It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of a life you have lived.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day Six of the Twelve Days of Christmas

When the wise men came to see the baby Jesus, they presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Now, we all know what gold is, but do you know what frankincense and myrrh are? Frankincense is an aromatic resin obtained from the Boswellia tree. It is used in perfume and incense, and in aromatherapy. The Egyptians ground the charred resin into a powder called kohl, which was used to make the eyeliner you see in many of the figures in Egyptian art. It was also used in religious rites, and is mentioned in Exodus 30:34 as an ingredient of incense.

Myrrh is also a resin from a tree, this time the Commiphora Myrrha tree. It is a reddish-brown color, and is also used in perfumes and incense. It was the main ingredient the Lord told Moses to use in making the annointing oil. It was also used as an embalming ointment, and as a penitential incense for funerals and cremations.

Now, what does this have to do with anything? Well, I love potpourri, and those earthy smells. I love watching the flames in a fireplace when they change colors because of the different ingredients in whatever you put in there. So today's project is potpourri that smells good, and pine cones that will make the flames turn colors.

For the potpourri, you will need the following: cranberries or holly berries, cinnamon sticks, small pine cones sprinkled with ginger, sweet gum balls or other seedpods, dried bay leaves, dried holly leaves, glycerin-preserved evergreens, whole cloves, and cinnamon oil. Dry the cranberries by making a small hole in each berry and letting them air dry. You can also put them in a dehydrator, which will do the trick a lot faster. Break up some of the cinnamon sticks and leave some whole. Mix all the ingredients together and sprinkle with a few drops of cinnamon oil. To make the mixture smell even nicer and look good, too, bake some little gingerbread men and over cook them until they are dry, and add to the mixture. This is a very pretty potpourri that will make your whole house smell like Christmas. It makes a nice gift, too.

The pine cones are even easier to do. You need some craft glue, some sodium chloride, which is table salt, some potassium chloride, which is no-salt substitute, and some copper sulfate, which you will have to have your pharmacist order for you. You will also need 3 gallon-size ziplock bags and a paint brush. Put each chemical into a seperate bag and set aside. Using the paint brush, paint craft glue onto the pine cones, one at a time, and immediately put them into one of the bags with the chemicals. Shake well and remove from bag. Place pine cones on waxed paper or foil to dry. To use them, just toss them into the fire. The sodium chloride will turn the flames a bright yellow, the potassium chloride will make violet colors, and the copper sulfate will turn the flames a pretty turquoise. Keep your pine cones in a basket by the fireplace, and give some away.

"And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." Matthew 2: 11

As with the wise men, we should remember that gratitude is the sign of noble souls. 'Night, Gramma G.

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