Mi Familia!!

Mi Familia!!
Roscoe, Sophia, & Emily(across top) and then I think you can figure out the rest!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Every year we go to my sister's for Christmas.. that's the way it ended up as far as breaking down the family holidays . We have my mother in law over for Thanksgiving. Al's brother and his people take care of themselves... and the rest of the family lives far away..so it's not generally too complicated.

When everyone is over at my sister's for the afternoon and dinner, we usually try to have some kind of craft.... to occupy us and keep the tv off... or even better have the kids watch some tv(it's Christmas for goodness sake.. it's ok!) and let the grown ups have a glass of wine and chit chat over crafts... fun stuff....

Well, one year we made pomanders... and I was hooked! I was the only one who finished the whole way(it actually took me a few days to get the supplies to finish!)... and I still have it hanging up. I love the smell so much!

A pomander is a preserved piece of fruit, often an orange, but you can use apples or lemons as well. They are preserved with cloves... and also some additional spices and oil... but it's the cloves that keep them from going bad and have such a heavenly odor. They have been around for ages, as room deoderizers... think pre-glade or febreeze!

Well, the next year my sister gave me a bunch of supplies to make some more, because it was fun, but cloves can be outrageously expensive. So, I finally made some last night for Christmas! They need 3-6 weeks (sometimes even 6 months they say!) to cure... but I am hoping for good luck because the last one I made didn't take too long... we'll see.

I thought that I would show everyone my process and see if I couldn't inspire others to make them because they are just so cool! I know I'd love to get one as a gift!
here we go!

How to make a Pomander

This is what you need to get started, I'll tackle the spices a little further down!

A few fruit of your choice. I decided to use clementines because I love them and they are smaller... less space to fill. I was being ambitious and went for 4 but 3 was my limit for one sitting. I've read to use thimbles, for the pushing part, but don't own any... if you have some I think it wouldn't be such a bad idea to pull them out!

Atleast 2 bottles of cloves, you need alot of them. These are nice ones(from my sister) but I've seen cloves at the dollar store now..and that would help make these more affordable gifts!

A bowl to work over to contain the mess, I found the clementines to be much juicier than the orange I used before(which time will tell if that makes a longer drying out period. My head says quite probably will take longer... but unknown because they are also smaller..)

A rag to clean off your hands, if necessary. The fruit bleeds, and better out than un since you are essentially trying to dry it out.

You also need something to stick holes into the fruit. I used a push pin, it had a nice little grip to hold and it felt right to me. Use whatever you see fit... crochet hook, fork, nail...whatever!

And finally a ribbon to tie around the fruit, so that you can hang it...and make it look festive, if you want.

I get a long peice of ribbon and put the fruit, topside down, around middle of it, then pull the sides up and cross them to go up the middle of each half you just made, to make 4 even spaces, like when you tie a present. Tie the ribbon on the top and just leave the extra for now.

At this point, you should anchor the top (and bottom) with one clove in each section to help keep the ribbon from moving around.

Use your push pin to make holes for each clove. You want to fit as many cloves, as close as possible, with out tearing the skin underneath, plus the pomander shrinks as it cures, so leave a little wiggle room for that. You'll get the hang of it after a few times..and trust me you'll get LOTS of practice!

This one is about halfway done and you can see that quite a bit of juice is in the bowl... there was also a good amount of juice running down my hand...you WILL find every hangnail, or cut on your hands, but atleast the citrus is an antiseptic, right?

This one that has been completely covered... HOORAY!
But you are only halfway done, at this point.

If you are going to make more than one, put this one in a bowl and start another one. When you have finished all the fruit you are using, then it is time to mix up the additional spices.
Here's what you need for the spice rub:

1 tablespoon of ground cloves

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg

1 1/2 tablespoons of ground Orris Root.

(you can also use Sandalwood Oil, instead if you want. My sister ordered this container for me from an apothecarey from Chicago, but I think you local co-op or herb store might have it.)

4 or 5 drops of Orange Essential Oil

A brown paper bag

I used my mortor and pestal because I had all these lovely fresh cloves on hand... you can use ground powder from the store if you want to!

Put all the spices on a plate, I ground fresh nutmeg and used about half a nut(is that what it's called?...I really don't know!)

Then mix the spices together, and put a few drops of Orange Oil into the mix. Being the stinky hippie that I am, if I was making these for myself I would also add a drop or two (not much) of Patchouli Oil as well, but since my sister is getting one and she thinks it smells like stinky hippie...I refrained this time.

Then you take your fruit and roll it around on the spices until they are nice and covered.

Then you put the pomanders and the extra spices into the brown paper bag. Put your bag in a cool dark place. Check on them everyday. Roll them around in the spices and check for mold. If you get mold, throw it away (I know it's sad... but you have to do it!) I have never had a moldy one, but I have had a friend who did.

It can take anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months, to cure. The last time I made one it took about a month. Although truth be told, I'm not exactly sure because I put it under a dresser and forgot about it for awhile... but I didn't even have the spices or a bag... just the orange under there. I hope that someone else makes some. Let me know how you like it if you do! : )

Today I am thankful for pomanders!
I am thankful for a thoughtful sister.
I am thankful for fun crafts, that make me happy!


ChristineM said...

I LOVE THESE!!! I've never made them, nut always thought about them...never even knew what they were called!!

Thanks for the great post - beautiful photos, too!

Lissaloo said...

yummmm,I can almost smell your pictures! I love spices, I am going to see if I can get my older kiddo's to make some of these with me. Stinky Hippie smell, lol :)

thamesarino said...

: ) thanks ladies! hee hee my sister HATES patchouli and has called me Stinky Ruth since I started wearing it when I was 12!! The first time my hubby heard her call me that he got very offended for me.. but I think it's funny... b/c sometimes it can make you smell like a stinky hippie!! : )
...of course not on me though, b/c I actually shower!!

: )