rose petal sachet

The Damsel has a few rose bushes at her cottage. She loves her pink one, and her yellow one, and her minature rose, and her old-fashioned rambling rose.

Of course she loves the old-fashioned one.

But her red one, an Abraham Lincoln, is the only one that really has a nice rose scent. Apparently, when rose growers hybrid the plants to get beautiful colors, it breeds out the scent. So if you’re in the market for a rose bush, keep that in mind. Do you want color or scent? Check the label…sometimes you can have both.

The Damsel cries when she deadheads her red roses, because they smell so, so, so wonderful and she can’t bear to throw the petals in the trash. So she thought back about what Grandma would do with rose petals. One thing she’d do is make sachets.

So what’s a sachet? Sachets are little pillows filled with dried flowers. Lavender is popular along with roses. Say “Sa-shay,” as in, “I’m going to sa-shay out to the rose garden and pick some flowers.” The usual use for them is to stick them in drawers, to make everything smell nice.

Gather some past-their-prime roses, pull the petals from the flower heads, and set them out to dry.

IMG_2990There are ways to hurry this process along, but if you don’t have an immediate pressing need, you could just put them out on the counter in a pretty dish, taking whiffs whenever necessary. Stir them with your fingers a couple of times a day. Feel fancy while stirring rose petals with your fingers.

IMG_3086After a few days (four or so) the roses will be dry and a bit sad looking. But they still smell wonderful.

To make a sachet, you need some sort of loose weave cloth, so the scent can escape. The Damsel first tried cheesecloth, because it’s the loosest weave cloth she has. UGLY WARNING: cheesecloth will work but oh my ugly.

Next she found a hunk of lace fabric in the bottom of the scrap box. It’s open enough for our purposes.

IMG_3094Cut a rectangle from the lace. It doesn’t matter what size, but remember that sachets are usually on the small side, so they don’t crowd your drawer.

IMG_3095Fold in half, trimming the edges if necessary to straighten. Don’t fuss.

IMG_3096Put right sides together, if there is a right and wrong side to the material. With lace fabric, there often isn’t. Sew up two sides. With the fold, you will have one side remaining open.

IMG_3097Turn right side out. Now you have a little bag.

IMG_3100Stuff it with petals. Don’t be shy.

Now all that remains is to sew up the remaining side. You could handstitch this to make it extra nice, or do it this way on the machine:

IMG_3101Hold the bag with the open side at the top, and settle the petals to give you room. Fold a half inch or so of the cut edges to the inside. Pin it if you’d like.

IMG_3102Topstitch across the open end of the bag.

IMG_3103Add a ribbon if you like. Sachets make sweet little gifts. Tie one on top of your next present to a rose-loving friend.

homemade peppermint oil

The Damsel went out to her herb garden and shook her head in dismay. As usual, the peppermint was out of control.

Why can’t the cilantro grow like that? The Damsel can think of many delicious solutions to an out-of-control-cilantro problem. But what do you do with peppermint?

The Damsel has used a leaf or two in lemonade, and she’s even made tea with it. That’s nice. But a leaf or two hardly puts a dent in the mint population currently at the Damsel’s cottage.

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Lo and behold she discovered peppermint oil has a lot of uses. People use it to cure nausea, indigestion, cold symptoms, headaches, muscle and nerve pain,  stomach and especially bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. And that’s just the beginning. Apparently mice and ants hate it, so a person could get rid of the little critters without poison or snapping traps.

It can be expensive. A little 4 oz. bottle costs about $10. So what would Grandma do? Peppermint, meet oil. Oil, meet peppermint.

The Damsel grabbed a few big handfuls, yanked them right out by the roots. A person could cut the mint and let it keep growing, but the whole point of this was to reduce the mint population explosion.

She washed it and stripped leaves from the stems. Another person could have used stems and all, but the Damsel has so much mint she can use just the leaves and feel perfectly good about it.

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Find a handy jar. A pint canning jar will do, or a small salsa jar with a tight lid. Use it to measure vegetable oil into a pan. Heat to 160 degrees. The Damsel discovered that 160 is nothing to a pan of oil. It won’t even act hot yet at that temp.

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The Damsel would like to announce that if you mention the dirty burner felony in the above picture, she will not take it kindly.

Chop the mint a bit. The more cut edges, the more minty goodness will ooze into the oil.

IMG_2924Stuff the cut mint into the jar–the one you measured the oil with. Fill it nice and full. It can be pretty tight, but not cram-packed.

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When the oil is warmed, pour it into the jar, filling it as full as is practical. No need to worry about head space or breathing room. You aren’t going to process it or freeze it or anything.

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Poke it a bit to get air bubbles out but don’t fuss.

IMG_2939Screw on the lid and put it away in a dark place for a month. A MONTH???? The Damsel hates waiting. But some things take time.

If you live local to the Damsel, come on over and get a start of mint for your own garden. Permit her a cruel chuckle as she contemplates the eventual overrun of your garden. Unless, of course, you are smarter than she was and plant it in a pot.

old meets new–scarecrows

In the olden days, people made scarecrows to protect their crops from birds. The Damsel thinks that sounds sort of charming but a whole lot of work.

This is what the Damsel’s Knight in Shining Armor put in their garden to scare away the birds: It’s hard to see, but yes, those are old CD’s a-twistin’ in the wind. This is a row of corn–an all time bird favorite.

IMG_2768The Damsel suspects that olden days birds were smarter and required an actual person-shaped scarecrow. She feels lucky that only dumb birds come to peck up the corn from her garden. They are pretty scared of shiny CD’s.

Silly birds! There’s not even any usable data on those CD’s! Ha ha!

Here’s another configuration the Knight used, between two pumpkin plants, where there wasn’t a long row.

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