Monday, September 15, 2008

How To Make Lavender Wands

Here is a nice project to try besides making dream pillows or sachet for closets or dresser drawers.

How To Make Lavender Wands

Lavender Wands Lavender bottles or wands have been used to freshen linens and impart fragrance for centuries. Elizabethan ladies used to gather lavender and transform it into these delightful 'wands' or 'bottles' to put in their linen cupboards. Use them to fragrance linen or lingerie drawers, or wherever you would use a sachet. You can use your basket weaving skills to make one or more of these wands from the fresh lavender flowers in your garden.

Lavender is derived from the Latin "lavare" which means "to wash" and that is just what the Romans did with lavender. The English variety - Lavendula angustifolia (also known as L. officinalis, L. Vera and L. spica). All lavenders belong to the genus Lavandula of the family Labiatae that include the thymes, basils, sages, and rosemary.


15 Fresh cut lavender stalks at the height of bloom with the longest stems possible
Short piece of lightweight string
2-3 yards of 1/4' wide satin ribbon

Select and pick 15 stems of fresh lavender with stems as long as possible.
Strip the leaves from the stems.
Allow the stems to wilt slightly to allow flexibility.
Align the tops of the flower clusters.
Tie the stems into a bundle just below the flowers with string.
Tie one end of the ribbon onto the bundle just below the flowers.
Bend the stems back over the flowers, arranging them to surround the flower heads neatly and evenly.
Use the ribbon to weave the stems in a plain weave (over one/under one) around the bundle.
Be careful not to catch any of the flower buds into your weaving.
Keep an even tension on the weaving as you progress.
Pack the weaving gently as you proceed so that each new row touches the previous row.
Make certain to adjust the stems so that they remain vertical as you weave.
Begin to increase your tension on the weaving as you reach the end of the flower buds to close in the wand.
Once the weaving completely encapsulates the flowers, stop weaving.
Adjust the tension of the weaving if necessary.
Cut the stem ends to the length you desire.
Tightly wrap the ribbon in a spiral down the length of the stems.
Reverse direction and spiral the ribbon snugly up the length of the stems.
Tie the ribbon off just below the weaving.
Clip off remaining ribbon.
Use the remaining ribbon to tie a decorative bow onto the stems, just below the weaving.
To refresh the scent, gently squeeze the woven section (referred to as the 'bottle' or the 'Bouteille'.)

Yin Yang Symbol

yin yang:

Nowadays, rare is the Westerner who cannot recognize the ancient symbol of the yin-yang. This image of two fish circling one another is central to the Taoist philosophy, that of balance and simplicity (World Cultures, par 4). The symbol itself, at its most basic, represents the complementary nature of the sexes, and their interdependance. The eyes of the fish also indicate that in the masculine is to be found the feminine, and vice-versa.

Taken further, the yin-yang can be said to represent all the opposite principles in the universe. In addition to masculinity, yang represents the sun, creation, light, Heaven, etc. Yin, likewise, represents the feminine, the moon, completion, cold, darkness, Earth, etc. Hence, things are imagined to begin with yang and end with yin -- without the other, existence simply cannot truly be said to, well, exist (World Cultures, par 5). Reality consists of cycles, opposing forces of change and stability in the universe. Additionally, all things have within them the seeds, the potential, of their opposite state -- happiness can lead to anguish, darkness must eventually become light, etc.

These concepts are very important to Ursula K. Le Guin's novel The Left Hand of Darkness. Of course, there is the obvious relevance: being ambisexual, every Gethenian has aspects of both the masculine and the feminine. For them, the genders become one in balance.

There is more to the relevance of Taoism for the book than merely gender, however; according to Taoism, the harmony that is meant to exist between all things in nature and all things in heaven can be discovered by anyone at anytime (Hoff, 2-5). Things naturally exist in a state of balance -- the only time they become imbalanced is when humankind interferes with their natural processes, when abstract and arbitrary rules are imposed upon it. The goal of a Taoist is to achieve a harmony between himself and the natural world. Only then can the Taoist (or anyone, for that matter) find peace.