Make Your Own Potpourri

Turn a house into a home by decorating for the sense of smell.

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If you looked up "house" and "home" in the dictionary, you would find they share the same definition: the place where one lives. But you and I know that there is a huge difference between a house and a home.

So how do you make a house into a home? Decorate for the senses. Choose your furnishings and possessions for their beauty and comfort. Their colors should be pleasing, and there should be a variety of patterns and textures in the furniture, pillows and floor coverings, all of which appeal to your senses of sight and touch.

And then there’s the sense of smell. Aromas certainly contribute to the feeling of home?the smells of apple pies, baskets of flowers and simmering spices. If you don’t have time to cut flowers and simmer spices, I have an easy suggestion for a fragrance-filled home: potpourri. Here are several ways to make your own and some ideas for using them:

Floral Potpourri

  • Pick flowers in the morning after the dew has dried. Spread the petals on a cookie sheet and air-dry them for about 48 hours.
  • Place a 1/2-inch layer of petals in a container and sprinkle sea salt on top. Repeat the layers until the jar is about three-fourths full. Close the jar tightly and leave it in a dark, dry place for 10 to 12 days. After the petals have dried, separate them from the salt with a wide slotted spoon.
  • For a springtime potpourri, mix two cups of dried rose petals, one cup of dried geranium petals, 1/4 cup of dried peppermint leaves, 1/8-cup dried lavender petals and 1/2 teaspoon of orrisroot. Store in a sealed jar for four weeks, turning it every day.

Amish Potpourri

  • Blend one ounce each of cloves, nutmeg, caraway seed, cinnamon and mace. You can also use this potpourri in closets and drawers because it repels moths.
    Citrus Potpourri
  • Combine 1 1/2 cups of lentils (flaxseed or small dried beans may be substituted), broken cinnamon sticks, 1/3-cup of cloves, orange peel and 10 drops of essential lemon oil.

Circle Sachet

Materials and Tools:

salad plate
rubber band
pinking shears (optional)


1. Trace around the plate, making an outline on the fabric. Cut out the circle. To create a more decorative look, try cutting your circle with pinking shears.

2. Scoop about 1/3-cup of potpourri into the center of the fabric. Gather the edges of the circle together and bind with a rubber band. Tie a ribbon around the sachet and clip off the rubber band.

Hot Pad

Materials and Tools:

two 7-by-10-inch pieces of patterned fabric
two 6-by-9-inch pieces of cotton fleece batting (available at fabric stores)
sewing machine or needle


1. Layer the two pieces of batting together. Using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, sew all four sides of the batting, leaving a 3-inch opening on one of the long sides. Pour in the potpourri until the sack is about three-fourths full. Stitch up the opening and set the sack aside.

2. To create the decorative cover, layer the two pieces of fabric together. Using a ½-inch seam allowance, sew all four sides of the batting, leaving a 5-inch opening on one of the long sides. Clip the corners and turn the cover right side out. Iron the cover so that the seams lie flat. Insert the potpourri sack, and hand-stitch the opening closed.

Note: Always use this potpourri hot pad with another hot pad, as it will not protect your furniture from excessive heat.

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