December 5, 2013

How To: Portable DIY Natural Home Scents

Tim's been in the kitchen and dining room the better part of today (and week) prepping, cooking and staging food for the Relay Foods holiday meal spread — it's looking and smelling so good around here! You might remember, he'd worked with them on the Thanksgiving meal and was eager to create something totally different for the holiday meal, so stay tuned for more on that front!  Knowing we'd have some foot traffic in the house today for the meal photo-shoot, I wanted to make sure the house was smelling like the holidays (not that it really needed anything further than the leg of lamb Tim had roasting in the oven)...

I'd just come across this clever DIY for homemade room scents using all natural ingredients on Pinterest and wanted to give it a try since it seemed like such a simple way to freshen up the space — and they look so cute while doing their job! I'm not a fan of artificial scents or air fresheners, so was excited to give this completely natural version a go. After a few snips of fresh herbs, a couple slices of citrus, some pinches of spice and piping hot water, the house was beginning to smell so good.

You can use all sorts of natural ingredient combinations to come up with different scents. Fruits pair really well with fresh herbs and spices to create different aromas. We decided to go with the following two scent combinations:

 1. Orange slices, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and whole allspice berries. The combination of citrus and seasonal spices seemed really warming with a holiday feel. We used this as the main scent around the house, and boy does it smell good.

2. Lemon slices, fresh rosemary sprigs and vanilla extract. I wanted to make this one little portable scent to leave in the bathroom. I felt like the lemons and vanilla would give off a "fresher" scent and add a little variety.

About 15 minutes before guests arrive or you're ready for some smell-good, put on a teapot to boil and begin stuffing your fruit/spice/herb combos into individual jars. There's no science to how much of each ingredient to use, so feel free to get creative and go with your gut:

While your loading up the jars, put some of the leftovers in a small saucepan. We're going to turn this simmering pot into a larger version of the scent jars that will carry through several rooms at once:

Fill the pan with water, bring to a boil, then allow the mixture to simmer on the back-burner, emitting a most wonderful scent all throughout the kitchen and joining rooms of your home.  Just add water to the pan as it begins to steam away to keep the scent flowing for long periods of time:

Simmering a scent pot like this gives off that warming aroma that pleasantly greets you at the door when you enter the home, wondering wow, what smells so good?

OK, back to the portable jar scents! Once your teapot starts whistling, it's time to fill up your loaded scent jars. Watch in delight as different ingredients float to the top and others sink to the bottom:

Now they're ready to place in different rooms around the house. We put the lemon/rosemary/vanilla jar in our downstairs bathroom for more of a fresh scent and carried the orange/cranberry/spice jar back to the dining room where the majority of folks would be working on the shoot during the day.

To keep the portable jars emitting a strong scent, just replenish the cooling or steamed off water with more hot water every so often.

This couldn't have been an easier way to spruce up the house and keep it smelling good — all using ingredients we had on hand. We can't wait to try new scent combinations through the rest of the holiday season.

Let us know if you give it a go and what scent combos you come up with! Be sure to check out this article we drew inspiration from for our jar scents — it's filled with other aroma combination ideas and techniques for keeping them warm all throughout your home.

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  1. This is one of our favorite things to do too. I'm not really a candle scent person, but lemons and vanilla and rosemary are wonderful.

    We also make one with oranges, mostly the rind, cloves and cardamom pods. A little hot water later in the day freshens the scent again.

    Yours look so pretty.


    1. You recipe sounds so good also. We will have to put cardamom pods on our list!

  2. What a wonderful idea. I am sensitive to fragranced candles but enjoy a hint of scent. This does just that. They are so pretty to look at, too.

    And for what it is worth...imho, age really is just a number. ;~)

    My best to you both.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment and kind words!

  3. I love this! could you keep the jars on a warmer plate to keep them going continually? i might try that out.

  4. This is so cool. And cheap! Thanks


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