When I went to some yard sales last weekend I purchased some decorative “ginger jars”. As I was looking at them before purchase, I got a great idea, and I’m especially going to pass it on to my students, but I know y’all will love it if you are an aromatherapist, hobby perfumer or serious perfumer. Of course, the perfumista is included in this, although you may not have the many of the primary scenting materials on hand, you’ll make do, I’m sure, if you love this idea too.
In Module 2, my students learn about aromatic groups, and how to compare them via an organoleptic study exercise. They compare various roses for the Rose aromatic group, including rose geranium, rose absolutes and ottos, and different species, like damask and centifolia. For citrus, they’ll look at lemon, lime, orange, mandarin, grapefruit, etc. – you get the idea.
So, I thought, why not put the aromatic groups in distinct porpourri jars and ginger jars, using the old oils that may be not good enough for fine perfumery, but great for potpourri and scenting room purposes?! I love the idea, don’t you?
So, how to use the oxidized, slightly wilted oils? That lemon lost its tang? The mint not so zingy? Well, of course, you can do what has always been recommended by aromatherapists – use them diluted in water to clean surfaces. That’s a great idea, and one I’ve used for decades. Besides making the house smell great, most are disinfectants, so they kill germs, too. But I digress. I want to up the re-use quotient here, and make them room potpourris with little effort. I’ve made lots of potpourris in my day, and of course, I love the ambiance and “throw” (space that is filled when a candle of Room Candy is diffusing).
But what if you want an added level of fragrance, and a different aesthetic to deliver it? My first thought is to use the 100% cotton inexpensive wash cloths as the carrier. We all know that scent lasts long on material, so that’s a good start. I buy packs of those cotton wash cloths at K-Mart for makeup removal, since I like to save the luxury wash cloths for “cleaner” work. I think the K-Mark cloths are 20 for $6.
I’m using a protective glove to hold the cloth while I pour the oils on, almost to the point of saturation. Into the jar it goes, the lid goes on, and when needed, just remove the lid. The jar up high on the wood bookcase by the front door is “naked” in the jar, since few are tall enough to see into it. The one on the table with the Spice aromatic group has cinnamon quills and star anise over the cloth, so when someone looks down, that’s what they see. Nice! Dried citrus peels will work for the Citrusy group, fanciful wood shavings for the Woodsy group, etc. I just remembered I have a lot of dried vetiver root from my last crop, and that would work for covering the cloth of the Earthy group.
Cleanup when you want to change out the jar for another Aromatic Group? Well, I think I’ll keep them for each specific group I create, but a good washing of the jar in hot soapy water and then a rinse with a strong white vinegar solution should do the trick.
Here’s a list of the study kit Eden Botanicals manufacturers for Module 2. It is available as a kit for purchase from the NPI site, and is posted here as a guide if you wish to have an Aromatic Group themed potpourri collection for your home. As mentioned above, it’s a good list, but there are many others you can categorize in here, this is but a guide:
I love this idea of Aromatic Groups potpourri/recycle old oils, don’t you? Do you have any suggestions to add, some creative twist? I’d love to hear from you because sometimes it’s one thing to come up with a new idea on your own, but hearing feedback is great!
Sorry, this is on a different topic but I’ve been looking out for that exciting paper that was going to be published a few weeks ago but I’ve been unable to find it. Has it been released yet?
Didn’t you see that fellow student Kristie asked that question in the student group today? It’s worth your while to get the emails from that group because you’ll see all the student and faculty interaction. It was also posted to the big NP group, and I’m pretty sure you’re a member there too. Maybe you need to check your spam filters?
A long answer before I get to answer here! Just wanted to help. I wrote Kristie and everyone that the editor is very sick and that we’re waiting for her to get better before we publish it. I’m so sad she’s ill just because she’s such a sweet, good person, and she’s so very ill. Let’s all hope she gets better soon – there’s no one else I trust as much as her to do a great editing job.
It is a good idea, although I would probably end up mixing various elements of the groups. I’m suprised that you didn’t have a ‘resin’ group in your list. I’m also suprised benzoin isn’t in there somewhere.
If you mix the elements, then you’ve gone from aromatic groups to perhaps a fragrance family. I teach my students how to differentiate and then be able to go forward with systematic creation. If you look, resins are in the first illustration. There are some missing from there, otherwise the image would be too busy. Also, my students learn that some groups overlap. If you look at the balsamics, many are resins. I did state in the blog post that I couldn’t include everything, but the students do receive a chart that fits as many of the aromatics as possible under their categories, and shows interchangeability, if possible. For instance, they get vanilla in kit one, and that’s not on the kit 2 list, but if it were the debate would be to put it under balsamic, or gourmand? Benzoin simply didn’t fit on the image or kit 2 list, as hundreds of others didn’t.
I saw a conversation about using some kind of Rum tinture and let it dry out, then scrape the dry residue which is sort of an abs. Someting like that but it was not posted formaly. I am in other groups too but I will like to focus in Naturals and some time soon work toward certification to have more recognition to work with local farms. Here in Texas we have a bloomig interest in Lavender and Roses. I am pretty sure Anya has this in mind, but last week she was really busy making important decisions. We have to be patient. I know she will teach it the right way before she put it out. 🙂
Oh also I forgot about the potpourri jars! I make some slants with my dremmel on some of my ceramics to let the air come out. I use it in many antiques pots and turned them in nice potpourri jars.
Sounds great, Eileen! I’ve been meaning to get a dremel for some time, I know I’d have a lot of fun with it!
There is very little distillation going on in Florida, and Elise P is leading the pack with her work at UF.
You’re right about getting the article right before it is put out – we don’t want any ambiguity or confusion. The same great editor that worked on your textbook is who we are waiting for to get better. Hopefully, soon!
I forgot to mention the rum evaporation/scraping method was posted in the big NP group by Christi last week. So you’re keeping it in our circle!
Sorry that some of the answers are out of order. I just discovered the blog settings were reversing the order of sequential chronology, and I fixed it, but some stuff is still out of sequence.
Cool idea Anya!, I still get a thrill each time I open the wooden box that Kit #1 for the NPI course came in. The combination of smells from the different aromatics is divine. Of course the fragrance from the kit is a combination of smells from different fragrance groups. With your perfumepourri one would experience bouquets of florals or citruses or woods etc. The combination of beautiful ginger jars plus the scents within gives one a double sensory experience – the jar design for the eyes and the fragrance within for the nose! 🙂
I can’t find those boxes anymore, or any other that meets the size requirements. It’s like Goldilocks – too big, or too little, except like Goldilocks, I can’t find any that are ‘just right’. So, today I contacted someone about making custom boxes. He has prototypes I’m interested in that can be customized, even to having the NPI logo embossed in the lid, or he may retrofit some that he sells that are too large by gluing a spacer inside that can fill the gap so they don’t fall around. Stay tuned!
Hobby Lobby has the boxes! I buy my vials thru them too and they have exacly the box from Kit 1. Subscribe and get 40% coupon each week thru email. They told me that if I place an order it takes 2 weeks to arrive.
Custom box idea sounds good, but I really like the strong lock that Kit 1 has.
Always looking for one with good closure!
I haven’t looked at hobby lobby for years, and i just went there and didn’t see it. do you have a link?
Oh, yes, I saw that – but: no need for a set, what would I do with all the extra boxes I have no use for? Plus, I don’t think the small box meets the measurement criteria, so it’s a no-go. Thanks for trying.
PS I buy 50 at a time, so I need a lot, as it’s called, or go the custom, or custom-fitting way.
The little one is exacly the same size and it is about $3.00. I had it on my had last week bc I was going to make one extra for some dillutions.
But they won’t sell you a small one, you have to buy the set. Even with the dimensions, you need to check the inside dimensions. I’ve had to reject several possibilities because the inside dimensions were too tight. One batch that seemed ok had the closing ‘lip’ too wide, and my assistant had to “whittle” all of them, otherwise they wouldn’t fit over the caps in the front row. Custom route it is, it’ll save my sanity and the hundred hours I’ve spent since 2007 trying to get the right box as one source after another dries up. And I’m not exaggerating about the hundred hours.
Je, je, I thought you scrape it…that is the fun part. Just joking… it is lots of work. I think the dremmel will be asset since you can scrape it a lot faster and pretier. Anyway, I will ask the store when I go tomorrow.
Oh, you’re seeing the little boxes in the store?! Can you bring your kit down with you and see if the bottles fit? I didn’t know they were selling them individually, I wondered where you got the $3 figure. Tell them I’ll need 50 if they check out. Maybe more, but I am in love with the one custom design, so I may do both!
Your wish is my command my dear Guru teacher.
I’m off to bed now, I’ll have sweet dreams because of this turn of events, and I know you love the dream world!