Asst Goodies


Decorative Herbal Wreath

An unusual and aromatic decoration for door, wall or table. Make a circular frame using wire. Wire sprays of sweet bay leaves all around to give a base. Tie up bunches of lavender sprigs with red ribbon and attach to the wreath with pins. Tie on in the same way bunches of red rosehips, hawthorn berries and dried hops. Wreathe in any of the following, either in sprigs or gathered bunches: lime flowers,rosemary, lemon verbena, southernwood and woodruff, chamomile, elderflower and sweet violet. Finish by studding with dried wild roses.

How to Make Your Own Gel Air Freshener

You can make your own great smelling gel air fresheners, using liquid potpourri, or from scratch. They make great gifts!

You will need:

2 cups of distilled water
Essential oil/fragrance of your choice.
4 packages of knox gelatin
Food coloring (optional)

Heat 1 cup of water almost to a boil. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat add another cup of distilled water, 10-20 drops of oil/fragrance, and food coloring if desired.

You can replace food coloring and oil/fragrance with premade liquid potpourri (available at most craft stores, candle shops, etc.). Just make sure it's the concentrated kind or it won't retain its smell. The procedure would be the same. Heat 1 cup of the liquid potpourri, almost to a boil. Stir in 4 packets of Knox gelatin, until dissolved. Then stir in 1 cup cool liquid potpourri.

Pour the mixture into clean baby food jars and set at room temperature overnight until "set". You can place the jars in the refrigerator if you need them to set more quickly, but be aware that the smell will permeate the fridge.

For gift giving, you can decorate the baby food jars by wrapping with material, or gluing on wallpaper, stickers, wrapping paper, etc.

To use, place the jar on the stovetop (not directly on the burner!) while cooking, heat in a potpourri burner, or simply set out on a table and enjoy the aroma.

Thanks to Margaret Latham, MAGPIE@s..., for this addition:
I have made my own gel fresheners by using the concentrated liquid potpourri (1 cup) instead of water and essential oils. I buy my at the local "dollar" store so the investment is small but I don't have any problems with mold growing. I've given several containers away that I made and everyone enjoys them tremendously. My portions are as follows:

1 c. concentrated liquid potpourri
2 envelopes Knox unflavored gelatin
Empty jar

Heat potpourri until almost to a boil. Remove from heat and add 2 envelopes of gelatin. Stir to dissolve gelatin and pour into clean decorative jar. Place piece of plastic wrap over jar and secure with rubber band. Either place in refrigerator for quick set or leave out overnight on counter. Cover with piece of starched "lace" and wrap with ribbon to decorate. Before using, remove plastic wrap and recover jar with lace cover. Hope my hint helps with this wonderful craft idea.


Several readers wrote in that they were having a problem with mold. Daria recommends adding 2 tablespoons of salt to the mixture to inhibit the growth of mold. Another user recommends adding a splash of vodka. And another suggests potassium sorbate, which is used in food preservation.

Carpet Freshener

3 c Lavender Buds
2 c Rosemary Leaves
2 c Baking Soda
3 c Lavender Buds
2 c Rosemary Leaves
2 c Baking Soda

Mix and use.

NOTES : When the carpet smells musty, sprinkle it with this blend. Leave for a few hours, then vacuum up. The herbs add fragrance and deodorize the carpet, deterring moths, fleas, and pet smells.

Pine Cone Fire Starters
Heat a block of paraffin in a double boiler.......add three drops of pine oil and bits of red or green crayon to the melted wax for color. Place an 8 inch wick alongside the pinecone and dip both in the wax, coating evenly. To use, place one fire-starter under kindling and light the wick!!!!! Then relax in cocoon-like comfort before a roaring fire, renewing memories of cherished mountain experiences.

Another Fire Starter
buy the following ingredients from a pharmacy (otc)-
salt peter, boric acid, alum
also you will need candle wax, pine cones, and sawdust

in separate bowls- mix the sawdust with two parts of each ingredient. melt the wax in a double boiler-dip the pinecones in the wax then roll in the sawdust/chemical mix. let cool completely. you may also add your favorite scented oil to the wax to give fragrance to the fire also !

when you want some special effects to your fire- just throw in a pine cone or two. they also make great gifts for someone who has a fire place.

Perfumed Wash Balls
You will need:
1C. (4oz) unscented toilet soap (or assorted soap ends)
2/3C rosewater
5d lavender oil
5d petitgrain oil
food coloring (optional)
Tissue paper
Satin ribbon, 1/4" wide
Grate the soap into a mixing bowl using a fine grater (such as a cheese grater), then add the rosewater.

Heat the mixture over a gentle heat in a bainmarie, until it coalesces into a thick paste. Take it off the heat, and with a pestle and mortar (or blender) mix in the essential oils and food coloring.

Allow the mixture to begin to set and dry out a bit, then take a small handful of paste and mold it into a neat ball. Repeat until the mixture is used up. Before the wash balls become completely hard, polish them to a smooth finish by wetting your hands with a little rosewater, and rubbing the balls between them.

Wrap each completed wash ball in two 8" squares of tissue paper, and tie with a ribbon.