Friday, October 25, 2013

in love with lavender

The first time I truly consciously inhaled the delightful fragrance of lavender was when I was about 12 in the south of France. We visited perfume factories and nibbled on candied roses and I purchased a small bottle of lavender fragrance as a souvenir. I believe that scents and smells often possess a more powerful memory trigger than a photo or a snippet of music. A scent has the ability to take you back so immediately and clearly to moments in the past.
 However, as exciting as it could have been, those two weeks in the south of France at age 12 were not exactly a highlight for me. I could not take the heat, I was horribly homesick, I couldn't get a bite down and the bus travel on winding, hilly roads just upset my queasy tummy even more. For years after that experience, I sniffed at my lavender fragrance wondering did I love it or hate it, as it quickly brought me back to unpleasant memories.
Despite the negative memories, I realized that I really truly loved the fragrance. I remember consciously trying to CHANGE my association! As time passed, old associations faded and eventually disappeared. 

Before age 12 I did not know what a lavender plant even looked like.

I was thrilled when the day came that my 3 year-old daughter identified lavender and basil and rosemary that was growing on our balcony at that time. I am thankful my children are growing up with a vocabulary of plants, scents, and tastes. My parents offered me a different vocabulary, and that's fine. One of the treasures of being a parent is that you pass on what's important to you. And then your children will hopefully have the fundamentals to go on and discover what's important to them.
I've never been back to the south of France since that summer in the early 1980's. But how I would like to! One of my dreams is to travel around in Provence with my husband and visit markets, galleries, cafes and lavender fields. Perhaps we would hike and bike and swim and sketch and of course, take many photos.
When you are waiting for a dream to become reality, you start making little bits of it happen in small ways. For me, that is the dozen lavender plants I have growing in our garden. There are probably two dozen. Our Rhine climate is sunny and warm and conducive for lavender. I'm sure the first Romans even brought it here. Every spring I seem to buy a few more plants and then wonder where to put them! In the summer there are days when my hands begin to ache from the repeated motions of trimming the flowers. (perhaps a better garden scissors?)
And then the really monotonous work begins, that is, if you want to use the dried flowers. This fall, my sweet mother-in-law worked for hours filling up a large bag of lavender for me to sell at the upcoming Christmas market. And my daughter and I also sat with the late summer sun on our backs pulling off the buds....hours at a time. I'm very thankful for my helpers! I have prepared dozens of lavender sachets. The little hearts and birds to hang on hangers are still waiting for pretty mother-of-pearl buttons.
Monotonous or meditative? (One of my current philosophic musings, you may have noticed). Whatever! I simply enjoyed working with lovely fabrics and sewing these sachets! I will also enjoy sewing on the buttons while basking in the lovely scent of my favorite fragrance.



greenrabbitdesigns said...

All those beautiful colourful sachets all lined up...just gorgeous ! :)
How sad that your memories of the south of France aren't good ones, you really need to go back, I promise it's beautiful! If you visit the Flower Market in Nice on a Saturday morning the air is filled with the scent of lavender! If you don 't like too much heat just don't go in August!
I lost my one and only lavender plant last winter, I don't our climate is conducive to lavender, never the less I think I need to get some more!
Happy weekend Karen
V xxx

GardenOfDaisies said...

Karen, I love the scent of lavender!! I keep lavender sachets in my dresser drawers. Too bad that you had some negative memories to overcome. I hope you do go back and create better ones. Your sachets are all so pretty!

Janine Marques said...

Hello Karen i also love lavender, the scent it is relaxing and nostalgic :)
Love your work is beautiful :)
Have a good day

Larisa said...

How many little bags! Love your fragrant hanging heart and birds Karen. I fell in love with the scent of lavender after a visit to a lavender farm where I tasted lavender honey for the first time in my life. Now I always have some lavender oil at home and add a bit of dry flowers to my heat packs.

Sherry C said...

What a lovely project, the fabrics you chose are beautiful!