Monday, December 01, 2008

Traditional Orange Pomanders

To me, Christmas just doesn't seem 'right' without the smell of oranges and cloves. In Colonial times, these were actually made in the summer months, when the fruit was in season(but STILL, very expensive), to hang in a closet or wardrobe to freshen clothing. Only the very richest and most privileged souls received an orange on Christmas, as they would have to be
brought from Barbados, Bermuda or Jamaica....packed in wooden barrels, sailing here on a tall masted ship....

Here are some pomanders that I made a few YEARS ago, they are looking a bit shrunken and rough, but still smell wonderful!

So Come and join me as I make some hanging fresh Orange Pomanders for this Christmas- I will slip on some music- one of my current favorite cd's, and PERFECT for an 18th century
Christmas gathering, I highly recommend a "Hammered Dulcimer Christmas"....wonderful Traditional English Carols (well, minus Frosty the Snowman) played masterfully by Mary O'Callahan....with NO accompaniment.

You will need:

Fresh Navel Oranges
whole cloves
cinnamon sticks
1 bamboo BBQ skewer
jute or hemp twine

I prefer to use the short chubby cinnamon sticks, they fit better with the oranges and don't stick out to snag on things. For Heaven's NOT use the nasty artificially scented wooden sticks they pawn off as cinnamon in the craft isle of your grocery....YUK!

The round toothpicks with the sharp tips work best, you will use these to poke a design into your orange. Some oranges have really leathery skins, and you will break the cloves just trying to poke them in without a pilot hole poked first. Find some nice big, long, whole cloves........


If you go to the spice isle, you will see a weensie little couple oz glass bottle of McCormick whole cloves for something between 5-8.00! no no.......we want to have fun, not go broke, so put that down, and go to the MEXICAN FOOD isle. You will find a section of bagged spices, all McCormick still, but in Spanish. The bags of cloves here are just .33 CENTS, and you get waaaaay more in each bag! They are wonderful, top rate spices, don't ask me why they are so cheap, even being the same company. You will find the cinnamon sticks, at a greatly reduced
price here too

Grab an orange, and poke away! I poke my toothpick in at least an INCH, so the juice comes right up to the top and will soak the cloves when you poke them in.~ ohhh they smell so good already! My first pomander I make always bears the 3 circles for the Trinity. You can have lots of fun with these- they make extra special Xmas presents, especially if you poke the intendeds initials into them with the wee tiny cloves

Ok, so once you have finished your design, you can be done if you just want them to fill a bowl or trencher- they make a wonderful display like that....but I prefer mine to hang, so next you will get your big bamboo BBQ skewer, and poke it thru the middle of your orange, all the way thru

The Cinnamon sticks are what holds your orange onto the twine, I use 2 for each pomander. For the first one, on the bottom, take about a 24" length of twine, and make a slip knot over the
center of your cinnamon stick

In this step, you will thread the orange onto your twine. Take your Bamboo skewer, and with a knife, split the flat end up just about 1/2 inch. You will take the loose ends of your twine, and
catch them in the split end of the skewer- then just pull the skewer thru your orange, from the BOTTOM up and out the TOP. Pull it up snug, so the cinnamon stick is touching the bottom of the orange, and the loose ends are now coming out the top of the orange.

Now take a second cinnamon stick, place it at the top of the orange, and wrap your twine around several times, tightly, and tie off. Trim your twine to a few inches, make a knot at the tip, and voi-la, you have a beautiful orange pomander



Barbara said...

Too Cool, Honey! I think I need to make some new ones, too. I think I may still have some you made when you were in High School!!! They're all dried up and petrified in with the Christmas decorations, and they still make everything smell like orange spice! LY Mom

grittyartsstudio said...

I am SO glad you explained all that! I will get the kids to make some with me. Maybe we will start a tradition...Thanks so much.

Heather said...

I love making these! My mom started making them years ago and I tried my hand at them a while back. Yours are so beautiful with the cinnamon sticks!

Atticbabys said...

I'm so going to give this a whirl!
Thankyou so much for sharing your
the how-to's Rachel!

Flor Larios Art said...

Oh! I lovo this. I am going to make some.

Suzanne said...

I guess it's not too late to make some!? They do smell SO wonderful! Thanks for the tip about the cloves. We just finished school, so this may be the perfect project to keep everyone busy!