew up in a home that had only a bathtub in the second-floor bathroom – no shower. I love nothing more than soaking in a luxurious bath of warm, scented water. It’s my favorite way to relax.

Commercial bath products are okay, but I tend to use Epsom salts the most in my bath. They ease aches and pains, and I have plenty of those, especially after a day of gardening!

herbal bath salt

This simple recipe for herbal bath salts calls for essential oils, and that brings me to my second point: finding excellent quality essential oils for aromatherapy and crafts such as this herbal bath salts recipe.

I have finally found a great company for essential oils – Aroma Foundry.

Aroma Foundry 100% Pure Essential Oils

Aroma Foundry takes the adage, “My body is my temple” seriously. Their essential oils are 100% pure oils without any filler or synthetic material. And you can tell by the quality as soon as you begin using them.

I first began using essentials oils for aromatherapy well before today’s current, trendy craze. Sometime around 1993, I purchased essential oils for aromatherapy and realized their potential. When Aroma Foundry contacted me, I was delighted to accept their offer of four bottles of essential oils in exchange for a fair review. And I am pleased to say that the products live up to my expectations – and then some.

I received one bottle each of lemon, spearmint, sage, and cedarwood oils. This recipe for herbal bath salts calls for lavender and lemon oils. I tested the spearmint at my desk using a diffuser and was floored by the powerful, uplifting scent of the oils. The fragrance lingered long after my diffuser shut down and not only helped me remain wide awake longer (I had to pull a late night for work!) but also brightened my mood considerably. The same for the lemon oil when I used it another day – it had a lingering positive note that helped me focus.

Each batch is numbered, and the company takes great pains to ensure quality in every bath. This consistency of product and potency is much appreciated.

These oils are therapeutic grade and packaged in an appealing blue bottle to keep them from degrading. You can purchase Aroma Foundry oils online and they currently have coupon sales running via their site.

I really liked these essential oils and recommend them highly. Among various companies I’ve tried, these are my favorite.

herbal bath salts
The finished bath salts smell wonderful and left my skin soft and moisturized.

Recipe for Herbal Bath Salts

Now let’s make our craft of the day – herbal bath salts! This is a lovely essential oil infused bath soak that you can make a big batch and place into decorative containers for gifts. I used an old Mason jar to store my oils and I have a decorative antique stone canister in the bathroom next to the tub that holds the mix for when I want it.

I used an old Mason jar to store my oils and I have a decorative antique stone canister in the bathroom next to the tub that holds the mix for when I want it.

To make the herbal bath salts, you will need:

  • 3 cups of plain Epsom salts
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil OR almond oil as a carrier oil
  • Aroma Foundry 100% Lemon Essential Oil
  • Aroma Foundry 100% Lavender Essential Oil
  • A large mixing bowl, spoon, measuring spoons and containers.

Measuring three cups of Epsom salts into the mixing bowl. Measure and pour two tablespoons of the carrier oil, either high-quality extra virgin olive oil or almond oil (my favorites) into the bowl. Add 20 drops of lavender oil and 10 drops of lemon oil. Mix well to ensure an even distribution of carrier oil and scented oil. Pour into containers. When you’re ready to use it in the bath, scoop half a cup to one cup of the scented bath salts into the tub, depending on how much water you use, and enjoy.

As always, test essential oils with a carrier oil on your skin before taking a bath with them, okay? Make sure you’re not allergic. And do not take essential oils internally – always use a carrier oil. Pure oils like Aroma Foundry can be strong and harsh on the skin and need a carrier for best results.

Enjoy!

You can also purchase these products through my Amazon affiliate links, below:

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Natural Gifts: Clove-Studded Clementine Pomander

Natural gifts use herbs, flowers or fruit to make beautiful homemade presents. I love handmade gifts! This simple, easy little gift is something that harkens back to a time past. You probably have the ingredients on hand to make a clove-studded pomander, or little air freshener.

 

clove potpourri.jpg
Place the finished pomander on a fancy dish, or tie ribbon around it before inserting the cloves to hang it in your home or in a closet.

 

Natural Gifts: Clove-Scented Pomander

I remember my sister Ann teaching me how to make a pomander when I was a little girl. We used up my mother’s supply of cloves, studding an orange so completely with the cloves that it was like a spiky ball. My sister put the pomander on the shelf in the closet we shared, and it scented the entire closet for many months.

I’ve been meaning since forever to make another one, but cloves are so expensive! My husband picked up a jar of them on sale a few months ago, and I haven’t even opened them. I looked at the fruit bowl in the kitchen today and realized we have clementines, those small, delicious little snack-sized citrus fruits. What better way to make the pomander than to use a clementine?

These are so easy to make!

 

clove clementine.jpg
Stud the cloves into the fruit in any pattern you want.

 

You will need:

  • One clementine or orange
  • Container of cloves
  • Toothpick (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Fancy dish

Choose a fresh orange or clementine. Press cloves into the fruit in the pattern of your choice. Some people use a toothpick to make the hole first, which is easier, especially on an orange. If you simply stick the cloves into the fruit, some will break. It’s easier to use the toothpick. Place the finished pomander into a fancy dish as I have done here and voila – natural gift, an air freshener that will last several weeks.

If you’d prefer to hang your pomander in the house or in your closet, the first step is to tie ribbon around it, making a loop at the top to hang it up. Then pierce the skin and place your cloves.

I’ve read that pomanders were popular gifts in Colonial times. Until recently, oranges were quite expensive. My dad used to tell us stories about Christmas in the 1920s and 1930s and how an orange was always the big treat left in his Christmas stocking. We always thought, “An orange? What’s the big deal?” Well until massive orchards and less expensive shipping made oranges available year-round, they really were quite a treat f or children.

I can only imaging how expensive these homemade pomanders may have been for our Colonial ancestors. Today, enjoy the fresh scent of citrus and cloves, a natural gift you’ll love making and giving.

Happy gardening! Keep growing!

 

 

 

 

 

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