By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
In mid-August I was at a garage sale full of 1940s and 1950s household paraphernalia. Among the milky salt shakers, bakelite jewelry and vanity sets were two tins of vintage hankies. Impressed with the old prints and even more impressed with crochet borders and embroidered designs, I wanted the colorful lot. So, $20 later, they were mine.
Unfolding my treasurers I counted forty hankies … about 50 cents each. Not a bad price in the Northeast Ohio collectible market.
Now what? I was waiting for inspiration. I, too often, buy stuff because it’s pretty and/or a bargain. Just ask me about those vintage patchwork quilts that match nothing in my home décor. But, I digress…
I washed the hankies on delicate and ironed them crisp. Folded twice, they’re smallish squares.
I tend be OCD sometimes, so I organized them by color, then embellishment.
Lavender-filled squares to scent clothing drawers. Hops-filled sachets for inducing sleep. Eucalyptus sachets for winter colds. Rose-filled sachets, well … just because. Gifts for everyone.
I decided to keep them folded, machine sew two sides, stuff them and close them. Then, overthinking I contemplated thread color. Fortunately, I returned to my senses and went with white because it’s universal.
Finally, it was show time. The sewing went quickly.
With the first batch I was on a lavender high. I could just roll around in those. I picked the prettiest, frilliest hankies because the flowers seem so delicate despite the intense aroma.
The hops, meanwhile, had been vacuum sealed into plastic so I used my fingers to loosen the tight wads. Not long and my fingers were a bit oily-sticky from the herbaceous brewing ingredient. And, yes, smelling a bit like a bitter hoppy beer. I guess I won’t give these sachets to my lager swigging friends.
While roses haven’t been known to induce sleep, they’d make feminine drawer sachets. I could even see vintage ladies tucking the smallest into their ample bosoms to release perfume in the summer’s heat.
Eucalyptus was a last-minute addition when all that herb sniffing left me with a stuffy head. Why not make sachets to tuck inside the pillow when you have a cold.
Forty herb packages later and I’ve started my Christmas crafting. I just might go with an aromatherapy basket for friends and family this year. Next up? Soap.
P.S. Be selective about hops. Seek out the sweetest. Those used for bitter India Pale Ales are only for the hardcore herb or beer lover. At first whiff, they smell like day-old, spilled beer. If you can hold out for 2 seconds the scent mellows into something sleep inducing. If your budget is tight, don’t bother.
What’s on your holiday crafting gift list? What are you making for friends and family. Tell us in the comments below.