Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Orange Spice Potpourri {Last-Minute Homemade Gift}

 I got the original idea from a post on Keeper of the Home. You should really check out this blog - she recently posted about different home remedies for winter ailments. I get tons of great ideas from her!

I cannot believe how great this stuff ended up smelling. I just added a few ingredients to it. It is so easy to make - Little Guy pretty much did it all himself! Just make sure that you have the whole family save their orange peels!

Orange Spice Potpourri

  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Whole Allspice
  • Whole Cloves
  • Peels from Oranges
  • Bay Leaves
  • Pine cones or Wood shavings (from untreated wood!),
  • Orange or Citrus Essential Oil
Now, looking at the list of ingredients, I know what you're thinking: "Doesn't she have any idea how expensive those spices are???" Yes, I do. That's why I bought the dollar store out of them! As I mentioned in my Spiced Dough Ornaments post, if you're not eating it, it doesn't matter how good these things are. You want them for their scent only, so go the cheapest possible. You may even consider buying some of those Cinnamon-Scented Pine Cones to use - just pull them apart!

Next, I used Clementines. Little Guy can peel them by himself and the peels are very thin, they dry very quickly. I kept a bowl near the trash can and told everyone to put their peels into it. Little Guy's job, before bed, was to tear the peels into small pieces (about 1/2" X 1/2"). Then, we spread them onto a wax paper-lined cookie sheet and popped them into the oven. We have a pilot light that is on all of the time, so the little bit of heat generated by it helped dry the peels overnight. If you don't have a pilot light, try setting the sheet near a heating vent or anywhere that the air circulates.

You don't have to go collecting pine cones and wood shavings like we did. I just wanted to be able to bulk up my batch of potpourri so I could give out more and use less spices (they might have been bought at the dollar store, but the cost does add up, anyway!) We had a friend save his shavings for us. Since we had a lot of time before having to give the gifts, We mixed up a little food coloring into warm water and added the shavings. I let them sit for a couple of hours, then drained and spread onto a cookie sheet. I was worried about the orange scent being overpowered by the spices, so I shook a little bit of the essential oil onto the still wet shavings then put them into the oven to dry. They took about 24 hours, and I used my hand to turn them over a few times so they'd dry all over.It added a little extra color and extra scent to the mix.

Now, I didn't give any measurements because there really aren't any. I used about 8 cinnamon sticks. I had to get out a hammer and gently hit them so I could break them into 1/2" to 1" pieces. I used one jar of cloves (0.62 oz, I think), and the same amount of allspice. I think we had the peels from a dozen clementines (they shrink a ton when they dry!) and around 1 1/2 c. of wood shavings. I dumped it all into a bowl and Little Guy used a wooden spoon, then his hands, to mix it all together.

We wanted to have enough potpourri to give to ten people, so we put about 1/2 cup (eyeballed it) into a sandwich bag, then tied closed with a pretty ribbon. The potpourri smell good enough to just set in a bowl. When it stops being "smelly", just put a tablespoon or two into a mug filled about halfway with water and microwave for 45 to 60 seconds. Mmmm!

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