Get down and dirty in the garden
One of my favorite herbal cookbook authors is Marge Clark. Sadly she passed away in 1999. Her cookbooks do live on and all of them are still available through Amazon or Bookfinder. I love her recipes because they are the best comfort food recipes. These old-fashioned recipes remind me of my childhood and I have never been disappointed when making them. One of my favorite Marge Clark books is a wonderful Christmas book with menus for entertaining through the holidays, all kinds of craft and gift ideas and Christmas legends as well. It is called Christmas Thyme at Oak Hill Farm.
I can’t believe that Christmas is less than three weeks away. Every year since I started blogging, I have wanted to try these mini wreathes. So now is the thyme! There are two types: potpourri and spice. I have a lot of old stale potpourri and thought this would be the perfect idea to repurpose it.
Make Mini Potpourri Wreaths
For one 2 1/2- to 3-inch wreath, you’ll need:
• One 2 1/2- to 3-inch ring mold
• Nonstick vegetable spray or margarine for greasing mold
• 2 to 3 empty cottage cheese containers, for mixing
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 tablespoon white glue (such as Elmer’s)
• 1 to 1 1/4 cups potpourri (the prettier the potpourri, the prettier the wreath—I found that 1 cup of rose petals and the lavender flowers filled the mold. The other lemon verbena potpourri took the full 1 1/4 cups.)
• Latex gloves
• Measuring spoons and cups
• Plastic spoon for mixing
• Doughnut cutter with handle removed or a mini bundt pan or a doughnut pan
• A knife for removing wreath from mold
• Ribbon or other dried flowers for decoration
• Essential oils
• Plastic wrap or small plastic bag
1. Grease the mold with margarine (Marge calls it oleo) or cooking spray. (This is very important.)
2. Use a cottage cheese container (or some other disposable container) and mix the water and white glue together to make a thin paste.
3. Add the potpourri and stir well to coat the leaves and petals with the thin glue mixture.
4. Pack mixture into the prepared mold and tamp it down with your fingertips. (This is where the gloves may be necessary.) Don’t worry about seeing the glue because it will dry clear.
5. Drizzle the glue left in the container over the potpourri mixture in the mold.
6. Let mold set for about 6 hours or overnight. (I left mine dry overnight.) Run a table knife around the outside of the mold and gently ease wreath from mold.
7. Let dry for several days, turning occasionally to dry evenly on both sides. Decorate with additional dried flowers or herbs and ribbons.
8. Because the glue mixture coats the potpourri, the wreath may lose its fragrance. After the wreath is thoroughly dry, add a drop or 2 of essential oil (your choice) to each wreath.
9. To store, wrap each wreath in plastic wrap or in a small plastic bag and keep out of direct light until ready to use at holiday time.
10. When you get ready to put them away for the season, rewrap them in plastic or place them in a resealable bag and put them in a covered box away from heat and light.
In this photo, I made three different recipes. The one at the top is rose petals because rose is the 2012 Herb of the Year; the one in the middle is an old potpourri with lemon verbena and sage; and the one at the bottom is lavender flowers.
I let them dry overnight in the molds and I think they turned out fairly well for a first attempt.
I will say that the rose petals and the lemon verbena potpourri turned out better than the lavender flowers. I have some Norfolk lavender potpourri that I found at T.J.Maxx for under $3 that I am going to use next and see how they turn out. You must spray or grease the mold even if you think that it is a nonstick surface, you need the coating. It makes it much easier to pry it free. The lavender one might have come out a little cleaner if I had sprayed the mold. You know how it is being excited to try a new craft! OK, maybe you don’t! You need to let them dry for several days. You should turn them over every so often so that they dry evenly. You can place them on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap to dry. I have various colors of ribbon for decoration. I was thinking that these could be used as gift decorations for packages and gift bags (although mine being the mini bundts may bring down a gift bag!), placecard holders for holiday meals or favors for the party and decorations for a tree. Hopefully, they will be lighter when they are completely dry. Once they are dry decorate them with pieces of dry flowers or herbs and ribbons if you wish.
I am going to be doing the spice wreaths in the next couple of days and get that posted very soon. So please stay tuned. I think that these potpourri wreaths are easy enough to be a last minute addition to your holiday decorations.
As always, if you have a comment or question about any of my posts, please write to me here with a comment or my email at email@example.com and put in the subject line “Herb Comment or Question.” Talk to you soon.
You can check out the Lemon Verbena Lady at her blog Lemon Verbena Lady's Herb Garden.