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Old 02-22-2004, 07:39 PM
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Use a food dehyrator for crafting

Use a food dehyrator for crafting


For those of you crafters that own food dehydrators, and are still only using your dehydrator to dry fruits and vegetables here are some other suggestions. Of course you can dry your apple and orange slices to use for your craft projects, but you can dry just about anything.


Flowers- for those of you that grow your own flowers for drying, these can easily be placed in your food dehydrator for fast and easy drying. Some examples; sunflowers, rose petals, Globe Amaranth, violets, pansies, straw flowers, statice, yarrow, and babies breath. For the large “flower heads” you will have to remove the stems. Just place them flat on the tray of your dehydrator, it is very simple to add a piece of floral wire to remake the stem if you need a stem for your project.


Vegetables and Fruits- I have not only dried the basic apple and orange slices, but also, little hot peppers (be sure to poke several pin sized holes in these before drying), any citrus fruits work well dried for potpourris and dried spicy type garlands, also chunks of coconut, cranberries (again poke several holes in the skin) and blueberries. For larger fruits just slice in 1/4 inch slices and place flat on your tray.


Herbs- any herb can be dried in your dehydrator, I generally use bay leaves, dill, sweet annie, lambs ears, lavender, any type of mint, also leaves from scented geraniums, basil, oregano and sage. Any herb leaves will look and smell interesting added to potpourri and arrangements. To dry herbs, you can strip the leaves off of the stem and place the leaves on your trays, for items such as dill the entire head can be dried whole.


Other- be on the look out for anything unusual to dry to add to potpourris and arrangements, take walk in the woods or a field to pick up; pine cones, pine needles, seed pods, cedar chips or anything that looks interesting. Again,depending on the size of the item being dried it can either be left whole or separated into smaller pieces.


*****CRAFT PROJECTS******

Cinnamon Ornaments:

Mix 1 cup applesauce, 1 oz. ground cinnamon, 1 oz. ground cloves, 1 oz. ground nutmeg and 1 oz. ground ginger together, the batter will be very stiff. Using some more cinnamon, roll out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. (Mini cookie cutters work the best) Poke a hole in the top of each ornament (be sure to make the hole a little bigger than you think you will need to allow for shrinkage). Using a spatula place the ornaments on the racks of your dehydrator. Drying time for these varies so just keep checking them. When dry string a ribbon through the hole and you now have some really cute ornaments that smell wonderful. (Your kitchen will smell great while these dry) For those of you that like to have your children help you with projects these are great. But please don't let the kids try to eat these. Although they shouldn't get ill, they really don't taste very good.


While these look great hanging from just about anywhere, such as on your Christmas tree or from window sills, my mom has a cute mini “kitchen tree” that she uses on her kitchen counter at Christmas time. She decorates it with mini white lights, these Cinnamon Ornaments, mini cookie cutters and other “kitchen type” ornaments. If these are stored carefully they will last several years. If the scent is fading just add a touch of cinnamon oil to the back of the ornament.


Making your own potpourri is simple to do and you can find a variety of things in which to use. I just love to use unusual colors and textures to make my potpourris. Just combine your ingredients in a zip lock bag and add a few drops of your favorite scented oil or combination of oils, leave this combination sit for several days to let the oils sink into the ingredients.

One of my favorite potpourri’s contains; dried oranges, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole cloves, dried cranberries and dried mini hot peppers. I combined some cinnamon oil and vanilla with this one, it makes a wonderfully sweet spicy scent. This looks beautiful sitting in a bowl on my kitchen counter and smells wonderful. As with any potpourri, if the scent starts to fade just add a few more drops of scented oil.


Or how about a Holiday potpourri using pine needles, pine cones, cedar chips, cinnamon sticks, apple slices and bay leaves? Try a combination of cinnamon and balsam oil to get a spicy Christmas tree type scent.


Homemade potpourri just takes a little experimenting and imagination.


Your dried items can look great also on wreathes or in arrangements. I generally use a grapevine wreath base for my craft projects. With some ribbon, dried items and a little imagination you can make some very interesting and wonderfully scented things to add to your home decor.


**************

I have a small tree that I used during Christmas that Ive decided to leave up year round. Im planning on making the cinnamon ornaments and cut out in the shape of flowers so that they can hang on the tree for Spring, Easter and Summer. They will make my dining room smell good and they will blend in with my other decor.
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