There's no doubt that when it comes to scented lotions and potions, Lavender is always my first choice. This is why I tried growing the herb in my garden a few years ago, after visiting Nick's aunt in Edinburgh, where she had a huge patch of the glorious substance, that was in full flower while we were there. She had a gorgeous garden overall and was a little confused by my excitement over the homegrown Lavender while her lilies and hydrangeas were bursting. Until then though, the concept of growing it myself had never entered my mind.
Fast forward several years, and I now have my own Lavender patch to be proud of. I initially bought one little plant for 99 cents in the herb section one spring and stuck it in the only spot in the garden that gets full sun for most of the day. Anything else I had tried in that same spot had not fared well, shriveling up in no time in the sun-baked dry soil. But the Lavender thrived there, without any extra watering at all, and now it has grown to fill the entire spot.
It is situated along the path to our front door, meaning a dreamy aromatic greeting for anyone who comes to call. All in all, it's a really great plant to grow in my opinion and you should try some in that 'hard-to-grow-anything' spot you might have in your yard.
Here is a picture of the flowers in June.
And there is more! You can make lovely things with your lavender at the end of the gardening season. It needs a good haircut in the fall anyway, so you might as well harvest it and just bring it inside in a bowl where it will scent your room, or go a step further and make something with it! Both the leaves and the spent flowers are strongly scented.
Last year I made 3 versions of scented body oils (seen here) that were an absolute delight throughout the dry winter. And the aroma really did come through nicely. Simply rubbing a bit of it on your hands left the room around you lightly scented and your hands nicely moisturized. And the oils I used were all types that you could eat (though you shouldn't) making them very safe to rub into your skin.
But that was last year! This year I used my Lavender crop to make two different things. I am calling these 'Bath Bags' and they are like scented tea-bags for your bath! And some Lavender Bath Salts, made with therapeutic soothing salts.
In this post I will show you the Bath Bags and in a following post I will show you the Salts.
As an added benefit these ended up being great sachets as well. I popped a one in my suitcase recently and the subtle scent it gave the things I had packed was lovely. Plus I had it with me on my trip so I could also have a relaxing scented bath.
How to make Lavender Bath Bags
In a nutshell, these are made using coffee filters, filled with lavender and used to scent your bath.
- Lavender leaves and buds, stripped of the stems and dried for a few days. (Note, I reserved some of the buds to use in the Bath Salts). To dry the leaves and buds, I just left them in a big bowl for a few days and occasionally tossed them with my hands. The leaves will still be soft and pliable rather than brittle after this amount of time. There's no need to dry them out further than that.
- Lavender scented essential oil.
- Round coffee filters. (One per Bath Bag)
- Red and Blue food colouring ... I used it to tint the coffee filters a pinky-purple shade, but that step is optional.
- A sewing machine.
First I tinted my coffee filters - Using 3 drops of blue food colouring and 8 drops of red, in about 3/4 cup of water, I made a purple dye-bath into which I dunked the coffee filters. Then I laid them out flat on a piece of plastic to dry. They dried withing an hour outdoors. To flatten them out I slipped the stack between the pages of a heavy book over-night, (although you could also iron them).
To prepare the stuffing, I mixed the lavender with about 20 drops of Lavender Essential Oil. You can use any scent of oil you like for this, as long as it is deemed safe to put on your skin. You can also spritz the leaves with your favourite perfume if you want.
To make the bags, fold one coffee filter in half and sew about 3/4 of the way around the edge. Using a cone made from paper as a funnel, fill the bag with the scented lavender leaves. Sew them shut.
Note - You will see oily spots on the coffee filter. Don't worry, these will go away after letting the bags sit for a couple of days. If you don't mind the oil spots, seal your Bath Bags up right away, otherwise lay them in a single layer on a tray. Enjoy how they scent your room as they 'rest'.
To use these, just add the whole bag intact into your bath water. Depending on how long you soak it, each bag can be good for more than one bath. Dispose (compost) after the scent is all gone.
So, if you have some Lavender in your garden or know someone who does, now is the time of year to cut it back, and harvest the goodness! Or perhaps the promise of being able to make these Lavender Bath Bags will inspire you to plant some next spring!
Thanks for taking a look. Later today I will be back with the second part of this post -> How to Make Scented Bath Salts here.
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