lavender sachets

Extraordinarily practical, the lavender sachet is quite misunderstood. Relegated to the spinster and her old wives tales, much like potpourri and various folk remedies. No, the lavender sachet is worthy of attention. Let us give it due respect.


Unlike the vile-smelling mothball, a known carcinogen, and your run-of-the-mill chemical-laden air freshener, lavender is both potent and benign. Like the best remedies, it has multiple purposes, and does no harm. Creatures that would seek to damage linens, yarns, good wool socks and sweaters and your favourite old books alike are repelled from the territory by a bit of dried lavender. We have had our battles with silverfish and wool moths, and lavender fended them off with elegance.

I like to sew a handful of local lavender, dreamily intoxicated as I stitch, into pretty bits of rough linen, with a touch of wool from a friend’s sheep, to make the hearts and stars loftier. I loop a ribbon through so they can be hung off door handles, drawer handles, or tucked between items on shelves, into laundry baskets or my knitting bag. Little guardians of our precious yarns and woollens. A lavender heart under a restless child’s pillow is an instant sleep remedy, too. Functional, beautiful old fashioned solutions, these lavender sachets. Send me a note if you’d like a few of your own – or if you’re in Vancouver look for them at Second Nature..

drying lavender

Lavender is deeply soothing, and tremendously functional stuff — not some frilly floral this! Lavender protects against wool moths and many other pests when used in sachets and potpourris in the house. Its properties are profoundly calming, so I make a room spray of its essential oils to gentle down my children when they cannot sleep, and rub it on my own wrists as a sleep remedy. In the garden, it conjures up the pathways of old gardens, with such quiet beauty in subdued greens, greys, and those hot bits of colour. Neither deer nor rabbits will touch the stuff, making it an excellent plant to line our front garden with. Preserving it for practical uses around the house takes very little trouble.

pruning lavender

Ideally, as in, hopefully next year, cut the flowers to dry them when they are just about to bloom. If you’ve missed this moment, as those of us who were busy putting a garden in in late summer (but caught lavender plants finishing, and on sale) there’s still great possibility. Lavender likes to be cut back hard in late summer, early autumn, taking off several inches of foliage along with the finished flower. Pruning lavender smells so glorious, I’m quite fond of it.

drying lavender flowers

Hang the flowers upside-down in a dim, dry place, til it is thoroughly dried out. Snapping dry. I’ve a design for a herb-drying rack in my head, another hopeful for drying lavender and other good things next year.

drying lavender foliage

I had so much lavender foliage, I pulled out my oven racks and leaned them up on a support, and laid it all out on that. After a few days in a dark corner it was all quite dry. I’ll be pulling off the green and using it in sachets in my little studio shop, and tossing anything else in baskets round the house. Oil infusions are another gorgeous possibility.


p>Oh – do sign up for the postcards to hear when I’ll have open studio & shop days, drop-in crafting nights by the fire, and traditional workshops in the studio.

lavender sugar

Vanilla beans are delightful stored in sugar until they’re needed, which infuses the sugar with a wonderful rich flavour. I’ve done this before and mean to again. Recently I came across a lovely variation on infused sugar, for summer.

© elisa rathje 2011

The lavender in my mother‘s garden is on the verge of blossoming, perfect.


Lavender sugar.

© elisa rathje 2011

I’ll leave the flowers in and use sugar when I need a little, or to make lavender biscuits or lavender chocolate cake. Birch sugar or honey can be infused, too. Simple pleasures.