Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Roses n Rose Beads

Ooo - just stopped by Jane's blog & found this wonderful post on rose concoctions!
& a link to Kiva's blog & her new book for kids: 'I'm a Medicine Woman, too!' - sweet!

My grandmother Mary grew herbs & worked with them. Sadly, I never knew my grandmothers (this blog is named for my other grandma: Minnie Vestella). As a teen, I experiemented with making rosebeads, as my mother had an old necklace grandma Mary made 30 or 40 years before!

My first attempt to make rose beads, using a recipe from 'American Girl Mag' looked rather like raisins, as the instructions didn't include any mashing! Next go - round, I ran the petals thru the foley mill, & later ground them in the blender, with better results.
I used little brass beads from the fishing supply (my dad was a fly fisherman), as we didn't have any bead shops, & often strung them on fishing line. The outer necklace is ~ 40 years old, & made by this method. The inner, strung with rose quartz, about 20 years old, & made with my dried petal method.
Here's an article on making rose beads. (unlike the author, I haven't found other flowers to work very well for beads! I do add some lavendar to the rose petals at times, but I find rose petals to work best, & usually have an abundance.)

In an herb class in the late 80s, Glen Nagle suggested drying herbs whole, then whizzing in a small coffee mill (crispy dry) when ready to use.
Ah- ha! I could do that with the rose petals, as I tended to use a combo of fresh & dried for my beads. Viola, an easy way to store the petals (powdered or whole in zip lock bags or tins) & simply reconstitute ~ 1/4 Cup of prepared petals with a rose petal, lavender & rose geranium leaf 'tea' when ready to make beads.Bold
I usually add ground cinnamon, nutmeg & cardamom to the roses, & have found that a small 'simmer pot' is ideal for the heating & mash making process. My original recipe called for simmering the petals an hour a day for 3 days. These days, I pour rose 'tea' over 1/4 - 1/2 C petals in a simmer pot, stir a bit, & cook for an hour or so.
Pour some tea for yourself as well - ahh :)
You can pop your mash in the freezer at any point, if you can't make the whole batch into beads!
I often simmer the petals the day before a class, then reheat the next day. You want your mash a 'playdough' consistency. Roll the beads in the palm of your hand, about twice as big as you want - they'll shrink! Yes, it's messy! But oh, so sweetly fragrant! I make several size beads, & like to string in patterns of 3s & 5s.
Set the beads on a small dish to dry for a day or so, till slightly firm, before piercing with a large needle. (if it breaks, just drop it back into the 'mash') Then, string on waxed carpet thread, hemp cord, or fishline, about a dozen beads on a string, & hang from pushpins along the edge of a shelf or above my pantry door.

I store the strings of beads & finished necklaces in tins & jars with rose potpourri, a few whole roses & sprigs of lavender.
When teaching a rosebead class, I buy small tins at the thrift stores, & make a bag or sprinkle potpourri in the bottom, to gift the students. The beads smell more fragrant when worn, as your body heat warms them. Just keep them dry, & they'll last a long, long time!

The necklace with pearls & glass beads was given me by a galfriend, (probably made with white or yellow petals, as the beads are paler) & the one with dark pink beads one I made for my mom, each of these are about 20 years old. Matching earrings are easy to make as well.

About 10 years ago I was interviewed for an article in the local paper, & have taught my 'dried petal method' for an herb group, at a local garden shop befor Valentine's Day, & at Country Gardens Nursery during the 'Tour de Plantes.'

Rose flower essences are some of my favorites! & a pinch of the dried rose powder is great for staunching blood - what a nice way to deal with a bloody nose! Italic Link


Anonymous said...

How cool is that?
I have never heard of rose beads.
Way to celebrate the traditions in your family!

Dia said...

Yes, isn't it!
'Rosaries' were often made using rose beads, & the word bead comes from the Anglo Saxon: bede - same root as 'bid' - beads 'bid' spirit to enter!
Many cultures use beads for prayers, & the making of these beads can be very meditative :)

This Guy said...

I've never ever heard of these before, and they are soooo cool! I love that you still celebrate your family traditions. I love them, so beautiful.

.:*aMbAr*:. said...

In Puerto Rico [my beautiful home] artisans make lots of jewelry pieces out of seeds and other natural things like rose beads. I think it is amazing how they can get so creative with such things. Good post!

PS: I would love a rosary made out of rose beads.

Jane said...

Hi Dia, Oh my -- I can't wait to trying making rosebeads!!! I'm intoxicated by the thought and all that you've described here. Okay, I'm off to research! :-)