I have a love for all things aromatic - fresh flowers, a newly cut lawn, a crackling fireplace, the ocean, the smell of rain on a warm summer day, my home after it's been professionally cleaned... Smells, like songs, evoke pleasant memories. Some smells - like floral and herbs are instantly relaxing, like walking into your home at the end of the day to be greeted by a clean, fresh, or springlike scent. I've a fondness for certain candles such Williams-Sonoma's essential oils candles, Nest's Bamboo, LAFCO's Pool House or Diptyque's Roses. I also love a good room diffuser. But, like candles, all diffusers are not alike - some don't really work, others are overbearing, and the most effective tend to cost an arm and a leg. While candles are lovely, their scent only lasts as long as they're lit. And, as with any flame they must be closely monitored. A good reed diffuser needs no monitoring and will keep your home smelling fragrant and fresh for weeks on end.
I recently came across this piece by Food52 on my Facebook stream and decided to give it a try. I had the vodka and the reeds - I just needed to get some essential oil that I picked up at my local Mrs. Green's. (Any health food store will have essential oil.) There were so many to choose from, but I ended up selecting Lemon Eucalyptus. Upon doing a little research I learned that eucalyptus oil has many respiratory benefits - from asthma to pneumonia as it opens up airways. It is also known for it's ability to increase focus, thus this oil is often used in classrooms. Lemon oil is known to be uplifting and improves concentration. Perhaps you should consider this fragrance in the office or home office. You can use any of your favorite scents or even combine them.
Making your own diffuser couldn't be any easier. You need just a few items - most of which you already have.
1/4 warm water
1/4 vodka (save the Tito's for your Martini!)
20 drops of essential oil
1 glass jar - any will do.
5 bamboo skewers (can be found in the grocery store near the grilling supplies)
Measure out 1/4 cup of water heat water - it is not necessary to bring it to a boil. (I placed mine in the microwave for 1 minute.) Pour warm water into your glass jar then add the vodka and the essential oil and swirl the ingredients together until well blended. You will instantly smell the fragrant liquid. Insert the bamboo skewers and place in desired location.
The purpose of heating the water, according to the folks at Food52, is to help the skewers absorb the oils faster. I placed one jar on the kitchen windowsill. The room smelled so wonderful that I made a couple more. Last night we all fell asleep with the house smelling so fresh aromatic. This morning the scent seemed to have dissipated quite a bit. A simple shake of the bottle and flipping the skewers helped to freshen things up again. I'm thinking this is a must for my teenage boy's bedroom!
Some scents you may want to try: lavender, sandalwood, orange, lemon, thyme, peppermint, grapefruit and rosemary to name a few, each with its own aromatherapy benefits. Combine them for a more complex scent or use them on their own. Citrus and herb oils work well in areas where food is prepared. Florals, citrus and gum resins like frankincense and myrrh work well in other areas. Try them in mudrooms, laundry rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms and the home office.
Furthermore these essential oils can be used many other ways - in salt and sugar scrubs, body butters, bath melts, bath salts, body washes and bath fizzies. All these items make wonderful homemade gifts... and Mother's Day is just around the corner!