Sunday, June 16, 2013

Crafts & Recipes Using Harvested Lavender

My sisters and I have been growing lavender for several years, with the intention of crafting it into potential items for resale and gifting.  This year has been a particularly good harvest already, so I'll share a couple of items we've created in the past and are planning to continue.  You may or may not be aware, but one of lavender's best-selling traits, besides being a relaxing herb, is that it is a natural pest repellent, making it an excellent item to use for natural fiber storage such as fine clothing and linens, and even vintage purses.  

Sister M is the most artistic of us all, and she has made many sachets, using dried lavender buds and vintage linens, mostly hankies and napkins.  She then adorns the sachets with vintage buttons, usually mother-of-pearl, and most times hand-paints the buttons with teeny, tiny flowers.  Here's a sample of various sizes of the sachets:
Lavender sachets from vintage linens & trimmed with hand-painted buttons
The detail on these flowers is really amazing.  Here's a closeup of the two bottom sachets' hand-decorated buttons from the above photo, intentionally complementing the design in the hankies used on the flaps:

And, sometimes the linens are beautiful enough to use for sachets, without additional decoration, as in the case of this one, where a monogrammed napkin serves as the flap:
The body of the sachet is usually made from vintage damask tablecloths, something we have in abundance.  When completed, these sachets are not stuffed with anything but the real deal - all lavender buds we've harvested, and they last for years!  All you have to do to release the fragrance is squeeze the sachet, and they're as good as new!    I've actually used the larger one under my down pillow at night for an intoxicating, relaxing sleep. We sell these in our antique booth space, and they make excellent gifts for teachers, hostesses, gal pals, and yourself!  

The other item I just tried my hands with creating this week (and has potential as another salable item) was a lavender wand.  I have a couple of these that I purchased from an antique dealer several years ago, and they were quite expensive.  I can see why now, as they are time-intensive.  The size of those I purchased were nearly equal to that of a wooden sock darner - certainly smaller than a maraca, but larger than the ones I made (I actually made two), which were just a bit bigger than those large Q-tips they use in medical settings.
I read that it was best to start with anywhere from 13 - 15 individual stems of lavender for a first attempt, so I complied with the suggestion, and it made sense.  The process is somewhat tedious, especially in the beginning, and it took me about 30 minutes to complete this from start to finish.  But again, it's a great way to utilize the lavender, and makes a nice little sachet.  I can also see a bouquet of these (using more stems to make the bulb a little larger would be my preference and goal) in a vintage white ironstone pitcher in a bedroom or bath.

I'm planning to create a step-by-step photo tutorial of how I made this wand, and will plan to share it in a future post, including lessons learned.  I gave my first one to my neighbor this past weekend as a hostess gift at a neighborhood get-together, tied with a little burlap sack and filled with some clay plant markers that say "GROW IN PEACE".  Like me, she's a gardener, and she really appreciated the token. 

So, whether it's harvested and dried, made into a sachet, a wand, or just sitting pretty in a bowl, I'm super excited about my lavender crop this year.  The beauty and fragrance abounds, and I've already got my sights on a lavender-lemon shortbread recipe, and thinking about lavender sugar scrub and lavender bath salts!

Linking with Anita at Cedar Hill Ranch, who's hosting this week's "The Scoop Link Party Tuesdays #71", and Becky at Timewashed, hosting her Blissful Whites Wednesday.