Herbs For Crafting Tips

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How do I make flavored cooking oil?

Decorative Herb Oil - For The Cook

These make wonderful presents for the cook in your life, or for your own home decorating needs. I often pick up unusually shaped glass bottles and decorative corks throughout the year, ready for the oil-making spree in late summer or early autumn.

Hardy, woody herbs and dried seeds are best for decorative oils, as they do no deteriorate. Choose dried or fresh sprigs of rosemary, dried chili peppers, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, dried lemon and orange peel, cinnamon bark and cloves.

Before you start, think about the herb mix you are planning to create. What will the oil be used for? An Italian mix could contain whole garlic cloves, rosemary and thyme sprigs and maybe some peppercorns and would be useful as drizzling oil for pasta dishes, bread and salads. For a Mexican mix combine whole chili peppers, cumin or fennel seeds and dried orange peel. Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried lemon peel, chili and peppercorns give a Moroccan flavor, while thyme, lemon peel, garlic and mint give a hint of Greece.

Add your chosen herbs and spices to the clean, dry bottle, then gently pour in the oil. Use good quality olive oil and ensure that the herbs are completely covered. Seal and label the bottle and keep in a cool, dark space until needed.

   
How do I make a pomander?

Pomanders - A Blast From The Past

Pomanders have been around since the Middle Ages, but they are still lovely to look at and can scent a wardrobe for up to a year.

Stud an orange with cloves, then dust lightly with spray mount and roll in ground cinnamon and allspice. Tie a ribbon around the orange to suspend it.

   
How do I make a herb pillow

Making A Herb Pillow

Herb pillows are an aid to restful sleep. They can help calm and soothe nervous children and also impart a lovely fresh scent to a bedroom.

Fashion a pillowcase from plain cotton or muslin and fill it with your chosen herb mixture. Make sure it's sown up tightly and use with a decorative outer pillowcase.

Chamomile and lavender are especially suitable for children's rooms. Add lemon balm, dried hops, rosemary and mint to herb pillows for adults.

   
What can I do with the catnip in my garden?

Cat Toys

If you have cats you know that they absolutely adore catnip. So here are some ideas to make your cat's day:

Plant catnip in a large bowl. Keep it away from the cat until the bowl has a nice carpet of catnip on it, and then place the bowl in a sunny spot. Watch your cat snooze in it all day long.

Alternatively, make a muslin bag, mouse-shaped if your sewing skills allow. Stuff the bag tightly with dried catnip leaves and sew up. Add a little tail and present to your cat with compliments.

   
How can I keep stored clothes fresh?

Scented Coat Hangers

For natural scent in your wardrobe, buy or make fabric-covered hangers and fill them with a mixture of dried aromatic herbs. Lavender and rose petals are a pleasant mix for a lady's bedroom. Try bergamot and lemon balm for a gentleman's room. If you want scent as well as protection against moths, add rosemary to your herb mix.

   
How do I make scented paper?

Scented Paper

Scented paper adds a feeling of luxury and an elusive quality to any room. Scent your writing paper by adding sprigs of lavender to a box of paper. Alternatively, lightly dampen the paper using a fine mister, then spray with your favorite essential oil. Bergamot, geranium, grapefruit and lavender seem to give especially good results.

Keep drawer-lining paper in a closed box with bundles of dried herbs such as rosemary, lavender, lemon balm or lemon verbena. Keep the box tightly shut for a few weeks before lining your drawers.

   
How do I make mulled wine?

Mulled Tea Mix - The Smell Of Christmas

The smell of cloves, oranges, cinnamon and honey never fails to remind me of Christmas. But it does not have to be Christmas to enjoy this tea. It adds warmth and a feeling of well being to any tea party.

Mix five teaspoons of black tea with three cloves, one tablespoon of crushed cinnamon bark, one tablespoon of dried orange peel, and one small slice of fresh ginger (optional). Tie into a muslin square, before adding to a warmed teapot. Fill teapot with boiling water and steep for five minutes. Serve with honey.

The tea mix also makes a great present. Place into a nice jar or individual muslin sachets before giving it away.

To make mulled wine, steep one quantity of tea mix in half a liter of water for five minutes. Add a bottle of red wine and heat through. Do not boil. Add sugar to taste and serve with lemon slices.

   
How can I mask cooking smells?

Herb Balls For A Fragrant Kitchent

Herb balls are arrangements made from flowers, herbs and seed heads that can be used in the kitchen to mask cooking smells.

Select long sprigs of bay, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Add whole seed heads of dill and fennel. Insert closely into a floral foam ball until this is entirely covered. Attach a ribbon and suspend near your cooker.

   
How can I keep stored clothes smelling nice?

Drawer Sachets - Keep Stored Clothes Smelling Nice

To scent linen drawers, make up fabric bags and fill with dried aromatic herbs. Lavender and rose petals make a pleasant mix, as do lavender, rosemary and mint, or bergamot and lemon balm.

If you don't have fabric bags, or don't want to spend the money, grab an old pair of pantyhose and cut the bottom part of the legs off. Use the toe section, and fill the pantyhose with lavender seeds or rose petals. Tie the pantyhose together and hang in your closet or use in a drawer.

   
Any ideas for table decorations?

Christmas Table Centerpiece

If you want to add a special centerpiece to your Christmas dinner table, surround a glass bowl with upright cinnamon sticks and tie in place with a ribbon. Fill the center of the bowl with a potpourri made from dried orange peel, cloves and pinecones.

   
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Barbara Gibson
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