Thursday, August 12, 2010

Artful Thursday - Fragrant Flames

I truly do love playing with fire.
I get mesmerized by the flames; drawn in by their colours, shapes and movement, but most of all, I love the smell.
We are lucky enough to have two wood burning fireplaces in our home; a beautiful stone one in the living room and a free-standing heater type in the family room. Both throw an enormous amount of heat and in the winter we enjoy many fires.
More than a few years ago I found a recipe for a pot pourri of sorts - one you keep in a basket on your hearth and toss scoopfuls on to the fire for a burst of scent. I always wanted to make it but never seemed to get around to it before the snow flew (to be fair, we lived in the Yukon then and the snow flew awfully early!)

A few years later I started growing herbs and when I dried them, I saved the stalks thinking they could easily be thrown on the fire for a burst of summer scent. I bundled different varieties together to create intriguing combinations and stashed them in a neat little wooden box:

My husband has always found them a bit daunting though and I certainly understand why, so they sat year after year, gathering dust. Hmmm...

The other day I was cleaning the leaves off some herbs I had dried when an idea came to me. Why not break the stems into small pieces and use them in the fire pot pourri? Seemed like a good idea, but I know my husband and cannot picture him scooping pot pourri on to a fire. No way, no how.
More thinking resulted in these:

Little fire bundles, all packaged up and ready to throw on an established fire or tuck in between the kindling to get one going.
Since they get burnt, I had to think about materials. I had some coffee filters and file folders I had tea and coffee dyed months ago so I did some hard thinking about where in the heck they might be in my Stockroom. The twine is pulled from a chunk of burlap, the sewing thread is 100% cotton and the decorations are dried lavender, rosebuds, cedar, pine cones and star anise. 

I stamped them with botanical images to add a little more detail...

This one is a rectangle of paper with the potpourri rolled into the centre and the ends tied off with burlap string.

I pinked the edges...

Here is the coffee filter version - the stamped image is a bit small for the size of the filter - I wasn't terribly happy with how this one turned out but no need to throw it away, it will get pitched in the fire after all...

I think these would make a lovely gift at Christmas, a half-dozen or so tucked in a pretty basket with a few large pine cones and a big bow on the side.

To make the potpourri:

Handfuls of cedar greens, pine needles and/or broken evergreen branches
Small pine cones
Juniper berries
Whole cinnamon sticks, broken
Small pieces of sandalwood
Orris root pieces
Cedar leaf oil, and cinnamon oil 
Dried flower petals

Mix and store for several weeks - if using fresh greens, I mix all the other ingredients together and let "ripen" for about 3 weeks and add the greens right before giving.

Herbal Fire Starter

Dried stalks of any herbs, like lavender, rosemary, sage, marjoram, lemon balm etc.
Dried lemon balm leaves
Dried lavender buds
Dried rosemary leaves
Small pine cones

Break the stalks into 3" to 4" pieces and mix in a bowl with whatever dried leaves and petals you like. Add drops of your favourite essential oil - remember, it needs to be a bit stronger than you would normally want or you won't get much scent when burning.

Using whatever paper or burnable product you like, create sachets and fill with the mixture. Embellish as desired!


Createology said...

You are brilliant and very resourceful. I love your little fire enhancement bundles. My mother used to prepare pinecones so they lit different colors in the flames of the fireplace. Memories...
Happy creating...

Anonymous said...

OH YOU CLEVER GIRL!!! These are gorgeous, fabulous, pretty, unique and FUN, FUN, FUN! How adorable to toss into a huge bowl and have them look pretty while awaiting their "fate"! Not to mention what a lovely gift idea! You are too clever! We have a gas fireplace so this won't be an option for us, but oh what a beautiful idea for making as a gift. So pretty! Can you tell I just love this!
Hugs! Diane

Suztats said...

What a great idea! And so generous of you to share it with us1 Thank you!

Michelle May said...

Oh my gosh this is truly a fantastic idea! You need to copyright it before someone steals it! Brillant idea girlfriend!

Alisa said...

What a brilliant idea!!! And cute to boot!

Becca said...

What a lovely idea! I love the coffee filter ones the best! Unfortunately, the fireplace in our home is gas (we flip a switch) romantic, LOL actually, it's a pretty nice gas fireplace with stones around it. I wonder if I could use those on our little outdoor fire pit though? Yours are so pretty, I'm not sure I'd want to throw them into the fire though. Thanks for sharing the idea, such lovely gifts!

marie said...

This is a wonderful idea ~ fun & functional and oh so pretty! Perfect gift idea!!

Makes me want to install a fireplace!! : )

Monica said...

Ooohhh!! Finally found them!!!! How clever!
I still remember when you told me about them... over a yummy lunch! :) and thought what a super idea! I want to make mine now that I've seen how cute they are!!!
I'm exploring your old entries to know you more, and hopefully I'll find a pic of your sewing room? Hope so.
As for now, big hugs, I'm resting (today I saw for one hour and then HAD to go to bed!!! :(((().
Hope you're feeling better too. Overwhelm is so annoying.