I love Sweethearts. You know, those colorful little conversation candies that get passed around on Valentine’s Day. Growing up, my friends and I would dare each other to give some of the more flirtatious comments to the boys we had (not-so-secret) crushes on. I have never actually liked the taste of the candies, I’m more of a chocolate girl, but I enjoyed the fun of the candies immensely.
For Valentine’s Day at Green Chimneys, we have been creating botanical versions of the “Sweetheart.”
Last week the students spent about half of their class time mixing up our “Everlasting Sunshine” potpourri recipe. Ms. Schuster, Horticulture Teaching Assistant and Mixologist Extraordinaire, adapted a recipe based on items we had on hand and Ms. Veach’s 9th grade class had the honor of naming the aforementioned medley. (We very democratically voted on a short list of suggested titles the kids came up with.)
We tailored the recipe to be the appropriate quantity to fill one sachet. If you are going to make this at home, clearly you are going to want to mix up more, trust me…it smells awesome; floral-fresh with an underlying spicy note and a hint of citrus. The reason for the small increments in the recipe is, I wanted to make sure each student had the opportunity to follow the recipe and identify and measure all of the ingredients in our creation. The recipe is as follows:
Everlasting Sunshine Potpourri
- 1 tbs. rose petals
- 1 tbs. lavender buds
- 1 tsp. corn cob (acts as a fixative to give you potpourri staying power)
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon chips (we cut up large sticks)
- 1/4 tsp. cloves
- 1 piece of dried orange or grapefruit peel
- 1 drop of orange essential oil (dropped onto the fruit peel)
We like to mix our potpourri in mason jars, and let it sit for a week before transferring it to any type of sachet. This gives all the aromas a chance to settle in and mellow.
This week, part II of our Valentine project was creating, decorating and filling our sachets. Different age levels were offered different levels of difficulty so that everyone could find success with minimal (to no) frustration.
The simplest way of creating a sachet for potpourri was to create a small bundle, which the kids tied up with colorful ribbon. Start with an 8″ square of fabric (we used muslin as we had gobs on hand). Next stamp, paint or adorn your sachet the way you desire. When complete, place a generous scoop of potpourri in the middle. Bring all four corners together and squeeze the fabric together tightly over your potpourri. We helped by adding a rubber band for the younger set, and then had them tie their own ribbon on. You can add beads, or other decorative (or edible) items you may have on hand to the ribbon, too. Voila!
If you are up to the task of simple sewing, you can get a little more intricate by creating a sachet with a particular shape. Some felt comfortable creating rectangles or triangles and some went the full length and made heart shapes. We taught the kids how to whipstitch as well as how to sew a running stitch. Take a look at some of the beautiful outcomes:
I love when the kids get to leave class with something, it’s simple things like this that bring so many easy smiles to the faces of my students. This project is timed pretty well too, as next week is Winter recess; the level of excitement is building and this type of project tends to slow things down a bit and help those that are anxious about the coming break to center themselves and successfully create a beautiful keepsake. Happy Valentines Day to all!