Tales of walking, eating, watching and playing. Vintage treasures and simple pleasures ... the things that make her happy.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Lavender Blue Dilly Dilly

As well as brooch pillows, I have been making more little lavender pillows, ready for the Christmas Fairs I am booked in to. (Thank you Mrs Fruit for the supply of Lavender!).
These dry little flower nibs have been giving off a heavenly scent as I pop a good handful into each pillow. In a stack of two, finished off with a vintage button, they sold well as stocking fillers last year and I’m hoping they will do so again this year.
I love the smell of lavender and find its perfume an excellent antidote to the early onset of a headache or as a relaxant when the stress levels are rising!

A member of 39 species of flowering plant in the Mint family, Lavender has been documented for at least 2,500 years.

Displayed in the little case I bought last week, now lined with old sheet music

Thought to have been introduced to the UK when the Romans conquered southern Britain, they used it in their baths, for cooking and as an insect repellent. It was an expensive luxury in Roman times with a pound of flowers costing a months wage, or fifty haircuts from the local barber.

In Medieval Europe laundrywomen were known as ‘Lavenders’, as they used Lavender to scent drawers and dried the laundry on Lavender bushes. Greek women hung lavender next to their beds to incite the passions.

Lavender was grown in monastery gardens, along with many other medicinal herbs. According to German nun Hildegard of Bingen (who died in 1179), Lavender Water (a decoction of vodka, gin or brandy mixed with Lavender) is great for migraine headaches and is also effective in the treatment of head lice and fleas.
During London’s Great Plague in the 17th century, it was suggested that a bunch of Lavender fastened to each wrist would protect the wearer against the deadly disease. After doing their dirty work, grave robbers at the time, were known to wash themselves and their spoils in ‘Four Thieves Vinegar’ which contained the herb and they rarely contracted the disease.
In 16th century France, Lavender was used as protection against infection and glovemakers who were licensed to perfume their wares with Lavender often seemed to escape cholera.

Charles VI of France demanded lavender-filled pillows wherever he went. England’s Queen Elizabeth I requested lavender conserve at the royal table and also demanded fresh lavender flowers to be available every day of the year, a daunting task for a gardener having to deal with England’s climate! Louis XIV bathed in water scented with it and Queen Victoria used a lavender deodorant. Young Victorian women placed small Lavender bags in their cleavage in the hope of attracting a suitor.

Both Elizabeth I and II used products from the famous lavender company,
Yardley and Co. of London
In the US and Canada, the Shakers were the first to grow lavender commercially. A strict sect of celibate English Quakers who had little use for lavender's amorous qualities, developed herb farms upon their arrival from England. Producing their own herbs and medicines, they sold them to the "outside world” and eventually a New York advertising firm took them on and sold their products worldwide.
Chemist and aromatherapist, Rene Gattefosse (1881-1950), verified the healing and antiseptic qualities of Lavender. After severely burning both hands in his lab, he bathed his arm with Lavender oil – the pain stopped and the burn healed quickly with no infection or scarring. Here is his description of the incident:

"The external aplication of small quantities of essences rapidly stops the spread of gangrenous sores. In my personal experience, after a laboratory explosion covered me with burning substances which I extinguished by rolling on a grassy lawn, both my hands were covered with a rapidly developing gas gangrene. Just one rinse with lavender essence stopped "the gasification of the tissue". This treatment was followed by profuse sweating, and healing began the next day (July 1910)".

Lavender oil was then used to dress wounds during the 1st World War when antiseptics were in short supply.
Lavender may even be useful against impotence. In a study of men, the scent of pumpkin and lavender rated as the scent found most arousing!

Lavender blue and Rosemary green,
When I am King you shall be Queen;
Call up my maids at four o’clock,
Some to the wheel and some to the rock;
Some to make hay and some to shear corn,
And you and I will keep the bed warm.

Songs for the Nursery (1805)


A Treasured Past said...

Lovely pillows, the tag is really cute.

Who would have thought that lavender had so many uses...I found the arousing scent especially funny. Great post! Tam x

p.s.I loved Crewkerne, and had the best coffee in the cafe there. Also the antique shop was awesome.

Brown Paper Packages said...

What a lovely post! Especially since Lavender is an absolute favourite of mine. I have made Lavender cup cakes and regularly flavour my Earl Grey tea with a small pinch of Lavender flowers. We have a number of varieties that grow well here in Oz and I have a large bush right outside my front door. I love having my Lavender flavoured tea, on the porch in the morning, & watching the bees buzzing from flower to flower. Your scented pouches are so charming and I have another suggestion for them... I hang something similar in my pantry and it curbs the moths and weevils. Thanks for sharing such a fabulous array of facts. Have a great day! :-)

Liz said...

Great post! Love the lavender sachet you sent me - it really is gorgeous and the room smells fantastic!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane,

I love your lavender sachets! So cute! Your article on Lavender is very interesting. I always keep some of it in a vase and use it when I make my sachets. I found it interesting that it was used to heal gas gangrene! That is amazing. Humm, maybe single ladies could take a cue from your article and put a small amount amongst their bosoms! LOL

LaPouyette said...

Must tell you Jane, this are the most beautiful lavender sachets I've ever seen, truly!
Just simply wonderful and unique!

Wish that I could find the time to create some as well, having so much lavender here and lots of fabric, old end new.
But.....maybe one day....
Meanwhile I distribute the lavender in the houses, the barn and some in wardrobes and drawers. Good against moths!

Thank you very much for all the info, found a few facts which I have not known so far.
Greetings from the PĂ©rigord,

KC'sCourt! said...

Wonderful interesting post
Julie xxxxxxx

*Maristella* said...

Hi Marina...ma sono bellissimi questi sacchettini porta-lavanda! Che nostalgia dell'Inghilterra!!! Sigh!
Un abbraccio, *Maristella*.

Ava said...

These sachets are gorgeous ! Love the barkcloth fabric etc that you use. I really need to bundle you up and ship you to Australia so I can see all your things ! xx Ava

greenthumb said...
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greenthumb said...
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In My Wild Eden said...

Such wonderful sachets! So perfect with the button. I had no idea lavender had such a great history. Very interesting and fun to read. Great post!

vintageandart said...

What a fascinating and interesting story.....fifty haircuts indeed..you'd wanna have a great head of hair or you might never get paid haha!! Fantastic use of vintage fabrics...what a lovely idea.

Gracie's Garden Bazaar said...

Your little lavender pillows are so pretty(I'm sure they'll sell out very quickly)I always put lavender in my pincushions and find myself wanting to make more and more so can enjoy the aroma.Thanks for the interesting facts,really enjoyable to read:)xx

My Spotty Pony said...

Such an interesting post! I really do love lavender. I have so much of it planted in my garden and it is always covered with lots of bees working away :) xx

http://fortiesknitter.blogspot.com/ said...

Really pretty lavender bags. I find it a very calming scent havgin used it a lot when pregnant with my girls :o)

Anonymous said...

lovely to read about lavender, and wonderful bags, my vintage heart is above the computer thankyou minnie

Robins in the Trundle Bed said...

Dear Jane! We love your little lavender pillows and think that they are cunningly displayed in the little box. Your blog taught up so much about our favorite herb! Sheila when she visited Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in Maine got to work on the herb room sorting lavender for sale. She smelled like she had taken a bath in a vat of lavender. I told her if she couldn't find a man that weekend, she was out of luck!! Peace and Plenty, Sherrill

Lorraine Young Pottery said...

They are so wonderful tucked in the clothing draws. I love little fabric sacks of lavender, I am sure they will sell! and then it will only be a matter of listening to the humming of people deciding on which fabric and which button, wins the day. :-} Lorraine

Scarlett said...

Your little pillows are fabulous. I adore lavender and it was a godsend when my little boy was a baby in getting him to sleep :o) Scarlett x

Floss said...

A fantastic post - thanks! Two lavender stories for you:

The lavender scent is still the preferred smell of 'cleanliness' for the French - they find our preference for pine-scented/lemon scented cleanliness rather surprising. I sometimes drive past a laundrette where the roadside drain-covers fill the air with steam and the scent of lavender!

My mum hated the smell of lavender - it made her feel ill - until she had chemotherapy. After her recovery, sho loved it! Something had completely changed her sense of smell.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog via Vix's. Thank you so much for the little blurb on lavender, it's always fun to learn new things! Those little pillows are so pretty. I look forward to reading more from you.

Mimi and Tilly said...

Your lavender sachets are gorgeous. I'm a big fan of lavender in all it's forms. I can't remember if I told you I was an aromatherapist, so if I'm repeating myself, I'm sorry, but I love using lavender oil for headaches, de-stressing and skin conditions. You lavender sachets are some of the prettiest I've ever seen. Em x