Weekend Workshop Day 3: Scents of the Season

Welcome to Day 3 of our Weekend Workshop designed to have your home holiday-ready by Monday.  So far, you've made mini winter scenes and strings of pom-pom garland--high five! Today, we wrap things up with another simple, easy and inexpensive DIY project.  This one looks as good as it smells, and it smell amazing.  Here's the "how-to" for a Simple Citrus Potpourri.  

What we love about this:  A fruity, spicy fragrance says "holiday time" like nothing else can.  And since smell is the sense most strongly linked to memory, this potpourri sets the stage for years of warm reminisces of time spent with family and friends.  

What you need:
Oranges, lemons, limes
Freeze-dried fruit (optional)
Baking sheet
Parchment paper
Wire baking rack
Large plastic zipper bag

What to do:
1.  Slice and peel.  Cut some of your fruit into 1/8" slices.  Use a sharp knife or a wide vegetable peeler to peel the rest of your citrus and create wide ribbons of orange, lemon and lime skin.    

2.  Dry.  Place the fruit slices on a wire rack and the fruit peels on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Put them both in a 200 degree oven for two hours.  Turn the slices and peels every 30 minutes.  Leave the oven door ajar to let the moisture escape.  If the fruit isn't dry after two hours, leave it in for as many additional 30-minute intervals as necessary.  Just keep checking to make sure it doesn't burn.  

3.  Add freeze dried fruit (optional).  Freeze-dried fruit is moisture-free so you can toss it into your potpourri mix to add color and texture.  Apple slices, blueberries, strawberries and cranberries are generally easy to find.  

4.  Add spices.  Cinnamon sticks and cloves are popular choices because they generate a spicy aroma.  You can also sprinkle in ground cinnamon to coat the entire mixture.  Spices such as rosemary and thyme complement and balance sweeter-smelling fruit.  

5.  Assemble.  Transfer your ingredients to a plastic zipper bag.  Shake well to evenly distribute spices.  Allow to sit overnight to bring out the fragrance.  Because dried fruit still retains some moisture, don't leave the mixture in the plastic bag for more than 12 hours.  

6.  Set it out or package it up.    Place the potpourri in pretty bowls or package it to give as gifts.  

Where to find inspiration:  We've come across some potpourri presentations so pretty we started planning where we'd put them in our own homes.  Here are a few that caught our eye.  

This earthen crock and the addition of small pine cones enhance the natural appeal of this potpourri bowl.  Courtesy of homemadegiftsmadeeasy.com

A no-frills display in a clear glass baking cup puts the focus on the fragrance.  The small size makes it easy to tuck these jars into all kinds of little spots around the house.  Courtesy of julieblanner.com

Pretty sage leaves and star anise give this presentation a certain elegance.  Courtesy of womansday.com

These stuffed-to-the-brim jars feature fresh fruit, but the presentation is perfect for a longer-lasting potpourri mix.  

Now, off you go to put together your own sunshine-and spice concoction.  We've loved spending the weekend with you, and we're so excited to see what you've made. Remember to share all of your project photos on our  Facebook page