In just a couple of months, India will get ready to celebrate festivals and even the wedding ‘season’ is not too far away.
Flowers make for popular presents, and while they pop out the colours of your room and make it smell as fresh as a meadow, the glamour only lasts for a couple of days, before you have to throw them away.
But what if I tell you that the flowers won’t be a complete waste even after they have dried up? What if you could preserve them longer and in innovative ways?
Here’s a list of five things you can do to preserve this gift of love:
1. Personalised cards
Take the flowers (or leaves, they look just as lovely) and carefully remove all the dust and soil, with a cloth. Place them carefully in the middle of a thick book (an old phone directory, a book from the Harry Potter series, or even a large-sized dictionary would do). Close the book carefully. You can even place some extra weight on the closed book.
The leaves will take about a week and the flowers, about two weeks to dry. Your personalised decoration is good to go on a piece of plain paper!
2. Homemade perfume:
Got a large bouquet of roses from someone special? You can preserve their fragrance for many weeks by making perfume from the flowers! You’ll need about 12 roses, 3 cups of water, ice cubes, a large pot with a glass lid, a small bowl that can be heated, aluminium foil, a towel, a sealable container and a strainer.
Pluck out all the petals from the flowers and put them in the large pot. Make sure you leave some room in the centre for the small bowl.
Cut out a two-foot rectangle-shaped piece of aluminium foil, twist it into a long roll and coil it to form a base for the small bowl. Now place the bowl on it, so it is surrounded by rose petals.
Pour the water on the petals, cover the pot with the lid placed upside down. The handle of the lid should be sitting on the bowl. Put the pot to simmer.
In a few moments, you’ll see water condensing on the lid. This is when you place the ice cubes, either directly or with a towel on the lid. This difference in temperature will make the condensed water to drop in the small bowl.
It will take about an hour for all the water mixed with rose water to accumulate in the bowl. Once done, you can put the liquid collected in the bowl in a sealable container. If there are any rose petals, use the strainer to filter them out.
There you have it—your own homemade rose perfume!
If you have a bouquet of flowers with strong smells, you can use it to liven your room for several weeks, by making potpourri.
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You will need flowers, citrus fruits, essential oils, fresh herbs or whole spices, sheet pan, parchment paper, scissors, spray bottle and an oven.
Then, preheat your oven to about 100 degree Celsius. Meanwhile, place the parchment paper on the sheet pan. Cut the flowers from their stems, right at the head or if you have flowers like the rose, pluck all its petals. Place the flowers and petals on the sheet pan in one layer.
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You can also add in slices of a citrus fruit, herbs or spices, so the potpourri doesn’t smell too sweet. Cloves, cinnamon sticks or thyme to balance the sweetness.
Now add about 10-12 drops of your favourite essential oil to a tablespoon of water, put the mixture in a spray bottle and squirt it on the flower-fruit-herb mix.
Put this mix in the oven and keep a close watch to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Let them get brittle though, so you know they have dried completely.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven, gently place the mix in a bowl and spray some more essential oils on it.
Your potpourri is ready to make your room smell fresh!
4. Lip Balm:
Want to make your very own lip balm using that lovely flower you got? Well, all you need is a 1/4 cup dried flower petals, 1/4 cup of beeswax, two tablespoons coconut oil, one tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon honey, a saucepan and a bowl (that can be heated), and small sealable containers.
Fill the saucepan with water about halfway and place the bowl in it. Place both of these to heat. Put the beeswax, coconut oil and olive oil in the bowl. As the water starts heating, the mixture will melt. (You can also directly place the mixture in a microwave and heat it.)
Once completely melted, take it down from the gas and add the petals, vanilla extract and honey. Stir the mixture, so it’s even.
Pour the mixture into the small container. Once cooled, your personal fragrant balm is ready to moisturise your lips!
All you need to make your scented candles look just as pretty is dried flowers/leaves, a basic thick candle, a stick adhesive (like fevistick), a saucepan and a bowl that can be heated.
If you have fresh flowers, dry them in a cool, open space (unlike the pressed drying method). If they are already dry, you are good to go. Place the dried flowers/leaves on a flat surface, so you know which ones to use on which candle.
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Stick the flowers or leaves on your candles with the adhesive stick. This will only be temporary.
Fill your saucepan halfway with water and place the bowl in it. Make sure both these are deep enough to accommodate the candle. Once it gets hot, hold the candle with the wick and bring it near the bowl.
Make sure it doesn’t melt completely, but just enough to make your flowers stick. Once that is done, bring it to cool. There you have it, your personalised pretty scented candles!
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)