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How to Make Fragrant Potpourri


Now that your summer flowers are blooming and your herbs are bushy, you can collect them, dry them and make wonderful potpourri blends out of them to enjoy long after the blooming season is over. If you’re not sure how to dry them, see our posts: How to Dry Flowers for Crafts, and How to Dry Herbs for Crafts. If you don’t want to dry herbs and flowers yourself, you can buy them at crafts stores, aromatherapy supply stores, potpourri supply stores, florists, and even some health food stores.

A potpourri blend consists of dried herbs/flowers, essential oils, and a fixative. You can also add pods, berries, spices, and dried fruit slices. What exactly is a fixative and why do you need it? Since you’re going to be adding essential oils to your potpourri, you don’t want the smell to evaporate quickly and that’s where a fixative comes in. It’s a porous substance that literally absorbs the essential oils and retains them and makes the smell last longer. Some of the most popular fixatives are orris root, vetiver root, calamus root, sandalwood bark, gum benzoin, vanilla pods, and oakmoss. Orris root comes powdered or chopped, if you’re going to display your potpourri I would recommend the chopped version because the powder is going to make your potpourri blend look crumbly, but if you’re going to put it in a sachet, use the powder. Some spices also make great fixatives like cinnamon sticks, nutmeg (whole and powdered) and allspice. A good rule of thumb is to use about 2 Tablespoons of fixative per 4 cups of dried flowers and herbs.

When preparing your blend, make sure that your flowers and herbs are completely dry because any moisture is going to cause your potpourri to become moldy.  Some flowers that dry well are: roses, yarrow, hydrangeas, marigolds/calendula, geraniums, strawflowers, artemisia, ameranths, baby’s breath and sunflowers. Herbs that dry well are: lemon balm, rosemary, lavender, mint, sage, chamomile, oregano, basil, thyme, and bay leaves. Dried fruit slices like apples and oranges will also add color and fragrance to your potpourri blends. You can dry them yourself or buy them from crafts stores and potpourri supply stores.

Dried flowers and herbs have different lovely shades of yellows, oranges, blues, reds, pinks, and whites, and you can make a beautiful and stunning display by choosing combinations that complement each other. If you want a rustic country display, you can add whole pods and spices to your blend. With your essential oils, you can add a single scent or even make a combination of your choice.

To make your potpourri, gather together all of your dried materials and fixatives and add 6 to 12 drops of your essential oil onto the fixative, depending on how strong you want the scent to be. Stir your blend gently trying not to bruise or crush the dried flowers and put your potpourri into a brown paper bag and store it in a cool dry place for a few weeks until the fragrance is absorbed well into your potpourri. Every few days shake the bag to evenly disperse the fragrance and check on how strong the scent is. Once you’re satisfied with the result, pour your finished potpourri into decorative jars, bowls, trays, or any display container of your choice and enjoy.



What is a Sugar Scrub?


Body scrubs are a fantastic way to exfoliate and moisten your skin, and one of the most gentle types of body scrubs is a sugar scrub. You can use turbinado sugar, brown sugar, or white granulated sugar. Sugar scrubs are basically a combination of sugar and oil (coconut oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, etc.,), which you rub onto your skin and rinse off while you are in the shower. While the sugar granules gently exfoliate your skin by scrubbing off the top layer of dead skin cells and unclogging your pores, the oil moisturizes your skin.

The great thing is that since these ingredients are readily available, you can make your own homemade sugar scrubs instead of shelling out to buy it ready made, and by making your own you can tinker with the recipe and personalize it. A good rule of thumb for your recipe is to use 75% sugar and 25% oil. You can personalize it by adding natural fragrance to it with essential oils of your choice as well as dried or fresh herbs.

To use your sugar scrub, gently rub it on your body in a circular motion, paying special attention to rough skin areas like knees, elbows, and heels. You can also make salt scrubs but sugar scrubs are more gentle because the granules are not as hard as the salt granules, so if you’re not familiar with body scrubs and are trying them out for the first time, I would suggest a sugar scrub, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you have cuts, a rash, or broken skin do not use any type of body scrub until it heals.

Click the links below for some great sugar scrub recipe ideas:




How to Dry Herbs for Crafts


Many herbs retain their beauty, color, fragrance, flavor, and beneficial properties even when they are dried. Not only are they used for food recipes, but they are also widely used for beauty recipes. They make wonderful additions to soap, bath salts, body scrubs, face masks, potpourri, sachets, and much more. They can be combined with dried flowers and dried fruit slices and peels to make truly beautiful and fragrant crafty creations.

Since most dried herbs retain their strong fragrances, they are used in aromatherapy as well. They also retain their vibrant color and they make great additions to potpourri blends, dried flower arrangements, wreaths, etc,

Herbs that dry well are Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, Rosemary, Mint, Sage, Chamomile, Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Bay Leaves. These herbs also retain their strong flavors so they are very good choices to dry not only for crafts but also for cooking.

You can buy dried herbs but the good news is that you can save money and dry them yourself if you have an herb garden. Just like drying flowers, there are several easy ways to dry herbs.

Visit these helpful links about drying your own herbs:



Fragrant Potpourri Idea: Citrus Potpourri


You can have a pretty citrus scented potpourri blend that is so naturally fragrant that it doesn’t even need added fragrance oil. For this blend you will need dried citrus slices (oranges, limes, and lemons). You can buy dried fruit slices from crafts stores but if you want to dry them yourself, click here to see how. You will also need dried citrus peel, this can also be purchased at crafts stores but you can also dry it yourself with these steps. What adds to the citrus scent and also adds a lovely green color to this blend is a wonderful lemon scented herb – Lemon Verbena. Just add dried Lemon Verbena leaves to your dried citrus slices and citrus peel. Make sure all your ingredients are thoroughly dried because if there is any moisture in them it will start to mold and ruin your potpourri. And just as an accent to add a little red color, I added some dried rosehips to the blend, but that is optional.

The combination of this blend creates a really nice citrus scent on it’s own but if you want to make it stronger you can add some citrus scented fragrance oil to it.



Carrier Oils


For this post let’s look at carrier oils. As we saw in the post about essential oils, since they are so strong it is not a good idea to apply them directly onto the skin (neat). They should be diluted in soap, body butters, oils, etc., When they are used in oils, these oils are known as ‘carrier oils’ because they ‘carry’ the essential oils to your skin. They are also known as base oils.

Carrier oils are mainly vegetable and nut oils…these oils are also the kinds you cook with, and since they contain beneficial qualities and nutrients for the skin, they are also used as the base oils for massage and bath oil blends. It is important to remember though that you shouldn’t go to the supermarket and buy any vegetable oil and use it for your skin because some oils are manufactured differently. The kinds of oils you should use on your skin should be ‘cold pressed’ or ‘cold expeller pressed’ – which means that the oils have been extracted without the use of additional heat. Although there is some heat involved in the cold pressed method because of the friction produced during the extraction, it is not enough to destroy the vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids that are beneficial to the skin. Some oils, however, are manufactured using extra heat in order to increase the amount of oil during the extraction but this heat is so strong that it destroys much of the oil’s beneficial skin properties. Make sure your oils have been cold pressed, your best bet is to shop from health food stores or aromatherapy supply stores.

There are many different carrier oils available and the kind you choose should depend on what you want to use it for – some oils are beneficial for dry skin, others are beneficial for oily skin, others for sensitive or aging skin, etc., Most carrier oils are clear and odorless, although you may be able to detect a slight aroma. The cool thing is that the aroma is not strong enough to interfere with the fragrance of essential oils that are added to it. There are some oils though that have a very very strong aroma, like olive oil but most people really don’t mind the strong distinctive smell.

Examples of carrier oils that are generally good for all skin types are Sweet Almond oil, Apricot Kernel oil, Sunflower oil, Avocado oil, Safflower oil, Grapeseed oil, Coconut oil, and Jojoba oil*.

Avocado oil, Olive oil, Sweet Almond oil, and Rosehip Seed oil are good choices for dry skin types; Jojoba Oil, Sesame seed, Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel oil, Avocado oil, and Grapeseed oil are good choices for sensitive skin; Jojoba oil, Safflower oil, and Grapeseed oil are good choices for acne prone skin.

Carrier oils and essential oils can be used to make awesome bath oils and massage oils. So how much should you use? The general rule is a 2% dilution, which would be 10 to 12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.

You can get really crafty and creative with bath and massage oil blends and package them in pretty bottles and add dried fruit slices or dried flower petals and herbs inside the bottle to enhance the look and smell. A dried orange slice looks fantastic in a bottle of orange bath oil, as do dried rose petals in rose oil, etc., But make sure that your fruit, herbs, and petals are completely dry before adding them to the bottle otherwise they will go rancid. Also, keep in mind that carrier oils themselves will go rancid after a certain amount of time.



Luxurious bath and massage oils make great gift ideas especially when dried flowers, herbs, and fruit are added inside the bottles. You can decorate the outside of the bottles with raffia or bows or dried flowers and herbs. Another great gift idea is to make add the bottles to gift baskets that contain other fragrant products like candles, potpourri, bath salts, etc., Below is an example of a Rose themed gift basket that I had made.




* Jojoba oil is technically not an oil but a liquid wax. It is very similar to the natural oil on human skin and it works as a great moisturizer.

* If you have nut allergies, please use caution and do not use oils that are derived from nuts. Use the seed based oils instead.



Theme Garden: Plant an Herbal Tea Garden


Another great idea for a theme garden is to plant an herbal tea garden. There are many herbs that make delicious and relaxing teas and you can plant them together into a wonderful herbal tea garden. And if you’re a tea lover you can have fresh herbs available from your own garden instead of buying them from a store.

Some of the best herbs to make teas are chamomile, lavender, rosemary, lemon verbena, lemon balm, mint, and sage. These are just a few of the great variety of herbs that you can grow and even combine to make delicious tea blends to suit your taste. These herbs are also very fragrant so your tea garden will also smell great too.

A lot of these herbs are easy to grow and as I mentioned in a previous post, they don’t require too much space, as a matter of fact you can grow a gorgeous little container herbal tea garden. When I was in my NY apartment I had my window sills filled with these fragrant little herb gardens. I loved experimenting with pots too so I did the Mediterranean garden pot cans that I discussed in a previous post and I also planted some of my herbs in baskets which was really fun to do.

Follow these links for more information and tips about growing an herbal tea garden:




Theme Gardens: Butterfly Gardens


A fun and creative way to spruce up your garden is to plant specific theme gardens. You can plant certain flowers and herbs together to create a particular theme. One of the most popular and fun themes for gardeners is to create a lush butterfly garden. You can plant flowers and herbs that will specifically attract these beautiful insects to your garden

Butterflies are attracted to specific host plants where they lay their eggs and also feed, the host plants vary according to the specific species of butterflies. There are a few things to keep in mind in order to plan your garden. Butterflies thrive in the sun, so make sure that your plants will be in a spot that will get plenty of sunshine during the day. They need to sit in the sunlight and warm themselves, so placing rocks and twigs in your garden for them to land and rest on is a good idea. They also need a source of water.

It is also a good idea to look into what species of butterflies are native to your area and what particular plants attract them. There is a lot of great information about butterfly gardening in the links below.




* The pic I took of the butterfly above was on a Hyssop plant.