Lavender Sachets

July 27, 2011

While we were in England, we bought a small length of fabric from Liberty of London. Have you been? It’s a gorgeous store and I didn’t want to leave! Mimi is going to use it to sew little sachets — then fill them with lavender from the garden at La Cressonnière.

Won’t that make a sweet souvenir from our time here? What sorts of souvenirs do you collect when you’re traveling?

P.S. — Have you ever harvested lavender? I have no idea how.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 wordplayhouse™ July 27, 2011 at 5:47 am

A sachet is a lovely remembrance of your time. To use them in your project, tie ribbon or twine around the stems and hang the bunch upside down in a dry spot in your house until they are completely dry. Then place them in your sachet. If they are still damp when you put them inside they will become moldy. If your daughter is so excited to begin her project (I’m sure she is!) She can go ahead and sew three sides of her sachet so it’s ready when the lavender is.

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2 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 6:41 am

Thanks for the advice! It’s so humid here, I’ll try extra hard to make sure they get really dry.

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3 Ashlea Walter July 27, 2011 at 5:48 am

Just what I was going to say – make sure to dry the lavender first. Wonderful idea!

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4 Betty July 27, 2011 at 5:55 am

check out centsationalgirl.com. She’s a blogger in Napa, CA, and she grows lavender. She’s blogged about crafty ways to use it (after harvest) so she may have something on her site about how to harvest it.

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5 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 6:43 am

Good to know, Betty. I’ll check out her site.

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6 Barbara July 27, 2011 at 6:21 am

Usually just one little thing – a lemon trivet from Italy, a cowbell from Switzerland (such cute cows there), a recipe for strudel from Austria, a turquoise ring made by the Lakota in South Dakota, yummy honey from Utah, heart shaped seashells collected in California, etc. Just a little something placed here or there in my home will remind me of the trip, even years later. Oh- and photos, of course.

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7 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 6:44 am

Those are such sweet souvenir ideas. Love those, Barbara!

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8 Susan July 27, 2011 at 6:23 am

Lavender wands!! You must make lavender wands! It’s one of those crafts that becomes an addiction… Here’s a couple of good instruction links:
http://theessentialherbal.blogspot.com/2007/06/making-lavender-wands.html
http://fairegarden.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/how-to-make-lavender-wands/

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9 ajbc July 27, 2011 at 6:34 am

I can testify to the mold. I was working on sachets recently and had to take the lavender down early for a move. It was very close to being dry when I took it down, but when we arrived at our new place, it was covered in mold. The fabrics I use for sachets are mostly just scraps, but the one you bought is lovely!

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10 Genna July 27, 2011 at 6:40 am

I’ve never had trouble with mold. Dry it, take your bundle and put the top into a plastic garbage bag with you holding the stems near the top of the bag. Strip the lavender off of the branch as you would rosemary, and it should all fall into the bag. Does that make sense? Maybe someone has a more efficient method.

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11 Katie July 27, 2011 at 6:41 am

I looovveee lavender, I bet this smells fantastic! I like to collect fun postcards when I travel, they can look so nice framed once you get home :)

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12 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 6:45 am

Postcards are so fun to collect!

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13 Kelly July 27, 2011 at 6:50 am

Please post HOW TO when you figure this out! I have two huge lavender bushes out back and my sewing machine is already out since I am already working on another project!!! GREAT IDEA! My lavender’s always gone to waste!

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14 Fiona July 27, 2011 at 7:20 am

I love that Liberty fabric. My mother is an accomplished seamstress, and trips to London in our childhood always included Liberty. Every print brings to mind a shirt that my mother made herself , she had this print in a navy blue.

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15 Anna July 27, 2011 at 7:21 am

I just recently harvested lavender from our garden this year. It took about 2 weeks for our lavender to dry completely and then the children had a grand time helping me to take all the dried buds off of the stalks! Our whole house smelled delicious! Also, we saved the stems and dried them in bunches so that we can throw them in the fireplace to enjoy the smell all over again in the winter! I love that beautiful fabric and wish I had it to make our sachets with!

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16 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 7:35 am

Oh! Great idea about saving the stems. I think we’ll do the same thing.

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17 Senora H-B July 27, 2011 at 7:27 am

I love to collect Christmas ornaments, special jewelry, or a beautiful little box from the places I visit. I like ornaments because they only come out once a year and I don’t have to find a place for all of them. Jewelry is always a go-to choice as well. It’s small and I can always find space for another pair of earrings. Boxes are useful and sometimes incredibly beautiful. One of my favorites is a sweet little Shaker box purchased somewhere in Vermont while traveling with my mom. She has one as well. It’s a nice memory to think of when I’m reaching for paper clips!

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18 Connie July 27, 2011 at 7:32 am

When my husband and I travel, we don’t collect anything specific. Except “collecting” funky images and tons of quirky papergoods: menus, brochures, postcards, parking passes, etc. I don’t have the resolve to be a continuous scrapbooker, but I do make a scrapbook of each vacation we take…I feel like someday when we have children, they’ll love flipping through these scrapbooks of adventures. They are a fun way to put all the odds n’ ends of a trip all in one spot.

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19 From Belgium July 27, 2011 at 7:54 am

Well, don’t laugh. But we collect books, or at least my husband does… (and I say don’t laugh, because we have about a 1000 already and we’re only 30). Each holidy he must must must browse at least one bookstore, preferably second hand and see if he finds any ‘gems’ (which are usually dog eared and smell of cat pee). If love to read and love to browse bookstores, but I do not like second hand books, unless they are in pristine condition.

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20 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 9:08 am

“smell like cat pee” made me laugh!

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21 elz July 27, 2011 at 8:08 am

We used to go to Liberty all the time when we lived in Britain. I wish I would have stocked up more now that it’s been at least 20 years since I’ve been back!

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22 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 9:09 am

I’ve only been once and I miss it too!

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23 Lauren July 27, 2011 at 9:02 am

I love lavender. I grow it in pots around our yard and I used to bring it into the house to dry so we could enjoy the fragrance year-round. But last summer, I got brave with our new ice cream maker and made some honey lavender ice cream. And it tasted… just like you would expect lavender to taste. And, unfortunately, I can’t bear the smell anymore. I’m hoping in a few years I will have recovered :)

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24 Design Mom July 27, 2011 at 9:10 am

Oh dear. I hope the recovery is swift. I feel that way about certain things I ate while morning sick. : )

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25 susan July 27, 2011 at 9:57 am

I hate to put a damper on this fun project but I believe that there are customs restrictions re bringing plant material in to the US. You might want to check on this if you are planning to bring them home with you.

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26 Anne July 27, 2011 at 10:42 am

I like to bring home something that I will use, like a great dish, a toy, or a fancy dishtowel. Every time I use the item, I think of the wonderful trip.

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27 Jenn P. July 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Martha Stewart has a great article on harvesting/storing herbs, including lavender. You might want to check that out.

I love Libertys fabric.

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28 Ann July 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm

The lavender is ready to pick for drying when the flowers are just beginning to open. Pick bunches, bind with a rubber band and hang upside down in a dark place (preferably but if going into sachets it won’t matter the same). When dry use garden gloves with ‘dimples’ on the palms and rub the flower heads between your hands – over a sheet to keep it all together.
When using lavender for cooking ALWAYS make sure you use an angustifolia variety or what is also called English lavender. Others won’t kill you !! but won’t taste very nice. Another tip for using in cooking is to put the buds through a coffee grinder and then you’re not spitting out ‘bits’ !!
I’m bookmarking your page to follow your French life as hubby and I plan to visit in about 18 months.
We have a lavender farm here in New Zealand – don’t know everything by any means but hope these tips help. Another good site for the lavender wands is that of Labyrinth Hill Lavender.
Souvenirs – I’m another that loves books – usually about the things/places we’re visiting. As I’ve got older I’m trying to declutter so have given up on ornaments, though I like to get fridge magnets – except now I need another fridge to display them on!!

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29 Jenny July 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Lovely idea! When we travel, my daughter collects t-shirts. After our years abroad are done I plan to have them made into a t-shirt quilt so she’ll be able to cuddle up with it and remember all our adventures.

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30 Kathy Weier July 27, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I see everyone has beaten me to how to dry the lavendar, so you should be set on that. That fabric is gorgeous!

I don’t know how we started it, but my husband and I began a Christmas ornament collection for every big trip or event from when we got engaged through present. When we go some place on our list of to do items is search for the perfect tree ornament so it’s like a little scavenger hunt. When we get home we write the date on it and it goes in the box. The major bonus is at Christmas time we get a walk down memory lane of everywhere we’ve been as well as our first apartment, first house, first pet, and most recently, first baby. I can’t wait to open up the box at Christmas with her when she is older and show her the treasure we found for the tree when we brought her home!

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31 RebeccaNYC July 27, 2011 at 8:43 pm

I dry mine by putting it in a big vase, and it looks beautiful for ever…it does turn greyish after awhile, but when I walk by I love to crush a few flowers and the scent is amazing, even a year later. BTW..I have brought home huge bunches of lavender in my suitcase in a shoebox (many times) and have never had any trouble with customs. Even when they opened my suitcase right in front of me, (the smell was amazing), they just zipped it right back up and waved me through. I think they will not bother you with little sachets. You could also mail them home.

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32 UK lass in US July 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Don’t cut into the fabric yet! From US Customs’ page:
Plants and Seeds
Some plants, cuttings, seeds that are capable of propagation, unprocessed plant products and certain endangered species are allowed into the United States but require import permits and other documents; some are prohibited entirely. Threatened or endangered species that are permitted must have export permits from the country of origin.

Every single plant or plant product including handicraft items made with straw, must be declared to the CBP officer and must be presented for CBP inspection, no matter how free of pests it appears to be. For information on importing plants or plant products visit the Plant, Organism and Soil Permits page.

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33 UK lass in US July 27, 2011 at 9:59 pm

PS. the sniffer dog was being very thorough on our recent return – I had to prove that my sandwich was cheese only – and they seemed to be more concerned with looking for food / plant material than for any drugs etc!

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34 Lindsie July 28, 2011 at 1:25 am

My friend makes the most wonderful lavendar lemonade. You should try it – http://thebaldgourmet.com/recipe-lavender-lemonade/. It’s pretty tasty! Thanks for your ideas and stories from France.

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35 Lissa July 28, 2011 at 5:41 am

You might want to check with US customs and any regulations about bringing seed/plant products into the states. Sometimes those issues can be rather tricky and I’d hate for Mimi to be sad at the airport.

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36 LH July 28, 2011 at 8:23 am

I like to find things that are local specialties as souvenirs. We got wool sweaters in Ireland, a delft tea set in Holland (we found a shop that had “seconds” so I was able to get a big elaborate set for a low enough price my mom wasnt even too worried about me breaking them), etc.
Some of our favorite French souvenirs were a bunch of copper pots from a place called Ville-de-les-Poelles or something like that. We got to walk around the copper factory, and they let us take the little drops of copper that had cooled on the floor which we used as treasure for Lego pirates.

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37 Tracy B. July 28, 2011 at 9:24 am

I wish I had know about this store when I was in London. I couldn’t find any fabric stores when I was over there. Since I love sewing, I try to collect fabric from the countries I go to.
(I have some beautiful fabric from Honduras, but haven’t been able to convince myself to actually cut into it yet, lol)

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38 Christa July 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I am always looking for creative ways to decorate, so I love your blog! The lavendar satchets will come in handy because I have three lavendar plants. I look forward to harvesting the flowers and the scent!

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