Monday, September 12

Potpourri with used festival flowers DIY

Festive season brings with it the colour splash that we look forward to, in shops, around street corners, homes, and every place that can possibly be decked up. What is sad what we end up with after the festival is over. Waste of all kinds. Of toxic idols that end up eventually in our drinking water, of decorations that end up in trash, of food that upsets our tummies, and pricey flowers that have nowhere to go but the dust bin.

I was lucky to find jasmine and roses in the recent weeks for my festival decor and worship. For a change, I preserved them for reuse. My Ganesha for this festival was tiny and homely as usual. More about that in another post.

While roses have their unique therapeutic properties, jasmine is a fragrance unmatched. I was surprised to find dried jasmine flowers, chamomile and other flowers sold online. It's true the price of flowers has gone up a great deal. And so it makes perfect sense to prolong their use.

Potpourri is meant to permeate fragrances by mixing essential oils with herbs, leaves, flowers and sometimes spices. It works well as aroma therapy. If you are prone to allergies though, best to check with a doctor before you start.

What I had among flowers and other items:

-- roses of three colours

-- some oranges whose peels I dried

-- jasmine flowers

What I used further:

-- essential oil ( I used sandal oil, you choose your favourite)

-- mixing bowl with a lid

-- jar with lid

-- Brown paper bag or cover

I also used;

-- coriander or cilantro seeds

-- cumin seeds ( jeera)

-- cloves

-- cinnamon powder (you can use sticks too)

Cinnamon sticks or powder, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cloves are among ingredients that help lock the fragrance in. They are known fixatives that make the fragrances last, although another popular ingredient that potpourri enthusiasts head to shops for is the Orris root powder. You do not have to lose precious money over it when you have treasures in your own kitchen.

After my festival worship was done, I sun dried my flowers on a large plate till they felt brittle. I also dried peels of oranges that we used. Citrus peels are great for the mix. If you have nutmeg and other herbs, nothing like it. But use what you have and it works.

I took two handfuls of the rose and citrus mixture, threw in some dried jasmine, added a spoon of the coriander and cumin seeds and some cloves in the mixing bowl. To this lot, I added six drops of the sandal oil. You can add about six to eight drops of other essential oils too. This was my first time at a potpourri. I wanted to keep it simple. You may not get to be precise with the drops. Use an ink filler if you need to. Worry not about precision.

Use a lid to cover the bowl, hold the covered bowl between your palms and shake for about half a minute or whole. Alternatively, you can mix it all in a brown paper cover or bag.

Take this mixture and pour into an air-tight jar or container. Store it for at least a month, or about six weeks before you open the jar. It takes that long for the aromas to set.

Experiment with different essential oils and take a deep breath of the homemade fragrance.

You can display the jar at a centre table or at your office desk. Choose a cool dry place for it. Make sure the flowers have dried thoroughly before you start the mixing. You can also gift this to family and friends. Once it is ready, pour some into the tiny organza or nylon or jute sachets with draw-string, tighten and place them on shelves, near clothes, books, shoes...anywhere.

Nothing to match extended festival blessings in the form of fragrance, especially if it saved flowers from the landfills.

Pictures by: Radhika M B

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