Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Adventures in Kitty Litter and Potpourri

Last year, I wrote this post on potpourri and rediscovering oneself.

What happened to my 2019 dreams?  Nothing.  Did I "return to my roots" and take up the hobby of potpourri making again?  Nope.  Time got away from me.  Part of it was a busy job that suddenly went into overdrive.  But that overdrive part is over now.

Fast forward a year, to a continuing pandemic, a semi-retirement (more on that one of these days) and a time when it seems everyone has discovered or rediscovered crafts and gardening.

The lilacs are blooming where I live in upstate New York.  I have three varieties on my property,  First, there is an old bush (deep purple) planted by my late neighbor who knows how many years ago along our boundary line. Another (lighter purple)  was planted by us years ago next to his.  Finally, there is a heavenly fragrant white one our other neighbor has on his boundary line. Over the years some of the bush lies on our side so we can cut from our side.

The lilacs were calling to me - Pick me! Use me! (I'll have pictures of the lilacs tomorrow).

Years ago, when I first moved here, I tried to dry lilac flowers, but found that air drying resulted in browned flowers.   This was before the Internet so I didn't have a ready research source.  Now, the Internet (and You Tube) were going to be my friend.

My research in drying flowers brought me to silica gel.  Using silica gel would preserve the color, and the drying would only take a week.  Only one problem - the pandemic.  Many stores here, except if they sell essentials such as food or gardening items, had been closed since mid March.

But as of May 15, the stores selling non essentials could be open, but only for curbside pickup.

We've not had the best of luck with non essential curbside pickup.  We realize stores are working with limited staffing and perhaps limited stock, too.  We never know what a person serving us has been through.  This is not a time for complaints. Having said that, I decided not to order from a chain crafts store (we have two of them in our community).

Substitution time.

The internet told me that I could use kitty litter.  So yesterday, I went to the supermarket.  There was a store brand of cat litter that was made from unscented silica gel, and nothing more.
It is not the fine silica gel sold in crafts stores.  "Gel" might not be the best description of this; it's more like ground rock with little blue beads in it.  (I know I'll get some comments on my description but please keep in mind this is my first experience with either silica gel or silica gel cat litter.)  So I took a plastic container and poured in a layer of the silica gel.
I took the flower cluster and snipped off the flowers.  I laid the flowers on top of the gel, then poured the gel (carefully, so it wouldn't crush the flowers) around the perimeter of the container using a small cup, then gently laid the gel on top of the flowers.

In a week, I'll see the results.

While I am at it, thank you, supermarket employees, delivery people and others, who made this project possible for me.
Have you ever made potpourri?


  1. I am really interested to hear how this project turns out!

  2. Just don't be surprised if a bunch of cats got there first!

  3. Fascinating project. Never made potpourri & curious to hear how it turns out!

  4. I've never seen such long lines at the gardening centers. Indeed, it seems everyone craves the beauty of flowers and shrubs.

  5. Love the ingenuity. I can't wait to see how this turns out.

  6. I love lilacs! Anxiously awaiting your results. I would SO love some lilac potpourris!

  7. Whoa! Now that is cool, hope it works. We have lilac bush here in the front of the house that is blooming...it is quite overpowering at the moment, grin.

  8. I wonder if the kitty litter is easier or harder to use. You might find a better way of making potpourri.


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